A beautiful sunset in Quartzite, Arizona is captured in epic time lapse format. Filmed with iPhone 11Pro.
A beautiful sunset in Quartzite, Arizona is captured in epic time lapse format. Filmed with iPhone 11Pro.
Any members of the U.S. Congress who helped a crowd of President Donald Trump's supporters storm the Capitol should face criminal prosecution, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. The unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on the seat of Congress left five dead and led the House to impeach Trump a second time, for a fiery speech that day in which he urged thousands of his followers to fight Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, has accused some Republican lawmakers of helping Trump supporters, saying she saw colleagues leading groups on "reconnaissance" tours on Jan. 5.
Saskatchewan Rivers School Division trustees are continuing professional development despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually there are provincial gatherings to help trustees, but they've stopped since the start of the pandemic. Some discussion about that issue took place at the board’s regular meeting on Monday. Education director Robert Bratvold said they're really focusing on learning and development, even though the circumstances can make it challenging. The board will engage in a planning seminar on Jan. 15 and 16 to review and discuss a number of items related to effective governance and leadership. One topic of conversation will be a letter the board received from the School Community Council of Wild Rose School about their trustee representative in the school clusters. “It came as a correspondence item that the board was informed about and then further discussion about that will happen at the seminar,” Bratvold explained. The letter states that another meeting should be held between the parties on Jan. 19. “Obviously, there is some communication and some understanding of what the role of the school clusters are and what a role of a trustee is and those sorts of things, so (there are) lots of opportunities for communication,” Bratvold explained. Bratvold added that trustees will be participating in over 20 online modules scheduled in 90-minute blocks over the next month through the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). He said these sessions will support new and returning trustees in their role as educational leaders and as effective voices in local government. “I know there are going to be over 20 sessions on everything from legal aspects of being a trustee to student support services to anything you can imagine to make them a better trustee. Our trustees are taking part in those sessions in a big way,” Bratvold said.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
GUELPH/WELLINGTON– Guelph/Wellington Paramedic Service is using remote patient monitoring to take the strain off the healthcare system at a critical time. Chief Stephen Dewar said remote patient monitoring involves community paramedics examining patients who have either been discharged from hospital or flagged by a family physician. Patients use various tools – such as weigh scales, blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitors – that are linked to a modem and results are reviewed by a community paramedic at least once a day. Any issues based on these results can lead to necessary intervention whether that be contacting their doctor or the patient. “Our goal is to try to prevent them from having emergencies in the first place,” Dewar said. This program has been ongoing for a few years, but Dewar said the program has been expanded during the pandemic. “The Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) offered us the opportunity to expand our program and to try to help people who are either mild or moderate symptoms of COVID but staying home,” Dewar said. “Just to make sure that they’re staying safe.” GW paramedics have been assisting at Caressant Care Arthur retirement home which has been in a major COVID outbreak since mid-December. Again, this is to keep people safe and to notify any nursing staff or others if someone begins to show worsening symptoms. Dewar said this is a collaborative effort with staff at Caressant Care and they’re not looking to duplicate any services. This reduces strain on hospitals and assures physicians their patients are resting at home but also allows people to know when they should seek medical help. “That has been our findings a couple of times where people have deteriorated but they weren’t really sure at what point they should be reaching out for more help and we’re able to help them define that,” Dewar said. This has made a large impact in Wellington County as Dewar said that’s where a majority of where remotely monitored patients are based. “Given the rural nature, it’s a lot harder for some of the other organizations to reach those people,” Dewar said. “So remote patient monitoring works really well in Wellington County.” A recent related pilot project has been completely based in the county. Dewar explained the Ministry of Long-Term Care asked GW Paramedic Service to get involved in monitoring people who are on waiting lists for long-term care. “That’s having one paramedic a day going out and visiting these people to make sure that they’re still okay and seeing what other resources they might need,” Dewar said, adding they can then follow-up with phone calls and other technology involved in remote monitoring. He explained this takes pressure off health care providers and family as well who can take some of the burden of care off themselves. “If you’re in there every day, if you’re a family member, you may not know if this deterioration is worthy of reporting or is this person just having a bad day,” Dewar said. “Our paramedics are able to be a little bit more objective about that.” This pilot has been funded through to March 31 but they have applied to fund this in the future and are looking for a more permanent place to operate as it is temporarily at the Harriston Fire Hall. Dewar is ultimately proud of how the team has stepped up during the pandemic beyond just responding to 911 calls. “We feel like the paramedics have said ‘There’s a major emergency and we need to do everything we can,’” Dewar said. “They could just say ‘No we have enough to do’ but they’re stepping up, so I’m very proud of the team that I’m leading and the work that they’re doing.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is easing public-health rules around funerals, outdoor gatherings and hair salons while warning residents to keep following other restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only. Outdoor social gatherings, which were previously banned, will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people. And the limit on the number of people who can attend funerals is increasing to 20, although receptions are still prohibited. On Thursday, Alberta reported 967 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths due to the illness. There were 806 people in hospital, with 136 of those in intensive care. "Alberta's hospitalizations and case numbers remain high and they pose a threat to our health system capacity," Health Minister Tyler Shandro told a news conference. "Today, we can't entirely ease up ... but we can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities." Back in November, the United Conservative government banned indoor gatherings and limited outdoor groups, along with funerals and weddings, to 10 people. In early December, as COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, Premier Jason Kenney announced a strict lockdown similar to one in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic. In addition to banning outdoor gatherings, restaurants and bars were limited to delivery and takeout. Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. Retail stores and churches were allowed to open but at 15 per cent capacity. He also imposed a provincewide mask mandate, making Alberta the last province in the country to have one. Those rules remain in place and need to be followed, said Shandro. Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said officials looked at the province's COVID-19 data along with research from other parts of the world about what settings were seeing the most transmission. Funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal service businesses show a lower level of risk, she said. Easing these rules now will act as a test case, she added. Case numbers will have to be lower before any other restrictions are loosened. "This is our opportunity to give Albertans a little bit more freedom and the ability to do a few more activities in a safe way," Hinshaw said. "This really is up to all of us to be able to meet those step-wise levels going down to be able to open additional things going forward." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021 The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Patrik Laine scored his second goal of the game in overtime, and the Winnipeg Jets started their season with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday. The Finnish winger put away the winner 1:18 into extra time, using his speed to create space before beating Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom in tight. The Jets (1-0-0) battled back from an early two-goal deficit, starting with a goal by Mark Schiefele just 34 seconds into the second period. Laine and Kyle Connor each registered a goal and an assist for the Jets in regulation. Elias Lindholm had a goal and assist for the Flames (0-0-1), while Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau also scored. Markstrom made his debut for Calgary after signing a six-year, US$36-million deal in free agency and stopped 30-of-34 shots Thursday. Connor Hellebuyck, the NHL’s reigning Vezina winner, had 23 saves for Winnipeg. The game was a rematch of last year's playoff series where the Flames dispatched with the Jets in four games in the qualifying round. Tkachuk was quick to put the Flames on the board Thursday, scoring on just the second shot of the game 4:28 in with a deflection in front of the Winnipeg net. The lead didn't last long. Less than three minutes later, Jets defenceman Derek Forbort made a pair of big plays, first jumping into the Winnipeg crease to make a save as Hellebuyck lay sprawled at the edge of it. Forbort then cleared the puck to Kyle Connor, who sprang Laine for a breakaway with a long pass. The Finnish winger sent a wrist shot sailing past Markstrom to even the score. The Flames went up again on a power play 11:24 into the first period after Winnipeg's Mathieu Perreault was called for goalie interference. Nearing the end of the man advantage, Lindholm sent a pass through traffic to a wide-open Gaudreau at the side of the net and Gaudreau put a snap shot past Hellebuyck. Lindholm netted a goal of his own about five minutes later, taking a pass from Dillon Dube and rocketing it into the top corner of the net to put Calgary up 3-1 heading into the first intermission. Chris Tanev registered a secondary assist on the play, marking his first point for the Flames. The 31-year-old defenceman signed a four-year, US$18-million deal with Calgary in free agency after 10 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Winnipeg wasted no time responding in the second frame. Thirty-four seconds into the period, Nikolaj Ehlers took a shot from the slot and, while Markstrom made the stop, he couldn't control the rebound. The puck squirted out to Schiefele who popped it in from the side of the net to make it 3-2. Whether Ehlers would play Thursday was in doubt until shortly before game time. The 24-year-old left winger missed practice Wednesday due to COVID-19 protocols. Winnipeg evened the score before the end of the second period, striking on a two-man advantage. Calgary was already killing off a too-many-men penalty when Lindholm was called for hooking on Paul Statsny. Winnipeg's power play got to work and Laine found Connor, who sent a one timer past Markstrom to knot the score 3-3. The period ended with some dramatics after Noah Hanifin cross-checked Connor into the boards. Laine responded by going after Hanifin and a scuffle ensued, with several members of each team jumping in. Hanifin was called for cross-checking, and Laine and Tkachuk were each sent to the box for roughing. Markstom made the save of the night with less than three minutes to go after rushing back to his net, stick-less after playing the puck behind the net. Stastny took a shot at the wide-open net, but the Swedish netminder appeared out of thin air and snatched the puck with his glove. Thursday was the first of nine meetings between the two clubs in the pandemic-condensed 56-game season. The Flames will host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, and the Jets are set to visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2020. The Canadian Press
A Russian entrepreneur has caused a stir by branding his fast food outlet around the murderous tyrant Joseph Stalin. Stalin Doner was visited by authorities and faced a staff walkout, but its very existence reflects the ambiguous view some Russians have of the late dictator.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
CBC "acted improperly" by firing a reporter who leaked to a news site that the network forced him to take down a tweet criticizing broadcaster Don Cherry, an arbitrator has ruled. Ahmar Khan, who worked in CBC's Manitoba newsroom as a temporary reporter/editor for a year before his termination in December 2019, is now entitled to be reinstated for a minimum of four months or receive four months of compensation, arbitrator Lorne Slotnick wrote in his ruling. "His chosen method of publicizing an internal CBC decision ordering him to take down a tweet was, in my view, like other public comment from CBC employees, not intended to harm the CBC or its reputation, nor is there any evidence that it did so," Slotnick wrote. CBC had said Khan was fired — not because of the tweet — but for both the leak and for homophobic and other disparaging remarks he was found to have posted on a private message group. But Slotnick ruled those reasons "amounted to, at most, a minor indiscretion" and were "far overshadowed" by a breach of privacy that uncovered Khan's activities. "Consequently, my conclusion is that the CBC acted improperly by dismissing him for cause," Slotnick wrote. Khan declined to comment about the decision when contacted by email. He tweeted one word — "Vindicated" — early Wednesday. Meanwhile, in a statement, CBC restated that its actions against Khan "were not related to his tweet regarding Don Cherry." The network added: "As was noted in the ruling, our actions were not considered discriminatory and there was no breach of Human Rights law." Cherry was fired in November 2019 after an outburst on Hockey Night in Canada in which the controversial commentator spoke about Remembrance Day and his outrage over "people that come here" — referring to immigrants — and don't wear poppies. Khan was offended by Cherry's remarks and tweeted that his Coach's Corner segment should be cancelled. He said Cherry's "xenophobic comments being aired weekly are deplorable." When CBC management learned of Khan's tweet, he was told it violated the policy on reporters expressing opinions, according to Slotnick's ruling. Khan, who was 24 at the time, was asked to delete the tweet, which he did, reluctantly, and he wasn't disciplined for his actions, the decision says. But Khan also told management that he believed CBC's policies were being applied selectively, and in a way that was harmful to journalists of colour, according to his testimony, which ran for seven days over several months last year. He testified he wasn't satisfied with the answers he got from management and decided to leak what had transpired to the news site Canadaland, which published the story on Nov. 14. Khan testified he was conflicted about telling Canadaland, but felt a discussion was necessary about race and the CBC and about how its journalism policies were, in his view, silencing employees of colour. Later that November, another CBC reporter, Austin Grabish, using a shared company laptop that Khan had used, discovered Khan's personal Twitter and WhatsApp accounts were still logged in, and found messages that included an admission that Khan had contacted Canadaland. "I noticed a WhatsApp screen that I was unfamiliar with and opened it," Grabish said in a statement to CBC on Thursday. "I was shocked and disappointed to see both a thread of misinformation about the CBC and several homophobic messages. "As a gay man, I know what it's like to be marginalized and grew up repeatedly being the subject of regular homophobic slurs and bullying because of my sexual orientation." However, Slotnick found that Grabish had conducted a search of Khan's WhatsApp account to find some of these messages. In another message, Khan referred to management as "assholes" for accusing him of violating CBC journalist policies. Khan had also sent a message to Andray Domise, a columnist with Maclean's magazine, who subsequently posted a tweet saying that CBC had made Khan take down the original tweet. Grabish relayed what he found to management, who took screenshots of some of the messages. Khan was fired on Dec. 3, 2019, in part, according to the decision, for "contacting external outlets about the order to delete the Cherry tweet, and for making disparaging comments about CBC management and its policies." He was also cited for making a homophobic slur on WhatsApp where his profile identified him as a CBC employee, says the ruling. Khan testified the alleged slurs were a joke among friends, according to the ruling, and reiterated that position Thursday in an email to CBC. "A friend and I were mocking a friend who uses that word in an effort to tell him to not use that language as it's derogatory and hurtful," he wrote in reference to the homophobic slur cited by Grabish. Grievance filed The union representing Khan, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), filed a grievance on his behalf, alleging the CBC violated the collective agreement, the Canada Labour Code, the Privacy Act, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It argued Khan had a reasonable expectation that his messages, even though they were on a company laptop, were private and that they should not have been used by management in the decision to fire him. The union also claimed that Khan was not seeking vengeance or to embarrass someone, but was calling for a public discussion about CBC's journalism policies and how they were silencing employees of colour. In his ruling, Slotnick said Khan had a reasonable expectation of privacy for his messages and that his right to privacy was violated, which "tainted the entire process that led to the termination of his employment." He said it was clear that Grabish could not have found what he did without conducting a search and that any suggestion that all the messages were on the screen when Grabish opened the laptop defies logic, given that some of them were months old. Slotnick also said he agreed with the union that "if employees could lose their jobs for privately criticizing their bosses — even if in crude terms — this country would be facing a severe labour shortage." WATCH | Cherry says he regets choice of words: He also rejected the notion that the CBC's reputation had suffered. "In an institution and an atmosphere where controversy is inherent in the nature of the product, my view is that it is an unfounded leap of logic to suggest that Mr. Khan's actions regarding a tweet somehow affected the CBC's reputation," he wrote. Kim Trynacity, CBC branch president of the CMG, said the union is extremely pleased with the ruling, which "upheld the reasonable expectation of personal privacy" for employees. "In trying to settle this grievance, it must be noted CMG has always focused on how management treated Khan, and how it dealt with a situation of a racialized temporary employee," she said in a statement. "Management failed to respect Khan's reasonable expectation of privacy which is a clear violation under our collective agreement."
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon and the five largest U.S. publishers, collectively called the 'Big Five', agreed to price restraints that cause consumers to overpay for eBooks purchased from them through a retail platform other than Amazon.com. The lawsuit comes a day after Connecticut said it was investigating Amazon for potential anti-competitive behavior in its business selling digital books. Amazon declined to comment.
How the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division educates students with intensive needs was a focus during the board’s meeting on Monday night. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas man was accused Thursday of beating a police officer with a pole flying a U.S. flag during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents. In an arrest affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, an FBI agent said Peter Francis Stager is shown in video and photographs striking a prone police officer repeatedly with the flagpole after rioters dragged the officer down the Capitol's west stairs. Confidential informants had recognized Stager in riot video and photographs and alerted authorities, who have charged Stager with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, according to the affidavit. Stager was in custody Thursday, said Allison Bragg, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. She referred all questions about the arrest to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, where a spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. No attorney was listed for Stager in court records. Stager is the second Arkansas resident to be arrested and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists that left five people dead, including a police officer. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday in federal court in Little Rock for Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, who remains in federal custody after his arrest on charges that included unlawful entry to a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun. The FBI identified Barnett as a rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during the Capitol insurrection. He surrendered to federal agents on Jan. 8. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Chuck Schumer is used to drinking from a firehose. But the incoming Senate majority leader has never taken on such a torrent of challenges, with the opening days of both the Biden administration and Democratic control of the Senate coming at the very moment an impeachment trial gets underway. A 38-year veteran of Congress who first came to the Senate during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, Schumer is a 70-year-old bundle of energy with one overriding mandate: Help Joe Biden become a successful president. To do so, he’ll have to leverage the narrowest possible majority — a 50-50 Senate with the incoming vice-president, Kamala Harris, delivering the tiebreaking vote. It's a tough assignment. It's far easier, though often unsatisfying, to be a minority leader equipped with the tools of obstruction than it is to be a majority leader armed mostly with persuasion. But the goodwill Schumer enjoys with key members, and his careful management of the party's constituencies, could help ease the way. “Chuck Schumer has done a remarkable job as our caucus leader the last four years holding our caucus together," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as he entered the Senate chamber during last Wednesday's Electoral College count, speaking just before a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump assaulted the Capitol and the situation turned dire. Then Schumer appeared. “What did I just give a quote about? Our capable majority leader!" Coons said. “Again!" a jubilant Schumer exclaimed. “More adjectives! More adjectives!" Less than an hour later, Schumer was in peril, under the protection of a Capitol Police officer with a submachine gun standing between him and GOP leader Mitch McConnell as the mob breached the building. The ransacking of the Capitol has brought impeachment to the Senate's door again and set Republicans on their heels. And it's put a spotlight on whether the polarized, diminished chamber can process Biden's agenda. Take the installation of Biden's Cabinet. The Senate has traditionally tried to confirm a batch of the most important nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, and the days thereafter. But to do so requires the co-operation of the entire Senate. Democrats slow-walked many of Trump's Cabinet picks four years ago after a crushing election loss, but there's a palpable sense that Republicans may be more co-operative now, at least when confirming national security nominees and picks like Janet Yellen to run the Treasury Department. Schumer seeks — and is used to operating in — the spotlight, whether he’s helping run the unwieldy, increasingly divided Senate, micromanaging his beloved Democratic caucus or crisscrossing New York. Any of these is a full-time job. And they don’t always point him in the same direction. For instance, Biden is preaching bipartisanship, and Schumer wants to help, but tensions are inevitable with ardent progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an ambitious Bronx Democrat whom Schumer allies are watching closely as he runs for a fifth term in 2022. Schumer was a force in Biden's decision to “go big” on Thursday with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus bill that was bigger than earlier Biden drafts. Progressives hailed the measure. Meanwhile, the prospect of an impeachment trial in the opening days of Biden's term adds a huge degree of uncertainty. Senate rules are unforgiving, but Schumer and McConnell are hoping to establish a dual-track process to confirm nominations even as the trial unfolds. McConnell and Schumer have a tortured, tense relationship after years of bruising political battles and fights over Supreme Court nominees. They rarely talk spontaneously and have no hesitation in slinging barbs that earlier generations of leaders managed to avoid. But Biden and McConnell are long-standing friends, and the Kentucky Republican — pondering a “guilty" vote in Trump's second impeachment trial and still absorbing the disastrous Senate losses in Georgia — appears inclined to help Biden as best he can. The events of the past week, as damaging and unsettling as they were for the country, seem likely to assist Biden and Schumer. What is more, Democratic control of the chamber comes with filibuster-proof treatment of Biden's nominees, with only a simple majority needed, though Republicans could easily force delays. McConnell and his Republican caucus want to “reasonably co-operate on the national security nominations,” said Hazen Marshall, a former McConnell policy aide. “His view has traditionally been that presidents deserve their staff, unless their staff are crazy or criminals." But GOP senators are sure to drag their feet on less urgent Cabinet posts given the experience under Trump, when even former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., had to endure delays. But with the economy slipping and the public appalled by the melee in Washington, GOP resistance to Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package or his slate of Cabinet picks may not be as resolute. “There's a lot to do, but Democrats are on the right side of all of it," said former Schumer strategist and confidant Matt House. “These are good problems to have." Amid the dizzying pace, Schumer also tends to New York. A Brooklyn native, Schumer makes a visit to each of the state's 62 counties every year. And his spur-of-the-moment visits to local events like high school graduations and, more recently, unannounced drop-ins on community Zoom calls are the stuff of legend. Last Thursday, little more than 24 hours after the Capitol riot, Schumer hopped on a call with a community board in Sunnyside, Queens. He spent the opening minutes thanking board members. “You guys and gals do a great job — I know what it’s like," Schumer said, according to the Sunnyside Post. “When things go bad you hear about it; when things are great you hear nothing.” And after Trump's impeachment Wednesday, Schumer heaped praise on local New York media members in a call with publishers and broadcasters thanking him for steering stimulus dollars to struggling news outlets, according to an account by the Syracuse Post Standard. But he had to jump. “Pelosi has called me and Biden, so I won’t be able to be on for too long," Schumer said. Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Hundreds of migrants hoping to reach the U.S. border gathered outside a bus station in this Honduran city Thursday despite continued signs from Mexico and other Central American governments that they would not be allowed through. Santos Demetrio Pineda was one of hundreds who showed up with little more than the clothes on their backs for the long, unlikely journey, made that much harder by the coronavirus pandemic. “We lost everything in the hurricane,” said Pineda, referring to two Category 4 hurricanes that hit Honduras in November. “We can't just sit around after what happened to us.” “We are going to leave the country, to ask for help wherever they receive us,” he said. Asked how they would make it past lines of police and immigration agents already preparing for them, Pineda said, “We are going to ask God to open the doors.” Earlier, 200 Honduran migrants walked and caught rides up a highway toward the border with Guatemala on Thursday, a day before a migrant caravan was scheduled to depart San Pedro Sula. That first group set out Wednesday but paused at night before reaching some 75 police officers, dressed in riot gear, who waited along the highway on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula. One officer said the intention was to stop the migrants from violating a pandemic-related curfew, check their documents and make sure they weren't travelling with children that were not their own. By Thursday, more migrants arrived at San Pedro Sula's bus terminal. The station has been the main departure point for caravans in the past and several hundred migrants could be seen around the terminal. Dolores Efrain Ortega, a bricklayer from the town of Cofradía, said he had travelled the route six times before. “Here there are no jobs. Even if you are a bricklayer, there is no work,” Ortega said, adding he was leaving “to get ahead, to have my own house.” But the migrants faced the additional challenge of governments that agreed earlier this week to enforce immigration laws at their borders. On Thursday, Mexico's National Immigration Institute posted videos showing hundreds of agents and National Guard members drilling on the southern border. It said the agents are “keeping vigilant in the states of southern Mexico ... to enforce the immigration law. " For weeks, a call for a new caravan departing Jan. 15 has circulated on social networks. But previous caravans have been turned back. Ariel Villega, from the town of Ocotepeque, was walking with his wife and 10-year-old son. Aware of the hurdles that awaited them, Villega said, “We’ve got everything, the passport and the COVID test.” Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Wednesday night decreed a “state of prevention” along the country's border with Honduras. The decree noted the threat of migrants entering without required documentation and without following pandemic-related screening at the border. Guatemala is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The decree said more than 2,000 national police and soldiers would be stationed at the border. The Mexican government said Wednesday that it and 10 other countries in North and Central America are worried about the health risks of COVID-19 among migrants without proper documents. The statement by the 11-member Regional Conference on Migration suggests that Mexico and Central America could continue to turn back migrants due to the perceived risks of the pandemic. The group “expressed concern over the exposure of irregular migrants to situations of high risk to their health and their lives, primarily during the health emergency.” On Thursday, Mexican officials said they discussed migration with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and raised “the possibility of implementing a co-operation program for the development of northern Central America and southern Mexico, in response to the the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the recent hurricanes in the region.” When hundreds of Hondurans tried to form a caravan last month, authorities stopped them before they even reached the Guatemala border. Other attempted caravans last year were broken up by Guatemalan authorities before they reached Mexico. Pressure to migrate has only been building. Central America was hit with two Category 4 hurricanes in November, devastating a region already struggling with the pandemic. The storms destroyed crops, shuttered businesses and displaced thousands. Migrants have also expressed hope that they could receive a warmer welcome at the U.S. border under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next week. ___ Associated Press writers Sonny Figueroa in Guatemala City and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. MaríA Verza, The Associated Press
Joanne Rogers, an an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children's TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92. Rogers died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The centre called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.” Joanne and Fred Rogers were married for more than 50 years, spanning the launch and end of the low-key, low-tech “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which presented Fred Rogers as one adult in a busy world who always had time to listen to children. His pull as America’s favouriteneighbour never seemed to wane before his death in 2003. “I can’t think of a time when we’ve needed him so much,” Joanne Rogers told The Associated Press in 2018. “I think his work is just as timely now as it was when it came out, frankly.” An ordained Presbyterian minister, Fred Rogers produced the pioneering show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED beginning in 1966, going national two years later. He composed his own songs for the show. It offered a soft haven for kids, in sharp contrast to the louder, more animated competition. The final episode of what his widow called “a comfortable lap” aired in August 2001. PBS stations around the country still air “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and some can be found on the PBS Kids video app. There are DVD collections on Amazon and episodes stream on Amazon Prime. The city of Pittsburgh, where the show was produced, tweeted that Joanne Rogers was one of Pittsburgh's “greatest neighbours.” It said the couple “forever changed our city.” Other tributes came from such varied fans as tennis star Billie Jean King to designer Kenneth Cole. Fred Rogers’ effect on popular culture was profound: Eddie Murphy parodied him on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s and one of Rogers’ trademark zip-up sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He’s had a category dedicated to him on “Jeopardy.” 2018, the 50th anniversary of when Rogers first appeared on TV screens, prompted a PBS special, a new postage stamp, the feature-length documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbour?” and, a year later, the Tom Hanks-led biopic “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Born Sara Joanne Byrd in 1928, Joanne Rogers met her future husband at Rollins College in Florida. After Fred Rogers’ death, she helped develop the Fred Rogers Center Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. “Joanne and Fred were Pennsylvania treasures committed to improving our communities and the lives of our children. We will never forget their legacy of kindness,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. She is survived by two sons, James Byrd Rogers and John Rogers. ___ Associated Press reporter Michael Rubinkam contributed to this report from Pennsylvania. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots. Mississippi's Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over. In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia. “It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.” Up until the past few days, health care workers and nursing home patients had been given priority in most places around the U.S. But amid frustration over the slow rollout, states have thrown open the line to many of the nation's 54 million senior citizens with the blessing of President Donald Trump's administration, though the minimum age varies from place to place, at 65, 70 or higher. On Thursday, New Jersey expanded vaccinations to people between 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions — including up to 2 million smokers, who are more prone to health complications. The U.S., meanwhile, recorded 3,848 deaths on Wednesday, down from an all-time high of 4,327 the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 385,000. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday that includes speeding up vaccinations. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration. More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The goal of inoculating anywhere between 70% and 85% of the population to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak is still many months away. Hard-hit Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county with 10 million residents, said it couldn’t immediately provide shots to the elderly because it had inoculated only about a quarter of its 800,000 health care workers. “We’re not done with our health care workers, and we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how it would be distributed.” Santa Clara County health officials said the county of 2 million people had only enough vaccine to inoculate people 75 and older, not the 65-and-older crowd. “It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this should not be a beauty contest,” County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. “This is about life and death.” In Mississippi, officials said new appointments will probably have to wait until a hoped-for shipment of vaccine in mid-February. In South Carolina, Kershaw Health in Camden implored people not to call its hospitals or doctors to schedule vaccination appointments after receiving more than 1,000 requests in two days. State health authorities said their hot line got 5,000 calls on Wednesday. Francis Clark said she tried repeatedly to schedule an appointment for her 81-year-old mother, who lives alone outside Florence, South Carolina, and doesn’t have internet access. But the local hospital had no openings on Wednesday, Clark said, and the other vaccination sites are too far away. “My mom can’t drive to Charleston,” Clark said. “She’s too old.” Allison Salerno, an audio producer from Athens, Georgia, said she spent the better part of a day calling her state’s health department to get a vaccine appointment for her 89-year-old mother. “I started calling at 8:30 a.m. and on the 67th call I was finally put on hold,” Salerno said. “I had already pre-registered her two weeks before online, but I never received a confirmation." After Salerno had spent 65 minutes on hold, someone finally came on the line and gave her mother a Saturday appointment. “My mother has not been out since the beginning of the pandemic,” Salerno said. “She’s a very healthy woman and she wants to go to the grocery store, she wants to get her hair done.” Meanwhile, some states, like Minnesota, are waiting before throwing open the doors. “As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots,” the state Health Department said in an email. “Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.” Arizona, which had the nation’s highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, will start signing up people 65 and older next week. It also plans to open a vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in addition to the one dispensing thousands of shots daily at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. To step up the pace of vaccinations, South Carolina made a rule change allowing medical students, retired nurses and other certain professionals to administer the shots. California lawmakers are increasing the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to likewise expand authorization for who can give injections to include nursing students, retired medical workers, firefighters and National Guard members with medical training. Newsom said the state’s priority is to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences.” He urged patience for those not yet eligible, saying: “Your turn is coming.” Jeffri, the New Yorker, spent several days trying to book a vaccination and once actually received a slot, only to get a follow-up text saying they didn't have the doses. Finally, with some online sleuthing from her daughter, the retired arts-administration professor got an appointment for her first shot — two weeks from now. “It’s a relief," said Jeffri, who wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about her ordeal. "But I’m not sure I trust it until it’s done.” Janie Har, Jennifer Peltz And Allen G. Breed, The Associated Press
NEW WESTMINSTER — A Crown prosecutor says there's no reliable evidence to support an argument that a man who stabbed two high school girls in Abbotsford, B.C., was having a psychotic break and didn't realize they were human. Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend. Closing arguments wrapped up Thursday in a hearing in which Klein's lawyer argued his client should not be held criminally responsible because he suffered a mental disorder that led him to believe he was stabbing monsters. However, Crown prosecutor Rob Macgowan said the judge hearing the case would have to accept Klein's version of events in order to rule in his favour. "If you don't accept Klein's word for it, we submit that all you would be left with is the same body of evidence upon which he was found guilty of murder and aggravated assault," Macgowan told the judge Thursday. Macgowan argued that instead of a psychotic break, evidence suggests Klein's anti-social personality disorder led him to commit the crimes for "no good reason." The B.C. Supreme Court has heard that Klein was waiting in a rotunda that connects Abbotsford Senior Secondary with a public library when he encountered the girls. He testified in court that he was suicidal and was waiting to use a computer to email his mother. As he waited, he said he saw a witch and zombie with maggots coming out of its back and heard a voice telling him to "kill" before he stabbed them. He did not realize what he had done until after the fact, he told the court. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental disorders while in custody awaiting trial. In order to be found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder under the Criminal Code, the judge must conclude that Klein was suffering a disorder that made him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his crime, or of understanding that it was wrong. Macgowan said Klein has not suggested he couldn't understand that stabbing people could result in their death, nor that stabbing people is wrong. Instead, Macgowan said Klein's case rests on the judge finding he did not understand that he was stabbing people. "That is the nature of Mr. Klein's defence," Macgowan said. The problem is that any evidence confirming Klein's perceptions at the time leads back to his own words, including reports or testimony from expert witnesses who say they believe Klein's claims, Macgowan argued. Case law indicates it's the court's jurisdiction to make a finding of fact, not the expert witnesses. Klein has offered varying accounts of what he saw, what the voices in his head told him and the events leading up to the attack. He has also described what he saw at different times as a witch, a zombie, a grey owl and a person with a beak, Macgowan said. Martin Peters, Klein's lawyer, said Wednesday that there is general consensus among experts that schizophrenia and memories arising from psychotic events cause deficits in working memory. Inconsistencies, contradictions and imprecisions in memories of psychotic episodes are not unusual and are to be expected, Peters said. But Macgowan argued that doesn't make Klein a reliable witness. "The presence of internal inconsistencies are not rendered irrelevant the moment someone claims to be in a psychotic state," Macgowan said. The diagnosis of a mental disorder is also not enough to prove a person was experiencing a break with reality at the time of an offence, he said. Beyond the incident, Klein has admitted in court to lying on several occasions, including regarding an account of being robbed by someone dressed as a clown, and during a conversation with one of the doctors examining him, Macgowan said. Klein demonstrated a willingness to hurt others even though he understood it was wrong when he said he considered attacking a police officer with a knife while considering suicide, Macgowan argued. Macgowan urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to stick with her assessment of Klein during his conviction as someone who knew what he was doing. Two experts found it likely that Klein suffers from an anti-social personality disorder, which wouldn't lead to a psychotic break but could help explain his actions. "It's the Crown's submission that what emerges on the evidence of this case both at trial and now at this hearing is a picture of an angry, frustrated, depressed and desperate individual — one who has anti-social personality traits, one who has voiced an intention to commit a violent crime," said Macgowan. Holmes said she would set a date to deliver her decision during a meeting on Feb. 10. — By Amy Smart in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden already faces the daunting task of steering a newly announced $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through a closely divided Congress as the pandemic and its economic fallout grow. Now Biden will have to do it with President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial beginning potentially as soon as his first day in office. The confluence of events amounts to one of the most politically and logistically complicated openings to a new administration in modern history, requiring Biden to try to move the country into a post-Trump era even as senators debate Trump's most divisive acts. “It’s going to be incredibly challenging,” said former Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat. “There's only so much bandwidth in the Congress.” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will have a significant role to play in ushering Biden’s agenda through the Senate as chair of the Budget Committee, underscored how much is on Democrats' plate during Biden's first few months in office. “We don’t have the time to spend an enormous amount of time on impeachment, and then we’re going to go to Biden’s nominees and then we have to deal with legislation,” the independent senator said. “We’re going to have to move simultaneously in a whole bunch of areas.” Biden has so far stayed largely out of public deliberations over Trump's impeachment for inciting a riot. After the House vote, Biden was forceful in denouncing the violent attack on the Capitol that precipitated the impeachment charge, but he also said he’d work as president to ensure Americans “stand together as a nation” — and called on the Senate to “find a way to deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.” His hands-off approach to the matter is in keeping with his stance throughout the campaign and into his transition, even as Trump’s ever-growing controversies have overwhelmed the news cycle. Biden took his time in endorsing the first impeachment of Trump in 2019, only expressing support for the move weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the formal effort. Decades before, when Richard Nixon was impeached, Biden cautioned his Senate colleagues to consider the weight of the moment and give Nixon a fair trial. Democrats on Capitol Hill say they largely want to see Biden continue his even-keeled approach and focus on his agenda, rather than on impeachment, once he enters office. “President-elect Biden has a big job. So let him do his job — and let the Senate do their work,” said California Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat. But once the proceedings start, it’s certain to be tougher for Biden to completely avoid them, with the trial dominating the news cycle and forcing his former opponent back into the spotlight, even as Biden tries to stay focused on the coronavirus pandemic. And there’s the prospect they could further exacerbate the already fraught atmosphere on Capitol Hill, politicizing Biden’s agenda and making it tougher for him to get support from winnable Republican senators. “Trump’s most fervent supporters are going to have an opportunity to attack Democrats, not for their programs and not for their ideas, but as the evil caricature that they have come to portray them,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “People who were potentially gettable as votes for some of Biden’s legislative agenda are going to be much more hesitant to go along with Democratic plans while Democrats are openly being vilified.” Biden was known as a dealmaker in the Senate and has long relationships with many Republican senators after his 36-year career there. He's also been in touch with leadership of both parties during the transition. But as Virginia Sen. Mark Warner points out, there's the risk that impeachment poisons the well for Biden with those senators who don't know him well. “At least half the Republican caucus has never served with Joe Biden,” said Warner, a Democrat. “His ability to navigate with those new members, if their first impression is driven by what could end up being decided on partisan lines, that’s going to make his job more difficult.” For now, Biden is staying focused on his agenda. On Thursday, in announcing his COVID-19 relief package, he emphasized that he hopes to work with lawmakers from both parties and expressed optimism that despite the $1.9 trillion price tag, “we’re ready to get this done.” “I know what I just described does not come cheaply, but we simply can’t afford not to do what I’m proposing,” Biden said. And Democrats on Capitol Hill are barrelling ahead as well, refusing to accept the prospect that impeachment will deter them from their legislative goals. “What the Senate is going to have to do is show the world that it can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Sanders said. Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has added her voice to those condemning businesses for denying Indigenous people entry due to COVID-19 fears, calling it racism. But the businesses — which include a restaurant, dentist's office and grocery store — claimed they were trying to stop COVID-19 from spreading from nearby Indigenous communities. The CBC has learned that Save-On-Foods in Powell River, the Glen Lyon Restaurant in Port Hardy, and a dentist's office in Duncan all refused service to Indigenous people, citing cases of COVID-19 in their communities as a reason. When Tla'amin Nation Councillor Brandon Peters learned that members of his Tla'amin Nation were denied access to the nearby Save-On-Foods, he was shocked. "That's infringing on our human rights, it's assuming every single First Nation person [in the community] has COVID," Peters said. The incidents come amid concerns that provincial data identifying the exact location of COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities is made public — often by First Nations themselves — while geographical data for municipalities and other regions of B.C. is not. In September, when the Tla'amin Nation was hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, the band issued a notice that members were to shelter in place. That's when stores including Save-On-Foods told Tla'amin residents they were not allowed in. "I was aware that some of the Tla'amin folks were being rejected, not just at Save-On, but at other stores as well," said Powell River Mayor Dave Formosa. "Just that it's easy to tell, they're Indigenous," he said. "I think that it was stereotyping, I don't know if it would be racism, they were just saying, 'Oh, the people from Tla'amin are are supposed to be staying home,'" Formosa said. The shelter-in-place order still allowed nation members to access essential services, but a Save-On-Foods representative said the message was confusing. "There was some confusion in the Powell River community about whether Save-On-Foods would be serving customers from the Tla'amin Nation during their voluntary community lockdown," a representative from Save-On-Foods told the CBC. 'Rejected again' Earlier this month, 80-year-old Fort Rupert resident Violet Bracic said she was told by the owner of the Glen Lyon Restaurant that she couldn't come in. The business is in Port Hardy, a 10-minute drive from her community. "I mumbled my discontent and said 'rejected again.' It is appalling. We're decent people," said Bracic, who is Kwagiulth and lives on the Fort Rupert reserve. Her daughter, who was with her at the time was also not allowed in. Another elder from Fort Rupert was also denied access. "I just feel like we're back in residential school days, you know, where they just think we're dirty Indians," said Jamie Hunt, another Fort Rupert resident who took to Facebook to express her outrage about the rejections. At the time, the community had one positive COVID-19 case, but the owner said he had heard there was an outbreak. "There was some misinformation and we are sorry. It was the wrong decision," said Glen Lyon Restaurant owner Jacob Bennett. He said he also denied entry to people from Port Hardy who he suspected had been in contact with a confirmed case. But Bennett noted he had little information to go on since the health authorities release little information about individual towns and cities. Many Indigenous communities in B.C. have chosen to go public with their positive cases. Racism is result of lack of data, says mayor North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring took to Facebook earlier this week to share his concerns about discrimination against Cowichan Tribes members, some of whom he says were rejected from big box stores and a local dentist. "I'm beyond extremely concerned," Siebring said in the Facebook post. When Cowichan Tribes member Barb Jimmy, 62, attempted to make an appointment with her dentist earlier this month she was asked only if she still lived on-reserve. She was not asked any of the standard COVID-19 screening questions. She told Victoria's CHEK News that when she said she lived on-reserve she was denied service. That dentist's office has since said they "feel terrible about the grave miscommunication ... and will make every effort to ensure it doesn't occur again." The Cowichan Tribes have a shelter-in-place order as they are grappling with an outbreak that has affected more than 90 people. But Siebring said while they are not the only ones testing positive for COVID-19, they are the only ones who seem to have access to data. "I, as mayor in North Cowichan and any other elected official municipality in B.C., doesn't know the rate of COVID in our communities — the health authorities are not sharing that," he said. "This is how [First Nations] are being rewarded for that transparency," he said. Siebring said it would make more sense if Dr. Henry and other provincial health officials were more transparent about the locations of all cases. In a statement to CBC News, Henry said being more transparent about the data would not help the situation. "This is sadly an issue of racism and I do not believe it has anything to do with provincial data releases. COVID-19 has illuminated longstanding inequities and in particular those faced by First Nations in B.C. I want to add my voice to the chorus who have condemned such behaviour."
If you’re a diabetic, you probably know what it’s like to prick your finger to get a blood sugar reading. If you’re not, Canada may be calling you to let a little blood as a civic duty. The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force recently rolled out its latest wave of antibody home test kits in its effort to map the prevalence of COVID-19 in the country. This past week, 22,000 of the test kits were mailed to randomly selected Canadians. That’s in addition to 4,000 that were sent before Christmas. In total, 48,000 test kits will be distributed, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of that will be almost 3,600. Dr. Catherine Hankins, chair of the task force, says she hopes people realize the service they’re providing by participating. “There are two big reasons to participate,” she said this week. “One is you’re being called to serve, in a sense — to serve your province and your country by helping gather information that’s going to be useful to decision-makers … but also, you get to learn your own result, and I can tell you a lot of people are curious.” However, you can't volunteer to do the test unless you've received a kit. The daily count of COVID-19 cases that appears in the news only tallies those who have tested positive for the disease through PCR testing. That’s a genetic test that can detect even the smallest amount of virus in a person's airways. An antibody test is different. It detects the cells a person's body creates to combat the virus. They can linger for months, or even a year or more, long after a person has recovered. They will also be there even if a person didn’t know they had the disease. One advantage of the Canadian-made test the task force is using is that it can detect the difference between the antibodies that occur naturally to fight viral infection, and those that are induced by a vaccine. Commercially produced tests have not been able to do that until now. Michael Grant, an immunologist at Memorial University in St. John’s, says tests they conducted last year did not have that capability. In his study, Grant said, they recruited people who had COVID-19 or thought they might have it or been exposed to it. Out of 160 volunteers, they found only two cases of people who tested negative for the coronavirus but actually had the antibodies. One of them was someone who had quarantined during a cruise, and tested negative when they got back. However, Grant says he was encouraged by the fact some people still had antibodies in their system several months after being exposed. “It would suggest to me that the (infection) immunity is going to last at least as long as the vaccine-based immunity," he said. “That’s all we can say so far, because it hasn’t been that long a time.” Grant said the task force study will offer some important insights, and may even help inform who is best to vaccinate after the high-priority groups are covered. “Right now, the public health approach is that everyone should get the vaccine,” he said. But he adds that 48,000 tests will only tell so much. “They would have to get out a lot in order to cover the entire country and be able to get an accurate idea of prevalence in different regions,” he said. Hankins agrees the sample size won’t give a clear picture of specific regions of a given province, and tests aren’t being distributed to Indigenous reservations, military facilities or prisons. But the algorithm used by Statistics Canada ensures a representative cross-section of age and gender. That’s why she is hoping for a high participation rate. “You’re representing not just yourself,” she tells test recipients, “but everybody else your age, your sex and your province, so you’re really important.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
When Maria Campbell's mentor, lovingly referred to as Old Man, asked her where she was born, his response to her answer shook her. “Without missing a beat, I said, ‘Park Valley,’ and he said, ‘Hmm, so you’re a white woman.’ And I was really disoriented by what he said to me. And I said, ‘I don’t understand. Why would you ask me if I was a white woman? You know I’m not.’ He said, ‘Indians are born in Indian places and white people are born in white places,” she said. Campbell is Cree/Métis. His observations forced Campbell on a journey of self-discovery and decolonization. “I can’t have conciliation ... I can’t go out and educate everybody else. I can’t do anything. I can’t even work with my family right away. I have to set things right for myself first and understand and then I begin with my family, and then I begin with my community and my nation. And then I can do all these other things with white people, with non-indigenous people because I have a place I can begin from,” Campbell explained. Campbell presented virtually on Jan. 13 as part of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Knowledge public lecture series. The series is part of UCalgary’s larger strategy towards reconciliation and meeting the Calls to Action directed to post-secondary institutions as set out in the 2015 final report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the legacy of residential schools. Campbell is a much-credentialed scholar, the recipient of honourary doctorates, a published author and playwright, fluent in four languages, and Officer of the Order of Canada. “I’m not going to speak about reconciliation and transformation. I have difficulty with those words. I stopped being a Christian a long time ago and for me those are Christian concepts,” said Campbell. “I want to speak from the place that I come from and how I came to this place.” Coming to that place embraced putting things right and coming home, she said. Old Man triggered in her the desire to get answers. She had left northwestern Saskatchewan where she had been born and raised, had travelled to Vancouver and was settled in Edmonton when Old Man spurred her on. When she left home, she swore she would never return to the community she saw as a place of death, a place falling apart like her family. “I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted it for my child. I wanted it for the siblings I had lost to social services. And I often used to think about what was I searching for. What was this good life? I think about what I thought a good life was, an apple a day, a toothbrush, and the search … ended so badly, here I was back at home again, in the place I had run away from trying to find myself,” she said. A couple weeks after Old Man posed the question, Campbell returned home. She was sitting with her father and asked him, “What did we call our land before it became Park Valley?” He told her it was called Neekiwin or “The Stopping Place.” Her father took her on a tour of the land and called the places by their Cree names and told her the stories. She had pushed those stories down, thought the memories of the names had been lost, but she found out that had not been the case. It was when they went to Omisi Pusqua or Oldest Sister Prairie, the place her father told her placentas were buried, a practice that continued until the women started giving birth in hospitals, that Campbell felt grounded. “Up until then for probably 15 years of my life I wandered around looking for something good and couldn’t find it. Not knowing what I was going to do. Coming home when (Old Man) asked me where I was born and I came home and I stood in that community and listened to those names and those stories. It was like I had sunk down into the ground somehow. Something happened in my way of seeing things or my way of knowing, although I didn’t have that language at that time. I just knew that I had come home…. I felt comfortable. I no longer felt that I had to be apologetic for the place I came from. If there was a shame or anger all of those things just seemed like they were gone. They were not there and I’ve never had to deal with that stuff again,” she said. Losing these stories and these memories is dangerous, said Campbell and quotes from Michel Foucault, who wrote that “memory is an important political resource” and used by the colonizer to control by replacing memories with other memories. “We start to believe whatever they tell us about ourselves,” said Campbell. Everybody’s story of where they came from or “their sense of place”, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, links them. Those stories are important, said Campbell, and they need to be honoured. But it also needs to be understood that every story comes with both a dark side and a beautiful side. “All of us suffer from those things. And if we’re going to change that we all have to be able to be honest with ourselves, come to terms with ourselves first before we can begin the work of someplace else,” she said. Understanding this, though, doesn’t mean she is above saying or doing hurtful things, said Campbell. “(What) I have to do is rejig myself a little bit and I’m able to very quickly get back to that Omisi Pusqua Older Sister Prairie and remember why I have to constantly work at … decolonization and conciliation. That I have to constantly remember that everything that I do is what’s going to be inherited by those seven generations ahead of us and that I can’t be busy trying to change lives for other people. I have to change my own life first and that’s a full-time job,” she said. CJWEBy Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE