Lake full of ice blossoms makes for a stunning, shimmery scene.
Lake full of ice blossoms makes for a stunning, shimmery scene.
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is extending its hostile takeover offer for Bonterra Energy Corp. until March 29. The offer was set to expire today. Bonterra has repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid. Obsidian has offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share. In December, Obsidian reduced the minimum number of tendered shares needed to complete the transaction to 50 per cent from two-thirds. Obsidian has said a combined Obsidian-Bonterra could save $50 million in the first year and a total of $100 million in the first three years, however Bonterra has said those savings are "uncertain." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE) The Canadian Press
UNI Global Union, that represents about 20 million workers globally, said on Monday it helped form Alpha Global, Google's union alliance that includes multiple countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK. "The problems at Alphabet ... are not limited to any one country, and must be addressed on a global level," UNI's General Secretary Christy Hoffman said.
After arguments between residents who lived near Meadowcrest beach erupted in the later summer, McDougall’s council has decided that boats will not be permitted to launch from that location. At the previous meeting in December, Leduc brought forward three recommendations to council on how to remedy the situation at the small beach. The first option was to operate the beach the same as before the pandemic, with the launching of small boats limited to a vessel that a person can carry to the water. Option two was to operate the beach with the added restriction of no vessel launching of any kind, and the third option was to allow people to launch small boats or vessels on trailers only from ice out until May 31 and then again from Sept. 15 to the time the lake ices. Here are some quotes from the council meeting regarding the decision: “This isn’t a resolution, it’s just direction to staff; currently it is established as a beach and I spoke at the previous meeting about leaving it as a beach and my position hasn’t changed on that,” said Mayor Dale Robinson. “Are there any other spots on Portage Lake where it’s possible to look at for future boat ramps?” asked Coun. Joe Ryman. “The spot at Portage Creek right now is municipal property; there is no dock there currently, so there really is no encumbrance for us to put a dock there if we needed to, as it is our property,” said parks and recreation director Brian Leduc. At the Jan. 20 council meeting, three councillors and the mayor voted in favour of the beach remaining simply a beach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Niagara Falls Transit has elected to revert to its pre-pandemic winter schedule. The city said in a press release in order to provide the best level of service to riders given provincial restrictions, it will return to regular winter city and WEGO service, minus 30-minute peak services, on day routes. Changes take effect Monday. On Jan. 18, in an attempt to comply with the state of emergency orders issued by the province, Niagara Falls Transit preemptively adjusted its hours of operation to reflect the average business closure of 8 p.m.; however, it acknowledged that it could have been stranding essential service workers. The city issued an apology on its website for any inconvenience it caused transit users. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
TORONTO — Scientists and health experts are launching a nationwide campaign to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. The #ScienceUpFirst initiative is an awareness and engagement campaign that will use social media to debunk incorrect information and boost science-based content. The campaign team says in a news release that it emerged from conversations between Nova Scotia Sen. Stan Kutcher and Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. The initiative is now being led by the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Anyone interested in participating can follow @scienceupfirst and use the #ScienceUpFirst hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and tag the account to amplify science-based posts and alert it to misinformation posts. The campaign says there is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission and government response, and it represents a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. "Misinformation is a dire, imminent threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fueling COVID-19 infections, and dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated," says Caulfield. "The #ScienceUpFirst initiative seeks to help fill an urgent need to beat back misinformation with the truth, and save lives." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
BERLIN — Austrian authorities stopped a man at Vienna airport as he tried to smuggle 74 protected chameleons from Africa into the country. They said in a statement Friday that a 56-year-old man, who was not further identified, had hidden the animals in socks and empty ice-cream boxes when he was caught at customs control in Vienna. He had travelled to Austria from Tanzania via Ethiopia. The chameleons were taken to the Austrian capital's Schoenbrunn Zoo, which said that three of the animals did not survive. All the animals were from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from 1 week old to adult animals. On the black market they would sell for for about 37,000 euros ($44,9700), officials said. The man who smuggled the animals into Austria has to pay a fine of up to 6,000 euros, the Austrian finance ministry said in a statement. The Associated Press
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 457 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 253 633 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 227 215 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 41 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 9 478. De ces 41 décès, 12 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 26 entre le 17 et le 22 janvier, 2 avant le 17 janvier et 1 à une date inconnue. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 56 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 327. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a augmenté de 3, pour un total actuel de 219. Les prélèvements réalisés le 22 janvier s'élèvent à 33 719, pour un total de 5 646 660. Au cours des 7 derniers jours (depuis le 16 janvier), ce sont 72 396 personnes qui ont été vaccinées, pour une moyenne quotidienne de 10 342 personnes vaccinées.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Takedown NOTICE Please DO NOT USE story slugged LJI-ON-Huntsville-fire dept.-recruiting headlined Huntsville-Lake of Bays fire department kicks off online recruitment in February. This story has been killed by its news editor. Regards, Local Journalism Initiative AVIS d'annulation Prière de NE PAS PUBLIER l'article identifié LJI-ON-Huntsville-fire dept.-recruiting et intitulé Huntsville-Lake of Bays fire department kicks off online recruitment in February. Cet article a été annulé par le rédacteur en chef de la publication. Merci de votre collaboration, Initiative de journalisme local Zahraa Hmod, muskokaregion.com
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The Associated Press
The Township of Perry passed three beginning-of-the-year finance bylaws at the Jan. 20 council meeting. The province of Ontario requires that municipalities pass bylaws at the beginning of each year to allow for borrowing to cover expenditures, authorizing the interim tax levy and setting tax reduction rates for specific property tax classes. So, What Is an Interim Tax Levy? The interim tax levy allows the treasurer to issue temporary tax notices and set due dates, interest and penalty amounts for the new year. According to a report to council, this allows the municipality to maintain a positive cash flow and reduce the need for borrowing funds to cover operational expenses. How Does That Affect You? This year an interim tax payment in the amount of 50 per cent of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property shall be levied on all property classes. The tax levy is payable in two instalments on Feb. 25, 2021, and April 25, 2021. What Does the ‘Borrowing Bylaw’ Mean? The borrowing bylaw allows the municipality to temporarily borrow funds to cover operating expenses when necessary. The maximum amount of money allowed to be borrowed, according to the bylaw, is $500,000. The bylaw also includes a clause saying that, to access funds, a resolution must be passed by the council stating the facility and the amount to be borrowed. What Is a Tax Reduction Bylaw? The tax reduction bylaw sets out reductions on vacant and excess commercial and industrial property tax rates as well as rate reductions for first-class farmland in all property classes. These rate reductions are set out by the province of Ontario. What Do the Provincial Tax Reduction Rates Look Like This Year? The tax rate reductions for 2021 are: · The vacant land and excess land in the commercial property class is 30 per cent. · The vacant land and excess land in the industrial property class is 35 per cent. · First class of farmland awaiting development in residential/farm, multi-residential, commercial or industrial class is 75 per cent while the second class of farmland waiting development is zero per cent. Commercial property class includes all commercial offices, shopping centres and parking lot properties. Industrial property class includes all large industrial properties and first/second class of farmland awaiting development consist of land defined in accordance with provincial regulations. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
When Kaitlyn Trainor saw the viral pictures of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders following the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, she knew immediately what he was wearing on his hands. Smittens, mittens put together with material from recycled sweaters. "I thought, 'It's great for the crafters out there.' I was at work so I didn't really see it happening but I did see it after," Trainor told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. Trainor is one of a trio known as Trainor Smittens. "It's three generations of love, I like to say. Me, my mom and my grammie," she said. "It's a good way to spend time together." The small business dates back to when Trainor was a university student, and they saw a pair of smittens at a craft show. It started with the idea they would just make some for themselves, and grew from there. Now the three women comb the thrift stores for old wool sweaters, and sew them together with a lining of cashmere or merino wool. Very little goes to waste. The cuffs for the mittens come from the bottom of sweaters or the sleeves. It takes about an hour for the three of them to make a pair. "It is a bit of a process to put it all together, but it's fun," she said. Trainor said their stock is down after Christmas, but they were working over the weekend to make more in the face of an expected increase in demand following all the attention last week. More from CBC P.E.I.
La Corporation du Moulin des pionniers a obtenu un financement de 450 000 dollars de Développement économique Canada. Ce montant permettra à l’organisation de construire de multiples infrastructures familiales, dont des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, et ce, dès cet été. « C’est toute qu’une bonne nouvelle », s’est réjoui le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui est également le président-directeur général de la Corporation du Moulin des pionniers. Ce dernier avait bien hâte d’annoncer la nouvelle à toute la population, car DEC Canada avait informé la municipalité le 24 décembre, offrant un des plus beaux cadeaux de Noël pour le maire de la municipalité qui compte un peu plus de 1300 âmes. « Ce n’est que la première phase de notre plan de développement », ajoute fièrement le maire. Avec l’aide de 450 000 dollars de DEC Canada, le Moulin des pionniers investira également 150 000 $ dans le projet initial de 600 000 $. La construction du parc familial commencera dès que le sol sera dégelé. On y retrouvera notamment des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, lesquels viennent s’ajouter à l’offre actuelle. Le choix des fournisseurs et des modèles de structures n’est pas encore fait, poursuit le premier magistrat, mais le concept sera relié au thème du site historique, soit la forêt et le bois. Vers un camping en 2022 Ce projet permettra d’enclencher la phase 2 du projet, dès 2022, espère Yanick Baillargeon. « Selon le concept initial, on prévoit développer un camping de 139 emplacements », dit-il, avant d’ajouter que les plans sont toujours à l’étude. Cette phase de développement devrait nécessiter un investissement supplémentaire de 900 000 dollars, qui est toutefois plus facile à financer étant donné que des revenus se rattachent au projet. Les astres semblent désormais alignés pour un développement majeur, estime le maire. La piste cyclable entre Saint-Félicien et La Doré sera terminée cette année. Un sentier de quad entre La Doré et le Relais 22, sur le territoire de La Tuque, devrait se concrétiser sous peu. Un sentier de vélo de montagne a été développé jusqu’à la montagne à Ouellet et elle se rendra bientôt jusqu’au Tobo-ski. Ajoutez à cela les sentiers de ski de fond, de raquettes, les nombreux sentiers de motoneige, ainsi que le charme de la rivière. « C’est un site merveilleux qui gagne à être connu », remarque Yanick Baillargeon. Plusieurs maisons anciennes sur le site, qui sont en train d’être rénovées, seront disponibles pour la location dès l’été prochain. « C’est un premier pas pour développer l’hébergement sur le site, avant d’implanter le camping », conclut ce dernier.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
A U.S. voting machine company filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against former President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation in what it called his "big lie" campaign about widespread fraud in the presidential election, court documents on Monday showed. The Denver-based company, Dominion Voting Systems Inc, filed an earlier lawsuit against pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, whom the company also accused of spreading false conspiracy theories about the election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. A senior Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, also filed a defamation lawsuit against the Trump campaign, saying he had been driven into hiding because of death threats from Trump supporters.
Structure and rhythm are important for Ayden Rana. The six-year-old is on the autism spectrum and requires a little extra help to complete his studies. When the winter break turned into an extended period away from the classroom, keeping most children and teachers at home, it presented a unique challenge for Ayden and his mother, Karen, who found herself playing the role of teacher, therapist, support worker and parent. “He was very receptive the first two days, I would say, to virtual learning because he got to see the teacher and the educational assistants,” Karen said. But the novelty quickly wore off. Studying became much harder. Learning became even more challenging than usual. Touch and sense are key to Ayden’s educational development, meaning the curiously flat, two-dimensional world of pixels on a screen, fell far short of meeting his needs. “The educational assistant realized his needs for tactile material — he’s not grasping the Chromebook — so she put together a binder with all the activities,” Karen explained. “All the math, English, all the subjects he would do at school, along with his puzzles, his timer [and] his favorite pens [are included].” The binder is carefully prepared by his educational assistant every week and left for Ayden to pick up, offering new material to make the best of a difficult situation. For some other students with special needs, learning at home — even with the extra work and resources — isn’t a possibility. As a result, despite the province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home-order, some are still physically in school. A few teachers are on hand, along with a small army of special education assistants. At the Peel District School Board, they are referred to as educational assistants (EAs) and a large number of the board’s 3,800 EAs are reporting for duty. At Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where they are known as educational resource workers (ERWs) 40 school sites are open and staffed. A major issue for EAs working at PDSB is a lack of coordination and tracking by the board, Natacha Verdiel, president of OPSEU Local 2100, the union representing EAs at PDSB, explained to The Pointer. Unlike students and teachers who cohort together, EAs do not have to sign into classrooms and are not included in contact tracing efforts when an outbreak is declared. “An EA might cross cohorts 14 times on any given day,” she explained. “They might report to 12 different classrooms to provide support to high needs students. They’re now cross contaminating between students, that’s alarming, and no one knows they’ve been in that classroom.” As a result of their specific profiles, many children with special needs are unable to wear a mask. Some even find staff wearing them to be upsetting and can attempt to physically remove them. Depending on a child’s age, size and unique needs, such behaviour can be challenging. In some instances the desire to create normalcy can even lead to aggressive actions by some students. That’s why some personal protective measures to mitigate the risk of viral spread can’t be used. “Here’s what I don’t think the public understands: the students that are reporting to the physical building right now are students who cannot wear masks,” Verdiel said. “They are all unmasked, all of the students are unmasked. Most of them are extremely behavioral, they are our highest needs students in the system.” Verdiel described one situation where a particular student coughs, spits and sneezes as part of their behavioural profile. “The staff in there are covered in bodily fluids, all day long,” she said, lamenting the lack of effective personal protective equipment and how masks can act “as a target” for some students who attempt to remove them or strike the workers wearing them. For the parents of children with special needs, the role EAs, ERWs and the education system play can be nothing short of a miracle. Staff are able to look after children during the day, calm them and tend to their various behavioural and physical needs. “Some of our workers have phenomenal skills… some of them are outrageously amazing at what they can do,” Pam Bonferro, president of the Dufferin Peel Educational Resource Workers’ Association, told The Pointer. “They’re like pied pipers, they walk into a room and the students calm down.” Karen Rana agrees, describing Ayden’s EA as a rock. “He changed three classes [due to COVID-19 attendence variations], so you can imagine,” she said. “Three classes, three teachers, three sets of students, but with the same assistant. She has been the constant and it’s been very positive for Ayden.” The work of classroom assistants is often born of passion. As a vocation, many pursue the work out of a desire to help care for children and assist with their challenging development. “It’s not that they don't want to support the students that are there,” Verdiel added. “They want the Province to acknowledge that those who are reporting in person are unable to maintain any kind of physical distancing at all. Their job is very, very, very high risk in terms of exposure to bodily fluids.” Highlighting the fact the government is working hard during a crisis, but still missing key supports, Bonferro said ERWs and EAs are being inadvertently positioned in opposition to the very families they support. “What they have technically done is they have pitted the EAs against the parents,” she said. “They are taking the EAs voice away, if an EA speaks up, they’re going to be kind of vilified as the bad guy [in the] situation. So they are way beyond stressed and what’s really tearing them apart is: they have a conscience, they care about the kids they work with.” The Ministry of Education did not provide a response in time for publication. Despite working in the same space as teachers, classroom assistants have unique demands, detailed by the unions who represent them. Where teachers can safely distance from pupils, even in the same classroom, EAs and ERWs are unable to make the space. Their duties include helping students use the bathroom, feeding and, when needed, physically helping them to calm down. “The exposure level that a teacher has when they’re standing in front of a classroom teaching versus the exposure that an EA has when they’re being spat in the face or restraining a student [is significantly different],” Verdiel said. The unions have several specific asks of the Doug Ford government to improve the situation. They include pandemic pay, more robust PPE and rapid access to the vaccine. Under the Province’s current vaccination rollout, teachers and classroom assistants find themselves on the list at the same time. The second phase, which also includes older adults living in the community and several other key worker categories, could run as late as July, which risks some EAs and ERWs not being vaccinated until during the summer break. “The government has taken on the position that EAs are now essential workers; however, they are not being provided with the same level of pay or protection,” Verdiel said. “The NDP has long called for pandemic pay for all frontline workers, and believes educators should be included among the groups prioritized to get their vaccine,” NDP Education Critic Maritt Stiles told The Pointer. “Special education assistants, who are now working in classrooms with vulnerable people, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, when the vaccine becomes available.” PDSB provided a statement offering extensive instructions to EAs around wearing PPE. It did not address questions around contact tracing and EAs working in multiple classrooms. “Since returning from the winter break, all students and staff, including EAs, who have returned to in-person learning and working are required to follow the Active Daily Screening process,” a spokesperson told The Pointer. At DPCDSB, contact tracing does not appear to be an issue and ERWs are carefully monitored. “School principals maintain a record of any ERWs that are working in the school and should a positive COVID case be reported, any staff and students that worked with, or could be considered to be a close contact, would be identified for contact tracing,” Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the board, told The Pointer. As most schools remain closed and the majority of children learn at home, EAs and ERWs continue to show up for work feeling increasingly isolated and vulnerable. “Everybody is sympathetic, everybody understands,” Verdiel said. “Nobody is willing to do anything.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Other regions will be holding off at least until the end of January.View on euronews
La Banque de développement du Canada (BDC) s’attend à une meilleure performance économique au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean en 2021 que la moyenne québécoise, grâce à la reprise rapide de ses secteurs économiques clés et de l’emploi. Dans la région comme ailleurs dans la province, 2021 sera une année de relance et de croissance, après la contraction de 2020 imposée par la crise sanitaire de la COVID-19, estime Pierre Cléroux, économiste en chef de la BDC. Il aborde la prochaine année avec optimisme pour l’économie régionale, en soulignant la forte demande actuellement pour le bois d’oeuvre et l’aluminium, qui a des impacts sur la hausse des prix et des exportations. «Cela a un impact positif sur la production, et ces deux secteurs-là sont ceux qui vont avoir un impact positif sur la région», a souligné M. Cléroux, en entrevue avec Le Quotidien. Il cite également la relève du secteur manufacturier en général parmi les secteurs qui «performent bien» actuellement. L’économiste s’attend ainsi à une relance plus rapide que celle anticipée par Desjardins, qui estimait en septembre que le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean connaîtrait l’une des reprises les plus lentes et difficiles de la province en 2021. Dans la région comme ailleurs, toutefois, il faut s’attendre à une reprise à deux vitesses, alors que certains secteurs demeurent durement touchés par la crise et les impacts du deuxième confinement. Les pertes d’emploi sont encore importantes dans la restauration, l’hôtellerie, le tourisme et dans les arts et spectacles. Des régions comme Montréal demeureront par exemple plus affectées sur ce plan, en raison de l’importance de ces secteurs pour leur économie, précise Pierre Cléroux. L’économiste demeure confiant de voir un rebond rapide des investissements et de la consommation dans ces secteurs lorsque la vaccination permettra de lever ou de réduire les mesures sanitaires. «Ce qu’on a appris en 2020, c’est que lorsqu’on enlève les restrictions sur un secteur, ce secteur-là revient rapidement», indique-t-il. Plusieurs consommateurs seront prêts à dépenser après avoir diminué leurs dépenses en voyages, activités et loisirs en 2020, croit-il, alors que l’épargne des Canadiens s’est élevée à 200 G$ en 2020. Rétablissement de l'emploi La reprise observée dans les secteurs manufacturier, de l’aluminium et de la forêt a contribué au rétablissement du marché du travail régional à l’automne, souligne en outre Pierre Cléroux. En octobre, l’emploi avait retrouvé son niveau d’avant la crise, le dépassant même légèrement, alors que 19 000 emplois avaient été perdus au printemps. «Ce n’est pas le cas dans l’ensemble du Québec, donc je pense que votre région va mieux performer que la moyenne québécoise», estime l’économiste. Dans la province, l’emploi s’était alors rétabli à 97,2% en octobre par rapport à février. L’emploi a cependant légèrement diminué en décembre dans la région, pour descendre sous le niveau de février, selon les données de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Son rétablissement demeure néanmoins au-devant de celui la province, où le niveau d’avant la crise n’a toujours pas été retrouvé. Après avoir été la région affichant le plus haut taux de chômage en mai et en juin, avec des sommets de 16,1% et 16,5%, le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean se situait à 6,1% en décembre, sous le taux provincial de 7,2%. La région termine toutefois l’année 2020 avec un taux de chômage à 9,1%, dépassant légèrement la moyenne provinciale de 8,8,%. M. Cléroux sera d’ailleurs l’un des invités du prochain Rendez-vous économique de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Saguenay-Le Fjord. L’événement dédié aux perspectives économiques de 2021 qui aura lieu en ligne jeudi, de 11h à 13h. + LES ENTREPRISES EN MEILLEURE SITUATION Pierre Cléroux, économiste en chef de la BDC, demeure également optimiste pour les entreprises, alors que leur situation s’est améliorée récemment, selon la dernière enquête réalisée par l’institution financière en décembre. Les entreprises disposent de davantage de liquidités. «Dans la restauration, ce n’est pas le cas, mais en général, dans l’ensemble des autres secteurs, les entreprises semblent en meilleure position qu’elles ne l’étaient il y a six mois», constate M. Cléroux. L’endettement des entreprises demeure cependant élevé après cette année difficile qui a amené 7% des entreprises du Québec à mettre la clé sous la porte en 2020, pour un total de 60 000 au Canada. Le virage numérique demeure la clé pour les commerçants afin de leur permettre de tirer leur épingle du jeu, estime l’économiste, qui est également vice-président recherche de la société d’État qui se consacre aux entrepreneurs. L’institution possède d’ailleurs un centre d’affaires au centre-ville de Chicoutimi. Pénurie de main-d’oeuvre Les dirigeants et entrepreneurs ne seront toutefois pas au bout de leur peine, une fois que la relance sera sur les rails. Le défi de la pénurie de main-d’oeuvre, qui représentait l’enjeu économique d’avant la crise, refera surface et frappera plus durement, prévient l’économiste. «En plus, en 2020, on n’a presque pas eu d’immigration, donc ça va amplifier le problème», estime-t-il. En plus de l’immigration, les entreprises devront se tourner vers les investissements dans la technologie et la formation pour faire face à cette situation qui sera selon lui «l’enjeu d’une décennie».Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials that showed it was safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unfounded theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by calling for the WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. The site had been mentioned previously by CGTN and other state-controlled outlets. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press