Campaigning in Georgia on Monday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stressed to Senate runoff voters a need for Democratic colleagues to advance the Biden administration's policy agenda. (Dec. 21)
Campaigning in Georgia on Monday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stressed to Senate runoff voters a need for Democratic colleagues to advance the Biden administration's policy agenda. (Dec. 21)
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
COVID-19. La Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) demeure vivement préoccupée par l'état des entreprises québécoises et s'inquiète pour la survie de plusieurs. Elle accueille tout de même favorablement l'ouverture du gouvernement pour maintenir certaines activités économiques tout en rappelant qu'une aide financière directe plus importante que ce qui a été annoncé par le passé devrait être prévue. «Les Québécois sont fatigués. La situation actuelle est extrêmement difficile pour de trop nombreux secteurs économiques et les annonces d'aujourd'hui sont un autre coup dur pour des milliers d'entrepreneurs. Nous reconnaissons toutefois que les décisions du gouvernement visent à maintenir le plus d'activités économiques possible sans nuire aux efforts pour lutter contre le virus, notamment pour le secteur manufacturier et celui de la construction. Les entrepreneurs québécois ont fait d'énormes efforts pour rendre les lieux de travail les plus sécuritaires possible. Voici leur chance d'en faire la démonstration», souligne Charles Milliard, président-directeur général de la FCCQ pour qui le gouvernement doit maintenant plancher sur deux priorités nationales : maximiser la distribution et l'administration des vaccins et s'assurer que les aides de soutien aux entreprises soient les plus directes et les plus efficaces possible. «Le gouvernement doit présenter et exécuter rapidement un plan de vaccination cohérent et efficace. En plus de pouvoir compter sur les professionnels de la santé, il devrait aussi prêter rapidement l'oreille aux offres d'aide du secteur privé pour accélérer la vaccination de la population», indique-t-il. Par ailleurs, pour couvrir un maximum d'entreprises ayant besoin d'une aide financière pour survivre, l'enveloppe globale devrait être augmentée et la notion d'aide directe devrait être privilégiée selon le réseau de 130 chambres de commerce et 1 100 membres corporatifs. «Le surendettement des entreprises était déjà une réalité bien présente qui sera aggravée par ces fermetures prolongées de plusieurs entreprises. La situation est exceptionnelle et impose des mesures exceptionnelles comme le couvre-feu, mais nos entreprises n'ont plus la capacité de s'endetter davantage et le gouvernement doit en tenir compte», précise Charles Milliard. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
A special facility to treat those in psychiatric emergencies in that opened in Charlottetown during the pandemic won't be reopening, despite earlier assurances from the health minister that the closure was temporary. The pandemic is having a big impact on fundraising efforts for the 2023 Canada Games in P.E.I. The new head of the P.E.I. Nurses Union, Barbara Brookins, says there is a continuing and ongoing concern over a shortage of nurses on the Island. Student well-being teams in Prince Edward Island's schools are seeing an increase in referrals for help, perhaps in part because of the pandemic. The final audited statements for P.E.I. Premier Dennis King's first year in government are in, and they contain a rare bit of budgetary good news. The government believed its planned surplus would be erased by the few weeks of pandemic that fell into the fiscal year, but statements released Friday show P.E.I. ended up with a $22-million surplus. The pandemic has cut into volunteer numbers, and the Canadian Red Cross on P.E.I. is looking for volunteers to help out both on the Island and across the country. P.E.I. did not see a spike in cases as a result of holiday gatherings, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison in an interview with CBC News: Compass, but Morrison said she is concerned about rising case numbers in neighbouring New Brunswick. P.E.I. will not look at an Atlantic bubble again for at least two weeks. There was one new case of COVID-19 in the province Thursday, a man in his 50s who returned from travel outside Atlantic Canada. Allowing Islanders access to government-sanctioned high-limit online betting, especially during a pandemic, is a bad idea, says Liberal Finance critic Heath MacDonald. He's referring to a new online casino planned for P.E.I. by Atlantic Lotto. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 104, with eight still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Three Innu men from Quebec were fined on Jan. 7 after being found guilty of illegally hunting caribou in Labrador in 2015. The three men, Roger Mark, Jacques Mark and Jean-Phillipe Vollant, were found guilty of violating the Wildlife Act and fined $1,000 each. Vollant was also found guilty of obstructing a wildlife officer and fined $200. Prosecutor Jim Clarke had asked Judge Kari Ann Pike to impose penalties on the lower end of the range because the three men co-operated with the wildlife officers. “It was non-confrontational is what I’d suggest and that is why the Crown is leaning towards the lower end of those scales and recommending the court impose minimum fines,” he told the court at the sentencing hearing. The incident that lead to the charges happened on Oct. 25, 2015. The Fish and Wildlife enforcement division in Happy Valley-Goose Bay received a complaint that three men were illegally hunting caribou in the Birchy Lake area. Four officers were sent out to do a helicopter patrol of the area and saw a tent set up near the edge of Birchy Lake. They landed, went to the campsite and found the Mark brothers there, with Vollant offshore in a canoe. When asked to come ashore by the officers, he initially refused before complying. That refusal is what led to his obstruction charge. The officers seized hunting gear, a rifle, a shotgun, and meat and animal parts at the campsite. The meat was sent to Trent University to be identified and it was verified to be caribou. A report entered into evidence verified that the camp location and hunt was within the range of the Mealy Mountain population, which are listed as endangered. During the sentencing, defence lawyer Francois Levesque said the men, who have hunted caribou since they were children, had acted respectfully to the caribou, which the Innu have traditionally hunted for generations. “It was a very respectful manner of doing the infraction, if I may put it that way,” Levesque said. “It’s not the worst case we’ve seen of poaching, if I can put it like that. Of course, the remaining fact is that caribou is endangered. Whether it is Red Wine caribou, George River caribou, it was endangered.” Pike said it was an aggravating factor that the men had planned the trip knowing they were not allowed to hunt caribou in the area, but there were also a number of mitigating factors. There was no indication the hunt was for anything but subsistence, she said, and on land the Innu have traditionally used for that purpose for a long time.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Québec souhaite mettre en valeur la participation et le leadership des femmes et des filles dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. C’est pourquoi il fait appel à la Fondation Québec en forme, devenue M361, dont le siège social est à Trois-Rivières, pour la mise en place d’une stratégie globale de mobilisation en collaboration avec le ministère de l’Éducation. Le gouvernement a fait connaître son intention dans le cadre d’une annonce de recrutement d’organismes ciblés possédant l’expertise des enjeux liés aux femmes dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Son choix s’est arrêté sur Québec en forme à la suite d’un accord de gré à gré. Québec en forme était une organisation québécoise fondée en 2002, issue d’une entente de partenariat de 480 millions $ entre la Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon et le gouvernement du Québec. Son mandat était de promouvoir la bonne forme physique et la saine alimentation auprès des enfants de 0 à 17 ans. En septembre 2019, Québec en forme devient M361. Elle se transforme en une toute nouvelle organisation et redirige ses activités vers l’activité physique et la saine alimentation. En vertu du mandat accordé, M361 devra recruter des partenaires et experts oeuvrant en sport, plein air et activité physique pour la mise en commun des stratégies favorisant le recrutement et la rétention des femmes et des filles dans les domaines du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Pour ce faire, ils devront valoriser et mettre en lumière des modèles féminins dans ces secteurs d’activité. Parmi les organismes ciblés figurent Égale Action et Fillactive. Le travail consistera à élaborer une image de marque pour lancer et accompagner la stratégie globale, produire des outils promotionnels, incluant une vidéo ainsi qu’un événement de lancement, tout en assurant le développement d’un site Web. Le projet doit prendre son envol l’automne prochain pour une période de deux ans. Malgré nos demandes d’entrevue par courriel, il n’a pas été possible de discuter avec la direction de M361 pour obtenir plus de détails.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
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
The McKellar Firefighter Association wants to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by volunteering to flood private skating rinks for McKellar residents. At McKellar's Jan. 12 council meeting, Coun. Don Carmichael commented that it was acting fire chief Ron Harrison’s idea. “We have very little public ice available,” said Carmichael. “And now (with) further restrictions of only five people can be together on an ice surface at any point in time, we have two options. One would be to flood public grounds which we would be responsible for or we can flood private grounds which is the responsibility of the homeowner.” In a report submitted to council, Ron Harrison wrote to request the use of the apparatus and equipment to assist in the initial flooding of at-home rinks to provide an opportunity for ratepayers to have additional activities to do at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. “This is a fantastic initiative brought forth that will help the ratepayers of McKellar (by) staying home and skating,” Harrison said. “This will also pose benefit in the reduction of pressure on our municipal rink and reduce the use of the lake ice which can be unpredictable.” According to Carmichael, the fire department would be using the secondary tanker and portable pumps and said the initiative could be used as a training opportunity for the firefighters as well. “It would be another training opportunity to be doing this in freezing conditions which we don’t normally do unless in the event of a real fire,” he said. “So, this is a winter training opportunity in addition to providing a service to our private landowners.” But could it affect fire department response times? Coun. Marco Ancinelli, who is also a firefighter for McKellar, said that it wouldn’t as the fire department wouldn’t be using the main equipment. “It’s a different animal all together when you’re fighting a fire in the summertime or in the winter time so I think it’s great practice,” said Ancinelli. However, David Moore, a McKellar ratepayer, questioned the cost the township could incur with usage of the machinery that has been paid for by ratepayers. “Taking expensive township equipment onto private property seems to have insurance claim written all over it,” said Moore. “Should a malfunction or breakage occur, is there enough available equipment to contend with the next fire call?” But Carmichael said during the meeting that township staff had contacted the insurance carrier who provided suggestions on what landowners should be doing. For a ratepayer to have the fire department provide the initial flooding of their private rink, they must reach out to the township and request to have their rink flooded. Ratepayers will have to provide a site plan, sign a waiver and follow a checklist. The procedure also includes a visit from the fire department to ensure it can be done safely. While some ratepayers expressed their concerns online, Coun. Mike Kekkonen said that he thinks council has covered the due diligence aspect with any liability concerns. “With that, I feel comfortable with the firefighters giving their time,” said Kekkonen. “Some people might say that there’s a cost but then again if a child or a family gets a skating rink and have an enjoyable winter, that’s priceless.” Council voted unanimously in favour of the resolution approving the fire department to utilize the apparatus at the discretion of the acting fire chief to provide a free service to McKellar residents to flood ice rinks on private property. The fire department volunteer staff will not be paid an hourly rate nor accumulate points for this activity. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
It was a decision parent Katerina Gamlin never wanted to make: continue struggling to care for her young daughter Kassie or hand her over to a government-funded care centre for at least a year. The 13-year-old suffers from multiple neurological disabilities, including autism and requires constant supervision. Last year, she went into psychosis and was hospitalized. "Our child is so complex, there's not just one person that can come along and care for her," said Gamlin. The family has been desperate for respite services, which give short-term relief to primary caregivers. But in B.C., those are in short supply, and many that were available have been put on hold because of the pandemic. It puts a heavy burden on parents like Gamlin, with few prospects of relief. "You're emotionally exhausted, you feel like you're not a good parent, that you're not doing everything you can. I hate to admit it, but at some point, you question whether you love the person you take care of," said Gamlin. The lack of respite services in B.C. has advocates sounding the alarm over the emotional and physical toll on parents, many of whom are burned out while also grappling with the economic and social challenges brought on by the pandemic. For some, it means making the hard decision to give up their children. Respite removed Gamlin says once her daughter was discharged from the hospital following her psychosis early last year, the Nanaimo-based family was provided with three-days-a-week respite services in a fully staffed group home. "We were starting to get some rest," said Gamlin. "I can't tell you how fabulous that was. That was the first time in her life that I was hopeful that things were going to be OK." But after three months, the Ministry of Children and Family Development pulled the services from them. Gamlin says she was told that children already in government care were taking priority. According to the ministry, the pandemic prompted MCFD to make service adjustments in April 2020 to "prioritize vulnerable youth and children and youth with support needs." Gamlin said she advocated for the services to be reinstated for nearly a year but with no success. Whether it was writing to ministries, social workers or politicians, she says she would run into brick walls and closed doors. Two months ago, after Cassie was hospitalized again, Gamlin made the decision to sign a special needs agreement with MCFD, which means her daughter now lives in a ministry-funded care centre about an hour-and-a-half away. The agreement lasts for one year, and Gamlin retains guardianship. "I'm thankful every day because she's in a place that is amazing," said Gamlin. "[But] I often get frustrated thinking about how it would be if we did have the respite that we so desperately needed." Care crisis Behaviour analyst Jemana Elsharkawi works with special needs children and says she's witnessed first-hand the toll the lack of services has had on families, which has been compounded by the pandemic. "Many parents have lost their jobs, it's very, very difficult," said Elsharkawi. "We're really in a crisis." She penned a letter to the MCFD last April calling for more funding for respite for families amid the pandemic, citing a noticeable uptick of parents coming to rely on specialists like her as a lifeline. "We didn't have enough services prior to the pandemic, and now as things have exacerbated, with families and their children desperately needing more support, what we're seeing is a lot more 911 phone calls ... the toll on the mental health of the families is incalculable," she said. A ministry spokesperson said B.C. has seen an increase in the number of homes "resuming respite care services since November." "We aren't yet back to pre-pandemic levels, but we are trending in that direction," read the statement. For parents that have already made big sacrifices, a return to "pre-pandemic levels" won't be enough. "The system seems really flawed in why are we not preventing burnout, why are we not preventing children going into care, if there were respite beds," said Gamlin.
OTTAWA — Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It covers Harvest brand Polish sausages in 675-gram packages with a March 15 best before date. Customers are advised to throw away or return the product. The agency says no illnesses have been reported. A food safety investigation is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired "abundant" surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tested locally manufactured new drones in a military exercise on Friday, state television reported. The drill, which it said was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region, came in the waning days of high tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. "Also, an abundant number of a new generation of ballistic missiles were fired at selected targets, inflicting deadly blows to the hypothetical enemy bases."
Yukoners have more options for where they can go for outside medical treatment as well as higher daily subsidies under new rules that went into effect on Jan. 1. The territorial government had committed last year to raising the subsidies from $75 per day to $150. It was one of the recommendations in last spring's wide-ranging Putting People First, a report by an independent expert panel that conducted a comprehensive review of health and social services in Yukon. At a briefing Thursday morning, officials went over the new rules. Affordability Along with doubling the daily rate for multi-day medical travellers, they can now claim the subsidy for the first day of travel. Outpatient escorts receive $75 per day, inpatient escorts $150 per day and same-day travellers and their escorts $75. Affordability was a major issue raised during a public consultation in 2019 when officials heard that Yukoners are often left paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for medical travel. "The cost of accommodation, meals, and local transportation, combined with lost wages, is much more than $75 per day," a report on the consultation said. It says people were even refusing to travel for medical care because of the cost. Under the previous rules people could generally only be sent for medical treatment to Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton. Their doctors can now ask for them to be sent anywhere in Canada where the treatment is available. That would let people request travel to cities where they have close family members. "That is one of the guiding principles where people can actually go where they have family, where it's less cost for them," said Marguerite Fenske, acting director of insured health and hearing services with Health and Social Services. "But we also know that being close to your families will provide those additional supports that you really require," she said. The government eliminated rural travel subsidies for people who live close to Whitehorse and were able to claim money for medical appointments in the city. Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says the government will also be opening a new unit to provide support to people going on medical travel by coordinating travel arrangements, answering questions and other support. "What happens when they come out of a small community and are not familiar with that type of interaction, where do they go? What do they do? They needed a point contact and this will allow for that," said Frost.
Seguin Township has completed Milestone 1 of the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans (ICECAP) project as of December 2020. Milestone 1 tasked municipalities involved with ICECAP to create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory of both the corporate and community aspects of the township. During its Jan. 13 council meeting, members of council discussed what moving forward into Phase 2 of the program would look like. Here’s the discussion captured in five quotes: 1\. “There’s two pieces to Milestone 1 — one being corporate, the township; one being community, all the residents,” said Daryle Moffatt, ICECAP co-chair and Seguin councillor. “ … The next hurdles are to set emissions targets and develop a plan. We’ve done a number of things corporately and residents have done a number of things, we just need to continue to set our goals to see if we can achieve some lower greenhouse gas emissions.” 2\. “How long will it take to set targets? What is the procedure going into Milestone 2 and what’s the timing?” asked Coun. Rod Osborne. 3\. “We will be working with other ICECAP members (and) organizations around the table in 2021 to start to develop our emission reduction target as well as our local plan,” said Moffatt. “What we’ve realized is ICECAP is not one-size-fits-all — it’s going to ebb and flow. It’s going to be a work in progress but it is a goal in 2021 to achieve Milestones 2 and 3.” 4\. “I will emphasize again to all the councillors, if you have not done your own personal carbon calculator, please do it. It will make a difference to how West Parry Sound moves forward,” said Seguin’s mayor, Ann MacDiarmid. “It’s worth doing. It’s a real eyeopener.” 5\. “I would extend that to all staff and residents, not only in Seguin but across all the municipalities that are participating in ICECAP,” said Moffatt. “It is critical to capture that data because it will only help us going forward.” MacDiarmid thanked those involved with the ICECAP initiative from Seguin and mentioned that the carbon calculator could be used as a good school assignment for teenagers. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
One January night at the COVID-19 checkstop at Kahkewistahaw First Nation, about 150 km east of Regina, security worker Mike Bitternose put on his red basketball shorts, an orange tied-at-the-midriff safety vest and his granddaughter's heart-shaped sunglasses. Then he started to dance for the camera. In the resulting video, which has been shared on social media more than 5,000 times, Rod Stewart's Da Ya Think I'm Sexy plays in the background while Bitternose dances toward the camera with a red, handheld stop sign. "I never, ever thought that I would do something like it," Bitternose said with a laugh, during an interview this week about the video. "The outfit that I had on was just a spur of the moment thing." Bitternose works in Kahkewistahaw but is originally from the George Gordon First Nation, about 200 km northwest. Like many First Nations, Kahkewistahaw has implemented check-in stops at its border during the COVID-19 pandemic to screen people as they come into the community. Bitternose did the dance as part of the #RezSecurityChallenge, a social media trend that started late last year to inspire people working at COVID-19 checkstops on First Nations. It can be a tough job, the stops aren't always welcomed by people coming in. Bitternose said he was inspired to join the challenge after seeing a security guard from another First Nation dancing in a video. He almost backed down, but went for it. "If it ever came down to it, I would do something like it again," Bitternose said. "I can't save the whole world. But I can be there for my team. Always be there from my team, day and night." He said he's feeling sorry he didn't wear a mask for the video challenge. He said he normally wears one, and always does when working security. 'It's not getting any easier' The pandemic has not been easy for First Nations, and Bitternose said he wanted to do something to lift up his security team. "It's not getting any easier with this, with everything. It's a challenge," Bitternose said. "A lot of our elderly people are really facing it in the hardest of times. And it's something that we have to recognize as a nation." The First Nation has put in protective rules such as an overnight curfew order to help prevent spread of the virus. Bitternose said he didn't expect the video to go viral. That night, after the camera was off and the song ended, jigging music blasted from the speakers and six other security members joined in for a jigging dance, he said. We need laughter. As Indigenous people, we believe that laughing is our medicine. - Shauna Taypotat Security worker Shayna Taypotat was one of the people who videotaped Bitternose dancing. She said the group wanted to join the challenge because the community has been going through a difficult time. "There's a lot of tragedies and things going on here and so we're kind of having a hard time. So we decided just to do it because we need laughter," she said. "As Indigenous people, we believe that laughing is our medicine." The community recently lost a member — a 52-year-old previously healthy man — to COVID-19. In a social media post, Chief Evan Taypotat said the man was exposed at a housewarming party. In that post, the chief said that as of Jan. 12 there were 14 active cases on the First Nation and that 30 people were waiting for test results. Moments of joy Shayna Taypotat said the death left a dark feeling in the community. "Everyone's scared," she said. "It's very scary." Little moments of joy make help, said Shayna Taypotat, who also said she hopes the video helps community members appreciate what the security guards do. She said people don't usually like being asked the COVID-screening questions, even though the purpose is to keep community members safe. The job can take a toll on security guards, she said. Bitternose said other security groups should join in and issued a challenge to other dancers: "I will do another challenge if you can beat this one." CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
MILAN — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was released Friday from a hospital in the French Riviera city-state of Monaco where he underwent medical tests for heart problems, his press office said. The 84-year-old three-time premier said in a message to supporters that his health was good and that he entered the hospital to carry out some tests that were “a little more than routine” and ordered by his personal physician out of caution. “I am not worried about my condition,’’ Berlusconi wrote. “I am worried for the many Italian victims of COVID and other illnesses, and for the many other Italians who are suffering from the consequences of a very serious crisis.” Berlusconi was hospitalized for COVID-19 for about 10 days in September and underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016. He has had a pacemaker for years, and also has overcome prostate cancer and a series of other ailments. . Berlusconi described his bout with COVID-19 as “insidious,” calling it the most dangerous challenge he ever faced. The media mogul no longer holds public office, but remains the head of his Forza Italia party and is vocal in national politics. On Friday, he sent a message of solidarity for the opening of the Christian Democratic Party’s national convention this weekend. Last week, he issued a strong condemnation of the siege of the U.S. Capitol, saying President Trump’s refusal to accept his election defeat had created “a very dangerous laceration in American society.” The Associated Press
NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev nominated Askar Mamin as prime minister on Friday, and the newly elected lower house of parliament swiftly approved his appointment after ruling party leader Nursultan Nazarbayev asked his lawmakers to back Mamin. Mamin had stepped down after a Jan. 10 parliamentary election, as required by the constitution, after almost two years in office. Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party swept this month's vote to retain control over the lower house.
Pension fund managers and religious investors on Friday asked top social media companies to step up their content control efforts to reduce the threat of violence ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden next week. The effort is the latest pressure on Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc over extreme rhetoric after the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Firefighter Morrison was able to break a path through the ice out to the dog while safely secured by ropes. Just before he got to the dog, it gave out a crying type howl and as soon as he grabbed it, it went completely limp from exhaustion. Video credit Alpena City Firefighters
The partner of Norway's former justice minister was found guilty of threatening democracy and sentenced to 20 months in prison on Friday in a case involving faked attacks on her family home and the torching of her car. Laila Anita Bertheussen, 56, had pleaded not guilty to all charges and rejected the prosecution's claim that she had sought to generate sympathy for the family by blaming an anti-racist theatre group for the incidents. Bertheussen said she would appeal.
A member of Quebec's COVID-19 vaccine task force, Dr. Richard Massé, says it is safe to delay the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine by up to 90 days, which will also allow many more vulnerable people to receive their first shot.