Ringing in the new year like... Credit: Nico, Jackson & Zoey Instagram: @nico.jackson.zoey
Ringing in the new year like... Credit: Nico, Jackson & Zoey Instagram: @nico.jackson.zoey
Now entering its second year, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in Sudbury is finding success, even amongst the challenges of COVID-19. And it’s a good thing, said Meredith Armstrong, manager of Tourism and Culture in Economic Development at the City of Greater Sudbury, because while Sudbury is one of the only Northern Ontario communities showing growth when it comes to population, a recent Northern Policy Institute (NPI) report shows that a focus on bringing people to the area is essential to maintaining economic standards in Sudbury. Basically, “we’re not going to have enough babies,” said Armstrong. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was created in 2020 as a three-year program to support and encourage newcomers to Canada to settle in rural areas and Northern Ontario, rather than in big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and is based on the applicant securing a job offer before they apply and at the moment, in mining or tourism. The program itself has an economic development focus, said Armstrong. “This is an economic immigration program,” she said. “It’s about having a job offer, within the two priority sectors, with an employer that understands the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They understand the need to embrace employee settlement. They are not sponsors of the candidate, but they do play a role in helping them get their feet under them.” The newcomer candidates need to understand the community of Sudbury and demonstrate their intention to reside long-term in the city, to become a part of the fabric of Northern Ontario. They must also complete extensive paperwork, as well as numerous interviews, in-depth evaluations of the job offer and review by the selection committee. If the applicant is successful, they will be recommended to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency. The two priority sectors determined at the beginning of the pilot are mining supply and service, as well as tourism. While one industry has suffered and will need to be rebuilt, mining has continued to have skilled positions available. Armstrong said Sudbury’s labour shortages in certain areas are longstanding. “I think it’s fair to say that we’ve always had labour market challenges, “she said. “We have a lot of jobs; we don’t have enough talent to go around.” Armstrong does acknowledge that some may question bringing in newcomers for employment when there are layoffs due to the pandemic. “I think that’s a legitimate question,” she said. But she noted the issue of the ratio of dependants and working age people will fall terribly out of balance without newcomers, and that remains an issue, post-pandemic. “We can’t do it without newcomers,” she said. “Immigrants really hit above their weight when it comes to giving back to communities, starting businesses and creating subsequent jobs.” Armstrong said while they did not reach their intended goal in the first year, they are quite pleased with their results. “2020 did hit the program pretty hard with some challenges and we didn't get all the way where we wanted to with our allotment for the first year,” she said. “But we were successful in recommending 11 wonderful candidates through the program. They're now on their way to pursuing permanent residency and settling in the community and they have families with them. So, you're looking at just under 25 new residents that come out of that endorsement.” And this year could be even better for the program. “We're certainly poised to hit a much higher number for 2021,” said Armstrong. “We've got some more resources in place to assist and we're really hitting the ground running with this year's allocation.” Armstrong said many of the applicants recommended for permanent residence are South Asian, owing to the number of international students who come to Sudbury to study and wish to stay here longer. Armstrong noted these applicants are usually successful not just because they have a job offer in a priority sector, but because they already know and enjoy life here in Sudbury. “And that really is the crux of the program, this is about retention in the community.” There are also many Francophone applicants, owing to Sudbury’s designation as one of 14 Welcoming Francophone Communities, described as an initiative “made by Francophones, for Francophones” to foster lasting ties between newcomers and members of the host community. “We work to collaborate with our Francophone settlement agency partners to ensure that we do have services to support people living and working in the process,” said Armstrong. “So, I think that's an area of focus.” But as the pilot is economically driven, the job offer is central. “More than anything, it comes down to the job offers,” said Armstrong. “It starts with an employer looking for the right person for an available job, and then that person really demonstrating that commitment to living in the community.” And while the RNIP does not act as a “matchmaker,” it does support employers as much as possible, said Armstrong. “We have seen that approach from some of the other communities participating in the pilot, but I think more and more, we're trying to equip employers with different ways to amplify when they're posting a position. Things like: where can they post it? Where can they find potential candidates? And I think as we go on, we will also have opportunities to connect employers with each other so that there's a bit of shared learning.” Armstrong said the pilot is successful so far, not just due to the work of the team and support from IRCC, but also from elected officials. She mentions Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, as well as the Greater Sudbury Local Immigration Partnership, who also offers information on allyship and anti-racism to make the city more welcoming to newcomers. “Now more than ever, it's a really excellent time to have those conversations,” said Armstrong. “In the meantime, we need to keep really supporting our entrepreneurs, because they're the ones creating the jobs. Making sure they know about the program and about the various tools available to support them as employers and as businesses.” You can find out more about the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot by visiting the IIRC website, or at InvestSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP say a crash on Highway 16 west of Prince George has killed a Metro Vancouver man and injured a 20-year-old Alberta resident. An RCMP statement says the collision happened Monday as the Alberta man in a westbound pickup was overtaking an empty logging truck. The passing lane ended before the pickup had finished its manoeuvre and police say it collided with an oncoming car. Police say the driver of the car, who was in his 40s, died a short time later in hospital. Officers in Prince George are leading the investigation and want to speak with the logging truck driver, who stopped to assist but left before talking with police. Investigators are also appealing for dashcam video from anyone on Highway 16 between Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof at around 5:30 p.m. Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mono Council, at least for the immediate future, has put the the matter of the Variance Application to the Fill By-Law, regarding the property of Mr. Paul Ritchie at 833231 4th Line in Mono, to rest, by refusing the appli-cation. In discussion leading up to the vote, sev-eral Council members shared their opinions on the issue. Councillor Fred Nix expressed his frustration that, the matter had been before Council for almost 12 months, despite a public meeting in July of 2020, at which both Council and members of the public had expressed concerns. This resulted in a request for the applicant to address the issues and return to Council with an amended pro-posal. In the end the exact same proposal was brought back for consideration.Now, the applicant was asking for a defer-ral in order for his engineers to study a report from the Town engineers, thus pushing the matter back once again. Councillor Nix how-ever reluctantly felt that the deferral should be granted on the basis of transparency and fairness.Councillor Manktelow, on the other hand was of the opposite opinion. He noted that as early as January 21, 2020, Mr. Ritchie had been asked to respond to other options, including using existing soil for the fill, but did not respond. Again he was asked to address the concerns of the public at the meeting on July 14th, 2020 and again there was no response. Finally, just prior to Christmas, Town of Mono CAO, Mark Early, requested that the applicant respond to all of the issues raised and again, says Councillor Manktelow there was no response. Consequently, he said he felt that the application should be denied as it was his opinion that the applicant was not compliant with the Town’s wishes.Councillor Martin agreed with Councillor Manktelow and wanted to proceed with the decision, while Deputy Mayor Creelman said that although he was very disappointed with the way the matter was progressing and the inordinate amount of time that it had taken up, he could go with either decision, but with provisions, if Council were to grant the deferral. The provisions would be that only writ-ten submissions be accepted and that they be made available to the public, so that they could also respond in writing. He did not want to waste any further time on this matter, especially not with long winded personal presentations, taking up Council time, with material that could oth-erwise be read. Mayor Ryan was of a like minded opinion, feeling that enough time had been spent already. Prior to this, the applicant had been eager to have Council’s decision made and now wanted a deferral. Mayor Ryan could not see what new information could be received, when no responses had been forthcoming to previous requests of Council. The Mayor felt that the application should be reviewed now and a decision handed down.Councillor Nix spoke to the matter of two concerns with the application. He said that a drainage pipe running south to the neigh-bours property line would potentially flood his septic bed during the spring runoff and had agreed to remove it, but was still in the application. Also, no consideration had been made to using some of the existing soil on the site to build the track surface, despite the engineers opinion that some of the soil was certainly usable.In short, this was essentially the exact same application that had originally been submitted, with no consideration of the two stated issues. Councillor Manktelow then said that, the report received from the Town engineer, Gord Feniak, answer all of Coun-cil’s previously asked questions of the appli-cant and, that pointed to the track being able to be built almost exclusive of any imported fill.The matter was called to a recorded vote with the unanimous decision to refuse the application at this time. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
“Speak, Okinawa,” by Elizabeth Miki Brina (Knopf) Elizabeth Miki Brina’s “Speak, Okinawa” is a masterful memoir in which Brina examines the complex relationship she has with her interracial parents. Brina’s father, white and American, met her mother, who is from the island of Okinawa, while he was stationed there on a US military base. The two settled in the United States, where Brina’s mother spent decades feeling lonely and out of place. Brina grew up feeling close to her father and resenting her mother. Desperate to feel wholly American, she pushed her mother away, embarrassed of her accent and overall inability to truly assimilate. In this investigation of her childhood, Brina begins to see things differently. She looks at life from her mother’s perspective, and now, she starts to understand the depth of her pain, pain she endured from leaving behind all she knew and loved, and also the pain of calling occupied land home. “Speak, Okinawa” is both a mediation on Brina’s own family as well as a powerful history of the United States occupation of Okinawa, where it maintains a massive military presence to this day. Brina’s writing is crisp, captivating and profound. She is vulnerable, raw, and relatable, and her stories will no doubt cause readers to reflect on their relationships with their own parents. As educational as it is entertaining, “Speak, Okinawa” is well worth the read. —- Molly Sprayregen can be reached at her site. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
(Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit) The Prince Edward Island government plans to set up collaborative structures for patient care that it refers to as "medical homes" and "medical neighbourhoods." In his state of the province address on Monday, Premier Dennis King said three Island communities will get the new structure this year, staffed by multi-disciplinary teams with electronic medical records a critical part of the initiative. The "home" is the family doctor, who will co-ordinate each patient's care, and the "neighbourhood" is an integrated team of other health-care providers, which could include nurse practitioners, diabetes nurse educators, and dietitians among others. The person's overall medical care will be documented and communicated through an electronic health record. Dr. Kristy Newson, president of the P.E.I. College of Family Physicians, said the family physician will be like the quarterback for your care, but an entire team of people could be working to improve your health. "The evolution of family medicine and the way we are training early career family physicians is in this team-based model, and the key is the communication between all the providers," she told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier on Wednesday. "So you have your own network of allied health-care professionals that you interact with on a daily basis. And they always have communication back to the physician as the centre of the medical home." National blueprint The P.E.I. college's site links to a College of Family Physicians of Canada document that calls the concept a blueprint "for the future of family practice in Canada." The document explains that the medical neighbourhood "includes the many realms of health care outside of primary care, such as referrals to other medical specialists, health care providers, hospitals, long-term care, and home care structures, or to broader social and community supports such as community-based mental health and addictions supports and other social services." The document goes on: "Similar networks have been formed across Canada and around the world with the goals of providing improvements to patient outcomes, safety, and experience; lower costs through reduced duplication of services; improved delivery of preventive services; and more evidence-based patient care." More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — A new report says too many federal inmates in isolation aren't getting a few hours a day out of their cells, pushing them into territory that could be described as inhuman treatment or even torture. Citing federal data, the report says nearly three in 10 prisoners in isolation units didn't have all or any of the four hours out of their cells they are supposed to get, for two weeks at a time. A further one in 10 were kept in excessive isolation for 16 days or longer, which by international laws and Canadian rulings constitutes cruel treatment. The findings suggest the federal prison system is falling well short of the guidelines the Liberals ushered in for "structured intervention units" designed to allow better access to programming and mental-health care for inmates who need to be kept apart from other prisoners. Prisoners transferred to the units are supposed to be allowed out of their cells for four hours each day, with two of those hours engaged in "meaningful human contact." The report by two criminologists says there needs to be better oversight of how the units are managed, adding the results show Canada commits "torture by another name." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(BAE Systems Inc./Lockheed Martin Canada - image credit) Canada's budget watchdog predicts construction of the navy's new frigate fleet could cost at least $77.3 billion — a number that could rise even higher if the frequently-delayed program faces any more setbacks. Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer [PBO], said the overall price tag for building 15 Canadian Surface Combatants could hit $82.1 billion in the event the program is delayed by as much as two years. The Liberal government is basing Canada's new warships on the design of the British-built Type 26 frigate. The House of Commons government operations committee asked the budget office to crunch the numbers on other designs, such as the FREMM European multi-mission frigate and the Type 31e, another British warship. The French FREMM frigate Aquitaine in an undated file photo. Those estimates show the federal government could save money by dropping the existing program and going with the other designs. It could also save money by building a fleet that includes two classes of vessel, such as the Type 26 and one of the other warships. Giroux said the idea of a mixed fleet makes sense from a fiscal point of view, but he couldn't say whether it would agree with the federal government's vision of what it wants the navy to do. "It's a good way of saving costs, if the government is interested in cutting down on its costs," Giroux said in a virtual media availability following the report's release today. Depending on the ship, the savings could be substantial. Deep cuts to construction costs possible: PBO For example, the budget office estimated that ditching the existing program and switching entirely to the Type 31 frigate would cost $27.5 billion, a projection that includes a four-year delay. The cost of acquiring an entire fleet of 15 FREMM warships is estimated at $71.1 billion — somewhat comparable to the existing program. A mixed fleet using either one of the alternate designs and the existing Type 26 also would result in savings. Giroux acknowledged that such a scenario would mean the navy would have to invest in separate infrastructure, support and supply chains — something it is reluctant to do. But it might be a good idea from a larger perspective, he added, because a mixed fleet means "you don't put all of your eggs in one basket." Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. As of last fall, the Department of National Defence was insisting it could build all 15 Type 26 frigates, under contract with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding, for up to $60 billion. Giroux said he hopes the department is correct for taxpayers' sake, but his team stands by its numbers. The department stuck by its estimate in a statement issued today — but acknowledged the difference in the cost estimates could be explained in part by the fact that PBO includes the project's associated provincial sales taxes, while the federal government does not. The statement said the decision to select the Type 26 design was made based upon the capabilities it will bring to the navy. "As the PBO noted, the other design options that they examined would have 'more limited' and 'modest' capabilities than our selected design," the statement said. "These reductions would impede the [Royal Canadian Navy's] ability to execute its assigned roles and missions to keep Canadians safe both at home and abroad." The department also categorically ruled out scrapping the program or going with another design. "This is not an option we will be pursuing," the statement said. "Selecting a new design at this stage in the project would lead to significant economic loss for Canada's marine industry and those employed in it. "It would have major operational impacts for the [Royal Canadian Navy], due to associated project delays and life-extension requirements, as well as increasing the costs to operate and maintain more than one class of ships in the future." In their response, the Conservatives focused on the delays that led to the higher cost projections. "The increased costs of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program are a direct result of Justin Trudeau's failures and the Liberals' mismanagement on this important procurement," said the statement, issued on behalf of Conservative defence critic James Bezan. "Conservatives continue to support our plan to revitalize the Royal Canadian Navy and the National Shipbuilding Strategy. But we do not support this ongoing Liberal dithering and costly delays to the CSC procurement." The latest report builds on an analysis prepared by the PBO office two years ago which projected a construction cost of $70 billion. The new numbers, Giroux said, reflect new information from the defence department about the size of the warships and the capabilities being built into them, as well as anticipated production delays. The outgoing president of Irving Shipbuilding, Kevin McCoy, told CBC News in an interview recently that the production timeline to build a Type 26 is seven-and-a-half years, which is two years longer than the five year timeline that had been built into the program. That means the navy won't see its first new frigate until 2031, on the current schedule. McCoy said in his interview that when the program started out under the previous Conservative government, the intention was to build a warship from scratch. He said it took several years and a change of government to convince Ottawa and the navy that doing so would be extraordinarily expensive — more expensive that the current program. A question of capabilities Dave Perry is vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and one of the country's leading experts on defence procurement. He said that when you look at the defence department's tax explanation and consider the delays, the projections are not too far apart. He said he believes the only fair comparison is between the existing Type 26 design and the FREMM frigate because they have similar capabilities. "To use a boxing analogy, it is in the same weight class," said Perry. He said the choice to include the less capable Type 31e in the comparison struck him as odd. The PBO report notes the difference and acknowledges that the less expensive Type 31e is designed to operate mostly in conjunction with the larger Type 26, which has air defence capabilities, among other things. A mixed fleet, he said, is something policy-makers could consider and is something Canada has had in the past — but the notion extends far beyond simple budgeting. "We would be building a different navy, a significantly less capable navy," Perry said.
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
De courtes périodes d’activité de 20 secondes répétées tout au long de la journée permettent d’améliorer ses capacités cardiovasculaires, d’être plus productif et d’avoir plus d’énergie.
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities say a fifth person in the province has died from COVID-19. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald teared up and paused for a moment during today's pandemic briefing and asked people to focus on the future. Officials are also reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and say six people are in hospital with the disease. All of the infections announced today are in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's, and where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks. Officials say the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low over the past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A quarantine screening officer in Oakville, Ont., is facing charges of sexual assault and extortion. Regional police say the accused was trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada and worked for a private security company. Police allege the 27-year-old officer told a woman at a home she was in violation of a quarantine order. They allege he demanded a fine be paid in cash, and sexually assaulted her when she refused. Police say the accused goes by the name Hemant and has been suspended. They won't identify the security company. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Shawinigan - Le maire de Shawinigan Michel Angers a confirmé mardi midi, lors de son traditionnel bilan organisé par la Chambre de commerce, qu’il serait officiellement candidat aux élections municipales l'automne prochain. Le principal intéressé avait laissé entendre en novembre dernier qu’il y avait de fortes chances qu’il soit de la course, ce qu’il a officialisé mardi midi, devant les gens d’affaires, réunis sur une plateforme de réunion virtuelle. «J'ai bien réfléchi. Je suis en forme et il y a encore beaucoup de défis, dont la pandémie, pour Shawinigan. J'ai toujours dit que quand je serai dans une zone de confort, je ferai autre chose, mais ce moment n'est pas venu», a-t-il laissé tomber. «Si je n'étais pas prêt à peser à fond sur l'accélérateur, il n'y aurait pas de demi-mesures. C'est pleinement ou ce n'est pas du tout», a indiqué le maire, qui précise avoir pris le temps des Fêtes pour réfléchir à sa position. Se gardant bien de dévoiler l'ensemble de ses idées pour un éventuel quatrième mandat, M. Angers a tout de même assuré vouloir faire de la création d'emploi, de la lutte à la pauvreté et à l'exclusion et de l'augmentation des services offerts à la population quelques unes de ses principales priorités. Malgré le fait que cette campagne se déroulera fort probablement en pandémie, celui qui est maire de Shawinigan depuis 2009 n'entend pas changer une recette gagnante. «J'ai toujours mené des campagnes toujours positives. J'aime les campagnes électorales, j'aime les élections. Bien sûr, les médias sociaux joueront un rôle majeur et important, le porte à porte sera plus difficile à faire, alors on trouvera les moyens, sûrement numériques, de rejoindre les gens. Je trouverai des moyens cet été, en fonction des décisions de la Santé publique, de rencontrer gens et je ferai les ajustements nécessaires.» Si certains croient qu'il pourrait s'agir pour lui d'un dernier mandat au municipal, Michel Angers n'entend pas se consacrer à un autre palier politique dans le futur. «Je pense sincèrement que la plus belle politique est la municipale. J'ai été sollicité à plusieurs reprises pour d'autres paliers et je n'ai pas d'intérêt pour la politique provinciale ou pour la politique fédérale. J'aime que les gens puissent nous interpeller dans la rue. Je suis le capitaine du bateau et je sens que j'ai les coudées franches pour faire du développement économique, du développement social. Cette capacité de pouvoir bouger me nourrit et m'anime. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau plus gros? Probablement pas. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau encore plus gros? Encore moins», souligne-t-il, précisant du même coup qu'il entend se consacrer au bénévolat une fois sa carrière politique derrière lui. Bilan positif, malgré la COVID-19 Lors de son allocution, le maire Angers a relevé que l'économie de sa municipalité s'en est plutôt bien tirée dans la dernière année, malgré la pandémie. Parmi les bons coups, Michel Angers a notamment noté que la Ville a soutenu 158 entreprises en 2020, pour une aide financière de 3,2 millions $, générant du coup 6,8 millions $ en investissements. La mesure a permis de créer 121 emplois et d'en maintenir 116. Le maire sortant a également rappelé que Shawinigan a fait partie d'un projet-pilote l'été dernier qui autorisait les restaurants à utiliser des espaces publics pour agrandir leurs terrasses. Monsieur Angers a aussi souligné la vitalité des secteurs industriels et immobilier, deux domaines en forte expansion à la ville. Ce dernier mise beaucoup sur la Zone d'innovation, ce concept du gouvernement du Québec qui vise à augmenter la commercialisation des innovations, les exportations, les investissements locaux et étrangers et la productivité des entreprises. Le premier magistrat s'est aussi fait une fierté de souligner la croissance démographique de Shawinigan qui, en cinq ans, a connu une croissance de 1,7% de sa population, alors que tous les indicateurs prévoyaient une baisse nette à cet égard sur la période indiquée. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Long-term plans for industrial development between Sexsmith and the County of Grande Prairie may change slightly due to public feedback. Sexsmith council voted to make some changes to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) during its meeting last week. The changes would shift planned development to the northeast of current town boundaries south to the area closer to Viterra, said mayor Kate Potter. “We were really appreciative of the residents who said, ‘These are some concerns we see,’ and I think those were addressed,” Potter said. Potter noted the IDP is a long-term plan for a period of perhaps 50 to 100 years, and no development is imminent. Eighteen people attended two sessions in November to review the draft IDP and several questioned why certain lands were designated for industrial growth, said Rachel Wueschner, Sexsmith’s chief administrative officer. The area east and northeast of town boundaries was designated for industrial development under the draft IDP. Attendees suggested development be shifted closer to the Emerson Trail due to existing infrastructure there, including a high-grade road. Potter said while the eastern area may not currently have a through road, land access may be established over a long-term period. Attendees further suggested the current plans may negatively impact the landscape and agricultural lifestyle east of town. Potter said the land isn’t being re-designated at this time. Council did support moving some planned development, from two quarter-sections on the northeast of town borders to the Viterra area, partly because the northern area contains wetlands, Potter said. In accordance with feedback, council also voted to recognize a link between range roads 61 and 63 as a priority road. Range Road 63 runs west of Sexsmith and is entirely in the county, and improvements could make it easier for large trucks to transfer from Range Road 61 (a truck route) to 63, she said. The designation of a priority road means the county and town will communicate with each other regarding future plans for road improvements, she said. Following council’s changes, Potter said the matter will go back to negotiations between the town and county. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
WASHINGTON — The spirit of cross-border co-operation is lingering as Canada's environment minister talks climate change priorities with presidential envoy John Kerry. Jonathan Wilkinson says he expects Canada and the United States to push each other to reach more ambitious climate targets as they work together over the next few months. Today's conversation follows a virtual meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. The two leaders vowed to move "in lockstep" in a shared North American effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Biden says their overall shared goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Wilkinson says Canada hopes to set a new target for emissions cuts by 2030 — somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent of 2005 levels — before Biden's April 22 climate summit. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, especially in Metro Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t announce new measures to curb the spread of the virus in a briefing today. Henry urged British Columbians to continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask in public spaces and not socialize outside their households — public health orders that have been in place for nearly five months. “It is concerning that we’re seeing an increase in our per-cent positivity and in our weekly average, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” she said. “We know what to do to manage.” The province need only stay the course to lower transmission as it continues to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable to serious illness, she said. But recent data shows the number of people infected is beginning to climb again after a slow decline. Earlier this month, the province was reporting about 450 new COVID-19 cases each day. On Thursday, the province reported 617 new cases. Today, Henry said 559 new cases had been identified. And the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has surpassed 500 for the first time since early January. Recent polling also suggests British Columbians are less likely to consistently follow COVID-19 guidelines than people in other provinces. Concerns have also increased after seven schools reported students and staff had been exposed to COVID-19 variants that are believed to be more easily transmitted and potentially more likely to cause serious illness. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside acknowledged the issue in a briefing Monday. “I can appreciate the anxiety,” she said. But she added that testing has shown the variants are not being spread within schools. Henry said the province is testing all positive cases for evidence of a variant, and genomic sequencing has been ramped up to confirm the extent of variants in the community. “We are paying extra attention, so we better understand how and where these are spreading,” she said. “We’re learning about the impacts of these variants of concern,” Henry said. “But we know what we have to do to manage it.” Henry said there are signs the province’s vaccination effort has saved lives, particularly in long-term care. More than 220,000 people have been vaccinated, and at least 55,057 of those have had two doses. The province reported one death due to COVID-19 today, an individual in assisted living. There have been no new cases or deaths in long-term care in the last 24 hours, and 92 per cent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, Henry said. Outbreaks in long-term care have also dropped from almost 60 in December to 12. There are five outbreaks in assisted living facilities. On Monday the province will announce the plan for vaccinating seniors over 80 living in the community, Henry said, which will begin shortly. “We are in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” she said. Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
(CBC - image credit) A report from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says that rural areas of the province are at greater risk of economic decline because of COVID-19 19 and Charlotte County may be most vulnerable. The group says the county, which includes St. Stephen, Saint Andrews and St. George, is at a high risk on its Industry Vulnerability Index, with 42.6 per cent of the labour force working in industries vulnerable to COVID-19. This compares to 28 per cent for the province as a whole. Charlotte County is the only county listed as high risk in the province. Patrick Brannon, the report's lead author, said a county's vulnerability is determined based on the vulnerability of industries in the county and the county's reliance on those industries. Highly vulnerable industries would include fishing, agriculture and tourism. "They do have lots of aquaculture, fish processing and so in terms of New Brunswick counties, it's the highest and the most vulnerable to potential impacts from COVID," said Brannon. The report also explores other areas of COVID-19 vulnerability. The county's low median income means the labour force vulnerability is rated as medium, and the large number of seniors means the health vulnerability is rated as medium. Long term economic vulnerability is high. "The income and education levels are relatively low," said Brannon. "The unemployment is high at the moment, and the population isn't growing very much .. There's not a lot of immigration going into Charlotte County and the natural rate of population births/deaths is negative. The county is also losing some population to other parts of New Brunswick." Brannon said the report shows that any COVID-19 economic recovery plan policymakers come up with can't just be a one size fits all one. "They need to understand those realities that not every county and every part of New Brunswick is going to be the same," said Brannon. "The strategies to help those economies have to be a little bit different based on that structure." The strongest county in the province is Sunbury County, with a low industry vulnerability, labour force vulnerability and health vulnerability indexes.
(Lea Storry/Twitter - image credit) If this week's big flash in the early morning sky has you itching to hunt for meteorites, you're not alone. But for Alberta's scientific community, space detritus has more value than being a stellar addition to your rock collection. At the University of Alberta, for example, researchers are using bits of space debris to figure out how to eventually handle parcels arriving on Earth from far, far away. "We're trying to advance curation techniques — that is, how do we handle this extra terrestrial material without contaminating it by the terrestrial environment," Patrick Hill, a planetary geologist at the U of A, told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Wednesday. "[That will] prepare us for sample-return missions such as Perseverence on Mars or Hayabusa 2 or OSIRIS-REx. And so that's our main interest. But meteorites provide us with a wealth of information about the history of the solar system and the geology of the solar system." Researchers are now checking images collected on an array of specialized cameras that document the night sky, looking for clues about the location of the fireball, which was reportedly seen in places like Jasper, Calgary and Saskatchewan. Those images will also offer insight into whether any fragments of the meteor survived the trip through the atmosphere to land on the ground, Hill said. "As long as it's captured by two or more of our cameras — because we know the GPS location of those cameras and the orientation in the night sky, we can, in essence, triangulate and the hone in on where this happened in Alberta," he said. Following the brilliant streak, captured on umpteen dashboard and doorbell cameras, the meteor enters what scientists call "the dark flight" of its freefall to the Earth's surface. Using speed and altitude data from the cameras, scientists will try to figure out what might have made it to the ground. "There's still some uncertainties in our models about powering down the exact location of where this happened and if any debris was formed. But if so, yes, it most likely would have fallen in Alberta," Hill added. For those who go hunting, Hill said a meteorite will be dark black or brown, with an eggshell-like outer layer, created during its fall through the sky. A 13-kilogram meteorite found in 2009 in Buzzard Coulee, Sask., approximately 40 kilometres from Lloydminster, Alta. The space rock was among 1,000 pieces collected from the Buzzard Coulee meteorite which fell Nov. 20, 2008, making it a Canadian record for number of fragments recovered from a single fall. Because nearly all meteorites contain iron, nickel or other metals, they will be fairly heavy for their size — and they should be magnetic, he said. As for size, Hill said it could vary between a couple of centimetres to a metre or more. A meteorite that falls on private property belongs to the landowner, while space debris that ends up on roads or public land falls under the finders-keepers principle, Hill said. But if you really want to know what you've found, you'll need to call in the experts. The U of A science faculty has a website titled Meteorites (and meteowrongs) to help guide people through the process. "Usually we work with the finder because the value of these meteorites comes from the classification," he said. "For example, they could be much more valuable, like lunar meteorites or Martian meteorites, where something hit Mars or the moon and that debris has been sent to Earth."
(epridnia - stock.adobe.com - image credit) Some New Brunswick workers will see a slight bump in their paycheques come spring. The minimum wage is set to increase by five cents on April 1, bringing it up to $11.75 an hour from $11.70. The five-cent increase was arrived at because the minimum wage in New Brunswick is indexed to the province's consumer price index, which saw a 0.22 per cent increase last year. In a statement posted to the province's website, Labour Minister Trevor Holder said tying the minimum wage to the consumer price index protects "the purchasing power of employees" while also ensuring "predictability for businesses." "We are mindful of the financial realities faced by both employees and employers, particularly as we endure the COVID-19 pandemic." The increase is relatively small compared with recent increases. In 2020 the minimum wage rose by 20 cents in 2019, by 25 cents in 2018 and by 35 cents in 2017. The province estimates that 20,000 workers in New Brunswick make minimum wage. The province has the second-lowest minimum wage in the country. Saskatchewan has the lowest at $11.45, and Nunavut has the highest at $16. The other three Atlantic provinces are also raising their minimum wages later this year, but they're already higher than New Brunswick's will be after the April increase. In Nova Scotia, the minimum wage is now $12.55, in P.E.I. it's $12.85, and in Newfoundland and Labrador it's $12.15.