Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli’s bid for an early release from the federal prison he is being held in was denied Tuesday. The judge ruled that the bid did not meet the criteria needed for a compassionate release.
Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli’s bid for an early release from the federal prison he is being held in was denied Tuesday. The judge ruled that the bid did not meet the criteria needed for a compassionate release.
Canadians had something to celebrate as Catherine O'Hara took home a 2021 Golden Globe award for her role in "Schitt's Creek."
The U.S. Senate will start debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday after Democrats backed down from an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 as part of it. The backpedaling did not end hopes of addressing the minimum wage issue in Congress. Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, for the first time since 2009, although they disagree on how much.
(Brittany Wentzell/CBC - image credit) As Meghan and Matt Brosens drove from Ontario to their newly purchased Cape Breton dairy farm, Meghan spent much of the trek trying to convince her husband they should open their own creamery. After successfully running their dairy operation for eight years, they have decided to open what will be the only creamery processing cow milk in Cape Breton. Meghan grew up on a dairy farm, but with her parents still active in their own farm, and land being in short supply in Ontario, the couple decided to purchase a farm in Skye Glen, Cape Breton in 2013. "It was quite a bit cheaper," Meghan said. The pair opened Brosendale Farms, which is home to 100 cows. The couple has built up the farm and their family with the addition of two daughters. The couple had never even visited the East Coast prior to moving to Cape Breton. "I always kind of think of it as a diamond in the rough sort of thing.... I think the fact that we came from away to here made us appreciate everything more, said Matt. "You know, it's just a wonderful place, especially raising the kids." Heidi and Sophie Brosens are shown with Temperance the Jersey cow. Meghan always wanted to run her own creamery but it was hard to make that dream a reality in Ontario. "It wasn't really an option to take over my parents' farm because they're still going and, like, I live off of cheese, basically, like I've never had a cavity," laughed Meghan. Although Matt said the farm is running at its highest capacity, he was hesitant to follow Meghan's dream for a creamery. Then the pandemic hit. "I always shot it down, but with COVID, it seemed like that sort of thing was the only thing that took off," Matt said. "These local foods was what took off." Like other farms throughout the pandemic, Brosendale Farms saw customers take a keen interest in food produced locally. According to Matt, businesses making cheese in Quebec have fared well during the pandemic and that provided him with some confirmation this was something that could work on the island. The farm is home to 100 cows. The creamery, to open this spring, will be called Skye Glen Creamery. The Brosens have put up a new building on their farm that will have large windows so customers can see the creamery in operation. Matt would also like to have school classes visit. "It would just give them a better understanding of where their food comes from and everything like that, because where else are they going to get to see that?" The storefront will also feature a machine where customers can pour their own milk into reusable glass bottles, similar to growlers in a brewery. They'll also sell cheese in various forms, butter and other products. Meghan, who has a bit of a sweet tooth, wants to look at chocolate milk, too. According to Matt, the number of dairy farms in Nova Scotia has been decreasing, even since they arrived in 2013. He and Meghan hope having their own creamery will ensure the future of their farm. MORE TOP STORIES:
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island is now under a 72-hour, provincewide lockdown meant to stop two clusters of COVID-19 cases from spreading any further. Provincial chief medical officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the clusters don't have a known source, and the three-day lockdown will allow public health officials to launch comprehensive contact tracing and ramp up testing. As of midnight, schools and most non-essential businesses are closed until Thursday and Islanders must practice physical distancing with anyone outside their immediate household. Exceptions are being made for people who live alone or require essential support. The restrictions were announced on Sunday as health officials reported five new COVID-19 infections, for a total of 17 cases over five days. They come on top of so-called "circuit breaker" measures announced the day before, which cut store and gym capacity in half while banning indoor dining and cancelling many sporting events. Those measures are set to be in effect until March 14. Morrison says the clusters, which are in Charlottetown and Summerside, appear to be connected. Premier Dennis King says it's better to "go harder and stronger" with protective health measures now than to delay and risk the kind of outbreaks seen in other provinces. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a "soft launch" in six public health units this week, two weeks before it becomes available across the province, The Canadian Press has learned. But the website will not be available to the general population in those regions, said a senior government source not authorized to speak publicly about the plan. Instead, public health officials will reach out to a small number of individuals who are 80 or older, as well as some eligible health-care workers, starting Monday. The source said the plan will help the province test components of the system before the full launch, determine whether any changes need to be made to the system and organize the vaccination of larger populations. The site is a "public-facing extension" of the COVaxON system the province has been using since the start of the vaccine rollout, the source said, and will also serve to keep track of inoculation data. The regions participating in the soft launch are Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington; Peterborough County-City; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Grey Bruce; and Lambton. The source noted the site will not be available to other regions before March 15, even those that have already begun vaccinating members of the 80-and-over age group such as York and Peel. Those regions must use "existing relationships with residents" to book the vaccinations until the online platform launches on March 15, when they're expected to switch to the provincial system. The source said the website will focus at first on appointments at mass vaccination sites, but the province will work with public health units in the coming weeks to make sure it's compatible with other facilities such as hospital sites and mobile clinics. The government has faced criticism for what some describe as the slow rollout of its vaccine booking portal, which is expected to launch the same day the head of the vaccine task force said people aged 80 and over would start getting the shots. Retired general Rick Hillier said his team was "furiously working" to test and refine the site so it would be up-and-running on time. Health Minister Christine Elliott defended the timeline, saying the government was still testing the site and wanted to ensure it won't crash when it goes live. "We don't want to rush to failure,'' she said last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Dozens of Thai protesters and police were injured in violent clashes at an anti-government rally on Sunday, an emergency medical centre said, as police acknowledged firing rubber bullets for the first time since protests started last year. Police also used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who marched on a military base in Bangkok, calling for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to give up direct command of the army unit housed there. Protesters threw bottles at police near barricades.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Mar. 1, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 46,624 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,882,952 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,968.306 per 100,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,441,670 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.12 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,987 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 32,019 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.81 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 13,856 new vaccinations administered for a total of 432,255 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 50.517 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 19,167 new vaccinations administered for a total of 687,271 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,894 new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,448 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 54.791 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 2,725 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,226 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 66.341 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 8,982 new vaccinations administered for a total of 227,678 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 252,373 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.18 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 323,340 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,174 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 363.615 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,276 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 187.884 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Mar. 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
RENNES, France — Rennes coach Julien Stephan has stepped down from this position following a poor run of results this year. The French league team thanked Stephan for all the “exceptional results” secured with the club. Stephan took over as Rennes head coach in 2018. He led the Brittany side to a stunning victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019 French Cup final. He also helped the team qualify for the Champions League group stage for the first time last season. But Rennes slumped to a fourth consecutive loss in all competitions last week and has won only one game in 2021. The Associated Press
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images - image credit) Officials with the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation acknowledge the future of Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax will have to be discussed once the pandemic is over. The casino has struggled with declining revenues for a decade and COVID-19 kept it closed for most of a year. Documents released to CBC show one of options on the table is a move away from the waterfront location where the casino has been located since 2000. The documents also show revenues from the casino have been sinking to an "unsustainable" level for about 15 years. "In our peak year, which would have been in the mid-2000s, we probably did about $75 million in revenue, and then over time it decreased by 30 per cent," said Bob MacKinnon, the CEO of Nova Scotia Gaming, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business in the province. "So certainly that wouldn't have been sustainable." He said having a viable casino is important. "It's a real gem in our city and it offers a safe, regulated environment. Lots of entertainment happens at the casino. It's a very social place." However, MacKinnon said that the biggest challenge is to understand how people will want to socialize in the future. He said Nova Scotia Gaming would seek to understand this together with the casino's operator, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Bob MacKinnon is president and CEO of Nova Scotia Gaming, the Crown corporation that oversees the gambling business in Nova Scotia. "Entertainment, music, food, as well as the gaming aspects are all integral parts of the casino. And so the biggest challenge is for us to understand [is], 'Are Nova Scotians wanting to get back into a social environment? And when?'" Shrinking profits When the casino opened in 2000 it employed 750 people but that number has shrunk to 300. It reached peak revenues in 2006-2007, taking in $74.5 million in that year. Over the following years, that steadily dropped to $54.1 million in 2014-2015. Any profits from the casino go to the province, said MacKinnon. In the year preceding the pandemic, revenue from the casino was $65.6 million, and quarterly reports filed by the gaming corporation show all the Nova Scotia casinos saw a loss during the pandemic. The casino shut down last March due to COVID-19. It reopened on Oct. 5, only to be shut down again by a Public Health order that took effect between Nov. 26-Jan. 8. As of the end of February, casinos in Nova Scotia were permitted to be open. A 2016 briefing note at Nova Scotia Gaming attributed some of the decline in revenues at the casino in Halifax to outside VLTs. "If we come in around $9 million in 2021, that's probably a reasonable estimate at this point in time," MacKinnon said. Moving the location In a 2016 briefing note to Nova Scotia Gaming's board of directors, staff attributed the drop in revenues to "changing player preferences," a ban on smoking and "rising competition from First Nations VLTs and the internet." MacKinnon said the need for investment in the building, combined with decline in revenues, caused Nova Scotia Gaming to start considering its options in 2014. As well, the organization thought the proposed Cogswell Interchange redevelopment would have a negative effect on foot traffic to the casino. "We thought, OK, if we're going to be looking at longer-term investments in the building, should we consider whether we should relocate? So that's when we undertook the assessment as to what other options might be there," said MacKinnon. A server organizes the VLT area at a Royal Canadian Legion location in Winnipeg in 2018. Staff came up with a proposal with five options for relocating the casino to other spots around the city. In the documents released to CBC under freedom of information, the proposed locations are mostly blacked out, although two of them are in the Bayers Lake business park area. One of those options suggested taking an existing building to make into a casino, "which would significantly reduce the capital required." Staff considered, but ruled out, the old World Trade and Convention Centre and the former Halifax Library. MacKinnon said some criteria for scoring potential new locations involved ease of access by car or other transportation, an available building and the cost of the space. The plans are shelved for the duration of the pandemic. MacKinnon said it is possible that the best option is to stay at the existing location. "It's really too early for us to say when we're going to open up the file again and give this another another look," he said. There were 550 slot machines at the casino in Halifax when the relocation proposal was being assessed in 2016. "We just need to understand more about what the post-pandemic world is going to look like before we spend much effort and certainly before we spend any money on investment, whether it's an existing location or assessing others." MacKinnon foresees Nova Scotia returning to its pre-pandemic ways at some point. Documents originally withheld CBC first began seeking information about the casino relocation project in April 2017, following a tip from the public. An application for information to Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation under freedom of information rules was denied. The gaming organization declined to release any documents. CBC appealed that decision to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia, and in January 2021 an investigator was assigned. The delay was due to a backlog of cases. The investigator from the privacy commissioner's office helped arrange an agreement between CBC and Nova Scotia Gaming to release the requested documents, which had significant redactions. "At the time, we were doing an assessment and ultimately we would need to get government approval," MacKinnon said. "Anything that we would be putting forth for executive council approval would be subject to protections, exemptions." MacKinnon said Nova Scotia Gaming tries to be open, transparent and accountable, and lists information on its website, which includes documents like financial statements and expenses for senior leadership. "I will acknowledge that we took a broad approach on the exemption. And with the benefit of hindsight, we realized that we could have released some of the content," he said. MORE TOP STORIES However, MacKinnon said that the biggest challenge is to understand how people will want to socialize in the future. MacKinnon said NSGC would seek to understand this together with the casino operator, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation."
(Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit) The chief of Eskasoni First Nation says a local man has been wounded in a shooting that locked down the community Monday morning. Eskasoni RCMP responded to a call of a shooting around 10:25 p.m. Sunday at a home on Mountainview Drive in the Cape Breton Mi'kmaw community, according to a release. A 53-year-old man was wounded and taken to hospital after someone shot him through a window, police said. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny lives just eight houses away from the shooting scene, and said he was one of the first people to arrive. He drove the injured man to a nearby ambulance station. Denny said the victim is Leonard Denny, a family member and the CEO of the local Crane Cove Seafoods. The Crane Cove Seafoods building in Eskasoni on March 1, 2021. Chief Leroy Denny says the shooting victim is Leonard Denny, the CEO of Crane Cove. About two hours later, the RCMP responded to a second report of shots fired in the community. They were initially concerned that the two incidents were connected, and residents were asked to stay in their homes with doors locked. But police found no evidence of this second incident. Just before 8 a.m., RCMP tweeted that they believe this was an isolated shooting. Spokesperson Cpl. Mark Skinner said there was "no longer a risk to the public," and people could now leave their homes. Chief Denny posted on social media early Monday morning that the shooting happened on Mountainview Drive, and people should stay away from that area. This information also went out via the community's Everbridge alert system. Denny also said that, "for precautionary reasons," all businesses under the umbrella of the band would be closed on Monday. This includes all schools, the band office, health centre, Crane Cove Seafoods, and fitness centre. There was a heavy police presence in the area throughout the day on Monday, including police dog services and forensic identification. RCMP at the scene of a shooting on Mountainview Drive on March 1, 2021. Police are continuing to search for the suspect, and do not believe that this was a random incident. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to immediately contact police at (902) 379-2822. Anonymous tips can also be made to Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), crimestoppers.ns.ca, or the P3 Tips App. MORE TOP STORIES
(Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit) Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac, who has been on sick leave since the summer of 2019, says he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and will not be returning to work. "It's a work in progress," he said Friday in an exclusive interview with CBC News. "I'm doing a lot better than I was. "I'm feeling much better. I'm in a much better place." He said he wasn't in a great place when he went on sick leave. "It was something that was happening over a period of a long time and it just hit a point where my wife stepped in and she recognized some of the stuff I was going through and it was time to take care of Peter." McIsaac's wife, Lydia, is a mental health nurse. The chief, who is 61, said it was difficult accepting the diagnosis. It was also difficult dealing with bouts of depression and having to leave policing after 35 years on something other than his own terms. 'I didn't realize I was suffering' He started in 1986 as a patrol officer in the coal-mining town of New Waterford. McIsaac said cops couldn't show any weakness back then. "I've been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder for 25 years, they tell me," he said. "I didn't realize I was suffering ... for the many years that I had been, until it hit a point that I sought the treatment and help that I needed so badly, and it was bad. "It was very disappointing for me. I was very ashamed. For me, I thought this was something that happened to someone else because I considered myself not only physically tough, but I always considered myself mentally tough." On Tuesday, staff told Cape Breton regional councillors during an in-camera session that McIsaac would not be returning to work and that the municipality would need to post the chief's position internally. McIsaac said he intended to go back to work for the longest time, but only lately his health-care providers convinced him that was not a good idea. McIsaac says he comes from an age when police officers would have been considered weak if they admitted they were negatively affected by the job. "I've investigated everything from a barking dog complaint to a double homicide and everything in between, so to think that I would be some type of superhuman individual that wouldn't be affected by this stuff is absolutely ridiculous," he said. "I realize that now." But that realization was a long time coming. In fact, he said, some of his therapy had to stop because it was too traumatic to deal with all at once. "I come from an era of policing where you just wouldn't share this stuff because it was considered weak," McIsaac said. "Matter of fact, back in my time when I was hired, you would probably be outcast from the police service, never hired, never be promoted, and you would probably have to move on to another career." The chief said the police service has much better workplace supports for PTSD than it used to and said he has been getting excellent care. "I don't know if all doctors operate like this, but I think I've got the best and they've helped me so much that they've probably saved my life." I'm hoping that by actually talking about it today that others will seek the help that they need and if they don't, I guarantee them it will get worse. - Chief Peter McIsaac The chief said he considered simply walking away from his job and not talking about his sick leave, but decided he had to speak out. "I know police officers who I've worked with my whole career are going through this and probably been impacted worse than I have. So I'm hoping that by actually talking about it today that others will seek the help that they need and if they don't, I guarantee them it will get worse." McIsaac said policing has changed drastically over the span of his 35-year career. He said New Waterford had a lot of drinking establishments when he started. "Look, you had miners who worked hard and played hard, and I think cops back then were hired more for their brawn than their intellectual ability and it had to be that way because they had to keep order." However, within three years, there was a changing of the guard as older officers retired. McIsaac says when he first started policing in New Waterford, cops had to start cracking down on drinking and driving. McIsaac said he quickly found himself as an acting sergeant and soon there was a crackdown on drinking and driving. "When I first started ... you took your life in your hands if you were going down Plummer Avenue and within about two years we led the province in the amount of impaired driving cases." He said policing has come a long way, with more specialized training in forensics and particular aspects of investigations. McIsaac became Nova Scotia's representative on the national chiefs association and developed relationships with big-city police chiefs across Canada and the U.S. Those connections brought in outside resources that helped solve the two longstanding, but unrelated, homicides of Harold (Buster) Slaunwhite and Brett MacKinnon, something that is a source of pride for McIsaac. CBRM budgeted $1 million for renovations to the former Sydney Mines town hall to modernize it and convert it into the north division police headquarters. He said he is also proud of the regional police department's efforts to have the municipality create modern divisional offices by renovating the historic Sydney Mines town hall and building a brand new office in downtown Glace Bay. He also said creating a strategic plan and implementing the trunk mobile radio system helped modernize the force. McIsaac was also faced with several challenges during his tenure as chief. One was the continuing controversy around the death of Clayton Miller, a New Waterford teen who died in 1990 after an outdoor drinking party. Supporters of the Miller family gathered outside the Sydney hotel where investigators met with the parents of Clayton Miller in 2015. His parents and their supporters have always said police were somehow involved in his death, but the cause has been ruled accidental after several reviews, including one three years ago by the province's Serious Incident Response Team and chief medical examiner. McIsaac was an officer with the New Waterford department, but was never implicated in the case. Still, he and his family have been accosted by people who believe the death has been covered up. He said it was simply a tragedy due to a deadly mix of young people, alcohol and cold temperatures. "You've got to be sympathetic to the family. Anybody who loses a child .. under any circumstances, the grief that any parent must feel, I can't even fathom it. "However ... that thing has been investigated more than any other thing that I can think of in my policing career, by several other agencies, including the RCMP and the last one was done by SIRT." Acting Chief Robert Walsh had a hand in crafting the terms of reference for a study into the police department's efficiency. That report is expected sometime in March. Not long after McIsaac went on sick leave, CBRM received a consultant's report on the municipality's long-term viability. One of the recommendations was to study the efficiency of the police service. The report said the municipality has more police officers per capita than any other similar-sized Canadian jurisdiction. The efficiency study was commissioned with the help of the acting chief, Robert Walsh, and was due last November, but CBRM staff say it is now expected to be delivered sometime in March. Walsh and CBRM officials have argued that some of the service's 200 officers are not paid for by the municipality. They are funded by the province's Boots on the Street program, Membertou, the regional centre for education and the RCMP highway patrol. Officials have also said the police service needs that many officers to cover the large regional municipality, to backfill up to 40 officers who are off sick at any given time, and to keep the crime rate low. McIsaac said he agrees on both counts. McIsaac says the force's next chief needs to focus on the staff and on the people of the communities they serve. He says they may pay a price, though. "Go and ask the union membership right now, do they think they have enough members, because they are working shorthanded just about every day. People are getting burned out. It's probably some of the reasons why some of them are not working. "And the only reason our number is what it is, is because 30-plus are there because of outside resources or money allocated from somewhere else." McIsaac said he has one piece of advice for whoever becomes the next chief. "Don't think it's about you, because it's not. The last person you should think about is yourself. You're going to pay a price for that, but it's about the people that work for you. More importantly, it's about the people that you serve and it's all about community. "I've probably paid a personal price for it myself, and my family paid a price for it, because there was lots of long hours and days, nights, evenings, weekends and vacations that we forego because of my job, but I can honestly say I gave it every ounce of my energy and ability and my knowledge and experience to try to make this place and our community and our organization better, and I have no regrets and I can walk out the door knowing I left it in good shape." MORE TOP STORIES
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Mar. 1 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - The federal government is hoping to start receiving vaccine doses from AstraZeneca this week as the flood of injections that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides. Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to get the green light from the regulator since the start of the pandemic. A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background yesterday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada on Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed. The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently only expecting delivery of about 445-thousand doses this week, which is about 200-thousand less than last week’s record high of 640-thousand doses in a seven-day period. The scheduled doses are all coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, as the two companies settle into a rhythm and work toward their promise to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March. Canada received 168-thousand doses of Moderna’s vaccine last week, but the company only delivers every three weeks. --- Also this ... VANCOUVER - The chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei is set to return to the British Columbia Supreme Court today for arguments over the admission of evidence in her extradition case. Meng Wanzhou's defence team alleges the evidence will prove that international bank HSBC was aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a subsidiary of the technology company. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in December 2018 at the request of United States authorities over claims she misrepresented that relationship, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny. Later this week, the court is expected to hear her team argue that former U.S. president Donald Trump used Meng as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China and that she should be released. Her team alleges she was subjected to an abuse of process but Canada's attorney general says that argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — Congress is beginning debate on the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections law in a generation. Legislation from Democrats would touch virtually every aspect of the electoral process — striking down hurdles to voting, curbing partisan gerrymandering and curtailing big money in politics. Republicans see those very measures as a threat that would limit the power of states to conduct elections and ultimately benefit Democrats. The stakes are enormous with both control of Congress and President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda in the balance. But at its core, a more foundational principle of American democracy is at play: access to the ballot. --- Also this ... ORLANDO, Fla. — Former U.S. president Donald Trump called for Republican Party unity when he returned to the political stage for the first time since losing the White House to Joe Biden. Trump closed out a conservative political conference in Florida on Sunday, and told cheering attendees that he is sticking with the GOP and not forming a third party. He said Republicans would stand united, yet he also criticized those who supported his impeachment and denounced his incitement of rioters at the U.S. Capitol. Trump also repeated familiar falsehoods about the November election being rigged against him. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of attacking an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week. Iran promptly dismissed the charges. Netanyahu spoke today to Israeli public broadcaster Kan and saying “it was indeed an act by Iran, that’s clear.” He offered no evidence but said that “Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel." The ship suffered a mysterious explosion in the Gulf of Oman on Friday and came to Dubai’s port for repairs on Sunday, days after the blast that revived security concerns in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran. Iran denies it was behind the incident. --- And this ... YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar opened fire and made mass arrests Sunday as they sought to break up protests against the military’s seizure of power. A U.N. human rights official said it had “credible information” at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded. That would be the highest single-day death toll among protesters who are demanding the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power after being ousted by a Feb. 1 coup. About 1,000 people are believed to have been detained Sunday, adding to the others detained earlier, including Suu Kyi. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the violence. --- ICYMI ... TORONTO - Schitt's Creek nabbed two Golden Globes at last night's awards. The Canadian sitcom won best television series in a musical or comedy, and Catherine O'Hara took home best television actress in a musical or comedy. The series was nominated for three other awards, but ultimately lost out. Eugene and Dan Levy, the show's father-son creator duo, were nominated for best television actor in a musical or comedy and best supporting actor in a series, miniseries or motion picture for TV, respectively. Annie Murphy had been nominated for best supporting actress in a series, miniseries or motion picture for TV. Schitt's Creek wrapped up its six-season run last year, when it swept the Emmy's, winning all seven major comedy awards. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021 The Canadian Press
Former Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he believes he was surveilled by Canadian intelligence while he lived in Montreal.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Mar. 1, 2021. There are 866,503 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 866,503 confirmed cases (30,731 active, 813,778 resolved, 21,994 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,307 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 80.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,873 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,839. There were 35 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 320 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,425,703 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 988 confirmed cases (266 active, 716 resolved, six deaths). There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 50.95 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 196,011 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were five new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 102,000 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,641 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,538 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 3.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 329,339 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,364 resolved, 27 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 236,401 tests completed. _ Quebec: 287,740 confirmed cases (7,817 active, 269,530 resolved, 10,393 deaths). There were 737 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,618 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 803. There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.21 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,280,259 tests completed. _ Ontario: 300,816 confirmed cases (10,492 active, 283,344 resolved, 6,980 deaths). There were 1,062 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 71.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,730 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,104. There were 20 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 119 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,849,514 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,859 confirmed cases (1,194 active, 29,770 resolved, 895 deaths). There were 50 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 86.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 68. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.89 per 100,000 people. There have been 528,966 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,647 confirmed cases (1,543 active, 26,719 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 141 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 130.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 147. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 573,125 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,504 confirmed cases (4,584 active, 127,034 resolved, 1,886 deaths). There were 301 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 103.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,441 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 59 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,387,838 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,448 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,910,966 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,142 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,451 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 357 confirmed cases (18 active, 338 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 45.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 18 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,615 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Mar.1, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit) Tough new COVID-19 measures kicked in at midnight, meaning Prince Edward Islanders are waking up to a world where some things are no longer possible — at least for the next 72 hours. The P.E.I. government's so-called modified red restricted measures are meant to curb outbreaks of COVID-19 in Summerside and Charlottetown. As of late Sunday, 17 new cases had been confirmed in the past five days, with more than 190 close contacts identified so far. Dr. Heather Morrison, the province's chief public health officer, provided a long list of possible exposure sites and dates during a briefing Sunday afternoon. They appear below, along with a list of where COVID-19 testing is available. Exposure sites and times Islanders are strongly urged to seek a COVID-19 test if they were at any of the following locations at the times given, even if they do not have symptoms. Note that the province said on its Facebook page Monday: "When we list an exposure location and time, it's only for those specific times. If you were there before or after that time, you would not be considered a risk for exposure." Testing locations and hours After a busy weekend that saw about 6,632 tests for COVID-19 collected — 2,250 at Three Oaks High School in Summerside alone — provincial public health officials are looking for more swabs. Here are the times and places of today's testing clinics for people who may have had exposure at the above sites as well as for anyone experiencing symptoms: Charlottetown Park Street clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Montague Legion Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Summerside Slemon Park Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. O'Leary Health Centre Clinic, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Health PEI announced changes for testing sites this evening because of potentially bad weather on Tuesday. Stratford testing site at Stratford Town Hall will be open for people aged 19-29 who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and do not have symptoms until close at 8 p.m. tonight. It was previously open only to 19- to 24-year-olds working in that industry today. Three Oaks High School testing site is available for 25- to 29-year-olds who work in the food service industry, meat and fish processing plants, call centres, transportation and delivery or any long-term care staff who are not vaccinated and who do not have symptoms until 6 p.m. This clinic was also previously open today only to 19- to 24-year-olds. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
(Michel Corriveau/Radio-Canada - image credit) New Brunswick Auditor General Kim Adair-MacPherson has support in some accounting and auditing circles for the merit of her request to gain access to the financial records of the pension investment and management body Vestcor, but her office is not saying if she is prepared yet to escalate the effort into a legal fight. "The Auditor General respectfully declines to comment at this time," wrote spokesperson Jolyne Roy about whether a court application is under consideration. Adair-MacPherson appeared before the legislature's Crown corporations committee last week and gave a lengthy presentation to MLAs about her effort to gain access to the internal financial documents of Vestcor. Vestcor is the Fredericton-based organization set up to manage what is now $18 billion in New Brunswick government pension and other funds. It used to be a Crown agency, but in 2016 was reorganized as an independent body to allow it to solicit outside accounts and contends it is no longer subject to Adair-MacPherson's authority. She disputes that on several grounds, but Premier Blaine Higgs has sided with Vestcor and said his government will not pass special legislation Adair-MacPherson has requested to require the body to submit to her oversight. Vestcor president John Sinclair earned $375,000 in salary in 2019 and performance bonuses of $882,721. Adair-MacPherson told MLAs last week that if government took that position she might be forced to mount a legal challenge to assert her right to audit Vestcor. "Depending on how this plays out and what the response is to our recommendations, eventually it might have to be a decision made in the courts," she said. "If they don't agree, then the option to the auditor general is to go the legal route, which I would find very unfortunate." On Thursday, Higgs told CBC News Vestcor no longer has ties to the provincial government and the province has no more responsibility to oversee its affairs than the affairs of any outside body like a big bank. "Vestcor was set up as an independent operation not unlike other financial institutions," said Higgs. "I don't have any responsibility for TD either or the Bank of Nova Scotia." But Adair-MacPherson told MLAs that in her view Vestcor maintains strong connections to the provincial government that make it essential she be allowed to oversee its operations. She said it was created by a special act of legislature and given unique non-profit status by lawmakers. In addition, she said it was handed billions of dollars in government employee pension dollars to manage without having to compete for the business. Premier Blaine Higgs said he views Vestcor as an independent financial institution and New Brunswick has no special role to oversee its operations. Vestcor is jointly owned by the province's two largest public pension funds serving civil servants and teachers. Those funds each have provincial government representation on their boards of trustees, which adds to the connections, she believes. "There are just so many components to it that when I sit back and look at it, to me, it should be held accountable to the public," said Adair-MacPherson. "My office, I feel, should be able to have access the same as we always did in the past to do both financial audit work and performance audits." Steven Salterio, the current Stephen J.R. Smith Chair of Accounting and Auditing at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said Adair-MacPherson will have difficulty winning the right to look into Vestcor's operations, but there is merit in the argument she is making. "I think the auditor general is correct in that she should have the mandate to deal with this newly privatized corporation from the point of view this is strictly a government entity," said Salterio. "This is a lot of provincial money going into an organization that is not accountable to the auditor general." Steven Salterio is the Stephen J.R. Smith Chair of Accounting and Auditing at Queen's University. He said Auditor General Kim Adair-MacPherson's interest in looking at Vestcor has merit but is not surprised the body is resisting. According to New Brunswick's public accounts, the province paid Vestcor $327.9 million last year as its share of employee pension contributions. Adair-MacPherson has said she is interested in testing Vestcor claims that it is meeting and beating its investment targets and looking into whether incentive and bonus programs for Vestcor executives are reasonable. In 2019, the last full year it published an annual report, Vestcor posted investment returns of 11.76 percent, which placed it in the bottom quarter of Canadian pension funds for the year, according to a ranking by the Royal Bank of Canada. Still, Vestcor reported those results were $107 million higher than its "benchmark" targets, helping to boost bonuses and incentives to its employees to $5.3 million, including $882,721 to its president, John Sinclair. Sinclair's base salary is $375,000. "We would do a performance audit to determine whether [bonuses] are reasonable given the business they are in," said Adair-MacPherson. "We would audit to determine whether in fact we agree with the claims that they're making in their annual report, but right now there's no way to do that." Salterio said in hindsight the time for the auditor general to win access to Vestcor was back in 2016 while legislation that created the body was being debated and adopted. The Royal Bank of Canada said 119 major Canadian pension funds it tracked in 2019 generated average returns of 14 per cent. Vestcor's investment return of 11.76 per cent placed it somewhere in the bottom 30, although it beat its own internal benchmarks. He said performance audits can be grueling and he's not surprised Vestcor is doing whatever it can to escape that level of scrutiny. "You certainly wouldn't volunteer to give the auditor general a mandate if you were a private-sector organization," said Salterio. "But at the same time you have to have it set up so that the legislative intent is clear and as far as I can see there is no legislative intent that the auditor general have a mandate." New Brunswick's Auditor General Act grants broad powers to look at any "auditable entity," which can include "a service provider" to government or "a funding recipient." Adair-MacPherson told MLAs her office believes that is enough legal authority for her to gain access to Vestcor without an amendment to legislation, although that would be the easier route. "It might have to be a decision made in the courts, but I surely hope it doesn't come to that because that's a costly, lengthy exercise," she said.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption on Monday and sentenced to three years in prison, a stunning fall from grace for a man who for five years bestrode the national and global stage. A Paris court found that Sarkozy, 66, had tried to bribe a judge after leaving office, and to peddle influence in exchange for confidential information about an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances. "He took advantage of his status and the relationships he had formed," presiding judge Christine Mee said.
Bitcoin's 300% price surge since October has revived China's grey market in cryptocurrency trading, putting regulators on alert over financial risks and capital outflows as volatility spikes. China shut down its local cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017, smothering a speculative market that had accounted for 90% of global bitcoin trading. Onshore investors now trade bitcoin on platforms owned by Chinese exchanges that have relocated overseas, including Huobi and OKEx.
OTTAWA — The federal government hopes to start receiving doses of AstraZeneca’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine this week as the flood of shots that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides. Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to have received regulatory approval since the start of the pandemic. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with the majority to be delivered from the United States between April and September. But two million jabs have been ordered from the Serum Institute of India, and Verity Pharmaceuticals, which is facilitating the institute’s application in Canada, has said the first 500,000 would reach Canadian shores this week. A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background Sunday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed. Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, also told the CBC on Sunday that the regulator had received additional information over the weekend from Johnson and Johnson, which is seeking approval for its own vaccine. Regulators in the U.S. gave it the green light over the weekend. Sharma said Health Canada is hoping to approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in "the next couple of weeks," but added any decision is contingent on the information presented by the company. As it stands now, the Public Health Agency of Canada is currently only expecting delivery of about 445,000 vaccine doses this week, which is about 200,000 less than last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. The confirmed doses are all coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, as the two companies settle into a rhythm following a month-long delivery lull in January and much of February due to production upgrades in Europe. The pharmaceutical giants have pledged to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March. Canada received 168,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine last week, but the company only delivers every three weeks. Clinical trials showed the AstraZeneca vaccine to be less effective at preventing infection than the other two, but it is still keeping people from getting very sick or dying, Sharma said Friday. Pfizer and Moderna both reported their products were 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in immunized patients compared to those who received a placebo. Efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine is believed to be around 62 per cent. It’s not entirely clear yet how provinces and territories will incorporate the AstraZeneca vaccine into their inoculation efforts, but the product offers a more flexible option since shots can be shipped and stored in refrigerators rather than freezers. AstraZeneca vaccines are to be given in two doses between four and 12 weeks apart. Sharma said there is some indication that waiting longer for a follow-up jab leads to a better response, but that data is not yet complete. There have been some concerns raised about the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent weeks, including its effectiveness against virus variants of concern and whether there is enough data to show it works on older recipients. Several European countries, including Germany and France, limited AstraZeneca's vaccine to residents under the age of 65. Sharma said there were a limited number of people over 65 involved in the clinical trials, but that data, coupled with the real-world experience in the United Kingdom, shows strong evidence seniors are protected. Canada’s vaccine program is ramping up after the lengthy slowdown in deliveries. More than 300,000 people were vaccinated in the last week, almost one-fifth of the total doses injected since the first immunizations began Dec. 14. About 700,000 people had received one dose as of Friday afternoon, and more than 500,000 are now fully vaccinated with two doses. Quebec is set to expand its vaccination effort to the general public on Monday by allowing seniors 85 or older to begin booking appointments. The age threshold has been lowered to 80 for seniors in the Montreal area. The AstraZeneca vaccine works differently than the other two already in use in Canada. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use messenger RNA technology, using RNA encoded with the piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the spike protein. The mRNA trains the body to fight off a COVID-19 infection. AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine, which takes a cold virus, modifies it so it can’t reproduce itself, and adds the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When injected, it too provokes the body to develop infection-fighting antibodies and cells to combat the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press