Chris Murphy has the details.
Chris Murphy has the details.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis wants to make it clear he does not begrudge Maskwacis the early vaccines the four First Nations received. His concern is about the process in Alberta. Alexis said three meetings last week between chiefs and staff with health officials from both the province and federal government gave no indication that any First Nation would see early arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. They were informed that Elders 65 years and over on reserves would be the next to receive the vaccine. At this point, both long-term care facilities and front line health personnel on reserves had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. On Saturday, the third day of successive funerals on his First Nation, Alexis was told by one of his band members that Maskwacis had received the vaccine. He assured his community member that wasn’t the case, because it hadn’t been discussed at previous meetings. But it turned out that it was the case. “Everybody, whether you're Albertan or Canadian or some different part of the world, everyone is afraid. People are afraid and every leadership I know have been doing their best to keep things calm and try to eliminate the noise.” Alexis said “things like this create that noise. Experiences like this go back to examples like the residential schools, Sixties Scoop, leaving the Indigenous people out of that decision-making table.” A news release issued last night by Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson confirmed Maskwacis received a “limited number of doses” as they “are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases.” The combined population of the four First Nations—Louis Bull, Samson Cree, Montana and Ermineskin Cree—which comprise Maskwacis is 18,000. Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told the media last Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the community were COVID-19 positive. More than five per cent of the population on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has COVID-19. Then yesterday, like everyone else, Alexis heard the announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that a cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine meant a delay in vaccinating those in the next priority group, including First Nations and Métis Elders. “It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis, both about the news and not being part of the discussion before the announcement was made. Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras was surprised by Kenney’s announcement. “In terms of the decisions, how things are rolling out, whose decision was it to put a hold on vaccines distribution to First Nations? We don’t know. I really don’t know. Like everybody else, I found out (Monday) morning. The First Nations are the most vulnerable population everywhere, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Poitras. Both Poitras and Alexis reference the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and say Health Minister Tyler Shandro needs to comply with it. NACI has “adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences” included in stage one of the COVID-19 roll out. Poitras points to Alberta Health statistics to emphasize the point: 7.1 per cent of First Nations in Alberta have been hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 4.3 per cent of Albertans generally. After Kenney’s announcement, Poitras began a text conversation with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. She said Miller said he was unaware of the decision and did not know how the province had arrived at it. Poitras said she requested information from Miller on the national roll out of the vaccine. “The numbers don’t pan out. That’s the issue,” said Poitras. “If we’re not at that decision-making table, how do we know how many vaccines are being rolled out? How many are actually being distributed to who? Who are the priorities? I know they sent out a priority list, but now they’re changing that, putting First Nations on hold. Without our direct involvement how are we to know exactly what kind of decisions are being made?” Wilson said in his statement that First Nations were “particularly vulnerable.” He points out that Phase 1 will see Indigenous Elders living on reserve and Métis settlements vaccinated at 65 years of age and up while the rest of the Alberta population in that phase has to be 75 years or older. The priority list for Alberta has phase one divided into three timelines beginning in December 2020, with Phase 1B to begin in February 2021 and including First Nations and Métis Elders on reserves and settlements. Phase 2, which spans April to September, says “work to identify sequencing … is underway.” “We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations,” said Wilson. However, both Alexis and Poitras believe that First Nations have not had enough input. “We’ve been trying to keep the people calm. Trying to be supportive, trying to provide proper information. When you hear information coming from the general public and they know more than we do, as leaders being told we’re sitting at this important table. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis. “There needs to be a coordinated response where First Nations are involved and that we’re making these decisions together,” said Poitras. Alexis would like to see not only chiefs directly involved with Alberta politicians in the decision making, but also First Nations experts, such as Treaty 6 physicians James Makokis and Alika La Fontaine, weighing in. “There are experts that the chiefs would listen to their advice and support them at the same time. They would echo where our communities are at. Whether it’s this or anything else in government, our people need to be at those tables and a fair process needs to be put in place that we’re following. Right now what it does, it actually damages that conversation because (the communities) will look at their leadership that they're not doing enough,” said Alexis. He added that if that process isn’t solid and transparent, First Nations may be further ahead by operating on their own and advocating for themselves. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that the province would be easing some of the current COVID-19 public health restrictions during a joint press conference on Jan. 14, 2021. Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw also took part in this address. Starting on Jan. 18, 2021: · Outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted. · Personal and wellness services will be able to reopen by appointment only. These services include hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing services. · Funeral service attendance will be increased to 20 people, although funeral receptions still will not be permitted. While these restrictions have loosened from when they were implemented in December, Albertans will still need to continue to follow guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks while indoors. All of the other restrictions and guidelines that were put in place in December remain in effect. Tyler Shandro said, “Albertans have done a good job of staying the course and abiding by public health measures, but we are still seeing high hospitalizations and case numbers, and this continues to put a serious strain on our health-care system. How much further we can ease restrictions depends on our collective efforts over the coming days and weeks to limit the spread of the virus.” Expanded Small and Medium Business Supports Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer announced that the province will expand the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to allow businesses that started operating between Mar. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020, to apply. Starting in February, eligible businesses could qualify to receive up to $15,000. COVID-19 Reporting in Schools Updated Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced that the terminology used to describe case numbers of COVID-19 in schools would be updated to make it more transparent and easier to understand. Starting on Jan. 18, the following terms will be used: · Alert: One to four cases · Outbreak: Five or more cases Many parents reported finding the term “watch” confusing, and it will no longer be used. Dr. Hinshaw stressed that this change in terminology would not change the level of public health support that will continue to be provided to students, staff, and families. Parents will still be notified if there is a single case in their child’s school, and further supports will be put in place if there are two or more cases in a school. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault said Tuesday he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier said it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he said it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.His comments came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day urged Canadians to cancel any plans they have for an international trip in the near future. Trudeau warned the federal government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.Quebec on Tuesday revised its COVID-19 vaccination schedule as a result of the expected slowdown in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments.The Health Department said it would lower its target of administering 250,000 doses by Feb. 8, to 225,000 doses, adding it expects to have received 1,203,100 doses of approved vaccine by March 29.Last week, Canada learned production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be reduced over the next month in order for Pfizer to expand its facilities.Quebec says it will maintain its plan to deliver booster shots within 90 days of the first injection.The vaccination announcement came as public health authorities in the province reported the lowest number of new infections in a single day since early December.Quebec today reported 1,386 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 55 additional deaths linked to the virus, including 16 deaths within the preceding 24 hours.The number of hospitalizations rose by nine from the day before to 1,500, the Health Department said, while the number of people in intensive care declined by five from the previous day, to 212.Quebec has reported 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.Health Minister Christian Dube on Monday boasted the province had met its target of vaccinating 75 per cent of long-term care residents, with the remainder expected to be inoculated by Jan. 25.Officials say people living in private seniors residences across the province are next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Adam Grant, who first began working for the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) in 2007 as the assistant director of the engineering and public works department, now gets a turn at the helm. Grant was appointed as the department’s new director at the RQM council meeting on January 12. He has been in the role of acting director since the retirement of Brad Rowter in December 2020. Rowter worked for the municipality for 24 years. He began his career at RQM as an engineer and was appointed Director of Engineering and Public Works in September 2003, after being in the role of acting director for about a year. “We are pleased to have Adam take on this important role with Region of Queens Municipality. With 14 years’ experience as an engineer with the municipality, we are confident Adam can lead the Municipality in our continued growth and continue to advance important infrastructure projects,” Darlene Norman, RQM’s mayor, commented in a press release. As director, Grant will be responsible for overseeing the management, maintenance and development of municipal infrastructure of two sewer systems, its water system, Queens Solid Waste Management Facility and Materials Recovery Facility, streets in Liverpool, parks and green spaces throughout Queens County, as well as the operational components of Queens Place Emera Centre. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Billionaire businessman and founder of TD Ameritrade Joe Ricketts is launching a new national outlet to deliver news “without opinion or bias,” a spokesperson said on Tuesday. The news of the venture was first reported by the Omaha World-Herald https://omaha.com/business/local/joe-ricketts-is-launching-a-national-news-outlet-based-in-omaha/article_117fe584-55e5-11eb-9f6b-9349abea2fd7.html, which describes Joe Ricketts as a leading funder of national conservative causes. The Center for Responsive Politics has listed him as a Republican megadonor.
The Better Business Bureau is warning British Columbians about a scam making the rounds offering one free year of Netflix. So far, BBB has received more than 100 reports via Scam Tracker about a text message tricking consumers by offering the streaming service for free. “You receive a text message that says: “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering you a free year of service to help you stay at home. Click the link to sign up.” The link takes consumers to a website where they are asked to fill out personal information and add a method of payment,” reads a release from BBB. However, the website is not associated with Netflix, and those signing up are sharing their personal information with scammers, running the risk of payment fraud and identity theft. “[The scammers] said no other money would be taken out of my account again,” one victim reported. “Then, about a week later, they took $51.02, and I called and asked for a refund. They told me three days at first. Then, after three days I called back, and they told me seven to ten business days. It’s been ten business days. And now I have no refund.” To avoid being scammed, the BBB recommends consumers do their research and take precautions. Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole seeking to have MP Derek Sloan expelled from caucus after accepting a donation from a white supremacist.
Rank, Book Title by Author Name, ISBN, Publisher 1. Bridgerton Collection Volume 1 by Julia Quinn - 9780063045118 - (Avon) 2. Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - 9780062424105 - (Avon) 3. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - 9780062424037 - (Avon) 4. The Scorpion’s Tail by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child - 9781538747292 - (Grand Central Publishing) 5. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - 9780062424075 - (Avon) 6. To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn - 9780062424112 - (Avon) 7. An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn - 9780062424082 - (Avon) 8. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn - 9780062424136 - (Avon) 9. Daylight by David Baldacci - 9781538761687 - (Grand Central Publishing) 10. The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher - 9781488076749 - (Graydon House Books) The Associated Press
TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford appealed to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden today for help securing more COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario. Ford expressed frustration about a delivery slow down of the Pfizer-Biotech shot that will see Ontario receive no doses next week and thousands less over the next month. Ford appealed to Biden to share a million doses of the Pfizer shot, which is manufactured in Michigan. He also expressed frustration with Pfizer executives about the delays and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ramp up pressure on the company to deliver more of the shots to Canada. Ontario says its weekly deliveries of the Pfizer-BioTech COVID-19 vaccine will be cut by as much as 80 per cent over the next month. The federal government says shipments are expected to get back to normal levels in late February and early March. The province still expects to meet its goal of providing the first dose of the vaccine to all of its long-term care residents, workers and essential caregivers by Feb. 15. That goal has already been achieved in COVID-19 hot spots including Toronto, Peel Region and York Region. A total of 224,134 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province. Ontario reported 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said that due to a technical issue at Toronto Public Health, there was likely an underreporting of cases today. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
The murder of George Floyd by Minneap-olis Police has been a watershed moment throughout North America, leading to mil-lions of people protesting racial injustice worldwide.Despite not being the first time a black man has died at the hands of law enforce-ment, that incident became a tipping point for a lot of people.Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills noted, the struggle has been ongoing for 400 years and he expects that it isn’t going to be solved here overnight. However, because of the rapidly changing demographics in Shelburne presently, he feels that the Town has a role to play and that leaders here have a responsibility to step up and lead every member of the community, not just those who have lived locally for gen-erations.When he gave his acceptance speech at the swearing in ceremonies for Council, Wade said that Shelburne had to become home for all residents regardless of their history here. He went onto say how proud he is of what has been done, through the Anti-Racism Task Force, saying that Shelburne has been ahead of the charge for many municipalities, even some of the larger urban centres in the Province. Mayor Mills mentioned that there were a number of pretty uncomfortable conver-sations about these issues, but ultimately they’re necessary to move forward and grow.He says you have to try to understand everyone’s perspectives on these issues. What the Anti Racism Task Force discus-sions brought to light for Wade was that despite the changing demographic in Shel-burne’s population, there was and still is a degree of racism here, locally. He says while it isn’t seen at the gover-nance or Town administration level, it’s present local in grocery stores or other busi-nesses, out in the schoolyards, making a sig-nificant impact on those affected. One of the biggest points of contention in Mayor Mills political career has been the policing issue in Shelburne. It started when he was a Councillor and has culminated during his two years as Mayor. To say it was contentious would be an understatement, but it has also been eye opening, both in the process and in the result. It began with the Police Services Board coming to Council with a demand for a new $8 million building, which in turn triggered the first OPP costing, which was eventually turned down in the summer of 2019. In December of 2019, Orangeville Council voted to accept their costing and transition to having the OPP police the town. Once this happened it was revealed that Shelburne depended on certain Orangeville Police Service resources and services. Something that was unknown to the Councils of either town, so Shelburne unanimously asked for a second costing, which was accepted unani-mously in early summer, when they decided to transition. Due to training restrictions, the actual transition will not take place until February of 2021. Currently, Council is awaiting approval from the OCPC, but there are no indications of any problems on that front. In the end, everyone appears to be happy with the end results, including the officers and the Council.ado Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
The World Health Organization has raised "concerns" about the unequal distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the country.View on euronews
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Tiger King" star Jeff Lowe, the former business partner at the private wildcat zoo featured in the hit Netflix series, has been ordered to surrender his cubs and their mothers after the death of two young tigers in his care. Lowe and his wife Lauren were also ordered not to put animals on public exhibit without a license in a federal court ruling issued in Oklahoma last week, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement on Tuesday. "The Lowes have shown a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law," Jonathan Brightbill at the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division, said in the statement.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island's premier says public health orders should soon be eased across the province because of its low COVID-19 infection rate. "At a time when other jurisdictions are experiencing tightening restrictions and increased lockdowns, we are in the very fortunate and enviable situation to be looking at the days ahead to see an easing of restrictions within our borders," Dennis King told reporters Tuesday. But King said it won't be until at least mid-February before the Island re-enters the Atlantic bubble, which allows residents to travel freely between regional boundaries. "At this time, as a province, we are not comfortable moving forward with re-entering the Atlantic Bubble," King said. Health officials in Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said the new cases involved a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. She said there are now seven active reported cases on the Island. Morrison, however, said she's concerned by the situation beyond P.E.I.'s borders. "The situation in Canada remains concerning, with over 715,000 cases and 18,000 COVID-related deaths," she told reporters. "Since Jan. 1, New Brunswick reported 372 new cases, Nova Scotia 60 new cases, P.E.I. has had 12 since Jan. 1, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new infections. "Our friends and neighbours in New Brunswick are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19, reporting 89 new cases in the last three days. They currently have over 300 active cases — the most since the pandemic began," she said. P.E.I. has reported 110 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. Indoor private gatherings are limited to members of a household plus ten people, while most businesses are still required to operate at 50 per cent capacity. The restrictions are scheduled to remain until Jan. 25. Morrison said that as of Monday, 5,910 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered on P.E.I., including 1,407 second doses. "By the end of this week, everyone living and working in long-term care and community care facilities will have received their first dose of the vaccine," she said. "They will start receiving their second dose next week." Morrison said the anticipated slowdown in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will have very little impact on the Island. "The Pfizer slowdown means that we may not get a shipment of the product for one week, on Jan. 25. That shipment contains 975 doses. However, we will get two shipments of that same amount in the middle of February," she said. "Given the fact that we have been holding back the second dose of vaccine, and we expect the increased supply in February, we are confident that we have enough vaccine to continue with our original plan." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. — By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
January Is The Right Time Of Year For Ice Fishing January is an excellent time of year to go ice fishing in Alberta! The lakes usually are well frozen at this time of year, and it’s a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the outdoors during the winter. It’s also an excellent way to get some more use out of your fishing license before it expires at the end of March. There isn’t a whole lot of equipment that is absolutely required, but like most hobbies, the extra “bells and whistles” can add up fairly quickly. There is a common misconception from people that have never tried ice fishing that it is a cold and miserable experience that nobody in their right minds could enjoy, but in actuality, it can be an absolute blast if you’re adequately prepared. Ice safety is of the utmost importance. Please do not take any chances! The ice thickness determines the general guidelines for whether the ice is safe to walk, ride, or drive on. These are the guidelines from the Alberta Conservation Association (https://www.ab-conservation.com/go-fish/learn-to-fish/?section=ice_safety): · 2”/5 cm thick or less: Stay off! · 6”/15 cm thick: Foot traffic and ice fishing. · 10”/25 cm thick: Snowmobiles or light ATVs (less than 1,100 lbs/500 kg). · 16”/41 cm thick: Mid-size cars and light trucks (2,200 – 4,400 lbs/1,000 – 2,000 kg), · 18”/46 cm thick: Mid-size trucks (4,400 – 6,600 lbs/2,000 – 3,000 kg). · 21.5”/55 cm thick: 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks (up to 11,000 lbs/5,000 kg). Here are six easy steps to get started: 1. The first thing you will need for your Alberta ice fishing adventure is an active Wilderness Identification Number (WIN) card. A WIN card is necessary to be able to buy a fishing license in our province, which you will also need. The new virtual WIN card was introduced on April 27, 2020, and no longer has an expiry date. A virtual WIN card costs $8.00 + GST and is available online (AlbertaRelm.com) or at point-of-sale retailers. WIN cards and fishing licenses are available in Swan Hills at the Esso and Husky gas stations. A physical WIN card isn’t necessary, but you can order one for $3.00 if you prefer to have one. 2. Next, you will need to get a fishing license. Fishing licenses are required for people between the ages of 16 and 64 and cost $28 + GST for Alberta residents. You will need to have your fishing license with you while fishing, or you could be subject to some pretty hefty penalties. Fishing licenses are available online (AlbertaRelm.com) or at point-of-sale retailers. *You can purchase your WIN card as well as hunting and fishing licenses through the AlbertaRELM smartphone app. This app also keeps track of your WIN card and licenses and can be used as an electronic fishing license instead of keeping a paper copy with you. 3. Familiarize yourself with the Alberta Guide To Sportfishing Regulations (https://albertaregulations.ca/2020-Alberta-Fishing-Regs.pdf). A hardcopy of this document is usually available at the retailers that sell fishing licenses. This guide covers the general regulations for all locations in Alberta as well as the specific regulations for every body of water (the times of year that you can fish, what equipment or bait is or isn’t allowed, the type and number of fish that you can keep, etc.). Make sure that you’re following the regulations for your fishing location. 4. Now that you have the legal and regulatory side of things handled, it’s time to make sure that you have the gear you need. Here are the basics: a. An ice fishing rod. These are designed to handle the downward force from ice fishing and are shorter than regular rods, making them easier to manage. Luckily you can get a pretty good, basic ice fishing rod for a very reasonable price. b. Fishing lures/hooks. While there are fishing lures that are designed specifically for ice fishing, many people make out just fine with regular lures or hooks. Give it a try and see what works for you in your chosen fishing spot. c. An ice auger. The auger is used to make a hole in the ice so that you can fish. Hand powered augers are the most economical, but there are gas-powered augers if you really get into the sport. A lot of people have augers in Swan Hills. There’s a good chance that someone might lend you one if you ask around. d. An ice skimmer/scoop. This is pretty much just a giant ladle used to remove slush and ice from the water in the hole. Otherwise, it tends to build up and get in the way. e. Chairs. You’re going to want something to sit on while you fish. A camp chair works great, but some people are quite content with an overturned 5-gallon pail to sit on. f. A sled for your gear. This is a much more convenient way to get your equipment onto the lake (or pond) than trying to carry it out by the armload. 5. Good winter clothes/gear. This one’s a given, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed for the weather, or you’re not going to have a very good time. 6. Attach your lure or hook to the line on your ice fishing rod and drop it down through your hole in the ice. Have a seat while you wait for the fish to bite. Those are the basics. Feel free to bring some snacks and drinks if you’d like; just make sure that there’s a designated driver if you’re having adult beverages. A cooler is an excellent addition; you can keep your drinks cold, you have a place to put your catch, and it’s an extra place to sit while you fish. Bring a camera or your cell phone to capture some memories. Have a great time out there, and stay safe! Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Katie Thompson noticed a pattern emerging with appointments made at her chiropractic clinic for Wednesday afternoon that's usually typical of big sporting events: patients wanted to schedule sessions around the U.S. presidential inauguration. "We have never experienced this before," said Thompson, who co-owns the Barrie, Ont., clinic with her husband. "It’s clear that as Canadians, we are paying greater attention to the political climate of the United States now more than ever." The clinic has decided it will livestream the Washington, D.C., ceremony so patients and staff can "watch history be made" as president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris take office. The move felt natural for Thompson after months of speaking with patients about their thoughts and fears in the build-up to the November election that saw Democrat Biden win the presidency over Republican President Donald Trump. "It would be a shame to miss this transition take place," she said. Canadians have found themselves especially glued to American politics over the last four years since Trump was elected president of the United States. Trump embraced a combative, populist leadership style and cast doubt on the legitimacy of his own government with frequent scandals that saw him impeached by Congress an unprecedented two times. Earlier this month, his consistent disputing of the election results culminated with his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot aimed at blocking the transition of power. Images from the barricaded streets of Washington this week, showing hordes of fatigue-clad National Guard members taking up position ahead of inauguration day, have raised the stakes of Wednesday's ceremony, stoking anxiety for Americans and concerned observers around the world about potential violence. Simon Cumming of Surrey, B.C., said he hopes the transition to a Biden presidency brings more stability to the politically divided nation, where he has friends on both sides of the political spectrum. He’ll be watching on Wednesday with “a combination of relief and a little bit of anxiety,” especially after the violence of the last few weeks. "I think that the country is so fractured right now and it's so polarized that you never know what's going to happen, so there's a bit of trepidation," Cumming said by phone this week. He plans to tune in while working from home. "I'll have one eye on the TV and one eye on my computer screen," he said. “I'll just turn it on and watch and keep my fingers crossed that nothing bad happens." Retired realtor Louise Zieffle was also planning a quiet, pandemic-friendly viewing of the Wednesday ceremony. She’s taken a closer interest in U.S. politics during Trump’s presidency, which she said has laid bare how the political system works – and how it doesn’t. "It was very mesmerizing, really," she said by phone from her Calgary home. "I've been watching American politics, not my whole life, but certainly the last few years because there's such an influence in our country, and especially in our province." She’s observed populism creep into provincial politics in Alberta since Trump took office, especially with the election of United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney in 2019, a leader for whom conflict is also signature part of his brand. Zieffle said she’s hopeful the U.S. administration change-over can have an impact on politics north of the border. “I'm very hopeful that will have influence on how Canadian politicians do business,” she said. Political science and history student Keegan Gingrich, who's studying at Wilfred Laurier University from his home in Waterloo, Ont., also expressed hope that political watchers in Canada can relax once Biden takes office, after years of waking up with anxiety about the international ripple effects from Trump’s latest tweets. "It might just be boring politics again, which would be kind of nice at this point," Gingrich said. Gingrich plans to watch a Twitch livestream of the inauguration hosted by U.S.-based gamer Hutch, an online figure who's become more politically engaged in the last few years of Trump’s presidency, streaming live commentary of Trump’s impeachment hearings and the presidential debates. Gingrich said watching the livestreams and comments from viewers, some of them without much evidence backing up their claims, gives him a sense of the debates and divisions that have defined American politics over the last four years. “It's kind of fun to watch," he said. "But at the same time it’s terrifying." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Val-Brillant, l’école en musique La petite école primaire de Val-Brillant (95 élèves) va rejoindre un cercle très fermé : celui des établissements scolaires offrant un programme Arts-études en musique. Pour l’instant, seules neuf écoles primaires le font au Québec. Val-Brillant va donc devenir la dixième dès l’année scolaire 2021-2022, et la première dans l’Est. Il s’agit d’une progression logique pour cette école, qui proposait depuis une douzaine d’années déjà un programme de concentration en arts : des cours de musique étaient donnés sur les heures scolaires en partenariat avec le Camp musical du lac Matapédia. Mais la fermeture de ce dernier, couplée à la décision du ministère de l’Éducation de mettre fin à ce type de programmes en juin 2021, a poussé la direction de l’école à envisager un virage. « On était rendus à la croisée des chemins, explique la directrice Renée Belzile : on avait le choix de redevenir simplement une école avec un programme particulier en musique, ou de faire le grand saut vers un programme Arts-études officiel avec toutes les balises du ministère. » C’est la deuxième option qui a été retenue, en partenariat cette fois-ci avec l’École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent à Rimouski. Jusqu’à présent, les enfants pouvaient suivre des cours d’instruments (seuls ou en petits groupes) ou de chant choral. Bientôt, ils auront accès à de la formation auditive et des cours de musique d’ensemble. Pour obtenir la reconnaissance Arts-études, l’école doit permettre aux élèves inscrits de bénéficier d’un minimum de 20 % d’enseignement en musique par semaine durant la plage horaire scolaire. Bons pour les élèves… et les parents Selon Mme Belzile, le passage par l’école de Val-Brillant a été marquant pour de nombreux jeunes, certains étant depuis devenus enseignants de musique. Mais sans aller aussi loin, étudier la musique et devoir faire des prestations sur scène devant les amis et les parents permet d’améliorer confiance et estime de soi. « La fierté d’avoir accompli un gros projet qui sort des matières scolaires, comme par exemple une comédie musicale, ça va chercher des élèves qui ont parfois peu de valorisation au niveau des notes », ajoute la directrice tout en précisant qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « programme élitiste » mais qu’au contraire, tout le monde est accepté. La moitié des élèves de l’école de Val-Brillant viennent déjà d’autres municipalités. Avec ce nouveau programme, Renée Belzile espère attirer de nouvelles têtes, tout en assurant que cela ne crée pas de conflit avec les autres écoles primaires du coin. « Plus on aura d’élèves, plus l’offre de cours va être diversifiée et intéressante », déclare-t-elle. Les parents y trouvent aussi leur compte, puisqu’ils n’ont pas à amener leurs rejetons à des cours de musique après les classes ou en soirée. Pas besoin non plus d’acheter un instrument sans savoir si l’enfant va apprécier en jouer, puisque l’école en prête des petits (violons, ukulélé…) qu’on peut ramener à la maison.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
La pandémie et la crise économique qui en a découlée n’ont aucunement affecté l’industrie de la construction résidentielle à Laval. Si bien que les mises en chantier ont explosé de 68 % en 2020. Voilà ce qui ressort des données compilées par la Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement (SCHL) rendues publiques le 18 janvier. En chiffres absolus, l'organisme national responsable de l'habitation au pays y a recensé 2851 nouvelles constructions au cours de la dernière année, soit 1157 unités de plus qu’en 2019. Pour mettre le tout en perspective, les 4 autres grands secteurs de la région métropolitaine de recensement (RMR) de Montréal totalisent une hausse de 957 unités en 2020, ce qui représente une augmentation de 4 % des mises en chantier. L’île de Montréal (+14 %) domine ce groupe devant la Rive-Nord (+5 %), la Rive-Sud (-6 %) et Vaudreuil-Soulanges (-12 %). Reste qu’en 2020, l’ensemble de la RMR de Montréal a vu sortir de terre pas moins de 27 274 propriétés, en hausse de 9 % comparativement à l’année précédente. Il s’agit du niveau d’activité le plus élevé depuis 2004. À l’échelle du Grand Montréal, les mises en chantier locatives ont crû de 20 %, les quelque 16 000 unités recensées constituant près de 60 % de toutes les nouvelles propriétés dont on a coulé les fondations l’an passé. À Laval, par exemple, ces unités locatives ont carrément doublé pour atteindre le cap des 2400 logements. Ce type d’habitation compte à lui seul pour 85 % des nouvelles constructions en sol lavallois. «Un niveau de construction jamais vu depuis la fin des années 80», souligne la SCHL en évoquant ce segment de marché dont la proportion était inférieure à 15 % il y a une dizaine d’années à l’échelle métropolitaine. «Le nombre de mises en chantier d’appartements locatifs dans la RMR de Montréal en 2020 est aussi important que la somme des mises en chantier locatives des quatre plus grandes RMR du Canada (en excluant Montréal), soient Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary et Ottawa-Gatineau», note également au passage la Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement. Fait intéressant à souligner, cette hausse considérable relève exclusivement du marché traditionnel des appartements locatifs. On en donne pour preuve le recul des appartements enregistré au niveau des résidences pour personnes âgées, lesquels sont passés de 2000 à 1300 entre 2019 et 2020 dans le Grand Montréal. Longtemps reconnu comme le fer de lance de l’industrie de la construction domiciliaire à Laval, la copropriété continue de perdre du terrain avec un repli de 24 %, ce qui porte à 204 le nombre de nouvelles unités de condominium recensées l’an dernier. Les 50 maisons jumelées et en rangée construites en 2020 accusent pour leur part une baisse de 18 % par rapport à 2019. Quant aux 183 maisons individuelles qui se sont ajoutées au parc immobilier lavallois, elles sont en hausse de 17 % comparativement aux 156 de l’an passé.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval