They do outdoor fun right in Muskoka, Ontario.
They do outdoor fun right in Muskoka, Ontario.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
OTTAWA — Here are quick facts about Julie Payette, who resigned as governor general on Thursday:Age: 57Hometown: MontrealEducation: Attended primary and secondary school in Montreal and earned an international baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. Studied electrical engineering at McGill University before obtaining a master's degree in computer engineering from the University of Toronto. Has 24 honorary degrees.Early career: Conducted research in computer systems and speech-recognition software as an engineer with various organizations, including IBM and the University of Toronto, before being chosen by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 1992. Payette was one of four people chosen out of more than 5,300 applicants.Astronaut experience: Technical adviser on a robotics system that Canada contributed to the International Space Station before obtaining her commercial pilot licence and military pilot qualification, studying Russian and other training in preparation for travelling to space. CSA's chief astronaut from 2000 to 2007. First space mission was an 11-day trip to the International Space Station to deliver supplies in 1999, when she became the first Canadian to board the ISS. The second was a two-week flight to the ISS in 2009.Post-space life: While still part of the CSA, Payette accepted a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. in 2011 before becoming a representative for the Quebec government in the U.S. capital. She retired from the space agency in 2013 to become the head of the Montreal Science Centre as well as vice-president of a federal Crown corporation, the Canada Lands Company.Viceregal appointment: Sworn in as Canada's 29th governor general in October 2017 following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recommendation to the Queen. Trudeau recommended Payette after abolishing a panel designed to vet and recommend potential governors general.Post-appointment controversy: Following Payette's appointment, it emerged that she'd been charged with second-degree assault while living in Maryland in 2011. She called the charge unfounded, and it has since been expunged. She was also involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that same year. The case was closed without charges after a police investigation. Both revelations nonetheless raised questions about the government's decision to recommend her. She also raised eyebrows for using a speech shortly after taking over the position to mock those who question climate change and believe in creationism, and reducing her participation in traditional duties and responsibilities of her office.Toxic work environment: Reports emerged within the first year of her time in office of problems at Rideau Hall, before explosive allegations erupted last year of a toxic work environment within her office. A private firm was hired to investigate and its findings led to her resignation on Thursday.Interests and experiences: Running, skiing, racket sports and scuba diving. Fluent in French and English, conversant in Spanish, Italian, Russian and German. Plays the piano and has sung at venues in Canada and Switzerland. Has also produced a number of science productions for broadcast.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — A Calgary man who killed his daughter and seriously injured her best friend in a drunk-driving crash is appealing his conviction and sentence. Michael Shaun Bomford was found guilty last January of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as causing the 2016 crash while impaired. He was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison. Bomford has filed an appeal that claims the sentence was excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances. He also suggests the trial judge erred by ruling hearsay text messages admissible at trial. Bomford is serving his sentence at the Drumheller Institution in Alberta. Court heard Bomford had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he took his 17-year-old daughter, Meghan, and her friend, Kelsey Nelson, to get police checks so that they could become junior ringette coaches. His daughter did not survive the crash, while Nelson suffered a severe brain injury and has no recollection of it. Bomford's trial heard that he lost control of his Jeep while driving 112 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. The Jeep rolled into the median and all three occupants were thrown out of the vehicle. (CTV Calgary) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020. The Canadian Press
If you are planning to go for a skate on the outdoor rink in Tottenham, plan on waiting in line. Because of the new situation with lockdown across the province, the Town has had to make adjustments to its facilities. This includes the number of people allowed to gather at both indoor and outdoor facilities and during outdoor activities. As a result, the outdoor ice pad at the Tottenham Com-munity & Fitness Centre has changed the allowable number of people on the ice at one time, as well as the length of time individual skate can stay on the ice. The ice pad will remain open for skating only. A maximum of five skaters will be allowed on the rink at any given time and masks must be worn at all times when on the ice. A time limit of 30 minutes will be in place for each skater, rather than the previous 55 minutes, to allow access for more people. There was a plan to create outdoor ice rinks at the Fairgrounds in Beeton and at Doner Park in Alliston. However, the weather has not provided the proper temperatures to start flooding, and with new public directives regarding the number of people allowed to gather, and the effort to have people stay home, it was decided to pause any effort to create those rinks. In addition, the indoor ice surfaces at the New Tecums-eth Recreation Centre and the Tottenham Community Centre will be removed to reduce the costs associated with maintaining an ice surface that can’t be used. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
L’Ontario a répertorié 2632 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19 au cours de la dernière journée, et déplore le décès de 46 personnes causé par le virus. En tout, la province a enregistré près de 250 000 cas du coronavirus depuis janvier 2020. On compte aussi 5614 Ontariens qui ont perdu la vie aux mains de la COVID-19. Mercredi, 1533 personnes atteintes du virus étaient hospitalisées, dont 388 patients aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 293 étaient sous respirateur. Foyers de soins de longue durée Dans les foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), 98 résidents et 55 membres du personnel ont reçu un résultat positif à leur test de dépistage de la COVID-19. Par ailleurs, 17 résidents ont perdu la vie en raison du virus, la même journée. À LIRE AUSSI: «Restez à la maison», demande Doug Ford en 22 langues Mercredi, 15 899 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour recevoir une dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. En tout, 40 225 résidents de la province ont reçu toutes les doses nécessaires du vaccin. Plus de 250 000 doses du vaccin ont été administrées en Ontario.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
CHICAGO — Elizabeth Shelby had her inauguration outfit planned weeks in advance: blue jeans, a Kamala Harris sweatshirt, a green coat, and pink Chuck Taylors as an homage to her sorority’s colours and Vice-President Harris’ signature shoe. And pearls, just like the ones Harris wore when she graduated from Howard University, was sworn into Congress, and was sworn in as the first woman, first Black and South Asian person, and first Alpha Kappa Alpha member to serve as vice-president. Shelby, a member of the Alpha Psi chapter of AKA, had hoped to wear her pearls at the inauguration in Washington, D.C. Instead, she donned them at home in Nashville, Tennessee. Following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, AKA, the oldest sorority of the historically Black fraternities and sororities that make up the Divine Nine, called off inauguration events and urged members to stay home. So countless AKA members celebrated the historic moment in their living rooms, on Twitter and on Zoom calls. “I wanted to help show Kamala that her sisters are behind her always,” Shelby said. “I wanted her to look out and see a sea of pink and green and know that this is her moment.” After the Capitol insurrection, Shelby cancelled her plane tickets and hotel reservation. The rioting robbed many AKAs of their feeling of safety at the inauguration and beyond, she said, and many members have been telling each other to stop wearing their letters in public for safety reasons. But Shelby said that didn't stop her from celebrating at a Zoom viewing party with her local graduate chapter. “I’m not going to let this take the joy out of this moment,” she said. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, joined AKA in 1986 at Howard University, one of the country’s oldest historically Black colleges and universities. When she accepted the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in August, she thanked AKA, saying, “Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha.” Soon after, donations in increments of $19.08, marking the year, 1908, when the sorority was founded, started flowing in to a Biden-Harris campaign fundraising committee. Alpha Kappa Alpha declared on Twitter that Jan. 20 would be Soror Kamala D. Harris Day, and encouraged members to share photos of their celebrations with the hashtag #KamalaHarrisDay. Andrea Morgan, who became an AKA the same year Harris did, posted photos of her pink sweater and pearls on Twitter with the hashtag, which she told the AP “makes us feel closer together even when we're far apart." “If we were able to be there in person, I don’t think you’d be able to look anywhere without seeing pink and green,” said Genita Harris of the Delta Omega Omega chapter in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. "Now on social media, this is a showing of our solidarity, of our love and support for our soror.” She said group chats with her sorority sisters were “going bananas” during a historic moment for the sisterhood and for HBCUs. “It’s been the same story of white men for centuries," she said. “Now a new story is being written, and it’s our story.” AKA soror Josclynn Brandon booked her plane tickets to D.C. the day Biden announced Harris as his running mate in August. When the 2020 presidential election was called, CNN was playing on her phone on the dashboard of her car. She pulled over and cried. “I knew then that I was going to see Kamala Harris make history,” she said. “It confirmed that Black women and women of colour are so much more capable than some people believe us to be.” Brandon made plans to be in D.C. from Jan. 13-21 to celebrate the sorority’s Founders’ Day on Jan. 15, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the inauguration, all in the same city where AKA was founded. After the Jan. 6 insurrection, she, too, cancelled her trip. “It did rob me of my feeling of safety while going to D.C., and it robbed me of the moment of seeing a Black woman and sorority sister become VP right in front of me,” she said. “But it took away so much more than just me going to D.C. It takes away from this celebration and robs our incoming administration of the full celebration they deserved.” Brandon watched Harris' swearing-in from her home in Indianapolis while wearing a sweatshirt with a photo of Harris from college and the words, “The Vice-President is my sorority sister.” “I’m still going to celebrate,” she said. “I’m not going to let that group’s action take away this moment. I don’t want to let them win.” Shelby grew up hearing young Black boys say they wanted to be president after Barack Obama made history as the country’s first Black president. Now, she hopes Black girls will have those dreams too. “It’s a historic moment,” she said. “To see not only a woman but a woman of colour and member of the Divine Nine become vice-president is something I never even dreamed of happening as a little girl growing up in America.” “There is a pride I can’t put into words,” she continued. “It is such a joy to see her rise to this place in our country. It is such a joy to know that she is one of us, that she represents us. She is truly our ancestors’ wildest dreams.” — Fernando is a member of the Associated Press’ Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christinetfern. Christine Fernando, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia has restored an online portal through which the public can submit freedom of information requests, almost three years after the site was shut down because of a security breach. The new site was launched Thursday and allows people to track the progress of requests, pay fees and receive responses. The site was shut down in March 2018 after a 19-year-old downloaded documents from the site to his home computer. About 7,000 documents were accessed over two days, affecting 700 people. The young man wasn't charged because he told officers he had used a widely available software to search for documents about a teachers' labour dispute, and it became clear to authorities that the basic firewalls weren't in place. The province says it has updated and improved security features on the site to prevent further breaches. Paula Arab, Nova Scotia's Internal Services minister, said the province has a five-year contract worth $760,000 with two companies to operate the site. Arab said it took time to set up the portal because the project was split into several parts. One portion involved receiving requests while another involved disclosing documents. Added security measures also required time, she said. "We wanted to do as many security tests as we could and to come up with the right solutions, and we took seriously two reports given to us following the (security) breach," Arab said. The new access to information application site can be found at iaprequest.novascotia.ca. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
“If I ever got a chance to speak to the Biden administration, I would plead my case,” said Nekaneet First Nation Chief Alvin Francis, president of Natural Law Energy (NLE). That “case” would be the value in continuing the United States’ portion of the 1,897-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline which travels from Hardisty, Alberta, through Saskatchewan, Montana and South Dakota, ending in Steele City, Nebraska. Yesterday, in his first day in office, new U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order rescinding his predecessor Donald Trump’s Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline border crossing. NLE, a group of three Alberta and two Saskatchewan First Nations, has been working towards a $1 billion investment in the TC Energy-owned Keystone XL pipeline. “It's a disappointment, right? It really is because it's going to affect many First Nations, even the tribes in the United States. It's going to affect them because TC Energy was almost close to actually signing up joint venture partnerships with those in the United States side,” said Francis. He says chairmen of the Nebraska tribes have told him that Biden wants to create jobs and this pipeline meets that goal. First Nations involvement was recognized by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a scathing address late Wednesday afternoon that condemned the new U.S. administration for rescinding the permit and not respecting its closest ally and trading partner. “Let me also point out that TC Energy has made tremendous progress in bringing on board First Nations on both sides of the border as potential equity partners,” said Kenney. However, not all U.S. tribes support the pipeline. The Native Organizers Alliance applauded Biden for his decision. “Farmers, tribal councils, ranchers, and Native non-profit organizations have been instrumental in raising awareness around the significant threats to the health and resources of Native peoples living in the path of the pipeline. And sovereign tribes have taken the issue to court to protect their territories and the Missouri River bioregion for all,” said NOA executive director Judith Le Blanc. Earlier Wednesday, in anticipation of President Biden’s decision, Calgary-based TC Energy shutdown its operation. Kenney said that shutdown had cost 2,000 people their jobs. Francis admits Biden’s actions were not unexpected. In fact, the too-close-to-call November U.S. election had dampened some of the activity undertaken by NLE. Late last year, NLE hired consultants Price Waterhouse Canada to round up investors for the $1 billion investment. Investors were found but nothing was finalized. “(Price Waterhouse has) done their job on that. But really it was, of course, the election. That's what they were waiting for also,” said Francis. Also of note were preliminary talks with the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. The Crown corporation created by the Alberta United Conservative Party government offers loan guarantees from $25 million to $250 million for Indigenous-led natural resource projects. “Say the project and partnership was at the point they were ready to paper the deal, we would not be in a position to offer a guarantee at this time, because there is a huge risk in respect to the way the American election may go. We don’t want to put Alberta taxpayer dollars at risk,” AIOC CEO Alicia Dubois told Windspeaker.com last October. Trump’s approval of Keystone XL came after outgoing President Barack Obama nixed the project. Biden had promised to cancel the project should he win. The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion of taxpayer money in the Keystone XL pipeline. The Biden administration is saying no to the project now, says Francis, but he is a “glass is half-full” person. He believes Biden’s decision is political as the new president is “getting away from everything Trump has put his stamp on.” “I'm not going to give up on it because, really, Keystone XL is going to be the safest, most environmentally-friendly pipeline that is. We just have to go back to the drawing table and really re-evaluate what have we got to do to make it even more environmentally friendly?” said Francis. He believes that part of that discussion with the Biden administration has to include the science around the pipeline that makes it environmentally safe and the ongoing need for oil. Francis is hopeful there is a future for Keystone because “it really is such a big project that it could mean, in every community that we have signed up, it'll make an economic difference.” In the meantime, Francis says NLE remains involved with TC Energy. “Whenever there is something, a project that is available, if they are going to approach us to see if we have interest and, of course, we're going to show interest, because any economic development or project that we can actually put our hand on to make it more green, more environmentally friendly, we want to be there to back it up,” he said. While Keystone XL pipeline is a set back for Nekaneet First Nation, it is not the only project driving the economics for that Treaty 4 Nation. “I’m always involved with the province (of Saskatchewan). I’m always talking to them in every which way,” he said. Francis said he has received band member approval to develop a section of land along a 1.5 km-stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. He says investors are committed to a gas station in that area and there are talks about a possible Tim Hortons franchise. However, since COVID-19 hit, development has stalled. NLE members also include Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan and three Alberta First Nations: Ermineskin Cree, Montana, and Louis Bull Tribe. Each member was to share equally in the benefits from the Keystone XL pipeline project. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine. Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week's order to the federal government. "The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada's case," Tory said. Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday. Tory said he knows members of Pfizer's management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government. "I'm trying to help the country's efforts to try to see if we can't get more supply," the mayor said. "I can't tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else's, will have." Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city's public health unit. An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer, said everyone's frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope. "Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted," De Villa said. "But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we'll do our very best." De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error. Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city's ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is at a "tipping point" as health officials try to control the spread of COVID-19, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said Thursday. Officials are giving time to see if present health orders are working, she said, adding that they won't hesitate to move the province into another tight lockdown if necessary. "We know that once the doubling time shortens to the point where you're doubling every day, that's exponential growth and we definitely don't want to see that," Russell said. "We definitely are at a tipping point." Russell said the number of new infections in the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton zones appear stable after officials moved those regions to the red pandemic-alert level. The Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi zones will remain at the orange level, she said, adding that her biggest concern is the Edmundston region, which shares a border with Quebec. "The situation in (Edmundston) remains gravely concerning," Russell said. "The outbreak has spread into workplaces and adult residential facilities, which is deeply worrying." Health officials reported 32 new cases Thursday, bringing the province's active reported case count to 324. Of the new cases, 19 were identified in the Edmundston area. New Brunswick's case rate is about 132 cases per 100,000 people. Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton zones could move back to the orange level sooner rather than later. "If we continue to focus on protecting each other, we could move these zones to orange in a mater of days, not weeks or months," he said. University of Toronto professor Dr. David Fisman said New Brunswick's current situation is similar to where Manitoba was last fall, right before cases rose sharply after months of relatively few infections. “I have been suggesting to people that New Brunswick is on a knife edge right now and can go either way,” Fisman said in an email Thursday. Manitoba, which once had some of the lowest infection rates in the country, quickly became a cautionary tale as cases rose by several hundred each day by mid-November. Fisman said certain factors have preceded big waves in places that previously had a low case count, including the spread of COVID-19 in schools, meat-packing facilities, long-term care homes and among highly mobile young people. Dalhousie University immunology professor David Kelvin said reducing viral transmission among the young is key to controlling the virus, because cases in youth are often asymptomatic. Kelvin said in an email Thursday that strategies such as pop-up rapid testing may help identify hot spots among young people. He added, however, that more research may be needed to see what lies behind the New Brunswick case increases in order to project where trend is headed. “It could be New Brunswick is in the early stages and will continue on the exponential increase in cases,” he said, though there is also the possibility the numbers have plateaued as social events from the holiday season have subsided, he added. Fisman said he found the province's interventions "lagging," adding that shifting between various pandemic-alert levels isn't ideal when faced with a sharp increase in cases. "I think when you are hanging on to de facto COVID-free status, it is worth pulling out the stops and having a short, hard lockdown … the whole enchilada," Fisman said. "It is significant short-term pain, but as Manitoba showed, the cost of allowing things to spiral is far more painful." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. — By Danielle Edwards in Halifax and with files from Michael Tutton. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
County council debated the future of its shoreline bylaw and will hold another special meeting to address an increasingly fraught debate over the legislation. Council decided to schedule a special meeting Jan. 27 to examine the bylaw and its upcoming public consultation, which will include both an online survey and a public meeting in February or March. Councillors weighed whether the document – which would restrict development within 30 metes of the shoreline – should be slowed in the wake of increased outcry. Warden Liz Danielsen lamented the spread of misinformation and council receiving some vitriol. “Disappointed to see the number of people who are willing to cast aspersions about us and our work,” she said. “About the thought that this is being sprung upon them and we’re doing this under the cloak of secrecy. This is a topic that’s been under discussion for 2.5 years and longer. “It is unfortunate that people feel they need to start calling us names and giving members of council a difficult time … The raft of emails we have received in the last couple of weeks, I believe are reactive of the misinformation.” She said they must find a way to combat the misinformation. She indirectly referenced the Haliburton County Home Builders Association (HCHBA) estimating a $750,000 cost to enforce the law and advertising that. However, that figure is inaccurate. The County’s current 2021 draft budget features $115,000 towards enforcement, including $88,000 for a new officer to assist the one already on staff. The HCHBA and others have also pushed to delay the changes until after the pandemic is over to allow for an in-person public meeting. But Coun. Brent Devolin said he opposed that because the pandemic could linger for the rest of the term. “For us to delay it because of COVID … I don’t think (the bylaw) will be dealt with in this term of council and I think that would truly be a mistake,” he said. However, deputy warden Patrick Kennedy said they should hit a pause button on the document and it is not yet good enough to move forward. “I’m not in anybody’s back pocket on this. I am as much in love with the water as anybody at this table or in this County,” he said. “I don’t feel this bylaw is at that stage yet, to the point it can be taken out to the public for comment. I fully endorse a step back … I feel like we have lost the public trust on both sides of the issue.” Kennedy suggested an external consultation group or committee examine the document, but Coun. Carol Moffatt pushed back on that. “Ultimately, it’s our job as the people who are elected to listen to the public,” Moffatt said. “Our problem right now is, I think, all the noise that’s out there. We can’t address the misinformation without a competing information campaign, and we can’t do that without dedicated resources.” She added council needed to provide input into what is going out to the public and what questions will be asked. Danielsen said people should be more specific about what parts of the bylaw should be addressed, which she said it not being seen in messages lately. “We’re hearing a lot from all angles and we need to work hard to try and get it right.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is drafting legislation around the sale of used police vehicles and equipment, after a man driving a replica RCMP cruiser killed 22 people last April. Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday the legislation will regulate how police vehicles are decommissioned, which will include, he said, ensuring they are stripped of equipment and decals. "We are certainly aware of the previous circumstances and the most recent circumstances," Furey said. The minister made the comments a day after the Mounties said a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have driven a vehicle that looked like an unmarked police car and pulled over drivers. The vehicle in question, a white 2013 Ford Taurus, is similar to the car Gabriel Wortman used during his 13-hour, deadly rampage in northern and central Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020. Furey noted that under current law it's illegal to impersonate a police officer. "When it comes to police articles and decommissioned police vehicles there is certainly some work to do to fine-tune that legislation and the ability to mitigate and prevent, as best we can, access to this equipment that is used to mock-up police vehicles." he said. Furey said there are no plans to ban the sale of decommissioned police vehicles despite calls by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives to prohibit those sales. He said RCMP and municipal police services have been consulted and are in support of the government's draft legislation. Furey is recommending the Liberal government table a bill during the next sitting of the legislature. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — A day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration went off with only a handful of minor arrests and incidents, more than 15,000 National Guard members are preparing to leave Washington, D.C. and head home. The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with co-ordination and the logistics so that troops can get home. Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday's inaugural ceremony. The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday. The Guard said that it may take several days to make all the arrangements to return the 15,000 home, but it should be complete in five to 10 days. Guard members will have to turn in equipment, make travel plans and go through COVID-19 screening. Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
NASHVILLE — Country star Dolly Parton said her brother Randy Parton, who sang and performed with her, as well as at her Dollywood theme park, has died. He was 67. Parton, who turned 75 this week, said in a statement released on Thursday that her brother died of cancer. They were among 12 children in the Parton family, raised in Sevierville, Tennessee. “We are a family of faith and we believe that he is safe with God and that he is joined by members of the family that have gone on before and have welcomed him with joy and open arms,” Parton said in a statement. Randy Parton sang, played guitar and bass in his sister's band, and had hosted his own show at the Tennessee theme park since the opening in 1986. He also released music on his own. Parton said her duet with him on “Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle To You" would “always be a highlight of my own career.” His last recording was a song with Dolly and his daughter Heidi called “You Are My Christmas” that was on Parton's most recent Christmas album. “He shined on it just like he’s shining in heaven now,” Parton said. The Associated Press
The Alberta government is thinking about selling its profitable land titles, corporate and personal properties registries to a private company, according to public documents posted to its online procurement site. Service Alberta issued a request for expressions of interest on Monday. The document said the government would be willing to offer "an exclusive 35-year concession to operate an essential services business in the province." The registries offer potential purchasers a "robust financial profile with highly stable cash flow streams," the document said. Revenues for the three registries totalled $123.6 million in the last fiscal year. The province's objectives, according to the document, include maximizing "sale value and proceeds to the province" and modernizing technology used by the registries. If the province receives enough interest, it plans to issue a formal request for proposals in April. About 130 Alberta government employees work in those departments. Tricia Velthuizen, press secretary for Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish, said private sector operations of registry services have worked in other jurisdictions and the government wants to see if it could work for Alberta. "Service Alberta would continue to have legislative authority for these services and oversight of a potential private sector partner," she wrote in an email. "Right now, Service Alberta is looking into options to provide more modern and efficient registry services, and no decisions have been made." The provincial government has retained CIBC Capital Markets to facilitate any proposed sales. Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said the government on Monday sent the union notice about the start of the formal 90-consultation, as required under the collective agreement. The request for expressions for interest went online shortly afterwards. Barry said privatization could mean higher fees for Albertans accessing these services. He said he can't understand why the government would sell off operations that make money when it has lost so much revenue due to a slump in resource prices. "They're going to give that revenue up to the private sector," Barry said in an interview with CBC News. "It certainly is an odd timing with everything that's been happening of late that they're going to give up revenue or (are) even thinking about giving up revenue." Service Alberta lobbying According to the lobbyist registry, Regina-based Information Services Corporation hired Wellington Advocacy to lobby the Alberta government between July 23, 2019, and Dec.31, 2021. Wellington Advocacy was contracted to convince Service Alberta and other government ministries about the benefits of "alternative service delivery and business models for land registry, corporate registry and personal property registry." The president and founder of Wellington Advocacy is Nick Koolsbergen, who was chief of staff to Premier Jason Kenney when the United Conservative Party was the official opposition. Koolsbergen also ran the UCP's successful provincial election campaign in 2019. ISC was a Crown corporation operated by the Saskatchewan government until 60 per cent of it was sold in 2013, transforming it into a publicly traded business. ISC is listed on the Alberta Purchasing Connection site as one of the vendors that has viewed the Service Alberta bidding documents. Teranet, which operates land registries in Ontario and Manitoba, is also listed. According to the Alberta Lobbyist Registry, Teranet retained Maple Leaf Strategies to lobby Service Alberta and other areas of government between February 2020 and February 2021 on privatizing land, corporate and personal property registries.
When the pandemic closed schools in 2020, student Megan Klose nonetheless found herself travelling to the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School parking lot. Online learning proved challenging with their family’s internet quality. To make do, they utilized the school’s WiFi hotspot, with her mother – a teacher – working from the front seat and Klose taking a class from the back. “My family faced significant disadvantages because of our internet connection,” Klose said. County council heard that and other stories of connection problems from a delegation headed by Point in Time Jan. 13. The organization is seeking financial support to help students struggling to learn due to a lack of online connectivity. Point in Time executive director Marg Cox said it is an issue affecting approximately 150 children and youth in the County. She highlighted a survey they conducted with 59 local youth, with only 14 per cent reporting they had reliable internet and 54 per cent reporting having less-than-unlimited data. “We’re really mounting a campaign focused on, are you in for internet in Haliburton County,” Cox said. The group presented two policy goals: long-term solutions to connectivity barriers and short-term solutions for youth in urgent need. For the short-term, they offered ideas like cellular data plans or hubs, increasing community access point alternatives, and meeting the transportation needs of those who cannot get to hotspots. County-born McGill University professor Michael Mackenzie said the issue is impacting many students, but not evenly. “The existing disparities have really widened for those most in need of connection,” MacKenzie said. “Both to educational opportunities and to supportive services during COVID … Being connected is critical for the development, health and wellbeing of youth.” Coun. Andrea Roberts praised the presentation and asked about the Ministry of Education’s responsibility to address the issue. Cox said the group is interested in working with all levels of government. “We’re very concerned that if we wait for provincial intervention that the youth in our County will be losing credits,” Cox said. “We concur that we feel that we’d really like to see the Ministry of Education stepping up here. But in lieu of that, we feel we still need to move forward.” Cox said public hotspots are important, but there are hurdles such as ensuring they are robust enough to handle an increased load and they do not lead to people gathering too much for public health protocols. Council did not pass any specific motion to address the issue but agreed to advocate to upper levels of government and consider financial support in the 2021 budget. “Our community deserves and needs equitable access to the necessities and in the world that we’re living in, internet is a necessity,” Klose said. “It’s something we all need and it’s not fair to the students that can’t get that access.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
Muskoka Climate change co-ordinator Kevin Boyle said the district’s goal of reducing its corporate and community emissions by 50 per cent in the next 10 years was no certainty. Boyle spoke to an audience of 37 at the Environment Haliburton! (EH) enviro-café Jan. 12 to discuss “A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy” and its creation. The strategy’s goal is significantly greater than Haliburton County’s corporate plan to reduce its emissions by 30 per cent from 2018 levels by 2030. Boyle doubted the goal would have been reached without the advocacy efforts of Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), who demanded it. “You see them every Friday on the corner. That momentum really builds,” Boyle said. “While that is an ambitious target, that shouldn’t be seen as an ambitious target. That is what the science tells us we should do. That should be seen as the baseline.” Boyle highlighted the years of effort that went into building the climate strategy passed Dec. 21, which also includes a net-zero emissions target by 2050. He said action is needed to address climate change and took pride in Muskoka’s efforts. “I am very happy despite how confusing the process was - and it was - where we got to and how much support the council has for it and how much support the community has for it,” Boyle said. “It brings strong policy leadership and firm targets which put climate action at the forefront of all decision-making,” CAM spokesperson Melinda Zytaruk said in a press release. The County of Haliburton passed its corporate climate change mitigation plan in September. The County is still working on adaptation and community plans. Boyle complimented the County for getting all its lower-tier townships on board with the overarching plan but said he could not celebrate if Muskoka went for a lower target, given scientific consensus about the need for greater reductions. “I would rather fail at meeting 50 per cent but try, rather than set something lower. In saying that, I’m not criticizing other governments that haven’t set that target. Maybe they could set that target and blow beyond it,” Boyle said. Canada’s formal goal is to reach a 30 per cent reduction of 2005 levels by 2030, though the federal government has said it will exceed that. Ontario’s climate action plan aims to reduce its emissions by 37 per cent by 2030 from 1990 levels. Boyle said Muskoka's goal will require community buy-in, given 98 per cent of the district’s emissions are from community-based sources. “You need buy-in from everybody. So, you really want everyone at the table when you’re developing those reduction strategies,” he said. EH! vice-president Terry Moore said the presentation had takeaways for the organization for when the County begins its community planning. “It’s a lot of encouragement,” Moore said. “Some really good ideas and lessons for us.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
When Andrea Andersen learned who would be representing the Liberal Party in her district of Torngat Mountains in the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election, she was angry. She posted on Facebook about the news that Devon Ryan, who lives in Labrador West, would be running as the Liberal candidate in Torngat Mountains — a district he does not live in, and has not visited. "I'm sure he's a nice guy. I know he's been in the political scene for a while getting experience, but I do want to state: this is white privilege and this is colonialism," Andersen, who grew up in Makkovik, told CBC's Labrador Morning, on Thursday. Ryan first ran for a Liberal nomination in his home district of Labrador West, but conceded to Wayne Button. Ryan then put his name forward to be the Liberal candidate in Torngat Mountains, a district with a largely Inuit and Innu population along the north coast of Labrador. He was declared that district's candidate on Jan. 17, and faces Progressive Conservative incumbent Lela Evans of Makkovik, and New Democrat Patricia Johnson-Castle, who lives in Nain. This isn't even just for the Liberals — this is for any party, especially if they're wanting to parachute someone in. - Andrea Andersen Andersen said she has spoken with some community leaders who live in the district and were approached by the Liberals to run but, she said, no one wanted to. "The Liberal party did put effort forward to try and get someone from the district to run against Lela in the Liberal seat, but no one wanted to run against her because she is doing such a good job," said Andersen, who added she considers herself bipartisan. Andersen worries that having Ryan on the ballot is just for the sake of getting him experience in politics, rather than actually representing a district he's never lived in. "To me, as a young Inuk person, if they're putting Mr. Ryan in for him to gain experience, then why didn't they do that to another Indigenous youth?" she said. Andersen said she "feels bad for Mr. Ryan" being put on the ballot and taking up a seat in the district with little experience. "The Liberal party is throwing him into hot water. There's so much within the Torngat district that doesn't apply to a lot of the other places that he has experienced within the province," she said. "I think he is running for personal gain to build a resumé or I'm not really sure, but that's at the expense of using the Innu and the Inuit communities of Labrador," she said. The district has a long list of serious and ongoing issues that need addressing, Andersen said — including lack of access to health care, a housing crisis, limited transportation, food insecurity and high cost of living — as well as issues specific to Indigenous communities. "Having a white person come into an Indigenous area, it's going to create lateral trauma for the local people to have to re-explain our struggles and our hardships and our basic necessities that we lack, that the province fails to provide our region in everyday things like internet and access to water and housing," Andersen said. "To take the time out of our day to explain to him over and over again the things that we are lacking, it just goes to show that there needs to be more effort put into our region, so that other people who are from the region feel more supported to be able to run for a political seat. And this isn't even just for the Liberals — this is for any party, especially if they're wanting to parachute someone in." Candidates in federal and provincial elections are not required to live in their ridings or districts. Liberal Leader Andrew Furey, who lives in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, is running in the west coast riding of Humber-Gros Morne, while the NDP candidate for Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans, Holly Pike, lives in Corner Brook, and PC Ethan Wheeler-Park lives just outside Corner Brook and is running in the district of Burgeo-La Poile. Visiting district next week In response to concerns Andersen raised on Labrador Morning, Ryan said he's looking forward to getting into the district next week to talk to people on the campaign trail leading up to the Feb. 13 provincial election. "I've always had a passion for politics and the democratic process, but I've always had a passion for Labrador above anything else," Ryan said. Ryan added he's worked in several government departments, including health care, travel and justice, and that's experience he hopes can help the Torngat Mountains. "I bring knowledge that can help Indigenous communities at the table," he said. "Right now I'm really focused on the positives that I can bring to the district. I feel both my experiences [and] my political knowledge can really play a factor in this district right now. My willingness to learn, my eagerness to get out into the community and speak to all the constituents in the district, and I really, really look forward to it." Ryan said he's heard a lot of concerns about access to travel — something he said he's experienced in his hometown, as well — as well as the high cost of goods and services in the Torngat Mountains. Evans said she doesn't personally have a problem with Ryan running against her in the district, even though he doesn't live there. "Elections are about choice, so people will cast their ballot and vote for whoever they want to represent them, so the Liberals putting him in is not a huge problem for me," she said, adding that in years prior, it wasn't uncommon for the parties to run parachute candidates in the district. "I know some people are offended because I don't think he's ever been to the north coast, to the district, so people are questioning that. But the good thing about elections is, when they vote, they can vote either for him or vote for me," said Evans, in an interview prior to the NDP candidate being announced. Evans said casting a vote is a statement about who you want to represent you. "I don't think we should be dictating who can and cannot run, because that takes away from the democratic process," she said. "Don't vote for your friends, don't just vote for a party; vote for who's going to actually help your district, who's going to make a difference." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador