The defense attorneys for Donald Trump wrapped up their presentation in the former president’s impeachment trial and argued Friday that Trump didn’t incite the Jan. 6 rally crowd to riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Feb. 12)
The defense attorneys for Donald Trump wrapped up their presentation in the former president’s impeachment trial and argued Friday that Trump didn’t incite the Jan. 6 rally crowd to riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Feb. 12)
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies gradually ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec The province's proposed order of priority for vaccination according to its website is those in residential and long-term care centres, workers in the health and social services network, followed by those in isolated and remote communities, people 80 years or older, and then the general population in 10-year increments. Health officials launched an online and telephone system for vaccine registrations on Feb. 25 and will begin vaccinating people aged 85 years and older in Montreal on March 1. Officials said that while residents across the province aged 85 and older can register for a vaccine, priority will be given to people in the greater Montreal area, which has the highest active COVID-19 case count in Quebec. On Feb. 26, officials opened registration for Montrealers as young as 80 years old. It has not yet been announced when the next age group can begin to register for vaccines. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province has mapped out a three-phase approach to its rollout. Phase 1, which is still ongoing, reserves shots for those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers, and people who live in congregate care settings. All Indigenous adults, people aged 80 and older and adults receiving chronic home care will be next in line. The province says it will begin vaccinations among the 80 and older age cohort starting the third week of March. Vaccinations will begin for people 75 and older starting April 15. The province will then move to offer shots to those 70 and older starting May 1; 65 and older starting June 1; and 60 and older the first week of July. Indigenous adults and patient-facing health-care workers will receive vaccinations as the province works through those age groups. The government is still finalizing the list of essential workers who will receive vaccinations in May if supply is available. The province has not detailed when people younger than 60 can expect to be vaccinated. Appointment bookings can be made online and by phone starting March 15 for those in eligible age cohorts. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. They say most people over 80, and First Nations individuals over 60, could be eligible in early March. The province plans to have all personal care home residents vaccinated with two doses by the end of February, and has started sending team to other congregate living settings such as group homes and shelters. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, say inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if new vaccines are approved and supplies are steady. The plan does not include a separate category for essential workers — something that Reimer says will be considered as vaccine supplies increase. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. When bookings opened to this age group Wednesday, the website was temporarily overwhelmed when more than 150,000 people tried to get access. Within a day, 100,000 appointments were booked. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. Some 28,000 seniors in long-term care have already been vaccinated. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia The first phase of B.C.'s immunization campaign launched in December and focused on health-care workers in hospitals, paramedics, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and remote Indigenous communities. The second phase set to wrap up in March includes people aged 80 and above, Indigenous elders 65 and up, Indigenous communities that didn't receive vaccine in the first phase, as well as more health-care workers and vulnerable populations living and working in certain congregate settings. The third phase of B.C.'s immunization campaign is set to start in April and last until June, reaching people between the ages of 60 and 79, along with those who are highly clinically vulnerable, such as cancer patients. B.C.'s plan for the general population is based on age, with the oldest residents first in line. --- Nunavut Nunavut's vaccination rollout is underway, with vaccine clinics for the general population scheduled or completed in all 25 communities. In Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital, a general vaccination clinic is underway for priority populations, including staff and residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. Starting March 1, the vaccine clinic will be extended to all adults in Iqaluit ages 45 and up. Nunavut still expects enough vaccines to immunize 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 by the end of March. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories says it has vaccinated 42 per cent of its adult population since its vaccine rollout began in early January. Vaccine clinics are either completed or underway in all 33 of the territory's communities. In Yellowknife, residents and staff in long-term care homes are being prioritized for the vaccine. Vaccination of Yellowknife's general population will begin in late March. The N.W.T. still expects to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney John Durham said Friday that he will resign from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut but is remaining as a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe that shadowed Donald Trump’s presidency, Durham will resign from his post as U.S. attorney for Connecticut on Monday. But Durham, who was appointed in October by then-Attorney General William Barr as a special counsel to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, will remain in that capacity. Like Durham, nearly every other U.S. attorney who served in the Trump administration was asked earlier this month to submit their resignations as the Biden administration moves to transition to its own nominees. The FBI in July 2016 began investigating whether the Trump campaign was co-ordinating with Russia to sway the outcome of the presidential election. That probe was inherited nearly a year later by special counsel Mueller, who ultimately did not find enough evidence to charge Trump or any of his associates with conspiring with Russia. The early months of the investigation, when agents obtained secret surveillance warrants targeting a former Trump campaign aide, have long been scrutinized by Trump and other critics of the probe who say the FBI made significant errors. A Justice Department inspector general report backed up that criticism but did not find evidence that mistakes in the surveillance applications and other problems with the probe were driven by partisan bias. Durham’s investigation, which the Justice Department has described as a criminal probe, had begun very broadly but Barr said in December that it had “narrowed considerably” and that it was “really is focused on the activities of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation within the FBI.” Durham’s investigation has so far resulted in one prosecution so far. A former FBI lawyer was sentenced to probation last month for altering an email the Justice Department relied on in its surveillance of an aide to President Donald Trump during the Russia investigation. The U.S. attorneys transition process, which happens routinely between administrations, applies to a few dozen U.S. attorneys who were appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate and many of the federal prosecutors who were nominated by Trump already left their positions. A senior Justice Department official told the AP earlier this month that David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, overseeing the federal tax probe involving Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, will remain in place. The 93 U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and are responsible for overseeing offices of federal prosecutors and charged with prosecuting federal crimes in their jurisdictions. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) A woman in her 20s has died after using a cannabis product mixed with fentanyl, methamphetamine and the synthetic drug W-18, Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer says. P.E.I.'s coroner reported the accidental overdose death late Friday. Investigations are ongoing, according to a written news release. Dr. Heather Morrison warned that anyone consuming any kind of street drugs should take steps to reduce the risks and carry naloxone, and share the information with other drug-users that naloxone is available. Naloxone, also known by the trade name Narcan, is highly effective at reversing the effects of overdoses of opioids including heroin, morphine or fentanyl. Anyone consuming cannabis should ensure it comes from a safe source, she added. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and has caused many accidental overdoses and deaths, the release said, adding W-18 is an illegal drug similar to carfentanil reported to be as much as 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl-related overdoses, deaths rose in 2020 In 2020, the coroner has so far identified that out of a total of 17 accidental opioid-related overdoses on P.E.I., nine involved fentanyl. Of six people who died of accidental overdoses, three cases involved fentanyl — more cases than ever before. Any Islander can get a naloxone kit for free from the provincial needle exchange program by visiting a program site or by calling 1-877-637-0333. Free kits are also available to clients of mental health and addiction programs and some community groups. Islanders are encouraged to call 911 if they suspect an overdose, even if naloxone has been administered and appears to be working — it may not be enough. "It may not be enough to permanently reverse the overdose; it only lasts for 20 minutes, so it is important to get medical help for the best chance of survival," the release said. Anyone with any information in relation to this matter or other drug related information is asked to contact RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. More from CBC P.E.I.
(Dan Taekema/CBC - image credit) Windsor police have launched a homicide investigation after a man was found dead in a home earlier this week. In a news release, police said that officers arrived at a home around 2 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Louis Avenue and Cataraqui Street following reports of a dead person. The Major Crime Unit launched an investigation as police said details of the death were unclear at the time. On Thursday, after the unit received postmortem results, it launched a homicide investigation. Police ask that anyone with surveillance cameras in the areas check their footage before and after the time of the incident and look for any suspicious people, vehicles or evidence. Anyone with information is asked to contact Windsor police at (519) 255-6700 ext. 4830 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (519) 258-8477. More from CBC Windsor
“The connection is me,” said Tsuut’ina Nation artist seth cardinal dodginghorse, linking his work for Contemporary Calgary and his protest at the opening of the southwest Calgary ring road last October. dodginghorse spoke virtually yesterday, the final speaker for Contemporary Calgary’s Water Event. His exhibit, entitled The Glenmore Rezerveoir, is a water jug with a label made from elk hide parfleche. Writing is painted on the inside of the label and can only be read if it’s “really bright out” and the jug is angled. The label reads: “You drink Tsuut’ina land.” dodginghorse said he was approached in August by the gallery to be one of six Indigenous artists to produce a water sculpture as part of political activist Yoko Ono’s exhibition, Growing Freedom. Two months later, he stood at the opening of Tsuut’ina Trail, unofficially called Calgary’s southwest ring road, and cut off his braids, offering them to the portion of the road that displaced his family six years earlier from their generations-held land. “The connection is story-wise and intent behind making the work. They weren’t directly related at all. But a lot of my intent … all my own personal experiences, traumas informed making this work and those were the same things that informed me speaking out at the opening … (and) resulted in me cutting my hair and everything. It’s more like the connection is that I made the artwork and the connection is that I ended up cutting my hair. The connection is me,” said dodginghorse. dodginghorse’s family was forced off their land in 2013 because of the ring road. That land had been in the family since his great-great grandmother. His mother and her siblings had grown up there. Many Tsuut’ina people beyond dodginghorse’s family members had connections to that land. When living there, dodginghorse said the water they drank was “some of the most beautiful, delicious water you could drink.” His family moved to another piece of land on the Tsuut’ina reserve. They were told not to drink the water from the tap because of numerous environmental concerns, including nearby fracking. His family had to drink water from jugs. “We didn’t grow up having to purchase water. We didn’t grow up having to be afraid of what was coming from our tap. We’ve been drinking from these water bottles for quite a bit now and I thought, ‘Why don’t I just use one of these and highlight the issue of drinking water and where does the water I’m purchasing come from?’” he said. In 1932, dodginghorse said Tsuut’ina Nation was “pressured” by Calgary and the government to sell 400 acres of reserve land to the city. That land became the Glenmore reservoir and provides safe drinking water for Calgary residents. “There’s just so much loaded history behind Glenmore reservoir and my family as well ... It’s very strange and very ironic that my family, once we moved, in order to drink water we had to drink water from land that was originally part of Tsuut’ina. That was like essentially purchasing water back from ancestral lands,” said dodginghorse. Having to be concerned about safe drinking water is not unique to Tsuut’ina, said Dodginghorse, noting that boil water advisories are common in many First Nations communities right across the country. While some artwork takes time to conceive and time to determine the medium, this piece was readily conceived, dodginghorse said. “It was very easy to make but then thinking about the history behind the objects, behind my family’s history, all of these connection, is one of those really nice pieces in a way where I made this and then afterwards I started thinking and analysing and really understanding what I had made,” he said. dodginghorse said he prefers his work to be “blunt and in your face.” He wants people to “get” what he is saying with his art and not have to ponder it for “three hours” before the message sinks in. dodginghorse has been showing his work in Calgary galleries for about six years. He said he understands that this venue only reaches “a certain crowd.” “A lot of the people that were involved in a lot of these decisions historically that are still here, aren’t really the type of people that go to galleries. With this type of work has like the focus on reaching out to the average white Calgarian that goes to galleries,” he said. Ryan Doherty, chief curator of Contemporary Calgary, who hosted the virtual talk, said dodginghorse’s piece was popular with gallery goers, many of whom came after dodginghorse cut his braids at the ring road opening. “That seemingly mundane container is in fact so loaded,” said Doherty. When Contemporary Calgary was tasked with asking a new group of artists to collaborate with Ono in this iteration of Water Event, Doherty said he knew it had to be a group with which water had an “enormous significance.” “When you consider the long history and impact of the Bow and Elbow rivers to the Indigenous population past and present it seemed the best thing would be to invite artists for whom that connection would resonate in the collaboration with Yoko,” said Doherty. The other Water Event collaborators are Adrian A. Stimson, Faye HeavyShield, Jessie Ray Short, Judy Anderson and Kablusiak. In 1971, Ono held her first museum exhibition, Water Event, in which she invited over 120 participants to produce a water sculpture. “As Yoko herself noted to us, (this) was one of the best iterations to date,” said Doherty. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
CHARLOTTETOWN — A cluster of COVID-19 infections in Prince Edward Island whose origin hasn't been identified is concerning health officials, who called on Friday for any close contacts of those cases to isolate and get tested. The cluster of three cases in Summerside, P.E.I., about 60 kilometres west of Charlottetown, involves three men in their 20s. It was first reported Thursday."These cases are close contacts of each other and have mild symptoms; they are now self-isolating," chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters Friday."Our investigation of the three cases is still ongoing," she added. "At this point these cases have not been linked to travel." Morrison said 61 close contacts have been identified and efforts are being made to contact all of them."Anyone in the Summerside area with any COVID-19 symptoms should be tested," Morrison said. She issued a list of locations, including a gym and pizza restaurant, where exposures could have occurred. Morrison said it's concerning that officials haven't identified the source of the cluster. "We certainly have concerns about possible community spread in P.E.I. and this is why we are focused on increased testing," Morrison said. "We are always more concerned when we don't have a link to travel and we don't have a source of the infection," she said. "We will learn more in the hours and days ahead."As a precautionary measure, the government is offering COVID-19 testing for all people in Summerside over the weekend who are between the ages of 14 and 29, even if they have no symptoms of the disease."Increased testing will tell us if COVID-19 is circulating in the 14-to-29-year-old age group in the Summerside area," Morrison said.She reported one new case on the Island Friday, involving a woman in her 20s. Morrison said the case does not appear to be directly linked to other cases announced this week. There are now seven active known cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island.On Wednesday, Morrison reported that two women in Charlottetown had tested positive. Those cases, she said, were related to travel within Atlantic Canada. She said Friday one of the two women has been charged with two infractions under the Public Health Act.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The fact Admiral Art McDonald stepped aside as Canada's defence chief while misconduct allegations are investigated demonstrates how seriously such cases are taken, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says. But Trudeau said Friday that more must be done to ensure workplaces are free of harassment and intimidation. "This is something that is extremely important. And it's something we've taken strides on, both in our government and in the military. But there's always more to do," Trudeau said during a news briefing. "Because there is an ongoing review into this situation, and we're ensuring that all the steps are properly taken, I won't be commenting specifically on this process at this time." Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said late Wednesday that McDonald had "voluntarily stepped aside'' as chief of the defence staff while military police investigate unspecified allegations. He is on paid leave. McDonald took over as chief last month from Gen. Jonathan Vance, who is being investigated over allegations of inappropriate behaviour that became public following his retirement. Vance has denied any wrongdoing and McDonald has not commented. Canadian Army commander Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre has been appointed acting chief of the defence staff. In a message to members Friday, Eyre said that in the face of uncertainty the Canadian Armed Forces must remain resilient and ready to answer the call of duty. "At the same time, we must strive to ensure we look after our people — all of them — and ensure we are an institution in which Canadians can see themselves. How we do things is as important as what we do." Trudeau said he wants anyone who has experienced sexual assault or other such abuse to know that "we will be there, to listen, to hear them, to work with them and to move forward through processes that will get to the right answers." Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said Friday that a Tory government would launch a service-wide independent investigation of sexual misconduct in the military. General officer promotions would be suspended during the probe, along with salary increases, O'Toole said. He also pledged that future complaints would be made to an independent body outside of the chain of command. Sexual harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces is an "ongoing and serious problem that must be addressed," O'Toole added. “This unsafe culture must change." Political studies professor Stefanie von Hlatky told MPs on the House of Commons defence committee Friday that if a Forces member does not engage in sexual misconduct, it does not mean they perform their duty with honour. "The standard of performance is much higher than that if you want to get to zero tolerance," said Von Hlatky, Canada Research Chair on gender security in the Armed Forces at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. "The challenge moving forward is not simply about how to eradicate sexual misconduct within the military, but entails identifying positive steps to create a culture of equality for women in the CAF and a culture centred around respect for all." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. —With a file from Christopher Reynolds Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Alberta government and its 11,000 physicians have taken a first step toward resolving an ugly, fractious year-long dispute over fees and working conditions. Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Paul Boucher, the head of the Alberta Medical Association, say they have reached a tentative deal on a new master agreement. Boucher declined to provide specifics, saying he first wants to let members discuss and ratify the deal and that it will work within the government's “budget imperatives." Alberta’s physicians collectively receive $5 billion a year, and the Alberta budget will see that figure rise slightly to $5.3 billion over the next three years. A year ago, Shandro unilaterally cancelled the master agreement with the AMA and began imposing new rules on fees and visits, saying physician costs were rising too high year over year and were not sustainable. That led some doctors to withdraw services, the AMA launched a lawsuit and Shandro was criticized for fighting with doctors in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
DELTA, B.C. — A provincially funded society that refused to provide medical assistance in dying has been issued a final notice about its breach of a lease at a facility in Delta, B.C.Fraser Health says it has ended its $1.5-million annual service agreement with the Delta Hospice Society, which was originally notified a year ago to vacate the premises.The health authority says in a release it will take possession of the lands and buildings on March 29, but that could happen earlier if the society is agreeable.Fraser Health says plans are underway to ensure hospice beds can be reopened at the Irene Thomas Hospice within two weeks after the lease is terminated.The society's stance against a federal medical assistance in dying law introduced in 2016 is based on members' religious views.Fraser Health has said it's working to ensure unionized hospice staff who received layoff notices will have the chance to work within the health authority if they choose.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government is promising transparency as it considers a vaccine passport for residents fully immunized against COVID-19, but opposition parties say the project could lead to discrimination and division.Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters Thursday the province is looking at creating a type of vaccine passport system, but a day later, a spokeswoman from his department said the idea is still under study.Quebec already has an electronic database with information about Quebecers' vaccinations, Health Department spokeswoman Marjaurie Cote-Boileau said in an email Friday. The government, she added, would only need to make this information more widely available for a COVID-19 passport system."It’s an interesting innovation that we need to explore," she wrote, adding the government will be transparent about the process.On Friday, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of second opposition party Quebec solidaire called for a legislative commission to study the vaccine passport project, saying it should hear from experts and explore the ethical issues behind such as idea."Who could demand to see such a vaccination passport?" Nadeau-Dubois asked. "Could it be required to access private places? Could it be required by some employers? Could it be required when renting accommodation? How do we ensure that this does not feed the inequalities already revealed by the crisis?"Liberal health critic Marie Montpetit also called on Dube to clarify his intentions. "The stakes are too high to approach it with as little seriousness as the health minister did yesterday," she said on Twitter. "The issue must be discussed in a transparent and rigorous manner."Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said the federal government will follow the guidance of experts regarding vaccine passports. “There are potential pros and cons that I’ve heard on various issues surrounding it,” Trudeau told a news conference. “Our position as a government is always going to be to rely on the best advice of experts."Quebec is still at the beginning of its mass vaccination campaign, having given 400,540 people a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials administered 12,038 doses on Thursday.After registering nearly 100,000 vaccination appointments for Quebecers aged 85 years and older on Thursday, health officials extended registration to Montrealers as young as 80 years old.The province reported 815 new COVID-19 infections and 11 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Friday, ahead of March break week, which begins Monday. Hospitalizations dropped by 13, to 620, and 119 people were in intensive care, a drop of three.Premier Francois Legault permitted certain activities to reopen Friday to give families things to do with their children during the break. Movie theatres reopened across the province, including in "red" pandemic-alert zones such as Montreal and Quebec City, as did indoor arenas and pools. Quebec provincial police said Friday that patrols would be stepped up over the next week to ensure public health guidelines are being followed. Private indoor gatherings remain forbidden.The province's nighttime curfew remains in effect and officials have implored Quebecers to follow distancing rules because of the COVID-19 mutations in circulation.More than half the new infections reported Friday were in Montreal, where all positive COVID-19 cases are being screened to identify more transmissible mutations of the virus. This week, authorities said between eight and 10 per cent of infections were suspected variant-linked cases.The number of presumptive variant cases in the province jumped to 874 Friday, up from 772 on Thursday. The number of confirmed variant cases remains at 34 — including 30 of the B.1.1.7 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom.The province has reported a total of 286,145 infections and 10,372 deaths linked to the virus. Quebec has 7,888 active reported cases.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Ten new cases are being announced in Nova Scotia on Friday, bringing the total number of cases announced this week to 25. Nine cases are in the central health zone: three are under investigation, five are close contacts of previously reported cases, and one is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One case is in the eastern zone and is also related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The travellers are self-isolating, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. There are 35 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. One person is currently in a hospital's intensive care unit. At a live briefing Friday, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said cases with an unknown source have been identified in Dartmouth, Bedford, Spryfield, Peninsula Halifax, Sackville, and Beaver Bank. "In many of our cases the broad list of contacts tells us that people are continuing to socialize and act as if we're not in a pandemic," he said. "We all need to take all the public health measures seriously even if we don't feel personally at risk." Strang said the cluster that public health had been monitoring in the western part of Annapolis Valley seems to be contained. There has also been great uptake for testing in the area. In response to the rise in case numbers, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Strang announced tighter restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and neighbouring municipalities. "We have done this before and it worked," said Strang. "We are now moving even more quickly than we did in December to resolve this outbreak. What we're working to avoid is ... situations such as Newfoundland has faced recently." Newfoundland and Labrador has been grappling with a sharp increase in cases since mid-February. The variant first identified in the U.K., also known as B.1.1.7, is responsible for the outbreak in the provine. As of 8 a.m. on Saturday, the areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards, will undergo the following restrictions until at least March 27. In a news release sent Friday evening, the province added Lantz to the communities where restrictions apply. Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid non-essential travel within the province, especially to and from restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties. "We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Strang said in a news release. “Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia.” Restrictions previously put in place across the province still remain. For example, gatherings will contniue to be limited to 10 people. "We'll continue to watch the epidemiology and if it continues to climb the next week, we will certainly be looking at whether further restrictions or expanding to other geographic parts of Nova Scotia will be necessary," said Strang. Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 2,797 Nova Scotia tests on Feb. 25. There were 1,870 tests administered between Feb. 19 and 25 at the rapid-testing pop-up sites in Halifax, St. Peter's, New Minas, Port Hawkesbury and Eastern Passage. Effective Monday, domestic rotational workers will be required to get three tests through out their modified quarantine. Parents ans children whose child custody arrangements require travel outside of Nova Scotia and P.E.I., will also have to get tested. More information about the province's new child custody protocols will be available on novascotia.ca/coronavirus. Strang said he's seeing people go to work with cold and flu symptoms, but it's very likely that they're symptoms of COVID-19. "I've been working for 20 years and this is the first year we have zero lab-confirmed cases of influenza. Very low numbers of other cold viruses around," he said. "So even if you have a single mild symptom, like a sore throat, or maybe a sore throat and a stuffy nose, that could be COVID." He added that people with even one symptoms should stay home and book a test. Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 202,939 tests. There have been 545 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Nebal Snan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Canadian Jeff Gustafson is halfway to his first-ever Bassmasters Elite Series victory. The Kenora, Ont., angler remains atop the leaderboard midway through the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Tennessee River. Through the first two rounds Gustafson has a combined weight of 33 pounds, eight ounces. American Brandon Card is second, three pounds, one ounce behind Gustafson. Card, in his 10th Elite Series season, is also chasing his first career victory. Gustafson opened the tournament with five keeper fish weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces Thursday. He brought in another five-fish limit Friday that tipped the scales at 15 pounds 10 ounces — second only to Card (16 pounds, 10 ounces) on the day. Gustafson is attempting to become just the second Canadian to win a Bassmasters Elite Series event. Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ont., accomplished the feat last year. Both Johnston and his older brother, Cory, finished among the top-50 in the 100-angler field Friday to qualify for the semfinal round Saturday. Cory Johnston, of Cavan, Ont., stood No. 33 (seven fish weighing 16 pounds seven ounces) while Chris Johnston was No. 46 (seven fish for 13 pounds 12 ounces). The top 10 anglers after Saturday's round will compete in the final Sunday. The tournament winner will receive US$100,000. All three Canadians are in their third season on the Elite Series and qualified last year for the Bassmaster Classic, the circuit's premier event that offers a $300,000 prize for the tournament winner.. Gustafson's best-ever Elite Series finish was second in 2019. He's cracked the top-10 on three occasions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting hit with tough questions about investigations into sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces. David Akin explains what kind of investigation Opposition leader Erin O'Toole, an Air Force veteran, is calling for.
By the middle of last week, Southlake Regional Health Centre had nearly 25 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, four of whom were ventilated in the Intensive Care Unit. Compared to other points in the first and second waves, this is lower than it has been, but capacity remains an ongoing challenge at the local hospital – and it was already a challenge well before the world had ever heard of COVID-19. “COVID has only kind of heightened some of those challenges we have,” says Arden Krystal, President & CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre. Planning for the future and ensuring capacity as growth continues across York Region is a top-of-mind issue for the hospital and they are once again asking for input from the communities they serve. On Wednesday, March 10, from 7 – 8 p.m., Southlake Regional Health Centre will host a Virtual Community Town Hall co-hosted by Ms. Krystal and Dr. Charmaine van Schaik, Physician Leader, Maternal Child Program and Co-Medical Lead on the Vaccine Management Committee. Coinciding with the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town Hall will look back at challenges faced by Southlake over the last 12 months, look ahead to what future challenges might be, as well as solicit input on the hospital’s new Master Plan for a new build. “The one thing you don’t have in a pandemic is an old building that has a lot of four-bed rooms and that is exactly what we have,” says Ms. Krystal. “Because of that, we have had to reduce our bed capacity in many of our rooms in order to accommodate infection control standards and to isolate patients who are either suspected of having COVID or have confirmed COVID. It has really heightened a lot of the facility challenges that we already have, which is why we’re trying to move forward as quickly as we can to get our Master Plan approved.” Once the Master Plan is in place, Southlake can start planning for capital redevelopment within the community. Over the last seventeen years, Southlake has had largely the same footprint and, in that time, they have increased their number of beds by approximately 36 per cent. Ms. Krystal says they are “full to the brim” when it comes to looking after more patients. “[One of] the ways we are dealing with capacity in the short term and medium term is we have learned through COVID there are a number of activities that don’t necessarily have to happen on a hospital campus,” she says. “With our Ontario Health Team, we have been planning for some time around making sure that we can do more virtual care, that there are certain activities we can hand off to our community partners because they, in fact, do them very well. I think we have learned a lot of lessons about how we can do things more efficiently, but no matter how much virtual care we still don’t have enough space here. We’re going to have to get a new development for this community sooner rather than later.” The development of the Master Plan is ongoing. It has been driven not only by people’s wants and needs, says Ms. Krystal, but also population and demographic data so they can plan for the future. “Whether what we hear from the populations we serve is positive or negative, we take it all in, adjust it and try to make changes or to continue to make the things we’re doing well stronger. I’ll be talking to people about this master planning and our capacity challenges and ideas of how we can make that better. I will be talking to people about our Operating Budget, some of the challenges we have and some of the progress we have made. “The communities Southlake serves has lost collectively about 19 per cent of their long-term care capacity due to changed rules for infection control that affected the Class E and D homes, those older homes that have multi-bed wards. You can imagine losing 19 per cent of the beds, we already didn’t have enough long-term care beds. That impacts us because it means that a patient waits longer in our hospital to go to a long-term care bed and that is where they need to go. All of these things are issues and I am happy to chat with anyone about them, as well as vaccination which is kind of our shining light right now. We’re very involved in the vaccination effort at Ray Twinney Arena in partnership with public health and that is an exciting thing.” For more on Southlake’s Virtual Town Hall, visit southlake.ca/townhall. Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
Richard Gray is warning Indigenous communities against signing confidentiality agreements with the government as they reclaim authority over their child welfare systems under Bill C-92 — also known as the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. Gray is the social services manager with the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC), which monitors and provides oversight to ensure Indigenous groups and communities have access to “culturally-appropriate and preventive health and social services programs,” according to their website. “This is a huge problem and we can’t allow the feds to utilize these confidentiality agreements in negotiations or discussions,” he said at a virtual gathering focused on the implementation of the Act, hosted on Feb. 9 by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The Act establishes a framework for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to exercise their authority and create their own child welfare laws. Through the Act, Indigenous governing bodies can either notify the federal government of their intent to establish their own laws, or they can request to “enter into a tripartite coordination agreement with [Indigenous Services Canada] and relevant provincial or territorial governments” — as previously reported by IndigiNews. Gray says he knows of at least one instance where a confidentiality agreement was signed as part of a coordination agreement — between Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, Canada and the province of Ontario. He says he’s worried that confidentiality agreements could “really put a damper on our ability to share information and to give strategies and to advise and counsel First Nations communities that are interested in following this road.” “Canada will have all the information, and once again, First Nations are left stuck on their own.” ‘Stuck on their own’ Since the Bill came into force on Jan. 1, 2020, nine Nations have sent notice and 17 Nations have requested to enter into coordination agreements discussions, according to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). In an interview with IndigiNews, Gray says the practice of signing confidentiality agreements is “almost a bit of a contradictory approach” because the government is “supposed to be working with the First Nations at a national level and regional level to support the implementation of coordination agreements.” “If you sign one of these things, you can’t share any information with the AFN [and] you can’t share any information with a First Nations community about things that are happening in terms of your coordination agreement discussion,” he says. As part of the Act’s development, the AFN and ISC signed a protocol agreement in June of 2020. The agreement established a structure to support the implementation of Bill C-92, according to a news release by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and FNQLHSSC. “This agreement is a crucial step that should allow First Nations to develop effective long-term plans. This protocol ensures that Canada will work with our governments, but that the implementation of Bill C-92 will be led by First Nations,” says Ghislain Picard, regional chief of the AFNQL. But for Gray, not being able to share how nations are doing at coordination tables puts them at a disadvantage. He says that the federal government knows everything that nations are sharing while the nations themselves, if they sign a confidentiality agreement, cannot speak with each other on how they are working to exercise jurisdiction. “Collectively, this is something that affects First Nations all across Canada. Why would we get into these processes where we’re hiding our discussions? Or not showing any transparency about how we’re