Cletus and Dood take down the house in this hilarious video. Too funny!
Cletus and Dood take down the house in this hilarious video. Too funny!
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."
Health PEI says the province's two intensive care units are operating at reduced capacity, all as a result of a nurse staffing crunch. According to the agency, only four of the six ICU beds at Summerside's Prince County Hospital are operational. That's because 9.6 of the 15.6 ICU nurse positions there are vacant. At Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, just eight of the 10 ICU beds are open. The agency says between the ICU and the critical care unit, which share staff, there are 5.9 vacant nursing positions. 'It's huge when you get a loss from the ICU' The P.E.I. Nurses' Union says while many areas of health care continue to face staffing shortages, recruiting and training ICU nurses has proven particularly challenging. "When you get vacancies in areas like ICU, you can't just train an ICU nurse in two weeks," said Barbara Brookin, the union's president. "It's six months minimum before you get a nurse that works in ICU able to work as a second, or take charge of patients and not just supporting the other nurses. So it's huge when you get a loss from ICU." According to the union president, nurses from other departments have been shuffled around to cover some ICU shifts. Health PEI says while the staffing crunch has been manageable to date, it would become more challenging if P.E.I. saw a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, and increased demand for ICU beds and ventilators. "We could have a certain number of ventilators at Prince County Hospital. But if we don't have the nursing level to safely look after them, we wouldn't be able to receive that ventilated patient," said Arlene Gallant-Bernard, the hospital's chief administrative officer. "They probably would look at going to QEH, or on some occasions, we'd have to send them off-Island." Bubble closure hurting recruitment Gallant-Bernard said Health PEI is advertising the ICU nursing positions across Canada. The agency's also offering a $5,000 signing bonus, plus $10,000 to cover moving expenses. But she said the pandemic and closure of the Atlantic bubble have made finding nurses more challenging. Normally, she said, there are nurses living in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, willing to travel here to work during the week. "People have been in those arrangements. But it's getting harder now to make that look appealing because of all the guidelines. And every province's guidelines are a bit different," said Gallant-Bernard. "So when we had the bubble, we had a much broader group to draw from. But now we don't have that." Though one aspect of the pandemic is giving the hospital CAO some recruitment hope. She said the fact P.E.I. has had relatively few COVID-19 cases, restrictions, and health-care pressures should make it a more attractive place for nurses. "It's a very appealing place to come to right now," she said. "So I think if we can recruit, now is the time." More P.E.I. news
En cette période de confinement où le télétravail s’impose plus que jamais, Action Laval souhaitait suspendre l’application du règlement municipal régissant le stationnement alternatif. Déposé ce mois-ci par la conseillère de Chomedey, Aglaia Revelakis, et débattu séance tenante, l’avis de proposition à cet effet a été rejeté en bloc par le parti au pouvoir et l’opposition officielle. «Le gouvernement provincial nous demande à tous de rester à la maison pour éviter la propagation du virus, il y a donc beaucoup plus de voitures stationnées qu’en temps ordinaire sur les rues», a rappelé la cheffe de la seconde opposition et candidate à la mairie, Sonia Baudelot, dans un communiqué publié le 19 janvier. Une situation qui n’est pas sans compliquer la vie des Lavallois contraints à déplacer leur véhicule du bon côté de la rue, et ce, tous les jours de la semaine, laisse-t-elle entendre. «Abasourdie» par le résultat du vote au conseil, Mme Baudelot fait valoir que le travail des élus municipaux consiste à «trouver des solutions et apporter de la souplesse au système», évoquant du coup le «mécontentement» que suscite cette politique auprès de nombreux citoyens «depuis le début de la période de confinement». Le maire suppléant Stéphane Boyer et son collègue Ray Khalil, chargé des dossiers de travaux publics au comité exécutif, ont indiqué qu’une telle décision ne pouvait s’improviser en raison des considérations logistiques fort complexes liées aux opérations de déneigement. À cet égard, les trois projets pilotes déployés l’hiver dernier en vue d’éliminer pour 2020-2021 le stationnement saisonnier ont soulevé «d’énormes problèmes», a mentionné M. Khalil, forçant ainsi la Ville à poursuivre les essais en testant, cet hiver, quatre solutions dans six secteurs de la Municipalité, question d’ajuster ses façons de faire selon les particularités des quartiers. «Ce ne sera pas une solution mur à mur», a-t-il repris, ajoutant que pour le moment «la priorité est de sécuriser nos rues et nos trottoirs pour que les gens puissent circuler en toute sécurité». Même son de cloche du côté de l’opposition officielle. Aller de l’avant avec une telle mesure «en plein milieu de l’hiver, sans signalisation adéquate et moyen de communication efficace comme on a mis en place dans les six projets pilotes sur le territoire» serait courir à sa perte, a mentionné le conseiller Claude Larochelle. «C’est bien tentant de dire aux citoyens "on élimine ça" [le stationnement alternatif], mais ce n’est pas comme ça qu’on gère une ville», a-t-il terminé. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air. The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.
British Columbia will not ban visitors from other provinces, Premier John Horgan said Thursday, because a review of legal options showed it would not be possible right now. Horgan said most interprovincial travel right now is for work and cannot be restricted in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But he also left the door open for more restrictions in the future. "The review of our legal options made it clear we can't prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians," Horgan said in a statement. "If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers." Horgan said he spoke with other premiers and the prime minister on Thursday, and has asked them to spread the message that nobody should be travelling for non-essential reasons right now. "We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely," Horgan said. He added that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking into tighter restrictions on international travel, and B.C. will be ready to support any efforts in that direction. Horgan announced his plan to seek legal advice on the matter last week, in response to concerns about tourists from other provinces visiting over the Christmas holidays, as well as "frustration and anger" over Canadian politicians travelling abroad for vacations. An emergency room doctor from Whistler recently told CBC News about treating a "worrying" number of patients from Ontario and Quebec who had travelled west over the holidays. However, there were questions about the constitutionality of restricting travel across provincial boundaries. Lawyers have said that charter rights are subject to reasonable limits if the government proves those limits are justified in order to achieve an objective. In this case, the province would need to prove a ban on non-essential travel is justified by the risk of increased COVID-19 transmission caused by tourists visiting from other parts of the country. Horgan said health officials' advice continues to be for everyone in B.C. to obey the current orders wherever they are.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — On the first day of Joe Biden's presidency, Native Americans had reason to celebrate. Biden halted construction of the border wall that threatened to physically separate Indigenous people living on both sides. He also revoked a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that tribes fought in court for years, and he agreed to restore the boundaries of the first national monument created specifically at the request of tribes in southern Utah. Inaugural events showcased tribes across the country in traditional regalia, dancing and in prayer. But amid the revelry, some Native Americans saw a glitch in Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony. The only mention of Indigenous people came in the benediction delivered by the Rev. Silvester Beaman. And then there was the mishmash of songs sung by Jennifer Lopez that included lyrics from “This Land is Your Land." The folk tune is popular around campfires and in grade schools, but it also called to mind the nation's long history of land disputes involving tribes. “Oh, I love J.Lo," said Kristen Herring, who is Lumbee and lives in Austin, Texas. “It wasn't super disappointing that she sang it. But I was like, ‘Oh, why did that have to be on the list of things to sing?’" Woody Guthrie, who wrote the song in the 1940s, meant it as a retort to “God Bless America” and a rebuke to monetizing land at a time of economic crisis, said Gustavus Stadler, an English professor and author of “Woodie Guthrie: An Intimate Life." Lopez put a twist on it, throwing in part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish that translates to “justice for all.” The Guthrie song has been a symbol of equality, inclusion and unity. Lady Gaga sang a rendition of it at the Super Bowl months after Donald Trump took office. It was part of Barack Obama's inaugural programming, with a trio of singers, including Bruce Springsteen, adding back some of the original, more controversial verses. But arriving amid an effort by some tribes to be recognized as stewards of ancestral land, a movement known as Land Back, the lyrics hit the wrong note for some tribal members. “It's a nice little sentiment that America is this mixing pot,” said Benny Wayne Sully, who is Sicangu Lakota and lives in Los Angeles. “But does anybody believe this land was made for you and me? Or was it made for white folks? People forget this land was made of brown people before it was colonized." Rep. Deb Haaland, who is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, acknowledged that perspective in a virtual welcoming to the inaugural events over the weekend. She's been nominated to lead the Interior Department, which oversees tribal affairs. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American in a Cabinet post. That's one of the reasons Cherie Tebo was able to look past the song that she said was inappropriate and emphasized how little some Americans know about Indigenous people. She sees an opportunity for tribes to have a seat at the table in Biden's administration, citing Haaland and Winnebago tribal member Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, who has been named a deputy solicitor for the Interior Department. “In order to make it work, ‘this land is your land, this land is my land,' people (need) to understand it doesn’t belong to us,” said Tebo, who also is Winnebago. “If anything, we belong to it. And when our land is sick, we are sick." ___ Fonseca is a member of The Associated Press' Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FonsecaAP. Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press
Researchers at Ruhr University use designer protein brain injections to regenerate spinal nerves which allow paralyzed mice to walk again.
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's Liberal party took the first steps Thursday towards selecting a new leader while also addressing a constitutional technicality that still has Andrew Wilkinson as party leader. The party appointed former cabinet minister Colin Hansen as co-chair of an organizing committee to oversee the campaign. A date hasn't been set yet to choose a new leader. Hansen, known as a stalwart in the governments of former premier Gordon Campbell, will co-chair the seven-member committee with Victoria lawyer Roxanne Helme. Interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond said she is energized by the formation of the campaign oversight committee and downplayed the fact Wilkinson hasn't followed the protocol to resign under the party's constitution. "I just have to say this, that British Columbians this morning didn't wake up and worry about whether or not there was constitutionally a technical issue with who's the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party," she said at a news conference. Wilkinson announced his resignation after the Liberals lost the election last fall and dropped seats that were once considered safe for the party. In the days following the Oct. 24 election, Wilkinson held a brief news conference where he said he planned to resign, but would remain leader until a replacement is chosen. About one month later he posted on Facebook: "It is now time for me to leave the role as Opposition leader as voters in B.C. have made their preference clear." Although Wilkinson hasn't official resigned, Bond said she is leading the Liberals. "I'm speaking to you today as the leader of the Opposition, make no mistake about that," she said. Wilkinson is not receiving any leadership benefits from the party and he has no leadership responsibilities, Bond said. "I can assure you this, Andrew Wilkinson is focusing on his role as an MLA," she said. "He has no responsibilities, no stipend, nothing like that related to the B.C. Liberal Party. We certainly expect a letter of resignation at some point in the next few weeks, but the fact of the matter is I lead the official Opposition." Wilkinson was not immediately available for comment. Bond, who has already ruled herself out of the Liberal leadership race, said 2021 will be a year of reflection, renewal and rebuilding for the party. "In the meantime, the party will continue to create and unveil the leadership contest rules and how it will work," she said. "I'm quite energized looking at what candidates might emerge and eventually they will transition to take on the role that I have now." Other members of the organizing committee to help pick a leader include legislature members Jackie Tegart, Derek Lew, Sarah Sidhu, Don Silversides and Cameron Stolz. The committee's mandate includes determining the timeline for the leadership election, establishing the campaign's rules and implementing the election process for party members. — By Dirk Meissner in Victoria This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Niagara school boards are coming to terms with the fact students here will remain at home Monday. “We know that the optimal place for students to learn is in-person with their teacher, in their classroom,” District School Board of Niagara education director Warren Hoshizaki said Thursday. “However, we fully support the decision from the province because safety of our students and staff is always top priority. We are fully prepared to continue supporting students and families with remote learning.” On Wednesday, Ontario announced Schools in Grey Bruce, Peterborough, Haliburton and Kingston are among those in southern Ontario allowed to open their doors to students to attend class in person, starting Monday. Schools in the north welcomed children back Monday, with a few exceptions in communities that saw a sharp jump in cases over the holidays. The seven areas where elementary and secondary students can resume in-person learning on Jan. 25 are: Haliburton/Kawartha/Pine Ridge; Peterborough; Grey Bruce; Hastings/Prince Edward; Leeds/Grenville/Lanark; Renfrew; Kingston/Frontenac/Lennox & Addington. Students in all other southern Ontario public health districts, including Niagara, will remain online for now, and the government gave no specific timeline other than to say the chief medical officer of health will monitor COVID cases and determine when kids can return. Niagara Catholic District School Board education director Camillo Cipriano said, “We continue to find ways to ensure that students are actively engaged during the school day and that we meet the needs of students wherever they are in their learning. “We understand that all of this is difficult, and we are so proud of the excellent work that is happening online by our students, teachers, administrators and support staff to keep advancing learning.” Despite confidence in abilities to navigate the uncharted waters that is a global pandemic, neither of board has received any indication regarding the criteria the Education Ministry or the province’s chief medical officer of health has set for schools to reopen safely. “Creating a one-size-fits-all approach to school reopening is a challenge,” Cipriano said. “We have regular meetings with the ministry and public health and will continue to look forward to open dialogue with the ministry through the end of the school year.” He added, “We did receive requests for technology support and assistance from families when schools first reopened after the Christmas break and have supported families with their requests. We recognize that as this continues, families may experience technology issues for many reasons, and we encourage them to contact their child’s school if they do have challenges.” DSBN also acknowledged hardships of remote learning. “Any families who have questions about their child’s remote learning are strongly encouraged to contact their teacher and principal,” said Hoshizaki. “It’s important to us that this time of remote learning meets the needs of all our students, and we are here to support our students and their families.” The Niagara Falls Review reached out to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, parliamentary assistant to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, but he has not been available for an interview. With files from the Toronto Star Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.com Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
A trade organization representing Canada's movie theatres is calling on British Columbia health officials to explain why cinemas in the province can only open if they're operating as restaurants or bars.Nuria Bronfman, executive director of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada, says COVID-19 guidelines that allow theatres to project sporting events on the big screen, but not movies, "highlights the kind of absurdity of what's happening" in the province.The frustration comes as B.C. leaders have allowed gyms, restaurants and bars to stay open, but forced movie theatres to close last November.Vancouver's Rio Theatre is moving forward with plans to reopen on Saturday by pivoting its business to operate as a bar. The city's Hollywood Theatre made a similar move in December.Those sorts of creative rebrandings were applauded by the province's Health Ministry in a statement on Wednesday that recognized those in "the arts and culture sector who have worked hard to find new ways to reinvent themselves during the pandemic."Bronfman says the trade group takes issue with suggestions that movie theatres should be embracing "ingenuity in order to survive.""Most movie theatres don't have liquor licences, and they are on the verge of shutting their doors forever," she says."All we're asking is to be looked at as an industry, as a sector that has a very low risk of any kind of transmission of the disease."Theatres across Canada have been shuttered for a large part of the pandemic over concerns they are a spreading ground for the virus. But representatives for the industry have argued there's no data that points to cinemas as being a point of transmission.Bronfman says if concerns about airflow are part of the issue, it's unclear why health authorities would deem it safe for people to sit across from each other at a bar, but not inside a theatre with high ceilings.It's equally confusing why showing a Sunday night football game would be allowed, but not a screening of sports favourites "Rudy" or "Friday Night Lights," which are shorter and would provide less theoretical exposure to the virus."We're not getting the answers as to why we can't open," she says."There's a level of frustration and quite frankly desperation."Before they were closed, cinemas across the country had introduced various safety protocols that limited the size of crowds and kept them distanced with assigned seating.However, there were critics of the reopening of movie theatres who questioned whether proper enforcement was in place at multiplexes to prevent people from sitting in groups.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Jurisdictional issues are causing concerns when it comes to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines to Indigenous people. “There … (are) challenges to overcome when we try to work in partnership with multiple levels of governments and the prioritization province-by-province,” said Marion Crowe, CEO for the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA). During the weekly virtual townhall Jan. 21 hosted by FNHMA, Crowe referenced comments by premiers who have questioned the need to provide their provinces’ allocated vaccines to Indigenous peoples because First Nations are a federal responsibility. Crowe said one premier even went so far as to say that First Nations were not a priority. She did not report which premiers she was referring to in her comments. The federal government’s role is to procure the vaccines. It’s up to the provinces to distribute them. However, said Dr. Tom Wong, executive director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), that distribution should follow the guidelines set out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Wong, who sits on NACI, told the virtual forum audience that NACI did a “thorough evidence review” and developed prioritization recommendations, including Elders and residents and staff in long-term care and Elder care facilities; frontline healthcare workers; and Indigenous peoples in communities in settings where they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Those are the groups right at the very, very beginning. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is telling the whole country please follow these evidence-based guidelines and that includes marginalized, racialized groups in urban settings, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in those settings,” Wong said. Issues have arisen in dealing with the urban Indigenous population and Wong highlighted outbreaks in Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. “In particular, the (intensive care unit) admissions for off-reserve in urban areas in Manitoba has been found to be even worse than that on reserve. So this really highlights the point that, yes, there are great needs in the north, but equally that there’s huge needs in some of the urban centres where there’s a lack of services, overcrowding, in homeless shelters,” he said Kim Daly, senior nurse manager, Communicable Disease Control Department with ISC, is also with the COVID-19 vaccine working group for urban Indigenous populations. She told the virtual audience that working with provinces goes beyond prioritizing Indigenous groups. It’s also about making the vaccine accessible. “When we’re talking about items such as systemic racism, it’s important that provinces recognize that just opening a clinic down the road does not mean equal access for all the populations. We’re really trying to break down those barriers so that they know that it’s not just on reserve. It’s not just on remote and isolated (communities). There are barriers all across this country and we’re working together with them,” she said. Epidemiology, said Daly, also dictates how the vaccine is used province-to-province and that was clear throughout the country. Some provinces, like Newfoundland/Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia prioritized remote, isolated or fly-in communities, while other provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, prioritized those 18 years and over in Indigenous communities. Manitoba, Alberta and the Northwest Territories prioritized Elder care homes. In Saskatchewan, northern communities were included in the first phase. Daly applauded provinces, like Quebec, which initially saw only about a 50 per cent uptake from Indigenous residents in remote communities for the vaccine. “The province was really gracious with communications, stating, ‘When you’re ready, the vaccine will be here.’ And there was a provision they kept back vaccines… So we really like that approach so people don’t have to make an on-the-spot decision, that they feel comfortable to come back through,” said Daly. Vaccine hesitancy, she added, should be answered with “kindness and understanding and facts.” Daly also pointed out that there were some First Nations and organization like Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which led the process, setting the example for how the vaccine should continue to be rolled out. Wong said more than 160 Indigenous communities have started immunization clinics. “As vaccine deployment continues it remains critical that First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders and partners are included at decision-making tables in each province and each territory and continue to engage in co-planning to determine ongoing capacity and needs with respective communities,” he said. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
NEW YORK — Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network's audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural. The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump's swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said. On the flip side, Fox News Channel's audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said. A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden's inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn't have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes. CNN, with 10 million viewers, easily beat ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and Fox during Biden's big moment, Nielsen said. That's 196% more than watched Trump four years ago. CNN, which has been on a hot streak in the ratings since Biden's victory, also topped all the others for its coverage of the primetime inaugural celebration. MSNBC, meanwhile, said it recorded the highest daytime ratings of the network's nearly 25-year history on Wednesday. ABC had 7.66 million viewers for the oath-taking (up 10% from 2017), NBC had 6.89 million (down 12%) and CBS had 6.07 million (down 13%), Nielsen said. David Bauder, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. There are 731,450 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 731,450 confirmed cases (67,099 active, 645,729 resolved, 18,622 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 5,955 new cases Thursday from 102,162 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 178.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 42,555 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,079. There were 160 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,040 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 149. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 49.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,895,320 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 397 confirmed cases (nine active, 384 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 284 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.35 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 77,326 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (seven active, 103 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 419 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 87,989 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,565 confirmed cases (21 active, 1,479 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 939 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 199,703 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,057 confirmed cases (325 active, 719 resolved, 13 deaths). There were 32 new cases Thursday from 1,457 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 41.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 198 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 28. There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 132,168 tests completed. _ Quebec: 248,860 confirmed cases (18,260 active, 221,327 resolved, 9,273 deaths). There were 1,624 new cases Thursday from 8,900 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 18 per cent. The rate of active cases is 215.2 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,033 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,719. There were 65 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 397 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 57. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.67 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 109.29 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,687,068 tests completed. _ Ontario: 247,564 confirmed cases (26,063 active, 215,887 resolved, 5,614 deaths). There were 2,632 new cases Thursday from 67,959 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 178.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,254 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,751. There were 46 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 379 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 54. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,826,459 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 28,089 confirmed cases (3,205 active, 24,091 resolved, 793 deaths). There were 196 new cases Thursday from 2,090 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 234.03 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,135 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 162. There were five new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 38 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.91 per 100,000 people. There have been 446,640 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 21,338 confirmed cases (3,099 active, 18,000 resolved, 239 deaths). There were 226 new cases Thursday from 1,157 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 263.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,005 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 286. There were 13 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.35 per 100,000 people. There have been 325,825 tests completed. _ Alberta: 119,114 confirmed cases (10,256 active, 107,358 resolved, 1,500 deaths). There were 678 new cases Thursday from 14,378 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 234.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,529 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 647. There were 16 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 111 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 34.31 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,048,875 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 62,976 confirmed cases (5,847 active, 56,010 resolved, 1,119 deaths). There were 564 new cases Thursday from 4,334 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. The rate of active cases is 115.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,368 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 481. There were 15 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,040,843 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from seven completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,210 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (seven active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 77 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 8,959 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 161 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,179 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
On Christmas Day, Jess Lamb needed three injectable vials of naloxone to revive her partner from a fentanyl overdose in their home. The next day, when Patrick Evans experienced an overdose again, it took three nasal sprays and one injection by Lamb to save their life. “I was too scared to call 911 for the second overdose. I didn’t know what would happen to him,” said Lamb on the phone from the couple’s home in Cranbrook. She loses at least one friend a week to the overdose crisis, but Lamb “didn’t want paramedics to show up again and take him without me because of COVID.” The province’s expanded safer supply program is supposed to provide prescription drugs for people — heroin, hydromorphone and others — as an alternative to increasingly poisoned illicit supplies, preventing overdoses and deaths. But for Evans and others, the program has failed to deliver on its promise, advocates say. Evans had been in recovery and not using for over two years when they started using heroin again in the summer. In September, they went to their physician and was prescribed Dilaudid, an oral form of hydromorphone, as an opioid substitute. Like most participants in the program, they crushed and dissolved the pills and injected them. For Evans, safer supply meant being in control of their days and focusing on things beyond their substance use. “When I’ve put one foot in front of the other and tried, navigating substance use disorder is a full-time job,” they said. Lamb used substances including crystal methamphetamine and heroin until 2015 before stopping to only use cannabis. But when Evans began Dilaudid, “the drug of choice was in my house, and it got the best of me,” Lamb said. Under pandemic risk mitigation guidelines announced in March, the province allowed doctors to prescribe alternatives to people at dual risk of COVID-19 and drug overdose. Research from the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2012 estimates as many as 83,000 people in the province are opioid dependent. Between March and December, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions said the number of people being prescribed Dilaudid nearly quadrupled from 677 to 3,348 across the province. And by October, Lamb and Evans were among them. But what they first saw as relief quickly became a source of stress that put their lives at risk. Stigma and a lack of understanding from doctors have made safer supply difficult to obtain and even harder to keep, said Evans and Lamb, putting their lives at risk even as the province touts a growing number of people with access to Dilaudid. The couple said both their doctors were hesitant to begin prescribing alternatives at all and began pressuring them to taper off their doses almost as soon as they started. Evans said the challenges began immediately. “It was barely enough, and she was constantly pressuring me to taper down because she didn’t want to be prescribing narcotics,” said Evans. “We had difficulties at the pharmacy too, and there was just so much stigma.” Lamb said her doctor was worried she would be at fault if Lamb injected a prescribed substance meant to be taken orally and overdosed or developed an embolism as a result of air in the needle. “If I’m getting Dilaudid, that’s reducing my risk of an overdose, not increasing it,” said Lamb. Lamb, who works in harm reduction at Ankors AIDS Outreach Centre and Support Society in Cranbrook, has been advocating for people to get on safer supply since March’s risk mitigation guidance came out. But it has been an uphill battle in her work as well as her personal life, Lamb said — even after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced in September that safe supply programs would be expanded and registered nurses would be allowed to prescribe drug alternatives. Four months later, there are few details on plans to expand supply, and nurses still can’t prescribe prescription alternatives to illicit drugs. Lamb and Evans said that as it became difficult to access adequate prescribed alternatives under safer supply programs, they began rationing the pills they did have in the late fall. Their prescription supply dwindled, and Evans began turning to the illicit supply, which led to their back-to-back overdoses during the holidays. The couple says their struggles to access and maintain safer supply won’t be alleviated by allowing nurses to prescribe if the stigma and hesitance of doctors and nurses remains. Lamb said substance users and their peers need to be involved in addictions medicine training for doctors and nurses to ensure they understand the gravity of the problem, Lamb said. The colleges representing and regulating nurses, doctors and pharmacists in B.C. have publicly supported the new expansion plan. But Jordan Westfall, president of the Canadian Association for Safer Supply, says physicians’ concerns about prescribing safer options need to be addressed by the college, particularly around any potential disciplinary issues. “Individual doctors can, and they always have been able to, prescribe safer supply. But running into problems with their college, that’s a huge chilling factor,” said Westfall. “So allowing nurses to prescribe too doesn’t address the root cause.” Hydromorphone tablets were initially chosen as the option because of their portability. Now Westfall wants the government to use the Fair PharmaCare program to make injectable alternatives more widely available. That would increase support from the regulatory colleges, he said, by reducing concerns that people are crushing and injecting pills under the current program. A spokesperson for the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, responsible for rolling out the expanded program, said the plan isn’t complete. But the first cohort of trained nurses are expected to begin prescribing suboxone, an opioid substitute, in February. “This means there will soon be more health-care practitioners available to prevent overdoses, and reach more people and provide more options, especially in underserved areas,” he said in an email. In the last two weeks, both Lamb and Evans have been able to begin accessing opioid substitute treatment through a weekly clinic offered by a visiting doctor. They are now both taking Kadian, a slow-release oral form of morphine, and a reduced dose of Dilaudid, with the intention of transitioning to either methadone or suboxone. While Lamb is grateful to have access to this potential solution, she feels they both had to “play ball” with their doctors to stay on any form of treatment at all. She would have preferred to stay on Dilaudid, because now she worries about how she will get off of Kadian, particularly if methadone or suboxone don’t work for her. And in a place like Cranbrook with limited support and options for accessing health care for substance use, Lamb worries about the people who don’t have the knowledge or the energy to advocate for what they need. Lamb has to call colleagues and contacts in Vancouver to convince her doctor to give her a prescription, she said. “I have to fight for my life,” she said. “When you’re using drugs and trying not to die, you don’t have much time to do other things, and one of those things is advocating for your health care.” Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Members from across party lines joined forces Thursday to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons that takes effect Friday. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which outlaws the possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, will become legally binding on Friday for the 51 countries that ratified it. In total, 122 states in the UN General Assembly have endorsed the treaty, of which 86 are signatories — but not Canada. Members from all major political parties were invited Thursday to discuss the matter. No Conservative MPs were able to make it, according to NDP MP Heather McPherson, who chaired the press conference. “The world is unquestionably safer without nuclear weapons and Canada should sign on to the treaty,” said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. “We know we aren’t going to see the end of the possession of nuclear weapons in the short term, but it is incredibly important that the world stigmatizes and delegitimizes the use of these weapons and the possession of these weapons going forward.” There has been a growing call for Canada to sign the nuclear ban pact. Seven former Canadian prime ministers and foreign and defence ministers, including Lloyd Axworthy and Jean Chrétien, signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on the government to “show courage and boldness” by joining the treaty. The Canadian government has maintained it can’t since it’s a member of NATO, which has a nuclear weapons first-strike policy and sees these weapons as “a core component of NATO’s overall capabilities for deterrence and defence.” In 2016, Canada voted against a UN General Assembly resolution that got the ball rolling on the initial talks of the treaty. Ahead of the vote, the United States called on NATO members “not to merely abstain” from the resolution, but to vote against it. Canada then didn’t participate in the negotiation of the treaty the following year. The prime minister has also said he doesn’t see the effectiveness in Canada joining the treaty since it doesn’t actually have nuclear weapons of its own. “There can be all sorts of people talking about nuclear disarmament, but if they do not actually have nuclear arms, it is sort of useless to have them around, talking,” Trudeau said during question period in 2017. However, MPs at the press conference disagree and support discussing the signing of the treaty in the House of Commons and in parliamentary committees. Green Party MP Elizabeth May sees Canada playing a connector role. “We are a country that represents a bridge between divides; a country that can play an important role between those countries that do have nuclear weapons and the rest of the world that lives in fear of them,” May said. She added that Canada played a similar role by leading the Ottawa Treaty in the 1990s which banned the use of anti-personnel landmines, even though Canada didn’t manufacture landmines of its own. Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe believes Canada’s involvement in the treaty could even have an influence on the United States. President Joe Biden quickly overturning many of Donald Trump’s acts is a good indication to Brunelle-Duceppe that the U.S. could lean more towards nuclear disarmament. “He will listen and that’s where we can do something to bring (the U.S.) to this conversation,” Brunelle-Duceppe said. “But for that, we have to start a conversation with them, and we have to lead this thing.” Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
TORONTO — Television personality Sid Seixeiro is leaving Sportsnet's "Tim & Sid" sports talk show to become the new co-host of "Breakfast Television" on Citytv. Seixeiro will make his final appearance as co-host on the show alongside longtime partner Tim Micallef on Feb. 26. Micallef will continue to host the show, which airs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, with a rotating roster of co-hosts. The "Tim & Sid" show made its debut on Toronto radio station CJCL Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Dec. 12, 2011. He will make his Breakfast Television debut alongside co-host Dina Pugliese on March 10. The program was simulcast on television on The Score (now Sportsnet 360) starting in 2013, then was relaunched on Sportsnet as an afternoon television show in 2015. The show has been simulcast on The Fan since 2019 as its late afternoon drive program. “It’s been a dream to work 20 years in the sports industry, especially alongside Tim Micallef, and express my passion and love for sports on a daily basis,” Seixeiro said in a release. “I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
GENEVA — The United States will resume funding for the World Health Organization and join its consortium aimed at sharing coronavirus vaccines fairly around the globe, President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the pandemic said Thursday, renewing support for an agency that the Trump administration had pulled back from. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s quick commitment to the WHO — whose response to the pandemic has been criticized by many, but perhaps most vociferously by the Trump administration — marks a dramatic and vocal shift toward a more co-operative approach to fighting the pandemic. “I am honoured to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci told a virtual meeting of the WHO from the United States, where it was 4:10 a.m. in Washington. It was the first public statement by a member of Biden’s administration to an international audience — and a sign of the priority that the new president has made of fighting COVID-19 both at home and with world partners. Just hours after Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, he wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres saying the U.S. had reversed the planned pullout from the WHO that was expected to take effect in July. The withdrawal from the WHO was rich with symbolism — another instance of America's go-it-alone strategy under Trump. But it also had practical ramifications: The U.S. halted funding for the U.N. health agency — stripping it of cash from the country that has long been its biggest donor just as the agency was battling the health crisis that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide. The U.S. had also pulled back staff from the organization. Fauci said the Biden administration will resume “regular engagement” with WHO and will “fulfil its financial obligations to the organization.” The WHO chief and others jumped in to welcome the U.S. announcements. “This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.” The two men hinted at a warm relationship between them, with Fauci calling Tedros his “dear friend” and Tedros referring to Fauci as “my brother Tony.” The White House said later Thursday that Vice-President Kamala Harris had discussed many of the same themes as Fauci raised in a call with Tedros. But she emphasized the need to beef up the global response to COVID-19, “mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls,” and work to “prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic,” the White House said in a statement. “In addition, the vice-president emphasized the importance of making America safer through global co-operation,” it added, highlighting the new tone out of Washington. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the renewed commitment “great news” in an email. “The world has always been a better place when the U.S. plays a leadership role in solving global health problems including the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, polio and other diseases,” he said. Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Facebook: “This is going to have a huge impact on the world’s ability to fight the pandemic. It is decisive that the United States is involved as a driving force and not a country that is looking for the exit when a global catastrophe rages.” Fauci also said Biden will issue a directive Thursday that shows the United States’ intent to join the COVAX Facility, a project to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to people in need around the world — whether in rich or poor countries. Under Trump, the U.S. had been the highest-profile — and most deep-pocketed — holdout from the COVAX Facility, which has struggled to meet its goals of distributing millions of vaccines both because of financial and logistic difficulties. WHO and leaders in many developing countries have repeatedly expressed concerns that poorer places could be the last to get COVID-19 vaccines, while noting that leaving vast swaths of the global population unvaccinated puts everyone at risk. While vowing U.S. support, Fauci also pointed to some key challenges facing WHO. He said the U.S. was committed to “transparency, including those events surrounding the early days of the pandemic.” One of the Trump administration’s biggest criticisms was that the WHO reacted too slowly to the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and was too accepting of and too effusive about the Chinese government’s response to it. Others have also shared those criticisms — but public health experts and many countries have argued that, while the organization needs reform, it remains vital. Referring to a WHO-led probe looking for the origins of the coronavirus by a team that is currently in China, Fauci said: “The international investigation should be robust and clear, and we look forward to evaluating it.” He said the U.S. would work with WHO and partner countries to “strengthen and reform” the agency, without providing specifics. At the White House later in the day, Fauci quipped to Jeff Zients, who is directing the national response to the coronavirus, “You can imagine the comments we were getting from the people in the WHO.” Then he added, his voice trailing off, “They were lining up to thank ..." ___ Associated Press writers Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canadian record producer Bob Rock is joining a chorus of musicians selling off rights to their past work, reaching a deal with a U.K. investment firm for more than 40 songs from Michael Buble and Metallica. The agreement between Rock and Hipgnosis Songs Fund, announced Thursday, will give the London-based operation Rock's full producer rights to a raft of prominent tracks. Among them is Rock's stake in Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, often called "The Black Album," which includes the metal band's hits "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." He's also sold his rights to Buble's album "To Be Loved" in its entirety and his work on "Call Me Irresponsible," "Crazy Love" and "Christmas." Rock, who was born in Winnipeg, is one of Canada's most prolific rock music producers, having worked with the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. The Hipgnosis deal, which encompasses 43 songs, comes as the fund moves quickly to build its library of rights holdings. Last week, Hipgnosis picked up the publisher and songwriter rights to Shakira's entire catalogue of 145 songs, and earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in Neil Young's catalogue of 1,180 songs. Rights deals have become a hot commodity in the pandemic as artists look to monetize their assets while the touring industry remains at a standstill and listening moves increasingly to streaming platforms over record sales. Each transaction can be slightly different than the next, depending on what rights the creator is selling. Rock is selling off his royalty percentage of sound recording copyrights, or "points" as they're called in music industry. That covers his share in revenues for his contribution to studio recordings, such as mixing or production. His points share could vary by each track, but would ultimately determine how much money funnels back to him — from album sales and streaming, to licensing for commercials and TV shows. Those rights are now owned by Hipgnosis. Other artists have recently sold their publishing rights, which cover anything earned for the musical work that's committed to paper. Typically that means a slice of revenues from live performances as well as licensing fees from covers recorded by other artists. Bob Dylan recently sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for estimates that were priced between $300 million and half a billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. — Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Area families of residents in long-term-care are raising concerns about transparency as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the sector continue to rise across the province. At a virtual town hall held by a group called Voices of LTC Thursday, family members from Hamilton and St. Catharines shared their stories and called for change. Hamilton resident Lainie Tessier spoke about her mother, a former resident of Shalom Village in Westdale, who became sick with COVID-19 and died in December. She previously told The Spectator the home didn’t wear PPE right away, despite warnings about her mother’s symptoms. Shalom Village is the city’s largest current outbreak. The outbreak at Grace Villa on east Mountain was declared over as of Jan. 19. Shalom has had 214 cases since Dec. 9 in its long-term-care and assisted-living units combined. Of those, 112 are resident cases and 97 are staff cases. The home reported Jan. 20 that there are nine active resident and 11 active staff cases. Twenty people have died with COVID-19 at Shalom, while Grace Villa had 44 deaths in less than two months. That doesn’t include people who died without COVID-19. Experts have previously warned about deaths from other outbreak-related conditions, such as not being attended to due to staffing shortages. Neither Grace Villa or Shalom Village have released those numbers, citing privacy. Tessier says it shows an absence of transparency. “They don’t want it to look as catastrophic as it is,” she said in the town hall. Public health says a total of 156 people have died with COVID-19 in long-term-care and retirement home outbreaks in Hamilton so far. Asked for the total number including those who died without COVID-19, spokesperson Jacqueline Durlov said public health does not have that information. “Each home holds this information and regulations about releasing it,” she said in an email. No new deaths were reported in Hamilton seniors’ homes Thursday. However, half of the four new outbreaks in the city were in seniors’ homes. Ridgeview Long Term Care Home in Stoney Creek and Amica Dundas are both in outbreak with one case each. Several ongoing outbreaks also saw new cases. Maxwell’s Retirement Home reported 13 new cases, for a total of 15. Macassa Lodge has 34 cases, including three new ones. That includes 20 resident and 14 staff cases. There was also a new case at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre, which now has 11 cases. The Meadows Long-Term Care Home reported a new death Jan. 20, its sixth so far. On Thursday, public health said all 27 long-term-care homes in the city have received COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the mobile clinic was set to complete its final round to 12 retirement homes — up from the previous 10 — by the end of Jan. 21. Durlov said the mobile clinic administered about 4,594 doses of the vaccine by the end of Jan. 20, including mostly seniors’ home residents, along with “a handful” of staff and “possibly” essential caregivers. The city’s goal was to vaccinate 4,900 residents in seniors’ homes with the mobile clinic this week. Seniors’ mental health has also been a topic of concern during the pandemic, including in long-term-care homes. On Thursday, the province announced support for seniors’ mental health, including 46 mental health beds for 16 hospitals across the province. Four of the beds will go to Niagara Health System and two to Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington. No Hamilton hospitals were included. Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
OTTAWA — Julie Payette resigned Thursday as Canada's governor general, saying that to protect the integrity of her office and for the good of the country it was time for her to go. Payette joins a very short list of governors general who have left the post early and is the first to do so mired in controversy. Her decision to leave will have both political and practical consequences for the minority Liberal government. Payette, 57, handed in her resignation ahead of the imminent release of results of an independent investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace at Rideau Hall, over which she has presided since being appointed in 2017. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc presides over the Privy Council Office, which requested the investigation. He said the government received the report late last week. "The conclusions were compelling and they were stark," LeBlanc said in an interview. "It was obviously an unacceptable workplace. Public servants who work for the government of Canada have the right to a secure, safe and healthy workplace and we are adamant ... that that standard be upheld at every institution of the government of Canada." He said the report "painted a picture that was not consistent" with that standard. LeBlanc said he talked to Payette about the report on Tuesday and she then talked to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday evening, at which time "she indicated that it was her intention to offer her resignation," which was received Thursday afternoon. While he wasn't part of Trudeau's conversation with Payette, LeBlanc said he didn't think the prime minister asked for her resignation or threatened to fire her if she didn't resign voluntarily. "I think she had arrived at the conclusion that it would be best for the institution and the country that she terminate her mandate." The secretary to the governor general, Assunta Di Lorenzo, also resigned Thursday from her senior post. In her statement, Payette apologized for tensions at Rideau Hall and, while she welcomed the investigation, she also suggested she disagreed with the characterizations of her leadership. "We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better, and be attentive to one another’s perceptions," she said, noting that there were no formal complaints or grievances filed by employees during her tenure. "I am a strong believer in the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law, and that these principles apply to all equally. Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my viceregal office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new governor general should be appointed," she continued. "Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times." She also suggested personal reasons were part of her decision, citing her father's declining health. "So it is with sureness and humility, but also with pride over what was accomplished during my tenure as Governor General and in my service to the country for the past 28 years, that I have submitted my resignation," she wrote. Trudeau acknowledged in a terse statement he'd received her resignation. “Every employee in the government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, and we will always take this very seriously," he said. "Today’s announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review." Payette, a former astronaut, was appointed Canada's 29th governor general in 2017. Her appointment followed the nearly seven-year term of noted academic David Johnston. While she wasn't the first female governor general, Trudeau's decision to install a woman with a long history in the sciences was seen as a reflection of the Liberals' commitment to encourage more women to be active in those areas. But Trudeau's decision was questioned nearly from the start, and again on Thursday. To select Payette, Trudeau abandoned a formal panel set up by the previous Conservative government to make viceregal appointments, and instead moved the decision into his office. Shortly after she took the job, it emerged that Payette had been charged with second-degree assault while living in Maryland in 2011. She called the charge unfounded and it has since been expunged. But as details of that emerged, so did revelations that she was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that same year. The case was closed without charges after a police investigation. Both incidents raised immediate questions about how thoroughly she had been vetted for the job and accusations she wasn't the right fit for it have dogged her ever since. She did not move into the official residence of Rideau Hall, citing privacy concerns linked to renovations, some of which she had requested herself and whose price tag would eventually become a political problem for the Liberals. Instead, Payette based herself in her home province of Quebec, where she has spent a great deal of time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last summer, the CBC reported, citing anonymous sources, that Payette had yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit. In turn, the Privy Council Office — the civil servants who support Trudeau's work — hired Ottawa-based Quintet Consulting Corp. to investigate. At the time, Trudeau expressed his confidence in Payette's abilities, dismissing the idea of replacing her. During a radio interview in September he said she was excellent. "I think on top of the COVID crisis, nobody's looking at any constitutional crises," he said. In the event a governor general can't carry out the job, is removed, or dies, the chief justice of the Supreme Court assumes the office's powers as long as necessary. For now, that means Chief Justice Richard Wagner will grant royal assent to bills and handle other administrative matters. "A recommendation on a replacement will be provided to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and announced in due course, ” Trudeau said. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said that replacement ought to be considered carefully. "Considering the problems with his last appointment and the minority Parliament, the prime minister should consult opposition parties and re-establish the viceregal appointments committee,” he said in a statement. While the Governor General is a largely symbolic position, it does have some constitutional importance, particularly during a minority government such as the one Canada has now. In 2008, then prime minister Stephen Harper asked governor general Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote he was expected to lose — a decision that was controversial at the time but in keeping with constitutional tradition. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press