Very ugly grey skies in Weyburn, SK.
Very ugly grey skies in Weyburn, SK.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his post-presidential life in Florida. Refusing to abide by tradition and participate in the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump will instead hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight aboard Air Force One. Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he's received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, colour guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. Trump will become only the fourth president in history to boycott his successor's inauguration. And while he has said he is now committed to a peaceful transition of power — after months of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory with baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and spurring on his supporters who stormed the Capitol — he has made clear he has no interest in making a show of it. He has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional bread-breaking, nor has he spoken with Biden by phone. Vice-President Mike Pence has spoken with his successor, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, calling her on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance, according to two people familiar with the call. Pence will be attending Biden's inauguration, a move Biden has welcomed. While Trump spends the final days of his presidency ensconced in the White House, more isolated than ever as he confronts the fallout from the Capitol riot, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already departed, including those who resigned after the attack, while others have been busy packing up their offices and moving out personal belongings — souvenirs and taxidermy included. On Thursday, chief of staff Mark Meadows’ wife was caught on camera leaving with a dead, stuffed bird. And trade adviser Peter Navarro, who defended the president's effort to overturn the election, was photographed carrying out a giant photo of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Staff are allowed to purchase the photographs, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.) Also spotted departing the West Wing: a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Stewart D. McLaurin, the president of the White House Historical Association, said he had reached out to the White House chief usher, who manages the building's artifacts with the White House curator, because of questions raised by the images. “Be reminded that staff have items of their own that they brought to the White House and can take those items home as they wish. Some items are on loan to staff and offices from other collections and will be returned to those collections,” he said in a statement. Earlier this week, reporters covering the president's departure from the South Lawn spotted staff taking boxes into the residence for packing up the first family's belongings. And on Friday the packing continued, with moving crates and boxes dotting the floor of the office suite where senior press aides work steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing. Walls in the hallways outside that once featured a rotating gallery of enlarged photographs of the president and first lady framed in gold suddenly were bare, with only the hooks that held the picture frames left hanging. Moving trucks pulled in and out of the driveway outside. While some people have been asked to stick around by the incoming administration, the White House has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with more scheduled to depart on Friday. That includes White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Come Monday, the press staff will be down to two. Trump will leave Washington with his future deeply uncertain, two weeks after his supporters sent lawmakers and congressional staffers scrambling for safety as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power. While Trump was once expected to leave office as the most powerful voice in the Republican Party and the leading contender for its 2024 nomination, he has been shunned by much of the party over his response to the violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump is expected to be joined in Florida by a handful of aides as he mulls his future. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
La Ville de Mirabel invite les membres de mêmes bulles familiales à profiter des patinoires extérieures installées un peu partout sur le territoire, à la suite de l’annonce du gouvernement du Québec en lien avec de nouvelles mesures mises en place afin de lutter contre la COVID-19. Notons que le gouvernement de François Legault a annoncé, entre autres, un couvre-feu et une interdiction des activités sportives et de loisirs intérieurs du 9 janvier au 8 février. C’est donc dire que la Ville de Mirabel doit freiner toutes activités libres en aréna jusqu’à cette date. D’autres annonces gouvernementales pourraient cependant changer la situation par la suite. Les activités se font donc plus rares pour les Mirabellois ces temps-ci, mais ceux-ci peuvent se déplacer dans les différents parcs du territoire, prendre l’air et patiner jusqu’à 19 h 30, soit une trentaine de minutes précédant le couvre-feu établi à 20 h. Les patineurs devront – comme mentionné plus haut – respecter la consigne en lien aux bulles familiales; aucun rassemblement ni joute de hockey ne sera permis. Quelques consignes à suivre À la demande de la Ville, les patinoires doivent contenir un maximum de personnes; soit vingt pour une patinoire avec bandes et une dizaine pour celles sans bandes. Les chalets seront ouverts aussi du lundi au vendredi, de 15 h à 18 h 30, et la fin de semaine, de 9 h à 18 h 30. À l’intérieur, il faudra préserver une distanciation sociale de deux mètres, porter un masque ou un couvre-visage et s’asseoir où les pastilles le permettent. Le flânage est interdit et cinq personnes, au maximum, seront permises à l’intérieur de tous chalets. Pour connaître la liste des parcs et des activités sur le territoire, il suffit de visiter le site de la Ville de Mirabel, au [www.mirabel.ca]. Nicolas Parent, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Éveil
OTTAWA — Canada's international development minister says the world's first inoculation of a refugee with a COVID-19 vaccine this week is an important milestone in ending the pandemic everywhere. Karina Gould tells The Canadian Press that inoculating the world's most vulnerable people offers a glimmer of hope that the pandemic can be brought under control everywhere. A woman living in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid who had fled northern Iraq became the first United Nations registered refugee to receive the vaccine on Thursday. Before the pandemic Canada committed $2.1 billion in security, humanitarian and development funds to help Jordan and neighbouring Lebanon cope with the massive influx of refugees they face due to the crises in Syria and Iraq. Since the pandemic, Canada has committed more than $1 billion to international efforts to buy vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. Rema Jamous Imseis, the Canadian representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says if refugees aren't vaccinated they run the risk of infecting people in their host national populations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, said he is “disappointed” by the temporary delay in deliveries of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines, calling it a “bump in the road.” However, he said the government is still on target to receive four million doses of the vaccine by the end of March.
Tenants in a Downtown Eastside SRO who have criticized guest restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic say they’re concerned about police actions enforcing the rules. Erica Grant and David Mendes live in the Savoy, a single-room occupancy hotel building on East Hastings Street operated by Atira Property Management, which manages several buildings in the neighbourhood. Grant was warned she could be evicted after police were called to the building on Jan. 2 to arrest her 29-year-old son, who had been banned from the Savoy at the end of December. Mendes said he was visited the next day by police officers looking for a guest of another tenant. Officers pulled him out of his apartment and went in to search for that guest, he said. “I was like, ‘What? What are you doing? Do you have a warrant? Like, why are you coming in here?’” Mendes said. “And the one popped his head back out, and he pointed at me and said, ‘Suspected COVID violation.’” Atira and most other housing operators in the Downtown Eastside have restricted guests at their buildings since pandemic restrictions started in March. Atira now allows residents to designate two guests who must be identified to building staff. Current provincial health orders state that there can be no social gatherings of any size inside people’s homes, “other than your household or core bubble.” B.C.’s public health officer strongly recommends that people wear masks in common areas of rental buildings (for instance, hallways, stairwells and shared laundry rooms). B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch published guidance for COVID-19 that said landlords have the power to “schedule or restrict the use of common shared areas” like lobbies and laundry rooms — but they don’t have the power to stop visitors from coming to someone’s apartment. The guest restrictions put in place by supportive housing operators in the Downtown Eastside are not supported by B.C.’s tenancy laws. But housing providers say the rules are necessary to protect vulnerable residents in the century-old hotels. SRO hotels often have narrow hallways, tiny 100-square foot rooms and shared bathrooms and kitchens. The people who live in them frequently have existing health conditions, and people who have contracted COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside are more likely to be hospitalized. Grant said she had been told that her partner, Grant Houle, and her adult son were both on her guest list. On the night of Jan. 2, she said police came to her door and entered her room, looking for her son. Grant said she tried to tell them they couldn’t come in and that she would send him out. Grant said she tried to keep her door shut but police officers pushed it open, and her foot and arm were painfully scraped. A female officer pulled her hair and twisted her thumb, she said. Grant said she is still in pain from the incident. The Vancouver Police Department says officers were called to the building by staff who were concerned for their safety “after a man who was known to be violent toward them entered the building and went up to a room. The man had a B.C.-wide warrant for assault.” “The officers found the door to the room ajar and tried to convince the man to come into the hallway so he could be taken into custody,” media liaison officer Steve Addison wrote to The Tyee in an email. “While speaking with him, another occupant of the room became agitated and hostile towards one of the officers, and the officer did physically control the person to avoid being assaulted.” Grant said her son was co-operating with police during the incident. The officers said they were there because he had been banned from the building, she added, and didn’t mention anything about him being violent. Grant said she wasn’t aware on Jan. 2 that her son had been banned from the building days earlier. She said she later learned that building staff had told Houle of the ban, but he hadn’t passed the information on to her. And Grant said she also later learned her son had shoved the building manager on Dec. 30 when she was trying to take away a key to the building staff had given him. The incident was overblown, Grant maintains. Her son is now homeless, Grant said. Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira, declined to comment on the incident. Two days after police came to her door, Grant received a letter from her building manager warning she could be evicted if she violates the guest policy again. The letter makes no mention of her son being violent, but says he was barred from the building after “being seen on camera letting others in the building as well as wandering in common areas, which is prohibited during the current lockdown because of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19.” The letter goes on to say that “guests may use the washrooms in a timely manner but are not to access any other common areas or visit other units to which they are not registered on the restricted guest list.” The letter states that Grant is in breach of her residential tenancy agreement with Atira “because you continue to seriously jeopardize the safety of tenants and staff by putting them at significant risk by allowing your guest… into the building after being barred for breaching the COVID-19 guest protocol and the landlord does have cause to end tenancy.” Abbott said Atira often sends tenants letters warning them they could be evicted because they are breaking the rules, and the letters rarely lead to actual evictions. Robert Patterson, a legal advocate with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, said it’s common for supportive housing landlords who house high-needs tenants to be much more directly involved in managing tenancies. That includes enforcing rules like when and how guests can visit buildings — rules that aren’t in place at other rental buildings. In some buildings, those restrictions were in place long before COVID-19 but are now stricter. “People who live in supportive housing are very usually a very volatile population anyways, and while many of these policies are very well meaning, it has resulted in cutting many of them off from supports,” Patterson said. Several supportive housing tenants in B.C. have challenged guest restrictions in court and won, Patterson said. And yet, the restrictions continue to be applied by housing providers, including Atira, who say they are needed to keep their buildings safe. Patterson said it’s also very common for tenants in supportive housing buildings to get letters like the one Grant received. He said it’s good for landlords to give tenants a warning first so they can correct the situation, “but on the flip side, a lot of times these letters are used kind of as cudgels to get people to behave better or more like the landlord wants to see.” This October, the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre hired a new legal advocate to focus solely on helping tenants who live in supportive housing, Patterson said. Tenants and staff from Vancouver Coastal Health have raised concerns that restricting guests led to more overdose deaths in the spring of 2020, although housing providers have disputed that. In early April, Grant’s son Duncan died in his room at the London, another Atira-operated SRO building in Vancouver. Grant still wonders if things would have been different if she had been allowed in the buildings to look for him when he stopped answering his phone. Savoy resident Mendes said staff at his building try to do a good job, and he said Atira has been receptive to hearing his concerns about the current guest rules. But he said it was frightening and upsetting to have police officers pound on his door, to be pulled physically out of his apartment and to be held in the hallway while police searched his home. The Vancouver Police Department says it does not have a record of the incident Mendes described. There have been several media stories about police breaking up large parties in other parts of Metro Vancouver, but Mendes believes the situation he experienced would have been handled differently outside of the Downtown Eastside. “In any other neighbourhood, they would send the bylaw officer if the neighbours complained that there are too many people. An officer would come there, ring the doorbell and ask the tenant or the homeowner if there’s somebody in there that was breaking the provincial policy,” he said. “As opposed to pulling you out and having three cops come barrelling into your place and the other one holding you outside.” Grant, who has herself experienced homelessness, said it’s very difficult to not be able to invite your loved ones inside when they’re suffering outside in the winter. “There’s a lot of parents down here, a lot of mothers, a lot of grandmothers,” she said. “They’re not going to let their kids stay out in the cold.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Bay Bulls council adopted two new plans of very different purpose during its January 11 public meeting. The first was for an Asset Management policy that isn’t actually quite ready to roll out yet. “We’ve been working on the Asset Management Policy now since last summer and we’re just about nearing completion, but as part of the formal process, the Town must adopt a policy,” said Town CAO Jennifer Aspell immediately prior to council taking a unanimous vote to adopt the policy. “So, we should have the actual program itself finished in the next couple of months.” The Town also voted to adopt a Harassment Prevention Plan as an official policy. Deputy Mayor Wendy O’ Driscoll explained the Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates that every workplace have such a plan and provide harassment prevention training. Part of the motion was for all members of council and staff to complete the training. Councillor Joan Luby asked if it would be mandatory. O’ Driscoll said that it would, and that the Town was looking at how the training would be rolled out. She added that, as per the policy, a report would be made available to the alleged harasser within 90 days. Luby asked if this period could be shortened to 30 days. CAO Aspell said that it would depend upon the nature of the complaint, and that 90 days was a pretty standard time period. Next, Luby asked who would review the alleged harassment complaint, and Aspell said a third party would do it. Finally, Luby noted that, as per the policy, the record of complaint would be kept on file for 10 years following the investigation. She asked if this could be shorted to four years — the length of a council term. Aspell said that 10 years was a standard practice. She also noted that even though someone may only be on council for four years, a staff member may be on staff for much longer. Luby said she felt 10 years is a bit long. Luby asked if any other councillors had questions, but there were no takers, though councillor Eric Maloney said questions may arise during the actual training sessions. Aspell said that a policy, once adopted, can be revised if necessary. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
MOOREFIELD– The Township of Mapleton is putting support behind the Rothsay rendering plant as the company goes through an appeal process relating to expansion. The Rothsay plant in Moorefield processes poultry and pork by-products into finished products for use in pet food and supply feed mills. The townships are sending letters of support but Mapleton mayor Gregg Davidson will be reading a letter at an environmental tribunal. In a phone call, Davidson said the plant, which is located in Mapleton, has not only been an important employer for 50 years but an integral part of the agrifood industry. He explained pork and poultry farming is a major industry in North Wellington County making the Moorefield rendering plant crucial to the area. “You need to have places like (Rothsay) because otherwise those carcasses just get buried on the property or get sent to landfill,” Davidson said. “It’s part of that circular economy and Darling is part of that whole chain.” Plant manager Duff Moore also stressed the plant as an essential service to the food and feed industry “by environmentally sustainable conversion of input by-product materials from food processing into value added proteins and fats in order to keep pace with the growth in poultry as a consumer protein of choice.” Davidson said because the plant is located in Mapleton, the township is going beyond sending a letter and he will be at the tribunal meeting. He said they’re not getting into the technical merit of the ECA but advocating for them on their economic value to the community. Davidson said he doesn’t believe the plant will close if the tribunal doesn’t favour Darling but he’s hopeful success could mean more jobs for the region which Moore backs up. “Indirectly via economic growth as the amended ECA approves additional plant capacity which is critical to the growth of agribusiness in the region and province,” Moore said. “As an essential business this added capacity helps ensure the sustainability of food and feed production in Canada.“ Moore said via email the plant has upgraded its processing equipment which requires a new environmental compliance approval (ECA). “The upgraded processing equipment which has been completed and operational since Nov 2020 serves to increase the throughput rate in order to more efficiently, effectively and sustainably service the consistently growing poultry industry in Ontario,” Moore said. Rothsay’s parent company, Darling Ingredients, is appealing some new conditions, particularly odour emission limits, in the ECA which Moore said aren’t sustainable. “Darling filed a legal appeal to the amended ECA recently issued in an effort to have certain conditions changed to address regulatory and science based inconsistencies that do not appear to provide an environmental benefit,” Moore said. “Not addressing these inconsistencies has the potential to challenge our ability to comply with the ECA.” Moore sent a letter to three Wellington County municipalities – Minto, Wellington North and Mapleton – seeking support for the company as an important employer in the industry. Moore said the plant employs 110 full-time workers who mostly live in the surrounding area. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
While a major medium density fibreboard (MDF) plant won’t be built next to the Town of Stettler after all, president of the company spearheading the plant says the mill is going ahead in 2021 in this region. Great Plains MDF president and chairman of the board Brian McLeod said in an interview with the ECA Review the Stettler location, immediately south of town next to the airport, wasn’t ideal after all. “There’s a lot of straw that has to come into this plant every day,” said McLeod by phone from his Edmonton office Jan. 15. McLeod stated after more research was done on the tentative location Great Plains unfortunately realized the massive amount of truck traffic, up to 110 18-wheeled trucks per day, that the mill required could end up going down Stettler’s Main Street, which obviously wasn’t going to work. He stated it didn’t seem to matter where Great Plains looked with the Stettler site, the traffic problem was there. He noted Great Plains continues to look for a site that enjoys a large supply of wheat straw, MDF’s primary ingredient, in the farmland south of Stettler and further to the east, in Kneehill County. The president stated an MDF mill has a number of requirements, including natural gas, power, a rail line to bring in resin necessary for MDF manufacture and the same line to ship out finished product. The president noted, overall, progress with the project is excellent, as Great Plains has signed a memorandum of understanding with PCL Construction to build the mill, an engineer has been engaged for design work and Great Plains is in talks with a major American lender to finance the project, estimated at roughly $800 million. McLeod noted he and a number of other people with experience in the MDF industry saw increasing demand in North America for this product used in office furniture and other products but an ever-dwindling supply of wood. Enter the humble stalk of wheat. McLeod stated research proved wheat straw could replace wood in MDF manufacture, and more research showed the farmland south of Stettler has wheat straw. Lots of it. McLeod stated Great Plains is an Alberta company that wants to work with Alberta producers. “It’s critically important that we have farmers willing to sell us the wheat straw we need,” he said. Although this region is known for wheat straw, McLeod said the company wanted to get something more concrete in place before construction of the mill started, and was planning plenty of open house meetings to get to know producers through the face-to-face way Alberta farmers are known for. COVID-19 threw a monkey wrench in those plans. The president stated Great Plains has instead placed a survey on its website to gather input from wheat straw producers who are interested in working with Great Plains MDF. The survey isn’t a commitment but rather a way for Great Plains to get a feel for the local farm community. McLeod stated Great Plains has serious plans to get started in 2021. He stated due diligence with the lenders should be done by the end of January followed by the documenting of agreements which could take a month followed by the first draw of funding, meaning by March Great Plains could be ready to go. The president said once a site is selected it could take a few months for the mill to be designed and he estimated construction could start by July. McLeod said plenty of information is available on Great Plains’ website, https://greatplainsmdf.com, including the producer survey. He said Great Plains is very interested in hearing from producers. “They’re key to our success,” he added.Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Alongside Canada’s national flower, sport, symbol and bird, is a national animal that is often forgotten. Canada’s national horse, Le Cheval Canadien, is in danger of disappearing. An Uxbridge equestrian centre, however, is dedicated to the revival of this special breed. Hundreds of years ago, in about 1665, King Louis XIV of France began shipping mares and stallions, with bloodlines from the King’s Royal Stud, to Acadia and New France. These horses had great abilities to adapt to harsh climates (like Canada’s cold winters), rough terrains and were easily trained. They became known as the Canadian Horse, or Le Cheval Canadien. While the breed was well known to American colonists, it is rather rare today. After being used in the American Civil War and for breeding to diversify genetics in American stock, but its popularity in Canada waned. Despite this, however, and despite the fact that the horse was smaller in size and often thought of as the “Quebec pony,” the Canadian Horse was declared by the Parliament of Canada to be the National Horse of Canada in 1909. In 2018, Barb Malcom, owner and head coach of Churchill Chimes Equestrian Centre on Webb Rd., committed to doing her part to save the Canadian Horse. Alongside her riding school, Malcolm set up a sister company called Donalf Farms, specifically to breed the Canadian horses in an attempt to bring back the name and the breed. “I had worked as a professional for over 20 years and just happened to buy an unpapered Canadian gelding. He is one of the most darling horses I’ve ever had,” says Malcom. Very soon Malcom fell in love with the breed. “They are durable, willing, personable and versatile. I went from being a “crossbreed person” to being completely wowed by this purebred.” “It’s one thing for Canadians not to know Canada has a national horse, but for horse people not to know, it just shows how much the breed is in trouble,” says Malcom. If it weren’t for a pandemic, this year Malcom had plans to contact Heritage Canada and rally for government assistance in the fight for the Canadian Horse. “We would love to see federal support,” says Malcom. “It really is an altruistic endeavour, but they're worth it.” Malcolm dreams of one day having all the horses in her riding school be Canadian Horses. “They are so little known, but absolutely remarkable,” says Malcolm. For more information about the national horse of Canada, visit lechevalcanadien.com or find Malcom’s breeding farm at donalffarms.com Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
MADRID — The Spanish region of Catalonia is postponing regional elections planned for Feb. 14 until May 30 because of a strong surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The new date was agreed on by the region’s parliamentary parties Friday and formally announced later by the regional government. It says the change will give authorities more time to bring the virus spread under control and people a better chance to vote. The virus incidence rate in Catalonia on Thursday was at 561 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is high but still below Spain's national average of 575. The region has imposed strict movement restrictions between towns and non-essential stores can only open Monday to Friday. Critics of the date change say pro-independence governing parties in Catalonia hope it might weaken the electoral impact of highly popular Spanish Socialist Health Minister Salvador Illa, who recently announced his candidacy. Polls suggest Illa could upset the balance of power in the region. Separatist parties currently control the Catalan government. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region's 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic for the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. Catalonia has been operating without a president since former leader Quim Torra was barred from public office last year for disobeying the country’s electoral law in 2019 — when he displayed banners in a public building calling for the imprisoned separatists to be released. The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Flying rocks. Burning tires. Acrid smoke. Haiti braced for a fresh round of widespread protests starting Friday, with opposition leaders demanding that President Jovenel Moïse step down next month, worried he is amassing too much power as he enters his second year of rule by decree. “The priority right now is to put in place another economic, social and political system,” André Michel, of the opposition coalition Democratic and Popular Sector, said by phone. “It is clear that Moïse is hanging on to power.” Hundreds of people in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Jacmel, Saint-Marc and Gonaives marched in support of the opposition, with dozens of demonstrators briefly clashing with police in the capital although the protests remained largely peaceful. Opposition leaders are demanding Moïse’s resignation and legislative elections to restart a Parliament dissolved a year ago. They claim that Moïse’s five-year term is legally ending — that it began when former President Michel Martelly's term expired in February 2016. But Moïse maintains his term began when he actually took office in early 2017, an inauguration delayed by a chaotic election process that forced the appointment of a provisional president to serve during a year-long gap. Haiti's international backers have echoed some of the opposition’s concerns, calling for parliamentary elections as soon as possible. They were originally scheduled for October 2019 but were delayed by political gridlock and protests that paralyzed much of the country, forcing schools, businesses and several government offices to close for weeks at a time. Some in the international community also condemned several of Moïse's decrees. One of those limited the powers of a court that audits government contracts and had accused Moïse and other officials of embezzlement and fraud involving a Venezuelan program which provided cheap oil. Moïse and others have rejected those accusations. Moïse also decreed that acts such as robbery, arson and blocking public roads — a common ploy during protests — would be classed as terrorism and subject to heavy penalties. He also created an intelligence agency that answers only to the president. The Core Group, which includes officials from the United Nations, U.S., Canada and France, questioned those moves. “The decree creating the National Intelligence Agency gives the agents of this institution quasi-immunity, thus opening up the possibility of abuse," the group said in a recent statement. “These two presidential decrees, issued in areas that fall within the competence of a Parliament, do not seem to conform to certain fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law, and the civil and political rights of citizens.” Moïse has dismissed such concerns and vowed to move forward at his own pace. In a New Year’s tweet, he called 2021 “a very important year for the future of the country.” He has called for a constitutional referendum in April followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in September, with runoffs scheduled for November. “There is no doubt elections will happen,” Foreign Minister Claude Joseph told The Associated Press, rejecting calls that Moïse step down in February. “Haiti cannot afford another transition. We need to let democracy work the way it should.” Joseph said Moïse remains open to dialogue and is ready to meet anytime with opposition leaders to solve the political stalemate. He also said the constitutional referendum won't give Moïse more power but said changes are needed to the 1987 document. “It is a source of instability. It does not have checks and balances. It gives extraordinary power to the Parliament that abuses this power over and over,” Joseph said. “It’s not the president’s own personal project. It’s a national project.” While officials haven't released details of the referendum, one of the members of the consulting committee, Louis Naud Pierre, told radio station Magik9 last week that proposals include creating a unicameral Parliament to replace the current Senate and Chamber of Deputies, extending parliamentary terms and giving Haitians who live abroad more power. The referendum and flurry of decrees are frustrating many Haitians, including Rose-Ducast Dupont, a mother of three who sells perfumes on the sidewalks of Delmas, a neighbourhood in the capital. “The political problems in my country have been dragging on for too long,” she said. “They are never able to find a solution for the nation. ... We are the ones suffering.” The nation of more than 11 million people has grown increasingly unstable under Moïse, who received more than 50% of the vote but with only 21% voter turnout. Haiti is still trying to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew that struck in 2016. Its economic, political and social woes have deepened, with gang violence resurging, inflation spiraling and food and fuel becoming more scarce at times in a country where 60% of the population makes less than $2 a day. “I don’t have a life,” said Jean-Marc François, who wants Moïse gone. “I don’t have any savings. I have three kids. I have to survive day by day with no guarantee that I’ll come home with bread to put on the table.” Some days he works in construction; others he does yardwork or disposes of garbage or moves boxes at warehouses, which sometimes pays 500 gourdes ($7) a day. François said he won't take part in the “circus act” of voting in the referendum or elections. “We’re talking about voting for a new president? A new constitution? Deputies and senators? They’re all going to be the same,” he said. “This is a country of corruption.” Moïse has faced numerous calls for resignation since taking office, with protests roiling Haiti since late 2017. The demonstrations have been fueled largely by demands for better living conditions and anger over crime, corruption allegations and price increases after the government ended fuel subsidies. The most violent protests occurred in 2019, with dozens killed, and some worry about even more violence as the opposition steps up its demands that Moïse resign amid fears that elections will be delayed once more. “Can the current status quo continue for another year?” said Jake Johnston, senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. “Moïse can announce an electoral calendar ... but what signs are there that that’s going to actually happen?” ___ Associated Press writer Evens Sanon reported this story in Port-au-Prince and AP writer Danica Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Evens Sanon And DáNica Coto, The Associated Press
GENEVA — The World Health Organization's emergencies chief said Friday that the impact of new variants of COVID-19 in places like Britain, South Africa and Brazil remains to be seen, citing human behaviour for some recent rises in infection counts. “It’s just too easy to lay the blame on the variant and say, ‘It’s the virus that did it,’” Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters. “Well unfortunately, it’s also what we didn’t do that did it.” That was an allusion to holiday merrymaking and other social contacts plus loosening adherence -- in pockets -- to calls from public health officials for people to respect measures like physical distancing, regular hand hygiene and mask-wearing. Also Friday, the WHO's Emergencies Committee issued new recommendations that countries should not require proof of vaccination by incoming travellers amid the pandemic, saying decisions on international travel should be co-ordinated, limited in time, and based on both the risks and the science. “If you look at the recommendation made by the committee around vaccination for travellers, it says ‘at the present time,’” Ryan said. He pointed out that such recommendations noted that vaccines are still not widespread and that it remains unclear whether they prevent transmission between people. The recommendations came after the committee's first meeting in nearly three months. To little surprise, the panel agreed that the outbreak remains a global health emergency, nearly a year after it declared it as one. The advice comes as countries grapple with how to combat the new variants that have fanned concerns about an accelerated spread of the virus — and have prompted new lockdown measures in hard-hit places like Europe. The British government has banned travel from South America and Portugal -- a key gateway of flights from Brazil -- to try to keep the variant in Brazil from reaching Britain and derailing its vaccination program. The committee said it would encourage states “to implement co-ordinated, time-limited and evidence-based approaches for health measures in relation to international travel.” It also called on vaccine manufacturers to make data about the products more available to the WHO, saying delays can affect its ability to provide emergency-use listings that could allow for “equitable vaccine access.” ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for a former RCMP officer convicted of perjury after the 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport says his client has settled a lawsuit against the federal and B.C. governments. Sebastien Anderson says Kwesi Millington reached an agreement this week after suing the federal and provincial government for damages, claiming he acted in accordance with his RCMP training. A public inquiry heard that Dziekanski, who died at the airport's arrivals area, was jolted numerous times with a Taser seconds after Millington and three other officers approached him. Millington and his senior officer, Benjamin (Monty) Robinson, were later convicted and handed prison time by the B.C. Supreme Court for colluding to make up testimony at the public inquiry into Dziekanski's death. Anderson says strict confidentiality provisions prevent him from discussing most of the settlement's details. The RCMP said in a statement that the matter had been settled to the satisfaction of both parties, while the B.C. government says it wasn't a party to the settlement and the federal government referred questions back to the RCMP. Millington's lawsuit filed in 2019 said the Integrated Homicide Investigations Team found he and the other RCMP officers acted in accordance with their training. The statement of claim said an RCMP use of force instructor who trained Millington testified during the public inquiry that the officers' actions were consistent with training. Millington's lawsuit said he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, nervous shock, loss of career advancement and other injuries. Anderson says he is able to disclose that part of the settlement agreement includes a letter from the RCMP in support of Millington's bid for a pardon, which would wipe out his criminal conviction. "Part of that is because all of their internal reports with respect to Mr. Dziekanski's unfortunate death was that they all acted within the scope of their training at that time," he said. The RCMP was asked about the letter Friday but didn't comment. Anderson said Millington has served his sentence and is living in Canada but not in B.C. "He's taken courses and has become a resilience coach," said Anderson. "He's published a book and he's hoping to help others who go through traumatic experiences like he has, and suffered PTSD, to cope and return to somewhat of a normal life." — By Dirk Meissner in Victoria. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
The proponents behind a brewery application which has stirred up controversy in Holyrood say they hope that an appeal now before the Eastern Newfoundland Regional Appeal Board will demonstrate that all proper processes were followed and that accusations of conflict of interest are unfounded. Thomas Williamson, on behalf of himself, Craig Farewell, and Jamie Clarke of Beach Head Brewery, emailed a statement to The Shoreline in response to a request for input on the appeal and petition against the application. “We take absolutely no issue with the decision to pursue this avenue and we believe that this appeal process will clearly demonstrate that all the proper processes were followed and that there has never been a conflict of interest,” said Williamson. “It is, however, very disheartening to see that false, misleading and potentially defamatory statements have been made regarding a perceived conflict of interest. From our perspective, it's one thing to submit an appeal based on appropriate grounds, but it’s highly inappropriate to begin lobbing accusations at municipal staff, councillors, even other members of the public without any supporting evidence.” Williamson noted that when accusations were made on social media, the trio immediately sent a letter to council indicating they would sign a sworn affidavit, if need be, legally confirming the owners are the listed Directors on the Registry of Companies website and that no other individual held any form of ownership. “We want to develop this brewery in Holyrood because we love the municipality and we want to be part of the fabric of this amazing community,” read the statement. “Our goal from the outset has been to work collaboratively and we feel that’s been achieved over these past two years through meeting with potential affected parties, taking feedback received through discussions in order to find better solutions, and responding to all questions directed to us by the Town of Holyrood. The brewery will provide residents with a fantastic year-round option that is closer to home and will help bring more people to the town to support other local businesses. The economic benefits through new tax revenue as well as new spin-off businesses will further contribute to the economic development of the area. We understand that for some residents it is difficult to ask them to support this brewery without the opportunity to experience it first-hand. We also respect that the individuals who have submitted the appeal are simply exercising their rights as residents of the municipality. We once again wish to state that we respect the fact that residents have the right to submit appeals and we will ensure that we provide any and all required information so that the Regional Appeals Board can make a determination based on the facts.”Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he will appoint two commissioners to undertake a review of the province's Official Languages Act. The Tory leader said today the commissioners will present a final report with recommendations to the government by Dec. 31. He says details of the mandate will be announced when the commissioners are chosen in the coming weeks. In addition to the formal review of the Official Languages Act, the commissioners will be asked to identify ways to improve access to both official languages for all New Brunswickers. Higgs notes that less than 50 per cent of students who graduate from the anglophone education system are bilingual in English and French. He also says new technologies and out-migration have created challenges in delivering government services in both languages. Green party Leader David Coon says a public review of the legislation should be conducted by a legislative committee, not by commissioners appointed by the premier. Coon also says problems with second language education in the school system should be examined by a separate commission. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Government attorneys and municipalities fighting over the 2020 census asked a judge Friday to put their court case on hold, as Department of Justice attorneys said the Census Bureau for now will not release numbers that could be used to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the process of divvying up congressional seats. Department of Justice attorneys and attorneys for a coalition of municipalities and advocacy groups that had sued the Trump administration over the 2020 census asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to suspend their court case for 21 days so the administration of President-elect Joe Biden can take power and decide how to proceed. “Such a stay would permit the incoming Administration to evaluate the Census Bureau’s and the Department of Commerce’s operations and assess, among other things, the interests of the United States and its litigating positions in light of Plaintiffs’ claims in this case,” the attorneys said in a court filing Friday. The Trump administration attorneys said the Census Bureau would not be releasing figures related to two orders from Presidential Donald Trump before the change in administrations. Trump's first order, issued in 2019, directed the Census Bureau to use administrative records to figure out who is in the country illegally after the Supreme Court blocked his administration’s effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. In a separate order last year, Trump instructed the Census Bureau, as part of the 2020 count of every U.S. resident, to provide data that would allow his administration to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the numbers used for divvying up congressional seats among the states. An influential GOP adviser had advocated excluding them from the apportionment process in order to favour Republicans and non-Hispanic whites, even though the Constitution spells out that every person in each state should be counted. Trump’s unprecedented order on apportionment was challenged in more than a half-dozen lawsuits around the U.S., but the Supreme Court ruled last month that any challenge was premature. The court filing also said the Trump administration would not be releasing the numbers used for apportioning congressional seats among the states, and determining the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding, before the change in administrations. A hearing in the case was scheduled for later Friday. Meanwhile, a group of Democratic lawmakers are joining civil right groups in calling for U.S. Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham's resignation after a watchdog agency said he had set a deadline for pressured statisticians to produce a report on the number of people in the U.S. illegally. Dillingham on Wednesday ordered an indefinite halt to the efforts to produce data showing the citizenship status of every U.S. resident through administrative records after facing blowback from civil rights groups and concerns raised by whistleblower statisticians about the accuracy of such figures. A report by the Office of Inspector General on Wednesday said bureau workers were under significant pressure from two Trump political appointees to figure out who is in the U.S. illegally using federal and state administrative records, and Dillingham had set a Friday deadline for bureau statisticians to provide him a technical report on the effort. After the release of the inspector general's report, leaders of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called for Dillingham's resignation. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have followed suit in the past two days, saying Dillingham has allowed the Trump administration to politicize the 2020 census. “The Trump administration waged a damaging campaign against the census with the intent of manipulating the results to be politically advantageous for the President and the Republican Party,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in a statement. “Census Director Steven Dillingham’s failure to put country over loyalty to the President allowed these transgressions to occur and he therefore should resign." U.S. Rep. Judy Chu of California said in a statement that communities of colour have borne the brunt of attacks on the census. “Officials like Steven Dillingham who cannot put the needs of the nation over the demands of a twice impeached President should resign," said Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said in a statement that Dillingham “has now demonstrated he was willing to carry out Mr. Trump’s xenophobic campaign to manipulate the Census despite clear congressional and plain constitutional mandate to count all persons." Dillingham's five-year term is finished at the end of the year. The Census Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ___ Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP. Mike Schneider, The Associated Press
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Samir Sinha dreamed of the day a safe vaccine would be available. “We’ve lost patients, and we’ve seen so many colleagues negatively impacted by this catastrophic virus,” said Sinha, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. So when he received the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 31, he was thrilled. While Sinha’s patients are primarily elderly and are at risk of developing serious illness, he wasn’t scheduled on the front line on COVID-positive units until late January. But through a lottery, he was eligible for the vaccine earlier so the dose wouldn’t go to waste. That Thursday, Sinha was only given 15 minutes’ notice. He made it in time, rolling up his sleeves next to three front-line workers in long-term care. It was emotional for Sinha, especially after gruelling months of wearing full personal protective equipment, watching patients die and colleagues suffer mentally and physically. But his euphoria quickly turned into guilt. Vaccine doses, per provincial directives, are still reserved for front-line workers and residents of long-term-care homes. But excess doses have been given to other hospital staff if they become available through a lottery system to avoid wastage, as the vaccine is still not being offered to the general public. Reports of hospital administrators and researchers receiving vaccines in Toronto before those living and working in long-term-care homes — where 81 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths in the first wave occurred — have since clouded Ontario’s vaccine rollout, generating complicated feelings among those inoculated. The vaccine, initially a symbol of triumph and hope, has become a reminder of inequality and political failure, leaving some to feel regret instead of joy. Others have contemplated whether it’s ethical to publicly share they’ve received the vaccine on social media while many in need await their dose. Since Dec. 14, when the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were injected into Canadians’ arms, more than 650 Ontario long-term-care residents have died. It’s a figure that has haunted Sinha since he received his dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “I was thrilled because, do I want to get the vaccine? More than ever before,” Sinha reflected. “But I also don’t want to jump the queue when I know that front-line workers in long-term-care homes and patients living in those homes were at greater risk.” The debate over the ethics behind vaccine rollout quickly spilled over to social media, where many health-care workers began sharing vaccination selfies or news of their inoculation. Dr. Gail Beck, a child psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, was among those who were scrutinized when she shared publicly on her blog that she’s received the vaccine. “The main thing I felt when I got the call was a sense of duty,” Beck said, adding the hospital had done its due diligence to vaccinate those who are at a higher priority first and that she does see younger patients in-person, some with special needs. “I thought I was participating in a logical process.” But upon reflection on the scrutiny she’d received, Beck said she understands an emergency doctor or a front-line worker would have felt more relieved to have been vaccinated, compared to her situation of working at a largely controlled and COVID-free setting. While some have talked about “vaccine envy,” Dr. Alan Drummond, an emergency physician in Perth, Ont., who has yet to be vaccinated, said it’s more than just feelings of jealousy. It’s about ensuring that those who are most at risk are safe first. “The problem has been the lack of transparency or direct communication with respect to what the (vaccine) rollout plan would look like,” he said. Drummond added that as a front-line worker who deals directly with COVID-19 patients, watching administrators and non-acute clinical staff get vaccinated first in cities like Toronto and Ottawa through social media has been demoralizing. “Here we are, seeing COVID-19 patients or potential COVID-19 patients, and we’re not afforded the same level of protection,” Drummond said. “There’s something wrong with the rollout when it involves people who are frankly not at risk.” Drummond has yet to receive word on when he will be next in line for a vaccine. Since receiving his dose at Mount Sinai, Sinha said he has reflected deeply on his decision to enter the vaccine lottery, especially upon realizing that many at greater risk would have liked to get vaccinated earlier, but didn’t have the privilege of access. “I now look back with a little bit of regret saying, ‘Did I actually take a spot that should have been there for a front-line worker?’ ” Sinha said. One thing he doesn’t regret, however, is sharing a photo of his vaccination publicly through social media on New Year’s Day, captioning it: “a shot of hope.” For Sinha, it’s a way to spread the news of the vaccine among his social media followers, many of whom are in racialized populations who have grown distrustful of government policy as they continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. “When they can see another physician that looks like them and telling them that it’s safe, I think that really sends a strong message to both my patients and members of the public,” said Sinha, who is of South Asian descent. Part of assuaging his guilt, he added, is being outspoken about the inequality in vaccine rollout. “I will do harm by remaining silent.” Dr. Amber Bocknek was also among many who shared an inoculation selfie on social media. As someone whose work entails doing house calls for seniors with complicated health problems in Newmarket, getting the vaccine Jan. 7 was a welcome relief. Bocknek proudly shared the photo on her Facebook and Instagram accounts, partly, she said, due to misinformation swirling among her circles on the safety of the vaccine. “It’s stimulating questions, which creates an opportunity for more education,” Bocknek said. She added the end goal for health-care workers across the board remains getting as many people vaccinated as possible. Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has ruled that businessman Frank Giustra's lawsuit against Twitter Inc. over alleged "false and defamatory" tweets can proceed in the province. Giustra, the founder of Lionsgate Entertainment and CEO of the Fiore Group of Companies, filed a civil lawsuit in April 2019 alleging that Twitter published defamatory tweets about him and neglected or refused to remove many of the posts despite his repeated requests. Giustra says in a statement of claim that he sits on the Clinton Foundation board and the tweets escalated during the 2016 U.S. election, accusing him of being involved in "Pizzagate,'' a debunked child sex-trafficking conspiracy theory. Twitter filed an application in June 2019 asking the B.C. court to dismiss or stay Giustra's lawsuit or decline its jurisdiction in favour of the courts in California, where the company is headquartered. Justice Elliott Myers says in a decision posted online Friday that the court does have jurisdiction because Giustra has close ties to B.C. and tweets were published in the province and refer to B.C. None of the allegations has been proven in court and Twitter declined to comment on the ruling, which only concerns jurisdiction and does not assess the merits of the civil claim. Giustra says in a statement he hopes the lawsuit helps raise awareness of the real harm to society if social media platforms are not held responsible for the content published on their sites. "I believe that words do matter, and recent events have demonstrated that hate speech can incite violence with deadly consequences," he says. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Au cours de la semaine, plus de 10 000 doses du vaccin contre la COVID-19 ont été administrées chaque jour en Ontario. Jeudi, 15 609 personnes ont roulé leur manche en Ontario pour recevoir le vaccin contre le coronavirus. En tout, 174 630 doses ont été distribuées. On compte actuellement 17 094 Ontariens pour qui la vaccination est maintenant complétée, ce qui signifie qu’ils ont reçu leurs deux doses nécessaires du vaccin. Près de 3000 nouveaux cas Au cours de la journée de jeudi, 2998 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19 ont été répertoriées en Ontario. Depuis le 25 janvier 2020, 231 308 cas du virus ont été enregistrés en province. La santé publique de l’Ontario déplore, dans son plus récent bilan, 100 décès liés au coronavirus. Toutefois, ce nombre anormalement élevé peut être en partie expliqué par une initiative de nettoyage de données au bureau de santé de Middlesex-London, qui a ajouté 46 décès survenus plus tôt durant la pandémie au rapport de la santé publique provinciale de vendredi. En tout, 5289 ont perdu la vie en raison de la COVID-19 en Ontario. Hospitalisations Actuellement, 1647 personnes atteintes de la COVID-19 sont hospitalisées en Ontario, dont 387 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces patients, 280 nécessitent l’aide d’un respirateur pour rester en vie. Foyers de soins de longue durée En foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), 145 nouveaux cas du virus ont été dépistés jeudi chez les résidents, et 60 chez les membres du personnel. On déplore le décès de 22 résidents de ces établissements causés par la COVID-19, portant le bilan total des résidents de FSLD ayant perdu la vie à 3085 en Ontario. En tout, 10 employés de ces établissements sont décédés, dont deux ayant perdu la vie depuis le début de l’année 2021.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit