Dolly Parton has asked the Tennessee legislature to remove a bill to erect a statue of her at the state Capitol. "Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time," Parton tweeted Thursday.
Dolly Parton has asked the Tennessee legislature to remove a bill to erect a statue of her at the state Capitol. "Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time," Parton tweeted Thursday.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
As Oshawa and Durham Region have moved into the Red Zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says while that’s good news, residents still need to remain vigilant. “That means wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying apart, and try and stay within our family units to be able to make sure that we’re part of the flattening of the curve,” he says. With Oshawa now in the red zone, the city is preparing to reopen some facilities, beginning March 1, including City Hall, Civic Recreation Complex, South Oshawa Community Centre, the Donevan Complex, and Delpark Homes Centre. However, Carter says there will be some changes at these facilities. “Here at City Hall and at all of our facilities, we’re asking people to book ahead,” says Carter, noting attending city facilities is by appointment only. “Our facilities are asking you to take the opportunity to book ahead to make sure you get your spot to utilize our facilities,” he adds. Residents interested in booking an appointment at one of the city facilities can do so through Service Oshawa at 905-436-3311. Bookings will be open beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Oshawa residents now also have the option of advance booking privileges, including bookings for fitness centres, indoor tracks, tennis and pickleball courts, and leisure swimming and skating. Residents who have an active Fitness Membership will have 10 days advance booking privileges, while community members who are not Oshawa residents but have an active Fitness Membership will have seven days. Oshawa residents who do not have an active Fitness Membership will have three days advance booking privileges, and other community members without an active membership will have one day advance booking privileges. Residents looking to take advantage of the 10- or three-day booking privileges are asked to call Service Oshawa, while all other booking requests can be done online at www.register.oshawa.ca. Ice rental is available at Delpark Homes Centre by contacting the Facility Booking Office. Ice is also available at the Tribute Communities Centre for on-ice instruction to specific sport affiliations and organizations. Futhermore, the Delpark and Northview branches of Oshawa Public Libraries will reopen on March 1 as well for in-library browsing, computer use and takeout service. The Jess Hann branch will reopen to the public on March 1, while the McLaughlin branch will continue to provide take-out service only. The OSCC55+ Delpark Homes Branch will reopen by appointment only in conjunction with the Depark Homes Centre. Carter says now is the time for the community to continue to be vigilant, noting residents have done a “tremendous job” thus far. “I’m asking us to stay local, shop local, support local, but we’re in this together,” he adds. “We will get through this together.” Carter noted it’s been almost one year that COVID-19 has been around. “We’ve got a little more journey to go through, but I’m optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a tremendous year.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Squamish Nation has swapped pink shirts for pink masks to mark Canada’s Anti-Bullying Awareness Day. To raise awareness of the CKNW Kids’ Fund annual Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 24) the nation’s Ta7lnew̓ás Education, Employment, and Training team decided to do things a little differently this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, handing out 200 pink masks to students to wear to take a stance against bullying. Staff within the nation’s other offices also got involved – with a total of 600 pink masks handed out throughout the nation's North Vancouver and Squamish communities. The pink masks share a Squamish Nation word – Ayátnewasyap, which means "be kind to one another." Syetáxtn, Chris Lewis, a spokesperson for the nation, said the pink mask initiative was all about spreading the message of Ayátnewasyap throughout the community. “We thought it was really innovative from our team and our staff and a really creative way to get the message out there, especially in unprecedented times where we need to be kinder to one another, now more than ever,” he said. “Everybody has to wear a mask and it's just an alternate way to continue to pass the message around about anti-bullying and make it visible.” Lewis said another message the nation taught the community’s young people and children was to “treat people the way you want to be treated.” “In our language, we call it wena’xws, which means you’re treating somebody with respect, you're believing what they say, and you’re honouring them,” he said. “It’s the complete opposite of bullying and being aggressive. “That's who we are as Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people and we really try to kind of embody that in terms of teaching our young children and reminding our people that we need to be kinder to one another and we need to support one another, especially during a pandemic.” He said he hoped the pink masks would be a visible reminder to not only the nation but to the wider community to be kind and humble to one another and to treat people with respect. “Bullying doesn't have a space in our world,” said Lewis. This Pink Shirt Day, the CKNW Kids’ Fund is calling on British Columbians to “lift each other up” and support programs that encourage healthy self-esteem and teach empathy, compassion, and kindness. They encourage everyone to practise kindness and wear pink today (Feb. 24) to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. Since 2008, net proceeds of over $2.55 million have been distributed to support youth anti-bullying programs in B.C. and throughout Western Canada. Last year alone, CKNW Kids’ Fund was able to support programs that impacted more than 59,000 youth and children. Get involved: purchase official Pink Shirt Day merchandise and support anti-bullying initiatives in B.C. at CKNW Kids’ Fund Pink Shirt Day. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
A new podcast recently launched by an Indigenous storyteller focuses on reconnecting with his cultural roots and exploring how it informs his identity. Jeremy Ratt, a former resident of the Columbia Valley, self-identifies as Métis with ancestors that are of both Woods-Cree and Caucasian descent in his newly released Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - B.C. / Radio Canada podcast entitled Pieces which was announced on Feb. 18, 2021. “I always knew that more Indigenous stories needed to be told and I’m so proud of how Pieces turned out. Podcasting is an intimate and personal medium and really suits the themes of identity and self I explored in Pieces,” said Ratt, the host of Pieces in a recent press release. “The stories are authentic and I feel the podcast will resonate with anyone figuring out who they are in our complex world.” Ratt has released several episodes on the CBC podcast, ranging from cultural reclamation to racism, stereotypes and shame as well as the burdens of intergenerational trauma. He believes these personal stories are a way of sharing his identity with other Canadians and may contribute to his own personal growth in the long-run. The 19-year-old Métis boy focuses on exploring his identity through his platform as a CBC host on a newly published series. Ratt is a self-proclaimed writer and musician with a passion for broadcasting. In fact, Ratt wrote and recorded the intro song that plays at the beginning and end of each episode in his podcast. “I have had the pleasure of working on multiple podcasts at CBC British Columbia that reflect contemporary Canada, we are always on the lookout for interesting stories and diverse voices,” says Shiral Tobin, Director, Journalism and Programming CBC, British Columbia. “When Jeremy first came to us with the idea for Pieces,” we knew it was a story that needed to be told. We are humbled and proud Jeremy trusted CBC British Columbia to help tell this deeply personal story.” Pieces is available online at CBC Listen, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer
(Yvon Theriault/CBC - image credit) If bylaw enforcement follows the trend of other municipalities that have passed anti-idling bylaws, Kitchener likely won't hand out many $75 tickets to drivers for idling their vehicles for more than three minutes. But Gabriella Kalapos, executive director of Clean Air Partnership, says the new bylaw passed by city council on Monday can still be an effective tool to get people to turn off their engines while they sit and wait. "It provides that verification that this is something that is not something to be … encouraged," she said. "Really, one of the key things we found with all of the work that we've done with the municipalities is education is one thing, bylaw is another thing. And education and the bylaw [together], that's the better option." The Toronto-based Clean Air Partnership works with municipalities on improving air quality and climate action projects. Kalapos says in the research the group has done, it found most municipalities do not actively enforce their anti-idling bylaws. Instead, it's largely complaint-based investigations. Because of that, not many people are fined because either the bylaw officer arrives too late or the person drives away before they're found to be contravening the bylaw. Instead, she says it's important for municipalities to educate drivers and focus on the right people. That could mean putting up signs near daycares and schools, near COVID-19 testing sites or grocery stores and talking to drivers who might be sitting and waiting. "A lot of people end up idling, not because they really want to put more up in the air, but they just don't think about it," she said. "We've got a lot on our plate. We've got many other things to consider. Are we just sitting there waiting? We want to listen to the radio. We keep the engine running. We just don't even think about it." Education 'the best tool' Shayne Turner, director of municipal enforcement services for the City of Waterloo, acknowledged the city's bylaw officers hand out about five tickets a year under the bylaw. It's because a bylaw officer has to stand and watch a vehicle idle for three minutes before handing out a ticket. Cambridge communications staff said in the past two years, no tickets have been issued under their anti-idling bylaw, which allows vehicles to idle for just one minute. "Education is likely the best tool to encourage reduced idling," Turner said in an email. "We will be looking at a refreshed education program this spring." Kitchener Coun. Margaret Johnston brought the idling issue to council after she was approached by a resident who was upset about trucks idling near her home and she realized the city didn't have a bylaw. She says for her, the education component of the bylaw is the most important part. "If we can make people think about how their actions are contributing to climate change, that, to me, is the most important piece and to have them think about what those actions mean and change those," she said. Other positive initiatives The new bylaw is also part of Kitchener's community climate action plan. Kalapos says in recent years, her group has seen more municipalities focusing on what they can do to make a difference for climate change, and that's encouraging. She says many municipalities are creating corporate energy plans, which includes determining how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally, how to use waste to create energy and how to create net-zero emission plans. Municipalities are also looking at how to reduce emissions with their fleet, be it transit or staff vehicles. "Another area where I'd say municipalities are also improving upon is in green development standards. So improving the sustainability either how much precipitation is dealt with on site or the energy performance of the buildings," she said. "The other one that I find super exciting is we are finally … building up support for building energy retrofits within existing buildings," she added. She noted every municipality has a plan to put a home energy efficiency retrofit financing program in place. "But we haven't been able to make a lot of progress. These programs are quite expensive and they're challenging to deliver," she noted, but added recent funding from the federal government means it may be easier for that kind of program become a reality. "Right now, it's only Toronto that has it in place, but there's going to be more municipalities in the coming years, which is super exciting." Focus remains on climate despite COVID Despite the pandemic taking people's attention away from other matters, including the environment, Kalapos says she's encouraged to see many municipalities haven't completely lost focus on the issue. "I was really worried when COVID hit because I was though, oh, here we go again," she said. Just before the 2008 financial crisis, she noted Al Gore had just come out with his movie, Inconvenient Truth and there was a "really good critical mass of people paying attention to climate." When the financial crisis hit, people were distracted and environmental issues were pushed to the back burner. But this time, she says young people in particular deserve a lot of the credit for driving action on climate change and ensuring it's not forgotten. "I can't say enough about that and that we're seeing some great momentum taking place," she said. "But I think one of the things that happened that COVID made us realize as a humanity, which the financial crisis didn't seem to do to us, was the vulnerability of humanity to nature," Kalapos said. "I think we've kind of gotten a little bit humbled and I think that's helped people realize the implications of what climate impact could mean for society as a whole and that we can and must do better."
VANCOUVER — Canucks forward Antoine Roussel has been fined US$5,000 by the NHL for roughing in Vancouver's 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. The 31-year-old winger dropped his gloves and went after Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi along the boards midway through the second period. Puljujarvi was an unwilling participant in the fight and did his best to avoid Roussel's fists, but appeared to suffer a cut to the bridge of his nose. Roussel was handed a two-minute minor for roughing. He has 31 penalty minutes in 22 games this season. The Canucks (8-13-2) were up 3-0 towards the end of the first period before the Oilers (13-8-0) sparked a comeback with four unanswered goals. The two sides will meet again in Vancouver on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
TORONTO — Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March, with the province planning to target seniors in decreasing five-year age increments until 60-year-olds get the shot in July. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine rollout, announced the timeline Wednesday while noting the schedule is dependent on supply. He did not provide details on when residents younger than 60 could expect a vaccineAn online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it, Hillier said.Residents will be notified about the availability of vaccines through media announcements, flyers delivered to households and phone calls from health units, said Hillier, who asked that families and community groups help those 80 and over book their shots."Let's make sure we look after them and help them get that appointment," he said.Ontario aims to vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and those 70 and older starting May 1.People aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1, and those 60 and older can get their shots the following month. Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will be ongoing as the province targets seniors in the general population.Essential workers will likely begin getting their shots in May if supply allows, but the government is still deciding who will be in that group.Critics said the government was taking too long to launch the online booking portal and get seniors their shots. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it's "terrifying" that vaccines for those 80 and older won't be available until mid-March given that the province has recently loosened public health restrictions. "Seniors, particularly vulnerable folks, need to know the information. When is it coming? What are the basics? And why is the province of Ontario so far behind," Horwath said."There's no doubt this rollout is being botched by the Ford government."Liberal health critic John Fraser said the government seems unprepared for the broader distribution of vaccines."People want answers. They didn't get any answers this morning, other than it's taking longer than we thought it would, and we're actually not ready," Fraser said.Hillier said he would have liked to see the booking system up and running sooner but noted that it hadn't been required for the high-priority populations the province has so far focused on vaccinating, such as those in long-term care.He added that some private-sector companies with large operations have offered to vaccinate their essential workers, their families and communities when the time comes and the province intends to take up those offers."We will take advantage of all of it," Hillier said.Shots will be administered at pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, mobile units and smaller sites depending on the public health unit. The transition to vaccinate the broader population will ramp up as the province completes its high-priority vaccinations over the next week, Hillier said. The vaccine rollout will enter a "transition phase" next week, with inoculations resuming among patient-facing health care workers. Shots were paused for that group late last month as the province focused on vaccinating long-term care residents amid a shortage in dose deliveries.Second doses have also begun in some fly-in First Nations communities. Vaccine supply will determine whether Ontario meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge that all Canadians who want a COVID-19 will have one by September, Hillier said. "I'd love to say, yeah, you know, by Labour Day weekend we're gonna have every single person in Ontario who is eligible and who wants a vaccine to have one. I'm a little bit reluctant to do that, because it depends on the arrival of those vaccines," Hillier said. "I say this, if the vaccines arrive in the numbers required, we'll get them into the arms of the people of Ontario."A total of 602,848 vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far.Ontario reported 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and nine more deaths linked to the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
“Speak, Okinawa,” by Elizabeth Miki Brina (Knopf) Elizabeth Miki Brina’s “Speak, Okinawa” is a masterful memoir in which Brina examines the complex relationship she has with her interracial parents. Brina’s father, white and American, met her mother, who is from the island of Okinawa, while he was stationed there on a US military base. The two settled in the United States, where Brina’s mother spent decades feeling lonely and out of place. Brina grew up feeling close to her father and resenting her mother. Desperate to feel wholly American, she pushed her mother away, embarrassed of her accent and overall inability to truly assimilate. In this investigation of her childhood, Brina begins to see things differently. She looks at life from her mother’s perspective, and now, she starts to understand the depth of her pain, pain she endured from leaving behind all she knew and loved, and also the pain of calling occupied land home. “Speak, Okinawa” is both a mediation on Brina’s own family as well as a powerful history of the United States occupation of Okinawa, where it maintains a massive military presence to this day. Brina’s writing is crisp, captivating and profound. She is vulnerable, raw, and relatable, and her stories will no doubt cause readers to reflect on their relationships with their own parents. As educational as it is entertaining, “Speak, Okinawa” is well worth the read. —- Molly Sprayregen can be reached at her site. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The fight to win the leadership of his party could be nothing compared to what Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has ahead: keeping his party together as he tries to win over voters who haven't voted for it recently. Caucus morale is buoyed by this week's House of Commons vote in favour of a motion declaring a genocide against Uighur Muslims in China. But the Tories remain stuck behind the Liberals in the polls and the Liberal war room is revving up to keep them there. The Tories' hawkish view on China stands as a point of demarcation between O'Toole and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, so while the Tories lauded the vote Monday as a victory for human rights, it's also one for them. That Liberal MPs, but not cabinet, voted with the Tories on the motion underscores the point, O'Toole argued after the vote. "The fact that Mr. Trudeau did not even show up to be accountable is a terrible sign of leadership," he said. That he'd take a strong stance on China was a key promise O'Toole made in his bid for leadership last year. But how he's following through on others is emerging as a question as O'Toole marks exactly six months in the post. Among the issues: a fear he'll backtrack on a promise dear to the heart of the party, especially in the West: repealing the federal carbon tax. MPs not authorized to publicly discuss caucus deliberations say many are concerned about O'Toole's stated support for a Liberal bill aimed at cutting Canada's net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. Most environment and economics experts say getting there without a carbon tax is possible, but would cost more because the regulations needed to achieve the goal would ultimately be more expensive. For a party fixated on the bottom line, which path to take without inflaming the base is a tricky choice. O'Toole's spokesperson says he remains committed to scrapping the federal carbon tax, though O'Toole himself no longer includes it in election-style speeches to general audiences, nor would he repeat the commitment to reporters when asked last week. Another marquee promise, to defund the CBC, is also in the wind. Spokesperson Chelsea Tucker didn't directly answer this week when asked if he would still do that if the Conservatives win power. All outlets need a fair playing field, she said in an email. "Conservatives are committed to ensuring the best path forward for Canada’s news sector." The promises on the carbon tax and on defunding the CBC were key planks for O'Toole's leadership campaign because he needed the Tory base on side to win. But as he seeks now to broaden the appeal of the party, many in caucus are expressing frustration with his approach. Recent meetings have been laced with tension and demands for change, several told The Canadian Press. Underpinning the grumbling: how kicking controversial MP Derek Sloan out of caucus played out, the appearance of a demotion from the important finance-critic post for wildly popular MP Pierre Poilievre, and frustration over the Conservatives' overarching pitch to the public. In some instances, MPs have issued their own statements when official lines out of O'Toole's office didn't jibe with their own points of view. MPs Rachael Harder and Jeremy Patzer publicly lashed out over new Liberal measures restricting travel to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, calling them draconian and an overreach, while O'Toole's office stuck with a call for compassion. Meanwhile, some MPs see focusing on anything but vaccines against COVID-19 a waste of political energy, including the recent vote on China. Others argue that O'Toole's stated focus on jobs — it was the reason Poilievre has a new title as jobs and industry critic, O'Toole says — means little without ideas to advance. O'Toole's team has partially blamed lacklustre polling on an inability to get out in front of people during the pandemic, and have tried to counter it with ad blitzes. Those efforts are also aimed at defining O'Toole before the Liberals come up with a narrative of their own. The two clashed Wednesday. As O'Toole marked six months as leader with a new ad portraying him as a serious worker, the Liberals jumped on a clip from his leadership race where he suggests he wants to put the prime minister in a portable toilet. O'Toole's office discounted the tactic as another effort by the Liberals to distract from their record, calling on them to focus instead on vaccines. There are other signs of a disconnect emerging between O'Toole and at least some of his caucus. One is over an upcoming vote in the House of Commons on a ban on conversion therapy. O'Toole says he is against the practice of forcing those questioning their gender or sexual identities into therapy but it's a free vote for his MPs. The members of his caucus who oppose the ban are organizing their own strategy sessions to frame their planned votes, work that includes O'Toole's deputy chief of staff. And the well-organized social-conservative wing of the party is gearing up for the Tories' March policy convention. The effort includes snapping up delegate spots so rapidly that some party stalwarts didn't get one, raising fears the social conservatives will be mighty enough to get controversial policies passed. Competition for spaces is a healthy sign, said party spokesman Cory Hann. "We have had more people interested in our convention than at any time in history, so of course there's going to be competitive delegate-selection meetings right across the country, which just shows how much interest there is in our party," he said. O'Toole said recently what the polls show today doesn't matter. "The Conservatives got Canada through the last global recession, better than any other country, without raising taxes. That is what we will do," he said. "And I think the polls will be on election day when Canadians want to choose that strong future." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
MADRID — Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half as Barcelona stayed near the top of the Spanish league by defeating Elche 3-0 on Wednesday in a match postponed from the first round because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jordi Alba also scored after the break to help Barcelona move back to third place in the league standings, two points behind second-place Real Madrid and five from leader Atlético Madrid, which still has a game in hand. Barcelona was coming off two consecutive setbacks at home — a 4-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League and a 1-1 draw against Cádiz in the Spanish league. Wednesday's match was postponed as Barcelona was among the clubs given extra time to rest after playing in the Champions League late into last season. Messi reached 18 league goals with his double, moving two ahead of Atlético Madrid’s Luis Suárez — his former Barcelona teammate — at the top of the scoring list. He opened the scoring at the Camp Nou Stadium in the 48th minute with a shot from inside the area after a give-and-go exchange of passes with Martin Braithwaite, then added to the lead in the 68th after picking up a pass from Frenkie de Jong and fending off a few defenders before finding the net. Alba closed the scoring in the 73rd after being set up by Braithwaite and Messi. It was a fourth loss in six matches for Elche, which dropped to second-to-last in the 20-team standings. It had defeated Eibar in the previous round to end a 16-game winless streak in the league. Barcelona's next two matches are against Sevilla — on Saturday in Seville in the Spanish league and on Wednesday at home in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. The Catalan club lost the first leg 2-0 away. The second leg against PSG in the Champions League will be on March 10 in Paris. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY, Ont. — A school board in Thunder Bay, Ont., is calling for all classes to go online after several COVID-19 outbreaks. The board wants public health authorities to mandate online learning for at least two weeks starting March 1. Board chairwoman Ellen Chambers says schools have had to dismiss classes repeatedly because of one COVID-19 case. She says that is affecting students' learning. Chambers says 576 students and 55 staff are currently self-isolating, creating a teacher shortage. The Lakehead District School Board has 26 elementary schools and four secondary schools. Four schools are currently in virtual learning because of COVID-19 cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Approximately 20 people participated in a Wembley virtual town hall with the Beaverlodge RCMP last Tuesday. Issues discussed included the use of snowmobiles in town, the prospect of starting a local Citizens on Patrol (COPs) group and recent break-ins, said Ash Browne, Beaverlodge RCMP detachment commander. “The town hall gives me that raw information I need to build our annual performance plan,” Browne said. “We have these consultations to focus our policing efforts in certain areas.” Browne said the RCMP held the town hall via Zoom from Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum with assistance from the Town of Wembley. He was joined by another member of the Beaverlodge Detachment and one from the Crime Reduction Unit as well as Wembley council, he said. Browne acknowledged the participation level was lower than ideal and said this might be due to town residents’ conflicting commitments or the limits of having a digital forum. While participation was low, he said this allowed him to address each person individually. Browne said he received a question from a resident as to whether the community should launch a COPs group. “I was in support of that,” Browne said. “Hythe just went through this process … (and) community members can be part of the solution, because police cannot be everywhere all the time.” Browne said if the town starts a group the RCMP will provide a liaison. Another issue that arose was the use of snowmobiles in town. Wembley has a bylaw stating snowmobilers and ATV users should only leave a residence through the most direct route to fields, he noted. Browne said this issue is best addressed through patrols, and officers can be aware it is something to look out for. Patrols are mainly preventative, he added. Recent break-ins at the public works building and firehall earlier this month were also top of mind. The Beaverlodge RCMP shared images online of the suspect from another attempted break-in outside a business while the investigation is ongoing. Browne said he believes the incidents are all related. Browne previously hosted town halls for Beaverlodge and Horse Lake last year and an in-person event in Hythe in June 2019. He said his performance plan for the detachment should be ready for April 1. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
(Aaron MacDonald - image credit) A dilapidated but historic piece of P.E.I.'s coastal culture has been put to rest. Work is now complete on removal of Rocky Point wharf in Charlottetown Harbour, with a rock breakwater now in its place. "We had a number of complaints from timbers leaving the existing wharf and washing up on the beach," said Stephen Yeo, chief engineer for the province. "It was a safety concern." Work included removal of wood pilings, creosote planks and steel debris at the site, located in the community of Rocky Point, near the mouth of the West River in Charlottetown Harbour. The five-week project was completed in mid-January at a cost of $450,000. Keeping costs down The province opted to install a rock breakwater to cap the underwater foundation of the wharf, rather than excavate and remove the structure completely. "If we removed everything, the cost would have been probably three times what we paid," said Yeo. Work began in December and was complete by mid-January. Engineers also believe installation of the breakwater will minimize alteration of water flow, erosion and sand-deposition patterns where the wharf once stood. "It shouldn't have any effect at all," said Yeo. Rocky Point had been the site of a public wharf and ferry service since the 1800s, according to historical records, and provided a vital transportation link in the early days of the province. Improvements to roads, including construction of the West River Causeway, contributed to the wharf's decline. In recent years, the wharf's distinctive Y-shape at its deep-water end remained visible, and now that work on the breakwater is complete, remnants of it can still be seen at low tide. Rocky Point is now the location of a rocky breakwater. The breakwater replaces the wharf with a structure that is intended to have similar waterflow, erosion and sand-deposition characteristics. To dismantle the wharf, crews built a temporary road on top of it, to serve as a working platform for heavy equipment. As debris was removed, the temporary road was replaced with rock, to form the 145-metre long breakwater. Seabirds, including cormorants, herring gulls and terns, had been the most prolific users of the wharf in recent years, often perching in large numbers on its sun-bleached wood frame. The newly installed rock is not easy to walk on, and the breakwater is not intended for use by visitors. "I don't anticipate it will draw a big crowd," said Yeo. The province owned the wharf and continues to own the new breakwater as well as access to it, off Route 19 in Rocky Point. Land around it remains in private ownership. Staff will keep an eye on the new breakwater at Rocky Point through the coming year to make sure it's holding up properly, according to Yeo. More from CBC P.E.I.
Pour que réaliser l’union des droites, il faudrait réunir trois conditions : un programme, un leader, un contexte favorable. Or, pour l’instant, aucune de ces trois conditions n’est remplie.
OTTAWA — A new report says too many federal inmates in isolation aren't getting a few hours a day out of their cells, pushing them into territory that could be described as inhuman treatment or even torture. Citing federal data, the report says nearly three in 10 prisoners in isolation units didn't have all or any of the four hours out of their cells they are supposed to get, for two weeks at a time. A further one in 10 were kept in excessive isolation for 16 days or longer, which by international laws and Canadian rulings constitutes cruel treatment. The findings suggest the federal prison system is falling well short of the guidelines the Liberals ushered in for "structured intervention units" designed to allow better access to programming and mental-health care for inmates who need to be kept apart from other prisoners. Prisoners transferred to the units are supposed to be allowed out of their cells for four hours each day, with two of those hours engaged in "meaningful human contact." The report by two criminologists says there needs to be better oversight of how the units are managed, adding the results show Canada commits "torture by another name." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Holyrood council has voted to become a member of the Grand Concourse Authority. Council hopes that membership will help trail development in the community. “The purpose of the Grand Concourse is to foster, promote, and enable the design, development , and operation by or for the members of an integrated network of walkways, amenities, and land owned or occupied by the members,” said councillor Kim Ghaney during the February 9 meeting. The benefits include access to trailway standards and maintenance planning, which Ghaney said will lead to credibility in trail planning and increase the likelihood of success in getting grants “And, as Deputy Mayor (Curtis) Buckle likes to say, it’s always better to get funding for these infrastructure pieces of work. It reduces the burden on the community, so we’re always looking for funding for that purpose,” said Ghaney. “We recognise that trail development has been a gap in our outdoor recreation offered in the town, and we look forward to the creation of new trails in our area, and by doing it in the right way, by adhering to the best practices and good standards outlined by the Grand Concourse Association.” Councillor Roger Myette assured residents the membership will not mean that ATV users will be booted from the T’railway. “This is by no means taking the T’railway and turning it into a walking path,” said Myette. “Because when people hear Grand Concourse, they think right away of CBS, when they came in and removed all motorized vehicles from that trail. This is not that intent of what we have. This is to help us with the other trails we have around the community, and to increase this trail as well. But, so far as we know, as of right now, it will still be motorized, there is no intent of taking motorized vehicles off the T’railway.” Ghaney agreed that it was a “great point,” and noted that any such changes would not happen without public consultation. Council voted unanimously to approve the membership. The Grand Concourse Authority is a non-profit, member-based charitable organization. It’s board of directors includes representatives from CBS, Paradise, Mount Pearl, and St. John’s. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) In addition to leading the province's fight against climate change, Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette is now being asked to lead the charge against racism. Premier François Legault's announcement Wednesday of the appointment of Charette, who is white, immediately drew scrutiny. But Charette was firm in his belief that being white should not disqualify him from the position, which was created following a recommendation from the anti-racism committee formed by the government last spring. "It's a mandate to fight racism, so someone's skin colour should not be the reason to exclude that person," Charette said, highlighting that he has deep ties with different communities in the province, and is sensitive to their struggles. Charette, whose wife is of Haitian origin, noted that he has lived in several countries, and his experiences abroad have convinced him that Quebec has the tools needed to fight racism, including its Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. "We can't deny that people from minority groups, and Indigenous people, are too often exposed to profiling, to disparities in how they are treated, notably in matters of housing, in matters of employment," said Charette. But he denied that racism in Quebec is systemic, even saying the use of the term can be detrimental. "What bothers me with the expression, there are many elements to this, it gives a false sense of security, [allowing some] to lay blame on others," he said. "If we base ourselves solely on a concept that is very vague, and not well defined, it takes away a bit of the responsibility that we have." Those remarks echoed past responses by the premier, whose repeated denials of systemic racism in Quebec have frustrated many in the province's Black and Indigenous communities. 'I think many communities, people of colour, have been very distrustful towards this government because of its systematic denial of systemic racism.' - Fo Niemi, Centre for Research Action on Race Relations Charette said he wants to work at implementing the 25 recommendations put forth by the committee, and promised significant progress between now and the end of the CAQ government's mandate. Some of the committee's other recommendations include creating a province-wide campaign to raise awareness about racism, as well as training for police and government employees. The new provincial role mirrors what was done in the City of Montreal, which appointed its first anti-racism commissioner last month. When he announced the recommendations of Quebec's taskforce against racism, Quebec Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant said he has been a victim of police racial profiling. 'He's the best person to fight against racism,' premier says Legault was also asked several times why the task of fighting racism in Quebec was given to Charette instead of the Black members of his cabinet, Nadine Girault and Lionel Carmant. Girault serves both as the province's minister of immigration and the minister of international relations. Carmant is the province's junior health minister, and oversees its youth protection agency. The two also co-chaired last spring's anti-racism committee. "It's not like they have nothing to do," the premier said, before praising the man who ultimately got the position. "I've known him for many years, and I know it's a very important subject for him, so I think, again, he's the best person to fight against racism." WATCH | Montreal's first anti-racism commissioner discusses the challenges ahead Local civil rights organizations greeted the appointment with trepidation. Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, said in an interview he was pleased to see the Legault government implement a recommendation from its committee. But he believes Charette is facing a significant hurdle of his own party's making. "I think many communities, people of colour, have been very distrustful towards this government because of its systematic denial of systemic racism," he said. That sentiment was echoed by Marisa Berry Méndez, a coordinator with Amnesty International. "To not acknowledge systemic racism not only will stand in his way in terms of taking action ... but also in terms of being seen as credible or legitimate by the communities that are impacted," Méndez said.