Vibrant, diverse, and plentiful are a few words that describe the UAE’s culture and art scene, which also serves as a hub for regional creatives stemming from the Middle East and North Africa to share their work, before the pandemic.
Vibrant, diverse, and plentiful are a few words that describe the UAE’s culture and art scene, which also serves as a hub for regional creatives stemming from the Middle East and North Africa to share their work, before the pandemic.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
There are 32 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick and an outbreak has been declared at another Edmundston care home, Dr. Jennifer Russell said at a live-streamed COVID-19 update Thursday. The update was the first since the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions — Zones 1, 2 and 3 — were rolled back to the red phase of recovery on Tuesday. They joined the Edmundston region, which was already in the red phase. The three remaining zones are in orange. The situation in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, remains "gravely concerning," Russell said. There are now 113 cases in that area, "the largest number of any zone in the province." Russell said outbreaks have spread to workplaces and to special care homes in the region, including a new outbreak at the Le Pavillon Le Royer. Russell also noted that the outbreak at Parkland Riverview's Canterbury Hall care home has been declared over, with no new cases in 14 days. All residents at the facility were being vaccinated Thursday. 32 new cases reported, 19 of them in Zone 4 The cases announced Thursday break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, five cases: an individual 30 to 39 an individual 40 to 49 an individual 50 to 59 an individual 60 to 69 an individual 80 to 89 Saint John region, Zone 2, three cases: two people 20 to 29 an individual 40 to 49 Fredericton region, Zone 3, three cases: an individual 19 or under an individual 40 to 49 an individual 60 to 69 Edmundston region, Zone 4, 19 cases: an individual 19 or under two people 20 to 29 two people 30 to 39 two people 40 to 49 five people 50 to 59 three people 60 to 69 an individual 70 to 79 three people 80 to 89 Campbellton region, Zone 5, two cases: two people 19 or under All of the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,057, with 719 recovered and 324 currently active cases. There have been 13 deaths, and three patients are now hospitalized, two of them in intensive care. As of Thursday, 179,582 tests have been conducted, including 1,902 since Wednesday's report. There have been 10,436 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in New Brunswick, with 2,567 people fully vaccinated with two doses and 7,339 doses held back for second doses and planned clinics. Mount Allison confirms off-campus case Mount Allison University has confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 in its campus community. In an email to students and staff Thursday, the university said it is the first positive case this term and the second since the start of the pandemic. "At this point there are no other confirmed cases related to Mount Allison," Anne Comfort, acting vice-president of international and student affairs, said in the email. The individual is an "off-campus member" of the Mount Allison community, Comfort said. "They are asymptomatic, have been self-isolating by themselves, and will continue to self-isolate." Contact tracing is underway, and Public Health will contact anyone who needs to take further precautions, she said. Not aware of student-to-student transmission: Russell Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, again faced questions Thursday about the decision to keep schools open during the red phase, and about the risk to students and staff. Asked at the COVID-19 update if she was aware of any "student-to-student transmission" in schools, Russell said no such cases have been brought to her attention. "The only cases I've been made aware of are adult-to-adult transmission among staff in schools or adult-to-child," Russell said, adding that doesn't mean student-to-student transmission has not happened. Under the revised red phase rules, if a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school, the school will be closed for a minimum of three days to allow for contact tracing. On Wednesday, when Zones 1, 2 and 3 entered the red phase, attendance records showed more than 14,000 students stayed home. 'There may be delays': Higgs on vaccines Premier Blaine Higgs provided an update on the province's vaccine rollout at Thursday's briefing, noting that the province continues to roll out vaccines "as they become available." But that availability has been hampered recently, with no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and reduced shipments expected next week. Because of that, "some facilities have had to reduce the number of vaccines that will be administered," Higgs said Thursday. "There may be delays … this is why very early on in the process we set aside a number of vaccines, so that everyone who received their first dose could receive second dose and be fully vaccinated." Currently, 2,567 New Brunswickers have been fully vaccinated. More than 1,300 people were to receive their first dose of the vaccine at clinics in 10 long-term care homes that began Tuesday and concluded Thursday, Higgs said. Clinics are also being planned on Saturday for health-care workers in the Edmundston, Bathurst, Fredericton and Saint John areas. Why 3 zones are staying orange, for now Three zones in the province are seeing stabilizing, low or even non-existent case numbers, the province's chief medical officer of health said Thursday. Zones 5, 6 and 7 — the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions — are in the orange phase of recovery. There are 26 active cases in Campbellton, nine in Bathurst, and Miramichi hasn't had a confirmed case since Boxing Day. So why are they not being eased into the least-restrictive yellow phase? Russell said it's a case of caution mixed with proximity, noting the zones will remain in orange "until we see further progress in the surrounding red zones." She has previously cautioned against assuming a zero case count means a region is COVID-free. "You have to remember that case numbers are a snapshot" of what was happening seven days prior, "so even if there were no cases a week ago, it doesn't mean COVID isn't in the community today." Russell has also previously noted that testing rates are very low in the Miramichi region, something she again pointed to at Thursday's update. "When we see case numbers not very high in a certain area, I can't imagine they're not experiencing any symptoms whatsoever," Russell said. "So again, my message is 'Please get tested. Even if you have only one symptom. Even if it's mild.' " Russell noted there are plans to open "four or five" more testing locations, including some in rural areas. A new assessment centre opened Thursday in Clair, in Zone 4, Russell said. Full lockdown likely for Edmundston region Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, and Premier Blaine Higgs both addressed the "deeply worrying" situation in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, at Thursday's update. The fact that outbreaks are creeping into adult residential facilities and workplaces is a concern, Russell said. She noted that 24 of the cases in Zone 4 are directly linked to the Nadeau poultry plant, including six of the 19 cases announced Thursday in Zone 4. An outbreak was declared earlier this week at the plant, which remains closed. Edmundston is also the site of outbreaks at two special care homes, the Manoir Belle Vue and Le Pavillon Le Royer. Premier Blaine Higgs, who also spoke at Thursday's update, said that a complete lockdown of the Edmundston region has been discussed and looks "likely" to happen in the days ahead. It would be similar to what New Brunswickers saw in March when the entire province was in shutdown, he said. Higgs shares details of stepped-up enforcement efforts Rising case numbers throughout much of the province have made it "more important than ever to follow ... and enforce" Public Health rules, Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday. He noted that, since Saturday, 179 house visits have been conducted to ensure people are self-isolating. There were just four cases of non-compliance. Enforcement officers conducted 327 site visits between Sunday and Thursday, with the following results: 20 non-compliance orders issued. 20 tickets issued under Emergency Measures Act. 23 stop-work orders under WorkSafeNB. 12 orders under WorkSafeNB. One administrator penalty. Public exposure warnings Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flight: Jan. 3 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:23 a.m. Public Health has also issued the following potential COVID-19 exposure warnings: Edmundston region: Sparta Progression Gym, 113 44th Ave. D., on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 between 7 and 9 a.m. Moncton region: Goodlife Fitness Centre, 175 Ivan Rand Dr. E., on Jan. 13 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Moncton North After Hours Medical Clinic, 1633 Mountain Rd., on Jan. 14 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Edmundston region: Jean Coutu Kim Levesque-Cote Pharmacy, 276 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parts for Trucks,21 Powers Rd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 11, 12 and 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
You can pass through Penville and not real-ize the area was once a thriving village that was settled by early pioneers in the 1830s. The area has no real reminders of a village that would have had all the amenities needed to keep a small town viable at the time. It was located at what is now the 5th Line and 19th Sideroad of New Tecumseth. There are now several houses surrounding the site but almost all are of a relatively recent design. Penville was founded in the 1830s when the area was unpopulated and wild.With no real roads leading into the region, settlers would have had a tough life arriving, probably by ox cart, and building their fi rst home from the materials on the land. The Penfield, Ausman, and Dale families are recorded as being the first to arrive in the area and they began clearing the land for farming operations. They were all Scottish immigrants.Presumably, the Penfield family lent its name to create the village on a map. The village attracted more settlers to the area.So many arrived that a Town Hall was built in 1858 at a cost of $450.00 with the fi rst Reeve being recorded as Robert Cross. Black’s Methodist Church was built in 1850 and a cemetery established in 1858. There is no record of a tavern in the area, however almost every new town in Ontario had at least one local watering hole, and some had several, so most likely some enterprising entrepreneur set up some kind of hotel or tavern in the town. By 1871, the town had grown to a thriving village of 130 souls. By early Ontario standards, that was a sizable population for a pio-neer settlement. Most likely the town would have had a blacksmith, cabinet maker, and a saw mill, which were pretty much standard business in pioneer towns at the time. Like many small towns in Central Ontario, Penville reached its peak in the late 1800s. Over time, residents began to leave to search for more opportunities in other places. By the time the twentieth century arrived, the village was all but abandoned. The church was still standing as late as the mid 1950s, but by that time hadn’t had servic-es in decades and was being used as a granary. The church was demolished sometime in the 50s although the cemetery remains.There are 18 recorded interments in the cemetery, with the last person buried in 1933. After the demolition of the church, the remaining headstones were grouped together in a cairn in the middle of the property. It has been suggested that many of the graves in the cemetery were moved to other cemeteries in the area in the late part of the 19th century, however there is no offi cial record of that. Penville had a good start; however, like many small early settlements, it faded into history as residents moved on to fi nd their fortunes elsewhere. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
THUNDER BAY — For more than five years, the Thunder Bay police force and its partner agencies have been dealing with a high-volume of individuals travelling from southern Ontario to traffic drugs in the northwest. Through a virtual news conference on Thursday, Jan. 21, Thunder Bay police announced the results of a major joint-forces police investigation involving several agencies in southern Ontario which resulted in the seizure of $2.7 million worth of street drugs. Despite the massive seizure of drugs and arrest of 12 individuals, police said they continue to be “plagued” with more individuals ready to take over for those who have been arrested. “Any given day, our highways have couriers bringing more drugs to our communities,” Det.-Insp. John Fennell of the Thunder Bay Police Service said Thursday. “It has been made very clear from our investigations and the people being charged that much of this illicit drug trade is coming from southern Ontario,” he said. Several police forces were involved in the operation called Project Valiant including Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and Canada Border Services Agency. The operation was led by the Thunder Bay Police Service. “Our gang and gun problem is real and it needs to be taken very seriously by our legal system and our government,” Fennell said. "As much effort as we put into these initiatives we continue to be plagued with a steady stream of new persons taking over for those we have been able to charge.” The investigation took place from August 2020 to December 2020. Approximately six search warrants were conducted in Thunder Bay and one major search warrant was executed in Markham, Ont. As a result, police seized 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.55 kilograms of cocaine, more than 4,000 pills of fentanyl, 846 packages of cannabis edibles for the black market and eight capsules of hydromorphone. Furthermore, police seized several weapons including 10 rifles, four shotguns, one crossbow, two high-capacity magazines, two tasers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Police also located and seized four cars, one motorcycle, more than $120,000 in Canadian cash, fake government identification and drug trafficking paraphernalia. The project’s lead, Det.-Sgt. Dan Irwin, said during Thursday’s news conference, the long-term impact of initiatives such as Project Valiant aimed to address the high volume of illicit drugs coming into the community from southern Ontario is minimal. “It makes an impact at the beginning but like Det.-Insp. Fennell said as soon as we make arrests unfortunately the highways and the planes are full of individuals coming from the south to continue to sell fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, and various other drugs,” he said. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
One of Nova Scotia's most respected politicians and steadfast cabinet ministers has announced she will be leaving public life whenever the next provincial election is called. Liberal deputy premier and Finance Minister Karen Casey told reporters Thursday she decided "within the last week" to call it quits. The decision means Premier Stephen McNeil's two closest political colleagues have decided they will follow him out of public life. Health Minister Leo Glavine announced his retirement in late November. He too will stick around until the next general election. Casey, the MLA for Colchester North, told reporters it was the right time to go. "The time comes when, you know, 15 years I think is a good amount of public service to give," Casey said during an almost 25-minute question-and-answer session with reporters, following a meeting with her cabinet colleagues. The premier is usually first to take questions following a cabinet meeting, but as he did when Glavine announced his decision to retire, McNeil allowed Casey to make her decision public. "I'm happy to say I've done my service to my constituents, I'm happy with the work that we've achieved and it's time to let somebody else represent Colchester North," said Casey, who is 73. "I'm sure there will be somebody very strong who comes out to carry on." Casey was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in June 2006 as a Progressive Conservative. Newly elected Premier Rodney MacDonald named the former school teacher and administrator the minister of education. He later gave her an even tougher portfolio, health. She was chosen to lead the party as interim leader when MacDonald stepped down, after his government was defeated in the 2009 election that brought the NDP to power for the first time in Nova Scotia's history. There was a falling out with the new PC leader, Jamie Baillie, and in January 2010 Casey left her Progressive Conservative colleagues to take a seat alongside McNeil and his third-place Liberal caucus. A colleague, a confidant The move may have cost her friendships within PC ranks but it didn't cost her a single vote in her constituency. She won the 2013 election with the biggest majority of her political career, taking almost 61 per cent of the vote. "I felt very respected and I guess if there's one word that I would use to describe what motivated me, it would be knowing that my ideas and those of my constituents, and me as a person would be respected," Casey said Thursday of her decade-old decision. Of that day, McNeil said he "not only got a colleague, but a confidant." "Someone that I relied on through my time as opposition leader, but probably more importantly when I became premier," said McNeil, who will step down as premier when the party selects a new leader next month. "She's the one person that I have always sought counsel of [in] my most difficult days. She saw me at my best and, quite frankly, probably at my worst." Key portfolios Since 2013, McNeil has entrusted Casey with key portfolios, education and finance. She has also chaired Treasury Board, one of the most powerful roles in any government. Casey told reporters she wasn't sure what she would do next beyond spending time with her four grandchildren. "I'm not leaving this to go to another career, I'm leaving it to go home and spend time with my grandchildren," she said. But she did leave the door open for her to go back to her first career as a teacher. "Maybe there are kids in the neighbourhood who need a little tutoring or extra help in reading and writing and math at the end of their day." MORE TOP STORIES
Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) Chief Willie Sellars asked for continued co-operation while also being optimistic the community’s COVID-19 numbers among on-reserve members will begin to drop. From his home, with a picture of his late grandfather wearing goalie pads in the background, Chief Willie Sellars began his Jan. 20 community Facebook address on a sad note. “We have heavy hearts in the community today with the passing of another loved one,” Sellars said, confirming the passing of community member Michelle Wycotte. Wycotte’s death follows the recent passing of another WLFN member, Byron Louie. Her cause of death, as well as Louie’s, have not been released. As of 4 p.m. Jan 20, Sellars said 34 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed within the WLFN community of Sugar Cane. “Of those 34, the good news is 11 have now fully recovered and are completing their 14-day isolation,” he said. “That leaves 23 active cases in the community.” Sellars also provided an update on COVID-19 cases within the Cariboo Chilcotin region which does not include 100 Mile House and Quesnel. He said there are 156 active COVID-19 cases and that it was WLFN’s understanding Interior Health would be declaring a COVID-19 cluster within the Cariboo Chilcotin region later today (Jan. 20). “We encourage our membership, the community at large, not to panic or become anxious in light of the declaration,” Sellars said. “This declaration is being done with transparency in mind and will allow Interior Health to provide area-specific COVID-19 numbers and updates to the Williams Lake community.” A limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is anticipated to be distributed at the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium by the end of the week. While encouraged and optimistic the number of cases will drop by the end of the week at Sugar Cane, Sellars said it will be individuals’ actions that will prevent any spread. Three of six beds at two fully-furnished duplex units complete with groceries and supplies are available for self-isolation. “The greatest challenge our EOC team has faced to date is being a matter of self-isolation practices and ensuring individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 have the opportunity to isolate away from their family members who have tested negative,” Sellars said. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered. Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Une pétition pour soutenir les ainés Si la Covid-19 frappe particulièrement fort chez les ainés, ces derniers font aussi partie des victimes collatérales de la pandémie. En effet, les 65 ans et plus, qui forment 25 % de la population du Bas-Saint-Laurent, souffrent de l’isolement et de la précarité financière induits par les périodes de confinement. Ce jeudi, trois organismes se sont joints aux deux députés fédéraux Maxime Blanchette-Joncas et Kristina Michaud pour lancer une pétition demandant au gouvernement fédéral d’assurer un meilleur soutien aux personnes âgées. Car si Ottawa n’a pas été avare d’aides financières en tout genre dans la dernière année, les ainés font figure de grands oubliés : ils n’ont eu droit qu’à une aide ponctuelle de 500 $ en mars 2020, loin des milliards dépensés en PCU… Cette différence de traitement alimente un « profond sentiment d’injustice », selon M. Blanchette-Joncas, d’autant plus que les personnes âgées doivent composer avec des frais supplémentaires, qu’il s’agisse d’inflation ou de coûts de livraison. Augmenter le revenu des ainés est donc une priorité, ainsi que le martèle le président régional du Réseau FADOQ Gilles Noël : « Nous demandons que le gouvernement mette en œuvre sa promesse électorale faite lors de l’élection de 2019 en rehaussant minimalement de 10% le montant des prestations de la Sécurité de la vieillesse. » Le bénévolat en déroute Du côté de la Table de concertation des ainés du Bas-Saint-Laurent, on souligne l’urgence de briser l’isolement des 65 ans et plus. « Le gouvernement du Canada doit innover afin de mettre en place un réseau d’aide et de soutien direct aux ainés », explique la vice-présidente Kathleen Bouffard. Il devient difficile de trouver des bénévoles (la majorité ayant plus de 70 ans) pour faire des livraisons ou accompagner quelqu’un devant se rendre à l’hôpital pour passer des examens, et il faudrait donc former des travailleurs de milieu pour aller à la rencontre des personnes vivant seules, qui se sentent de plus en plus abandonnées. De son côté, le président du Carrefour 50 + Richard Rancourt alerte sur la situation des organismes qui font vivre les villages : ceux-ci sont portés à bout de bras par des retraités, et leurs revenus s’effondrent suite à la baisse de leur membership. M. Rancourt aimerait que le gouvernement pense à implanter des mesures de compensation pour assumer les coûts fixes, comme cela a été fait dans d’autres secteurs. La remise en route post-pandémie ne se fera pas d’elle-même, ajoute-t-il : « La culture de la peur s’est installée, il va falloir remotiver tout l’engagement bénévole de nos ainés. » Il sera alors probablement nécessaire d’avoir recours à des professionnels en animation, ce qui aura un coût. Internet haute vitesse et transferts en santé exigées Deux autres revendications plus universelles permettraient également d’améliorer le sort des ainés : tout d’abord, l’amélioration de la connexion au réseau internet haute vitesse, qui pourrait permettre de reconnecter les personnes seules au reste du monde si elles sont en mesure d’utiliser les outils web. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est la région la moins bien branchée au Québec, souligne le député Blanchette-Joncas. La pétition demande également d’indexer les transferts en santé de 6 %. L’autre députée bloquiste de la région, Kristina Michaud, rappelle que pour « chaque [tranche de] 100 $ dépensé[e] par le gouvernement fédéral depuis le début de la pandémie, seulement 33 cents sont allés dans le réseau de la santé du Québec. » La pétition sera déposée à la Chambre des communes si elle atteint plus de 500 signatures d’ici le 20 mars.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
While schools are closed, the province has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among teens and tweens, and one Kemptville doctor is sounding the alarm. According to provincial data pulled by Dr. Suzanne Rutherford, lead doctor at the Kemptville COVID-19 assessment centre, the positivity rate among children nine to 13 was 5.5 per cent on Dec. 20, but that number jumped to 17.6 per cent by Jan. 6; among 14-to-17-year-olds it was 6.66 per cent on Dec. 20 and had more than doubled to 15.13 per cent by Jan. 6. "In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, we had an increase in the number of teens who developed COVID-19 (along with older age groups) linked to family dinners and parties over the December and January holiday period," confirmed Susan Healey, spokeswoman for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. Rutherford said she started to see an increase among teens and tweens at the Kemtpville assessment centre over the holidays. "While school was out we should have been seeing the rate dropping, which is not what’s happening," said Rutherford, who has teenagers of her own. "What I'm seeing in Kemptville is kids coming in for testing because they've had direct contact." As Rutherford points out, teenagers and children generally understand that there is a pandemic going on and most of them want to help. "They just need more reminders and it has to come from the parents, and I know that just having one friend over may seem safe, but it might not be and that's how this virus spreads," said Rutherford. There are a number of ways parents can help children and teens make the right choices, according to the health unit. These include having an open dialogue about why the rules are in place and the risks of close contact, including spreading the virus to loved ones and the health consequences, how they will have to undergo 14 days of isolation if they are deemed a "close contact" of someone who tests positive, and their social responsibility, said Healey. "This spike among teens and tweens means that as parents we're making choices that are increasing the exposure rate," said Rutherford. She said she appreciates the mental health toll that this pandemic and the lockdowns are having on both children and adults. Her suggestion is to take the health unit's advice and spend more time on outdoor activities where it's easier to maintain social distancing. She also points out that children today are so plugged into the virtual world that there are lots of opportunities for them to stay connected in healthy ways online. "The message I'm trying to get out is we need to get this virus under control so kids can go back to school, so there will be jobs for them in the summer, and we need a health care system that isn't overwhelmed so if a child has an accident they can be admitted quickly or if a parent is diagnosed with cancer they'll get the treatment they need," said Rutherford. It's all the small decisions that families make that can help turn the tide on this pandemic, added Rutherford. "So no, I'm not going to pick up your friend on the way to the outdoor rink; they can meet you there," said Rutherford. She explains a car is a petri dish – it's too tight and confined a space with little air circulation to be a safe environment. Other effective strategies, Healey said, could be asking for teens to help in finding ways to connect virtually with your friends and theirs, or getting a head start on making plans for fun ways to connect later this year when restrictions are lifted and the vaccine is widespread. "Parents can encourage teens to be leaders and role models for their peer group – the more people who follow the rules, the easier it is to do so without feeling left out," said Healey. Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Commentators across the political spectrum spread anti-Islamic rhetoric, insisting that Islam is intrinsically violent and that Muslims are terrorists. But studies show these claims are unfounded.
Avec les confinements, nous pouvons nous attendre à une augmentation de notre facture énergétique d’environ 30 %.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has confidence in FBI Director Chris Wray and plans to keep him in the job, the White House press secretary said Thursday. FBI directors are given 10-year terms, meaning leadership of the bureau is generally unaffected by changes in presidential administrations. But Biden's spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, was notably noncommittal when asked at her first briefing Wednesday whether Biden had confidence in Wray. "I have not spoken with him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days," Psaki said. On Thursday, she cleared up any confusion, tweeting: “I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing.” Wray is keeping his position even as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The Justice Department inspector general and other watchdog offices are now investigating. Wray was appointed in 2017 by President Donald Trump following Trump's firing of James Comey. Wray later became a frequent target of Trump's attacks, including by publicly breaking with the president on issues such as antifa, voter fraud and Russian election interference. The criticism led to speculation that Trump might fire Wray after the election. The Associated Press
Les élus de la MRC de Lac-Saint-Jean-Est ont donné leur appui à un important projet de requalification de l’église de Saint-Gédéon évalué à 1,8 M$. Une étape essentielle pour que la municipalité puisse aller chercher l’aide financière dont elle a besoin. « C’est une demande que nous avons reçue de la part du maire Émile Hudon. La ville se dirige dans une phase de projets importants concernant l’église et une aide financière a été demandée au ministère de la Culture et des Communications, que la ville devrait recevoir », indique le directeur général de la MRC, Sabin Larouche. La localité souhaiterait notamment faire de l’église une salle multifonctionnelle tout en conservant son lien de culte. La ministre responsable de la région, Andrée Laforest, avait fait savoir à la municipalité de Saint-Gédéon qu’il serait plus intéressant que le projet puisse compter sur un appui de la MRC. « C’est un beau projet, donc on l’a évidemment appuyé », ajoute Sabin Larouche, qui précise toutefois qu’aucune somme n’avait à être versée dans l’immédiat par la MRC. Le maire de Saint-Gédéon, Émile Hudon, n’a pu se rendre disponible pour offrir plus de détails sur le dossier. Il fera le point sur ce projet dans notre prochaine édition. Chemin du Golf Par ailleurs, les élus ont également adopté une résolution pour l’asphaltage du chemin du Golf à Saint-Gédéon. « Il s’agit de la dernière phase concernant les travaux d’envergure pour permettre l’accès à l’agrandissement de la Pointe-Taillon dans le secteur de Saint-Gédéon. Le camping est pas mal prêt, et tout ce qui concerne la SÉPAQ également. » Sabin Larouche indique que les travaux d’infrastructure du chemin sont pratiquement tous terminés, mais comme l’entrepreneur qui était responsable a fait faillite, la MRC a récupéré le projet pour le compléter. « Principalement, ce n’est que l’asphaltage qui reste à compléter, ce qui sera fait ce printemps. On ira en appel d’offres bientôt. »Janick Emond, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
For 17-year-old Ethan Turpin, a high school student and aspiring welder, co-op has been a pandemic saving grace. “He came home with a sense of confidence, of achievement, and things that he wouldn't be able to get anywhere else because he's not allowed to go anywhere,” said Linda Stenhouse, his grandmother. Ethan is enrolled in a co-operative education program at Waterdown District High School, completing his placement at Flamboro Technical Services, a fabrication and millwrighting company. Stenhouse said he has been invited back for another term. “He went from failing grades and ended up being an honour student,” she said. “We likened it to the fact that he was in the co-op program.” The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says about half of its students are able to continue with co-op placements — both in person and virtual — amid a provincewide stay-at-home order announced by the Ontario government on Jan. 12. The board has been offering in-person co-op placements since Oct. 21, “after a pause to ensure that student safety was considered, and appropriate protocols were in place,” HWDSB spokesperson Shawn McKillop said in an email to The Spectator. In cases where an in-person placement is not possible, staff will determine whether or not the student can continue virtually or present “alternate learning opportunities” in order to meet curriculum expectations. “There are some community placements that have been unable to place a student given the recent provincial state of emergency stay-at-home order,” he said. “Horse-crazy” Meghan Wahl said she found out last week she would not be going back to her placement at Halton Equine Veterinary Services, where she cleaned stalls, filled water buckets and observed procedures. “That was kind of hard because Meg had to say bye to everyone, like, then,” her mother, Nicolle Wahl, said. Meghan was given the “green light” to begin a co-op placement at the horse vet in October. “It was the vet part, the technical, hands-on seeing treatments and stuff, that was really interesting,” she said. Her mother said masking and physical distancing — where possible — were required at the vet clinic. “The fact that it was in a medical setting was the reason why both my husband and I felt comfortable with sending Meg,” she said. “That definitely made us feel reassured that she was in a safe environment.” Abbie Boyko’s son, a grade 12 student with the HWDSB, landed a part-time job at his co-op placement, the auto department at the Canadian Tire on Barton Street, before his placement ended when the province further tightened restrictions. “It's very disappointing because it's a great opportunity for students,” Boyko said. “He's just lucky that he did well in his co-op that they've hired him on.” She said co-op is valuable for high school students, particularly those who are graduating. “Not every child is going to go on to college or university, they're going to be out in the (workforce),” she said. Students in the Catholic board, which paused in-person co-ops after winter break to “do some consulting,” were offered the option to go back to in-person placements last week after feedback from co-op teachers. “They felt it was very important to continue with that provision, should the parents and the students still want it,” said Sandie Pizzuti, superintendent of education for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB). The board has added more requirements, including face shields, a revised consent form, repeated COVID-19 training and additional workplace evaluation. The board expects to have approximately 730 students in co-op this school year — about two-thirds of last year’s enrolment. Pizzuti said she understands the concerns some families may have over the decision to return to in-person placements. “But what we needed to do was listen to what our co-op teachers were telling us based on student voice and student input," she said. “And we felt that for those who really wanted to get back to their workplace — and in the case where we felt their workplace was very, very safe — that we would still provide the opportunity because we want them to have a very meaningful, relevant experience.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A Bedford, N.S., man is facing three sexual assault charges in relation to incidents that occurred in student housing at Dalhousie University in 2019. Halifax police say they have charged Michael James Allain, 20, with two counts of sexual assault involving one woman and a third count involving a different woman. The alleged assaults occurred in September and October 2019 and were reported to police in February and March 2020. Police say Allain was acquainted with both women, but did not provide further information in order to protect the identity of the women. MORE TOP STORIES
The Nottawasaga Foundation presented a cheque for $10,500 to the local Food Banks of Alliston, Tottenham, and Angus on Monday, January 11. Each food bank received $3,500, which will be used to restock their shelves following the busy Christmas holidays as well as provide additional support for their efforts throughout the year. To date, the Foundation has given a total of $321,00 to the three Food Banks. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) students will soon be returning to classroom based learning following their second round of virtual, remote classes. While the change to virtual learning for some students living within town hasn’t been a large issue, those who live in rural areas are facing problems due to poor internet connection. Shelley Madensky, a resident of Mulmur, has three daughters who are currently working on classes virtually and says that no matter what they each do with their “not great” internet connection, they’re consistently bumping each other out of work. “We’re finding that they’ll get their day started and everything is fine, but as they start doing more throughout the day on the internet, back and forth and sometimes on the phone for Google answers, they’re just kicking each other off,” said Madensky. Madensky’s daughter Saige, who is in Grade 11, says she’s had the Wi-Fi cut out while she’s doing school work, which results in her being signed out, it then becomes a struggle to get back online. To alleviate some of their problems, Madensky has switched her youngest daughter Jaycee, who is in Grade 7, to worksheets to allow for her two daughters in high school to be on the internet. “I find for the high school kids it’s more important to have the internet, they need to be on it more,” said Madensky. “Her teacher prepares all the sheet for me and every Thursday I go and pick up all her worksheets.” Heather Loney, Communication and Community Engagement Officer for UGDSB, told the Free Press in an email that the Upper Grand was aware of areas within the board that have poor internet connectivity, some more than others, including areas in Dufferin County. “Even in areas with good internet coverage, some families are struggling with the challenge of multiple people learning or working at home, drawing on the same resources (bandwidth, devices etc.),” said Loney. Similar to their response last spring the UGDSB has provided students and families with Chromebooks and other devices, internet support, as well as printed packages and asynchronous learning options. “Families with internet capacity issues have an option to increase their data plan or use their phone as hotspots and the board provided funding to offset the costs – families can contact their school principal for more information.” While students will be returning to in-class learning by Monday (Jan. 25) Madensky reflecting back on their experience with remote learning by saying they’re “making it through.” Online learning for all schools in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph has been extended until at least February 1st. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
The new U.S. president has signed a string of executive orders to combat the worsening COVID-19 situation in the United States. Canadian infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says the approach signals 'good news' for the U.S. and Canada.
If you have been shopping for a new or used car over the past few months, you prob-ably noticed that local dealerships are starting to look a little bare as their lots don’t have the same amount of inventory they had a year ago. A check with one dealership noted that they usually have around 150 units on the lot but had been reduced to around 20 .It is a two-fold problem. During a visit to a prominent dealer in the Orangeville area, it was explained that dealerships are having trouble getting new vehicles delivered to their lots. Disruptions in trans-portation due to the current pandemic means dealerships can’t get the inventory they need. On top of that, the recent province-wide lockdown has seen a drop in sales as custom-ers aren’t as willing to make appointments to visit a dealership. One sales person said, “It happened almost overnight. People just stopped coming in.” The shortage of vehicles has also impacted the used car market. With fewer people trad-ing in their old cars, there isn’t a lot of inven-tory on the pre-owned side of the dealership lots. “Used cars are going fast,” one salesperson said. “There’s not a lot of vehicles coming in. When we get a nice one it won’t be here long.” The latest concern in the auto industry is a shortage of parts that is causing delays in pro-duction. The parts shortage has affected pretty much every auto manufacture, not only in North America but around the world. In Brampton, the Chrysler plant has already seen temporary layoffs and also suspended operations at its plant in Mexico. The Alliston Honda plant has announced it will stop production on one of its lines during the week for January 25. The problem is a shortage of semiconductor microchips.After a slow down in production earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductor manufacturers allocated more capacity to meet the soaring demand from consumer-electronics makers. Microchip makers favour consumer-electronics customers because their orders are larger than those of automakers. The annual smartphone market alone is more than 1 billion devices compared to fewer than 100 million for cars. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in sales in phones, game consoles, smart TVs and laptops, as people are spending more time at home. New cars are using more and more micro-chips in their vehicles to handle everything from navigation systems to traction control.Industry experts say the situation will most likely turn around in the next three months. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Dufferin County Council is asking the Province to reassess the makeup of the conservation authority working group, launched by the Ontario government following the passing of Bill 229. During County Council’s meeting last Thursday (Jan. 14), Amaranth Deputy Mayor Chris Gerrits brought forward a motion requesting that the province revaluate the working group to allow for equal representation from municipalities and conservation authorities. “I found yesterday the list of appointees and I was disappointed to see that it’s primarily CAOs of conservation authorities, with only one representative out of 18 representing municipality,” said Gerrits. The Conservation Authority Working Group was established by the provincial government following the passing of Bill 229, which received Royal Assent on Dec. 8 and saw controversial changes to Schedule 6 of the Conservation Authorities Act (CAA). Prior to its passing, conservation authorities and municipalities said the legislation would limit conservation authorities and streamline the development process. Some revision and amendments were made such as allowing conservation authorities to issues stop orders while concerns such as the Minster of Natural Resources and Forestry having the ability to make decision on appeals and issuing permits without expertise from conservation authorities. Gerrits, speaking with the Free Press, explained his concerns with the majority of appointees on the working group being conservation authorities, with only one representative from municipalities. “My issue with is that it’s supposed to be a working group to sort of advise on proposed changes and the fact is that municipalities are the major source of funding for the Conservation Authority,” said Gerrits. “So the recommendations that come out of the working group have the potential to be adopted by the provincial government, with the implication being that any costs associated with improvements or enhancements or any additional scope, which I don’t think would happen, but it is possible – have direct impact on those municipalities because they’re responsible for those costs.” Discussing the motion, Mulmur Mayor Janet Horner questioned a change in the wording, to have additional municipal representation rather than equal, noting that she too believes that one municipal representative is not enough. With 18 members already part of the conservation authority working group, Gerrits did consider how the working could cause a higher number of group members, but chose to continue to the original working of the motion. With the passing of the motion it will also be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek, and Hassaan Basil, chair of the conservation authority working group. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press