People traveled across the country and stood in a block-long line to pay respects to Cicely Tyson at a public viewing Monday.
People traveled across the country and stood in a block-long line to pay respects to Cicely Tyson at a public viewing Monday.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
WASHINGTON — Worried about continuing threats, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police appealed to congressional leaders Thursday to use their influence to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol, two months after the law enforcement breakdowns of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Yogananda Pittman told the leaders in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that the board that oversees her department has so far declined to extend an emergency declaration required by the Pentagon to keep Guardsmen who have assisted Capitol officers since the riot. Pittman said she needed the leaders' assistance with the three-member Capitol Police Board, which reports to them. She said the board has sent her a list of actions it wants her to implement, though she said it was unclear whether the points were orders or just recommendations. The letter underscored the confusion over how best to secure the Capitol after a dismal lack of protection in January and biting criticism for law enforcement's handling of the invasion. And it came came as authorities spent the day on high alert, primed for a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building again, two months after Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors in an insurrection meant to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. The list in the letter to lawmakers included a partial removal of the imposing fence encircling the Capitol grounds starting Monday and a drawdown of the Guard to 900 troops from the current 5,200 remaining in Washington. Police want to keep the fence indefinitely. In her letter, Pittman said she would ask for a drawdown of the deployment “based on the threat environment and physical and operational security capabilities.” Earlier Thursday, The Associated Press reported the Pentagon was reviewing a Capitol Police request to keep up to 2,200 Guardsmen at the Capitol another 60 days. A statement from the police said Pittman had formally made the recommendation to the Pentagon. A similar dispute had erupted between the Capitol Police and its board before Jan. 6 and even as rioters were storming the building. The Capitol Police Board, comprised of the House and Senate sergeants at arms and the architect of the Capitol, is charged with oversight of the police force. Steven Sund, the now-former Capitol Police chief, has testified to Congress that he wanted to request the Guard two days before the invasion following reports that white supremacist and far-right groups would target the building to disrupt the certification of Biden's election victory over outgoing President Donald Trump. Paul Irving, who served on the Capitol Police Board as House sergeant-at-arms, denied that Sund asked him to call the Guard. Sund has testified that he asked repeatedly for the Guard to be called as rioters stormed the building, breaking police lines and running over officers unequipped to hold them off. He ultimately called the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard just before 2 p.m., who in turn testified that the request for help was delayed by the Defence Department. The request was not approved until after 5 p.m., as hundreds of rioters marauded through the building and left without being arrested. Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Police officer and a Trump supporter shot by police. On Thursday, despite the warnings of new trouble, there were no signs of disturbance at the heavily secured building. Nor was there evidence of any large group heading to Washington. The most recent threat appeared to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that former Trump would rise again to power on March 4 and that thousands would come to Washington to try to remove Democrats from office. March 4 was the original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20. But Trump was miles away in Florida. In Washington, on one of the warmest days in weeks, the National Mall was almost deserted, save for joggers, journalists, and a handful of tourists trying to take photos of the Capitol dome through the fencing. Online chatter identified by authorities included discussions among members of the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia group, concerning possible plots against the Capitol on Thursday, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Members of the Three Percenters were among the extremists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. But federal agents found no significant increases in the number of hotel rooms being rented in Washington, or in flights to the area, car rental reservations or buses being chartered. Online chatter about the day on extremist sites was declining. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, was briefed by law enforcement about the possible threat and said lawmakers were braced for whatever might come. “We have the razor wire, we have the National Guard. We didn’t have that January 6. So I feel very confident in the security,” he said. But those measures aren't permanent. Some states have threatened to pull their Guardsmen amid reports that some troops had been made to take rest breaks in parking garages or served spoiled food. Other Guardsmen have said they have been given good meals with accommodations for those on vegan or halal diets. In Michigan, which sent 1,000 troops, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she did “not have any intention of agreeing to an extension of this deployment.” Meanwhile, Trump continues to promote lies that the election was stolen from him through mass voter fraud, even though such claims have been rejected by judges and Trump's former attorney general. He repeatedly told those lies on social media and in a charged speech on Jan. 6 in which he implored thousands of supporters to “fight like hell.” Many of those supporters eventually walked to the Capitol grounds and overran officers to breach the building. Trump was impeached by the House on a c harge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate. So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Trump's election rhetoric continues to be echoed by many national and local Republicans posting online messages about voter fraud and questioning the legitimacy of Biden's victory. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki cited “a years-long trend of false narratives fueling violence.” “On the specifics of today’s threats, the FBI and DHS have warned that the threat of domestic violent extremism, particularly racially motivated and anti-government extremists, did not begin or end on January 6 and we have been vigilant day in and day out,” she said Thursday. ___ Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Alan Fram, Mary Clare Jalonick, Colleen Long, and Lisa Mascaro in Washington, and Amanda Seitz in Chicago contributed to this report. Lolita C. Baldor, Lisa Mascaro And Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
REGINA — The Saskatchewan government has shot a boost of optimism into its fight against COVID-19, announcing it will join other provinces by delaying the second dose of vaccines to speed up immunizations. Speaking Thursday at a news conference with other premiers, Premier Scott Moe said people will get their second shot up to four months after the first, which falls in line with a recent recommendation from Canada's national immunization committee. Alberta, Manitoba and other provinces made similar announcements after British Columbia first said Monday it was moving to a four-month delay. The shift comes as health experts point to people being well protected against the novel coronavirus with a first dose, noting the country faces a limited supply of vaccines. "The benefits are tremendous," Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said during a briefing. "We can emerge out of the pandemic three months earlier than we had anticipated. With a two-dose program, it would have taken us till September. Now we can vaccinate everyone 18 and older as early as June." Provincial health officials said that starting Friday, staff will only be giving first shots. The change will not apply to people who have appointments booked to receive a second dose, long-term care residents and staff, as well as those in personal care homes. Shahab said since vaccinations started in long-term care homes, there have been fewer outbreaks and infections in the facilities. To date, about 84,000 vaccinations have been done in Saskatchewan out of the roughly 400,000 shots needed to inoculate residents 70 and older and health-care workers at risk of COVID-19 exposure. Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said he expects most of these vaccinations under the first stage of the province's immunization program will be finished in early April. He also asked for patience, as the authority has to adjust how it delivers vaccines with the new four-month window between doses. Saskatchewan reported 169 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Thursday. The province of 1.1 million people also continues to lead the country with the highest rate of active cases per capita in Canada. Moe said earlier in the week that delaying the second dose of vaccine would be a game-changer for how long public-health restrictions need to stay in place. The current order is in effect until March 19. Shahab said decisions about what rules might be relaxed could come next week. "I know it's been very hard for people not to be able meet each other in their houses," he said. "In the past, we did have, you know, two to three households as a bubble of up to ten. So that's something that we're looking at." The Ministry of Health also said it would use 15,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on people aged 60 to 64 and certain health-care workers. A national panel has recommended it not be used on seniors. The province said these vaccinations will start later this month and eligible residents will be able to book an appointment by phone through a system that is expected to launch next week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
(Note: This report of the Minutes for the January 13, 2021 council meeting for the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 was written with the approval of Reeve Derreck Kolla, without any corrections that may have been made at the February 12, 2021 meeting, as the adopted minutes were not yet available. Any corrections will be noted and published in the next edition of the Wakaw Recorder.) The regular meeting of the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 was held on January 13, 2021 with the following in attendance: Reeve Derreck Kolla, Councillors Hal Diederichs, Eugene Jungwirth, Reg Wedewer, Donavin Reding, Bruce Cron and Don Gabel along with Administrator Joan Corneil. Councillor Wedewer attended via telephone. Deputy Reeve Reding called the meeting to order at 8:21 am and Cllr. Diederichs moved the adoption of the agenda as presented. Crd. Cllr. Jungwirth then moved that the December 9, 2020 Regular Meeting minutes be approved as corrected. As there were no Notices of Proclamations, presentations, public hearings, or delegations to present to Council the meeting moved forward to Communications. A letter was received in December from Saskatchewan Municipal Hail Insurance detailing the number of claims within the municipality. Cllr. Wedewer moved that it be received and filed Crd. *Garth Burkart entered Chambers at 10:05 am prior to the Foreman’s Report. The Foreman’s report detailed the jobs the foreman had been working on in the month of December and asked for council’s direction going forward. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the Foreman’s report for December be accepted. Crd. Cllr. Wedewer moved that the Foreman is authorized to order a liner for the lagoon, start the sludge removal using BTI Trucking for sludge removal, stockpiling rocks (for road construction project) and road maintenance, and order Thibault’s culvert. Crd. The Administrator then presented her report after which Cllr. Cron moved that the report from the Administrator for December 9, 2020 to January 13, 2021 be accepted. Crd. Cllr. Gabel moved that the invoice received from the Rural Municipal Administrators Association in the amount of $400.00 be paid and that amount to be included in the budget. Crd. The Financial reports presented by Fay Stewart included the December 2020 bank reconciliation and bank statement, December 2020 financial summary and a detailed report, as well as the list of accounts for approval as of January 13th, 2021. Cllr. Diederichs moved that the CFO report be accepted as presented. Crd. Cllr. Diederichs also moved that the Financial Statements and Bank reconciliation for December 31, 2020 be approved. Crd. *Reeve Kolla entered the Chambers at 10:23 am and resumed the Chair. Cllr. Diederichs moved to approve the following Lists of Accounts with cheques #27821 – 27894 totalling $791,406.81. Crd. Cllr. Gabel further moved that the payment to the Town of Cudwsorth for shared fire costs in the amount of $2,844.37 be paid. Crd. Cllr. Cron moved the SaskWater Logs and Reports for the months of September, October and November 2020 were received and filed. Crd. A motion was made by Reeve Kolla that Council move to Committee of the Whole-in camera at 11:15 am to discuss land, legal, labour and/or strategic planning according to the Municipalities Act Section 120. Crd. *Council recessed for lunch at 12:10 pm and reconvened at 1:13 pm. A motion was made by Reeve Kolla the Council reconvene to Regular Council meeting at 1:22 pm. Crd. Clr. Reding moved that Madsine Madsen be paid for overtime hours worked in the period 2016 to 2018 inclusive in the amount of eight thousand five hundred and twenty-three dollars and fifty-three cents ($8,523.53) less deductions. Crd. The Reeve and Councillors forum followed with the discussion of length of meetings and remuneration (Cllr. Gabel), gravel and RM of St Louis (Cllr. Jungwirth), T4 slip error (Cllr. Reding), and interest from the RM of Aberdeen regarding the purchase of equipment (Reeve Kolla). Items under Unfinished Business were next addressed by council, the first being the appointment of a Pest Control Officer. Cllr. Wedewer moved that council authorizes administration to advertise for a new joint pest control officer for the RM of Hoodoo & RM of Three Lakes for 2021. Crd. The next item related to a previous motion made by council pertaining to the Road Maintenance Agreement with the RM of St. Louis. The RM of St. Louis wrote back rejecting councils request for an increase in the fees paid in the Agreement. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the correspondence be received and filed. Crd. SGI has opened a grant program called the Provincial Traffic Safety Fund Grant. The program provides funding for digital solar speed signs, Cllr. Deiderichs moved that administration is authorized to apply to SGI for a grant to cover the cost of digital solar speed signs and that the CAO is authorized to sign the agreement if approved by SGI and order the sign(s). Crd. Cllr. Diederichs moved that the following list of Committee Appointments be approved for the Standing Committees: (Reeve is ex-officio on all Standing Committees) Budget: Cllrs. Reding and Gable; Human Resources: Cllrs. Jungwirth and Redewer; OH&S: Cllrs. Diederichs and Cron; Road Committee: Cllrs. Wedewer and Jungwirth; Fire Committee: Cllrs. Diederichs and Wedewer; and to the Outside Boards and Committees Carrot River Valley Watershed Authority: Cllr. Gable alternate Cllr. Cron; Cudworth Community Health Council: Reeve Kolla and CAO; Cudworth Recreation Board: Reeve Kolla; Lakeview Pioneer Lodge: Cllr. Gable; North Central Transportation Planning Committee: Cllr. Cron; REACT: Cllr. Diederichs; St. Michael’s Haven: Cllrs. Diederichs and Wedewer; Wakaw Community Health Council: Cllr. Cron and CAO; Wakaw Regional Park: Cllrs. Cron and Reding; Wakaw Lake Stewardship Group: Cllr. Cron and Madsine Madsen; Wakaw Recreation Board: Cllr. Gable. Crd. Cllr. Cron moved that the quotes received for cyber liability insurance be referred to budget. Crd. The final old business to be dealt with was a request from a ratepayer to waive the tax enforcement charge levied against their 2019 tax arrears, Cllr. Gable moved that the request be received and filed. Crd. The next agenda item was New Business and the first new business presented related to the regular Council meeting dates. Cllr. Wedewer moved that administration be directed to post the Regular Council Meeting dates of the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 as the second Wednesday of each month commencing January 1, 2021 except for the months of May and September, those months to be at the call of the Reeve. Crd. Next Cllr. Jungwirth made a motion relating to the subdivision application for the south half of Section 20-42-26 W2. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that administration is directed to respond to Government Relations – Community Planning that the proposed subdivision of S ½ Sec. 20-42-26 W2M that the intended use Agricultural is not in conflict with surrounding land uses, that there are no RM facilities that will be affected by the subdivision and that a servicing agreement will be required for the construction of the Service road that connects parcels D, F, and G and that the RM is in favour of the subdivision. Crd. The 2021 firefighter appointments for the Hoodoo/Wakaw Fire: Ray Beaumann - Chief, Albert Venne – Deputy Chief, Jeff Kohle – Captain, Brandon Piche – Captain, Terry Oleksyn, Dennet Boschman, Josh Haussecker, Gilbert Maraboto, Rob Michayluk, Jayden Rudichuk, Gregory Frie, Jackson Skoworodko, Cullen Giesbrecht, Tyler Skoworodko (Junior), Darryl Giesbrecht, Matthew Stan, and Steve Tarnowski; Hoodoo/Cudworth Fire: Dar LaRiviere – Chief, Brent Koenning – Deputy Chief, Dallas Baumann – Captain, Dallas Leuschen – Lieutenant, Aaron Hadland, Amanda Sosnowski – First Responder, Amy Loeffelholz – Firefighter/First Responder, Anna-Marie Baumann – First Responder, Anthony Malach, Robin Leuschen – Firefighter/First Responder, Jelmer Wiersma, Clayton Lingel, Jesse Medernach – Firefighter/First Responder, John Eckel – Firefighter/First Responder, Kolby Leuschen, Kreig Lieffers, Kris Lieffers, Marissa Parker, Patrick Miazga, Karis Leuschen (Junior), Robin Leuschen – Firefighter/First Responder, Sheldon Doetzel. Crd. Cllr. Gabel moved that fire agreements fee schedules and wages be received and filed. Crd. Concerning the 2021 Hamlet allocation for the 2021 Municipal Levy, Cllr. Cron moved that Council authorizes the 2021 Hamlet allocation to be set at 40% for the 2021 Municipal Levy for Balone Beach Hamlet and Cudsaskwa Beach Hamlet. Crd. The Declaration of Eligibility must be submitted by January 31, 2021 and Cllr. Reding moved that Council confirms that the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 meets the eligibility requirements to receive the municipal sharing grants and authorizes the Administrator to sign the Declaration of Eligibility and submit to the Ministry of Government Relations. Crd. The next item on the agenda was the approval of the application of a new septic hauler. Cllr. Cron moved that Todd Briens operating under Water Security permit for Bruce MacDougall be given temporary permission for one month to haul septic to RM of Hoodoo lagoons pending approval of Water Security Agency-permission will be and annual renewal, and that the Reeve is authorized to sign the documents related to obtaining Water Security approval. Crd. Cllr. Redding moved that a resolution be sent to SARM for consideration at the 2021 Annual SARM meeting regarding an amendment to the Planning and Development Act or a Ministerial resolution to exempt Rural Municipalities from being required to receive Ministerial Approval when making changes to their Zoning Bylaws. Crd. In that Madsine Madsen is in the process of stepping down from her duties with the RM, Cllr. Wedewer moved that the Reeve and CAO are authorized to sign the resolution regarding the MasterCard agreement through Conexus Credit Union and that the card issued to Madsine Madsen be discontinued and a new one issued in the name of Fay Stewart, that card to have a limit of $5000. Crd. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the Employee Bonds and Insurance Report be acknowledged. Crd. With the annual SARM membership fee be due in February, Cllr. Diederichs moved that Council authorizes administration to prepare the cheque to pay for annual SARM membership fees for 2021. Crd. Another annual necessity is the maintenance and re-certification of the RM weigh scale, Cllr. Gabel moved that Council authorizes administration to engage Industrial Scale to come and perform the annual maintenance and re-certification on the RM weigh scale. Crd. In 2020 the RM of Hoodoo applied for grant money to have the RM office renovated and an addition attached. Cllr. Cron moved that Council authorizes administration to contact CADvantage Design Ltd. To proceed with preparing a building plan for the office renovation and addition. Crd. On March 22, 2021 the RM of Hoodoo’s permit to operate a waterworks will expire and a new one is required to be executed before the expiration of the current one, in order for the water stations to remain operational. Cllr. Reding moved that Council authorizes administration to contact Water Security Agency and inform them there are no objections or lack of it to the terms and conditions of the draft permit to operate a waterworks. Crd. A request was received by the administration to lease or purchase one of the lagoon buildings, Cllr. Wedewer moved that the request be received and filed. Crd. The date for the next meeting is January 15, 2021 at 9 am and again at 9:30 am. Reeve Kolla moved the meeting be adjourned at 4:42 pm. Crd. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — As Lionel Desmond completed an 11-week program for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder in August 2016, those responsible for his care were worried about something they couldn't figure out. Though he displayed symptoms considered common among combat soldiers diagnosed with PTSD, he was making little progress under treatments that usually produced results. Kama Hamilton, a social worker at the Montreal hospital where Desmond was treated in 2016, told a provincial inquiry Thursday he suffered from angry outbursts, combat-related flashbacks, impulsivity, irritability and hyper-vigilance. Yet, she said, "he didn't stand out as particularly (different) from the others." Hamilton, who tried to help Desmond with anger management and social connections, said the Ste. Anne's Hospital team was concerned that something was interfering with his treatment, given the fact that he had lost trust in the staff and still faced a "long road" to recovery when he was discharged on Aug. 15, 2016. The inquiry is investigating why, less than five months later, Desmond bought a rifle and fatally shot his 31-year-old wife, Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before turning the gun on himself in their rural Nova Scotia home. During her testimony, Hamilton said she came to the conclusion that Desmond had a constant fear of being abandoned, a condition she said could be the result of a personality disorder or a head injury that impaired his cognitive abilities. On Tuesday, psychiatrist Robert Ouellette told the inquiry that Desmond appeared to have "mixed personality traits," including obsessive compulsiveness and paranoia. Ouellette said the paranoid traits caused Desmond to mistrust virtually everyone, including his wife. Desmond repeatedly told staff at the hospital that his main goal was to become a good husband and father, but he often expressed jealousy and anger towards his wife. During her testimony Thursday, Hamilton said she learned that aside from flashbacks to his combat duty in Afghanistan, her patient also complained about gruesome nightmares about his wife being unfaithful. Hamilton said that during an hour-long telephone conversation, Shanna Desmond told her that in the dream, her husband caught her sleeping with another man and responded by "chopping her to pieces." Despite the violent nature of the nightmare, Hamilton said she was confident Shanna Desmond was not in any danger, mainly because Lionel Desmond's recollection was intended as a cry for help rather than a threat. As well, she said Shanna Desmond had made it clear she and the couple's nine-year-old daughter had never been subjected to physical violence, and she didn't believe her husband would ever hurt them. Hamilton said Shanna Desmond was deeply concerned about her husband's welfare, noting that he had unpredictable, angry outbursts that resulted in him throwing furniture — but that was the extent of the violence she had witnessed during their marriage. Still, Hamilton said she also learned that the former infantryman would sometimes resort to passive threats of suicide as a means of controlling his wife. She said Shanna Desmond recalled one disturbing incident, when he texted her to say he would soon be watching his daughter "from above," and when she returned home, she found him obsessively cleaning a rifle he owned. "If someone is feeling vulnerable, they may try to find ways to gain control," Hamilton said. "Abandonment is a situation where you feel helpless." On another front, Hamilton said her patient complained about suffering a head injury while he was training at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, though he was deemed medically fit after he regained consciousness. That led to speculation at Ste. Anne's about a possible brain injury, which could explain why Desmond had some cognitive challenges, including troubles with concentration, memory, organization and language. The treatment team agreed that Desmond should undergo a full neurological assessment, which was a recommendation that was submitted to Veterans Affairs Canada as he was preparing to leave the program. The assessment was beyond the scope of the hospital. Desmond never received that assessment. In the four months before the Jan. 3, 2017 triple murder and suicide in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., Desmond received no therapeutic treatment. Earlier in the hearings, a psychiatrist at the hospital in nearby Antigonish, N.S., told the inquiry that Desmond desperately needed help when he returned home to Nova Scotia, but it was apparent he was "falling through the cracks." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. — By Michael MacDonald in Halifax The Canadian Press
HONOLULU — The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled a tsunami watch Thursday for Hawaii that was issued after a huge earthquake occurred in a remote area between New Zealand and Tonga. The agency previously cancelled a tsunami warning it had issued for American Samoa. The magnitude 8.1 quake struck the Kermadec Islands region. The quake forced thousands of people to evacuate in New Zealand but did not appear to pose a widespread threat to lives or major infrastructure. It was the largest in a series of tremors that hit the region over several hours, including two earlier quakes that registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3. The Associated Press
Newfoundland and Labrador's minister responsible for the status of women says there's been a recent increase in calls to the province's domestic violence help line but there are services available to help women living with violence. Lisa Dempster says the increase in calls is concerning, but she's encouraged that women are reaching out for help, despite the public health restrictions in place. "While we are in lockdown, you do not have to feel you are locked down at home with an abuser, so we do know that there's been some increase in calls," she said. Dempster didn't give specific details about how many more calls the line is receiving. The domestic violence help line was launched in June. When someone calls or texts, the system will automatically detect the region they're in and connect them with a trained professional at the nearest transition house. If necessary, they can then be connected to services, like women's centres or police, for further help. Non-profit groups said they saw a significant increase in domestic violence calls during the early stages of the pandemic. We know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence. - Lisa Dempster Dempster said the pandemic has had a greater effect on women, and restrictions can create added pressure for women living with violence. As a result, the types of calls the line is receiving has also changed, she said. "Prior to the pandemic, we would get various calls to the line, could be around financial abuse, different types," she said. "But right now — and we know the pandemic has been really difficult for many people and it's not impacted all of us equally — we know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence." During an election, the government is in caretaker mode, but Dempster is still the minister, and she says has been checking in with staff in the department at least once a week. She said the increase in calls began within the past week. "Yesterday, maybe, when I learned there had been an increase, I felt compelled to get out, to do my part to hopefully reach some women that are in unsafe situations," she said. Help available for women experiencing violence The minister urged women not to stay in an unsafe situation at home because of the public health restrictions in alert levels 4 and 5. "To women who are struggling with violence in their lives today, I want you to know that help is available," she said. "There are services right across this province, and when you feel you are ready and you feel that it's safe for you to reach out, there are organizations waiting to help you." Dempster said transition houses across the province are open and have room to accept women in need. She said, on average, the transition houses are now at about 55 per cent capacity. "While we've made good strides and we're moving in the right direction, certainly there is progress that can be made," she said. "We're grateful that we have fared better than many other provinces. Still, we have our own issues — all is not well and we need to get out and we need to talk about those. We need to hear from folks out in the community and we need to put whatever services in place that we can to support them." The province's domestic violence help line is 1-888-709-7090, and can be reached by call or text, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada's premiers are demanding that Ottawa immediately give them an extra $28 billion for health care this year, with a promise of at least a five-per-cent hike in the annual transfer payment each year thereafter.
NEW YORK — One of the women who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexually harassing her at the workplace said she was motivated to come forward after another woman contacted her sharing similar allegations and following the Democratic governor's name being floated as a potential nominee for a cabinet position in President Joe Biden's administration. “I woke up the next day, and the governor was being floated for attorney general, the highest law enforcement position in the U.S.,” former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan told Harper's Bazaar in an article published Thursday. “And I didn’t think about it at all … I began tweeting about my experience.” The 36-year-old Boylan, who worked for Cuomo's team from March 2015 to October 2018, first tweeted about an abusive workplace environment in the administration. She said it was after the unnamed woman reached out to her with a story of being harassed by Cuomo that she decided to come forward with her own story of sexual harassment in a series of Twitter posts in December. Boylan elaborated on her accusations in a Feb. 24 Medium post in which she said Cuomo once suggested a game of strip poker and on another occasion kissed her without her consent. Two additional women have made accusations against the 63-year-old Cuomo since then. Charlotte Bennett, 25, a former low-level aide said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and told her he would consider dating “anyone above the age of 22." Anna Ruch, 33, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her after meeting her at a September 2019 wedding. Facing calls for his resignation, Cuomo said Wednesday he would remain in office but apologized for acting “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.” He said he would co-operate with an investigation headed by state Attorney General Letitia James, a fellow Democrat. Boylan told the magazine that she has been in touch with Bennett but not Ruch, adding that Ruch's story made her feel “nauseous.” She said another factor in her own decision to name Cuomo as a sexual harasser was a Cicely Tyson interview she watched after Tyson's death. The pioneering actor cried telling the interviewer about an experience of sexual harassment 50 years earlier, Boylan recalled. “I always thought that if I was ever going to tell my story, it was going to be many, many years from now,” Boylan said. “But the Tyson interview really resonated with me. It shows you how much abuse affects people.” Cuomo, who is in his third term as governor, was believed to be a contender for attorney general before Biden selected federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, who has not yet been confirmed. Karen Matthews, The Associated Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — COVID-19 infections rose sharply in Arviat on Thursday, but Nunavut's top doctor said there is no sign of uncontrolled spread and numbers are declining overall. The community on the western shore of Hudson Bay tallied 10 new illnesses to bring the active case count to 14. Arviat's population of about 2,800 has been under a strict lockdown since November. Schools and non-essential businesses are closed and travel is restricted. A state of emergency was declared Feb. 24 and there's a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said there is no evidence of community transmission. "If things continue on this way, we can look at working with the hamlet to ease some of the measures next week," he said. Arviat is the only place in the territory where COVID-19 is active. It has had higher numbers than anywhere else in Nunavut since the pandemic began — 325 of 369 total cases. Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq, who is from Arviat, said the overall weekly decline is "still encouraging." Last week, there were 25 cases. "We should expect that case numbers will vary day to day," he said. Two COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been held in Arviat. The second one was dedicated to administering second doses. Patterson said there is no evidence of "vaccine failure" in Arviat. "A failure ... would be getting new COVID (cases) two weeks or more after a vaccination." Health experts say it takes about 14 days for the COVID-19 vaccines to take effect. Patterson said his department is not releasing community-specific vaccination numbers and would not say how many people in Arviat have been vaccinated. To date, 8,628 of Nunavut's 39,000 residents have received one dose of the vaccine and 5,125 have had two shots. The territory has received 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine so far. Nunavut's original goal was to have its vaccine rollout completed by the end of March, but Patterson said that will be extended into April. The territory initially faced some delays in vaccine shipments, he said. "As the vaccine supply ramps up, we're now into the stage where that's no longer an issue. Staff will be able to go much faster and much more efficiently starting now." John Main, Arviat's member of the legislature, is urging the government to provide isolation spaces for infected residents who live in overcrowded housing This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
Port Alberni, BC - As B.C. moved to Phase 2 of its immunization plan on Monday, the Nuu-chah-nulth nations of Tseshaht and Hupacasath remained unsure when COVID-19 vaccines would reach their communities. The province’s shift in approach, which prioritizes age groups, prompted confusion from community leaders who said that it deviated from the community-wide vaccination plan that was promised. In a letter addressed to B.C.’s health ministry on Feb. 26, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said “the initial plan and framework [included] having every single First Nation on Vancouver Island vaccinated by March.” Mariah Charleson, NTC vice-president, said that the province’s lack of communication is “alarming.” “There was no consultation at all with any First Nation leadership regarding this big change,” she said. “We’re worried for the two communities that didn’t receive the [vaccine].” However, today the worry is over as eligible community members living on-reserve in Tseshaht and Hupacasath began receiving their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Ken Watts, Tseshaht First Nation elected chief, described it as a “big relief.” While standing outside the vaccine clinic at Maht Mahs Gym in Port Alberni, Watts looked to a line-up of around 20 vehicles. “We have a lot of happy elders and community members,” he said. “They’re really excited.” Advocating for his members by “pushing politically at all levels,” Watts said that the “pressure helped.” The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) said community-based vaccination clinics organized in partnership with First Nation communities will continue through the roll-out of Phase 2. “The province of B.C.’s vaccination strategy calls for rural and remote First Nations communities to be vaccinated in Phase 1 and the balance of First Nations communities as part of Phase 2 by the end of March,” said a spokesperson from FNHA. “Vaccine availability has hampered this plan until just recently and the timeline is still realistic.” On Monday, the province announced it is extending the interval between first and second doses of vaccines to four months. The delay in administration of second doses means every eligible person in B.C. can receive the first dose by mid-to-late July. "At every step of the way, we are putting the health and safety of British Columbians first,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release. "B.C. was one of the first provinces to lay out our vaccine plan, and now we're moving to Phase 2 to reach even more of our seniors and elders. We're getting vaccine into arms as fast as we can given early supply delays from manufacturers, and we're seeing it start to make a difference for people and their communities throughout our province.” While Charleson said she was relieved Tseshaht and Hupacasath would receive community-wide vaccinations, she stands behind her frustration in the province’s lack of consultation with First Nations leadership. “It’s a lot of change and it’s literally just been flying at us,” she said. “We haven’t been a part of those discussions – we’re being told.” As part of Phase 2 of the province’s largest vaccination roll-out in history, over 400,000 people in B.C. will be immunized from March to early-April. Seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and senior’s supportive housing - including staff - are being immunized, which began on Monday. All Indigenous peoples born in 1956 or earlier will be eligible to receive the vaccine and can call to book their vaccine appointment on March 8. "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a release. “To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other. We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one.” As of March 1, 283,182 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C., 86,537 of which are second shots. With immunizations underway for the remaining two Nuu-chah-nulth nations, Watts said he can breathe a little easier. “I don’t think you know how much of a relief today is,” he said. Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
The Sun Peaks Pharmacy will remain closed for the remainder of the week, but curbside and delivery service is available after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Clancy O’Malley, owner of the pharmacy, said the plan is to continue operating in this fashion until staff is able to safely return to work in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. “At this point, I’m planning on keeping it as delivery only and curbside pickup until the other staff is able to safely return to work, as per Interior Health [guidelines],” said O’Malley. Last week, The Sun Peaks Pharmacy informed the community of a positive COVID-19 case involving one of its staff members. The individual was likely positive with the virus as far back as Feb. 16 or 17, 2021. Another staff member, who was a close contact, is now self-isolating as well as a precaution, said O’Malley. O’Malley said that he was not in close contact with the staff. “Thankfully, I haven’t really been working up here much, so I didn’t have any close contact with them,” he explained. O’Malley is now filling orders himself. He added that the public can purchase off-the-shelf items as well. Dr. Shane Barclay of the Sun Peaks Health Centre informed the community 33 COVID tests were conducted on Friday, Feb. 26 resulting in zero positive cases. “This is very encouraging,” stated Barclay in the public letter. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the community aware of any developments. Thanks to everyone for your continuing vigilance and safety measures.” The possibility of transmission between the staff members and the public is thought to be low, as precautions, such as mask-wearing, were in place. COVID testing is available in both Sun Peaks and Kamloops. More information on testing and information on booking a test can be found here. To voice any concerns or inquire about orders, you can contact O’Malley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (778) 996-4245. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on a possible threat against the Capitol (all times local): 5:50 p.m. The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says its oversight board is suggesting the razorwire-topped fencing that has surrounded the Capitol since the insurrection in January should come down next week. But Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman says in a letter to congressional leaders Thursday that she isn’t clear if it is a recommendation or an order from the Capitol Police Board. The letter to the leaders of the House and Senate was obtained by The Associated Press. Pittman says the board suggested some temporary fencing would be removed starting Friday, and the fencing around the outer perimeter of the Capitol complex would be removed starting March 12. Some fencing is likely to remain as law enforcement officials continue to track an increased number of threats against lawmakers and the Capitol. The letter exemplifies the ongoing confusion and communication issues between top law enforcement officials who are charged with ensuring the security of the Capitol complex. The failures that allowed thousands of pro-Trump rioters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 have shined a spotlight on the opaque police force and the complicated oversight process that governs it. The Capitol Police Board, comprised of the House and Senate sergeant at arms and the Architect of the Capitol, is charged with oversight of the police force. __ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A POSSIBLE THREAT AGAINST THE CAPITOL: Law enforcement is on high alert around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the iconic building again, two months after a mob of Donald Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. Read more: — Takeaways: What hearings have revealed about Jan. 6 failures ___ HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 12:10 p.m. Security is high outside the U.S. Capitol, with National Guard troops and Capitol Police officers on alert inside a massive black fence that surrounds the Capitol grounds and several neighbouring buildings. On one of the warmest days in weeks, the National Mall was almost totally deserted Thursday, save for joggers, journalists and a handful of tourists trying to take photos of the Capitol dome through the fence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Guard troops protecting the Capitol should stay as long as they are needed amid a new threat of another mob attack. Law enforcement is on high alert after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the Capitol again, just two months after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. The new threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on Thursday. ___ 11:40 am. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the National Guard troops protecting the Capitol should stay as long as they are needed amid a new threat of another mob attack. The House wrapped up its work early amid reports of a threat on the Capitol on Thursday. Pelosi says a draft security review from the deadly Jan. 6 mob siege is making various recommendations to beef up Capitol security and is expected to be made public next week. Law enforcement is on high alert around the Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the iconic building again. This comes two months after Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. Five people died. The new threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on Thursday. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York says, “Domestic terrorism will not prevail. Democracy will prevail.” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas says lawmakers are braced for the threat against the Capitol. ___ 10:30 a.m. A top House Democrat says the threat of mob violence at the Capitol won’t stop Congress from doing its work. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York says, “Mob rule will not prevail. Domestic terrorism will not prevail. Democracy will prevail.” Jeffries says he thinks “there’s a reason for all of us to continue to be concerned about the heightened security environment.” Jeffries blames “a ‘big lie’ that Donald Trump perpetrated in respect to the election that has radicalized millions of folks across the country.” Law enforcement is on high alert around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the iconic building again. This comes two months after a mob of Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. Five people died. The new threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that Trump will rise again to power on Thursday. Jeffries says lawmakers “will not allow those anti-democratic forces across the country who want to undermine our ability to get things done for the American people to prevail.” ___ 9:50 a.m. A former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who was among those briefed about a possible new threat against the Capitol says lawmakers are braced for it. Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas says he thinks “we’ll see some violence.” The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on Thursday, which is March 4, the original presidential inauguration day. But unlike on Jan. 6, the Capitol is now fortified against intrusions. McCaul says there’s razor wire and a National Guard presence that weren’t at the Capitol on Jan. 6 so he feels “very confident in the security.” McCaul warns there could be another diversionary tactic — much like the pipe bombs discovered at the political campaign offices on Jan. 6 appeared to be an attempt to lure law enforcement away from the Capitol ahead of the insurrection. The Associated Press
The Saskatchewan government says it will follow new federal guidelines to speed up its vaccination schedule. The province is expanding the period between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to up to 120 days. That means everyone over 18 years old in Saskatchewan will be able to receive a vaccination by the end of June, the province says. Most other provinces have said they will also follow the recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI). The new four-month gap is a departure from the previous practice of three weeks and in some cases up to six weeks between doses. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the decision is evidence-based and will speed up the vaccination rollout. "The benefits are tremendous. We can emerge out of the pandemic three months earlier than we had anticipated. The two-dose program ... it would have taken us to September," said Shahab at a news conference Thursday in Regina. "Having said that, everything will be monitored closely. All provinces will be closely monitoring." Shahab said the maximum 16-week interval doesn't mean people won't get their second dose quicker than that. Second doses will go as originally scheduled for residents and staff in long-term and personal care homes, according to the province. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab the benefits of spreading out the first and second vaccine doses are tremendous.(Trent Peppler/CBC) Shahab also said people shouldn't worry about which of the three approved vaccines they receive. "We all need to be patient. We need to be ready in our minds that when our turn comes, we should be ready to get vaccinated. It is my recommendation that we accept any vaccine," said Shahab. The newly approved AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is expected to arrive in Sask. this month. Residents aged 60 to 64 and Phase 1 priority health-care workers will be offered the first 15,500 doses, according to the province. The 60 to 64 age group have access to the new vaccine because the National Advisory Committee's recommends that AstraZeneca-Oxford supply be targeted to people younger than 65. The province said administration of the AstraZeneca-Oxford doses will begin on March 22 and the doses will be distributed to six major hubs throughout the province. All of the allocated doses are expected to be administered within one week on a by-appointment basis. Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the addition both AstraZeneca-Oxford and moving to vaccinate all adults with a first dose means that phase one of the province's immunization plan should be complete by April. Livingstone also said he is confident the second doses will be available when the time comes. "We're optimistic for sure, with phase one and starting phase two early. And with the supplies that we're seeing on the horizon. But those second doses I don't think are going to be a challenge at all," Livingstone said. The province said health-care workers will receive a notification of their eligibility for vaccination directly from the Saskatchewan Health Authority Members of the public who are eligible for vaccination will be able to book by phone. The province said its phone-in booking system is undergoing final testing and is expected to launch next week. The province said there may be some growing pains during the transition to the new booking system. Livingstone asked for patience from the public as the system launches.
It's the little touches that help to make a place feel more like home, and while the Out of the Cold Warming Centre isn't a permanent home for any of its visitors, it is proof that little things can still make a big difference. The warming centre has recently come into possession of a pair of guitars for those who visit to make use of. The idea itself came from Out of the Cold's Dave Ashworth, who is also a prominent local musician, and he put out the call on social media to help make the idea a reality. "I started here last November," Ashworth explained. "What really happened was one of the staff said 'hey, one of the guests that comes in plays guitar.' He was going to bring down his guitar that he has at home, and I was going to bring mine whatever night this guest came in, and I thought it would be nice to have something here a little more permanently, so that's when I thought I'd use the power of social media and put it out there, and it works. People have a genuine desire, I think, to help out or donate whatever they might have." Once the call went out, there were a few false starts and missed connections, but eventually Ashworth managed to secure one acoustic and one electric guitar for those visiting the warming centre to play, which he said are comforts to people who might not otherwise have an instrument to play on. "It's a universal language," he said. "Music is good in good times and in bad times." The call for instruments must have struck a chord with people in the community, as Ashworth noted there were plenty of people offering to make donations in one form or another, either of instruments or of monetary donations that could be put towards musical accessories like wall hangers for the guitars. "Businesses helped out too and gave us some discounts on strings," Ashworth said. "A number of people donated. I had one guy, and this was kind of unique, but he was on the Borderland Musicians and Enthusiasts Facebook page, and he offered to send an acoustic guitar. I started talking to him and asked if he was from here, and he said 'No, I'm from Saskatchewan, I'm living out north of Red Deer right now.' He was willing to send it, but we started considering shipping costs and the length of time we're going to be open [this season] so I thought for this year we're good." So far Ashworth said there have been a handful of occasions where guests have played songs together, with others lending their voices or picking up a tambourine to play along. But the instruments are also there for solo use, allowing anyone at the warming centre to pick up a guitar and keep themselves company. "Even in the last week we had a new guest come in and he grabbed it the first night and wanted to play it," he said. "He got it in the morning too. It's nice to see. If it wasn't here then you might not even know some of these people have a musical background. It's been very laid back." The Out of the Cold Warming Centre might be full up on instruments right now, but Ashworth says as the program continues there's always a chance it could grow in some way. He also added that the centre could still do with a donation of another guitar strap and a small practice amp for their electric guitar, should anyone still be looking to help support the initiative. Still, Ashworth said he's grateful to all of those who did reach out to him with offers of instruments or other donations to help provide a little bit of music and a creative outlet to those in need. "I think you want to provide any opportunity you can to dive into things they might not normally have access to," he explained. "Maybe for various reasons they don't have a guitar at home, or don't have any instruments, and this is an option for them to come in and use. We encourage all the guests to just relax and treat it like your home, be respectful and we'll be respectful in return. They seem to enjoy it. Like I said earlier, music is a feel good thing. The feedback has been really good so far." Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
WorkSafeBC is investigating after a workplace fatality at Troyer Ventures Thursday morning. Limited details have been released and it’s not known how the incident occurred. Police, paramedics, and firefighters were all on scene earlier today. “The primary purpose of an investigation is to determine the cause of the incident, including any contributing factors, so that similar events can be prevented in the future,” a WorkSafeBC spokesperson said. Fort St John RCMP says officers have concluded their investigation and have turned the matter over to WorkSafeBC and the Coroner’s Service. The death is not considered suspicious, police said. WorkSafeBC says additional details are not being released until the investigation is over. Representatives at Troyer could not be immediately reached. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Brent Braaten of Halifax is now in possession of a taxidermic three-headed duckling and he has no idea why. It arrived in the mail last week in an unassuming cardboard box that sat on his table unopened for hours because he figured it was a Pilates ball he'd ordered online. It wasn't. "I tore away at the plastic and packaging and then one of the duckling's faces emerged and I immediately sort of jumped back," he told CBC Radio's Mainstreet. "When I gained the courage to go back to the box and dig a little bit further, I noticed it wasn't just one head, but there were three duckling faces staring back at me." The package is addressed to Braaten with a return address in China, so he's certain the duck delivery wasn't a mail mix-up. "They were definitely intended for me, but I certainly did not order these ducklings," he said. To be sure Braaten didn't accidentally make the order on eBay after a night of drinking — something he admits has happened on occasion — he checked his bank statements. He can find no evidence that he sought out the strange item himself. How to care for a 3-headed duckling The three-headed duckling comes with a set of instructions. Instruction No. 1: Let your new arrival sit out in the sun or in the air for 48 hours after opening the package. "I guess sort of the same way as you'd want to off-gas a new mattress, that's the way I saw it anyway," Braaten chuckled. "The second instruction was to — this is something that I found kind of strange — it asked me to use a regular hair blow-dryer 'to fluffy' the duck's feathers." Braaten wrote on Facebook about "becoming a three-headed duckfather" and posted a video where he dutifully follows the instructions. He said a quick search online revealed a taxidermic duckling can cost between $80-$200 US. "This is an expensive artifact," he said. "I can't imagine a company … sending away all these ducklings when they're quite valuable." Email offers a clue, but no answers The only clue contained in the package is an email address. Braaten sent a message to the address but didn't receive many answers. "They didn't quite understand what I was asking. They wanted to know if I wanted to buy something, and so I asked for more information, but they haven't gotten back to me yet," he said. Some digging online also revealed the name on the email address matches the name of a Chinese zoologist who appears to be well-known for his work preserving larger animals like elephants and giraffes. "I really hope that I do find out who sent it to me," Braaten said. "I figure it's either a friend who really likes the idea of giving me a mystery or it's an enemy who's trying to send a cursed object to me." Braaten says his dog, Zelda, isn't a fan of the new arrival. 'She definitely doesn't trust them,' he said.(Brent Braaten) He asked his friends to come up with a name for the duckling, a question that led to a philosophical discussion about the nature of the soul, and whether a three-headed being deserves three names. One suggestion was to name it after three Disney cartoon ducks, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Braaten's personal favourites are Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards Hades in Greek mythology, or Howards the Duck, a spin on the name of the Marvel Comics character. Braaten might be confused, but he's not mad that this unusual gift landed on his doorstep. "I guess in these sort of COVID days, it's nice to have something whimsical happen to you once in a while." MORE TOP STORIES
Canadian prosecutors told a court on Thursday that it was not a judge's role to decide whether national security and geopolitical concerns can be used to strike down a U.S. request to extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Meng, 49, was arrested in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant accused of misleading HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.
Afin de remercier les professionnels de la santé qui travaillent au front depuis le début de la pandémie, la résidence le Marronnier a érigé une enseigne illuminée qui reprend les lettres du mot «merci» sur l’un de ses bâtiments faisant face à l’Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé. Celle-ci a été officiellement dévoilée le vendredi 12 février vers 16h. À ce moment, les résidents et le personnel de l’établissement sont sortis sur leur balcon, au froid, pour faire du bruit. Les casseroles et la musique étaient au rendez-vous. «L’objectif était vraiment de faire comprendre aux travailleurs que l’enseigne s’adressait à eux, explique Catherine Ladouceur, responsable des communications au Marronnier. Malgré la température, il y avait des participants pour faire du bruit sur les balcons de trois phases différentes. C’était vraiment beau!» Elle ajoute que certains résidents se sont ensuite rendus près du stationnement de l’hôpital en compagnie d’employés de la résidence pour remercier les professionnels qui terminaient leur journée de travail. Cette initiative est l’œuvre de Claude Legault qui est un résident de la phase E du Marronnier. Dès le mois de mars 2020, celui-ci a installé un projecteur qui éclaire le mot «merci» sur la toiture de son balcon. L’intensité des lumières ne permettait toutefois pas de voir le mot facilement. «L’idée a germé lorsque j’ai été confiné entre Noël et le jour de l’An, précise-t-il. J’ai fait une demande à mon voisin pour qu’il distribue une lettre sur notre étage [16e]. Je voulais que chaque balcon de notre étage soit illuminé par une lettre. J’ai seulement eu deux réponses, donc j’ai demandé à un ami qui habite au quatrième étage.» Encore une fois, M. Legault a reçu peu de réponses, donc il a tenté sa chance auprès de gestionnaires de l’établissement qui ont tout de suite été convaincus par le projet. L’enseigne illuminée a finalement été installée à la verticale. Le résident de la phase E soutient aussi qu’il a été surpris par la grande participation des autres résidents lors du dévoilement. «Je ne m’attendais pas du tout à cela, assure-t-il. L’idée était de mousser l’aspect positif de leur travail et de leur dire qu’ils sont importants pour nous. Je prévois maintenant enlever le mot "merci" de mon balcon et installer une étoile pour eux.» Par ailleurs, la résidence du Marronnier invite toute la population lavalloise de faire sa part pour encourager les travailleurs de la santé. «Toute initiative ou idée leur permettant de se sentir valorisé dans leur travail peut être un beau geste à faire en cette période difficile, soutient Mme Ladouceur. C’est un peu de leur dire que nous allons continuer de respecter les consignes et qu’il faut voir le positif.» M. Legault converge dans la même direction et se dit toujours à la recherche de nouvelles façons de les remercier. «J’aurais bien voulu aller nettoyer les pares-brises des autos situées dans le stationnement de l’Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé pour leur faire plaisir, mais le couvre-feu et la santé font en sorte que je suis peut-être mieux de ne pas me lancer dans ce projet», conclut-il à la blague. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
From spring through fall, it’s not unusual to find Beck Aurell swinging from limb to limb through the crowns of Island oak, maple or poplar trees. Gear similar to a rock climber’s holds her safely in the tree and she carries a pruning saw or chainsaw at her side. “I might be the only female bodied climbing arborist on PEI,” Beck said, explaining that arborists are tree workers with specialized skills and certifications. They typically focus on managing and taking care of trees in residential areas. She was most recently employed with Laird Tree Care out of Cardigan. While Beck identifies as gender non-binary she is perceived by most as female and is comfortable with she/her or they/them pronouns. This puts her at odds with the majority of people she has worked with in Canada and around the world. Beck loves outdoor, hands-on work and any day she can help preserve the life of a tree is a good day in her opinion. She said making her way into a male dominated field of work wasn’t particularly easy but there were a few things that lifted her up into the treetops. “My dad was very helpful,” she said. Beck’s father owns an arborist business in New Brunswick and encouraged her to challenge herself by climbing in her teens. “It was something fun we did together and he never questioned if I could do it.” While the average arborist seems to be a tall bulky or lean guy, Beck has found smart techniques and tools tend to level the playing field. With a 5 foot 2 inch tall female body, she is stronger than some might expect. Beck said sometimes customers meet her with surprised comments like “Oh, are you doing the work?” or “Where’s the foreman?” when she is the team lead for the day. “It might be hard to believe, but it doesn’t actually take a 6-foot bulky man to transport logs from point A to B, to work hard all day, or to do the work we do efficiently,” she said. Luckily most customers meet her with supportive comments. “Customers that are older women especially seem supportive, I think it might be because they’ve seen so much change over the years.” Beck said local queer and some feminist communities have been a tremendous source of support and their ideas have helped her the whole way through. “Queer communities tend to share the idea, if it feels right for you, break gender expectations without fear or embarrassment, with pride,” she said. “They’ve really showed me there are different ways to be a person that don’t fit specific gender roles.” Beyond that, seeing female arborists in the industry when she worked in Sweden or at events (like women’s arborist skills camps in the US or in iternational arborist climbing competitions) reassured her that she could succeed in this line of work. Co-workers who have welcomed her into group environments and given her the opportunity to do what she is capable of without underestimating her abilities have also played a helpful part. “Most of my co-workers have been great,” Beck said. “Most don’t think twice about having me on the crew and working together, especially once they see I am capable and reliable.” “This means a lot because sometimes it takes a minute for some of the guys to settle with the idea that I’ll be climbing and working on the same level or even as a leader with them. “Sometimes when a crew shows up on a job they’re not expecting a blonde woman in her 20s to be the foreman and there seems to be a bit of an ego thing that can go on. “Sometimes there is some pushback but for the most part, it’s no problem.” Beck said her crew on PEI has been an excellent and fun team to work with. She has some advice for anyone considering a field of work that may seem unusual for their gender. “Don’t be afraid to break expectations and don’t underestimate yourself,” she said. “And if you can’t find anyone supportive, give me a call.” Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic