With the final picks of the 2020 season, Andy Behrens touts these two players to help carry you to the championship.
With the final picks of the 2020 season, Andy Behrens touts these two players to help carry you to the championship.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Le virus responsable de la Covid-19 peut infecter différentes espèces. Les scientifiques sont toujours à la recherche de l’animal intermédiaire. Les regards se tournent vers l’élevage de visons.
You might say Springwater Township’s zero-per-cent tax increase falls into the zero-net-sum game. If you continue to pay your taxes, they won’t raise them in 2021. “We generated a zero-per-cent increase because any increase is impacted by COVID-19. To generate a tax increase in this environment is just not fair,” said Coun. Jack Hanna. The 2021 budget has set aside $21.3 million in operating costs, $18.6 million for capital expenditures, $2.8 million for water operations and $1.7 million for wastewater management, for a grand total of $44.4 million. Originally, the budget was expected to show a 1.8-per-cent increase, but council convinced staff to keep the status quo for another year. “This year has brought unprecedented challenges for residents and businesses, as many struggle to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. By approving a zero-per-cent tax increase, council is providing relief to property owners and allowing them to better weather these uncertain times,” said Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer. However, the budget does include a $2.6-million price tag for a new Springwater Fire Station 2 to be located at the corner of Bayfield Street and Snow Valley Road. It will eventually help service the Geranium subdivision development, which will see 342 homes built on Carson Road in the coming year. The County of Simcoe also approved its annual budget with a zero-per-cent increase. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) students will soon be returning to classroom based learning following their second round of virtual, remote classes. While the change to virtual learning for some students living within town hasn’t been a large issue, those who live in rural areas are facing problems due to poor internet connection. Shelley Madensky, a resident of Mulmur, has three daughters who are currently working on classes virtually and says that no matter what they each do with their “not great” internet connection, they’re consistently bumping each other out of work. “We’re finding that they’ll get their day started and everything is fine, but as they start doing more throughout the day on the internet, back and forth and sometimes on the phone for Google answers, they’re just kicking each other off,” said Madensky. Madensky’s daughter Saige, who is in Grade 11, says she’s had the Wi-Fi cut out while she’s doing school work, which results in her being signed out, it then becomes a struggle to get back online. To alleviate some of their problems, Madensky has switched her youngest daughter Jaycee, who is in Grade 7, to worksheets to allow for her two daughters in high school to be on the internet. “I find for the high school kids it’s more important to have the internet, they need to be on it more,” said Madensky. “Her teacher prepares all the sheet for me and every Thursday I go and pick up all her worksheets.” Heather Loney, Communication and Community Engagement Officer for UGDSB, told the Free Press in an email that the Upper Grand was aware of areas within the board that have poor internet connectivity, some more than others, including areas in Dufferin County. “Even in areas with good internet coverage, some families are struggling with the challenge of multiple people learning or working at home, drawing on the same resources (bandwidth, devices etc.),” said Loney. Similar to their response last spring the UGDSB has provided students and families with Chromebooks and other devices, internet support, as well as printed packages and asynchronous learning options. “Families with internet capacity issues have an option to increase their data plan or use their phone as hotspots and the board provided funding to offset the costs – families can contact their school principal for more information.” While students will be returning to in-class learning by Monday (Jan. 25) Madensky reflecting back on their experience with remote learning by saying they’re “making it through.” Online learning for all schools in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph has been extended until at least February 1st. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
American midfielder Mix Diskerud has signed a 1 1/2-year contract with Denizlispor of Turkey's first division. Now 30, Diskerud was with Major League Soccer's New York City in 2015 and 2016, spent the spring of 2017 on loan to Sweden's Goteborg, then signed with Manchester City in January 2018 but never got into a match. He was loaned back to Goteborg for the spring of 2018, to South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai for the 2018-19 season and to Sweden's Helsingborg last June. Born in Oslo to a Norwegian father and American mother, Diskerud has six goals in 38 appearances for the U.S. and was on the 2014 World Cup roster, though he did not get into a game. Denizlispor announced his acquisition Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Russia has ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
The North Vancouver Island health region had just two new cases of COVID-19 in the second week of January. The first week of January showed three new cases, and the last week of 2020 had just one. The Local Health Area known as Vancouver Island North includes Woss, Zeballos and everything north. Confusingly, the larger Health Service Delivery Area, called North Vancouver Island, includes Campbell River, the Comox valley, Tahsis and Gold River. Vancouver Island West, encompassing Tahsis and Gold River, has not had a new case since it recorded two at the beginning of Dec. 2020. The Greater Campbell River area had three cases in the third week of January, four cases during Jan. 3-9, and four cases in the last week of 2020. Comox Valley, the most populous Local Health Area in the North Island, had nine new cases between Jan. 10-16, down from 18 in Jan. 3-9, and 21 cases in the last week of 2020. Updated Local Health Area data is published weekly. RELATED: B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Après avoir vécu quatre années tumultueuses sous Donald Trump, les États-Unis ont maintenant un président qui s’engage à plaider pour l’unité et la guérison.
Mason Galambos was born on August 12th, 2016, to Brighton residents and parents Jared and Alicia Galambos. A few months after his birth, it was noted that Mason was unable to hold his head up. After receiving exome genetic testing, Mason was diagnosed with Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome in January of 2018. Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome is a rare disorder of brain development that causes intellectual and physical disability in affected children. As Mason grows, he experiences debilitating muscle spasms and seizures. The 4-year-old boy was recently fitted with a feeding tube due to difficulty swallowing and requires attention and support around the clock. As parents Jared and Alicia exhaust themselves to care for Mason, the prevalence of Allen-Herndon-Dudley syndrome is still unknown. Mason suffers from epilepsy and is non-verbal with low muscle tone, which prevents him from sitting or walking. After having Mason, Alicia was unable to return to work as he needs constant care and monitoring. Alicia provides 24-hour care for her son as he is unable to move well or feed himself. Mason has several seizures a day and requires monitoring at night as Mason does not sleep well due to struggling with swallowing secretions. “My heart breaks for these parents,” said Jared’s aunt Kathy Jackson. “We do whatever we can financially and physically for them, unfortunately, it’s not enough; we can’t take away their pain or exhaustion.”As Jared and Alicia continue to care for Mason, public and private medical coverages along with Jared’s employer benefits don’t cover all of the expenses needed to provide for Mason. The family is anticipating costs of $100,000 or more to give Mason what he needs to live a happy life. One of the largest upcoming expenses for the Galambos family will be incurred by renovating their home to be more accessible, or moving to a more accessible home, as well as purchasing a vehicle that is suitable for the specialized transport that Mason requires. Last year, Mason underwent surgery for G-tube feeding, dental and abdominal surgeries, as well as therapeutic Botox to help with increasing muscle spasticity. As Mason ages, his condition will continue to wear on his body and he will require additional procedures and medications. Mason required a custom wheelchair to support his body, a standing frame to facilitate weight-bearing, custom orthotics and specialized bath seating. As he continues to grow, each of these aids will need to be replaced, and he will always need supplies for his feeding pump. Despite his condition, Mason is an overall happy child who loves snuggles, tickles, twinkling lights and being in the water. After unexpectedly becoming a single-income family, the family has decided to launch a fundraiser to help support Mason’s future. “This beautiful boy is very loved and very well cared for, but we can’t keep up,” added Jackson. “We need to be able to ease some of the ways they live, by making sure they have accessible housing, equipment, and a suitable vehicle. That is the reason I am trying to raise funds and seek whatever help I can find.” For more information on Mason’s story and fundraiser, details can be found online at https://ca.gf.me/v/c/vhqm/masons-story-living-with-a-rare-disorder None Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
A Bedford, N.S., man is facing three sexual assault charges in relation to incidents that occurred in student housing at Dalhousie University in 2019. Halifax police say they have charged Michael James Allain, 20, with two counts of sexual assault involving one woman and a third count involving a different woman. The alleged assaults occurred in September and October 2019 and were reported to police in February and March 2020. Police say Allain was acquainted with both women, but did not provide further information in order to protect the identity of the women. MORE TOP STORIES
TORONTO — Experts at a leading children's hospital say schools need to ramp up COVID-19 testing and masking in order to have all kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. The guidance comes a day after Ontario said it would permit just seven public health units in southern Ontario resume in-person learning Monday, while students in hot-spot regions will continue with online learning until at least Feb. 10. They join others in northern regions that returned to class last week, but areas including Toronto and Peel were deemed too-high risk to return to class. The new guidelines, led by experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, urge COVID-19 tests for all staff and students exposed to a confirmed case, while indoor masking be made mandatory for all those Grade 1 and up. The report's co-author Dr. Ronald Cohn says the current protocol is that testing is only required for those who display symptoms. He also stresses the social and mental-health needs of young children, recommending kindergartners be cohorted so they can play and interact with their peers. Cohn, president and CEO, SickKids, said schools closures should be "as time-limited as possible." "It is therefore imperative that bundled measures of infection prevention and control and a robust testing strategy are in place," he said Thursday in a release. The report also cautions against rapid tests using molecular or antigen tests because of their lower sensitivity and less effectiveness with asymptomatic cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Thursday expelled a Russian diplomat for allegedly not respecting the country’s virus lockdown rules. An Albanian foreign ministry statement declared Alexey Krivosheev “person non grata,” asking him to leave the country within 72 hours. The ministry said that since April last year there were continuous violations from the diplomat. It said Albanian authorities first contacted the ambassador but the diplomat still persisted in breaking pandemic restrictions. “A repeated challenging of the protective rules and steps on the pandemic, and disregarding of the concern of the Albanian state institutions related to that, cannot be justified and tolerated any more,” the statement said. The ministry did not provide details on the alleged violations, or give the post of the diplomat. Albania has set an overnight curfew, mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoors and social distancing. “We hope that such a decision ... at such a very challenging time for the globe, will be well understood from the Russian side as a necessary step to protect the health and security" of everyone in Albania, the ministry statement added. Albania resumed diplomatic ties with Moscow in 1991, 30 years after the country's then-communist regime severed previously close relations with Russia. The Associated Press
À l’issue du caucus du Bloc québécois en prélude à la rentrée parlementaire, les élus bloquistes entendent se pencher prioritairement sur la gestion de la pandémie, le soutien aux aînés, la hausse des transferts en santé et la promotion de la langue française. La lutte contre la pandémie de COVID-19 et «l’identité québécoise» seront au cœur de l’action des bloquistes à la Chambre des communes alors que les livraisons des doses de vaccin de Pfizer seront interrompues au Québec la semaine prochaine. «Nous allons talonner Justin Trudeau pour qu’il assume sa responsabilité d’approvisionner le Québec en vaccins. Il devra enfin assumer sa responsabilité de gérer les frontières et les quarantaines», a prévenu le chef du Bloc, Yves-François Blanchet, selon un communiqué du bureau d’Andréanne Larouche, députée de Shefford. Ottawa vient de prolonger les restrictions sur les voyages internationaux vers le Canada en provenance de pays autres que les États-Unis jusqu’au 21 février, mais ces mesures demeurent insuffisantes aux yeux du Bloc. Le Québec demande la suspension des vols internationaux et le renforcement du contrôle des quarantaines des voyageurs. Le premier ministre, Justin Trudeau, menace d’imposer de nouvelles mesures «sans préavis» si les Canadiens continuent de voyager sans raison essentielle. Les aînés et votes à distance Le Bloc plaide également pour une hausse durable de 110 $ par mois de la pension de la Sécurité de la vieillesse. «Avec le coût des médicaments et la hausse des prix, notamment de la nourriture et des loyers, plus que jamais, les aînés ont besoin d’une bonification de leur situation financière», a expliqué la députée Andréanne Larouche, porte-parole du Bloc pour les aînés et la condition féminine. Les bloquistes n’oublient pas la question de l’augmentation des transferts en santé alors que le gouvernement fédéral pourrait déposer au printemps son premier budget en deux ans. Toutes ces priorités du Bloc doivent avoir l’approbation de la Chambre dans un contexte où le parlement hybride pourrait être reconduit. Le parti souhaite que le gouvernement obtienne l’unanimité avant de lancer une application sur le vote à distance. «Les libéraux ne peuvent pas changer par simple majorité une règle du jeu aussi fondamentale que la manière dont se tiennent les votes. Ils doivent obtenir l’unanimité. Je leur demande d’enfin faire de véritables efforts pour rallier toute l’opposition en prouvant l’efficacité de l’application et en mettant de côté toute partisanerie préélectorale au profit du bon fonctionnement de la démocratie», a plaidé la députée Andréanne Larouche. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Près de 8 % des malades hospitalisés pour Covid-19 sont victimes d’atteintes neurologiques. En quoi consistent ces problèmes parfois graves ? Quelles en sont les causes ?
After months of mounting calls to remove police from the front-line response for people in mental health distress, the City of Toronto is proposing a pilot program that would see mobile crisis support teams dispatched to non-emergency calls in four communities with some of the highest rates of calls like this. If approved early next month, the pilot would allow for a "non-police led response for non-emergency, non-violent calls including those involving persons in crisis and for wellness checks," the city said in a news release. The project would be piloted in three areas of the city: northwest Toronto, northeast Toronto and Downtown East, while a fourth would serve Indigenous communities. The crisis teams themselves would be multidisciplinary, the city says, involving crisis workers with mental health and intervention training, as well as de-escalation, situational awareness and field training. The pilot would also provide follow-up care including case management, mental health counselling, substance use support and referrals to other services that may be required. Move follows multiple deaths of people in crisis at hands of police The proposal comes after a string of deaths of people in crisis at the hands of police across Canada. Those include 26-year-old D'Andre Campbell and 62-year-old Ejaz Choudhry in Brampton, 48-year-old Rodney Levi in New Brunswick and in Toronto, 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, whose death in May 2020 saw thousands take to the streets to demand accountability and protest racism in policing. In the case of Korchinski-Paquet, Toronto police have said they were called after reports of an assault involving a knife. In the ensuing minutes, the 29-year-old fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment building. The five officers involved were later cleared of wrongdoing by the province's special investigations unit. Korchinski-Paquet's relatives have said police were called because of a family conflict that left her in distress. Claudette Korchinski-Beals, her mother, has said she asked police to take her daughter to Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to get her help but that instead, she ended up dead. Given the city pilot project is geared only toward "non-emergency" and "non-violent" calls, it's unclear if the new measures would have changed anything for someone in a position like Korchinski-Paquet. Toronto has seen increase in 'person in crisis' calls Currently, Toronto's mobile mental health teams — consisting of a registered nurse and police officer — are mandated only to provide secondary responses. Police officers alone remain the first responders, particularly for calls involving a weapon. A report from the city manager this week notes Toronto police have seen a 32.4 per cent increase in "person in crisis" calls over the past five years. Out of the nearly one million calls officers respond to every year, about 30,000 are mental health calls, Toronto police have told CBC News. However, the report acknowledges, using law enforcement to respond to health-related issues "creates barriers and risks for many Torontonians, particularly Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities." "Systemic discrimination in Toronto has negatively impacted how these communities experience community safety," it says. "Evidence of disproportionate use of force including deadly force, invasive searches, and greater surveillance on Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities has impacted community trust and confidence in a police-led response for those experiencing a health crisis." In the release, Mayor John Tory called the project "a step in the direction" for residents experiencing "a non-violent crisis." The project will go to the city's executive committee for consideration on Jan. 27 and if approved, will be voted on by city council at the Feb. 2-3 meeting.
Vital, critical, indispensable, crucial and necessary … all words the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is using to describe the province’s current stay-at-home order. “People ask the question, is it necessary? We're doing really well in Grey-Bruce. Yes, we're doing really well, but it is very necessary,” said Dr. Ian Arra, MOH for the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) during a virtual town hall event hosted by Bruce Power on Wednesday evening. “The Premier said it best, you can look at the regulations and all the complexity of it. But it is simple – just stay home,” Arra said. “When you do this, just remember it's painful but it is saving lives.” Arra is asking the public to look at the current order in a positive light, as it has alleviated the concern of individuals travelling into Grey County from other high-risk, red-zone areas. He said in December the health unit had placed a lot of focus on how individuals from neighbouring communities that were experiencing high COVID case numbers had been moving into the county. “All that planning and communication was not necessary anymore when the province issued the lockdown. It has definitely balanced that equation that would be increasing the risk in our area,” he said. According to Arra, case numbers in recent weeks have remained relatively favourable, despite the health unit seeing a surge in cases following the holidays. “I'm very proud of the community, proud to be part of this community, that the surge was not larger than what it was over the past few weeks,” Arra said, adding that the case numbers have now begun to taper down. “The past week has been averaging around three or four cases per day, which is a success,” he said. As of Jan. 20, there have been 657 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Grey and Bruce counties. Currently, there are 30 active cases and two individuals being hospitalized. According to Arra, early December is believed to have been the peak of the second wave of COVID in Grey-Bruce. However, Arra is asking the public to remain cognizant that the province has been seeing a large number of cases reported every day since the holiday. “We've seen 3,000 cases per day and they're going to translate into higher admission to the hospital, to the ICU, and unfortunately, in deaths,” he said. “People might say, well, in Grey-Bruce we have only two cases in the hospital. But, again, we're not on an island. And our [healthcare] system is built to support universality.” He explained that as the provincial healthcare system continues to be strained, the impacts will trickle down to other regions, adding that the province has already begun transferring patients between hospitals. “We need all of us to stay this course until the vaccine is in enough arms to make this pandemic nonexistent,” he said. “This is not going to end tomorrow. It's going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay the course.” Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
The Tahltan Nation and the owners of the Silvertip mine in northern British Columbia, 90 kilometres southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, have signed an impact and benefit agreement. The Tahltan Central Government says in a release it wants to implement the deal with Coeur Mining immediately. "We have a shared vision of empowering Tahltan workers, entrepreneurs and companies while working together to mitigate the mine's impacts to our Tahltan territory, culture and values," said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan central government. The silver-lead-zinc mine suspended operations almost a year ago because of low lead and zinc prices. At the time, the company said mining would not likely resume until late this year. Terry Smith, senior vice president and chief development officer for Chicago-based Coeur Mining, said the agreement will help with the process of re-starting operations. "[It] lays the foundation for a strong partnership and shared benefits between Coeur Silvertip and the Tahltan Nation by aligning our interests across several key measures of success at Silvertip, including environmental protection, employment and economic opportunities.for surrounding First Nations communities," said Smith. When operations were suspended last year, the mine had more than 160 employees. In its most recent quarterly report, Coeur Silvertip stated it's been drilling on the site to determine the size of the silver-lead-zinc deposit. It's also looking at ways it can expand the capacity of the mill at the site. The mine site is in the traditional territories of both the Tahltan Nation and the Kaska Dena Council which represents a number of Kaska First Nations in Yukon and northern B.C.. The company already has an agreement with the Kaska nations.
One of Nova Scotia's most respected politicians and steadfast cabinet ministers has announced she will be leaving public life whenever the next provincial election is called. Liberal deputy premier and Finance Minister Karen Casey told reporters Thursday she decided "within the last week" to call it quits. The decision means Premier Stephen McNeil's two closest political colleagues have decided they will follow him out of public life. Health Minister Leo Glavine announced his retirement in late November. He too will stick around until the next general election. Casey, the MLA for Colchester North, told reporters it was the right time to go. "The time comes when, you know, 15 years I think is a good amount of public service to give," Casey said during an almost 25-minute question-and-answer session with reporters, following a meeting with her cabinet colleagues. The premier is usually first to take questions following a cabinet meeting, but as he did when Glavine announced his decision to retire, McNeil allowed Casey to make her decision public. "I'm happy to say I've done my service to my constituents, I'm happy with the work that we've achieved and it's time to let somebody else represent Colchester North," said Casey, who is 73. "I'm sure there will be somebody very strong who comes out to carry on." Casey was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in June 2006 as a Progressive Conservative. Newly elected Premier Rodney MacDonald named the former school teacher and administrator the minister of education. He later gave her an even tougher portfolio, health. She was chosen to lead the party as interim leader when MacDonald stepped down, after his government was defeated in the 2009 election that brought the NDP to power for the first time in Nova Scotia's history. There was a falling out with the new PC leader, Jamie Baillie, and in January 2010 Casey left her Progressive Conservative colleagues to take a seat alongside McNeil and his third-place Liberal caucus. A colleague, a confidant The move may have cost her friendships within PC ranks but it didn't cost her a single vote in her constituency. She won the 2013 election with the biggest majority of her political career, taking almost 61 per cent of the vote. "I felt very respected and I guess if there's one word that I would use to describe what motivated me, it would be knowing that my ideas and those of my constituents, and me as a person would be respected," Casey said Thursday of her decade-old decision. Of that day, McNeil said he "not only got a colleague, but a confidant." "Someone that I relied on through my time as opposition leader, but probably more importantly when I became premier," said McNeil, who will step down as premier when the party selects a new leader next month. "She's the one person that I have always sought counsel of [in] my most difficult days. She saw me at my best and, quite frankly, probably at my worst." Key portfolios Since 2013, McNeil has entrusted Casey with key portfolios, education and finance. She has also chaired Treasury Board, one of the most powerful roles in any government. Casey told reporters she wasn't sure what she would do next beyond spending time with her four grandchildren. "I'm not leaving this to go to another career, I'm leaving it to go home and spend time with my grandchildren," she said. But she did leave the door open for her to go back to her first career as a teacher. "Maybe there are kids in the neighbourhood who need a little tutoring or extra help in reading and writing and math at the end of their day." MORE TOP STORIES
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19, an employee of a Marine Atlantic vessel flagged by officials this week as a possible risk for spreading the virus to crew members and passengers. The MV Blue Puttees, which operates between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L., was temporarily pulled out of service for contact tracing Wednesday, after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19. The new case, the second Marine Atlantic employee this week to contract the virus, is a man in his 60s in the Central Health region. The Department of Health says the man is isolating and contract tracing is underway. The department also says it's sharing contact tracing information with authorities in Nova Scotia and advising Marine Atlantic. Health officials would not provide details on the new case, instead deferring to the ferry operator. A spokesperson for Marine Atlantic told CBC the man was part of the same shift as the previously infected employee. Marine Atlantic is adding a boat to the route, with the MV Atlantic Vision entering the schedule departing North Sydney early Thursday evening. The spokesperson said the Blue Puttees is still sidelined. "We will continue to monitor this situation and make any additional operational adjustments as required," the spokesperson said in a statement. Officials are asking passengers who travelled on the Blue Puttees to or from North Sydney or Port aux Basques between Dec. 29 and Jan. 16 to arrange COVID-19 testing. With no new recoveries since Wednesday's update, the province has six active cases, with one person in hospital. In all, 384 people have recovered from the virus, and 77,273 people have been tested. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador