Yahoo Fantasy basketball analyst Dalton Del Don offers his three pickups for the week including the Pistons forward in line for an expanded workload.
Yahoo Fantasy basketball analyst Dalton Del Don offers his three pickups for the week including the Pistons forward in line for an expanded workload.
(Submitted by Ron Desjardin - image credit) Saskatchewan First Nations are rallying behind the Birch Narrows Dene Nation in its dispute with the provincial government and a uranium exploration company. Birch Narrows officials blockaded a road and issued a cease and desist order against Toronto's Baselode Energy, saying Baseload workers started conducting tests without the consent of the northern Saskatchewan First Nation. "We're not back in the 1800s anymore. They can't do this stuff to us," said Elder Ron Desjardin, who discovered a work crew on one of Birch Narrows' traditional trap line routes earlier this month. The blockade has been removed, but Birch Narrows members say they're conducting regular patrols. Little Pine First Nation Chief Wayne Semaganis is one of many leaders offering support to Birch Narrows. Semaganis said the issue is personal, as his wife is from Birch Narrows. He said similar violations are occurring across the province on First Nations territory, and they need to stop. "How you're treating First Nations when it comes to the lands and the resources and everything else, the whole relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations has been wrong," Semaganis said. Indigenous people aren't anti-development when it comes to resource projects, he said — they just want to be treated with respect. "We have to get back on the right track. If we've made mistakes, let's correct them and let's find the right way of working together." Little Pine First Nation Chief Wayne Semaganis says First Nations want economic development for their people, but must be treated as partners. Semaganis said the consultation rules set by the provincial government are unrealistic and unfair. A First Nation does not have the resources to reply in detail to a development proposal in the short time frames allowed. It takes time for First Nations to develop relationships, consult their members and collect accurate wildlife data or other information for proposals that could "affect the land permanently," he said. Other leaders echo concerns Other First Nations leaders voiced similar concerns in written statements Tuesday. "The province needs to provide the already underfunded First Nations with the financial resources to be able to participate at the table in a meaningful way," said Meadow Lake Tribal Council Tribal Chief Richard Ben. "Otherwise, many First Nations will be left out of the process. We can't undertake studies at our own expense in order to be consulted on resource development within our territory." Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief Heather Bear said such practices "won't be tolerated anymore, as our connections to the land, water, animals and environment is paramount." Treaty 10 leaders and others are demanding the provincial government harmonize its policies with recent court rulings on Indigenous rights, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as have British Columbia and other jurisdictions. "At a minimum, Saskatchewan is bound by its purported commitment to reconciliation," read the Treaty 10 statement. University of Saskatchewan law college lecturer Benjamin Ralston said this week that Canada's Constitution and emerging case law are clear: First Nations concerns must be front and centre on any development affecting them. Ralston said inherent and treaty rights override any provincial permit process. That's why provincial governments and resource companies are better off working in good faith with First Nations than risking a time-consuming, expensive court battle they may not win, he said. A Baselode official says the company obtained all provincial permits, but said consent of the communities affected is essential. He said the work will not proceed unless Birch Narrows agrees. The provincial government said Birch Narrows was given ample time to voice any concerns, and RCMP could be called to intervene in any illegal blockades. They said this is an exploration phase and there will be no drilling or digging.
Irisnaide Silva is female, Brazilian and indigenous. They kept digging even after Brazil in 2005 marked the land as indigenous territory, a measure that prohibited mining despite protests from her family and other wildcatters in her Macuxi tribe. Now, Silva has the ear of none other than Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president.
The largest outflow on record for Cathie Wood's ARK fund was not enough to stop the firm from increasing its bet on Tesla Inc after the electric carmaker's stock closed below $700 for the first time this year on Tuesday. Wood, whose $26.6 billion ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF) was the top-performing actively managed U.S. equity fund tracked by Morningstar last year, bought $171 million of Tesla shares, pushing its weight to about 10% of the fund. The sell-off triggered heavy trading, with $5 billion of ARK Innovation shares changing hands on Tuesday - more than double the previous session's volume.
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Joanne Valiquette used to love going out for walks and having visitors to her North Bay apartment. But now the 68-year-old is afraid to even go into the halllway of the Lancelot Apartments, which has become the centre of a COVID variant outbreak in the city. "It really hit close to home when it's in this building. It is scary," says Valiquette. "So I'm afraid to go out to to do my laundry or to go through the lobby downstairs." So far, over 40 tenants of the building have tested positive for COVID, about two dozen of them a confirmed case of one of the new fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus. Two of Valiquette's neighbours have died. "I have a feeling it's never going to end. We're never going to have freedom again," she says. "It's going to be like this maybe for the rest of my life." Over 40 tenants at the Lancelot Apartments in North Bay have tested positive for COVID-19, about 26 of them for one of the new variants. Two people who lived in the building have died. The Nipissing and Parry Sound districts are now approaching two months in lockdown and the health unit has extended the stay-at-home order until at least March 8. Unlike Toronto and Peel, which remain shutdown because of a high number of COVID cases, the North Bay and Parry Sound areas aren't re-opening in order to stop the spread of the variants. "It is nerve-racking. You feel like you're one swab away from a disaster," says Jamie Lowery, the CEO of the city-run Casselholme nursing home. "You're always wondering... if somehow it will get into your home." One visitor to Casselholme did test positive for a COVID variant and then there were 12 more positive COVID tests this week— two staff and 10 relatives of residents. Lowery says about half of them were re-tested and it came back negative. The health unit says that doesn't mean they don't have the virus and are consulting with experts about the test results. But Lowery says public health is refusing to re-test the remaining half dozen, mostly spouses of one of the long-term care residents. "I'm very upset," he says. "These are seniors. And every time you cough or sneeze or feel a headache, in your mind, you're like 'uh oh.' They're quite worried." Jamie Lowery, the CEO of the Casselholme nursing home, would like to see the health unit release more information about the spread of variants in North Bay. Lowery would also like to see the health unit sharing more of what it knows about how the variants are spreading in North Bay. Others took that frustration further, marching in the street outside the health unit office calling for an end to the lockdown and chanting "Chirico has got to go" referring to medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico. "I was surprised and disappointed by that. I think he's done an outstanding job," says North Bay city councillor Chris Mayne. "I think he's actually saved lives in our community by being prudent and I think most people in the community appreciate that." A few dozen protesters on the streets of North Bay this week called for an end to the lockdown and laid blame on medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico. Chirico has been the target of criticism for the past month, after the health unit went over and above provincial restrictions and ordered tobogganing hills, skating rinks and snowmobile trails in Nipissing and Parry Sound closed. That ban was lifted this week, while the stay-at-home order continues. Robb Noon, the mayor of the small town of Callander just south of North Bay, says public health is "showing leadership" by "making the tough decisions" but says they need to explain their thinking to frustrated citizens. "If we don't have anything to go by to understand that, it just leads to speculation. You never see a light at the end of the tunnel. You have no clue," says Noon. "The public is so thirsty for more information." Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey says he has yet to get an explanation why his town and others over an hour's drive from the variant outbreak in North Bay can't re-open along with the rest of northern Ontario. "There are a number of very upset people. They are certainly questioning the lockdown. There are businesses that are suffering," he says. "Why penalize absolutely everybody when you could isolate the severe situations?" No one from the North Bay-Parry Sound Public Health Unit was made available for an interview for this story and Dr. Chirico has not been made available to speak with CBC for several weeks now.
(CBC - image credit) Data from Elections NL requested by CBC News this week is raising red flags for opposition party leaders, who say a record-low turnout would threaten election results. Elections NL estimates there have been 120,000 requests for mail-in ballots, in addition to the 68,259 special or advance ballots already received. If all those ballots are returned, it would equal a 51 per cent voter turnout rate — a historic low for Newfoundland and Labrador, which during its last election in May 2019 saw 60.7 per cent of eligible voters mark a ballot. The current lowest voter turnout, 55 per cent, came in 2015. "The right to have unimpeded access [to vote] … is absolutely central to the legitimacy of government," said PC Leader Ches Crosbie, in reaction to those numbers, in an interview Tuesday. The Tories have repeatedly pointed a finger at Liberal Leader Andrew Furey for triggering an election prior to widespread vaccine availability. Crosbie contends Furey ought to have pushed back his 12-month deadline to drop the writ, or at the very least, waited until summer. "That negligence, that's why we are where we are right now," Crosbie said. Furey wouldn't do an interview, instead sending a statement through his campaign office. "Our Liberal team is hearing from many voters who are looking forward to voting, and we hope this will contribute to a good turnout," the emailed statement said. "While it is too early to know what the voter turnout rate will be, our party hopes that Elections NL's work to navigate this unprecedented election will allow voters to safely cast their ballots." Furey has previously said that when he called a January election, he did so based on epidemiological modelling, which did not account for the current COVID-19 outbreak throttling the province. That outbreak led Elections NL to postpone election day, and cancel all in-person voting. It had originally been scheduled for Feb 13, just one day after the province's top doctor ordered strict lockdown measures to contain a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant. Turnout not yet certain Elections NL said because it had a wide array of application methods — including fax and phone — not all its requests have been processed, and it can't yet supply a final total. But Crosbie is betting on a portion of mail-in ballot requests not making it back to Elections NL in time for the March 12 deadline. Factoring in spoiled, late, and unreturned ballots against the number of requests, Crosbie thinks it's "simple mathematics to see that the voter turnout is likely to be less than 50 per cent." When questioned directly, Crosbie wouldn't go so far as to say his party would challenge the election results, but called the prospect of legal action "almost inevitable." NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie are expressing concerns over the estimated voter turnout rate. "The whole situation — things being made up, ad hoc, that affect voting rights [that] are constitutional in nature, invites litigation," he said. "It's such a mess." He also wouldn't say whether he would accept an argument for illegitimacy if the PCs were to win. "Whoever emerges from this," he replied, "is going to have a dubious mandate to get things done." Meanwhile, NDP Leader Alison Coffin stressed the tasks directly ahead of the electorate. At the moment, she said, anyone who did get a ballot should focus on submitting it in time. "Then we can figure out the ramifications of everything that's happened," she said. Given the obstacles voters face, however, she's not shocked to hear about Elections NL's data. Much of what happened, she said, could have been examined and managed by the Liberals to address types of access. "I think it would have been the responsible thing for the Furey government to look at modernizing the Elections Act," Coffin said. While Coffin says her party has not yet decided on whether they'll pursue a legal challenge, the NDP are asking for online feedback to reform the Elections Act once a government has been formed. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Euronews correspondent Shona Murray spoke to Sunday World reporter Patricia Devlin who has been targeted for her work in Northern Ireland.View on euronews
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been allegedly holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules is to appear in court today. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove was arrested last week. RCMP have said he was remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates was twice charged in February with violating the Public Health Act and violating a promise to abide by rules of his release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Mackenzie Scott/CBC - image credit) Although Pink Shirt Day is this coming Friday, that didn't stop some students who are out of school this week in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., to celebrate the day a little early. Last Friday, students at Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School posted reminders to be kind throughout the community in honour of the day that is celebrated nationally with people wearing pink shirts to show they are against bullying. "The kids have come up with some great ideas and some great positive words and blurbs and quotes to be put out there. Together we've all created some pink ice bricks, put some posts in them, so these positivity signs spread kindness throughout all of Ulukhaktok," said Sandra Summers, a teacher at Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School who, along with her fellow teachers, is on professional development this week. Two students from Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T. show the signs they made to celebrate Pink Shirt Day. Each sign the students made were in English and Inuinnaqtun and included phrases of kindness. Summers and Kathy Blouin both teach kids in composite classes of grades two to four. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 with one small act of kindness. For the teachers, it was important that the kids be educated about the day and celebrated it even though they aren't in school. "It fits in really well with our health unit right now with mental health and emotional well being ... our goal is to bring kindness to these kids and then for these kids to then go on and spread kindness throughout the community." 'Our words are powerful' The pink signs were written in both English and Inuinnaqtun and included phrases like "throw kindness around like confetti" and "kindness is among us." Students worked on it throughout the week, and posted them throughout the community on Friday with help of the RCMP. "So ideally, when somebody when someone walks into the Co-op or the Northern [store], they are going to see one of the signs and it will make their day," said Summers. Eight-year-old Sarah Joss said she had fun making the sign but was really looking forward to "bringing kindness around the town." "Our words are powerful, they can make people sad or happy." With bright smiles, the kids delivered the messages with their classmates and teachers. "The biggest thing we want them to take from this is we want to inspire them to inspire others," said Summers. "We want to let them know if they are in a tough situation that they can always choose kindness."
(WAHA Communications - image credit) The number of cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities reached a grim new milestone over the weekend, surpassing 20,000 cases since the pandemic arrived in Canada over a year ago. According to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada, the number of active cases on-reserve has been on the decline. There were 1,481 active cases as of Feb. 22. But new infections persist. Outbreaks have occurred primarily in the Prairies, the most reported in Alberta with 348 new cases on-reserve in the last week. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to Pimicikamak after visiting the First Nation in Manitoba last weekend to assess the COVID-19 outbreak there. Members of the Armed Forces are also assisting with outbreaks and vaccine distribution for Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba, Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia, Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan and Muskrat Dam Lake in Ontario according to a Feb. 17 update from Indigenous Services Canada. Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 20,227 cases on-reserve. Fourteen people have died from the virus since last week, bringing the toll to 218. The total number of hospitalizations rose to 925. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 18,528. Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of Feb. 22: British Columbia: 2,184 Alberta: 5,918 Saskatchewan: 5,477 Manitoba: 5,225 Ontario: 853 Quebec: 560 Atlantic: 10 Vaccinations As of Feb. 18, Indigenous Services Canada reported 433 First Nations and Inuit communities have vaccination plans underway. A total of 91,927 doses have been administered, representing a vaccination rate six times higher than Canada's general population. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? New or worsening cough. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Temperature equal to or over 38 C. Feeling feverish. Chills. Fatigue or weakness. Muscle or body aches. New loss of smell or taste. Headache. Gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting). Feeling very unwell. If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic. CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted or lost a loved one to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Australia's Fortescue Metals Group has apologised to an Aboriginal group for clearing land on a heritage site while flouting a government condition for representatives of the community to be present when the damage took place. It is the week's second such incident, despite pressure on Australian iron ore miners to show they have improved practices to manage important sites after Rio Tinto destroyed two sacred rock shelters for a mine expansion last May. Fortescue had state government permission to clear the land in the Weelamurra Creek area registered as sacred to the Wintawari Guruma people, on condition that community elders were present to perform salvage and cultural rites, four documents reviewed by Reuters showed.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 24 ... What we are watching in Canada ... Joe Biden granted Justin Trudeau at least one of the items atop his wish list as they met for the first time as president and prime minister. Biden pledged to help get two Canadians out of a Chinese prison, saying "humans being aren't bargaining chips." Strenuous expressions of presidential dismay were nowhere to be seen during the final two years of Donald Trump's tenure as Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor languished behind bars. That all changed yesterday as Biden and Trudeau -- one in Washington, D.C., the other in Ottawa -- wrapped up a warm and comprehensive, if virtual, summit meeting. It was Biden's first since taking office. Spavor and Kovrig were detained in China in an apparent act of retaliation after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 on American charges of violating sanctions on Iran. They have remained in custody ever since. Biden offered no hints about how the White House might help secure their release. --- Also this ... TORONTO -- CTV says it made an "error" by placing an "offensive image" of actress Delta Burke in blackface among its TV program highlights for Black History Month. A spokesman for the broadcaster says the blackface picture, taken from an episode of 1980s hit "Designing Women," is one that "should not have been used in any context." CTV has since removed the blackface image as well as the full episode of "Designing Women." The photo was part of a rotation of images in the CTV Throwback section of its mobile app that directed viewers to popular Black-led sitcoms on the streaming service from decades past, including "The Jeffersons," "Good Times" and "Sanford and Son." Sandwiched between those images was a still photo from "Designing Women," which featured the blackface-wearing Burke alongside her Black co-star Meshach Taylor. It was taken from a 1989 episode titled "The Rowdy Girls," which revolves around the sitcom's stars being booked to perform at a talent show as Motown legends the Supremes. The group debates whether to play their parts in blackface and ultimately concludes it's not the best decision. However, Burke's character doesn't get the message and shows up with her face painted anyway to sing alongside her friends. "Designing Women," set in Georgia, often grappled with the rapidly changing social issues of the U.S. South, such as race and sexuality, in a way that would be considered outdated by today's standards. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... In a career filled with remarkable comebacks, Tiger Woods faces his toughest recovery of all. Woods was driving through a sweeping, downhill stretch of road through coastal suburbs of Los Angeles when his SUV struck a sign, crossed over a raised median and two oncoming lanes before it toppled down an embankment, coming to a halt on its side. The crash caused “significant” injuries all down his right leg that featured rods, pins and screws during what was described as a “long surgical procedure” at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer, said Woods shattered tibia and fibula bones on his right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilized by a rod in the tibia. He said a combination of screws and pins were used to stabilize additional injuries in the ankle and foot. A statement on his Twitter account said he was awake, responsive and recovering. The single-car crash was the latest setback for Woods, who at times has looked unstoppable on the golf course with his 15 major championships and record-tying 82 victories on the PGA Tour. After four back surgeries that kept him out of golf for the better part of two years, he won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time, a victory that ranks among the great comebacks in the sport. Now it’s no longer a matter of when he plays again — the Masters is seven weeks away — but if he plays again. No charges were filed, and police said there was no evidence he was impaired. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... Regional diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar’s political crisis have gathered pace, as protests continued in Yangon and other cities in the Southeast Asian country calling for restoration of the civilian elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Indonesia's foreign minister visited Thailand on Wednesday as part of her efforts to co-ordinate a regional response to the Feb. 1 coup. A Thai official said Myanmar’s new foreign minister was also in the Thai capital. Elsewhere, more than 130 civil society groups and other organizations concerned about the military takeover have called for a global arms embargo on Myanmar. --- On this day in 1986 ... Tommy Douglas, remembered as the father of medicare, died at age 81. As Saskatchewan premier from 1944-61, he implemented Canada's first public hospital insurance program. In 1962, a year after Douglas became the federal NDP leader, Saskatchewan introduced North America's first socialized health plan. --- In sports ... The return of elite domestic curling competition after a nearly 12-month absence saw a significant drop in Canadian viewership. Numeris ratings for the opening weekend of the Canadian women's curling championship in Calgary were down 17 per cent from the same time period in the 2020 competition. An average audience of 331,000 viewers tuned in on the opening weekend of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, TSN says. That compared to an average audience of 398,000 viewers who watched the opening weekend of last year's Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask. Play began Friday night with the preliminary round opener in a bubble setting at Markin MacPhail Centre. The 18-team competition continues through Sunday. Ratings included viewers from all TSN platforms, including online and mobile. The highest-rated weekend draw was a Sunday night game between Alberta's Laura Walker and Ontario's Rachel Homan. That matchup between undefeated skips pulled in an average of 427,000 viewers. --- ICYMI ... One of the world's better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on “State of Terror,” which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton's background. It features a “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks. The novel comes out Oct. 12, and will be jointly released by Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Penny's, St. Martin's Press. “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true," Clinton, who has expressed admiration for Penny and other mystery writers in the past, says in a statement "I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.” Penny, an award-winning author from Quebec whose novels include “The Cruelest Month” and “The Brutal Telling,” says that she could not “say yes fast enough” to the chance of working with Clinton. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode," she said. "Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.” Fiction writing and worst-case scenarios have become a favourite pastime for Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. He collaborated with James Patterson on the million-selling cyber thriller “The President is Missing,” and on a new novel, “The President's Daughter,” which comes out in June. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021 The Canadian Press
(Supplied by Badlands Motorsports Resort - image credit) When a group of seven doctors bought a parcel of land in a remote river valley in Alberta more than 15 years ago to build a racetrack, farmers in the area could only chuckle in disbelief. They found it impossible to imagine race cars skidding around multiple tracks on a plot of land in their secluded part of the Prairies, which rarely attracts visitors on the gravel roads that wind through the deep valley. What may have seemed like a farfetched idea at the time is now much closer to reality, as those doctors hope to break ground on the $500-million racing resort this summer. Badlands Motorsports Resort has said it has all of its permits in place, but just needs to raise more investment before the first phase of the complex can be built near Rosebud, about 100 kilometres east of Calgary. However, the process hasn't been easy and local opposition remains. Dozens of farmers who were skeptical all those years ago have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and other expenses in their battle to stop the project from proceeding. Their latest salvo includes a Federal Court challenge asking for Ottawa to intervene and stop the development to protect a threatened bird species. The proposed racing facility would feature four tracks of varying lengths. New racing venue In 2005, Calgary radiologist Dr. Jay Zelazo and some of his colleagues in the medical field came up with the idea to build a track to race street-legal vehicles, since they enjoyed driving at high speeds and the only track near the city was struggling to stay afloat. Race City Speedway eventually closed in 2011. They chose the property near Rosebud since there were few other parcels of land on the market that were the appropriate size. The early concept grew over time to include four tracks, a hotel, residential development, go-kart track and other facilities. The Badlands Motorsports Resort could employ as many as 200 people. "There's so many vehicles and people with vehicles, they just cannot use them for their potential. I mean ... that's what this idea is, is safe track driving," said James Zelazo, Jay's father, who is the project's chief financial officer. A few natural gas wells are located on the property, which has been used in the past to grow crops and raise cattle. The first phase would involve constructing one track and temporary buildings. The cost would be about $30 million, said Zelazo. The developers also have to pave the road leading to the site, which would cost about $15 million. Zelazo is hopeful the provincial government may cover that cost. So far, the group has raised about $5 million, he said. About 250 people, mostly locals, have each already made a $1,000 deposit toward a potential membership, he said. WATCH | Response to concerns about proposed racetrack's impact on water and wetlands: The racetrack could provide a boost for tourism in the area, which includes the Royal Tyrrell Museum, home to one of the world's largest displays of dinosaurs. "I think this is an opportunity for a different segment of the population to come and enjoy this area and, if it gets built like the picture that I'm looking at indicates, I think it'll be a real jewel in Alberta," said Darryl Drohomerski, chief administrative officer of the town of Drumheller, which is located about 35 kilometres northeast of Rosebud. The Alberta government did not respond to requests for comment about the proposed project. The racetrack developer is required to widen and pave this road, which is estimated to cost about $15 million. Entrenched opposition The local opposition is easy to see as many "No race track" signs are visible on fence posts throughout the area. Wendy Clark is one of the farmers spearheading the effort to halt the development. She has about 800 hectares of grain fields in the region. "If you live here," she said, "you kind of instinctively come to the realization that it's your job to take care of this river valley." She said she's worried about the impact on the land, the water and the wildlife. "We're all just so angry," she said, calling the project an "intrusive development." These signs can be seen throughout the Rosebud area. She and other landowners have objected to the racetrack to every level of government. So far, they have only been able to slow down the process, not stop it. At the provincial Environmental Appeals Board, Clark and others argue the racetrack will cause irreparable damage to the environment, since the developer plans to infill two wetlands and modify three others. The appeal process is ongoing. The farmers also want the federal government to take action to halt the development to protect the bank swallow population. The small, brown and white songbirds were designated as a threatened species in 2013 under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). The bank swallow has suffered a "severe long-term decline amounting to a loss of 98% of its Canadian population over the last 40 years," the SARA website says. The population of bank swallows in Canada decreased by approximately 98 per cent between 1970 and 2011, according to the federal government. As a threatened species, the bank swallow is protected by the federal government. The landowners filed an application to the Federal Court of Canada last year to force Ottawa to prepare a recovery plan for the birds and designate critical habitat areas. A date for a virtual hearing has been set for late April. "You're putting a racetrack in between the nesting sites of these bank swallows and their foraging territory. So, what do you think is going to happen to the bank swallows?" said Clark. VIDEO: Why farmers oppose the racetrack project: In a statement to CBC News, Environment Canada said the development of a recovery strategy for the bank swallow is ongoing. That strategy will identify the threats to the species and critical habitat. However, the government said the land-use authorization for the proposed racetrack is a provincial matter. Badlands Motorsports Resort maintains it has the right to move ahead with the project because the property is private land. The river valley will be protected and the wetlands are often dry, said James Zelazo. The bank swallows have nests across the road from the racetrack development, but Zelazo said he hasn't seen any of the birds himself, so he doesn't know if they still inhabit the area. The landowners who oppose the project made an offer to purchase the land from the racetrack developer in 2013, but Zelazo said his group wasn't interested. If the farmers continue to oppose the project and cause further financial costs and delays, he may consider launching legal action to recover those expenses, he said. A separate $25-million racetrack development north of Calgary was supposed to open last year, but has also faced delays. Bank swallows dig nesting burrows in eroding vertical banks. This photo is taken across the road from the Badlands Motorsports property.
(Jean Delise/CBC - image credit) There are growing concerns in some parts of Ottawa hit hardest by COVID-19 that mistrust and vaccine hesitancy could make the situation worse. The South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre is aiming to bust myths about COVID-19 and vaccines during a townhall-style virtual meeting for on Wednesday evening. A panel of health experts will answer questions and share "honest information" about vaccines in this diverse community, organizers say. Soraya Allibhai, the health centre's COVID-19 coordinator, said with illness, isolation and lost jobs, some residents are struggling. "There is a predominance of COVID cases in Ottawa South, and so we want to provide education ... when it comes to vaccinations and building confidence around that as well," said Allibhai. "People are struggling financially, emotionally. There's a challenge with the school closures and lockdowns. Each and every day is harder." Soraya Allibhai is the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre's COVID-19 coordinator. Sudesh Gurung, who came to Canada from Nepal several years ago and now works as a resident leader with the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre, said building trust with the community is important during the pandemic. A lot of people in the community are essential workers, and some have been exposed the virus in the workplace, said Gurung. He spends time going door to door, providing information to residents in multiple languages including English, Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and sign language. "There are a lot of myths circulating in our community, because the community is reluctant to trust the people," said Gurung. "So we want to try to engage them and share information about COVID vaccines." Concerns include the speed at which the vaccines have been developed, and Gurung said often misinformation is being spread through social media. Given the language barrier, he said, correct public health information can be drowned out by the myths. Sudesh Gurung came to Canada from Nepal several years ago and now works as a resident leader with the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. He says building trust with the community is important during the pandemic. "The myths are circulating through their circles," said Gurung. "They're not sure what other things are in the vaccine. Is it halal [Arabic for "permissible under Islamic law"]?" While Wednesday night's session will be in English, the team is working on handouts in other languages, as well as other outreach events in a variety of languages including Arabic and Somali. "People can feel comfortable in their language to actually ask questions," said Allibhai. She said the centre also wants its neighbours to know support is available, including food, baby supplies and technology. Wednesday's event will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre's Facebook page.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images - image credit) As Ottawa's network of shelters, respite centres and physical distancing centres reach capacity, outbreaks within the system continue to grow and support systems are left playing "catch up," trying to get them under control. According to Ottawa Public Health's (OPH) COVID-19 dashboard, there are four active outbreaks at shelters across the city. While OPH does not list the names of shelters on its dashboard, cases at one in particular have continued to grow. Two weeks ago it reported 70 positive cases. There are now 108. OPH also declared an outbreak at the physical distancing centre on Nicholas Street on Tuesday, with a number of workers and clients testing positive. In a memo to the city, OPH added that there have also been cases at the Dempsey Community Centre and Tom Brown Respite Centre. Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health, said it's unclear exactly why cases in the city's homeless shelters rise, but winter has brought "a different set of challenges." With the colder weather, shelters have become more crowded and many staff are staying home because they're sick, Muckle said. 'We try as much as possible to distance people, although it's very tough in an overcrowded situation with this outbreak,' says Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health. "It's been very difficult to catch up once you have an outbreak that's that significant," Muckle said. As for emergency overflow physical distancing centres, Muckle said those too are getting full. "They were set up at a time when we thought that they would have lots of extra capacity but the number of people entering the shelter system has really increased quite rapidly," she said. "We're in that proverbial rock and a hard place at this point in time." Testing within shelters Ottawa Inner City Health and OPH are conducting tests at different locations throughout the week and are testing different groups within those locations to help curb the spread. "The transient nature of the population and the ability of positive clients to self-isolate away from others will also contribute to the prolonged outbreaks," wrote OPH in a statement to CBC. OPH says it's working closely with facilities experiencing outbreaks to implement disease control measures including enhanced cleaning, self-isolation for those who have tested positive and surveillance testing "to identify the extent of the outbreak."
(Submitted by the Bennett family - image credit) John Bennett and his family take a picture before quarantining. It's a nightmare scenario for many families in Newfoundland contending with the latest rise in COVID-19 numbers: Parents testing positive and having to divide their home for self-isolation, all while taking care of young children. For one St. John's family that's already a reality. John Bennett's 10-year-old son, John, has cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. Last week, Bennett, his wife Gillian, and their other son Noah, 6, all tested positive for COVID-19. Bennett initially booked a swab after visiting Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill in Mount Pearl, around the time the B117 variant started its spread through the metro region. While his first test came back negative, Bennett said he and his wife developed symptoms a few days later. "She just wasn't feeling all that well — a little bit under the weather," said Bennett. A day after her test, she got the result: positive. Bennett said the news came as a shock to his family, and soon after, he and his two sons got tested as well. Bennett's returned positive that time, though both of his sons' results came back negative. Noah was tested again on Monday, and the result came back positive. The Bennetts have two boys, John and Noah. John, the oldest, has cystic fibrosis. Right away, the family tried to divide the house, with Bennett's sons, wife, and himself each taking separate parts of the home. But having young kids, especially one with a lung condition like cystic fibrosis, made staying apart a challenge. "It feels like a bit of a yo-yo effect. At one moment you're feeling OK, the next minute emotions are kind of all over the place," said Bennett. "You're trying to take care of yourself, you're also trying to take care of your kids, your wife, and then trying to figure out some logistics of all living in the house together." Cystic fibrosis heightening anxiety Bennett's foremost worry at the moment is John falling ill, too. Since the pandemic began last year, Bennett said, they've learned a little more about how the virus affects those living with cystic fibrosis. "I'm certainly not minimizing it whatsoever, but from what we've seen over the last year, it doesn't necessarily have a bigger impact," Bennett said. While there's no evidence to show conditions like cystic fibrosis make individuals more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, people with the condition may be susceptible to more serious symptoms. Meals delivered by friends and family have been a big help, says Bennett. Bennett described his son as healthy and active, a kid who diligently follows a cystic fibrosis treatment regimen. The uncertainty of the virus, however, is still a cause of concern. "It's been worrying. We don't want him to have it," Bennett said. "But if he does have it, and sometimes I guess you just have to mentally prepare yourself for those things, we'll deal with it the best we can." John was tested again this week and his results came back negative: welcome news for Bennett and his family. For the time being, Bennett said John is in isolation with plenty of games to keep him entertained. "He's been in kind of his own isolation mode; he's got his Xbox, and he's got some friends online that just kept him company and whatnot." A father's advice? Get tested While they never expected the pandemic to hit so close to home, Bennett said, they shared their story over social media in order to keep friends and family informed, and encourage others to get tested. "I tested negative and had some symptoms probably three or four days after. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have probably gotten retested," said Bennett. His overall message is no matter how mild your symptoms may be, he hopes others take them seriously. Bennett, whose family has been vocal about John's condition in the past, said they've received overwhelming support. "All of the support from family and friends to be quite honest with you has helped us get through this," he said. "Messages of support, food being dropped off, snacks being dropped off. Just the outreach has kind of left us sometimes a little bit speechless." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
President Joe Biden's nominee to be director of the CIA, William Burns, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that he saw competition with China - and countering its "adversarial, predatory" leadership - as the key to U.S. national security. Burns, 64, a former career diplomat during both Democratic and Republican administrations, is expected to easily win confirmation to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Burns has already been confirmed by the Senate five times for his stints as ambassador to Jordan and Russia and three senior State Department positions.
TORONTO — Advocates say migrant and undocumented workers should have access to COVID-19 vaccines.The Migrant Rights Network is calling on all levels of governments to guarantee that access.The group is expected to make the call in a news conference today along with doctors and labour leaders .They say they are concerned that thousands of migrant and undocumented workers will not get the vaccine because of their immigration status.The group says government vaccination plans do not include measures that would guarantee safe access to the shot for the workers.The Ontario government has not said if temporary foreign workers employed on the province's farms would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 48,362 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,602,365 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,227.957 per 100,000. There were 152,100 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,003,810 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.97 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 1,771 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 16,458 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.431 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 24,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 4,826 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 27,966 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.657 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 12,084 new vaccinations administered for a total of 365,978 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.771 per 1,000. There were 107,640 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 16,252 new vaccinations administered for a total of 585,707 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.874 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.72 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,605 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,970 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.456 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 84,810 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 612 new vaccinations administered for a total of 62,342 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 52.87 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 105 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,216 new vaccinations administered for a total of 180,755 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.062 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 5,628 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,354 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.72 per 1,000. There were 44,460 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 287,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.91 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,250 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,423 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 321.655 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 71.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 2,297 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 34 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,011 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 181.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
GUYSBOROUGH – What should have been a routine point on the monthly Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council meeting agenda, a report on the recent Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) library board meeting, spurred a long discussion about the fate of the libraries in Canso and Guysborough. At the Feb. 17 meeting, councillors voiced concerns about the hours at each library branch and the fear that those few hours may be reduced as the ECRL creates a budget for the coming fiscal year. The ECRL has asked the MODG to increase its funding. At this time, the MODG has no plans of doing so; they provide the ECRL with $35,990 per year and own and maintain the buildings ECRL uses in the municipality at a cost of approximately $40,000 a year. Council put forward and passed a motion to send a letter to the ECRL board about their concerns. Warden Vernon Pitts told the media after the council meeting, “ECRL are looking for a major increase in funding but they’re also, in the same breath, they’re also looking at cutting services…. We have 16 hours of service here in Guysborough and we have 24 hours of service in the community of Canso; to me that’s substandard anyway. If they’re going to cut services what’s left to cut? Is the next thing to close the libraries? “What we are trying to do is get ahead of this. We’re trying to make them realize that … the municipality does the maintenance, the lights, the phone; we do all the bills in regard to that so I can’t see where these costs are coming from,” said Pitts, adding that an ECRL board meeting set for Feb. 18, would hopefully result in some answers to questions council has about funding and service. In regard to last month’s meeting with representatives from Emergency Health Services (EHS), Pitts said council has not received any additional response to their questions about availability of ambulances and response times. He added, “I noticed watching CTV news that there are major problems in other areas. So, we’re not the only one bucking the trend, shall we say. Let’s see where it goes. It’s not good news, what you’re hearing; be it equipment issue or manpower issue. We are going to have to get that sorted out. The only way we can do that is to have an exchange of ideas … Until they contact us, our hands are basically tied.” Council has also filed a freedom of information request in regard to plans for the Irving Oil property in Guysborough and a former gas station property in Boylston. Pitts said, “Council is not going to slacken off on this. This is a priority for our council. It is not only the property in the Guysborough area it is also the old service station in the Boylston area. We want them all cleaned up. This day and age there’s no need of it.” In the coming month, the MODG will formulate the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Pitts said of the budget planning to date, “As everyone through the municipality knows, likely province wide, the last number of years we’ve taken a $3 million hit in regard to property assessment commercial (due to decommissioning of Sable Offshore Energy Project). We have a plan in place, a five-year-plan … as long as we stick to the plan; I think we are going to weather this alright. “We are not looking at any major tax increases going forward. We just went through our preliminary budget meeting planning session at the CLC a number of weeks ago. Things aren’t too bad. We are very comfortable. Let’s not rock the boat,” said Pitts. When asked if there would be an increase in taxes he said, “I believe we are still going to have the lowest tax rate in the province of Nova Scotia when we get through the budget process … I anticipate perhaps, maybe there will be a very minimal increase.” Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
SAN FRANCISCO — Fry's Electronics, the go-to chain for tech tinkerers looking for an obscure part, is closing for good. The company, perhaps even more well known for outlandish themes at some of its stores, from Aztec to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," said Wednesday in an online posting that the COVID-19 pandemic had made it impossible to continue. Fans immediately took to Twitter to post images and memories (good and bad). The chain was concentrated on the West Coast, but had 31 stores in nine states. It was founded 36 years ago. The pandemic has done heavy damage to retailers, but Fry's was already getting hammered by online competition and a battle between heavy-hitters Best Buy and Amazon.com. Fry's Electronics Inc. said its operations have ceased and the wind-down of locations will begin immediately. Customers with electronics being repaired in-store store are being asked to pick them up. The stores online presence appears largely to have been shut down. The Associated Press