There are warnings about dangerous delays in diagnosis as Canadians mark World Cancer Day. As Gil Tucker reports, doctors say too many patients are putting themselves at risk because of fears of COVID-19.
There are warnings about dangerous delays in diagnosis as Canadians mark World Cancer Day. As Gil Tucker reports, doctors say too many patients are putting themselves at risk because of fears of COVID-19.
WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Retention bonuses and incremental increases for volunteers are being considered to better reward members of the East Ferris Fire and Emergency Services Department. Council had asked Fire Chief Frank Loeffen last year to look at how the municipality’s renumeration compared to other similar-sized townships. His report presented at Tuesday’s meeting indicated there is much variety in how each department compensates its members, with East Ferris in the mid-range for volunteers and top end for officers. Loeffen, representing the municipality’s fire and emergency services committee, recommended a $10,000 increase for 2021 to the annual points system allocation used to compensate volunteers at each call for service and training sessions. It would bring that budget up to $54,566, which is slightly above the mid-range of comparable departments, he said, suggesting it then increase three percent annually in following years. His report also looked at the implications of moving to a “minimum wage per point” system, but said it would be “unpredictable for budgetary purposes” as calls to service and number of members responding fluctuate. As it functions now, the budget is divided up based on points with the hourly amount going up or down depending on volume of calls and training sessions. Included in the recommendations was a two percent increase to the annual officer honourarium, bringing it to $1,081.20 for 2021. In addition, it was suggested to council that the Fire Prevention Officer be given the same officer honourarium instead of $50 per inspection. Council warmly embraced the suggestions and several members recommended two options to recognize longer service. Deputy Mayor Steve Trahan suggested that senior volunteers be given an extra point or two to reflect the skills and experience they provide at fire scenes and collisions. “They are asked to do extra roles … (we) lean on them a little heavier compared to someone newer,” Trahan said. Councillor Rick Champagne said he's interested in a system that works as an “incentive for people to step up and stay a little longer. “These people do work very hard for us,” Champagne said, “I think we’re getting away fairly cheap the way we’re paying them right now.” East Ferris currently has 26 volunteer members on its roster. Four of them are rookies less than one year of participation, six are in the one to five year's of experience, nine are in the five to 10-year bracket, two at 10-15, two 15-20 and five with more than 20 years involvement. Councillor Terry Kelly, a long-time fire and emergency services volunteer, said he looks at that kind of thing as a “retention bonus,” noting they now get a “recognition” plaque every five years, joking the plaque grows in size the longer you are there. Kelly suggested a $500 bonus every time a volunteer hits a five-year milestone as recognition for long-time service. “We’ve been very fortunate with retention,” he said, “and if you look at what the fire department does not cost the taxpayer … it’s one of the best deals we have with the service they do, and quite frankly, they knowingly put themselves I harm’s way with great training.” Last year, a report looked at running a part-time service with scheduled shifts at $20 an hour that would have doubled the budget to about $90,000. Loeffen was asked to explore the suggestions at the committee level and cost out the “pros and cons” as well as financial impacts of both the retention and recognition of skills systems. Mayor Pauline Rochefort thanked him for an “excellent report with lots of comparables” and she looked forward to considering the initial recommendations and new information for the budget deliberations. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Loblaw Companies Ltd.'s discount grocery stores are starting to win back market share after consumers flocked to conventional supermarkets at the outset of the pandemic, the company's president said Thursday. Sarah Davis said COVID-19 restrictions prompted many consumers to opt for conventional grocery stores as they sought a more "complete shop" while they limited the number of times they shopped a week. "When the pandemic started, we saw a flight to conventional, which had a significant impact on our discount business," she told analysts during a conference call after Loblaw reported its fourth-quarter profit and revenue rose compared with a year ago. The trend positively impacted sales at the company's conventional grocery stores. But given Loblaw's food business breakdown is about 60 per cent discount stores and 40 per cent conventional, Davis said the company has been "working to win that market share back." The company's fourth-quarter results showed a "closing of the gap," she said. "We're seeing an improved trajectory." Loblaw said its food retail same-store sales grew 8.6 per cent, with its conventional division growing 10.6 per cent and its discount division growing 7.4 per cent. That's up from the discount division's growth of 4.7 per cent in the previous quarter. Davis said the "food divisional results" were more balanced in the fourth quarter than they have been since the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting customers are returning to discount stores following a "short pandemic hiatus." "We're seeing a little bit of change in consumer patterns, maybe not just the one shop," she said. "We're seeing a few more shoppers doing more than one shop in a week, perhaps shopping in a few different banners as well." Loblaw has conventional grocery stores like Loblaws, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, Real Atlantic Superstore and Provigo, as well as a discount division, which includes No Frills and Maxi. Overall, the company said it earned net income available to common shareholders of $345 million or 98 cents per diluted share for the 13-week period ended Jan. 2, boosted in part by an extra week in the quarter. The result compared with a profit of $254 million or 70 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended Dec. 28, 2019. Revenue totalled $13.29 billion, up from $11.59 billion. Loblaw’s e-commerce sales spiked 160 per cent during the quarter as many provinces reinstated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Meanwhile, Davis said the company is "ready to play a key role in the nationwide vaccination effort." She said the retailer's supply chain is able to deliver vaccines and begin administering the shots the day it receives them. The company's 1,300 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix drugstores across the country are within 10 minutes of most Canadians, Davis added. The company's pharmacies have administered seasonal influenza vaccinations for years and are well positioned to do the same with the COVID-19 vaccines, she said. Yet Davis said Loblaw has not been given the rollout strategy across all provinces or the timing yet. The company's pharmacists in Alberta will start offering the vaccine in some stores next week, she said. Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have all indicated the company will be part of the vaccination process, but Loblaw hasn't received more details such as the exact timing, Davis said. In British Columbia and Quebec, meanwhile, she said it appears pharmacists could play a role at the mass vaccination sites, but not within the drugstores themselves. However, Davis said the vaccine will likely be around for a long time and it's possible the scope of the pharmacy's role in some provinces could expand over time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:L) Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
MILAN — Miuccia Prada has adapted to the digital runway and isn’t ready to give up its lessons when the pandemic is over. Prada showed her first fall-winter collaboration with Raf Simons on Thursday, the camera following models as they traverse architectural spaces of marble floors and walls clad with faux fur. It was not the usual parade of looks seen from a fixed position, but the camera allowed an intimacy with the collection and a closer look at details, suggesting repetitions to consider and new angles that might have gone unnoticed in a packed show room. While a runway show fades with the lights on the last look, the digital presentation requires another step: Picking the details that “create an atmosphere,” Prada said in a streamed conversation after the digital show. “Of course, we can go back to reality,” she said, referring to the post-pandemic world. “But ... this shouldn’t be lost. It was much more effort but much more interesting. Probably we will have to do both.” Digital shows have become hard to ignore even for media accustomed to the runway bustle. Collections coming out during this second pandemic year, projecting hopes of renewed normality into the next cold weather season, by and large are as ambitious as during the pre-pandemic era, demanding attention. The Prada-Simons collection was a layered affair, with graphic prints on body-hugging separates, faux fur wraps, sequined dresses and naïve patterned knits as inserts on dresses and jackets. Beyond the obvious suit, the straightforward jacket, there was a surprise, a rich geometric pattern peeking out or warming, furry linings. The women’s collection continued the body-hugging comfort layer of long johns from menswear, as well as leather gloves fitted with zipped pouches. Giorgio Armani has scaled back the number of offerings, a move he discussed last April in a letter to Women’s Wear Daily, where he outlined how he thought the industry needs to slow down and rescale so customers “perceive its true importance and value.” Armani staged a combined men’s and women’s show for Emporio Armani, which was filmed in his show room with models traversing a curved runway of upbeat colours that were splashed in the collection as accents of optimism against neutrals. The Emporio collection projects beyond the current regime of virus restrictions to a time when one can hope to be more regularly out and about, but with softness. To ease men back in, Emporio’s wool suits mimicked knitwear but never gave in to full leisure wear. Women will have cozy knitwear tucked into trousers or with shorts for day, and satiny dresses with ribboning detail for a return to evenings out. Evening wear was full-on sparkle, both for him and for her. Armani insisted on real shoes -- no more sneakers -- with boots for men and low-heeled shoes or stocking boots for women. Moschino’s Jeremy Scott maintained his usual playfulness, casting top models, actresses and a burlesque star that might have been front-row guests in another period to populate his Moschino digital show. Scott directed the Moschino society woman on a mashup tour from the countryside to a 5th Avenue shopping spree and a night out at the opera. Hailey Bieber appeared in a double-breasted pinstripe suit with shorts and a tiny hat, carrying a Moschino Market newspaper. Amber Valletta was caught on a shopping safari in a faux golden crocodile suit, replete with lizard tail. Miranda Kerr frolicked in a bucolic cinched-waist dress with a blue sky print over a full skirt featuring cows at pasture. Dita Von Teese finished as the queen of hearts, a heart cutout on the back of the dress baring her behind, beneath an old movie-style title: The End. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Rebel Wilson is going to the dogs. And it’s not the first time. The Australian actress comes from a family with a long history of handling and grooming dogs and will return to her roots as host of ABC’s “Pooch Perfect,” an eight-episode series featuring 10 dog groomers and their assistants competing in challenges. She said Thursday that her great-grandmother began a beagle club in Australia and that her mother judges dog shows internationally. As a child, Wilson travelled in her family’s yellow van to shows and sold grooming products despite being allergic to dogs. “My mom was devastated when I chose not to continue the family legacy,” Wilson said in a virtual call with the Television Critics Association. “When I told her I wasn’t going to continue in the family business and try to be an international movie star, she cried. I had to tell her in a public place so she wouldn’t do anything too crazy.” In the show, Lisa Vanderpump, dog groomer Jorge Bendersky and veterinarian Callie Harris will vote on creations from dog groomers and one team will be sent back to the doghouse — or eliminated — each week. The remaining teams square off in a grooming transformation. The top three teams will compete for $100,000. The show debuts March 30 and is based on an Australian version. “Pooch Perfect” is Wilson’s first project after undergoing her own transformation. She lost 60 pounds during her self-proclaimed year of health last year. “I’ve been showing it off on Instagram a bit too shamelessly,” she said. “I get two looks per episode, and I like to work with my stylist and show off the new physique because still single. So this is my prime-time opportunity to just really put it out there.” Wilson worked without a studio audience because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the seats are filled with stuffed animals. “I do try to bring the comedy in the show,” she said. “I also do what's called ‘dogography' in the show, which is a new term I invented. We dress the PAs (production assistants) up in dog costumes, and I work out little dances. I tried to lighten it up.” Beth Harris, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Proposed changes to Ontario's election laws introduced Thursday by the Progressive Conservatives were slammed by the Opposition as an attempt to silence critics amid mounting failures in the province's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government said the election law reforms were aimed at limiting third-party advertising and boosting voter participation. Attorney General Doug Downey, who introduced the bill, said one of the proposed changes would extend the $637,200 spending limit placed on third-party advertisers from six months before an election to a year. “Ontario is the only place where we count third party in the millions (of dollars) instead of in the thousands,” he said in an interview. “And we've heard from Elections Ontario that they have concerns with that dynamic.” Third parties, such as the conservative group Ontario Proud and union-led Working Families Coalition, have played a significant role in recent provincial elections, launching extensive advertising campaigns in bids to sway the vote. The province said more than $5 million was spent by third-party advertisers before and during the 2018 election. The next provincial vote is set to take place in the spring of 2022. The bill also proposes to limit what the government calls “collusion” between those third parties and political parties. “We just want transparency and fairness,” Downey said. “When we talk with third parties spending their ($637,200), we want to make sure that there's rules around them sharing information, common vendors, common contributors, use of funds from foreign sources.” The amount individuals can donate to a party, candidate or constituency association would also double from $1,650 to $3,300 a year. New Democrat legislator Taras Natyshak slammed the proposed limits on third-party advertisers. “At a time when long-term care advocates, organizations of health leaders, and the families of nursing home residents are speaking up about the horrors in long-term care, it looks like Ford is trying to silence his critics,” he said in a statement. Natyshak said doubling the individual contribution limit will drag the government back to the days of "cash-for-access" fundraising. Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said while he supports some measures in the bill, like continuing the per-vote subsidy, increasing donation limits is a problem. "My biggest concern is that they're slowly opening the door back up to pay-to-play politics," he said. "How many regular Ontarians can afford to contribute that much to a candidate, constituency association and a party?" University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman said the rule changes on individual donations will benefit both the Progressive Conservative government and the Liberal party, but stressed they won’t be the sole factor in deciding the 2022 election. “When the current government came to power, defeating the Liberals wasn't because of money,” he said. “It was because people essentially wanted a change.” Wiseman said the new limits placed on third-party advertisers might be a way the government thinks it’s giving itself a leg up, but the groups will find ways to maximize their message. “This is changing things at the margins,” he said. “Most groups will just try to spend the money as close as they can to election day.” The bill also proposes to extend the number of advance polling days from five to 10. "Ultimately, we want to make it easier and safer for people to vote," Downey said. The legislation will, for the first time, clarify the use of social media accounts by provincial legislators. It will also give Elections Ontario more enforcement powers, and the ability to fine individuals or groups it deems to have violated election rules. Currently, the province's chief electoral officer must report infractions to the Ministry of the Attorney General, which then decides whether to prosecute. Downey said the change would align Ontario with federal practices. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version, based on information provided by the government, said the spending limit placed on third parties six months before an election was $600,000.
The Strathmore town hall solar project is proceeding, dependent on grant funding and after the establishment of a reserve to meet the eventual costs of decommissioning. During its regular meeting on Feb. 17, Strathmore town council voted to approve a proposal to construct a solar power array on the rooftop of the new Strathmore Municipal Building. The 73.5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system will be installed by SkyFire Energy Inc. at an estimated cost of about $120,000. However, the decision was made dependent on the receipt of a grant from the Alberta Municipal Solar Program that, if received, will limit the town’s cost of the project to less than $70,000. The estimated program funding will be a $36,000 rebate ($0.75 per watt) plus a first-time applicant bonus of about $18,000 ($0.25 per watt). The cost will be sourced from unspent funds allocated to the town hall. The decision comes after proposals for rooftop solar for the building have come to council before, with different project details and suppliers. Council voted to approve a solar panel array for the building on May 20, 2020, but this decision was deferred on Sept. 2, due to uncertainty of grant funding for the project. But then on Oct. 21, town council directed administration to again pursue the concept of installing solar panels on the building’s roof. Given SkyFire’s new proposal and the availability of the grant funding, council decided the financials for the project now work. The project is projected to provide the town about $4,500 per year in savings, while reducing the building’s dependence on the electrical grid by about 55 per cent. The panels will require about $1,000 per year of maintenance, however. Administration returned with this new proposal on Feb. 3, but council wanted answers to several inquiries before deciding, so the proposal was postponed to the following meeting, on Feb. 17. One of the questions during the Feb. 3 meeting, raised by Councillor Tari Cockx, was whether the solar panel project would affect the view of residents of Lambert Village, located across Second Avenue from the new municipal building. But as the top (third) floor at Lambert Village is below the roof level of the municipal building, residents there will not be able to see the panels or see any reflection from them, explained Ethan Wilson, the town’s infrastructure manager, during the Feb, 17 meeting. The panels are static, being arranged at an optimum angle for Strathmore, meaning there will be no noise as in some other systems. There will be rooftop access to the solar panels, so the array can be maintained throughout the year, including the clearing of snow, as necessary. No changes are needed to the current roof layout to install the panels, said Wilson. Another issue brought up during the Feb. 3 meeting, by Councillor Jason Montgomery, was the cost of recycling the panels at the end of their estimated 30-year lifespan. SkyFire will provide a full three-year warranty, alongside manufacturer and product warranties ranging between 10 and 25 years in duration. There are currently options to recycle the panel materials, said Wilson. But the panels would still need to be removed from the building and disassembled at the end of their lifetime. However, there is indication the programs available now will be improved in 30 years, with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority starting a two-year pilot program for electronics recycling, including solar panels, he said. But in response to this uncertainty, Montgomery requested the establishment of a reserve fund to pay for the ultimate removal and disposal of the solar array at the end of its lifetime. “Something that’s been very important to me is just that whenever we embark on a new project or new idea, that we are looking down the road of what our future obligations are,” he said. As part of the motion to approve the project, town council directed the creation of a restricted reserve fund for end-of-life disposal of the solar array, to which $1,500 will be allocated yearly. The motion to approve the project then passed unanimously. Proceeding with the project is an achievement 10 years after the town hired a consulting firm to produce a report, called the Strathmore Community Sustainability Plan, identifying ways the town could be more sustainable, recounted Councillor Bob Sobol, during the Feb. 17 meeting. One of the recommendations was to establish a sustainability committee. “They believe, as do I, that it is time for the town to take more aggressive steps regarding dealing with solar energy,” he said. Other benefits of the project include reducing the building’s electrical bill, thereby insuring against rising power prices, it being an environmentally friendly project, and providing leadership in sustainability, said Sobol. “I support this project, which I see as a pilot, and encourage council to support our municipality’s first journey into clean, sustainable energy.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Fisker Inc CEO said on Thursday that the electric vehicle startup is considering setting up a battery cell manufacturing facility with an unidentified major supplier in Europe or the United States, to secure stable supplies of the key component. Fisker, which was once a rival to Tesla Motors Inc in the nascent market for electric luxury cars, struggled with the recall of batteries made by its previous supplier, A123, which later filed for bankruptcy. "We did not want to take any risk on batteries," Henrik Fisker, chairman and CEO of Fisker, told Reuters.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee wants to see more First Nations health experts on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). On Wednesday, Settee wrote a letter to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, to request Dr. Barry Lavallee, CEO of Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. (KIM), be invited to take part in the NACI. He explained during a press conference that a First Nation representative from Northern Manitoba would provide great value to the important work of NACI to strengthen fairness and substantive equity in setting guidelines. “I always felt decisions being made on behalf of First Nations are always done by people that don’t know the geographical locations of these First Nations, they don’t know the demographic, their situations and they make these decisions,” said Settee on Thursday. “It is better to have First Nations people on the committee so then these decisions would be done in a way that is supportive of First Nation’s culture and community values as well as to make sure it is done in a way that is satisfactory to the people.” In the letter, Settee wrote having a First Nations representative on the committee will also help to advance the federal government’s reconciliation strategies, address the gaps in developing Indigenous health legislation, and work towards addressing anti-Indigenous racism in health care. Settee concluded the letter saying that he wanted to partner with Tam to ensure Manitoba First Nations people are prioritized and protected during the pandemic. “Throughout our history with government entities, many if not all decisions were made with the exclusion of Indigenous expertise in that conversation. At times, those decisions have been detrimental,” he said. “I think we have reached a point in time where we have enough expertise in our Indigenous communities that can offer guidance and advice that could allow First Nations to have access to the proper medical care.” The Grand Chief has written a letter to Manitoba’s Premier as well to express the need for collaboration on strategies with the MKO to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Strategies to address the COVID-19 outbreaks in Northern Manitoba could include plans for vaccine distribution, including improved communication to First Nations about when they can expect to receive their vaccines. “While our provincial partners have made assurances to be transparent to First Nations, offering better communication of current and anticipated vaccine supplies for both First Nations and Manitoba, MKO will continue to work closely with the provincial government and hold them accountable regarding the vaccine rollout,” said Settee. Recently, public health officials have announced that appointments can now be made to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for First Nation people aged 75 years or older. Planning is underway for the second phase of the expanding First Nation vaccine rollout, with First Nations being engaged to review options for surge capacity. “Access to the COVID-19 vaccines remains top of mind as we near the one-year anniversary of living with the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Michael Routledge, medical advisor to MKO and KIM. “We encourage everyone to become informed about the vaccine and to strongly consider accepting your vaccine once you become eligible. Although there is evidence that case numbers in Northern Manitoba are starting to improve, it is important for everyone to follow public health recommendations to prevent new outbreaks.” — Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project is looking toward the next phase targeting funding broadband projects in lower-density areas. SWIFT is a non-profit that aims to subsidize broadband projects in rural southwestern Ontario areas that have poor or no connectivity. George Bridge, Minto mayor and SWIFT board member, and Barry Field, SWIFT executive director, gave an update on the project to Wellington County council at Thursday’s meeting. In the presentation Bridge noted some highlights from the first phase of the project, called SWIFT 1.0. He explained they are exceeding their target of 50,000 premises served by a few thousand and are very close to reaching their kilometre of fibre laid goal. He was also happy to report that despite earlier concerns from smaller companies about SWIFT becoming a “Bell and Rogers show,” projects from small internet service providers (ISPs) accounted for about half of the funding given through SWIFT’s first phase. The small ISPs will become more important for SWIFT 2.0, the next phase of the project where SWIFT intends to focus on projects in lower density areas. “The bigger ones, Bell and Rogers, they go after so many people per km but your small ISP, for example they’ve gone down as low 3.1 density per km or three houses on a km,” Bridge said. “Our next round we’ll get into, some of the low hanging fruit has been done, now we need to get out to that last mile.” The funding is a big question for the next phase as there has been no commitment on what the province and federal governments will give, if anything at all. A third of SWIFT is funded by the province and a third from the federal government, with the private sector filling in another third and municipal governments providing some capital contributions. Coun. David Anderson asked if there’s anything they could do to give projects a better chance at a successful grant application. Field said municipal financial support or just letter of support for a grant application — which Field noted applies for other funding beyond SWIFT — can go a long way. He also said it might be helpful to encourage local ISPs to apply for funding if they haven’t done so. Wellington North mayor Andy Lennox questioned how to ensure funding gets distributed more equitably so lower density projects aren’t missed again. Field said by the time SWIFT 2.0 comes around those will be most of the projects left and to lower the number of premises per kilometre required, which in the first phase is at around 17 premises per km on average. “There are things we can do in the (request for proposals), the procurement itself, to not only encourage but ensure that we’re not getting at that easiest of the remaining premises,” Field said, noting this was a valid criticism of SWIFT 1.0. “We did have a very high premises count target we had to achieve and that kind of led to policies we had to encourage more premises passed.” Coun. Jeff Duncan asked if a possible federal election this year could delay or impact the next phase. Field said he wasn’t sure but did stress there is no commitment from upper levels of government to fund SWIFT 2.0. Bridge said they’ve been advocating through the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to all political parties and there is no question from any of them that this is needed. The presentation was accepted as information from council. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
OTTAWA — The federal government has been granted one more month to expand access to medical assistance in dying. Quebec Superior Court Justice Martin Sheehan has agreed to give the government a fourth extension — until March 26 — to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 court ruling. The decision comes just one day before the previous deadline was to expire. The 2019 ruling struck down a provision in the law that allows assisted dying only for those whose natural deaths are "reasonably foreseeable." The government has introduced Bill C-7 to expand assisted dying to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the end of their lives. It is currently stalled in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives are refusing to facilitate debate on the government's response to amendments made by the Senate. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) As the Northwest Territories heads into spring in a few weeks, health teams have been wrapped up in preparing and delivering vaccination clinics, say the territory's top doctors. "This coming week is going to be one of the busiest weeks for the team," said N.W.T. medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg. There will be a slew of second-dose clinics rolling out in various communities. The doctors said those who missed getting their first dose will have another opportunity to get it at these clinics. There will also be a priority vaccination clinics in Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik rolling out. The territory originally set the target to have 75 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated but that's been pushed to April because fewer vaccines were delivered to the N.W.T. than originally planned. As of Wednesday, there are four active COVID-19 cases in the N.W.T., with a total of 47 confirmed cases and 43 listed as recovered on the government's website. There have been 14,520 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given since Wednesday and 1,934 second doses administered. The N.W.T. government says it expects to receive its fourth shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, containing 16,200 doses, later this week. Missed the live call-in show? Watch it here: Pegg, along with Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer, answered questions from listeners during the Thursday morning edition of the CBC's The Trailbreaker. Here are some highlights: Once you get your vaccine do you still have to isolate? At this time, yes. Kandola says though the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a U.S. federal health agency) has made a statement that two weeks after a person receives a second dose, there's no need to quarantine, Canada has not yet made a statement on that. She says medical experts are also waiting to receive data on whether the virus can be transmitted from people who have been inoculated. "Once we get that answer, that will be a game changer," Kandola said, adding she's hoping more information on that will be known as the rollout of the vaccines continues aroudn the world. Will hotel workers be made essential workers? People can make a request to be considered an essential worker through the office of the chief public health officer, said Kandola. As well, next week, the priority group for vaccinations in larger municipalities will be expanded to include workers who provide essential services such as cashiers, teachers and hotel workers. "We do understand hotel staff … do put themselves at risk for exposure," Kandola said. To find out more about who is in a priority group, Pegg said people can check the government website for the latest vaccine schedule. Within the majority of the smaller communities, anyone over 18 is eligible for the vaccine, Pegg said. Those people should get in touch with their local health centre to find out how the clinic will be organized. Will the N.W.T. be bubbled with Yukon anytime soon? Not at this time. Currently, Yukon has out-of-province travel restrictions, Kandola said. For N.W.T. to be able to move forward with exemptions between the two territories, Yukon would have to lift those restrictions too. "Once that occurs, then we can move forward in discussion but that is really outside of my control." What if I can't get a second dose of the COVID-19 until about 6 weeks after the first dose? You can still get the second dose without having to restart the vaccination process. "In some places like the U.K. and Quebec, they wait up to 12 weeks," Kandola said. She added you can also get it in any community as an N.W.T. resident. Will there be a card issued to prove you've been vaccinated? There is a card given out once people receive a dose, but it's more of a reminder, Pegg explained. The date of the vaccine administration is also recorded in the electronic medical system. Pegg says there is talk of a vaccine "passport" but so far there's no official card. If someone wants a copy of their vaccination record, they would need to make a request through the Department of Health and Social Services. Those requests take time, Pegg said. Expect to wait as there are many of those requests in progress.
Authorities say that all those connected to the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have now been arrested.View on euronews
Four-County Crisis short-term case manager, Andrew Hodson, is busier than ever working during a pandemic. As part of the local mental health crisis response program, his job takes him all over the region. Demand for mental health services is up across the province and Four-County Crisis is no exception, with Hodson’s caseload up more than 25 per cent. Hodson said he helps people from all walks of life dealing with a wide range of issues, including drug addiction. He said Haliburton is not immune to the problem, with many types of hard drugs being used and becoming more readily available over the years as opposed to being imported from the city. “It’s a harrowing landscape,” Hodson said. “I see it having tentacles into housing, into health care, into mental health, relationships … Because there are so many paths to lead into these situations, I think we need that many paths out. I think options are great – I don’t think there’s a one-stop solution.” Hodson is one of many in the sector working to address addictions in Haliburton and beyond. But local providers say finding funding to improve their work can be challenging. Jack Veitch is the manager of community engagement and education at the district branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and works with Hodson. He said CMHA offers a range of successful programs to help those suffering from addiction but they are short-staffed. “We need five Andrew (Hodsons). We need to have a whole, big-structured approach. We need more and more support within the community, so it’s not reliant on one, fantastic employee,” Veitch said. Veitch highlighted the provincial government’s promise of $3.8 billion over 10 years toward mental health. But he said finances are an issue locally – with no baseline funding or cost of living adjustment for nine years. He said that $3.8 billion should go beyond just hospital settings and larger centres, adding those in positions of power might not understand how much distance can make accessing care difficult. “Sometimes think, ‘oh well, Haliburton County, we got a support out there. They’re in Wilberforce, they can get to Minden’,” he said. “Not realizing that’s a heck of a hike if you don’t have a car. “Let’s make sure these dollars are rolled out in community mental health care in our rural communities, where the need is clearly there,” Veitch added. Unifying care Minden’s Dr. Nell Thomas said the pandemic has brought increased struggle for her patients dealing with addictions. She said the impact on drug supply lines has made people turn to more dangerous substances. She further said with rural doctors dealing with COVID, there is not as much time to address addiction. “I know that a couple of my patients that I was holding their hand and maybe inching toward them getting to rehab, I have not seen in (months),” Thomas said. “We all know those folks with addictions are suffering and being lost.” But Thomas does have a vision for a solution. She said current care approaches are often too siloed and collaboration can be difficult in a rural setting. She said if the funding existed, she would like to build a new local medical centre that could bring more providers under one roof, improving ease of access. She further said a stronger, team-based method is necessary. “I attend conferences and I see just how many different organizations and agencies exist. I’m floored at all the different acronyms,” she said. “Spits and spurts and not a truly cohesive approach. My vision would be to have a team, representing social work, counselling, crisis, medicine, nursing, public health. I have patients that are going into (emergency rooms) far too often.” But she said the funding is not there for such a thing, particularly given Haliburton’s relatively low population. As is, she said it is difficult connecting people with different treatment options. “Very frustrating for the doctors, in general, trying to get resources for patients because of the waitlists,” she said. “Because of the hoops you have to jump to get people connected is time-consuming and frustrating.” Marg Cox is the executive director of Point in Time and sits on the CKL and Haliburton County Poverty Reduction Roundtable. She said there are some links to the stresses of poverty and substance abuse, though added drug abuse impacts people of all economic circumstances. “We know that people that are experiencing poverty are experiencing huge stressors in terms of daily living and trying to pay their rent, put food on the table,” Cox said. “Throw COVID on top of it and we know folks are under a great deal of pressure. And we know that when people are under pressure, they’re more likely to turn to substances.” She said the issues creating poverty – which the roundtable focuses on – would have downstream impacts on substance abuse as well. “There would be a very good reduction in terms of substance use if people had adequate incomes, adequate housing, good food to eat and less stress related to poverty,” Cox said. Help in the legal system Thomas said she believes in a “carrot, not the stick” method when dealing with substance abuse in the justice system. “You can lay charges around in circles. You can have a very short-term response to that, but you’re not going to have a long-term solution by using legal means. It’s really about providing alternatives and space and realistic options for people.” Veitch and Hodson both echoed the sentiment. However, they highlighted the successful collaborations they have with police and the justice system for court diversion, intervening to help those struggling with mental health or addiction issues. “We’re there ready in the court system,” Hodson said. “As opposed to a fine or some sort of punishment, we can encourage that person to engage with addictions support, engage with mental health support … I’ve stood in court beside people – literally – after six months of help. And speaking to the judge on behalf of their own recovery, these are powerful, powerful moments where people have recounted their gratitude for having an opportunity to turn things around.” Veitch said punitive measures have not been an historically successful way to stop repeat offences. “How can we still create this level of accountability and reduce recidivism?” Veitch said. “It’s creating all these fantastic court partnership programs, where there’s still a level of accountability for the offender. But there’s also a level of treatment and care and support.” Beyond the need for increased resources, Hodson said it is vital that the community care for those suffering from addiction. “We need to develop something for Haliburton, from Haliburton,” he said. “I ask people, ‘what on earth got you through that (addiction)?’ What I hear, it’s not what you’d expect. You hear things like, ‘my Mom never stopped loving me. My probation officer, ladies at the food bank, always treated me with dignity. Never made me feel like a second-class citizen.’ “That is everything. We can build all the buildings and develop all the medications we want to develop. If we don’t have that community that makes people feel loved - and there’s a place on the table waiting for them - I don’t know where we go.” But he said there are plenty of people in Haliburton – from police to churches to human services to parents – ready to lend a helping hand. “Are we perfect? Of course not, but there is an invisible army of people in this County offering their support,” he said. “I’ve seen so many remarkable cases of recovery in this community and it’s heart warming. Those stories just don’t make the headlines, but they are out there.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
OTTAWA — A British Columbia businessman who made an illegal contribution to New Democrat MP Peter Julian's 2015 election campaign has been ordered to pay $7,500 to the receiver general of Canada. Elections commissioner Yves Côté says Robert Gibbs, co-owner of Romar Communications, provided free website development services to Julian's campaign. Gibbs told Julian's campaign that the work was done by volunteers, after work hours. However, unbeknownst to the campaign, Côté says three workers were paid $1,000 each for their work, the commercial value of which Côté says was actually $6,000. In its report to Elections Canada, Julian's campaign reported non-monetary contributions worth $2,000 from each of the three workers. Since that exceeded the $1,500 individual donation limit, the campaign paid $1,500 to Gibbs' company on the understanding that it would be given to the three workers, but Gibbs kept the money. The $7,500 Gibbs must now pay the receiver general represents the commercial value of the work done plus the $1,500 from the campaign that was never given to the workers. Côté announced the payment as part of a compliance agreement with Gibbs. Compliance agreements are commonly used by the elections commissioner to deal with relatively minor violations of the Canada Elections Act. They do not constitute a criminal conviction in a court of law and do not create a criminal record for the offender. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 vaccine is now being made available to Alberta seniors aged 75 and over. All Alberta residents born in 1946 or earlier may now book appointments to be vaccinated through Alberta Health Services (AHS) using online and telephone booking systems. AHS started offering the vaccine directly to all residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities with residents aged 75 or older, as of Feb. 19. Then on Feb. 24, the province opened appointments to all residents aged 75 or older, regardless of where they live. Appointment availability is based on vaccine supply. Appointments can be booked online (albertahealthservices.ca) or by calling 811. Seniors isolated seniors and those with mobility challenges can call 21 for assistance finding a ride to and form their vaccination appointment. These vaccinations are being provided as part of Phase 1 of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Other people eligible to receive the vaccine under this phase include select healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, and First Nations, Inuit, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement. Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination program is scheduled from April to September 2021, but timelines are subject to change depending on vaccine supply, according to the government. This phase is broken down into four groups (A to D), of about 1.8 million Albertans, with each group being eligible once the vaccination of the previous group is complete. Group A consists of Albertans aged 65 to 74, First Nations, Inuit and Metis people aged 50 to 64, and staff of licensed supportive living not included in Phase 1. Group B includes Albertans aged 18 to 64 with high-risk underlying health conditions. Group C is composed of residents and staff of congregate living settings (e.g., prisons, homeless shelters, group homes), and caregivers who are most at risk of severe outcomes. Group D includes Albertans aged 50 to 64 and First Nations Inuit and Métis people aged 35 to 49. Phase 3, scheduled for fall 2021, will see the anticipated roll-out of the vaccine to the rest of the public. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
OTTAWA — Federal auditor general Karen Hogan delivered a stark warning Thursday that government mismanagement is threatening to leave the navy and coast guard without the ships they need to defend Canada and protect its waterways. The warning is in a new report that offers a scathing assessment of the state of Ottawa’s multibillion-dollar national shipbuilding strategy nearly 10 years after it was launched. Hogan and her team found delays across the board in the construction and delivery of new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Those delays are threatening to create gaps as the navy and coast guard vessels those ships are supposed to replace are near retirement, or in some cases have already reached that stage. Those include the navy’s three destroyers and two support ships, while the coast guard has had to do without some research vessels and icebreakers because its existing ships are docked for repairs. Hogan's report says the government has mitigated some of the short-term effects but Canada is already feeling the pinch as ships retire or are forced into extended maintenance. “The delivery of many ships was significantly delayed, and further delays could result in several vessels being retired before new vessels are operational,” the report says. “National Defence and the Canadian Coast Guard have implemented measures to maintain their operational capabilities until new ships are delivered, but interim capabilities are limited and cannot be extended indefinitely.” The report added that it had not assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that shipyards have either closed or reduced their workforces due restrictions, which will further threaten schedules. The auditor general’s report came one day after the parliamentary budget office estimated that building 15 new warships — just one part of the strategy — will cost $77.3 billion, about $17 billion than the government’s stated price. Both reports are likely to raise fresh questions about the shipbuilding plan, which was launched in earnest in October 2011 when Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax and Seaspan Marine in Vancouver were selected to build dozens of navy and coast guard vessels. The government is now working to add a third shipyard to the program, Chantier Davie in Quebec City, to build a series of icebreakers. “The delays that we saw in this audit should really be seen as a shared responsibility,” Hogan said. “There were delays in designing and determining capabilities that were needed. Then there were delays in production.” Procurement Minister Anita Anand defended the strategy, saying shipyards have so far delivered four ships and created thousands of jobs. She also insisted that the government was on track after facing some early challenges that “were not yet informed by actual build experience at the shipyards, and expertise in Canada was still developing.” “I am of the view that the shipbuilding strategy has been, by and large, successful,” Anand said. “I don't think it is a mistake when you see the contribution to the Canadian economy ... and the actual vessels that have been produced.” But Conservative defence critic James Bezan held up the report as evidence of the Liberal government's mismanagement. Hogan acknowledged the complexity of building new ships but said that was “compounded” by the shipbuilding plan’s other objectives: creating a Canadian shipbuilding industry and boosting the economy. To that end, nearly a decade after the strategy was launched, the auditor said the government did not know if the two shipyards in Halifax and Vancouver had even reached a state where they “met international ship-construction standards to enable efficient ship production.” Officials also had not assessed whether the shipyards — or even the government departments involved — had enough staff to implement the shipbuilding plan and deliver the new ships on schedule. “We noted instances where such staff shortages caused shipbuilding delays,” the auditor’s report says, adding the government only drew up a draft human-resources plan for the shipbuilding strategy in December 2019. Hogan’s report also catalogues some of the changes to the schedule and cost of the various individual projects in the plan, which is supposed to deliver dozens of new vessels over 30 years. That included several amendments to the contract with Seaspan Marine for three fisheries-science vessels for the coast guard, which saw the delivery schedule pushed back by two to three years. The report revealed the Vancouver shipyard “sustained significant financial losses” during the construction of those vessels, the last of which was delivered in October, due to a significant underestimation in the time and effort needed to build them. “This not only threatened the strategy’s overall objective of creating a sustainable marine industry,” the auditor general’s report says, “but also put the renewal of the federal fleet in peril.” Seaspan spokeswoman Amy McLeod suggested Thursday that the Vancouver shipyard had overcome those problems. “In very close collaboration with our government partners, Seaspan Shipyards and its (national shipbuilding strategy) ecosystem are firing on all cylinders and delivering ships, jobs and economic benefits across Canada.” Irving Shipbuilding did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Hogan also raised concerns about building a polar icebreaker to replace the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The new ship was pulled from Seaspan’s order book in 2019 and the government has not decided where it will be built. The auditor general did suggest departments have started to learn from some of their earlier mistakes and expressed a cautious hope those lessons would ease some of the problems. “But there was little room for further delay,” Hogan’s report says. “Delaying could result in a loss of capability to deliver essential government programs.” As an example, she noted that the last of the navy’s existing Halifax-class frigates is due to retire in 2047 — only one year before the last of 15 new warships is scheduled to arrive. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Trois-Rivières – Alors que la semaine de relâche débute pour plusieurs, le Défi château de neige se poursuit encore pour environ deux semaines. Jusqu'à présent, ce sont 114 châteaux qui ont été érigés et enregistrés pour la compétition en Mauricie. La limite a été fixée au 8 mars. Pour participer, il suffit de construire un château de neige à l’endroit de son choix, de l’immortaliser en photo et de partager celle-ci en l’inscrivant sur le site www.defichateaudeneige.ca. L'organisation souligne qu'il est «évidemment important de respecter les mesures sanitaires en vigueur ainsi que les règles de sécurité associées à de telles constructions.» En Mauricie, ce sont six grands coffrets polaires - comprenant du matériel pour construire des châteaux - ainsi que 30 cartes-cadeaux dans des magasins offrant du matériel de loisir et de sport qui seront attribués au hasard parmi ceux et celles qui auront inscrit leur château. Le Défi château de neige n’est pas un concours visant à déterminer le plus beau château. C’est avant tout un programme qui a été mis de l’avant pour développer l’intérêt pour l’activité physique et les saines habitudes de vie auprès des enfants et des familles durant l’hiver. Il est présenté dans toutes les régions du Québec. Pour l’édition 2021, plus de 2715 châteaux ont déjà été enregistrés à l’échelle de la province, soit plus que le record des années précédentes. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
La Ville de Saint-Sauveur a acquis deux terrains par dons écologiques pour créer la réserve naturelle du Mont-Christie. Les travaux débuteront au printemps et les sentiers seront accessibles dès l’été 2021. Un nouveau projet parmi les nombreux autres de la Ville. Ces dons proviennent du promoteur Immo-Mc inc et de Madame Nancy Guillemette qui ont donné chacun une partie de leur terrain. Au total, cela représente 1,6 million de pieds carrés dans le domaine du Mont-Christie, en bas et à l’est de la montagne du même nom. Il s’agit d’un milieu humide et un lac se trouve également au centre. La création de la réserve permettra de préserver ce territoire naturel et d’y faire de l’interprétation. « Il s’agit d’un don écologique, car c’est un milieu humide et il n’est pas possible de toute façon de construire dans ce genre d’endroit », a précisé le maire de la Ville, M. Jacques Gariépy. La Ville profitera donc de ce territoire pour y installer des sentiers d’interprétation de la faune et du milieu naturel. « Dans ce coin, la faune est très diversifiée. Des écologistes vont d’ailleurs travailler avec nous pour développer cette partie. » Des passerelles en bois seront également construites pour que le terrain ne soit pas abimé, mais aussi parce qu’il s’agit d’un milieu humide, donc il y a souvent de l’eau. Comme il s’agit de dons, la Ville a eu moins d’investissements à faire, sauf pour les infrastructures de bois et l’aménagement. Dans le budget 2021, le montant est estimé à 600 000$. En été, les sentiers seront accessibles pour la randonnée pédestre et pour y faire de l’interprétation. En hiver, il sera possible d’y faire de la randonnée pédestre également, mais aussi de la raquette et du ski de fond. « On regarde pour peut-être permettre le fatbike à l’hiver », précise le maire. Il y aura également un belvédère avec une vue sur le lac et le terrain pour y faire de l’interprétation. « Les écoles et les camps de jour pourront également en profiter. Du point de vue académique, c’est très intéressant. » Il y aura deux accès pour entrer dans la réserve : un sur la rue de l’Église et un autre à l’extrémité du chemin Papineau. Des stationnements sont prévus aussi à ces endroits, mais il reste à la Ville d’acquérir ces deux terrains situés au nord et au sud. Selon le maire, il est aussi important de prendre en compte cet enjeu avant de lancer le projet. « Le problème qu’on a dans les sentiers des Pays-d’en-Haut, c’est que les gens se stationnent n’importe où dans les milieux résidentiels et dans les rues, car il n’y a pas assez de stationnements. » La Ville souhaite donc travailler en amont, et ouvrir la réserve lorsque des stationnements auront été prévus à cet effet. Cela fait déjà plusieurs années que la Ville de Saint-Sauveur travaille pour créer cette réserve. « C’est un long processus, autant du point de vue écologique qu’au niveau interne. Mais toutes ces étapes sont maintenant passées et nous sommes prêts à passer à d’autres choses », explique M. Gariépy. Dès le printemps, la Ville entamera l’aménagement des sentiers et des passerelles en bois et travaillera avec des écologistes pour le volet interprétation. Mais la réserve du Mont-Christie n’est pas le seul projet qui prendra forme cette année. En effet, grâce au don écologique de la famille De Volpi, la Ville a acquis un terrain de plus de 3 millions de pieds carrés. Ce dernier est situé près du Lac des Becs-Scies et de la municipalité de Mille-Isles. À cet endroit seront aménagés des sentiers de randonnée pédestre et de vélo qui seront accessibles dès cet été. Certains sont déjà en place, mais il restera à les baliser par la Ville. Dans les autres grands projets de Saint-Sauveur, il y a également l’acquisition du Cap Molson pour y faire des sentiers balisés et y construire un belvédère. « Nous sommes actuellement en procédure d’expropriation. Dans les prochaines semaines ou mois, la procédure devrait être finalisée. On devrait commencer les travaux prochainement. » La Ville souhaite principalement sécuriser les sentiers, comme ils sont déjà beaucoup utilisés. Les sentiers du sommet de la Marquise seront aussi accessibles dès cet été. Il reste à la Ville d’acquérir un terrain pour en faire un stationnement à l’entrée sud des sentiers pour empêcher les gens de se stationner dans les rues. Selon M. Gariépy, ces projets aboutissent presque tous maintenant, mais la Ville travaillait sur eux depuis des années. « Les projets étaient liés à des échéanciers écologiques, avec le ministère de l’Environnement notamment. Par exemple, pour les sentiers du Mont-Christie, on attendait des autorisations de leur part qu’on a eues. » Voyant l’engouement pour le plein air cette année en raison de la pandémie, ces projets s’inscrivent parfaitement dans le mouvement. « On n’avait pas prévu la COVID-19 il y a deux ou trois ans lorsqu’on avait commencé ces projets, mais la concrétisation de ces derniers tombe pile avec ce besoin. » Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
(CBC - image credit) The provincial government is on the hook to pay 10 defence lawyers for their work defending 10 correctional officers charged in the death of Jonathan Henoche. CBC News has confirmed the province lost an arbitration hearing against the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, the public sector union representing the officers. A decision was sent to all parties on Thursday morning. NAPE notified the correctional officers via email, enclosing a snippet of the ruling, in which arbitrator James Oakley wrote, "The employer is required by Section 36 [of the officers' collective agreement] to pay legal fees incurred by the grievors until such time as there is a determination by the facts or the courts that the grievors have been deemed to have performed in a negligent manner." Section 36 deals with who pays legal fees when a person is charged or sued while acting in their role as a correctional officer. It says the province is responsible except in cases where officers are deemed negligent by "facts or the courts." Seven officers are charged with negligence causing death, and three are charged with manslaughter in the death of inmate Jonathan Henoche on Nov. 6, 2019. Henoche was facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Regula Schule, 88. He died after what sources told CBC News was an altercation with officers at Her Majesty's Penitentiary. Sources have told CBC News Henoche was involved in a physical altercation with officers in his cell. He was taken to the segregation unit and later died. His death was ruled a homicide by the province's chief medical examiner. The 10 officers' first court appearance was Feb. 11, when defence lawyers said they didn't have enough time to review all the documents handed over by the prosecution, and a second date was set for March 11. No facts have been proven by the court, but the province had refused to pay the officers' legal fees, while saying it was abiding by its interpretation of the collective agreement. NAPE disagreed, and filed a grievance. The hearing was held on Feb. 19. CBC News has yet to obtain a full copy of Oakley's decision. NAPE declined comment Thursday afternoon. Messages to representatives of the provincial government were not immediately returned. This story will be updated if the Department of Justice and Public Safety responds to a request for comment. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador