Sawyer sticks right by his best friend. Get well soon, buddy!
Sawyer sticks right by his best friend. Get well soon, buddy!
That change in the air isn't just the coming of spring: there's a shift happening in the political dynamic surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations. After weeks of the federal Liberal government taking heat for the slow arrival of vaccines in Canada, it's provincial premiers who must now answer to jittery, impatient voters hoping to be immunized as soon as possible. New Brunswick's Liberal opposition is now pushing Premier Blaine Higgs and his Progressive Conservative government for more details about the provincial vaccination plan — details they say other provinces have been providing to their citizens. "We're not trying to play politics with this, but there's certainly not a lot of information being given out to New Brunswickers, and New Brunswickers are asking questions to their MLAs," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson. Opposition Liberal leader Roger Melanson (CBC News) In January, Higgs said many more New Brunswickers could be vaccinated each week, if only there were enough vaccine. Now those supplies are ramping up fast. New Brunswick received 11,760 doses last week and a similar number is expected this week. Melanson says those doses should be administered as quickly as they arrive. "We're seeing deliveries, much bigger deliveries than what we had been getting since January, so now the onus has shifted onto the provincial governments," says political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. Deputy minister of Health Gérald Richard told the legislature's public accounts committee Feb. 24 that New Brunswick would be ready for what he called "a flood" of vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "We are very confident that we have a good plan in New Brunswick," Richard said. "It was approved by the COVID cabinet and ratified by cabinet a few months ago." Department of Health deputy minister Gérald Richard, left(Jacques Poitras/CBC) But the only detail the province provided during Monday's vaccine update was that 2,400 more long-term care residents would be done this week, accounting for about a quarter of the doses expected to arrive. And officials have given varying estimates of how many people can be vaccinated per week. In January, when deliveries to the province were still a trickle, Premier Blaine Higgs said 45,000 could be done, if only the province had enough vaccine. On Thursday he told reporters the province could do 40,000, then added it might be possible to double that to 80,000. Last Saturday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CBC's The House that New Brunswick could vaccinate "up to 4,000 people a day," which works out to a maximum of 28,000 per week — below Higgs's estimate. Meanwhile, other provinces are moving faster, or at least providing more detail, on their rollouts. This week, Nova Scotia announced its plan for 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third to be approved in Canada. A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press) The doses arrive next week and Nova Scotia doctors and pharmacists will administer the doses to people aged 50-64 in 26 locations around the province starting March 15. New Brunswick has provided no such detail on what it will do with the approximately 10,000 doses it will receive. Higgs says that will be discussed by the all-party COVID cabinet committee next Tuesday and spokesperson Shawn Berry said the province will probably use it for some of the groups identified for early vaccination. Berry said 3,200 people were scheduled to be vaccinated this week but some clinics were delayed because of winter weather. He said doses listed as "available" by the province — more than 13,000 as of Thursday — are earmarked for clinics. "To prevent the risk of disruption of clinics, we don't plan to use them the same week they are scheduled to arrive in case there is a delay," he said. As an example, he said the province received more than 11,000 doses last week and a similar amount will be used at First Nations clinics that started this week. Berry also said Higgs's figure of 80,000 vaccinations per week being possible is correct. Higgs said last Friday one reason for the lack of detail is the uncertainty of supply that plagued the provinces for the first two months of the year. "When we schedule appointments, we will have a vaccine to put with it," he said during last week's CBC political panel on Information Morning Fredericton. "I would like to see a map out over the next two or three or four months of a fixed quantity so that we can plan well." Not when, but how Melanson said he's satisfied with the "who" and "when" so far but wants to know about the "how" — how people will contact, or hear from, the province to arrange their shots. At the Feb. 24 public accounts committee meeting, Liberal MLA Jean-Claude d'Amours also pointed to a Brunswick News report that the province was "urgently" calling for help in long-term care homes from anyone qualified to administer vaccines — another sign of lack of preparedness, he said. Whether New Brunswick's plan is really behind other provinces remains to be seen. The fluctuations in vaccine deliveries to Canada caused short-term alarm and a lot of political finger-pointing but in the end did not endanger the overall vaccine delivery target for the first three months of 2021. Still, Chouinard points out that even those temporary delays probably led to more illness and deaths. D'Amours noted at the public accounts committee that the percentage of COVID-19 doses the province was administering was slipping. Liberal health critic Jean-Claude d'Amours(CBC) The week before the hearing, 21 per cent of all doses received in New Brunswick hadn't been used. It rose to 25 per cent last week and 28 per cent this week. "Supply is not the issue right now," Melanson says. "The issue is capacity to roll it out." The province has been holding back a lot of vaccine for second doses. But with the recent announcement that second doses will be delayed to maximize first doses, those hold-back numbers should now diminish. On Thursday the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island governments said the delay to second doses will allow everyone in those provinces who wants to be vaccinated to get their first dose by June. Higgs told reporters that's his target as well. He said more details on how delayed second doses and new vaccine approvals will change the province's rollout plan should be coming next week. Berry said 7,503 of 11,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and first-dose clinics for all long-term care facilities will be finished over the next two weeks.
U.S. President Joe Biden's refusal to offer upfront sanctions relief to Iran may have angered Tehran's clerical rulers but it has won some praise at home despite his failure so far to draw Iran into nuclear talks or deter attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. "Sensible," said Elliott Abrams, former President Donald Trump's special envoy for Iran, of Biden's unwillingness to give Tehran sanctions relief before any talks on both sides resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
HALIFAX — New federal guidelines on increasing the interval between vaccine doses should permit all Nova Scotians who want a COVID-19 vaccine to get one shot by the end of June, Premier Iain Rankin said Thursday. The new recommendations by the national panel of vaccine experts mean the province can stop holding back half its vaccine supply as booster shots and instead vaccinate more people with a single dose, Rankin said. With the shipments of at least three vaccines expected to increase over the coming weeks, there should be enough supply to provide at least one dose to those who want one by the start of summer, he added. "As we move forward we will not have to hold that (quantity) back," Rankin told reporters following his first cabinet meeting since becoming premier. "If you do the math that means that with the doses that we have been promised ... all Nova Scotians would be able to get their first dose by the end of June." Nova Scotia's stated goal is to immunize 70 per cent of its population by September. Rankin said there will likely be more details about the province's plan at Friday's COVID-19 briefing. On Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended provinces wait four month between doses when faced with a limited supply, in order to quickly immunize as many people as possible. Nova Scotia is to get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week, which would be added to its supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The AstraZeneca shipment must be used by April 2 and is to be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15. The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations on a first come, first served basis. Also Thursday, health officials announced that restrictions on restaurant operating hours and sporting events will be lifted in Halifax and its surrounding regions on Friday morning. Residents of long-term care homes in the Halifax area are still limited to receiving visits from two designated caregivers. Officials say the restrictions for long-term care residents will remain in place in the region until March 27. The province reported three new cases of COVID-19 Thursday — all in the Halifax area. Two involved contacts of previously reported cases and the third was under investigation. Nova Scotia has 29 active reported cases of the disease. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Afin de remercier les professionnels de la santé qui travaillent au front depuis le début de la pandémie, la résidence le Marronnier a érigé une enseigne illuminée qui reprend les lettres du mot «merci» sur l’un de ses bâtiments faisant face à l’Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé. Celle-ci a été officiellement dévoilée le vendredi 12 février vers 16h. À ce moment, les résidents et le personnel de l’établissement sont sortis sur leur balcon, au froid, pour faire du bruit. Les casseroles et la musique étaient au rendez-vous. «L’objectif était vraiment de faire comprendre aux travailleurs que l’enseigne s’adressait à eux, explique Catherine Ladouceur, responsable des communications au Marronnier. Malgré la température, il y avait des participants pour faire du bruit sur les balcons de trois phases différentes. C’était vraiment beau!» Elle ajoute que certains résidents se sont ensuite rendus près du stationnement de l’hôpital en compagnie d’employés de la résidence pour remercier les professionnels qui terminaient leur journée de travail. Cette initiative est l’œuvre de Claude Legault qui est un résident de la phase E du Marronnier. Dès le mois de mars 2020, celui-ci a installé un projecteur qui éclaire le mot «merci» sur la toiture de son balcon. L’intensité des lumières ne permettait toutefois pas de voir le mot facilement. «L’idée a germé lorsque j’ai été confiné entre Noël et le jour de l’An, précise-t-il. J’ai fait une demande à mon voisin pour qu’il distribue une lettre sur notre étage [16e]. Je voulais que chaque balcon de notre étage soit illuminé par une lettre. J’ai seulement eu deux réponses, donc j’ai demandé à un ami qui habite au quatrième étage.» Encore une fois, M. Legault a reçu peu de réponses, donc il a tenté sa chance auprès de gestionnaires de l’établissement qui ont tout de suite été convaincus par le projet. L’enseigne illuminée a finalement été installée à la verticale. Le résident de la phase E soutient aussi qu’il a été surpris par la grande participation des autres résidents lors du dévoilement. «Je ne m’attendais pas du tout à cela, assure-t-il. L’idée était de mousser l’aspect positif de leur travail et de leur dire qu’ils sont importants pour nous. Je prévois maintenant enlever le mot "merci" de mon balcon et installer une étoile pour eux.» Par ailleurs, la résidence du Marronnier invite toute la population lavalloise de faire sa part pour encourager les travailleurs de la santé. «Toute initiative ou idée leur permettant de se sentir valorisé dans leur travail peut être un beau geste à faire en cette période difficile, soutient Mme Ladouceur. C’est un peu de leur dire que nous allons continuer de respecter les consignes et qu’il faut voir le positif.» M. Legault converge dans la même direction et se dit toujours à la recherche de nouvelles façons de les remercier. «J’aurais bien voulu aller nettoyer les pares-brises des autos situées dans le stationnement de l’Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé pour leur faire plaisir, mais le couvre-feu et la santé font en sorte que je suis peut-être mieux de ne pas me lancer dans ce projet», conclut-il à la blague. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Un incendie majeur a fait rage à Saint-Sauveur vendredi dernier, 26 février. Les bureaux de Remax et la boutique Lolë, situés à l’angle de la rue Principale et de l’avenue Lafleur, ont été la proie des flammes. 40 pompiers ont été nécessaires pour éteindre le feu, dont 3 équipes venues de Sainte-Adèle, de Morin-Heights et de Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs pour prêter main forte à l’équipe de Saint-Sauveur. L’enquête sur l’origine de l’incendie a été immédiatement transférée à la Sûreté du Québec. Impossible de dire si on suspecte une origine criminelle pour le moment. Gérald Plante, directeur du Service des incendies de la Ville de Saint-Sauveur, a toutefois noté que la rapidité de l’incendie et l’embrasement généralisé du bâtiment lorsque les pompiers sont arrivés sur les lieux étaient inhabituels. Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
VANCOUVER — Results of a study led by Metro Vancouver's transit operator reveal copper on high-touch surfaces is lethal to bacteria. A statement from TransLink says the findings of the industry-leading trial show copper products kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of surface contact. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper on high-touch surfaces. The pilot study was launched after unrelated studies showed copper is both durable and effective at killing germs. Phase 1 of the pilot, which was fully funded by mining firm Teck Resources, began last November and continued for five weeks on surfaces of two buses and two SkyTrain cars. A second phase will begin in the coming months using a larger sample to verify the results, testing copper over a longer period on more transit vehicles, and focusing tests on the most effective products identified from Phase 1. TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo says they are excited to find out more about the impact of copper on viruses such as the ones that cause COVID-19. "This research could help us, other transit agencies, and anyone with surfaces in shared public spaces keep high-touch areas as clean as possible,” she says in the statement. The project stems from a partnership between TransLink, Teck, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Teck funded the initial phase as part of its Copper & Health program and the company will also support Phase 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered her first Supreme Court majority opinion Thursday, ruling against an environmental group that had sought access to government records. President Donald Trump's third nominee wrote for a 7-2 court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The case was the first one Barrett heard after joining the court in late October, and it took four months for the 11-page opinion to be released. Two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. It is something of a tradition for new justices to be assigned a case in which the court is unanimous for their first opinion, but it doesn't always happen. Both of Trump's other nominees, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, wrote unanimous first opinions. Sotomayor also got a unanimous opinion for her first assignment, but President Barack Obama's other nominee, Justice Elena Kagan, was assigned a first opinion where the court divided 8-1. The opinion Barrett wrote involved the environmental group the Sierra Club, which sued seeking access to federal government documents involving certain structures used to cool industrial equipment and their potential harm to endangered wildlife. Barrett began by explaining that FOIA makes “records available to the public upon request, unless those records fall within one of nine exemptions.” Those exemptions include “documents generated during an agency’s deliberations about a policy, as opposed to documents that embody or explain a policy that the agency adopts.” Barrett said the documents the Sierra Club was seeking were draft documents that did not need to be disclosed. And she dismissed concerns the group had raised that ruling against it would encourage officials to “stamp every document ‘draft’” to avoid disclosing them. Barrett said that if “evidence establishes that an agency has hidden a functionally final decision in draft form” then it won’t be protected from disclosure requirements. Barrett's predecessor on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, liked to recount that she was assigned a “miserable” case involving a federal law about pensions for her first opinion, a case on which the court had divided 6-3. She said that though she and the court's first female justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, were on different sides of the case, when she announced the opinion in court, O'Connor passed her a note that said: “This is your first opinion for the Court, it is a fine one, I look forward to many more.” Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the justices are not currently announcing their decisions in the courtroom but only posting them online. Barrett's opinion Thursday was not the first writing the public has seen from her as a justice. Last month, she wrote a paragraph-long concurring opinion in a case in which the justices told the state of California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic, but could maintain a ban on singing and chanting indoors. Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
DALLAS — A Dallas police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of capital murder, more than a year and a half after a man told investigators that he kidnapped and killed two people at the officer's instruction in 2017, authorities said. Bryan Riser, a 13-year veteran of the force, was arrested Thursday morning and taken to the Dallas County Jail for processing, according to a statement from the police department. A lawyer for him couldn't immediately be identified. Riser was arrested in the unconnected killings of Liza Saenz, 31, and Albert Douglas, 61, after a man came forward in August 2019 and told police he had kidnapped and killed them at Riser's direction, police Chief Eddie Garcia said during a news conference. He said investigators don't know the motives for the killings, but that they were not related to Riser's police work. Garcia did not explain why Riser was arrested nearly 20 months after the witness came forward, and police did not immediately respond to questions about the timing. Riser joined the department in 2008, and Garcia acknowledged that he had been patrolling Dallas while under investigation for the killings. The chief stressed that his homicide division and the FBI were still investigating the killings and said the department was reviewing Riser's arrests. Saenz’s body was pulled from the Trinity River in southwest Dallas on March 10, 2017, with several bullet wounds, the chief said. Douglas was reported missing that year and his body hasn’t been found. Three people were previously arrested and charged with capital murder in Saenz’s killing, according to an affidavit for Riser's arrest. It does not identify any of them by name. One of them allegedly told police that he and Riser were involved in burglaries when they were young. They more recently hatched a plan to rob drug stash houses, but they didn't follow through with it, according to the affidavit. Instead, the man told investigators that Riser offered to pay him a total of $9,500 to kidnap and kill Douglas and later Saenz. Both were shot and their bodies were dumped in the river, according to the court record. The affidavit states that Riser told the hired killer Saenz was an “informant.” The document does not elaborate, and police did not immediately respond to questions about whether Saenz had some connection to the department. The murder charges are not the officer's first alleged crimes. In May 2017, Riser faced a domestic violence charge for allegedly assaulting and injuring an ex-girlfriend. It wasn't immediately clear how that case was resolved, and Garcia declined to comment on it Thursday. Riser has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. Garcia said “we’re going to expedite our process” toward his firing. “We will not allow anyone to tarnish this badge," the chief said. Riser had not been booked into the jail as of early Thursday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesman said. A spokeswoman for the Dallas County district attorney’s office said her office didn’t have information on the case. ___ Associated Press writers Jamie Stengle in Dallas and Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report. Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir "Guantánamo Diary," has been adapted into a movie, The Mauritanian, which also awarded Jodie Foster her most recent Golden Globe.
L'Association pulmonaire du Québec (APQ) demande à ce que ces patients soient placés dans la liste des personnes prioritaires pour la vaccination contre la COVID-19, et ce, sans critère d'âge. Le regroupement estime que les patients atteints d'une fibrose pulmonaire idiopathique, d'un cancer du poumon ou d'une sarcoïdose sont en danger face au virus en raison de leur santé respiratoire déjà compromise. «Actuellement, les départements de santé publique continuent de prioriser les rendez-vous pour les personnes âgées de 80 ans et plus [70 ans et plus à Laval] mais l'âge n'est pas le seul critère de vulnérabilité», soutient Dominique Massie, directrice générale de l'APQ, par voie de communiqué. Au Québec, plus de trois millions de personnes vivent avec une maladie respiratoire. Les personnes atteintes sont plus susceptibles de développer des symptôme sévères si elles contractent la COVID-19 que la population générale. Le regroupement estime aussi que les patients sont doublement lesés, car ils doivent être les premiers à appliquer les règles de distanciation sociale, ce qui augmente l'anxiété quotidienne. À titre d'exemple, l'APQ reçoit plus de 100 appels de patients inquiets à chaque jour. «Ils souhaitent voir du monde, reprendre une activité physique, conclut Mme Massie. Le vaccin est leur seule bouée de sauvetage; pourtant, des personnes âgées mais en bonne santé sont vaccinées avant eux.» Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is planning to extend its ban on smoking and vaping in indoor public places to First Nations communities, but it could face a court battle. The Progressive Conservative government introduced a bill in the legislature Thursday that would end an exemption for reserves and other areas of federal jurisdiction, including military bases, from the provincial smoking ban. Ceremonial tobacco use would still be allowed. "We want to ensure that our entire province, not just sections of it, provide that equitable access to smoke-free … and vapour-free work environments," Audrey Gordon, minister for mental health, wellness and recovery, said. "This issue is a public health issue." The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said the province does not have the right to impose a smoking ban and could end up in court if it proceeds. "First Nations will not stand idly by and allow the province to take liberties of this sort," Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said. Many First Nations communities have their own bylaws that govern smoking in public places. Some allow smoking in bingo halls and video lottery terminal lounges. Last year, after COVID-19 restrictions forced video lottery terminal lounges to close, Premier Brian Pallister said he might not let ones that allow smoking to reopen when the restrictions are lifted. The Opposition New Democrats said the government should back up. "Indigenous people have rights that the government has to respect," NDP Leader Wab Kinew said. "And I think for them to announce this bill without giving people in leadership positions in Indigenous communities the heads-up is the wrong approach." First Nations communities could also lose revenue if the plan goes ahead, Kinew said. Gordon said the government will consult with Indigenous leaders as early as next week. The bill is among dozens that could be passed by the legislature in June. Although it might not take effect immediately, Gordon said. "What I'm focused on is having that consultation … I'm really focused on that engagement and we'll save that decision (on when the law would take effect) for a later date." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Lorsqu’on s’intéresse à l’histoire et à la politique, on finit par croire qu’on en connaît tous les grands personnages. Mais il arrive que certains d’entre eux nous échappent, et on les découvre alors avec une curiosité renouvelée. Pour moi, ce fut le cas avec Solange Chaput-Rolland. Écrit avec l’aide de Mario Fauteux. J’ai grandi à Prévost. Durant mon adolescence et ma vingtaine, j’ai passé un nombre incalculable d’heures à discuter avec un ami, aussi de Prévost (allô Philippe!), de politique canadienne. Notre sujet préféré était probablement cette époque tumultueuse du référendum de 1980, du rapatriement de la Constitution et de l’accord du lac Meech (et son échec). Nous avons appris à connaître ses principaux acteurs : Trudeau père, Lévesque, Bourassa, Mulroney, Charest, et j’en passe. Nous avons même lu les mémoires de quelques-uns d’entre eux! Mais jamais le nom de Solange Chaput-Rolland n’est apparu dans nos discussions. Jusqu’à tout récemment, je ne savais même pas qu’elle avait existé. Née en 1919 à Montréal et décédée en 2001 à Sainte-Marguerite-Estérel, Solange Chaput-Rolland a eu une influence non seulement ici, dans les Laurentides, mais à l’échelle nationale, pancanadienne, à une époque charnière du pays. Comme journaliste émérite, elle écrit des éditoriaux dès les années 1940. Marc Laurendeau la décrit même comme une pionnière du journalisme d’opinion. En 1955, elle fonde le magazine mensuel Point de vue, dans lequel écriront Judith Jasmin et Pierre Bourgault, entre autres. Elle participera à plusieurs journaux, à plusieurs émissions de radio et de télé, tout au long de sa carrière. À sa mort, elle avait publié 25 livres. À la suite de l’élection du Parti québécois en 1976, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, alors premier ministre du Canada, forme la Commission Pépin-Robarts sur l’unité canadienne en 1977. Chaput-Rolland en sera membre et parcourra le pays pendant 2 ans. Dans ses recommandations, le rapport final propose un fédéralisme asymétrique avec le Québec, pour sauver la confédération, ainsi qu’une réduction du pouvoir fédéral au profit des provinces. Les positions de Chaput-Rolland auront une influence importante dans sa rédaction. À l’invitation du chef libéral Claude Ryan, Chaput-Rolland se présentera comme candidate dans la circonscription de Prévost aux élections partielles de 1979. Elle siégera à l’Assemblée nationale jusqu’en 1981, où elle sera défaite par le péquiste Robert Dean. Elle militera activement pour le camp du Non, et sera même conférencière aux rassemblements des Yvettes : un mouvement populaire de femmes opposées à l’indépendance. Brian Mulroney la nommera sénatrice en 1988 et elle siégera à la Chambre haute jusqu’à sa retraite, en 1994. Vous savez comment j’ai découvert Solange Chaput-Rolland? Parce qu’elle était l’épouse d’André Rolland, fils de Jean Rolland, celui qui gérait la papeterie de Mont-Rolland, à Sainte-Adèle. Mais ce sera probablement la dernière chose que je mentionnerai, lorsque je l’inviterai dans mes prochains débats politiques entre amis. « J’ai été déçue parce que la femme n’y a pas encore une place reconnue… Acceptée de la population, oui… Mais à l’intérieur du caucus, c’est plus difficile; à l’intérieur de l’Assemblée nationale, c’est infernal. J’ai les mêmes déceptions que Lise Payette à cause des mêmes choses. Les hommes sont très lents à prendre des décisions, en règle générale. La femme les prend vite. Elle ne les prend peut-être pas mieux que les hommes, mais sa vie de femme, sa vie de mère, sa vie de femme d’intérieur fait que tous les jours elle doit prendre une décision. » Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
From spring through fall, it’s not unusual to find Beck Aurell swinging from limb to limb through the crowns of Island oak, maple or poplar trees. Gear similar to a rock climber’s holds her safely in the tree and she carries a pruning saw or chainsaw at her side. “I might be the only female bodied climbing arborist on PEI,” Beck said, explaining that arborists are tree workers with specialized skills and certifications. They typically focus on managing and taking care of trees in residential areas. She was most recently employed with Laird Tree Care out of Cardigan. While Beck identifies as gender non-binary she is perceived by most as female and is comfortable with she/her or they/them pronouns. This puts her at odds with the majority of people she has worked with in Canada and around the world. Beck loves outdoor, hands-on work and any day she can help preserve the life of a tree is a good day in her opinion. She said making her way into a male dominated field of work wasn’t particularly easy but there were a few things that lifted her up into the treetops. “My dad was very helpful,” she said. Beck’s father owns an arborist business in New Brunswick and encouraged her to challenge herself by climbing in her teens. “It was something fun we did together and he never questioned if I could do it.” While the average arborist seems to be a tall bulky or lean guy, Beck has found smart techniques and tools tend to level the playing field. With a 5 foot 2 inch tall female body, she is stronger than some might expect. Beck said sometimes customers meet her with surprised comments like “Oh, are you doing the work?” or “Where’s the foreman?” when she is the team lead for the day. “It might be hard to believe, but it doesn’t actually take a 6-foot bulky man to transport logs from point A to B, to work hard all day, or to do the work we do efficiently,” she said. Luckily most customers meet her with supportive comments. “Customers that are older women especially seem supportive, I think it might be because they’ve seen so much change over the years.” Beck said local queer and some feminist communities have been a tremendous source of support and their ideas have helped her the whole way through. “Queer communities tend to share the idea, if it feels right for you, break gender expectations without fear or embarrassment, with pride,” she said. “They’ve really showed me there are different ways to be a person that don’t fit specific gender roles.” Beyond that, seeing female arborists in the industry when she worked in Sweden or at events (like women’s arborist skills camps in the US or in iternational arborist climbing competitions) reassured her that she could succeed in this line of work. Co-workers who have welcomed her into group environments and given her the opportunity to do what she is capable of without underestimating her abilities have also played a helpful part. “Most of my co-workers have been great,” Beck said. “Most don’t think twice about having me on the crew and working together, especially once they see I am capable and reliable.” “This means a lot because sometimes it takes a minute for some of the guys to settle with the idea that I’ll be climbing and working on the same level or even as a leader with them. “Sometimes when a crew shows up on a job they’re not expecting a blonde woman in her 20s to be the foreman and there seems to be a bit of an ego thing that can go on. “Sometimes there is some pushback but for the most part, it’s no problem.” Beck said her crew on PEI has been an excellent and fun team to work with. She has some advice for anyone considering a field of work that may seem unusual for their gender. “Don’t be afraid to break expectations and don’t underestimate yourself,” she said. “And if you can’t find anyone supportive, give me a call.” Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
A Montreal man who filed a complaint with Quebec's Human Rights Commission alleging racial profiling by Montreal police says the commission's investigation into the incident was flawed and incomplete. Brian Mann and his girlfriend Tayana Jacques each received $444 tickets for excessive noise and were charged with obstruction of justice after an incident on St-Laurent Boulevard in April 2018. The couple filed a complaint with the commission and, in a decision in January, the commission concluded there was no evidence of profiling. Mann told reporters at an online news conference Thursday the decision was "completely bogus." "It was a complete sham. If you look at what they wrote in the actual report, it doesn't mention anything that we submitted to them, any of the facts," Mann said. He said the commission never interviewed him or Jacques about the incident, or other any other eyewitnesses who came forward. He also said commission investigators never watched a cellphone video that captured part of the incident. The written decision from the commission only makes reference to a single police report as the basis for its conclusion. "It was swept under the rug, taking one police officer's report and blanketing over a whole, very complicated situation," Mann said. Jacques died in an accident in 2019 but Mann is continuing the fight. 'Talking too loudly' Mann and Jacques were walking on St-Laurent on a Saturday morning to get breakfast. They said they were chatting and laughing when two police officers pulled up beside them. The officers told them they were "talking too loudly" and disturbing the peace. Mann said that Jacques was then handcuffed and searched. He said when he questioned why officers were doing that, more officers arrived, threw him to the ground and pepper-sprayed him. The Human Rights Commission said Mann and Jacques refused to identify themselves to officers and that Mann was "aggressive" and resisted arrest. Tayana Jacques, Mann's girlfriend at the time of the incident, passed away after an accident in 2019. Mann said Jacques was determined to proceed with the Human Rights complaint because she believed she and Mann had done nothing wrong.(Verity Stevenson/CBC) The decision also said officers concluded that Mann and Jacques were intoxicated. The eyewitness cellphone video that Mann submitted to the commission doesn't show the lead-up to the arrest, but it does show six officers subduing Mann and throwing him to the ground. Commission accepts police version of events Mann and Jacques alleged that officers overreacted because Jacques was Black, and that Mann was a victim of discrimination by association. The commission disagreed. "The evidence shows the officers had a valid reason to intervene with the suspect (Mann)," the decision said. "The actions of the officers toward the suspect in the pursuit of their intervention, in particular the use of force, were linked, according to the evidence gathered, with his refusal to collaborate, his strong resistance and his aggressiveness," the report says. Although the commission accepted at face value the police contention that Mann was behaving aggressively, that allegation was never tested in court. All charges against Mann and Jacques were eventually dropped. Mann said Thursday that prosecutors tried to make a deal with Jacques before she died, offering to drop the obstruction of justice charge if she'd agree to pay the fine for excessive noise. He said she refused because she believed she and Mann had done nothing wrong. Rushed investigation? Fo Niemi, director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, which assisted Mann with his complaint, said he's worried the commission rushed its investigation. Niemi said the Human Rights Tribunal, which adjudicates cases when recommendations made by the commission aren't followed, has recently thrown out several complaints because of unreasonable delays. Niemi thinks those tossed complaints may have affected the investigation into Mann and Jacques's case. "We're concerned that because of the delays, the commission is fast-tracking its investigation to the point of intentionally omitting evidence that was brought to its attention," Niemi said. Judicial review only recourse Niemi wrote to the head of the Human Rights Commission asking that the commission take another look at Mann's case. The commission responded with a letter explaining that there's no appeal process for its decisions and that Mann's only recourse would be to seek a judicial review of the decision in Quebec Superior Court. Niemi noted that legal fees for such a review can be high but Mann insisted he wants to go ahead with it. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have this case reopened or reheard," Mann said. Brian Mann speaks to reporters via Zoom Thursday. Mann said the Human Rights Commission's decision tarnishes his reputation because it leaves the impression that he did something wrong.(CBC News) "I'll find the money, it's not a problem. Who cares about money? This is about what's right and what's wrong," he said, noting that it's what Jacques wanted before she died. Mann said he's also concerned the commission's decision leaves the impression that he did something wrong, despite all charges against him being dropped. "It tarnishes my reputation, it makes me feel like I'm not protected by the Human Rights Commission, which is mandated to review things like this," Mann said. Commission insists investigation 'rigorous, impartial' A spokesperson for the commission told CBC in an email that it couldn't comment on the case because of confidentiality. "We can state however that the Commission's investigative work is done rigorously and impartially, in accordance with our guidelines," the email said. The guidelines include collecting all relevant information necessary to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the dispute to court. The guidelines also state that the decision on whether the evidence is sufficient is a "discretionary administrative decision." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
REGINA — The Saskatchewan government has shot a boost of optimism into its fight against COVID-19, announcing it will join other provinces by delaying the second dose of vaccines to speed up immunizations. Speaking Thursday at a news conference with other premiers, Premier Scott Moe said people will get their second shot up to four months after the first, which falls in line with a recent recommendation from Canada's national immunization committee. Alberta, Manitoba and other provinces made similar announcements after British Columbia first said Monday it was moving to a four-month delay. The shift comes as health experts point to people being well protected against the novel coronavirus with a first dose, noting the country faces a limited supply of vaccines. "The benefits are tremendous," Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said during a briefing. "We can emerge out of the pandemic three months earlier than we had anticipated. With a two-dose program, it would have taken us till September. Now we can vaccinate everyone 18 and older as early as June." Provincial health officials said that starting Friday, staff will only be giving first shots. The change will not apply to people who have appointments booked to receive a second dose, long-term care residents and staff, as well as those in personal care homes. Shahab said since vaccinations started in long-term care homes, there have been fewer outbreaks and infections in the facilities. To date, about 84,000 vaccinations have been done in Saskatchewan out of the roughly 400,000 shots needed to inoculate residents 70 and older and health-care workers at risk of COVID-19 exposure. Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said he expects most of these vaccinations under the first stage of the province's immunization program will be finished in early April. He also asked for patience, as the authority has to adjust how it delivers vaccines with the new four-month window between doses. Saskatchewan reported 169 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Thursday. The province of 1.1 million people also continues to lead the country with the highest rate of active cases per capita in Canada. Moe said earlier in the week that delaying the second dose of vaccine would be a game-changer for how long public-health restrictions need to stay in place. The current order is in effect until March 19. Shahab said decisions about what rules might be relaxed could come next week. "I know it's been very hard for people not to be able meet each other in their houses," he said. "In the past, we did have, you know, two to three households as a bubble of up to ten. So that's something that we're looking at." The Ministry of Health also said it would use 15,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on people aged 60 to 64 and certain health-care workers. A national panel has recommended it not be used on seniors. The province said these vaccinations will start later this month and eligible residents will be able to book an appointment by phone through a system that is expected to launch next week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Canada's premiers are demanding that Ottawa immediately give them an extra $28 billion for health care this year, with a promise of at least a five-per-cent hike in the annual transfer payment each year thereafter.
Premiers say federal COVID-19 vaccine procurement delays have left them no choice but to stretch out the time between doses, as pharmacies in some parts of Ontario were preparing to start giving shots next week. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that he had asked chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw some time ago to take a serious look into allowing a four-month gap between shots after seeing "tremendous" results in the United Kingdom and Israel. He said an outbreak driven by a new, more transmissible COVID-19 variant started at a seniors' home in Edmonton on Monday just as residents were supposed to be receiving their vaccines. "They should have been vaccinated weeks ago, like they were in similar settings in the United States, Israel, the U.K. and many, many other countries," he said following a virtual premiers' meeting. "This is extremely frustrating and I think we have no choice but to expand the interval to get more people covered." British Columbia announced Monday that it would be allowing up to four months between doses. Several other provinces followed suit after a national panel of vaccine experts recommended Wednesday that such an extension would be appropriate if supplies are limited. Labels of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines call for a three or four-week gap between doses. Research has shown one dose is 70 to 80 per cent effective for up to two months, but it's unclear how long protection lasts beyond that. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Thursday his province is moving to the four-month interval because the federal government has done a "disappointing job at best" in quickly getting vaccines to provinces. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister added: "Let's face it: this strategy has become necessary as a consequence of an absence of vaccines." A Health Canada official said Thursday that a decision on Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine could come "within days." It would be the fourth to be approved, following ones from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Ottawa's vaccine rollout, told a media briefing that nearly three million doses have been distributed to the provinces and territories so far. "In April, we're anticipating a steep increase in vaccine availability," he said. That includes 23 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines between April and June and at least 1.5 million of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by mid-May. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said many of the Oxford-AstraZeneca doses the province receives will go to pharmacies for a pilot program beginning next week. The Ontario Pharmacists Association said about 380 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex will be doling out shots initially. A similar program in Alberta began with pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary this week. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax. Health officials in the Atlantic province said rules that came into effect last week limiting restaurant hours, prohibiting sports events and discouraging non-essential travel will end Friday morning in the capital region. Nova Scotia reported three new cases Thursday and 29 active ones. Ontario, meanwhile, recorded 994 new infections, almost four per cent higher than the previous report, but the third straight day below 1,000. It also linked 10 more deaths to the virus. Quebec said it had 707 new cases, along with 20 additional deaths. It is easing restrictions in Quebec City and four other regions starting Monday, but keeping them in place in the Montreal area due to concern over variants. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — COVID-19 infections rose sharply in Arviat on Thursday, but Nunavut's top doctor said there is no sign of uncontrolled spread and numbers are declining overall. The community on the western shore of Hudson Bay tallied 10 new illnesses to bring the active case count to 14. Arviat's population of about 2,800 has been under a strict lockdown since November. Schools and non-essential businesses are closed and travel is restricted. A state of emergency was declared Feb. 24 and there's a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said there is no evidence of community transmission. "If things continue on this way, we can look at working with the hamlet to ease some of the measures next week," he said. Arviat is the only place in the territory where COVID-19 is active. It has had higher numbers than anywhere else in Nunavut since the pandemic began — 325 of 369 total cases. Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq, who is from Arviat, said the overall weekly decline is "still encouraging." Last week, there were 25 cases. "We should expect that case numbers will vary day to day," he said. Two COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been held in Arviat. The second one was dedicated to administering second doses. Patterson said there is no evidence of "vaccine failure" in Arviat. "A failure ... would be getting new COVID (cases) two weeks or more after a vaccination." Health experts say it takes about 14 days for the COVID-19 vaccines to take effect. Patterson said his department is not releasing community-specific vaccination numbers and would not say how many people in Arviat have been vaccinated. To date, 8,628 of Nunavut's 39,000 residents have received one dose of the vaccine and 5,125 have had two shots. The territory has received 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine so far. Nunavut's original goal was to have its vaccine rollout completed by the end of March, but Patterson said that will be extended into April. The territory initially faced some delays in vaccine shipments, he said. "As the vaccine supply ramps up, we're now into the stage where that's no longer an issue. Staff will be able to go much faster and much more efficiently starting now." John Main, Arviat's member of the legislature, is urging the government to provide isolation spaces for infected residents who live in overcrowded housing This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
A number of COVID-19 scams are cropping up across Canada, targeting people and telling them they can jump to the front of the vaccination line if they pay. Miranda Anthistle spoke with security and financial experts about how to protect one’s self and others from falling victim to one of these scams.