Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his post-presidential life in Florida. Refusing to abide by tradition and participate in the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump will instead hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight aboard Air Force One. Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he's received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, colour guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. Trump will become only the fourth president in history to boycott his successor's inauguration. And while he has said he is now committed to a peaceful transition of power — after months of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory with baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and spurring on his supporters who stormed the Capitol — he has made clear he has no interest in making a show of it. He has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional bread-breaking, nor has he spoken with Biden by phone. Vice-President Mike Pence has spoken with his successor, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, calling her on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance, according to two people familiar with the call. Pence will be attending Biden's inauguration, a move Biden has welcomed. While Trump spends the final days of his presidency ensconced in the White House, more isolated than ever as he confronts the fallout from the Capitol riot, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already departed, including those who resigned after the attack, while others have been busy packing up their offices and moving out personal belongings — souvenirs and taxidermy included. On Thursday, chief of staff Mark Meadows’ wife was caught on camera leaving with a dead, stuffed bird. And trade adviser Peter Navarro, who defended the president's effort to overturn the election, was photographed carrying out a giant photo of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Staff are allowed to purchase the photographs, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.) Also spotted departing the West Wing: a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Stewart D. McLaurin, the president of the White House Historical Association, said he had reached out to the White House chief usher, who manages the building's artifacts with the White House curator, because of questions raised by the images. “Be reminded that staff have items of their own that they brought to the White House and can take those items home as they wish. Some items are on loan to staff and offices from other collections and will be returned to those collections,” he said in a statement. Earlier this week, reporters covering the president's departure from the South Lawn spotted staff taking boxes into the residence for packing up the first family's belongings. And on Friday the packing continued, with moving crates and boxes dotting the floor of the office suite where senior press aides work steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing. Walls in the hallways outside that once featured a rotating gallery of enlarged photographs of the president and first lady framed in gold suddenly were bare, with only the hooks that held the picture frames left hanging. Moving trucks pulled in and out of the driveway outside. While some people have been asked to stick around by the incoming administration, the White House has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with more scheduled to depart on Friday. That includes White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Come Monday, the press staff will be down to two. Trump will leave Washington with his future deeply uncertain, two weeks after his supporters sent lawmakers and congressional staffers scrambling for safety as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power. While Trump was once expected to leave office as the most powerful voice in the Republican Party and the leading contender for its 2024 nomination, he has been shunned by much of the party over his response to the violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump is expected to be joined in Florida by a handful of aides as he mulls his future. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Alongside Canada’s national flower, sport, symbol and bird, is a national animal that is often forgotten. Canada’s national horse, Le Cheval Canadien, is in danger of disappearing. An Uxbridge equestrian centre, however, is dedicated to the revival of this special breed. Hundreds of years ago, in about 1665, King Louis XIV of France began shipping mares and stallions, with bloodlines from the King’s Royal Stud, to Acadia and New France. These horses had great abilities to adapt to harsh climates (like Canada’s cold winters), rough terrains and were easily trained. They became known as the Canadian Horse, or Le Cheval Canadien. While the breed was well known to American colonists, it is rather rare today. After being used in the American Civil War and for breeding to diversify genetics in American stock, but its popularity in Canada waned. Despite this, however, and despite the fact that the horse was smaller in size and often thought of as the “Quebec pony,” the Canadian Horse was declared by the Parliament of Canada to be the National Horse of Canada in 1909. In 2018, Barb Malcom, owner and head coach of Churchill Chimes Equestrian Centre on Webb Rd., committed to doing her part to save the Canadian Horse. Alongside her riding school, Malcolm set up a sister company called Donalf Farms, specifically to breed the Canadian horses in an attempt to bring back the name and the breed. “I had worked as a professional for over 20 years and just happened to buy an unpapered Canadian gelding. He is one of the most darling horses I’ve ever had,” says Malcom. Very soon Malcom fell in love with the breed. “They are durable, willing, personable and versatile. I went from being a “crossbreed person” to being completely wowed by this purebred.” “It’s one thing for Canadians not to know Canada has a national horse, but for horse people not to know, it just shows how much the breed is in trouble,” says Malcom. If it weren’t for a pandemic, this year Malcom had plans to contact Heritage Canada and rally for government assistance in the fight for the Canadian Horse. “We would love to see federal support,” says Malcom. “It really is an altruistic endeavour, but they're worth it.” Malcolm dreams of one day having all the horses in her riding school be Canadian Horses. “They are so little known, but absolutely remarkable,” says Malcolm. For more information about the national horse of Canada, visit lechevalcanadien.com or find Malcom’s breeding farm at donalffarms.com Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
Federal funding to operate a COVID-19 isolation and recovery centre for agricultural workers in Windsor-Essex has been extended. The 117-bed facility, which is operated by the City of Windsor with the Canadian Red Cross, will receive federal funding to operate until the end of March, according to a media release Friday from the office of Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also referenced the new funding in his remarks during an update on the pandemic Friday. Overall, the Red Cross is receiving $135 million from the federal government this fiscal year to support its relief efforts across the country. Officials can't say exactly how much money is being committed in Friday's announcement, since the cost of operating the centre will depend on how it's used, according to a spokesperson for Kusmierczyk. The renewal of the funding comes ahead of the arrival of many temporary foreign workers in the agri-farm sector. "Windsor-Essex will welcome thousands of new agricultural workers in the coming weeks and months," Kusmierczyk said in a statement. "This critical federal funding will provide local health officials with a reliable isolation site for those who are unable to quarantine safely at home." Migrant workers in the region's agricultural sector were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks last year, prompting a crisis that drew attention to the treatment and conditions faced by workers who come to Canada to harvest crops every year. Two workers in the region lost their lives to the illness.
TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford has ousted a member of his government from caucus for opposing Ontario's lockdowns, saying the politician was spreading "misinformation" about the pandemic. Ford also barred legislator Roman Baber on Friday from running for the Progressive Conservatives in the 2022 election. The move came just hours after Baber, who represents a Toronto riding, issued a public letter calling on Ford to end a provincial lockdown. "The data speaks for itself - the lockdown is deadlier than COVID," Baber wrote. "Ending the lockdowns is the best thing we can do for the health of Ontarians” Baber argued that lockdowns are causing a number of other serious problems including mental health and addictions issues, and hurting businesses. He argued they were also causing delays in vital health care such as cancer diagnoses. Ford called Baber's letter "irresponsible" and accused him of spreading misinformation based on political ideology. "I am the first to recognize that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people," Ford said in a statement. "However, as premier, my number one priority is the health and safety of all Ontarians." Ford said he is following the advice of experts including the province's chief medical officer of health, who has recommended lockdowns to control the virus' spread. "By spreading misinformation (Baber) is undermining the tireless efforts of our frontline health-care workers at this critical time, and he is putting people at risk," Ford said. "I will not jeopardize a single Ontarian’s life by ignoring public health advice." Earlier this week, Ford imposed a second state of emergency and a stay-at-home order in an effort to fight rising rates of COVID-19. Under the order, which took effect Thursday, residents are required to stay at home except for essential activities such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries, or outdoor exercise. Projections released by the province earlier this week indicated Ontario’s health system will be overwhelmed and deaths from COVID-19 will exceed those in the pandemic’s first wave unless there is a significant reduction in contacts between residents. On Friday, Health Minister Christine Elliott's office released a fact check of Baber's letter. That statement disputed claims Baber made about deaths due to COVID-19, hospital capacity, and corrected a spelling error. "Minimizing the risks and impact of COVID-19 is reckless and irresponsible," Elliott's office said in a statement. "MPP Baber should apologize to every family member, frontline worker, and health-care partner that has continued to deal with the devastating impacts of COVID-19 each day." Baber said he made the letter public because he thinks a "fair conversation" about public health restrictions needs to take place. "The government can leech onto a typo, but it can't get away from the proposition that the lockdown is really harming folks," he said in an interview. Baber said he believes Ford and other members of the Tory government agree with him but aren't saying so publicly. "I actually believe that Premier Ford himself shares a lot of these views," he said. "I am afraid, however, that there's more politics that's playing into the situation than actual medicine." NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said kicking Baber out of the government is "purely symbolic" unless Ford ensured he didn't listen to those who share Baber's views. "Ford has ordered half-measures with contradictions, loopholes and exemptions," she said in a statement. "His insiders and lobbyists clearly have his ear while he dismisses pleas from public health experts to make this lockdown count." Baber is now the fifth Tory legislator to either be ejected from the party or leave since the Ford government took office in 2018. Last June, former Tory legislator Belinda Karahalios was kicked out of caucus by Ford for voting against a sweeping law that extended pandemic emergency orders. At the time, Karahalios, who represents a Cambridge, Ont., riding, said she opposed the measure because it gave Ford's government too much power. Ontario reported 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 100 more deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
An Alberta man facing drug trafficking charges was granted bail after a show cause hearing in North Battleford Provincial Court Jan. 15. Lowen Diehl, 36, will be released after he pays $10,000 cash bail and a $10,000 surety to the court. In addition, he must remain at his home in Alberta on 24-hour house arrest. North Battleford RCMP arrested Diehl on Dec. 7, 2020, after they received a report from a concerned citizen about an erratic driver. Police located the SUV on Highway 16 and arrested Diehl. When police searched the SUV they found a large amount of Canadian currency, about 15 kg of methamphetamine, about one kg of cocaine, a small amount of fentanyl and one kg of an unidentified substance. Police say the methamphetamine equals about 150,000 individual doses and the cocaine equals about 1,000 individual doses. Insp. Tom Beck, the Officer in Charge of North Battleford RCMP Detachment, applauded the diligence of both the members of the public who contacted them and the police officers responding to the call. “To be blunt, 150,000 doses is a large quantity of drugs to take off the street and keep out of the hands of some 150,000 potential people,” he said. “Police officers see first-hand the impacts of drug use. We also know drugs are often laced with other harmful substances that can result in tragedy. One of the things we can do to prevent these tragedies and other ripple effects from occurring, is to stem the flow of these substances before they trickle into our Saskatchewan communities and beyond. The seizure of this quantity of methamphetamine will certainly have a significant, resounding impact.” Diehl is scheduled to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on Jan. 19 on other matters and on Feb. 11 in North Battleford Provincial Court on the Saskatchewan charges. The charges against Diehl haven’t been proven in court. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords Regional News-OptimsitLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — The rugged point of land upon which sits the Peggys Cove lighthouse will be getting a much-needed facelift this summer. Plans were announced today to build a large viewing platform to improve access to the site and, at times, prevent people from venturing onto the rocks when storms roll in. The $3.1-million deck is expected to be completed by the end of June. The wood and concrete structure will include steel guardrails that look like fishing nets. The lighthouse and nearby fishing village attracted more than 700,000 visitors in 2018. Nova Scotia is contributing $1.7 million to the project and the federal government is covering the rest of the bill. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Belle Phillips is not your ordinary student. The young woman not only decided to make the most out of her education, but also to help other Onkwehón:we students achieve their full potential. She knew that being part of Concordia University’s Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC) would support her in doing just that. Last fall, the 21-year-old Kahnawa’kehró:non was chosen to fill the only undergraduate seat on the IDLC. When Phillips received the email sent to all Onkwehón:we students, most undergrads would have brushed it off, but the position sparked something in her. “And what’s the worst in trying?” she said. Phillips started her one-year contract in October with IDCL. The organization’s goal is to morph the university into being a more inclusive and respectful environment for all Onkwehón:we. With community member Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf, Phillips is now part of a proud line of six other Kanien’kehá:ka that previously sat on the council. And it certainly will not end there. She explained that some of her mandate’s responsibilities are to increase community engagement, to bring more support and educate the Concordia community about Onkwehón:we culture, language and issues. It’s all about Indigenizing Concordia. “For me, it means that Indigenous people feel like they have a place in such a big community,” said the second-year student. “There are so many students and groups that sometimes Indigenous students tend to feel like they don’t know where they fit.” Not knowing where to fit is something that Phillips experienced firsthand after she graduated from Kahnawake Survival School as a recipient of the Tionores Muriel Deer scholarship. When she started CEGEP at Champlain College, in St. Lambert, Phillips noticed the lack of representation. “It was me, my brother and his girlfriend and only a few others that represented the Indigenous population,” said Phillips. She said that back then, it felt like Onkwehón:we students weren’t even on the college’s radar. The group wanted more, something that resembled what Onkwehón:we resource centres provided at John Abbott College or Dawson College. They formed the Indigenous Student Ambassadors, to offer support to First Nations students. “Our goal was to decolonize the campus at Champlain,” said Phillips, “and within the first year of forming the group, we even got an official location.” Phillips grew up in Kahnawake and remembers always wanting to be involved with the culture and representation - but didn’t find her footing right away. “After high school, I went into nursing, but turned out I hated it,” said Phillips, who’s now pursuing her BA in Human Relations with a concentration in Community Development and a minor in First People Studies. For the past two years, she’s been working part-time at Tewatohnhi’saktha in Kahnawake as the Youth Programs assistant. The job, in addition to school and being part of IDLC is quite a challenge, acknowledged Phillips. However, she said she’s deeply committed to IDLC and hopes to make a real difference at Concordia. “I want to create a safe space for Indigenous students to be,” said Phillips. “I feel like there’s a taboo around Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education, and I really have an interest in developing courses and classes that incorporate Indigenous ways of learning.” Phillips still has a few semesters to go before graduating and sitting on the IDLC will surely allow her to reach her goals. email@example.comVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Herbert Kickl claimed that children would play "not the slightest role" in spreading the virus.View on euronews
Chatham-Kent got a slight break from seeing cases rise on Friday morning as CK Public Health reported 28 recoveries and 18 new cases. The new data now brings the active total down to 114. The cumulative total has increased to 971. The death toll has officially risen to four individuals after the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance announced another COVID-19 death on Thursday morning. Only two of the four institutional outbreaks seen this month remain active – Riverview Gardens and Fairfield Park long-term care home, Wallaceburg – with three individuals who have yet to recover. On Friday there was a ninth workplace outbreak declared. In total, nine individuals currently have positive cases from all the workplace outbreaks combined. The Wal-Mart in Wallaceburg had three employees test positive for COVID-19 this month but no official outbreak was declared. An outbreak is declared by CK Public Health at a workplace when there is documented transmission within that workplace. “So this does not apply to the big-box store. We have three positive cases that are employed there but a very careful analysis of their activities, what they do in the organization, and everything, could not find any connection between these people at the workplace. And the investigation supported that they got their infection elsewhere, but just happened to work there,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, to reporters at a press conference on Thursday. Colby did not reveal the name of the workplace but an employee at the Wal-Mart confirmed it to The Chatham Voice. Colby said that a workplace will only be shut down by Public Health “without hesitation” if it were an outbreak that could not be controlled. The employees that needed to be notified have all been notified and there were no exposures or contacts with members of the public, he added.Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Some Oakville residents have been told to seek shelter in their basements amid what police are calling an "active situation" with at least two people barricaded inside a home. According to tweets from Halton police issued Friday afternoon, Lakeshore Road West is closed from 4th Line to Birch Hill Lane for an ongoing investigation. Police say they first received a call just before 1:20 p.m. reporting possible gunfire in the area. On Twitter, investigators said the ongoing situation is contained to a residence on Lakeshore Road West, and originally involved "at least two" people barricaded inside. Police later said one person is now out of the home, but at least one person remains inside. Crisis negotiators have been in contact with the person inside the home and there are no reported injuries, police said. "Our crisis negotiators will be working to resolve this safely," police said on Twitter. Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with Halton Regional Police, says as of Friday evening, the situation is still ongoing. "It is our goal, our ultimate goal, to bring them out safely without anybody being injured," he said. Anderson could not say whether it was a hostage situation or if the person remaining in the home resided there or explain the relationship between the two people. Police are concerned for the safety of the individual inside, as well as those who live nearby. "We have reason to believe there may have been gas released in the home, so utilities have been cut off to the home," Anderson said. As a result, approximately nine residences have been notified and evacuated accordingly. Investigators say there is a "heavy police presence in the area," including officers, the tactical rescue unit, and police dogs. Appleby College was also in a hold and secure, but that has since been lifted. However, students boarding there will continue to remain indoors, according to the school's Twitter feed Police are asking people to avoid the area.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, under fire for the massive aid Ottawa has unveiled so far to combat the coronavirus, on Friday told his finance minister to avoid additional permanent spending. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is due to present a budget at some point in the next few months.
MEXICO CITY — The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million Friday, crossing the threshold amid a vaccine rollout so immense but so uneven that in some countries there is real hope of vanquishing the outbreak, while in other, less-developed parts of the world, it seems a far-off dream. The numbing figure was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna. “There’s been a terrible amount of death," said Dr. Ashish Jha, a pandemic expert and dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. At the same time, he said, "our scientific community has also done extraordinary work.” In wealthy countries including the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been given some measure of protection with at least one dose of vaccine developed with revolutionary speed and quickly authorized for use. But elsewhere, immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground. Many experts are predicting another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which together account for about a quarter of the world's deaths. “As a country, as a society, as citizens we haven’t understood,” lamented Israel Gomez, a Mexico City paramedic who spent months shuttling COVID-19 patients around by ambulance, desperately looking for vacant hospital beds. “We have not understood that this is not a game, that this really exists.” Mexico, a country of 130 million people that has suffered mightily from the virus, has received just 500,000 doses of vaccine and has put barely half of those into the arms of health care workers. That’s in sharp contrast to the situation for its wealthier northern neighbour. Despite early delays, hundreds of thousands of people are rolling up their sleeves every day in the United States, where the virus has killed about 390,000, by far the highest toll of any country. While vaccination drives in rich countries have been hamstrung by long lines, inadequate budgets and a patchwork of state and local approaches, the obstacles are far greater in poorer nations, which can have weak health systems, crumbling transportation networks, entrenched corruption and a lack of reliable electricity to keep vaccines cold enough. Just getting supplies of the shots might be the biggest hurdle in such places. The majority of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been snapped up by wealthy countries. COVAX, a U.N.-backed project to supply shots to developing parts of the world, has found itself short of vaccine, money and logistical help. As a result, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned it is highly unlikely that herd immunity — which would require at least 70% of the globe to be vaccinated — will be achieved this year. As the disaster has demonstrated, it is not enough to snuff out the virus in a few places. “Even if it happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said this week. Health experts fear, too, that if shots are not distributed widely and fast enough, it could give the virus time to mutate and defeat the vaccine — “my nightmare scenario,” as Jha put it. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the terrible number of deaths “has been made worse by the absence of a global co-ordinated effort.” He added: “Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed.” Meanwhile, in Wuhan, where the scourge was discovered in late 2019, a global team of researchers led by WHO arrived Thursday on a politically sensitive mission to investigate the origins of the virus, which is believed to have spread to humans from wild animals. The Chinese city of 11 million people is bustling again, with few signs it was once the epicenter of the catastrophe, locked down for 76 days, with over 3,800 dead. “We are not fearful or worried as we were in the past,” said Qin Qiong, a noodle shop owner. “We now live a normal life. I take the subway every day to come to work in the shop. ... Except for our customers, who have to wear masks, everything else is the same.” It took eight months to hit 1 million dead but less than four months after that to reach the next million. While the death toll is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real number of lives lost to is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and the many fatalities inaccurately attributed to other causes, especially early in the outbreak. “What was never on the horizon is that so many of the deaths would be in the richest countries in the world,” said Dr. Bharat Pankhania, an infectious diseases expert at Britain’s University of Exeter. “That the world’s richest countries would mismanage so badly is just shocking.” In rich and poor countries alike, the crisis has devastated economies, thrown multitudes out of work and plunged many into poverty. In Europe, where more than a quarter of the world's deaths have taken place, strict lockdowns and curfews have been reimposed to beat back a resurgence of the virus, and a new variant that is believed to be more contagious is circulating in Britain and other countries, as well as the U.S. Even in many of the wealthiest countries, the vaccination drives have been slower than expected. France, with the second-largest economy in Europe and more than 69,000 known virus deaths, will need years, not months, to vaccinate its 53 million adults unless it sharply speeds up its rollout, hampered by shortages, red tape and considerable suspicion of the vaccines. Still, in places like Poissy, a blue-collar town west of Paris, the first shots of the Pfizer formula were met with relief and a sense that there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. “We have been living inside for nearly a year. It’s not a life,” said Maurice Lachkar, a retired 78-year-old acupuncturist who was put on the priority list for vaccination because of his diabetes and his age. “If I catch the virus I am done.” Maurice and his wife, Nicole, who also got vaccinated, said they might even allow themselves hugs with their two children and four grandchildren, whom they have seen from a socially safe distance only once or twice since the pandemic hit. “It is going to be liberating,” he said. Throughout the developing world, the images are strikingly similar: rows and rows of graves being dug, hospitals pushed to the limit and medical workers dying for lack of protective gear. In Peru, which has the highest COVID-19 fatality rate in Latin America, hundreds of health care workers went on strike this week to demand better pay and working conditions in a country where 230 doctors have died of the disease. In Brazil, authorities in the Amazon rainforest's biggest city planned to transfer hundreds of patients out because of a dwindling supply of oxygen tanks that has resulted in some people dying at home. In Honduras, anesthesiologist Dr. Cesar Umaña is treating 25 patients in their homes by phone because hospitals lack the capacity and equipment. “This is complete chaos,” he said. —— Cheng reported from Toronto, Leicester from Poissy, France, and Goodman from Miami. Associated Press writers Victoria Milko in Jakarta, Indonesia, and David Biller in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report, along with AP video journalist Sam McNeil in Wuhan, China. Chris Sherman, Maria Cheng, John Leicester And Joshua Goodman, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — An Alberta legislature member booted from the United Conservative caucus is signalling he has no plans to give up his seat. Pat Rehn, who represents the constituency of Lesser Slave Lake, says on Facebook that he's disappointed over his ouster, but there are some advantages to not being tied to a political party. An earlier version of the statement posted late Thursday said he was also relieved. Rehn says as an Independent he can express his opposition to some provincial pandemic measures such as closing gyms and businesses. Premier Jason Kenney announced Rehn's removal on Thursday after local municipal leaders complained he was rarely in the constituency, missed meetings or wasn't prepared for them. Rehn was one of a half dozen UCP MLAs, including one cabinet minister, who vacationed in sunny locales over the holidays, contrary to public health guidance to stay home to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The mayor of the town of Slave Lake and Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley are among those calling for Rehn to give up his seat so a byelection can be called. Rehn is still entitled to his more than $120,000 a year MLA salary. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
After being notified about two weeks ago that COVID-19 vaccines were available to healthcare workers in Durham Region, Katie Millage, a personal support worker (PSW) on the memory care floor at Douglas Crossing, jumped at her chance to sign up for the vaccine. “I’m just feeling so grateful and hopeful to be one of the first individuals in Uxbridge to receive the vaccine,” says Millage, who got the shot on Monday at the Oshawa Hospital Vaccination Clinic. “For the first time I feel like the end of COVID-19 is in sight.” At press time on Tuesday evening, however, Uxbridge had 11 active COVID-19 cases. Five of those cases are currently being treated in hospital, and many of these cases are linked to an outbreak at the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital. A statement from the Markham Stouffville Hospital said that Uxbridge residents could be assured that the safety of patients, healthcare workers and the community is the top priority. “In consultation with Durham Region Public Health, an outbreak was declared on the inpatient unit at the Uxbridge site on December 24, 2020. Six staff members and six patients have tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are at home recovering and the COVID-19 patients in the hospital are in isolation and being monitored closely.” With the holiday season now over, health experts are reminding everyone that it is now more important than ever to follow appropriate public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. With over a week of record high daily case counts in Ontario, the number of long-term care home outbreaks is also at a record high. Slow vaccine rollout is a concern to many of those same experts. More than 70 per cent of the provincial supply is reportedly sitting in freezers right now. As of Monday night, approximately 50,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Ontario. Retired general Rick Hillier, chief of the Ontario Vaccine Task Force, said on Tuesday that less than 35,000 doses remain in freezers. Hillier said those doses were held back to ensure that second doses would be available 21 days after the initial doses were administered. Hillier also noted that by the end of this weekend, the initial shipment of vaccines will be exhausted, and the new shipment, expected to arrive later this week, will be fully administered by the end of next week. A post-holiday season surge in case numbers is expected over the next few weeks.Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
MONTREAL — The Crown says it won't appeal the acquittals in the cases of Quebec media stars Gilbert Rozon and Eric Salvail. A spokeswoman for the director of criminal and penal prosecutions made the announcements in a series of tweets and says the decision in the Rozon case is based on an assessment of the evidence and the fact that an appeal cannot be made on a question of fact. The 66-year-old Rozon, founder of the Just for Laughs festival, had been accused of rape and indecent assault in charges dating back 40 years, but was acquitted on Dec. 15 by Quebec court Judge Melanie Hebert. In her decision, Hebert wrote that acquittal didn't mean the alleged incidents didn't occur or that the victim was not credible but that the case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In the Salvail case, spokeswoman Audrey Roy-Cloutier said the department carried out an exhaustive analysis of the decision and, given that the verdict hinged on witness credibility and prosecutors found no error of law, there would not be an appeal. The former television personality was acquitted on Dec. 18 on charges of sexual assault, forcible confinement and criminal harassment related to an alleged incident in 1993. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Trevali Mining Corp. says it plans to reopen its Caribou Mine near Bathurst, N.B., after idling it 10 months ago amid poor zinc prices, but will operate it with a workforce of about 250, down from about 400 employees and contractors before it was closed. The Vancouver-based miner says it expects to return to mining in early February, with first payable zinc production expected by the end of March. Chief financial officer Brendan Creaney says zinc prices have rebounded from about 82 cents US per pound when mine production stopped to the current level between US$1.20 and US$1.30 and Trevali has contracted about 80 per cent of Caribou's volumes for two years to remove price risk. The company says it has brought in Redpath Mining Inc. as an underground mining contractor and its expertise and supply of larger equipment is expected to allow production to resume at cash flow positive costs of between 84 and 90 cents cents per pound of zinc by 2022. It hopes to produce up to 65 million pounds of payable zinc, 23 million pounds of lead and 650,000 ounces of silver in 2021. Zinc output is expected to rise to as much as 77 million pounds in 2022. It plans capital spending at the mine of $9 million this year and $2 million next year. "Our initial two-year plan includes several enhancements which are designed to improve the mine's economics, including the involvement of a contracted mining operator and the entry into fixed-pricing arrangements for a significant portion of the mine's forecasted production," said Trevali CEO Ricus Grimbeek. "Looking ahead, we will continue to study the potential to extend our initial mine plan, as well as explore further potential in the Bathurst mining camp." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TV) The Canadian Press
Richmond’s Gateway Theatre has commissioned a piece in response to a question posed by the National Arts Centre in its Transformations Project: What would it take to transform our society for the betterment of all? In the piece, local Taiwanese-Canadian artist Johnny Wu dives into themes of family, belonging, and filial piety—a central value in traditional Chinese culture that means respect and duty for one’s parents and ancestors. A regular in the theatre scene, Wu has worked with Gateway several times before, including as the Surtitle translator for China Doll. To learn more or view the piece online, click here.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is offering $175 million to the owners of the dormant Terra Nova offshore oilfield, but only if oil starts pumping again. The announcement came late Thursday afternoon, as rumours of an impending election intensified and funding announcements flowed freely from the governing minority Liberals. Suncor Energy is the majority stakeholder in the Terra Nova field, where restart operations were halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and crashing oil prices. The province says the conditional funding is part of a non-binding memorandum of understanding, which includes a commitment from government to adjust its royalty entitlements. The money comes from a $320-million federal envelope given to the province this fall to boost its sputtering offshore oil sector. Premier Andrew Furey's government gave Husky Energy $41.5 million in December for its stalled West White Rose project, but that money wasn't contingent on the company reviving the project. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Now that a stay-at-home order has been issued by the provincial government, it’s a good time to refresh the memory on what outdoor activities can be done, and what safety protocols must be observed. As the community slogs its way through this second wave of increasing COVID-19 cases, the Uxbridge trail system, tobogganing hills and local ponds are filling up with people. But Mayor Dave Barton opened this week’s council meeting by reminding the community of the importance of social distancing when enjoying outdoor winter fun. “If you get to the toboggan hill and there are lots of people there, go home for a while and come back later when there are fewer people,” said Barton in his remarks. The trails are also busy spaces. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, biking and hiking is enticing many visitors. Just this past Saturday, at least 100 cars lined Conc. 7, just south of Uxbridge, at the Durham Regional Forest trail entrances. While the air circulation and wide open space is comforting, healthcare experts remind the public that maintaining distance is still necessary. Dr. Carlye Jensen, from the Uxbridge Health Centre, points out that, while outdoor transmission is low, it is not zero. “Getting outside is a great way to relieve the pressures of lockdown. We have beautiful trails and wonderful streets to walk along. Just remember that when you are on these trails it is still important to keep your distance from those not within your bubble.” Dr. Jensen also notes that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus appears to be more easily transmitted, and that it’s not the time to let guards - or face masks - down. Dr. Jensen advises, “If you can't be six feet apart, then turn your face away, wear a mask or step off the path to allow safe space between you and others.” During its announcement on Tuesday, the provincial government recommended that everyone wear masks both indoors and out as much as possible. Tuesday’s announcement also outlined that police officers and provincial offences officers now have the authority to disperse crowds of more than five people who appear to not be from the same household, and to shut down the relevant location. For more on the current shutdown, visit https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-to-address-covid-19-crisis-and-save-livesJustyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos