In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It’s hard to say what is the more impressive feat — remotely landing a spacecraft on Mars, or a kid from Norfolk County landing a job at NASA. Christopher Heirwegh’s unlikely trajectory took him from a Simcoe Composite School physics class to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where an instrument he helped design is scanning the surface of Mars for signs of ancient life. “It’s been a very exciting past couple of weeks, starting with the anticipation leading up to the landing, followed by the joy of knowing it made it successfully,” said Heirwegh, 39, a few days after watching the Mars rover Perseverance complete its 300 million-mile journey to the Red Planet on Feb. 18. As Perseverance floated down to the surface, Heirwegh was on the edge of his seat at his home in Pasadena, Calif. His wife, Meagan, and their six-year-old daughter, Harper, were by his side, with the rest of Heirwegh’s JPL team sharing in the suspense on a video call. “It hit me right at that moment before landing, around the parachute phase, that things are going to come in fast, and oh boy, if this doesn’t make it, where do we go from here?” Heirwegh said. “There was certainly some tension.” Perseverance’s thrusters soon kicked in to start its powered descent, and a sky crane took over to gently place the rover on Mars. While mission control filled with the cheers of relieved scientists, the Heirweghs tucked into celebratory shawarma and cake. Now that Perseverance is trundling around the Jezero crater, Heirwegh’s work has just begun. The physicist is keeping a close eye on PIXL, a high-tech X-ray machine that has been his sole professional focus since joining NASA in 2016. PIXL — the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry — is one of two instruments mounted on the lander’s robotic arm that will help answer the mission’s central question — has there been life on Mars? About the size of a lunch box, PIXL’s job is to scan Martian rocks for trace elements that could point to the presence of ancient life, while taking what Heirwegh describes as “super close-up pictures of rock and soil textures” that could reveal microbial evidence smaller than a grain of salt. PIXL has an X-ray tube at its heart, similar to what dentists use when photographing teeth. The scanner shoots pinpoint-sized X-ray beams into the rock, a process not unlike how artwork investigators chemically analyze paintings to detect forgeries. “We’re looking at things that tell us what the rock is made of, where the rock might have come from, if it was exposed to water, and also if it might have potentially harboured very primitive forms of life at one time,” Heirwegh explained. PIXL is best at finding evidence of inorganic material — heavier elements like calcium, lead and strontium — while another instrument on the rover, called SHERLOC, looks for “the building blocks of life,” lighter organic molecules like carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Together, they search for “biosignatures” suggestive of fossilized bacteria that may have called a Martian ocean home billions of years ago. “Our two instruments can each produce two-dimensional elemental maps,” Heirwegh said, likening each pinpoint of data collected to the pixels on a television that combine to form a clear picture. “We’re hoping we can eventually overlay the two maps so we can really get a good idea of what the rock is all about.” Reaching for the stars The grandson of tobacco farmers who immigrated to Norfolk County from Belgium, Heirwegh grew up enthralled by the stars in the night sky and the vastness of space. He never missed an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation — “mostly just the Rodenberry years,” he clarified — and pored over images of the solar system captured by the Voyager probes. “I found that pretty fascinating, and that kind of led me to what I do now,” he said. Mike and Laurie Heirwegh have followed their son’s career with pride. “Some of the stuff is way above what we understand. Christopher always keeps it as simple as possible for us,” Mike said with a laugh. Mike, a retired pharmacist and business owner, said his “studious” and “reserved” son excelled in a science-heavy course load at Simcoe Composite School. “Whitney, our daughter, said he had this microscope he got at Christmas and would project images up in his room and explain what was on the slides to her and her sister Danielle,” added Laurie, who owns a gift shop in Simcoe. Four years studying undergraduate science at McMaster University in Hamilton led to a master’s in medical physics at Mac, where Heirwegh first tried his hand at X-ray technology. He further studied X-ray fluorescence and radiation science while doing his PhD and post-doctoral fellowship in applied physics at the University of Guelph, which involved analyzing data collected by the Opportunity and Curiosity Mars rovers. That piqued NASA’s interest, creating a rare opportunity for a Canadian to join the Jet Propulsion Lab. “There were not too many people who were doing that,” Mike Heirwegh said. “To get a job like he’s doing in NASA, you have to be uniquely different than any American.” The family left their house in Guelph to make a new life in America, with Meagan Heirwegh, herself an accomplished academic, putting her career on hold so her husband could follow his dream. “She was extremely supportive of taking this step,” Heirwegh said. “That’s been a really key part of it, and something that helped me to have the courage to make such a drastic move.” While navigating the immigration process, Heirwegh got to work calibrating PIXL years ahead of its launch on Perseverance. Past Mars rovers have used X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, but PIXL is the first with an X-ray tube, a technological milestone Heirwegh finds “quite rewarding.” In the months ahead, Heirwegh and his fellow scientists will analyze the trove of scientific data Perseverance will transmit across space to the Jet Propulsion Lab, while making sure their high-tech scanner stays properly calibrated. To keep himself calibrated in what can be a high-pressure job, Heirwegh exercises every morning, and he and Meagan solve a Mensa puzzle together over breakfast. “It’s a nice way to jump-start the physical and mental gears,” he said. Heirwegh could not have known what the future held when he decided to leave Canada and boldly go to NASA to reach for the stars. But his parents say their son was destined to work on the Mars project. “I think the term ‘perseverance’ is very much like Christopher,” Mike said. “He persevered to get to where he is.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A watchdog agency on Tuesday again classified the 2020 census as high risk because of efforts last fall by the Trump administration to shorten the door-knocking and data-processing phases of the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident. The compressed time frame for data collection increased the risk of compromised data quality, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in its High-Risk Report. The GAO has classified the 2020 census as a high-risk area since 2017. Last spring, the Census Bureau was forced to delay field operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. The statistical agency came up with a new plan to extend data collection from the end of last July to the end of last October, and pushed back the deadline for data processing from the end of last December to the end of April. Legislation to change the deadlines stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate last summer after President Donald Trump issued an order attempting to exclude people in the country illegally from the state population counts that are used for dividing up congressional seats among the states. The Trump administration then came up with another plan to end data collection a month early and cut the time for data processing by almost half. That compressed schedule was challenged in court by a coalition of municipalities and civil rights groups who claimed the timeline was shortened so Trump would still be in the White House when the state population counts were finalized. The challenge went to the Supreme Court, which gave the Trump administration the green light to end data collection in mid-October, about two weeks earlier than planned. After missing the end-of-December deadline for the congressional apportionment numbers, the Census Bureau kept pushing back the timeline, because of anomalies it found in the data, until it announced in late January that the numbers wouldn't be ready until the end of April. The statistical agency also announced last month that redistricting data used to redraw congressional and legislative districts won't be ready until the end of September. ___ Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP Mike Schneider, The Associated Press
SAINTE-SOPHIE, Que. — A second woman has died of her injuries following an assault Monday in a house in Quebec's Laurentians region. Quebec provincial police confirmed Tuesday that a 28-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in critical condition has died. A 60-year-old woman, who is a relative of the other victim, was previously declared dead. Provincial police Sgt. Marie-Michelle Moore says the case is now considered a double homicide. Police received a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. on Monday about an incident in Ste-Sophie, about 65 kilometres north of Montreal. They say they believe the incident is connected to a car crash in nearby St-Jerome, Que., in which a driver hit another car around the same time police discovered the two victims at the Ste-Sophie home. The 33-year-old driver, who is considered a suspect, was seriously injured and taken to hospital along with the other driver involved in the collision. Police say the injuries of the two drivers are no longer considered life-threatening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
KYIV, Ukraine — A court in Belarus on Tuesday handed a half-year prison sentence to a journalist on charges of revealing personal data in her report on the death of a protester, part of authorities’ crackdown on demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Katsiaryna Barysevich of the independent Tut.by online news portal has been in custody since November, following the publication of an article in which she cited medical documents indicating that protester Raman Bandarenka died of severe injuries and wasn’t drunk — contrary to official claims. Bandarenka died in a hospital on Nov. 12 of brain and other injuries. The opposition alleged that he was brutally beaten by police who dispersed a protest in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Bandarenka’s death caused public outrage and fueled more demonstrations. On Tuesday, the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk sentenced Barysevich to six months in prison and a fine equivalent to $1,100. It also handed a two-year suspended sentence to Artsyom Sarokin, a doctor who treated Bandarenka and shared his medical records with Barysevich, and fined him the equivalent of $550. The U.S. Embassy strongly condemned the sentence, saying in a statement that “the authorities’ assault against the truth, and against journalists and others who reveal those truths, continues unabated.” The Belarusian Association of Journalists denounced the court's verdict as part of government efforts to silence the independent media. “The authorities have unleashed unprecedented repressions against journalists, jailing some, scaring others and expelling them from the country,” said its leader, Andrei Bastunets. Barysevich's colleagues from her media outlet condemned the charges against her as “cynical and absurd” and demanded her immediate release. Last month, two other journalists in Belarus were convicted of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered an opposition protest. Several other reporters are awaiting trial. Belarus has been shaken by protests ever since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged. Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The United States and the European Union have responded to the election and the crackdown by introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in the vote who was forced to leave the country under pressure from authorities, said that Tuesday’s sentence demonstrated that “the truth has become a crime for the regime.” “Lukashenko's resignation and new elections are needed to end the horrible political and legal crisis,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “We are confident that after he steps down all those who were convicted on political grounds will be rehabilitated.” On Tuesday, the Belarusian authorities demanded the extradition of Tsikhanouskaya, who has lived in neighbouring Lithuania, on charges of plotting violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya's team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. The Associated Press
When Carolyn Court’s husband landed a job in Simcoe County, they packed up their Milton home and moved to Thornton in a heartbeat. That was 11 years ago and the now 40-something couple haven’t looked back. “There was more land up here and everyone’s fleeing the city and coming up here for the cheaper prices,” Court said while walking her dog along Thornton Avenue. “I think we broke even when we bought up here, but the prices have risen a lot since then.” The Courts are among hundreds of couples who saw the prices rise south of Essa and the lots shrink. According to a Statistics Canada 2016 census, more well-heeled families are making their way north. The median total household income in Essa Township was $87,243 in 2015 (latest figures available) with about 15 per cent of the population earning that income, compared to the provincial average of 11 per cent. In contrast, Barrie’s median household wage sat around $77,900 at that time and Simcoe County's median was $76,489. Essa’s inhabitants are younger, too. While the average age of residents in Oro-Medonte is 43.7 years and a little less in Springwater at 43.4, Essa’s average resident is 37 years old. Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall rhymes off Essa’s attributes: it’s near the Blue Mountains and Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski hills, it’s not far from the Toronto or Lake Simcoe Regional airports, and it’s accessible to both Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. “It’s not too far from Toronto and a lot of new people came up just because of the price of the houses,” Dowdall said. “They’re 30 years old, they’ve saved their down payment, and they just can’t buy down in Toronto, even if you want to, so they come up here. And, it has a really good tax rate. Tax rates in Essa are phenomenal in comparison to a lot of the other municipalities; we’re very attractive to people.” The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) determines municipal taxes by multiplying a home’s current value by the total tax rate and then dividing by property class. Essa’s residential property tax is calculated at 0.678, whereas Springwater is rated at .0768 and Oro-Medonte is 0.856. Once families move to Essa, Dowdall said, they invite their friends and families to visit and they see Essa’s possibilities. “Essa now has a lot of amenities; you know, the grocery stores, more restaurants that are coming, the high school was a huge, huge addition that completed the community,” he said of Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School that opened in 2011. “We have the opportunity for people to buy and stay and watch their kids go through their whole schooling. That made quite a difference in the area.” If there is any downside, both Dowdall and Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald agree it’s the dearth of homes for the boomer generation. Looking 10 years down the road, Macdonald can see which amenities communities will need to keep older residents satisfied. Also on the mayor’s wish list would be more industrial businesses taking up residence. Currently, Essa has a “huge commuting” population heading south for the better-paying jobs, she said. However, there are still good jobs to be had at Honda, Baxter and many residents work at Canadian Forces Base Borden. “Industrial (businesses) are a much higher paying tax (base) and it balances taxes. Housing does not pay for itself,” Macdonald said. Maintaining parkland and opening trails will become more vital than ever, she said. “Just look at having the COVID-19, this pandemic, at least we have green space where people can get out and walk,” she said. “We need to go the way we’re going now, increase our trails, increase our green spaces, and if this is a way of life for at least a few years of social distancing, at least they can get out and (know) that it’s safe to go." Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission told Congress on Tuesday that the agency should address how to protect investors who use online stock-trading platforms with flashy tech gimmicks that entice them to trade more. Gary Gensler, who was a chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration, testified by video for his confirmation hearing by the Senate Banking Committee. He was asked about the roiling stock-trading drama involving GameStop shares that has spurred clamour for tighter regulation of Wall Street. The trading frenzy in shares of the struggling video-game retailer lifted their price 1,600% in January, though they later fell back to earth after days of wild price swings. “At the core it’s about protecting investors,” Gensler said. Among the issues to be examined, he said, is the use of “behavioural” technology in stock-trading apps. “What does it mean when you have behavioural prompts to get investors to do more transactions? We’re going to have to study that and think about it,” Gensler told the panel. The GameStop episode prompted lawmakers to raise concern about the business model of Robinhood, the online trading platform that hosted a wave of trading in GameStop. Critics have accused Robinhood of trying to lure young people with little or no experience trading stocks by including features on its trading platform that resemble gaming apps — like showering users' screens with virtual confetti when they make a trade. Lawmakers have asked whether Robinhood is doing enough to communicate the risks to its users. Robinhood offers commission-free trading, but critics say customers pay another, hidden price because Robinhood provides their data on buying and selling to Wall Street firms. If confirmed to the SEC post, Gensler said, he would work to strengthen transparency and accountability in the markets. That will enable people “to invest with confidence and be protected from fraud and manipulation,” he said. “It means promoting efficiency and competition, so our markets operate with lower costs to companies and higher returns to investors. ... And above all, it means making sure our markets serve the needs of working families.” Democratic senators urged Gensler to take up requiring corporations to fully disclose their climate change risks and political spending, and punishing companies for violations of securities laws. “That means upgrading climate-risk disclosure requirements that are out of date, punishing misconduct and enforcing the protections on the books,” said the committee chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. “And it means working with other agencies — the banking regulators — to head off growing problems before they become emergencies that hurt the economy. We’ve seen what happens when markets don’t have real safeguards, and most people are left to fend for themselves — just look at the electricity market in Texas.” Gensler has experience as a tough markets regulator during the 2008-09 financial crisis as CFTC chair. More recently, he has been in academics. Biden’s selection of Gensler to lead the SEC signals a goal of turning the Wall Street watchdog agency toward an activist role after a deregulatory stretch during the Trump administration. Gensler was a leader and adviser of Biden’s presidential transition team responsible for the Federal Reserve, banking issues and securities regulation. No evident opposition to his confirmation to the SEC post has emerged, and approval by the full Senate is expected. Several Republican senators used Tuesday’s hearing, though, to argue against the imposition of new regulations in the financial markets, at the risk of stifling innovation and improperly expanding the government’s authority. The GameStop episode has bolstered political momentum toward tighter regulation of the securities markets, though Republican lawmakers and regulators generally will oppose new rules. Possible avenues for new rules that have been raised include requiring market players to disclose short-selling positions and restricting arrangements of payment for order flow — a common practice in which Wall Street trading firms pay companies like Robinhood to send them their customers’ orders for execution. The GameStop turbulence shows that “the SEC too often stands by while the stock market functions as a casino ... with tilted roulette tables,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer who headed the SEC during the Trump administration, presided over a deregulatory push to soften rules affecting Wall Street and the financial markets, as President Donald Trump pledged when he took office. Rules under the Dodd-Frank law that tightened the reins on banks and Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession were relaxed. Clayton also eased rules for smaller companies raising capital in the market. Gensler comes armed with receptiveness to new financial technologies and cryptocurrency. As a professor of economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, he has focused research and teaching on public policy as well as digital currencies and blockchain, the global running ledgers of digital currency transactions. With a background of having worked for nearly 20 years at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse investment bank, Gensler surprised many by being a tough regulator of big banks as head of the CFTC. He imposed oversight on the $400 trillion worldwide market for the complex financial instruments that helped spark the 2008-09 crisis. Gensler pushed for stricter regulations that big banks and financial firms had lobbied against, and he wasn’t afraid to take positions that clashed with the Obama administration. Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press
In days, Ontario is set to receive its first batch of a third COVID-19 vaccine. But that new shot— the AstraZenca vaccine — won’t be administered anyone over the age of 64. The news comes as the province is also debating a major change when it comes to how quickly people can get their second shot. Travis Dhanraj reports.
Which Canadian political party has the best interests of Black people at heart?
The territory needs to improve screening of residents for colorectal cancer to help early detection of the disease, says Inuvin Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler. Quoting health authority data, Semmler said the Beaufort Delta has the highest number of residents with colorectal cancer but the lowest take-up of testing. “I can honestly say most people in my region have been affected by this disease,” she said. “We need to make sure our residents are aware of the screening criteria and ensure we see our screening rates rise so we can prevent any further deaths for our loved ones.” According to the N.W.T. health authority, men and women aged 50 to 74 who are considered to be at an average risk should be screened every one or two years. Those at increased risk should begin screening at age 40, or 10 years earlier than the youngest age at which the disease has been diagnosed in their family. In the N.W.T., colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Cure rates are almost 90 per cent when detected early but drop to 12 per cent if detected in its later stages, according to the 2019-2020 N.W.T. Health and Social Services annual report. From October 2019 to February 2020, community engagement program kits were sent to each community to raise awareness about colorectal, cervical and breast cancer. According to its annual report, the territory is nowhere near the national minimum target for colorectal cancer screening. The national screening goal for colorectal cancer was 60 per cent for the period studied. The N.W.T. only screened 21.9 per cent of its targeted population. Health minister Julie Green said a pilot project launched in the Beaufort Delta a year ago did improve participation. The project saw self-screening kits mailed to people while nurses followed up with information and assistance. Green said more kits were sent in November 2020. A total of 1,157 kits were distributed. Screening in smaller Beaufort Delta communities beyond Inuvik rose from seven per cent to 15.6 per cent. Including Inuvik, the figure went from 6.7 per cent to 11.8 per cent. People who receive a positive result from their self-screening test must currently wait an average of 88 days for a colonoscopy, a delay Green says the territory is working to shorten. “We are now working on a pilot project that will help us identify where we can make improvements to reduce the amount of time that it takes to go from a positive test to a colonoscopy,” the minister said. Semmler said she worried about potential delays the pandemic had introduced to the process of diagnosing cancer and treating patients, such as travel restrictions potentially disrupting access to the Alberta Cross Cancer Institute. Green said services remain as available as they were pre-pandemic and, though some residents have been hesitant to leave the territory for medical care, there was regular communication between the N.W.T. and the Alberta facility. In addition, the minister said, two specialist cancer clinics are offered virtually from Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators say forward Derek Stepan requires shoulder surgery and will miss the remainder of the NHL season. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a release that Stepan suffered a damaged labrum caused by the dislocation of his left shoulder during the Senators' 5-4 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 23. Dorion said the procedure is expected to take place next week and added Stepan is expected to fully recocver in time for next season. Stepan has a goal and five assists this season, his first with the Senators. Ottawa acquired the 30-year-old Stepan, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, in a Dec. 26 trade with Arizona in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. Ottawa was scheduled to face the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Femme de cœur et spécialiste en médecine interne au CIUSSS de l’Estrie, Nadine Sauvé multiplie les occasions de changer la vie de nombreux enfants du village de Kpemale, situé au nord-est du Ghana, à la frontière avec le Togo et le Burkina Faso. Le but est qu’ils accèdent à l’éducation. Et c’est en compagnie de Yaw Konlan, avec qui elle vit une complicité à toute épreuve, qu’elle prend la chance de faire une différence. De rendre le monde meilleur, un enfant à la fois ! L’expérience du terrain marque à vie, dit-on. Madame Sauvé s’est rendue au Ghana une première fois en 1999, alors qu’elle y a séjourné trois mois. Y a-t-elle vécu un choc culturel ? « Pas tant que ça, s’exclame-t-elle. Je dis toujours que j’ai été Africaine dans mon ancienne vie ! Plusieurs reviennent de ces endroits troublés et bouleversés. Moi, je m’y sens bien. Et ce, malgré la pauvreté extrême. L’esprit de communauté, les valeurs familiales, l’entraide, tout ça est en phase avec moi… » À l’été 2018, elle y est retournée avec son conjoint Marc Brazeau et leurs quatre enfants. Et c’est à ce moment que Yaw lui a parlé de son idée de mettre en place une école primaire francophone dans son village natal de Kpemale. Aider des tas de petits Yaw ! « Je l’ai rencontré en 1999 alors qu’il avait 16 ans, poursuit-elle. On a vécu une correspondance depuis ce jour. Persévérant, brillant, il ne lâche pas le morceau ! Tellement que j’ai payé ses études. Il est devenu policier et est maintenant directeur de l’école. Il avait étudié le français, ce qui s’avère un atout important dans cette région. L’anglais est la langue officielle du Ghana, mais tous les pays limitrophes sont francophones. La connaissance du français offre donc aux Ghanéens une ouverture plus grande à l’emploi. On apprendrait donc le français à cette école ! Je suis revenue au pays en ne lui promettant rien, car je trouvais le projet énorme. J’en ai parlé à des amis, et spontanément, ils m’ont dit qu’ils allaient m’aider. Conjugué à une campagne de sociofinancement, un Gofundme, en janvier 2019, cela a fait en sorte qu’en février de la même année, il y avait des enfants à l’école ! » Une centaine d’enfants la fréquente aujourd’hui. À la différence des endroits où pullulent les comités avant que des résultats se fassent sentir, là-bas, c’est 100 % efficace ! « Et Yaw est un modèle d’intégrité, se réjouit-elle, ce qui n’est pas toujours le cas lorsque vous êtes en mode survie. Tous les fonds se rendent et servent entièrement aux enfants. Il y a eu aussi une levée de fonds pour offrir l’eau courante aux élèves de notre école. Nous avons amorcé la construction de nouveaux pupitres pour respecter les règles sanitaires. Sans parler de cet échange de lettres fort touchant avec des enfants de 2e année de l’école Jardin-des-Lacs de Saint-Denis-de-Brompton ! » Optimiste, intuitive, Dr Sauvé est un relais efficace entre ici et l’Afrique pour construire un futur plein d’espoir. Il y a tant de rêves à réaliser… facebook.com/Niipoouk fr.gofundme.com/f/une-ecole-francophone-a-kpemalenakpanduri-ghana Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
A federal law designed to help reduce the number of Indigenous children in care has had little impact in the Northwest Territories. Bill C-92 — An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families — came into effect in January of 2020. It acknowledges that Indigenous governments have the right to create their own laws on child and family services. In several provinces, the law has enabled First Nations to establish their own child welfare agencies. In the N.W.T. legislature Monday, Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty pressed Health Minister Julie Green on what progress has happened to date. "Agreements are in place with Indigenous governments and provincial jurisdictions across Canada. We should be in that position as well," Lafferty said. Green said that both she and her predecessor, Diane Archie, have offered to brief Indigenous governments on the new law, and she herself has raised the issue at six bilateral meetings to date. "The key is that the conversation has to be initiated by the Indigenous government," Green said. "It's not for us to tell Indigenous governments that it's time for then to create their own child and family services law. It's for them to tell us that they are ready to do it." Inuvialuit take the lead During oral questions, Green revealed that two Indigenous governments have come forward to express an interest, one about a year ago and one just two months ago. Duane Smith, chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, confirmed that the IRC was the first group. He said they're working with a legal firm to draft legislation. The next step will be negotiating an agreement with the territorial and federal governments. One catch in drafting that legislation is that the IRC still isn't clear on just how many children they could be dealing with. "We do not have an accurate number because the government still won't provide that to us," he said. Smith said confidentiality could be the issue, but noted that the IRC has had several confidentiality agreements with the N.W.T. government in the past. He feels the territorial government doesn't view this as a priority. "We should be taking on the responsibility ourselves of looking after our children wherever they may be … for the well-being not only of them, but of our culture." Communication improved One thing has changed: the law requires provincial and territorial child welfare agencies to notify Indigenous groups when a significant action is about to be taken with one of their members. Green said, and Smith confirmed, that has been happening recently. In the past, Smith said, the Inuvialuit often had a better working relationship with child welfare agencies in the provinces, dealing with members who live outside of the territory, than with the N.W.T. government. Pressing further in the legislature, Lafferty asked the minister what her department has done to support Indigenous governments who want to take on this complex work. "What actions were taken to coordinate her department's response?" Lafferty asked. "What reviews and committees were established?" Green repeated the fact that she's notified Indigenous groups they can take this on. She also said she's made it clear the government is willing to work in partnership with Indigenous groups, as well as offer support to Indigenous groups that want to go it alone. "A major stumbling block I'm hearing is capacity," Green said. "I think there's interest. But we do not at this point have anything that is started by way of negotiations." "We want this to happen," she said. "We want Indigenous governments to take the lead in caring for their children and we are here to help, but the first step needs to be the step by the Indigenous government."
The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) moved into the green zone of the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework on Monday, and the shift has once again raised concerns about the risk of opening the region while the rest of the province remains under in lock down. At a recently held Collingwood council meeting, Collingwood Deputy Mayor, Keith Hull said if he were a councillor in TBM he would be "terrified" that the province just opened up the town as "Ontario's playground," for anyone and everyone to come without restrictions. TBM Mayor Alar Soever said he is more concerned about people abiding by public health protocols once they arrive at TBM, as opposed to monitoring or restricting where they are travelling from. “I think if everybody follows all of the protocols, regardless of where they're from, then, we should continue to see success. The bottom line is people have been coming up here since March and travelling back and forth,” Soever said. “People should just appreciate the fact that we are in the green zone, but keep up their guard, follow all the health protocols and I don't think we will have a problem,” he continued. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for the GBHU said he is concerned about people coming into the area from other high-risk regions, but he is confident in the community’s ability to continue to embrace safety measures. “This is definitely a top concern these days,” Arra said. “But, we look at the way the community has performed over the past 12 months, and I have a high-level of confidence that people will keep their guard up. However, we do need to do a bit more during this time, just because of the discrepancy between the level of risk between the two areas." In terms of initiating control measures, such as check stops coming into the community or address checks, Arra said nothing is off the table. “If there are indications that more intrusive measures are needed, we might go there. But at this point, it's education and communication to businesses and to the public in Grey-Bruce,” Arra said. Soever said check stops are not overly realistic and would be very difficult to manage logistically. “I just don't think there is a practical way of doing it,” he said. “When people do come here, as long as they socially distance and monitor their own health, and stay home when they have even minimal symptoms, then I think it's going to be just fine,” Soever said. Soever added that he would encourage residents to focus on where transmission of COVID-19 is occurring and follow the messages being provided by the GBHU. “Regardless of what zone you're in, just keep following the public health advice. We're in the green zone now. But if people don't follow the rules, we can go backwards pretty quick,” Soever said. According to Arra, since the onset of the pandemic, there have been no reports of case transmission related to a visitor and the majority of cases in the region are linked to private parties and social gatherings. “It's difficult to predict the future. But it's so easy to look at the past. We have a whole summer of visitors coming to the area from high-risk area hotspots and not once did we have reports of case transmission related to a visitor,” Arra said. “That really speaks to the commitment of businesses, local businesses and local community members to protect themselves, their family and the community. I see no reason why this would be any different going forward.” Cases are reported based on the primary address of the person who tests positive for COVID-19, the health unit will receive positive test results for individuals whose primary address is in Grey and Bruce County. As the community begins to embrace the freedom of the green zone, Arra pleads with the public to remember the 3W’s. "Washing hands frequently watching distance - regardless of the colour of the zone, regardless of where the person is from, these things have and will keep us safe until enough vaccines are in arms," Arra said. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
Sky Blue FC says Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan has undergone successful surgery on her right quad. The NWSL club said there is no timetable for Sheridan's return. The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont., was injured Feb. 18 in Canada's first game at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. She was helped off the pitch in the 10th minute of the 1-0 loss to the U.S., going down in pain after a seemingly innocuous pass to a teammate. “Surgery went really well and I am excited to start my recovery process,” Sheridan said in a statement Tuesday. “I will be pushing myself to come back stronger and better than ever." The Olympic football tournament is scheduled for July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo. Canada Soccer said it had no information on Sheridan's possible return to action. Veteran Stephanie Labbe, who has 72 caps, started the rest of the SheBelieves Cup, with the uncapped Rylee Foster as her backup. Erin McLeod, a 38-year-old who has 118 caps, had to leave camp early with a dislocated finger. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Councillor Daryn Watson Absent Request For Decision (RFD) Two RFDs were reviewed and then passed: · Alberta Police Interim Advisory Board's (APIAB) Quarterly Report: Council received the APIAB's first quarterly report. The report outlines the work that the board has done since last October. A motion was passed to accept this report as information. · Natural Gas Aggregation Round: The Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) is offering customers who are in their energy program to take part in their next procurement round for natural gas. This will take advantage of buying at a lower price than the market price. These lower prices can be locked in for a duration allowing for budget stability and long-term planning. The Town's current natural gas pricing expires at the end of the 2022 calendar year. CAO Lewis will begin negotiations on a 2023 – 2026 contract to take advantage of lower pricing in a locked-down rate. Correspondence & Information · Community Futures/Ballad COVID-19 Fund Project Letter: The joint COVID-19 impact study is moving forward. The study explores employer/employee needs and workforce impacts due to COVID-19 and identifies immediate and future assistance for the business community and labour market. The Town has emailed all of the businesses that were on their initial list. CAO Report · Started the Alberta Safety Codes formal audit on Feb. 22. It is scheduled to wrap up on Feb. 26. The Town is also working with Superior Safety Codes to put together the information and review for the Safety Codes yearly self-audit, which is due in March. · The kickoff meeting for the Fireguard project was held on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Work started on Feb. 24; Blue Ridge is currently working east of the fire road. · Met with Sea Hawk consulting on Feb. 11 to review Emergency Management items and reviewed the audit of Fire Services. · Working with Alberta Parks to finalize the agreements for the operation of local campgrounds. With the Freeman Lake campground, there is the potential that they will replace the outhouse, perform some tree clean-up, and provide picnic tables and fire rings. The Town is also exploring the possibility of Alberta Parks doing some repairs on the camp house. · Working on the Statements of Financials and Expenditures (SFEs) for the Municipal Stimulus Program and Municipal Operating Support Transfer grants for the province. · The next Statistics Canada population census will take place in May 2021. There does not appear to be anyone from Swan Hills that has applied for the census worker positions with Statistics Canada. · The Provincial budget is scheduled to be tabled on Thursday, Feb. 25. There are not a lot of hints from the provincial government as to what it may contain. · The COVID-19 vaccination program has opened up to seniors that were born in 1946 or earlier. The response has been overwhelming; by 10:00 AM, AHS had 9000 people booked for vaccination appointments. There has been frustration because the system did reach the point that they couldn't handle the volume of calls. · The province is supposed to move to Step 2 of the COVID-19 reopening plan on Mar. 1. The province had indicated to the municipalities that they would be given roughly a week's notice of potential changes, but so far, there hasn't been any information beyond a hint that changes may be announced on Mar. 1. It is unclear if the province will move fully into Step 2 or if only part of the Step 2 changes will be implemented. There are some complications; while the hospitalization numbers are below the threshold to move to the next step, the R number (a measure of a disease's ability to spread) is still higher than the target value. · Douglas Borg, the Returning Officer for the 2021 Municipal Election, will be coming for a meeting on Feb. 26 to start the preparations for the coming election. · The lease for the 50+ building is coming to an end. The Town will be reviewing the lease to see if there are any changes needed before it is renewed. Operations and Infrastructure · Upon further evaluation of the Emergency Fire Water pump replacement project, we have decided that powering all internal equipment in the event of a power outage is a more effective solution for the facility. In an extended power outage, we would maintain full capability at the reservoir, not only for our ability to fight fire in this condition but to continue full service to residents and businesses alike. · The failed sewage lift station pump is still on backorder due to COVID. · Our level one operator at WTP has now completed course requirements for distribution level one and will write their final exam to complete this course as soon as it is practical. · The Public Works Supervisor has resigned. We will be interviewing for this position over the next few weeks. Reports · Mayor Craig Wilson reported on a meeting with the Barrhead and District Social Housing Association on Feb. 17. The meeting was held at their new facility and included a tour. Phase one of the Hillcrest Manor building has been completed and has passed all of the municipal standards (plumbing, heating, mechanical, etc.) and is waiting for the lodge's approval. Once this has been completed and residents can move into the building, demolition and then construction will begin on phase two. -There was a Golden Triangle meeting by Zoom. The Swan Hills and Fox Creek areas are in excellent shape, but the Whitecourt area isn't in very good condition due to mild weather and lack of snow. · Councillor Carol Webster attended the Growing the North Conference last month, noting the Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) is working on an economic recovery tool kit with free downloads for municipalities. They have also been working on an insider app for a support local initiative. A disaster management tool has been completed for businesses to develop a ready-made disaster management plan. Webster has shared the document with local and regional Chambers of Commerce. -Community Futures Yellowhead East (CFYE) met on Feb. 18. The board approved their 20/21 budget and operational plans and approved the application of a SIP grant (Sectorial Initiatives Program). This provincial grant offers up to $2.5 M/year for 3 years to a total of $7.5 million to assist key sectors of the economy in identifying, forecasting, and addressing their human resources and skills issues. -GROWTH AB met on Feb. 23, inviting CFYE and Ballad consulting to assist the group in determining the future plans for the organization. Made up of 6 regional municipalities, the board plans a restructuring of the non-profit group with a strategic planning session in March with the intent to explore membership and organizational restructuring. -The Regional Chamber of Commerce met on Feb. 24. The Alberta Chamber of Commerce has received a $4.5 million grant to help out smaller Chambers of Commerce, which will soon be rolling out to C of C’s across the province. Two new business support programs were introduced: The Canada United Grant (administered through the Government of Ontario) is open to all Canadian Businesses offers $5000 in funding to businesses with revenue of $150,000 to $3 million to recover costs related to COVID-19 (PPE, renovations, e-commerce development, etc.); the second is the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit which will take over from the Small and Medium Enterprise Grant (which will conclude on Mar. 31) to provide up to an additional $10,000 to the small businesses that have been impacted the hardest by the pandemic. · Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec also reported on the Grow the North Conference. There was great information on winter and shoulder season tourism as well as the future of hydrogen. -Communities in Bloom will be setting up a meeting to discuss planning for the year. Councillor Krawiec is now the Chairperson/contact person. · Councillor Jeff Goebel received a notification about the upcoming wellness fair and sent it to a wildlife biologist in the area to inquire about adding a bear awareness demonstration to the proceedings. · CAO Bill Lewis updated Council that the wellness fair has been moved to September in the hopes that the pandemic conditions will be more favourable. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
A young woman from Labrador City was recently chosen to participate in Daughters of the Vote, a nationwide initiative with the goal of electing more women to political office. The March 5-8 initiative, will see 338 young women and gender-diverse youth from across the country, one from each federal riding, take part in a four-day program that will include speakers from all levels of government, parliamentary committee simulations, and a virtual House of Commons session on International Women’s Day (March 8). Jenna Andrews, who will represent the riding of Labrador, said there were a number of things that drew her to the program, not the least of was the chance to represent the region. “I’m so proud to be from Labrador, everything about it,” she told SaltWire Network. “The land, the people, the sense of community care. I just really wanted to represent that at this conference.” Andrews said she has always been interested in politics and is in her last year of a bachelor of social work program, which has given her an opportunity to “really dig into learning more about social justice and inequities that are so deeply imbedded in our society across all levels, local, provincial, national. “That really heightened my interest, and Daughters of the Vote seemed like a good place for me to dive into that more and learn about the intersection of social policy, inequity and politics.” Daughters of the Vote is an initiative of Equal Voice, a national multi-partisan organization started in 2001 and which has been advocating for the equal representation of women in Canada’s Parliament, in provincial and territorial legislatures, and on municipal and band councils. Equal Voice executive director Eleanor Fast said the goal is to expose more young women and gender-diverse youth to politics and hopefully inspire them to learn more about political systems and how they can participate. “Right now in Canada, there are less than 100 women in Parliament. It’s 2021 and less than a third of our parliamentarians are women,” Fast said. “With Daughters of the Vote, we have every single riding in Canada represented by a woman, and we think that’s a really powerful statement.” Fast said it’s a great opportunity for the participants to meet other women interested in politics from across the country and share different opinions on policy issues. Many past participants have kept in touch, she said, helping create nationwide networks of politically active young women. This is the third iteration of Daughters of the Vote, which began in 2017 on the 100th anniversary of some women getting the right to vote in Canada. It ran again in 2019, and this year will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrews said there are issues in Labrador she wants to bring forward at the sessions, including access to mental-health treatment, resources for aging and digital equity. Andrews said she is disappointed she won’t get to meet the other delegates face to face and be in the House of Commons, but the situation will be relevant to digital equity, one of the topics she wants to discuss, “As we move into this reality with COVID and our inability to gather in person, how do we ensure that there is equitable access to the digital spaces and the technology we need to get on to those digital spaces?” she said. “It’s an issue in Labrador and across the country that I hope to bring forward.” Her main hope is to learn from the other delegates and their experiences, and bring that knowledge back to Labrador. The sessions will be live-streamed. More information is available online at https://www.equalvoice.ca/dov. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram