A historic church in St. Catharines, Ont., that Harriet Tubman helped build is getting a much-needed renovation thanks to a $100,000 grant through the federal Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.
A historic church in St. Catharines, Ont., that Harriet Tubman helped build is getting a much-needed renovation thanks to a $100,000 grant through the federal Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine safety: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations to the tune of 84 per cent," Sharma said. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902 ) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. An analysis of results from 2,000 adults older than 60 years suggested the vaccine was similarly effective and well tolerated in this age group. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
L’art de la Renaissance, sans échapper à la domination théorique et visuelle des Européens sur les peuples africains, était peut-être plus divers que l’on pourrait initialement le penser.
(Walter Strong/CBC - image credit) Justice Louise Charbonneau sentenced Tariq St Croix Thursday to five years in jail and three years probation for "brutally" stabbing his ex-wife on New Year's Eve two years ago. St Croix pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and aggravated assault in N.W.T. Supreme Court. The Crown prosecutor and defence lawyers jointly recommended a five-year sentence. "It is luck that St Croix isn't facing a homicide trial," Charbonneau told the courtroom. Tariq St. Croix, covering his face with a garment, has been charged with aggravated assault and breaking and entering. Tariq has one year, nine months, and one week remaining in his sentence. Upon his release, he is required to leave the N.W.T. On the evening of the attack, Marina St Croix was with her kids on their balcony waiting for fireworks to begin, when Tariq St Croix appeared outside of their residence. Tariq was on probation for previously assaulting her and was legally prohibited from visiting Marina unless she permitted him. Marina, who was pregnant at the time, told Tariq to go away, but he broke into the house by smashing a window, then armed himself with a steak knife. Marina was holding her 18-month-old infant in her bedroom when Tariq stabbed her in the face, neck and torso in the presence of her two kids. The eldest child grabbed the infant for protection. Tariq repeatedly yelled "you don't love me" before the steak knife broke, lodged in her stomach. Marina tried to flee to the balcony to call for help when Tariq dragged her back in, kicked her face, then fled. Marina asked that the publication ban on her name be lifted, as she no longer wanted the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and children to be hidden from sight. Mistrust of the system Marina gave a victim impact statement before sentencing. With her sister standing next to her, and Tariq merely meters away, she described how the crime has changed her life. "On the Sunday before the week of my fate, I watched a video on highway 16. Trudeau's words were that Canada failed Indigenous women and that the MMIWG report would not be shelved. Yet, I stand ready to flee, when my only protection between him and me is three years probation." "We live in a society that would rather have my race live in a boat that no longer floats," she continued. "Life is easy for those who fail to see, so society covers their eyes with coins to let the violence breathe. "I see too many dead women and children that the RCMP fail to find. So I must admit I cannot trust the broken system, this time. "Welcome to court in Canada when you are Indigenous," Marina concluded. Marina said she cannot trust a broken legal system that fails to protect Indigenous women and children from their abusers. Justice Charbonneau told the court she "can understand that a court order would not appear adequate, given the crime took place when two probation orders were in force." Judge 'bound' by joint submission Tariq St Croix was initially charged with attempted murder in addition to the crime he was convicted of, but the greater charge was withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and aggravated assault. In a previous court appearance, Charbonneau acknowledged that the five-year sentence was on the "very, very low end." Judges are bound by a Supreme Court of Canada ruling to accept joint submissions unless they can prove that the sentence is "unhinged" from the circumstances of the crime. "The question I have to answer is not to see if a five year sentence is fit," but if the sentence would break down the administration of justice, she said Thursday. Despite her reservations,Charbonneau said she was certain that Crown and the defense lawyers gave careful consideration to their submission. Deportation possible Tariq has one year, nine months and one week remaining in his sentence. Upon his release, he is required to leave the N.W.T. The court heard that Tariq had been the victim of an "extremely" violent upbringing. As a child growing up in St Lucia, his father had abused his mother repeatedly. Tariq's mother assaulted him and his siblings, which was described as torture at times. "Miraculously," Tariq has rekindled his relationship with his mother, the judge told the court. However, the circumstances of his difficult upbringing "cannot excuse the extreme violence of the crime," Charbonneau said. He is likely to face deportation, given the severity of the crime along with his existing criminal record. Originally from St Lucia, Tariq has permanent residency in Canada. He is qualified as a protected person, which means an additional step is required for deportation. Whether he will be deported depends on if the danger he poses in Canada outweighs the risk he may face if he returns to his home country. However, he is likely to lose permanent residency status.
From the United States to Germany and Australia, government borrowing costs on Friday were set to end February with their biggest monthly rises in years as expectations for a post-pandemic ignition of inflation gained a life of their own. Australia's 10-year bond yield and Britain's 30-year yields were set for their biggest monthly jump since the 2009 global financial crisis. Even after a Friday respite from this week's brutal drubbing, Australia's 10-year yield is up 70 basis points in February and New Zealand's 10-year yield is up almost 77 bps.
The City of Brampton’s independent internal audit mandate stresses the philosophy of improving operations within the City, emphasizing the highest level of due diligence and autonomy is applied when looking into the way public funds are used, free from any outside influence. However, shortly after CAO David Barrick arrived at City Hall following his firing from a Niagara conservation agency for mismanagement and a scathing Ontario ombudsman investigation report that implicated him in a fraudulent hiring process, the City’s top bureaucrat fired the head of internal audit, then moved the role from its independent reporting line to council and placed it under his authority. At least one councillor has expressed concern over Barrick’s takeover of another accountability mechanism. The mandate of internal audit was also quietly changed, removing its independence, the hallmark feature of any municipal audit department function. The structure no longer follows the recommended independent structure outlined by the association that represents municipal auditors. In September, following Barrick’s hiring in late 2019 and the immediate termination of former director of internal audit, Foruzan Velji, council approved a new audit charter that was quietly amended by staff to reflect the stark departure from the independence under the previous charter, approved in 2017. There are now concerns that Barrick is blocking audit and investigation work that would reveal disturbing behaviour directed by the CAO. Mayor Patrick Brown oversaw the process to hire Barrick, who has close ties to Brown through Conservative political circles. Despite all the evidence and years of reporting, Brown has denied that Barrick was implicated in the Niagara hiring scandal, even though the provincial ombudsman investigation, titled “Inside Job”, details his disturbing conduct. Sunny Kalkat had been hired by Barrick to take over the internal audit department after Velji departed days after the new CAO’s arrival. But two weeks ago, the public learned that Kalkat was suddenly no longer the head of internal audit, raising many questions about who is providing crucial oversight and whether the CAO is once again stripping away transparency and accountability inside CIty Hall. Last month, councillors expressed their frustration during a public meeting after Barrick had illegally removed the independent freedom of information function from the City clerk’s office (the accountability role reported directly to council) and quietly moved it under his authority, which was a violation of the bylaw outlining the function and the provincial legislation which states the municipal freedom of information role has to report either to council or someone appointed by council. Barrick was never given that role. Council voted to put the function back under the clerk’s office, reporting directly to elected members, not the CAO. While councillors expressed their frustration and concern during the public meeting over Barrick’s behaviour, Brown remained quiet. Now, questions are mounting about how Barrick has handled City Hall’s primary oversight mechanism, through the internal audit department. The CAO had the Charter that governs the audit function altered shortly after his arrival. The document now details a new reporting structure, stating audit reports will be shared with divisional heads or commissioners of a department, along with the CAO, before being presented to the council-led audit committee. “The CAO will be advised prior to Internal Audit sharing internal audit reports and/or related information with the Audit Committee.” These new guidelines created by staff, not council, run contrary to accepted best practices for municipal internal audit departments, which are supposed to be completely independent from the bureaucratic staff auditors are required to hold accountable. The Institute of Internal Auditors, which Ontario’s municipal auditors use for guidance, states, “The internal audit charter is a formal document that defines the internal audit activity's purpose, authority, and responsibility. The internal audit charter establishes the internal audit activity's position within the organization, including the nature of the chief audit executive’s functional reporting relationship with the board (council); authorizes access to records, personnel, and physical properties relevant to the performance of engagements; and defines the scope of internal audit activities. Final approval of the internal audit charter resides with the board (council).” Independence is the key to the function. “The chief audit executive must report to a level within the organization that allows the internal audit activity to fulfill its responsibilities,” the institute states. “The chief audit executive must confirm to the board (council), at least annually, the organizational independence of the internal audit activity.” Functional and administrative practices under the 2020 Internal Audit Charter are now under Barrick’s authority, after he moved all reporting lines out from under council and the audit committee. Before Barrick had the Charter altered, the prior version stated: “The Chief Audit Executive will report functionally to the Audit Committee and administratively to the CAO.” The organizational chart was changed and shows how internal audit is now under the CAO, whereas the previous chart had it under the council audit committee. The current Charter no longer follows the guidelines set out by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) which was previously used by the City of Brampton to establish its internal audit standards. In a report presenting the 2020 Charter, the importance of the IIA is acknowledged, and the guidelines the 2017 Charter was modeled after are included, but the final version of the current Charter does not include the suggested reporting structure. “Ideally [the charter] establishes reporting lines for the chief audit executive (CAE) that support that independence by reporting functionally to the governing body (or those charged with governance) and administratively to executive management,” the City audit report states, using guidelines from the IIA. This was an issue Councillor Jeff Bowman raised at the September 8 audit committee meeting when the item was first discussed. He said the auditor’s reports should come to council alone. “I have a major problem with that. That is not transparent… there's no way that should be happening.” Citizen member Iqbal Ali echoed Bowman’s concerns, questioning how the new reporting structure would guarantee the auditor could report to council without any fear of reprimand if a report casts staff in a negative light. Barrick said the new charter responds to what council asked staff to do: ensure it reflects the bylaws and legislation of the City. He did not explain what specific bylaws or legislation the charter lines up with. And he did not explain why he changed the Charter to remove the functional oversight of internal audit from council to himself, an obvious contradiction of the stated need for independence. All the investigation work internal audit does, to ensure staff are not abusing public trust, finances or their responsibilities, involves staff who report to Barrick. He oversees them and now also oversees the accountability mechanism meant to hold himself and other bureaucrats in check. Reporting directly to council would be a function of an auditor general, which the previous term of council decided against, he told audit committee. “With the director of internal audit function, they have to report somewhere and in this case, it's the CAO.” This is a direct contradiction of the guidelines for internal audit, and the Charter in place before Barrick’s arrival. Since stepping foot inside City Hall he has stripped away council’s mandated oversight role, on behalf of the public, in an alarming violation of bylaws and provincial legislation. When audits are presented to council, questions about any problems uncovered have to be answered by the staff responsible for any problems. Barrick said it’s difficult to answer these questions when the “operational awareness” is absent and staff don’t know what the issue at hand is. It’s unclear what he meant, as staff are always fully aware of their own behaviour and practices. Barrick claimed the director of internal audit reported to the CAO before he took the City’s top job in October 2019. “This is not new.” His claims are inaccurate. Barrick’s claims do not match up with the previous charter or the City’s organizational chart outlining the departmental structure. Currently, the internal audit department is listed under Barrick, where he claims it always has been. The City’s organizational chart from June 2020, and for the months prior, show the department stood on its own, with a reporting line to the council internal audit committee. When The Pointer asked the City about the changed structure, a spokesperson said the question was “not factual.” When images of the website were provided as evidence of the change to the audit reporting structure, the City did not respond. The Pointer tried numerous times to get clarification but no response was provided ahead of publication. The new Charter was created under Sunny Kalkat, the former director of internal audit. According to sources who spoke with The Pointer, Kalkat was let go from her position days before her contract was set to expire, recently. At this time, Richard Gervais, senior advisor for IT audit, is filling the position on an interim basis. A City spokesperson told The Pointer they can’t speak to the employment status of any City employees. Under the 2020 charter, the CAO is listed as being responsible for the “appointment, dismissal and remuneration of the Director of Internal Audit,” a task that typically is supposed to be overseen by council. Under the Charter approved in 2017, Council was given authority to "Approve decisions regarding the appointment and removal of the Chief Audit Executive"; and approval of "decisions relating to the remuneration of the Chief Audit Executive." It stated that, under the IIA guidelines: "The Chief Audit Executive will have unrestricted access to, and communicate and interact directly with, the audit committee, including private meetings without management present." Barrick has removed this independence, effectively cancelling the audit department's key accountability and oversight function. The IIA states council must ensure: "The internal audit activity must be free from interference in determining the scope of internal auditing, performing work, and communicating results. The chief audit executive must disclose such interference to the board (council) and discuss the implications." According to an internal email obtained by The Pointer, Barrick advised Council of the decision to release Kalkat on February 19. “In consultation with the chair and vice chair of audit committee, it is the most responsible course of action to fill such a position once City Council has deliberated and made a decision on the forthcoming report,” the email read. It goes on to say Kalkat’s contract with the City was fulfilled and it wasn’t extended because of council’s decision to explore “options for an auditor general model.” It’s unclear why Barrick thought the council request to explore another layer of oversight was grounds to not rehire the existing head of internal audit. Sources told The Pointer Kalkat did not serve the full duration of her contract. The idea of an auditor general function was initially introduced at the January 27 City Council meeting. Following allegations of widespread fraud under his watch, Brown asked staff to look at the possibility of creating a municipal ombudsman office. A municipal ombudsman would allow complaints to be filed against any staff members for a possible investigation. Councillors pointed out that an auditor general does not need complaints to investigate staff, and focuses their investigation on issues they deem important. Kalkat is the second internal auditor to vacate her position since Barrick was hired. Former director Foruzan Velji was let go in October 2019, a week after Barrick started, according to sources. Kalkat’s position was left vacant mere days before the Tuesday audit committee meeting last week, the first of four meetings that happen throughout the year. Her name was listed as the lead in three of the four reports that were part of the committee agenda. In the obtained internal email, Barrick states filling the position on an interim basis “is the most responsible course of action” until council decides on the position it wants to take. Kalkat’s vacancy comes as the corporate fraud prevention hotline has seen a dramatic rise in complaints. This function allows employees to anonymously make complaints regarding fraudulent activities in City Hall. Since the committee’s last meeting on November 24, the hotline received 29 complaints, the most reported since Kalkat was hired a year ago, making up a third of the 77 total complaints since the service was launched in 2016. Barrick acknowledged there are gaps in the types of complaints that are allowed to be investigated and said the corporate policy team is looking into the issue and examining how to best direct complaints. Some of the complaint reports have been “closed” but details were not provided during the discussion as to what each investigation uncovered or who was investigated. The Pointer will be following up on the reports that were closed without providing details during the public meeting. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @nida_zafar Tel: 416 890-7643 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Nida Zafar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced a $7-million satellite program to locate and track people who are fishing illegally near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. “Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release. “We're investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.” The Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to detect “dark vessels,” ones that have turned off their location transmitting devices in order to avoid being caught, according to DFO. It’s estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually at a cost to the global economy of $10 billion to $23 billion a year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. DFO awarded Ontario-based space technology company MDA — the maker of the Canadarm — with a three-year contract to supply the technology for the program. It will provide data and analysis to officials in Ecuador and the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region, so they can spend their resources on enforcement to protect their fish stocks, DFO says. MDA says the program will combine data from multiple satellite missions, including the Canadian Space Agency Earth observation satellite, RADARSAT-2. The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million Canada committed to ocean health at the 2018 G7 meeting. DFO kicked off a smaller-scale program in June to track vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, which saw “significant” fines to five foreign vessels, according to the department. Canada has been under fire for having illegal seafood in its supply chains. Oceana Canada says the country has “inadequate traceability standards” to monitor its seafood supply chain. As a result, the Canadian economy is losing up to $93.8 million in tax revenue each year due to illegal and unreported fishing, according to an Oceana Canada report released in November. Meanwhile, Canadian fishers are missing out on up to $379 million in lost revenue, per the report. The ocean conservation organization has been calling on the feds to develop a boat-to-plate traceability system that would track information about seafood products and disseminate it throughout supply chains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Jordan and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to tackle it in their 2019 mandate letters, but no timeline for this plan has been released. This task, however, wasn’t included in Jordan’s or Hajdu’s subsequent 2021 letters. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) THE LATEST: Health Canada has approved a third COVID-19 vaccine. B.C. recorded 589 new cases and seven more deaths on Friday. As of Friday, there are 4,665 active cases in the province. A total of 232 people are in hospital, including 63 in intensive care. To date, 1,355 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. out of 79,262 confirmed cases. 252,373 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 73,808 second doses. There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. There's no end in sight for the current rules banning all social gatherings in B.C., as officials warn of "potential for rapid growth" in the province's caseload. On Friday B.C. recorded 589 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths. The update, provided in a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, said there are 4,665 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of those, 232 people are in hospital, including 63 in intensive care. To date, 1,355 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. out of 79,262 confirmed cases. Meanwhile, 252,373 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 73,808 second doses. No new health-care facility outbreaks were recorded as of Friday. Potential for rapid growth In her daily update on Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the seven-day rolling average of new cases is still slowly climbing, more than three months into tight restrictions on daily life meant to bring the second wave of the pandemic under control. "This means potential for rapid growth if we are not careful," she said. Despite those concerns, Henry also said that she's confident B.C.'s measures will slow the spread of the disease, especially now that the vaccination program is up and running again. On Friday morning, Health Canada approved use of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. The approval clears the way for millions of more inoculations in Canada. Canada has so far secured access to 20 million doses of the vaccine. "Unlike the vaccines that have been available to date, this new, two-dose viral vector vaccine has the benefit of being 'fridge stable,' making it much easier to transport and distribute around the province," said the statement from the province. "This new vaccine will be integrated into our provincial immunization program as delivery and supply is confirmed in the coming weeks. The additional supply will allow us to look at accelerating immunization of priority populations and essential workers." Henry said Thursday that there have been 116 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern found in B.C., of which nine cases are active. She said 95 cases were of the variant originally detected in the U.K. and 21 of the variant first detected in South Africa. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 6:30 p.m. PT Thursday, Canada had reported 858,217 cases of COVID-19, with 30,335 cases considered active. A total of 21,865 people have died. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
NYON, Switzerland — Draw Friday for the last 16 in the Europa League: First Leg March 11 Ajax (Netherlands) vs. Young Boys (Switzerland) Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) vs. Villarreal (Spain) Roma (Italy) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) Olympiakos (Greece) vs. Arsenal (England) Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) vs. Tottenham (England) Manchester United (England) vs. AC Milan (Italy) Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) vs. Rangers (Scotland) Granada (Spain) vs. Molde (Norway) ___ Second Leg March 18 Young Boys (Switzerland) vs. Ajax (Netherlands) Villarreal (Spain) vs. Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) vs. Roma (Italy) Arsenal (England) vs. Olympiakos (Greece) Tottenham (England) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) AC Milan (Italy) vs. Manchester United (England) Rangers (Scotland) vs. Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) Molde (Norway) vs. Granada (Spain) ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Edmonton Police are warning the public that Clint Carifelle, 30, is a dangerous offender who has removed the monitoring ankle bracelet that was placed on him due to his violent tendencies. Police say he has ties to Saskatchewan and may be making his way to this province. He was last seen Wednesday at a residence in the area of 119 Ave and 101 Street. Carifelle is 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and full face tattoos that he is known to cover with makeup. He is known to carry weapons and should not be approached. Anyone who encounters him should contact police immediately by calling 911. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Protesters gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia over the arrest earlier in the week of opposition leader Nika Melia.View on euronews
WASHINGTON — Bouncing back from months of retrenchment, America's consumers stepped up their spending by a solid 2.4% in January in a sign that the economy may be making a tentative recovery from the pandemic recession. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department also showed that personal incomes, which provide the fuel for spending, jumped 10% last month, boosted by cash payments most Americans received from the government. The January spending increase followed two straight monthly spending drops that had raised concerns that consumers, who power most of the economy, were hunkered down, too anxious to travel, shop and spend. Last month's sharp gain suggests that many people are growing more confident about spending, especially after receiving $600 checks that went to most adults last month in a federal economic aid package. The government also reported Friday that inflation by a measure preferred by the Federal Reserve rose a moderate 0.3% in December. That left prices up 1.5% over the past 12 months, well below the Fed’s 2% target. Besides receiving cash payments, many Americans who have managed to keep their jobs have also been saving money for several months. That could bode well for the economy later this year, once consumers feel more willing to spend, vaccinations are more widely distributed and some version of President Joe Biden’s new economic aid proposal is enacted. Concerns that a strengthening economy will accelerate inflation have sent bond yields surging. On Thursday, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note moved above 1.5% — a level not seen in more than a year and far above the 0.92% it was trading at only two months ago. The move raised alarms on Wall Street and ignited a deep selloff in the stock market. Some investors fear that rising interest rates and the threat of inflation might lead the Fed to raise its benchmark short-term rate too quickly and potentially derail the economy. The tame inflation figure in Friday's report from the government shows that so far, price increases are mostly mild. In testimony to Congress this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell downplayed the inflation risk and instead underscored the economy’s struggles. Layoffs are still high. And 10 million jobs remain lost to the pandemic that erupted nearly a year ago. That’s a deeper job loss than was inflicted by the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Still, despite the weakened job market, key sectors of the economy are showing signs of picking up as vaccinations increase and government rescue aid works its way through the economy. The Fed’s ultra-low-rate policy is providing important support as well. Retail sales soared last month. Factory output also rose and has nearly regained its pre-pandemic levels. And sales of newly built homes jumped in January. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
LONDON — A woman who ran away from London as a teenager to join the Islamic State group lost her bid Friday to return to the U.K. to fight for the restoration of her citizenship, which was revoked on national security grounds. Shamima Begum was one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria in 2015. She resurfaced at a refugee camp in Syria and told reporters she wanted to come home, but was denied the chance after former Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship. Begum's lawyers appealed,, saying her right to a fair hearing was harmed by the obstacles of pursuing her case from the camp. The U.K. Supreme Court disagreed, ruling Friday that the right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as public safety. “The appropriate response to the problem in the present case is for the deprivation hearing to be stayed - or postponed - until Ms. Begum is in a position to play an effective part in it without the safety of the public being compromised,'' said Justice Robert Reed, the president of the Supreme Court. “That is not a perfect solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible. But there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind.” Javid argued that Begum was Bangladeshi by descent and could go there. She challenged the decision, arguing she is not a citizen of another country and that Javid’s decision left her stateless. The human rights group Liberty said the court’s ruling sets “an extremely dangerous precedent”. “The right to a fair trial is not something democratic governments should take away on a whim, and nor is someone’s British citizenship,'' said Rosie Brighouse, a lawyer with Liberty. “If a government is allowed to wield extreme powers like banishment without the basic safeguards of a fair tria,l it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.'' Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
En l’absence d’activités organisées par les organismes et municipalités, que pourront faire les familles de la Haute-Côte-Nord pendant la semaine de relâche du 1erau 5 mars? Gino Jean, enseignant en éducation physique à l’école St-Luc ainsi qu’au Cégep de Forestville et impliqué dans le sport jeunesse, a quelques suggestions. 1. Soyez créatifs! La pandémie apporte son lot de conséquences, mais Gino Jean rappelle qu’on peut y trouver du positif. « La crise que l’on vit présentement nous permet de passer plus de temps en famille. Il faut profiter de la relâche pour créer des jeux avec nos enfants et laisser aller notre imagination. Construire un fort, aménager une glissade dans la cour ou partir à la recherche des plus belles buttes…» 2. Du plein air, 1 heure par jour, sans cellulaire. L’enseignant est un fervent du plein air hivernal. Il conseille à ses élèves et à leurs parents de prendre l’air au moins une heure par jour. « Même si tu ne fais pas d’activité précise, tu peux t’asseoir et lire un livre, si tu veux, mais au moins tu respireras l’air frais. Et surtout, laissez le cellulaire dans la maison, sinon on est tenté de le regarder », soutient-il. 3. Apprendre les rudiments de la survie en forêt. « Une belle activité à laquelle toute la famille trouvera son compte est sans aucun doute la marche en forêt pour apprendre quelques notions de survie. Faire une cabane en sapin, amasser du bois pour faire un feu, tant les adolescents que les plus jeunes seront amusés. La famille passera du bon temps à l’extérieur », suggère M. Jean qui a déjà fait cette activité avec son fil Clovis. 4. Randonnée en ski de fond. Le ski de fond est très accessible en Haute-Côte-Nord. « Plus particulièrement à Forestville, il est possible d’effectuer une randonnée de 1,2 kilomètre du stationnement du club de ski de fond au relais. On peut apporter une petite collation, se faire un feu pour se réchauffer et ce sera un bel avant-midi ou après-midi en famille », affirme l’amateur de ce sport d’hiver, précisant qu’il peut prêter des paires de skis aux enfants de l’école St-Luc. 5. Essayer le fatbike. Le vélo à pneus surdimensionnés (fatbike) est de plus en plus populaire partout au Québec. Gino Jean conseille les familles de l’essayer, surtout qu’une nouvelle piste est ouverte au golf Le Méandre à Forestville. « La Municipalité de Portneuf-sur-Mer en a deux à prêter pour les intéressés », dévoile-t-il. 6. Profiter des sentiers de raquettes. « Partout en Haute-Côte-Nord la forêt est à proximité, rappelle l’enseignant. Pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour sortir nos raquettes et partir en randonnée familiale? À Forestville, un magnifique sentier se rend au lac Forest et offre une merveilleuse vue. Le club de ski de fond offre également des pistes pour faire de la raquette. » 7. Marcher dans les rues. « Une simple marche dans les rues de notre municipalité peut être une belle activité parents-enfants. Certains trottoirs sont même déblayés pour les marcheurs. En plus, la température sera de notre côté pendant cette semaine de repos, selon les prévisions météos », de mentionner le papa de trois enfants. 8. L’important, c’est de lâcher les écrans et de se relâcher. Finalement, comme l’indique M. Jean, l’important est de reposer son cerveau et de relâcher de tout. « Et surtout de lâcher les écrans, que ce soit les cellulaires, les tablettes, les jeux vidéos, la télévision. Oui, un film un soir ça peut être bien, mais ne pas passer nos journées collé là-dessus », conclut-il. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
La Convention des maires pour le climat et l’énergie du Canada (CMMC) a décerné à la Ville de Laval l’insigne de réussite pour avoir fait progresser ses objectifs en matière d’environnement. Cette reconnaissance n’est certainement pas étrangère à l’ambitieux plan de réduction des gaz à effet de serre adopté au conseil municipal de novembre dernier, qui vise à diminuer du tiers ses émissions de GES d’ici 2035 par rapport au niveau de 1990. L’administration Demer partage cet honneur avec 18 autres Municipalités canadiennes dont Candiac, Beaconsfield, Prévost et la MRC de Rivière-du-Loup au Québec. Rappelons qu’en 2019, Laval avait été sélectionnée pour faire partie de la première cohorte du projet Villes-vitrines dirigé par la CMMC au pays. Ce programme de 12 mois offrait aux Villes un accompagnement intensif pour les aider à réduire leur empreinte écologique et s'adapter aux changements climatiques. «[C’] est une belle récompense pour tous nos efforts déployés jusqu'à maintenant. Elle nous encourage à poursuivre notre travail et ainsi dépasser nos objectifs en matière d’environnement», s’est réjouie Virginie Dufour, responsable des dossiers en environnement au comité exécutif, le 25 février. Depuis son adhésion à la Convention mondiale des maires pour le climat et l’énergie en 2016, la Ville produit annuellement un inventaire des émissions lavalloises de GES, ce qui lui permet notamment de mesurer l’efficacité des mesures de réduction mises en place. Parmi les actions phares de la stratégie lavalloise à la lutte aux changements climatiques, notons le programme de compensation des GES. Il s’agit d’une initiative municipale novatrice en vertu de laquelle les promoteurs et développeurs immobiliers contribuent à un fonds vert qui permet de financer des initiatives de réduction des émissions, telle la collecte à domicile des appareils réfrigérants dont se débarrassent les Lavallois. L’automne prochain, la Ville lancera une campagne sur la lutte aux changements climatiques afin de sensibiliser ses citoyens, susciter leur engagement et les inciter à changer leurs habitudes quotidiennes. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
(Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit) Weeks after Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson requested the government send grief counsellors to his electoral district, Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending a mental health team to the district's four communities. In early February, Green urged anyone seeking mental health services to use same-day counselling services available through the health department but stopped short of committing to send in new resources. On Thursday, she said she will investigate if she can deploy mental health teams that typically travel to communities without resident counsellors. While a child and youth counsellor position is filled at the Mangilaluk School in Tuktoykatuk, there are vacancies in community counselling, said Green. Health Minister Julie Green says she will look into sending mental health teams to Nunakput. Jacobson said mental health issues are coming up in Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour and Paulatuk. He said a lot of people are hurting from depression to all the deaths that have occurred over the last year," said Jacobson. "We have to start trying to help them, heal them and try to move forward. When are we gonna get these travel teams into Nunakput?" he said. "We need a team to come in to work with the community on the depression, alcoholism, everything ... anything they want to talk about to get off their chest. We need help." The Kids Help Line is available to youth by text or call, Facebook and online chat, said Green. If you are under 25 years old and you need someone to talk to, you can call the Kid's Help Phone 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868. Texting and online chat options are also available 24/7. To text with a counsellor, text CONNECT to 686868. To live chat, visit https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/ and click the "chat" button OR download the Always There app.
Digital assets under management across exchange-traded products doubled this month to a record $43.9 billion, researcher CryptoCompare said on Friday, underscoring soaring interest in securities that track digital currencies. Bitcoin has leapt over 60% this year, hitting an all-time high of $58,354 this month as mainstream companies such as Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc embraced cryptocurrencies. Still, daily trading volumes across all varieties of exchange-traded products involving cryptocurrencies slumped 38% in February from a month earlier to $936 million, CryptoCompare said in a research report.
En décembre 2018, les industriels forestiers se sont engagés à augmenter les tarifs de transport de 16 % sur deux ans. Après une augmentation de près de 9 % en 2019, les camionneurs forestiers ont accepté un gel des tarifs pendant la pandémie, en raison de l’incertitude, mais ils attendent toujours la balance de l’augmentation des tarifs promise. « C’est le minimum qu’on demande pour atteindre un seuil de rentabilité acceptable », lance d’emblée Carol Girard, le représentant forêt pour l’Association nationale des camionneurs artisans inc. (ANCAI), en faisant référence à l’entente conclue en décembre 2018. À l’époque, les camionneurs avaient menacé les industriels de faire une grève d’une journée. Devant cette menace, les industriels du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean avaient accepté de négocier directement avec les camionneurs, qui doivent habituellement passer par les expéditeurs et les entrepreneurs généraux en foresterie pour négocier les tarifs. Après une rencontre de trois jours, les transformateurs de bois avaient accepté une augmentation de tarifs de 15 à 16 % sur deux ans. En 2019, les tarifs ont bel et bien augmenté de 8 à 9 %, mais la pandémie est venue chambouler le reste du rattrapage. Devant l’incertitude, la plupart des industriels ont gelé les tarifs, alors que certains ont consenti à offrir une petite augmentation allant jusqu’à 1,5 %. Pour être conciliants, les camionneurs ont accepté la situation, mais l’ANCAI s’attend maintenant à recevoir la balance de l’augmentation négociée en 2018, d’autant plus que le prix du bois d’œuvre sur les marchés atteint des sommets. Selon les recherches comptables effectuées par l’ANCAI, le rattrapage de 16 % sur deux ans permettrait aux entreprises de transport de dégager un bénéfice de 8 %, explique Mario Beaulieu, lui aussi représentant forêt pour l’ANCAI. Un tel bénéfice permettrait d’amortir les dépenses surprises, comme le bris d’un moteur, qui peut coûter 40 000$. La durée des voyages dans la balance Selon les représentants de l’ANCAI, c’est au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean que la situation est la plus problématique de la province, car les temps de cycle sont calculés différemment ailleurs. Le temps de cycle, c’est la durée d’un voyage d’un camionneur quand il part vide de l’usine, pour remplir un chargement en forêt et revenir à l’usine. Pour calculer le temps de cycle, il faut tenir compte des limites de vitesse et les ajuster en fonction de la vitesse réelle des camions. Selon l’ANCAI, les vitesses établies au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean sont plus élevées que dans toutes les autres régions. Par exemple, dans les Laurentides ou en Abitibi, le temps de cycle est calculé en tenant compte qu’un camion pourra se déplacer, en moyenne, à 80 % de la vitesse permise, en tenant compte des arrêts et du trafic routier. Dans la région, les calculs sont plus serrés, alors que certains industriels calculent des vitesses de déplacement allant à 100 % de la vitesse permise, parfois 110 %, notent les représentants de l’ANCAI. « Ici, les temps de cycle ne sont jamais corrects, note Carol Girard. Si je dois faire un voyage en cinq heures et que ça me prend cinq heures et demie, j’ai une demi-heure qui ne sera pas payée et ça vient jouer sur mon taux horaire. » Plus les temps de cycle sont serrés et plus la pression est grande pour que les camionneurs roulent plus vite, ce qui pose un danger pour tous les utilisateurs de la route. « On voudrait que l’environnement d’affaires soit pareil pour tous », soutient Mario Beaulieu, ce qui permettrait d’éviter le marchandage et de stabiliser les équipes au même endroit. Ainsi, l’ANCAI revendique que les temps de cycle soient calculés à 80 % de la vitesse permise partout au Québec. Quelques bémols Selon les informations recueillies auprès d’acteurs forestiers qui préfèrent garder l’anonymat en cette période de négociation, les temps de cycle sont en effet très serrés, mais les tarifs sont ajustés 90 % du temps. Si le temps de cycle excède de 6,25 % le temps calculé, Produits forestiers Résolu (PFR) verse un tarif supplémentaire à l’entrepreneur. Si le temps de cycle est moindre de 6,25 %, le tarif est toutefois ajusté à la baisse. De plus, PFR calcule le temps de cycle à 80 km/h dans une zone ou la vitesse permise est de 90 km/h. Selon Carol Girard, la vitesse devrait être de 72 km/h, ce qui limiterait les empressements des chauffeurs sur les routes… tout en permettant d’être plus rentables, comme c’est le cas à l’heure actuelle en Mauricie et dans plusieurs régions. D’autres industriels n’offrent pas des ajustements de prix et ce sont parfois les expéditeurs et les entrepreneurs généraux qui doivent mettre la main dans leur poche pour compenser les transporteurs. De plus, la plupart des camionneurs chargent beaucoup plus que les 35 tonnes prévues, avec une moyenne qui avoisine davantage les 39 tonnes, voire plus, pour le bois résineux. Peu importe la formule établie, les chauffeurs doivent gagner 115$ de l’heure à la fin de la journée pour être rentables et dégager un profit décent, estime l’ANCAI. Au cours de la dernière année, les fortes pluies et le gel tardif ont grandement dégradé le réseau routier, ce qui a généré des délais supplémentaires. Il serait donc pertinent de s’assurer de bâtir davantage de chemins à l’avance pour transporter le bois dans de meilleures conditions. Questionné à ce sujet, Louis Bouchard, directeur principal, affaires publiques et relations gouvernementales chez PFR, a préféré ne pas commenter sur les tarifs, qui sont du domaine commercial. « Nos entrepreneurs sont un maillon crucial de nos activités et, en ce sens, nous maintenons avec eux un dialogue soutenu et travaillons à leur offrir des conditions reflétant cet état de fait. » Au bout du compte, les camionneurs souhaitent s’entendre sur un taux horaire juste, qui leur permettra de payer pour la maintenance et de dégager un profit pour en vivre. Ils ne sont toutefois pas les seuls à demander une augmentation des tarifs, car les entrepreneurs forestiers s’attendent aussi à avoir une hausse substantielle de leur rémunération. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
“We’ve been subject to these gravel guerrillas now for at least 50 years, trying to build more highways, more urban sprawl.” Those were the words this week of Mississauga Ward 11 Councillor, George Carlson, who brought them down like a blunt hammer on the heads of builders determined to continue profiteering from the land. “I can almost hear the old scotch and soda tinkling as the decision was made to add another highway and let the developers build more stuff north of Toronto. They haven’t even finished doing infill in Toronto.” As the planet continues to reel from the catastrophic impacts of climate change, some Peel politicians have finally picked their heads from the sand, while others remain largely oblivious. On Wednesday, after more than a year of silence, the City of Mississauga finally threw its considerable weight behind calls to cancel the proposed GTA West Corridor, also known as Highway 413. Carlson’s comments underscored the frustration felt around the virtual council chamber. It was better late than never in the eyes of environmentalists. Meanwhile, many municipal leaders in Brampton and Caledon continue to claim support for environmentally friendly policies, as they walk the fence on a project that will devastate local watersheds, ecosystems and wildlife, while adding hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions into the air above Peel. Since the Progressive Conservatives, led by Premier Doug Ford, restarted the GTA West Highway’s Environmental Assessment (EA) in the first half of 2019, Mississauga has been largely silent. Presentations by the Province to Region of Peel councillors outlining the highway’s debatable benefits have been received unanimously. The City’s lobbying power at Queen’s Park has been used on other priorities but not to fight the planned 400-series transportation corridor. A recent swell of opposition to the highway forced the issue back to the top of the agenda. After a request by Environmental Defence and Ecojustice to have the federal government complete a study of the environmental impacts of the proposed route, and even wrestle control of the project from Queen’s Park, opposition groups have received a new round of support. Unlike their previous requests, which have fallen on deaf ears in Peel Region and only seen success in Halton and Orangeville, this recent campaign has bigger supporters with more clout at the provincial and federal level. At a special council meeting on Wednesday, called to pass Mississauga’s 2021 budget, the City adopted a new and aggressive stance. Councillors voted unanimously to approve a lengthy motion, brought forward by Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish and seconded by Ward 8’s Matt Mahoney, explicitly opposing any construction activity relating to the GTA West Corridor. “I find it interesting that the buzzword in today’s day and age is climate change action, environment and all of these things and then we kind of fly in the face of it,” Mahoney said, welcoming the strong position detailed in the lengthy motion. “With projects like this, [we] almost talk out of both sides. I am very pleased to second this motion.” The GTA West Highway was scrapped by the Liberal government in 2018. The decision came after an expert panel came to the conclusion it would do almost nothing to solve the GTA’s congestion problems. The report was completely ignored by the PC government, which quickly restarted the environmental assessment process and began touting benefits of the corridor, including unsupported claims it will reduce traffic congestion. Mississauga’s new stance — directly opposing the highway — is the clearest in the Region of Peel. To the north, Brampton and Caledon have both recently voiced concerns, but stopped well short of opposition. In Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown and Wards 2 and 6 Councillor Michael Palleschi have been pushing for a boulevard in place of the highway through Brampton. The concept, brought to life by a consultant, has come with few technical details, with no one able to explain how a highway would morph into a walkable, urban corridor and back again. Brampton’s mayor has refused to condemn the highway, and, despite his claims to recognize a climate emergency, he’s bragged about being the one who put the GTA West Highway back on the table when he added it to the PC campaign platform ahead of the 2018 election, before his dramatic fall from provincial politics. In its requests to the Provincial government, Brampton has asked for its boulevard design to be considered for a portion of the route without stating opposition to the highway. On Wednesday, Brampton also backed calls for the federal government to take over the route’s EA. Bowing to growing pressure, the Town of Caledon has also backed the same calls. The move is a 180-degree turn from previous calls by Caledon council members who pushed for an expedited environmental assessment – currently being conducted by the provincial government – to get the project started even faster. A federal EA would have the power to override the provincial government and cancel the project should the environmental impact be deemed too great. On Thursday, Mississauga brought its motion to the Region of Peel. Parrish and Brampton Wards 3 and 4 Councillor Martin Medeiros put the proposal on the floor, offering Brampton and Caledon councillors a chance to make a clear statement against the highway and in support of their own climate emergency declarations. But they shied away. Spearheaded by Caledon Wards 3 and 4 Councillor Jennifer Innis and Mayor Allan Thompson, the issue was deferred to a later date. Stating concerns about rushing to a decision and the need to hear from more residents, a referral was proposed to revisit the idea of opposing the highway in a fortnight, once a staff report has been completed detailing the implications cancelling the highway would have on the Region’s long-term planning strategy. “I do believe that a referral to start to bring back a fulsome report, simply with the history and the impacts, what impact would a decision to oppose have on the planning process [would be prudent],” Peel CAO Janice Baker said. “There has been extensive work done, some of which may very well have to be looked at or re-examined as a consequence of this.” The vote resulted in a tie, with Chair Nando Iannicca voting in favour of the referral to break the deadlock. Iannicca said it may have been the first tie-breaking vote he has cast since being elected chair. The delay means official positions in Peel are divergent. Mississauga stands alone opposing the highway, while all three municipalities have recently passed motions expressing support for a federal EA. The Region itself does not have a current position, but the clerk noted Thursday that a 2012 motion “indicates a level of support for the GTA West Transportation Corridor.” Mississauga’s vote on Wednesday was far less complex and more emphatic. Where several regional councillors, including Brown, Thompson and Innis, raised concerns about rushing the process on Thursday, Wednesday simply saw Mississauga representatives congratulating one another on their newly adopted stance, in support of the environment. The wholehearted support for Mississauga’s new stance raises questions about timing. In October 2019, Mississauga’s 12 regional representatives unanimously accepted a presentation from the Province outlining the GTA West Corridor and its unfounded benefits, while there was no concerted outcry over the Province’s decision this summer to approve a route and speed up the environmental assessment. As recently as January, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told The Pointer she did not think she could convince the Province to change its course. “I think they’re committed to the GTA West Corridor,” she said. Asked this week what precipitated the change of heart and the unambiguous stance, Crombie admitted she and her councillors had been asleep at the wheel. “I think there’s been a groundswell of momentum opposing the building of the highway,” she said at a Wednesday press conference. “I have to say I think we as a council have been a bit complacent, I think we thought it was a done deal; a fait accompli. But now there are so many questions arising from the building of this highway... I think that we saw that there were other voices who opposed it and we agreed we would join them, at least to undertake the full federal environmental assessment.” Parrish shook her colleagues out of their slumber. Mississauga’s new stance sits in harmony with its internal policies and publicly declared goals. Just over a year-and-a-half after declaring a climate emergency, the move is tangible evidence of council’s resolve to make good on a popular promise to help stop the degradation of the planet. Parrish, who has made a career of taking on the establishment, led the way with her detailed motion. “You can just see the vultures waiting to build completely along that belt rather than compact developments, which is what we should be looking for — complete communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
TORONTO — The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19. CPP Investments says Mark Machin tendered his resignation to the board Thursday night. Machin joined CPP Investments in 2012 and was appointed president and chief executive in June 2016. Prior to joining the pension fund manager, he spent 20 years at investment bank Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Machin flew to the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, where he received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and is awaiting the second dose. The CPP Investments board has appointed John Graham as the new CEO. Graham was previously its global head of credit investments. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
A typical winter in Bala can be isolating. Far away from the hustle and bustle of tourism season, Bala doesn't see visitors often in the winter unless they're attending a sporting event at the Bala Arena, now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across from the arena, there was one place where locals and visitors could gather and socialize, despite the chilly weather: the Bala legion, where people could grab a hot meal and a beer, whether it was an average Friday night or they were in town to catch their child's hockey game. Today, Robert Healey, the legion's sergeant-at-arms, said he’s disappointed to see it reduced to a large building sitting idle in the middle of town. “I’m very discouraged and I think a lot of people are,” he said. For Dennis Mills, the Bala legion's president, what they did went beyond providing a place to get a drink. “We were a place where people could mentally exercise,” he said. “Social interaction is the most important ingredient for a person’s mental health.” With the Bala Arena closed, the legion has taken a hard hit, closing entirely for the winter months. They're cut off from the revenue they'd get from selling food and drinks, and its membership has nowhere to congregate. “This year is our 75th anniversary,” Healey said. “We're trying to plan a big dinner, but we don't know whether we're going to be able to do anything.” However, there's hope the legion can weather this lockdown, at least until patios can reopen in the spring. “We feel the camaraderie during COVID,” Mills said. “The spirit for the Bala legion, it’s certainly been the strongest that I’ve experienced in my 16 years.” On an average evening before the pandemic, Healey said, 20 to 50 people might attend the legion and stay for around 3-4 hours for a meal while socializing. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “It gave me something to do, it gave my wife something to do. You'd have companionship and you'd meet new people ... it was just a good community thing.” During the pandemic, they only allowed 10 people inside the building at a time, and they weren’t serving anything. “We felt that was part of our mission and part of our mandate to serve the community,” Mills said. When the province reinstated the lockdown at the onset of the second wave, the legion was closed to the public entirely. Mills said he, legion member Jack Durante and membership chair Kibby Ham have been reaching out to legion members, four or five a day, to keep in touch and chat. Other legions in Muskoka Lakes have made some adjustments. The Port Carling legion is selling its food for curbside pickup. Legion treasurer Sherri Snider said in lieu of their normal winter patronage of people at the arena and curling club, they’ve seen an influx of contractors ordering food from them. “I wouldn’t say we’re doing tons of money with our expenses and labour, but we are certainly making a profit and the town is appreciative that we are here,” she said. According to Mills, the legion incurs $3,500 of fixed costs a month for heating, electricity, cleaning and paying a bookkeeper. Right now, they’re relying on donations from the supporters they’ve accumulated over the last four years. “We’re in a very tough situation with COVID … but we have a tremendous amount of goodwill,” he said. Mayor Phil Harding said he recognizes the legion's closure leaves a hole in the community. “With a full lockdown and winter, it really compounds the problem,” he said. “It's certainly on our radar as municipal council.” STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Legions are a cornerstone of connection in many of Muskoka's communities, for veterans and other locals. Our reporter wanted to see how the Bala legion was faring in a town hit hard by the decrease in winter tourism. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com