The Athletic's Peter Baugh joins the show to talk about his transition from covering Mizzou to the Colorado Avalanche beat, Philipp Grubauer's validating start, and which space is safer: SEC Twitter or NHL Twitter.
The Athletic's Peter Baugh joins the show to talk about his transition from covering Mizzou to the Colorado Avalanche beat, Philipp Grubauer's validating start, and which space is safer: SEC Twitter or NHL Twitter.
WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
An agreement to delay logging of an old-growth stand of British Columbia forest has given a one-year reprieve to one of Canada's most endangered species. But governments now have to come up with a permanent way to protect the vanishing spotted owl and other endangered species in the province, said Kegan Pepper-Smith of Ecojustice, which has been pushing the federal government on the issue. "We need to reimagine an approach that protects (species) and their habitat with legally enforceable measures." Just a tiny handful of spotted owls remain in the Canadian wild. Some estimates place the remaining population in the forests around Spuzzum in south-central B.C. as low as three. On Thursday, B.C., the federal government and the Spuzzum First Nation announced a deal to hold off logging that watershed for a year while the governments continue working on a recovery plan for the owls. It's part of a larger deal the two governments are developing to help the province preserve biodiversity. "These first pilot projects will strengthen habitat protection for the threatened species which depend on it, such as the Spotted Owl, and help build a systemic approach to protection of biodiversity,” B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said in a release. B.C. has a captive breeding program that now has 28 spotted owls whose offspring will be released into protected habitats. Pepper-Smith called the deal encouraging, but said both Ottawa and the province have a long way to go before the medium-sized, dark brown owl is fully protected. "(Critical) habitat has never been identified," he said. "How can they say they've protected habitat if they've never appropriately defined it?" B.C. claims about 281,000 hectares of protected spotted owl habitat. Pepper-Smith disputes that, saying much of that land is subject to logging. "The B.C. government's definition of protection is by no means sufficient," he said. Pepper-Smith said the one-year harvesting deferral should result in a clear plan. "We would like to see the updated recovery strategy published with a clear identification of the owl's critical habitat and measures in place on how to protect that habitat," he said. Ecojustice would also like to see progress on the so-called Nature Plan between the two governments, with clear identification of the most important habitats. Pepper-Smith points out that B.C. has more endangered species than any other province, adding Thursday's announcement is a good start. "There's some hopeful language," he said. "There's discussion of pilot projects and funding and moving forward on a pan-Canadian approach to transforming species at risk protection and conservation." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
(LaSalle Police Service/Facebook - image credit) A 74-year-old Windsor man working as a self-employed tutor faces sex charges, according to LaSalle police. In a news release Thursday, police said a local family issued a complaint to them this month, which launched an investigation. Police say the victim is under 18 years old and that the suspect "was in a position of trust" at the time of the incident. The man has been arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault and sexual interference. Police said the accused is a self-employed, private tutor who has advertised his services on local classified ads and buy and sell websites. He is also known by word of mouth. An investigation is still ongoing and police ask that anyone with information contact LaSalle police or anonymously on Crime Stoppers. More from CBC Windsor
The Town of Strathmore will undergo a rebranding, through which a new logo and tagline will be developed for the town. Over the past three years, council has been working on a new strategic vision for Strathmore to guide economic development and marketing, among other areas. But according to town administration, Strathmore’s current brand, which includes design elements (e.g. its logo) and its tagline, do not fit this vision. While the current logo works for larger signage, it reportedly is difficult to use or reproduce in many digital or print applications. On Feb. 17, town council approved a plan to proceed with a new rebranding initiative strategy for Strathmore. The rebranding will be performed in-house, rather than with the help of external consultants, which will help to lower the cost of the project, explained Geoff Person, the town’s communication manager. “I think it’s something that we can do for a really affordable price,” he said, adding that $10,000 allocated to the project this year will be enough to complete it. “Oftentimes, when you have a consultant-led rebranding initiative, a lot of money is spent in the community engagement portion,” he said. “So, we really benefit from the fact council has already done a lot of those strategic visioning processes as a group already.” The project will help achieve a council-led vision, allowing the town to bring in stakeholder groups, have them engage with the community and bring ideas forward, and then return to council to ensure it matches council’s vision, explained Person. While this process included many stakeholders, additional groups should be included, namely representatives of the Strathmore Farmers’ Market and Bow Valley College, said Councillor Lorraine Bauer. Councillor Jason Montgomery inquired whether the town would delay some of the necessary physical rebranding, referring to such things as signs and logos on vehicles, to help save costs. But compared to other municipalities, Strathmore has a less obvious branded presence, said Person. “Right now, not a lot of external signage, outside of our vehicles, has our current logo on it,” he said. “This means that the town can replace many of its branded elements when replacement is needed.” Some aspects will need more immediate attention. The town’s digital highway sign is actually “two brands old,” so the town will be looking to replace it over the next three to five years. The town will research a plan to replace its Welcome to Strathmore signs this year, to deliver a replacement plan sometime in 2022. Currently, the most visible parts of the town’s brand are digital, such as on websites and social media, said Person. “In that regard, a rebranding can actually be really affordable for us right now, because we can sidestep a lot of the physical costs, focus on the digital ones and really change our identity that way.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Authorities say that all those connected to the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have now been arrested.View on euronews
Lily is a long-term care worker. She is a qualified, skilled caregiver with over six years of work experience in Canada. She is also undocumented and was recently denied COVID-19 vaccinations because of her lack of status. Lily, who lives in Toronto, didn’t come to Canada illegally. She came to Canada on a work permit under the caregiver program in 2014, leaving her family for what she thought would be a much better future. She said she became undocumented in Jan 2020 as a result of a long and confusing immigration process. “This was to be a journey. So confusing and disappointing, I still cannot believe it happened. They tried to do the paperwork for me to get my work permit five times, waiting to hear from the Immigration Department as to what was going on,” said Lily, who is originally from the Caribbean, in an online news conference Wednesday to call for a safe, accessible vaccine strategy for migrant workers. The meeting was joined by leading doctors and health policy experts, along with advocacy groups. Hundreds of organizations have signed an open letter co-ordinated by the Migrant Rights Network which outlines the barriers migrants are facing, as well as specific solutions to ensure vaccines are accessible to all. Lily, the frontline worker, is one of many migrant workers in Canada who don't have a health card either because they are undocumented or have expiring permits due to government processing delays. One in 23 people in Canada doesn’t have permanent resident status. Many are in essential jobs including long-term health care, cleaning, construction, delivery, and agriculture. Registered nurse Pauline Worsfold, who chairs the Canadian Health Coalition and is secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, said at the conference that migrants should be included in the vaccine rollout, not as an afterthought, but as a “conscious decision.” “So my question is currently what is our goal. What is our goal, overall, for everybody in this country? It's to eliminate COVID so that we can have safe and healthy communities. It means the vaccine should be provided for me for whoever needs it.” said Worsfold. Currently, migrants who are from outside of Canada will only be eligible if they have a work permit that lasts longer than 12 months. Landing international students with a study permit will have to wait for a year before they become eligible. However, according to the Nova Scotia government's website, that eligibility for both groups is void if the person has left the province for over 31 consecutive days in the past year. The Department of Health and Wellness didn’t answer whether the province will be providing vaccines to workers without an MSI. “Those that reside in Nova Scotia permanently or temporarily will be eligible to be vaccinated when it is available for their age group. Details on that process are currently being worked out,” Marla MacInnis, media relations adviser for the Novia Scotia government, said in an email. The lack of “a stronger commitment” worries Halifax advocacy group No One is Illegal - Halifax/K’jipuktuk (NOII-Hfx), which also joined the announcement on Wednesday. The organization is urging provincial officials to ensure vaccines are available to everyone in Nova Scotia, regardless of immigration status. “We haven't heard the province really address people without migration status, people who are undocumented, or who don't have access to MSI, how are they going to get access to the vaccine. So that's something that's really concerning for us as well,” said NOII-Hfx's migrant justice organizer Stacey Gomez. Ontario and a few other provinces have temporarily expanded health insurance coverage to include all migrants in response to COVID-19. According to the government website, Ontario has waived the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. Additionally, the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. “Together, these measures will ensure that no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVID-19 for financial reasons,” reads the government website. Doctors and community leaders at the conference all emphasized a “private” and “confidential” process of the vaccination as they are worried undocumented people avoid receiving the vaccine in fear of deportation. “Many uninsured people with precarious status also worry of being reported to the Canadian Border Services Agency to face detention or deportation. Some, as a result, may avoid receiving the vaccine altogether,” said Dr. Danyaal Raza, board chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, a national organization of doctors and health-care providers. Canada deported 12,122 people in 2020 – 875 more than the previous year and the highest number since at least 2015, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data seen by Reuters. Lu Xu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says he believes the province's chaotic and delayed election is legitimate. Furey says if he wins, he will have a valid mandate to govern. "I believe that Elections NL has provided different opportunities for people to vote," he told reporters Thursday during a virtual news conference. "And now we have to see how the vote goes." Furey called the election on Jan. 15, a day on which health authorities reported one new case of COVID-19 and five active known cases across the province. Four weeks later, the election was upended and the province under lockdown as an outbreak spread through the St. John's metro region. The provincial elections authority delayed election day — which was originally Feb. 13 — and cancelled in-person voting, moving the vote to a mail-in ballot. After several deadline extensions, the mail-in ballots must now be postmarked by March 12 to count. Some lawyers and political scientists say it's not clear whether the decisions to cancel in-person voting and delay the election were legal, and that the results will likely be contested in court. Meanwhile, initial numbers from Elections NL indicate voter turnout could hover around 50 per cent — a historic low. On Thursday, Furey said that to his knowledge, his party has not retained legal counsel. He said his government will remain at the helm in "caretaker" mode until a winner is declared, though it's still unclear when that will be. Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie said his party's lawyers are monitoring the process, adding "there's certainly no decision about suing or litigation." "We're collecting complaints and evidence and evidence of inadequacies and irregularities against the possibility that we may have to go to law," he told reporters Thursday. Crosbie is Furey's biggest competition, with the Progressive Conservatives holding 15 of 40 seats in the legislature; Furey's Liberals hold 19. When asked if he'd consider his own mandate legitimate if his party won the election, Crosbie responded he's reserving any judgment about the election's legitimacy until after the votes are tallied. Crosbie and NDP Leader Alison Coffin had been critical of Furey for calling the snap election before the outbreak began in St. John's earlier this month. They had also expressed concerns about voter turnout in a winter pandemic election. Furey was required by law to call an election by Aug. 19, 2021, but he could have also taken up the Tories on their offer to amend the legislation so the vote could have been held in October. The Liberal leader, however, said there was no certainty the situation in the province would be better by the fall. "At the time that I made the decision, the numbers were extremely low, we were the envy of the world, there was no community spread," he said Thursday. "No one could have predicted the situation that we are currently in." He said Elections NL officials assured him they were prepared to run a pandemic election, and that he consulted with the province's chief medical officer of health before he asked that the legislature be dissolved. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee wants to see more First Nations health experts on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). On Wednesday, Settee wrote a letter to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, to request Dr. Barry Lavallee, CEO of Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. (KIM), be invited to take part in the NACI. He explained during a press conference that a First Nation representative from Northern Manitoba would provide great value to the important work of NACI to strengthen fairness and substantive equity in setting guidelines. “I always felt decisions being made on behalf of First Nations are always done by people that don’t know the geographical locations of these First Nations, they don’t know the demographic, their situations and they make these decisions,” said Settee on Thursday. “It is better to have First Nations people on the committee so then these decisions would be done in a way that is supportive of First Nation’s culture and community values as well as to make sure it is done in a way that is satisfactory to the people.” In the letter, Settee wrote having a First Nations representative on the committee will also help to advance the federal government’s reconciliation strategies, address the gaps in developing Indigenous health legislation, and work towards addressing anti-Indigenous racism in health care. Settee concluded the letter saying that he wanted to partner with Tam to ensure Manitoba First Nations people are prioritized and protected during the pandemic. “Throughout our history with government entities, many if not all decisions were made with the exclusion of Indigenous expertise in that conversation. At times, those decisions have been detrimental,” he said. “I think we have reached a point in time where we have enough expertise in our Indigenous communities that can offer guidance and advice that could allow First Nations to have access to the proper medical care.” The Grand Chief has written a letter to Manitoba’s Premier as well to express the need for collaboration on strategies with the MKO to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Strategies to address the COVID-19 outbreaks in Northern Manitoba could include plans for vaccine distribution, including improved communication to First Nations about when they can expect to receive their vaccines. “While our provincial partners have made assurances to be transparent to First Nations, offering better communication of current and anticipated vaccine supplies for both First Nations and Manitoba, MKO will continue to work closely with the provincial government and hold them accountable regarding the vaccine rollout,” said Settee. Recently, public health officials have announced that appointments can now be made to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for First Nation people aged 75 years or older. Planning is underway for the second phase of the expanding First Nation vaccine rollout, with First Nations being engaged to review options for surge capacity. “Access to the COVID-19 vaccines remains top of mind as we near the one-year anniversary of living with the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Michael Routledge, medical advisor to MKO and KIM. “We encourage everyone to become informed about the vaccine and to strongly consider accepting your vaccine once you become eligible. Although there is evidence that case numbers in Northern Manitoba are starting to improve, it is important for everyone to follow public health recommendations to prevent new outbreaks.” — Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
County curlers are rocking the ice again as the Haliburton Curling Club reopened its doors Feb. 17 for its first session since the Dec. 26 lockdown. The club ran for several weeks in November and December with a limited slate of approximately 100 curlers, three nights a week, with COVID safety restrictions in place. It is the only curling club in the County which is operating amidst the pandemic. But the lockdown put a premature halt on the winter 2020-2021 schedule. Still, president, Kent Milford, said they were able to carry on with the lockdown lifted. “The only comment we’ve heard is people are just glad they’ve got an opportunity to get out and do something,” Milford said. “Relieve some of the boredom and stress and other things we’ve all faced over the last year.” The sport is not the same this year. Health precautions mean the social gathering aspect cannot be as robust. Travelling for bonspiels is also out. The lockdown also forced a schedule change, though Milford said they reorganized it by picking up where they left off. “No one’s overly concerned this year in making sure we have an even schedule or even some sort of competitive schedule,” Milford said. “It’s just to get some exercise, have some fun, have a little bit of social activity.” Board director, Wanda Stephen, said the first day back went well. “There was a great, big, sigh of relief from the crowd that was here, saying, ‘Yay, we made it’,” Stephen said. “Because there are a lot of clubs that didn’t reopen.” Milford said the club is in a financially stable position. But a major fundraiser – the Haliburton Home and Cottage Show – was cancelled in 2020 and is doubtful again for 2021. “Our strategy is we’re preparing for a show, so if we can have one, the logistics are in place,” Milford said. “It is difficult for me to see how we can have a show this year with the number of people we would normally have.” The club was allowed to curl thanks to the district staying in an “orange” zone under provincial COVID-19 protocol. But if case numbers worsen in the district, pushing that colour to “red” or “gray,” the club would have to halt. “Just hoping we can make it to the end of April without any shutdowns,” Stephen said. Milford said the curling sessions have remained COVID-safe, with no cases associated with the rink. He said they will follow whatever public health asks of them – and members are willing to work through those hurdles. “Curling is really an integral part of the community,” Milford said. “As long as we can keep them safe, and they wanted to do that, then we felt it was important to continue.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
(Shane Magee/CBC - image credit) The provincial government is closing the Petitcodiac River causeway a month early as it continues work to construct a new bridge linking Moncton and Riverview. The causeway will close on April 5 and the bridge will open in its place in October, according to a media release by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure on Thursday. The closure is required to realign the river channel under the new bridge and to decommission the existing gate structure and construct the approaches and bridge connections, the department said. "Because the traffic is lighter because of COVID, it seemed like a great idea to start the work a month earlier because that would mean we'd have it open a month earlier," Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green said in an interview. She said the bridge is being built on the site of the causeway, and once that's finished in October, a 12-year environmental followup will be done to monitor any impacts on the river. The group Petitcodiac Renaissance released this image in 2016 of what a proposed partial bridge across the Petitcodiac River would look like. While the causeway is closed, traffic will be diverted to the Gunningsville Bridge and signage will be in place, according to the media release. In 2014, former premier Brian Gallant and then-Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced a $61.6-million project to build a bridge across the Petitcodiac River to link Moncton and Riverview as part of efforts to restore the river. Work to construct the bridge began in 2017. The existing causeway, built in 1968, has been a point of contention among area residents and pitted environmental groups against homeowners on the river's headpond. The new Petitcodiac River bridge will be opened to traffic when work is completed in October. Environmental activists complained that the causeway reduced the flow of sediment in the tidal river required for a functioning ecosystem and that its gates obstructed migrating fish, including Atlantic salmon. The homeowners, however, wanted the causeway left in place and worried the loss of Lake Petitcodiac would hurt property values. In a later interview, Green said reduced traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for deciding to start work early this year. In 2018, the province partnered with the Town of Riverview on a $1.8-million project to add lanes and upgrade the intersection at Route 114-Gunningsville Bridge/ Gunningsville Boulevard, the department said. Those upgrades were made to alleviate traffic congestion during the Petitcodiac Bridge and channel construction, the department said.
(Lea Storry/Twitter - image credit) The fireball that lit up the sky across the Prairies on Monday morning was a small piece of a comet that burned up in the atmosphere, researchers at the University of Alberta say. "Using two observation sites, we were able to calculate both its trajectory and velocity, which tell us about the origin of the meteor and reveal that it was a piece of a comet," Patrick Hill, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said in a news release Thursday. "This chunk was largely made of dust and ice, burning up immediately without leaving anything to find on the ground — but instead giving us a spectacular flash." The flash, captured by dozens of doorbell cameras and dashcams, occurred at 6:23 a.m. local time as the debris streaked through the sky to a final point on its trajectory 120 kilometres north of Edmonton, the researchers said. The flash was visible throughout Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan due to the unusually high altitude of the fireball, they said. WATCH | Fireball flashes across the Prairie sky: The chunk, likely only tens of centimetres across in size, was travelling at more than 220,000 km/h when it entered the atmosphere, they said. "This incredible speed and the orbit of the fireball tell us that the object came at us from way out at the edge of the solar system — telling us it was a comet, rather than a relatively slower rock coming from the asteroid belt," Chris Herd, curator of the University of Alberta Meteorite Collection and science professor, said in the release. "Comets are made up of dust and ice and are weaker than rocky objects, and hitting our atmosphere would have been like hitting a brick wall for something travelling at this speed," Herd said. 'This is an incredible mystery to have solved' While rocky objects usually burn up between 15 to 20 kilometres above the ground, Monday's fireball occurred at an altitude of 46 kilometres allowing the flash to be seen across a wide area. "All meteoroids — objects that become meteors once they enter Earth's atmosphere — enter at the same altitude and then start to burn up with friction," Hill said. "Sturdier, rocky meteoroids can sometimes survive to make it to the ground, but because this was going so fast and was made of weaker material, it flashed out much higher in the atmosphere and was visible from much farther away." The research team calculated the trajectory of the fireball by using dark-sky images captured at the Hesje Observatory at the Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station and at Lakeland College's observation station in Vermilion, Alta., the release said. "This is an incredible mystery to have solved," Herd said. "We're thrilled that we caught it on two of our cameras, which could give everyone who saw this amazing fireball a solution."
TORONTO — Proposed changes to Ontario's election laws introduced Thursday by the Progressive Conservatives were slammed by the Opposition as an attempt to silence critics amid mounting failures in the province's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government said the election law reforms were aimed at limiting third-party advertising and boosting voter participation. Attorney General Doug Downey, who introduced the bill, said one of the proposed changes would extend the $637,200 spending limit placed on third-party advertisers from six months before an election to a year. “Ontario is the only place where we count third party in the millions (of dollars) instead of in the thousands,” he said in an interview. “And we've heard from Elections Ontario that they have concerns with that dynamic.” Third parties, such as the conservative group Ontario Proud and union-led Working Families Coalition, have played a significant role in recent provincial elections, launching extensive advertising campaigns in bids to sway the vote. The province said more than $5 million was spent by third-party advertisers before and during the 2018 election. The next provincial vote is set to take place in the spring of 2022. The bill also proposes to limit what the government calls “collusion” between those third parties and political parties. “We just want transparency and fairness,” Downey said. “When we talk with third parties spending their ($637,200), we want to make sure that there's rules around them sharing information, common vendors, common contributors, use of funds from foreign sources.” The amount individuals can donate to a party, candidate or constituency association would also double from $1,650 to $3,300 a year. New Democrat legislator Taras Natyshak slammed the proposed limits on third-party advertisers. “At a time when long-term care advocates, organizations of health leaders, and the families of nursing home residents are speaking up about the horrors in long-term care, it looks like Ford is trying to silence his critics,” he said in a statement. Natyshak said doubling the individual contribution limit will drag the government back to the days of "cash-for-access" fundraising. Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said while he supports some measures in the bill, like continuing the per-vote subsidy, increasing donation limits is a problem. "My biggest concern is that they're slowly opening the door back up to pay-to-play politics," he said. "How many regular Ontarians can afford to contribute that much to a candidate, constituency association and a party?" University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman said the rule changes on individual donations will benefit both the Progressive Conservative government and the Liberal party, but stressed they won’t be the sole factor in deciding the 2022 election. “When the current government came to power, defeating the Liberals wasn't because of money,” he said. “It was because people essentially wanted a change.” Wiseman said the new limits placed on third-party advertisers might be a way the government thinks it’s giving itself a leg up, but the groups will find ways to maximize their message. “This is changing things at the margins,” he said. “Most groups will just try to spend the money as close as they can to election day.” The bill also proposes to extend the number of advance polling days from five to 10. "Ultimately, we want to make it easier and safer for people to vote," Downey said. The legislation will, for the first time, clarify the use of social media accounts by provincial legislators. It will also give Elections Ontario more enforcement powers, and the ability to fine individuals or groups it deems to have violated election rules. Currently, the province's chief electoral officer must report infractions to the Ministry of the Attorney General, which then decides whether to prosecute. Downey said the change would align Ontario with federal practices. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version, based on information provided by the government, said the spending limit placed on third parties six months before an election was $600,000.
Facebook Inc ended a one-week blackout of Australian news on its popular social media site on Friday and announced preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers. The moves reflected easing tensions between the U.S. company and the Australian government, a day after the country's parliament passed a law forcing it and Alphabet Inc's Google to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms. The new law makes Australia the first nation where a government arbitrator can set the price Facebook and Google pay domestic media to show their content if private negotiations fail.
Four-County Crisis short-term case manager, Andrew Hodson, is busier than ever working during a pandemic. As part of the local mental health crisis response program, his job takes him all over the region. Demand for mental health services is up across the province and Four-County Crisis is no exception, with Hodson’s caseload up more than 25 per cent. Hodson said he helps people from all walks of life dealing with a wide range of issues, including drug addiction. He said Haliburton is not immune to the problem, with many types of hard drugs being used and becoming more readily available over the years as opposed to being imported from the city. “It’s a harrowing landscape,” Hodson said. “I see it having tentacles into housing, into health care, into mental health, relationships … Because there are so many paths to lead into these situations, I think we need that many paths out. I think options are great – I don’t think there’s a one-stop solution.” Hodson is one of many in the sector working to address addictions in Haliburton and beyond. But local providers say finding funding to improve their work can be challenging. Jack Veitch is the manager of community engagement and education at the district branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and works with Hodson. He said CMHA offers a range of successful programs to help those suffering from addiction but they are short-staffed. “We need five Andrew (Hodsons). We need to have a whole, big-structured approach. We need more and more support within the community, so it’s not reliant on one, fantastic employee,” Veitch said. Veitch highlighted the provincial government’s promise of $3.8 billion over 10 years toward mental health. But he said finances are an issue locally – with no baseline funding or cost of living adjustment for nine years. He said that $3.8 billion should go beyond just hospital settings and larger centres, adding those in positions of power might not understand how much distance can make accessing care difficult. “Sometimes think, ‘oh well, Haliburton County, we got a support out there. They’re in Wilberforce, they can get to Minden’,” he said. “Not realizing that’s a heck of a hike if you don’t have a car. “Let’s make sure these dollars are rolled out in community mental health care in our rural communities, where the need is clearly there,” Veitch added. Unifying care Minden’s Dr. Nell Thomas said the pandemic has brought increased struggle for her patients dealing with addictions. She said the impact on drug supply lines has made people turn to more dangerous substances. She further said with rural doctors dealing with COVID, there is not as much time to address addiction. “I know that a couple of my patients that I was holding their hand and maybe inching toward them getting to rehab, I have not seen in (months),” Thomas said. “We all know those folks with addictions are suffering and being lost.” But Thomas does have a vision for a solution. She said current care approaches are often too siloed and collaboration can be difficult in a rural setting. She said if the funding existed, she would like to build a new local medical centre that could bring more providers under one roof, improving ease of access. She further said a stronger, team-based method is necessary. “I attend conferences and I see just how many different organizations and agencies exist. I’m floored at all the different acronyms,” she said. “Spits and spurts and not a truly cohesive approach. My vision would be to have a team, representing social work, counselling, crisis, medicine, nursing, public health. I have patients that are going into (emergency rooms) far too often.” But she said the funding is not there for such a thing, particularly given Haliburton’s relatively low population. As is, she said it is difficult connecting people with different treatment options. “Very frustrating for the doctors, in general, trying to get resources for patients because of the waitlists,” she said. “Because of the hoops you have to jump to get people connected is time-consuming and frustrating.” Marg Cox is the executive director of Point in Time and sits on the CKL and Haliburton County Poverty Reduction Roundtable. She said there are some links to the stresses of poverty and substance abuse, though added drug abuse impacts people of all economic circumstances. “We know that people that are experiencing poverty are experiencing huge stressors in terms of daily living and trying to pay their rent, put food on the table,” Cox said. “Throw COVID on top of it and we know folks are under a great deal of pressure. And we know that when people are under pressure, they’re more likely to turn to substances.” She said the issues creating poverty – which the roundtable focuses on – would have downstream impacts on substance abuse as well. “There would be a very good reduction in terms of substance use if people had adequate incomes, adequate housing, good food to eat and less stress related to poverty,” Cox said. Help in the legal system Thomas said she believes in a “carrot, not the stick” method when dealing with substance abuse in the justice system. “You can lay charges around in circles. You can have a very short-term response to that, but you’re not going to have a long-term solution by using legal means. It’s really about providing alternatives and space and realistic options for people.” Veitch and Hodson both echoed the sentiment. However, they highlighted the successful collaborations they have with police and the justice system for court diversion, intervening to help those struggling with mental health or addiction issues. “We’re there ready in the court system,” Hodson said. “As opposed to a fine or some sort of punishment, we can encourage that person to engage with addictions support, engage with mental health support … I’ve stood in court beside people – literally – after six months of help. And speaking to the judge on behalf of their own recovery, these are powerful, powerful moments where people have recounted their gratitude for having an opportunity to turn things around.” Veitch said punitive measures have not been an historically successful way to stop repeat offences. “How can we still create this level of accountability and reduce recidivism?” Veitch said. “It’s creating all these fantastic court partnership programs, where there’s still a level of accountability for the offender. But there’s also a level of treatment and care and support.” Beyond the need for increased resources, Hodson said it is vital that the community care for those suffering from addiction. “We need to develop something for Haliburton, from Haliburton,” he said. “I ask people, ‘what on earth got you through that (addiction)?’ What I hear, it’s not what you’d expect. You hear things like, ‘my Mom never stopped loving me. My probation officer, ladies at the food bank, always treated me with dignity. Never made me feel like a second-class citizen.’ “That is everything. We can build all the buildings and develop all the medications we want to develop. If we don’t have that community that makes people feel loved - and there’s a place on the table waiting for them - I don’t know where we go.” But he said there are plenty of people in Haliburton – from police to churches to human services to parents – ready to lend a helping hand. “Are we perfect? Of course not, but there is an invisible army of people in this County offering their support,” he said. “I’ve seen so many remarkable cases of recovery in this community and it’s heart warming. Those stories just don’t make the headlines, but they are out there.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
An Onion Lake man currently serving time on charges from Saskatchewan has a bail hearing in Alberta on charges out of that province. Michael Patrick Hill, 23, was scheduled to enter a plea in Sherwood Park Provincial Court on Feb. 24 but an agent appearing on his behalf asked for an adjournment. The matter was adjourned until March 10 for a bail hearing. Hill is charged in Alberta in connection to an incident where an RCMP officer was injured while pursuing Hill. If Hill is granted bail at his upcoming hearing in Alberta, he will first have to finish his custodial sentence from a Saskatchewan court. On Feb. 9, 2021, in Lloydminster, Sask., Provincial Court, Hill was sentenced to six months for theft over $5,000 and two months consecutive for breach of a curfew. Hill has been in custody since he was arrested in Alberta on Jan. 19, 2021. Alberta RCMP say that Hill was involved in an incident in Vermillion, Alta., where a gun was allegedly pointed at someone. The suspects fled in a black SUV, which police located about an hour later near Edmonton. One of the RCMP officer’s pursuing Hill hit the ditch and the police cruiser rolled on Range Road 540 just outside of Edmonton. The officer was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries. A second RCMP vehicle was able to stop the SUV near Township Road 534. Strathcona County RCMP and Fort Saskatchewan RCMP assisted Vermillion RCMP in the pursuit. Hill was charged with assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a vehicle, flight from a peace officer, pointing a firearm, operation of a motor vehicle while prohibited, possession of stolen property under $5,000, possession of stolen property over $5,000, and failing to comply with conditions. Alberta RCMP also arrested a twenty-one-year-old woman from Onion Lake Cree Nation who was with Hill. She was released on an undertaking and is scheduled to make her first court appearance in Sherwood Park Provincial Court on March 17. Alberta RCMP say they will release her name after she makes her first court appearance. Sherwood Park is part of Strathcona County and part of the greater Edmonton region. Onion Lake Cree Nation is about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster and borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The COVID-19 vaccine is now being made available to Alberta seniors aged 75 and over. All Alberta residents born in 1946 or earlier may now book appointments to be vaccinated through Alberta Health Services (AHS) using online and telephone booking systems. AHS started offering the vaccine directly to all residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities with residents aged 75 or older, as of Feb. 19. Then on Feb. 24, the province opened appointments to all residents aged 75 or older, regardless of where they live. Appointment availability is based on vaccine supply. Appointments can be booked online (albertahealthservices.ca) or by calling 811. Seniors isolated seniors and those with mobility challenges can call 21 for assistance finding a ride to and form their vaccination appointment. These vaccinations are being provided as part of Phase 1 of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Other people eligible to receive the vaccine under this phase include select healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, and First Nations, Inuit, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement. Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination program is scheduled from April to September 2021, but timelines are subject to change depending on vaccine supply, according to the government. This phase is broken down into four groups (A to D), of about 1.8 million Albertans, with each group being eligible once the vaccination of the previous group is complete. Group A consists of Albertans aged 65 to 74, First Nations, Inuit and Metis people aged 50 to 64, and staff of licensed supportive living not included in Phase 1. Group B includes Albertans aged 18 to 64 with high-risk underlying health conditions. Group C is composed of residents and staff of congregate living settings (e.g., prisons, homeless shelters, group homes), and caregivers who are most at risk of severe outcomes. Group D includes Albertans aged 50 to 64 and First Nations Inuit and Métis people aged 35 to 49. Phase 3, scheduled for fall 2021, will see the anticipated roll-out of the vaccine to the rest of the public. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
CAMEROON, Cameroon — Linda Thomas-Greenfield presented her credentials as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, officially taking on one of the most challenging jobs for the Biden administration of helping to restore the United States as a top multilateral player on the global stage after former President Donald Trump’s unilateral “America First” policy. The longtime American career diplomat thanked Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, who swore her in on Wednesday, for choosing her for the “distinguished position.” “That was made all the more wonderful because I knew you were here,” she told Guterres who served as the U.N.’s refugee chief before his election to the U.N. post. “I worked with you in the past on refugee issues so I’m looking forward very anxiously to getting to work and working on many of the key issues that we know are before the United Nations and we know that people around the globe are looking to us for.” Guterres warmly welcomed Thomas-Greenfield, calling her a “distinguished global citizen" with great compassion for refugees. Thomas-Greenfield and Guterres then moved to his private office on the 38th floor of U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River for private talks. She will be jumping right into her new job, tackling global peace and security issues with Russia, China and a dozen other countries because the United States takes over the rotating presidency of the powerful U.N. Security Council on Monday. And she might even decide to attend a council meeting on Friday. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told a group of reporters Wednesday that “the red carpet” will be rolled out for Thomas-Greenfield and Moscow is ready to work with President Joe Biden’s administration -- but “it takes two to tango.” “We are looking forward to interactions with her,” he told a group of reporters Wednesday. “You can count on our most favourable attitudes and positive emotions towards her as a member of our Security Council family.” Noting Thomas-Greenfield's decades as a U.S. diplomat, he said “it's always easier to interact with professionals." But he said America’s view that Russia is “an enemy” and a “threat” hasn’t changed under Biden, so “it’s very difficult to imagine how the interaction with us might change with such starting points of the positions of the new administration.” Nonetheless, Polyansky said, “there are a lot of things Russia and the United States can do together” and “we will judge the new administration by what it does.” “We’re in favour of co-operation,” he said. But “it takes two to tango, and really we’re ready to dance, but we need a good and reliable partner who knows all the moves and who respects us” as a country with certain positions, “doesn’t view us as a threat” and sees “our obvious national interests in many issues.” Thomas-Greenfield, a retired 35-year veteran of the U.S. foreign service who rose to be assistant secretary of state for Africa, resigned during the Trump administration. She will be the third African-American, and the second African-American woman, to hold the U.N. post. Her confirmation on Tuesday was hailed by Democrats and advocates of the United Nations who had lamented former President Donald Trump’s “America First” unilateral approach to international affairs and rejoiced at President Joe Biden’s return to multilateralism. At the Senate hearing on her nomination, Thomas-Greenfield called China “a strategic adversary” that threatens the world, and called a speech she gave in 2019 that praised China’s initiatives in Africa but made no mention of its human rights abuses a mistake. The Senate voted 78-20 to confirm her with Republican opponents saying she was soft on China and would not stand up for U.S. principles at the U.N. Thomas-Greenfield said at the hearing that Washington will be working not only with allies “but to see where we can find common ground with the Russians and the Chinese to put more pressure on the Iranians to push them back into strict compliance” with the 2015 agreement to rein in their nuclear program. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018 and Biden has indicated the U.S. will rejoin it, though how that might happen remains a major question. Polyansky said Russia welcomes the “positive developments” on the Iran nuclear deal and the U.S. agreement to extend the START nuclear agreement, adding that Moscow is ready for serious and meaningful discussions “first and foremost in the area of strategic stability.” Thomas-Greenfield stressed at the hearing that the U.S. will be reengaging internationally and promoting American values -- “support for democracy, respect for universal human rights, and the promotion of peace and security.” Louis Charbonneau, United Nations director for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press that Thomas-Greenfield should promote human rights as “a top priority.” “She should abandon the Trump administration’s selective approach to human rights – enthusiastically condemning its enemies’ abuses while ignoring rights violations of allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “But there’s room for continuity on China and Syria," Charbonneau said. “She should make expanding the coalition of nations willing to speak out against Beijing’s human rights abuses one of her chief goals at the U.N., above trying to bring African, Asian, and Latin American states into the fold. And she should continue to push for expanded humanitarian access to all parts of Syria.” Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
Trois-Rivières – Alors que la semaine de relâche débute pour plusieurs, le Défi château de neige se poursuit encore pour environ deux semaines. Jusqu'à présent, ce sont 114 châteaux qui ont été érigés et enregistrés pour la compétition en Mauricie. La limite a été fixée au 8 mars. Pour participer, il suffit de construire un château de neige à l’endroit de son choix, de l’immortaliser en photo et de partager celle-ci en l’inscrivant sur le site www.defichateaudeneige.ca. L'organisation souligne qu'il est «évidemment important de respecter les mesures sanitaires en vigueur ainsi que les règles de sécurité associées à de telles constructions.» En Mauricie, ce sont six grands coffrets polaires - comprenant du matériel pour construire des châteaux - ainsi que 30 cartes-cadeaux dans des magasins offrant du matériel de loisir et de sport qui seront attribués au hasard parmi ceux et celles qui auront inscrit leur château. Le Défi château de neige n’est pas un concours visant à déterminer le plus beau château. C’est avant tout un programme qui a été mis de l’avant pour développer l’intérêt pour l’activité physique et les saines habitudes de vie auprès des enfants et des familles durant l’hiver. Il est présenté dans toutes les régions du Québec. Pour l’édition 2021, plus de 2715 châteaux ont déjà été enregistrés à l’échelle de la province, soit plus que le record des années précédentes. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
(Queens District RCMP - image credit) For the second time this week, P.E.I. police have come to the rescue of a seal pup on land. A concerned citizen phoned Queens District RCMP Tuesday morning informing them a seal had crossed the highway near Fairview. The animal was heading away from the water and into a field. "Whenever we arrived on scene, our member located a trail," said Cst. Louanne McQuaid. "Along with the trail, through the drone we were able to locate the seal." The animal had made its way about three kilometres inland and was found near the woods, said McQuaid. RCMP say a trail was discovered upon arrival that helped locate the seal pup. "The seal was put in a hockey bag, safely rescued and [the federal] Department of Fisheries and Oceans released the seal back into the North Shore." Who to call if you see a lost seal According to the Marine Animal Response Society, record-low ice levels are driving the animals ashore. Just days earlier, the Charlottetown police had also captured and released a seal found on a city sidewalk. The seal was placed in hockey bag on the back of a snowmobile. "Typically the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is called for something like this," said McQuaid. "Sometimes people don't know who to call and when they don't know who to call they call the RCMP." Drone footage of the seal found nearly three kilometres inland. McQuaid said Islanders who come across a lost seal can contact either DFO or conservation officers. Members of the public can also get in touch with the Marine Animal Response Society, which will then reach out to the correct agencies. More from CBC P.E.I.
(Submitted by Liam and Kim Dolan - image credit) After almost 40 years in Prince Edward Island's restaurant and tourism business, Liam and Kim Dolan may finally get a chance to sit down as they are honoured as the 2021 entrepreneurs of the year by the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. The award will be given to the Dolans March 24 at a ceremony for the chamber's Excellence Awards, and recognizes the couple's accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit. "Liam and Kim embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship," said Colin Younker, president of the chamber's board, in a written release. "Through their dedication to the family business, promotion of P.E.I.'s culinary offerings and contributions in the community, they set the standard for aspiring entrepreneurs." "We are humbled, grateful and honoured to be recognized in our community as entrepreneurs of the year," Kim Dolan said in the release. "We truly would like to thank the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce for all the tireless, dedicated work they do on behalf of ours and all businesses." Straight out of Ireland Liam moved from Ireland to P.E.I. in 1978 at age 19. Working as a chef, he dreamed of opening his own restaurant, the release said. He met Kim and in 1983 the couple opened the Claddagh Room on Sydney Street in Charlottetown. Two years later they opened the popular Olde Dublin Pub upstairs, where live bands play traditional Celtic music. Although they sold The Claddagh Oyster House and Olde Dublin Pub in 2018, the Dolan family continues to own and run Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar. In 1994, the Dolans bought Peake's Quay on the Charlottetown waterfront, which came with the opportunity to operate the nearby Charlottetown Yacht Club. The venues became magnets for the public and further development of the area with seasonal shops and an expanded boardwalk ensued. Now, it's a major tourism destination and growth continues. In 1996, Liam founded the P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival, a successful event which continues to grow and attract more tourists to P.E.I. during the shoulder season contributing millions to the local economy. The pair has also been active in the community, volunteering with events and advancing the food and beverage industry locally and nationally. Liam has been a member of industry boards including the P.E.I. Chefs Association, Restaurants Canada and the American Restaurant Association, and currently chairs Downtown Charlottetown Inc., a non-profit that works with businesses to create and maintain a vibrant downtown. Kim is a well-known Island curler, having volunteered with the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and other Canadian championships hosted in Charlottetown. The family contributes to charitable organizations in the community, including Make A Wish Canada. The couple sold the Claddagh Oyster House and the Olde Dublin Pub in 2018, but continue to work at Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar with their children, Marc and Sinead. Along with Peter MacDonald and Dan MacIsaac, Liam will also be inducted into P.E.I.'s Business Hall of Fame this June. More from CBC P.E.I.