Hudson just wants to enjoy some play time. How cute is that?!
Hudson just wants to enjoy some play time. How cute is that?!
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
The province’s largest vaccination effort in history is projected to vaccinate all 4.3 million eligible British Columbians by the end of September, health officials announced today. The province is prepared to deliver 8.6 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — both of which require two doses — to all adults who want one at a rate of up to 500,000 per week as vaccine supply increases. No vaccines have been approved for use by B.C.’s 900,000 children and youth under 18. “By the end of September, everyone who wants a vaccination will have one,” said Premier John Horgan. The province has changed early plans to continue prioritizing specific at-risk groups as is being done in other provinces. Instead, the vaccine will be administered largely based on age in B.C.’s four-phase strategy. “Our immunization plan is based on evidence and data,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “And we know the single greatest risk factor for serious illness and death from COVID-19 is increasing age.” Initially the province said frontline workers such as those in law enforcement, grocery stores and essential businesses and teachers and emergency responders could be prioritized in its plans. But research from B.C. and the rest of Canada indicates that risk of serious illness and death due to COVID-19 increases “almost exponentially” with age, Henry noted. Those over 80 are almost twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as those in their late 60s, who are five times more likely than people under 45. Even the other chronic conditions proven to increase the risk of hospitalization and death, such as serious asthma, heart disease and diabetes, are heavily correlated with age, Henry said. “Going on an age-based model captures the majority of people with underlying risk factors first,” she said. “This is going to be, and needs to be, an all-B.C. effort to make sure we can protect those most vulnerable and all of us in our communities.” Phase 1 of the strategy is already well under way, focusing on long-term care staff and residents and essential visitors, health-care workers treating COVID-19 patients and remote First Nations communities. More than 100,000 people have been vaccinated so far, and the phase will wrap up by March, Henry said. Under Phase 2, starting in March, 172 communities will see stadiums, high school gyms and public plazas turned into mass immunization centres. Mobile vaccination clinics and house-call teams will also be available for smaller communities and people who can’t make it to a vaccination centre. More than 240,000 seniors over 80 living in the community will be immunized, as well as Indigenous seniors over 65, hospital staff and community practitioners and homeless or vulnerable populations living in settings like shelters and group homes. At the same time, vaccination pre-registrations will start for the general population by phone and online, opening two to four weeks before each age group is eligible on a rolling basis. In Phase 3 starting in April, about 980,000 seniors in the community will be immunized. The plan is to start with people 75 to 79 and move through the population in five-year increments until everyone over 60 is vaccinated. B.C.’s vaccination lead Dr. Penny Ballem said immunocompromised adults and teens over 16 will get the vaccine if it’s deemed medically necessary during this phase, as well as organ transplant recipients and those with other clinical vulnerabilities. And the final phase starting in July will see about three million people aged 18 to 59 vaccinated in descending age order. Patients will also receive physical or digital vaccination records noting the date and kind of vaccination they received, and all immunization records will also be available through the provincial health gateway. The plan is based on the increasing availability of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as the anticipated approval of additional vaccines on order. Vaccine shortages have already delayed vaccinations in B.C. and across Canada. The province expects more than 800,000 doses to arrive in B.C. before the end of March, 2.6 million from April to June and six million by the end of September. Planning also assumes 100-per-cent uptake in the population, which surveys indicate will not be the case. Henry hopes around 70 per cent of those eligible will be vaccinated to build community immunity. “This can be reached if the large majority of people in B.C. choose to be immunized,” she said. Officials say the timeline could shift if the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved and available in the province, or if vaccines need to be rerouted to deal with community outbreaks, clusters or high-risk workplaces. Ballem said the baseline estimates “allows us to know how to schedule human resources, supply chains for vaccines and other supplies that are necessary.” Horgan said more delays are possible if vaccine production is slower than expected. But the plan is a good starting point and can be adapted as vaccine supplies increase or acute needs emerge in communities, he said. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged people to continue washing their hands, staying home when sick and masking up in public areas. It will be a long time until any sense of normalcy can return, and this is a critical time to protect the most vulnerable before they are immunized, they said. “What’s really important for success and us getting through these next few months is continuing to take the precautions that we know work,” said Henry. Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
MILAN — Italy’s data protection authority said Friday it was imposing an immediate block on TikTok’s access to data for any user whose age has not been verified. The authority said it was acting with “urgency” following the death of a 10-year-old girl in Sicily, who died while participating in a so-called “blackout” challenge while using the Chinese-owned video-sharing social network. Prosecutors in Sicily are investigating the case. The data protection authority noted it had advised TikTok in December of a series of violations, including scant attention to the protection of minors, the ease with which users under age 13 could sign up for the platform — against its own rules — the lack of transparency in information given to users and the use of automatic settings that did not respect privacy. “While waiting to receive a response, the authority decided to take action to ensure the immediate protection of minors in Italy registered on the network,’’ the authority said in a statement. The block will remain in place at least until Feb. 15, when further evaluations will be made. TikTok earlier this month rolled out some tightened privacy features for users under the age of 18, including a new default private setting for accounts with users aged 13 to 15. The new practices, affecting users around the world, followed a move by U.S. regulators to order TikTok and other social media services to disclose how their practices affect children and teenagers. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A group of large businesses in Banff National Park is proposing a rapid COVID-19 testing project meant to help reopen the economy safely. Yannis Karlos, the head of the group, said rapid testing can guarantee the safety of the community while allowing the return to a semblance of normality in a place heavily dependent on tourism. "We're just looking for options to take a different approach to ensure that our community remains safe," said Karlos, who owns a distillery and restaurant in Banff, Alta. "Back in March, our community basically fully shut down and we had an extremely high level of unemployment," he said. Karlos said the group of businesses that represent 5,300 employees would cover the costs of deploying COVID-19 rapid tests if the Alberta government will supply them. "The way we envision it is becoming a public-private partnership, so we're looking for some assistance from the municipality as well as from the province," he said. Town of Banff spokesman Jason Darrah said the municipality will support the project. "We want to support however possible, such as offering facilities for doing it," he said. Sandy White, the co-founder of a coalition of academics, medical professionals and business leaders called Rapid Test and Trace Canada, which is working with the businesses in Banff, said millions of rapid tests already bought and distributed by the federal government are sitting in warehouses across Canada because provincial governments are either unable or unwilling to deploy them. "The overall mismanagement of this file in particular, to say nothing of vaccines and everything else, has been depressingly indicative of Canada's response to this thing," he said. White, who himself owns two inns in Banff, said other countries have responded to the pandemic more efficiently than Canada using rapid tests and other measures to reopened their economies safely. "We are drowning in this situation and we've had a year to get all these wonderful things in place and we could be Taiwan or South Korea or Australia or New Zealand but we're not," he said. "That's very frustrating." White said the 90-day rapid-testing project proposed for Banff would aim to test as many of the town's roughly 8,800 residents as possible within the first two days. After that, the program would test between five and 10 per cent of residents every day. "We are quite confident that with a strategy like that, we can eradicate COVID within the community," he said. Banff had close to 200 active cases of COVID-19 at the end of November, when the economy had reopened and tourists were in town. "The goal really is to be able to safely reopen the economy and encourage tourists to come back to town," he said, noting local jobs depend on tourism. He said the program could also be used as a "test case" to prove that a rapid-testing strategy can work to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. White said his organization is speaking with several groups across the country, including universities and Indigenous communities, to prepare rapid-testing project proposals. "It would be us advising and assisting in setting up pilots and executing on them with the government really just providing testing services in the form of the tests and maybe some basic guidance," he said. 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. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
A Komoka resident and lifelong environmentalist is building Middlesex Centre’s first net-zero energy house, hoping to spark a trend in the region. A net-zero home minimizes energy use for heating and cooling, while producing its own energy through solar panels. “It’s been a personal mission and passion of mine to try to educate, not to preach, and to live by example,” said Terry Keep. “Even a guy who is not a builder can do this with the right people around them.” Keep has been building his new carbon-neutral family home amid the pandemic and expects to be finished by April. He spent years researching the process before breaking ground last fall. The 2,300-square-foot (214-square-metre) home will feature solar panels on its steel roof, along with thicker walls for better insulation and triple-pane windows to reduce energy use. The lumber used is all Forest Stewardship Council certified. The driveway will use permeable pavers so stormwater can drain through into the ground. “It’s a nicer, quieter, dryer, tighter home,” Keep said. It’s also one of few homes to feature an electric furnace — the home uses no natural gas — and a heat pump. The house is divided into three zones, each heated only when necessary. Though net-zero homes are available in the London region — Sifton’s West Five development, for example, is geared toward sustainable living — Keep said building one independently in other neighbourhoods isn’t common. He’s documenting the building process — he calls it a “labour of love” — on YouTube, aiming to show carbon-neutral homes can be accessible and affordable for everyday consumers, not just environmentalists. He also wanted to prove you don’t have to move to a new neighbourhood to get a carbon-neutral house. “It’s the desire to show people it’s a regular neighbourhood, my home will stand beside a regular, code-built home,” Keep said. “I want people to see it can be done.” Walk through Keep’s house in progress, and it looks like any other mid-century modern home — with hints of Frank Lloyd Wright — not something out of The Jetsons. About 20 per cent of the average home's carbon footprint comes from household energy consumption. It takes about seven years for a solar-powered house to recoup the investment costs. But Keep has faced many hurdles getting his environmentally sustainable house off the ground, even without pandemic hiccups, such as labour and supply shortages. Finding architects, builders and tradespeople with knowledge and experience in developing net-zero houses was a challenge, Keep said, and getting them to commit to a single house even harder. “It’s been a really interesting ride,” said the home's builder, Frank Oosterhoff, who owns Great Lakes Construction. Keep said Middlesex Centre is a progressive area in terms of sustainability, citing the newly built net-zero firehall, and the community centre’s solar panels. Once his own house is finished, Keep plans to pursue building a row of affordable, net-zero townhouses. “The next generation is starting to realize there's value in that,” he said. “If everyone can afford one, they’ll buy it — if they can’t afford one, they won’t.” Keep drives a plug-in hybrid vehicle and is also a vegetarian. He was a founding member of EnviroWestern, a group at Western University that promotes sustainability. “We make small steps to get to a big impact over our life,” Keep said. “It doesn’t happen over a short period.” firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
The daughter of a man killed Sunday says her father could make friends with anyone — even whoever took his life. Dion William McCallum, 49, was shot in his home in west Edmonton early Sunday morning. Police say they do not believe McCallum was the intended target. His death has left daughter Jaye Campiou and her family heartbroken. "He didn't deserve that, he was too nice of a guy," she said Thursday from her home on Alexander First Nation. "He really would have made his way and made himself friends with that person. And I just want them to know that my dad's probably not even mad at you. I mean, he probably already forgives you. "And he just — he just wants you to do right." McCallum — better known to friends and family as Sonny — moved to Edmonton several years ago from his home at Île-à-la-Crosse, Sask., to be closer to his children. Campiou said even before the move he would make every effort to be there for her and her three siblings. 'Every single year he would make it to every one of our graduations, every one of our school plays, every one of our birthdays," she said. "Even if he didn't have the money for it. He would hitchhike, he was that kind of guy who would make it happen." Campiou said her father loved children and was always excited to see new babies and play with kids. He had a six-year-old son, Campiou's half-brother, and had welcomed his first grandson a little under three years ago. "He was just a really big people person and kids were his soft spot." McCallum worked as a bush firefighter when he was younger. He would be gone for months at a time but came back to share stories of his adventures, Campiou said. A stroke two years ago diminished his ability to work. He took to odd jobs like fixing up vehicles. "He could fix the vehicle just by listening to it," Campiou said. "He was very big into cars." Campiou, who works in health care, limited visits with her father, who had diabetes, during the pandemic. But true to his sociable nature, McCallum stayed in contact with her, as well as friends and family, through virtual meets. "It really hurts because I really, really miss him," Campiou said. "And I told him that the safest place for him during this pandemic would be inside." The family is hoping to bring his body back to Saskatchewan, a task made more difficult by COVID-19. "We're trying our best to make it work with the limited amount of resources that we have and the family that we have," Campiou said. A GoFundMe has been set up to help raise money for funeral costs. Trend in firearms crime Police found McCallum inside a home after being called to an address near 105th Avenue and 157th Street around 6:15 a.m on Sunday. He died in hospital. An autopsy determined he died from a gunshot wound. McCallum was not known to police. Police are asking anyone with surveillance video, such as doorbell cameras or dashcam video, to contact investigators. Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Brenda Dalziel said Wednesday McCallum's death is part of a concerning trend in firearms crime. She said Edmonton police investigated 158 shooting events in 2020, 10 of which were fatal. In July, Coun. Sarah Hamilton asked city officials to take a closer look at the root causes behind the consistent high rate of crime. "I don't want to say gun crime is new to the city but we have definitely seen an increase in it this year," she said Friday, adding that police would likely say the causes are complex. "But helping us understand what's going on can maybe help us understand how we could affect it."
The Delta Hospice Society (DHS) appears to have capitulated in a standoff between its board of directors and Fraser Health that was forcing terminally ill residents of the Irene Thomas Hospice to move out by the end of next month. In a public letter dated Jan. 21, the society states, "... the board notified Fraser Health they will evacuate the Irene Thomas Hospice facility by the required date, so there will be no disruption in patient care." Last year, the government announced it was severing the service agreement with the Delta Hospice Society and withdrawing $1.5 million in annual funding over the society's decision to stop offering medically assisted death. On Feb. 25, 2021, operation of the facility and the building will be assumed by Fraser Health, but earlier this month the health authority said DHS was not engaging in discussions aimed at transitioning patients and staff. To ensure continuance of care, Fraser Health said it had no choice but to move dying patients out of the hospice and into a long-term care facility, a move that upset families of residents and many in the greater community. But in the letter, the DHS board now says it "... is hopeful there will be no disruption in service, no need to transfer patients and no need to absorb existing patients elsewhere in Fraser Health." Chris Pettypiece of the group Take Back Delta Hospice said he was surprised by the society's sudden change of heart. "We didn't see it coming but are pleased to see the right decision — one that supports patients and staff," he said. "This is a decision that should have been made a lot earlier to have avoided all the stress and grief for the people affected." The Irene Thomas Hospice has been at the centre of a fight for control ever since a new board of directors came to power in late 2019, banned Medical Assistance in Dying at the 10-bed-hospice and tried to change the society's constitution in order to turn it into an expressly Christian organization. CBC reached out to Delta Hospice Society chair Angelina Ireland and Fraser Health for comment but has not heard back.
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska renters will have to wait for an undetermined amount of time before receiving allotments of up to $200 million in federal coronavirus aid. The Alaska Housing Finance Corp. will oversee the rental assistance in much of the state, but the corporation said Wednesday it is still forming plans to distribute the funds, the Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. Corporation Public Relations Manager Soren Johansson said the U.S. Treasury issued updated guidance this week on establishing rules for the program's implementation. "We’re working now to understand the requirements and develop a plan that supports renters and gets money to landlords as soon as we’re able,” Johansson said. Congress passed and former President Donald Trump signed legislation in December distributing $25 billion to households unable to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic. The measure allows cities with more than 200,000 residents to request separate funding outside state control. The Municipality of Anchorage applied for a separate share, but neither the corporation nor legislative budget officials were certain of how much. “The state will have only a portion of that share. Anchorage will have the rest,” Legislative Finance Division Director Alexei Painter told legislators Monday. Anchorage officials were not available to discuss the issue Wednesday. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development economist Rob Kreiger, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures, said there were about 88,927 rental housing units in Alaska in 2019, accounting for just over 35% of the state’s condominiums, apartments and houses. The funding approved by state lawmakers on Monday is 20 times the amount distributed by the housing finance corporation last year to renters and homeowners in a smaller coronavirus aid program. Only renters are eligible in the forthcoming round. “That was a federal restriction that was put on it,” corporation Executive Director Bryan Butcher said. Butcher told legislators the federal funding could provide Alaska residents with 12 to 15 months of rent money. The program’s first priority will be helping renters who are behind in their payments. Residents can expect to see a widespread television, radio and internet advertising campaign after the program's rules are settled, Butcher said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
Trees may add aesthetics and environmental benefits, but if they are planted too close to power lines they can cause power outages and fires, a SaskPower delegation told the Town of White City at its Jan. 11 council meeting. The Crown corporation is assessing whether trees are impacting power lines in White City, and SaskPower arborist Blake Neufeld said while cutting down trees is a last resort, it is sometimes a necessity when they get too close to overhead power lines. Sometimes pre-emptive pruning can prevent the total loss of a tree. “Trees and power lines don’t mix,” Neufeld said. “Tree contacts with power lines in storms cause 15 percent of our power outages province-wide. We are trying to do preventative maintenance on our easements. In the Town of White City, there are a lot of poplars and that requires a lot of cleanup.” The tree maintenance is part of a provincial program which looks after more than 115,000 kilometres of power line right-of-ways. Within White City itself, Sask Power has two circuits it monitors, serving 2,600 homes and businesses. Approximately 500 trees are slated for removal in White City — 400 of them are on private property while the other 100 are on municipal land — though not all of those trees will fully disappear. “These town removals are not all big trees,” Neufeld said. “We have 10 larger ones while the rest of them are smaller. The way we identify a removal is sometimes we have ... a multi-stem tree, and if we take three stems off, that counts as three trees and we leave the rest of the tree.” Overall in White City 24,000 square metres of removal will be done to ensure the SaskPower lines are kept to safety standards. Neufeld said land owners are notified by SaskPower if work has to be done to prune or remove trees on their property. The assessor has already told affected landowners of the issue, and about 48-hours before the tree work is done, the contractor doing the work will also contact the landowner or resident advising of what is to take place. The goal is to have all tree work in White City completed by the end of March, when restrictions affecting elm trees come into force. For those looking at planting trees or shrubs to define their properties, Neufeld said power lines should be considered as well as the type of tree used in the area. Trees need to be three to six metres away from a power line to prevent future problems, depending on how high a tree is projected to grow. Taller trees should be at least six metres away, with trees growing more than 12 metres in height being at least 15 metres away from the power line. Neufeld said by taking note of those guidelines, both trees and power lines can co-exist safely. Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum
Approximately 30 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel have been deployed to Garden Hill First Nation to provide humanitarian assistance and address the emergent needs of the community. Between Jan. 17 and 18, members of the CAF were sent to support an Indigenous Service Canada-led liaison and reconnaissance team to rapidly assess the situation in the northern Manitoba community. Following a formal Request for Assistance, the CAF arrived at the First Nation on Wednesday to work alongside other community members and other government departments and agencies. “In Island Lake, we have been working hard to try to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Alex McDougall, executive director of Four Arrows Regional Health Authority (FARHA) told Winnipeg Sun on Friday. “Bringing down the number of cases in the region is something we want to see very quickly, and having the military personnel in the community to assist with the immunization plan is something that needs to continue.” FARHA oversees health services for all Island Lake Anishininew Nation communities, including Garden Hill First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation and Red Sucker Lake First Nation. Garden Hill First Nation is located 610 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg and 350 air kilometres southeast of Thompson. Manitoba’s Island Lake district saw a total of 300 active cases as of Thursday with 266 of those cases from Garden Hill First Nation. According to CAF spokesperson Jessica Lamirande, tasks which the CAF has been called to do are: · Provide general duty support to the community and nursing station for clerical, maintenance, cleaning duties of isolating personnel where required; · Integrate into the local Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) command post in the community to coordinate activities with the Chief and his Council and other government partners; · Assist in the establishment and operating of a local Alternative Isolation Area (AIA), · Arrange for training and support to incoming staff in the operation of the AIA; · Provide limited assistance with patient management tasks, including triage, secondary assessment, monitoring of patients, testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients; · Where necessary assist with home wellness checks; and · Offer transportation assistance to other responding government departments in and out of the affected area for cargo and personnel, if required. Last Friday, approximately one-third of the 5,300 Moderna vaccines allocated to Manitoba First Nations arrived at Island Lake. Garden Hill First Nation received 320 doses of the vaccine during the weekend. Despite many COVID-19 cases in the region, there is still some who refuse to receive immunity against the virus. “We are seeing apprehension within the community members in Garden Hill. The situation there is bad as well as overall in Island Lake. Community members are frustrated and scared at the same time,” said McDougall. “This is a strong indicator that we need to continue with our education and awareness piece, and share with our members the importance of participating in the immunization plan,” he added. The FARHA has been working with the provincial and federal government for two decades to bring in critical infrastructure in the area such as a hospital that can provide services to the residents of Island Lake. McDougall said that patients suffering from COVID-19 in Island Lake need to be flown out to Winnipeg to receive treatment. Currently, the Garden Hill community is under lockdown, with non-essential travel prohibited. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
The NBC Sports Network, which is best known for its coverage of the NHL and English Premier League, will be going away at the end of the year. NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua announced the channel's shutdown on Friday in an internal memo to staff. “At the conclusion of 2021, we have decided that the best strategic next step for our Sports Group and the entire Company is to wind down NBCSN completely,” Bevacqua said in the memo. NBCSN is available in 80.1 million homes, according to Nielsen's latest estimate, which is less than ESPN (83.1 million) and FS1 (80.2 million). The channel was launched by Comcast in 1995 as the Outdoor Life Network. It was best known for carrying the Tour de France until it acquired the NHL in 2005. It changed its name to Versus in 2006 and then to NBC Sports Network six years later after Comcast bought NBC Universal in 2011. Bevacqua said in the memo that Stanley Cup playoff games and NASCAR races would be moving to USA Network this year. USA Network, which is available in 85.6 million homes, had already been airing early-round playoff games since 2012. “This will make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost,” Bevacqua said. “We believe that the power of this offering is the best long-term strategy for our Sports Group, our partners, and our Company.” The news of NBCSN shutting down also comes during a time when many of NBC Sports Group’s most valuable sports properties are coming up for renewal. This is the last season of a 10-year deal with the NHL and negotiations for the EPL rights, beginning with the 2022-23 season, are ongoing. Many have predicted that the next rights deal with the NHL will include multiple networks with former broadcast partners ESPN and Fox Sports expected to be in the mix. NBC's current deal averages $200 million per season. Premier League deals are usually for three years, but NBC secured a six-year package in 2015 by paying nearly $1 billion. NASCAR, which has its races from July through November on NBC and NBCSN, has a deal through 2024. IndyCar's contract, which includes the Indianapolis 500 on NBC, expires at the end of this year. The sanctioning body said in a statement that NBC “has always been a transparent partner, and we were aware of this upcoming strategy shift." Tag Garson, Wasserman’s senior vice-president of properties, said TNT and TBS have already proved it's possible to have a cable channel that does a good job of meshing entertainment programming with sports. “NBC has done a great job with hockey and soccer that it would be hard for anyone to walk away from that,” he said. “How many windows can your fit sports programming into at USA? That’s where the internal discussions are going to be and understanding the right balance to have between sports and entertainment.” NBC could also put additional events on its Peacock streaming service, which debuted last year. There are 175 Premier League games airing on Peacock this season. Joe Reedy, The Associated Press
BARRIE, Ont. — An outbreak in a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., has resulted in more than two dozen deaths after a yet-to-be-identified variant of COVID-19 was detected at the facility. The coronavirus has sickened 122 residents and 81 staff at Roberta Place -- which has 137 beds -- since the outbreak began earlier this month, public health officials said Friday. The number of deaths reported at the facility climbed from 19 to 27 between Thursday and Friday. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said it has given the COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible residents and staff at a nearby retirement home "in an effort to protect them against what is highly likely a variant of the virus." Immunization of residents at other long-term care and retirement homes throughout the region will also begin this weekend, it said. The unit said its supply of the vaccine is "extremely low and uncertain" due to the shipment delays of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. “Barrie has become ground zero for what is likely a COVID-19 variant of concern, which has spread rapidly throughout Roberta Place," the region's medical officer of health said in a written statement. Dr. Charles Gardner said they are concerned that the virus variant will spread into the community and other long-term care and retirement homes. The unusually rapid spread of the virus at the nursing home prompted officials to test for variants of COVID-19. In the coming days, officials are expected to confirm which specific variant –strains from the U.K., South Africa or Brazil – was detected at the home during initial testing. Researchers have yet to determine whether any of the new variants are more deadly, but the U.K. strain is known to spread much faster. 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. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A new third-party advocacy group is launching an ad campaign aimed at ensuring Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole never becomes prime minister. The Protecting Canada Project is airing its first 30-second ad, in English and French, on television and online. The ad predicts that an O'Toole government would cut funding for health care, even as the country struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, resting that assertion on decisions under the previous Conservative government and O'Toole's support for similar cuts made by current conservative premiers. The tag line concludes that O'Toole and the Conservatives "are hazardous to your health — at the worst possible time." Group spokesman Ian Wayne, who formerly worked for NDP leaders Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair, says Protecting Canada was formed by Canadians "with diverse political experience" and a common goal of ensuring the Conservatives don't win the next election. He says it is backed by "progressive" individuals and organizations who believe it's "crucial" to counter the Conservative-friendly messaging peddled by what he calls "well-funded, extreme right-wing" advocacy groups like Canada Proud. "This launch is just the beginning," Wayne said. "We will continue to grow our campaign and get our messages to more and more everyday Canadians." Wayne is listed as a director of the group, along with Don Millar, who has a history of working with Liberals. Until an election is actually called, Protecting Canada, like other groups, can spend as much as it likes and never disclose where it is getting its money. Changes to the Canada Elections Act in 2018 impose spending limits on advocacy groups and require them to disclose donors during the three-month "pre-writ period" before an election is called, as well as during the campaign. But the restrictions assume an election will happen on a date set in the law, about four years after the last national vote. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presides over a minority Liberal government, which could fall well before then if the opposition parties unite against the Liberals in a confidence vote. The project's first ad alleges that O'Toole voted in favour of a $36-billion "cut" to federal health-care transfers to the provinces. The "cut" implemented by Stephen Harper's Conservative government, of which O'Toole was a part, has been a political football for years. While in power, the Conservatives scaled back the annual six per cent increase in the health transfer to a minimum of three per cent — a move that guaranteed provinces would still get more money each year, though at a slower rate than before. That meant provinces would receive $36 billion less over 10 years than they had anticipated. The change actually came into effect under the Liberal government, which opted to keep the Tories' formula in place. The ad also ties O'Toole to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a former Harper cabinet colleague who endorsed O'Toole for the Conservative leadership last year and whose popularity has nosedived over his handling of the pandemic. The ad says O'Toole endorses Kenney's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which they allege includes cutting 11,000 health care workers' jobs. The same approach federally could result in "tens of thousands of health care layoffs across Canada," it warns. In a statement, O'Toole accused the group of playing fast and loose with the truth. "The Liberals are lying about my record because they don’t want to talk about theirs: a record of lost jobs, corruption, and failure on vaccines," read the statement. "Canada’s Conservatives will secure health care, secure jobs, and secure our future.” During his campaign to lead the Conservative party last year, O'Toole pledged he'd provide "stable and predictable" funding while respecting provincial jurisdiction. As the provinces have clamoured for more health-care money from the federal government to manage the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, O'Toole hasn't ruled out listening and has also said the money must flow with no strings attached. His party did also back a Bloc Québécois motion in the House of Commons in December that called on the federal government to "significantly and sustainably increase Canada health transfers before the end of 2020." The "Canada Proud" groups the new advocacy organization mentions are run by a media company that helped O'Toole win leadership of his party last year. He's since ended his contract with them. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Joan Bryden and Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
En milieu d’après-midi, le cabinet du maire Demers confirmait que Virginie Dufour «demeurera au comité exécutif de la Ville» qu’elle vient tout juste de réintégrer. Rappelons que dans les heures qui ont suivi l’annonce de son retour au comité exécutif, le mercredi 20 janvier, le cabinet du maire apprenait que le Directeur général des élections du Québec (DGEQ) ouvrait finalement une enquête relativement aux allégations de financement politique illégal dont fait l’objet la conseillère municipale de Sainte-Rose depuis le 30 novembre. «Madame Dufour accueille cette nouvelle avec très grande satisfaction, a indiqué par voie de courriel le directeur des communications du cabinet, Alexandre Banville. Après tout, rappelons que c’est elle-même qui demandé au DGEQ d’ouvrir une enquête à son sujet. Elle demeure convaincue que cette opération permettra de clarifier sa situation et de rétablir entièrement sa réputation.» Il précise par ailleurs que «le maire de Laval l’a réintégrée à la suite du dépôt d’un affidavit confirmant l’impression soutenue par madame Dufour, soit qu’elle serait la victime collatérale d’une chicane de couple». Preuve à l’appui, une information confidentielle transmise au <@Ri>Courrier Laval<@$p> ce vendredi 22 janvier révèle que l’avocat saisi du dossier au Service des affaires juridiques du Bureau du DGEQ avait recommandé autour de la mi-décembre la tenue d’une enquête concernant l’usage de prête-noms dans le versement de contributions politiques impliquant Virginie Dufour et Normand Cusson. Impossible toutefois de connaître le moment précis où la décision d’ouvrir une enquête fut prise. De fait, l’institution responsable de l’application des dispositions de la Loi sur les élections et les référendums dans les municipalités relatives au financement politique «ne confirme ni n’infirme» jamais la tenue ou non d’une enquête, indique sa porte-parole, Julie St-Arnaud. «On ne communique absolument rien en ce qui a trait à nos démarches d’enquête», ajoute-t-elle, précisant que cette politique vise, entre autres, à protéger la réputation des gens ciblés par ces enquêtes, lesquels ont droit à la présomption d’innocence. Ce n’est qu’une fois les infractions constatées et les poursuites intentées que le DGEQ sort de son mutisme et que l’information devient publique.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Dennis Oland's family home, which was linked to money problems with his slain father, is for sale. It's listed for $749,000. "Grand First Olde Rothesay, Original, traditional heritage family home," the MSN description states. "The perfect home to entertain." It is the first time the house, built in 1930, has been offered for sale. It previously belonged to Oland's grandfather, Moosehead Breweries scion Philip Oland. The 0.65-hectare property is "landscaped, fenced and private," the listing says. "A quiet and very exclusive neighborhood." The house at 58 Gondola Point Rd. was put up for sale after Dennis Oland and his estranged wife, Lisa Andrik-Oland, recently reached a settlement in a family court dispute. Last summer, Andrik-Oland launched legal action under the Marital Property Act and Family Services Act. She was seeking an interim order to prevent Oland from selling the family home — which featured prominently in the Crown's alleged motive at his murder trials in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father — to preserve her marital interest in the home and three adjacent properties, pending a final determination in the matter. Andrik-Oland was also seeking a freezing of family assets, ownership of the house and its contents, spousal support, an equal division of marital property and debt, as well as a restraining order. A hearing was scheduled for Nov. 10, but it was removed from the docket. The couple had previously reached an interim agreement. This occurred after Andrik-Oland accused Oland of domestic violence and was granted an emergency intervention order under the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act. There is a publication ban on the evidence Andrik-Oland presented to obtain the emergency order. But Chief Justice Tracey DeWare of the Court of Queen's Bench ruled Jan. 14 that the media can publish a transcript of Andrik-Oland's allegations. Maintaining that ban would be "inappropriate and not in conformity" with the open-court principle, she said. DeWare stipulated the publication ban should only be lifted after 14 days have passed, to give Oland and Andrik-Oland's lawyers a chance to appeal the decision. None of the allegations has been proven in court. Moved out last February Oland moved out of the marital home on Feb. 17 and announced March 23 that they were separating, according to a sworn affidavit of Andrik-Oland, filed with the court last summer. He "told me that we have no money and that everything we owned will be sold," including the house, she said. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom home has been listed solely in Oland's name since before the couple married in 2009. The property, which also includes a three-car carriage house with a second-floor two-bedroom apartment, as well as several other outbuildings, is assessed at $509,900. The annual property taxes cost $6,440. "Rare find," the real estate listing says, citing the home's "unique construction and setting." "Classic English Country architectural design … Extensive detailed millwork craftsmanship and design. Quiet traditional den with built in bookshelves and fireplace." During Oland's divorce from his first wife in 2008-2009, his multimillionaire father Richard lent him more than $500,000 to ensure he didn't lose the family home. Oland bounced two interest payments of $1,666.67 to his father, including one the day before he was killed, which the Crown had alleged was part of the motive for murder. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 sharp- and blunt-force injuries to his head, neck and hands. His son was the last known person to have seen him alive during a visit to his office the night before. No weapon was ever found. A jury found Oland guilty of second-degree murder in 2015, but he was acquitted following his murder retrial by judge alone last year.
The auditor general of Canada has a "clean" opinion of the Northwest Territories government's 2018-19 financial statements. "This means that the information in the statements is reliable," said auditor general Karen Hogan. Hogan appeared remotely before the territorial government's Standing Committee on Government Operations on Friday for a belated review of the government's 2018-19 public accounts. The review was supposed to take place in May 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogan made two observations during her video presentation. The first had to do with public-private partnerships, also known as P3s. The new Stanton Territorial Hospital — which has had a significant impact on the government's finances — came into being through a public-private partnership. P3s are "usually large and complex," said Hogan. "It is therefore important to have accurate reporting of costs for informed decision making." She noted that auditors found public-private partnerships were recorded accurately, with one exception, and that correcting it resulted in a $30-million increase to both tangible capital assets and liabilities presented in the 2017-18 financial statements. Hogan's second observation had to do with the recording of certain revolving funds' revenues and expenses. Revolving funds can be continuously replenished to help ensure certain government operations. A recording correction resulted in a $34-million increase in both the revenues and expenses presented in 2017-18, said Hogan. "It wasn't an error in that revenues were forgotten or expenses were forgotten, it was just the way they were presented," she said. Gov't has 'limited flexibility' to raise money The public accounts are the annual financial statements of the government and include information on assets, liabilities, net debt and the accumulated surplus or deficit. Each year the auditor general of Canada audits the territory's consolidated financial statements and gives its opinion on whether the statements are a fair and accurate reflection of the government's financial position. The auditor general also looks at noteworthy transactions to ensure that they fall within the government's powers. The 2019 public accounts show that the N.W.T. government had revenues of about $2.4 billion and had expenses of about $2.03 billion, leaving an operating surplus of about $4 million, Julie Mujcin, N.W.T.'s comptroller general, told the committee. Although the government had an operating surplus, it has "limited flexibility" to raise money, as well as "vulnerabilities" related to its revenue sources, "which requires a need for careful fiscal management," said Mujcin. She said the government's finances in 2018-19 were affected in part by the opening of the new Stanton Territorial Hospital, as well as wage increases under government workers' collective agreement. The comptroller general also noted public agencies' challenges in completing audits and reports within the legislated timeframes. Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson noted that the public accounts under review were based on a budget approved by the previous legislative assembly. He also said that many revenue projections from that time were "inaccurate" because, among other factors, "COVID obviously messed up a lot of this."
The Ontario government is kicking off a new social media campaign with actors, singers, athletes, and business owners who are all asking you to remain at home. Meanwhile, data tracking mobility in the city continues to show progress. Matthew Bingley reports.
Calgary's intensive care units remain under intense pressure, even as overall COVID-19 case counts, transmission rates and hospitalization numbers drop. This week, the city's four adult intensive care units are filled with more COVID patients than they've seen since the start of the pandemic. According to Alberta Health Services, that number peaked at 55 on Wednesday. As of Friday afternoon, there were 50 COVID patients in Calgary ICUs. "Every night that I've been on call, we are barely squeaking by with enough beds," said Dr. Selena Au, intensive care specialist working at the Peter Lougheed Centre, South Health Campus and Rockyview General Hospital. According to Au, they're coping by sending the most stable ICU patients to other city hospitals to make room when there are no beds left. "So even though the numbers look lower from a daily COVID case rate, I think the hospital as well as the ICUs in particular — we're still running full steam right now and just barely getting by." Patients are also routinely being double bunked in in ICU rooms that have the proper space and equipment. And those who would have previously been deemed sick enough to be admitted to intensive care are being kept on the wards longer. "Patients have to be sicker before they get an ICU bed.… So it's a lot of heavy lifting from our ward hospital doctors as well." Long stays in ICU The pressure on Calgary's ICUs is driven in part by an unusually long length of stay in the ICU for COVID-19 patients, according to Au, who says some patients require critical care for two to three weeks. "Some of the patients that we have right now are actually fairly young and without any previous medical history. And we really want to make sure that we give any possible chance for survival," she said. "Many of those patients are very sick and just hanging on. It's a long stay and journey for these patients that get admitted. And so there's many admissions and they're frequent, but there's very few discharges … to balance it out." According to Alberta Health Services, Calgary's intensive care units have been operating at between 86 and 90 per cent capacity all week, including 30 ICU beds that were added in late November and early December to address the surging COVID-19 cases. "No additional critical care spaces have been added — or required — since then, and no additional ICU surge beds are planned to open this week," an AHS spokesperson said in a statement emailed to CBC News. "Clinicians continue to monitor and evaluate the situation." When it comes to overall capacity, AHS says Calgary's hospitals are operating at between 101 per cent and 108 per cent. Dr. Daniel Niven, an intensive care specialist at Peter Lougheed Centre, says the ICU there is close to full nearly every day but care teams are managing for now. "We're pushing our limits, for sure," said Niven who notes Calgary's intensive care units were running close to capacity before the pandemic. He said extra staff continue to be on the unit to manage the extra patients. "We're still seeing a fairly steady pressure with regard to COVID admissions on a daily basis. So it remains very busy and at a … high capacity, still stretched compared to what we would normally be." What Niven is watching for now is the potential impact of the more highly transmissible coronavirus variants. Twelve cases of the variant first discovered in the U.K. and three of the variant first identified in South Africa have now been found in the province. Health officials have said all are travel-related and there is no evidence of community transmission. "If those variants were to take hold and start to transmit within the community — especially to a great degree like what we're seeing in the U.K. — then that would be very concerning, just because of how efficient they do transmit and the fact that we're already functioning at a very stretched capacity. "So it would make it additionally challenging to manage what could be a much larger patient load."
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his piece with U.S. President Joe Biden. The two leaders spoke by phone for about 30 minutes late Friday — Biden's first conversation with a foreign leader since Wednesday's inauguration. It was also Trudeau's first chance to express Canada's official dismay at the decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, and Biden's first to explain it. One of Biden's first actions in the White House was to rescind predecessor Donald Trump's approval for the US$8-billion cross-border expansion project. Trudeau, however, is urging Canadians to look past the decision and focus instead on all the areas of mutual agreement the two countries can look forward to. In particular, Trudeau says Biden and Canada share a vision of tackling climate change while fuelling economic growth at the same time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press