Many Americans think of Roe v. Wade as the defining Supreme Court decision on the issue of abortion. What were the costs that persuaded these justices to affirm a prior—potentially erroneous—constitutional decision?
Many Americans think of Roe v. Wade as the defining Supreme Court decision on the issue of abortion. What were the costs that persuaded these justices to affirm a prior—potentially erroneous—constitutional decision?
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La COVID-19 a emporté 89 Ontariens, mardi, portant le bilan total des décès causés par le virus à 5568 en province. La même journée, le décès de 60 résidents de foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD) lié au coronavirus a été déclaré. La province a enregistré 2655 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19, mardi, portant le total du nombre de cas à 244 932 depuis le début de la pandémie. Mardi, 1598 Ontariens atteints du virus étaient hospitalisés, dont 395 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 296 étaient sous respirateur. Dans les FSLD, 137 résidents et 57 employés ont reçu un résultat positif à la COVID-19, mardi. Au cours de la dernière journée, 13 784 personnes ont roulé leur manche pour recevoir une dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. Ce nombre risque de diminuer au cours des prochains jours en raison du manque d’approvisionnement de la compagnie pharmaceutique Pfizer. En tout, 237 918 doses du vaccin ont été administrées en Ontario, et 32 361 Ontariens ont maintenant reçu leurs deux doses nécessaires du vaccin.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
The Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) has extended the local state of emergency for the Nass Valley following a unanimous decision from the NLG executive. The state of local emergency was first declared on Jan. 12, as COVID-19 cases continued to climb. The NLG has not yet released the new timeline or said when the extension is set to end. ALSO READ: Nisga’a Lisims Government declares state of local emergency “We should not visit other homes for any reason,” said a Jan. 20 NLG media release. “Doing so jeopardizes the health and well-being of all — especially our elderly population and those that are vulnerable due to other health conditions.” The local state of emergency restricts travel between Nisga’a villages, prohibits any gatherings, implements security monitoring and can result in fines for people found to be in contravention of provincial or Nisga’a orders. As of Jan. 20, there are 21 active COVID-19 cases in the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority, and there have been 90 positive tests since Dec. 28, 2020. Nineteen results are pending and 159 people have tested negative for COVID-19 out of 268 total tests. ALSO READ: Nisga’a Valley Health prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority had been expecting to receive a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine around the start of the week, but was notified Monday morning that the delivery would be delayed due to a province-wide disruption in shipments. READ MORE: B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Curiosity about a free newspaper in his mailbox turned into surprise when former St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe found his name printed inside — in a story that said he, along with the mayor of Calgary and other officials, was a target of interest for the Chinese Communist Party. "I couldn't believe it," said O'Keefe outside his St. John's home while holding a recent copy of the Epoch Times, which was distributed this month for free to households in the region. "I mean, I've had a lot of surprises in my life, believe me. But this one really takes the cake." The article said O'Keefe's name was found in a 2019 document that came from the Foreign Affairs Office in Daqing, a city in northeastern China. The paper said it obtained the document that included names "spanning a wide range of sectors and countries in which the Chinese regime seeks to cultivate talent." O'Keefe retired as mayor before the 2017 municipal election. "It's just inexplicable," said O'Keefe who called the article "terribly misleading," and said nobody from the Epoch Times contacted him for comment. The Epoch Times has been distributing free copies of its paper throughout Canada over the course of the last year in an effort to grow subscribers. The newspaper has often been controversial for publishing articles that promote unfounded conspiracy theories, some of them embraced by alt-right groups, and many of them about China. The newspaper has, for instance, promoted the belief that the novel coronavirus was produced in a lab in China, and that the American deep state stole November's presidential election from Donald Trump. What is the Epoch Times? The Epoch Times started 20 years ago in what the paper called a "response to communist repression and censorship in China." The paper is headquartered in New York and says it operates in 22 languages in 36 countries. Simon van Zuylen-Wood, a New York based journalist who recently did a deep dive on the paper's embrace of Donald Trump for The Atlantic magazine, said the paper has found favour with the conspiratorial strains of the American right wing. His Atlantic article was called "MAGA-land's Favorite Newspaper," with the subhead, "How the Epoch Times became a pro-Trump propaganda machine in an age of plague and insurrection." In a phone interview with CBC News, Zuylen-Wood called the Epoch Times a fast-growing newspaper that changed tack in the Trump era. He said what makes it unique is that it's backed and run by members of the Falun Gong sect — a spiritual movement that was persecuted and banned by the Chinese government in the late 1990s. The paper's connection to the Falun Gong has been widely reported in mainstream publications, including CBC News. When Trump ran for president, the paper saw that for "the first time in decades a major party's presidential nominee was running an overtly protectionist campaign, with China in his crosshairs." He wrote the "Falun Gong came to see Trump as a kind of killer angel, summoned from heaven to smite the Chinese government." The article goes on to say "The Epoch Times ramped up its spending on Facebook ads and hitched its wagon to the 45th president." That hitch has also proven lucrative. Van Zuylen-Wood said the paper's revenues have quadrupled in the last four years. The paper also has a large online presence. A recent NBC News report said the Epoch Times now has one of the biggest social media followings of any news outlet. Van Zuylen-Wood says the paper has become one the "leading purveyors of content suggesting that the American election was stolen." He noted it also prints recipes, lifestyle stories and wellness tips. "So it's a strange mix of pedestrian and often kind of irrelevant news and then sort of hard right, often sort of conspiratorially laced content," he said. 'Utter nonsense' concerns resident That mix is what worries Lesley Burgess about the paper she found in her St. John's mailbox recently. She is among those who have voiced their concerns on social media about the paper and its content. "It has all these kinds of health and lifestyle stories woven in with all of this misinformation, basically," said Burgess. She said she had heard about the paper before but it wasn't until she looked through that she realized there was "utter nonsense" everywhere. CBC's request for comment from the Epoch Times has gone unanswered. "If you don't know any better, you might think this is a run-of-the-mill paper. And I think that's really dangerous," Burgess said. Kurt Phillips, a board member with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, has been following the subscription drive of the Epoch Times. He said the paper's content is of concern because it keeps disseminating disinformation about conspiracy theories on the far right such as "Spygate" and QAnon. Phillips said he's seeing stories from the paper shared in some mainstream conservative circles, which has the potential to radicalize people with misinformation. "It is contributing to an ever-growing divide between reality and a fictionalized version of the world that is especially dehumanizing and dangerous," he said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Forest areas in Jasper and close to it are being thinned to reduce the risk of wildfire. Crews from Landmark Solutions Ltd. started work in November. This is part of the FireSmart Forest Fuel Reduction Project, a partnership between the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada. “It has to be done in the winter because of the impact on the ground and safety in burning piles,” said Greg Van Tighem, director of protective services for the Municipality of Jasper, and a project manager alongside Landon Shepherd with Parks Canada. Van Tighem emphasized it’s important not to disturb the understory, the layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy, as the ground has to be frozen. “(The crews) deal with the understory and the bigger trees,” he said. “They’re targeting the mountain pine beetle-killed trees.” Alan Westhaver, a former Park warden, runs ForestWise Environmental Consulting Ltd. and develops the prescription for each Fire Management Unit (FMU). “Parks Canada provides a surveillance officer, Christine Brown, to monitor the work (including) the criteria of FireSmart prescription on a daily basis and adhering to environmental requirements,” Van Tighem said. “Each unit is different in the prescription.” There are seven units and nine subunits in the project that cover a total of 27.5 hectares. This includes the industrial area, places around the municipality and Parks Canada compounds and the Lake Annette/Lake Edith day-use areas. “Our objective is to provide a higher level of safety to the community in the event of a wildfire, so we reduce the fuel located around the community and the infrastructure that surrounds the community,” Van Tighem said. Portions of some units have been completed. Van Tighem said work will continue until the ground begins to thaw and snow starts to melt in March. The trees cut down in some of the units are used for firewood. With a $10 fire permit, folks can pick up the wood onsite. “It’s a way to reduce waste,” Van Tighem added. Since the early ‘90s, FireSmart Canada has worked to reduce the risk that wildfires present to populated areas by facilitating interagency co-operation to promote education and awareness. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
LOS ANGELES — An attorney for “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty on his behalf Wednesday to the rapes of three women in the early 2000s. Defence lawyer Tom Mesereau entered the plea for Masterson, who was not present in court, to three charges of rape by force or fear in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The frequently delayed hearing coincided with the inauguration in Washington of President-elect Joe Biden, resulting in far less media attention than Masterson’s initial court appearance in June. His arraignment has been postponed several times since. Prosecutors have alleged that Masterson, 44, who has been free on bond since his June 17 arrest, raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003. All of the alleged rapes happened at his Hollywood Hills home. Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted. Mesereau, whose previous clients have included Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, said in court in June that the charges were the result of unfair hype from media outlets and political pressure to prosecute his client. The lawyer said his team would prove that Masterson is not guilty. Masterson’s arrest came after a three-year investigation that resulted in the rare prosecution of a famous Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era. Despite dozens of investigations, most have led to no charges based on lack of evidence or too much time having passed since the alleged sexual assaults. The alleged rapes happened at the height of Masterson’s fame as he starred as Steven Hyde on Fox TV's retro sitcom “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006 alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
Tous les producteurs laitiers recevront une correspondance sur les modalités du deuxième paiement liées à leurs quotas de production, a annoncé la ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Agroalimentaire, Marie-Claude Bibeau. Ils doivent au préalable s’inscrire au Programme de paiement direct auprès de la Commission canadienne du lait avant le 31 mars. Marie-Claude Bibeau a confirmé les paiements lors d’une rencontre avec des producteurs sous gestion de l’offre du Sud-Ouest de la Montérégie au Québec, et notamment de Vaudreuil, Hudson, Rigaud, Magog, Brome et Granby, en compagnie des députés Brenda Shanahan, Peter Schiefke et Lyne Besette des circonscriptions respectives de Châteauguay–Lacolle, de Vaudreuil–Soulanges et de Brome-Missisquoi. «La production laitière est un pilier de nos régions rurales… Nous continuerons à veiller à ce que nos producteurs sous gestion de l’offre disposent des outils nécessaires à leur réussite pour les générations à venir», a plaidé la ministre dans un communiqué. Les versements au titre de l’indemnisation «complète et équitable» des producteurs laitiers estimée à 1,75 milliard de dollars s’étendra sur une période de 4 ans et non plus 8 comme l’avait annoncé Ottawa en 2019. Le gouvernement fédéral a promis le 28 novembre dernier qu’ils recevront 468 millions de dollars en 2020-2021, 469 millions de dollars en 2021-2022 et 468 millions de dollars en 2022-2023. Ces producteurs sont indemnisés à la suite des concessions faites dans le cadre de l’Accord économique et commercial global entre le Canada et l’Union européenne (AECG) et de l’Accord de partenariat transpacifique global et progressiste (PTPGC). Ottawa a annoncé qu’il avait entamé des consultations auprès des représentants des industries du poulet, des œufs, du dindon et des œufs d’incubation sur l’élaboration de programmes de compensation sur dix ans, assortis d’un budget de 691 millions de dollars, que la ministre Bibeau a aussi annoncés en novembre 2020. «Les producteurs de Brome-Missisquoi s’attendent à ce que nous les appuyions, notamment avec les compensations pleines et entières annoncées en novembre. Nous sommes à leur écoute et nous continuons à travailler étroitement avec eux afin de leur offrir les meilleures conditions pour favoriser leur succès», a plaidé Mme Bessette. Entre décembre 2019 et janvier 2020, plus de 10 000 producteurs laitiers ont reçu un paiement en espèces, totalisant 345 millions de dollars. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says he's rethinking his role on an all-party COVID-19 committee because of inconsistent pandemic guidelines that he is finding hard to justify to New Brunswickers. Austin said the recent watering down of red-phase restrictions, and the lack of information being provided to opposition party leaders, causes him to question the value of the committee. "That is something that frankly I have thought about," he said. "At what point do you throw up your hands and walk away?" The Alliance leader said he's not ready to quit yet but his support for the committee is "waning." And he said that's in part because it's difficult for opposition parties to both have a role in recommendations and at the same oppose COVID-19 policies they disagree with. "I'm honoured to be on the committee, and to be able to speak and to be a part of the discussion that happens … but at the same time, as opposition parties we have to have the flexibility to speak when we don't agree." He is also questioning whether moving four health zones to the red phase of restrictions this week was necessary. "I think we should have stuck it out in orange for a bit longer and see where we can go from there." Premier Blaine Higgs struck the all-party committee last March, the same week the first case of COVID-19 appeared in New Brunswick. It includes Higgs, key ministers and the leaders of the three opposition parties in the legislature. I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. - Kris Austin, People's Alliance leader Higgs had a minority government at the time and the committee was a way for the government to present a unified public health message to New Brunswickers that would not be undermined by partisan bickering. The premier kept the committee in place even after he won a majority in last September's election and told CBC News he hopes Austin won't break from the consensus. "It's important that we stay together as a team in our cabinet committee," he said. "This is no time after a successful 10 months to have diverse opinions in the public." But Austin said he's increasingly disenchanted with how the body works and is calling for "a real reset of this committee to determine how it's going to be done better." It has no decision-making power but gives feedback and advice on various COVID-19 measures. Only the actual Progressive Conservative cabinet has the power to approve pandemic measures. Higgs says though that the three opposition parties are getting "all the information" that he is given as premier by Public Health officials. "There's nothing new or different from what I'm presented." Consensus not always reached This isn't the first time cracks have appeared in the consensus. Last spring Green Party Leader David Coon broke ranks with Higgs over restrictions on temporary foreign workers that were later rescinded. At the time, Coon complained that the confidentiality oath taken by him and the other party leaders prevented him from discussing publicly what concerns he raised about the decision in the committee. And this week Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said the committee was given little notice of the change to red-phase rules to allow schools to stay open, a shift that Education Minister Dominic Cardy said had been in the works for some time. Austin said he supports schools staying open but questioned why the red-phase rules were being changed now. Consistency is the key to giving New Brunswickers confidence in COVID-19 measures, he said. But now the government is talking for the first time this week about a new, stricter lockdown phase beyond red. "I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. But now red seems to be another version of orange. Schools are remaining open, and yet we're targeting churches and hair salons." Among other rules in the red phase, only drive-in religious services are allowed, salons, gyms and entertainment centres must close, and restaurants are not allowed to provide in-housing dining. Higgs said keeping schools open is the only change to the red rules and described it as "a bridge" between red and orange restrictions. "The challenge becomes that we're all a bit frustrated with where we are now .. and how far do we go to shut this down?" The Alliance leader said he gets calls from New Brunswickers asking him, as a member of the committee, to explain certain decisions, but without "relevant, specific information" it's often hard to justify them. Austin's riding is part of Zone 3, which saw one new case on Tuesday when it was put in the red phase. The zone had a single new case again Wednesday. "People can't grasp that," he said, and it's made more difficult when he isn't even told where in the zone — which stretches from Minto and Chipman all the way to Perth-Andover and Plaster Rock — the cases are located. Higgs says he understands Austin is getting pushback and believes it's a reflection of rising case numbers. "In two weeks time, if this absolutely turns around, everybody's going to be thankful we made the moves we did. And if it doesn't turn around, people are going be saying 'do more.'"
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
COMMUNAUTÉ. C’est finalement un montant de 40 235 $ qui aura été amassé via Gofundme afin de créer une bourse d’études pour Jacob, le fils de l’urgentologue Karine Dion. «Je suis vraiment émue. Je pensais faire une petite campagne pour mon hôpital, mais c’est tout le Québec qui est solidaire pour aider Jacob et honorer la mémoire Karine», constate avec reconnaissance la Dre Geneviève Simard-Racine qui s’était d’abord fixé un objectif de 10 000 $ à recueillir pour créer une bourse d’études pour le fils de son amie. «Il y a eu aussi le 13 janvier, en soirée, un parcours commémoratif dans l’hôpital de Granby. Nos gens pouvaient se recueillir et déposer une étoile dans un cadre. Il y avait également un livre qui sera remis à David, le conjoint de Karine, où l’on pouvait laisser un mot», rapporte-t-elle. À son tour, la Dre Simard-Racine a invité «les aidants à accepter de se faire aider». Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.View on euronews
Last week, junior hockey teams scored $4 million in funding from the province to help get them through the pandemic. While that's good news for the hockey teams, there are those that are wondering where the funding help is for the arts. "I was taken aback that our government would shovel $4 million toward hockey," Brent Ghiglione told The Afternoon Edition's Garth Materie. Ghiglione, the director of bands at the University of Regina, said he voiced his concerns in a letter to Laura Ross, minister of Parks, Culture and Sport. On Friday, the provincial government announced $3 million in funding for Saskatchewan's five Western Hockey League teams and $1 million for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a statement that the hockey funding was done because junior hockey teams are a big part of the cultural fabric and local economies in Saskatchewan. "Really? It's a sport. How is this cultural?" asked Ghiglione. He'd like to see similar investments for things like music, visual arts and theatre. "There are lots of awesome organizations and musicians and artists in our province that are trying to figure out where their mortgage is coming from," he said. "And yet they can shovel off $4 million over to hockey so that they will be able to survive the pandemic." He said the cultural backbone of the community is the artists and the films and musicians. "I mean, how many freelance musicians are starving right now? "It's sickening. I'm not a hockey hater. I like sports. And I totally respect it. But it's sports. These are young, young men and ladies, I'm guessing, that are doing sport. And we've got people that can't pay their mortgage." For example, Ghiglione said, the Regina Symphony is playing small concerts in churches just to stay afloat. "I just think it's so short sighted by the government to only pick on one segment of our society. I mean, is the money going to go to the people that, you know, have the ear of the government? The government's supposed to be looking out for everyone." CBC has reached out to the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport for a response but have not received a reply.
OTTAWA — The economy will go in reverse for the first quarter of 2021, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday as it kept its key interest rate on hold, warning the hardest-hit workers will be hammered again on a path to a recovery that rests on the rollout of vaccines.Workers in high-contact service industries will carry the burden of a new round of lockdowns, which the central bank warned will exacerbate the pandemic’s uneven effects on the labour market.The longer restrictions remain in place, the more difficult it may be for these workers to find new jobs since the majority move to a new job but in the same industry. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said in his opening remarks at a late-morning news conference that the first-quarter decline could be worse than expected if restrictions are tightened or extended.The central bank kept its key rate on hold at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday, citing near-term weakness and the "protracted nature of the recovery" in its reasoning.The short-term pain is expected to give way to a brighter outlook for the medium-term with vaccines rolling out sooner than the central bank expected.Still, the bank said in its updated economic outlook, a full recovery from COVID-19 will take some time. Nor does the Bank of Canada see inflation returning to its two per cent target until 2023, one year longer than previously forecast, and the bank's key rate is likely to stay low until then.Overall, there is reason to be more optimistic about the economy in the medium-term, but it will still need extraordinary help from governments and the central bank to get there, Macklem said.The bank’s latest monetary policy report, which lays out its expectations for economic growth and inflation, forecast that COVID-19 caused the economy to contract by 5.5 per cent last year.Despite an upswing over the summer and fall that may have spared the country from a worst-case economic scenario, the drive to a recovery will hit a pothole over the first three months of 2021.The bank forecasts real gross domestic product to contract at an annual pace of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, before improving thereafter if severe restrictions start easing in February.The bank expects growth of four per cent overall for 2021, then 4.8 per cent next year, and 2.5 per cent in 2023.Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, was more dour on lockdowns, saying the group doesn't expect them to ease until well into March."During this period, we need to provide the right kind of support to individual Canadians and to businesses to get them through the lockdowns, recognizing that neither group is in the same financial position as it was in March 2020," he said in a statement.For the central bank, that help could come through ramping up its bond-buying to force down interest rates, or a small cut to its key policy rate among options Macklem mentioned Wednesday.Keeping the door open to such a "micro" rate change is a shift in tone, as Macklem has previously said the current 0.25 rate is as low as it would go.The bank said the path for the economy will be like riding a roller-coaster as resurgence in COVID-19, or new, more virulent strains, weigh down a recovery in one quarter before leading to strong upswing in the next.Inflation may be equally rocky.Gasoline prices, which have weighed down the consumer price index during the pandemic, will by March be “well above their lows of a year earlier,” the bank’s report said. That should significantly bump inflation, the report said, possibly to two per cent in the second quarter.The bump will even out over the rest of the year. The bank forecasts inflation for 2021 at 1.6 per cent, then 1.7 per cent in 2022 and 2.1 per cent in 2023.Statistics Canada reported Wednesday the annual pace of inflation cooled in December to 0.7 per cent compared with 1.0 per cent in November. The agency also reported that the average last month of Canada's three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures and closely tracked by the Bank of Canada, was 1.57 per cent.The central bank’s lookahead rests on efforts to vaccinate Canadians by the end of the year without any hiccups in that timeline, which would mean broad immunity six months sooner than the bank previously assumed."It's going to be very important that Canada get the vaccines, we get them distributed to Canadians and that Canadians take the vaccine," Macklem said.A shorter timeline for vaccinations should mean less scarring overall for the economy in the form of fewer bankruptcies and fewer workers out of jobs for long stretches, which makes it more difficult for them to get back into the labour force.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the first quarter decline in real gross domestic product was 2.9 per cent.
OTTAWA — The head of the Ontario Medical Association says dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is spreading on social media among all age groups. The association's analysis of more than 65,000 recent online posts in Ontario shows that conspiracy theories about the origin of the novel coronavirus and fears that vaccines are dangerous and untested run particularly rampant among people under the age of 35. Dr. Samantha Hill says any delay to vaccinating Canadians will cost lives, whether it stems from untruths that dissuade people from getting a shot in the arm or current issues slowing down delivery of doses to Canada. Canada's small supply of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech will shrink even more over the next four weeks as the company slows production while upgrading its facility in Belgium. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't doing enough to pressure Pfizer to limit the effect on Canada and is urging him to get company CEO Albert Bourla on the phone right away. A Trudeau spokesman says they will not confirm who Trudeau has spoken to about the matter, and will not negotiate in public. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Joseph R. Biden is the 46th President of the United States. Here's what that means for Canada and the world.
CALGARY — The lawyer for a teen charged with first-degree murder in the hit-and-run death of a Calgary police officer says it will likely be a difficult case because of the high level of scrutiny it is already generating. Kaysi Fagan spoke to reporters at the conclusion of a two-day bail hearing Wednesday for her client, who was 17 at the time Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed on Dec. 31 and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Police have said Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV after noticing its plates didn't match its registration. They allege the accused youth was driving the vehicle and a 19-year-old man, also charged with first-degree murder, was a passenger. "Certainly any time there's a death, whether it be an officer or a member of the public, certainly it's more difficult. The exposure's greater, the attention is greater, scrutiny is greater," Fagan said. She said the fact that Harnett was a police officer, killed in the line of duty, will add to the divisiveness when it eventually goes to trial. "When the police kill someone it takes a year to investigate it, maybe there's charges laid, maybe there aren't. Here's we've got a first-degree murder charge laid against a youth within 12 hours. So I think it's a bit of a double standard," Fagan said. "Certainly the fact an officer was killed here is concerning to the public and obviously it's going to be very divisive." Youth court Judge Steve Lipton has reserved his decision on bail for the teen suspect until Jan. 28. Crown Prosecutor Doug Taylor is opposed to his release. "The young person ought to be detained for both the safety and the protection of the public, and to maintain confidence in the administration of justice," Taylor said. He told court Tuesday that the Crown will seek an adult sentence for the youth if he's convicted. That would mean life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 10 years. The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman, is to appear in court on Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Controversial MP Derek Sloan was kicked out of the Conservative caucus Wednesday, a move party leader Erin O'Toole said was due to a "pattern of destructive behaviour" that had become a distraction. O'Toole's acknowledgment that Sloan's dismissal was not solely over a donation he'd taken from a white nationalist came after hours of heated debate within caucus that saw MPs castigate both Sloan for his record and O'Toole for how he'd handled the issue. Sloan said he will now sit as an Independent and will continue to fight for conservatives voices. "No matter how ugly — how undemocratic — the events of the last two days have been, always remember that the Conservative Party of Canada is not the personal property of Erin O’Toole, nor is it the personal property of the cabal that surrounds him," he wrote. O'Toole had formally triggered the effort to boot Sloan after revelations Monday that Sloan accepted a donation last year from a known white nationalist, news that broke one day after O'Toole declared there's no room in his party for far-right extremism or racism. Sloan claimed he was not aware of the donation previously, and as soon as he learned of it, asked the party to return the money. But Sloan's extreme socially conservative views had been a thorn in the party's side and there had been mounting pressure on O'Toole to kick him out. During his 15 months as an MP, Sloan has faced accusations he's racist, drawn condemnation for his views on LGBTQ rights and for his anti-abortion stance, all leading to periodic calls he be tossed from the party's benches. "I’ve worked well with many social conservatives in our party over the years. They are welcome in our party, but Derek Sloan’s behaviour is not," wrote former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird on social media this week. That O'Toole initially billed the decision to oust him as being based on the donation was a source of frustration for many MPs. Any one of them, in theory, could have accepted and overlooked a similar contribution as vetting the pedigree of each contributor would be impossible. Several told O'Toole during the meeting he had to come clean about why Sloan was getting the boot, otherwise he was setting too high a bar for them all. "“The Conservative caucus voted to remove Derek Sloan not because of one specific event, but because of a pattern of destructive behaviour involving multiple incidents and disrespect towards the Conservative team for over a year," O'Toole said in his statement after the meeting, "These actions have been a consistent distraction from our efforts to grow the party and focus on the work we need to do. Events of the past week were simply the last straw and led to our caucus making the decision it did today." O'Toole won leadership of the party, however, partially on the strength of Sloan's supporters, and he took pains Wednesday to try to assuage concerns the move was meant as a swipe at them. “I did not vote to remove Derek Sloan from our caucus because he is a social conservative. We have members of Parliament of deep compassion and unmatched character, who like many Canadians, draw strength from their faith," he said. "The Conservative party is a big tent that is reflective of all Canadians." But the most recent knock against Sloan was his effort to mobilize supporters to participate in a Conservative policy convention in March. The party is investigating whether his use of robocalls to get people to register for the convention runs afoul of telecommunications regulations. His use of the party's membership list to encourage delegates to register also ruffled feathers and is under review and the party has said he's been unco-operative in that process. While socially conservative groups are traditionally quite active at Conservative conventions, their ranks swelled during the leadership race, given both Sloan's and Leslyn Lewis's campaigns explicitly targeted those constituencies. With strong enough numbers, resolutions they want to advance have a better chance of passing, including one that would delete a policy pledging that a Conservative government will not regulate abortion. That in turn would jeopardize O'Toole's efforts to present the party as more centrist. In his email Wednesday, Sloan urged his backers not to give up, a spirit echoed by the Campaign Life Coalition, which accused O'Toole of trying to deflate people's enthusiasm. "Don't give O'Toole exactly what he wants," the coalition's Jack Fonseca wrote in the email. "We are so close to winning at the convention that even if Derek gets expelled, we need to stay engaged in the convention to make the party more socially conservative in its policy declaration." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
High school students who identify as Indigenous are earning more credits with the new learning system being used by District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1), according to the board's data. In September, the public board implemented a new learning model, called octomester, designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce student-to-student contacts. Last year, students would take four courses a day each semester. With the new system, secondary school students, who opted for in-class learning, focus on one course for about 22 days. There are eight rotations in a school year. “What we are noticing for all our students and particularly our students who identify as Indigenous, they’re earning credit more than they did last year. And that’s specific to students who come to school, our in-person learners,” said Lesleigh Dye, DSB1 director of education. In 2019-2020, 68 per cent of students who identify as Indigenous earned all of their credits. So far this year, 80 per cent of students who identify as Indigenous and who are learning in-person have achieved their credits. “Those are significant rates for us. That’s because of the hard work of our students, our teachers, our Indigenous Student Advisors and our principals and vice-principals,” Dye said. During the month of February, the board’s superintendent of learning and teaching Kristen Niemi will gather feedback from teachers, students, principals and vice-principals about the octomester model. “We know from our data that our students are being far more successful in terms of attaining their credit, so we’re going to be looking at what is the best possible model as we move forward,” Dye said. “The one-period day, there are some comments that it’s a long day for students and teachers. There are some boards that are using the two-period day, or known as the quadmester, so that might be something we explore. We also have to plan based on the direction of the ministry … and we’ll also follow the guidance of our two health units.” Compared to in-person learning, the percentage of students who earned their credit via distance learning is lower. In rotations one and two, 55 per cent of Indigenous students earned their credit with distance learning. After rotation three, the number sat at 47 per cent. “We have a lot of work to do. Those rates are far lower, and we’re putting a number of supports in place for those students,” Dye said. The supports include child and youth workers, Indigenous Student Advisors, staff individually reaching out to students and connecting or providing them with community resources. “Being a student who is learning online all day is challenging for our students. And we’re thinking of different ways of making it interesting, exciting and supporting to the learner,” she said. The board has also introduced a new Grade 11 English course, called Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices. The average pass rate of all students who took the course during the first rotation is 91.5 per cent. The second rotation had an average pass rate of 95.5 per cent, while in rotation three the rate was at 78 per cent. “Our students are being incredibly successful at passing the course, and the feedback from our students is that they’re really enjoying the course,” Dye said. The course will be offered next year as part of the board's commitment to honour Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, Dye said. “We’re incredibly proud. That speaks of the hard work of the classroom teachers using resources that are provided to them and really tapping into the students’ strength and how they engage the students in the learning.” Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
CALGARY — Increasingly uncomfortable with a shrinking timeline, the world governing body of skiing halted Calgary's pursuit of the world freestyle and snowboard championships next month. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard were working feverishly on plans to host the event Feb. 24 to March 14 at Canada Olympic Park, with the first of roughly 500 athletes due to arrive Feb. 15. Calgary would have been stand-in host city. China was the original site of the 2021 championships doubling as test events for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The logistics of holding an international, multi-disciplinary snow-sport championship amid the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately caused China to give up on it. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard were in fruitful discussions with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, but the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) could no longer tolerate the uncertainty with the clock ticking down, said Freestyle Canada chief executive officer Peter Judge. "There was a just an increasing discomfort from the FIS side around the duration it was taking and the uncertainty of what it might look like on the other side," he told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "We had a good plan, but in this day and age, there's just no certainty. FIS was looking for that certainty." FIS had tentatively scheduled Calgary as world championship host with a "to be confirmed." Athletes would have quarantined upon arrival with regular testing before being able to train in cohorts. "This isn't on the province. It's not their fault," Judge said. "Alberta Health and the authorities are doing their job. Just because we're having an event, there's bigger things in play. "It's disappointing. We thought we could make it all work and get it in and make our international partners comfortable, but at the end of the day, there wasn't that comfort or confidence level." The championship would have included men's and women's freestyle and snowboard big air, halfpipe and slopestyle plus freestyle's moguls and aerials. Ski and snowboard cross and alpine snowboard weren't in the proposal because there isn't enough terrain at COP to include those events. FIS announced earlier this week that the ski and snowboard cross world championships will be held Feb. 11-13 in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, where the Canadian ski cross team is racing World Cups this week. Pandemic postponements and cancellations created an ever-changing international snow sport calendar this winter. World championships in the other freestyle and snowboard disciplines may also be broken up and held at various sites that have been able to host World Cups this season. WinSport's Canada Olympic Park still has an important role to play as a training mecca for Canada's 2022 Olympic team. Athletes who haven't been able to travel and compete elsewhere are using it as a long-term training base. Canadian snowboarders and the freestyle halfpipe and slopestyle teams were there this month before departing for the X Games in Aspen, Colo., going ahead Jan 29-31. The moguls team arrives in Calgary on Thursday before heading to Deer Valley, Utah, in February. The aerials team will eventually end up in Calgary too, Judge said. "Right now, it's about getting as many training days in as we can in February, March, April and getting that mileage in," he said. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard will now try to bring a series of World Cup events to Calgary in December as part of Canadian athletes' preparation for the Winter Olympics. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s hand-picked chief of U.S. international broadcasting has quit amid a burgeoning staff revolt and growing calls for his resignation. Michael Pack resigned as the chief executive office of the U.S. Agency for Global Media just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday. The agency runs the Voice of America and sister networks. Pack had created a furor when he took over the agency last year and fired the boards of all the outlets under his control along with the leadership of the individual broadcast networks. The actions were criticized as threatening the broadcasters' prized editorial independence. Biden had been expected to make major changes to the agency's structure and management but Pack’s early departure signalled those may be coming sooner rather than later. Though many presidential appointees resign when a new administration comes in, Pack was not required to so. His position was created by Congress is not limited by the length of a particular administration. In resigning, Pack cited the incoming administration’s desire for new leadership at the agency. “I serve at the pleasure of not one particular president, but the office of the president itself,” Pack said in a resignation letter sent to staffers. “The new administration has requested my resignation, and that is why I have tendered it as of 2PM today.” The letter said that "a great amount of much-needed reform was achieved in the past eight months, some of this work is outlined in a series of recently-released agency statements.” Yet those statements were seen by many, including Republican and Democratic lawmakers and a significant number of employees, as being antithetical to the agency's mandate to provide international audiences with unbiased, uncensored and nonpolitical information. VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences. Pack is a conservative filmmaker and former associate of Trump’s onetime political strategist Steve Bannon. Pack’s moves raised fears that he intended to turn venerable U.S. media outlets into pro-Trump propaganda machines. His actions had done little to dissuade those concerns and had attracted a large amount of criticism from supporters of the agency's mission. Indeed, just on Tuesday he appointed new conservative members to the boards of Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Only last week, Pack attracted new criticism when one his top aides demoted a VOA White House reporter after she asked a question of then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. That reassignment prompted a new round of criticism and demands for VOA chief Robert Reilly to resign. In addition to Republican criticism, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez. D-N.J., demanded changes in leadership. Biden’s team had made clear it was not pleased with Pack's record on the job and had sent numerous signals that he should go. Pack’s appointments to specific networks and boards of directors may be more difficult for the Biden administration to rescind without congressional action. Some appointees now enjoy federal employment protections. Transition officials said last week they were looking into ways that legislation could be amended or replaced to make dismissals of certain personnel easier. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press