Fans of Sex and the City have mixed feelings about the recently announced reboot. Some are disappointed Kim Cattrall won’t return as Samantha, but others are curious to see how And Just Like That evolves with the characters’ ages and the times.
Fans of Sex and the City have mixed feelings about the recently announced reboot. Some are disappointed Kim Cattrall won’t return as Samantha, but others are curious to see how And Just Like That evolves with the characters’ ages and the times.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
L’Ontario a répertorié 2632 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19 au cours de la dernière journée, et déplore le décès de 46 personnes causé par le virus. En tout, la province a enregistré près de 250 000 cas du coronavirus depuis janvier 2020. On compte aussi 5614 Ontariens qui ont perdu la vie aux mains de la COVID-19. Mercredi, 1533 personnes atteintes du virus étaient hospitalisées, dont 388 patients aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 293 étaient sous respirateur. Foyers de soins de longue durée Dans les foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), 98 résidents et 55 membres du personnel ont reçu un résultat positif à leur test de dépistage de la COVID-19. Par ailleurs, 17 résidents ont perdu la vie en raison du virus, la même journée. À LIRE AUSSI: «Restez à la maison», demande Doug Ford en 22 langues Mercredi, 15 899 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour recevoir une dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. En tout, 40 225 résidents de la province ont reçu toutes les doses nécessaires du vaccin. Plus de 250 000 doses du vaccin ont été administrées en Ontario.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating around the world and becoming more common. These mutations can alter the ability of the virus to take hold and replicate within our cells.
BILLINGS, Mont. — The Biden administration announced Thursday the suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters for 60 days, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment. The suspension, part of a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior, went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. It follows Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves to help address climate change. Under former President Donald Trump, federal agencies prioritized energy development and eased environmental rules to speed up drilling permits as part of the Republican's goal to end reliance on foreign energy supplies and boost domestic production. Trump consistently downplayed the dangers of climate change, which Biden has made a top priority. The order did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning activity won't come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated. Its effect could be further blunted by companies that stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump's final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years. The order also applies to coal mining and blocks the approval of new mining plans. Land sales or exchanges and the hiring of senior-level staff at the agency also were suspended. The order includes an exception that gives a small number of senior Interior officials authority to approve actions that are otherwise suspended. Those officials include the agency secretary, deputy secretary, solicitor and several assistant secretaries. Biden’s move could be the first step in an eventual goal to ban all leases and permits to drill on federal land. Mineral leasing laws state that federal lands are for many uses, including extracting oil and gas, but the Democrat could set out to rewrite those laws, said Kevin Book, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners. The administration's announcement drew a quick backlash from Republicans and oil industry trade groups. They said limiting access to publicly owned energy resources would mean more foreign oil imports, lost jobs and fewer tax revenues. Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said the administration was “off to a divisive and disastrous start." He added that that the government is legally obliged to act on all drilling permit applications it receives and that “staff memos” can't override the law. “Impeding American energy will only serve to hurt local communities and hamper America’s economic recovery,” American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers said in a statement. National Wildlife Federation Vice-President Tracy Stone-Manning welcomed the move and said she expected Biden to make good on his campaign promise to end leasing altogether, or at least impose a long-term moratorium on any new issuances. “The Biden administration has made a commitment to driving down carbon emissions. It makes sense starting with the land that we all own,” she said. “We have 24 million acres already under lease. That should get us through." Oil and gas extracted from public lands and waters account for about a quarter of annual U.S. production. Extracting and burning those fuels generates the equivalent of almost 550 million tons (500 metric tons) of greenhouse gases annually, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a 2018 study. Under Trump, Interior officials approved almost 1,400 permits on federal lands, primarily in Wyoming and New Mexico, over a three-month period that included the election, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Those permits, which remain valid, will allow companies to continue drilling for years, potentially undercutting Biden’s climate agenda. But there are other ways an ambitious Biden administration could make it harder for permit holders to extract oil and gas. “The ability to get your resources out, to get right of way, to get roads, to get supporting infrastructure, not all of that is signed and sealed right now,” Book said. Under former President Barack Obama, the Interior Department in 2016 imposed a moratorium on federal coal leases while it investigated the coal program's climate effects and whether companies were paying a fair share for extracting resources from public lands. Trump lifted the moratorium soon after taking office. __ AP writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed from New York. ___ Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP Matthew Brown, The Associated Press
The Canadian government anticipates that at least 95 per cent of the Canadian population will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter of the year, between July and September.
HALIFAX — It started a generation ago by a group of Irish immigrants committed to preserving an ancient craft.For years, locals and visitors flocked to NovaScotian Crystal's waterfront location in Halifax to watch skilled craftsman make mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal.But the magical art of glass blowing kept alive by the Nova Scotia business is now the latest casualty of the COVID-19 crisis. The company announced it will be shutting down at the end of February, one of more than 200,000 businesses on the brink of closure as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said Thursday one in six or about 181,000 Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating closing.The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.Based on the organization's updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work – a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs. At NovaScotian Crystal, 37 employees and craftsmen will be laid off, the company said in a statement."We are not able to envision a sustainable business in the foreseeable future," NovaScotian Crystal said. "We are extremely disheartened. Despite producing a world-class product ... the current obstacles cannot be overcome."The announcement of the closure comes less than a month after the company got a shout-out from a Saturday Night Live cast member.On Christmas Day, American actor and comedian Kenan Thompson posted a video online of a pair of NovaScotian Crystal tumblers he received under the tree."This year has been crazy but there are little gems to be celebrated," he said in the Instagram post. "Much like this boutique shop in Nova Scotia where they do incredible work with glass and crystal ... Every single piece is hand crafted by amazing professionals."While NovaScotian Crystal has benefited from online sales, the company said it wasn't enough to make up for the loss of cruise ship passengers and other tourists that make up the bulk of sales from its retail showroom. Moreover, COVID-19 restrictions have severely curtailed the company's production capacity, it said. "The responsible choice is to close in an orderly fashion while fulfilling our obligations to our employees, suppliers and partners," NovaScotian Crystal said. Simon Gaudreault, CFIB's senior director of national research, said there is an alarming increase in the number of businesses considering closing."We are not headed in the right direction and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision," he said in a statement. "The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose and the harder it will be for the economy to recover."In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said. That's an increase from one in seven or 158,000 businesses the CFIB said were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic in a July study.The grim new research comes after a brutal year for Canadian businesses."The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year," said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement. Only 47 per cent of businesses are now fully open – down from 62 per cent at the end of November, the organization said.But those numbers fall even further in provinces under lockdown restrictions.In Ontario, for example, only 37 per cent of businesses are fully open.Jones called on governments to help small businesses "replace subsidies with sales" by introducing safe pathways to reopen businesses. "There's a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams. Let's make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Oct. 2, 2017: Julie Payette is sworn in as Canada's fourth female Governor General, taking over from David Johnston. Nov. 1, 2017: Payette takes on fake news and bogus science, criticizing climate change deniers, believers in creationism and even horoscopes at a convention on science policy, rankling some critics but earning plaudits from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau January 2018: Payette appoints as her top adviser Assunta Di Lorenzo, a close friend and corporate lawyer with no prior experience in protocol or the governor general's operations. October 2018: One year into her tenure, Payette has attended 195 official events compared to more than 250 for the last two governors general, raising questions around her work ethic. She also breaks with a tradition that saw previous governors general visit all provinces and territories in their first year, as she skipped Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. July 21, 2020: CBC News reports that Payette had yelled at and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit amid a toxic work environment. July 23, 2020: The Privy Council Office says it will launch an independent review of allegations that Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall. Aug. 7, 2020: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says public office holders should be mindful of how they spend taxpayers' money following a CBC report that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on designs and renovations to Rideau Hall, some allegedly at Payette's personal request, for privacy, accessibility and security reasons. Sept. 1, 2020: The Privy Council Office announces it has hired Quintet Consulting Corp., an Ottawa-based consulting firm with a history of reviewing harassment allegations on Parliament Hill, to conduct a third-party probe into workplace culture at Rideau Hall. Sept. 2, 2020: Trudeau comes to the defence of the embattled Payette, saying Canada has an "excellent" representative for the Queen and that now is not the time to replace the former astronaut at Rideau Hall. Jan. 21, 2021: Payette resigns ahead of the expected release of the third-party investigation report, a move unprecedented in the history of Canadian governors general. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — One of Ontario's top doctors says the province's COVID-19 numbers are showing improvement but it's too soon to say if it's the start of a trend. Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says that the provincial case rate has started to decline for the first time since November. She says the current rate sits at 145.4 cases per 100,000 people, which still remains high. Yaffe says the average per cent positivity on COVID-19 tests has also dropped to 5.3 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent last week. The province is also reporting that 26 public health units have experienced decreasing virus case rates. Yaffe says an additional week or two of data will be required to fully assess the trajectory of the virus in the province. Ontario reported 2,632 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus. The total number includes 102 cases from Toronto that were not reported earlier this week due to a technical issue that has now been resolved. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 897 new cases in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region, 245 in York Region, 162 in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region. Meanwhile, Ontario is opening a pair of new COVID-19 isolation centres this week to help people recover from the virus. The centres will open in Brampton and Oshawa, while two similar facilities that opened in Toronto in the fall will receive additional beds. The province said similar centres are also operating in Ottawa and Peel and Waterloo regions. The centres are intended to help people who have contracted the novel coronavirus self-isolate and keep their families safe. People staying in those centres are provided meals, security, transportation, and have access to health and social services. The province said it will create up to 1,525 additional beds for safe isolation in the coming weeks. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
“If I ever got a chance to speak to the Biden administration, I would plead my case,” said Nekaneet First Nation Chief Alvin Francis, president of Natural Law Energy (NLE). That “case” would be the value in continuing the United States’ portion of the 1,897-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline which travels from Hardisty, Alberta, through Saskatchewan, Montana and South Dakota, ending in Steele City, Nebraska. Yesterday, in his first day in office, new U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order rescinding his predecessor Donald Trump’s Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline border crossing. NLE, a group of three Alberta and two Saskatchewan First Nations, has been working towards a $1 billion investment in the TC Energy-owned Keystone XL pipeline. “It's a disappointment, right? It really is because it's going to affect many First Nations, even the tribes in the United States. It's going to affect them because TC Energy was almost close to actually signing up joint venture partnerships with those in the United States side,” said Francis. He says chairmen of the Nebraska tribes have told him that Biden wants to create jobs and this pipeline meets that goal. First Nations involvement was recognized by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a scathing address late Wednesday afternoon that condemned the new U.S. administration for rescinding the permit and not respecting its closest ally and trading partner. “Let me also point out that TC Energy has made tremendous progress in bringing on board First Nations on both sides of the border as potential equity partners,” said Kenney. However, not all U.S. tribes support the pipeline. The Native Organizers Alliance applauded Biden for his decision. “Farmers, tribal councils, ranchers, and Native non-profit organizations have been instrumental in raising awareness around the significant threats to the health and resources of Native peoples living in the path of the pipeline. And sovereign tribes have taken the issue to court to protect their territories and the Missouri River bioregion for all,” said NOA executive director Judith Le Blanc. Earlier Wednesday, in anticipation of President Biden’s decision, Calgary-based TC Energy shutdown its operation. Kenney said that shutdown had cost 2,000 people their jobs. Francis admits Biden’s actions were not unexpected. In fact, the too-close-to-call November U.S. election had dampened some of the activity undertaken by NLE. Late last year, NLE hired consultants Price Waterhouse Canada to round up investors for the $1 billion investment. Investors were found but nothing was finalized. “(Price Waterhouse has) done their job on that. But really it was, of course, the election. That's what they were waiting for also,” said Francis. Also of note were preliminary talks with the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. The Crown corporation created by the Alberta United Conservative Party government offers loan guarantees from $25 million to $250 million for Indigenous-led natural resource projects. “Say the project and partnership was at the point they were ready to paper the deal, we would not be in a position to offer a guarantee at this time, because there is a huge risk in respect to the way the American election may go. We don’t want to put Alberta taxpayer dollars at risk,” AIOC CEO Alicia Dubois told Windspeaker.com last October. Trump’s approval of Keystone XL came after outgoing President Barack Obama nixed the project. Biden had promised to cancel the project should he win. The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion of taxpayer money in the Keystone XL pipeline. The Biden administration is saying no to the project now, says Francis, but he is a “glass is half-full” person. He believes Biden’s decision is political as the new president is “getting away from everything Trump has put his stamp on.” “I'm not going to give up on it because, really, Keystone XL is going to be the safest, most environmentally-friendly pipeline that is. We just have to go back to the drawing table and really re-evaluate what have we got to do to make it even more environmentally friendly?” said Francis. He believes that part of that discussion with the Biden administration has to include the science around the pipeline that makes it environmentally safe and the ongoing need for oil. Francis is hopeful there is a future for Keystone because “it really is such a big project that it could mean, in every community that we have signed up, it'll make an economic difference.” In the meantime, Francis says NLE remains involved with TC Energy. “Whenever there is something, a project that is available, if they are going to approach us to see if we have interest and, of course, we're going to show interest, because any economic development or project that we can actually put our hand on to make it more green, more environmentally friendly, we want to be there to back it up,” he said. While Keystone XL pipeline is a set back for Nekaneet First Nation, it is not the only project driving the economics for that Treaty 4 Nation. “I’m always involved with the province (of Saskatchewan). I’m always talking to them in every which way,” he said. Francis said he has received band member approval to develop a section of land along a 1.5 km-stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. He says investors are committed to a gas station in that area and there are talks about a possible Tim Hortons franchise. However, since COVID-19 hit, development has stalled. NLE members also include Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan and three Alberta First Nations: Ermineskin Cree, Montana, and Louis Bull Tribe. Each member was to share equally in the benefits from the Keystone XL pipeline project. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
A Saskatoon care home where the vast majority of residents have received their first vaccine dose is now reporting seven cases of COVID-19. Sherbrooke Community Centre announced two residents were infected on Tuesday, followed by five more on Thursday. All live in the Kinsmen Village area of the facility, located in the city's College Park area. News of the outbreak comes only a week after the first of 243 residents were vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Residents received the first of two Pfizer-BioNTech doses on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15. Clinical trials have shown the level of protection from just one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech is lower, and it also takes time for bodies to react — meaning people aren't protected immediately after getting a shot. The highest level of efficacy reported for Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine started a week after people got their second dose. According to Health Canada, for the vaccine to work best, people need to receive both doses. "Based on studies in about 44,000 participants, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning one week after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least seven days after the second dose." Sherbrooke Community Centre declined to confirm if any of the residents vaccinated are among those who have now tested positive for COVID-19, citing privacy concerns. No positive residents during vaccinations The home did not have any COVID-19 positive residents at the time of the vaccinations, a spokesperson for the home said. Sherbrooke had been under a suspected outbreak in late December after one resident tested positive. Twenty of the 243 residents were not vaccinated last week. "It was a mix," the spokesperson said. "Some residents declined. Some residents were on medications or had received other vaccinations that prevented them from receiving it at this time. We had a few residents change their mind throughout the day. Some did not want the vaccine at first but then later changed their mind. "We are doing lots of educating with our residents and staff about the vaccine." Sherbrooke Community Centre is an affiliate care home under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Residents and staff were being tested Thursday, according to a news release. The seven positive residents will remain isolated in their rooms.
A doctor at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax says pregnant women should talk with their doctors and weigh the risks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine given the lack of data available right now. Pregnant women were excluded from initial clinical trials for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which means there's no information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for them. Dr. Scott Halperin, director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, said there's no blanket recommendation telling Canadian women who are pregnant or breastfeeding not to get immunized, but "theoretical risks" should be considered. "It's really a case-by-case basis, individual decision of that risk," he told CBC's Information Morning on Thursday. "If somebody is not seen coming into contact with people with COVID-19 and they're pregnant, they might be able to afford to wait several months and get the vaccine as soon as they deliver." Women working on the front lines of the pandemic may have different considerations, he added. "If somebody is in a position where they are much more likely to be exposed, then that individual risk might be more from the COVID-19 and a woman might choose to get the vaccine during pregnancy, and we're seeing both of those situations and both of those different types of decisions," Halperin said. Early research released in December from the University of British Columbia shows that pregnant women are at higher risk of being hospitalized if they do get the virus compared to non-pregnant women in the same age group. Researchers cautioned that their study is preliminary and only included data from cases in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. Data could be available later this year Halperin said at this point there are no red flags that the COVID vaccines themselves are harmful to a mother and baby. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which provides advice to the federal government, recommends that approved COVID-19 vaccines may be provided to people excluded from clinical trials, "if a risk assessment deems that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks for the individual." "The biggest risk is if somebody, a woman, had a fever with the vaccine, which you can get and if it were a high fever, fever itself can be harmful, not all the time, but occasionally to the fetus, so it's that type of risk that we're looking at," Halperin said. That could be a small risk compared to the risk of getting COVID-19, he added. Halperin estimates it could still be six to eight months before data about how pregnant and breastfeeding women respond to the vaccine is available. "There are women who are getting the vaccine and we'll be collecting data from women who do receive the vaccine in order to see how they respond to the vaccine and to ensure that it is safe," he said. Halperin advises women trying to get pregnant to take a similar approach and weigh the risks. "If one gets the vaccine, one should wait about a month or six weeks before getting pregnant … even theoretically there wouldn't be lasting risks so one doesn't have to not get pregnant for a year, just for a matter of weeks." He said at one time pregnant women weren't involved in clinical trials at all over concerns about harming the fetus. "That's no longer considered to be ethically sound because we need to use vaccines in pregnant women, and therefore we need to get data from clinical trials from pregnant women, but they're still excluded from the initial studies," Halperin said. Studies involving pregnant women and children are only done once the vaccines are deemed safe for the general public, he said. More vaccines on the horizon People who are immunocompromised also weren't part of the initial clinical trials for the vaccines, and Halperin said it's a good idea for them to talk with their health-care providers about the risks of getting immunized. "Right now, there are very few exclusions to getting vaccinated," he said. "People who have had anaphylactic reactions to vaccines in the past … should take care with immunizing." Halperin said more vaccines will be available to Nova Scotians in the months ahead. The U.K. was the first country to approve the new AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and Halperin expects Canada won't be far behind. "Hopefully within a month or so, we'll have maybe four vaccines and further ones a couple of months beyond that." MORE TOP STORIES
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When Daniel Pereira sat down with his family to watch the MLS SuperDraft, he didn’t expect to hear his name called first by expansion Austin FC. Between doing virtual interviews with the teams at the top of the draft, the Virginia Tech star took time to look over all the other names being linked with the top selection. “I wasn’t really expecting to be number one, because of all the mock drafts and stuff,” Pereira said Thursday. “It’s an honour like I said. I’m happy, real happy. My family is crying. Just a moment I’ll never forget.” Pereira is the first-ever pick by the newest MLS franchise. Born in Venezuela, his family moved to the United States when Pereira was a teenager in the hopes of giving him better opportunities. His family settled in the Roanoke, Virginia, area, where Pereira became a star at the prep level. He was later an all-ACC freshman team selection after his first season at Virginia Tech. Pereira decided to leave college early to enter the MLS after signing a Generation Adidas contract with the league. “I never thought I’d be a pro. It was my goal, but I just always kept grinding, kept putting the work in and it’s paying off right now,” Pereira said. The 20-year-old midfielder was the headliner of the group of ACC stars that dominated the top of the draft. The top five picks and six of the first seven were from ACC schools. Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris went No. 2 to FC Cincinnati. Colorado traded with Houston to move up to No. 3 and selected Clemson’s Philip Mayaka, whom many expected to go with the top pick. D.C. United nabbed Mayaka’s teammate Kimarni Smith at No. 4, then traded with Atlanta United to take Wake Forest defender Michael DeShields at No. 5. Virginia midfielder Bret Halsey capped the run of ACC players, going No. 7 to Real Salt Lake. The only player outside the ACC to be taken in the top seven picks was Washington defender Ethan Bartlow, who went at No. 6 to Houston. Tim Booth, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index dropped for the first time in four trading sessions on a broad-based decline led by the energy sector. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 98.71 points to 17,916.20. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 12.37 points at 31,176.01. The S&P 500 index was up 1.22 points at 3,853.07, while the Nasdaq composite was up 73.67 points at 13,530.92. The Canadian dollar traded for 79.20 cents US compared with 79.01 cents US on Wednesday. The March crude oil contract was down 18 cents at US$53.13 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 3.6 cents at US$2.50 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down 60 cents US at US$1,865.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up less than a penny at nearly US$3.65 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
CALGARY — An industry analyst says Western Canada's oil producers will likely cope better in the short term with Joe Biden's cancelling of the Keystone XL presidential permit this week than they did with the same move by ex-president Barack Obama in 2015. But Phil Skolnick, a New York-based analyst for Eight Capital, agrees with other observers that the end of the pipeline will stifle new investment and production growth in the Canadian oilpatch for years to come. Shortly after being inaugurated on Wednesday, U.S. President Biden, who was Obama's vice-president, fulfilled a campaign promise and took away the pipeline permit that former president Donald Trump returned to builder TC Energy Corp. in 2019. Skolnick says the difference between now and 2015 is that producers are looking forward to opening two other export pipelines -- Line 3 and Trans Mountain -- that together provide nearly one million barrels a day of export capacity. Richard Masson, an executive fellow and energy expert at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, agrees the two remaining pipelines will provide enough capacity to allow oil production to grow into the second half of this decade. But he says uncertainty about capacity beyond that point makes it impossible for producers to make decisions about new multibillion-dollar oilsands projects, which could take five years or more to plan and build. Canadian Energy Pipeline Association CEO Chris Bloomer, meanwhile, says excess space in the oil transport system is vital going forward to provide optionality, energy security and stable pricing for producers. Earlier Thursday, TC Energy Corp. said it planned to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. The company had previously warned that blocking the project would lead to thousands of job losses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP) The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Some questions and answers about what happens when a governor general suddenly leaves office. Who does the job in the meantime? The usual term for a governor general is five years. In the event of the absence, removal, incapacitation or death of a governor general, the chief justice or, if he or she is unavailable, the senior judge of the Supreme Court of Canada assumes the powers of the governor general and holds the title of Administrator of the Government of Canada, until replaced by a new governor general. How is a new one is chosen? By constitutional convention, the governor general is appointed by the Queen on the personal recommendation of the Canadian prime minister. The prime minister has discretion about whether to consult others on the selection. The appointment is made through a commission granted under the Great Seal of Canada. Has a governor general ever left early or died in office? Yes. Roméo LeBlanc stepped down in 1999, before the end of his term, due to health issues. However, the office was not left vacant, with LeBlanc continuing until Adrienne Clarkson was ready to succeed him. Two have died while serving: Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan) in 1940 and Georges Vanier in 1967. In each case, the Supreme Court chief justice of the day stepped in to fill the role temporarily. (Sources: Library of Parliament, ourcommons.ca, Supreme Court of Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020. The Canadian Press
A yet-to-be identified variant of COVID-19 found in a Barrie, Ont., long-term care home is extremely concerning because it appears to be spreading more quickly among residents, public health officials said Thursday. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said the unusually rapid spread of the virus at Roberta Place earlier this month prompted officials to start testing for a variant strain. Fifty-five people at the nursing home became ill within 48 hours of the first COVID-19 case being identified, said Dr. Colin Lee, the unit's associate medical officer of health. As of Wednesday evening, the health unit reported that 122 residents and 69 staff had been infected, and 19 residents had died. The variant was identified in six cases and further results are expected in the coming days, the unit said. "The problem is that this spreads so quickly to so many people that ultimately you're going to have a higher chance of more people severely ill and (more) deaths," Lee said. There's a "very high probability" that the variant detected at the home is one of three known COVID-19 variants – strains from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, said Lee. Public health officials will be carrying out more testing at the home and will be trying to immunize as many residents and staff at the facility as possible, he said. An earlier immunization effort saw only 21 residents vaccinated as most others were already infected with COVID-19, he said. "We went in there on Saturday and immunized as many as we could," he said. The health unit is trying to reach all close contacts of those infected as quickly as possible so they can self-isolate if needed, said Lee. "One of our primary goals right now is to prevent the spread further, as it gets into households and other hospitals," Lee said. Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical of health, said public health officials will also be stepping up infection prevention and control at the home. Yaffe said the source of infection is still hard to determine as the outbreak at the home is still under investigation. "At this point, we know a mutation is in there. The 501 mutation that’s associated with increased transmissibility ... We don’t know which mutant it is, or which variant of concern," she said. “So it’s hard to say right now how widespread it is because we don’t even know exactly what it is.” Last week, the Canadian Red Cross was deployed to Roberta Place to help with the growing outbreak. Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, along with other local organizations, has also been asked to help manage it. The Ministry of Long-Term Care said Thursday that it was working with its health partners to ensure staffing levels at the home were sufficient. “This development underscores the need for everyone to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our long-term care homes, especially as we find more evidence of new variants in our communities,” said spokeswoman Krystle Caputo. The nursing home's website says it can accommodate 137 residents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Resident sport-fishing licence sales soared by 30 per cent in 2020 over 2019 and Alberta Fish and Wildlife is hoping that will translate into more interest in how the province is managing its fish populations. "We are seeing more and more people fishing this year; more outdoor participating and therefore maybe more engagement in our sessions," says Kayedon Wilcox, regional fisheries manager for Alberta Environment and Parks. Every year Alberta Fish and Wildlife hosts public meetings to review sport-fishing regulations, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sessions online. While they are hoping for more participants, organizers know drawing anglers will be difficult. "We are trying to pull viewership from Netflix, Crave and have the hockey fans tune in to the evenings a little bit," Wilcox said Thursday in an interview on CBC's Edmonton AM. So far the webinars have been a success, he said. In the three of seven webinars held so far, about 1,000 participants attended. Last year, the total attendance at 14 public meetings was 1,300. That success has the province thinking about continuing online sessions once the pandemic ends. "I think I still see, and our staff appreciates, the ability of in-person discussions with stakeholders," Wilcox said. "That certainly won't go away, we also will see if there are members of the angler community who prefer the webinar method." One of the issues this year is a review of the 15-year-old walleye tag program. The program is used for certain bodies of water that cannot sustain open harvest. "In those cases, we do have a limited harvest tool where we provide a finite number of tags out and within that, a tag-owner can harvest anywhere between two or three walleye," Wilcox said. He said they have heard from people wanting improvement on the tags themselves. The province issues new fishing regulations for April 1 every year.