When these ducklings are born, Thorin is always the first to greet the little ones. Such a sweet friendship!
When these ducklings are born, Thorin is always the first to greet the little ones. Such a sweet friendship!
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart addressed the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board of Directors at the first TNRD board meeting of 2021, which took place on Jan. 15. Tegart reflected on the past year, which she acknowledged has been a rollercoaster for many, not excluding those in office. “What a difference a year makes,” Tegart began. “I thought about going into the house last year in February, where our biggest challenge was the protestors at the front of the building, and the fact that we couldn’t get in for the Throne Speech. Then coming home for our March break, and we never went back until the summer. We did a short summer session and then in October we had a snap election and had a short session in December.” The lack of time spent in the Legislature translated to some frustrating times for Tegart, particularly when it comes to providing assistance to small businesses and communities. “We have issues around supports for businesses, and we look at the hospitality industry, lots of requests for a very comprehensive recovery plan coming out of COVID. I think many of us who have small communities are recognizing our mom-and-pop operations are in crisis, and how do we make sure that the programs provided by both federal and provincial government are actually getting to the people who need them? I think that those voices in tandem, our voice and yours at the provincial level are incredibly important.” Tegart touched on a few projects that are in the works for her riding, mainly regarding tourism and infrastructure. “We’ve got some exciting things happening in Fraser-Nicola, over the last year,” said Tegart. “Certainly, we will continue our work on the ‘Wake up the Fraser Canyon’ project, in partnership with the Village of Lytton and all the other stakeholders down the corridor, and we are reconnecting with the new ministers and making sure that they’re well aware of the project. And we are in the final throes of a tourism masterplan for the corridor section between Yale and Lytton, and we are excited about the project. Making sure that we have shovel ready projects for money that is going to become available, I believe this spring, as part of the recovery. Of course, the Ashcroft terminal is quite an exciting project, and when we look at the region that will bring significant employment opportunities and some challenges around how we house people and provide services for them.” Tegart opened up about how difficult it has been for her to serve in the MLA role while maintaining social distance and staying home rather than being out visiting communities and businesses and engaging with people face to face. “It’s tough in the MLA role to not be on the road and not be in communities and not meeting with groups,” Tegart said. “We miss that. That and the energy that you get in order to do this job sometimes when you’re pretty tired. I really encourage you all to be in touch and I’ll reach out when needed because it’s our job to keep that enthusiasm and that hope out there for our citizens. It’s been a long year and we’ve had incredible tragedies as we look at the death toll during COVID, and we’ve got some challenges around what the data is telling us and what kind of services we’re providing, and I think we all need to be open to look in a critical way about what we’re doing in community and in services provided and how we can improve that. We’ve learned a lot during COVID.” Tegart also touched on the fact that the provincial budget could be delayed until the end of April. “I’d be very interested to hear from the TNRD, as you take a look at the impact of that bill delaying the budget for two months, what impact that will have on you,” queried Tegart. “I’m sure you are well aware of the bill being passed, and we ask the questions about the unintended consequences. We’ve had a lot of organizations that will be affected with the uncertainty of what a two-month delay in the budget presentation means.” Tegart also encouraged anyone on the TNRD board to reach out to her if they had any questions or concerns regarding education, which she would address in her role as Opposition Critic for Education. “If there are issues within your communities or in your region that you want questions asked at estimate, please feel free to get in touch with me, because that is our opportunity to get answers from the Minister,” explained Tegart. “So, if you need new schools or are concerned about anything that’s happening within the education field, our one opportunity to get real answers is during estimate and I would encourage you to be in touch so that we can make sure that those questions are asked.” Tegart concluded her update by thanking the TNRD board for the work they had done during COVID, and her appreciation for the working relationship which all levels of government need to have, referring particularly to democratic strife Canadians are witnessing south of the border. Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
LONDON — Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a “deeply personal” letter to her estranged father was “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy.” Meghan's latest attempt to protect her privacy laid bare more details of her fraught relationship with her estranged father, who claims he has been “vilified” as a dishonest publicity-seeker. The former Meghan Markle, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court, in what would be one of London's highest-profile civil court showdowns for years. The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favour and dismiss the newspaper’s defence case. Her lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case. “At its heart, it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he said at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions. Lawyers for the duchess say Thomas Markle, a retired television cinematographer, caused anguish for Meghan and Harry before their May 2018 wedding by giving media interviews and posing for wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency. In the end, he didn't attend the wedding ceremony after suffering a heart attack. Rushbrooke said Meghan's letter, sent in August 2018, was “a message of peace” whose aim was “to stop him talking to the press." He said the duchess took steps to ensure the five-page, 1,250-word letter wouldn't be intercepted, sending it by FedEx through her accountant to her father’s home in Mexico. The letter implored Thomas Markle to stop speaking to the media, saying: “Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces.” The last sentences, read out in court, were: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.” Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure “does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind.” He said “the sad intricacies of a family relationship … is not a matter of public interest.” Lawyers for Associated Newspapers argue that Meghan wrote the letter knowing it would eventually be published. They say it came into the public domain when friends of the duchess described it in anonymous interviews with People magazine. Thomas Markle says he allowed the Mail to publish portions of the letter to “set the record straight” after reading the People article. In a written witness statement submitted by the defence, he said the article “had given an inaccurate picture of the contents of the letter and my reply and had vilified me by making out that I was dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated.” “I had to defend myself against that attack," he said. “The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation. It was a criticism of me," Markle added. "The letter didn’t say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health. It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation." In October, judge Mark Warby agreed to Meghan’s request to postpone the trial, scheduled to begin this month, until October or November 2021. He said the reason for the delay should remain secret. Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. A year ago, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California. ___ Follow all AP developments on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at https://apnews.com/hub/prince-harry and https://apnews.com/hub/meghan-markle Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
A union representing health-care workers in long-term care is calling on the province to make vaccines more accessible — just as the province scales back on vaccinations due to a pause in production. SEIU Healthcare wrote to the province asking for paid sick leave for all staff in long-term-care homes and hospitals in order to remove “barriers” to getting vaccines. The union has members working in Hamilton homes such as Grace Villa and Shalom Village — both with large ongoing COVID outbreaks. “We’ve been advocating for paid leave in support of vaccination from the time to consult with a physician, to the time and cost related to travel and transportation, to paid sick days that may be required if someone experiences adverse side effects,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare in an emailed statement. She noted members raised concerns about scheduling, where workers don’t often know when and where they’ll be vaccinated far enough in advance. Language is also a hurdle. “Many long-term-care staff are new Canadians whose first language may be neither English nor French,” Stewart said. “We’re asking for more multilingual communications about the process to establish confidence in the rollout.” Meanwhile, as of Jan. 18, the province says only residents, staff and caregivers at long-term-care homes and “high risk” retirement homes will be eligible to receive the vaccine, as Pfizer pauses work at its Belgium facility to prepare for increased production in future weeks. That means retirement homes not deemed high risk — which were next in line for vaccines — will have to wait. Anyone who already received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is expected to get their second dose on time, though Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said Monday that public health is “continuing to work with the province ... to ensure that happens.” The city has administered 13,400 doses so far and aims to wrap up its first phase of vaccine rollout by Wednesday. In an email Monday, the city said there are about 700 eligible workers left to be vaccinated. The news comes the day a new death was reported at Grace Villa, Hamilton’s worst outbreak which has now seen 44 deaths since Nov. 25. Two new resident cases each were reported at Shalom Village (specifically in long-term care), Macassa Lodge and the Cardinal Retirement Residence. Richardson said she’s happy with vaccine uptake so far in long-term-care and retirement home workers. “We were up over 65 per cent vaccine coverage as of the end of last week,” she said. “We’re moving forward quite well.” Richardson said public health has asked homes to work with their staff to schedule their vaccines, but acknowledged language barriers persist and said there’s ongoing translation work to address them. “It’s been a little slower than we would’ve liked on that front,” Richardson said. “That’s absolutely something that we need.” Stewart said the work should happen “immediately.” “Front-line workers have given everything to their communities through this battle with COVID-19. Many have gotten sick. Some have lost their lives,” she said. “We owe it to these workers ... to ensure that vaccines are available and that the barriers that could imperil the vaccination effort are eliminated.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said on Tuesday that some of its emails were breached by the same hackers who used the software company SolarWinds to hack into a series of U.S. government agencies. In a statement, the Santa Clara, California-based company said that while it did not use software made by SolarWinds, the company at the center of the breach, it had been successfully targeted by the same hackers who were able to sneak into its Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure environments. Malwarebytes said the hack gave the spies access to "a limited subset of internal company emails."
Each year the third week of January is recognized as National Non-Smoking Week. Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health is reminding vape and tobacco users that quitting is never easy and not to get discouraged. While pandemic related stress may have impacted some individuals’ plans to quit, HPEPH says that perseverance will pay off, although quitting tobacco smoking or vaping may sometimes take between 7 and 30 tries. Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 impact an individual’s lungs, and quitting smoking or vaping can reduce the chances of experiencing more severe symptoms of viruses and illnesses. HPEPH explained that recent research shows that smokers who become sick with COVID-19 are more likely to have worse symptoms, be admitted to an ICU or pass away as compared to non-smokers. Smoking and vaping may also increase chances of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses since smoking requires individuals to remove their mask as well as increasing hand to mouth contact. HPEPH also said that the benefits of quitting can be experienced within 20 minutes after the last cigarette and can continue to be seen for up to 15 years. During the pandemic, HPEPH is offering limited in-person services with additional supports and services available to help residents interested in quitting smoking tobacco or vapes. Residents interested in speaking to a trained quit specialist can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or online at smokershelpline.ca. Canadian Addictions and Mental Health also offers a STOP on the Net program that provides online support as well as 4 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. More information can be found online at nicotinedependenceclinic.com. Youth-friendly support is available at breakitoff.ca, and local high school students can contact their school Public Health Nurse to discuss quit options. School nurses remain available during remote schooling, and students are advised to call their school’s guidance office for more information. Residents looking for more information about support resources are encouraged to contact HPEPH’s Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 600, or visit hpePublicHealth.ca/vaping or hpePublicHealth.ca/quit-smoking-program. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, is engaged to be married. The 27-year-old recent Georgetown law school graduate announced her good news on Instagram on Tuesday, her father's final full day in office. She shared a photograph of herself and fiance Michael Boulos posing on the West Wing colonnade at the White House. “It has been an honour to celebrate many milestones, historic occasions and create memories with my family here at the White House, none more special than my engagement to my amazing fiance Michael!” Tiffany Trump wrote. “Feeling blessed and excited for the next chapter!” Boulos, a 23-year-old business executive, also shared the photograph on his Instagram account. “Got engaged to the love of my life! Looking forward to our next chapter together,” he wrote. Tiffany Trump is the president's daughter with Marla Maples, his second ex-wife. She and Boutros have been dating for the past few years and have attended White House events together. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Val-Brillant, l’école en musique La petite école primaire de Val-Brillant (95 élèves) va rejoindre un cercle très fermé : celui des établissements scolaires offrant un programme Arts-études en musique. Pour l’instant, seules neuf écoles primaires le font au Québec. Val-Brillant va donc devenir la dixième dès l’année scolaire 2021-2022, et la première dans l’Est. Il s’agit d’une progression logique pour cette école, qui proposait depuis une douzaine d’années déjà un programme de concentration en arts : des cours de musique étaient donnés sur les heures scolaires en partenariat avec le Camp musical du lac Matapédia. Mais la fermeture de ce dernier, couplée à la décision du ministère de l’Éducation de mettre fin à ce type de programmes en juin 2021, a poussé la direction de l’école à envisager un virage. « On était rendus à la croisée des chemins, explique la directrice Renée Belzile : on avait le choix de redevenir simplement une école avec un programme particulier en musique, ou de faire le grand saut vers un programme Arts-études officiel avec toutes les balises du ministère. » C’est la deuxième option qui a été retenue, en partenariat cette fois-ci avec l’École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent à Rimouski. Jusqu’à présent, les enfants pouvaient suivre des cours d’instruments (seuls ou en petits groupes) ou de chant choral. Bientôt, ils auront accès à de la formation auditive et des cours de musique d’ensemble. Pour obtenir la reconnaissance Arts-études, l’école doit permettre aux élèves inscrits de bénéficier d’un minimum de 20 % d’enseignement en musique par semaine durant la plage horaire scolaire. Bons pour les élèves… et les parents Selon Mme Belzile, le passage par l’école de Val-Brillant a été marquant pour de nombreux jeunes, certains étant depuis devenus enseignants de musique. Mais sans aller aussi loin, étudier la musique et devoir faire des prestations sur scène devant les amis et les parents permet d’améliorer confiance et estime de soi. « La fierté d’avoir accompli un gros projet qui sort des matières scolaires, comme par exemple une comédie musicale, ça va chercher des élèves qui ont parfois peu de valorisation au niveau des notes », ajoute la directrice tout en précisant qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « programme élitiste » mais qu’au contraire, tout le monde est accepté. La moitié des élèves de l’école de Val-Brillant viennent déjà d’autres municipalités. Avec ce nouveau programme, Renée Belzile espère attirer de nouvelles têtes, tout en assurant que cela ne crée pas de conflit avec les autres écoles primaires du coin. « Plus on aura d’élèves, plus l’offre de cours va être diversifiée et intéressante », déclare-t-elle. Les parents y trouvent aussi leur compte, puisqu’ils n’ont pas à amener leurs rejetons à des cours de musique après les classes ou en soirée. Pas besoin non plus d’acheter un instrument sans savoir si l’enfant va apprécier en jouer, puisque l’école en prête des petits (violons, ukulélé…) qu’on peut ramener à la maison.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Like many in Saskatchewan, Regina homeowners Loretta and Blair McClinton are still cleaning up after last week's big winter storm. Last Wednesday night, their decades-old backyard spruce tree snapped in the 100 km/h wind gusts. "All of a sudden I heard a loud cracking noise. My husband was still sleeping and I said, 'I think something's hit the house,'" Loretta remembered. "Then we looked [out the window] and we just went, 'Oh, my God!' We just couldn't believe what we saw." She said they first checked the attic to make sure the tree didn't go through the roof — and, luckily, it didn't. "It's just astonishment, really. It was unbelievable. The tree's 80 feet tall [about 24 metres]," Loretta said. "I've had thoughts in my mind that if it ever fell over, what would happen? So to see it actually blow over was just incredible." Loretta said it's "an immense relief" their home and fence weren't damaged at all by the tree; only a gas line, which was disrupted by its roots, had to be repaired. "We were so lucky that it basically landed on our elm tree, which held it up. If it had came down, it probably would have crashed on the side of our house and probably our neighbour's house," she said. "Who knows what could have happened? It was a pretty traumatic event." On Thursday, the McClintons brought in a crane to remove the spruce. "It's going to be a loss because it was such a beautiful tree. Now, it's so open," Loretta said, noting they have plans to landscape their backyard in the spring. "It's kind of a good thing that this happened before we accomplished that."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes will receive vaccinations by Feb. 15 despite a shortage of Pfizer vaccines. As Morganne Campbell reports, the backlog is causing a delay in the province's rollout plan.
WINNIPEG — Manitoba is considering allowing more store openings and social gatherings under its COVID-19 public-health orders. With case numbers dropping in recent weeks, the province is proposing a looser set of rules that could take effect by the end of the week, subject to public feedback. One change would let non-essential stores reopen with capacity limits. Another change would allow barber shops, hair salons, podiatrists and other health services to resume operations. The province is also looking at easing a ban on most home gatherings, allowing two visitors inside and up to five visitors on outdoor private property. Manitoba's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says the changes would likely only be made in southern and central Manitoba, because COVID-19 case numbers remain high in the northern health region. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 The Canadian Press
The Progressive Conservatives say a Tory government will cut payroll tax and introduce credits for hiring and relocation in Newfoundland and Labrador. After announcing the campaign promises Tuesday morning, PC Leader Ches Crosbie said changes to the province's tax structure would allow businesses to hire more full-time workers by focusing on lowering taxes on employers. "Targeted tax relief works to drive job growth. It's a tool in the province's toolkit the Liberals don't seem to know how to use," Crosbie said. The PCs have marked job creation as a key point in Crosbie's campaign to voters, speaking about the need for job creation at several events since the election was called Friday. The party says a hiring tax credit would allow businesses to hire more people, with the provincial government investing a portion of the income tax paid by new hires back into the business. The party also plans to introduce a relocation tax credit, which Crosbie says would make it easier to attract workers in targeted growth sectors like technology from across Canada and other countries to the province. Crosbie also outlined plans to progressively reduce the province's payroll tax on full-time workers, allowing hiring business owners to focus on creating full-time work over part time. He told reporters reducing the payroll tax would create an estimated 1,000 new jobs. "[Liberal Leader] Andrew Furey says sometimes you have to cut off a limb to save a patient. But I'm not going to cut off a limb; I'm going to cut taxes." he said. WATCH: Mark Quinn reports on Ches Crosbie's fiscal platform: Crosbie said cutting the payroll tax would cost about $10 million in revenue over four years, but claimed the other tax changes would be "revenue-neutral." "You either believe in growth or you don't," he said. "Our approach is to grow our way out of our problems. That's how we're going to get on top of our deficit." Crosbie called on the Liberals to be more open in their jobs plans, calling for "no more political games." The party says it will announce more of its job-creation plan later in the campaign. 'Jobs, jobs, jobs is a great line,' Furey says When asked about Crosbie's announcement, both Liberal Leader Andrew Furey and NDP Leader Alison Coffin said Tuesday the plan leaves something to be desired. "This does nothing for small businesses," Coffin said. "Essentially, they plan to cancel the fifth largest tax stream in government's budget in the hopes that the Loblaws of the world will create jobs instead of feeding the tax break back to their shareholders." "Jobs, jobs, jobs is a great line, but I would have liked to see more details on the plan," Furey told CBC News while campaigning in Port aux Basques. "We'll continue to roll out what we think is the best, most sustainable strategy for creating long-term employment in the province over the next couple of weeks." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic who was jailed at the weekend, on Tuesday released a video in which he and his allies alleged that an opulent palace belonged to the Russian leader, a claim the Kremlin denied. The allegations, which first surfaced in 2010 when a businessman wrote about them to then-President Dmitry Medvedev complaining of official graft, come as Navalny's supporters urge people to join nationwide protests on Saturday. Reuters reported in 2014 that the estate in southern Russia had been partly funded by taxpayer money from a $1 billion hospital project.
VICTORIA — British Columbia's representative for children and youth says she has heard harrowing stories from those who were involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness without access to legal advice. Jennifer Charlesworth has released a report with input from youth who say they were restrained, medicated and secluded against their will. Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act to allow youth to have access to a legal advocate while they're in care. She says that while the Health Ministry believes Indigenous youth are overrepresented when it comes to being detained in hospital, it lacks data on how many youth are being affected. Charlesworth says that's troubling because young people are being retraumatized when what they need is care that is culturally appropriate. She says over a decade, the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent, bringing into question the voluntary system of care and treatment. The province paused legislation last July to amend the act after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — The Premier League is looking into why West Ham apparently struck an agreement with West Bromwich Albion for Robert Snodgrass not to play in Tuesday's game as part of the winger's transfer between the two clubs. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce disclosed details of the transfer to his relegation-threatened team two weeks ago to explain the absence of Snodgrass. “That was an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play," Allardyce told broadcaster BT Sport ahead of the match in east London. "We could only get the deal done with that agreement.” West Ham is portraying it as a “gentleman's agreement” rather than a formal part of the transfer. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that the province would be easing some of the current COVID-19 public health restrictions during a joint press conference on Jan. 14, 2021. Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw also took part in this address. Starting on Jan. 18, 2021: · Outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted. · Personal and wellness services will be able to reopen by appointment only. These services include hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing services. · Funeral service attendance will be increased to 20 people, although funeral receptions still will not be permitted. While these restrictions have loosened from when they were implemented in December, Albertans will still need to continue to follow guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks while indoors. All of the other restrictions and guidelines that were put in place in December remain in effect. Tyler Shandro said, “Albertans have done a good job of staying the course and abiding by public health measures, but we are still seeing high hospitalizations and case numbers, and this continues to put a serious strain on our health-care system. How much further we can ease restrictions depends on our collective efforts over the coming days and weeks to limit the spread of the virus.” Expanded Small and Medium Business Supports Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer announced that the province will expand the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to allow businesses that started operating between Mar. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020, to apply. Starting in February, eligible businesses could qualify to receive up to $15,000. COVID-19 Reporting in Schools Updated Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced that the terminology used to describe case numbers of COVID-19 in schools would be updated to make it more transparent and easier to understand. Starting on Jan. 18, the following terms will be used: · Alert: One to four cases · Outbreak: Five or more cases Many parents reported finding the term “watch” confusing, and it will no longer be used. Dr. Hinshaw stressed that this change in terminology would not change the level of public health support that will continue to be provided to students, staff, and families. Parents will still be notified if there is a single case in their child’s school, and further supports will be put in place if there are two or more cases in a school. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.