WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
CALGARY — Power generator TransAlta Corp. says it has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 after cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030.The Calgary-based utility company is in the process of retiring its Edmonton-area thermal coal mining operations and converting all of its coal power generation in Canada to natural gas by the end of 2021, while eliminating its coal generation at a facility in Washington State by the end of 2025.In a news release, retiring CEO Dawn Farrell says 2020 was a "pivotal year" for TransAlta, noting that it completed its first coal-to-gas Alberta power plant conversion. She says the company cut an additional 4.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2019 and deployed 77 megawatts of net wind and energy storage while continuing to build affiliate TransAlta Renewables Inc.TransAlta reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $167 million on revenue of $544 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a net profit of $66 million on $609 million in the same period of 2019.Analysts had expected a loss of $102 million on revenue of $492 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv."We are well into our emissions reduction journey as a company and we feel our clean electricity strategy is well aligned with a longer-term carbon neutral goal," said chief operating officer John Kousinioris, who is to take over as CEO at the end of March."Setting this (carbon neutral) goal provides a meaningful internal signal to our team as we execute our growth strategy but provides flexibility over the coming decades."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.Companies in this story: (TSX:TA, TSX:RNW) The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich has started production on a feature documentary on the late Montreal-raised jazz legend Oscar Peterson. A news release from Avrich's Melbar Entertainment Group says Kelly Peterson, the widow of the virtuoso pianist, will act as consulting producer on "Oscar Peterson: Black and White." The film is billed as a "docu-concert" and will include archival concert footage as well as interviews with family members and musicians who played with the Grammy winner, who died in 2007 at the age of 82 in Mississauga, Ont. It will also feature new performances from artists playing Peterson's music, including Dave Young, Larnell Lewis, Jackie Richardson, Robi Botos, and Measha Brueggergosman. Melbar says the doc will explore Peterson's life and acclaimed career, from his artistic influence and mentorship of other artists, to the racism that he endured and his legacy as "an uncompromising musician with a sense of racial pride." The film is set for a release in the fall and comes on the heels of the release of Historica Canada's Heritage Minute on Peterson. "It is a privilege and career highlight for me to tell Oscar's inspiring story and further immortalize his relentless yet iconic music in this film," said Avrich, a Canadian Screen Award-winning producer and director behind scores of live TV specials and documentaries, including last year's "The Howie Mandel Project." Peterson dazzled audiences with his piano playing around the world and worked with a jazz giants including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. His 1962 composition "Hymn to Freedom" became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, while his 1964 recording “The Canadiana Suite” was in honour of his home country. Avrich and Mark Selby will produce the doc. Avrich will also executive produce, alongside Jeffrey Latimer and Randy Lennox. Other musicians who will perform in the film include Joe Sealy, Stu Harrison, Denzal Sinclaire, and Daniel Clarke Bouchard. “It is gratifying that Oscar’s legacy continues to resonate and inspire music lovers and musicians everywhere," said Kelly Peterson. "I am delighted that this documentary will capture his story, his journey and his place in music history now, and forever." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Wednesday shrugged off new Western sanctions over the poisoning and arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as unfounded and pointless — but warned that Moscow will retaliate. U.S. President Joe Biden's administration sanctioned seven Russian officials on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen government entities, over the nerve-agent attack on Navalny and his subsequent jailing. It co-ordinated the move with the European Union, which expanded its own sanctions Tuesday. Commenting on the U.S. and the EU decisions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sanctions against top Russian officials that include a freeze on their bank accounts duplicate Russia's own law that bans them from having financial and other assets abroad. “These people don't make foreign trips anyway and they don't have the right to open accounts in foreign banks or have any other foreign assets,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. At the same time, he added that the U.S. and EU restrictions “represent meddling in Russia's internal affairs” and are “absolutely unacceptable, inflicting significant damage to the already poor ties." Peskov warned that Russia will now choose a “response that would best serve our own interests,” adding that the relevant state agencies would draft their proposals and submit them to the Kremlin. “The principle of reciprocity in relations between states can't be abandoned,” he said. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning. His arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his sentence to a prison outside Moscow, despite the European Court of Human Rights' demand for his release which cited concerns for his safety. In a statement put on his Instagram account Wednesday, Navalny said he was sent to a prison in Kolchugino, a town 130 kilometres (about 80 miles) east of Moscow. He added that he wasn't getting any letters or given access to a prison library and joked about his fellow inmates offering competing advice on how to dry bread using heating radiators in their cell. Navalny's lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said on Twitter that he was being held in a quarantine cell with two other inmates. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
A civic by-election to fill the seat vacated by former Richmond councillor Kelly Greene will cost $716,504. Greene, who was elected to the provincial legislature as a member of the governing NDP by winning the Richmond-Steveston MLA seat last fall, vacated her council seat late last year. The estimated cost is higher than the 2018 general election mainly because of a mail-in voting provision. That adds another $150,000, while a further $55,000 covers pandemic-related costs—particularly cleaning supplies. “The fact that we only have one vacancy, and it’s only for about a year, doesn’t mean that it’s of lesser importance and for that reason I don’t think we should compromise anything for the integrity of the by-election,” said Coun. Chak Au, who was in favour of the proposal. “We all find the cost distasteful,” added Coun. Linda McPhail, who also voted in favour of the proposed by-election despite its cost. City staff also presented a scaled-down option that would have cost $540,000. But it failed to include a mail-in voting option. Only people who have a physical disability that affects their ability to vote, or people who will be away from Richmond during the entire voting period, would be able to vote by mail. Councillors disagreed on the projected cost at a February finance committee meeting. In response to queries, city staff confirmed that legislation dictates the availability of advance voting as well as a sufficient number of voting places. In a report to council, staff said they will aim to spend less than the budgeted amount, but that “sufficient funding must be in place to ensure for the integrity of the election,” as well as for the health and safety of all people involved. Coun. Carol Day was in support of referring staff to take another look at possibly bringing the budget down. “I agree that the election is important,” she said. “Our hands are tied behind our back—we have to have one. But I just don’t think voter turnout’s going to be that great, and the smart thing to do is to take a step backwards on this one, and then let’s run a full 100 per cent effective election in 2022.” While Coun. Harold Steves and Coun. Michael Wolfe were in support of the referral motion, the rest of council was opposed and the main motion, including its cost, passed. The current targeted date for an election is May 29. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Four children who are in the care of the Ministry of Social Services were neglected and restrained during their time at a Saskatoon group home, according to a new report from the Saskatchewan Advocate For Children and Youth. Advocate Lisa Broda, who is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, issued her findings in a report published Wednesday. The Ministry of Social Services fact-checked the report prior to publication, Broda said. The report details complaints received by the advocate's office, which included inappropriate discipline and abuse at a residential group home in Saskatoon's Lawson Heights neighbourhood. "In this home, one child was malnourished to the point of hospitalization. There were no sensory or therapeutic toys or tools in the home, and COVID protections were insufficient," Broda said Wednesday during a news conference in Saskatoon. Lisa Broda, Saskatchewan advocate for children and youth, presents a special report in Saskatoon on Wednesday. (Matthew Garand/CBC) Child found naked, lost, confused The same home was the subject of an investigation in June 2020 after a seven-year-old boy with complex care needs ran away. He was discovered in a Tim Horton's parking lot naked, lost and confused. The advocate says the Lawson Heights group home he was residing in had been struggling with staffing levels, internal discord and other critical issues. The seven-year-old boy wandered from a Lawson Heights group home and ended up in this Tim Hortons parking lot at the Lawson Heights Mall. (Dan Zakreski/CBC) The group home was not named in the report but CBC previously reported the home was operated by CBI Health Group, an Ontario company with more than 70 such homes across the country. Further complaints surfaced about group home One month later, in July of 2020, the Ministry received several new concerns about the care of the four children — ages seven to 11 — in the same group home. The province launched another investigation. It found evidence of inappropriate discipline along with physical and medical neglect. "We don't want to see children that aren't safe. We don't want to see children that are malnourished. That is preventable. How are we seeing this? It's deeply concerning," Broda said. "There's an obligation that they are the parent. They have a high onus to ensure those children in those group homes are safe and protected, that they are receiving quality services. If you're not doing that then it is a failure." Advocate Lisa Broda, who is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, issued her findings in a report published Wednesday. (Matthew Garand/CBC) Lack of staffing initially flagged as a concern in June, remained ongoing. And a senior staff member from the company was dishonest with the government about the evidence gathered, said the report. The province did bring in more supports, but Broda said they were short-term solutions. "The ministry may manage well in a crisis, but its oversight strategy cannot be reactive," Broda said. "The structure and disparate roles and responsibilities as it stands currently enabled the most extremely vulnerable children to become invisible, their rights denied." Group home closes Following the second investigation, the company gave notice to the Ministry they're discontinuing the operating of the Lawson Heights group home. "According to the company, this decision related to several factors, including chronic difficulty recruiting staff, concerns with continuity of care with having staff from multiple agencies in a home, and that, '[…] it was best for the children if we just gave up the contract,'" the report read. All four children have been placed in another home and are doing well, Broda said. Province accepts advocate's recommendations Broda put forth recommendations to address gaps in the system, which has nearly 1,000 children in government care. They included creating more oversight into group homes, developing resources for group home operators and verifying the qualifications of staff who work with children. Following the publication of her report, the province issued a statement saying it will accept all recommendations. "The ministry will provide the advocate with details on how we will strengthen our programs and services based on these recommendations in our formal response to the report in the coming weeks," said Tobie Eberhardt, acting assistant deputy minister child and family programs with the Ministry of Social Services. The ministry declined to comment on the specifics of the case because it involves children.
The history of the western expansion of Canada is a fascinating account of perseverance, courage and conflict. For a long time, the focus of this time period emphasized the experiences of white settlers who immigrated from Great Britain, the United States and central and northern Europe. Recent scholarship and activities like Black History Month, however, are now making an effort to ensure other historical voices are heard — and Pincher Creek is taking steps to celebrate its own unique portion of the history of black pioneers in southern Alberta. During the Feb. 22 regular council meeting, Coun. Wayne Elliott presented a motion to rename a street after “Auntie” Annie (though some sources have her first name as Amy) Saunders, a black woman who immigrated to southern Alberta in 1877. “Being it’s Black History Month, it seems kind of fitting that we honour someone to that magnitude that doesn’t seem to ever get any recognition,” Coun. Elliott said. Ms. Saunders was born in the United States and met Mary Macleod, the wife of Lt.-Col. James Macleod, the North West Mounted Police officer the town Fort Macleod is named after. In 1877, Ms. Saunders joined the Macleod family and worked as a nurse for the children on their ranch just east of Pincher Creek. She eventually operated multiple businesses in Fort Macleod (then known as the Town of Macleod) and Pincher Creek, including a restaurant and boarding house, and worked as a laundress. Understanding the historical context makes Auntie Annie’s story all the more noteworthy. Western Canada experienced a great influx of immigrants throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although the Canadian government actively promoted the area as the “Last Best West,” it also sought to exclude and dissuade specific groups of immigrants, including Chinese, Jewish and black people. As a former member of the British colonial empire, the Canadian government operated under the notion that white settlers were superior to other races and better suited to homesteading on the Prairies. Despite the prejudice, about 1,500 black Americans settled in Alberta and Saskatchewan between 1905 and 1912, most leaving Oklahoma to escape rising levels of racial violence. Rising political pressure from white constituents on the Prairies led to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier signing an order in council in the summer of 1911 banning black immigrants from settling in Canada because they were “deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.” Though the order was never enforced, aggressive marketing by Canadian agents in the United States discouraging black Americans from moving to Canada cut down the number of black settlers, as well as unfair practices at the border that made it more expensive for them to travel into Canada. The fact Ms. Saunders was one of the first black pioneers to settle in Alberta, along with making her own success despite the racism and general prejudice of that time, is remarkable. She passed away in 1898 and is buried in Pioneer Cemetery in Pincher Creek. Coun. Elliott mentioned Auntie Annie was a figure in his own family’s history. “Going back, I was talking to my mom and she said my grandpa talked about what his dad said about her, and she was a very good cook,” he related. “So that’s going back into the 1880s, 1890s, so there is some history on my side.” To honour the memory of Ms. Saunders, and her role in Pincher Creek’s history, Coun. Elliott proposed renaming a section of Veteran’s Street to Auntie Annie Saunders Way, Avenue, Street or Parkway. The proposed renamed section would span from Scott Avenue to the eastern corner of Pioneer Cemetery. While entirely supportive of naming a street after Ms. Saunders, other members of council expressed concerns with renaming an existing road. “I’m completely in favour of honouring our historical figures, but I’m not in favour of changing street names,” said Coun. Scott Korbett. “New developments is where we should be doing this as we move forward, and I also wouldn’t want to honour someone with a street that’s not open.” A better location, Coun. Lorne Jackson added, would help commemorate Ms. Saunders better than the proposed section. “Annie Saunders was an amazing person, someone of colour back in those days that became an entrepreneur and was very successful and one of the richest people in town after a time,” he said. “I think a new street somewhere in town that’s a viable and well used street, and a sign that people would see and drive by all the time, would honour her in a better way.” After discussion, Coun. Elliott agreed to amend the motion to add Ms. Saunders to the town’s prioritized list of future street names. Auntie Annie is second in line after Warren Winkler, whose name was previously selected in a motion from 2017. Mr. Winkler grew up in Pincher Creek and was selected in 2007 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to be the chief justice of Ontario. He was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2016 for his contributions to the advancement of Canadian labour law. More information on the history of black settlers immigrating to Canada can be read online in The Canadian Encyclopedia at http://bit.ly/CAN_PEDIA. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Ana Estrada, who is confined to her bed, says she feels "happy and content" about a historic decision by Peruvian officials to allow her an assisted death, a remarkable ruling in this mostly Roman Catholic country where euthanasia is illegal. "It is an individual case, but I hope it serves as a precedent," Estrada, 44, told Reuters, after the ministries of justice and health decided late on Tuesday to respect a judge's ruling that she has the right to "a dignified death." "I think it is an achievement not only of mine, not only of my cause, but also an achievement of law and justice in Peru," Estrada said with a muffled and broken voice.
Sonny Gray thinks the crop of farms popping up across Northern Canada might end up teaching the rest of us lessons vital to the future of the country’s food system. “(Canada) takes for granted that California and Mexico are very nearby, and they’ll always be there,” said the co-founder and CEO of North Star Agriculture. The Yukon-based startup helps northern farmers, First Nations, and community groups establish farms and food processing hubs to meet local food needs. “We focus on exports like canola oil or soy. We’re not really focusing on the fact we’ve got 'X' amount of people who we should be trying to feed.” But in Northern Canada, farming has a different goal: Keeping people fed. Most food eaten in the three territories and northern parts of the provinces is imported. With few or no roads into the region, stores are often a truck- or planeload away from running out of stock, Gray said. The situation has driven surging interest in farms across Northern Canada, from Whitehorse to Wabush. Most are small and aim to serve local markets. Yukon alone saw the number of farms in the territory increase roughly 10 per cent between 2011 and 2016, in contrast to a decline in the number of farms nationwide. Vegetable production in the territory surged by about 50 per cent in the same period, according to Statistics Canada. And Yukon farmers are bucking national trends: The average age of the territory’s farmers is 53, compared to 55 nationally, and over a third are women. Several First Nations have also developed farms on their traditional territories, including the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, in 2015. Earlier this year, the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation won the $485,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize to build an Indigenous food sovereignty hub. The project will add to a farm started by the nation in 2020. But farming in the North does have unique challenges, said Gray. Everything from facilities to equipment can be hard to come by, so farmers need to be more creative and resourceful. For instance, farmers in Southern Canada have fairly easy access to mechanics if a piece of equipment breaks. Northern farmers don’t have that kind of help at hand and might need to wait weeks before the part arrives, potentially delaying time-sensitive tasks, such as harvest and haying. “We’re forced to do everything, and that’s a very different business. Farming is already a business, but that’s taking it to another level altogether,” he said. In Yukon, that resourcefulness has led to the creation of everything from a mobile abattoir to cutting-edge developments in greenhouse technology. Gray sees similarities between the territory and other countries where expansive, pastoral landscapes are in short supply, like Iceland or the Netherlands. “Iceland or the Netherlands, these locations had to innovate,” he said. “Looking at their innovations … what I would really like to see in the next 20 years is for us to apply this stuff in the North and really get a handle on our food production here in the Yukon becoming more and more sustainable.” For instance, his company is starting to develop a geothermal greenhouse project similar to ones in Iceland. In 2013, the country met about two-thirds of domestic demand for tomatoes — and 99 per cent of its demand for cucumbers — domestically, according to a 2018 study. Gray envisions creating a similar system in the territory to wean it off imports. Farmers, governments, and community groups from across the country have noticed Yukon’s success. Gray said he regularly receives calls from people in other regions with similar food systems challenges, like Newfoundland and Labrador or northern B.C., looking to increase local food production. He expects those calls will only get more frequent. “If a place as far in the North as we are can (produce more local food), then it’s really possible for us as a country to really focus in and start to grow our own food,” he said. Marc Fawcett-Atkinson / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
A Red Deer meat-processing plant at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak linked to three worker deaths will reopen on Thursday for slaughter operations before resuming cutting room operations on Friday. "Reopening can occur because Olymel management and the regulators are satisfied that employees can return to the plant safely," said Olymel spokesperson Richard Vigneault in a statement. "The company will continue to work with AHS and OHS in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus." The news of the reopening came the same day the union that represents the plant's employees said a third worker's death was linked to the COVID-19 outbreak at the plant. That raised the total number of deaths linked to the outbreak to four, according to the union. The worker has not yet been publicly identified. In an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon, Vigneault confirmed that three plant employees have now died after testing positive. "It's a very sad situation for the family and friends and colleagues, and Olymel is offering its sincere condolences to the families," the statement read in part. "Olymel will remain available for assistance to support the families in this tragedy." Alberta Health has not yet confirmed the worker's death. On Wednesday, a spokesperson with Alberta Health said they had only linked two worker deaths to the outbreak at this time. Deaths linked to outbreak The Olymel outbreak, first declared on Nov. 17, 2020, has been linked to at least 500 cases, and led to the temporary closure of the plant on Feb. 15. The first death, on Jan. 28, was of Darwin Doloque, a 35-year-old permanent resident who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines and was found dead in his home. His death was followed on Feb. 24 by that of Henry De Leon, a 50-year-old who immigrated from the Dominican Republic and had worked at the plant for 15 years. He left behind a wife, two adult children and three grandchildren. The third death linked to the outbreak was a woman in her 60s who has not been publicly identified. It has not been disclosed how she was linked to the outbreak. The outbreak at the Olymel plant is now deadlier than the outbreak at the Cargill meat-processing plant near High River, Alta., the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. The Cargill outbreak was linked to three fatalities and at least 1,500 cases. Company says it has worked with AHS In the statement, Olymel said it had used the temporary closure to "update and reinforce the many health and safety measures already in place at the plant." The company said teams from AHS, OHS and Environmental Public Health visited the facility on March 1 and 3. AHS made several recommendations at that time. "Alberta Health Services authorities have however specified that the coronavirus is still spreading and that everyone is at risk of contracting it, whether in the community or otherwise," Vigneault said in the statement. "Accordingly, they recommend the utmost vigilance." The company said it had added staff to monitor and enforce health and safety measures, and "further adjusted and enhanced" social distancing protocols, particularly when it came to adding physical space. Health and safety meetings between management and union representatives are scheduled on a daily basis, the company said. 'Action items' were suggested by union before reopening Earlier this week, Hesse called for the Red Deer plant's potential March 3 reopening to be delayed, saying in an open letter that employees do not feel safe after a deadly outbreak of COVID-19. It listed more than 20 "action items" it said should be fulfilled before reopening is considered, in order to regain the confidence of employees and ensure their safety. The letter came after plant manager Rob Ackerblade informed employees on Feb. 28 that if a March 1 inspection by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Occupational Health and Safety was successful, gradual reopening dates for the Olymel plant could be March 3 for the slaughterhouse and March 4 for the cutting room. The Alberta government confirmed to CBC News on Wednesday that Occupational Health and Safety had toured the facility on March 1, and again with AHS and the union on March 2. "OHS continues to monitor Olymel to ensure safety protocols and measures continue to be used to limit the spread of COVID-19," Joseph Dow said in an emailed statement. According to Dow, AHS made safety recommendations to be implemented before the plant's eventual reopening. The measures recommended by AHS included: Implement capacity limits in lockers rooms and washrooms. Remove reusable dishes in break rooms. Enhance cleaning/disinfecting schedules of washrooms, break rooms and locker rooms. Add more hand sanitizing stations throughout. Increase education plan for staff, including staff training sessions, posters and other visuals.
Madeline experiences her first encounter with a battery-powered Dachshund toy dog. Priceless!
VANCOUVER — A driver has been killed and her passenger was badly hurt in a head-on crash in North Vancouver. RCMP say the collision occurred late Tuesday night on Low Level Road. Police say a vehicle with a lone male inside crossed the centre line, hitting the vehicle with the woman and her passenger. By the time emergency services arrived, the man's vehicle was on fire, although he had been removed before the fire sparked. All three were taken to hospital, where police say the female driver was declared dead, her passenger remains in critical condition and the male has serious injuries. Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The first recorded treaty was ratified 3,279 years ago between ancient Egypt and the Hittite empire. Signed in 1258 BC, the treaty ended over two centuries of conflict between the two powers. A copy of the agreement is displayed in the United Nations headquarters in New York City as a reminder of the importance for parties with different backgrounds to come to the table together. To that end, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and the MD of Pincher Creek have carried on a small portion of a tradition thousands of years in the making with the creation of a new intermunicipal collaboration framework. The agreement was finalized back in January, and both councils approved it during their Feb. 9 regular meetings. Creating the ICF, said Mayor Blair Painter, “was a smooth process.” “This document,” added Coun. Dean Ward, “between the recreation and what we’re doing with the airport, shows a good spirit of co-operation between the two municipalities.” Unlike the ICF agreement signed with the Town of Pincher Creek last summer, the MD and Crowsnest Pass ICF contains only two specified financial obligations between the municipalities: a $25,000 commitment from each for developing the regional airport (an amount already agreed upon with the Town of Pincher Creek), and $25,000 from the MD to Crowsnest Pass to contribute to the municipality’s recreation programming and facilities that MD residents often utilize. The ICF is valid for a term of five years, though discussions will occur between the two municipalities as needed. Recognizing Crowsnest Pass has developed a more urban culture while the MD has remained agricultural, the ICF establishes procedures for differences to be embraced. Avenues for better communication between the municipalities are also laid out, creating an ability to provide better service levels to their respective ratepayers. Requirements to communicate on major capital projects that may impact the other municipality are described, along with commitments to co-operate in lobbying higher levels of government for mutually beneficial regional services. Both municipalities have also agreed to provide information regarding funding to organizations within the other respective municipality. Previous agreements concerning emergency services, solid waste management and intermunicipal development plans are acknowledged by the ICF, alongside plans for the airport. Future considerations will be given for supporting recreation and exploring agricultural services such as weed, pest and animal disease control. Formalizing the agreement comes at a time when many residents in both municipalities are at odds over potential coal mine development in the area. The debate leached into MD council discussions regarding the $25,000 recreation contribution, with Division 1 councillor Quentin Stevick voting in opposition due to comments made by Crowsnest Pass councillor Lisa Sygutek on CBC Radio while voicing her support for the mines. Though not backing down from her statements, Coun. Sygutek apologized to her fellow council members. “I just want to apologize to council that my views regarding our coal mine had to be taken to an extreme by one councillor,” she said. “At no time did I expect a decision where something I said personally could affect the community the way that councillor made it.” “I’m glad that the rest of the people on that committee had enough decency to recognize personal opinion versus me as a councillor,” Coun. Sygutek added. While acknowledging the different stances taken by each respective municipality on mining and other issues, Reeve Brian Hammond stressed the ICF is a document that supersedes differences and is mutually beneficial. “Regardless of ongoing difficulty between jurisdictions, for the most part it’s provided a new opportunity to open a channel of communication with our neighbours we probably didn’t have before,” he said. Establishing a formal framework of communication, he continued, provides an opportunity to identify areas of common interest and concern, creating a closer and more open relationship that will help provide solutions to problems. “Going forward it provides an ongoing structure, a procedural format, for how you can open up another dialogue or expand on the dialogue with your neighbours. I think that’s a good thing,” said the reeve. The ICF can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/MD-CNP-ICF. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Growing up, it was clear to Will Hanlon that his mother — a young, single mom — put her kids first. “Money was always tight, and I know that my mom sacrificed a lot in order to keep my brother and I clothed and fed and healthy,” Hanlon remembers. One of those sacrifices were menstrual products. Hanlon can’t recall ever seeing them around the house in his youth. “I know that she sacrificed a lot with her health in order to make sure that we were OK,” he said. Knowing that this struggle was not unique to women in the GTA, Hanlon started Twelve, an organization that streamlines menstrual product donations for shelters, charities and individuals in need. Twelve collects donations from members of the public and fulfills orders for organizations, so that they can tailor the products to their specific needs, and not have to find space for donations that may not be in demand. It also gives users the opportunity to choose. Hanlon and his partner handle the storage. When he founded the organization in 2019 that meant finding space in every crevice of their 400-square-foot apartment. Their new home has a garage. Twelve is just one of numerous grassroots, often women-led, Canadian organizations working to tackle period poverty in their communities. The Period Purse, Period Packs, Bleed the North, Project: Full Stop and the 2019 Period Poverty Summit in Nova Scotia, are just some charities and initiatives that have taken up the issue across the country. The challenge of affording things like tampons, pads, menstrual cups, or menstrual panties — which are necessary for people who menstruate — is a global issue and Canada is no exception. A 2018 Plan International Canada survey found that one third of women under the age of 25 struggled to afford menstrual products. Seventy per cent said they’ve missed school or work or social activities because of their period. In northern communities, a box of tampons can be $15 and pads as much as $25. Countries around the world have been working to address period poverty. Scotland became the first country to make menstrual products free out right in early 2020. In February of this year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that period products would be free in schools for the next three years. The U.K. is looking to scrap its “tampon tax” once it leaves the EU and India started looking to cap the price on sanitary napkins in 2019. Other places have also accounted for menstrual leave — time off separate from sick days to deal with period pain, which for some can be debilitating. These include Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia. In some countries this is either paid or unpaid, and people note that while it is available, some still feel a stigma requesting it. So, where is Ontario, and the rest of Canada on this issue? In 2015, Canada removed GST from menstrual products — eliminating a “tampon tax” recognizing that the items are essential. However, with education and health care regulated provincially, there isn’t much more cohesion with government efforts to address period products. The conversation about making period products more accessible has risen in a number of provinces, but few have officially made widespread policy changes. Most of the dedicated response to period poverty continues to be ad hoc through local, grassroots organizations. British Columbia was the first province to move to offer period products for free in schools at the end of 2019. Prince Edward Island did the same in November 2020. The United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Period Promise campaign had an impact on B.C.’s change, and the charity earned a grant to continue research. Other United Way branches in Canada are continuing this campaign. “In Canada, it’s very regionally specific. It’s very, very grassroots,” said Taqdir Kaur Bhandal, the CEO of Mahwari Research Institute, a think tank researching menstrual cycles. In terms of what more there is to do, Bhandal said she would like to see the government move to offer a rebate to encourage use of sustainable products, like menstrual cups and underwear. She also said product access in the prison system could be greatly improved. Young advocates are also joining the push to end period poverty. Isabela Rittinger, 18, founded Bleed the North, a youth organization that both donates products and runs education and advocacy campaigns to help end period poverty. “I think that the time for change was a while ago, and we need to step up,” the Pickering, Ont. teen said. “I want to challenge Justin Trudeau and his government to match Jacinda Ardern’s leadership on this issue.” Toronto Youth Council also wants to see Ontario move quicker on offering menstrual products in schools across the province and has created a Change.org petition for the issue. Free period products in schools have been announced in a piecemeal way, board by board — Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ont., to name a few. But the youth behind the petition say it’s time the Ministry of Education made it Ontario-wide. “I just hope that our (government) can just recognize how much of a human rights issue this is, because these are essential products to those who menstruate,” said Monique Kasonga, a member of Toronto Youth Council who started the petition, along with Stephen Mensah and Vanessa Erhirhie. For Meghan White, co-founder of Ottawa-based Period Packs, a challenge with seeing change in period poverty is how varied and extensive the barriers can be. But even with the challenge, she said it still is something policymakers need to fix. “We need intervention from policymakers, because the fact that young people cannot go to school because they’re menstruating — it’s ludicrous. It is unacceptable,” White said. “What is going on right now is not working for half the people that live in this country, and that feels punitive. That’s not OK.” Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
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
Terrace RCMP arrested two men that had visited someone in COVID-19 isolation and tried to hit a police officer with a chair, according to an RCMP media release. On Feb. 17, RCMP received a report about two men who were visiting a person in COVID-19 quarantine at the Sunshine Inn. The occupant of the room, who is a client of ‘Ksan Society, called the front desk for help after the men refused to leave. The front desk called ‘Ksan Society, who then called who called the RCMP. When police arrived, they told the men they were unwelcome and needed to leave. “The men became combative with police, lifting a chair and attempting to strike the member with it, shouting expletives and threatening to kill police officers on scene,” the release states. The men were arrested for assault with a weapon, resisting arrest and uttering threats. They were later released by police undertaking to address the matter in court. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
While applicant and the Township are working to iron out concerns with a proposed townhouse project in King City, the matter is still headed to an LPAT hearing. Councillors, staff and members of the public offered input into Stateview Homes’ plan to build 49 residential cluster townhouses on Keele Street. The applicants are seeking amendments to zoning and King’s Official Plan to allow for the development. A public meeting was initially held in March 2019 and since then, both the applicant and Township staff have held working meetings. This led to two revised applications. The applications have been appealed to LPAT and a hearing is scheduled for this coming June. The outstanding issues include consideration for King’s OP, the proposed density, environmental buffers and traffic concerns. The property is currently zoned established neighbourhood, which doesn’t permit large-scale development. Townhouses are not considered a suitable use in this zoning. Staff said this application is fundamentally opposed to current planning rules and fails to meet many criteria. The applicant wants to redesignate the lands as medium density, but they’re currently deemed low density, limited to 25 units per hectare. The bid is to up that to 40 units per hectare. King plans also require vegetative buffers of 30 meters adjacent to natural heritage features, and this plan has zones that vary from 20 to 46 metres. The application included three-storey townhouses, but the surrounding neighbourhood is largely single, detached homes. An architectural design is still under review. Staff have been working with the applicant to address compatibility, particularly the lots in the eastern and southern boundaries. Also, staff are concerned with some minimum lot areas, as well as front and side yard setbacks. Staff are also concerned with limited amenity space. They favour further revision to include fewer or small units, which would allow for better lot coverage and comply with zoning provisions. Staff noted concerns have been raised over access to the site and traffic generated. Residents have asked that traffic lights be installed. However, the current application does not propose any signals. At this time, staff will report back to the Committee of the While, prior to the LPAT hearing, to outline the status of the applications and any further revisions. Consultant Murray Evans, representing Stateview, said this plan has several credible elements and they’ve made changes to improve setbacks, in hopes to mitigating any impacts on existing residents. He admitted there’s work to be done, mostly of a technical nature. The zoning standards, he contends, are reflective or an urban area. Their objective is to create a pedestrian-friendly street front. The issue of access is important to them, he said, noting they are working with the Township on the signal lights, perhaps at Norman. Bruce Craig, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT), said rows of townhouses will drastically change the streetscape. The combination of the five lots along the edge of the East Humber River Valley provides an excellent setting and opportunity to create an attractive residential subdivision with clusters of new homes that integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park. However, in CCKT’s view there would need to be significant changes to the present concept and site plan. Reducing the number of residential units and including two or three different forms of housing arranged carefully on this large parcel of land would address a number of concerns. Many mature trees could be preserved, impervious surface area reduced, the 30-metre buffer retained and a suitable transition to neighbouring lots achieved. The Established Neighbourhood designation in the new King Ofﬁcial Plan is intended to maintain the character and general fabric of the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The current proposal, with a density of 40 units/ha and blocks of three-storey townhouses does not achieve the goals or intent of the designation, the group points out. Regarding the revised site plan submitted by Stateview Homes in December 2020, CCKT recognizes several improvements, which include screening, retention of trees, wider planting strips, and more. CCKT said the density of proposal “far exceeds what is envisioned in the Established Neighbourhood designation.” The group would like the number of units reduced substantially. Craig pointed out that the blocks of townhouses stretching along Keele Street with small spaces between blocks is “not appealing and does not complement and integrate well in the existing neighbourhood with a more open space character.” They’d like to see the plan include single-detached, semi-detached, duplexes and/or one or two well-designed small blocks of two-storey townhouses carefully placed on the overall property to integrate well with homes in the existing neighbourhood. Also, the building heights of 12.5 metres is “far beyond the heights of the surrounding residential units which are made up of bungalows, and two-storey dwellings. Heights need to be reduced. CCKT recommends a maximum height of 9.0 metres.” CCKT advocates for retaining the full 30-metre buffer, and recommends that residential units and lots be adjusted to be completely outside of the buffer zone. CCKT, to, would like to see signalization at Norman Drive and the roadway entrance into High Crown Estates. Signals with sensors should be installed to allow the traffic to ﬂow well on Keele Street, and to provide for access on to Keele Street from Norman Drive and the High Crown Estates roadway in peak rush hour times. Dennison Drive should not be used for through trafﬁc in and out of this site. CCKT contends that with “signiﬁcant revisions to the current site plan, a creative and attractive subdivision plan can be achieved that is well-received by the neighbouring community.” Resident Jennifer Hobbs, representing King Heritage Park Ratepayers Association, made a comprehensive presentation to council. Her group represents some 220 King City residents. While residents understand growth pressures, this development doesn’t quite fit in with the neighbourhood and needs to be more forward-thinking. “If there is to be departure from the existing character of the neighbourhood, the development needs to provide adequate transition,” she said. The site includes many natural heritage features and is home to many mature trees and wildlife. The fear is many of these trees will be removed to make room for the development. Official Plan mandates, she said, include achieving a high degree of compatibility; minimizing impacts to vegetation, and having no negative impacts on adjacent properties. KHPRA, she stressed, is trying to ensure compatibility. The bid could change the design to soften the impact, and provide wider transition buffers. They suggest reducing the building height, setting buildings back further from the road, and planting larger streets. Increase traffic congestion is a major concern among residents. Hobbs said backups are common on Keele and this project will make matters even worse. It will add pressure to Keele and neighbouring streets, most of which don’t have sidewalks. The proposal, KHPRA contends, has no park space, and no safe pedestrian crossing. The group said they’re willing to work with the applicant and the Township to see a development that meets the needs of the community. There’s a need to find a balance between growth and residents’ safe enjoyment of their properties and the surrounding neighbourhood. “The latest changes to the proposal are an improvement, but still a long way from a plan that KHPRA would find acceptable.” A Martin Street resident said her street has become a shortcut for motorists, and traffic in her area is often at a standstill. She is concerned the new development will add to the mayhem in this family neighbourhood. She said there needs to be a plan for pedestrian safety, as well as adequate traffic calming measures. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said staff, through its traffic management plan, is always looking at speed limits in King’s villages. Another man said the project still has many deficiencies and he’d like to see two sets of traffic lights in the area. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
CHARLOTTETOWN — The health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses on Prince Edward Island for three days will end at midnight tonight. Premier Dennis King said today the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. The restrictions were imposed after clusters of COVID-19 cases emerged in Charlottetown and Summerside. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case.Morrison says results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases.There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is a thrill like few others on earth. The ocean is full of life here with a diversity that is unlike any other place of earth. The underwater volcanic structures and unique combination of ocean currents support a rich abundance of life. Sharks thrive here and scuba divers are thrilled to see them during their underwater adventures. But these scuba divers were not so thrilled when they finished exploring and underwater cave and they headed back to the open ocean. They found a group of sharks had entered the cave and were resting just inside the opening. White tip sharks are not likely to attack humans, unless provoked, but the divers were not able to pass through the narrow chamber without coming into direct contact with the 9-10 foot beasts. This would definitely be inviting trouble and the divers would be unable to easily turn and retreat back inside the caverns. The moment provided an excellent opportunity to gets some spectacular footage of the unusual scenario with the sharks backlit in an eerie fashion. The scuba divers had planned their dive well and they had plenty of reserve air at this point in the dive. They calmly waited and watched the sharks and eventually all of them swam out into the open water, leaving the exit clear. But for a few minutes, the large sharks in the exit were an intimidating sight indeed! People who venture beneath the waves are wise to remember that they are the visitors, or even intruders in this mysterious domain. Incorrect behaviour here can have immediate and disastrous consequences. The ability to stay calm during unexpected challenges is crucial to survival in a world where your air supply is limited.