With Matt Di Nicolantonio.
With Matt Di Nicolantonio.
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
A Fort St. John man was sentenced last Tuesday to 20 months probation and 50 hours community service for an illegal cannabis grow-op in June 2017. Edward James Fennell, 51, pleaded guilty to to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and for the production of more than three kilograms of cannabis seized from his home on 99 Avenue. Officers seized 170 plants from three hidden grow rooms inside the home, which RCMP described as a “typical two-stage grow op.” The cannabis had a street value between $60,000 to $95,000, court heard. Fennell previously had a medical licence to grow cannabis, which was expired at the time of his arrest, court heard. He declined an opportunity to speak to the court about his sentencing. He was issued a two-year suspended sentence, and released to serve 20 months probation and the requirement to complete community service. Cannabis became legal in Canada in October 2018. Email reporter Tom Summer at firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Major League Soccer season will run April 3 through Nov. 7 with the MLS Cup final scheduled for Dec. 11. How the season will look for the three Canadian teams remains up in the air, however In announcing the 2021 dates, the league said it is continuing to work with CF Montreal, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps on the issue of travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S. due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. All three Canadians teams had to relocate to the U.S. to finish out the 2020 season. MLS said more details on the Canadian teams will be announced in the "near future."' Each of the 27 teams — the league is up a club with the addition of expansion Austin FC — will play a 34-match regular-season schedule before the playoffs kick off Nov. 19. The league had previously said it was targeting a mid-March start to the 2021 campaign. In 2020, the regular season opened Feb. 29. Clubs can open pre-season training on Feb. 22, six weeks ahead of the season's opening weekend. The league says players will have to quarantine and conduct individual trainings upon reporting back to their clubs. During the regular season, all players, technical staff and essential club staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day, including the day before each match day. Clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government came under pressure Monday to ease lockdown restrictions, from the opposition who called for the homeless to be curfew exempt, to regional mayors who said the rules are unjustified in their towns. Mayors in less-populated parts of the province where COVID-19 infections rates are low said health authorities should ease restrictions after they are set to expire Feb. 8. Marc Parent, the mayor of Rimouski, Que., said his region shouldn't be treated like Montreal, which reports hundreds of new cases every day. Rimouski, by contrast, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Montreal, reported a single new case on Sunday, he said. “When you look at the lower St-Lawrence, the Gaspe and the North Shore, we are in the neighbourhood of about 10 cases per 100,000 residents,” Parent said in an interview Monday. He said residents are looking for health orders to reflect the COVID situation in their region. “I believe the Quebec government must take into consideration the regional realities … it’s a must," Parent said. Much of Quebec has been under some form of lockdown since October, when in-person dining at restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues were closed. But in early January, following a rise in COVID-related hospitalizations, the premier ordered all non-essential businesses across the province to close and imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for virtually all Quebecers. Rejean Porlier, mayor of Sept-Iles, Que., said he’s had conversations with Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, about identifying thresholds that would trigger certain extra measures as needed. “That’s what was behind the colour-coded system in the beginning, but we’re in a completely different place now: it’s oatmeal for everyone,” Porlier said. He said curfews and restaurant closures don't make sense in Sept-Iles, located about 650 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, which reported zero new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and five cases last week. “We’ll have to respect the decisions that are taken but we’re hopeful our concerns will be heard and we’ll be able to resume certain activities here,” Porlier said. “When there are zero cases, our (hospital) beds aren’t occupied, what could justify such extreme measures?” Also on Monday, opposition parties joined community groups for a virtual news conference during which they repeated demands the government exempt the homeless from the provincewide curfew. Meanwhile, lawyers argued in Quebec Superior Court that the curfew violates homeless people's Charter rights to safety and security and to be protected against cruel and unusual punishment or treatment. The judge hearing the case is expected to rule later in the week. Last week, Premier Francois Legault rejected the Montreal mayor's request for an exemption, saying he had concerns people would fake homelessness to defy the curfew and avoid the fine, which can be as high as $6,000. Montreal's request came following the recent death of Raphael Andre, a 51-year-old homeless Innu man found dead in a portable toilet. New data indicates the daily infection rate and number of hospitalizations are trending downward. Quebec has reported a drop in hospitalizations for the past six reporting periods, representing 179 fewer patients in hospital. Health officials reported 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The Health Department said hospitalizations dropped by six, to 1,321 and 217 patients were in intensive care, a decrease of two. Fewer hospitalizations in recent days are starting to impact hospitalizations, Heath Minister Christian Dube said. "Case data continue to be encouraging," Dube said in a tweet announcing the daily count. "It shows that our efforts over the past few weeks are bearing fruit." Health officials said Monday 1,672 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 228,887, adding that Quebec has 16,424 active reported cases. Officials said 220,715 doses of vaccine had been administered as of Sunday, representing 2.58 per cent of the population that had been vaccinated. Quebec has reported 254,836 infections and 9,521 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. — with files from Morgan Lowrie Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — These suspects weren't exactly in hiding. “THIS IS ME,” one man posted on Instagram with a hand emoji pointing to himself in a picture of the violent mob descending on the U.S. Capitol. “Sooo we’ve stormed Capitol Hill lol,” one woman texted someone while inside the building. “I just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,” another wrote on Facebook about a selfie he took inside during the Jan. 6 riot. In dozens of cases, supporters of President Donald Trump downright flaunted their activity on social media on the day of the deadly insurrection. Some, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos and comments and sent them to the FBI. Their total lack of concern over getting caught and their friends' willingness to turn them in has helped authorities charge about 150 people as of Monday with federal crimes. But even with the help from the rioters themselves, investigators must still work rigorously to link the images to the vandalism and suspects to the acts on Jan. 6 in order to prove their case in court. And because so few were arrested at the scene, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have been forced to send agents to track suspects down. “Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of criminal activity inside the Capitol,” Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington office, said earlier this month. “Bottom line — the FBI is not sparing any resources in this investigation.” In the last few weeks, the FBI has received over 200,000 photos and video tips related to the riot. Investigators have put up billboards in several states with photos of wanted rioters. Working on tips from co-workers, acquaintances and friends, agents have tracked down driver’s license photos to match their faces with those captured on camera in the building. In some cases, authorities got records from Facebook or Twitter to connect their social media accounts to their email addresses or phone numbers. In others, agents used records from license plate readers to confirm their travels. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol, although it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime. Federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing. And they must weigh manpower, cost and evidence when charging rioters. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges against the rioters, which carry up to 20 years in prison. One trio was charged with conspiracy; most have been charged with crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. Many rioters posted selfies inside the Capitol to their social media accounts, gave interviews to news outlets describing their experience and readily admitted when questioned by federal investigators that they were there. One man created a Facebook album titled “Who’s House? OUR HOUSE” filled with photos of himself and others on Capitol grounds, officials said. “They might have thought, like so many people that work with Trump, that if the president tells me to do it, it’s not breaking the law,” said Michael Gerhardt, an expert on impeachment and professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Others made blunders, like a Houston police officer, who denied he went into the Capitol, then agreed to let agents look at the pictures on his phone. Inside his deleted photos folder were pictures and videos, including selfies he took inside the building, authorities said. Another man was wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor after a burglary conviction that tracked his every movement inside the building. A retired firefighter from Long Island, New York, texted a video of himself in the Capitol rotunda to his girlfriend’s brother, saying he was “at the tip of the spear,” officials said. The brother happened to be a federal agent with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, who turned the video over to the FBI. A lawyer for the man, Thomas Fee, said he “was not part of any attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol” and that “the allegation is that he merely walked through an open door into the Capitol — nothing more." Another man who was inside the Capitol was willing to rat out another rioter who stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and emailed the video to an FBI agent, even signing his own name to it. “Hello Nice FBI Lady,” he wrote, “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.” In another case, a man was on a flight leaving D.C. two days after the riot when he kept shouting “Trump 2020!” and was kicked off. An airport police officer saw the man get off the plane and the man was booked on another flight. Forty-five minutes later, the officer was watching a video on Instagram and recognized the man in a group of rioters. The man, who was wearing the same shirt as the day he stormed the Capitol, was arrested at the airport, authorities said. Even defence attorneys have acknowledged that the evidence poses a problem for them. “I’m not a magician,” said an attorney for the man seen in a photo carrying Pelosi's lectern. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property,” he told reporters. Police at the Capitol planned only for a free-speech demonstration and were overwhelmed by the mob that broke through and roamed the halls of the Capitol for hours as lawmakers were sent into hiding. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Trump was impeached after the riot on a charge of “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” Opening arguments will begin the week of Feb. 8. He is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. Unlike criminal cases, impeachment trials do not have specific evidence rules so anything said and done that day can be used. And several of the people charged have said in interviews with reporters or federal agents that they were simply listening to the president when they marched to the Capitol. ___ Richer reported from Boston. Michael Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
MOBERLY LAKE, B.C. — A First Nations leader is calling on the British Columbia government to release several reports on the Site C dam, claiming details of escalating costs and safety concerns have been "shrouded in secrecy." In an open letter to Premier John Horgan, Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations says work on the hydroelectric dam in northeastern B.C. should be suspended immediately until cabinet makes a decision on the project. Willson says BC Hydro has withheld its two latest progress reports from regulators and the premier has refused to release a report prepared by special advisor Peter Milburn. The B.C. government and BC Hydro did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Willson says if the reports aren't made public voluntarily, the First Nation will seek their release through court action. BC Hydro reported to the B.C. Utilities Commission in July that geotechnical problems found in late 2019 had created a "project risk," requiring stability measures to be taken on the right bank of the dam. The B.C. government appointed Milburn, a former deputy finance minister, in July to review the project and Energy Minister Bruce Ralston said this month he wouldn't discuss its findings until they are reviewed by the premier and cabinet. Willson said in an interview that the hydroelectric dam is an unnecessary infringement of the First Nation's treaty rights and he doesn't believe the community's concerns have been taken seriously. "It's a shame we're at this stage. We should have never gotten this far down the road. We should have sat at the table like adults," Willson said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
She’s had Dex since he could fit in her hand. As a puppy, Dex had an overbite that made nursing impossible. So Cindi Ilchuk adopted and hand fed the dog until he was able to eat. Now he’s 10 years old, 65 pounds, and the two are inseparable. “Dex is a support dog. He’s not an officially trained support dog, but he fell into the job and he’s filled the role wonderfully,” said Ilchuk’s stepfather Wayne Pierce. “That dog is everything to Cindi. I don’t know what she’d do without him. He’s the one constant in her life.” On Jan. 17, Dex broke his paw in the panic that ensued when a fire engulfed the hallway at Ilchuk’s apartment — the Town Park Apartment C block fire that has displaced everyone who lived in the 15 units. RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months RELATED: Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire In the panic of the fire, Ilchuck slid down the drain pipe to escape the fire and smoke in the hallway. A friend tried to pass Dex down to her. She half-caught, half-broke the dog’s fall, but he landed on one paw breaking it badly. “Everyone heard him yelp when that happened,” Pierce said. If the break had been a few inches higher, a simple cast could have been used. But the paw was broken at a joint, and requires surgery. Dex has been at the North Island Veterinarian Hospital since the fire and is getting anxious for Ilchuk, staff told Pierce. Pierce will take Dex to Campbell River Veterinarian Hospital for surgery on Jan. 25, but isn’t sure how their family will cover the $4,000 bill, plus over $1,000 due to the North Island Veterinarian Hospital. Ilchuk is on disability income for a variety of health challenges, and now faces the imminent challenge of finding new housing. She has been living in Town Park Apartment C-block in Port Hardy for just over a year — the longest home Pierce can remember in the last 20 years. Ilchuk’s mother Ann Ilchuk has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds towards the surgery costs: https://gofund.me/70f1ef35. Staff at both veterinarian hospitals will also accept payments to Dex’s account. RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Seamus O'Regan rebuffed calls to issue sanctions on the United States over President Joe Biden‘s move to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. He said the government has a “responsibility to Albertans to safeguard our relationship with the single largest customer for Canadian crude.”
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick confirmed Monday that two residents of a long-term care facility in Saint John died last week after testing positive for COVID-19. Only one of those deaths, however, is being attributed to the novel coronavirus, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters Monday. The COVID-related death involved a person in their 70s, she said, adding that New Brunswick has reported a total of 14 fatalities linked to the virus. Seniors services company Shannex said Sunday that a resident of Parkland Saint John retirement complex died last Thursday and another died Friday. The company apologized for the delay in reporting the deaths, adding that identifying COVID-related deaths among residents can be complicated. Five of the 14 deaths in New Brunswick attributed to the virus have occurred at Parkland Saint John. New Brunswick health officials reported 27 new infections Monday, including 19 that were identified in the Edmundston region, which entered a 14-day lockdown on Sunday. Officials said the Saint John and Fredericton regions will move to the "orange" pandemic-alert level on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. after they were at the "red," or highest level, for the past week. The Moncton region — where four new cases were reported Monday — will remain at the red level. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions could soon be moved into a more relaxed alert level because of the few daily reported cases in those areas. "We need to keep these zones in orange for now to ensure the health and safety of those who live there," Shephard said Monday, about those three regions. "But if trends continue to go well in these zones we will move all three to yellow once public health recommends we do so, hopefully later this week." Officials say there are 348 active reported infections in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including three who are in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,151 infections since the start of the pandemic. Shephard said more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province and 2,839 people have received their second dose. "Vaccination clinics are planned for 20 long-term care facilities this week, using the Moderna vaccine to provide the first dose to more than 750 people," Shephard said, adding that "more than 1,600 health-care workers are scheduled to get their second dose of the vaccine this week." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
YELLOWKNIFE — A 28-year-old Alberta man has been charged with making threatening statements toward the chief public health officer of the Northwest Territories. Police say threats were made over the phone Jan. 20 during a call to the office of Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer. Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning. Police say they launched an investigation after the call was received and took the man into into custody Jan. 22. Clinton Leussink is charged with intimidation and uttering threats. He is scheduled to appear in territorial court in Yellowknife Feb. 16. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan, 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
Le conseil municipal de la Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts a remis à plus tard les démarches visant l’édification d’un projet immobilier dans le secteur du Mont-Habitant. « Nous avons dû remettre à plus tard les consultations publiques pour l’évaluation de ce projet. Nous devons attendre après la Santé publique, afin de pouvoir réunir de 50 à 75 citoyens en un même endroit, à cause de la Covid. On préfère prendre notre temps, agir en toute transparence et voir ce que le promoteur voudra faire. Il est question de possiblement baisser le nombre de maisons mises en chantier », a décrit le maire de Saint-Sauveur, M. Jacques Gariépy. « J’aimerais rassurer les gens, qui me disent que l’on va perdre une belle montagne. Rassurez-vous, il n’est pas question de toucher à la station de ski. C’est un projet à part ». Le premier citoyen sauverien a tenu à souligner l’envoi à Québec d’une résolution de son conseil, demandant à la SQ d’exercer un contrôle plus serré auprès des personnes en provenance des zones rouges, vers la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut. « Nous l’avons acheminé à la ministre de la sécurité publique, au premier-ministre Legault, au préfêt de la MRC, à notre députée/ministre Marguerite Blais, etc. On veut que tous les moyens soient pris pour garder notre taux de contamination bas ». Enfin, M. Garipéy espère conclure avant la période des fêtes une entente avec la MRC des PDH, afin que les résidents de Saint-Sauveur puissent utiliser gratuitement les sentiers du territoire de la MRC. Il y aura une collecte des encombrants les 3 et 4 novembre prochains. Les citoyens qui souhaitent utiliser ce service doivent s’inscrire en ligne sur le site de la municipalité avant le 30 octobre à midi. Le port du masque est maintenant obligatoire à l’écocentre, dès votre arrivée, pour protéger le personnel et les utilisateurs du site.Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
CINCINNATI — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Monday that he won’t seek reelection to a third term in 2022, expressing dismay with the deep partisanship and dysfunction in American politics. Portman, an establishment Republican who served in the House and in President George W. Bush's administration before joining the Senate, cited a political climate that has made it “harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress." “Our country is very polarized,” Portman said, adding that former President Donald Trump did not help with the polarization. “It’s shirts and skins right now. We need to tone it down.” The decision is one measure of the difficult politics facing many Republicans in Washington as they cede power in President Joe Biden's administration and watch their party split between hard-right Trump supporters and others eager to turn the page. Portman, who turned 65 last month, is among the longtime Republican lawmakers who often backed Trump, though not vociferously. Once dubbed “The Loyal Soldier” in a front-page profile story in his hometown Cincinnati Enquirer, Portman usually defended Trump or avoided criticism of him with carefully worded statements. After Trump called the presidential election rigged, citing no legitimate evidence, Portman said Trump had a right to a probe of any irregularities. But immediately after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of Trump backers, Portman said Trump needed to go on national TV to tell his supporters to refrain from violence. “Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened,” Portman said. Portman’s announcement came the same day that the U.S. Senate is receiving the House impeachment article against Trump for his role in the Capitol riot. While some Republican senators have criticized going ahead with the trial with Trump out of office, Portman said last week that he would listen to the evidence presented by both sides before deciding how to vote. His retirement adds another open seat for the GOP to defend in 2022 as it seeks to regain control of a Senate that Democrats hold by virtue of Vice-President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaking vote. Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have said they plan to retire. Republicans have 20 seats up for reelection in 2022, compared to 14 for Democrats. Those GOP seats include presidential battlegrounds Wisconsin and Florida. Ohio, a perennial battleground for decades, has become more reliably Republican, carried by Trump by more than 8 percentage points in 2016 and 2020. But Portman, like many mainstream GOP lawmakers viewed as insufficiently supportive of Trump, was considered likely to face a primary challenge from the right. Portman twice won election to the Senate by landslide margins. Still, his departure offers a glimmer of hope for Democrats in the state. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was reelected in 2018, but most other statewide officials are Republican. Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said Portman should take “a long hard look in the mirror” before complaining about partisan gridlock and the end of civility in Washington. “Over the past four years, Rob Portman has been one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders, so his attempt today to rewrite that history is ridiculous,” she said in a statement. Portman’s first federal government job started in 1989, when he served as an associate legal counsel in the George H.W. Bush White House. Portman considered Bush a mentor, one whose genteel style was far from that of the abrasive Trump and some of his Republican supporters in Washington Portman was elected to Congress from southern Ohio in a 1993 special election and won six more elections before President George W. Bush tapped him to serve as U.S. trade representative in 2005. He travelled the globe, negotiating dozens of trade agreements. Bush then nominated him to be White House budget director in 2006. Portman stepped down in 2007, then returned to politics in 2010 with a successful U.S. Senate run, and won again in 2016, both times by landslide margins. Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken said in a statement after Portman's announcement that his service has been “invaluable.” Generally voting with his party, Portman broke ranks in 2013 to announce his support for same-sex marriage. He said his son Will had come out as gay. Portman and his wife, Jane, have three children. After a long career, Portman said Monday that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and in his community. He pledged to focus on legislative work in his last two years, working on pandemic relief — he participated in testing of a new vaccine — and issues he’s long been involved with such as fighting drug misuse. ___ Follow Dan Sewell at https://twitter.com/dansewell By Dan Sewell, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Enthusiasm for TFI International Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd. offset some investor concerns to push the Canada's main stock index higher. The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 60.11 points to 17,906.02. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.98 points at 30,960.00. The S&P 500 index was up 13.89 points at 3,855.36, while the Nasdaq composite was up 92.93 points at 13,635.99. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.51 cents US compared with 78.64 cents US on Friday. The March crude oil contract was up 50 cents at US$52.77 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 14.2 cents at US$2.60 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$1 at US$1,855.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 0.3 of a cent at US$3.63 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A third-party report examining how the British Columbia government responded to COVID-19 in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic reveals confusion over policies and infection prevention. The report, by Ernst & Young, says specific policy orders from the provincial health officer were interpreted differently by health authorities and there were gaps in infection prevention and control as well as emergency preparedness. It also highlighted a lack of consistent provincial policy on how health authorities and facility operators handled residents who tested positive for COVID-19. Ernst & Young did praise the government for its decision to create a health emergency command centre as well as restricting staff from working at multiple long-term care facilities, which it says contributed to stopping the spread of COVID-19 infections in care homes. But it added that those restrictions also highlighted staffing shortages and other underlying issues. Health Minister Adrian Dix said last week that his government has implemented all the recommendations in the report and its assessment of the province's actions was "overwhelmingly favourable." The report was completed last fall and stakeholders and the Opposition Liberals have questioned why it was not released sooner. More than 650 of B.C.'s over 1,100 deaths from COVID-19 have been in long-term care facilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Downtown Chatham Centre is officially up for sale after entering into receivership several months ago and the former manager is hoping it falls into the hands of locals. On Oct. 30, the 100 King St. W. property fell into the possession and control of BDO Canada Ltd. in accordance with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. It was most recently listed for sale by JLL’s National Retail Investment Group. “I hope that (the buyer) is someone local that understands the market. Chatham-Kent is a different market,” said Lynn O’Brien who ran the mall as the manager for nine years under the ownership of the Warreners. A few months ago, O’Brien stepped back into her role, on an interim basis, to help spruce things up when Touchstone Group Ltd. of Toronto, took over from Goldberg Groups of Hamilton. O’Brien said the Downtown Chatham Centre saw success under local leadership until Sears left the mall, which marked the beginning of the DCC’s decline. While the former manager was working for the DCC last year, she heard a strong desire from residents to bring in more national retailers so they would not have to drive out of town to Windsor and London. But that is not all that is needed to revitalize the failing building. “We have new residents coming here. It should be a place to work, a place to enjoy a nice dinner out, and some entertainment,” she said. Most recently, a group of local investors headed by Robb Nelson and Dan Warrener came together to purchase the DCC and bring to light that vision of a downtown core made up of business professionals and retailers. The condition was that they would enter into a partnership with the municipality who would own the Sears building to be used as the new city hall. That deal never came through as the municipality opted to stick with its current location further west on King Street. O’Brien said that although she respects the decision of the council, she had hoped things would have gone the other way. She remains optimistic that this is not the last the community will see of the mall. “It's a good building, it’s strong and it’s at a beautiful corner. King Street is just gorgeous. It's part of a community, it's a hub for downtown and my hope is that it remains that,” she said. “It is a tough market to sell but it is sellable. So I do believe that it has to be someone who does understand the market and listens to what the people want. I'm positive things will turn out fine.” The company did not disclose how much the DCC is on the market for. Documents from BDO value its total assets at $19.1 million. Potential buyers have until March 15 to place a bid. The mall is currently at 30.4 per cent occupancy and according to the listing is 8.8 acres with 700 parking spots available. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
NEW YORK — Illustrator Michaela Goade became the first Native American to win the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Medal for best children's picture story, cited for “We Are Water Protectors.” Tae Keller's “When You Trap a Tiger” won the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children's book overall of 2020. Jacqueline Woodson, whose previous honours include a National Book Award, won her third Coretta Scott King Award for best work by a Black author for “Before the Ever After.” And a tribute to Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T," received the King award for best illustration. The book was written by Carole Boston Weatherford, with images by Frank Morrison. The awards were announced Monday by the American Library Association. Goade is a member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes in Southeast Alaska. “We Are Water Protectors,” written by Carole Lindstrom, is a call for environmental protection that was conceived in response to the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock Sioux territory. Keller, who was raised in Hawaii and now lives in New York, drew upon Korean folklore for “When You Trap a Tiger," in which a young girl explores her past. Keller's work also was named the year's best Asian/Pacific American literature. The Newbery medal was established in 1922, the Caldecott in 1937. Goade is the first Native American to win in either category. Daniel Nayeri's “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)" won the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult novel, and Mildred D. Taylor, known for “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” among other works, was given a “Literature Legacy” award. Kekla Magoon, who has written or co-written “X: A Novel" and “How It Went Down,” won a lifetime achievement award for young adult books. Ernesto Cisneros' “Efrén Divided" won the Pura Belpré prize for outstanding Latinx author. Raul Gonzalez's “Vamos! Let’s Go Eat” received the Belpré award for illustration. The Stonewall Book Award for best LGBT literature was given to Archaa Shrivastav for “We Are Little Feminists: Families." ____ On the Internet: ala.org. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Marco Polo Land in Cavendish, P.E.I., has been named large campground of the year by a national camping and RV council. The campground was selected from hundreds of nominations across the country, said Shane Devenish, executive director of the Canadian Camping and RV Council. Marco Polo Land is the first recipient of the award, which will be presented annually for the top campground with 250 sites or more. Devenish said Marco Polo Land was chosen because of the amenities it has added over the last year, including a new water park and deluxe cabins that capitalize on the "glamping" trend. "The ability to have deluxe cabins at a campground now is becoming really popular because it allows people to experience the outdoor camping experience without having to have an RV or a tent." KOA Cornwall a finalist Devenish said the entries were whittled down to three finalists, which also included another campground on P.E.I. — KOA in Cornwall. The other finalist was the Camperland Resort in Rosedale, B.C. Hennie Hoekstra, who has owned Marco Polo Land since 2006, said winning the award was special after a "totally different season" due to COVID-19. "It's a really nice honour to receive … not only good for Marco but for the province." Hoekstra said the COVID-19 pandemic was not as bad for Marco Polo Land as it was for other tourism businesses such as restaurants and cottage rentals. She said many of her customers were Islanders and others from within the Atlantic bubble when it was in place. Had to be 'a little bit creative' She said while some parts of the business, such as the inn and the restaurant, were down, others, such as campsite and cabin rentals, were up, which helped to even out the bottom line. She said they had to move some activities, such as bingo, outside due to public health restrictions. "You could still do lots of activities, you just had to be a little bit creative," she said. Hoekstra said she expects 2021 will be similar, at least until more people are vaccinated. More from CBC P.E.I.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has approved its list of long-term investments for its capital budget. Around $6.3 million was reserved for the 2021 capital budget. The Capital Budget summarizes the strategic direction and forecasting of projects on a long-term basis. The to-do list includes a plan to introduce “traffic calming” strategies throughout Chatham-Kent’s streets in an attempt to reduce speeding. The costs will amount to $300,000 put aside for 2021. Traffic calming strategies could include items such as speed bumps, raised intersections or narrowing roads, lane shifts and more. According to Thomas Kelly, General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, the municipality received a number of complaints regarding three-way and four-way stops installed throughout Chatham-Kent. He also noted roads such as King Street, where parking is available on both sides, and the street is narrow, are the ideal design to reduce speeding. “One of the issues we have within Chatham-Kent is speeding,” said Kelly. “So often we call upon our police to ensure there’s compliance. It’s very effective to have officers issue compliance, but the real solution, the long-term solution, is to design in speed reduction, and you do that through what we term traffic calming.” A report on specific traffic strategies and the locations will be issued to council at a future date. Also on the list are plans to upgrade cemeteries throughout Chatham-Kent after starting to save for the project in 2018. Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, as well as the Blenheim, Dresden and Wallaceburg cemeteries, will all get upgrades and paved roadways for vehicles. According to Kelly, these upgrades should last for 30 to 40 years. The most costly work to be done this year will be Grand Avenue East upgrades set to cost $1.5 million from the budget with a grand total of $7 million. Also noted, Chatham-Kent is closer to its $24.8 million goal for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), which was announced in 2019. The project involves reinforcing shorelines on the Thames River, Sydenham River and McGregor Creek. The 6th Street Dam will also be replaced in order to reduce potential flooding and ice jams from the nearby rivers. More than $3.5 million sitting in the capital reserve fund was transferred to the DMAF projects. In order to receive a $16.6 million contribution from the federal government, the municipality will have 10 years to come up with its target. In 2020, the municipality managed to save $16.4 million, resulting in a current municipal shortfall of $8.5 million. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News