Howard Deutch on how he was thrown off the lot while assigned to direct Hughes's "Some Kind of Wonderful."
Howard Deutch on how he was thrown off the lot while assigned to direct Hughes's "Some Kind of Wonderful."
LONDON — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said. American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final. A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” In a 30-second clip released by CBS Wednesday night, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle says. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's been a lot that's been lost already.” The Associated Press
Pembroke -- A respected member of the Upper Ottawa Valley legal, business and agricultural community, Del O’Brien, was recognized by Renfrew County Council at its February 25 meeting for his coming induction into the Ontario Agricultural Wall of Fame. He was introduced via ZOOM by Donna Campbell, secretary-treasurer of the Renfrew County Federation of Agriculture, one of the bodies which supported the nomination for the honour. Ms. Campbell noted some of the highlights of Mr. O’Brien’s career during which legal, agricultural and business interests, local as well as provincial, continued to intersect. The nomination highlighted his agricultural involvement and specifically his years of work with the Ontario Drainage Tribunal, a body which adjudicates disputes under the Ontario Drainage Act with regard to the impact of water management on farmland use. “In 1975 he was asked to establish and chair the Ontario Drainage Tribunal,” said Ms. Campbell. “As such he had a major influence on the evolution of tile drainage law in the province. In 1984 he was appointed founding chair of the Ontario Agricultural Council. And in 1994 he was appointed the official Drainage Referee for Ontario, a position he held until 2006. Now retired, he continues to operate a 500-acre organic farm along the Ottawa River with his sons.” Mr. O’Brien thanked Mrs. Campbell for her introduction, and county council for the honour and for the opportunity to speak to them. He said he would take the opportunity to leave them with a message. He told the meeting the challenges of coping with the COVID-19 virus bring with them two revolutionary opportunities for Renfrew County. “If we follow the news, we see that city living has become almost untenable,” he said. “People want to flee to the country. Renfrew County is a green area which is very inviting and has a lot to offer. “The second is the IT revolution. The internet has made it possible to work from any home. Renfrew County has severances along every road where the municipality doesn’t have to spend a nickel for services. The road, hydro, and telephone are already there, and in most cases there’s good internet. People can have a large lot with a drilled well and a septic tank. It’s green, green, green! Why do business in the city when it can be done in any home, anywhere in the country?” He said every municipality could use more children in schools and rinks, and more people in the churches. “The county’s structure was originally set up for one family on every 100 acres,” he said. “Thousands of people could be attracted to the Valley by making building lots readily available. Every real estate agent and developer can tell you the demand for lots and houses is outrageous. We’ve got to accommodate that demand and do it quickly, and not by subdivisions which take years to get in place and cost a great deal of money.” He added residential development along existing roads is completely compatible with farming today. “It’s mainly cash crops that are being produced now,” he said. “Due to Mad Cow Disease, beef operations are almost non-existent. And dairy operations are in confined housing 24/7. Planning policies are outmoded and haven’t recognized the revolutionary changes in farming. They must be brought up to date and modernized so that severances move quickly because they are needed immediately. You, the leaders of county council, can be the engine of that change. You’re in charge and you have to seize the opportunity.” Warden Debbie Robinson thanked Mr. O’Brien for his input. “You did not disappoint,” she said. “Your message is extremely timely as we’ll be discussing our Official Plan later today. It was excellent and it was heard.” She congratulated him and displayed a certificate of recognition which she plans to present to him in person when COVID-19 regulations permit. “I can assure you that, if we were doing this today in person in council chambers you would receive a standing ovation with thunderous applause,” she said. Marie Zettler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s largest city is still struggling with water problems more than two weeks after winter storms and freezing weather ravaged the system in Jackson, knocking out water for drinking and making it impossible for many to even flush their toilets. Residents in the city of 160,000 are still being warned to boil any water that does come out of the faucets. “I pray it comes back on,” Jackson resident Nita Smith said. “I’m not sure how much more of this we can take.” Smith has had no water at home for nearly three weeks. Smith is concerned about her mother who has diabetes. Her mother and most of the other older people on her street don’t drive, so Smith has been helping them get water to clean themselves and flush their toilets. A key focus of city crews is filling the system's water tanks to an optimal level. But, public works director Charles Williams said Wednesday that fish, tree limbs and other debris have clogged screens where water moves from a reservoir into a treatment plant. That caused pressure to drop for the entire water system. “Today was not a good day for us,” Williams said. He said about a fourth of Jackson's customers remained without running water. That is more than 10,000 connections, with most serving multiple people. City officials on Wednesday continued distributing water for flushing toilets at several pick-up points. But they're giving no specific timeline for resolving problems. Workers continue to fix dozens of water main breaks and leaks. The crisis has taken a toll on businesses. Jeff Good is co-owner of three Jackson restaurants, and two of them remained closed Wednesday. In a Facebook update, Good said the businesses have insurance, but he’s concerned about his employees. “We will not be financially ruined,” Good wrote. “The spirits of our team members are my biggest concern. A true malaise and depression is setting in." Mississippi's capital city is not alone in water problems. More than two weeks have passed since the cold wave shut down the main power grid in Texas, leaving millions in freezing homes, causing about 50 deaths and disabling thousands of public water systems serving those millions. Four public water systems in Texas remained out of commission Wednesday, affecting 456 customers, and 225 systems still have 135,299 customers boiling their tap water, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Also, 208 of the state’s 254 counties are still reporting public water system issues. Bonnie Bishop, 68, and her husband, Mike, 63, have been without water at their Jackson home for 14 days. Both have health problems. She's recovering after months in the hospital with the coronavirus. She's home but still in therapy to learn how to walk again and deals with neuropathy in her hands and feet. She has not been able to soak her feet in warm water, something that usually provides relief for the neuropathy, or to help her husband gather water to boil for cooking for cleaning. Mike Bishop just had elbow surgery. The first week the couple was without water, he still had staples in his arm and was hauling 5-gallon containers from his truck, his wife said. Bonnie Bishop said she told him not to strain himself, but he wouldn’t listen. They feel they have no choice. On Monday, the couple drove 25 miles (40 kilometres) to Mike’s mother’s house to do laundry. Jackson's water system has not been able to provide a sustainable flow of water throughout the city since the mid-February storms, city officials say. The system “basically crashed like a computer and now we’re trying to rebuild it,” Williams said at a recent briefing. The city's water mains are more than a century old, and its infrastructure needs went unaddressed for decades, Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has said. “We more than likely have more than a $2 billion issue with our infrastructure,” he said. Jackson voters in 2014 approved a 1-cent local sales tax to pay for improvements to roads and water and sewer systems. On Tuesday, the city council voted to seek legislative approval for another election to double that local tax to 2 cents a dollar. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves would have to agree to letting Jackson have the tax election. “I do think it’s really important that the city of Jackson start collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money,” Reeves said Tuesday. Jackson has had problems for years with its water billing system and with the quality of water. Melanie Deaver Hanlin, who was without water for 14 days, has been flushing toilets with pool water and showering at friends’ homes. She said Jackson’s water system “needs to be fixed, not patched.” “That’s the issue now — poor maintenance for far too long," Hanlin said. "And Jackson residents are paying the price.” ___ Associated Press writer Terry Wallace contributed from Dallas. Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia. Jeff Martin, Leah Willingham And Emily Wagster Pettus, The Associated Press
PARIS — Canadian forward Jonathan David scored two late goals as Lille beat Marseille 2-0 to stay top of the French league on Wednesday. David, from Ottawa, scored in the 90th minute and again two minutes into injury time. The northern side remains two points ahead of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which won 1-0 away to Bordeaux. Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda kept out shots from United States forward Timothy Weah and David in the second half to frustrate Lille. But the veteran France No. 2 spilled an angled shot from Jonathan Ikone in the 90th and David finished from close range. Defending champion PSG was missing Kylian Mbappe through suspension and was without the injured Neymar, while striker Moise Kean was ruled out after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier Wednesday. Winger Pablo Sarabia filled in and scored in the 20th minute when he turned in Idrissa Gueye’s cross from the left. Bordeaux winger Hatem Ben Arfa should have equalized against his former club when he ran through in the 70th, only to shoot just wide of the left post. The top three sides all won 1-0, with Lyon edging out Rennes at home to stay one point behind of PSG. Lyon is now four points clear of fourth-place Monaco after it lost 1-0 at Strasbourg for a first defeat in 13 league games. DEPAY DELIVERS Lyon forward Memphis Depay created the winning goal for substitute Houssem Aouar in the 73rd minute. Depay sprinted through down the right, but then lost his balance after shrugging off a defender just outside the penalty area. He got quickly back up and slid-tackled the ball to Aouar, who clipped the ball neatly over the goalie. Lyon had struggled to break down a well-organized Rennes side whose coach Julien Stephan resigned on Monday after a bad run of form. Tino Kadewere had a goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half, and strike partner Karl Toko Ekambi went close before Depay delivered. OTHER MATCHES Fifth-place Lens continued its good form with a 3-2 win at Saint-Etienne while sixth-place Metz slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Angers. Brest beat last-place Dijon 3-1 at home and Nice moved into midtable by downing struggling Nimes 2-1. Also, Reims beat Nantes 2-1 and Montpellier drew 1-1 with Lorient. There are 10 rounds left. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia wants to try and reduce shootings connected to gangs and drugs in legislation introduced today that partly focuses on the transportation of illegal firearms.Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says some of the changes in the proposed law would include penalizing drivers who transport illegal firearms, allowing for vehicles to be impounded that are used to transport illegal firearms and preventing gang members from using shooting ranges. The Firearm Violence Prevention Act would also protect social workers and health professionals from civil liability if they breach client confidentiality by reporting information to police about guns. Farnworth, who is also public safety minister, says in a statement the majority of gun owners in B.C. abide by the law and the legislation will have little impact on them.Dwayne McDonald, the RCMP’s criminal operations officer in charge of federal, investigative services and organized crime for B.C., says the bill would help police in their investigations and combat gun violence.The B.C. government says the legislation would also strengthen existing laws concerning armoured vehicles and body armour by requiring those applying for those permits allowing their use to submit their fingerprints.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
As First Nations across the country begin to adopt their own child and family welfare laws, they are being reminded about liability issues and adopting statutory immunity. “It’s very much a policy or political issue for Indigenous governing bodies as to whether or not they want to follow what most provinces have done in including a statutory immunity … (which) obviously does limit recovery for children who may have suffered damages. It’s a question that may not be palatable to include in laws, but it’s there in the laws that the provinces have applied,” said Eileen Vanderburgh, lawyer with Alexander Holburn Beaudin and Lang LLP. In the case of child services, statutory immunity would require a child who is suing for damages to establish that the acts or omissions were done in bad faith, which is a higher standard than claiming a duty was not performed, said Vanderburgh. Vanderburgh spoke March 2 at the third of five virtual gatherings hosted by the Assembly of First Nations on Child and Family Services and Self-Determination. Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, came into force Jan. 1, 2020. It allows Indigenous groups to design and deliver child and family welfare services in the manner that best suits their needs. Indigenous groups would be taking over delivery of these services from the provinces. Vanderburgh addressed liability considerations for transitioning to First Nations jurisdiction over child and family services, pointing out that Indigenous governing bodies could be sued in Canadian courts for damages suffered by children whose care they have taken over. It was a sobering reminder of what could go wrong. “This is a complex area of law that is being applied to a complex web of relationships and there’s a number of legal principles guiding (this),” she said. She pointed out that claims of negligence in performance of duties were common and that these fell into two categories, direct and vicarious. “Vicarious liability can apply even if the authority itself hasn’t done anything wrong but somebody who they employed or contracted with to supply services has, and the law recognizes a vicarious liability in that relationship,” said Vanderburgh. She also noted that the Indigenous governing body could be held liable in the performance of duties that they delegated to another agency. However, the courts do make distinctions between foster homes and institutions. Vanderburgh highlighted the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2003 decision in KLB v. British Columbia, where “the relationship between governing bodies and foster parents is not sufficiently close to impose vicarious liability on governing bodies for abuse committed by foster parents.” Foster parents were described by the court as “independent contractors.” When it came to institutions, the court made the distinction that care was provided by employees and it was the employees who abused or neglected the children and “that was the distinction why vicarious liability would be imposed on the institution for the institutional care, but not on the province where the care was in a foster home,” said Vanderburgh. She added, however, that there were exceptions to the rule and there were cases where the province was held directly liable for abuse that took place in the foster home because the province failed to properly investigate a foster home, to supervise regularly or to investigate complaints made by the child. Vanderburgh also said that the Indigenous governing body could be held financially accountable in a case of joint and several liability even if they are not vicariously liable. Where a number of defendants are liable for damage caused to a child and not all defendants can pay, the court would order the defendant “with the deep pockets” to make compensation. That defendant is most likely the governing body. In turn, the governing body can collect from the other defendants. Vanderburg also pointed out that various sections of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families Act underscored that the best interests of the child were the primary consideration of the Indigenous governing body and not the child’s parents or family when it came to decisions made or actions taken to apprehend the child. “This is consistent with the case law that has developed in child welfare,” she said. The act sets out the minimum national standards of care for the child, but Indigenous governing bodies can adopt other measures in their laws and these form the basis for standard care. Development of clear and operational policies and protocols, as well as limiting liability through laws passed by the governing bodies help to manage the risks, as does hiring and training of employees, and providing supervision and support to caregivers. “Really the gold standard is get insurance…That’s the best risk management tool,” said Vanderburg. She also suggested that Indigenous governing bodies consult with the provinces to see what policies they have in place. “It will outline the scope of what certainly the province considered needed to be covered by policy and tailor that. It will become more than what we want but we can tailor it to the issues that you see or what you want to address in your own policies,” said Vanderburg. She also suggested that First Nations think hard about whether they wanted to create an internal judiciary system or use a dispute resolution system to address the issues that will arise from child and family welfare services. “They could be complicated claims and whether or not you want to take on that additional burden and if so how do you manage that in the legislation because it affects people’s rights who are affected by the decisions made by the governing body on these issues. That I think is a trickier sort of policy, political question as to whether or not that’s what you want to do,” said Vanderburg. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said Wednesday the change will see nearly 40,000 more people vaccinated with a single dose by the end of March. "Real-world evidence is now emerging and shows that the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine offers protection for a longer duration," Fitzgerald said. "It will ... help to prevent symptomatic disease, hospitalization and deaths during this most crucial time of higher disease prevalence and limited vaccine supply." Fitzgerald's announcement preceded an updated recommendation issued late Wednesday by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which said the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine could be given up to four months after the first to maximize the number of people benefiting from a first dose. British Columbia had raised eyebrows Monday when provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced her province would delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months. The previous guidance from the advisory committee said there should be no more than six weeks between doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and no more than 12 weeks between doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Newfoundland and Labrador is still reeling from a COVID-19 outbreak that spread rapidly through the St. John's metro area in mid-February. The outbreak prompted officials to cancel all in-person voting in the provincial election, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 13, and impose provincewide lockdown measures. Fitzgerald announced three new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and said all were connected to previously identified infections. "We've had several days in a row with only epidemiologically linked cases, and that means that our new cases are linked to previous cases," she said. "This is good news really and indicates that we are heading in the right direction." There are 149 reported active COVID-19 infections in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 147 of those are in the eastern health region, which includes St. John's. Officials said nine people are in hospital due to the disease, including three in intensive care. Fitzgerald said public health is expecting about 7,000 doses of the newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine next week. "We intend to start administering as soon as they arrive," she said, adding that the priority group for the vaccine had not yet been determined, given that officials are recommending it for people under 65. Those in older age groups will continue to be prioritized for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots, Fitzgerald said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — A Nunavut judge has granted a mining company an injunction against hunters who stopped its iron ore operation when they protested at the site last month. About a dozen Inuit hunters blocked the road and airstrip at Baffinland Iron Mine's Mary River project on northern Baffin Island for a week before leaving Feb. 10. The hunters were protesting Baffinland's proposal to double its output of iron ore and build a 110-kilometre railway from the mine to the ocean. They left after their regional Inuit organization and land-claim body offered to meet with the group face to face. Baffinland applied for an injunction against the hunters Feb. 10, and a temporary order was issued to have them clear the mine site. A second hearing was held in Iqaluit on Feb. 13, where lawyers for the hunters and the company argued whether the injunction should be granted. The injunction order legally prevents the hunters and "anyone else with knowledge of the order" from protesting at the site or blocking the mine's road and airstrip. The RCMP has the authority to enforce the order. In her decision, Justice Susan Cooper noted Baffinland lawyer Brad Armstrong's arguments about the mine's financial losses from the protest and the uncertainty about whether the hunters would return. "While the Defendants have left the project site, their counsel was not able to confirm that they have agreed to not return and continue the protest," Cooper wrote. "Although the protesters may no longer be at the project site, their reasons for being there in the first place remain." Cooper also said the hunters have not clearly stated their reasons for protesting. "The protest and its reasons have been the topic of discussion in the media. There may be more than one reason for the protest. It may be that the individual protesters are there for different reasons," she wrote. She said the injunction does not prevent the hunters from protesting elsewhere. "While it is true that such protests would be of little effect at the project site, without impeding the operations due to the remoteness of the location, there are other locations within the territory where a protest would be seen and heard." The injunction is interlocutory, which means it is not permanent. A permanent order would only be granted after a trial, Cooper said. In a news release, lawyers for the hunters said they are "disappointed that such a decision was made based on Baffinland’s arguments so early in the case, and look forward to their lawyers presenting new evidence now available through examination of the Baffinland witnesses." The hunters said they stand by their actions "and feel confident that they can carry forward their active opposition to mine expansion in many other ways." "In the interim, they will look for quieter places to sleep." Cooper said lawyers for the hunters can apply to vary or set aside the injunction with two days' notice. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version said the hunters have two days to apply to vary or set aside the injunction.
EDMONTON — Alberta is following guidance from a national vaccine advisory panel and increasing the time between COVID-19 doses. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, says the greater lag time will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. She said the plan is for Alberta to match British Columbia, which announced Monday it will follow the four-month window and get a first dose to everyone who wants one by July. “This change will significantly increase how quickly we can offer Albertans the protection of their first dose,” Hinshaw said Wednesday. “We can all take heart that by getting more first doses to Albertans more quickly, the change I am announcing today brings the light at the end of the tunnel nearer.” Earlier Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended first and second doses can be to up to four months apart if supplies are limited. The decision was made based on emerging studies in places including Quebec, the United Kingdom and Israel that show even one dose of vaccine can be about 70 to 80 per cent effective. When vaccines were first available late last year, manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna recommended two shots spaced three to six weeks apart. Alberta is now into its second round of priority vaccinations. The 29,000 highest-risk Albertans, those in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, have been vaccinated twice. Seniors over 75 and First Nations people 65 and older are among those now allowed to book their shots. Hinshaw said second dose appointments will go ahead for those who have already booked them, and those who want to book a second shot within the previous six-week window will be able to up to March 10. Starting then, those who book a first vaccine dose will have the second one delayed by as much as four months. Newfoundland and Labrador also announced an extension to four months. Manitoba has said it will bring in a delay. Ontario said it was weighing a similar move and seeking advice from the federal government. The change comes as more vaccine doses are on the way. Along with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the federal government has approved a third vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca. Hinshaw said Alberta expects to soon receive shipments of that vaccine as early as next week. Alberta has so far administered 255,000 vaccinations, with 89,000 people getting the full two doses. Hinshaw reported 402 new cases Wednesday. There were 251 people in hospital, 48 of whom were in intensive care. Twelve more people died, bringing that total in the province to 1,902. Case numbers and hospitalizations are a small fraction of what they were at the height of the second wave of COVID-19 in December. The economy remains under public-health restrictions, which include no indoor gatherings and limited capacities for retailers and restaurants. Premier Jason Kenney announced earlier this week a delay in loosening some rules, given unknowns, such as variant strains of the virus. The strains can spread much faster than the original one, with the potential to quickly overwhelm the health system. Alberta has detected 500 variant cases, and Hinshaw announced Wednesday the first variant case at a continuing-care home. Churchill Manor, in Edmonton, has 27 staff and residents who have tested positive, with 19 of them positive for the variant. “Local public-health teams and the operator are taking this outbreak extremely seriously and (are) working closely together to limit spread and protect everyone involved,” said Hinshaw. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Several different noteworthy items were on the agenda at last Tuesday's St. Marys Town Council meeting. First on the agenda was a discussion with Doug LaPointe, Supervisor of Recreation Services, about a lighting upgrade at the Pyramid Recreation Center. The upgrades focus on changing fluorescent or incandescent lights to LED lights. Several lighting upgrades were made in Town facilities, including the PRC, last year as part of the approved annual Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. Lights in the arena dressing room hallway and lobby area were replaced before the budget was fully allocated. LaPointe proposed continuing the work that began in 2020 and replace more lights in the PRC through the approved 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. There are approximately 200 more fixtures to be replaced at a cost of around $23,000, which is just under half of the 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades $50,000 budget. However, an energy reduction rebate totaling $6,000 would bring the net cost of the project down to approximately $17,000. Douglas Electric did the work in 2020 at the PRC and they would be contracted again for the 2021 work given their familiarity with what has already been done. This was unanimously approved by the Council. Town Treasurer Andre Morin then spoke with the Council members regarding a proposed agreement with the Province of Ontario for enhanced cleaning measures for the St. Marys and Area Mobility Bus. According to Morin, the Town is eligible for up to $12,223, of which Town staff expects to use almost all. The proposal was brought to Council to get approval to execute a transfer payment agreement with the Province as part of obtaining the funding, which was approved unanimously. Next on the agenda was a correspondence from the Township of Baldwin requesting that the Province reconsider closing the Ontario Fire College. Fire Chief Andy Anderson joined the meeting for his monthly emergency services report and spoke on this letter. The Ontario Fire College has been active since 1949 before its permanent closure was announced earlier this year. There are 20 regional training hubs around Ontario, including one in Oxford County, which Chief Anderson said is where local firefighters are sent. Anderson also said that while St. Marys firefighters may be sent to a regional hub for locational convenience, it is inconceivable that any Province wouldn't have a main Fire College. A resolution was unanimously approved by Council to support the Township of Baldwin's correspondence pushing the Province to reconsider the Fire College's closure. The last big subject discussed involved Jed Kelly from Public Works, who delivered a report on downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. Essentially, allowing the utilization of sidewalks and parking spaces for patios or displays increases restaurants and retail areas, and increases adherence to physical distancing measures. Additionally, such a program could help the Town's tourism sector long-term if local cafes and eateries had outdoor patios. Town staff recommended that the Council delegate the authority to Public Works to review and approve applications for street patios and that staff bring forward a policy for permitting downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. This was approved unanimously by the Council. Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent
Calgary police say a person has died in a shooting with officers. A news release says police received a complaint Wednesday afternoon about a person with a gun at the Nuvo Hotel in the Beltline area. The agency says there was a confrontation with that person and there was a shooting. No officers were injured, and no other details about the shooting were provided. Roads in the area were to be closed for some time. The province's police watchdog, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, is investigating. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Endangered southern resident killer whales would have a much better chance of survival if chinook were in their hunting grounds during winter off the coast of British Columbia, a new study says. The whales expand their menu and the distance they travel as they forage for food from October to March in the waters off California up to Alaska, which leaves them with little energy, says the study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Plos One. Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said this is the first study that looks at the diet requirements of killer whales from their perspective. Hanson, fellow author Robin Baird and others collected and analyzed the prey and fecal samples of northern and southern resident killer whales for 13 years, starting in 2004. They found that chinook salmon made up almost all of the whales' diet in spring but fell to around 70 per cent in mid-winter and plunged to about 50 per cent heading into the fall. Baird said the animals supplemented their diet with coho and chum salmon, as well as other fish including lingcod, halibut and flounder, which are bottom dwellers. Of all the fish in the sea, whales prefer chinook salmon because they are the largest, richest, most energy dense and easily intercepted, said Baird, who is a research biologist at Washington's Cascadia Research Collective. "The whales have become these chinook specialists probably over tens of thousands of years because of the great availability of those fish," he said in an interview Wednesday. "If the whales have to expend a lot more energy getting that prey then they basically get less bang for the buck." The whales then don't have enough energy to store fat that helps them keep warm in the cold waters. This leaves them weak and unable to reproduce, he said, adding most mothers are not able to feed a calf even if they do give birth. "Reproduction of southern residents is directly or indirectly related to chinook abundance," he added. Chinook populations have fallen dramatically over the last 100 years by human actions including farming, the construction of dams, industrial activity and the destruction of estuaries, he said. All 14 stocks of chinook salmon that are preferred by whales are threatened, he said. These fish would move in and out of inshore waters at different times of the year and ensure a steady supply of food for the orcas. "Let's say, just for sake of argument, there was one river that had 100 million chinooks that all came back during the same time of the year," Baird said. "That's going to be a lot less beneficial to the whales than 100 rivers, each of which have a million chinook and those chinooks all come back at different times of the year." One way to ensure a steady chinook supply for orcas is to catch fish at the mouths of rivers after they've passed through areas where whales forage, he said. "Unfortunately, there is no one simple solution." Overfishing and large-scale degradation of spawning and rearing habitat are some of the biggest threats to chinook salmon and by extension the southern resident killer whales, Baird said. The southern resident killer whale population is just over 70. Killer whales are top predators, which means they are often ecosystem indicators, he said. A reduction in the southern resident killer whale population is indicative of a degraded environment, which affects everyone, he said. "So, I think that killer whales are an indicator," Baird said. "And the big question is whether or not we're listening." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Hina Alam, The Canadian Press
Toronto's top doctor is asking the province to lift a stay-at-home order and move the city to the strictest "grey" category of Ontario's pandemic restrictions system next week. The stay-at-home order that was imposed in January, with other measures that include the closure of non-essential retail, is set to expire Monday. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said Wednesday that lifting the order is reasonable but precautions still must be taken. "While there are evident reasons for a change in status, there remain reasons or risks that underscore how moving back into grey status is and will be a delicate balance," she said.Moving to the grey category, which allows retailers to open at 25 per cent capacity, is better than placing the city in the second-strictest red category, which allows indoor restaurant dining and personal care services, she said.Toronto Mayor John Tory said he believes moving to the grey category is the right approach."The cautious transition is the right way to go, all things considered," he said.Tory said he hopes the approach will help ensure the city will not have to undergo another shutdown. De Villa also issued a new order for workplaces, requiring businesses to ensure mask use at all times during an outbreak, should the city be moved to the grey category.The order also requires businesses to keep a record of everyone entering the workplace during an outbreak.Tory said the city has reached out to the Ministry of Labour to help support the move with increased workplace inspections over the coming days.Meanwhile, the top doctor of neighbouring Peel Region, which is also under a stay-at-home order, recommended his area move to the grey-lockdown zone as well. The move would preserve the progress made in the fight against the virus, said Dr. Lawrence Loh.Toronto reported 290 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while Peel Region reported 164.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Wall Street slumped on Thursday and global stock markets declined after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell repeated his pledge to keep credit flowing until Americans are back to work, rebutting investors who have openly doubted he can stick to that promise once the pandemic passes. Benchmarket U.S. Treasury yields rose toward last week's highs as Powell spoke, and the dollar hit a three-month high. With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out and the government fiscal taps open "there is good reason to think we will make more progress soon" toward the Fed's goals of maximum employment and 2% sustained inflation, Powell told a Wall Street Journal forum.
JERUSALEM — The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, turning the tribunal’s focus toward Israeli military actions and settlement construction on lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The decision dealt an embarrassing blow to the Israeli government, which had conducted an aggressive public relations and behind-the-scenes diplomatic campaign to block the investigation. It also raised the possibility of arrest warrants being issued against Israeli officials suspected of war crimes, making it potentially risky to travel abroad. “The state of Israel is under attack this evening,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. “The biased international court in the Hague made a decision that is the essence of anti-Semitism and hypocrisy.” “I promise you we will fight for the truth until we annul this scandalous decision,” he said. The decision by Fatou Bensouda, the court’s outgoing prosecutor, had been expected since the court determined last month that she had jurisdiction over the case. A preliminary probe by Bensouda in 2019 had found a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes case. In a statement, Bensouda said the investigation will look into “crimes within the jurisdiction of the court that are alleged to have been committed” since June 13, 2014. She said the investigation will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour.” That task will now be handed to Karim Khan, the British lawyer who is set to become the court's chief prosecutor in June. Wednesday's decision turns the court’s focus toward two key Israeli policies of recent years: its repeated military operations against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, highlighted by a devastating 2014 war, and its expansion of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Experts say that Israel could be especially vulnerable to prosecution for its settlement policies. Although the Palestinians do not have an independent state, they were granted nonmember observer status in the U.N. General Assembly in 2012, allowing them to join international organizations like the ICC. Since joining the court in 2015, they have pushed for a war crimes probe against Israel. Israel, which is not a member of the court, had said it does not have jurisdiction because Palestine is not a sovereign state. The Palestinian Authority, which administers autonomous areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, welcomed Wednesday’s move. “This long-awaited step serves Palestine’s vigorous effort to achieve justice and accountability as indispensable bases for peace,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said. The Palestinians chose June 2014 as the start of the investigation to coincide with the run-up to Israel’s devastating Gaza war that summer. In the fighting, over 2,200 Palestinians, including nearly 1,500 civilians, were killed by Israeli fire, according to U.N. estimates. At least 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side, according to Israeli figures. Israel has argued that it waged a war of self-defence against nonstop rocket fire against its cities. It blames Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers for the high civilian death toll because the group launched attacks from residential areas, drawing Israeli retaliation. Bensouda has also said her probe would look into the actions of Hamas, which fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2014 war. In Gaza, Hamas nonetheless welcomed the initiation of the investigation and called on Bensouda to “resist any pressure” that could scuttle the process. “This is a step forward to implement justice, punish the occupation and do justice to the Palestinian people,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told the Associated Press. He said he was confident that the rocket attacks on Israeli cities was legitimate under international law. The ICC is meant to serve as a court of last resort when countries’ own judicial systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Israel does not recognize its authority, saying it has an independent, world-class judicial system. But the Palestinians, and human rights groups, say Israel is incapable of investigating itself and has a history of whitewashing military crimes. After the war, the military opened dozens of investigations into the conduct of troops. Although there were only a handful of convictions on minor charges, that could be enough for the court, which dropped a similar case against British troops in Iraq last year because U.K. authorities had investigated. In a reference to Israel’s justice system, Bensouda said the investigation will “allow for a continuing assessment of actions being taken at the domestic level in accordance with the principle of complementarity.” Experts have warned that Israel could have a harder time defending its settlement policies in in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Settlements are widely viewed as illegal based on the Geneva Convention principle that an occupying power is barred from transferring its population to territories captured in war. Population transfers are listed as a war crime in the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute. Israel annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 Mideast war, and considers the West Bank disputed territory. But its positions are not internationally recognized, and most of the world considers both areas occupied territories. Today, some 700,000 settlers live in the two areas, which the Palestinians claim, along with Gaza, for a future state. Israel says the fate of these areas should be resolved in negotiations, and that ICC involvement will push the Palestinians away from the negotiating table. Bensouda said that priorities in the investigation will be “determined in due time” based on constraints including the coronavirus pandemic, limited resources and prosecutors’ existing heavy workload. While Wednesday’s decision does not pose any immediate threat to Israel, the court has the authority to quietly issue arrest warrants for people suspected of crimes. Netanyahu was prime minister during the 2014 Gaza war and has been a strong advocate of the settlements. His defence minister, Benny Gantz, was Israel’s military commander during the war. Israeli media have said that Israel is in touch with allies who are members of the ICC to receive warnings about potential arrest warrants against its citizens. In his statement, Netanyahu said Israel was being unfairly singled out. He accused the court of “turning a blind eye to Iran, Syria and the other dictatorships that are committing real war crimes.” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said “we firmly oppose and are disappointed by the ICC prosecutor’s announcement of an investigation into the Palestinian situation.” "We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly,” Price told reporters in Washington. International human rights groups praised the decision as a step toward justice for Israeli and Palestinian victims. “The court’s crowded docket shouldn’t deter the prosecutor’s office from doggedly pursuing cases against anyone credibly implicated in such crimes,” said Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “ICC member countries should stand ready to fiercely protect the court’s work from any political pressure,” she said. ____ Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed. Josef Federman And Mike Corder, The Associated Press
CALGARY — As the Calgary Flames try to snap out of their malaise, the return of their star goalie appears imminent. Sidelined five games with lower-body injury, Jacob Markstrom put in a full practice Wednesday with the Flames. "He's close," Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. "Right now he's going through hurdles to get clearance from our medical staff. "He should be ready to go moving forward here based on sort of what we saw, but we'll leave that decision up to the medical people ultimately." Markstrom was pulled midway through a 7-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 20 to open a six-game road trip. A 2-3-1 swing, including a pair of losses to the division cellar-dwelling Ottawa Senators, dropped the Flames below the .500 mark (10-11-1) heading into Thursday's rematch at home against the Sens. Markstrom was Calgary's best player the first quarter of the season with an 8-4-1 record, a .924 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average. The coveted free agent signed a six-year, US$36-million contract with the Flames in October after seven seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In his seventh straight start, and 14th of Calgary's first 16 games of the season, the six-foot-six Swede twice collided hard with Canucks players while coming out his crease to challenge them Feb. 17. Three days later in Edmonton, Markstrom was replaced by David Rittich after giving up five goals to the Oilers on 15 shots. Whether he returns Thursday against Ottawa, or in the weekend's back-to-back games against the Oilers and Senators respectively, Markstrom is hungry to help restore his team's confidence. "Stop the puck. That's my top and only priority," Markstrom said. "It sucks not being out there to battle with the team. You want to be out there for the good times, but also, when we're not playing our best and guys are battling, you want to be out there with them and get us out of this little slump." Veteran forward Derek Ryan also skated Wednesday and appears ready to return to the lineup after missing 12 games with a broken finger. "Things are a little heavy around here," Ryan said. "Guys are gripping the sticks, and it's just not the happiest place right now. "So I was trying to bring a little positivity today in practice and then when I get in the lineup, it's more of that, the energy, positivity." The Flames are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and scored one goal or less in seven of them. Calgary sits three points back of fourth-place Montreal with the halfway point of the pandemic-shortened season looming March 13 when the Canadiens come to Calgary. "We've got some guys coming back from injury, which is a positive thing for us," Ward said. "There's no panic in our situation. We understand exactly where we're at. But we also understand the only people who can get us out of this is ourselves. "We need to come together collectively, we need to do the things that we need to do to, to make positive plays, we need to look after what's important on a daily basis, and we'll start to go the other way again." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Although Alek Minassian was found guilty of all counts in the Yonge Street van attack, the judge has set a Canadian precedent by considering autism a “mental disorder” under the Criminal Code. Kamil Karamali reports.
In Vancouver, it's geese who reign over the green space in town. Thousands of the birds — and counting — waddle as they please through the city's oceanfront parks, leaving an impressive trail of feathers and excrement in their wake. They foul public swimming pools, gobble young grass from freshly seeded fields, dig holes around water sprinklers and nip at passersby who get too close during mating season. The Vancouver Park Board, by its own admission, cannot keep up. "It is a constant challenge for the trades and operations staff," it said in a statement. The board announced on Wednesday it is officially enlisting the public in its effort, asking for help to control the growing population of 3,500 geese. Staff are developing a Canada Geese Management Plan to find and remove nests, sterilize existing eggs and reinforce a ban on feeding geese. Canada geese are shown at Trout Lake in Vancouver in March 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) To sterilize eggs, the City of Vancouver uses a technique called egg addling. Eggs can be shaken, frozen or covered in oil soon after they are laid, according to a 2016 report. Once the eggs are sterilized, they're placed back in nests to reduce the chances of the goose laying more. (If eggs are removed from the nests, the birds simply lay more to replace them.) The board said Wednesday the practice has been in place since the 1990s and is approved by organizations including the B.C. SPCA and PETA. But urban geese have caught on. They now try to hide their nests, laying their eggs away from parks and around private homes. The board is asking the public to report goose nests on their property so staff can respond. Geese thrive in coastal city Geese flourish in Vancouver as the city's parks provide an ideal habitat with no natural predators. The birds were re-introduced to the area in the 1970s, to boost the population for hunting and consumption purposes. Humans took to feeding the brown-and-black feathered birds regularly, which has encouraged them to gather in high-traffic areas and lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season — a reproductive rate that wouldn't be possible if people weren't supplementing their diets. Canada geese block traffic while crossing the road in Vancouver in 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC) "In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn't happen," the statement read. The other problem with all that feeding, the board said, is the sheer amount of waste that follows. Canada geese produce a disproportionate amount of poop for their size and diet because they don't have a very efficient digestive system, compared to similar species. "Wedding venues in parks and gardens struggle with keeping the areas clean of goose droppings, as do water parks," the board said. Officials said the amount of egg addling happening in the city needs to triple in order to have an effect on the size of the goose population.
A grieving father says his daughter's death is a tragic example of how a Regina non-profit failed to support the vulnerable, at-risk women it is supposed to help. Roland Desjarlais is one of many calling for immediate changes at Raising Hope Moving Families Forward. Desjarlais said his 30-year-old daughter Marilyn Gordon was a resident of Raising Hope between February and September 2020. The government-funded program is run by the Street Workers Advocacy Project (SWAP) and is meant to support women facing addictions, homelessness or child apprehension. Women are provided housing and connected with services. "She was evicted from the program. Marilyn lost all hope. The program failed her and her children," Desjarlais said at a news conference Wednesday. "Tragically, I found her deceased in her bed on the morning of Sunday, January the 3rd, 26 days after [her] being denied readmission." Desjarlais said his daughter struggled with mental illness and addiction after her mother's death in 2017, but that she was accepted into the Raising Hope program last year and started to work toward rebuilding life for her and her children. Af first she thrived in an environment of compassion and understanding, he said. However, he said that environment changed in the summertime. He said she started to feel ignored and dismissed. Around that time several employees with the organization resigned after raising concerns about the way the program was being run. They said the program was no longer operating based on harm reduction, cultural safety and trauma-informed practices — a shift they believed was causing harm to clients. Desjarlais alleges his daughter's requests for extra support were ignored. "After months of pleading for help, she relapsed in the program. She was punished, she was shamed, she was judged," he said. The government had apprehended her children in August, shortly before she was evicted, he said. He said she was once again grappling with addiction and homelessness by November. Desjarlais said she was "desperate" for help and applied to be accepted back at Raising Hope. He said her intake appointment in early December was cancelled, with management citing concerns about COVID. It wasn't rescheduled. Desjarlais said his daughter spent the Christmas holidays with him and talked repeatedly about reuniting with her children, but on Jan. 3 he found her dead from an overdose. He believes her death was preventable. The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) joined Desjarlais Wednesday in calling for immediate intervention from the provincial government and an overhaul of staff at Raising Hope. "Why does someone have to die in order for attention or change ... that's the sad part of this whole story, because it just didn't start with Marilyn's death," FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear said. Several former employees and residents, many who were at the new conference, have raised concerns about the program. In November, former resident Fay Munro spoke out about problems within the program, prior to her own eviction from it. The next month, CBC published a story in which four former employees called for government intervention and detailed allegations against management at Raising Hope. They alleged harassment and intimation from staff toward other employees and residents, and also said the program had shifted away from its core pillars of harm reduction and a culturally-informed approach to healing. In December, SWAP announced that it would launch a review of the program, but advocates remained concerned about the current leadership team taking responsibility for a review. The Ministry of Social Services confirmed in late Feburary that it was hiring a consultant to do its own independent review of the program and its board governance. Minister of Social Services Lori Carr said in a statement that the ministry was stepping in due to concerns raised about SWAP's review. "It's important to do so to ensure independence, transparency and public confidence in the review process," Carr said in the statement. FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said the Raising Hope program is a powerful tool to help Indigenous women heal from addictions and get their children back from care. He called on the government to immediately change staff at the home. Cameron said it's hard not be angry at how the system has failed "and will continue to fail unless there is change." "We don't need a review. We don't need an investigation. We know where the changes are needed."
Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que cinq nouvelles régions passeront en zone orange à compter du lundi 8 mars, ce qui n'inclut toutefois pas la région de Laval. Les territoires visés sont la Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches, la Mauricie, l'Estrie et le Centre-du-Québec. François Legault a justifié la décision de conserver certaines régions en zone rouge en raison de la possibilité de voir une hausse des cas et hospitalisations dans la grande région métropolitaine au cours des prochaines semaines. Cette augmentation pourrait notamment être causée par la présence de plus en plus importante du variant du Royaume-Uni. «On se retrouve dans une course contre la montre qui oppose les effets de la relâche et les variants à l'opération de vaccination de masse, a précisé le premier ministre. [...] On laisse certaines régions en zone rouge, car ils n'ont pas de marge de manœuvre dans leurs hôpitaux.» Les territoires qui se retrouveront désormais en zone orange bénéficieront notamment de la réouverture des gyms et restaurants. Les élèves du primaire n'auront également pas à porter le masque en classe avant la cinquième année. Par ailleurs, le gouvernement provincial prévoit recevoir près de 800 000 doses de vaccin au cours du prochain mois. François Legault a aussi annoncé un déconfinement progressif du milieu sportif, et ce, même en zone rouge. La santé publique a offert son accord pour recommencer le sport parascolaire à partir du 15 mars. Cela inclut aussi les sorties publiques pour les groupes scolaires. La plus grande facilité à contrôler la pratique sportive dans le cadre scolaire justifie cette décision. Notons qu'un plan complet du déconfinement sportif sera rendu publique la semaine prochaine. Avec un bilan de 24 861 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 80 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès demeure stable à 869 depuis le début de la pandémie. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 23 296 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 696 cas actifs (-27) confirmés sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 27 sont hospitalisées, dont 9 aux soins intensifs. 15 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Quatre résidence privée pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 289 670 cas et 10 426 décès. Au total, 618 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 120 aux soins intensifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval