Travellers are fleeing London and southeast England as the government imposes tighter lockdown restrictions over concerns that a new strain of the coronavirus may be more contagious.
Travellers are fleeing London and southeast England as the government imposes tighter lockdown restrictions over concerns that a new strain of the coronavirus may be more contagious.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Despite the current provincewide stay-at-home order, Community Care Peterborough programs are still continuing. “We have been deemed an essential service. Our health care and seniors support programs are necessary to keep the most vulnerable safe in their own homes,” executive director Danielle Belair stated. “In particular, our food support services for seniors including meal and grocery delivery are particularly important at this time.” Hot Meals on Wheels that cost $8 to $10 each are available in Peterborough city on weekdays and in Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Frozen Meals on Wheels — with entrées for $5.25 each, soups for $2.50 each and desserts for $2.50 each — are also available in Peterborough, Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock, as well as in Buckhorn, Apsley, Bridgenorth, Ennismore, Keene and Millbrook areas. “We have great menu options available, and I encourage residents to try these meal deliveries, delivered right to your door and can be conveniently heated when you need them,” Belair stated. For those who’d prefer to prepare their own meals, grocery shopping and delivery services are also available, according to the organization. “If you are interested in grocery shopping services, please call the Community Care office closest to you to make arrangements to purchase a grocery card which will be used by your volunteer shopper to purchase your groceries,” stated Catherine Pink, Community Care Peterborough’s director of support services. “If you have preordered your groceries and need someone to pick them up and deliver to your home, we just need to know what store and time and date for pick up.” To limit the spread of COVID-19, the organization has cancelled blood pressure clinics, foot clinics, in-person (indoor) falls prevention and exercise classes and has also closed the New to You thrift stores. “All other programs like Meals on Wheels, transportation, home help and maintenance, home at last, etcetera, will remain in operation, all adapted to comply with safety protocols,” Belair stated. “Our exercise and wellness supervisor co-ordinator also has an exciting catalogue of free fitness classes geared to older adults, available by Zoom, for those who are looking for active activities.” Belair said Community Care remains focused on supporting Peterborough city and county residents. “We appreciate all those who are staying home and allowing our staff and volunteers to remain focused on providing programs that are supporting our clients and area residents to remain safely in their homes,” Belair stated. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
VICTORIA — The B.C. government says a review of legal options has made it clear it cannot prevent people from travelling to the province from elsewhere in Canada. Premier John Horgan says in a statement that much of the travel that is happening between provinces is work-related and can't be restricted. The province had asked for a review of legal options related to restricting interprovincial travel last week in response to concerns that visitors have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. Horgan says the province also asked for "a better understanding of the impact of travel on transmission" of the illness. He says B.C. can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of residents. If transmission increases due to interprovincial travel, the premier says B.C. would impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers, though he did not offer details on potential measures in Thursday's statement. Horgan said he spoke with premiers in other provinces Thursday and asked them to share messages that now is not the time for non-essential travel. "We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely," he said. Public health officials indicate it's most important that everyone obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules, said Horgan. While announcing the legal review on Jan. 14, Horgan said he wanted to put the matter of interprovincial travel restrictions "either to rest, so British Columbians understand we cannot do that" or find if there's a way to do it. Horgan added that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exploring further restrictions on international travel and “B.C. stands ready to assist.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Jurisdictional issues are causing concerns when it comes to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines to Indigenous people. “There … (are) challenges to overcome when we try to work in partnership with multiple levels of governments and the prioritization province-by-province,” said Marion Crowe, CEO for the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA). During the weekly virtual townhall Jan. 21 hosted by FNHMA, Crowe referenced comments by premiers who have questioned the need to provide their provinces’ allocated vaccines to Indigenous peoples because First Nations are a federal responsibility. Crowe said one premier even went so far as to say that First Nations were not a priority. She did not report which premiers she was referring to in her comments. The federal government’s role is to procure the vaccines. It’s up to the provinces to distribute them. However, said Dr. Tom Wong, executive director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), that distribution should follow the guidelines set out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Wong, who sits on NACI, told the virtual forum audience that NACI did a “thorough evidence review” and developed prioritization recommendations, including Elders and residents and staff in long-term care and Elder care facilities; frontline healthcare workers; and Indigenous peoples in communities in settings where they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Those are the groups right at the very, very beginning. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is telling the whole country please follow these evidence-based guidelines and that includes marginalized, racialized groups in urban settings, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in those settings,” Wong said. Issues have arisen in dealing with the urban Indigenous population and Wong highlighted outbreaks in Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. “In particular, the (intensive care unit) admissions for off-reserve in urban areas in Manitoba has been found to be even worse than that on reserve. So this really highlights the point that, yes, there are great needs in the north, but equally that there’s huge needs in some of the urban centres where there’s a lack of services, overcrowding, in homeless shelters,” he said Kim Daly, senior nurse manager, Communicable Disease Control Department with ISC, is also with the COVID-19 vaccine working group for urban Indigenous populations. She told the virtual audience that working with provinces goes beyond prioritizing Indigenous groups. It’s also about making the vaccine accessible. “When we’re talking about items such as systemic racism, it’s important that provinces recognize that just opening a clinic down the road does not mean equal access for all the populations. We’re really trying to break down those barriers so that they know that it’s not just on reserve. It’s not just on remote and isolated (communities). There are barriers all across this country and we’re working together with them,” she said. Epidemiology, said Daly, also dictates how the vaccine is used province-to-province and that was clear throughout the country. Some provinces, like Newfoundland/Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia prioritized remote, isolated or fly-in communities, while other provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, prioritized those 18 years and over in Indigenous communities. Manitoba, Alberta and the Northwest Territories prioritized Elder care homes. In Saskatchewan, northern communities were included in the first phase. Daly applauded provinces, like Quebec, which initially saw only about a 50 per cent uptake from Indigenous residents in remote communities for the vaccine. “The province was really gracious with communications, stating, ‘When you’re ready, the vaccine will be here.’ And there was a provision they kept back vaccines… So we really like that approach so people don’t have to make an on-the-spot decision, that they feel comfortable to come back through,” said Daly. Vaccine hesitancy, she added, should be answered with “kindness and understanding and facts.” Daly also pointed out that there were some First Nations and organization like Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which led the process, setting the example for how the vaccine should continue to be rolled out. Wong said more than 160 Indigenous communities have started immunization clinics. “As vaccine deployment continues it remains critical that First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders and partners are included at decision-making tables in each province and each territory and continue to engage in co-planning to determine ongoing capacity and needs with respective communities,” he said. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
While the North Shore mountains haven’t had much snowfall over the past week, boarders and skiers can expect a lot more fresh powder on the slopes this weekend. The last seven days has only seen around seven to nine centimetres of snowfall on the local ski hills – Cypress Mountain Ski Resort on Hollyburn Mountain and Mount Seymour haven't had any fresh snow in over 48 hours, while Grouse Mountain recorded 1 cm overnight. But, do not despair, Environment Canada has forecast snow for the local mountains and at sea level in Metro Vancouver Saturday night. Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, says all the right ingredients are coming together for a snow event on Saturday evening that’s expected to continue through to Sunday. “This event for Cypress, Seymour, and Grouse is very likely to bring some snow,” he said. “It'll be a great little top-up, whether it's five or 10 centimetres, or quite a bit more, even double that still remains to be seen. “We couldn't honestly tell you now, what it is exactly going to deliver, but all of the ingredients are for sure there that the local mountains will see some snow Saturday night into Sunday.” On top of Saturday and Sunday’s snow predictions, the Metro Vancouver forecast also calls for a 30 per cent chance of flurries on Monday night with a daytime top of 4°C and a low of 0°C at night. Plus, Castellan also said to stay tuned for a possibility of more snow on Tuesday and Wednesday at elevation and sea level, with a 60 per cent chance of flurries or rain showers in the forecast. Temperatures will hover between 4-5°C during the day and drop to a chilly 2-0°C at night over the week. Despite the lack of snow during the past week, Castellan said snowfall for the local mountains this season was so far above average. To date this season, Grouse has had a total of 489 cm, Seymour has recorded 505.5 cm and Cypress Resort has had 415 cm. “We're well above average right now, which is not surprising, because it was very stormy for the better part of five weeks,” he said. “Between the end of the first week of December, all the way through to just last week was just one storm after the other, and for the local mountains, they're high enough that most of that fell as snow.” While the mountains have had a fair amount of snow, he said exceedingly warm temperatures in December had made it difficult for snowfall to reach sea level. “Generally speaking, the snow has been very active at elevation but for us down at sea level, for most of the North Shore, it's been very wet and not the amount of snow that we have typically seen over the three decades that we kind of average back to from 1981 through 2010. “It's been a slow winter for sea level, there's no doubt about that.” He said the low snowfall over the past week on the local mountains coincided with the storms ending. “We've kind of turned off the tap,” he said. “There's been a little bit of rain, but the snow was hinging on storms and if you turn off the storm track, then you're not going to get very much in the way of snow. “It's that magical mix between having storms still populating the Coast but also being cold enough.” Castellan said this weekend's snow event was the result of the “La Niña pattern starting to take hold.” “What we need to happen is that the high pressure system anchors itself further west underneath or south of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and for the trough [low pressure] to be to the east of that, and that gives us that northwesterly flow. “For the longest time, we've had the trough be too close to us, and it's given us a southwesterly flow. So, finally, we're going to make some of that cold air coming south." He said the cold air coming south wasn't a true Arctic air mass, so there wouldn't be record low temperatures over the next week. "We have just enough cold that when you clash that cold with a Pacific system coming down the coast from the Gulf of Alaska, then you get that mix where finally you can get some snow and the potential for snow at sea level is significantly ramped up compared to anything that comes from the southwest.” While non-essential travel advisories are still in place, Castellan also reminded residents to be prepared for snowy conditions on British Columbia highway passes, including the Coquihalla, Sea to Sky, Okanagan Connector and the Malahat on Vancouver Island. Winter tires or chains are required on most routes in B.C. from Oct. 1 to April 30. These routes are marked with regulatory signs posted on highways throughout the province. Drivers are required to have winter tires when travelling on highways in Northern B.C., the Southern Interior, the South Coast, and areas of Vancouver Island. The province has designated winter tire and chain routes drivers can check before venturing out. Winter or M+S rated tires are mandatory for vehicles on Cypress Bowl Road and the road to Mount Seymour at all times from Oct. 1 to March 31. Winter rated tires are strongly recommended during snowfall events. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — On the first day of Joe Biden's presidency, Native Americans had reason to celebrate. Biden halted construction of the border wall that threatened to physically separate Indigenous people living on both sides. He also revoked a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that tribes fought in court for years, and he agreed to restore the boundaries of the first national monument created specifically at the request of tribes in southern Utah. Inaugural events showcased tribes across the country in traditional regalia, dancing and in prayer. But amid the revelry, some Native Americans saw a glitch in Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony. The only mention of Indigenous people came in the benediction delivered by the Rev. Silvester Beaman. And then there was the mishmash of songs sung by Jennifer Lopez that included lyrics from “This Land is Your Land." The folk tune is popular around campfires and in grade schools, but it also called to mind the nation's long history of land disputes involving tribes. “Oh, I love J.Lo," said Kristen Herring, who is Lumbee and lives in Austin, Texas. “It wasn't super disappointing that she sang it. But I was like, ‘Oh, why did that have to be on the list of things to sing?’" Woody Guthrie, who wrote the song in the 1940s, meant it as a retort to “God Bless America” and a rebuke to monetizing land at a time of economic crisis, said Gustavus Stadler, an English professor and author of “Woodie Guthrie: An Intimate Life." Lopez put a twist on it, throwing in part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish that translates to “justice for all.” The Guthrie song has been a symbol of equality, inclusion and unity. Lady Gaga sang a rendition of it at the Super Bowl months after Donald Trump took office. It was part of Barack Obama's inaugural programming, with a trio of singers, including Bruce Springsteen, adding back some of the original, more controversial verses. But arriving amid an effort by some tribes to be recognized as stewards of ancestral land, a movement known as Land Back, the lyrics hit the wrong note for some tribal members. “It's a nice little sentiment that America is this mixing pot,” said Benny Wayne Sully, who is Sicangu Lakota and lives in Los Angeles. “But does anybody believe this land was made for you and me? Or was it made for white folks? People forget this land was made of brown people before it was colonized." Rep. Deb Haaland, who is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, acknowledged that perspective in a virtual welcoming to the inaugural events over the weekend. She's been nominated to lead the Interior Department, which oversees tribal affairs. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American in a Cabinet post. That's one of the reasons Cherie Tebo was able to look past the song that she said was inappropriate and emphasized how little some Americans know about Indigenous people. She sees an opportunity for tribes to have a seat at the table in Biden's administration, citing Haaland and Winnebago tribal member Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, who has been named a deputy solicitor for the Interior Department. “In order to make it work, ‘this land is your land, this land is my land,' people (need) to understand it doesn’t belong to us,” said Tebo, who also is Winnebago. “If anything, we belong to it. And when our land is sick, we are sick." ___ Fonseca is a member of The Associated Press' Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FonsecaAP. Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press
The territorial government's business advisory council, in place for less than one year, will "cease its regular meetings" effective immediately, according to a press release sent Thursday. Though the release notes the territory's department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) is a "good partner" in its work, it goes on to say that the group did not "feel that a plan for economic recovery is a focus of the current Executive Council," meaning cabinet. "The Council members will be happy to come together to meet with ITI if there are matters on which the [territorial government] seeks specific guidance," it concludes. The suspension of the council's work follows just days after its chair resigned and two members left the group as a result of changing companies. The council was established last June with a mandate of advising the government on the territory's economic recovery. As it announced the suspension of its work, it released the recommendations produced at its sole face-to-face meeting, in November. Good communication, slow responses The committee praises the "desire to collaborate" demonstrated by "junior and senior government officials," and notes "good" communication with cabinet. However, it also listed first among its challenges slow response times and the "need to prioritize and establish a long-term economic plan." In the short term, the report recommends the federal government prioritize tax credits for the resource sector, prevent banks from upping fees on struggling businesses, and improve support to Indigenous businesses. It says the territory should give a greater advantage to local businesses in procurement, provide support for small businesses, and invest in "real concrete solutions" to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on northerners' mental health. In the next 18 months, the report predicts that the aviation, tourism, food and beverage, and traditional economy sectors will continue to reel from the impact of the pandemic. Among the ideas floated by the council to reduce the damage were encouraging in-territory travel, using fly-in lodges for isolation, and offering a rebate on staycations. It criticizes inconsistencies in how COVID-19 regulations were being applied, and asks for lower fees and alcohol prices to reduce overhead. A recurring theme is the "overwhelming paperwork burden to access funding from [territorial] programs. "We would like to see the concerns with red tape addressed," it reads. In the longer term, the council's report largely rehashes existing territorial priorities, like making it easier for Indigenous governments to access funding, and spending on large infrastructure projects aimed at attracting mineral companies. It says remediation work at existing mines should be targeted to N.W.T. companies, and asks the government to invest in green technologies like wind and solar projects, electric vehicle charging stations, and greenhouses. It emphasizes the importance of the renewal of Aurora College, and suggests the government consider a dedicated "school of mines" on the model of Ontario's Haileybury School of Mines. While the report's "next steps" section mentions quarterly meetings, it's not clear from the release if those will go ahead.
Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for the right to use their content. Google's threat escalates a battle with publishers such as News Corp that is being closely watched around the world. Australia is on course to pass laws that would make tech giants negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds.
En cette période de confinement où le télétravail s’impose plus que jamais, Action Laval souhaitait suspendre l’application du règlement municipal régissant le stationnement alternatif. Déposé ce mois-ci par la conseillère de Chomedey, Aglaia Revelakis, et débattu séance tenante, l’avis de proposition à cet effet a été rejeté en bloc par le parti au pouvoir et l’opposition officielle. «Le gouvernement provincial nous demande à tous de rester à la maison pour éviter la propagation du virus, il y a donc beaucoup plus de voitures stationnées qu’en temps ordinaire sur les rues», a rappelé la cheffe de la seconde opposition et candidate à la mairie, Sonia Baudelot, dans un communiqué publié le 19 janvier. Une situation qui n’est pas sans compliquer la vie des Lavallois contraints à déplacer leur véhicule du bon côté de la rue, et ce, tous les jours de la semaine, laisse-t-elle entendre. «Abasourdie» par le résultat du vote au conseil, Mme Baudelot fait valoir que le travail des élus municipaux consiste à «trouver des solutions et apporter de la souplesse au système», évoquant du coup le «mécontentement» que suscite cette politique auprès de nombreux citoyens «depuis le début de la période de confinement». Le maire suppléant Stéphane Boyer et son collègue Ray Khalil, chargé des dossiers de travaux publics au comité exécutif, ont indiqué qu’une telle décision ne pouvait s’improviser en raison des considérations logistiques fort complexes liées aux opérations de déneigement. À cet égard, les trois projets pilotes déployés l’hiver dernier en vue d’éliminer pour 2020-2021 le stationnement saisonnier ont soulevé «d’énormes problèmes», a mentionné M. Khalil, forçant ainsi la Ville à poursuivre les essais en testant, cet hiver, quatre solutions dans six secteurs de la Municipalité, question d’ajuster ses façons de faire selon les particularités des quartiers. «Ce ne sera pas une solution mur à mur», a-t-il repris, ajoutant que pour le moment «la priorité est de sécuriser nos rues et nos trottoirs pour que les gens puissent circuler en toute sécurité». Même son de cloche du côté de l’opposition officielle. Aller de l’avant avec une telle mesure «en plein milieu de l’hiver, sans signalisation adéquate et moyen de communication efficace comme on a mis en place dans les six projets pilotes sur le territoire» serait courir à sa perte, a mentionné le conseiller Claude Larochelle. «C’est bien tentant de dire aux citoyens "on élimine ça" [le stationnement alternatif], mais ce n’est pas comme ça qu’on gère une ville», a-t-il terminé. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Michelle Myers’ clean energy journey began back in 2016 when she attended a summit while she was a student in university. And now her Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in British Columbia will soon be reaping the benefits of her participation. While attending a clean energy summit five years ago in Waterloo, Ont., Myers, who was studying at the University of Alberta, was told about a new program offered by the Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Social Enterprise. Myers was convinced to join the first cohort for ICE’s 20/20 Catalysts, a national clean energy capacity building program for Indigenous individuals across Canada. Myers and several other current and former participants of the program were featured in a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 20 during the Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering. Program participants discussed the various ventures they are now involved with in their communities. “I was in my third year of university for a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies with a minor in Environmental Conservation,” Myers recalled of the time she discovered the Catalysts Program. While continuing her education, Myers simultaneously enrolled in the three-month program, which connects participants to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clean energy project mentors. Those in the program learn about clean energy project developments, including information on energy efficiency, solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal as well as on-grid and off-grid ventures. Myers was able to juggle her university studies with her Catalysts learning. “From there I was just immensely inspired by everybody that attended and inspired by the initiative and the directive,” Myers said. Upon graduation, Myers returned to her community and landed various contract jobs. Then, an opportunity to work on her First Nation’s clean energy plan arose. That led to her current responsibilities where she not only oversees clean energy projects in her community but has become the lands and resources manager for Xeni Gwet’in, located in central interior B.C. Her community is an off-grid remote one, which is not connected to the BC Hydro grid and is currently diesel powered. “My home right now is powered by an individual gas generator and I’m currently running off a battery that I charge with my generator at night,” Myers said. But plenty of positive changes are in store for her community. “We’re installing an underground line, extending from our microgrid in our central community to 28 homes,” Myers said. “The underground line idea comes from many years of community engagement around clean energy projects and clean energy development of our community not wanting to see power lines or power poles going right through our valley because we hold the esthetic value of our community and our territory very high.” Myers said Xeni Gwet’in has become a popular tourist destination, as well as a sought-after location for making movies. “We have a lot of opportunities for tourism,” she said. “We have a lot of people that come into our communities and want to utilize our territory for films.” And this helps explain why community members are not keen for many visible changes. “We also have a lot of ceremonial gatherings and traditional spots all the way from the central, middle of the community out to here and beyond that an overhead power line would kind of get in the way of and disturb if we went that route,” she said. George Colgate, the underground distribution line project manager for Xeni Gwet’in, explained there will soon be substantial savings for community members who currently operate their own generators for power. “Running a small generator probably works out to about $2 a kilowatt hour,” he said. “Once this is in, people are going to be paying BC Hydro rates out. That’s the idea. For Tier 2, I think that somewhere around 8-10 cents a kilowatt hour.” Another participant featured in Wednesday’s presentation was Alex Cook, the owner of a start-up business based in Iqaluit. His company has a vision of developing affordable, efficient and resilient housing for rapid deployment to remote Arctic communities. These houses will be partially built with shipping containers. “For as long as I can remember, Nunavut has struggled with a housing crisis,” Cook said. “The housing crisis has gotten so bad that right now across the territory there are people living outside in nothing more than tents and shacks.” With the contacts he made through the Catalysts Program, Cook believes he’ll be able to design Nunavut’s first accessible net zero home. The prototype will be built in his community of Baker Lake this fall. “Our people are strong,” Cook said. “We figured how to live here before. We’ll do it again.” Another program participant is Nathan Kaye, a finance student at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. Kaye is also the co-chair of SevenGen, a virtual youth summit that will be held next month. “What we hope to accomplish there is to get youth to initiate renewable energy products in their communities by providing support, services and funding for those projects,” Kaye said. That summit has expanded and will feature an Indigenous youth mentorship program. Kaye is also involved in a food security initiative with Tsuut’ina Nation. “We built a community garden back in April and May,” he said. “And right now we’re working on building a geothermal greenhouse.” The Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering began on Monday and continues until Friday. Windspeaker.com By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
NEW YORK — Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network's audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural. The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump's swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said. On the flip side, Fox News Channel's audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said. A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden's inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn't have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes. CNN, with 10 million viewers, easily beat ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and Fox during Biden's big moment, Nielsen said. That's 196% more than watched Trump four years ago. CNN, which has been on a hot streak in the ratings since Biden's victory, also topped all the others for its coverage of the primetime inaugural celebration. MSNBC, meanwhile, said it recorded the highest daytime ratings of the network's nearly 25-year history on Wednesday. ABC had 7.66 million viewers for the oath-taking (up 10% from 2017), NBC had 6.89 million (down 12%) and CBS had 6.07 million (down 13%), Nielsen said. David Bauder, The Associated Press
Researchers in Toronto have been studying the cells of COVID-19 survivors to determine how long their immunity to the coronavirus lasts. Jeff Semple reports on the promising findings, and why experts say survivors should still get a vaccine.
Peterborough County residents may be paying 2.23 per cent more on the county portion of their property tax bills this year compared to last year. County councillors received the draft budget for 2021 from county staff during a special virtual meeting on Thursday. The county plans to raise an additional $1.5 million from tax dollars compared to last year, according to the draft budget, which recommends spending $48,052,395 to run the county in 2021. Increases for salaries and benefits are impacting this year’s budget by about $403,250 and the budget levy by 0.86 per cent. This is as a result of wage increases under collective agreements, non-union wage increases, a decrease in PCCP workplace safety and insurance program NEER charges, annualization of salaries and benefits for new positions or changed positions approved in the 2020 budget — which include purchasing supervisor and IT administrative support — and an additional summer student for the human resources department. Shared services with the city, including housing, child care, social services and the Provincial Offences Act office, are impacting the budget by $132,323 and budget levy by 0.28 per cent. The increase is due to an expected reduction of $139,207 in court fines, offset by Safe Restart funding, a social assistance decrease of $241,000, a child care increase of $81,839 and social housing increase of $50,725. The increase child-case costs for 2021 are primarily related to changes within provincial funding models announced in early 2019, according to county staff. Increases within social housing are due to reserve transfer increases required to fund future capital. Net reserve contributions are impacting the budget by $5,839,959 and budget levy by 12.55 per cent. Outside agencies including Fairhaven, Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development have not requested increases that would affect the levy, said Trena Debruijn, the county’s director of finance and treasurer, but it’s not clear if these agencies can continue to operate without increases in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on county operations, the one-time funding the county received from provincial and federal governments to address the COVID-19 crisis has helped mitigate most of the impact, Debruijn said. The extent of the changes may have a long-lasting effect on county operations and it is unknown whether or not funding will continue in future years, she added. The county will hold a public meeting on Feb. 3 to review the proposed budget and provide answers to any questions or inquiries residents may have. The budget presentation can be accessed on the county’s website. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
The global release of the James Bond movie "No Time to Die" was postponed to October from April, its producers said, another setback for movie theaters trying to rebuild a business crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. The movie's new debut date is Oct. 8, according to an announcement on the James Bond website and Twitter feed. "No Time to Die", from MGM and Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures, had originally been set to hit the big screen in April 2020 before moving to November 2020 and then April 2021.
For the second straight day, a truck became stuck under Moncton's subway underpass which crosses Main Street at Foundry Street. On Thursday at approximately 2:25 p.m., a transport truck that had been driving west on Main Street hit the CN Rail bridge, said Moncton Fire Department Platoon Chief Brian McDonald. Police were the first to respond as it is a motor vehicle incident, said McDonald, while the fire department came to assess the situation. "Codiac RCMP contained and secured the scene," said McDonald. Police cruisers blocked off Main Street in both directions, Codiac RCMP also called CN Rail to advise them of the collision so engineers can inspect the bridge, which belongs to CN, McDonald said, adding this was done as a precaution. No injuries were reported. Pulling the truck out from under the bridge was a loud affair, but the truck was removed successfully just before 4 p.m. While vehicles exceeding the posted height restrictions getting stuck under the bridge is not an uncommon occurrence, Wednesday's collision was the second in as many days. McDonald said a 5-tonne truck also got struck under the bridge on Wednesday. MFD and RCMP also attended that collision, he said, but it was determined the fire department were not needed early into the incident, and there was no fluid leak. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Area families of residents in long-term-care are raising concerns about transparency as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the sector continue to rise across the province. At a virtual town hall held by a group called Voices of LTC Thursday, family members from Hamilton and St. Catharines shared their stories and called for change. Hamilton resident Lainie Tessier spoke about her mother, a former resident of Shalom Village in Westdale, who became sick with COVID-19 and died in December. She previously told The Spectator the home didn’t wear PPE right away, despite warnings about her mother’s symptoms. Shalom Village is the city’s largest current outbreak. The outbreak at Grace Villa on east Mountain was declared over as of Jan. 19. Shalom has had 214 cases since Dec. 9 in its long-term-care and assisted-living units combined. Of those, 112 are resident cases and 97 are staff cases. The home reported Jan. 20 that there are nine active resident and 11 active staff cases. Twenty people have died with COVID-19 at Shalom, while Grace Villa had 44 deaths in less than two months. That doesn’t include people who died without COVID-19. Experts have previously warned about deaths from other outbreak-related conditions, such as not being attended to due to staffing shortages. Neither Grace Villa or Shalom Village have released those numbers, citing privacy. Tessier says it shows an absence of transparency. “They don’t want it to look as catastrophic as it is,” she said in the town hall. Public health says a total of 156 people have died with COVID-19 in long-term-care and retirement home outbreaks in Hamilton so far. Asked for the total number including those who died without COVID-19, spokesperson Jacqueline Durlov said public health does not have that information. “Each home holds this information and regulations about releasing it,” she said in an email. No new deaths were reported in Hamilton seniors’ homes Thursday. However, half of the four new outbreaks in the city were in seniors’ homes. Ridgeview Long Term Care Home in Stoney Creek and Amica Dundas are both in outbreak with one case each. Several ongoing outbreaks also saw new cases. Maxwell’s Retirement Home reported 13 new cases, for a total of 15. Macassa Lodge has 34 cases, including three new ones. That includes 20 resident and 14 staff cases. There was also a new case at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre, which now has 11 cases. The Meadows Long-Term Care Home reported a new death Jan. 20, its sixth so far. On Thursday, public health said all 27 long-term-care homes in the city have received COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the mobile clinic was set to complete its final round to 12 retirement homes — up from the previous 10 — by the end of Jan. 21. Durlov said the mobile clinic administered about 4,594 doses of the vaccine by the end of Jan. 20, including mostly seniors’ home residents, along with “a handful” of staff and “possibly” essential caregivers. The city’s goal was to vaccinate 4,900 residents in seniors’ homes with the mobile clinic this week. Seniors’ mental health has also been a topic of concern during the pandemic, including in long-term-care homes. On Thursday, the province announced support for seniors’ mental health, including 46 mental health beds for 16 hospitals across the province. Four of the beds will go to Niagara Health System and two to Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington. No Hamilton hospitals were included. Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer's Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada's deliveries over four weeks in half. In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021. Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February. Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn't know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada's doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned. Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses. Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn't blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes ... I'd be on that phone call every single day. I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," he said of Pfizer's executives. Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday. Trudeau didn't suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected. Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays. Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn't say which ones. Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment. Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks. Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March. Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's Liberal party took the first steps Thursday towards selecting a new leader while also addressing a constitutional technicality that still has Andrew Wilkinson as party leader. The party appointed former cabinet minister Colin Hansen as co-chair of an organizing committee to oversee the campaign. A date hasn't been set yet to choose a new leader. Hansen, known as a stalwart in the governments of former premier Gordon Campbell, will co-chair the seven-member committee with Victoria lawyer Roxanne Helme. Interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond said she is energized by the formation of the campaign oversight committee and downplayed the fact Wilkinson hasn't followed the protocol to resign under the party's constitution. "I just have to say this, that British Columbians this morning didn't wake up and worry about whether or not there was constitutionally a technical issue with who's the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party," she said at a news conference. Wilkinson announced his resignation after the Liberals lost the election last fall and dropped seats that were once considered safe for the party. In the days following the Oct. 24 election, Wilkinson held a brief news conference where he said he planned to resign, but would remain leader until a replacement is chosen. About one month later he posted on Facebook: "It is now time for me to leave the role as Opposition leader as voters in B.C. have made their preference clear." Although Wilkinson hasn't official resigned, Bond said she is leading the Liberals. "I'm speaking to you today as the leader of the Opposition, make no mistake about that," she said. Wilkinson is not receiving any leadership benefits from the party and he has no leadership responsibilities, Bond said. "I can assure you this, Andrew Wilkinson is focusing on his role as an MLA," she said. "He has no responsibilities, no stipend, nothing like that related to the B.C. Liberal Party. We certainly expect a letter of resignation at some point in the next few weeks, but the fact of the matter is I lead the official Opposition." Wilkinson was not immediately available for comment. Bond, who has already ruled herself out of the Liberal leadership race, said 2021 will be a year of reflection, renewal and rebuilding for the party. "In the meantime, the party will continue to create and unveil the leadership contest rules and how it will work," she said. "I'm quite energized looking at what candidates might emerge and eventually they will transition to take on the role that I have now." Other members of the organizing committee to help pick a leader include legislature members Jackie Tegart, Derek Lew, Sarah Sidhu, Don Silversides and Cameron Stolz. The committee's mandate includes determining the timeline for the leadership election, establishing the campaign's rules and implementing the election process for party members. — By Dirk Meissner in Victoria This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The first COVID-19 case in Prince Albert since schools re-opened on Jan. 18 was reported Thursday morning. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in an individual at Ecole St. Anne School in Prince Albert. The Prince Albert Catholic School Division explained in a news release that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. They also said case wasn’t acquired at the school. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts will be communicated with.” As is the case in all cases in the division no further information will be made available citing privacy concerns. “We want to reassure families of Ecole St. Anne School that school will continue to operate for in-person classes while maintaining the safety protocols that are in place,” the release added. The cohort impacted by this cases being notified and provided instruction. The students and families will be receiving updates using the Edsby platform. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
The New Democratic Party has pledged changes to medical transportation in Labrador, which the party says will ease the burden on patients traveling to St. John's for procedures — but can't say exactly how an NDP government would manage any additional costs to the health care system. NDP Leader Alison Coffin unveiled the campaign policy Thursday, telling CBC News the change would remove the onus from patients to pay for flights and wait for reimbursement. "We believe that cost should be covered up front, and individuals will have far less to worry about — they can concentrate on getting better," Coffin said. "No one who needs any medical care ought to have to worry about being able to afford to make it to that appointment." Under the present rules, the Medical Transportation Assistance Program pays for airfare, taxis, private vehicle usage, hotels, meals, buses and ferries for those who require special medical services that aren't available nearby. Residents requesting financial assistance must apply to the program and sometimes pay a deductible. The Department of Health says on its website that patients may be eligible for partial pre-payment of economy airfare, and encourages applicants to apply two months in advance of their medical appointment. 'Massive issue' Coffin said the loss of all Air Canada routes to and from Labrador airports has increased the risk of a higher financial burden on patients. "I think that we need to look at exactly what the costs are going to be and then adjust that cap accordingly," she said. Ideally, she said, a government clerk would book a ticket for the patient, who would simply need to show up at the airport and board the plane. Coffin did not detail how government might account for missed flights, for instance, but said her government would "take a gradual approach to ensure that we can afford" changes to the reimbursement policy. "I think we need to have a good look at the public accounts, and I know that the auditor general's report has not been out on that yet, but what we do know is that people need help right now." Labrador West candidate Jordan Brown, the incumbent MHA for the region elected in 2019, called medical transport affordability a "massive issue." "We have people here in this town who are fundraising for patients to try to get them up to their appointments," Brown said Thursday. "The problem is some people, especially seniors and people on fixed income, they don't have two grand sometimes to buy this ticket for themselves." Brown also said some people aren't reimbursed the full cost of a last-minute ticket, leaving them on the hook for hundreds of dollars. The Liberal Party has also promised changes to health care in Newfoundland and Labrador, with leader Andrew Furey vowing Wednesday to overhaul sexual and mental health curricula and supply schools with free pads and tampons. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador