Kids have fun on a sledding hill in Alberta.
Kids have fun on a sledding hill in Alberta.
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
It's time for Canada to consider finally appointing a First Nations person to the post of Governor General, says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned on Thursday after an external review at Rideau Hall foundthe pair presided over a toxic work environment. That leaves the position open to a new appointment. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement later that day, saying that having the federal government appoint a First Nations person as the next Governor General would send a strong message that it is sincere about its rhetoric on reconciliation, and that there is no relationship that is more important to the Prime Minister than the one with Indigenous peoples. Such an appointment would pay respect to the spirit and intent of the treaties between Canada's First Nations people and the Crown, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told CBC News. Historically, the Governor General had a significant role in developing those treaties, he said. "It would also be a testament to the collaboration of what it took to make Canada the country it is today," he said. "I think that having a First Nations person play that role would help expedite those things and encourage the conversation and acknowledgement of how it's actually the First Nations, along with the French and English, that built this country." There is no shortage of strong Indigenous candidates in Manitoba who could become the Queen's representative in Ottawa, he said. "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life who would be able to play that role in a truly respectful and meaningful way." An independent consulting firm was hired to do the review by the Privy Council Office last year after reports surfaced that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, and it offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months.
County of Stettler council voted 5 - 2 in favour of sending a subdivision plan forward for the Hamlet of Erskine that includes alleys. The decision was made at the Jan. 13 regular meeting of council streamed via YouTube to meet pandemic rules. Councillors read a report submitted by Rick Green, director of operations, regarding lot layout options for the Erskine Phase 2 subdivision. He explained Phase 2 was complicated by the proximity of the former Erskine landfill. “Council motion 217.07.06.17 required the county development authority to submit a request to the Deputy Minister of the Environment to vary the setback for residential development near the closed Erskine landfill from 300 meters to 50 meters,” stated Green’s report. Essentially, Green stated councillors were being asked how they wanted the potential subdivision laid out, and whether or not they wanted alleys included. Green added that alleys take up space and also require a certain amount of maintenance. Council’s preferred layout would then be forwarded to the Municipal Planning Commission for a development permit. Coun. Les Stulberg stated he felt the county should get on this immediately and let people know the municipality wants to develop the area. Coun. Dave Grover asked if the ski hill was still at that location. Green responded that some of the material forming that hill was still there. Coun. James Nibourg stated he’s heard realtors on occasion state that buyers prefer alleys and if no alleys are included it may be a factor in how the lots sell. Green responded that in his opinion alleys aren’t a factor in how residential lots sell. Coun. Cheri Neitz stated that the public has told her that they don’t want a mobile home park in Erskine nor do they want the county to spend a lot of money on real estate. Reeve Larry Clark asked why the options didn’t allow for any basements. Green answered the proximity of the landfill required that detail. He stated the possibility of landfill gases settling in low spots could result in combustion, and basements would be considered low spots. Coun. Wayne Nixon pondered that no alleys also helps to reduce crime. Development Officer Jacinta Donovan stated that the subdivision plan will be publicly advertised so the public can comment on the proposal. Coun. Nibourg stated he felt more time should be spent on this decision than a few minutes at council and he also suggested the county gather input from local realtors to see what the market is demanding. Coun. Grover responded that pre-selling the lots might be a good idea and added that realtors might advise the county to sell the lots cheap just to get them moving. Coun. Nixon noted that the three options provided varied somewhat in lot numbers but there was room for alleys if desired. Neitz added that option number two fit better in the Erskine community. Coun. Nixon moved that council proceed with subdivision layout number two with alleys included and forward this to the MPC for their consideration. The motion passed with Neitz and Coun. Ernie Gendre opposed. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Le Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux (CISSS) des Laurentides fait de la campagne de vaccination contre la COVID-19 sa priorité, dès maintenant et pour les mois à venir. Pour ce faire, Mme Caroline Chantal sera directrice responsable du dossier de la vaccination et travaillera en collaboration avec Dre Danielle Auger, médecin-conseil à la Direction de santé publique. Elles seront supportées par un comité stratégique formé de représentants des différentes directions du CISSS des Laurentides. Cette nouvelle structure de coordination sera centrale aux efforts du CISSS, qui met déjà tout en œuvre pour être prêt à débuter la campagne de vaccination aussitôt qu’il recevra les premières doses. L’équipe de Mme Chantal sera responsable d’assurer le bon fonctionnement de la campagne et de relever les nombreux défis intrinsèques à une opération de cette envergure. « Avec tous les enjeux engendrés par la COVID-19, mettre fin à la propagation du virus est une priorité incontournable pour nous et la campagne de vaccination est notre priorité organisationnelle. Même si plusieurs orientations en lien avec le déroulement de la campagne de vaccination restent à confirmer, nous sommes déjà en action. Ainsi, lorsque viendra le moment de débuter la vaccination, nous serons efficaces dès le départ, tout en maintenant les efforts pour offrir des soins et services de qualité à la population », a laissé savoir Mme Rosemonde Landry, présidente-directrice générale du CISSS des Laurentides, par voie de communiqué. Mme Landry a aussi affirmé que la vaccination devrait commencer dans les Laurentides d’ici la fin du mois. La priorité sera donnée aux résidents des CHSLD et des ressources intermédiaires et de type familial (RI-RTF), ainsi qu’aux travailleurs de la santé qui sont en contact avec eux. Mme Landry rappelle que les Laurentiens doivent continuer de respecter les mesures sanitaires en place. « Continuez vos efforts pour vous protéger et pour protéger les plus vulnérables! » Ailleurs au Québec, la vaccination est commencée! En date du 18 décembre, 2 582 Québécois avaient déjà reçu une première dose du vaccin de Pfizer-BioNTech. Ce vaccin requiert une seconde dose, trois semaines plus tard, pour être pleinement efficace. Radio-Canada a par ailleurs ajouté à ses tableaux interactifs le nombre de doses de vaccin administrées, aux côtés des infections, des rétablis, des morts, des hospitalisations et des tests de dépistage. Durant une conférence de presse le 15 décembre, Justin Trudeau a annoncé que le Canada devrait recevoir 168 000 doses du vaccin de Moderna, dans les jours suivant son approbation par Santé Canada. 200 000 doses supplémentaires du vaccin de Pfizer-BioNTech arriveront aussi au pays durant la semaine du 21 décembre. Le Canada aura donc reçu 417 000 doses de vaccin avant la fin de l’année 2020.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
Sherbrooke — Malgré quelques démantèlements, la production agricole en Estrie continue de remonter la pente, avec un gain positif de 46 nouvelles fermes à son bilan pour 2020. Un récent calcul du ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation fait monter le portrait actuel à 2669 fermes, un nombre que la région ne semble pas avoir connu depuis les années 1990. En tout, pas moins de 132 nouvelles fermes ont été déclarées auprès du Ministère entre le 1er janvier 2020 et le 1er décembre 2020 dans la région. À l’inverse, 86 fermes ont cessé leurs activités. Ce gain de 46 fermes est donc le plus important de toutes les régions de la province, qui a pour sa part vu 1163 exploitations apparaître, tandis que 1076 se sont éteintes pour une différence positive de 87 fermes. Le Centre-du-Québec (– 72) et les Laurentides (– 21) sont les régions qui enregistrent les bilans les plus négatifs. « De voir une augmentation nette de fermes en Estrie et au Québec, c’est super positif, commente Lyne Desnoyers, agente régionale pour l’ARTERRE Estrie, un service de maillage entre aspirants agriculteurs et propriétaires. Même si ce n’est pas un si gros chiffre que ça, c’est super rafraîchissant et stimulant. Ça démontre vraiment ce qui se passe sur le terrain, c’est-à-dire une révolution du maraîchage et une volonté de vouloir produire ses propres légumes, mais aussi de produire pour les autres. » Une vague qu’elle se plaît à surnommer « l’appel Jean-Martin Fortier », à l’image du producteur et auteur qui a popularisé l’agriculture sur petite surface dans les dernières années. « Cet appel, on le voyait déjà depuis quelques années chez Statistiques Canada. Dans le recensement, entre 2011 et 2016, on a vu une augmentation de 9 % des fermes de moins de 5 hectares », ajoute Mme Desnoyers. Celle-ci aura rencontré de nombreux membres de la relève agricole en 2020. Les légumes et les cultures émergentes ont animé beaucoup de rêves chez les aspirants, mais sans laisser pour compte les autres types de production. « Souvent, ce sont des productions en dehors de la gestion de l’offre, parce que ça prend beaucoup de sous pour atteindre ces marchés-là, analyse-t-elle. Plutôt que d’aller vers la vache laitière parce que la mise de fonds serait trop grande, on va par exemple vers la brebis laitière pour accéder plus facilement au monde agricole et pouvoir transformer à la ferme. On a un beau marché ici en Estrie, on a plein de fromageries qui vont bien. C’est une tendance qui s’est accentuée, je dirais presque grâce à la pandémie. Il y a eu un réveil collectif disant que l’agriculture, c’est la base de notre système économique. Nos travailleurs agricoles, ce sont nos travailleurs essentiels. » Autre tendance : Mme Desnoyers voit toujours une très grande demande pour l’achat ou le démarrage d’une érablière. Ce type de production était d’ailleurs déjà en vogue de puis très longtemps. Par exemple, entre 1993 et 2016, le nombre de productions acéricoles n’a cessé de croître en Estrie, passant ainsi de 291 à 811. Au Québec À l’échelle du Québec, le MAPAQ remarque que le nombre de fermes a suivi une tendance à la baisse au cours des dernières années dans la plupart des régions. Cependant, entre 2015 et 2019, l’Estrie s’est démarquée avec une hausse spectaculaire de 88 fermes. Globablement, les productions animales se font beaucoup moins nombreuses depuis plusieurs années, sauf pour la volaille et les œufs. De l’autre côté, les productions végétales prolifèrent. Le MAPAQ compile les exploitations agricoles qui génèrent au moins 5000 $ de revenus par an. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
BROCKTON – Lise Patry, of LXM Law LLP, did a presentation on the review of the municipal procurement policy. The objectives of the review were to reduce costs, streamline processes, comply with legal requirements, and ensure fair, transparent and competitive procurement policies. The review recommended updating policies, establishing a procedures manual, establishing templates, establishing standard contract terms and training for council and staff. The second part of Patry’s presentation involved reviewing e-bidding software, including one that’s currently available to Brockton – bids&tenders. It’s widely used by Ontario municipalities. The third part involved 2021 procurement policy highlights that reflect best practices outlined in the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry report – specifically, staff and council’s roles in procurement. As was discussed by council, staff and Patry, an updated and streamlined policy should result in more vendors bidding on projects, less staff time devoted to preparing documents, and some cost savings. The new policy would see the CAO be brought into the procurement process, while council provides oversight. Bylaws were passed later in the meeting to adopt the procurement policy and procedures review report, and to adopt a new purchasing and procurement policy. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
THUNDER BAY — A 24-year-old Scarborough Ont., resident is facing charges after Thunder Bay Ontario Provincial Police observed a vehicle excessively speeding on Highway 11/17 on Tuesday. OPP said in a news release this week, an officer was on patrol east of Mackenzie Heights Road in the municipality of Shuniah when they noticed a driver driving 152 kilometres per hour in a posted 90 kilometre per hour zone. The driver was charged with stunt driving and driving with an open container of liquor. OPP also issued a seven-day licence suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. Police are reminding drivers that driving speeds of 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit face severe penalties including mandatory seven-day licence suspension, mandatory seven-day vehicle impoundment, fines of up to $10,000 and six licence demerit points. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
The situation in Montreal remains critical but there are signs that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing down, according to the region's public health director. "We're seeing that the measures have been working," said Dr. Mylène Drouin at a news conference Friday. "The efforts that you all have made are [having an effect]. Drouin was optimistic but cautious in her approach — a tone that echoed the premier's message from Quebec City Thursday. Montreal's public health director highlighted that infections per 100,000 residents have steadily dipped, going from 46 at the start of the year to 37 more recently. She said she expects that number to soon dip below 30. The drop may seem considerable, but Drouin warned that the number is still high, and well above what would normally have earned the region a red-zone designation under the colour-coded system the province used last year. Drouin also said that for the first time in months, the average number of cases caused by one coronavirus infection in the Montreal area is below one — another sign that outbreaks are being kept under control. The public health director was also quick to point out that the virus continues to place a heavy burden on hospitals with 696 patients in the region, including 112 people in intensive care. Drouin, Legault not on same page regarding rapid tests To make sure the downward trend continues, local public health officials are ready to deploy, if necessary, rapid COVID-19 tests. They have been largely unused since the province received them from the federal government. Details regarding their potential use were scarce, but Drouin appeared to contradict a statement made earlier this week by Quebec Premier François Legault, who said the tests could be used to screen people who don't have symptoms, especially in hard-hit Montreal neighbourhoods such as Saint-Léonard, Montréal-Nord and Rivières-des-Prairies. Drouin said she had no knowledge of this plan, and said rapid tests would only be used with people experiencing symptoms, and in specific settings where the positivity rate appears to be higher than normal due to concerns about the tests' accuracy. "The more we use these tests in contexts where the positivity rates are high, the more reliable the tests will be," Drouin said. "That's why we want to use them where we won't have to redo a test to validate." Public health officials also hope to prevent outbreaks in schools by testing more children aged 12-17. Last week, Drouin sent letters home to parents, encouraging them to have their children tested for COVID-19 immediately if they show any flu-like symptoms, and to keep them at home if they or anyone in their household is awaiting test results.
TORONTO — After a 10-month investigation, a task force commissioned by the Ontario government has issued a range of sweeping recommendations to reform the province's securities regulator. The Capital Markets Modernization Task Force's 70 recommendations include major governance changes to Ontario Securities Commission, such as establishing an adjudicative body within the OSC to rule on alleged securities act violations. The task force also recommends expanding the agency's mandate to augment its regulatory function, and changing its name to the Ontario Capital Markets Authority. The task force was commissioned in 2019 by Ontario's finance minister, with the goal of encouraging growth and competition in the province's capital markets. In the report, the task force decried the lack of new securities issuers in Ontario, which they warned could lead to fewer head offices and fewer investment growth opportunities in the province. Over the course of its investigation, the task force met with more than 110 different stakeholders as it was developing its recommendations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
CORNWALL – COVID-19 infection numbers are continuing to slowly decline in the region as provincial lock-down and Stay-at-Home measures remain in place. Since Monday, the active case count has decreased by nearly 100 people. The province announced Wednesday that students in seven health units, including neighbouring Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will return to in-person learning on January 25th. Students in this region will continue to learn remotely for now. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said Thursday that keeping students in the region learning remotely for now was the right call. "I think it was the right call, looking at the numbers," he said adding that he thought schools could reopen soon. "Despite the fact that [the numbers] are going downwards, we're still pretty high in the Red Zone." According to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded restriction framework, the Red-Control zone is defined as a rolling seven-day average of 40 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said he was encouraged the region is going in the right direction. The seven-day average for new cases peaked on January 9th with 152.2 per 100,000 people. As of January 21st, the average was 84.1 per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said the determining factor in schools returning to in-person learning was that the region had to be clearly in the Orange-Restrict zone, or below 40 cases per 100,000 people. "If the trends continue, we can be there by the time [the province] re-evaluates," he said. The provincial Stay-at-Home order is in place until February 11th. As of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's January 21st update, there are 544 active COVID-19 infections in the region. Locally, South Dundas has four active cases, and 24 cases overall. North Dundas has 12 active cases, 51 cases overall. The City of Cornwall continues to have a highest number of active cases with 226 people infected. The city's tally of overall cases stands at 597. In all, there have been 2,297 COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region since the pandemic began. Currently there are 15 facilities listed by the EOHU as having a COVID-19 related outbreak. None of those facilities are in Dundas County. Roumeliotis said that of those 15 facilities, most have been declared as being in an outbreak due to staff contracting the virus. Only three facilities have residents who tested positive. GlenStorDun Lodge in Cornwall and a Long-Term Care Home in Lancaster are two that have residents who tested positive. At the Lancaster LTC home, at least nine people have died from COVID-19 related illness. The region's death toll has increased to 48. More people have died in the second wave of the pandemic in the EOHU region than in the first. There are 23 people hospitalized, six are in intensive care. Nearly 1,600 people have been vaccinated so far in the EOHU, but due to production cuts by Pfizer, deliveries of the vaccine will stop for a week. The health unit plans on pausing its vaccination plans once its own supply has run out, and will restart once new shipments are received. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — As the sun rose over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Avalon Peninsula Friday morning, so too did a beeping chorus of snowplows in the province’s capital. About 30 centimetres of snow blanketed the city and the sun was shining down on people digging out their cars. The storm closed many schools, stores and offices across the Avalon Peninsula on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The weather also put a stop to door-to-door campaigning in the provincial election — for most candidates. On Thursday, Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis tweeted pictures of herself knocking on doors in a full-body snowsuit. Other candidates, however, moved their campaigning online. Tory Leader Ches Crosbie tweeted a picture of himself holding up a bag of so-called "storm chips," ahead of the storm — though people questioned the small size of the bag. The NDP used a popular internet meme involving a cropped photo of United States Democrat Bernie Sanders at Wednesday's presidential inauguration to take a swipe at the Liberals. The party pasted the photo of Sanders — who is sitting in a chair, arms crossed and wearing fuzzy mitts — in the provincial legislature. The image caption said he was waiting for the Liberals to release their economic plan, which the Liberals have said won't be made public before voters head to the polls. All parties have said that social media will likely play a significant role in the province's winter pandemic election. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey called the election last Friday as a storm raged outside the provincial House of Assembly. The Progressive Conservatives and the NDP have wrinkled their noses at the timing, saying the province's hallmark winter storms will dissuade voters and cut into campaigning time. As of Friday morning, there were 122 candidates registered across the province's 40 districts. The deadline for all candidates to submit their paperwork is Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Global trials examining the potential of blood thinners to treat moderately ill COVID-19 patients have proven so successful its Canadian investigators say clinicians should immediately start using them in standard care.Investigators at Toronto's University Health Network say interim results of clinical trials spanning five continents in more than 300 hospitals suggest full-dose blood thinners could significantly avoid severe cases that are now straining hospital ICUs.The study involved more than 1,300 moderately ill patients admitted to hospital, including some at UHN. Investigators say full doses of Heparin improved outcomes and decreased the need for life support.The full dose was also more effective than the lower dose typically administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.Critical care physician Ewan Goligher, co-chair of the therapeutic anticoagulation domain of the trial, says the findings could significantly transform care.“Having cared for so many severely ill COVID-19 patients and witnessed the suffering involved for patients and their loved ones, it is profoundly gratifying that together we have discovered a treatment that can prevent patients from becoming severely ill and improve their recovery,” Goligher, also a scientist with the University Health Network, said Friday in a release.Ryan Zarychanski, associate professor, hematologist and critical care physician at the University of Manitoba, said the findings were promising. "In a disease with a limited number of effective therapies, our results have the potential to define a new standard of care for moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients around the world," Zarychanski said.Doctors noticed early in the pandemic that COVID-19 patients suffered an increased rate of blood clots and inflammation. This led to complications including lung failure, heart attack and stroke.Back in December, investigators found that giving full-dose blood thinners to critically ill ICU patients did not help, and was actually harmful.The trials are supported by international funding organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute in the United States, the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom, and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Squamish Nation has launched a new program to help guide its community members through the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation has introduced a team of ‘COVID Guardians’ to offer extra support to community members in isolation, educate and raise awareness of the virus and provincial health officer restrictions, and to report on any issues that may arise. Syetáxtn, Chris Lewis, Squamish nation spokesperson, said the new program was already having a positive impact, sharing the news in a Facebook update to members. “It's a new program to assist our community through the pandemic and to also ensure that there is public awareness and the information gets out,” he said in the latest video update on Jan. 15. “The guardians are here to ensure safety and engage with members of the public to make sure that the residents and everybody in our community are aware of the physical distancing directives and to provide education around public etiquette and courtesies and shared outdoor spaces. “They'll also help maintain and prevent any COVID exposures within the community through continued education and prevention.” There are five guardians, three for North Vancouver and two for the Squamish Valley, who report to the nation’s emergency co-ordinator, David Harrison, and to the emergency operations director, Paul Wick. Syetáxtn said so far the guardians had been busy checking in with community members that are in isolation, or quarantining, delivering COVID lawn signs and care packages to households, and fixing and repairing damaged and vandalized signs throughout the community. “They patrol high exposure areas and help clean up the community, so I really want to thank them for the work that they're doing,” he said, Syetáxtn said the guardians would also be helping with the rollout of vaccinations in the community. Vaccinations have already started in 169 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada, according to Indigenous Services Canada. “In the coming months, you can see our guardians assisting in the setup operation of the upcoming Squamish nation COVID vaccination site,” said Syetáxtn. “We're continuing to work with Vancouver Coastal Health and health authorities to ensure that those sites are set up and we're in the queue.” While plans are in the works, Syetáxtn said there was “no update in terms of when the nation will receive the current vaccine.” “We are in conversations, though, in terms of our home care assistants, in terms of getting them vaccinated because we know that they’re supporting our most vulnerable,” he said. He added that the nation’s older adults and elders were a priority for vaccinations in B.C. “The age requirement for indigenous adults will be lower than the rest of the population due to the higher rate of health risks to our elders and other factors that have affected access to quality health care," said Syetáxtn. “So, our elders will be in that queue.” During the members update, Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, Squamish Nation spokesperson, confirmed there are active COVID-19 cases in the nation’s community at this time, but they did not have exact case numbers to provide. “The nation does not receive names of any confirmed cases or members advised to self-isolate or quarantine unless the members voluntarily share that information with us and give us permission to share that information publicly,” he said. Earlier this month he told North Shore News the nation temporarily closed its main office at 320 Seymour Boulevard, from Jan. 6 to 11, due to a COVID-19 exposure, and those involved were taking the “necessary precautions.” He said there were a number of other active cases in the community which weren’t related to the office exposure. He added that there had been no cluster events in the community since the summer. Up until Sep. 23, 2020 there had been a total of 43 confirmed cases - 39 lab-confirmed, four epi-linked, for the nation. Since then, Khelsilem said “they have all been minor cases, contained through contact tracing and isolating.” In First Nations communities across B.C., as of Jan. 20, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of a total of 1,377 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. ISC said Across Canada, numbers had “reached an all-time new high this week” with a total of 14,200 positive cases – 5,409 active cases, 124 deaths, and 8,667 recoveries. “A number of communities are experiencing mounting cases, and ISC is taking measures to mitigate risks, including meeting regularly with local health services in Indigenous communities and engaging with provincial and other federal department representatives in an effort to assess on-going community needs,” a Government of Canada release stated. Khelsilem commended the community for its ongoing efforts to follow the PHO recommendations and restrictions. “You've done an amazing job of helping protect the community from the spread of the virus,” he said, adding he understood how difficult it had been to not be able follow usual traditions and spiritual practices in hard times. “As we get through this, I just want to continue to thank and encourage our community to work very hard to stay by these health orders that are set in stone to help protect our community. “We're all in this together, and of course, we will all get through this together.” The community can reach out to the Squamish Nation’s Guardians by calling 604-374-2687 or can contact the Member Services Department on 604-982-7610 during office hours or 604-505-3776 after hours for care packages and support. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
In a landmark verdict in one of the mining world's most high profile legal cases, a Swiss criminal court found Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz guilty of corruption and forgery on Friday and sentenced him to five years in jail with a sizeable fine. The ruling after a two-week trial is a blow for Steinmetz, a diamond trader, whose pursuit of the world's richest uptapped deposits of iron ore put him at the centre of a battle that has triggered probes and litigation around the world. Steinmetz said he would appeal the verdict, which also included a 50 million Swiss francs ($56.48 million) fine.
« S’il n’y avait pas de poutine, on serait obligés de fermer nos portes ! » C’est ce que lance d’emblée le propriétaire du Goofy Carl Bolduc pour expliquer le succès de cette entreprise familiale au cœur du paysage almatois depuis 41 ans. Malgré la pandémie, le restaurant ne cesse d’attirer la clientèle grâce à son mythique plat. Selon Carl Bolduc, le succès du Goofy repose sur trois éléments clés. « L’entreprise repose sur une famille impliquée, tenace et déterminée à réussir. Nos employés, eux sont, les piliers de notre organisation. Et bien sûr, il y a notre précieuse clientèle », explique-t-il. Certains d’entre eux sont des réguliers de longue date, qui sont au rendez-vous depuis les touts débuts. D’autres viennent d’un peu partout au Québec. Pour ces derniers, le Goofy est un passage obligé pendant leur séjour. Adaptation Toutefois, la pandémie a forcé l’entreprise à s’adapter, comme des milliers d’autres restaurants au pays. C’est que depuis 1979, le restaurant a toujours été ouvert 24 heures sur 24, sept jours sur sept. L’horaire a toujours été le même. « En mars dernier, il n’y avait plus de clients. C’était désert sur l’avenue du Pont. On a dû fermer pendant un mois. Avant la pandémie, ce n’était jamais arrivé, même pas pendant cinq minutes ou pour des rénovations! On est toujours restés ouverts. Le temps venu, on s’est rendu compte qu’on n’avait même pas de clés pour fermer, si bien qu’il a fallu mettre un surveillant de nuit le temps que le serrurier arrive », souligne Carl Bolduc. Il ajoute : « Si on n’avait pas la poutine, probablement qu’on fermerait. Présentement, on en sert entre 150 et 200 par jour. 85 % de nos commandes sont des poutines, et il y en a au moins une par facture ». 2021, année d’espoir Cependant, la formule à emporter et les poutines ne sont que des revenus d’appoints pour le Goofy. L’absence d’une salle à manger et le confinement représentent des pertes de 75 % pour l’entreprise. « Une autre de nos grosses forces est les menus du jour. Or, avec le télétravail, les gens sont beaucoup moins en ville qu’avant. Les gens ne sont plus dans les bureaux, ils sont chez eux », ajoute-t-il. Un gros contraste avec l’année 2019, qui fut la plus rentable dans l’histoire du Goofy. Malgré tout, Carl Bolduc assure qu’il n’a eu à procéder à aucune mise à pied, réaffectant une partie du personnel à du temps partiel. Il entrevoit la nouvelle année qui débute avec une bonne dose de positivisme. La construction d’une terrasse extérieure et l’ajoute de nouveaux mets au menu sont notamment prévues. De belles leçons d’humilité Carl Bolduc n’en revenait pas lorsqu’il a reçu une mise en demeure de nul autre que la Walt Disney Company, il y a trois ans. Le restaurant, qui arborait depuis toujours comme emblème le personnage Goofy, a passé bien près de devoir changer de nom. Heureusement pour l’entreprise, une entente à l’amiable a été signée avec l’entreprise américaine afin qu’elle conserve son appellation. Toutefois, elle a dû mettre une croix sur son image de marque. Mais pourquoi donc avoir choisi comme emblème un personnage de dessin animé? Carl Bolduc explique : « À l’époque, c’était la mode d’utiliser des personnages populaires de dessins animés comme nom de restaurant. Il n’y avait pas de problème. Avec internet, Walt Disney a été mise au courant du restaurant. Ils nous ont envoyé une mise en demeure, nous ordonnant d’enlever le nom et le logo ». Bien que l’image du personnage Goofy soit soumise aux droits d’auteurs, le nom ne l’était pas. Seul le restaurant almatois avait enregistré l’appellation au Québec. « On en est venus à une entente qui stipule que nous sommes les seuls qui ont le droit d’utiliser le nom Goofy au Québec. Ça a permis d’éviter des poursuites et des batailles judiciaires », ajoute-t-il. Saga Yves Bolduc En 2012, le restaurant a fait les manchettes, mais pour les mauvaises raisons. Il fut révélé au grand jour que le ministre de la Santé de l’époque, Yves Bolduc, était actionnaire du restaurant. « Lorsque mon frère s’est lancé en politique, on s’est fait traiter de malbouffe même si on a des menus du jour. On nous reprochait d’être près des écoles… Deux filles étaient même parties sans payer et avaient publié leur facture sur Facebook en affirmant faussement qu’on était subventionnés pas l’État et qu’elles avaient le droit de la faire. Je n’étais pas content de ça. J’ai décidé d’acheter toutes les parts afin que ce genre de choses n’arrivent plus », se souvient Carl Bolduc. Rumeurs Une rumeur voulant que le Goofy soit racheté par une autre chaîne de restauration s’est récemment répandue à Alma. Carl Bolduc tient toutefois à la démentir. Pas question de vendre. Pas pour l’instant du moins. Il prévoit prendre sa retraite d’ici cinq ans, mais la relève semble déjà établie, puisque sa mère, son fils, sa fille, son cousin et sa conjointe sont toujours présents derrière le comptoir du Goofy. La famille Bolduc entend mener la barque aussi loin que possible.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
A land redesignation bylaw for a proposed solar farm in Wheatland County was rejected by Wheatland County council, but following a special meeting of council, the project will be considered again during the next council meeting at the latest. During the Jan. 12 regular county council meeting, council considered a motion to adopt second reading of a bylaw to redesignate 160 acres for a proposed 20.1-megawatt commercial solar facility located east of Strathmore. The redesignation was necessary because the lands are currently agricultural, but as per the county’s land use bylaw, solar developments must be sited on lands designated as “energy district,” a category added in 2019. However, the motion failed by a vote of 6-1, with Reeve Amber Link the only councillor to vote in favour of the motion. Despite the council’s ruling, its hands may ultimately be tied because of provincial law. Section 619 of the provincial Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides that any approval granted by the AUC prevails over any statutory plan or land use bylaw. It also establishes that when a municipality receives a land use bylaw amendment and the application is consistent with the AUC approval, the municipality must approve the application. The project received AUC approval on Sept. 25, 2020. Prior to the council meeting, a public hearing for the bylaw was held via teleconference, during which letters from several landowners opposed to the project were read. However, Section 619(4) of the MGA requires that the hearing not address matters already discussed during the AUC application review process, which included many of the issues brought forward. Several of the councillors said during the meeting that despite the constraints of the MGA, they intended to vote in opposition to the motion in principle. “They (AUC) claim they figured what public interest is, but I don’t think so,” said Tom Ikert, Division 4 Councillor. “We are asked to rubber stamp something that a bunch of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats say is fine – but this has been backdoored to us.” Despite voting in favour of the bylaw, Link spoke of the difficulty of that decision. “This is extremely frustrating, because to a huge extent, the jurisdiction of municipal government has been subjugated by Section 619 of the MGA,” she said during the meeting. The proponent, Dan Eaton, has appealed the county’s decision to the Municipal Governing Board (MGB), an independent board established under the MGA that makes decisions about land planning and assessment matters, according to his lawyer, Terri-Lee Oleniuk of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. These appeals are costly, with some municipalities paying upwards of $500,000 to participate in similar hearings, said Link. This includes legal costs and land use planning when required. Given Section 619 of the MGA and related past decisions, the likelihood the MGB would rule against the council’s decision is near certain. “I cannot find any legal precedent where we would have any hope in taking that route,” she said. “I’m not willing to throw tax dollars at a losing fight. I am willing to fight the province, but that has to be done through advocacy.” An MGA hearing looks to be avoided, because during a special meeting of council held on Jan. 19, the potential repercussions of defeating the land designation were discussed in a closed session, Link told the Times in an email. Two resolutions were passed during this closed session: council directed administration to prepare a direct control district for the project at the earliest possible date (no later than March 2) and bring a development permit application for consideration at the same meeting, and that administration request the applicant to provide a complete development permit application no later than Jan. 22. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Sur les 1100 maires et mairesses que compte le Québec, seulement 21 avaient moins de 35 ans lorsqu’ils ont été élus en 2017. Philippe Pagé, maire de Saint-Camille, fait partie de ce groupe restreint. L’une des importantes difficultés pour les jeunes élus des petites communautés est, selon lui, d’avoir à jumeler deux rôles. Cette réalité peut être moins présente pour les gens à la retraite, qui peuvent avoir un rôle un peu moins actif dans la municipalité, par exemple. « On a une conseillère qui a une petite entreprise de maquillage, explique Philippe Pagé, qui touche environ 9000 $ dollars par année en tant que maire. C’est la seule qui a une entreprise de maquillage dans le village et on ne peut pas lui donner de contrat à la Saint-Jean Baptiste puisqu’elle est conseillère. C’est un petit exemple tout simple, mais ça fait en sorte que les gens peuvent réfléchir avant de s’impliquer et se demander si leur vie ne sera pas plus compliquée en étant élus. On devrait plutôt avoir des incitatifs. » Dans les petits milieux, ce double rôle est bien plus présent parce que tout le monde se connaît. « Parfois, c’est le beau-frère, l’oncle ou l’ami de ton voisin, indique M. Pagé. Quelqu’un pourrait être intéressé à devenir élu municipal, mais ça lui ferait vivre des situations où il devrait trancher dans un contexte de proximité avec les citoyens. On se fait parler de nos décisions au dépanneur ou dans les partys de famille. Quand j’étais au cabinet de Réjean Hébert lorsqu’il était ministre de la Santé, c’était plus détaché et anonyme. » Certaines occupations, comme celle de journaliste, policier, fonctionnaire, pompier volontaire, procureur et autres, sont même incompatibles ou très contraignantes avec un poste au conseil municipal. « Il y a beaucoup de freins à l’implication municipale, et ces freins-là sont plus importants quand tu es jeune que quand tu es à la retraite, analyse Philippe Pagé, qui briguera un second mandat à la mairie de Saint-Camille à l’automne. Veut ou veut pas, s’il y a juste un certain type d’élu, ils ont leur propre perspective. Plus il y a de jeunes, de femmes, de membres des communautés culturelles ou des autochtones, plus on a le point de vue de tout le monde et plus on avance avec des choix politiques qui représentent tout le monde. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune