A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The world's most beloved Beagle is carving out a new kennel in Canada. After debuting "Snoopy in Space" on Apple TV Plus in late 2019, Halifax-headquartered media company WildBrain and its mostly all-Canadian team are now digging deeper into the late Charles M. Schulz's comic strips with the newly launched "The Snoopy Show" and upcoming Peanuts gang specials for the streaming service. Toronto-based showrunner Mark Evestaff says the projects are the first major Peanuts content to come out since "The Peanuts Movie" in 2015, and seemingly the first to be made in Canada. The creators have worked closely with the Schulz family and his Creative Associates company in the U.S. to respect his classic works as the franchise establishes roots on this side of the border. That's why viewers won't see Snoopy and the gang using cellphones, for instance, or look much different than the simple line drawing of the comics. "It was all inspired by going back to the strip and pulling out some stories and then talking about them," he said in an interview. "And then of course, there's artistic licence. "As storytellers ourselves and fans, we want to remain loyal to the world that Mr. Schulz created. Of course we had to fill in some blanks, but it really was, 'How would Mr. Schulz have approached this?' And trying to be faithful to that world and to the characters." WildBrain, formerly DHX Media, became the majority owner of the Peanuts brand in 2017 and took a team to the Creatives Associates headquarters in Santa Rosa, Calif., to discuss ideas and Schulz's wishes for the future of the franchise. "Charles Schulz's office is still there and it's still set up," Evestaff said. "You can still see the worn-out places where he would have drawn these characters. Some of his pen nibs are there and some of the ink is there, and they preserved it. There's a wonderful museum there that's separate, and it was really humbling but very inspirational in terms of making the show." As per Schulz's wishes, the team agreed to stick to tradition and not include modern technology in the Peanuts world of the animated family series. "Snoopy still types on his old typewriter, they still use the old-school wired phones," Evestaff said, noting viewers may also see an old TV here and there. "It also keeps the kids outside all the time, so we didn't even really find any instances where we needed to have some of the other technology." Both "The Snoopy Show," which launched last month, and "Snoopy in Space," which has been renewed for a second season, were developed and produced by WildBrain’s animation studio in Vancouver. The voice artists are based in Toronto and have been recording there during the pandemic. Terry McGurrin voices Snoopy and Rob Tinkler performs his yellow feathered pal Woodstock. To make the characters' sounds, which range from Snoopy's signature "bleah" to Woodstock's high-pitched chirps, McGurrin and Tinkler use "a bit of audio magic" and a lot of physicality that's "pretty weird" to witness in person, Evestaff said with a laugh. "We bring them into the booth and they do ridiculous things with their voices, and then we treat them and play that back," he said. "If you were to walk in, you would certainly be surprised at what you're hearing. They embody these characters, and you see it." Canadian composer Jeff Morrow creates the show's score, staying true to its jazz origins and letting the musicians improvise a bit, which was also done on the original Peanuts specials. "It is something that was important to us, was important to Jeff, and has made a huge difference in the show in terms of just having that free-flow feel in the show that is characteristically Peanuts," said Evestaff. Some of the Canadian creators are based in Los Angeles but jumped at the chance to work the series because it's such a prestigious brand, Evestaff said. In "The Snoopy Show," viewers see the Peanuts world from the perspective of the dynamic dog's overactive imagination and flights of fancy — from his persona as a flying ace, to that of a lawyer and Joe Cool. As per the original Peanuts animation, when Snoopy is pretending to be a flying ace on top of his dog house, viewers never see the bottom of it, so it doesn't ruin the fantasy. Also like the original, the four weather seasons are an important part of the storytelling and design, which made Canada a perfect destination for the creation of such scenes. "Being Canadian, there are lots of nods to hockey and figure skating and winter sports and snow and winter activities that we're proud of, because it's something that we know we can represent and be authentic," Evestaff said. "If someone's taking a hockey shot, whether it's a snap shot or a slapshot, we are going to make sure that we're going to get it right or at least close anyways, but that we know the difference and that we're able to portray that. We feel quite at home with it." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
La séance du conseil de la municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) de Minganie du 16 février a souligné l’accent et les efforts mis sur le développement du territoire. Les différents volets du Fonds régions et ruralité du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH) ont été l’objet de trois résolutions distinctes. D’une part, le volet 2 – Soutien à la compétence de développement local et régional des MRC exige que ces dernières disposent d’une politique de soutien aux entreprises. La MRC de Minganie a donc mis à jour sa politique adoptée en juin 2020 afin qu’elle soit plus flexible et accessible aux entrepreneurs. D’autre part, le conseil a accordé un mandat d’accompagnement de 43 605 $ à la firme conseil Espace Stratégies pour déterminer le projet ou l’ensemble de projets qui ciblera la « signature innovation » de la MRC. « La firme va travailler avec nous et différents acteurs de la planification stratégique pour trouver le fil conducteur de notre développement territorial », détaille le préfet de Minganie, Luc Noël. La somme octroyée à Espace Stratégies provient de l’enveloppe de 192 538 $ du volet 3 du FRR. Finalement, dans le cadre du volet 4 – Soutien à la vitalisation et à la coopération intermunicipale, la MRC a autorisé la signature d’une entente de vitalisation entre les municipalités de Rivière-au-Tonnerre, Aguanish, Rivière-Saint-Jean et la communauté de Nutashkuan. L’entente, d’un montant de 1 125 685 $ pour cinq ans, n’est que « l’étape embryonnaire » du processus, juge M. Noël. « Là, on doit s’asseoir avec le MAMH et les territoires concernés pour faire un plan de match. » Grâce à la récente création d’Action entreprise Québec par le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI), la Minganie renforcera ses services d’accompagnement aux entrepreneurs et entreprises de la région. La MRC pourra embaucher au moins deux ressources supplémentaires à temps plein « jusqu’à concurrence de 900 000 $ » jusqu’en 2025. « Ce qu’on espère, c’est qu’on ait été assez performants pour que les ressources se rentabilisent elles-mêmes ou que le ministère continue de les payer », souhaite Luc Noël en soulignant la difficulté de compétitionner avec les grands centres pour attirer ce type d’employés. « Les gens qui ont le profil pour travailler dans nos départements de développement vont être en demande partout et on croit que notre région va passer bon deuxième », déplore-t-il. L’ensemble des modalités liées à l’octroi de la subvention n’est pas encore connu du conseil. Du côté du développement territorial, la MRC déposera sous peu au ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAC) le rapport d’étape de mi-parcours concernant l’élaboration de son Plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA). « La réponse est très positive de la part des acteurs du milieu, on constate qu’il y a un engouement », a déclare Luc Noël. Un second mandat d’accompagnement a été adopté lors de la séance du conseil, cette fois à l’organisation à but non lucratif Communagir pour que celle-ci soutienne la MRC dans le cadre de l’élaboration et de la mise en œuvre de sa stratégie en développement social. Le mandat représente une banque d’heures ouverte jusqu’au 30 juillet 2021. Selon les besoins, l’accompagnement devra prendre entre 25 et 50 heures, ce qui signifie que la facture s’élèvera au plus à 5600 $. En matière de sécurité publique, le conseil a désigné quelles interventions il considère comme prioritaires pour la Sûreté du Québec : le contrôle de la consommation et le trafic de drogues illicites, particulièrement chez les jeunes, et l’application des règlements municipaux uniformisés. « Aussi, on demande aux agents de faire plus de surveillance en lien avec les véhicules tout terrain (VTT) et de maintenir une présence policière sur l’ensemble du territoire de la MRC », ajoute le préfet de Minganie. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich has started production on a feature documentary on the late Montreal-raised jazz legend Oscar Peterson. A news release from Avrich's Melbar Entertainment Group says Kelly Peterson, the widow of the virtuoso pianist, will act as consulting producer on "Oscar Peterson: Black and White." The film is billed as a "docu-concert" and will include archival concert footage as well as interviews with family members and musicians who played with the Grammy winner, who died in 2007 at the age of 82 in Mississauga, Ont. It will also feature new performances from artists playing Peterson's music, including Dave Young, Larnell Lewis, Jackie Richardson, Robi Botos, and Measha Brueggergosman. Melbar says the doc will explore Peterson's life and acclaimed career, from his artistic influence and mentorship of other artists, to the racism that he endured and his legacy as "an uncompromising musician with a sense of racial pride." The film is set for a release in the fall and comes on the heels of the release of Historica Canada's Heritage Minute on Peterson. "It is a privilege and career highlight for me to tell Oscar's inspiring story and further immortalize his relentless yet iconic music in this film," said Avrich, a Canadian Screen Award-winning producer and director behind scores of live TV specials and documentaries, including last year's "The Howie Mandel Project." Peterson dazzled audiences with his piano playing around the world and worked with a jazz giants including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. His 1962 composition "Hymn to Freedom" became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, while his 1964 recording “The Canadiana Suite” was in honour of his home country. Avrich and Mark Selby will produce the doc. Avrich will also executive produce, alongside Jeffrey Latimer and Randy Lennox. Other musicians who will perform in the film include Joe Sealy, Stu Harrison, Denzal Sinclaire, and Daniel Clarke Bouchard. “It is gratifying that Oscar’s legacy continues to resonate and inspire music lovers and musicians everywhere," said Kelly Peterson. "I am delighted that this documentary will capture his story, his journey and his place in music history now, and forever." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Most of us are familiar with the three Rs associated with limiting our waste: reduce, reuse and recycle. As it turns out, there’s a fourth R: renew the recycling licence. During the Feb. 22 regular council meeting for the Town of Pincher Creek, Coun. Scott Korbett formally announced the town would not be renewing its recycling contract with KJ Cameron Service Industries. Come June 30, only empty beverage containers will be accepted at the bottle depot. “The Town of Pincher Creek intends to continue to offer a recycling program,” the town’s official statement reads. “We are currently working with our regional partners to have a smooth transition to a new program by the end of June.” While understanding the town is obligated to make economic decisions when it comes to contracts, Weston Whitfield, owner and manager of KJ Cameron, worries consolidating services on a regional basis might result in an inefficient service to taxpayers. The process of gathering, transporting, then re-sorting material, Mr. Whitfield adds, might decrease the price recycling facilities are willing to pay. “My concern is in the past, places that have done collaborations like that end up with a little bit of contamination and it can affect the resale of the product,” he says. Although no official details have been released, the plan for future recycling appears to involve the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill Association. Discussion recorded in the minutes of the Jan. 20, 2021, regular meeting of the landfill association includes “Recycling Update” as an agenda item. The minutes describe proposals being sent to each of the municipalities and note that, despite no reply being received, each of the municipal representatives — Coun. Dean Ward from Crowsnest Pass, Coun. Brian McGillivray from Pincher Creek and Reeve Brian Hammond from the MD of Pincher Creek — indicated their respective councils are still considering or interested in the landfill’s recycling proposal. Recycling was also a topic during last week’s council meetings for both the MD of Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. During the MD of Pincher Creek’s Feb. 23 council meeting, chief administrative officer Troy MacCulloch updated council on plans to move collection bins from outside the MD office to a site off Bighorn Avenue and Highway 507, near the Co-op lumberyard. The site will cover recycling needs for residents from both the MD and town. “This will be a site that the MD will build,” said CAO MacCulloch. “We will cost-share it with the town, and then going forward it would be operated and manned by the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill.” Plans for the new recycling site are still tentative as the MD is working with the current landowner to develop a lease that would permit the property to be used as a transfer station for garbage and recyclables. The garbage bins by the MD office, he added, could also be removed. This will allow for further development and easier access of the standpipe, which will remain at the location. Meetings with Pincher Creek administration have discussed the possibility of the MD taking over the composting facility, which would be included on the site. Crowsnest Pass council also voted Feb. 23 to direct administration to find a location for their own recycling bin. Ease of access, along with being sheltered from the weather and from travellers’ field of vision, were identified as main priorities. Administration was asked to present a location at the March 16 council meeting with hopes that users could begin dropping off recycling by the end of the month. The goal is to eventually have three sites in the municipality to gather recycling. Beginning with one, said CAO Patrick Thomas, was a good place to “at least start and see what the challenges are,” especially to “see how [building] the fencing and screening goes.” The Town of Pincher Creek’s full official statement regarding the recycling licence can be found online at http://bit.ly/PC-Recycle. More information on Pincher Creek Bottle Depot and Recycling can be found at www.facebook.com/pcbottledepot. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
After being found guilty on all 26 first-degree and attempted murder charges, Alek Minassian, the man responsible for the deadly Toronto van attack in 2018, will spend the rest of his life in jail, says criminal defence lawyer Karen McArthur, who was not involved with the case.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee. The statement differs from an advisory that was sent to members of Congress by the acting House sergeant-at-arms this week, saying that Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.” The threat comes nearly two months after thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win. So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4, which was the original presidential inauguration day, until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20. Many of the accounts that helped promote and organize the Jan. 6 riots on platforms like Facebook and Twitter have since been suspended, making it more difficult for the groups to organize. ___ Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Colleen Long and Alan Fram contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A list of stringent conditions are imposed on convicted impaired driver Marco Muzzo. The Parole Board of Canada granted full parole recently, with a long list of conditions. The former King resident cannot have any contact with the victims or victims’ families. He’s banned from entering both York and Brampton. Muzzo must follow his treatment plan with a focus on substance use, emotions management, victim empathy and reintegration stressors. He’s also to refrain from drinking alcohol and entering establishments that serve alcohol. The 34-year-old first-time offender was serving a nine-year, four-month sentence for four counts of impaired driving cause death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Along with the sentence, he has been banned from driving for 12 years. Muzzo was convicted in the 2015 impaired driving related deaths of four members of the Nevile-Lake family. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and given a 12-year driving ban. The collision claimed the lives of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother, Harrison, their two-year-old sister, Milly, and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured. Victim statements, including four presented during the hearing Feb. 9, revealed the families’ unrelenting grief, anger, fear and frustration. “Their anguish is palpable. Your choices and actions have left them struggling psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially ... Their voices confirmed the profound irrevocable devastation resulting from your offending,” the board report stated. The board noted they placed considerable weight on the victims’ statements with regards to Muzzo’s liberty within the community. The board pointed out that Muzzo made gains through counselling while incarcerated, and this led the board to grant day parole in April 2020. He was released and sent to a Community Residential Facility where similar conditions were enforced. There have been no known breaches to those release conditions and Muzzo adhered to all the rules. “This indicates positive progress toward reintegration.” Muzzo has opened a satellite office of the family’s contracting business, and he’s working three days per week. He remains at his apartment, visited by his family and fiancee. Muzzo has also spent time volunteering, and plans to help renovate and transform a school into a homeless shelter. The board noted Muzzo wants to return home to his residence in King, but since it’s close to a memorial site for the victims, there’s a possibility of unintended contact. The board believes Muzzo’s hope to move back to King is self-serving and doesn’t fully empathize with the victims. “... your insistence on returning to live in the community where the victims are memorialized and the surviving victims regularly frequent, is concerning.” While reintegration is the ultimate goal, the board noted he “still has work to do, particularly in the ares of victim empathy and community acceptance. It will be important for you to always be mindful that your liberty in the community is conditional, and that you remain under supervision until warrant expiry.” “The board recognizes that returning home may facilitate your reintegration. However, there is no suggestion that you cannot be rehabilitated and process through full reintegration into society if you do not live in or have access to a particular area. “Any return to the area at this time is premature, and would have a significant negative impact on the victims.” The board noted Muzzo has made gains through counselling in terms of his alcohol use, but the conditions remain in place. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
After massive Black Lives Matter protests across the world last year, 23-year-old Clarisse Bosco and 25-year-old Gallican Buki were feeling hopeful. They saw so many people sharing resources, research and initiatives. But soon after, they both felt that support die down. Their social media feeds went back to how they had been before. "I kind of felt like my skin was a trend for two weeks, not really something to be taken seriously," Bosco said. They set out to change that with their new project: Living With Black Skin, which they rolled out over Black History Month. They wanted to showcase the unique lives of other young, Black people like themselves. Bosco came up with the idea. Buki shot the photos and videos that went along with it. The editing and packaging was a collaborative process. The project rolled out with videos, photos and quote cards on both of their Instagram accounts. For Buki, the project was an outlet for his passion for photography, but also a way of sharing Black history and knowledge through channels he knows people will watch. "As a Black person, you're not always represented fairly when it comes to the arts, but also just when you're being edited, you're blown out, you are just insanely contrasted, or sometimes people just don't want to put the work in and will just put you black and white," he said. For Bosco, interviewing her friends and peers was a solid reminder that she's not alone out there. "As Black people, we kind of forget to check on each other," Bosco said. She said some of their close friends are among the people they interviewed for the project. "We can go and talk to them about anything," she said. "But we never really talk about things like the struggle that we have as Black people. We don't talk about the struggles, you know, within the community and just keep our head to ourselves and keep pushing." Response to Living With Black Skin has been overwhelming, according to the pair behind it. Teachers have approached them to ask if they can use the material in classes. "[We've had] friends that we know that we may have grown up with or have lost touch with reach out and say how appreciative they are of the videos and how much they've learned," Bosco said. The goal was always to spark conversation, and to keep authentic representation of Black lives at the front, something Buki said the project did really well. "To see that [these conversations are] truly happening within various homes and also to just hear stories about how like this has definitely opened their eyes into seeing how that this is still happening right now: the micro-aggressions, the systemic racism and just, the hate towards Black people," he said. "Because sometimes when you put statistics out there or stories or even newsletters, people are like, 'Hey, this is of the past. Why are you still bringing up the past?' But no, honestly, the support and the love and just the conversations that came out of that was just amazing." The pair are considering continuing the project in some way, but haven't settled on anything concrete. In the meantime, it's their hope that the conversation doesn't just fade away now that Black History Month is over. "These stories and these things that we live don't get to just end after a certain month or end after a certain trend," Bosco said. "There's things that we still live with today and still carry forward. And if we stop talking about it, we stop making room for growth and for change." (CBC) For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns. Ontario MP David Sweet says the pandemic-related restrictions are causing huge psychological and economic damage.He says the public health measures should focus on vulnerable communities, not healthy individuals.Sweet took part in non-essential travel earlier this year and was then removed from his post as chair of a House of Commons committee. He isn't seeking re-election.He's not the only Conservative MP who has expressed frustration with the existing level of COVID-19 restrictions. Several have also spoken out against the new hotel quarantine and testing regime for incoming travellers to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A short time after Broadway shut down last year, Elizabeth Stanley went on a tiny rescue mission. She was offered a chance to get back into her dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre — home of her musical “Jagged Little Pill” — and to grab anything she needed. “I went and retrieved a bunch of plants,” she says, laughing. “I knew they won’t survive in a room with no windows and no water.” That strong nurturing side of Stanley was also clearly evident from the stage before the pandemic closed theatres. She earned her first Tony Award nomination playing the mom of a Connecticut family spiraling out of control in the musical set to the music of Alanis Morissette's 1995 album of the same name. Stanley is seemingly comfortable singing anything, from complicated Stephen Sondheim show tunes to rock songs by Morissette, classics by Leonard Bernstein and modern gems by Jason Robert Brown. “In some ways, people didn’t know what to do with me always and I think that’s honestly worked out to my benefit most of the time,” she says. “I didn’t just get stuck playing one singular type of part.” Eva Price, the three-time Tony Award-winning producer behind “Jagged Little Pill,” says Stanley has put her entire heart and soul into her latest character ever since workshops started. “She actually created a multi-dimensional, 360-degree, completely layered, contemporary female protagonist in a way that none of us knew we even had on the page or in our minds,” said Price. Stanley made her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of “Company” and has had roles in “Cry-Baby,” “Million Dollar Quartet” and “On the Town.” A Tony nomination this time is welcome, indeed. “It’s a dream I’ve had for the whole time I’ve been performing and pursuing a career in the performing arts," she says. "So I feel like whatever crazy year it came in, I’ll take it.” The musical is about a family confronting drug addiction, sexual assault, struggles with gender identity and transracial adoption. Morissette has told the cast she hopes the musical can be a hopeful beacon. “She wants us to be a story about healing and connection," says Stanley. "And I think that’s such a beautiful sort of takeaway that she’s infused the piece with and that has always been in her music. I think it’s like this rallying cry for transparency and authenticity.” Stanley — as the mom, Mary Jane — is the spine of the musical, trying to connect with her workaholic husband and aloof teenage kids. She's also hiding an addiction to Oxycodone developed after being prescribed the opioid following a car accident. During the musical, her character also reveals her own history with sexual assault. “There’s so many layers to get into that I think it took me a long time to really find all of her,” says Stanley. “In fact, I don’t even think I’m done. That’s one of the reasons I’m anxious to get back to the show — I don’t feel done with this part yet.” The “Jagged Little Pill” musical is so rooted in contemporary issues facing America that she believes the discussions and marches over racial justice will find voice whenever Broadway restarts. “I think it will influence our interpretation of it as a cast, but it will also influence the audience and how they will see that,” she says. "Going to see a piece of theatre allows us to receive a message and feel it in a more palatable way than watching a three-hour news cycle about something.” During the past year, Stanley has been part of “Jagged Little Pill” online concerts and appearances. She also went through a series of crafting phases — baking, sewing and tie-dying. She made new throw pillows for her couch. COVID-19 ruined what was to be one of her happiest days: her wedding. Engaged in January 2020 to actor and teacher Charlie Murphy, the couple were supposed to tie the knot in September. They even put down — and lost — a security deposit at a venue. Now they're rethinking what they really want when COVID-19 releases its grip on the city. The original idea was to have an intimate affair with just family and a few close friends. “Now I really want to party with a lot of people,” she says, laughing. “Now I need everyone there that I haven’t been able to see, and I’m surrounded by all of my friends and we’re just being crazy.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
In December 2020, the Senate became gender-equal, offering up the promise that women's interests will be represented in the upper chamber.
Chris Murray, a University of Washington disease expert whose projections on COVID-19 infections and deaths are closely followed worldwide, is changing his assumptions about the course of the pandemic. Murray had until recently been hopeful that the discovery of several effective vaccines could help countries achieve herd immunity, or nearly eliminate transmission through a combination of inoculation and previous infection.
Une simple photo relative à une histoire du vaccin de la COVID-19 qui au départ devait être somme toute banale est devenue virale sur le web au point ou des gens ont été injuriés, insultés et même menacés de se faire attaquer physiquement. Cette fameuse photo sur les réseaux sociaux indique que «l’hôpital de Baie-Comeau a trois cas de paralysie chez les employés qui ont reçu la première dose du vaccin. Il n’y a plus personne qui le veut maintenant à Baie-Comeau», peut-on lire une fois les fautes d’orthographe corrigées et la phrase restructurée. Une des personnes ciblées a contacté macotenord.com pour mettre en garde les journalistes contre les choses dites sur le web. «Il faut faire attention à tout ce que l’on rapporte et ce que l’on dit». Ensuite, elle a accepté de raconter les faits sous le couvert de l’anonymat par peur de représailles étant toujours à l’emploi du Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord. «Oui j’ai la paralysie de Bell. Et oui je travaille ici. Mais rien ne confirme le lien de ce diagnostic et le vaccin.» Elle ajoute: «ce sont des risques qui vont avec tous les vaccins. Les autres causes possibles de la paralysie de Bell sont le virus de l’herpès buccal ou le réveil du zona.» Cette dame assure que les médecins suivent l’évolution de son état de santé. Au CISSS, on a confirmé à Radio-Canada qu’un cas de paralysie faciale a effectivement été observé chez une personne ayant reçu une dose de vaccin contre la COVID-19 il y a quelques semaines. Le CISSS mentionne que la paralysie faciale n’a jamais été associée statistiquement à aucun vaccin. Néanmoins, ce cas a été compilé au registre du fichier central des effets secondaires post-vaccinaux par la direction de la santé publique de la Côte-Nord. Réactions vives Chose certaine, cette histoire de vaccins a créé un tollé sur les réseaux sociaux. Un tsunami de commentaires, parfois injurieux, ont inondé la toile. On parle de plus d’une centaine en moins d’une heure. «Ça ressemble à une belle fausse nouvelle de conspis. Je vais y croire quand une employée de cet hôpital va en parler», peut-on lire parmi tous ces commentaires pour la plupart peu élogieux. «Fake news pour faire peur au monde. Je travaille à l’hôpital et je me suis informée auprès de collègues, médecins, personne n’a entendu parler. Alors ne croyez pas tout ce qui se dit sur les réseaux sociaux», a écrit une internaute. «Un gars m’a menacé de contacter Facebook pour faire fermer mon compte uniquement parce que j’avais partagé la dite photo, sans émettre aucun commentaire» a publié un autre internaute précisant être un résident de Baie-Comeau, sans plus. Le CISSS précise que plus de 17 629 doses ont été injectées dans la région jusqu’à présent. Stéphane Tremblay, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
The first calls came in just before 8:30 a.m. from bystanders worried about a plane that seemed to be having trouble over Lac Barron, near the lower Laurentians town of Gore, Que. The aircraft ultimately crash-landed into the ice-covered lake, and when first responders managed to reach the wreck they found a lone occupant. He was unconscious and transported to a nearby hospital. The Sûreté du Québec later confirmed he had died from his injuries. SQ spokesperson Sgt. Jean Raphaël Drolet said the force's major crimes division is investigating the circumstances of the crash. The Transportation Safety Board is also on the scene and will conduct its own investigation. According to a federal civil aviation database, the downed aircraft appears to be a two-seat, amateur-built kit plane that was assembled in 2010 and may have been based out of Trois-Rivières.
Terrace RCMP arrested two men that had visited someone in COVID-19 isolation and tried to hit a police officer with a chair, according to an RCMP media release. On Feb. 17, RCMP received a report about two men who were visiting a person in COVID-19 quarantine at the Sunshine Inn. The occupant of the room, who is a client of ‘Ksan Society, called the front desk for help after the men refused to leave. The front desk called ‘Ksan Society, who then called who called the RCMP. When police arrived, they told the men they were unwelcome and needed to leave. “The men became combative with police, lifting a chair and attempting to strike the member with it, shouting expletives and threatening to kill police officers on scene,” the release states. The men were arrested for assault with a weapon, resisting arrest and uttering threats. They were later released by police undertaking to address the matter in court. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
For more than a year, the PC government’s plan to build a sprawling GTA West transportation corridor flew under the radar. When Doug Ford and his colleagues moved to restart the highway’s environmental assessment (EA) in 2019, reversing the previous Liberal government’s decision to scrap it, few noticed. Subsequent advancements of the project also received little attention, despite sustained opposition by advocacy groups such as Environmental Defence. As 2021 dawned, something started to shift. While the PCs at Queen’s Park approved the highway’s route in August and then quietly moved to speed up the environmental assessment process to get the project started even faster (perhaps to get shovels in the ground before the next election) opposition to their actions mounted. First, Halton Region and the Town of Halton Hills took an aggressive stand against the plan late last year. Then early in the new year the NDP came out against the project, confirming they would scrap it if the party wins election in 2022, and the Liberals followed a few weeks later with the same pledge. Pleas from environmental groups and local residents who will be directly impacted by the massive stretch of six-lane highway grew louder. Early in February, Environmental Defence teamed up with an environmental law-group, Ecojustice, and sent a request to Ottawa. Take over the EA process being rushed through by Queen’s Park, they asked. The request, originally something of a hail mary that relied on a generous interpretation of federal legislation, has already borne fruit. In a series of unexpected votes, Peel’s lower-tier municipalities finally woke up. Caledon and Brampton had endorsed the highway’s progress for years, while Mississauga had chosen not to get involved. Suddenly, Mississauga passed a motion actively opposing the highway, while Caledon and Brampton both backed calls for the federal government to take over the environmental assessment process, meaning it could scrap the entire project, if it decides to get involved. On Tuesday, in another surprise move, the City of Vaughan, where the 400-series highway would run, voted to revoke its support for the project, passing a motion rejecting the plan, instead of simply debating how the assessment should proceed, which was the original plan for the council meeting. Clearly, politicians have been shocked into action by the mounting anger over the PC government’s decision to unilaterally ram through a project that will have devastating consequences on climate change, GTA watersheds, local ecosystems and the environment in general. The world’s largest protected green space, Ontario’s Greenbelt, would see the giant asphalt corridor run right along its southern edge and, in some places, right through the sensitive natural environment covered by provincial legislation. Sustaining the GTA’s watershed, which prevents flooding while ensuring clean water and healthy ecosystems is critical to the health of Ontario’s most populous region. Building a highway across these valuable lands goes against everything the Province has done over the last two decades to protect the environment. But with the blessing of the development industry, Ford ignored all the past work and the decision in 2018 to scrap the project. The tone deaf move at a time when the planet faces unparalleled challenges, is finally being reconsidered. Shaken by the swelling opposition, even the Province has softened its position, with the PCs stating this week in the legislature that the highway might not happen. Hanging over the process is the potential for the federal government to wrestle control of the EA from Queen’s Park and complete its own assessment. The Liberal government has made climate change a key pillar of its mandate, and a massive 400-series highway would only make it more difficult for Canada to meet its obligations under the Paris Accord. In 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the document officially at a United Nations ceremony in New York, he said, "Today, with my signature, I give you our word that Canada's efforts will not cease. Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge." His government now has a clear opportunity to make good on the pledge. If a federal EA is conducted and concludes the highway’s impact to the environment or Canada’s emissions targets would be too great, it could end the project once and for all. Under the Impact Assessment Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has 90 days from the initiation of a request to decide whether or not to designate the project and take control. A spokesperson for the federal government confirmed to The Pointer a decision by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada would be made by May 4 “The agency is currently soliciting the views of the public, Indigenous groups and stakeholders to inform its analysis and prepare a recommendation for the minister,” the spokesperson said. “The agency’s recommendation will also be informed by science, input from the proponent, federal authorities, and other jurisdictions.” There are several concerns around the planned GTA West Corridor. Environmental groups and members of the public were alarmed when the PCs announced in the summer that the EA would be streamlined to get the project started faster. Critics said a shortened assessment would fall short of the rigorous scientific standards required to safely build highway infrastructure on or around protected lands. The issue of whether “the potential adverse effects can be adequately managed through other existing legislative or regulatory mechanisms” is one of the questions Ottawa will now consider in its deliberations. The federal government will also consider if the potential greenhouse gas emissions from the project “may hinder the Government of Canada’s ability to meet its commitments with respect to climate change”. This factor, something a new highway would clearly contribute to, suggests Ottawa could be motivated to intervene. The same legislation applied in the decision on the GTA West Highway is being challenged in Alberta. Court documents submitted by the Government of Alberta call the Impact Assessment Act a “trojan horse” and ask the province’s top court to rule it unconstitutional. "This overreach of federal jurisdiction threatens to eviscerate provincial authority over resource development and must be rejected by this court,” the Alberta government states in the court documents. It follows a theme of similar struggles, particularly in Alberta and Ontario, where Conservative governments have found their policies at odds with aggressive national climate change commitments. Ontario Premier Doug Ford believes large-scale construction projects such as the GTA West Corridor will help reignite the economy when COVID-19 eventually retreats. But the federal Liberals have doubled down on their climate change commitments by significantly increasing the national carbon tax. The spokesperson explained the decision-making process to determine if Ottawa will take over the EA for the highway. “The recommendation will consider whether the carrying out of the project may cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction or adverse direct or incidental effects, and public concerns related to such effects. It will also consider the potential impacts of the project on the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada.” The Fording River Extension in British Columbia, formerly known as the Castle Project, serves as an example. The project was a result of a proposal by Teck Coal Limited to extend the life of its metallurgical coal mine north of Elkford. Between May 12 and July 17, eight separate requests for the Federal government to step in were submitted. They came from different parties, including Indigenous communities and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. On August 19, 99 days after the initial request, the federal government agreed to take over the project’s assessment. So far, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s website only lists one request for the GTA West Corridor to be designated as a federal project, linking to the original February letter from EcoJustice on behalf of its client, Environmental Defence. Other requests in the form of council motions have since been sent, including resolutions passed in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. More than 50 comments have also been submitted by members of the public. A final decision will be publicly rendered by May 4. You can visit the federal government's newly created GTA West Highway impact assessment webpage here. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
CHARLOTTETOWN — The health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses on Prince Edward Island for three days will end at midnight tonight. Premier Dennis King said today the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. The restrictions were imposed after clusters of COVID-19 cases emerged in Charlottetown and Summerside. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case.Morrison says results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases.There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Les déplacements interrégionaux lors de la semaine de relâche inquiètent grandement le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Côte-Nord. La présence répertoriée des variants de la COVID-19 dans la province, dont la souche sud-africaine qui affecte une douzaine de personnes en Abitibi-Témiscamingue au moment d’écrire ces lignes, effraie le médecin-conseil en santé publique au CISSS, Richard Fachehoun. « Leur introduction dans la région pourrait entraîner une augmentation rapide du nombre de cas », a-t-il souligné en conférence de presse vendredi. Le Dr Fachehoun a rappelé que le protocole de gestion des entrées est toujours en vigueur sur l’ensemble du territoire nord-côtier. Toute personne qui entre en Côte-Nord doit respecter un isolement préventif de sept jours et éviter les interactions sociales pendant 14 jours. Sa maisonnée est aussi invitée à respecter ce confinement préventif. Le protocole est plus strict pour tout individu provenant de l’extérieur de la région qui veut entrer en Minganie, en Basse-Côte-Nord ou dans Caniapiscau : un dépistage à l’arrivée et un second au jour 7 sont exigés. Mise à jour de la vaccination Le portrait de la vaccination en Côte-Nord est très satisfaisant aux yeux du président-directeur général par intérim du CISSS, Claude Lévesque. En date du 2 mars, ce sont 17 629 personnes qui ont reçu le vaccin. Près de 95 % des résidents des CHSLD et 90 % des aînés en résidences privés ou ressources intermédiaires ont accepté d’être vaccinés. Environ 4000 travailleurs de la santé, dont 2668 en contact étroit avec la clientèle, ont reçu une dose. Les adultes de la Minganie qui n’ont pas été vaccinées lors de la campagne de la mi-février pourront recevoir une dose du vaccin de Moderna dès que la compagnie en livrera, a expliqué la directrice de la vaccination COVID-19 du CISSS, Nathalie Castilloux. Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a confirmé la semaine dernière que le Canada recevra 1,3 million de doses de Moderna d’ici la fin mars. Le CISSS de la Côte-Nord se prépare à recevoir des vaccins de Pfizer-BioNTech au courant du mars. Les personnes ayant reçu le vaccin il y a 12 semaines pourront recevoir leur seconde dose, tandis que la balance sera utilisée pour une première injection aux individus de 70 à 79 ans à Sept-Îles et Baie-Comeau. En zone orange depuis le 22 février, la Côte-Nord n’a enregistré que de faibles hausses du nombre de cas dans la dernière semaine. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, le total s’élevait à 354 cas enregistrés depuis le début de la pandémie, dont 4 actifs et 347 guérisons. Le bilan de la Minganie est immobile à 17 personnes infectées. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur