Federal Energy Minister Seamus O'Regan says nuclear power is essential to meeting Canada's climate-change goals. O'Regan says mini nuclear plants, known as small modular reactors, are a key part of that strategy.
Federal Energy Minister Seamus O'Regan says nuclear power is essential to meeting Canada's climate-change goals. O'Regan says mini nuclear plants, known as small modular reactors, are a key part of that strategy.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Southern California city of Riverside has approved plans to remodel its main library to display Cheech Marin’s art collection and commit about $1 million of city money a year to help pay operational costs, according to a newspaper report. The Riverside City Council voted 4-0 to greenlight the renovation of the 1960s building that will reopen as the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture late this year, the Press-Enterprise reported Wednesday. A new main library is being constructed a few blocks away. Under the plan, the city will enter into a 25-year contract with the Riverside Art Museum to run the centre. The newspaper says so far Marin, a California native, has donated 11 masterpieces, with 500 additional pieces expected once there's a proper storage facility. The 74-year-old actor and comedian of Cheech & Chong fame is considered one of the world's foremost art collectors, according to the newspaper. The Riverside Art Museum is financing the $13 million renovation with a state grant and donations. The city will cover annual operating costs of about $1 million. Proponents say the new museum will boost downtown Riverside's economy. But opponents worry the 25-year agreement could hamstring the city's finances over the long run. The Associated Press
Richmond city council will consider banning the use of rodenticides on city-owned property when it meets Monday. The item comes to council following discussion at a July 2020 general purposes committee meeting. According to provincial guidelines, anticoagulant rodenticides are permitted when all pesticide-free methods have been deemed unsuccessful at managing infestations. However, if used improperly, they can enter the food chain and poison non-target animals including insects, birds, squirrels and raccoons, as well as larger animals like coyotes, bobcats and raptors that might eat the contaminated rodents. Affected animals do not die right away, but become lethargic and/or erratic which allows for easier predation and may go on to contaminate other animals that eat the contaminated animals. As well, improper disposal of anticoagulants can contaminate local soil, surface and groundwater conditions. The proposed ban would last for one year, after which point there would be a staff report on its effectiveness. Staff are also recommending writing a letter to B.C.’s Ministry of Environment requesting a review on policies allowing for the retail sale of rodenticides. The plan is estimated to cost $97,000, but some of that funding can be taken from the funds previously allocated to Vancouver Coastal Health, which has overseen the city’s rodent control service but will cease to operate its contract after March 31. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A yet-to-be identified variant of COVID-19 found in a Barrie, Ont., long-term care home is extremely concerning because it appears to be spreading more quickly among residents, public health officials said Thursday. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said the unusually rapid spread of the virus at Roberta Place earlier this month prompted officials to start testing for a variant strain. Fifty-five people at the nursing home became ill within 48 hours of the first COVID-19 case being identified, said Dr. Colin Lee, the unit's associate medical officer of health. As of Wednesday evening, the health unit reported that 122 residents and 69 staff had been infected, and 19 residents had died. The variant was identified in six cases and further results are expected in the coming days, the unit said. "The problem is that this spreads so quickly to so many people that ultimately you're going to have a higher chance of more people severely ill and (more) deaths," Lee said. There's a "very high probability" that the variant detected at the home is one of three known COVID-19 variants – strains from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, said Lee. Public health officials will be carrying out more testing at the home and will be trying to immunize as many residents and staff at the facility as possible, he said. An earlier immunization effort saw only 21 residents vaccinated as most others were already infected with COVID-19, he said. "We went in there on Saturday and immunized as many as we could," he said. The health unit is trying to reach all close contacts of those infected as quickly as possible so they can self-isolate if needed, said Lee. "One of our primary goals right now is to prevent the spread further, as it gets into households and other hospitals," Lee said. Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical of health, said public health officials will also be stepping up infection prevention and control at the home. Yaffe said the source of infection is still hard to determine as the outbreak at the home is still under investigation. "At this point, we know a mutation is in there. The 501 mutation that’s associated with increased transmissibility ... We don’t know which mutant it is, or which variant of concern," she said. “So it’s hard to say right now how widespread it is because we don’t even know exactly what it is.” Last week, the Canadian Red Cross was deployed to Roberta Place to help with the growing outbreak. Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, along with other local organizations, has also been asked to help manage it. The Ministry of Long-Term Care said Thursday that it was working with its health partners to ensure staffing levels at the home were sufficient. “This development underscores the need for everyone to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our long-term care homes, especially as we find more evidence of new variants in our communities,” said spokeswoman Krystle Caputo. The nursing home's website says it can accommodate 137 residents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa asked the U.S. House on Thursday to dismiss an election contest filed by her Democratic challenger that argues the six-vote race was wrongly decided. Miller-Meeks argued in a legal motion that the Democratic-controlled chamber should not consider Rita Hart's appeal because Hart did not contest the outcome under Iowa law. Longstanding House precedent in prior cases calls for contestants to take that step first, her lawyer Alan Ostergren argued. "Rita Hart should have raised her claims before a neutral panel of Iowa judges rather than before a political process controlled by her own party,” Ostergren said. After a recount, Iowa's canvassing board certified Miller-Meeks as the vote winner in Iowa's 2nd District with a tally of 196,964 to 196,958 — the closest congressional race nationwide in decades. Hart declined to challenge the result under Iowa law, saying it did not allow enough time to conduct additional recount proceedings. The law would have required a panel of judges to rule on challenges within days. Instead, Hart filed a contest in December directly to the House under a 1969 law that spells out how congressional candidates can challenge elections that they believe were marred by serious irregularities. Hart's attorneys claim they have identified 22 votes that were wrongly excluded due to errors, including 18 for Hart that would change the outcome if counted. They also want the House to examine thousands of ballots marked by machines as undervotes and overvotes that weren't visually inspected during the recount. Miller-Meeks' filing agreed that Iowa law would have required a quick legal review but said that “was no excuse” for Hart's decision to skip it altogether. The 22 ballots that Hart claims were wrongly rejected involve interpretations of state law that should have been decided by Iowa judges, the filing said. Additional votes for Miller-Meeks may also have been rejected “in the ordinary course of election administration,” it said. Taking the extreme step of overturning a state-certified election would lead to a “parade of contests” in which losing candidates from the House majority's party will ask for intervention after close races, Ostergren warned. The House decided earlier this month to provisionally swear in Miller-Meeks, pending the outcome of Hart's challenge. The two candidates had been competing to replace seven-term Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack in the southeastern Iowa district that has trended Republican in recent years. The House Administration Committee will determine how to proceed, including whether to investigate or dismiss the case. A spokesman said it would closely review the filings from both campaigns, as required by law. Hart said that she was disappointed by Miller-Meeks' motion, saying at least 22 voters would be disenfranchised without additional proceedings. “It is crucial to me that this bipartisan review by the U.S. House is fair, and I hope our leaders will move swiftly to address this contest and ensure all votes are counted," she said. The Associated Press
The Alberta government is thinking about selling its profitable land titles, corporate and personal properties registries to a private company, according to public documents posted to its online procurement site. Service Alberta issued a request for expressions of interest on Monday. The document said the government would be willing to offer "an exclusive 35-year concession to operate an essential services business in the province." The registries offer potential purchasers a "robust financial profile with highly stable cash flow streams," the document said. Revenues for the three registries totalled $123.6 million in the last fiscal year. The province's objectives, according to the document, include maximizing "sale value and proceeds to the province" and modernizing technology used by the registries. If the province receives enough interest, it plans to issue a formal request for proposals in April. About 130 Alberta government employees work in those departments. Tricia Velthuizen, press secretary for Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish, said private sector operations of registry services have worked in other jurisdictions and the government wants to see if it could work for Alberta. "Service Alberta would continue to have legislative authority for these services and oversight of a potential private sector partner," she wrote in an email. "Right now, Service Alberta is looking into options to provide more modern and efficient registry services, and no decisions have been made." The provincial government has retained CIBC Capital Markets to facilitate any proposed sales. Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said the government on Monday sent the union notice about the start of the formal 90-consultation, as required under the collective agreement. The request for expressions for interest went online shortly afterwards. Barry said privatization could mean higher fees for Albertans accessing these services. He said he can't understand why the government would sell off operations that make money when it has lost so much revenue due to a slump in resource prices. "They're going to give that revenue up to the private sector," Barry said in an interview with CBC News. "It certainly is an odd timing with everything that's been happening of late that they're going to give up revenue or (are) even thinking about giving up revenue." Service Alberta lobbying According to the lobbyist registry, Regina-based Information Services Corporation hired Wellington Advocacy to lobby the Alberta government between July 23, 2019, and Dec.31, 2021. Wellington Advocacy was contracted to convince Service Alberta and other government ministries about the benefits of "alternative service delivery and business models for land registry, corporate registry and personal property registry." The president and founder of Wellington Advocacy is Nick Koolsbergen, who was chief of staff to Premier Jason Kenney when the United Conservative Party was the official opposition. Koolsbergen also ran the UCP's successful provincial election campaign in 2019. ISC was a Crown corporation operated by the Saskatchewan government until 60 per cent of it was sold in 2013, transforming it into a publicly traded business. ISC is listed on the Alberta Purchasing Connection site as one of the vendors that has viewed the Service Alberta bidding documents. Teranet, which operates land registries in Ontario and Manitoba, is also listed. According to the Alberta Lobbyist Registry, Teranet retained Maple Leaf Strategies to lobby Service Alberta and other areas of government between February 2020 and February 2021 on privatizing land, corporate and personal property registries.
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man who plied two teenagers with drugs and alcohol and then failed to intervene as they died will remain in prison indefinitely after the B.C. Court of Appeal refused to overturn his sentence. Martin Tremblay was convicted in 2013 of two counts each of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life, and was labelled a dangerous offender, which carries an indeterminate sentence. His trial heard he invited 16-year-old Kayla Lalonde and 17-year-old Martha Jackson to his home, gave them drugs and alcohol until they passed out, sexually assaulted them and then failed to get help when their conditions deteriorated. In a decision posted online Thursday, a panel of three judges ruled unanimously against allowing the appeal of his sentence or an introduction of new evidence that shows his progress in sexual offender programs. Tremblay asked that his sentence be changed to 20 years in prison, followed by 10 years under supervision, claiming the trial judge failed to properly consider his risk during sentencing. Writing for the panel, Justice Patrice Abrioux says there was no legal error and while Tremblay had made progress is addressing his risk factors, he wouldn't admit it as new evidence. "The reasons as a whole indicate that the judge paid careful consideration to the appellant’s risk assessment and treatment prospects," he says in the ruling. Tremblay had a long history of offences, the court noted. He was convicted in 2003 of assaulting five teenage Indigenous girls. He invited them to his house to party, gave them alcohol and drugs, waited until they passed out and videotaped himself sexually assaulting them. Tremblay claimed as a result of the programs he had completed in prison, he had taken responsibility for his actions. The Crown had opposed the introduction of the new evidence, telling the Appeal Court it did not relate to the legal error Tremblay claimed the trial judge made or relate to the prison sentence he had been given. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Nick Wells, The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan says the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations will start to slow in the province as it marked the deadliest day yet of the pandemic. Health officials said Thursday that 13 more residents have died, nine of whom were 80 and older, for a total of 239 deaths. The Ministry of Health reported 227 new infections in the province and 197 people in hospital, with 31 of them in intensive care. It says 91 per cent of the vaccine doses received to date have gone into the arms of critical health-care workers, long-term care staff and vulnerable seniors, for a total of more than 29,000 shots. But the ministry says vaccine supply will run short because there are no new deliveries coming next week. A ministry spokeswoman says the province is still figuring out how it's going to adjust its vaccine rollout in light of the supply interruption from Pfizer-BioNTech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 The Canadian Press
Highlands East council voted to move ahead with drafting an exotic animal bylaw to address the possibility of them in the municipality. Bylaw enforcement officer, Kristen Boylan, brought the idea forward Jan. 19. She said it was a response to a recent controversy in the neighbouring Hastings Highlands, where the municipality lacked such a law to address a family bringing in a collection of lions and tigers to create a roadside safari experience. Boylan said Ontario is the only Canadian province without exotic animals legislation. About half of Ontario municipalities have rules on them, but none within the County. She said with the dog bylaw due for an update, she decided they should address the matter. “If we do not have a bylaw, there’s nothing to stop anyone from bringing in say, lion cubs, bears, pythons,” Boylan said. “No way of having any enforcement should we receive any complaints.” Boylan also offered an option to have a unified bylaw including dogs and exotic pets, but deputy mayor Cec Ryall said it would make more sense to separate them. “In the case of dogs, it’s pretty well defined,” Ryall said, noting the distinction between exotic and other unregulated animals such as domestic cats. “We’re going to licence exotic animals, but we’re not going to licence cats.” As an example, Boylan cited a 2019 Huntsville bylaw, which she said reduced complaints there. Coun. Suzanne Partridge said she is in favour of prohibiting exotic pets but added she did not want to do so for dog hybrids, which are illegal in Huntsville. “My last dog who just died in June was a hybrid and I wouldn’t have been allowed to have her and it was a sweetheart,” she said, adding it can be difficult to determine a hybrid without DNA testing. “It can’t just be the judgement of the bylaw control officer.” Boylan replied she could research and bring forward information on hybrids. Coun. Cam McKenzie said the municipality would need to figure out how to grandfather the rules for those who already have such pets. “Snakes are more common than what most people realize,” McKenzie said. “To try and prohibit them is going to cause some issues … That is something we maybe want to think about before we do this.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
County council debated the future of its shoreline bylaw and will hold another special meeting to address an increasingly fraught debate over the legislation. Council decided to schedule a special meeting Jan. 27 to examine the bylaw and its upcoming public consultation, which will include both an online survey and a public meeting in February or March. Councillors weighed whether the document – which would restrict development within 30 metes of the shoreline – should be slowed in the wake of increased outcry. Warden Liz Danielsen lamented the spread of misinformation and council receiving some vitriol. “Disappointed to see the number of people who are willing to cast aspersions about us and our work,” she said. “About the thought that this is being sprung upon them and we’re doing this under the cloak of secrecy. This is a topic that’s been under discussion for 2.5 years and longer. “It is unfortunate that people feel they need to start calling us names and giving members of council a difficult time … The raft of emails we have received in the last couple of weeks, I believe are reactive of the misinformation.” She said they must find a way to combat the misinformation. She indirectly referenced the Haliburton County Home Builders Association (HCHBA) estimating a $750,000 cost to enforce the law and advertising that. However, that figure is inaccurate. The County’s current 2021 draft budget features $115,000 towards enforcement, including $88,000 for a new officer to assist the one already on staff. The HCHBA and others have also pushed to delay the changes until after the pandemic is over to allow for an in-person public meeting. But Coun. Brent Devolin said he opposed that because the pandemic could linger for the rest of the term. “For us to delay it because of COVID … I don’t think (the bylaw) will be dealt with in this term of council and I think that would truly be a mistake,” he said. However, deputy warden Patrick Kennedy said they should hit a pause button on the document and it is not yet good enough to move forward. “I’m not in anybody’s back pocket on this. I am as much in love with the water as anybody at this table or in this County,” he said. “I don’t feel this bylaw is at that stage yet, to the point it can be taken out to the public for comment. I fully endorse a step back … I feel like we have lost the public trust on both sides of the issue.” Kennedy suggested an external consultation group or committee examine the document, but Coun. Carol Moffatt pushed back on that. “Ultimately, it’s our job as the people who are elected to listen to the public,” Moffatt said. “Our problem right now is, I think, all the noise that’s out there. We can’t address the misinformation without a competing information campaign, and we can’t do that without dedicated resources.” She added council needed to provide input into what is going out to the public and what questions will be asked. Danielsen said people should be more specific about what parts of the bylaw should be addressed, which she said it not being seen in messages lately. “We’re hearing a lot from all angles and we need to work hard to try and get it right.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is drafting legislation around the sale of used police vehicles and equipment, after a man driving a replica RCMP cruiser killed 22 people last April. Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday the legislation will regulate how police vehicles are decommissioned, which will include, he said, ensuring they are stripped of equipment and decals. "We are certainly aware of the previous circumstances and the most recent circumstances," Furey said. The minister made the comments a day after the Mounties said a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have driven a vehicle that looked like an unmarked police car and pulled over drivers. The vehicle in question, a white 2013 Ford Taurus, is similar to the car Gabriel Wortman used during his 13-hour, deadly rampage in northern and central Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020. Furey noted that under current law it's illegal to impersonate a police officer. "When it comes to police articles and decommissioned police vehicles there is certainly some work to do to fine-tune that legislation and the ability to mitigate and prevent, as best we can, access to this equipment that is used to mock-up police vehicles." he said. Furey said there are no plans to ban the sale of decommissioned police vehicles despite calls by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives to prohibit those sales. He said RCMP and municipal police services have been consulted and are in support of the government's draft legislation. Furey is recommending the Liberal government table a bill during the next sitting of the legislature. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
Calgary police are urging vigilance after more than a dozen women were assaulted while walking alone in the last three months. Investigators are looking into the possibility that one man has assaulted at least 15 women since November. The groping incidents take place both in daylight and at night, according to police, who say the attacker flees immediately after. CPS is asking women to call 911 immediately if they have been targeted so that police have a better chance at finding the offender. "Officers will be dispatched to the area to help locate the suspect in a timely manner," said police in a written statement. Multiple attacks in 5 communities Communities where the assaults took place include downtown, Mission, Thorncliffe, Huntington Hills and Hillhurst. The most recent attack was on Tuesday in Thorncliffe. The method of attack has been similar. While walking alone, women have been approached from behind by a man who then groped them. In some incidents, the attacker seems to have waited for opportunities when the victims were distracted, either by an electronic device, or, as police explain, "during moments when their situational awareness was lowered, such as looking in a bag." Investigators haven't yet determined if all of the incidents are connected to one person, or if there are multiple assailants involved. Police have offered the following safety tips: Walk with others or in well-populated areas. Stay in well-lit areas with clear visibility. Be aware of your surroundings — limit the use of devices that would distract. Limit the number of belongings that you are carrying in your arms to reduce vulnerability. If you are attacked: Make noise to attract attention. Do not try to hold on to your possessions or valuables. Pay attention to the physical attributes of your attacker and what they are wearing. Call 911 immediately.
CHICAGO — Elizabeth Shelby had her inauguration outfit planned weeks in advance: blue jeans, a Kamala Harris sweatshirt, a green coat, and pink Chuck Taylors as an homage to her sorority’s colours and Vice-President Harris’ signature shoe. And pearls, just like the ones Harris wore when she graduated from Howard University, was sworn into Congress, and was sworn in as the first woman, first Black and South Asian person, and first Alpha Kappa Alpha member to serve as vice-president. Shelby, a member of the Alpha Psi chapter of AKA, had hoped to wear her pearls at the inauguration in Washington, D.C. Instead, she donned them at home in Nashville, Tennessee. Following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, AKA, the oldest sorority of the historically Black fraternities and sororities that make up the Divine Nine, called off inauguration events and urged members to stay home. So countless AKA members celebrated the historic moment in their living rooms, on Twitter and on Zoom calls. “I wanted to help show Kamala that her sisters are behind her always,” Shelby said. “I wanted her to look out and see a sea of pink and green and know that this is her moment.” After the Capitol insurrection, Shelby cancelled her plane tickets and hotel reservation. The rioting robbed many AKAs of their feeling of safety at the inauguration and beyond, she said, and many members have been telling each other to stop wearing their letters in public for safety reasons. But Shelby said that didn't stop her from celebrating at a Zoom viewing party with her local graduate chapter. “I’m not going to let this take the joy out of this moment,” she said. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, joined AKA in 1986 at Howard University, one of the country’s oldest historically Black colleges and universities. When she accepted the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in August, she thanked AKA, saying, “Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha.” Soon after, donations in increments of $19.08, marking the year, 1908, when the sorority was founded, started flowing in to a Biden-Harris campaign fundraising committee. Alpha Kappa Alpha declared on Twitter that Jan. 20 would be Soror Kamala D. Harris Day, and encouraged members to share photos of their celebrations with the hashtag #KamalaHarrisDay. Andrea Morgan, who became an AKA the same year Harris did, posted photos of her pink sweater and pearls on Twitter with the hashtag, which she told the AP “makes us feel closer together even when we're far apart." “If we were able to be there in person, I don’t think you’d be able to look anywhere without seeing pink and green,” said Genita Harris of the Delta Omega Omega chapter in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. "Now on social media, this is a showing of our solidarity, of our love and support for our soror.” She said group chats with her sorority sisters were “going bananas” during a historic moment for the sisterhood and for HBCUs. “It’s been the same story of white men for centuries," she said. “Now a new story is being written, and it’s our story.” AKA soror Josclynn Brandon booked her plane tickets to D.C. the day Biden announced Harris as his running mate in August. When the 2020 presidential election was called, CNN was playing on her phone on the dashboard of her car. She pulled over and cried. “I knew then that I was going to see Kamala Harris make history,” she said. “It confirmed that Black women and women of colour are so much more capable than some people believe us to be.” Brandon made plans to be in D.C. from Jan. 13-21 to celebrate the sorority’s Founders’ Day on Jan. 15, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the inauguration, all in the same city where AKA was founded. After the Jan. 6 insurrection, she, too, cancelled her trip. “It did rob me of my feeling of safety while going to D.C., and it robbed me of the moment of seeing a Black woman and sorority sister become VP right in front of me,” she said. “But it took away so much more than just me going to D.C. It takes away from this celebration and robs our incoming administration of the full celebration they deserved.” Brandon watched Harris' swearing-in from her home in Indianapolis while wearing a sweatshirt with a photo of Harris from college and the words, “The Vice-President is my sorority sister.” “I’m still going to celebrate,” she said. “I’m not going to let that group’s action take away this moment. I don’t want to let them win.” Shelby grew up hearing young Black boys say they wanted to be president after Barack Obama made history as the country’s first Black president. Now, she hopes Black girls will have those dreams too. “It’s a historic moment,” she said. “To see not only a woman but a woman of colour and member of the Divine Nine become vice-president is something I never even dreamed of happening as a little girl growing up in America.” “There is a pride I can’t put into words,” she continued. “It is such a joy to see her rise to this place in our country. It is such a joy to know that she is one of us, that she represents us. She is truly our ancestors’ wildest dreams.” — Fernando is a member of the Associated Press’ Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christinetfern. Christine Fernando, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A New York judge on Thursday denied the National Rifle Association’s bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business. Judge Joel Cohen’s ruling will allow New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit to move ahead in state court in Manhattan, rather than dismissing it on technical grounds or moving it to federal court, as the NRA’s lawyers desired. James’ lawsuit, filed last August, seeks the NRA’s dissolution under state non-profit law over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for trips, no-show contracts and other expenditures. James is the state’s chief law enforcement officer and has regulatory power over non-profit organizations incorporated in the state, such as the NRA, Cohen said. “It would be inappropriate to find that the attorney couldn’t pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants wants to proceed in federal court,” Cohen said at a hearing held by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cohen also rejected the NRA’s arguments that James’ lawsuit was improperly filed in Manhattan and should’ve been filed in Albany, where the NRA’s incorporation paperwork lists an address. The NRA’s arguments for dismissing the case did not involve the merits of the case. The NRA has been incorporated in New York since 1871, though it is headquartered in Virginia and last week filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas in a bid to reincorporate in that state. The NRA, in announcing its bankruptcy filing last Friday, said it wanted to break free of a “corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York” and that it saw Texas as friendlier to its interests. The NRA’s lawyers said at a bankruptcy court hearing on Wednesday in Dallas that they wouldn’t use the Chapter 11 proceedings to halt the lawsuit. After Thursday’s ruling, they said they were ready to go ahead with the case, including a meeting with lawyers from James’ office on Friday and another hearing in March. In a letter to Cohen in advance of Thursday’s heading, NRA lawyer Sarah Rogers said the organization had no position on seeking to stay the case through bankruptcy, but that it reserved right to seek such orders from bankruptcy court in the future. Normally, a bankruptcy filing would halt all pending litigation. James’ office contends that its lawsuit is covered by an exemption involving a state’s regulatory powers and cannot be stopped by bankruptcy. Assistant New York Attorney General James Sheehan said he hoped to bring the case to trial by early 2022. In seeking to dismiss or move the state’s lawsuit to federal court, Rogers argued that many of its misspending and self-dealing allegations were also contained in pending lawsuits in federal court — a slate of cases she described as a “tangled nest of litigation.” Part of Rogers’ argument for moving the state lawsuit to federal court involved an error in the state’s original filing that she said altered the timeline of when it was filed. James’s office filed its lawsuit on Aug. 6, but later had to amend the complaint to include a part that was left. That same day, the NRA filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging James’ actions were motivated by hostility toward its political advocacy, including her comments in 2018 that the NRA is a “terrorist organization.” Rogers contended that because of the filing glitch James’ lawsuit should be considered a counterclaim to the NRA’s lawsuit and handled alongside of it in federal court. Cohen rejected that, saying Rogers was placing “far too much weight on a non-substantive error that was quickly fixed.” “The attorney general filed first,” he said. ___ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press
Premier François Legault says if the federal government doesn't want to ban non-essential flights then it should force those returning home from vacation to quarantine in a hotel, at their own expense, for two weeks. At a news conference Thursday, Legault said cracking down on travel abroad will help reduce the possibility of bringing new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus back to the province from resorts where people congregate from all over the world. The current system of checking up on people with automated calls simply isn't enough, he said, raising concern March break will lead to another surge in cases. "Right now, the quarantine for these people is not a big enough guarantee for the protection of Quebecers," the premier said. Legault said hotel quarantining worked in New Zealand and could be effective here. He said there is plenty of room in hotels, and that the RCMP or Quebec provincial police could help enforce the quarantine. The daily number of infections has been on the decline in Quebec for the past 10 days, though Legault said it's too early to lift restrictions, given that hospitalizations remain high, at just under 1,500. Legault is scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later Thursday. Earlier this week, Trudeau urged Canadians travelling for pleasure to cancel their plans but said there are limits to what Ottawa can do to stop them, given constitutional guarantees on the freedom of movement. "Our measures have been very strong, but we're always open to strengthening them as necessary," Trudeau said, when asked if the government would consider a ban on international travel. "We're always looking at various measures as they are effective elsewhere in the world."
TORONTO — One of Ontario's top doctors says the province's COVID-19 numbers are showing improvement but it's too soon to say if it's the start of a trend. Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says that the provincial case rate has started to decline for the first time since November. She says the current rate sits at 145.4 cases per 100,000 people, which still remains high. Yaffe says the average per cent positivity on COVID-19 tests has also dropped to 5.3 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent last week. The province is also reporting that 26 public health units have experienced decreasing virus case rates. Yaffe says an additional week or two of data will be required to fully assess the trajectory of the virus in the province. Ontario reported 2,632 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus. The total number includes 102 cases from Toronto that were not reported earlier this week due to a technical issue that has now been resolved. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 897 new cases in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region, 245 in York Region, 162 in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region. Meanwhile, Ontario is opening a pair of new COVID-19 isolation centres this week to help people recover from the virus. The centres will open in Brampton and Oshawa, while two similar facilities that opened in Toronto in the fall will receive additional beds. The province said similar centres are also operating in Ottawa and Peel and Waterloo regions. The centres are intended to help people who have contracted the novel coronavirus self-isolate and keep their families safe. People staying in those centres are provided meals, security, transportation, and have access to health and social services. The province said it will create up to 1,525 additional beds for safe isolation in the coming weeks. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
After months of mounting calls to remove police from the front-line response for people in mental health distress, the City of Toronto is proposing a pilot program that would see mobile crisis support teams dispatched to non-emergency calls in four communities with some of the highest rates of calls like this. If approved early next month, the pilot would allow for a "non-police led response for non-emergency, non-violent calls including those involving persons in crisis and for wellness checks," the city said in a news release. The project would be piloted in three areas of the city: northwest Toronto, northeast Toronto and Downtown East, while a fourth would serve Indigenous communities. The crisis teams themselves would be multidisciplinary, the city says, involving crisis workers with mental health and intervention training, as well as de-escalation, situational awareness and field training. The pilot would also provide follow-up care including case management, mental health counselling, substance use support and referrals to other services that may be required. Move follows multiple deaths of people in crisis at hands of police The proposal comes after a string of deaths of people in crisis at the hands of police across Canada. Those include 26-year-old D'Andre Campbell and 62-year-old Ejaz Choudhry in Brampton, 48-year-old Rodney Levi in New Brunswick and in Toronto, 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, whose death in May 2020 saw thousands take to the streets to demand accountability and protest racism in policing. In the case of Korchinski-Paquet, Toronto police have said they were called after reports of an assault involving a knife. In the ensuing minutes, the 29-year-old fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment building. The five officers involved were later cleared of wrongdoing by the province's special investigations unit. Korchinski-Paquet's relatives have said police were called because of a family conflict that left her in distress. Claudette Korchinski-Beals, her mother, has said she asked police to take her daughter to Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to get her help but that instead, she ended up dead. Given the city pilot project is geared only toward "non-emergency" and "non-violent" calls, it's unclear if the new measures would have changed anything for someone in a position like Korchinski-Paquet. Toronto has seen increase in 'person in crisis' calls Currently, Toronto's mobile mental health teams — consisting of a registered nurse and police officer — are mandated only to provide secondary responses. Police officers alone remain the first responders, particularly for calls involving a weapon. A report from the city manager this week notes Toronto police have seen a 32.4 per cent increase in "person in crisis" calls over the past five years. Out of the nearly one million calls officers respond to every year, about 30,000 are mental health calls, Toronto police have told CBC News. However, the report acknowledges, using law enforcement to respond to health-related issues "creates barriers and risks for many Torontonians, particularly Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities." "Systemic discrimination in Toronto has negatively impacted how these communities experience community safety," it says. "Evidence of disproportionate use of force including deadly force, invasive searches, and greater surveillance on Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities has impacted community trust and confidence in a police-led response for those experiencing a health crisis." In the release, Mayor John Tory called the project "a step in the direction" for residents experiencing "a non-violent crisis." The project will go to the city's executive committee for consideration on Jan. 27 and if approved, will be voted on by city council at the Feb. 2-3 meeting.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best. While the discovery of insulin has saved the lives of millions of people afflicted with diabetes, it is not a cure. Diabetes continues to take the lives of Canadi-ans and the rate of dia-betes is alarming. One in three Canadians are living with, or are at risk of developing diabetes. Currently, youth around 20 years-old have a 50 per cent chance of being diagnose with Type 2 dia-betes in their lifetime. The current COVID-19 pandemic is hindering care for some people with diabetes and placing people with the disease at three-times higher risk of dying from the virus if contracted. Diabetes Canada is launching a new fund-raising and awareness campaign called, “We Can’t Wait Another 100 Years to End Diabetes.”“ The discovery of insu-lin in Canada ranks among the leading achievements of medical research,” said Laura Syron, President and CEO of Diabetes Canada. “Although insulin has enabled an incredible change in life expectancy and quality of life for millions of people around the world, it isn’t a cure. It is a treatment. More than ever, the millions of Canadians with or at risk of diabetes need our support. We can’t wait another 100 years and we hope Canadians will support us and help to end diabetes.” Beginning in January 2021, the year long campaign will recognize the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning scientific achievement by Sir Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and fellow scientists and co-discoveres of insulin, JJR Macleod and James Collip. While celebrating the milestone, the campaign aims to remind Canadians about the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of the disease which can lead to other chronic illnesses includ-ing blindness, heart attack and stroke, amputation and kidney failure. Through the campaign, Diabetes Canada will engage in a national conversation about the disease. Although this is the anniversary of an incredible discovery, Diabetes Canada says “insulin is not enough. It is the starting line, not the finish line for diabetes.” New Tecumseth has a special connection to Sir Frederick Banting. He was born on a farm in Alliston in 1891 and attended high school in the Town before leaving to attend school at the University of Toronto.T he Banting Homestead Heritage Park preserves this historic site. Diabetes Canada was started by Charles Best in 1940, and is dedicated to supporting people living with diabetes. None Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times