Valerie (Hilary Swank) and Derrik's (Michael Ealy) first meeting in a Las Vegas nightclub is underlined by simmering sexual tension.
Valerie (Hilary Swank) and Derrik's (Michael Ealy) first meeting in a Las Vegas nightclub is underlined by simmering sexual tension.
There’s hope at the end of a long water pipe for Verner residents who have endured ‘brown water’ issues for decades. The culprit is high levels of manganese, a naturally occurring mineral in the Veuve River. And it’s been a problem ever since the water plant was built in the 1970s. On Tuesday, West Nipissing council received a report that recommends connecting the community of 1,100 people to municipal water services as the best solution. See: Verner's 'brown water' cleared up for now See: Verner's 'brown water' problem makes rare winter appearance It will take a couple years and about $10 million, but public works consulting advisor Alan Korell told council that connecting Verner to the water line that already serves Cache Bay is the most “feasible” solution. Korell, former municipal engineer, said the latest technical memorandum by Aecon, which was received January 13, looked at several alternatives. Among the options investigated was an upgrade of the existing Verner water plant, using Cache Lake as a new water source and utilizing ground water supply. Doing nothing and relying on chemical treatment, as well as limiting town growth were also studied but rejected. The Cache Lake option would cost $15 million or so, he said, and like the upgrade for the exiting water plant, would require considerable regulatory approvals. And he said studies show there’s no indication a ground water supply is available at the volume needed. As for extending the Sturgeon Falls water plant pipe from Cache Bay, Korell said the least expensive route is running along the CPR rail way corridor. “It cuts out three to four kilometres of pipe,” he said, adding it’s also easier construction compared to running along Highway 17 for almost 14 kilometres. While CPR has indicated it would approve such a proposal, Korell said annual fees would be charged. “There’s a lot less engineering and red tape,” Korell said, noting it would take about two years for such a project with the first step requiring about $400,000 to get a consulting engineer to get the designs, agreements and permits in order. Councillors asked about potential funding available and Jay Barbeau, chief administrative officer, said they can get the project “shovel ready” for funding windows open up. Peter Ming, manager of water and waste water management, said more frequent flushing of the lines and chemical treatment should address the ‘brown water’ issues in the meantime. Ming said there’s been a learning curve when it comes to the Verner water issue, noting that a new chemical to deal with the manganese mineral in the water works well. Recent issues, he said, that left residents with brown water events at the end of December and first week of 2021 were caused by manganese settling in the pipes after leaving the plant. And when they first attempted to flush it out, they drained the system and left residents without any water. Barbeau said they are now flushing the pipes twice a year to address the settlement issues. Mayor Joanne Savage asked that staff prepare a “step-by-step” outline of the plan so councillors can see when each step is taken. Barbeau said council will be seeing the project outlined during budget deliberations and they’ll be able to consider approvals at each stage, including the design work. He said council will be able to decide on its priorities for capital projects then. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
In this David and Goliath story, David threw a dozen rocks, but couldn’t knock the giant down. David Strachan, treasurer of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association, who fought against the Geranium company’s plans to build two large subdivisions in the small village 10-minutes north of Barrie, is still bitter. “If we’d have thrown lots of money at it in the first place, we might have stood a chance,” Strachan said after news of the bulldozers arriving on-site at the Carson Road subdivision was released last week. But after fighting the good fight and raising more than $250,000 for legal fees and professional planners to oppose 2,500 new homes in their neighbourhood, Strachan and company realized their 12-year battle is over. In 2008, the initial plan for the Midhurst Carson Road development was approved by the township and later by the Ontario Municipal Board, the County of Simcoe, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, and several provincial agencies in 2014. It took five more years for the environmental assessment to be approved by the ministry of the environment, conservation and parks in 2019. Water and storm water management work was approved in 2020. Last December, council gave the green light for Phase 1 of the subdivision of 342 homes to begin. A bulldozer sits on the former farmland at the top of Anne Street North, where snowmobilers currently race through a small tract of trees that will remain standing. Inside the cold work trailer, site supervisor Dominic Palombi hunches down inside his coat and pulls out the site drawings of the new subdivision that will be his work address for the foreseeable future. "We start building Monday (Jan. 25)," he said. “We’ll start with the sewers for the subdivision and we’ll start building the sales office there,” added Palombi, pointing to the snow-covered field. “It’s going to be big.” Stretching between Carson Road on the south, along Wilson Drive on the west and near Snow Valley Road on the north, Palombi’s not wrong. There are expected to be more than 340 detached and semi-detached houses available to preview schematically at least this summer, said Geranium spokesperson Cheryl Shindruk. “We expect 2,500 units approximately at full build,” she continued, explaining the Doran Road site will be built along Carson Road in the future. Shindruk won’t comment on the lengthy timeline it took to push the subdivisions through the roadblocks, other than to say “development approval takes the time it needs to take.” President of the Midhurst ratepayers group, Sandy Buxton, said it wasn’t a case of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard), but also to save Minesing Wetlands which border the property. Also at stake are the Hine’s Emerald Dragonflies, which only nest in a few places in Canada, including the Springwater wetlands, she said. “It’s a very fussy animal in terms of the habitat it requires,” said Buxton. “It’s a fragile beast … which is classed as an endangered animal, not just provincially but also federally.” Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer, said it was just one of many requirements that had to be satisfied before the work project could be approved. “The completion of the environmental assessment was a significant condition that needed to be satisfied to ensure the Midhurst developments could be serviced with significant consideration for the environment,” said Audette. It also included jumping through a slew of technical hoops, such as engineering design, species at risk assessments and environmental impact studies, in addition to requiring securities to ensure funding will be available to complete work in accordance with municipal regulations. As soon as weather permits, tree clearing and the installation of services including the watermains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and a stormwater management pond will begin. For more information, visit www.springwater.ca Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
La MRC de La Matanie et la Ville de Matane ont décidé d’unir leurs forces pour mettre en branle le projet de « ferme » citoyenne à Matane. Les deux entités lancent donc un appel à participation pour tous les citoyens pouces verts et fervents de jardinage de La Matanie. Ce projet de « ferme citoyenne » vise l’élaboration d’une structure citoyenne dans la Ville de Matane se concentrant sur les univers du maraîchage, de l’apiculture et de l’agriculture urbaine. Selon un communiqué envoyé par la MRC, celui-ci pourrait d’ailleurs comprendre un volet communautaire ainsi qu’un volet collectif et éducatif. La MRC de La Matanie précise qu’au niveau communautaire, il pourrait s’agir de préparer des terrains pour les groupes souhaitant bénéficier de jardins communautaires. Au niveau collectif, il est envisagé que la structure ait une vocation d’éducation populaire. En même temps, elle permettrait la réinsertion et le don de denrées fraîches pour fournir les organismes sociaux. Le projet est encore en construction, et les possibilités sont nombreuses, selon le communiqué de la MRC. C’est pourquoi elle encourage les citoyens intéressés à s’inscrire, afin que le projet puisse se mouler à leur image et naître de leurs idées. La MRC de La Matanie cite notamment le projet d’agriculture communautaire de la MRC d’Argenteuil en exemple. Une première rencontre en ligne est organisée à travers Zoom le jeudi 28 janvier de 19h à 21h. L’objectif de cette consultation sera d’énoncer le constat de la situation actuelle, puis d’établir les étapes de réalisation et l’échéancier du projet. Un comité de travail incluant ceux ayant participé à la rencontre sera par la suite formé. « Je suis impressionnée et motivée par le groupe de citoyennes et citoyens qui a lancé le jardin communautaire les Lopins verts en moins d’un an. Cela montre le grand intérêt de la population matanaise pour ce type de projet. C’est une chance de pouvoir travailler ensemble à développer davantage l’agriculture urbaine », a lancé vivement Véronique Gagné, responsable. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de remplir le formulaire en ligne avant le 27 janvier à 23h45. Le lien de connexion Zoom pour assister à la rencontre sera ensuite envoyé par courriel.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
WASHINGTON — Capitol Police are investigating an incident in which a Republican lawmaker was blocked from entering the House chamber after setting off a metal detector while apparently carrying a concealed gun. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off the metal detector while trying to enter the chamber Thursday afternoon. The metal detectors were installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The incident was witnessed by a reporter from the Huffington Post After setting off the machine, Harris was asked to step aside for further screening. At that time, an officer discovered Harris was carrying a concealed gun on his side, according to the reporter. The officer sent Harris away, at which point Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the gun from him. Katko refused, telling Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris eventually left and returned less than 10 minutes later. He once again went through security and did not set off the magnetometer. He was then allowed to enter the House floor. Harris, in his sixth term representing Maryland's Eastern Shore, issued a statement through his chief of staff, Bryan Shuy. “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defence,'' the statement said. "As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.'' Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for Capitol Police, said the incident is being investigated. The public is not allowed to carry guns on Capitol grounds, but members of Congress may keep firearms in their offices or transport them on the Capitol grounds if they are unloaded and securely wrapped. Lawmakers are not allowed to bring guns into either the House or Senate chambers. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying home for the first time since being poisoned with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent that Navalny says was applied to his underpants by state security agents. The 44-year-old lawyer, in a Moscow prison pending the outcome of four legal matters he describes as trumped up, accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering his attempted murder.
Pendant que la neige tombait à gros flocons samedi dernier, j’ai déniché quelques trésors cachés sur le site web de l’Office national du film, onf.ca. Pour vous, j’ai fait une sélection des meilleurs courts-métrages mettant en vedette la neige, l’hiver et nos paysages nordiques. Idéal pour une soirée de couvre-feu, faute d’aller jouer dehors. Découvrez l’homme derrière la légende qui a sillonné les Laurentides pendant des décennies et qui en a tracé les plus importants sentiers. Ce portrait, réalisé pour le centenaire d’Herman Smith-Johannsen, révèle un explorateur infatigable, sa résilience et son humour. Le documentaire trace des parallèles entre sa Norvège natale et ses Laurentides d’adoption, et nous fait voyager dans le temps. Dans une scène, on le voit racontant ses souvenirs dans une voiture, cigare en bouche, pendant que des paysages enneigés défilent par la fenêtre. En noir et blanc, ce court-métrage offre un regard d’ensemble du ski au Canada, de Banff aux Laurentides. On y retrouve l’enthousiasme des premières neiges, la leçon de ski, le remonte-pente pour les « moins vaillants » (dit le narrateur), et la vue magnifique une fois arrivé au sommet. Somme toute, le sport a bien peu changé, 73 ans plus tard. Une journée à la patinoire, présentée par Gilles Carle, le célèbre cinéaste québécois dans ses débuts. La musique de Claude Léveillée anime même ce court-métrage sans paroles. En bottes ou en patins, on y découvre le simple plaisir de patiner, de glisser et de jouer sur la glace. Pourquoi ne pas jouer une amicale partie de hockey, avant de se déhancher sur la glace au rythme de la musique de l’heure : le rock ‘n’ roll! Suivez ces deux Inuits (appelés Esquimaux dans le film) alors qu’ils bâtissent un iglou pour la nuit, pendant que le narrateur vous explique comment faire. Vous n’aurez besoin que d’un couteau à neige… et de neige. Les Inuits peuvent prendre aussi peu que 40 minutes ou aussi longtemps que 2 jours pour construire leur iglou, selon leurs besoins. Mon préféré. Suivez l’artiste Alexander Young Jackson dans la création de ses paysages uniques. Jackson est membre du Groupe des sept, un rassemblement de paysagistes canadiens qui ont révolutionné l’art durant les années 1920. Pour faire ses ébauches, Jackson part en expédition dans la nature automnale de l’Ontario, au Lac Grace, puis dans les collines enneigées de Saint-Tite-des-Caps, juste au nord de l’Île d’Orléans. On le voit en canot, faire du portage et même escalader les parois rocheuses du bouclier canadien, tout pour trouver le parfait paysage.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
A Candle Lake research facility has been recognized by the United Nations for its role in protecting, promoting and restoring sustainability. The Hannin Creek Education and Applied Research Centre, an equal partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask. Poly) and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, won a 2020 Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) award for its role in addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land. The goal is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. The recognition comes from the United Nations University, which headquarters the Global RCE Service Centre. Hannin Creek was nominated by RCE Saskatchewan. Sask. Poly is a founding partner of RCE Saskatchewan since it was formally acknowledged by United Nations University in 2007. It’s the second consecutive year Hannin Creek won a Global RCE award. The centre is the only boreal forest field station in the province and one of just two in Canada. According to a press release, it is a “unique place to study and conduct research” in diverse programs. Currently, the centre is addressing issues such as climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, urbanization and economic austerity through its research and education programs. According to the award, conservation, education and research are critical to mitigate those challenges. The camp at Hannin Creek has been around for over 50 years. It has operated in collaboration with Sask. Poly and the SWF for the last eight. In the last few years, work has been done to upgrade some facilities and to establish a wet lab that allows for researchers to work year-round. The facility has 12 hectares of boreal forest, creek and forest, expanded from 1.2 hectares in 2013, and is surrounded by a game preserve. It’s a very broad and diverse facility in terms of people using it for hands-on learning relating to the overall focus of protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of land for Saskatchewan and beyond,” said Jamie Hilts, the Saskatchewan Polytechnic dean for the Schools of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing and Natural Resources and the Built Environment. “We do a lot of research in the areas of forestry, fishery, wildlife, programs related to natural resources, environmental law, environmental engineering, civil engineering and water (resources).” He added that other programs, such as human services, use its camp facilities for therapeutic recreation. The University of Saskatchewan uses the site for research done by the Global Institute for Water Security. The Ministry of Environment uses the site for wildfire management training, the federal environment ministry uses it for research and training and the Prince Albert Model Forest uses it for its Stewards of the Land land-based learning program. Within SWF, there are courses, youth camps and work and education training conducted at the site. According to the Regional Centre of Expertise network website, the centre allows visitors to connect with natural ecosystems, helping them return with a deeper understanding and value for natural systems and the sustainability issues that threaten them. Meanwhile, lab facilities offer data collection, sample analysis, research and hands-on learning. Several hundred students attend the centre annually. “It contributes to formal, non-formal and informal learning through the educational processes about sustainable development,” said SWF director of communications and marketing Chelsea Walters. “Our programs introduce youth to these concepts through our youth camps and conservation programs.” Hilts said Saskatchewan Polytechnic and SWF are working to continue growing the centre. The past three years have been focused on making the facility as user-friendly and adaptable as possible. Now they’re looking at establishing an Indigenous encampment and at opportunities to enhance applied research and learning in other areas. “We want to be able to work with memes of the First Nations communities around the facility to establish this learning experience and camp,” he said. “We feel we can do some significant work there in terms of education and training related to an understanding of the issues and concerns related to truth and reconciliation and also good stewardship from a First Nations and Indigenous perspective as well.” As for other research areas, Hilts said the hope is to look at alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass in a boreal forest setting. “That has applications into smaller northern or rural communities where you can establish what different energy systems can be created that will provide a good and dependable power source but at the same time be environmentally friendly. We’re going to be doing some work on that.” He also said that as it grows, the centre will continue to improve to meet the needs of the students, researchers and others who use the facility annually. The award, he said, is a big honour. “It means quite a bit,” he said. “It provides an example that we take the concept of sustainability seriously and want to improve upon that. It gives some evidence that we … walk the talk.” This is the second time the facility has won an award. “It’s a huge honour for us,” Walters said. “Everybody has been pretty excited around our office. We are really proud of our partnership with Sask. Poly.” Hilts agrees. The award, he said, provides an example of a strong, “symbiotic” relationship between the SWF and Sask. Poly. Beyond that, he said, it gives the facility recognition provincially, nationally and internationally, especially as it works to find solutions to sustainability and conservation. “We do have the facilities. We do have the people we do have the resources that lend themselves to an international l audience and we can do it right here in Saskatchewan. We don’t have to go elsewhere.” he said. “Those are the kinds of things which lend themselves to saying we have a made in Saskatchewan solution to made in Saskatchewan problems.” , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Friday welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries, which is set to expire in less than two weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia stands for extending the pact and is waiting to see the details of the U.S. proposal. The White House said Thursday that Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty. “We can only welcome political will to extend the document,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.” The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. It expires on Feb. 5. Russia has long proposed to prolong the pact without any conditions or changes, but former President Donald Trump’s administration waited until last year to start talks and made the extension contingent on a set of demands. The talks stalled, and months of bargaining have failed to narrow differences. “Certain conditions for the extension have been put forward, and some of them have been absolutely unacceptable for us, so let's see first what the U.S. is offering,” Peskov said. Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador at the international organizations in Vienna, also hailed Biden’s proposal as an “encouraging step.” “The extension will give the two sides more time to consider possible additional measures aimed at strengthening strategic stability and global security,” he tweeted. The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, noted in a statement that Russia always has called for maintaining the treaty and said Russian diplomats are ready to quickly engage in contacts with the U.S. to formalize its extension for five years “without any delay.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the U.S. decision and Russia's reiteration. He encouraged both countries “to work quickly to complete the necessary procedure for the New START’s extension before the Feb. 5 expiration and move as soon as possible to negotiations on new arms control measures," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “A five-year extension would not only maintain verifiable caps on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals but will also provide time to negotiate new nuclear arms control agreements to grapple with our increasingly complex international environment," Dujarric said. Biden indicated during the campaign that he favoured the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president. The talks on the treaty’s extension also were clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Despite the extension proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden remains committed to holding Russia “to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” such as its alleged involvement in the Solar Winds hacking event, 2020 election interference, the chemical poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the widely reported allegations that Russia may have offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Asked to comment on Psaki’s statement, Peskov has reaffirmed Russia’s denial of involvement in any such activities. After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, New START is the only remaining nuclear arms control deal between the two countries. Arms control advocates have strongly called for New START’s preservation, warning that its lapse would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. Last week, Russia also declared that it would follow the U.S. to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West. While Russia always offered to extend New START for five years — a possibility envisaged by the pact — Trump asserted that it put the U.S. at a disadvantage and initially insisted that China be added to the treaty, an idea that Beijing flatly rejected. Trump's administration then proposed to extend New START for just one year and also sought to expand it to include limits on battlefield nuclear weapons. Moscow has said it remains open for new nuclear arms talks with the U.S. to negotiate future limits on prospective weapons, but emphasized that preserving New START is essential for global stability. Russian diplomats have said that Russia’s prospective Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle could be counted along with other Russian nuclear weapons under the treaty. The Sarmat is still under development, while the first missile unit armed with the Avangard became operational in December 2019. The Russian military has said the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and could make sharp manoeuvrs on its way to a target to bypass missile defence systems. It has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and in the future could be fitted to the more powerful Sarmat. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Three clinics devoted to helping COVID-19 patients recover from the long-term effects of the disease are now open in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. The clinics, located at St. Paul's Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey, will provide specialized care while also helping doctors learn more about the lingering effects of infection with the novel coronavirus. "We know some people who recover from COVID-19 experience long-term health effects. Through the dedication of a large team of experts and health leaders across the province, we are working to ensure that specialized care is available to British Columbians, when they need it," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release. So-called COVID-19 long haulers have reported an array of symptoms that last for months after they've recovered from their illnesses, including shortness of breath, debilitating fatigue, body aches, coughing, loss of taste or smell, joint pain and headaches. Health officials say an early study conducted by Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital and the University of B.C. found that more than half of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had abnormal breathing tests three months after they became sick, and one in five had permanent lung scarring. The clinic at St. Paul's Hospital has already seen more than 160 affected patients, according to the news release. "We want patients to feel like they are not alone. We are here. We're listening," the hospital's physician lead and internist Dr. Jesse Greiner said.
Families in Windsor-Essex have been given more time to decide whether they want to change from remote learning to in-person classes — or vice versa — for the remainder of the school year. The Greater Essex County District School Board says that for elementary students it has reopened the form to request a change to coincide with the planned reopening of schools, currently set for Feb. 10. The forms are due on Jan. 26. No action is required for families that want to stick with the current model of learning or those who have previously requested a change, the school board said in a media release. After this window, no changes can be made to whether a child learns from home or at school for the rest of the school year. Originally, parents with children in the public board were supposed to have made a decision in early January but the deadline was extended. At that time, some parents expressed concern over the difficulty of making a decision given the current status of the pandemic. Local schools have been closed since the week before the holiday break, with students currently learning from home at all grade levels. Some special education classes are still in-person. It remains unclear whether the province will extend the closure past early February. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said Friday he has not had any direct discussions with the province regarding the reopening or closure of schools. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says it has suspended its deadlines to change instruction delivery indefinitely. "Before setting new deadlines, we are waiting further direction from the Ministry of Education regarding school openings," board spokesperson Stephen Fields said in an email. Once new dates are established, parents will be informed a new declaration form will be made available, he said.
China has granted Canadian officials in Beijing on-site virtual consular access to detained Canadian Michael Kovrig but not to his fellow detainee Michael Spavor, Global Affairs Canada said today. The effort to gain access was led by Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton and the meeting took place on Jan. 21. A statement from Global Affairs said it could not give out details of the meeting because of privacy concerns. Kovrig and Spavor were detained in December 2018 shortly after Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian officials while she was changing planes in Vancouver. Meng was arrested on a U.S. extradition request over allegations she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The arrest and detention of Kovrig and Spavor is widely seen as an act of reprisal for Meng's arrest. Both men face charges of spying for Canada. "The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release," said a statement from Global Affairs Canada. Since their arrest, Canadian officials have had only sporadic consular access to the two men. From January to October of last year, family and Canadian officials had no access to the detainees — something China attributed to efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Canadian officials were last granted consular access to Spavor on December 14, 2020. The Global Affairs statement says that access to Spavor has been withheld because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Since their arrest more than two years ago, Canadian officials have been granted consular access to Kovrig on 20 occasions and met with Spavor a total of 19 times. Meng gets family visit Meng, meanwhile, has been released on bail and is continuing to deny the charges against her. Under her bail conditions, Meng is required to wear a GPS ankle monitoring bracelet and is confined to her home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. She is allowed to travel around the Lower Mainland with security guards during the day; she has to pay for the security herself. While Kovrig and Spavor remain behind bars, last week it emerged that Meng's husband, Liu Xiaozong, and her two children were granted permission to come to Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials. Liu came to Canada in October and in December was followed by the couple's children. Global Affairs said that Meng's family members were granted permission to come here through a process that allows family members of foreign nationals to visit Canada temporarily. Extradition Meng's extradition proceeding is expected to get underway at the beginning of March, and to continue in various stages until the end of April. The first part of the proceedings will involve a defence bid to have the case tossed because of alleged violations of Meng's rights. Her lawyers claim she was used as a political pawn by the administration of former U.S. president Donald Trump and that the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP conspired with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time of her arrest to deny her access to a lawyer. The defence claims that the U.S. deliberately misled Canada about the strength of the case against Meng and is reaching beyond its jurisdiction to punish her. The final part of the proceedings will be a test of the strength of the extradition request itself.
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
Coup de théâtre mercredi après-midi, alors que le Directeur général des élections du Québec (DGEQ) informait l’avocat de Virginie Dufour qu’une enquête était ouverte relativement aux allégations de financement politique illégal qui visent sa cliente. Cette information est tombée dans les heures suivant une entrevue que Mme Dufour, conseillère municipale de Sainte-Rose, accordait au Courrier Laval, où elle annonçait son retour au sein du comité exécutif dont elle s’était retirée le 30 novembre dernier «pour ne pas nuire aux affaires de la Ville». Or, ce mercredi 20 janvier, elle estimait que l’«injustice» dont elle se dit victime «a assez duré». D’autant que, affirmait-elle, le DGEQ ne l’avait jamais relancée à la suite de son courriel - il y a sept semaines - où elle demandait à l’institution de faire enquête sur les allégations formulées à son endroit afin de «rétablir sa réputation». À défaut d’une enquête formelle, elle disait réintégrer l’exécutif «la tête haute» avec en main un affidavit signé par Normand Cusson, l’homme qu’on entend sur l’enregistrement incriminant rendu public par le Journal de Montréal, le 30 novembre. Dans une déclaration assermentée, M. Cusson, un proche de Virginie Dufour, affirme avoir menti lorsqu’il dit que ses contributions versées par chèque au Mouvement lavallois – Équipe Marc Demers lui sont remboursées en argent comptant par l’élue de Sainte-Rose. Considérant que le DGEQ ouvre une enquête, Virginie Dufour entend-elle se retirer à nouveau du comité exécutif le temps que la lumière soit faite sur ces allégations? Une décision devrait être rendue d’ici les prochaines heures, informe-t-on au cabinet du maire.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
VICTORIA — British Columbia's oldest residents will be able to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting in March after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized under a provincial plan announced today. People who register for the age-based plan will get a reminder to book appointments when eligible, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says timelines for vaccination will depend on available doses. Residents in long-term care homes and health-care workers who look after them are among those who are currently being vaccinated, followed in February by more residents of Indigenous communities as well as those who are over the age of 80. Those aged 75 to 79 will be vaccinated starting in April as part of the pre-registration strategy that will also include people with underlying health conditions before those in younger age groups are immunized. Everyone who is vaccinated will get a record of their immunization and a reminder of their second dose by text, email or phone call. The aim is to administer vaccines to 4.3 million eligible residents by September using larger facilities including school gyms, arenas and mobile clinics, as well as home visits for those who are unable to attend a clinic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
JACKSON, Miss. — A leader of the Brexit movement and newly appointed government trade adviser in the United Kingdom is now the head of a conservative think-tank in the American South. Douglas Carswell, 49, started working this month as the new CEO and president of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Carswell, a libertarian and former member of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, was a member of Parliament for 12 years and a co-founder of Vote Leave, the campaign that pushed the Brexit referendum in 2016. Carswell said his home country was his primary focus as the U.K. negotiated terms of its recently finalized split from the European Union. However, he said he has had a growing interest in working in the U.S. “I think the fight for freedom in America is the most important battle for freedom in the world, because America is the exceptional country in the world,” Carswell told The Associated Press. Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who left office a year ago, has developed a work relationship with Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and Bryant attended a 2019 event for the lobbying group World4Brexit. Carswell said he has never met Bryant. Carswell clashed with more populist Farage after being the first of only two U.K. Independence Party candidates ever elected to Parliament. Farage ran unsuccessfully more than half a dozen times. Carswell's 2014 election victory gave political momentum to the party and the Brexit cause. He left the U.K. Independence Party in 2017, later stepping down from Parliament. After Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, many of the figures who led the campaign have moved on to new ventures. Farage became a radio talk-show host and Donald Trump’s main British supporter, once even attending and speaking at a 2016 Trump campaign event in Mississippi. Others have been appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It’s common for former British lawmakers of all political stripes to seek think-tank or academic posts in the U.S. — a career move that can often bring prestige back home. In an email introducing his new position in Mississippi, Carswell said he believes freedom in the U.S. is “under attack” from a “radical New Left.” “If liberty is extinguished, the United States will become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials,” he said. “That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.” Carswell said he thinks school choice can give low-income Mississippi families more opportunities. He said he will push policies to make the state more competitive in attracting new businesses and allowing existing ones to grow. “Businesses that are traditionally located in hubs like New York, or Chicago or California, quite a few of those businesses are moving away from high tax and regulation regimes to Texas, Florida or Tennessee,” he said. “Why not Mississippi?” The Mississippi Center for Public Policy lobbies for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and free-market approaches to health care. Carswell said he admires that people’s freedoms in the U.S. are defined in federal and state constitutions. “In America, if your local mayor wakes up one morning and decides to take away your fundamental freedoms, you can take the politicians to court under the Constitution, you can enforce your rights as an individual,” he said. It allows “ordinary folk to live their lives free from the arbitrary whim of government,” Carswell said. “It’s only when you don’t have that that you realize quite how precious it is,” he said. “It really is the secret of American success.” Carswell plans to live in Jackson with his family but is not leaving U.K. politics. In November, he was appointed to a three-year term as a nonexecutive director of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Liz Truss, the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade, said Carswell will work at “striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules.” ___ Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless contributed from London. ___ Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Leah Willingham, The Associated Press
Malgré la pandémie, l’élan économique de Val-des-Sources ne s’essouffle pas. Après le début de la construction d’Alliance Magnésium et l’arrivée de plusieurs entreprises comme General Recycled en 2020, voilà que pour 2021 déjà plusieurs millions de dollars en investissements sont prévus. Les prochains mois verront d’ailleurs au moins deux nouvelles constructions s’ajouter dans le parc industriel. Concept Promet, acquis par l’entreprise Métal Pless de Plessisville en 2018, construira un nouveau bâtiment de plus de 30 000 pieds carrés sur la rue de l’Ardoise. Environ 3,5 millions de dollars seront investis pour la construction du bâtiment, sans compter l’achat de l’équipement. Concept Promet, qui fait de la peinture et l’assemblage de gratte à neige et d’équipements agricoles, emploi environ 45 personnes et la direction envisage ajouter une autre chaîne de production, ce qui créerait une dizaine d’emplois. « Il y a une grosse ouverture d’esprit de la part de la Ville et il y a un bel avantage de se construire là, souligne Ivan Boucher, adjoint à la direction. On est à Plessisville et ça nous amène un autre bassin de population aussi. » Les locaux laissés vacants par Concept Promet seront repris par ABS Remorques et agrandis de 27 000 pieds carrés. Pour ce faire, les investissements oscilleront entre 3,5 et 4 millions de $. Près d’une dizaine d’emplois seront créés à terme par ce projet. « On va déménager notre usine de soudage dans ces nouveaux locaux, indique François Gouin, président. On vend partout au Canada et un peu aux États-Unis. On veut raffermir notre position au Canada et être plus actifs sur l’exportation aux États-Unis. Parallèlement, on veut développer d’autres types de remorques. » Bulles du Nord, qui produit des jus de fruit naturels gazéifiés, et Distillerie Birster, qui fait du gin (voir autre texte), s’installent aussi à Val-des-Sources. « Quand quelqu’un a un projet, ça nous en prend beaucoup pour dire non, lance Martin Lafleur, directeur de la Corporation de développement socioéconomique de Val-des-Sources. On est aussi en train de mettre sur pied un projet pour développer et acquérir un bâtiment dédié aux écomatériaux. » Dans l’optique de favoriser les investissements, la Ville de Val-des-Sources offre aussi la possibilité de bâtir elle-même les installations pour ensuite les louer à une entreprise qui viendrait s’établir dans la région. « On leur charge un loyer et on leur donne la possibilité d’acheter dans trois, quatre, cinq ou six ans, quand ça leur adonne, résume M. Lafleur. On leur crédite le capital qu’ils ont déjà payé. On se met entre eux et la banque. On en a plusieurs qui ont acheté leur bâtiment de cette façon. » Écomatériaux Presque toutes les nouvelles entreprises de Val-des-Sources et de la MRC ont un point en commun, elles ont toutes un lien direct ou indirect avec l’environnement. « On mise sur les technologies environnementales, confirme Frédéric Marcotte, directeur général de la MRC. Ça fait partie de notre ligne directrice de notre stratégie de diversification économique. Les écomatériaux constituent un levier d’avenir pour le développement de la région. » Alliance Magnésium, qui exploite les haldes pour produire du magnésium, et Nature Fibres, qui produit des panneaux isolants à base de paille de chanvre industriel, sont quelques exemples d’entreprises qui exploitent des écomatériaux. « On prend un résidu et on lui donne une valeur tellement forte qu’il peut même surpasser des matériaux existants », explique M. Marcotte. La région est également l’hôte du Rendez-vous des écomatériaux qui se tient habituellement à l’automne. Diversification Avec tous ces investissements et ces nouvelles entreprises, la région a énormément diversifié son économie au cours des dernières années, mais il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à faire selon le DG de la MRC. « Une diversification économique à la suite d’une économie mono-industrielle de plus de 130 ans, ça ne se fait pas en sept ans, admet M. Marcotte. Si on me pose la question à savoir si la diversification économique est atteinte, c’est difficile de répondre positivement à cela. Par contre, les fondations de la diversification économique sur le long terme sont atteintes. Les secteurs d’activités, leur complémentarité, leur différence, le nombre d’entreprises et la diversité de la topologie d’emploi font en sorte qu’on est sur la bonne voie. » « Une diversification ce n’est pas que les entreprises qui sont implantées, c’est aussi la dynamique de l’économie de la région qui est à faire, résume-t-il. Il y a encore beaucoup de choses à construire et à attacher. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
While one Northern Ontario health unit has decided to ban some outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, skating and hill sliding, that is not currently in the plans for Sudbury's public health region. As of Thursday January 21, all OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) trails and associated sledding trails on crown land within the jurisdiction of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit were shut down by order of Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health. This takes in thousands of square kilometres from the Quebec border to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. There are roughly 1,900 kilometres of groomed trails. The order will be in effect for the duration of the provincial stay-at-home order and can be reassessed in the future, said the news release. “We have been told to stay home and we need to do this,” said Dr. Chirico in the release. “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. "The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously. “We are also seeing groups of snowmobilers congregating on trails, in parking lots and other locations not maintaining a two-metre distance and exceeding the gathering limits.” The decision sparked an outcry on social media from hundreds of avid sledders who have paid the $270 annual fee for riding OFSC trails across Ontario. Many are upset about the loss of sledding privileges and question the concept of closing down outdoor activities where many believe there is little chance of contracting the coronavirus in an outdoor setting, where most riders wear helmets and face shields. Northern Ontario trails also attract hundreds of riders from Southern Ontario owing to the greater number of long-distance trails. Some local sledders said if anything, police and trail wardens should be sending out-of-town riders back home. The snowmobiling ban came a week after another controversial call by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. On January 14, it decreed that all outdoor public ice skating rinks, tobogganing hills and skating trails on public property across the district to be closed. It too was done in accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act according to a news release. “Travelling to skating rinks and tobogganing hills can increase risk of spread of COVID-19 when individuals choose to travel with people who they do not live with,” said Dr. Chirico. “Skating rinks and tobogganing hills are locations where we have seen a lot of individuals gather without physical distancing and many times without face coverings. While enjoying these amenities COVID-19 restrictions may get forgotten and put our community at risk.” Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), which also covers large urban and rural areas, has taken a different approach. In response to an inquiry from Sudbury.com, PHSD said outdoor activities would continue and it encouraged people to observe physical distancing and to wear masks. "At this time, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is not recommending the closure of snowmobiling trails, sliding hills, or outdoor skating rinks. Public Health will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation closely to protect the health of the community," PHSD said. "There is a higher risk of COVID spread if people are congregating together. Remember to stay with people you live with or in groups of five or less outdoors while keeping at least two metres of distance. Wear a mask if there is a chance you are going to get within two metres of others. As part of the stay-at-home order, avoid non-essential travel. Everyone is required to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work," said the PHSD response. Similar to the Sudbury position, the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, has taken the softer approach. On January 19, Simcoe-Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner, held a media briefing and said it hadn't occurred to him to take the restrictive action imposed by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. "At this point in time I’m not considering doing that. I think I would have to see evidence that it is both helpful and necessary to make that kind of restriction," said Gardner in a live-streamed event. Gardner was also quoted as saying that although an argument could be made for keeping snowmobilers at home, there could be some individuals who rely on sledding as a primary means of transportation at this time of year. He said he would need more evidence before shutting down outdoor activities. Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com, covering health care in Northern Ontario. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the federal government. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com