going to work with our communities?” asks Gray. “First Nations are going to try to get the best deals possible,” he says. “I think that one of the ways to achieve that is by sharing as much information as possible amongst First Nations.” Gray says he wants the federal and provincial governments to respect this, “rather than trying to impose their processes on us.” “We’ve got to break these cycles or these patterns that [Indigenous Services Canada] uses and open up new processes and new ways of doing things to help one another.” IndigiNews followed up with both Indigenous Services Canada and Wabaseemoong Child Welfare Authority for comment, but did not receive a response by the time this article was published. The virtual gathering is part of a series on sharing best practices for implementing the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, also known as Bill C-92. Anyone can register to attend and there is no cost. The next session is March 2, 2021. Anna McKenzie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Two Ontario regions struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks will be moving back into lockdown next week, while public health restrictions will be loosened elsewhere in the province. Local leaders in Thunder Bay - a hub for travel in northwestern Ontario - had been calling for assistance as COVID-19 outbreaks were declared at correctional facilities, among the homeless population and at number of local schools. Simcoe Muskoka, which has also been hit with several outbreaks driven by infectious virus variants, will also be placed on lockdown. Health Minister Christine Elliott said recent projections on the pandemic in Ontario "(show) us that we must be nimble and put in place additional measures" to stop the spread of the virus. "With COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in our communities, it is critically important that everyone continues strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures to help contain the virus and maintain the progress we have made to date," Elliott said. Meanwhile, restrictions will loosen Monday in Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce. The government lifted a stay-at-home order for most of the province two weeks ago and moved the majority of health units back to its colour-coded restrictions system. Data has shown the stay-home order and strict public health measures imposed in January brought cases and hospitalizations down but they have since started to trend upwards again. In Thunder Bay, the local public health unit has recorded more COVID-19 cases in February than throughout all of 2020, the city's mayor said Friday before the lockdown was announced. "We're in a difficult spot right now," Bill Mauro said in a telephone interview. "Clearly there is a situation here that we don't see ending in the near term." The mayor has been calling on the provincial and federal governments to provide financial and human-resources assistance in health care. The only isolation centre in the city of over 121,000 people is on the "verge of failing," he said. Ontario's top doctor recommended Thursday that the city be moved to lockdown because the virus could spread to remote communities with scarce health-care resources. Dr. Janet DeMille, medical officer of health for Thunder Bay District Health Unit, welcomed the lockdown announcement. "These enhanced measures are needed to get COVID in our community under control," she said in a statement. A New Democrat legislator who represents the northern city in the provincial parliament said the government waited too long to help the city avoid a lockdown. “It’s been like watching a car crash in slow motion,” Judith Monteith-Farrell said Friday. Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler had also requested support from Ottawa and the province, saying the region was grappling to keep up with the growing case load. The chiefs pointed to inadequate resources for people released from correctional facilities who are being sent to isolate in hotels in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Timmins. “Thunder Bay is in a precarious situation, and there is growing concern as government ministries, health organizations and health units struggle to contain the spread of this virus," Fiddler said. "Moving back to lockdown across northwestern Ontario will be painful, but is necessary as COVID-19 cases continue to rise." One northwestern Ontario First Nation declared a state of emergency after several members living off-reserve in Thunder Bay tested positive for COVID-19. Neskantaga First Nation Chief Chris Moonias said at least 12 members had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday. There was also news Friday of more infectious COVID-19 variants detected for the first time in the northwestern part of the province. The local health unit that covers the Kenora, Ont., area, reported its first case of a COVID-19 variant. It said a person in the Dryden, Ont., area has tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the U.K. Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford welcomed the news that Health Canada had approved a third COVID-19 vaccine – from AstraZeneca – for use in Canada, saying it would speed up Ontario's vaccine rollout. "We're geared up, we're ready to go and just can't wait to get the third vaccine," he said. The province plans to offer shots to people aged 80 and older starting in the third week of March, though the timeline is subject to change. Some local health units will start inoculations in the broader community earlier based on their progress vaccinating the highest-priority groups first. Vaccinations for those 80 and older are to begin at Windsor-Essex County clinics on Monday. The City of Ottawa will deliver shots next Friday at a pop-up clinic open to those born in 1941 and earlier, adult recipients of chronic home care and residents of high-risk neighbourhoods. York Region will also allow residents aged 80 and older to book appointments Monday, with vaccinations to start possibly the same day. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
A man is dead after a stun gun and sedative were used to bring him under control during a physical altercation with police and staff at an Edmonton hospital on Wednesday, police said. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the province's police watchdog, has been directed to investigate. The incident began on Wednesday shortly after noon when Edmonton police conducted a mental health assessment on a 43-year-old man at a residential address in Parkdale, near 87th Street and 112th Avenue. The man's psychiatrist had requested the assessment after an incident the previous day, Edmonton Police Service said in a news release Friday. Police were told the man had tried to breach a family member's door earlier in the week. The man was cooperative with officers and was transported to hospital on a Form 10 arrest under the Alberta Mental Health Act, police said. At the hospital, he was placed in a secure holding room in the emergency ward, police said. At around 2:15 p.m., hospital staff asked for police help to move the man to the mental health ward. As the man was being moved, a physical altercation broke out between the man, police, security guards and hospital staff, the release said. Police say the man was about six-feet-four inches tall and weighed 250 pounds. "A physical struggle ensued that included the use of a CEW [conducted electrical weapon] in an attempt to bring the male under control," the police news release said. A police spokesperson confirmed to CBC News an EPS officer fired the stun gun. Medical staff then administered a sedative to the man, according to police. Police said, shortly thereafter the man went into medical distress and was not breathing. He was immediately taken to the hospital's trauma room where staff performed CPR. "Despite the life-saving attempts the male was later pronounced deceased," police said. An officer was treated by hospital staff for minor injuries, including bite marks and scratches to his face sustained during the altercation. With ASIRT directed to investigate, EPS said it would not provide further comment.
PARIS — The pressure increased on Rennes coach Julien Stephan after losing at home to Nice 2-1 in the French league on Friday made it three straight defeats and four in the past six. Rennes could have bounced up to fifth place with a win but is mired in eighth place after its eighth defeat. Having been among the frontrunners this season, it has not won since mid-January. The strain is showing on Rennes, with technical director Florian Maurice shouting at the referee in the tunnel during the interval after his side was not awarded a penalty late in the first half. After losing its past three games, Nice moved up to 12th place. Forward Amine Gouiri put Nice ahead from the penalty spot in the 18th minute but winger Martin Terrier equalized late in the first half. Gouri showed good skill to curl in a free kick from the right which Austrian defender Flavius Daniliuc met with a glancing header for 2-1 in the 57th. Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud looked like equalizing late but his goal-bound shot hit the back of a teammate near the line. On Saturday, defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which is in third place, travels to face last-placed Dijon. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Senior officials from Europe have urged the World Bank's management to expand its climate change strategy to exclude investments in oil- and coal-related projects around the world, and gradually phase out investment in natural gas projects, according to three sources familiar with the matter. In the six-page letter dated Wednesday, World Bank executive directors representing major European shareholder countries and Canada, welcomed moves by the Bank to ensure its lending supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But they urged the Bank - the biggest provider of climate finance to the developing world - to go even further.
Fort Qu’Appelle town council decided Thursday night to form a committee that will meet with a local non-profit arts group to reach an agreement over the group’s use and operation of a 110-year-old building in the town. The non-profit group, the Qu’Appelle Valley Centre for the Arts (QVCA), has renovated and maintained the town’s old Central School since 2011, calling the building by the same name as its group. In November 2014, the group and the town signed a six-year letter of agreement allowing the arts group to rent and operate the heritage site, paying $1 per year to the town. The QVCA provided an unsigned copy of the letter to the Leader-Post. Town chief administrative officer Victor Goodman said council decided to strike “a committee of three council members and the mayor to meet with a committee from the QVCA. The first meeting is scheduled for this week. “They are going to discuss the issue at hand and hopefully amicably work towards a solution that’s agreeable to everyone.” In a written submission to council, QVCA board chair Jim Harding accused Goodman of not holding up the town’s end of the 2014 letter. His submission claimed the CAO “basically threw away the collaborative Agreement (sic) that was in place from the start, and has tried to impose a Commercial Lease or some other sort of lease upon the QVCA. But, as he should know, we are not a commercial group; we are a non-profit group.” Three members of the arts group presented Harding’s concerns over the yet-to-be-renewed agreement to council. Harding could not attend because of a health issue. Goodman denied the accusations. He said, “the town has proposed a mutually-acceptable landlord-tenant agreement be formalized simply for the purpose of protecting the old town school as a town asset. “QVCA has done a great job operating the school to date and we hope this relationship will be maintained for many years to come.” Harding could not be reached for comment, but QVCA communications director Brian Baggett called council’s decision a “huge relief,” describing the municipal body as “extremely cordial and supportive” during Thursday’s delegation. When they finished speaking, he said, council responded, “‘We don't want to see the QVCA go away.’” A date for the meeting hasn’t been set. In making its case to council, the QVCA also pointed to a clause in the original letter that states the non-profit had first right to renew an agreement with the town upon expiration in 2020 and every six years after that. The non-profit also plans to host council members — who Baggett said he learned Thursday had never been to the QVCA facility — for a socially-distant tour of the building, to show renovations and work the group does there. Baggett also noted the group’s concern about possibly losing non-profit status, if a landlord-tenant agreement were to be signed with the town. A non-profit, he said, “keeps the integrity of art in general … I'm a musician and a wood-worker. When I work for a person ... I've got to do what that person wants … it's what I get paid for." "As an artist, you can create what you need in the moment, so nobody's breathing down my neck ... with a non-profit status it allows us to not be controlled by others," including for grant applications, he said. Baggett confirmed there’s also concern if a planned art exhibit were to “offend and represent the town poorly,” a landlord-tenant agreement could cede control to the town to cancel the exhibition. email@example.com Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post