The Toronto Raptors point guard took his media session after the team's loss to the Phoenix Suns to discuss what happened at Capitol Hill and praised the WNBA for their role in getting Raphael Warnock elected in Georgia
The Toronto Raptors point guard took his media session after the team's loss to the Phoenix Suns to discuss what happened at Capitol Hill and praised the WNBA for their role in getting Raphael Warnock elected in Georgia
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
OTTAWA — Here are quick facts about Julie Payette, who resigned as governor general on Thursday:Age: 57Hometown: MontrealEducation: Attended primary and secondary school in Montreal and earned an international baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. Studied electrical engineering at McGill University before obtaining a master's degree in computer engineering from the University of Toronto. Has 24 honorary degrees.Early career: Conducted research in computer systems and speech-recognition software as an engineer with various organizations, including IBM and the University of Toronto, before being chosen by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 1992. Payette was one of four people chosen out of more than 5,300 applicants.Astronaut experience: Technical adviser on a robotics system that Canada contributed to the International Space Station before obtaining her commercial pilot licence and military pilot qualification, studying Russian and other training in preparation for travelling to space. CSA's chief astronaut from 2000 to 2007. First space mission was an 11-day trip to the International Space Station to deliver supplies in 1999, when she became the first Canadian to board the ISS. The second was a two-week flight to the ISS in 2009.Post-space life: While still part of the CSA, Payette accepted a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. in 2011 before becoming a representative for the Quebec government in the U.S. capital. She retired from the space agency in 2013 to become the head of the Montreal Science Centre as well as vice-president of a federal Crown corporation, the Canada Lands Company.Viceregal appointment: Sworn in as Canada's 29th governor general in October 2017 following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recommendation to the Queen. Trudeau recommended Payette after abolishing a panel designed to vet and recommend potential governors general.Post-appointment controversy: Following Payette's appointment, it emerged that she'd been charged with second-degree assault while living in Maryland in 2011. She called the charge unfounded, and it has since been expunged. She was also involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that same year. The case was closed without charges after a police investigation. Both revelations nonetheless raised questions about the government's decision to recommend her. She also raised eyebrows for using a speech shortly after taking over the position to mock those who question climate change and believe in creationism, and reducing her participation in traditional duties and responsibilities of her office.Toxic work environment: Reports emerged within the first year of her time in office of problems at Rideau Hall, before explosive allegations erupted last year of a toxic work environment within her office. A private firm was hired to investigate and its findings led to her resignation on Thursday.Interests and experiences: Running, skiing, racket sports and scuba diving. Fluent in French and English, conversant in Spanish, Italian, Russian and German. Plays the piano and has sung at venues in Canada and Switzerland. Has also produced a number of science productions for broadcast.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
With no games or practices taking place and the ice now removed from local arenas, it is looking more likely that the Alliston Junior C Hornets will not realistically see any kind of season this year. The Club managed to get in a couple of exhibition games against the Orillia Terriers in December before the region went into a Code Red alert, but, even then, those games were under a lot of restrictions. Teams were allowed to roll only two lines with a max-imum of ten players on the bench. There was no hitting allowed, and there were no face-offs after goals or an off-side. The plan was for the Hornets to play two games against Orillia followed by a two week break before going up against the Stayner Siskins for a couple of games. Originally, the PJHL was hoping for an early January start to the season; however, when the province went into lockdown, all hockey activities across the province came to a screeching halt. “Due to the restrictions, we’re not able to do anything,” said Hornets Team Captain Ben Beausaert. “Obvious-ly with COVID going on we can’t even have any group meetings or anything like that. It just wouldn’t be safe. We haven’t done anything since we went to the red zone. We played Orillia and that was before Christmas. We were playing with no contact, different rules and there was social distancing on the bench. There were no face-offs either. It definitely was a different game. It was more like a scrimmage. We only had two lines on the bench and there was no stoppage. Luckily were we all practicing before that so we were all in shape.” There was hope that a late season may still be salvaged, but after the province went into lockdown, teams now aren’t hopeful that any more hockey will take place this year. “We were hoping for mid January [at first], whenever we were supposed to get out of the Red Zone, but obviously things have gotten worse,” Beausaert said. “We haven’t heard anything and it’s not looking too good. The numbers would have to change significantly for us to be able to go out to the arena. I don’t think we’ll be back on the ice any time soon. The best case scenario is we can have a regular season for next year, but that will all depend on the next couple of months and how the numbers change with CO-VID. It’s just the way the world is going right now. There’s a lot of things that people are missing out on. It’s not the end of the world – it would be nice if we could play, but what can you do? You can’t control that.” Players aren’t sitting idle.They are keeping up with dry-land training to stay in shape. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating around the world and becoming more common. These mutations can alter the ability of the virus to take hold and replicate within our cells.
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
Retirement home residents in Simcoe Muskoka will begin receiving the Pfizer-BoNTech vac-cine after the provincial government determined the vaccine can be safely transported to Long Term Care and retirement homes in the Region. The immunization program began on Monday, January 11, in Barrie, at Victoria Village Manor. Resident Pat Sinclair, a former nurse, became the region’s first long-term resident to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “I’m thrilled to be able to do this. I’m hoping it gives me and my family that feeling of we’re okay, we’re going to be okay. We’ll get through this,” said Ms. Sinclair.“ COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on both the residents and em-ployees in long-term care and being able to offer the protection this vaccine provides to those who are the most vulnerable is a critical milestone,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. (SMDHU) “We are hoping everyone who opts for the vaccine within our LTC and RH communities to have received it over the next two weeks.” The pilot immuniza-tion program began with 111 residents from Victoria Village Manor and 67 residents at Oak Terrace Long-Term Care Home in Orillia receiving the vaccine. Supply of the vaccine remains limited and at this time is being offered by appointment only to pri-ority groups identified by the provincial government, including residents, staff and essentialcare-givers from congregate living settings as well as prioritized hospital workers. Staff at all four Simcoe County long term care homes, including Simcoe Village and Manor in Beeton, have already starting receiving the vaccine after attending inoculation sites in Barrie. Of the 1.000 care givers who work at the facilities, about half had already received the vaccine as of Friday, January 15. A spokesperson for the County of Simcoe confirmed residents at Simcoe Manor started receiving the vaccine on January 16. Vaccinations are not mandatory for residents, however they are given information to help them make an informed decision. Some residents are considered at risk when it comes to receiving the vaccination due to other health related issues.As additional vaccines are approved by Health Canada, and as part of Ontario’s three phase immunization plan, vaccine dis-tribution will be expanded to other priority groups and then to the general public Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Manitoba is loosening lockdown measures as its COVID-19 case counts continue to level off, but as other provinces see a similar decline federal officials warn that some of the worst impacts of the recent surge may be yet to come. The Manitoba government announced Thursday that it's easing some of its restrictions in all areas except the northern health region. Starting Saturday, non-essential retail stores will be allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity. Barber shops, hair salons, reflexologists and some other personal services will also be able to reopen their doors. The province is also relaxing its ban on social visits, allowing each household to designate two guests to welcome into their home. The northern region will remain under strict restrictions as COVID-19 case numbers there stay high, even as the province sees an overall decline in daily diagnoses. The downward trend in infections seemed to also hold steady Thursday in two of Canada's hardest-hit provinces. Ontario marked a fourth consecutive day of fewer than 3,000 daily cases, reporting 2,632 new infections, as well as 46 more deaths linked to the virus. Quebec reported 1,624 new cases, a slight uptick from Wednesday, but maintained a five-day streak of fewer than 2,000 diagnoses. But even as daily case counts level off from their post-holiday peaks, federal officials say Canadians are far from out of the woods. Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Thursday infection rates remain high among the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Tam said she expects that cases of severe illness will continue to rise, because it takes several days for symptoms to get bad enough to require hospitalization. "Nationally, hospitalizations and deaths, which tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, remain high," said Tam. "Strong and sustained efforts are needed to reduce heavy demands on the health-care system." Tam said Canada has averaged 6,309 new diagnoses a day over the past week, and 148 deaths from the illness each day. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
Digit Murphy has delivered the famous Herb Brooks speech to the Toronto Six. The NWHL expansion team's head coach invoked the words of the late Miracle on Ice coach in a social-media video. But if the Six lift the Isobel Cup in Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., the women will have beaten odds as the U.S. men's team did in upsetting the Soviet Union for Olympic hockey gold in the same building in 1980. The Six play their first NWHL games in Lake Placid starting Saturday. COVID-19 restrictions in Toronto limited the Six to fewer team practices than their more established American competition, Murphy said. "We've had maybe six or seven practices together," Murphy told The Canadian Press. "We're a brand new franchise doing everything during COVID. We don't even know what the other teams look like. We have no idea how fast they are. "If we win, this is definitely going to be Miracle 2.0. We're preparing for the real miracle and the Canadians win." The Six kick off the NWHL's compressed season against the Metropolitan Riveters in the first game of Saturday's tripleheader. The Six, Riveters, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps play each other in a round robin, followed by a playoff round to determine Isobel Cup semifinalists. The semifinals Feb. 4 and championship game Feb. 5 will be broadcast on NBCSN. The WNBA and National Women's Soccer League kept professional female athletes competing in 2020 despite the global pandemic by running competition hubs with certain restrictions to avoid the spread of the virus. The NWHL, which pays annual salaries reportedly up to $15,000, didn't crown a 2020 champion in its fifth season because of the pandemic. The sixth season will consist of 24 games over 14 days with no spectators in Lake Placid. The players will be tested daily among other COVID-19 precautions. "I think a lot of people are looking at us to see how we navigate this," said Six defender Emma Greco of Burlington, Ont. "We have a lot of eyes on us. It's really important for us to compete in the bubble especially because the finals and the semifinals are going to be on NBC Sports, which is a huge deal. "If we can pull this off, professionally, safely, it will send a big message to everyone about women's ice hockey." Six forward Emma Woods of Burford, Ont., will play her first games since February, 2020, when she was a member of Sweden's Leksand IF club. "It's been a while," Woods said. "We're all extremely grateful to have the opportunity to even be on the ice right now. Most teams aren't aside from the pros. "It's a great thing for women's hockey. We all want to grow the game. I think the bubble is kind of putting us on that platform and giving us the chance to do that." A two-week tournament plus the required 14-day quarantine upon return to Canada is a significant time commitment for Six players. Players under contract will be paid their full salaries despite the condensed schedule and players who opt out will also be paid their salary, the NWHL has said. The Six travelled by bus to Lake Placid on Thursday. The majority of the roster is Canadian NCAA Division 1 alumni with some who also played in the defunct Canadian Women's Hockey League. Most of Canada's national team players are affiliated with the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association and currently attending a camp in Calgary. The PWHPA has yet to schedule games or tournaments involving Canadians this season. A PWHPA all-star team of Americans, including 11 from the 2018 Olympic team, capped a two-week tournament against men's junior teams in Tampa, Fla., this week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that America's war on COVID-19 is under new command, promising an anxious nation progress to reduce infections and lift the siege it has endured for nearly a year. At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.” He brushed off a reporter's question on whether his goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in 100 days should be more ambitious, a point pressed by some public health experts. The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said at the White House. U.S. deaths have have surged past 400,000, and he noted projections that they could reach 500,000 in a month. But then, looking directly into the TV camera, Biden declared: "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.” The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. A key difference is that under Biden, the federal government is assuming full responsibility for the COVID response. And instead of delegating major tasks to states, he is offering to help them with technical backup and federal money. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. On Thursday a group influential with Republican office holders lent its support to Biden's strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “We support the new administration’s focus on removing roadblocks to vaccinations and reopening schools, both of which are important steps to accelerating a broad-based economic recovery for all Americans.” Biden officials have said they've been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people. The U.S. mask order for travel implemented by Biden applies to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travellers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and must quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property. Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump's administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission. Biden is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But some independent experts say his administration should strive for two or three times that number. Even with the slow pace of vaccinations, the U.S. is already closing in on 1 million shots a day. “It's a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Asked about that at the White House on Thursday, Biden told a reporter: “When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man.” The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centres, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He's ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan devised by the Trump administration. And he's launching an effort to train more people to administer shots. Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he's ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening them safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help get schools back open. Getting schools and child care going will help ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and for restaurants to find lunch-time customers. But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing. Biden is giving government agencies a green light to use the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to direct manufacturing. It allows the government to direct private industry to produce supplies needed in times of national emergency. In this case it could be anything from swabs, to masks, to certain chemicals. “We do not have nearly enough testing capacity in this country,” said White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients. “We need (more) money in order to really ramp up testing, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.” This means that efforts to boost the economy could hinge on how quickly lawmakers act on the $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden, which includes separate planks such as $1,400 in direct payments to most working people, a $15 minimum wage and aid to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers see as unnecessary for addressing the public health emergency. The Biden plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $160 billion, and he wants an additional $170 billion to aid the reopening of schools and universities. The proposal also calls for major investment in scientific research to track new variants of the virus. As part of his strategy, Biden ordered establishment of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government's response. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and disease from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine hesitancy is high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign. But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the top White House health adviser on minority communities, said she's not convinced that race is a factor in vaccination reluctance. Disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances. “It's not inherent to race,” she said. “It's from the exposures.” ___ Associated Press writers Collin Binkley and Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Le développement du Quartier Papineau, à Cowansville, sur la planche à dessin depuis huit ans et accéléré avec l’arrivée de Gestion Terrart il y a un an, est sur le point de voir le jour. Les travaux pour l’emprise de la rue sont commencés. Par contre, le projet ne fait pas le bonheur des voisins de la rue Vilas, qui perdront le boisé comme voisin arrière et qui craignent que le dynamitage cause des dommages à leur résidence. André Coderre raconte avoir été avisé du projet par un message laissé sur le répondeur à la maison, l’avisant que du dynamitage allait être nécessaire. Il aurait aimé une meilleure communication de la part de la Ville et du promoteur dès l’été 2020 alors qu’un changement de zonage a été autorisé. La consultation publique a été réalisée par écrit du 19 juin au 4 juillet. Le règlement de zonage a été adopté en août et il est en application depuis septembre. La période choisie pour consulter la population, en pleine période de vacances estivales, ne passe pas pour M. Coderre. «Je les avais rencontrés il y a deux ans. Je leur avais dit que c’était un sujet sensible, relate-t-il. Qu’on soit averti sur nos boîtes vocales qu’il allait y avoir de la dynamite, on trouve ça inhumain et on trouve que ça manque de finesse.» Ce qui lui déplait est autant le dynamitage que la construction future de triplex jumelés — deux triplex collés l’un à l’autre — en arrière de sa maison construite dans les années 60. Le nouveau zonage prévoit la construction de triplex et de sixplex de deux étages entre les rues Vilas et d’Ottawa et de trois étages sur la nouvelle partie de la rue d’Ontario, qui sera prolongée jusqu’au boulevard Louis-Joseph-Papineau. «Oui, tout a été fait dans les règles, mais c’est un manque de valeur et de respect, juge le citoyen. On sent que les gens de la Ville ont pilé sur leurs valeurs environnementales.» Une action très contrôlée Tant la Ville que le promoteur se veulent rassurants à propos du dynamitage, qui débutera en février. «Le dynamitage, c’est quelque chose d’extrêmement contrôlé, soutient Hugues Ouellette, directeur général et associé chez Gestion Terrart. La firme qu’on a mandatée en fait depuis des dizaines d’années et ces travaux-là sont normés.» Une firme externe, qui n’a pas de lien avec le promoteur ni avec la compagnie d’excavation, fera l’inspection des structures de toutes les propriétés situées dans un certain rayon autour de la zone de dynamitage. M. Ouellette explique qu’ils vont déterminer les risques, inspecter les fondations, prendre des relevés des infrastructures et des rues avant de remettre un rapport écrit et vidéo. Des détecteurs de monoxyde de carbone seront installés dans ces propriétés. Le dynamitage peut libérer des gaz qui, normalement, ne s’infiltreront pas dans les maisons voisines. Les détecteurs serviront si ça survient. «C’est très rare que ces détecteurs-là se déclenchent», assure-t-il. Les travaux de dynamitage devraient durer entre cinq et six semaines, de jour et la semaine. Gestion Terrart souhaite faire les travaux de dynamitage dans la même période pour éviter d’avoir à recommencer toutes les étapes précédentes à de nombreuses reprises, mais aussi pour limiter la période de bruit et de transport de poids lourds. Quant au volume de roc à retirer, il est encore indéterminé. Des travaux de déboisement et de nivellement sont nécessaires avant de pouvoir faire des relevés, ajoute le promoteur, qui est aussi derrière le projet Arborescence à Bromont. Déboisement Le déboisement déplait aussi aux citoyens du secteur, selon André Coderre. «On les comprend, assure M. Ouellette. Il n’y a rien qui se fait sans que ce soit réfléchi. Il y a toujours des raisons pourquoi on coupe des arbres. On ne se lève pas le matin avec l’envie de couper des arbres.» Il se dit convaincu de la valeur d’un arbre, pour l’environnement, mais aussi pour la valeur d’un terrain résidentiel. Par contre, la différence de niveau entre la rue Vilas et la future rue McDermott, en construction, nécessite des travaux de déblais-remblais, et donc d’enlever des arbres. «Ce qu’on propose de faire, c’est qu’au fur et à mesure qu’on avance, on va déterminer si un arbre doit être enlevé ou s’il peut être conservé.» Les stationnements seront par ailleurs sur le côté des immeubles pour permettre une meilleure conservation des arbres en arrière lot ou un reboisement. En contrepartie, dans ce projet, la Ville de Cowansville est propriétaire de deux zones de conservation, dont la superficie combinée est d’environ 149 000 mètres carrés. Un sentier sera éventuellement aménagé dans une de ces deux zones. Densifier plutôt que de s’étaler Gestion Terrart prépare les terrains qui seront vendus à des entrepreneurs qui construiront les immeubles à logements. La presque totalité de ces lots a été vendue. Le projet du Quartier Papineau compte 65 lots pour environ 350 logements. «Le marché du multilogements est très fort, très recherché, souligne Hugues Ouellette. Le jumelé est moins fort. On s’adapte toujours au marché. En développement immobilier, si on veut faire du développement durable, c’est en faisant un meilleur usage du terrain pour éviter l’étalement urbain. Alors on a décidé de densifier.» Selon lui, la demande en locatif est très forte à Cowansville, qui est en pleine croissance.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine. Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week's order to the federal government. "The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada's case," Tory said. Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday. Tory said he knows members of Pfizer's management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government. "I'm trying to help the country's efforts to try to see if we can't get more supply," the mayor said. "I can't tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else's, will have." Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city's public health unit. An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer, said everyone's frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope. "Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted," De Villa said. "But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we'll do our very best." De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error. Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city's ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
The Canadian government anticipates that at least 95 per cent of the Canadian population will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter of the year, between July and September.
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood to a one-year, US$3-million contract. The move, which had been reported earlier this week, adds another arm to the Blue Jays' pitching staff along with 2019 MLB saves leader Kirby Yates, who signed a one-year deal with Toronto on Wednesday. The moves are part of a busy off-season for Toronto that includes an agreement with star outfielder George Springer on a six-year contract worth a reported $150 million, pending a physical. The 31-year-old Chatwood started five games for the Chicago Cubs in 2020, going 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings before getting derailed with various injuries, including a right forearm strain that shut him down for the second half of the season. Chatwood, from Redlands, Calif., is 51-57 with a 4.40 ERA over nine seasons split between Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies and Cubs. He made his debut with the Angels as a 21-year-old in 2011 before getting traded to the Rockies at the end of his only season with the club that drafted him. Chatwood spent the next five seasons in Colorado, before signing a three-year, $38-million deal with Chicago in 2017. Chatwood, who has been a starter for the majority of his career but has served as a reliever when needed, missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
Highlands East council voted to move ahead with drafting an exotic animal bylaw to address the possibility of them in the municipality. Bylaw enforcement officer, Kristen Boylan, brought the idea forward Jan. 19. She said it was a response to a recent controversy in the neighbouring Hastings Highlands, where the municipality lacked such a law to address a family bringing in a collection of lions and tigers to create a roadside safari experience. Boylan said Ontario is the only Canadian province without exotic animals legislation. About half of Ontario municipalities have rules on them, but none within the County. She said with the dog bylaw due for an update, she decided they should address the matter. “If we do not have a bylaw, there’s nothing to stop anyone from bringing in say, lion cubs, bears, pythons,” Boylan said. “No way of having any enforcement should we receive any complaints.” Boylan also offered an option to have a unified bylaw including dogs and exotic pets, but deputy mayor Cec Ryall said it would make more sense to separate them. “In the case of dogs, it’s pretty well defined,” Ryall said, noting the distinction between exotic and other unregulated animals such as domestic cats. “We’re going to licence exotic animals, but we’re not going to licence cats.” As an example, Boylan cited a 2019 Huntsville bylaw, which she said reduced complaints there. Coun. Suzanne Partridge said she is in favour of prohibiting exotic pets but added she did not want to do so for dog hybrids, which are illegal in Huntsville. “My last dog who just died in June was a hybrid and I wouldn’t have been allowed to have her and it was a sweetheart,” she said, adding it can be difficult to determine a hybrid without DNA testing. “It can’t just be the judgement of the bylaw control officer.” Boylan replied she could research and bring forward information on hybrids. Coun. Cam McKenzie said the municipality would need to figure out how to grandfather the rules for those who already have such pets. “Snakes are more common than what most people realize,” McKenzie said. “To try and prohibit them is going to cause some issues … That is something we maybe want to think about before we do this.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
Calgary police are urging vigilance after more than a dozen women were assaulted while walking alone in the last three months. Investigators are looking into the possibility that one man has assaulted at least 15 women since November. The groping incidents take place both in daylight and at night, according to police, who say the attacker flees immediately after. CPS is asking women to call 911 immediately if they have been targeted so that police have a better chance at finding the offender. "Officers will be dispatched to the area to help locate the suspect in a timely manner," said police in a written statement. Multiple attacks in 5 communities Communities where the assaults took place include downtown, Mission, Thorncliffe, Huntington Hills and Hillhurst. The most recent attack was on Tuesday in Thorncliffe. The method of attack has been similar. While walking alone, women have been approached from behind by a man who then groped them. In some incidents, the attacker seems to have waited for opportunities when the victims were distracted, either by an electronic device, or, as police explain, "during moments when their situational awareness was lowered, such as looking in a bag." Investigators haven't yet determined if all of the incidents are connected to one person, or if there are multiple assailants involved. Police have offered the following safety tips: Walk with others or in well-populated areas. Stay in well-lit areas with clear visibility. Be aware of your surroundings — limit the use of devices that would distract. Limit the number of belongings that you are carrying in your arms to reduce vulnerability. If you are attacked: Make noise to attract attention. Do not try to hold on to your possessions or valuables. Pay attention to the physical attributes of your attacker and what they are wearing. Call 911 immediately.
When the pandemic closed schools in 2020, student Megan Klose nonetheless found herself travelling to the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School parking lot. Online learning proved challenging with their family’s internet quality. To make do, they utilized the school’s WiFi hotspot, with her mother – a teacher – working from the front seat and Klose taking a class from the back. “My family faced significant disadvantages because of our internet connection,” Klose said. County council heard that and other stories of connection problems from a delegation headed by Point in Time Jan. 13. The organization is seeking financial support to help students struggling to learn due to a lack of online connectivity. Point in Time executive director Marg Cox said it is an issue affecting approximately 150 children and youth in the County. She highlighted a survey they conducted with 59 local youth, with only 14 per cent reporting they had reliable internet and 54 per cent reporting having less-than-unlimited data. “We’re really mounting a campaign focused on, are you in for internet in Haliburton County,” Cox said. The group presented two policy goals: long-term solutions to connectivity barriers and short-term solutions for youth in urgent need. For the short-term, they offered ideas like cellular data plans or hubs, increasing community access point alternatives, and meeting the transportation needs of those who cannot get to hotspots. County-born McGill University professor Michael Mackenzie said the issue is impacting many students, but not evenly. “The existing disparities have really widened for those most in need of connection,” MacKenzie said. “Both to educational opportunities and to supportive services during COVID … Being connected is critical for the development, health and wellbeing of youth.” Coun. Andrea Roberts praised the presentation and asked about the Ministry of Education’s responsibility to address the issue. Cox said the group is interested in working with all levels of government. “We’re very concerned that if we wait for provincial intervention that the youth in our County will be losing credits,” Cox said. “We concur that we feel that we’d really like to see the Ministry of Education stepping up here. But in lieu of that, we feel we still need to move forward.” Cox said public hotspots are important, but there are hurdles such as ensuring they are robust enough to handle an increased load and they do not lead to people gathering too much for public health protocols. Council did not pass any specific motion to address the issue but agreed to advocate to upper levels of government and consider financial support in the 2021 budget. “Our community deserves and needs equitable access to the necessities and in the world that we’re living in, internet is a necessity,” Klose said. “It’s something we all need and it’s not fair to the students that can’t get that access.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Combien de langues faut-il pour faire comprendre à la population l’importance de rester à la maison afin de réduire la transmission de la COVID-19? Pour Doug Ford, la réponse est 22. C’est le nombre de langues que Doug Ford a utilisées, dans une publication sur Twitter faite jeudi, pour propager à nouveau ce message simple: «Restez à la maison». Après avoir été vivement critiqué pour la complexité des nouvelles mesures sanitaires imposées en Ontario le 13 janvier dernier, le premier ministre ontarien Doug Ford s’était défendu en affirmant qu’elles ne sont pas si compliquées et que la mesure la plus importante est de rester à la maison. Il l’avait même répété en français, langue qu’il ne parle pas mais qu’il a promis d’apprendre. Cette fois-ci, c’est en cantonais, mandarin, italien, russe, polonais et en espagnol, entre autres, qu’il a martelé le message. Le premier ministre Ford a fait cette publication alors que la province fait état jeudi d'un nouveau bilan de 2 632 infections quotidiennes à la COVID-19 et déplore 46 décès liés au virus survenus au cours de la dernière journée. À LIRE AUSSI: COVID-19: encore des problèmes de traduction en OntarioÉmilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Rod Brind'Amour lamented Carolina's season coming to a screeching halt despite doing “a great job” adhering to pandemic protocols. For Peter Laviolette, his Washington Capitals will keep playing for the next week without four prominent players who broke the rules. Each team is getting punished in a different way after being affected by the virus. The Hurricanes had games postponed through at least Saturday and won't get to practice in person with a handful of players on the COVID-19 list. There's no indication the Capitals are being shut down, though they will have to play the next four games without captain Alex Ovechkin, No. 1 centre Evgeny Kuznetsov, top-four defenceman Dmitry Orlov and starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov. “We totally understand why the rules are in place, and there’s no arguing with that,” said Laviolette, who's in his first season as Washington's coach. “We knew the rules. We’re not sitting here saying that we were uninformed or we weren’t aware. We need to do a better job.” The NHL fined the Capitals $100,000 for breaking protocol by having those four players in a hotel room together with none of them wearing a mask. Laviolette said there was a positive test result, which led to contact tracing, and Washington will be forced to ice a patchwork lineup for its home opener Friday night against Buffalo. There's no hard and fast timeframe for how long a player who tests positive or has potential exposure must be out. The NHL defers to local authorities, and the minimum four games for the Capitals players relates to the District of Columbia's quarantine regulations. After Ovechkin expressed regret for the mistake that will cost him and his fellow Russians two games against the Sabres and two against the New York Islanders, teammates said Thursday the protocols were spelled out for them before the season. “It’s not a situation we want to be in, but here we are,” centre Nicklas Backstrom said. “We’re a tight group. Every time we’re on the road, we see a chance to really connect as a group, but obviously it’s a violation.” Carolina has been off since Tuesday, when Teuvo Teraivanen, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Martinook and Warren Foegele joined captain Jordan Staal on the COVID-19 unavailable list. The Hurricanes have so far had three games postponed because of their outbreak and won't play for at least a week. “We'vw done all the protocols — we’ve tried,” Brind’Amour said. “Obviously it didn’t matter, it got into our room.” Carolina, Dallas, Florida, Nashville and defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay have all had at least one game postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. The NHL said 17 Stars players tested positive, and their first four games were rescheduled. “We’re in a position that we have catch-up to do: catch up in the standings, catch up in games played,” said Dallas coach Rick Bowness, whose team finally plays its first game Friday at Nashville. “The other teams are playing 56 games in 118 days, I think we’re playing them in 108, so our schedule just got a lot more condensed and there’s going to be times with this schedule because of the cancellation of those games it’s going to really hurt us.” Each team is required to carry a “taxi squad” of four to six players who travel with the team and can be called up if necessary as a way to prevent postponements. The Capitals had to dig three deep into theirs to make up for some big losses. Because of the taxi squads, the NHL doesn't have an official number of players unavailable that would postpone a game. Commissioner Gary Bettman said before the season those decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis. Brind'Amour and Carolina general manager Don Waddell didn't seem to question any player's judgement amid the team's pause. Some players are stuck in Nashville while the rest of the Hurricanes are home because of NHL protocols spelling out what to do when positive test results happen on the road; everyone's limited to virtual practices and meetings with the practice facility closed. “I think we all understood there was a chance that something like this was going to happen," Brind'Amour said. “It’s not really about was it going to happen, it’s how do you deal with it. I think that’s really what we’re going to find out.” ___ AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Stephen Hawkins contributed. ___ More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press