Canada's ambassador to the United States says there's no chance of President Joe Biden walking back his decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline — so she's turning her attention to other pressing bilateral issues. "It's obviously very disappointing for Albertans and people in Saskatchewan who are already in a difficult situation," Kirsten Hillman said in an interview airing Saturday on CBC's The House. "But I think that we need to now focus on moving forward with this administration, and there are so many ways in which we are going to be aligned with them to our mutual interest that I'm eager to to get going on that." Biden vowed during last year's presidential campaign to rescind Donald Trump's permit for Keystone XL, which would have linked Alberta's oilsands with refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. And he did, making it one of the first executive orders he issued within hours of taking office on Wednesday. While the move was applauded by progressives in his Democratic Party and in Canada, it struck a heavy blow in Alberta. TC energy, the company building the pipeline, halted construction and laid off a thousand workers. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney lashed out this week at both Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accusing the federal government of abandoning the oil and gas sector. He released a letter to Trudeau on Friday calling on the federal government to retaliate by imposing economic sanctions on the United States or by demanding compensation for TC Energy and his government — which invested billions of provincial taxpayers' dollars into the project. The premier even took his case to Fox News on Friday. "It's very frustrating that one of the first acts of the new president was, I think, to disrespect America's closest friend and ally, Canada, and to kill good-paying union jobs on both sides of the border and ultimately to make the United States more dependent on foreign oil imports from OPEC dictatorships," Kenney told the Fox audience. "We don't understand it." Hillman didn't comment directly on Kenney's demands, insisting instead that Canada remains the "best partner" for helping Americans meet their energy needs. "But we have to recognize that the Biden administration has put fighting climate change at the centre of their agenda," she said. "Not only their domestic agenda but their international agenda." Goodbye, Keystone — hello 'Buy American' Keystone's abrupt death isn't the only recent challenge to a Canada-U.S. relationship that's been severely tested over the past four years by Donald Trump. Many Canadians see Biden as not only a more reliable partner but as a friend to this country. Some of his policies suggest otherwise. Hillman said she's already spoken to the White House about another Biden campaign promise — this one to restore "Buy American" requirements for major government contracts, a move that could freeze Canadian companies out of U.S. government work. "Less than an hour after the end of the inauguration ceremony, we were in touch with top-level advisers in the White House and discussed many things," she said. "Among them was Buy America." Biden is proposing a massive, $400 billion infrastructure program that would award contracts exclusively to U.S. companies. As big as that program is, it will be dwarfed by another Biden proposal — to invest $2 trillion in clean technologies and infrastructure. Hillman said such protectionist measures are not new. In the past, Congress has imposed restrictions to limit or exclude foreign companies from bidding on infrastructure projects, or from supplying U.S. companies that do. Canada has successfully negotiated exemptions to such policies before — most recently through the 2010 Canada-U.S. Agreement on Government Procurement, which gave companies in this country access to stimulus projects funded under the U.S. Recovery Act. No link between Keystone and carve-out, says Hillman Hillman was asked in The House interview if the federal government's muted response to the Keystone decision is tied to its hopes for getting a carve-out for Canadian businesses under Biden's Buy American policy. She said there's no connection. "Our job here is to work with the administration to demonstrate to them, factually, that as they pursue their domestic goals, the highly integrated supply chains that we have with the United States are essential to protect and preserve for their economic recovery objectives," she said. "I'm optimistic that we are going to be able to have meaningful conversations with them around how they can meet their policy objectives while also being sure that we protect our mutually supportive supply chains." Hillman said she sees other opportunities for cross-border cooperation in the Biden administration's decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord and the president's vow to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada's hopes for a green tech boom Biden has nominated former secretary of state John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for the climate — a new cabinet-level position intended to underscore Biden's personal commitment to addressing climate change. "That provides a lot of opportunities for green tech, for Canadian clean energy, for working together on emission standards, for innovation in our automotive industry," Hillman said. The Trudeau government is trying to position Canada as a global leader in green technology fields. It introduced legislation requiring Canada to become a net-zero emitter by mid century and last month unveiled this country's first national strategy to develop hydrogen as a fuel source. That's the long game, of course. For now, the Trudeau government must also deal with the challenge here at home: preventing the fate of Keystone XL from becoming the dominant issue in Canada-U.S. relations that it was the last time a Democrat was in the Oval Office — and Joe Biden was his vice president.
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Recent developments: Ottawa reported 92 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Saturday. What's the latest? Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience says that Health Canada has approved its rapid COVID-19 test for sale, eight months after restricting it to research use only due to a problem with the swabs. Ottawa's health officials reported 92 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, as well as three more deaths. The city's death toll now sits at 419. Across the river in western Quebec, 22 new cases were confirmed, along with two more deaths. As COVID-19 vaccinations slowly roll out across Canada, some are asking whether they should be mandatory for people working in health care, long-term care and retirement home settings. Ottawa tennis player Gaby Dabrowski, ranked 10th in the world in women's doubles, is in strict quarantine at the Australian Open after she was deemed to have come in close contact with several positive cases on a chartered flight. She discussed her 14-day quarantine with CBC. How many cases are there? As of Saturday, 12,853 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 988 known active cases, 11,446 resolved cases and 419 deaths from COVID-19. Public health officials have reported nearly 23,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 20,400 resolved cases. One hundred and twelve people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 149 people have died in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Ontario says people must only leave home when it's essential to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Places such as Kingston have started to take patients from other regions struggling with hospital capacity. People who leave home for non-essential reasons can now be fined, though police won't be stopping people just for being outside. Travel within Ontario is not recommended. Residents who leave the province should isolate for 14 days upon returning. Private indoor gatherings are not allowed, while outdoor gatherings are capped at five. It's strongly recommended people stick to their own households and socializing is not considered essential. People who live alone are still allowed to interact with one other household. Schools can reopen to general in-person learning Monday in the areas of eastern Ontario with lower COVID-19 levels — not in Ottawa nor communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. There is no return date for them. Child-care centres remain open. Outdoor recreation venues remain open. In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery. The lockdown rules are in place until at least Feb. 11. Health officials say there are signs they have slowed COVID-19's spread and there's been some talk about what it will take to lift them. In western Quebec, residents are also being asked to stay home unless it's essential and not see anyone they don't live with to ease the "very critical" load on hospitals and avoid more delayed surgeries. An exception for people living alone allows them to exclusively visit one other home. Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is now in effect, with fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules. The province has shut down non-essential businesses, but has brought students back to classrooms. Like in Ontario, travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged. Those rules are in place until Feb. 8. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs, sneezes, or breathes onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms. This means it's important to take precautions like staying home while symptomatic, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with — even with a mask on. Masks, preferably with three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Ontario and Quebec. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands. Anyone returning to Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days. Air travellers have to show recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Symptoms and vaccines COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children can develop a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. COVID-19 vaccines have been given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in most of the region. Renfrew County expects its first doses in early February. Local health units have said they've given more than 29,800 doses, including about 22,000 in Ottawa and more than 7,300 in western Quebec. Ontario wants every long-term care resident and worker to have at least one shot by Feb. 15. That's already happened in Ottawa and across Quebec. That, and Pfizer temporarily slowing its vaccine production to expand its factory, means some areas can't guarantee people will get a second dose three weeks after the first. It may take four to six weeks. Ontario's campaign is still expected to expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in March or April, with vaccines widely available to the public in August. Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by August. Quebec is also giving a single dose to as many people as possible, starting with people in care homes and health-care workers, then remote communities, then older adults and essential workers and finally the general public. It said before Pfizer's announcement people will get their second dose within 90 days. Where to get tested In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. Ottawa has 10 permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester. Its Alexandria and Casselman sites will reopen Monday. People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile clinic. Kingston's main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee. Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site. There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge and Petite-Nation. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: Akwesasne has had more than 130 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and five deaths. More than 240 people have tested positive across the community. Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and it has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Kitigan Zibi logged its first case in mid-December and has had a total of 18. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its only confirmed case in November. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. There are 737,407 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 737,407 confirmed cases (65,750 active, 652,829 resolved, 18,828 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 5,957 new cases Friday from 101,130 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 174.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41,703 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,958. There were 206 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,100 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 157. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 50.09 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,996,450 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (10 active, 384 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Friday from 146 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.68 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 77,472 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (seven active, 103 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Friday from 418 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,407 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,570 confirmed cases (22 active, 1,483 resolved, 65 deaths). There were five new cases Friday from 721 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.69 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 200,424 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,087 confirmed cases (332 active, 742 resolved, 13 deaths). There were 30 new cases Friday from 1,031 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 42.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 203 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 29. There were zero new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 133,199 tests completed. _ Quebec: 250,491 confirmed cases (17,763 active, 223,367 resolved, 9,361 deaths). There were 1,631 new cases Friday from 8,857 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 18 per cent. The rate of active cases is 209.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,746 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,678. There were 88 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 423 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 60. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.71 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 110.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed. _ Ontario: 250,226 confirmed cases (25,263 active, 219,262 resolved, 5,701 deaths). There were 2,662 new cases Friday from 69,403 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 173.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,918 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,703. There were 87 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 412 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 59. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.14 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,895,862 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 28,260 confirmed cases (3,261 active, 24,204 resolved, 795 deaths). There were 171 new cases Friday from 1,998 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 238.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,118 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 160. There were two new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 36 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 448,638 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 21,643 confirmed cases (3,196 active, 18,200 resolved, 247 deaths). There were 305 new cases Friday from 1,326 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 272.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,928 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 275. There were eight new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.45 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 21.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 327,151 tests completed. _ Alberta: 119,757 confirmed cases (9,987 active, 108,258 resolved, 1,512 deaths). There were 643 new cases Friday from 12,969 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 228.47 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,387 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 627. There were 12 new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 110 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 34.59 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 63,484 confirmed cases (5,901 active, 56,455 resolved, 1,128 deaths). There were 508 new cases Friday from 4,088 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 116.36 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,367 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 481. There were nine new reported deaths Friday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Friday from six completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,216 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (seven active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Friday from 105 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 267 confirmed cases (one active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Friday from 62 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,241 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
HONG KONG — Thousands of Hong Kong residents were locked down in their homes Saturday in an unprecedented move to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the city. Authorities said in a statement that an area comprising 16 buildings in the city's Yau Tsim Mong district would be locked down until all residents were tested. Residents would not be allowed to leave their homes until they received their test results to prevent cross-infection. “Persons subject to compulsory testing are required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the area have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained,” the government statement said. The restrictions, which were announced at 4 a.m. in Hong Kong, were expected to end within 48 hours, the government said. Hong Kong has been grappling to contain a fresh wave of the coronavirus since November. Over 4,300 cases have been recorded in the last two months, making up nearly 40% of the city’s total. Coronavirus cases in Yau Tsim Mong district represent about half of infections in the past week. Approximately 3,000 people in Yau Tsim Mong had taken tests for coronavirus thus far, according to the Hong Kong government, joining the thousands of others around the crowded city of 7.5 million who have been tested in recent days. Police guarded access points to the working-class neighbourhood of old buildings and subdivided flats and arrested a 47-year-old man after he allegedly attacked an officer. The man had reportedly been told he would have to be tested after coming into the restricted area and would not be allowed to leave until he could show a negative test result. Sewage testing in the area picked up more concentrated traces of the virus, prompting concerns that poorly built plumbing systems and a lack of ventilation in subdivided units may present a possible path for the virus to spread. Hong Kong has previously avoided lockdowns in the city during the pandemic, with leader Carrie Lam stating in July last year that authorities will avoid taking such “extreme measures” unless it had no other choice. The government appealed to employers to exercise discretion and avoid docking the salary of employees who have been affected by the new restrictions and may not be able to go to work. Hong Kong has seen a total of 9,929 infections in the city, with 168 deaths recorded as of Friday. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
The new president of the United States described his inauguration on Wednesday as a moment to move forward. But moving forward properly requires a reckoning with the past. In Joe Biden's case, that reckoning came for the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's fate seemed to be sealed years ago, but it haunts us still. And now, with strident words from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney about a trade war, it could haunt Canadian politics indefinitely. Or, Canadian leaders could decide that it's time for them to move forward, too. The executive order that rescinded Keystone XL's permit on Wednesday states that "the United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway." If that sounds familiar, it's because President Barack Obama said almost the same thing when he blocked Keystone in November 2015. "America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," Obama said. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership." John Kerry — secretary of state in 2015 and now Biden's climate envoy — put an even finer point on the significance of Keystone in his own statement at the time. "The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves," he said. A pipeline that became a referendum In his remarks, Obama argued that the practical value of the pipeline had been wildly overstated — by both sides. Keystone XL, he said, would be neither "a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others." But the economic arguments in favour of the pipeline could not overcome the profound symbolic value assigned to it by environmental groups and climate-focused voters. On its own, Keystone wouldn't spell the difference between a green future and a "climate disaster." But the pipeline became a referendum on the U.S. government's commitment to combating climate change — a tangible thing on which American activists could focus their energies. Trump, who actively sought to undermine attempts to fight climate change, revived the project. But the political frame that was placed around Keystone XL in 2015 never went away, while legal challenges to the project continued. By the fall of 2019, most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidency had pledged to rescind Trump's order on their first day in office. Last May, Biden insisted that he would kill the pipeline. After Biden's victory in the presidential election, the Eurasia Group said that rescinding the permit was a "table stake" for the Democratic president and that backing away would risk "raising the ire of activists, their committed followers, and — importantly — the left wing of the Democratic party in Congress." "Rescinding KXL would be one area the Biden administration could act [on] and deliver a win to a key political constituency with no congressional interference," the global consulting firm said. Bill McKibben, one of the activists who led the campaign against Keystone, wrote in the New Yorker on Thursday that he was grateful for Biden's decision and never doubted that the new president would follow through. "Even today," he wrote, "Keystone is far too closely identified with climate carelessness for a Democratic president to be able to waver." So the second death of Keystone shouldn't have surprised anyone. It might have seemed rude of Biden to not wait a day or two to allow Canadian officials to make a fuller presentation on the pipeline's behalf, but that only would have delayed the inevitable. The lingering costs of climate inaction Perhaps Biden thought he was doing his neighbours a favour by ripping the Band-Aid off quickly. What might have happened to Keystone XL had Canada and the United States taken more aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading up to Obama's decision? It's an intriguing hypothetical. Keystone may have paid the price ultimately for decades of global inaction on climate change. In the here and now, any debate about Keystone will have to consider whether its additional capacity is even needed at this point. In the meantime, Premier Kenney wants Justin Trudeau's government to impose trade sanctions on the United States if Biden refuses to revisit his decision. Stephen Harper could be ungracious in his defence of Keystone — he famously said that approving it was a "no brainer" — but his government doesn't seem to have ever publicly threatened to impose sanctions if Obama rejected it. Nor does it appear anyone called for sanctions when Obama officially killed the project shortly after the Trudeau government came to office. Sanctions out of spite? This idea of reprisals seems to have originated recently with Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, who also conceded that imposing tariffs could be akin to "cutting off our own nose to spite our face." Notably, Erin O'Toole's federal Conservatives have not joined the premier in calling for sanctions. Kenney — whose government is polling poorly and whose party is being out-fundraised by the opposition — is spoiling for a fight. He has seized on the fact that federal officials did not respond to Biden's decision in particularly strong terms — and the Liberals may not have struck the right tone for those listening in the Prairies. WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa 'folded' on Keystone XL But before launching a trade war against this country's closest ally and its new leader, one should consider the potential results and opportunity costs. Would a trade war convince President Biden to brave the wrath of his supporters and reverse a campaign promise? Or would a renewed fight over Keystone XL simply consume political and diplomatic capital that could be put toward other things? Kenney has said sanctions might discourage the Biden administration from intervening against two other contested pipelines that originate in Alberta — Line 5 and Line 3. Writing in the New Yorker, McKibben did identify Line 3 as a target. But there's also a decent chance that sanctions would only inflame existing tensions around those projects. Threats and futility In May, 2015 — nearly six years ago — former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson wrote that it was time for the Canada-U.S. relationship to move on from Keystone XL. Robertson argued that there were too many other important things to talk about. Six years later, that list of important things includes fostering collaboration on clean energy, fending off 'Buy American' policies and combating China's aggression. Still, Kenney warned that if the Trudeau government does not do more to defend Keystone, "that will only force us to go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation." But if the battle for Keystone was effectively lost more than five years ago, should the federal government's willingness to keep fighting it have any bearing on Alberta's relationship with the rest of the country? The death of Keystone XL will have a real impact on those Albertans whose jobs depended on it. There are real anxieties and questions that need to be addressed, not least by the federal government. But the question now is whether fighting over Keystone will do anything to address those concerns — or whether it's time to put that political energy toward other purposes.
Fifteen people — including patient attendants, kitchen staff, maintenance workers and cleaners — have packed their bags and said goodbye to partners, parents and children to move into the Manoir Stanstead seniors' home where they work. Also taking up residence is a bulldog-Shih Tzu mix named Snow White. Last spring, staff did the same thing for a month and managed to keep COVID-19 at bay while maintaining a normal life for the residents. This time around, the decision came after the province announced seniors' homes should serve meals in individual rooms instead of the dining hall. "We just don't think that's human," said Manoir Stanstead assistant director and patient attendant Donna Rolfe. "By us locking in, they can go to the dining room and eat and socialize, which is very important for them." Rolfe says the residence is like "one big family," and forming a communal bubble means they can all enjoy bingo, movie nights, hockey games on TV and more socializing. However, staff members are still wearing masks and keeping a two-metre distance from residents, whenever possible. "They're doing fine," Rolfe said. "They're happy with the dog, of course, but they're also happy we've moved in and they feel loved." The move meant big sacrifices for some people, including patient attendant Angèle Trudel, who has a partner and five children at home. But Trudel said her family was understanding and supported her decision. "We do some FaceTime," she said. "It's not the same as being all together but it's good." And Trudel brought Snow White with her, who enjoys rides around the home on seniors' walkers. Rolfe said the staff and their families understand the importance of what they're doing by moving into the residence. She said thankfully there aren't many COVID-19 cases in Stanstead but in the small town, even one case in the residence could be disastrous. "We got all the support from the families that they will not come in while we're doing this," she said. "They'll FaceTime or call, but they won't come in. So this way we're in our own little bubble and the residents can get out of their rooms, not just four walls." It's the second time the staff at Manoir Stanstead has moved in. "We learned a lot from the last time, so it's going really well this time," Rolfe said. She said she's trying to keep life and routine as normal as possible for the residents and staff, including giving employees privacy in their own rooms when they're off the clock. Rolfe says the staff will move out Feb. 8, regardless of whether the province extends its current restrictions. By Jan. 23, all of the patient attendants at Manoir Stanstead will have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Top-seeded tennis stars under strict lockdown at Melbourne's Grand Hotel are smashing balls against the closed curtains of their rooms to maintain their form for the upcoming Australian Open. Players and support staff whose chartered flight landed in Australia last week immediately began two weeks of quarantine to limit the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the year's first Grand Slam tournament, which runs Feb. 8-21. Some are allowed to leave their hotel for limited training, but 72 players are facing stricter quarantine measures after six people on those chartered flights tested positive for COVID-19. Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski, ranked 10th in the world in women's doubles, is in Melbourne. She spoke to CBC's Ottawa Morning. The conversation has been edited for length. What type of quarantine are you under? Unfortunately, I was deemed a close contact as three people tested positive on my flight, so I'm in full isolation where I am not permitted to leave my room for 14 days. On flights where there were no positive cases, players and their teams are allowed to train for about four hours a day, plus one hour of allotted time for nutrition at the venue. So a total of five hours. How did you get the news, and how did you react to it? I got the news via email. For about five minutes I had a full-on mental breakdown, but after talking to my parents and my doubles partner and a couple friends, I calmed down and put things in perspective. The first day was definitely a challenge. I was trying to figure out how to train in the room, and what Tennis Australia and the government would allow us to have in our rooms to help, equipment-wise. It was a whirlwind that first day. We've seen video of the American Coco Gauff slamming tennis balls against curtains in her hotel room to practise. To what extent are you practising? I don't really want to do that. I'm still in a hotel, it's not my property, I'm not going to risk breaking anything. I'm not really sure exactly how much hitting the ball against a mattress or a window can really help you, but sometimes it's just believing something will help, like a placebo effect. I had a stationary bike, but it was a little bit broken and I couldn't fix it, so I'm going to get another bike. They've graciously given us some weights. I've got a kettlebell and some dumbbells to keep up with strength training. You mentioned that players on unaffected flights are allowed to leave their rooms for several hours a day to practise on the tournament grounds. Do you feel that gives them an unfair advantage? Of course they have an advantage, but at the same time, I would not subject anyone else to this. I know it's been extremely tough for Australians because they've been through a very, very tough lockdown for many months. Now things are open and COVID is pretty much non-existent here. I fully respect how they've handled the pandemic. I just hope that everybody can come out of it injury-free, and I'm sure there'll be some adjustments made for us to have priority physio and court time once we get out of it. Since discovering that you were a close contact on the charter flight, have you had another COVID test? Yes. Every day. And every day, the results have been negative. Some of the players have likened the conditions of their hotel quarantine as being like jail, but with Wi-Fi. Australians have been very critical of that reaction. What do you think? I have a huge amount of respect for what Australians have gone through to be living COVID-free right now. So on one hand, I agree with them, and making a comment like that seems quite insensitive. On the flip side, we've technically been working since age seven and eight, dedicating our entire lives to our craft. We were invited to come here. Yes, there were exceptions made for us, but I think most people can agree that the Australian Open and tennis tournaments in general are a huge benefit to the local, national and international tennis community. I won't be making any comments about the conditions, because while they are difficult, there are absolutely worse things that are going on in the world. Have you been vaccinated yet for COVID-19? No. Do you think that athletes should be fast-tracked for vaccinations? That's a hard question. I feel like there are other people that should get vaccinated ahead of us, but if more vaccines were available, then that could be something that's looked at. I've had a couple of people tell me that maybe I should hold off on getting vaccinated even if it is available, just to see how people react. What is your strategy for the next 14 days of quarantine? I'm catching up on some shows and some books that I didn't have time to get to during my preparations before heading over here. I've also got some school courses that I've just started. We've got a bunch of player calls to keep us occupied. There's no real reason to be bored. Dabrowski will team up with Croatia's Mate Pavic in mixed doubles and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in women's doubles.
The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie issued a decree concerning Ontario’s state of emergency last week, detailing how the Catholic church is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Bishop Thomas Dowd consulted with three regional public health agencies as well as the church’s College of Consultors, chairs of the diocese’s pastoral regions, and bishops of neighbouring dioceses before writing the decree. Mass services in all churches of the diocese are closed to the public until Feb. 11, but priests are encouraged to celebrate mass for broadcast from within their church, whether online or via FM radio. “I think it’s important for people to see that the building may be closed, but the church is still open. The community is still open, and we are still here to serve,” said Dowd. Many priests in the diocese have already developed online services, he added, and if a church has an FM broadcast system, parishioners are allowed to attend mass from their cars in the parking lot. “It’s a creative way for people to come together. They remain in their cars, and have no contact with each other, so there’s no danger of an infectious event,” he said. “That would allow the services in the church, such as the priest’s sermon, and people would be able to be there and tune in.” Priests who are broadcasting services, whether online or over radio, may be assisted by a small team of people in the organization of the mass as long as the total number of people remains below ten and all public health protocols are respected. All pastors of parishes still have an obligation to celebrate pro populo mass on Sunday. “For all other masses with a scheduled mass intention, the person who requested the mass should be contacted to see if they would prefer to reschedule the mass for that intention,” said the decree. “If the person cannot be contacted or they wish to continue to have it on that day (for example, because it is a special anniversary of the death of a loved one) the mass should still be celebrated, albeit privately.” Other worship services, like celebrations of baptism, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, blessings and funeral services, are still permitted provided that the limit of ten people is respected along with other health protocols. “Just as there are some exceptions to the law, for us, there are also exceptional circumstances. If someone is ill, for example, and they would like to receive the anointing or what some call last rights, that strikes me as very important,” said Dowd. “By nature, some of the services we’re allowed to do, don’t gather big groups of people, and it is possible to do them in a limited number.” Dowd also included in the decree that the “pastoral care of the people of our diocese must continue despite the stay-at-home order.” Parishes are “exhorted” to continue providing pastoral counselling, catechism, times of fellowship and faith sharing, pastoral visits and outreach, and opportunities to pray together. It’s also important for parishes to “examine their means of communicating with their parishioners (phone lists, email lists, websites) and make sure they are maintained and efficient. “This is not just about providing religious rites. It’s about being in contact and checking on people, paying attention when people are suffering or in particular need,” said Dowd. “There’s physical health – that is protecting ourselves from the virus. There’s mental and emotional health – that’s our connection with people. And there’s our spiritual health. “You know, a lot of people are asking themselves the big questions – like what is the meaning of life and all of this? I don’t expect public health authorities to tackle that one. That’s us.” Faith, he added, is especially important during unprecedented times like these. “I don’t want us to say, oh, we’re closed, so let’s just kind of give up. No – we have to keep up the fight. We’ve got to beat this thing,” he said. “In the future, I hope to write a pastoral letter for our people and make some suggestions about how we can be a part of the solution. How can we continue, not just to practise our faith for ourselves, but to be protagonists in beating this virus?” Dowd, who recently took over the role of Bishop in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, moved to Northern Ontario from Montreal. He served as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal from 2011-2020. While he was there, he took part in creating an online outreach program to help those struggling with mental health questions in the context of the pandemic, and he hopes to continue working to support parishioners in Northern Ontario. He was sit in on a conference call with religious leaders across Canada and federal public health authorities as part of that work. “Speaking personally, I hate this virus. One of my best friends, his father died of COVID-19. I had to do the saddest funeral because almost nobody could be there. This was early on in the pandemic,” he said. “Another one of my friends, her 30-year-old brother, wound up intubated in the hospital for weeks. It’s not just older people – anybody can catch it. Thankfully, he’s better but he’s still suffering health problems. My own brother died last summer, and we had to have a drive-through service.” He understands how tough lockdowns can be, but he also understands the dangers of the virus. “This decree is really our attempt to be good citizens and to respond to the needs of our time. I think this is what Jesus would want us to do.” Instructions on the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday are forthcoming. The decree took effect as of Jan. 16, 2021. Anyone with questions about its implementation is encouraged to contact the Chancellor of the diocese, Father Jean Vézina. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Ten months into the coronavirus pandemic, Toronto teen Serena Sri is sorely missing all the "amazing" things about adolescent life, from spirit days, intramural sports and learning in-person at her high school in the city's west end to hanging out with friends and attending her beloved hip-hop dance class. "I'm really a social person and I love being around people. With the pandemic, we can't do that," she said. "I kind of feel more alone and I kind of... shut down in a sense. And I lose my motivation to do anything, even simple things in my daily life." The pandemic has also had a negative effect on Edmonton student Quinncy Raven-Jackson, who says a more solitary life under COVID-19 restrictions has exacerbated the anxiety disorder he's been dealing with. "I have difficulty with social interaction sometimes, so not seeing people, I sometimes forget how much these people care about me and stuff like that. So it was very lonely," said the 19-year-old University of Alberta freshman. "I have a good relationship with both my parents and a great therapist, so I had some safe adults to speak to, fortunately. But even when you have those kinds of help, it doesn't always really resonate." The COVID-19 pandemic has left many teens and young Canadians feeling disconnected, hopeless and unmotivated to navigate school and daily life — and this sentiment is causing concern for parents and experts alike. "Everyone's normal has now changed into something completely different from what it was 10 months ago," said Sadia Fazelyar, a post-secondary student and youth mental health advocate for Jack.org, a national charity focused on young Canadians. "The biggest thing I hear from youth is it's this whole new thing that nobody really knows how to navigate properly." Many young people aren't comfortable speaking up about difficulties, feelings or mental health struggles they're facing, so they look to sports, the arts, clubs or social groups as a form of support, Fazelyar says. "Now it's all been taken away from them and it really hits them hard." WATCH | What would young Canadians tell their pre-pandemic selves? Seeing classmates, friends or family through a screen, even regularly, doesn't offer the same opportunity for connection, added the 21-year-old Ryerson University student. "Youth feel alone. And it's kind of hard to have that conversation or even to bring it up … because it feels like they shouldn't be alone. They get to talk to their classmates five days a week on Zoom in the classroom. They can call their friends. They get to be with their family, but it's just not the same." Concern about the mental well-being of Canada's youth is rising. A child mental health research team spearheaded by Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children is currently conducting a study into the effect COVID-19 is having on the mental health of young Canadians. Ottawa clinics and support groups are seeing a spike in demand for mental health resources, while medical officials in Calgary have noted a rise in cases of eating disorders. Wanting to explore what kids and teens are thinking and feeling about COVID-19, Nikki Martyn, program head of early childhood studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, launched a research project analyzing artwork created by youngsters in response to the pandemic. Though submissions came from children as young as two years old, the majority were by 14- to 17-year-olds, says the educator and child psychology researcher. "It shows how much teenagers really want to be heard and have so much to say." The artworks include illustration, painting, sculpture, mixed-media creations, even musical compositions, and the message within them is clear, according to Martyn: It's a painful time and young people are struggling. WATCH | Social isolation, school closures take a toll on mental health of teens: "They're feeling sad and alone and isolated and worried and scared. They feel lack of motivation and distress and failure," she said. "What I worry about is the helplessness or the disillusionment about their own future. Sometimes even anger, which we all understand. It's the same things in some ways that we're feeling as adults, but it's different because of where they're at developmentally at this time of their life." The writing and phrases included within some of the artwork — "What's the point? No one cares. This is too much. I am not OK. Broken' — speak volumes, Martyn added. "The teens were able to share this perspective and their experience very clearly. I think it's really important that we listen to it." 'It's OK to not be OK now' Martyn says she believes these pandemic-inspired feelings go beyond the already powerful emotions and stresses teens have in regular times, but that this moment also presents families with an opportunity to normalize open discussion about mental health. She suggests parents open up to their kids and teens about their own vulnerabilities, sharing when they themselves are feeling drained, that they've had enough or that they also can't wait for this all to be over. "It's OK to not be OK now," she said. Ashanty Sri is worried about the toll the pandemic is taking on her daughter Serena, who has also been diagnosed with anxiety. She wonders about what longer term effect there may be on today's teens, who are navigating growing up without the social, classroom and even part-time job experiences they're used to. For now, the mother-daughter duo are putting the focus on mental wellbeing by taking small steps, noted the Toronto elementary school teacher. Getting active outdoors has helped, added Serena. "Making sure that I'm still like going outside for walks, even though it's only with my mom... Also a great outlet is talking to somebody like a counselor or a therapist, because I feel like it helps releasing everything." Maintaining connections with peers is another recommendation from Fazelyar, the youth mental health advocate — things like regular phone or video calls with friends, online game nights, watching movies together via apps or, if local restrictions permit, physically distanced time outdoors. "You should still be 'being social,'" Fazelyar said. "When you're thrown into this or you feel like you're kind of alone because you don't have your friends or social network, it's just best to find new ways to adapt."
Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan's air defense identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan's air force deployed missiles to "monitor" the incursion, the island's defense ministry said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months. The presence of so many Chinese combat aircraft on this mission - Taiwan said it was made up of eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets - was unusual.
BEIJING — Canadian officials have met online with former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who has been held in China for more than two years in a case related to an executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Canada’s Foreign Ministry said officials led by Ambassador Dominic Barton were given “on-site virtual consular access” to Kovrig on Thursday. The ministry said it was unable to release further details. Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been confined since Dec. 10, 2018, just days after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant. “The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release,” the ministry said. China says the pair are being held on suspicion of endangering national security, but has also drawn clear links between their detention and the case against Meng, who is fighting deportation to the U.S. where she faces fraud charges. Beijing says the detention of Meng, who is under house arrest at a mansion she owns in Vancouver, is politically motivated and has demanded her immediate and unconditional release. Chinese prosecutors announced last year that Kovrig had been charged on suspicion of spying for state secrets and intelligence, and Spavor on suspicion of spying for a foreign entity and illegally providing state secrets. It’s not publicly known where they are being held or under what conditions. Canadian diplomats had been denied all access to the two men from January to October because of coronavirus precautions cited by the Chinese side. Meng’s arrest severely damaged relations between Canada and China, which has sentenced two other Canadians to death and suspended imports of Canadian canola. The U.S. accuses Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, of using a Hong Kong shell company to deceive banks and do business with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. The Associated Press
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A Dalhousie University science student has created a homemade spectrometer that lets her lab-from-home during the coronavirus pandemic. In pre-COVID-19 times, Alanna Gravelle juggled a career in the Canadian Navy with her academic work earning a bachelor of engineering at Dalhousie, meaning she often had to complete her studies while aboard HMCS Halifax. While lectures were easy enough to handle remotely, lessons in the laboratory were harder. So she started to create her own spectrometer, using a flashlight, a plastic tube, a box and a smartphone. "What that does is shines a light through a liquid and you're able to determine the concentration of the liquid with the amount of light that gets absorbed or makes it through the liquid," she said in a recent interview with CBC News. The spectrometer, for example, can help show how much calcium is contained in a crushed and diluted multivitamin, or how many proteins are found in a urine sample. The devices have practical uses in the mining and recycling industries. By the summer of 2020, Gravelle's unusual problem had become mainstream. She won the Lloyd & Margaret Cooley Memorial research scholarship for women studying analytical chemistry and polished her rough design so other students could create it at home. A regular smartphone provides the analytical feedback. She realized another benefit: students would use the lab spectrometer without really understanding what happened inside the device. By making their own at-home version, students get a better understanding of what the machine actually does. "It allows you to carry out experiments at home and collect data, and it also allows you to see the working parts of the spectrometer and understand what they do to give you that data," she said. With all of her classes happening online during the pandemic, she said it's an important way to retain the hands-on experience of science. "Being an engineering student online, third year, right now is very difficult." Gravelle worked with chemistry instructor Roderick Chisholm. Usually, he said, everything happens in the lab. "We've had to completely change that." Students joining classes via video from across Canada, China, the Middle East and Europe are embracing Gravelle's MacGyver approach to taking things they find around the house to build the spectrometer. "Everyone can do it at home, make those measurements, so they can actually feel involved, rather than looking at a presentation or video," Chisholm said. Paper microscopes Learning how the device works has been an extra bonus. "The disadvantage of using this in the lab is they are literally black boxes, so the students would put a sample in and magically they get a number related to absorption," he said. Chisholm thinks the homemade spectrometer could also help out at high schools, where students typically share a $750 professional spectrometer. The homemade version costs about $20, plus the smartphone. His Dalhousie colleague Jennifer Van Dommelen has also gotten her biology students tinkering at home on a low-tech microscope. "We use an instrument called Foldscope, which is a portable microscope assembled from heavy-gauge paper, a lens, and a couple of magnets," said Van Dommelen, a senior instructor at the university. "The lens has a 140X magnification and resolution of two microns; the user can adjust lighting and focus and even attach the Foldscope to their phone or tablet to use their device's optical zoom and take photos." Assemble at home Van Dommelen sends her Dalhousie students kits and instructions so they can assemble it at home. "Putting one together is similar to using paper dolls — you detach the components from a single piece of paper, fold where instructed, add the lens and the magnetic couplers and then reassemble everything into a working, focusable microscope," she said. "The kit includes paper slides that students can use to mount their own specimens, but standard glass slides can also be used." She'd been using them for online classes since 2018 and they are crucial now during the pandemic. Chisholm and Van Dommelen both hope to keep the best parts of lab-from-home active after the pandemic. MORE TOP STORIES
VANCOUVER — The devastating toll of COVID-19 on long-term care residents in Canada has underscored the need for increased public funding for home care, advocates say. Most seniors want to stay at home for as long as possible, and their families want to support them to do so, but the cost and limited availability of home care forces many to "give up" and place their loved ones in long-term care, said Sue VanderBent, CEO of Home Care Ontario. The Canadian Institute of Health Information estimates one in nine newly admitted long-term care residents could have remained at home with proper supports — a figure that is especially alarming in light of how the novel coronavirus has ravaged these facilities. "This pandemic has scarred all of us. This is burned into our memories now, so planning for the future becomes even more important," said VanderBent. "People will demand that they have the supports to stay at home and receive care at home and end their life at home, because it's just too scary now." The tragedy unfolding in long-term care homes across the country has shed new light on persistent problems in the elder-care system. Residents of these facilities account for 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases and 72 per cent of deaths in Canada. But a major piece of the system is home care and it is often ignored, said VanderBent, whose organization represents home care providers in Ontario. "We're probably the same as any other province in that the home care system itself is generally an afterthought. It is not generally funded in a way that contributes to a robust system." Ontario has a roughly $63-billion health-care budget, of which about $3 billion is spent on home care, she said. The lack of funding means that home care workers make about $4 less an hour than those who work in long-term care, making it hard to retain staff, VanderBent said. It also means providers can't offer enough hours of care to support an elderly person who, for example, might wander or turn the stove on while their family member is at work, she added. "We're not thinking about, 'How do we help families look after their loved ones?' That's the way we should look at it," she said. "Families just give up because they really feel they have no choice, and they should have more choice." The Ontario Health Ministry said in a statement it recognizes the critical role home care plays in ending so-called hallway health care and supporting the province's COVID-19 response. It said the provincial government passed legislation last year that changed the way home care is delivered and broke down barriers that have separated it from other parts of the system. The government invested an additional $155 million last year to expand home and community care, and last October announced a temporary wage increase for personal support workers, including those who work in homes, it said. A study by VanderBent's group found very low levels of COVID-19 transmission in the home care sector during the first wave of the pandemic, representing 3.5 per cent of overall cases in the long-term care, retirement home, hospital and home care industries. British Columbia has also seen very few infections in home care settings, said the province's seniors advocate, Isobel Mackenzie. Mackenzie found in a 2019 report that approximately 4,200 long-term care beds in the province are occupied by seniors who could live in the community with home support or assisted living. Home support is unaffordable to most seniors, she concluded, writing that a senior with an income of $28,000 is required to pay $8,800 a year for daily home support. She also wrote that 51 per cent of home support clients are at high or very high risk of placement in a long-term care facility, but despite this, 86 per cent receive less than two hours of home support per day. Mackenzie made multiple recommendations, including the removal of the co-payment, and the province committed to working on them before the pandemic hit, she said. Alberta and Ontario do not charge a co-payment for publicly funded home care and B.C. is the most expensive of the provinces that charge, she added. Before COVID-19, many families put their loved ones into long-term care because they assumed it would be safer than being at home, Mackenzie said. "People have been, I think, more sensitized to what care homes can do and not do," she said. "That may influence some decisions for some people about whether to put their loved one in care or not." Of course, there are always going to be people who can only be properly cared for in a long-term care home, she added. B.C. Premier John Horgan promised in the provincial election campaign last fall to expand publicly funded home care. The commitment also appears in the mandate letter for Health Minister Adrian Dix, but no details have been revealed yet. Shirley Bond, the Opposition Liberal interim leader and critic for seniors services and long-term care, said seniors want a variety of options, including staying at home for as long as possible. Horgan has accused the B.C. Liberals of under-funding home care while they were in power from 2001 to 2017, saying that access to home support fell by 30 per cent for those over 75. Bond countered that clients receiving home health services increased by 36 per cent while her government was in office. Horgan is the premier now and he has a responsibility, she added. The Opposition will also continue to press for an in-depth analysis of what went wrong inside long-term care homes, which account for more than 600 of B.C.'s over 1,100 deaths, Bond said. The B.C. Health Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Across the country, only 3.4 per cent of public health funding is spent on home-based care, according to the Canadian Home Care Association and Carers Canada. The association wants the federal government to direct funds to the provinces for home care and create national legislation that defines and strengthens caregivers' rights. COVID-19 has increased the burden on family caregivers, said Catherine Suridjan, the association's director of policy and knowledge translation. More than eight million people in Canada provide unpaid care for their loved ones and are at risk of suffering from burnout, she said. "If you're thinking about the long term, are you going to end up having two patients instead of one?" she asked. Home care is the least expensive option for the government and the most preferred option for seniors, said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of national seniors advocacy group CanAge. Keeping someone in their home costs far less for government than funding a brick-and-mortar facility with full-time staff, Tamblyn Watts said. "This is the answer that we must move toward, while at the same time shoring up our neglected systems in long-term care for the few people who will need that high-level nursing care." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press
President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that COVID-19 vaccinations will begin in the coming weeks in Iran, the Middle East’s worst hit country. “Foreign vaccines are a necessity until local vaccines are available,” Rouhani said in televised remarks, without giving details of what foreign vaccines would be used. Earlier this month Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, banned the government from importing vaccines from the United States and Britain, which he said were possibly seeking to spread the infection to other countries.
Thousands of residents in Hong Kong were locked down on Saturday to contain a worsening COVID outbreak.View on euronews
It's getting to be a familiar sight in many of Toronto's inner suburbs: construction crews hard at work adding second floors to post-war bungalows as homeowners try to add more space for growing families. But affordable housing advocates are hoping the city can harness the reno boom to help fill the "missing middle" in the city's housing stock by converting some of those single-family homes into multi-unit dwellings. Builder Peter Lux, of Homes By Lux Inc., started in the home renovation business 16 years ago by adding a second floor to his own home — a post-war bungalow across from Blantyre Park in the Victoria Park and Kingston Road area. "We moved into our bungalow, a young married couple with no children. By the third child we needed more space," said Lux. "I did my own home as my first large project. Then people came to me asking to do theirs." That was in 2005. Now he's renovated many of the houses that ring the park. It's the way much of the housing stock of that era is being renewed and updated for a new generation of Toronto homeowners. "This neighborhood was built in the late '40s and you can imagine at that time there were young families and young kids running around and now we're back to a new cycle with these new families and the parks are filled with kids," Lux told CBC Toronto. One of his first clients was Brian Aucoin who lives a few doors down and bought his home in 1977 for $53,000. "The wartime bungalows are pretty small and we had three boys and obviously we're running out of space," said Aucoin. "Our decision was do we move out of the neighborhood or do we rebuild our house?" While he admits the decision had its costs, Aucoin says his home is worth well over $2 million now. "So it was a fairly good investment," he said. Frank Clayton, a senior research fellow at Ryerson University's Centre for Urban Research and Land Use, says adding space to existing single-family homes is a good way to revitalize neighbourhoods. "People are buying those bungalows and adding a second story instead of moving to Pickering or something, so I think that's a good move because it keeps families in the city of Toronto." But with bungalows selling for more than $1 million now, before the costs of topping them up, Clayton says they are not in themselves the answer to the so-called missing middle: multi-unit dwellings like stacked townhouses, low-rise apartments and single family homes converted to multiple unit rentals. Philip Kocev, a real estate broker and managing partner at iPro Realty Ltd., says if the city is going to harness the reno boom to build more affordable housing and boost density, it will have to eliminate barriers in the approval process that make it harder to develop multi-unit dwellings. He is a proponent of a city pilot project aimed at finding ways to make it easier to build housing for middle-income earners. Kocev has proposed small-scale projects — triplexes and fourplexes — over the years and says the city's approval processes and fees are barriers for these kinds of projects. "Our lack of planning bylaws that support the missing middle, our bylaws are actually quite antiquated and they really do support single family development versus low rise multi unit residential," he said. Kocev, who has plans for a project in the Dundas Street East and Greenwood Avenue area, says the city treats small developers the same way as construction companies building condominiums. "Once you create more than four units they categorize you the same as a big commercial development, so your committee of adjustment fees are higher. You've got to pay development fees so that makes it really difficult to create missing middle properties." Kocev spoke in support of the proposed pilot project in Beaches-East York that went before Toronto's Planning and Housing Committee this week. If it goes ahead a test project will be built on city-owned land. "It would be good for them to see first-hand what kinds of barriers there are."
A large trailer sits in a parking lot behind the Mount Royal Metro station. It's bright and colourful, adding life to a parking lot that is otherwise washed out with snow and construction. Large letters are written on its side: "Wapikoni: First Nations travelling audiovisual and creation studio." Wapikoni is a not-for-profit based in Montreal. They once used the trailer to hold audiovisual workshops for Indigenous youth, but during the pandemic it serves a different purpose. Sheri Pranteau and her team of support workers use it as a home base for the Indigenous Support Workers Project. Watch | Learn more about the project on Our Montreal: The project was founded in 2018 to help people who are Indigenous and homeless in Montreal. At the time, at least 12 per cent of Montreal's homeless population identified as Indigenous, according to a survey conducted by I Count MTL. Since then, the project has expanded to include three more team members. Pranteau was the first support worker to be hired. Her job was to search the streets for people who are homeless and Indigenous, and offer her support. She would brave the cold with nothing more than her coat and what she could carry on her back. But now, Pranteau uses the Wapikoni trailer to collect donations, store equipment and serve hot beverages to people who ask for it. Julia Dubé is a project co-ordinator at Wapikoni. She explained that, due to pandemic restrictions, the organization reduced their programming and stopped providing in-person workshops in the trailer. "Because we weren't using our equipment for our regular activities, the trailer was just kind of sitting there," she said. "So the idea here was to offer some support in terms of equipment." With the addition of the trailer, Pranteau says she and her team can better support people on the street. "[The team] is small but mighty," she said. Every day they do the rounds, walking as far as Place des Arts to meet people, provide support and listen to what they need. If ever they don't have something on hand, they head back to the trailer to get it. But beyond the physical needs, Pranteau also explains the importance of connection. "A lot of them just need acknowledgement," she said. "That's all it takes sometimes, to be acknowledged and to be told, 'you matter.'" She explained that her personal background helps in this regard. She identifies as Cree Anishinaabe, and has had her own experiences that help her empathize with the people she's helping. "I went down a lot of dark roads," she said. "And I paid dearly for those." She credits her community and her elders for helping her get back on her feet. Now she's focused on paying it forward, helping people on the street stay connected to their culture. "Food is one of our things that brings healing, it brings us together," she said. This is why she regularly bakes bannock and brings it with her on her outings. "I just want to help, and see our people rise up and not continue to die and freeze to death," Pranteau said. "I can't save everyone, but I wouldn't want to do anything else."
A Sudbury startup will receive $500,000 from the federal government to help commercialize an innovative medical device and create local jobs. Flosonics Medical will use the funds to hire a team of software developers and industry experts to develop the IT infrastructure needed to roll out its FDA-cleared FloPatch medical device. The IT infrastructure will ensure that the device can be fully integrated with various medical records systems in hospitals and clinics in Canada and the United States. “This device right here is the world’s first wireless wearable ultrasound system,” said Flosonics Medical COO and co-founder Andrew Eibl. “What we’ve done is turned a complex technology into a wearable that is push-button simple that allows nurses and clinicians to get the data they need to care for their patients when they are critically ill and when important decisions need to be made.” The technology allows for real-time hemodynamic monitoring for patients that need cardiopulmonary and fluid resuscitation. When a patient is critically ill and experiencing major trauma, they are often pumped full of fluids to increase blood flow. This process must be monitored closely, especially in patients with weaker hearts. It’s usually done via traditional ultrasound, which can be a slow, inefficient two-person job. The FloPatch is a peel-and-stick Doppler blood flow monitor that can assess patient response to fluid intake. Any paramedic, nurse or physician can use it, and it can also be used to monitor patients remotely. “The project that we’re announcing today is ultimately to enable the deployment and interoperability of this technology in a hospital throughout different departments,” said Eibl. “The system that we’re developing, through hiring at least five new software developers, is going to enable us to roll out communications across North America, as well as leverage that information to further drive the business-use case around the quality metrics that are important to healthcare systems as well as patient outcomes.” The funding will help the company develop IT systems in its early pilot sites and, eventually, roll them out in Canada and the U.S. as the company continues to grow. “It will help doctors make better informed decisions that impact quality of care, and hopefully get patients out of the hospital sooner, avoid complications, and reduce the cost of the overall healthcare delivery system,” said Eibl. FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program is providing the funding. “Supporting Sudbury’s innovators and job creators is a key priority of our government,” said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre during the funding announcement on Friday. “I’m excited that this investment in Flosonics Medical will help launch a promising new medical device that has the potential to significantly improve patient care in Sudbury and around the world.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star