A humanitarian organization led by U.S. military veterans has treated thousands of migrants over the past year at two clinics in a Mexican town across the border from Texas. (Dec. 21)
A humanitarian organization led by U.S. military veterans has treated thousands of migrants over the past year at two clinics in a Mexican town across the border from Texas. (Dec. 21)
Mark Sakamoto and business partner Sachin Aggarwal’s digital health company has made another big move in the business world. Think Research recently announced the acquisition of fellow health company MDBriefcase – a transaction worth more than $25 million in cash and stock options. Think Research is also taking on roughly $3 million in debt from MDBriefcase. “We’re really excited about this,” said former Hatter Sakamoto. “This is a classic example of a one plus one equals three scenario. “This just made a lot of sense.” Aggarwal, Think Research’s CEO, says the acquisition was an easy decision. “We knew these guys and we’ve been working with them for the better part of two years,” he said. “They have certain reach into the health-care marketplace, just like we have certain reach. “We do different things, but what each group does is highly complementary to the other.” Think Research’s goal is to get the best data to health-care workers, so in turn, patients can get the best care possible. MDBriefcase puts a large emphasis on education, which ties in perfectly with what Think Research is doing, says Aggarwal. “Together we become one of the largest players in the world in getting evidence to the bedside,” he said. “We really are stronger together because of the size and scale. “No one in Canada comes close to our size when it comes to knowledge-based healthcare.” Aggarwal says MDBriefcase creates tools based off evidence. “When someone does a study, nothing would come of it if no one read it or analyzed it,” he said. “They take research and create digital tools that will then be used to teach nurses, doctors and pharmacists. “Those medical professionals get their continuing education credits by consuming that content.” Aggarwal added that MDBriefcase will not be downsized or closed after being bought out, but the opposite may happen. “These are complementary companies, so some things may be merged,” he said. “But overall, we expect that MDBriefcase will expand, not shrink.” Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
Curling Canada has decided to use the national ranking system as its selection criteria for the final wild-card berths at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier. The announcement clears a path to the Calgary bubble for Manitoba's Mackenzie Zacharias and Ontario's Glenn Howard. Beth Peterson, also from Manitoba, saw her chances greatly improve but the decision closed the door on Alberta's Kelsey Rocque and Saskatchewan's Robyn Silvernagle. “We needed to take our time and do our due diligence on this selection process,” Curling Canada chief executive officer Katherine Henderson said Friday in a release. “In the end, it was decided that we created the Canadian Team Ranking System for exactly these purposes. "It is a proven system with a history that we use for all of our other selection processes, and ultimately, from a consistency standpoint, it makes the most sense for this situation.” The Scotties is set for Feb. 19-28 at the Markin MacPhail Centre and the Brier will run March 5-14. The Canada Olympic Park venue will hold six events in all in a spectator-free setting due to the pandemic. Curling Canada scrapped its usual play-in game for both national team championships. Instead three wild-card entries were added to each field, creating 18-team draws. The federation previously announced that the final 2019-20 Canadian rankings would be used for the first two wild-card spots. Criteria for the third wild-card spot was listed as "to be determined," giving some hope to slightly lower-ranked teams or rinks who made off-season roster adjustments. Formal wild-card team entry announcements are expected next month once all provincial and territorial playdowns are complete. Howard, a four-time Brier champion, gets the third wild-card spot thanks to his No. 9 ranking. The first two wild-card spots were already clear with Mike McEwen of Manitoba at No. 5 and Kevin Koe of Alberta at No. 6. The complete women's wild-card picture won't be determined until the end of the month. Second-ranked Tracy Fleury of Manitoba is a lock for the first spot. Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt is next at No. 9, but she's a heavy favourite to represent her province again. Birt is one of two entries in the Jan. 29-31 P.E.I. championship. Either way, Zacharias — who won a world junior title last year — will get the second or third wild-card spot based on her No. 11 ranking. Peterson, meanwhile, is a whisker behind her on the list and only needs a Birt victory to book her ticket for Calgary. Chelsea Carey is ranked fifth in Canada but is a free agent. Rocque, at No. 6, and Silvernagle, at No. 10, weren't eligible since they only have two returning members, one short of the required minimum. A Curling Canada spokesman confirmed Friday that the 3-of-4 rule also applies to the third wild-card picks. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Friday welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries, which is set to expire in less than two weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia stands for extending the pact and is waiting to see the details of the U.S. proposal. The White House said Thursday that Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty. “We can only welcome political will to extend the document,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.” The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. It expires on Feb. 5. Russia has long proposed to prolong the pact without any conditions or changes, but former President Donald Trump’s administration waited until last year to start talks and made the extension contingent on a set of demands. The talks stalled, and months of bargaining have failed to narrow differences. “Certain conditions for the extension have been put forward, and some of them have been absolutely unacceptable for us, so let's see first what the U.S. is offering,” Peskov said. Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador at the international organizations in Vienna, also hailed Biden’s proposal as an “encouraging step.” “The extension will give the two sides more time to consider possible additional measures aimed at strengthening strategic stability and global security,” he tweeted. The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, noted in a statement that Russia always has called for maintaining the treaty and said Russian diplomats are ready to quickly engage in contacts with the U.S. to formalize its extension for five years “without any delay.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the U.S. decision and Russia's reiteration. He encouraged both countries “to work quickly to complete the necessary procedure for the New START’s extension before the Feb. 5 expiration and move as soon as possible to negotiations on new arms control measures," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “A five-year extension would not only maintain verifiable caps on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals but will also provide time to negotiate new nuclear arms control agreements to grapple with our increasingly complex international environment," Dujarric said. Biden indicated during the campaign that he favoured the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president. The talks on the treaty’s extension also were clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Despite the extension proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden remains committed to holding Russia “to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” such as its alleged involvement in the Solar Winds hacking event, 2020 election interference, the chemical poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the widely reported allegations that Russia may have offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Asked to comment on Psaki’s statement, Peskov has reaffirmed Russia’s denial of involvement in any such activities. After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, New START is the only remaining nuclear arms control deal between the two countries. Arms control advocates have strongly called for New START’s preservation, warning that its lapse would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. Last week, Russia also declared that it would follow the U.S. to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West. While Russia always offered to extend New START for five years — a possibility envisaged by the pact — Trump asserted that it put the U.S. at a disadvantage and initially insisted that China be added to the treaty, an idea that Beijing flatly rejected. Trump's administration then proposed to extend New START for just one year and also sought to expand it to include limits on battlefield nuclear weapons. Moscow has said it remains open for new nuclear arms talks with the U.S. to negotiate future limits on prospective weapons, but emphasized that preserving New START is essential for global stability. Russian diplomats have said that Russia’s prospective Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle could be counted along with other Russian nuclear weapons under the treaty. The Sarmat is still under development, while the first missile unit armed with the Avangard became operational in December 2019. The Russian military has said the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and could make sharp manoeuvrs on its way to a target to bypass missile defence systems. It has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and in the future could be fitted to the more powerful Sarmat. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Officers of the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to the report of a single vehicle collision on County Road 2 near Unger Island Road at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. According to a release from OPP dated Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, a westbound vehicle left the roadway, struck a snow bank and rolled over, coming to rest in a marsh. The driver was transported to hospital with minor injuries and later released. The driver was subsequently arrested and, as a result of the investigation, L&A County OPP has charged Steven Tyler Slaunwhite, age 29, of Deseronto, contrary to the Criminal Code with: - Operation While Impaired - alcohol and drug; and, - Operating a motor vehicle while over legal blood alcohol limit. The accused was released on an undertaking and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee in March 2021. The accused's licence was suspended for 90 days and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. Slaunwhite will be responsible for all related fees and fines. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
It's time for Canada to consider finally appointing a First Nations person to the post of Governor General, says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned on Thursday after an external review at Rideau Hall foundthe pair presided over a toxic work environment. That leaves the position open to a new appointment. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement later that day, saying that having the federal government appoint a First Nations person as the next Governor General would send a strong message that it is sincere about its rhetoric on reconciliation, and that there is no relationship that is more important to the Prime Minister than the one with Indigenous peoples. Such an appointment would pay respect to the spirit and intent of the treaties between Canada's First Nations people and the Crown, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told CBC News. Historically, the Governor General had a significant role in developing those treaties, he said. "It would also be a testament to the collaboration of what it took to make Canada the country it is today," he said. "I think that having a First Nations person play that role would help expedite those things and encourage the conversation and acknowledgement of how it's actually the First Nations, along with the French and English, that built this country." There is no shortage of strong Indigenous candidates in Manitoba who could become the Queen's representative in Ottawa, he said. "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life who would be able to play that role in a truly respectful and meaningful way." An independent consulting firm was hired to do the review by the Privy Council Office last year after reports surfaced that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, and it offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months.
La ministre des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation Andrée Laforest s’est donné un objectif ambitieux en vue des prochaines élections municipales. Elle souhaite voir doubler le nombre de jeunes élus dans les conseils municipaux du Québec. « Le but serait de doubler et d’avoir 16 % des élus en bas de 35 ans, explique-t-elle en entrevue avec La Tribune. C’est énorme, mais c’est tellement important d’avoir les idées et les innovations des jeunes. Ça donnerait une belle étincelle dans notre milieu municipal. On n’en a pas assez et on en veut plus » Pour ce faire, la ministre Laforest met de l’avant le projet de loi 49 qui vise à encadrer l’éthique et la déontologie en matière municipale. Le projet de loi propose notamment des formations beaucoup plus poussées pour les élus municipaux. « Il faut aider la profession, souligne la députée de Chicoutimi. Plus on va démontrer à quoi sert un élu et plus les jeunes vont être intéressés. La valorisation n’est pas toujours là en ce moment et avec les formations qu’on veut donner en éthique et en déontologie on va voir des améliorations dans les relations de travail dans les conseils municipaux. Elles seront beaucoup plus saines. » La ministre espère donc voir un meilleur équilibre dans les conseils municipaux à la suite des élections cet automne. « Une personne plus âgée amène son expérience et un jeune apporte de l’innovation, résume-t-elle. Les deux sont essentiels et quand on a un conseil municipal très âgé, c’est certain que le côté innovation est moins présent. Ce n’est pas d’avoir juste des jeunes ou juste des personnes âgées, mais vraiment un équilibre, avec des femmes évidemment. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
WASHINGTON — Testing wristbands are in. Mask-wearing is mandatory. Desks are socially distanced. The clearest sign that there's a new boss at the White House is the deference being paid to coronavirus public health guidelines. It’s a striking contrast to Donald Trump’s White House, which was the epicenter of no less than three separate outbreaks of COVID-19, their true scale not fully known because aides refused to discuss cases publicly. While the Trump administration was known for flouting safety recommendations, the Biden team has made a point of abiding by the same strict guidelines they’re urging Americans to follow to stem the spread of the virus. It’s part of an overall effort from President Joe Biden to lead by example on the coronavirus pandemic, an ethos carried over from his campaign and transition. “One of the great tragedies of the Trump administration was a refusal to recognize that many Americans model the behaviour of our leadership," said Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary to President Barack Obama who worked on the Biden transition. “The Biden administration understands the powerful message that adhering to their own guidelines and modeling the best public health behaviour sends, and knows that that’s the best path to climbing out of this until we can get a shot in the arm of every American.” To that end, most of Biden’s White House staff is working from home, co-ordinating with colleagues by email or phone. While the White House aims to have more people working onsite next week, officials intend to operate with substantially reduced staffing for the duration of the pandemic. When hundreds of administration staffers were sworn in by Biden on Wednesday, the ceremony was virtual, with the president looking out at team members displayed in boxes on video screens. The emphasis on adhering to public safety guidelines touches matters both big and small in the White House. Jeffrey Wexler is the White House director of COVID-19 operations, overseeing the implementation of safety guidelines throughout the administration, a job he performed during the transition and campaign. During her first press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested those working in the office would receive daily testing and N95 masks would be mandatory. Indeed, Biden's new federal mask mandate executive order requires that federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings and on federal lands wear masks and adhere to social distancing requirements. The executive order allows for agency heads to make “case-by-case exceptions" — like, for instance, Psaki's. She wears one until she steps up to the podium for briefings. Officials in close contact with Biden wear wristbands to signify they have been tested that day. Every event with the president is carefully choreographed to maintain distancing, with strips of paper taped to the carpet to show the likes of Vice-President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci where to stand when Biden is delivering an address. When Biden met with his COVID team in the State Dining Room on Thursday, the five people in the room sat at individual tables placed at least six feet apart and four others joined by Zoom to keep numbers down. Plexiglass barriers have been set up at some desks that are in open areas, but nearly all staff who are already working in the building have enclosed offices. The Biden team already had a robust contact tracing program set up during the transition, which it's keeping around for any possible exposures. Staffers also were issued laptops with wallpaper displays that offer a list of COVID symptoms and a directive to “call the White House medical unit” if they have experienced any of them. The Trump White House was another story altogether. After one virus scare in May, the White House mandated mask-wearing, with a memo from chief of staff Mark Meadows requiring their use in shared workspaces and meetings. Simple surgical masks were placed at the entrance to the West Wing. But after only a few days of moderate compliance, mask-wearing fell away almost entirely, as Trump made it clear to aides he did not like the visual of people around him wearing masks — let alone wearing one himself. Trump’s White House reduced staffing capacity during the earliest days of the pandemic, but by late spring, when Trump was intent on projecting that the country was “reopening” from pandemic lockdowns — and the U.S. was at roughly 80,000 deaths — aides quickly resumed normal operations. That provided ideal conditions for the spread of an airborne virus. It was only after Trump himself tested positive that some aides began staggering their work schedules to provide enhanced distancing and contingencies in case someone tested positive. Those working for the new administration welcome the stricter guidelines now, but they do pose some potential complications as the Biden team builds out its operation. Karen Finney, who was a spokeswoman in the Clinton White House, said the first challenge may simply be creating a cohesiveness and camaraderie when some new staffers are brought on board without ever having worked in the same room. “When you sit in the same office as everyone, it’s just a different dynamic," she said. “There's a sense of, ‘We’ve got each other's backs, we're going to be working together on this.'” Finney added that most of the staff are used to working remotely at this point, so it's not necessarily a new challenge. But she allowed that the national COVID response itself could be somewhat hamstrung by the COVID requirements at the White House. “Having to co-ordinate between limited staff in the office, those working remotely, along with governors, mayors, their staff, those on the Hill — it’s a challenge,” she said. “They’ve had the time to think through how to do some of this, but look, it’s going to be a work in progress." Alexandra Jaffe And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — A 24-year-old Scarborough Ont., resident is facing charges after Thunder Bay Ontario Provincial Police observed a vehicle excessively speeding on Highway 11/17 on Tuesday. OPP said in a news release this week, an officer was on patrol east of Mackenzie Heights Road in the municipality of Shuniah when they noticed a driver driving 152 kilometres per hour in a posted 90 kilometre per hour zone. The driver was charged with stunt driving and driving with an open container of liquor. OPP also issued a seven-day licence suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. Police are reminding drivers that driving speeds of 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit face severe penalties including mandatory seven-day licence suspension, mandatory seven-day vehicle impoundment, fines of up to $10,000 and six licence demerit points. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Le bilan lavallois de la COVID-19 est désormais de 1473 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 87 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. Il s’agit toutefois d’une augmentation de 128 cas confirmés, ce qui porte le total à 21 087 citoyens lavallois touchés depuis le mois de mars 2020. Au total, 809 personnes (+4) sont décédées du virus sur l’île Jésus. Parmi les Lavallois actuellement touchés, 88 (-4) sont hospitalisés, dont 27 (-1) aux soins intensifs. 91 employés du CISSS de Laval sont quant à eux absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Quatre des six secteurs de Laval présentent désormais moins de 400 cas confirmés sur leur territoire respectif au cours des 14 derniers jours. Parmi ceux-ci, Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (+12) est celui qui en compte le moins avec 318 personnes touchées sur cette même période. Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose (+15) détient quant à lui le plus bas taux d'infection avec 453 cas par 100 000 habitants. À l'inverse, Chomedey (+44) est encore le secteur le plus affecté de l'île Jésus dans les deux dernières semaines, que ce soit en chiffres absolus (744) ou en taux d'infection (781 cas par 100 000 habitants). De leur côté, Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul et Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides constatent respectivement 17 nouvelles personnes touchées sur leur territoire en ce vendredi 22 janvier. Malgré un bon bilan lors des 14 derniers jours, Vimont/Auteuil présente la deuxième plus importante augmentation du jour avec 24 nouveaux cas confirmés. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 26 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
County of Stettler council voted 5 - 2 in favour of sending a subdivision plan forward for the Hamlet of Erskine that includes alleys. The decision was made at the Jan. 13 regular meeting of council streamed via YouTube to meet pandemic rules. Councillors read a report submitted by Rick Green, director of operations, regarding lot layout options for the Erskine Phase 2 subdivision. He explained Phase 2 was complicated by the proximity of the former Erskine landfill. “Council motion 217.07.06.17 required the county development authority to submit a request to the Deputy Minister of the Environment to vary the setback for residential development near the closed Erskine landfill from 300 meters to 50 meters,” stated Green’s report. Essentially, Green stated councillors were being asked how they wanted the potential subdivision laid out, and whether or not they wanted alleys included. Green added that alleys take up space and also require a certain amount of maintenance. Council’s preferred layout would then be forwarded to the Municipal Planning Commission for a development permit. Coun. Les Stulberg stated he felt the county should get on this immediately and let people know the municipality wants to develop the area. Coun. Dave Grover asked if the ski hill was still at that location. Green responded that some of the material forming that hill was still there. Coun. James Nibourg stated he’s heard realtors on occasion state that buyers prefer alleys and if no alleys are included it may be a factor in how the lots sell. Green responded that in his opinion alleys aren’t a factor in how residential lots sell. Coun. Cheri Neitz stated that the public has told her that they don’t want a mobile home park in Erskine nor do they want the county to spend a lot of money on real estate. Reeve Larry Clark asked why the options didn’t allow for any basements. Green answered the proximity of the landfill required that detail. He stated the possibility of landfill gases settling in low spots could result in combustion, and basements would be considered low spots. Coun. Wayne Nixon pondered that no alleys also helps to reduce crime. Development Officer Jacinta Donovan stated that the subdivision plan will be publicly advertised so the public can comment on the proposal. Coun. Nibourg stated he felt more time should be spent on this decision than a few minutes at council and he also suggested the county gather input from local realtors to see what the market is demanding. Coun. Grover responded that pre-selling the lots might be a good idea and added that realtors might advise the county to sell the lots cheap just to get them moving. Coun. Nixon noted that the three options provided varied somewhat in lot numbers but there was room for alleys if desired. Neitz added that option number two fit better in the Erskine community. Coun. Nixon moved that council proceed with subdivision layout number two with alleys included and forward this to the MPC for their consideration. The motion passed with Neitz and Coun. Ernie Gendre opposed. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Even during the pandemic, the Okanagan continues to become a hotspot for film projects with bigger stars and films expected on the horizon according to the head of the Okanagan Film Commission. Chair of the film commission, Jon Summerland, told the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) board at their Jan. 21 meeting that movie producers created around $48 million in economic impact in the region last year. The non-profit film commission, funded in part by local regional governments, led the way in health and safety protocols while shooting in 2020, according to Summerland. “One month into the pandemic, we were already quarantining crews in hotels and shooting Hallmark movies. So we were the first in Canada to have film and we’ve been steady since. We were instrumental in creating the protocol for COVID with WorkSafe BC, they were on our sets every day in the beginning,” Summerland said. Health and safety officers became full-time crew members, now there are three on each set in the Okanagan. There were a total of 25 productions filmed in the Okanagan in 2020, including “Dangerous,” from Mind’s Eye Entertainment starring Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious) with an approximate $11 million in economic impact for the region. Much of the economic boon from the year could be attributed to around 10 Hallmark and Lifetime movies shot mostly in Summerland, Peachland and Kelowna. With more productions in the Okanagan and the word getting back to Hollywood, the film commission is opening the door to bigger projects and features. The film commission advertised the landscapes of the Okanagan in the magazine Hollywood Monthly, and having some big-name producers and directors living in the region doesn’t hurt either. “So all of them have been great tools in my tool belt to talk to Netflix, who I spoke with yesterday, to talk to bigger feature films, who are now already calling us because all these little shows that nobody watches, Hollywood watches. Hollywood goes ‘where are these being done?’ So now we’re on the radar,” Summerland said. He added he was working on a package for a film with a budget of $180 million. While Summerland said it is unlikely the commission will land the film, it could be a preview of things to come. “We are growing as a film community.” Combined, regional districts in the Okanagan contributed $255,244 to the film commission in 2020, with $45,000 coming from the RDOS and $130,000 from the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
MILAN — An impermissible sixth substitution prompted the Italian league judge to inflict Roma with a 3-0 loss to Spezia in the Italian Cup on Friday. Nine-man Roma had already lost Tuesday’s round of 16 match 4-2. In extra time, Roma sent on Daniel Fuzato for Bryan Cristante and Ibañez for Pedro even though it had already made four changes. Five substitutions are permitted under new rules introduced amid the coronavirus pandemic. The changes can made during a maximum of three interruptions during the first 90 minutes and during one more stoppage in extra time. The substitutions occurred during a chaotic finish after Roma defender Gianluca Mancini and goalkeeper Pau López were sent off within 30 seconds of each other in extra time. Former Roma winger Daniele Verde and Riccardo Saponara then scored for Spezia. Spezia faces Napoli in the quarterfinals. It's been a miserable spell for Roma, which was beaten by rival Lazio 3-0 in the capital derby last week in Serie A. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
La pandémie et la pénurie de main-d’œuvre ont eu raison d’un autre commerce de la région. La quincaillerie Tremblay-Laroche, établie depuis plus de 25 ans à Saint-Gédéon, ne rouvrira après avoir fermé ses portes le printemps dernier, faute de personnel. Le bâtiment situé au 223, rue de Quen, a été mis en vente. Le personnel restant et l’inventaire ont été transférés à la succursale de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, qui elle aussi vit des heures difficiles en ce qui a trait au personnel. « Malheureusement, on est obligé de fermer la succursale. Deux employés sont partis pendant la première vague de COVID le printemps dernier pour d’autres magasins et on n’a pas été capable de les remplacer », explique le propriétaire, Marc Tremblay. Pénurie de main-d’œuvre Marc Tremblay s’explique mal le fait que malgré un taux de chômage élevé, il soit si difficile de combler des postes aux deux succursales. En deux ans, même les ouvertures de poste pour le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix n’ont pas pris preneurs. « On a de la misère à combler malgré le fait qu’on dise qu’il y a beaucoup de personnes qui ne travaillent pas. Je ne comprends pas grand-chose là-dedans. Avec toutes les annonces qu’on a faites, on n’est pas capable de combler les besoins. On a essayé de toutes les manières. On a fait des parutions Facebook et ici au magasin et on ne réussit pas… », déplore-t-il Année mouvementée L’été dernier, les Québécois se sont adonnés aux travaux de rénovation. L’équipe de plus en plus restreinte du groupe Tremblay-Laroche a été mise à rude épreuve. « L’équipe a dû mettre les bouchées doubles. Avec deux personnes en moins, ça paraît. On a comblé le stock de Métabetchouan avec l’inventaire du magasin de Saint-Gédéon. Ça n’a pas été une année rose », ajoute Marc Tremblay. Questionné à savoir si une lueur d’espoir régnait toujours pour le magasin de Saint-Gédéon, le propriétaire a affirmé qu’il concentrait dorénavant ses efforts sur le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix. « On ne se fait pas d’illusions. On a mis le bâtiment à vendre », souligne-t-il. En novembre 2019, le groupe Tremblay-Laroche, alors affilié à BMR, avait quitté cette bannière pour joindre le groupe Castle en raison de désaccords. « BMR nous imposait des choses qu’on ne voulait pas. On ne se sentait plus chef dans notre propre magasin. Ils nous laissent acheter et faire ce qu’on veut », avait expliqué à l’époque Marc Tremblay. Plus d’un an plus tard, il se dit « très satisfait » de ce changement.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying home for the first time since being poisoned with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent that Navalny says was applied to his underpants by state security agents. The 44-year-old lawyer, in a Moscow prison pending the outcome of four legal matters he describes as trumped up, accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering his attempted murder.
L’année 2020 derrière nous, à quoi peut-on s’attendre en 2021? Nous avons discuté des défis économiques qui nous attendent avec Brigitte Alepin, professeure en fiscalité au Campus de Saint-Jérôme de l’UQO. D’entrée de jeu, Mme Alepin veut être claire. « Je ne peux vraiment rien prédire en ce moment. Rien dans cette pandémie n’était prévisible. » Elle indique que plusieurs économistes de renommée se sont aventurés à faire des prévisions en 2020, mais que celles-ci se sont souvent révélées erronées. Elle rappelle aussi que la situation actuelle est sans précédent. Les gouvernements ont dû prendre rapidement des décisions radicales. « On sera longtemps en train d’analyser : est-ce qu’on a pris les bonnes décisions? » Elle souligne que les présents gouvernements sont ceux qui ont le plus d’expérience dans la gestion d’une pandémie. « Je ne sais pas quelle note je donnerais aux gouvernements. Ce n’est pas parfait, mais ils l’ont quand même gérée. On doit toutefois s’attendre, espérer qu’ils ont appris, et qu’ils seront plus proactifs qu’en réaction, en 2021. » Malheureusement, Mme Alepin est certaine d’une chose : les gouvernements continueront à faire des déficits pendant un bon bout de temps. Tant au fédéral qu’au provincial, la dette publique a explosé, gonflée par les mesures pour contenir la pandémie et pour soutenir financièrement les citoyens et les entreprises pendant la crise. Si certains économistes espèrent une relance économique vigoureuse après la vaccination, Mme Alepin croit que cela sera bien insuffisant pour renflouer les coffres de l’État. Sans compter que des investissements supplémentaires seront nécessaires pour cette relance… « Ça va être difficile. Tout le monde s’en vient à sec! » Selon la fiscaliste, nous n’aurons plus le choix d’imposer davantage les « méga-riches » et les multinationales, pour qu’ils contribuent à leur juste part. « Mais la pandémie coûte tellement cher, ça ne sera pas assez », avertit-elle. Ainsi, les déficits et la dette, nécessaires pour vaincre la pandémie, devront être gérés avec prudence. Ce qui inquiète aussi la professeure, c’est l’inflation. « On n’en parle pas assez, il faut poser des questions! » Difficile de connaître l’impact précis des dépenses gouvernementales sur l’inflation, mais déjà les prix des aliments ont augmenté, par exemple. « Quelles seront les conséquences? Comment va-t-on gérer ça? Doit-on s’en soucier? Les taux d’intérêt pourraient augmenter. Là, tout est contenu, nous ne sommes pas en crise, mais ça peut débouler vite! » Si l’inflation s’accélère, elle peut devenir un cercle vicieux et se transformer en hyper-inflation. Alors les prix augmentent exponentiellement, chaque dollar a de moins en moins de valeur, jusqu’à ce que votre fonds de pension ne vaille plus rien. Difficile d’évaluer si le risque est réel ou non, mais selon Mme Alepin, les gouvernements devraient, à tout le moins, se pencher sur la question. Impossible également de prédire quel impact la pandémie aura eu sur la mondialisation. « Au début, on croyait que ça donnerait peut-être lieu à moins de mondialisation. De plus en plus, je lis des choses qui disent le contraire. » D’un côté, les États ont fermé leurs frontières, ont cherché à produire davantage de biens localement, comme les masques, et les consommateurs, comme au Québec, se sont tournés vers l’achat local. De l’autre côté, les États ont dû collaborer et se coordonner pour certains efforts, et les pressions pour plus de coopération internationale sont grandes. « Aux États-Unis, Joe Biden a tenu tête à la concurrence fiscale internationale, en promettant de rehausser le taux d’imposition des corporations de 21 à 28 %. Il y a aussi un nombre critique de pays qui veulent un impôt minimum mondial. C’est le dernier jalon qu’il nous manquait pour la mondialisation. » Dans tous les cas, l’ordre géopolitique et économique mondial est irrémédiablement bouleversé… même s’il est encore hasardeux d’en prédire les conséquences. Enfin, Mme Alepin prévient que les citoyens seront moins tolérants face à la concentration de la richesse par les milliardaires et les multinationales, qui paient peu ou pas d’impôt. « Quand les gens avaient un emploi, du pain frais à manger, de bons soins médicaux, quand tout allait bien, les gens acceptaient. Mais maintenant, ils n’accepteront plus. »Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
GREY-BRUCE – Although there are still 41 active cases of COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce, the number of new cases continues to drop from the post-holiday spike. As of Jan. 18, there had been five new cases in the previous 24 hours – one each in Owen Sound, Brockton, Grey Highlands, Hanover and West Grey. This brings the cumulative total to 653. There are 115 high risk contacts associated with active cases. Two people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. There are no outbreaks in Grey-Bruce. An outbreak with the Town of The Blue Mountains has been declared over. The first shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, 200 doses, have been administered. People are being urged to follow the basic measures that brought down numbers during the first wave – wash hands frequently, watch your distance (ideally six feet) and wear a face covering correctly. Everyone should also avoid crowds and unnecessary travel as the provincial lockdown continues. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Meb, nom d’artiste de Marie-Ève Bouchard, publie son deuxième recueil de poésie, Un an vu de chez elle. Entrevue avec l’artiste multidisciplinaire de Saint-Jérôme. Un an vu de chez elle, ce sont des poèmes en carré : quatre lignes de quatre lettres. « Les contraintes, c’est inspirant. Dans la limite, tu te poses moins de questions. Tu as une direction, donc c’est plus facile. Mais c’est super difficile en même temps! C’est le projet le plus masochiste que j’ai fait », explique Meb. La poète explique le défi de se limiter à 16 lettres, en évitant de répéter des mots à travers le recueil. « Il faut soutirer l’essence de ce que tu veux. » Meb raconte aussi qu’elle a eu un cancer de la tyroïde et qu’après l’opération, elle avait de la difficulté à parler. Si c’était inconscient au moment d’écrire son recueil, elle voit maintenant un lien entre la perte de sa voix et la contrainte qu’elle s’est imposée pour écrire ses poèmes. « Il y a une certaine retenue, qui représente peut-être une peur de s’exprimer. Je vivais des choses vraiment difficiles. C’était plus facile d’aller dans le petit. J’avais peur que si je commençais à écrire beaucoup… C’était une manière de contenir l’hémorragie », confie la poète. « J’ai un parcours qui va un peu dans tous les sens », raconte Meb en riant. La musique est son premier amour. « Je suis violoniste de formation. Depuis que j’ai 5 ans, j’ai fait des études en musique. J’ai une maîtrise en histoire de la musique et j’enseigne au cégep Saint-Laurent. » Mais elle se passionne aussi pour la poésie depuis longtemps, d’abord en publiant dans des zines (des revues à faible tirage). Ce n’est qu’après avoir sortis 3 disques, soit 2 EP et 1 LP, qu’elle décide de se consacrer plus sérieusement à la poésie. « J’ai commencé tard. J’ai sorti mon premier disque dans la trentaine. J’étais fatiguée, je crois. C’est quand même du stock, faire des shows, se coucher tard. J’avais moins d’énergie, moins le goût. » En 2017, elle publie Aria de laine, son premier recueil de poésie. Ce dernier regroupe des poèmes découpés dans le roman Maria Chapdelaine de Louis Hémon, qui est maintenant dans le domaine public. Sur son site web, chezmeb.com, l’artiste tente de créer quelque chose tous les jours. « Je ne réussis pas tout le temps! (rire) Il y a des moments où je le fais plus. L’idée, c’est de me forcer à faire quelque chose. Mais ça reste un peu un monde idéal dans ma création. Je n’ai pas toujours le temps. » Pour Noël, par exemple, elle a fait des poèmes en forme de sapin, qui forment un calendrier de l’avent. On retrouve aussi de la photographie et d’autres œuvres poétiques. « C’est comme ça que j’ai fait pour Aria de laine et pour Un an vu de chez elle. » Elle a aussi réalisé un livret d’opéra avec la compositrice Sonia Paço-Rocchia, elle aussi des Laurentides et lauréate du Prix 3 femmes de Mécénat Musica. K-WAY D’ÂME DÉJÀ PLIÉ « Il exprime très bien cet espèce de motton qu’on peut avoir. Il reflète tes émotions qui sont toutes en boule. » – Meb ÉLUE POUR OSER VOIR « C’est la définition de ce que c’est, être poète ou artiste en général » – MebSimon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès