This horse was roaming the property when it unsuspectingly fell into a frozen pool in the backyard. Luckily it was able to hop right out without any damage.
This horse was roaming the property when it unsuspectingly fell into a frozen pool in the backyard. Luckily it was able to hop right out without any damage.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island announced the start of a COVID-19 testing pilot project Tuesday for travellers arriving in the province by air. Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters the four-week project will assess the feasibility of using rapid tests on travellers. Air travellers will have two swabs taken when they land on the Island: one for a rapid test and another that will be sent for confirmation at a provincial laboratory. Morrison said the test on arrival does not exclude travellers from the mandatory 14-day isolation period for people arriving from outside the province. She said authorities are looking to detect COVID-19 cases among travellers more quickly. Morrison said it would likely be at least six weeks before conditions in the Atlantic region are stable enough to allow for travel within the four-province bubble that existed until rising case numbers ended it in November. She said the province is looking closely at other jurisdictions as they loosen restrictions to monitor the spread of various variants of the virus. No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in P.E.I. on Tuesday, leaving just one active reported infection. The province has had a total of 115 cases since the pandemic began. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy in Liverpool and North Queens Community School in Caledonia are among the Queens County schools engaging students in various activities in recognition of February as Nova Scotia’s African Heritage Month. The theme in this year’s celebration is Black History Matters: Listen, Learn, Share and Act. Erica Langille, the teacher for Grades 1 to 2 at Wickwire, said the students began discussions in January about the famed American social rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. They read a book about him and watched part of his speech. “It wasn’t so much about what he said, for my students, but how he said it,” observed Langille. The discussions focused on his dream, racism and segregation, and culminated in what the students could do to change the world. Earlier this month, discussions also touched upon different symbols that represent African culture. According to Langille, Kente cloths that are bright and worn for celebrations are what stand out for her. The students made some with paper and discussed what the colours they chose meant to them. They also talked about African American inventors. “I think it’s very important, because for many years we suppressed these people and did not allow them to speak about their history and culture,” commented Langille. ‘I think they need to be celebrated and their culture expressed. If we don’t teach our students about their history, how do we ever build upon that culture?” Meanwhile, Phil Prendergast, a behaviour support and resource teacher at North Queens Community School, has been leading activities in that school this month. “We are focusing on achievements and celebration – historical and contemporary,” he said. “Usually the standard for African Heritage Month is to just put up a poster. We didn’t want to stop there, but to go above and beyond that.” While the students did put up posters, the artwork included cut-outs of different colours of hands from elementary students that were placed around the poster. Staff and students also started a trivia contest for the school. Each day Grade 7 students ask a question during the announcements. Students from Grades 2 to 12 then can look up the answers. The classes with the most participation can win a weekly prize and, at the end of the month, a pizza party will be held for the winning class. Elementary students also were expected to begin making bracelets adorned in African colours, and one class had started a “history gram,” highlighting the accomplishments of African Canadians. The aim of African Heritage Month is to recognize the important legacy of people of African descent and their long-standing history in the development of Canada. It also brings focus and increased awareness of racialized issues and further calls on people to listen, share and act to make society a better place. Paul Ash, the regional executive director for the South Shore Regional Centre of Education, maintained that recognizing the contributions and learning about African Nova Scotians is “absolutely critical.” “It is extremely important that our students and communities see themselves reflected in our formal and informal curriculum,” Ash, who is of Canadian-African descent, commented in an email. “It is equally important that all of our students are exposed to learning opportunities to understand different lived experiences and histories as they prepare to enter into a much smaller world than previous generations.” While Ash recognized the value in having a designated month recognizing African Nova Scotians, he suggested more has to be done to break down social barriers. “Celebrations and activities are extremely important, but it will be the daily conversation and interactions that will impact our student level of knowledge and understanding of our African Nova Scotian/African Canadian Community,” he said. Nova Scotia has more than 50 historic African Nova Scotian communities with a history dating back more than 400 years. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
SAN FRANCISCO — Poet, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat movement, has died. He was 101. Ferlinghetti died at his San Francisco home Monday, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti told The Associated Press Tuesday. The cause was lung disease. His father died “in his own room,” holding their hands "as he took his last breath, his son said. Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said his father loved Italian food and the restaurants in the North Beach neighbourhood where he made his home and founded his famous bookstore. He had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week and was a month shy of turning 102. Ferlinghetti was known for his City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, an essential meeting place for the Beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond. Its publishing arm released books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others. The most famous release was Ginsberg’s anthemic poem, “Howl." It led to a 1957 obscenity trial that broke new ground for freedom of expression. The Associated Press
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) Foreign diplomats, unaccompanied minors, truckers and patients getting treatment abroad are among the limited number of travellers who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine requirements when arriving in Canada by air. The federal rule that requires such travellers to stay at an approved hotel for up to 72 hours while awaiting the results of their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 went into effect Monday. Quarantine hotel reservations must be made prior to a traveller's arrival in Canada and can only be made by calling a dedicated government phone line. Reservations must be made at the traveller's expense. Diplomats, consular couriers and their families will not be required to book the hotel stay or take a post-arrival PCR test, and will be able to complete the entirety of their 14-day quarantine elsewhere. Canada added the exception to the rule because it is bound by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The 1964 international law states that diplomats "shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention." Australia is also exempting foreign diplomats from similar quarantine requirements. "Foreign diplomats need to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia. They can quarantine at their mission or usual place of residence," Australia's Department of Health website says. "Australia has legal obligations under the Vienna Convention to ensure diplomats' freedom of movement and travel, and protection from detention." Good policy or vulnerability gap? Anna Banerji, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said the diplomatic exemption isn't a smart approach to a pandemic. "This is a vulnerability gap," Banerji said. "When we start making these exceptions — just like the politicians going down south during the holiday season thinking that they don't need to have the same rules as everyone else — that can lead to infection spreading." Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said foreign diplomats should have a post-arrival COVID-19 test and face the same restrictions as everyone else. Charles Burton, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former Canadian diplomat based in Beijing, said it would be appropriate for the federal government to send out a diplomatic note to all embassies and consulates in Canada asking that their diplomats voluntarily comply with the hotel quarantine rule and produce a post-arrival test. "Countries that are responsible in their international behaviour will insist that their diplomats comply with these regulations, the same as any non-diplomat or Canadian would have to comply if they crossed over into Canada from a foreign country," Burton said. Sarah Goldfeder is a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group who recently served as special assistant to two U.S. ambassadors to Canada. She said making exceptions for diplomats is good policy, since it's in line with the requirements of other countries. "It goes back to this kind of back-and-forth reciprocity of what do you, and who do you want to be in charge of your diplomats when your diplomats travel to their postings," Goldfeder said. "I don't think that there's any increased risk by any of their behaviours. In general, they're coming from their country of origin to this country. They're not travelling to multiple locations in between." Sarah Goldfeder is a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, who recently served as special assistant to two U.S. ambassadors to Canada. Canadian diplomats abroad are fully subject to Canadian public health measures when they return, including PCR testing and federally-mandated quarantine rules, said Global Affairs Canada. The requirement to quarantine in a hotel and take a PCR test upon arrival also does not apply to unaccompanied dependent children and unaccompanied minors. A quarantine officer can release a person in "exigent" or extraordinary circumstances from the requirement; the government has not spelled out what sorts of circumstances would qualify. In such cases, an individual is still required to follow instructions from the quarantine officer. The hotel quarantine measure — which the government hopes will enable better detection and tracking of a number of more infectious coronavirus variants — has drawn criticism. Travellers have reported struggling to get through to a booking official on the government phone line. Others are worried about the cost of a hotel room. On Friday, the federal government released a list of approved hotels in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. The list now contains 18 hotels between the four cities.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional testimony about the Capitol insurrection (all times local): 2:45 p.m. A Senate hearing examining what went wrong with the law enforcement response to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has ended. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said afterward that “it’s clear action needs to be taken” after security officials who were in charge that day described confusion during the attack and intelligence failures that failed to predict the violence. Three of the four security officials, including the Capitol police chief, resigned immediately after the attack. Klobuchar said the next police chief should have “greater ability to make decisions” both leading up to and during a crisis. Five people died as a result of the violence. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORMER SECURITY OFFICIALS TESTIFYING ON THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION: Testifying publicly for the first time about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former security officials say that bad intelligence was to blame for the disastrous failure to anticipate the violent intentions of the mob. That left them unprepared for the attack, which was unlike anything they had ever seen before. ___ HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 1:25 p.m. The former chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. House is denying allegations he didn’t want to call the National Guard before the Jan. 6 riot out of concern that it would look bad. Paul Irving resigned as House sergeant-at-arms after the deadly insurrection. He testified Tuesday that he met with then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Jan. 4 and that he believed they agreed not to ask for the Guard. Sund alleged that Irving denied his request for the Guard, citing “optics.” Said Irving, “I was not concerned about appearance whatsoever.” The hearing has renewed a remarkable breach between Sund and Irving about why there wasn’t more security at the Capitol. Irving was one of Sund’s superiors. Sund says he requested Guard help again at 1:09 p.m. on Jan. 6, as rioters were massing outside the building. Irving denies receiving a call at that time. ___ 12:20 p.m. Police officials who were tasked with protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6 say the FBI did not flag to them an internal report suggesting extremists were preparing for “war.” The report was issued a day before the riot by the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, field office. Washington Metropolitan Police acting Chief Robert Contee says the report came via email and says he believes a warning of that level “would warrant a phone call or something.” Steven Sund resigned as Capitol Police chief the day after the riot. Sund testified before Congress on Tuesday he was unaware the department had received the report until weeks after the insurrection. Sund and Contee have criticized the intelligence they received from federal law enforcement about Jan. 6. Sund has called for a review of how the intelligence community studies domestic extremism and shares information across agencies. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning from the Virginia office, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies, including the Capitol Police. ___ 11:55 a.m. The key officials in charge of security at the U.S. Capitol disagree on why they didn’t seek National Guard help before the Jan. 6 insurrection. Steven Sund resigned as chief of the Capitol Police the day after the riot. Sund testified Tuesday that he requested the National Guard be called at 1:09 p.m. on Jan. 6. Paul Irving is the former House sergeant-at-arms and was one of Sund’s superiors. Irving says he didn’t receive a request until after 2 p.m. Irving says he did not remember Sund making a request at 1:09. Rioters breached the Capitol’s west side just after 2 p.m. Irving says he and other Capitol security leaders agreed before Jan. 6 that “the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go.” The result was Capitol Police officers were badly outnumbered by rioters who in many cases were better armed and prepared to try to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory over Donald Trump. ___ 11:45 a.m. A top security official has testified that he was “stunned” over the delayed response to a request for National Guard help during the mob riot at the Capitol. Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III told a joint Senate hearing Tuesday that the former U.S. Capitol Police chief was “pleading” with Army officials to deploy Guard troops as the violence rapidly escalated Jan. 6. The District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police officers had joined to help U.S. Capitol Police during the attack. Contee says police officers “were out there literally fighting for their lives” but the officials on the call appeared to be going through a ”check the boxes” exercise asking about the optics of stationing National Guard troops at the Capitol. Contee says there “was not an immediate response.” The officials are testifying in the first public hearing over the siege as a mob loyal to Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to disrupt Congress confirming Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the presidential election. ___ 11:30 a.m. The former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says he learned this week that his officers had received a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that forecast in detail the chances extremists could commit “war” in Washington the following day — the day of the Capitol insurrection. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning from the Virginia office, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through the joint terrorism task force, including the Capitol Police. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified to Congress on Tuesday that an officer on the joint terrorism task force had received the FBI’s memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police. But Sund says the information was not put forward to any other supervisors. Sund says he wasn’t aware of it. Sund says he did see an intelligence report created within the Capitol Police force warning that Congress could be targeted on Jan. 6. That report warned extremists were likely to attend and there were calls for people to travel to Washington armed. The Associated Press
Le Rocket de Laval a débuté sa nouvelle saison le vendredi 12 février, et ce, près d’un an après l’annulation du reste de la campagne 2019-2020 en raison de la pandémie de la COVID-19. Les joueurs du club lavallois ne semblaient pas trop rouillés par cette longue pause. Malgré la défaite en prolongation subie lundi, ils présentent toujours une fiche positive de 3-1-1. Les quatre premiers matchs les opposaient aux Senators de Belleville, tandis que le cinquième était disputé contre le Moose du Manitoba. «Je suis content pour les joueurs, car ils avaient tous hâte de jouer, mentionne l’entraîneur-chef Joël Bouchard. […] C’était un peu la continuité d’il y a neuf mois [quand l’équipe connaissait une excellente séquence] derrière le banc.» Jordan Weal, qui fait ses débuts avec le Rocket après avoir passé la dernière saison avec les Canadiens de Montréal, a eu un impact immédiat. Il a obtenu cinq points en autant de rencontres, ce qui le place au premier rang du club à ce chapitre. Le joueur de centre est suivi par Lukas Vejdemo et Jesse Ylönen qui ont tous deux obtenu quatre points depuis le début de la saison. Joseph Blandisi a quant à lui obtenu un doublé lors du match d’ouverture. Devant le filet, Cayden Primeau a obtenu trois des cinq départs des siens. Il présente une fiche de 2-1-0, un taux d’efficacité de ,897 et une moyenne de buts alloués de 2,34. En raison de la pandémie, les rencontres du Rocket seront disputées au Centre Bell pour l’ensemble de la saison. Aucun spectateur n’est admis sur place. Les joueurs doivent aussi s’habituer à jouer plusieurs rencontres consécutives face à la même formation. Côté hockey, d’autres adaptations sont de mises. Joël Bouchard compte sur une trentaine de joueurs disponibles tout au long de la saison, car ceux-ci ne pourront être retournés dans les rangs inférieurs quand l’effectif affichera complet. «Chaque joueur doit obtenir le temps de glace dont il a besoin, précise-t-il. Certains doivent être prêts pour le rythme de jeu de la LNH [Ligue nationale de hockey], d’autres doivent travailler pour devenir des professionnels. Tout cela est en prenant compte qu’ils n’ont pas tous le même âge et la même capacité physique. C’est un gros défi que de gérer autant de joueurs.» Rappelons aussi que le début de saison des équipes canadiennes de la Ligue américaine de hockey (LAH), qui jouent cette année dans une division commune, avait été retardé d’une semaine en raison de détails administratifs. Pour le moment, seul le calendrier de février a été diffusé. Également, aucune information n’a été dévoilée quant à la possibilité de disputer des séries. L’édition 2020-2021 de la formation lavalloise compte plusieurs nouveaux visages. Parmi ceux-ci, notons Ylönen et Joël Teasdale qui font très bien à leurs débuts dans l’uniforme rouge et bleu. Joël Teasdale disputait d’ailleurs ses premières rencontres en près de deux ans. Il avait subi une blessure importante au genou droit. L’ailier gauche a obtenu un but et une passe à son premier match. «J’étais vraiment excité pour cette première game, mentionne le principal intéressé. Je voulais essayer de faire les choses simples et ç’a porté fruit. Je veux continuer comme ça pour les matchs à venir.» Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, choix de septième tour des Canadiens en 2019, est un autre jeune joueur qui s’est démarqué jusqu’à maintenant. Il a été félicité par son entraîneur-chef lors d’un point de presse. «Je ne suis pas surpris et je le mets dans des situations importantes, car je sens qu’il est à sa place, explique Bouchard. Il joue vite dans sa tête. Il est un travaillant et il a l’éthique de travail. Il est un joueur le fun à diriger.» Les jeunes joueurs d’âge junior Kaiden Guhle et Jan Mysak se retrouvent aussi avec le club en raison de l’arrêt des activités dans leur ligue respective. L’échantillon des deux joueurs est toutefois limité: Guhle a seulement disputé un match en raison d’une légère blessure subie avant la saison, tandis que Mysak a joué dans les deux défaites de l’équipe. Malgré cet essor de jeunes joueurs, le Rocket compte sur les retours d’Alex Belzile, Yannick Veilleux, Laurent Dauphin et du capitaine Xavier Ouellet. Ceux-ci avaient tous contribué au succès du club qui a connu la meilleure saison de sa jeune histoire en 2019-2020. Leur contribution sera importante et Joël Bouchard se dit déjà satisfait de l’aide qu’ils apportent aux jeunes de l’organisation. Le pilote lavallois a aussi été questionné sur le désir de gagner de l’équipe malgré l’incertitude qui plane pour la suite. Sa réponse ne pouvait être plus convaincante. «Tant qu’il y aura un tableau indicateur, on va tout faire pour gagner. Dans la réalité de la ligue américaine, je me dois de développer les joueurs, mais on veut le faire dans un environnement gagnant», de conclure celui qui dirige le Rocket de Laval depuis mai 2018. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
"Schitt's Creek'' is continuing its winning streak at the ACTRA Awards in Toronto. The Emmy-sweeping comedy took the Members' Choice Series Ensemble Award for a third year running at an awards show put on by the largest chapter of Canada's performers' union. Tamara Podemski won the prize for outstanding performance by a female for her turn on the CBC drama series "Coroner." Jesse LaVercombe earned a trophy for outstanding performance by a male for his role in the horror film "Violation." Being recognized for their vocal work are Bahia Watson in "Total DramaRama" and Cory Doran in "Doomsday Brothers." Multi-disciplinary artist Jani Lauzon won this year's Award of Excellence, which was presented by her daughter, Tara Sky, at Sunday's online ceremony. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers plans to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday to discuss supply chain issues, including semiconductor chips, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. One of the sources said the lawmakers, from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, are expected to learn more about an executive order the Biden administration has been discussing on supply chain issues. The White House declined to comment.
Regina– Crop Insurance coverage is going up due to higher commodity prices, and rates are going up as well, but the premium cost per dollar of coverage continues to decline. There’s a new pilot program for vegetables, and changes for forage and chickpeas, too. On Canada Agriculture Day, Saskatchewan Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer and, through a press release, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced enhancements to the 2021 Crop Insurance Program. This year, Crop Insurance coverage will reach a record level due to higher commodity prices and increased yield coverage. “Farmers across Saskatchewan continue to step up despite all the challenges thrown their way during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bibeau said in a release. “These improvements to the Crop Insurance Program give Saskatchewan farmers more coverage they can count on. We will continue working with our provincial counterparts to ensure farmers have the risk management tools to help their stability and growth.” Asked if the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on crop insurance, Harpauer said, “None.” “For over 60 years, the Crop Insurance Program has supported Saskatchewan producers with reliable coverage and exceptional customer service,” Harpauer said. “We are committed to providing producers with the insurance programs they need and the enhancements announced today build upon the current suite of programs.” Coverage going up Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) said it “continues to provide high coverage as we enter a new growing season.” Coverage will reach a record level of $273 per acre due to higher commodity prices and increased yield coverage, up from $224 in 2020. This represents a 22 per cent increase in coverage. The average premium cost per dollar of coverage continues to decline. There was a 42 per cent reduction in average premium cost per dollar of coverage over the last 10 years. This includes a 20 per cent reduction directly resulting from the strong financial position of the program, SCIC said. However, due to the increased coverage for 2021, the average premium for producers will be higher than in 2020. The average premium per acre will be $8.59, up from $7.40. Harpauer said, “Establishment benefit values are reviewed annually. This year, the establishment benefit values for canola, lentils, chickpeas and corn have increased. Canola is now $70 per acre. Large green lentils are $50 per acre and red lentils are $30 per acre. Large Kabuli chickpeas are $65 per acre and Small Kabuli chickpeas are $45 per acre. Corn is $95 per acre.” New forage options New in 2021, producers growing tame hay will have additional options when insuring their hay acres. Crop Insurance customers now have the choice to insure their tame hay acres under the Forage Rainfall Insurance Program (FRIP) or the Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program. Coverage options can be customized for each farming operation. Under FRIP, payments will be calculated based on rainfall levels, instead of overall yields. “Saskatchewan cattle producers face a lot of risks. It is good to see the programs they can access through SCIC continue to evolve,” Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair Arnold Balicki said in a release. “Adding tame hay to the Forage Rainfall Insurance Program and extending the calf coverage deadline and hours of operation for Livestock Price Insurance are all positive. I encourage cattle producers to look into SCIC’s programs as there were many improvements in recent years.” “Forage producers will also see an increase in Native Forage Establishment Benefit coverage. The Native Forage Establishment Benefit provides coverage on newly seeded native forage acres. The coverage is increasing from $75 to $200. Other Forage Establishment Benefit prices seeing an increase includes tame hay to $90 per acre and sweetclover to $65 per acre,” Harpauer said. Forage producers are encouraged to review available coverage options through SCIC's Forage Option and Weather-Based Programs. Vegetable pilot program “In 2021, SCIC is also introducing coverage for large scale vegetable production. Commercial vegetable growers will now have access to the commercial vegetable pilot program, which will provide standalone coverage for damage to cabbage and pumpkin crops,” Harpauer said. SCIC has been working with the Saskatchewan Vegetable Growers' Association to develop programming for the growing commercial vegetable sector in Saskatchewan. The impact of a crop failure on vegetable operations could be significant as a relatively small number of acres has extremely high value. A minimum of eight acres is required to participate in the program. SCIC will continue to explore insurance coverage options for the Commercial Vegetable Program. Last summer, the Government of Saskatchewan made one of the largest announcements for agriculture in this province in years, laying out a plan for $4 billion in expansion of irrigation in central Saskatchewan, with an eye to growing different crops, including vegetables. Asked how this will impact Crop Insurance, Harpauer responded, “That’s a ways into the future. So I think it’s important that they’re doing the pilot this year. And we’ll see how that goes. As production increases in vegetables and other crops that benefit for irrigation, I think it’s been demonstrated, here in Saskatchewan, that Crop Insurance officials are very nimble in addressing the crops as they change. I know, myself, from when I was a producer, to today, the crops have changed significantly, and Crop Insurance had been there for all the changes.” Chickpeas Saskatchewan has also become a significant producer of chickpeas. SCIC is updating the base grade for large-seeded Kabuli chickpeas to reflect current production and marketing patterns. This increases the insured price and the quality coverage. Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said, “I think the changes to the chickpeas base grade calculation just better reflects the size and the quality of the chickpeas that chickpea producers are producing these days. It’s simply a better reflection of the product the producers are producing, and should increase the overall level of coverage for producers.” Potts called it “a welcome development.” Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Board Chair Shaun Dyrland said, “This change should increase coverage levels for most of the 300 chickpea producers in the province.” Canola’s significance Asked if there were any trends with farmers moving towards a particular crop, or any move into a “Cinderella crop” in 2021, SCIC acting president and CEO Jeff Morrow responded, “One of the main crops in the province, and the main crops in terms of acres and liability for Crop Insurance programs is canola. That is certainly the most predominant crop. And I say our top three, other than canola, are wheat, duram and peas.” He said it’s up to producers to decide what they plant, but historically canola has been top. SARM reaction Ray Orb of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said, “We're actually quite pleased about some of the enhancements, in particular, with the vegetable pilot program. We think that will be good to create more diversity into the province’s agriculture industry. “We're also pleased to be able to look at some of the things that they're also enhancing, Kabuli chickpeas in particular. “In general, we’re favorable, and always have been favorable, to uplifting and adjusting some of the weather based insurance programs. And we think that will help our livestock producers, as far as protecting their forage crops and things like that. “So generally, we're pleased. We see that there's an increase of about 22 per cent of the of the coverage, understanding at the same time, that will premiums will go up.” He said generally it has served the agriculture industry well to have more coverage. Deadline March 31, 2021, is the deadline to select insured crops and coverage levels or make additional changes to Crop Insurance contracts. Producers need to also apply, reinstate or cancel by this date. Crop Insurance is a business risk management program supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Under Crop Insurance, premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by participating producers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the Government of Saskatchewan. Administrative expenses are fully funded by governments, 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Saskatchewan. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
NEW YORK — One of the world's better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on “State of Terror,” which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton's background: A “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks. The novel comes out Oct. 12, and will be jointly released by Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Penny's, St. Martin's Press. “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true," Clinton, who has expressed admiration for Penny and other mystery writers in the past, said in a statement Tuesday. "I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.” Penny, an award-winning author from Quebec whose novels include “The Cruelest Month” and “The Brutal Telling,” said in a statement that she could not “say yes fast enough” to the chance of working with Clinton. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode," she said. "Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.” Fiction writing and worst-case scenarios have become a favourite pastime for Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He collaborated with James Patterson on the million-selling cyber thriller “The President is Missing,” and on a new novel, “The President's Daughter,” which comes out in June. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state during Barack Obama's first term, has written a handful of nonfiction works. They include the memoir “Living History"; “Hard Choices,” which covered her time with Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary; and “What Happened,” which focuses on her stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. “State of Terror” appears to draw not just on her years as secretary of state, but on her thoughts about the Trump administration's “America First” foreign policy. According to Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's, the main character is “tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.” Financial terms were not disclosed. Clinton was represented by the Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include Obama and Bill Clinton. Penny was represented by David Gernert, whose New York-based Gernert Company has worked with, among others, John Grisham, Stewart O'Nan and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening.
A pre-trial conference will be held next month for a man charged in connection with a downtown stabbing death last summer. Last week, lawyers for the Crown and defence set March 8 for a pre-trial conference that will determine the length of a forthcoming preliminary inquiry in the case of Jason Holm. Holm, 37, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 39-year-old Paul Samuel Whitten, who was stabbed to death on Aug. 1, 2020. Police said they were called to a home on Clarke Street in the West End, where Whitten was found with serious injuries. He later died and Holm was arrested a short time later. The Independent Investigations Office, B.C.’s arm’s-length police watchdog, is looking into the circumstances that led to Whitten’s death because Mounties had been looking for Holm before Whitten was killed. “On July 31, Kamloops RCMP received a call from a woman who was concerned about the mental health of a male relative,” the IIO said in a news release issued last summer. “Officers visited the man’s home, but reported being unable to locate him.” A preliminary inquiry lasting at least a week is expected, as it will also address issues with some of the witnesses raised by the defence, Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston told court. Holm had been expected to attend court via video conference last week to elect a mode of trial, but he refused to leave his cell. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
THUNDER BAY — A new website launched this week features various services and tools to support victims and survivors of local human trafficking, says the co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Thunder Bay has been identified as one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking says Kristal Carlson, human trafficking youth and transition worker at Thunder Bay Counselling and co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “This crime is rampant in Thunder Bay,” she said Monday, Feb. 22. The website was created to provide victims and survivors of human trafficking with access to free services and to also spread awareness and education in the community about the crime. “The Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking created the website to help community members, potential survivors and business people alike to be able to acknowledge, identify and potentially intervene if they should see human trafficking in young peoples’ lives,” Carlson said, adding the crime is often under-reported. For women, only one in 10 will report and for men only one in 20 will report to police, Carlson said. “It is such an under-reported crime so any sex-based crime we know that only six per cent will ever end in conviction so it is really hard to convince people to come forward when there is not the likelihood that something will happen,” she said. And while groups such as the Thunder Bay Coalition To End Human Trafficking exist to support victims of the crime, it is important to note they do not classify themselves as a “rescuing people” group, Carlson said. “We support individuals to move forward when they are ready in the way that is going to best suit them in their current situation,” she said. Last year alone, through various programs across the Coalition more than 60 people were successful in leaving their current situation, Carlson said. The creators of the new website also hope to address misconceptions around human traffickers that are often presented in media and movies. “Human trafficking, more times than not, is somebody being exploited by the person they identify as their boyfriend, their best friend or somebody that they know so that happens in more than 85 per cent of cases,” she said. The other most common form of trafficking is the exploitation of young people by family members, extended family members, caretakers or guardians. “More times than not it’s happening by the person they believe to be their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend,” Carlson said. The website also teaches individuals how to identify signs and risk factors of human trafficking. “We also want to raise the education in the city of Thunder bay because we are identified as one of the top six hubs in the province of Ontario and Ontario makes up two-thirds of all human trafficking that takes place in our country,” Carlson said. Carlson also points out that coming forward doesn’t mean individuals have to report to the police. “The Thunder Bay Police have started to do some really amazing work in being able to meet survivors exactly where they are at and not needing to move forward with charges but to support them for when they are ready to do that if they are ever ready to do that,” she said. “We just want [survivors] to know they are not alone and that there are people to support you no matter where you are, whether you are currently at risk, entrenched, or you looking to exit, there are people here to support you.” For more information, visit Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
ROME — The Republic of San Marino finally can start its coronavirus vaccination drive after the first shots arrived Tuesday. But the city-state surrounded by Italy had to resort to its “Plan B” and buy Sputnik V jabs from Russia after plans to get European Union-approved doses from Italy got delayed. A pink and yellow truck escorted by police cars brought the first 7,500 Sputnik V vaccines into San Marino and delivered them at the main hospital. Officials said the Russia-made doses will eventually be enough to vaccinate some 15% of the microstate’s population of around 33,800. San Marino bought Sputnik V shots at the last minute after an agreement to have Italy send a proportion of the vaccines it received through the EU's vaccine procurement system got delayed. San Marino, located near Rimini on the Adriatic coast, isn’t an EU member, and as such was excluded from the deals the 27-nation bloc negotiated with pharmaceutical firms. The San Marino secretary of state, Luca Beccari, said during a news conference last weekend that the negotiations with Italy took a long time and that under an agreement signed Jan. 11, San Marino was to receive one dose for every 1,700 that Italy received from the EU. But the deal hit a snag as Italy and other EU countries faced delivery delays for the three EU-approved vaccines, the ones from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Italy has administered some 3.7 million doses. “Unfortunately, the time required to define these procedures and the fact that San Marino is a country that has not yet started its vaccination campaign has forced us to seek alternative solutions,” Beccari said in explaining the Sputnik purchase. “As for all other countries, it is necessary to start the vaccination campaign as soon as possible in order to ensure the safety of its citizens,” he said. The European Medicines Agency has said the developers of Sputnik V recently asked for advice on what data they needed to submit for the vaccine to be licensed across the European Union. Hungarian health authorities have approved both Sputnik V and the vaccine developed by state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm. San Marino has had a proportionately devastating outbreak, with 3,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 73 deaths. Roberto Ciavatta, San Marino’s secretary of state for health, said Sputnik V was safe and effective. “It is not that it did not pass any controls. On the contrary, as all the research and data available show, it is a vaccine that is already administered in 30 countries, About 70 million people have been vaccinated with it. It has extremely high safety standards,” he said. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The top doctor for one of Ontario's COVID-19 hot spots says paid sick days and relief for businesses could be built into the province's pandemic response system to help mitigate a third wave. Peel Region's Dr. Lawrence Loh says resistance to strict public health measures often stems from lack of relief. He says the province should consider looking at how support policies could be part of Ontario's tiered restrictions system, taking effect when regions are in certain categories. The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment but has previously said that it isn't looking to implement its own sick leave police because some relief is available through a federal benefit. Loh's suggestions came during a discussion hosted by the Ontario Medical Association that looked ahead to the next stage of the pandemic. The medical association has called for Ontario to tighten COVID-19 restrictions in light of more infectious variants spreading in the province. The group representing physicians has recommended banning indoor restaurant dining and other non-masked indoor activities for regions in the red tier of the province's pandemic system. Loh and his counterpart in Toronto sought to extend strict shutdown measures and a stay-at-home order for their regions last week, arguing the spread of variants and recent reopening of schools made it too risky to ease restrictions. The province granted their request, extending the strictest measures for those two regions, as well as North Bay, Ont., until March 8. The COVID-19 hot spot of York Region, however, saw restrictions ease as it was moved to the red, or second-strictest, tier of the province's pandemic response system. York's top doctor had sought the loosening of measures, saying his region was not seeing “explosive growth" of variants that were first detected in December. Dr. Karim Kurji said last week that there was a "reasonable handle" on variant cases, arguing the need for strong measures needed to be balanced with economic and mental wellbeing. The province's economic reopening began earlier this month. The government has said, however, that it has created an "emergency brake" measure that allows it to swiftly move regions into lockdown if cases spike. On Tuesday, the Opposition called for the government to clearly define what would trigger the use of that brake measure. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government loosened public health restrictions too soon, without a clearly defined plan. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca and Green party Leader Mike Schreiner also expressed confusion over the parameters of the measure. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the measure considers a public health unit’s increase in case numbers, variants of concern and health system capacity. She argued it was used when the province decided last week to keep Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay under the stay-at-home order for two more weeks. Ontario reported 975 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 12 more deaths from the virus. The province said 16,252 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered since the previous update, for a total of 585,707 doses total. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Iain Rankin was sworn in as Nova Scotia's 29th premier Tuesday along with a cabinet that included two former leadership rivals.Rankin tapped ex-Liberal party leadership contenders Labi Kousoulis and Randy Delorey for high-profile jobs, with Kousoulis getting the crucial finance portfolio and Delorey assuming duties as minister of justice and attorney general.Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc swore in the 17-member cabinet at the Halifax Convention Centre during a ceremony that was scaled back due to COVID-19 protocols."We are writing a new chapter for sure, but it is one that reflects and respects our past," Rankin said in an address after swearing his oath of office. "Governments that have come before ours ... have provided us with strong foundations to support our agenda."The 37-year-old Rankin was chosen as Liberal party leader earlier this month at a virtual convention in Halifax. He captured his party's top job by billing himself as an agent of generational change and has vowed to be a collaborative premier who will place an emphasis on the environment.He takes office with a shortened window to establish himself — a provincial election must be called by the spring of 2022. Rankin, however, said he is immediately focused on governing and dealing with important issues such as jobs, the economy and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.He told reporters there is no shortage of challenges."I'm really impressed with the team that I have and I'm putting them in the right place to help me deliver on the commitments I made during the leadership campaign, Rankin said. "Issues of climate change, inequality and building back a strong economy that's more inclusive."Kousoulis will have the tough task of balancing fiscal discipline with the need to bolster an economy damaged by the pandemic. Nova Scotia went from a projected surplus of $55 million to a deficit of $779 million over the past fiscal year — a figure former premier Stephen McNeil recently said would be closer to $500 million by this spring's budget."The work will be to ensure that we're supporting Nova Scotians and getting ourselves back on a solid financial footing," Kousoulis said. He said that while the upcoming budget is already largely prepared, there could be a chance to tinker by adding some of Rankin's priorities.Signalling change, Rankin created a new department — Infrastructure and Housing — that will be headed by former business minister Geoff MacLellan, who has said he won't be running in the next election.He also created two offices: Mental Health and Addictions under new Health Minister Zach Churchill, who shifts from education; and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, which will become the responsibility of Tony Ince, who remains as minister of African Nova Scotian affairs.Kelly Regan was sworn in as deputy premier and retains her position as minister of community services while taking on responsibility for the province's seniors.Cabinet newcomer Keith Irving was appointed minister of the newly renamed Department of Environment and Climate Change. Other first-time cabinet ministers include Ben Jessome as minister of the public service commission, and Brendan Maguire, who takes over municipal affairs. Irving, a former architect who lived for 26 years in Iqaluit, said he's ready to deal with what has been a long-time interest. "While living in the Arctic in the early '90s, I saw the effects of climate change," he said. "It was very real there and it is now very real for all of Canada and Nova Scotia."Chuck Porter returns to cabinet in a new role as minister of lands and forestry, while Derek Mombourquette is the new minister of education. The Immigration Department will be getting a new title as well, becoming the Office of Immigration and Population Growth, overseen by Lena Metlege Diab, who will remain as minister of labour and minister of Acadian affairs. Lloyd Hines remains as minister of transportation, while others retaining their old jobs include Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell, Service Nova Scotia Minister Patricia Arab and Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft. Rankin replaces McNeil, who announced his retirement last August after 17 years in politics. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
The Township of Perry does not support looking into changes for the regional fire training funding model. After its Feb. 17 meeting, council discussed a resolution put forward by the Township of McMurrich/Monteith to the seven municipalities involved in the regional fire training. On Dec. 12, the regional fire services committee met to discuss and agreed upon a one-fifth funding model to secure the training services of Gary Courtice. This is the third three-year term that Perry, Kearney, McMurrich/Monteith, Magnetawan, Burk’s Falls, Armour and Ryerson have signed on for. Perry’s mayor Norm Hofstetter said that he had no intention of going back and trying to renegotiate the funding model. Here are key quotes from the conversation: “ … It seems to me that the wrench that’s thrown into this is (McMurrich/Monteith) gets a little upset that Ryerson, Armour and Burk’s Falls are sharing a fire department and (McMurrich/Monteith) seems to think they’re getting a benefit from it, but I don’t look at it as that,” said Hofstetter. “I’m not interested in going back and renegotiating — as far as they want to see invoices before an invoice is paid … they seem to think that the training officer has an open agenda to order whatever he wants but he works withing his budget the same as all other departments do and at the end of the year it’s all reconciled the same way we do with our budgets. So, where I’m coming from you kind of get tired of doing the same thing over and over and if we do this, we’re taking huge steps backwards in training our firefighters,” said Hofstetter. “I do know it was a huge challenge to get where we’re at and I think all of the councils thought it was finalized at that committee meeting,” said Beth Morton, clerk-administrator. “ … McMurrich/Monteith is behind the eight ball here. Some of their councillors are just not up to speed as to where we’re at with this regional fire (committee) they’re just behind and they refuse to be educated so Reeve MacPhail is going to their meeting in March to set the record straight, so to speak, because it’s the fire chiefs’ realm now and they’re working to get a resolution together for the final thing,” said Coun. Margaret Ann MacPhail. “As one of the councillors here, I would like to see us stay the course.” “It looks like a lot of time has been put in and I don’t understand how they’d see that of Mr. Courtice because I’ve seen nothing but professionalism and that’s why we chose him … I agree with Coun. MacPhail and stay the course,” said Coun. Joe Lumley. “I don’t want to play these games anymore, we have a system that’s working and this all boils down to saving $2,000 to $3,000 is what they’d save if we move to another funding model,” said Hofstetter. The Township of Perry said it would not support looking into changes in the regional fire training funding model and would prefer remain status quo with what was decided at the Dec. 12 regional fire services committee meeting. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com