Hilaria Baldwin is responding to claims that she cultivated a false persona of a Spanish woman.
Hilaria Baldwin is responding to claims that she cultivated a false persona of a Spanish woman.
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
The discovery of a prohibited firearm on his property has led to a 26-month jail sentence for a McBride-area man. Steven Richard Stewart was issued the term at the Prince George courthouse. On June 8, 2018, a man and a woman walked into the McBride RCMP detachment to report that Stewart had threatened to beat the man up and burn down his house. They also told RCMP that Stewart had a shotgun, prompting North District RCMP's emergency response team to be called to the property. Stewart was arrested and a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip and a flashlight taped to it was found, as was a sling holding 20 rounds of ammunition in the back of an SUV parked on the property. RCMP also found a number of bladed weapons and several marijuana plants. Stewart pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon and uttering threats. He maintained he kept the shotgun for protection and claimed $3,000 worth of pit bull puppies he had been raising had been stolen from him. Defence counsel had argued for a two-year conditional sentence order, in which the sentence is served at home with conditions such as a curfew, followed by three years probation, noting in part that he is employed, has lived up to his bail conditions since he was released from custody and has been working to deal with his substance abuse issues. However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale agreed with Crown prosecution's position that the offence warranted 30 months in jail. Less credit of four months for time served in custody, that left Stewart with 26 months left to serve. While sentences for the offence can range from 18 months for regulatory infractions to 10 years for serious criminal offences, Tindale found that Stewart's actions amounted to an offence at the "low end of the true crime spectrum." Tindale also dismissed defence counsel's argument that Stewart's behaviour since his release was enough to warrant the "exceptional circumstances" needed to reduce the sentence to two years and thus allow a conditional sentence order. A record of previous criminal offences and limited expressions of remorse, insight and responsibility for the crime worked against Stewart. "Mr. Stewart has worked hard but at this point, I cannot conclude that he has truly turned his life around," Tindale said. Stewart was also issued a 10-year firearms prohibition and ordered to provide a DNA sample. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 2 225 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 240 970 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 210 364 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 67 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 9 005. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 22 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 474. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 4, pour un total actuel de 227. Les prélèvements réalisés le 14 janvier s'élèvent à 33 778, pour un total de 5 387 908. Au total, 127 073 vaccins sont maintenant administrés.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Egypt has unveiled a significant new archaeological discovery at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, including 54 wooden coffins, many of which can be traced back 3000 years to the New Kingdom period. The funerary temple of Queen Neit was also discovered near the pyramid of her husband, King Teti of Egypt's 6th dynasty which dates back 4200 years, said famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who headed the archaeological mission. The coffins, or sarcophagi, include the first dating back to the New Kingdom to be found at Saqqara, a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to the Step Pyramid, the tourism and antiquities ministry said in a statement.
Rock producer Phil Spector, who changed the sound of pop music in the 1960s with his "Wall of Sound" recordings and was convicted of murder for the 2003 murder of a Hollywood actress, has died at age 81 of COVID-19, according to authorities and media reports. Spector produced 20 top 40 hits between 1961 and 1965 and went on to work with the Beatles on "Let It Be," as well as Leonard Cohen, the Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 four weeks ago and transferred to a hospital from his prison cell, where he had been serving a 19 years-to-life sentence for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, the Daily Mail newspaper said.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 9:05 a.m. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are among the stars who will highlight a prime-time virtual celebration televised Wednesday night after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president. Biden’s inaugural committee announced the lineup Sunday for “Celebrating America,” a multinetwork broadcast that the committee bills as a mix of stars and everyday citizens. Miranda, who wrote and starred in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” will appear for a classical recitation. Musicians John Legend, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake, among others, will join Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Actresses Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will act as hostesses, with former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also scheduled to appear. The segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsey, the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The broadcast is in lieu of traditional inaugural balls. Biden plans still to be sworn in on the Capitol's West Front, but with a scaled-down ceremony because of the coronavirus and tight security after the Jan. 6 violent insurrection on the Capitol as Congress convened to certify his victory. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THE INAUGURATION AND THE FALLOUT FROM THE JAN. 6 RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL: Across the country, some statehouses are closed, fences are up and extra police are in place as authorities brace for potentially violent demonstrations over the coming days. The safeguards will remain in place leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Biden plans to roll back some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies and take steps to address the coronavirus pandemic hours after taking office. Read more: — Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president — Biden outlines ‘Day One’ agenda of executive actions — Gen. Milley key to military continuity as Biden takes office — Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call — Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor at inauguration — Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants — Will Trump’s mishandling of records leave a hole in history? — Biden says his advisers will lead with ‘science and truth’ — More backlash for GOP’s Hawley as Loews Hotel cancels event ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 8 a.m. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirm the timing and say Gov. Gavin Newsom is aware of her decision. That clears the way for Newsom to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California’s secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris’ term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic. Harris will give no farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Tuesday, the eve of Inauguration Day. ___ 3 a.m. The threat of extremist groups descending on state capitals in a series of demonstrations Sunday prompted governors to roll out a massive show of force and implement tight security measures at statehouses across the country. Fencing, boarded-up windows and lines of police and National Guard troops have transformed statehouse grounds ahead of expected demonstrations leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The stepped-up security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob supporting President Donald Trump overran the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests in the nation’s capital and all 50 state capitals. Some social media messages had targeted Sunday for demonstrations, though it remained unclear how many people might show up. The Associated Press
NL Alliance Leader Graydon Pelley has suspended his campaign after suffering a medical emergency, the party's executive says. In a release on its Twitter account Sunday morning, the party said Pelley was taken to hospital Saturday, where it was confirmed that he would need emergency surgery. In a media release the party said Pelley will be suspending his campaign pending the outcome of the procedure and required recovery time. "The work of [the] NL Alliance is so important to Graydon and I know missing out on that while facing this challenge is adding to his discomfort. However, his health is what's most important now and no one disagrees with that," the party's president, Rudy Norman, said in the release. Pelley is running in the district of Humber-Gros Morne. The NL Alliance said all other candidates will continue their campaigns and nominations in districts without candidates are still open until the deadline. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
First Nations, ranchers, municipal officials and environmentalists hope to persuade a judge this week to force Alberta to revisit its decision to open one of the province's most important and best-loved landscapes to open-pit coal mining. At least nine interveners will seek to join a southern Alberta rancher's request for a judicial review of the province's decision to rescind a coal-mining policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. "You talk about the Alberta identity," said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association, one of the parties looking for standing. "The eastern slopes, the Rocky Mountains and the foothills, are at the heart of what the Alberta identity is. This policy change threatens that." The eastern slopes are the source of three major rivers — the Red Deer, the Oldman and the South Saskatchewan. Everyone in southern Alberta and many in Saskatchewan depend on those rivers for drinking water, irrigation and industry. The water is heavily allocated. Endangered species, including cutthroat trout and grizzly bears, live there. The region's beauty is universally acknowledged. A 1976 policy brought in by Peter Lougheed's government laid out how and where coal development could go ahead, forbade open-pit mines over a large area and banned any mining at all in the most sensitive spots. It came after years of work and dozens of public consultations, said David Luff, a retired civil servant and consultant who worked on the policy. "Albertans overwhelmingly said the eastern slopes should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation and tourism. Lougheed had a very compelling vision based on input he received from extensive public consultation." Over the years, the policy informed the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and was written into legally binding land-use plans. Last spring, the policy was quietly revoked by Energy Minister Sonya Savage with no consultation. It was done on the Friday of the May long weekend, during the height of COVID-19's first wave, through an information letter on the department's website. "It's morally and ethically wrong," said Luff. But legally wrong? The province doesn't think so. The hearing in Calgary Court of Queen's Bench is to begin Tuesday with Alberta arguing that there was no duty to consult because the coal policy was just that — a policy. "The 1976 coal policy was not enacted using a legislative tool, so it can be rescinded unilaterally by Alberta Energy at any time," says a provincial briefing note entered in the court record. The province plans to ask the court to rule that the change is a political decision, not a legal matter, and the review request should be dismissed. Nigel Bankes, chair of natural resources law at the University of Calgary, notes land-use plans and the land stewardship act both promise consultation before major change. "This is effectively an amendment to the plan and therefore triggers the consultation obligations," he said. "There's certainly case law to suggest that high-level policy changes may trigger the duty to consult." As well, Bankes said, First Nations are owed a duty to consult. Three of them — the Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish — are asking to intervene. He suggests there's a good chance the court will turn down the provincial request for dismissal. Other hopeful interveners include the Municipal District of Ranchland, which is concerned about the impact that coal development could have on municipal services and infrastructure. Environmental groups seeking to intervene want to ensure water quality and ecological degradation are taken into account. One coal company — Cabin Ridge Coal — has asked for standing as well. It says it's already invested substantial money in exploration leases. "Restoration of the coal policy will create uncertainty in circumstances where the (Alberta Energy Regulator) presently has clear standards and processes for considering proposed exploration and development activities in Alberta," it says in a court filing. Alberta officials have said mining will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of tax dollars at a time when the province really needs them. They say any proposed mines would still be reviewed by the provincial regulator. Prominent and popular Alberta country musicians Corb Lund and Paul Brandt have publicly opposed the mines. A petition to the federal government opposing one development already in the review stage had more than 25,000 signatures as of Friday morning. The government has sold leases on about 1.4 million hectares of land for coal exploration since the policy was revoked. At least one provincial recreation area is partly covered by a coal lease and four others are surrounded by them. The province has also reopened water allocation agreements. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
A bundle of nerves atop an imposing giant slalom course ahead of Sunday's second run, 19-year-old Cassidy Gray went to work and earned points for a 26th-place performance at the women's World Cup event in Slovenia. Her combined time of two minutes 24.25 seconds is considered one of the best starts to a World Cup career for a Canadian in recent memory. "It's been a goal of mine for a long time to start a World Cup and to get to do it here, with this team was amazing," Cassidy, who hails from Panorama, B.C., tolf Alpine Canada after her second run in Kranjska Gora. "Today was a crazy first run and I was so nervous for the second run. "I'm overall really happy with how it went. Now that I see what I can do I have a lot more confidence going into the next races." Gray, who also skis with the University of Colorado Buffaloes, qualified for a second run in Saturday's race but didn't finish. Canadian teammate Val Grenier of St. Isidore, Ont., moved up one spot from Saturday to finish 15th in 2:22.05 in her fifth race back from injury. Marta Bassino won her second World Cup giant slalom in two days after first-run leader Mikaela Shiffrin dropped to sixth. The Italian skier has won four of the five races in the discipline this season, with Shiffrin winning the only other event, in Courchevel in December. WATCH | Bassino posts fastest final run time on way to victory: "It's so amazing, I am so emotional. It's like a dream, I can't believe it," Bassino said from Kranjska Gora, Slovenia while fighting back tears in a TV interview. The result saw Bassino closing in on a 13-year-old record: No Italian skier won more than four giant slaloms in a single season since Denise Karbon won a record five events in the 2007-08 campaign. Shiffrin loses speed, rhythm on 2nd run Bassino trailed Shiffrin by three-tenths of a second after the American's near-perfect opening run, but the Italian posted the fastest time in the final in one minute 7.34 seconds for a two-run time of 2:18.06. The last racer on course, Shiffrin was still in the lead at the first split time. However, the Olympic GS champion was late on a turn after the first steep part, lost speed and never regained her rhythm. Shiffrin finished 1.27 back in sixth in 2:19.33, matching her result in Saturday's race. Bassino won the race 0.66 ahead of Michelle Gisin (2:18.72), a day after the Swiss skier earned her first career podium in GS. Local favourite Meta Hrovat, daughter of the village's mayor, Janez Hrovat, finished third, 0.73 off the lead. Vlhova's overall lead shrinks The rest of the field trailed Bassino by more than a second. This weekend's races were moved from Maribor because of a lack of snow. Petra Vlhova was 2.41 seconds behind in 10th and the overall World Cup leader from Slovakia saw her advantage over runner-up Gisin reduced to just 60 points. Federica Brignone, the defending overall champion who led the GS standings coming into the weekend, was 12th after the opening leg before sliding off the track in her final run. The women's World Cup continues with two downhills and a super-G in Crans Montana, Switzerland, from Friday through Sunday.
In one of his final interviews as Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance tells Mercedes Stephenson on ‘The West Block’ the mission to root out sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces is a forever mission that will evolve over time. When asked if there are things he would have done differently in his career, Gen. Vance says, “I would have certainly paid more attention. I didn’t really see this. And the Deschamps report was a shock to me.”
Two doctors who study COVID-19 say that when it comes to reducing the spread of the virus, Canadian health officials should focus more on tactics to help high-risk populations instead of imposing blanket restrictions on everyone. Dr. Sharmistha Mishra, the Canada Research Chair in mathematical modelling and program science, will be sharing her findings at an upcoming talk on equity and epidemics at B.C.'s Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. "We talk about equity in a social science sort of framework, but it's actually fundamental to epidemic theory," Dr. Mishra said. Mishra says all diseases spread more among some groups than others, so the job of epidemiologists like her is to find out which groups are the most affected and work from there. The data that Mishra has been working with shows that people at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 include essential and low-wage workers, people living in multi-generational or crowded homes, and those experiencing homelessness. The virus can spill over to other demographics, Mishra adds, so reducing the numbers for those most at-risk will reduce transmission overall. Mishra's talk will be a continuation of the talk her colleague Dr. Stefan Baral gave as part of the same series in December. Both doctors are based in Toronto. Baral, an associate professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, says there are strategies that will specifically help at-risk populations. These include providing more testing sites in neighbourhoods where those who are the most at risk are likely to live, as well as keeping those sites open longer so they can accommodate shift workers. Baral also recommends offering more financial support for low-income workers so they will be more likely to take time off work if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting test results. "We need to alleviate the pressures that people face when making the decision about whether they're going to stay home from work," Baral said. Another strategy he suggests is to provide self-isolation sites for those who live in crowded homes. Systemic inequities vs. individual choices Baral says it can be easy, and satisfying, to blame the spread of COVID-19 on people's individual choices rather than systemic inequities that put certain people at risk more than others. Some physicians in Canada have advocated for COVID Zero, or COVID Near Zero — to lock down and restrict movement as much as possible in order to reduce transmission to more manageable levels. But Baral and Mishra say they believe it would instead be more effective to address the needs of those at most risk of getting infected and passing it on to others. Any type of lockdown will involve some form of essential workers, they argue. "Restrictions have a tendency to increase disparities because they don't address people's underlying needs," Baral said. "We still have Amazon, we still have Uber. We still have all of these folks that are serving the needs of society." Community-based approach Mishra and Baral say an important element in developing these strategies is to work with at-risk communities to figure out what works best for them. Dr. Birinder Narang, a physician and member of the newly-formed South Asian COVID Task Force in Metro Vancouver, says a community-based and culturally-appropriate approach is what has helped to greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission in the Fraser Health region. "There's been a lot of work happening behind the scenes with the community and with health care leaders," Narang said. In November, the region was the epicentre of COVID-19 in British Columbia — in particular, the City of Surrey, which is home to many essential workers who live in multi-generational households. But in the past few weeks the level of transmission there has dropped sharply. Dr. Narang says the task force came together to address the increase in cases in their community. Members have created culturally relevant information in multiple languages and gathered information about what barriers people in the region are facing. "We knew that the majority of people were trying the hardest, but that there were systemic and societal factors that were making it more difficult," he said. "One of the challenges of the public health orders is as they change, we don't know how accessible they are to every community."
WASHINGTON — The lead prosecutor for President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment began building his case for conviction at trial, asserting on Sunday that Trump's incitement of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was “the most dangerous crime" ever committed by a president against the United States. A Senate trial could begin as soon as this week, just as Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., did not say when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will send the single article of impeachment against Trump — for “incitement of insurrection” — to the Senate, which will trigger the beginning of the trial. But Raskin said “it should be coming up soon” as Pelosi organizes the formal transfer. The House voted to impeach Trump last Wednesday, one week after the violent insurrection that interrupted the official count of electoral votes, ransacked the Capitol and left Congress deeply shaken. Before the mob overpowered police and entered the building, Trump told them to “fight like hell” against the certification of Biden's election win. “We're going to be able to tell the story of this attack on America and all of the events that led up to it,” Raskin said. “This president set out to dismantle and overturn the election results from the 2020 presidential election. He was perfectly clear about that.” Democrats and the incoming administration are facing the challenge of reckoning with the Capitol attack at the same time that Biden takes office and tries to move the country forward. They say the Congress can do both, balancing a trial with confirmations of the new president's Cabinet and consideration of his legislative priorities. Raskin said Congress cannot establish a precedent where “we just want to let bygones be bygones” just because Trump has left office. Yet it's clear that Democrats do not want the Senate trial to dominate Biden's opening days. Pelosi on Friday said that Democrats intend to move quickly on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid and economic recovery package to speed up vaccinations and send Americans relief, calling it “matter of complete urgency.” Ron Klain, Biden's incoming White House chief of staff, said he hopes Senate leaders, on a bipartisan basis, “find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities. This impeachment trial is one of them, but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities.” It is unclear how many Senate Republicans — if any — would vote to convict Trump. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is telling his caucus that their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president will be a “vote of conscience.” His stance, first reported by Business Insider, means the GOP leadership team will not work to hold senators in line one way or the other. McConnell is open to considering impeachment, but said he is undecided on how he would vote. He continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial this week could be among his last acts as majority leader as Democrats prepare to take control of the Senate with the seating of two new Democratic senators from Georgia. For Republican senators, the trial will be perhaps a final test of their loyalty to the defeated president and his legions of supporters in their states back home. It will force a further reevaluation of their relationship with Trump, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate, and a broader discussion about the future of the Republican Party as he leaves office. Some GOP senators are already standing by Trump, despite their criticism of his behaviour. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most loyal allies, said impeachment was a "bad, rushed, emotional move” that puts the presidency at risk and will cause further division. He said he hopes every Senate Republican rejects impeachment. “Please do not justify and legitimize what the House did,” Graham said. A handful of Republican senators have suggested they will consider conviction. Two of them, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, have said he should resign. Murkowski said the House responded “appropriately” with impeachment and she will consider the trial arguments. No president has ever been convicted in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds vote against Trump, a high hurdle. But conviction is not out of the realm of possibility, especially as corporations and wealthy political donors distance themselves from Trump's brand of politics and the Republicans who stood by his attempts to overturn the election. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, was spotted at the White House Saturday and told ABC he was likely going to join Trump’s impeachment defence team. He suggested he would continue to spread baseless claims of election fraud on the Senate floor. Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley moved to distance Trump from Giuliani’s comments, tweeting: “President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the 'impeachment hoax.' We will keep you informed.” There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to his tenure. A precedent set by the Senate in the 1800s established that a trial can proceed even after a federal official leaves office. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted last year to acquit. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 impeachment vote on Wednesday, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment. When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but directly intended to interrupt the electoral count as part of his escalating campaign to overturn the November election. A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack, and police shot and killed a woman. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Raskin and Klain were on CNN's “State of the Union,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.” ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Alberta security companies say they're busier than ever, largely due to COVID-19 protocols and a rise in crime. "When COVID hit, there's been an increase in crime, an increase in vandalism, property damage," said Moe Hadayat, operations manager at Optimum Security. "Property owners reached out to us and they said, 'Look, we have never seen this kind of increase ... so we need to have security monitor these properties to make sure that nothing is escalated.'" Hadayat said crime is largely rooted in unemployment and a lack of things to do, thanks to business and social restrictions that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Paladin Security has seen an increase in patrols going out as a result of so many Albertans working from home, said operations manager Damian Radcliffe. "That opens up more opportunities for criminal activity," Radcliffe said. Radcliffe emphasized that an empathetic approach is proving valuable in dealing with people who are under pressure as a result of the pandemic. "If we lead with that sort of compassion-first type mentality, I think that we can have most of those interactions go well and still do the job that we need to do," Radcliffe said. Paladin has also worked with clients who have seen their revenues drop — hotel operators, for example — to come up with cost-effective security plans. Backwoods Security Services traditionally serves the oil and gas industry but since the pandemic has expanded its work to include homeless shelters and health-care facilities. "In some of our northern facilities and camps that we're in, the guards are mainly there just to ensure that COVID protocols are being followed, people aren't congregating together — just those gentle reminders to keep their distancing and sanitize and wear their masks," said Kyle Applejohn, the director of security at Backwoods. Backwoods, which is owned by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and Enoch Cree Nation, also does mass temperature screenings in high-density workplaces using thermal imaging technology launched in May. The company provided security for the NHL playoff bubble and the 2021 world junior men's hockey championship.
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - Aux prises avec trois éclosions à l’hôpital Fleury, le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal demande à la population d’éviter cet établissement « pour quelques jours ». Emboitant le pas à certains hôpitaux de l’Est de l’île, le CIUSSS restreint par ailleurs les visites. Les seuls motifs qui permettent à une personne non hospitalisée d’accéder à l’établissement sont pour accompagner une personne en fin de vie, à raison d’une personne à la fois, des visites pour motifs humanitaires ou l’accompagnement du père, de la mère ou du tuteur légal d’une personne mineure. Le CIUSSS du Nord invite les personnes qui ont des problèmes de santé mineurs « à choisir une alternative pour obtenir une consultation médicale » et à privilégier une visite dans une clinique médicale ou à consulter son médecin de famille. Plus tôt cette semaine, le CIUSSS avait confirmé au Journaldesvoisins.com qu’une éclosion était en cours à l’unité de chirurgie de l’hôpital Fleury, mais avait assuré qu’aucune éclosion ne touchait l’urgence de cet hôpital. Le JDV suivra de près la situation.Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
An Abbotsford company has been given the go-ahead from the province to remove a peregrine falcon nesting site from a quarry it plans to reopen. The decision is a blow to a group of 17 local homeowners and conservationists who have been campaigning to preserve a rocky ledge at the site, which has been a productive nesting area for the dynamic bird of prey that has been on and off the federal government's endangered list as vulnerable to decline. Peregrine falcons in B.C. still remain on government lists that include animals or ecosystems of concern or that are threatened. The birds usually nest on rock ledges high on steep cliffs, mostly in undisturbed areas. Being near the top of the food chain, their well-being is an indicator of how B.C.'s biodiversity is doing. Data compiled by the federal government shows that, since 1995, there have been on average around eight occupied nesting sites in the Lower Mainland for the subspecies of peregrine falcon found at the quarry site. Howard Bailey, a scientist advocating for the resident group and an avid birder, has regularly visited the site for the past six years to observe the peregrines who nest and raise their young there. "It's literally ... a source of young for the region," he said 'Be absolutely careful' Bailey, along with local resident Chriss Kitt, who for the past 14 years has lived less than 200 metres from the quarry site on Quaddling Road, say that the provincial-approved mitigation strategies won't guarantee that the falcons will continue to nest and reproduce at the site. "You want to be absolutely careful with the remaining viable nesting sites, especially if you're looking at how to recover this population over the long term," Bailey said. For the past three years, Mountainside Quarries Group Inc., has been working toward reopening a quarry on Quadling Road that was shuttered in 2012 after its previous owner went bankrupt. Mountainside says it has obtained a mining permit from the province to reopen the quarry to mine for aggregate. For safety reasons, the company says it needs to remove the ledge where peregrine falcons have been nesting. To do so, the company needed to obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) as the B.C. Wildlife Act protects peregrine falcon nests from being disturbed or destroyed. On Friday, the Ministry issued the permit to Mountainside. It said the decision was made based on available falcon population estimates, trends in productivity and consultation with local groups and the company. The province says the company has agreed to create new nest ledges on-site, new nest boxes and monitor them for the next five years. Mountainside will also arrange for satellite transmitters to be placed on the pair of falcons which have previously bred at the site to facilitate a study of them for the next four years. Mountainside to spend $75,000 on mitigation "Given the mining operation, FLNRORD believes that the mitigation to be completed is reasonable to address the relative risks to these falcons and the local species population," a ministry spokesperson said in an email. Mountainside said it will spend $75,000 on the mitigation. "It's a comprehensive mitigation plan," said John Moonen, a spokesperson for the company. "We've agreed to spend the money and do this plan. It makes up for the loss of that nesting ledge." Moonen says the company is still working on operational plans with the City of Abbotsford before beginning work. He did not say when work at the site would begin. Kitt said the residents group will try to appeal the decision to issue the company the permit to destroy the nesting ledge.
Prince George RCMP saw a small dip in crime in 2020, as measured by files opened, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Insp. Shawn Wright told city council. Files opened in 2020 added up to 46,668, down by 1,036 from 2019. With many businesses shut down and more people working from home, Wright said shoplifting dropped to "virtually nil" for a time while break and enters also declined noticeably. If the pandemic sparked an spike in domestic violence, Wright said it was not reflected in the count as the number of such files grew by only nine from 2019, to 487. Looking at the downtown, calls for service stood at 6,816, up by 118 from 2019. Wright said the "vast, vast majority" were non-criminal in nature. At nearly 1,200, calls related to mischief led the way and Wright said they typically related to someone sleeping in a doorway and causing a disturbance. Next highest were calls for causing a disturbance, which Wright said usually involves someone with a mental health issue. "I know there is a lot of apprehensions from a lot of the citizens that they don't feel safe downtown, that they think they're going to get robbed, that they're going to get assaulted but statistically speaking, we don't see those numbers being a large part of what we deal with down there," he said. Wright noted businesses in the vicinity of Canada Games Plaza, where public washrooms have been in place, reported a lot of nuisance activity during the summer. But he later also agreed with Coun. Murry Krause that the washrooms meet a need. "I don't dispute that at all," Wright said. Wright also suggested the storage facilities for street people in the downtown has enabled a "downtown camping lifestyle" but later added they also serve a need. "Sometimes there are unintended consequences and sometimes the intended consequences outweigh those, for sure," Wright said. He commended Carrier Sekani Family Services for opening the Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre at 1575 Second Ave. in late 2020. He said it has given people as old as 29 years a place to "hang out" and access services while also lessening the distress on area businesses. "I have been very pleasantly surprised," Wright said. Open use of illicit drugs downtown emerged as a theme when Wright fielded questions from city council members. He called the activity a "thorn in our side" but added pursuing prosecutions against individuals who insist on shooting up "not realistic" in today's legal climate. He said police have relied on patrols to move users along to areas where they can use while out of sight, such as a rooming house or, preferably, the safe injection site at the needle exchange. He said the 100 units of social housing planned for the corner of First Avenue and Ontario Street and the recently-announced conversion of the National Hotel at First and Dominion to social housing makes him optimistic. "Nothing is a magic bullet, nothing is going to change overnight, but I think they are very large steps in the right direction," Wright said. He said people who get their own place also get a sense of responsibility, accomplishment and dignity. "A lot of these people don't have a place to go, so it'll provide them that opportunity and I think the biggest key to those proposed developments is the fact that it's not just housing, it's supportive housing," Wright said. Looking ahead, Wright said RCMP are working to get a sobering centre established in Prince George. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Small groups of right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.” As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the U.S., a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap. Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis said he hoped the apparently peaceful day reflected some soul-searching among Americans. “I would love to say that it’s because we’ve all taken a sober look in the mirror and have decided that we are a more unified people than certain moments in time would indicate,” he said. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection. Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race. On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend. Tall fences also surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall was closed to the public, and the mayor of Washington asked people not to visit. Some 25,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to arrive in the city in the coming days. U.S. defence officials told The Associated Press those troops would be vetted by the FBI to ward off any threat of an insider attack on the inauguration. The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media. Tensions have been running high in the state since authorities foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow. Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol. "I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities "continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.” Utah's new governor, Republican Spencer Cox, shared photos on his Twitter account showing him with what appeared to be hundreds of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers standing behind him, all wearing masks. Cox called the quiet protests a best-case scenario and said many ”agitating groups" had cancelled their plans for the day. At Oregon's Capitol, fewer than a dozen men wearing military-style outfits, black ski masks and helmets stood nearby with semiautomatic weapons slung across their bodies. Some had upside-down American flags and signs reading such things as “Disarm the government.” At the Texas Capitol, Ben Hawk walked with about a dozen demonstrators up to the locked gates carrying a bullhorn and an AR-15 rifle hanging at the side of his camouflage pants. He condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and said he did not support Trump. “All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” Hawk said. At Nevada's Capitol, where demonstrators supporting Trump have flocked most weekends in recent months, all was quiet except for a lone protester with a sign. “Trump Lost. Be Adults. Go Home,” it read. More than a third of governors had called out the National Guard to help protect their capitols and assist local law enforcement. Several governors declared states of emergency, and others closed their capitols to the public until after Biden's inauguration. Some legislatures also cancelled sessions or pared back their work for the coming week. Even before the violence at the Capitol, some statehouses had been the target of vandals and angry protesters during the past year. Last spring, armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol to object to coronavirus lockdowns. People angry over the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer's knee vandalized capitols in several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last last month, crowds in Oregon forced their way into the Capitol in Salem to protest its closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures. Amid the potential for violence in the coming days, the building's first-floor windows were boarded up and the National Guard was brought in. "The state capitol has become a fortress,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. “I never thought I’d see that. It breaks my heart.” ___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio; Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon; Mike Householder and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Marc Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report. David A. Lieb And Adam Geller, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Vacancies in Calgary's downtown office towers have risen to record levels and there's no landlord relief in sight with almost one in three offices sitting empty and sublets accounting for a quarter of available spaces on the market. The city's glut of empty office space has previously been linked to overbuilding but two commercial real estate reports released this past week show that downtown vacancy rates in Canada's oil and gas capital are the highest in the country and growing — despite no major new towers opening in the past two years. Vacancies are likely to go even higher, both reports note, driven by short-term factors including layoffs resulting from the takeover of Husky Energy Inc. by Cenovus Energy Inc. and longer-term job losses from cost-cutting and mergers in the oil and gas sector. In its report released Thursday, real estate firm CBRE says the equivalent of four CFL football fields in downtown office space was emptied in the last quarter of 2020. The net reduction of 355,000 square feet (32,000 square metres) took the vacancy rate to a record high of 29.5 per cent compared with 27.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019. "The negative absorption is due to the oilpatch, not COVID-19," said Greg Kwong, Calgary-based regional managing director for CBRE. "People may not be going back to work because of the lockdowns but these companies still have leases in place and have to pay the rent. It's not considered vacated space." CBRE found that 23.7 per cent of the available downtown office space in Calgary is being sublet by the lease holder. In a separate report using different calculation methods, Avison Young pegged the downtown office vacancy rate at a record 26.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, up from 24.2 per cent in the year-earlier period. Under an optimistic scenario, Avison Young predicts the vacancy rate will rise to 28.6 per cent by the end of 2023; in its pessimistic forecast, it foresees a rate of 32.9 per cent. The merger of Cenovus and Husky offices in 2021 is projected to result in between 36,000 and 54,000 square metres of downtown space being vacated later this year, said Todd Throndson, managing director for Avison Young's Calgary office. That's around one per cent of the total inventory of 4.16 million square metres. "We have a very difficult marketplace and there's no quick solutions to solving that problem," he said. "The next 12 to 24 months are going to be a challenging time for there to be any growth in our marketplace." Cenovus and Husky have said their merger will result in a reduction of between 20 and 25 per cent of the 8,600 combined employees and contractors — potentially more than 2,000 workers. The two companies have about 300,000 square metres of lease commitments in Calgary, with some of it already being sublet to other tenants, said Cenovus spokesman Reg Curren. More space is expected to be sublet going forward, he said, declining to give specifics. "Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we determine our plan to return to the workplace, Brookfield Place will be the head office of the combined company," he said, referring to the 56-storey glass and steel tower opened in 2017 that Cenovus calls home. Husky's head office is a few blocks west in the much older Western Canadian Place. It's not hard to find other Calgary companies reducing staff and their need for office space. Suncor Energy Inc. announced in October it would reduce total staff by 10 to 15 per cent over 18 months, cutting as many as 1,930 jobs. Those cuts will be offset by the relocation of its Petro-Canada head office and most of its 700 jobs from Ontario to Calgary. Imperial Oil Ltd. announced in November it would lay off 200 staff. Meanwhile, office space held by Equinor Canada at Jamieson Place in downtown Calgary is on the sublet market after the Norwegian oil company decided to consolidate its Canadian operations in St. John's, N.L. Lower staff counts are also expected with the close of a handful of smaller oil and gas producer corporate mergers announced late last year. Calgary's office buildings have lost an overall 13 per cent of value, about $2.3 billion, over the past year due to higher vacancy rates and lower rents, the city said Thursday as it issued its 2021 property assessment notices. Declines in recent years have pushed more of the municipal tax burden to residential and other business ratepayers. Economic Development Calgary is using the city's abundance of discounted office space as a "huge selling feature" in attracting Calgary employers in new sectors like technology and renewable energy, said CEO Mary Moran, but she concedes those new tenants haven't replaced the oil and gas losses. "I think, long-term, we know that the energy industry is not going to be the job creator," she said. "It's a jobless recovery in oil and gas." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:SU) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says it has received a number of alarming calls about poor and unprofessional treatment of two elderly Indigenous patients at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. In one case, the family of an 88-year-old man who does not speak English said he was restricted from having visitors or translators who could help him understand the treatment he was receiving at the hospital in the northern Saskatchewan city. "We had another elderly woman's family call to tell us that she was being mistreated by rude and unprofessional nurses," said FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt in a statement. "She doesn't want to be named because she's scared that they'll treat her worse in retaliation." Pratt says these stories emphasize the importance of consistent access to translators and patient support services in all Saskatchewan hospitals, as well as more First Nations hospitals in the province. "This is why it is so important that we have our own First Nations doctors and nurses working within all hospitals throughout the province," FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement. "Our chiefs have been calling for a First Nations hospital in this region for years and this is the exact reason why. Our elderly patients are too scared to speak out against poor treatment or can't speak out at all because no one speaks the same language as them." Andrew McLetchie, the Saskatchewan Health Authority's (SHA) vice-president for Integrated Northern Health, said he was aware of the concerns being raised by FSIN and said the authority has since reached out to the patients to ensure they have the supports they require. He encouraged others who have concerns about their care to contact its quality of care coordinators. "The SHA has supports for patients who do not speak English, including our staff, as well as partner organizations," McLetchie said. "While there is limited family presence due to public health measures during the pandemic, we can and do arrange for family members to be present." He said if there were any barriers to accessing services, patients and families should reach out to the SHA's First Nations and Métis Health Services for assistance. McLetchie said the authority is working to create a culturally responsive system that includes requiring all new employees to take cultural responsiveness training.
LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81. California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a hospital. Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles. Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Decades before, Spector had been hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” He was the rare self-conscious artist in rock’s early years and cultivated an image of mystery and power with his dark shades and impassive expression. Tom Wolfe declared him the “first tycoon of teen.” Bruce Springsteen and Brian Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” The secret to his sound: an overdubbed onslaught of instruments, vocals and sound effects that changed the way pop records were recorded. He called the result, “Little symphonies for the kids.” The Associated Press