Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry discusses what's changed about the teams offense over the past few weeks to help them gain traction in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry discusses what's changed about the teams offense over the past few weeks to help them gain traction in the Eastern Conference.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Humber- Bay of Islands Independent candidate Eddie Joyce has fired back at Placentia- St. Mary’s Liberal candidate Sherry Gambin-Walsh for comments made in a recent article published in The Shoreline. The Shoreline had asked Gambin-Walsh how two political scandals in which she was invovled may affect her campaign. The first was the complaint she filed against Joyce, then the Liberal Minister of Municipal Affairs, in 2018, in which she accused him of bullying and harassment. Commissioner for legislative standards Bruce Chaulk (who has recently been thrust into the spotlight in his role as Chief Electoral Officer for the current election) filed a report which found Joyce to have indeed broken government’s code of conduct. Following the harassment complaints, Joyce was removed from the Liberal caucus by then premier Dwight Ball. Joyce would go on to run as an Independent in the 2019 election, and win the seat which he formerly held as a Liberal. Gambin-Walsh was also re-elected in the 2019 election, but then, just over a year later, was removed from cabinet in April 2020 as the RCMP launched a criminal investigation into allegations that she leaked cabinet documents. She was swiftly removed from her position as Minister of Service NL though she remained MHA of the district. In September, the RCMP announced that Gambin-Walsh broke cabinet confidentially by leaking information to a senior police officer in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary but that she would not be charged criminally. Premier Andrew Furey however did not appoint her to cabinet. Gambin-Walsh said while she was fully prepared to answer questions on the door about the RCMP investigation, constituents were more interested to hear about the Joyce situation. “The 2018 situation with MHA Joyce, that got a bit of attention, and people were very curious and did ask me a fair bit about that. They are interested in bullying and harassment though. And they’re happy that I spoke up against it,” said Gambin-Walsh during the initial interview. Joyce, who still denies the allegations of bullying, took exception to the comments, and said that Gambin-Walsh was highlighting one scandal over another. “This was a police investigation about where she leaked cabinet documents about stuff that was happening in cabinet, which broke her oath, which undermined the whole cabinet process and all of her colleagues,” said Joyce. He also challenged Gambin-Walsh on her commitment to a project in the district, specifically the long-awaited Placentia swimming pool. “She should be talking about why she’s not supporting the swimming pool,” said Joyce. In 2015, the provincial government announced a $30 million program for four significant community projects through amendments to the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement. One of those projects was a pool for Placentia, for which the local Lions Club had been fundraising for a number of years. The pool was to be built as an extension on the Unity PARC Arena. Joyce said the cost for that pool is now estimated to be about $9 million, and criticized Gambin-Walsh, and the provincial government, for not making the project a priority. “She’s not supporting it, the provincial government is not supporting it; the town council are supporting it, the federal government have committed that they will,” said Joyce. The last funding announcement came in 2018, when the province announced joint funding of $7.8 million ($3.6 million in provincial, up to $2.6 million federally, and $1.6 million municipally) this time for a fitness centre, which would incorporate the swimming pool. Gambin-Walsh, meanwhile, in the initial interview with The Shoreline, said that she acknowledged residents’ concerns about the increased cost of the fitness centre. She also, when asked her thoughts on Premier Andrew Furey’s leadership capabilities, noted his commitment to healthy living and that the Placentia centre would become an example of that commitment. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
HALIFAX — A First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has released a letter from Ottawa outlining a plan to have Indigenous fishers participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season. In the letter released today by Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department wants to give Indigenous fishers access to commercial fisheries through voluntary buyouts of existing licences. She says her department is prepared to negotiate agreements with Indigenous communities to establish "small-scale" moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season in the "near term." Jordan says the fisheries will operate while negotiations continue on how First Nations in Nova Scotia can affirm their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. She says any moderate livelihood fishing activity must be authorized by her office through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia say a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter ENGLEHART – The times are changing and it was a time for change for the Englehart Dental Office. Owned and operated by Dr. Julie Williams, the business has a new home as it recently opened the newly constructed office building at 35 Third Street. It’s located just down the street from its original office space at 39 Third Street. The Dental Office held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with its staff in front of the new location on February 24 to celebrate the move. “I was just ready to have my own space, something I designed myself,” explained Williams in an interview at the new office building. “It just felt like the next step in the career.” Williams said she put plans into motion for the construction of the new building in January of 2020 but the process really began that March. The old pizza place building that used to occupy the land of the new office then was demolished in July, she noted. “Once it finally got going, it got going,” said Williams with a smile. “I just had the design (of the new building), I made it myself. None of the designers liked it but I just wanted my own space. I didn’t want anything too big, just my size.” Once she purchased the lot from the town, Williams said she was able to design the building size-wise on it. She noted that she originally planned to have a basement in the new building but ran into sewer and water line issues as well as encountering poor soil conditions. “So it’s just on a (concrete) slab now and that changed plans a little bit, but it worked out OK, we still have some storage around. It changed the chemical room slightly, so it changed in the planning as well. That delayed us a good month, month-and-a-half with the redesigning.” Williams said that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected how she was able to carry out her construction plans. “It definitely made material sourcing and everything very difficult,” she said. “The flooring took eight weeks when it should have been like two weeks, that delayed everything. Thank goodness I ordered all the dental equipment like nine months before needed because that didn’t come in until November and it would have been bananas if it didn’t come in.” Williams said the pandemic also “put a little bit of a damper” with how everything surrounding the dental office’s operations flowed while the new building was being constructed, but it wasn’t too much to overcome. “We were able to get open for dentistry before ground broke, after the delays. We had to close to dentistry until the end of May (in 2020) and I was really worried about continuing but we got to open again,” she noted. COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Williams noted that the dental office has been open for three weeks and so far the reception from its patients and the community has been positive. “It’s been fantastic, they’re loving the new space,” she said. “A lot of them are saying ‘Thank you for investing in the community’ and it’s true, I didn’t really think of that effect, but it’s true. It was just always my game plan to stay (in Englehart) so now at least we have our own space to stay.” Williams said her goals for the future are just to enjoy the new office space and provide her patients with a lot more enhanced services. “We have digital x-rays, more computers and everything, we’re finally up to the 21st century” she noted. “Long-term I just want to practice for the next 20 years, really, in comfort and in my own space. This was just the next step, I was ready.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
ALBANY, N.Y. — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a sombre New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Before Wednesday's press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Cuomo started Wednesday's press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations in New York City, news that the state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that three vaccination sites will temporarily shift to 24/7 operations. __ This story has been updated to correct the day of the press briefing. It was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan's Opposition leader says Premier Scott Moe deliberately misled voters with his promise to balance the budget by 2024. NDP Leader Ryan Meili says there's been nothing since last fall's election to suggest economic factors have worsened since the campaign when Moe repeatedly committed to that date.Meili notes oil prices have, in fact, improved. Saskatchewan's finance minister said Monday that eliminating the $2-billion deficit by 2024 would be "very, very difficult" because of a slower than expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.Donna Harpauer said there is a small hope it could still happen, but projections indicate the Saskatchewan Party government is likely to have to adjust its target date. The premier has said more details will be provided when the next provincial budget is tabled in April, and only time will tell if the deficit can be cleared by 2024. Meili says he believes Moe never intended to keep his promise. "Everyday in the campaign the premier stood up and said he was going to balance the budget by 2024. He was lying," Meili said on Wednesday."He knew very well that wasn't something he was going to be able to do, but he sold people a lie."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 The Canadian Press
Nova Scotia will receive its first 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine next week, the province announced Wednesday. The vaccine is the third approved for use in Canada. The other two are the Pfizer-BioNtech and the Moderna vaccines. In a news release, the province said the launch of the new doses will be handled by Doctors Nova Scotia and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. "We are pleased that conversations with Doctors Nova Scotia and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia have resulted in a commitment from them to develop a plan by next week to distribute this vaccine to Nova Scotians," said Premier Iain Rankin in the release. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is given on a two-dose schedule. Since the shipment must be used by April 2, the province said all 13,000 doses will be administered as first doses to Nova Scotians age 50 to 64 starting the week of March 15 on a first come, first served basis. That will happen at 26 locations across the province, but those locations have yet to be announced. When asked for further details, the province said more information will be available in the coming days. Does not require ultra-cold storage Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which require cold to ultra-cold storage, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can be stored between 2 and 8 C, similar to a flu vaccine. While the other two vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective against COVID-19, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is 62 per cent effective, based on clinical trials. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the higher efficacy vaccines be offered first to those who are most at-risk for COVID-19. It recommends offering the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people between the ages 18 to 64. On Tuesday, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said his team was still trying to figure out how Nova Scotia might use the vaccine, given its limitations. All provinces have to notify the federal government by Thursday whether they want to accept a shipment of AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Strang said at the time he had not yet decided how to advise the premier to respond. That prompted Opposition leader Tim Houston to issue a statement that day criticizing the government's hesitation, saying "the need is too great for a province with the slowest rate of vaccinations in the country." Following Wednesday's announcement, the Progressive Conservative leader issued another statement saying he was "glad to see that the new Premier has listened to concerned Nova Scotians and chosen to accept these 13,000 doses of vaccine." "I hope that by the time future vaccines are approved by Health Canada, Premier Rankin will have a plan in place to be flexible and vaccinate more Nova Scotians," Houston said in the statement. MORE TOP STORIES
SOUTH DUNDAS – Declining program use and the resignation of a staff member has prompted changes to the municipality’s recreation department. Some of the changes had been decided before the resignation of Recreation Program Coordinator Jamie Scott. Scott left his position February 16th. Declining use of the municipal swimming lesson program at the Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches prompted a review early in 2020. Before the pandemic, the municipality rostered up to nine summer students for that position. This year that number will drop to six, three each for the Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches. South Dundas Communications Coordinator Kalynn Sawyer Helmer explained that this is based on the programming needs and budget. “Six lifeguards will be able to cover the shifts necessary without affecting the swimming lessons,” she said. In 2020, the municipality consolidated swimming lessons and hired only two lifeguards to operate the lessons due to the pandemic. Recreation programming will take a different look due, in part, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recreation coordinator position was a full-time position, but with Scott’s departure, that role will be a part-time position for the time being. “Due to the resignation of the Programming Coordinator earlier this month, Council and staff met to discuss the future of that role,” Sawyer Helmer said. “It was felt that during the COVID-19 pandemic a part-time position would be sufficient to fill the needs of the Municipality.” The part-time coordinator position will be advertised in the coming months. “Senior management will then be able to monitor the position and re-evaluate the job details if needed as the pandemic eases,” she said. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that China concocted national security charges to pin on Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig following the arrest of Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver — smacking down a claim by China's ambassador that the cases are not linked. "It is obvious that the two Michaels were arrested on trumped-up national security charges days after we fulfilled our extradition treaty responsibilities toward our ally, the United States," Trudeau told reporters during a news conference today. Kovrig, a former diplomat who was working for an international non-profit group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who promotes tourism and investment in North Korea, are Canadian citizens who were detained separately by China more than two years ago. They were arrested in December 2018 shortly after Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian officials in Vancouver. Meng was arrested on a U.S. extradition request over allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The two men stand accused of spying on China. Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, right, were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and remain detained. (The Canadian Press, The Associated Press) Trudeau's comments came after China's ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, tried to put some distance between the two cases during an interview this weekend with CBC News. Cong was pressed to say why — if the cases are not linked — he brought up Meng's confinement to her mansion in Vancouver when asked about the two Canadian prisoners. Cong said there is clear evidence affirming their guilt but "there's nothing connecting" their case with Meng's. "Chinese officials at the time were very clear that they were absolutely connected as a frame," said Trudeau. "Nothing the ambassador can say now will dissuade me from understanding that it is indeed the case." WATCH | Trudeau says China is holding Kovrig and Spavor on 'trumped-up national security charges'
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter EARLTON – A set of stop signs that had been installed recently in Earlton was the unfortunate victim of theft and vandalism. Acting public works foreman Caleb Fotheringham told Armstrong Township council at its regular meeting on February 24 that he was notified on February 14 that two stop signs, along with an all-way sign below the stop sign, had been stolen. The signs are located at the intersection of 10th street and Sixth Avenue, near the Earlton Recreation Centre. “After investigating I noticed that the stop ahead sign had been broken off as well and thrown into a ravine,” Fotheringham told council. He noted that there had been a fresh snowfall the night before the incident, which fortunately made it easy to track down the culprits. “I called the police and an officer and I went to the house. We spoke with the residents and we were able to get the signs back. I told the offenders that a bill would be coming their way for my time and for the 4x4 posts they broke.” Fotheringham said they wouldn’t be pressing charges in light of that, which the offenders agreed to. The stop signs were originally erected at the intersection back in the fall as there were speeding concerns in that area of Earlton with cars entering and leaving the town. At the time, council felt it was the best option to combat the speeding issues. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
A civic by-election to fill the seat vacated by former Richmond councillor Kelly Greene will cost $716,504. Greene, who was elected to the provincial legislature as a member of the governing NDP by winning the Richmond-Steveston MLA seat last fall, vacated her council seat late last year. The estimated cost is higher than the 2018 general election mainly because of a mail-in voting provision. That adds another $150,000, while a further $55,000 covers pandemic-related costs—particularly cleaning supplies. “The fact that we only have one vacancy, and it’s only for about a year, doesn’t mean that it’s of lesser importance and for that reason I don’t think we should compromise anything for the integrity of the by-election,” said Coun. Chak Au, who was in favour of the proposal. “We all find the cost distasteful,” added Coun. Linda McPhail, who also voted in favour of the proposed by-election despite its cost. City staff also presented a scaled-down option that would have cost $540,000. But it failed to include a mail-in voting option. Only people who have a physical disability that affects their ability to vote, or people who will be away from Richmond during the entire voting period, would be able to vote by mail. Councillors disagreed on the projected cost at a February finance committee meeting. In response to queries, city staff confirmed that legislation dictates the availability of advance voting as well as a sufficient number of voting places. In a report to council, staff said they will aim to spend less than the budgeted amount, but that “sufficient funding must be in place to ensure for the integrity of the election,” as well as for the health and safety of all people involved. Coun. Carol Day was in support of referring staff to take another look at possibly bringing the budget down. “I agree that the election is important,” she said. “Our hands are tied behind our back—we have to have one. But I just don’t think voter turnout’s going to be that great, and the smart thing to do is to take a step backwards on this one, and then let’s run a full 100 per cent effective election in 2022.” While Coun. Harold Steves and Coun. Michael Wolfe were in support of the referral motion, the rest of council was opposed and the main motion, including its cost, passed. The current targeted date for an election is May 29. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Classes resumed on March 1 with the Jasper Dance Program following the province’s approval of such activities and owner Nicole Koebel couldn’t be happier. “It’s so nice to see the kids,” the longtime dance instructor said. “It’s such a positive thing to do.” From Monday to Thursday for the next three weeks, young folks from six to 17 will be attending classes at various times in the multipurpose hall at the Activity Centre. In line with health restrictions, Koebel and nine students will keep at least three metres apart while practicing a variety of dance styles. Koebel will also teach a dance class to residents at Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge on March 15 and 29 at 1 p.m. The Jasper Dance Program has been running since 2000. “I teach ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, world dance, contemporary and lyrical,” Koebel said. And she’s well-versed in this field as Koebel took her first official dance lesson at the age of four in Jasper. “It was highland dancing,” Koebel said. “I remember the class. The teacher kept me behind so I could show everyone a particular routine.” Right off the bat, Koebel tuned into her passion for teaching. When she got home from that class, she ‘taught’ her two-year-old sister, Tamara, the moves she had been shown. “Teaching is my passion - it brings such joy,” she said. “It’s something that’s in my blood. There’s so much to dance.” Her love of dancing was nurtured at home. “My dad loved music,” she said. She and Tamara, who went on to become a professional dancer, danced together for many years. Koebel went on to get a degree in dance education at the University of Calgary. When she returned to Jasper years later in 1996 after working at her full-time job, Koebel taught dance lessons part time. “It just grew - I eventually made that my career focus,” she said. “It was a leap of faith. When you really love something and you pursue it and you're in your element, then good things follow. I’m so blessed to be able to do this.” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the federal government is spending $518 million on efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines, among more than 100 research projects receiving new money. He says the funding will help provide Canadian researchers with equipment and shared databases, among other things.
MILAN — Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares on Wednesday said the new car company formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot would be a “disruptive” force in the industry, and that both sides would provide technologies to achieve the promised 5 billion euros ($6 billion) in cost savings each year. The Italian-American carmaker and the French mass-market automotive company completed their merger on Jan. 16, creating Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest carmaker, despite a pandemic year that saw profits plunge. “Stellantis is not born from a crisis,’’ Tavares told a conference call after fourth-quarter earnings were released. “This is not only about implementing synergies, it will also be a disruptive plan. We do not accept to be cornered as a legacy carmaker.” Tavares cited the recent investment in the Archer aviation company to develop vertical flying devices for urban mobility as an example of how Stellantis intended to be a disruptive force. “We believe that this strategic investment is going to be highly convergent with the technology we need for the automobile world,’’ he said, citing energy management, lightweight batteries and quick-charging technologies. “We are not going to let ourselves be cornered as dinosaurs, that is clear,’’ Tavares said. Tavares also indicated that both FCA and PSA would contribute technologies that would help the company get rid of duplications and save money. He cited bigger engines from FCA, and smaller ones from Fiat, and said that PSA has been adept at achieving efficiencies through sharing components and platforms, while FCA has faster processes. “So if I combine both, I should go fast and I should be very efficient at the end of the day,” the CEO said. Offering its first financial guidance, Stellantis announced it was targeting an adjusted income margin of between 5.5% and 7% in its first year of operation as a new company. Tavares said one “strong caveat” to the guidance is that they cannot anticipate if there will be lockdowns or restrictions on business due to the pandemic. While strong North American performance is expected to help Stellantis meet the goal, Tavares said “three big gorillas’’ were providing headwinds: rising costs of raw materials, potential production losses due to a shortage of semiconductors and increased costs for electrification. Earlier Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot reported their last financial statements as independent companies, each contributing full-year profits of around 2 billion euros to the new company. Fiat Chrysler reported adjusted net profits in the pandemic year of 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion), down 57% from 2019. PSA reported earnings of 2.2 billion euros, a drop of 32%. Fiat Chrysler reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 2.3 billion euros, a record 2.2 billion euros of those generated in North America, where the profit margin was 11.6%. As a result, about 43,000 employees represented by the United Auto Workers union will each get $8,010 profit-sharing checks on March 15, Stellantis said in a separate release. Last year the workers got $7,820, and the average hourly worker has received over $44,700 in profit sharing since 2009, Stellantis said. All regions and Maserati made a positive contribution to the results, for the first time since the first quarter of 2019, said Mike Manley, the former FCA CEO and current head of North American operations for Stellantis. The French mass carmaker said second-half operating margins hit 9.4% at record levels. “These figures demonstrate the financial soundness of Stellantis, bringing together two healthy companies,’’ Tavares said in a statement. ___ AP Business Writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has ordered a review of mental health crisis care following the suicide of a teenager who waited eight hours at a hospital emergency room without being helped. Health Minister Dorothy Shepard says she has asked Norm Bosse, the province's child, youth and seniors' advocate, to conduct a review, although the terms have not been set. Lexi Daken, 16, took her own life on Feb. 24, less than a week after seeking help at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Shephard says the regional health authority has also been asked to identify possible improvements and report back by the end of the month. Green Leader David Coon was seeking a public inquiry into the care Lexi received and says urgent action is needed. Chris Daken, Lexi's father, says he hopes her death is not in vain and that it prompts government to make changes that will help others in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has postponed the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, that were set to take place in Wood Buffalo, Alta. In a news release Wednesday morning, the committee described the decision as a "proactive response to the global COVID-19 pandemic" after conversations with the Wood Buffalo host society, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the government of Alberta. "There were just no guarantees for us," John Flynn, the president of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, told the CBC. "We do not want to say cancelled…. [but] right now, we don't really have a date." The Games were originally scheduled to take place from March 6-12. Flynn said organizers will be looking for alternate dates for the 2022 event. The high-profile circumpolar sporting competition normally runs every two years. About 2,000 athletes from around the world — including Russia, Greenland, Finland and Norway, as well as Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik, Northwest Territories, northern Alberta and Alaska — usually attend. This is the second Games in a row to be affected by the pandemic, following the cancellation of the 2020 games that were set to take place in Whitehorse. Those games were called off just a week before the event was scheduled to start — something Flynn said organizers wanted to avoid in 2022. "That was a big factor," he said. "We really don't want what happened in Whitehorse to take place in Wood Buffalo." Health and safety are 'paramount concern' Wednesday's release said the decision to postpone the games "was made to ensure the health and safety of all the participants, coaches, volunteers, staff, spectators and the host community." The committee also said the pandemic would likely prevent them from hosting a meaningful experience. "The health and safety of our circumpolar participants, coaches and volunteers is of paramount concern, and although it is a great disappointment that we must postpone the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, we are steadfast in our decision," Flynn is quoted as saying in the release. "We analyzed the relevant risks and considered our tolerance for those risks, and we learned from best practices employed by other major games leaders to come to this difficult decision," the quote continues. On CBC Yukon's Airplay Wednesday, Flynn said he feels "very sorry for the young athletes." "They say they have nowhere to put their energies," he said. "We understand how important the Arctic Winter Games is to them." Melissa Blake, co-chair of the 2022 Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games, said in the release that the host society supports the international committee's decision and understands the "significant considerations" involved. "We would like to thank the community and our volunteers for their continued support as we prepare to welcome the circumpolar North at a later date," Blake said. Aaron Wells, executive director of Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT, said that it's disappointing news to hear following the cancellation of last year's Games. "I feel bad for the athletes and the coaches and especially athletes that may never get to experience the games if they're postponed long enough," said Wells. "But I do understand that there's a lot of decisions and factors that are taken into place to kind of come up with these decisions." Wells said that the Aboriginal Sports Circle was also looking forward to archery being introduced to the games in 2022, after its premiere was cancelled along with the Games in 2020. "It definitely has a major effect on athlete development in helping prepare for other major games or other tournaments or national events." But despite the difficult news, Wells, who is also a long-time basketball coach, said that within five minutes of receiving it, a number of different coaches were reaching out to each other about different opportunities they can provide to athletes. "It's not like we sit around and pout about these games being postponed indefinitely. We move on to the next potential event or what we can do to make sure that these athletes are getting the opportunities they deserve."
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is accusing former U.S. president Donald Trump of co-opting her extradition proceedings in an effort to use her as leverage in trade negotiations with China. Richard Peck told the British Columbia Supreme Court that Trump's words to media after Meng's arrest amount to an abuse of process and a "stain" on proceedings in Canada. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. officials on charges of fraud that both she and Huawei deny. The argument hinges on remarks by Trump 10 days after the arrest when he was asked if the United States would intervene in Meng's case to get a better deal with China.Peck quotes Trump as saying he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary.Lawyers for the attorney general of Canada, who are representing the United States in the case, have said in legal documents that they will say the argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office. "With that utterance, Ms. Meng became a bargaining chip, a pawn in this economic contest between these two superpowers. Those words amount to the opening salvo in this trade war," Peck told the court. Today marks the beginning of arguments by Meng's legal team that she was subjected to an abuse of process and that the proceedings against her should be stayed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press