They immediate best friends! How cute!
They immediate best friends! How cute!
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
TORONTO — If you were on the lookout for a Greater Toronto Area condo or apartment to rent or own late last year, new data from the region’s real estate board shows you might have had an edge in negotiations. The number of condos listed for sale or rent in the area in the fourth quarter of 2020 were up by double and sometimes triple digits from the year before, while prices were down, according to two reports released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board on Wednesday. “The increase in supply...resulted in much more choice and bargaining power for buyers and a moderate decline in average selling prices,” TRREB president Lisa Patel said in a statement. Patel also noticed the market tipped in favour of renters, who had plenty of properties that sat on the market for weeks or months to choose from. Her observations encompass the last few months of 2020 — a period when the Greater Toronto Area was staring down tougher COVID-19 lockdowns, the looming possibility of a tax on vacant units and a softening of the short-term rental market triggered by travel bans and work from home orders. TRREB said condo and apartment sales in the quarter reached 6,469, up 20.7 per cent compared to 5,358 in 2019. New listings climbed by almost 92 per cent to hit 12,298, up from 6,407 in the year prior, while active listings doubled to reach 4,294. The average selling price fell 1.1 per cent to reach $610,044 in the quarter, down from $616,771 a year earlier. Average selling prices in the city of Toronto decreased 2.4 per cent to $644,516. Davelle Morrison, a Toronto broker with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., noticed the period was a reversal from the usually sleepy December holiday season. "Towards the end of December people just decided to start snapping up what they could," she said. "One of the reasons why December is usually so dead is because everybody's at Christmas parties and shopping for Christmas gifts, but now, because of COVID, you're not doing any of those things, so all they were doing is looking at real estate." Meanwhile, demand for condo rental was reaching record highs, Patel said. TRREB’s new data showed 12,584 condos were rented in the quarter, up by about 86 per cent from the 6,756 rentals in the same period last year. The number listed for rent soared by 131.6 per cent, rising from 33,280 and 14,371. “Growth in the number of available units far outstripped growth in rental transactions, as many investors chose to make their units available due to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and the short-term rental market,” said Patel. Those who offered places for rent ended up charging less for rent than they would have a year ago. The average one-bedroom condo rent unit was down by 16.5 per cent year over year to $1,845 compared to $2,209. The average two-bedroom condo rent was down by 14.5 per cent over the same time period to $2,453 compared to $2,868. That pattern seems to be continuing in 2021, Morrison said, "I have a few clients right now where their properties are vacant because we just can't even get tenants in them," she said. "It's on my to do list to try to get to take another price cut." But her clients on the market for houses are having a harder time. Prices are soaring and people are scrambling to make offers. Morrison has heard of houses in Mississauga getting 70 offers, ones in Durham Region getting 30 offers, and places in Toronto getting 18 offers. Bully offers are becoming common too, she said. She believes the time to buy houses was when the pandemic first hit and sellers were feeling skittish about the uncertain times, but condo buyers still have a window of opportunity. "If you want to buy a condo you should have bought it in December, but really now is the absolute time to get in there and buy something because I think the second that the borders open up and people get vaccinated, the condo market is going to take off again." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Hart will debut his new SiriusXM original podcast with Jerry Seinfeld as the series’ inaugural guest. The satellite radio company announced on Wednesday the launch of Hart’s “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart” along with two other original programs. He will host the series premiere with Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the Laugh Out Loud Radio channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. On “Inside Jokes,” Hart will interview top comedians and rising stars. The superstar comedian-actor will chronicle their comedy club experiences and touch on “never-before-heard” stories. Along with Seinfeld, the show’s upcoming lineup includes Steve Harvey, Bill Burr, Cedric the Entertainer, Desus & Mero, Nick Kroll, Hasan Minhaj and Zainab Johnson. “I’m sitting down with some of the best voices in comedy to give my listeners the stories behind the jokes they hear on stage,” Hart said in a statement. “Comedians have been through it all, and I’m excited that I’ll be digging deep into the lives of my peers for my first podcast.” In addition to “Inside Jokes,” Hart’s Laugh Out Loud will air two new shows, “Date Night with Chris and Vanessa” on Fridays and “The Ladies Room with Jazzy” on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both shows launched Tuesday. Last year, SiriusXM announced a new multi-platform deal with Hart and his comedy network Laugh Out Loud. Along with his channel, Laugh Out Loud Radio, he’s expected to expand additional comedic programming that includes radio shows, podcasts and on-demand video. Hart said the deal with SiriusXM will give him more creative control. He launched LOL three years ago. His radio show “Straight from the Hart” premiered on his channel in 2018. Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and CCO, said he is excited about Hart’s “Inside Jokes” podcast and new shows as “we continue to collaborate with Laugh Out Loud to shape Kevin’s channel into the pinnacle of diverse comedy programming in audio entertainment." Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Du 1er au 5 février, ce sera l’occasion pour le Carrefour jeunesse emploi de la Haute-Côte-Nord (CJE HCN) de prendre part à la 10e édition de la Semaine des régions organisée par Place aux jeunes en région (PAJR). La pandémie a forcé les organisateurs à prendre un virage virtuel cette année. Comme les déplacements interrégionaux sont interdits, il était impossible d’organiser les visites habituelles dans les établissements scolaires de Québec et Montréal ainsi que le salon au Complexe Desjardins. Toutefois, des initiatives régionales seront mises en branle pendant cette semaine dédiée à la promotion et au rayonnement des régions. « La Semaine des régions se déroulera plutôt virtuellement. Chaque MRC déployant les services de PAJ a pour mission de faire parler de sa région. On peut choisir par quel moyen. Certains font des quiz ou des live sur Facebook. Nous, on a décidé de lancer des capsules vidéos pour présenter de nouveaux arrivants des dernières années », dévoile Jeni Sheldon, agente PAJ. Ces capsules seront réalisées de façon conviviale avec des extraits d’entrevue. D’une durée d’environ deux minutes, elles seront diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux du CJE HCN. « Les nouveaux résidents expliqueront leur coup de cœur de la région, les raisons qui les ont poussés à déménager ici pour démystifier la vie en région », détaille Mme Sheldon. De plus, un projet régional avec les autres agents PAJ de la Côte-Nord sera dévoilé. Il s’agit également d’une capsule vidéo à saveur humoristique « pour promouvoir la région ». La Semaine des régions est un des moyens utilisés par l’agente PAJ pour attirer des jeunes qualifiés âgés de 18 à 35 ans sur le territoire de la Haute-Côte-Nord. « L’an passé, j’ai rencontré une de mes migrations de cette année qui est désormais installée aux Escoumins, raconte Jeni Sheldon. Parfois, ça donne des résultats rapides, mais la plupart du temps, ce sont des graines qui l’on sème pour plus tard. » Services aux employeurs Même s’ils sont moins connus, PAJ offre également des services aux employeurs et entreprises de la Haute-Côte-Nord. Ces derniers peuvent afficher leurs offres d’emploi gratuitement sur le site Web de l’organisme, bénéficiant ainsi « d’une banque de candidatures immense d’environ 10 000 personnes », selon l’agente PAJ. De plus, les candidats ciblés par une entreprise peuvent être accompagnés pour la recherche de logement, apprendre à connaître la région (séjour individuel) et faciliter leur intégration. « Ça peut jouer beaucoup sur la rétention du personnel », précise Mme Sheldon. Le conjoint ou la conjointe ainsi que le reste de la famille peuvent être aussi pris en charge. Pour plus d’informations ou faire appel aux services de PAJ, il faut contacter l’agente Jeni Sheldon au 581-324-1110, poste 236. Originaire d’Angleterre, Mme Sheldon est bien placée pour discuter des enjeux de migration avec les futurs ou nouveaux arrivants. C’est lors d’un voyage en sac à dos il y a 25 ans qu’elle est tombée en amour avec la région. « J’ai été bénévole pendant deux ans au GREMM à Tadoussac et j’ai fait la rencontre de mon copain à Québec. On s’est installé à Tadoussac et j’ai fondé ma famille ici », ajoute-t-elle. 30e anniversaire Depuis deux ans, elle fait partie du réseau PAJ qui célèbre ses 30 ans d’existence en 2021. Des festivités avaient été planifiées, mais elles ont dû être repoussées en raison de la crise sanitaire. « PAJ est un réseau fort et soudé. Quand j’ai commencé, nous étions 50 agents et maintenant, nous sommes 80 déployés à travers la province », de conclure la hautnord-côtière d’adoption.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
The Lakeland District for Sports, Culture, and Recreation are encouraging people to get their vote on for their Wonderful Winter Spot Contest taking place on Facebook. Sixteen local winter hot spots have been chosen by Lakeland District staff as well through local municipal governments nominating their favourites, said Julia Frigault, youth consultant with Lakeland District for Sport, Culture, and Recreation. Frigault got the idea from a fellow Lakeland youth consultant when they planned out a Sweet Summer Swimming Contest for their area. Frigault got a bracket together to promote the winter fun taking place across the Lakeland district. Voting has been taking place over Facebook, which has allowed Lakeland to successfully engage with both voters and communities to promote these fun winter spots, Frigault said. “It's really helpful that we are able to tag a community’s recreation pages, or just their town, village, or city page. It automatically notifies them that they are in fact being mentioned.” Four brackets have been developed to choose the best hills, ice fishing spots, trails, and outdoor ice services across the district. While rounds of voting have already taken place, here is the full list of Saskatchewan hot spots that graced the Lakeland bracket. Those with a (W) are moving on to the next round of voting taking place the last week in January: Visit the Lakeland District’s Facebook page to cast your vote and see how your favourite winter fun spots are doing. Quarter-finals to be posted for the last week of January with semi-finals and finals coming the week after. Including winning bragging rights as Lakeland’s Wonderful Winter Spot of 2021, the bracket winner will also be given a reason to celebrate with a surprise grand prize, Frigault said. With 2020 being difficult on northeastern communities, Frigault said they are happy to give communities reach to celebrate something positive. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Max and Katie relax in the pool with their new cowboy hats. Coolest dogs ever!
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December. That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic. While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Last spring, a humpback whale piqued the curiosity and captured the hearts of Montrealers during a brief passage through the St. Lawrence River. The whale swam from the town of Tadoussac, to Quebec City, before ending up under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. During its stay in Montreal, the whale attracted large crowds near the river before its lifeless body was spotted near Varennes, Que. Months later, evidence supporting what researchers believe happened is still hard to come by. The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals and the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages released a report on the whale's journey. Researchers initially thought the whale was hit by a boat, but they say the state of its body and the extent to which it had been manipulated made it difficult to analyze and determine the collision was the cause of death. Several of its organs were missing at the time of the necropsy, the report stated. "The autopsy conducted on the humpback didn't allow us to confirm this hypothesis," read a statement from Stéphane Lair, the veterinarian who oversaw the procedure. "We can think that its prolonged exposure to soft waters hampered its physiological functions." Their research did lead them to believe the whale died quickly and suddenly, since, according to them, it had not shown signs it was getting weaker or losing an abnormal amount of weight due to lack of nutrition. Why did it go to Montreal? The research team says it's looking at different theories to explain why the humpback whale was out of its usual, salt water habitat. The most reasonable one, according to them, is that of "exploratory behaviour" which is sometimes observed among young mammals. They don't believe the whale was suffering from an ailment or a condition that made it confused as to where it was and where it was going. The report acknowledges that more information is needed on how humpback whales behave in unfamiliar territory, and how to intervene. "This visit reminded us that we share the St. Lawrence with fragile giants and shed light on several issues of cohabitation, such as disturbance, sound pollution and collision risks," said Robert Michaud, a co-ordinator with Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals.
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
A veteran member of First Nations politics in Saskatchewan has died. For more than 30 years, Ron Michel served in leadership as chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, then grand chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council. He died late Monday night. "We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Senator Ron Michel," read a statement from Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron. "He was instrumental and played an influential role in my life." Michel was well-known as a strong advocate for northern Saskatchewan. He served as chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation for 20 years and went on to serve as the Prince Albert Grand Council Grand Chief (PAGC) for 12 years. "There are some leaders who simply command respect, not only because they display a determined, fierce and confident attitude in their cause, but because they display this vision of determination, fierceness and confidence that is driven by compassion and a deep love for the people," read a statement from the current PAGC executive. "Senator Michel was one of those leaders." Michel was also a strong advocate for First Nations children. At a youth suicide conference in 2016, he spoke out about a then-recent wave of suicides in the north. "We're going to strategize about what we can do about these crises. We can no longer wait. We can no longer stand by," Michel said. "Things are getting worse … Our kids are crying out for help." Michel was married to his wife Nancy for more than 50 years. He was 69 years old.
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter TEMAGAMI – The owners of the Our Daily Bread grocery store in Temagami recently gave the municipality a boost - literally. Dirk and Joanne Van Manen have installed Temagami’s first electric vehicle charging station, eCAMION Inc’s Jule Energy charging station, beside their business and it has been up and running since December 11. “About three years ago, a company called eCAMION was looking to install charging stations all along the Trans-Canada Highway. They checked out our area and contacted a few possibilities, us being one of them, about having the station set-up here,” explained Joanne Van Manen in a telephone interview. “The two other people that they contacted, it wasn’t feasible for them for whatever reason. So they started working with us.” eCAMION Inc is a Toronto-based company that is a technology provider for flexible battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and energy management solutions. The charging stations the company provides are free to use and can support both CHAdeMO and CCS ports (the two types of plugs an electric vehicle can have) and can charge up to three vehicles simultaneously. “We decided to install charging at Temagami as part of our effort to provide fast-charging infrastructure to underserved parts of Ontario,” said Alice Wang, product marketing manger for eCAMION Inc, in an email interview. “This deployment will make it easier for EV drivers to travel along the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11, whether for work or leisure.” Wang noted that the Jules Energy stations charge at a Level 3 speed level (50 kilowatts), meaning it can fully charge a typical EV battery in under 45 minutes. “How long a vehicle runs on a charge depends on weather conditions, driving speed and most of all battery size,” she explained. “As an average, 350 kilometres is about how far a vehicle can travel on a full battery.” While she felt that there could be a need within Temagami for an EV charging station, Van Manen said having the Jule Energy station installed was aimed more at those travelling through the area. “My sister has an electric car, too, so she would use it,” she said. “There’s no one in this area that I’m aware of that has an electric car, so it’s more for travellers.” Dirk Van Manen noted that they knew of a man who travelled from Toronto to Kapuskasing on a monthly basis and does so with an electric car. “So he was asking questions about our charging station, just a week or so ago. He’s probably going to stop in and try to use it,” he said. “We’re probably ahead of schedule, you might say, for the electric cars but I think that the economy is speeding up quite quickly, that there will be more around soon, in a few years.” Joanne Van Manen said that she and Dirk, who also own Docks Plus Temagami, aren’t able to keep track of how often the station has been used. But she said the reception so far from the community has been positive. “All we do is keep it clear (of snow) around there,” she said of the charging station. “I put the news of installing the charging station on our Facebook page, for Our Daily Bread, and I’ve reached 5,194 people with it. The comments have been very, very positive.” Dirk Van Manen conceded that the charging station likely wouldn’t be in high demand over the winter, but he was optimistic it would be used more in the warmer months. “I’m sure in the summer we’ll see vehicles parked there,” he said. Wang added that there are great benefits with Temagami having the charging station, one being that it is able to include the promotion of electric vehicles being accessible and viable choices in such a relatively remote neighbourhood. “Also, we hope that the availability of charging in Temagami will mean that Temagami receives more visitors who stop by while they’re on the highway,” she said. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) says it welcomes the news Sen. Lynn Beyak is leaving the Red Chamber. Announcing her early retirement Monday, ahead of possible expulsion, Beyak said she stands by her controversial statements on residential schools. In a 2017 speech, Beyak argued residential schools had done good for Indigenous children, although many suffered physical and sexual abuse and thousands died of disease and malnutrition in them after being forcibly removed from their homes and communities. The schools were operated by churches and funded by the federal government. Beyak then published letters from Canadians defending her on her taxpayer-funded website. Five of those letters were found by the Senate’s ethics officer to contain racist content. Beyak, who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus over the matter, was suspended without pay from the Senate in May 2019 — but due to Parliamentary processes, was automatically reinstated. Beyak was named to the Senate in 2013 by Stephen Harper "While this news is positive, it comes eight years too late," stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels in a Tuesday news release. "Anyone who shares or believes Beyak’s views on residential schools and other horrific chapters of colonialism has no business serving in Canada’s so-called chamber of sober second thought. She should never have been appointed in the first place." The SCO supported a coalition made up of residential school survivors, Grand Chiefs and First Nations that called for her expulsion from the Senate last June. In December, Sen. Mary Jane McCallum, a member of the Independent Senators Group, introduced a motion calling for Beyak’s expulsion from the chamber. It was not debated before senators paused for the holidays. The Senate resumes sitting Feb. 2. In her official letter of retirement to the Senate Monday, Beyak defended both her 2017 speech and her choice to share the letters she received. She wrote she was attacked by "those with an agenda for power and control, and an aversion to honest debate," with the help of some in the media. "The fact that a senator dared to speak the opinions of millions of Canadians frightened those same few people, and their fear has been evident every day since, as they have constantly attacked me in Ottawa with unconstitutional motions and costly inquiries, all in an effort to stifle freedom of expression," she wrote. Daniels said it’s disturbing but unfortunately not surprising that someone with Beyak’s beliefs could rise to a position of influence and power in Canada. "It is irrefutable that the Indian residential school system represents one of the darkest moments in our shared history. Over 150,000 First Nation children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools where they endured harsh discipline along with all forms of abuse and even death. Thousands of children never made it home. For Senator Beyak to never acknowledge these facts is unforgivable." Beyak, having retired, will retain her pension. "This is the true definition of the term bittersweet," said Daniels. "While I am pleased to see her leave the Senate, I am dismayed that she is able to exit on her own terms, before she potentially faced harsher consequences such as expulsion. Ms. Beyak was granted the right to choose to leave. First Nation children had no such right when they were dragged from the arms of their loved ones and forced to attend residential schools." Daniels’ hope is that any future potential candidates for the Senate will be thoroughly vetted. "We have seen meaningful representation by appointing deserving First Nation representatives such as Mary Jane McCallum and Murray Sinclair. I implore the prime minister to consider the many qualified First Nation candidates to fill this vacant senate seat and others. It would be an important way to increase much needed representation for the First Peoples of this country." Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Getting back to a campaign promise delayed by COVID-19, the provincial government is accepting public input in a process to choose a model for an elected school board. “I think it’s really important because schools are hubs of the community. We need to make sure communities have a voice,” PEI’s Education Minister, Brad Trivers, said. Government is considering a hybrid model of elected and appointed board members. This could address issues with the previous elected model. The last elected English School Board was chosen in 2008 when the Island had three school boards: Eastern, Western and the French Language Board. At that time, every three years, Islanders had the opportunity to vote for a candidate to represent their school zone. There were 11 zones in the eastern district, nine in the western district and the French Language School Board had their own electoral system. The French board hasn’t stopped its electoral process. Brian Deveau of Souris was one of the last elected board members to represent zone 4 in eastern PEI when it was dissolved. As conversations and decisions about closing 11 schools became heated and eventually nine schools closed due to dwindling enrollment, the Eastern School Board grew less and less functional. Decisions on a variety of important policies, such as rezoning schools stalled. “It wasn’t working,” said Mr Deveau who saw representatives fighting tooth and nail to protect specific interests of their zone at the expense of what might be best for a larger school system picture. Mr Deveau said some members didn’t have the experience or qualifications that would lend well to effective policy or progressive visions of education for Island students. “You might be popular or respected in the community but not know what’s best for the education system and students and teachers,” he said. In 2012 the majority Liberal government passed legislation authorizing the Minister of Education to dismiss school board members. After offering the board some time to prove they could become functional and move forward with making important decisions, then Education Minister Doug Currie dismissed the entire board. In its place Mr Currie appointed three people to take on the duties of the board. Since then, boards of the Eastern and Western School Districts, which eventually merged into the Island-wide Public Schools Branch, have been appointed by the government. Mr Deveau doesn’t particularly like the idea of the minister or government of the day appointing board members because this could lessen an opportunity for back-and-forth accountability between the government and the board. Mr Deveau suspects an elected board could allow for past flaws to come roaring back. “It might be a better idea, as long as it’s done by an independent board or group, to appoint people with experience and knowledge that can lead the school board down the road,” he said. Mr Trivers said the topics Mr Deveau touched on are challenges that will have to be faced while stakeholders, Islanders, and the government decide the composition of an elected board. In consulting with the Home and School Federation and the PEI Teachers’ Federation, Mr Trivers said the concept of a hybrid model surfaced. In this type of model, Mr Trivers said, communities could elect a representative for each Family of Schools while other board positions could be appointed by stakeholder groups like the PEI Teachers’ Federation. “I think that’s a really good concept and it’s something we’re going to consult about and see what everybody thinks,” Mr Trivers said. Heather Mullen of Mount Stewart, president of the Home and School Federation, said she very much supports moving back to including elected members on the board. She also agrees, a hybrid model might work best. “It’s important perhaps to have appointed seats on the board to represent voices we don’t often hear at Home and School or when you get into elections,” she said. “How do you have the newcomers of PEI and the needs of those students represented? How do you have the Mi’kmaq community represented on the school board?” A hybrid model of sorts could be the solution. Voter turnout is another challenge Mr Trivers hopes to work through. In the last school board election, seven of nine representatives in the Western School District were declared by acclamation as were five of 11 in the Eastern School District. No more than 540 people voted in any particular zone and some competitive zones saw voter turnout to be just over 200. Mr Trivers said some ideas under consideration to increase voter turnout include online voting, voting locations in schools and holding elections in line with the provincial election. Elections PEI has not confirmed how, or if, all these methods would be possible or pragmatic but Mr Trivers says if these are options Islanders want, he expects the options can be sorted out. Islanders are invited to fill out a survey and take advantage of other opportunities to consult about model options and ways to increase voter turnout until March 11. With that information Mr Trivers and his team will draft legislation, consult further with stakeholders about amendments then bring an act to the floor of the legislature hopefully by spring 2022. The survey can be found on the province’s website. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
PARIS — Vandals painted graffiti on France’s Holocaust Memorial ahead of international commemorations of the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews. The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the pro-Uighur graffiti scrawled on a wall etched with the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust. The embassy expressed “horror and anger” at the vandalism “on such a symbolic day.” Paris police said the graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning, as ceremonies were being held or planned around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. The graffiti was quickly cleaned off. While France sees persistent but scattered anti-Semitic vandalism or violence, the graffiti found Wednesday was not explicitly anti-Jewish. It included the message “Uighur Lives Matter” and appeared aimed at calling attention to China's treatment of mostly Muslim Uighurs. The Chinese government has detained an estimated 1 million or more members of ethnic Turkic minority groups in Xinjiang, holding them in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language and physically abused. China has long suspected the Uighurs of harbouring separatist tendencies. The Associated Press
Google's iPhone apps such as Maps and YouTube will stop using a tool from Apple Inc that allows them to personalize ads, avoiding a new Apple warning that informs users their browsing is being tracked. The announcement in a Wednesday blog post by the Alphabet Inc unit comes shortly before Apple is expected to start enforcing new tracking transparency rules. Apple for years has supplied apps with a unique identifier, known as IDFA, to help them link the same user across multiple programs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated on Wednesday the COVID-19 lockdown in England would last until March 8 when schools could start to reopen as the government announced new measures to clamp down on travel to and from Britain. A highly contagious new variant of the virus, which emerged in southeast England at the end of last year, has led to a soaring number of infections across Britain with cases and deaths reaching record levels. On Tuesday, Britain's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000, the first European state to reach that figure, leading to questions about Johnson's handling of a crisis that has also battered the economy.
City council will decide at its next meeting whether Calgarians can have a say on whether the default speed limit should be lowered. Council voted 8-6 last November to see if it was feasible to hold a plebiscite on whether the speed limit on most residential streets should be lowered from 50 to 40 km/h. Coun. Druh Farrell said city administration is recommending council reject the idea of a plebiscite. "The test questions that administration had put together, the people they tested them with were confused. They found the issue quite confusing," said Farrell. "It doesn't lend itself to a simple yes or no answer." If council accepts administration's position, then she said they'll get back to the main question of whether the default speed limit should be lowered. A safety measure Farrell favours 30 km/h but is prepared to go along with a recommendation to approve 40 km/h. She said it will make a big difference. "We know that there are over 9,000 collisions every year on Calgary's neighbourhood streets and [more than] 550 result in death or injury. So we know that reducing speed limits will save money and will save lives," said Farrell. She added that vehicles are bigger today and many drivers sit higher up than when the 50 km/h speed limit was set decades ago. One councillor who voted in November to have the speed limit issue put to a plebiscite isn't planning on changing his mind. Contentious issue Coun. Sean Chu is opposed to lowering the speed limit. He said that given this issue will affect every driver in Calgary, he'll continue pushing for a plebiscite despite administration's recommendation against it. "It's a very contentious issue," said Chu. "I think it's prudent for any politician to ask the public what they think. And that's actually, I believe, good governance." Several of Chu's colleagues, like Farrell, disagree. They say they were elected by Calgarians to make decisions on their behalf so a plebiscite is not needed. Chu's position is that those council members are not willing to widely consult with voters because they may not like the answer. "They're afraid to listen to the public. These are the same people who support the Olympics but were against an Olympic plebiscite." In the last plebiscite held in Calgary, voters rejected pursuing a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The result was 56 per cent opposed. Recommendations approved by a council committee last fall suggest the speed limit be reduced to 40 km/h in April 2021. Council's next vote on the issue will determine if that speed reduction goes ahead. If it does lower the speed limit, it will join the ranks of other municipalities like Airdrie, Banff and Edmonton, which have approved slower speeds for residential streets.
À 26 ans, Nathan Couture, auteur, compositeur et interprète, a le vent dans les voiles ! Le jeune chanteur écrit des chansons originales aux paroles ciselées avec émotion. Ses allers-retours entre le Québec et la France sont de de plus en plus fréquents. Loin d’avoir la grosse tête face à son succès, il demeure authentique et fort sympathique ! Dès l’âge de 5 ans, il apprend le piano. D’autres instruments suivront : la guitare électrique, acoustique, l’harmonica, et finalement le chant. « Je suis plutôt timide sauf sur scène ! », confie Nathan. De fait, c’est YouTube qui lancera sa carrière : « En 2016, après la publication de ma vidéo en ligne, j’ai reçu un message d’un manager français, Denis Lamy. Et depuis presque quatre ans, je me produis en Europe. » Monsieur Lamy se réjouissait de découvrir cet artiste œuvrant dans la plus pure tradition de la chanson française. « 30 degrés sous les étoiles » Cette première chanson a grimpé dans plusieurs palmarès et est devenue numéro un dans une station de Maskinongé. « Tout s’est enchaîné, raconte-t-il. J’ai eu la chance de partager la scène notamment avec le groupe 2Frères, David Jalbert, Jérôme Couture et Simon Boudreault. » Un merveilleux score pour un premier opus ! Parallèlement, il a pris le temps d’obtenir un diplôme comme ingénieur de son. « J’étudiais, et pendant l’été et lorsque j’étais en congé, je faisais des spectacles en Europe. » Ainsi, il s’est produit non seulement en France, mais également à Beyrouth, au Danemark, en Allemagne et en Belgique, pour un total de plus de 60 spectacles. « J’ai notamment effectué des prestations dans des prisons et des Ehpad (maisons pour ainés), précise-t-il. Au moment où l’on annonçait le premier confinement, j’étais en France. Impossible de revenir ! » Coincé en France, tant pis… ou plutôt tant mieux, peut-être? Un bonus accordé par le destin? « Ça m’a permis de composer de nouvelles chansons. Mais il y a tout de même eu 23 concerts annulés. Ils sont reportés en mars… si tout va bien ! L’enregistrement de mon premier album est prévu cet été à Paris. Aussi, une chanson m’a été offerte par Christian Vié, qui est entre autres le parolier de Patricia Kass et de Catherine Lara. Au départ, elle était dédiée à Garou ! » Quant à nous, on pourra le voir — si tout va bien — en juillet au lac des Nations, à Sherbrooke. Son répertoire compte une cinquantaine de chansons ! facebook.com/Nathan-Couture nathancouture.wordpress.comMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
THE LATEST: B.C. recorded 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Wednesday. There are currently 4,299active cases in B.C., including 303 people in hospital, 74 in the ICU. 124,365 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,160 of which were second doses. Premier John Horgan promised COVID-19 rule-breakers he will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." But B.C. won't follow Manitoba's lead in implementing mandatory quarantine for out-of-province visitors. B.C. has detected six cases of the variant from the U.K. and three cases from South Africa. The province will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines next week. Second doses of the vaccine will now be administered 42 days after the first, instead of 35, in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible. On Wednesday, health officials announced 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a written statement saying there are now 4,299 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 303 people are in hospital, including 74 in intensive care. To date, B.C. has confirmed 65,719 cases of COVID-19, including 1,172 people who have died. Wednesday's update also included a new outbreak at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz and another at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. Premier John Horgan held his weekly COVID-19 briefing earlier Wednesday, promising those who are flouting public health orders and advice that officials will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." He also spoke at length about two Vancouverites accused of chartering a plane to a remote Yukon community and posing as motel employees to get early access to the Moderna vaccine. The premier said that behaviour is "un-Canadian" and said British Columbians all feel "contempt" for them. But Horgan did not announce any new enforcement measures on Wednesday, and said B.C. will not follow Manitoba's lead and bring in mandatory 14-day quarantines for people visiting from out of province. Vaccine status So far, 124,365 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given out in B.C., including 4,160 second doses. Henry has said that over the weekend the province received further updates on future shipments of vaccinations — and that B.C. will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the next two weeks. As a result of the shortage, second doses of the vaccine will be delayed until 42 days after the first, rather than 35, in order to provide protection to a greater number of people. The last update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant first seen in South Africa. Henry said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel. The province has ramped up screening for the faster-spreading coronavirus variants of concern. Interior clusters grow Meanwhile, more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna. Interior Health says 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. An additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total number of cases there to 225. New travel measures coming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that new pandemic measures for travel are coming and Canadians should cancel any travel plans. Trudeau said that even though existing travel control measures have been effective in keeping the number of infections low, more effort will be needed going forward. "Obviously, extremely low is still not zero and one case is too many if we're importing, particularly considering the variants out there," Trudeau said. Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that vaccine shots will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens protectionist measures to limit the export of doses abroad. He said he received assurances this morning from Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, that that company will meet its promised delivery timelines — 230,400 doses are slated to arrive next week. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 10 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 757,448 cases of COVID-19, and 19,238 total deaths. Canada's COVID-19 situational awareness dashboard was not updated on Tuesday. A total of 62,447 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
VANCOUVER — An out-of-bounds snowboarder is recovering in hospital from various injuries including a possible fractured pelvis after being caught in an avalanche on Vancouver's North Shore mountains. North Shore Rescue says its members were called late Tuesday afternoon and braved considerable avalanche conditions to reach the man in a treacherous area north of the Cypress Mountain resort. The slide had swept the man into a tree leaving him disoriented, hurt and hypothermic, but he was able to call a friend who contacted rescuers. Online posts show the high-risk mission took about six hours and involved numerous avalanche and rope experts, three medical specialists and a helicopter. A North Shore Rescue spokesman says the man was alone when the slide hit and the outcome could just as easily have been deadly. He says the man made several serious errors, including venturing out of bounds, snowboarding alone and calling a friend rather than immediately calling 911 when he knew he was in trouble. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press