With Kevin MacKay.
With Kevin MacKay.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Adam Grant, who first began working for the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) in 2007 as the assistant director of the engineering and public works department, now gets a turn at the helm. Grant was appointed as the department’s new director at the RQM council meeting on January 12. He has been in the role of acting director since the retirement of Brad Rowter in December 2020. Rowter worked for the municipality for 24 years. He began his career at RQM as an engineer and was appointed Director of Engineering and Public Works in September 2003, after being in the role of acting director for about a year. “We are pleased to have Adam take on this important role with Region of Queens Municipality. With 14 years’ experience as an engineer with the municipality, we are confident Adam can lead the Municipality in our continued growth and continue to advance important infrastructure projects,” Darlene Norman, RQM’s mayor, commented in a press release. As director, Grant will be responsible for overseeing the management, maintenance and development of municipal infrastructure of two sewer systems, its water system, Queens Solid Waste Management Facility and Materials Recovery Facility, streets in Liverpool, parks and green spaces throughout Queens County, as well as the operational components of Queens Place Emera Centre. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Nominations are now open for the Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia. The award recognizes and honours British Columbians who have demonstrated an outstanding achievement or excellence and distinction in a field that benefits the people of BC or elsewhere. The Order of British Columbia was first established in 1989 by Lieutenant Governor David Lam, under Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Then, as now, British Columbians are encouraged to nominate inspiring individuals who have created a lasting legacy in their field. “Every year, we have the opportunity to recognize British Columbians whose legacies improve our lives, lift our spirits and support our communities,” said Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, who is responsible for the Order of British Columbia. “I encourage you to nominate those exceptional individuals who exemplify the best of British Columbia.” All nominations are reviewed by an independent advisory council, which is chaired by the chief justice of BC. The nomination deadline this year has been extended to Apr. 9, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nominations must be received by the Honours and Awards Secretariat by the ninth to be considered for 2021. In addition to the Order of BC, citizens may nominate individuals for another of the Province’s honours, the Medal of Good Citizenship. This award recognizes exceptional long-term service and contributions to their communities without expectation of reward or remuneration. The medal reflects acts of selflessness, generosity, service and contributions to community life. Unlike the Order of BC, there is no deadline and nominations are accepted year round. “In a global pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, so many people in our province have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others," said Premier John Horgan. “Now, more than ever, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to recognize and celebrate some extraordinary contributions and achievements by British Columbians.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
January 19 is National Popcorn day! This snack food is ubiquitous to many forms of entertainment, like movies (of course!), sporting events, midways, and outdoor festivals, to name a few. Popcorn is one of those snack foods that seems to be a huge hit with just about everybody, although people might have some very different preferences in the types of popcorn flavours that they enjoy. Some love the sweeter side of things such as caramel or toffee-coated popcorn, some like to keep it simple with butter and salt, and some are much more adventurous. Give the Chicago mix a try, a mixture of caramel corn and cheddar cheese flavoured popcorn (it might sound strange, but try it. Seriously!). Or satisfy a more “refined” palette by tossing your popcorn with truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Contrary to what various cartoon characters have taught us over the years, not every type of corn will “pop” in the way that produces popcorn. There is only one variety of corn that “pops” this way, Zea Mays Everta. However, there are around 100 strains of this type with different characteristics. What makes the Zea Mays Everta variety so unique? The crucial aspects are an extremely rigid and almost nonporous outer shell on the kernel and a bit of water with soft granules of starch on the inside. As the popcorn kernel is heated to the right temperature, the water trapped inside turns to steam and the granules of starch gelatinize. As the kernel continues to get hotter, the pressure within it builds until it finally bursts and essentially turns inside out. The gelatinized starch rapidly expands when this happens, then cools and solidifies almost instantly to form the “popped” corn we know and love. Popcorn has been around for a long time; archeologists have found popcorn remnants that were about 3,600 years old. You can celebrate National popcorn by enjoying your favourite popcorn snacks. Make some popcorn balls, have a movie marathon complete with hot buttered popcorn, or even try making some popcorn crafts for something different. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Steve Fortin and his family survived a harrowing COVID-19 infection and he wants to share it with everyone “because it may save a life.” Fortin, a trucker and musician, said he and his wife started to notice mild symptoms Dec. 22, three days after exposure. “Sniffles, slight cough, and a dry, sore nose,” he wrote, but they weren’t sure if it was sinus problems or a cold. “Here is our mistake, we should have immediately been tested,” Fortin said, adding they were being careful in case they were infected that they wouldn’t spread it. “We are new to the area so we didn't really go anywhere to spread it but I did go to work and went to the store but wore a mask and sanitized regularly and kept a safe distance at all times,” he said. By New Year’s Eve, he and his wife “became terribly ill” with the full laundry list of symptoms. “We couldn’t get off the couch the pain was so bad, fevers and chills almost unbearable,” he wrote, with “stomach ache and diarrhea with no appetite at all. “My wife was vomiting and I was lucky enough not to vomit,” Fortin wrote. “Then we got the call, a friend of ours who works in the medical field tested posted for COVID-19. “Immediately we called the North Bay COVID centre for testing and our results came back positive as well. “My wife, kids, and myself all had COVID-19,” he said, explaining the children had no symptoms. “They didn’t even know they had it but my wife and I were very ill. “Public Health and I back-tracked all our steps to make sure we didn’t come into contact with anyone. They called my work and had employees that were around me tested and thank God they were all negative,” Fortin said. See: Some provinces see positive signs in COVID fight See: Two new COVID cases “My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick. I became so ill I should have been hospitalized but was afraid that I may never see my kids again,” he said. A Public Health nurse called to check and suggested they be hospitalized for treatment and to be more comfortable, he added. “I had every symptom possible and by the second week it started to affect my lungs, nose, and bronchial tube,” Fortin said. “It burned to breathe. One night, I woke up and asked my wife to talk to me because I was sure it may be our last conversation.” Things started to improve after being sick for three weeks and the Fortin family cases were considered resolved Sunday. “I feel much better but still a little weak,” he said, adding praise for the support they received. “As sick as we were, our neighbors were amazing with support and help. My closest neighbor Marcel did our grocery shopping and his wife made our family an amazing meat pie,” he said. “Neighbors were calling to check on us and to offer their help and I must say thank you so much to them” for being there in their time of need. “Sturgeon Falls is the most amazing community we have ever lived in and thank you for accepting us and making us feel so welcomed,” he wrote. He suggests people be diligent and follow Public Health advice: “If you show any cold or flu symptoms don't assume it is. Go get tested, it’s easy, painless, and fast. “Always keep your mask on and practice safe distancing in public. It’s so easy to spread this virus. When you go through a drive-thru or use a debit machine, sanitize immediately before they hand your stuff to you. “When grocery shopping, ask if your cart was sprayed before you use it and if not clean it yourself or request it to be and the most important thing when you’re around friends or family you don't live with, WEAR YOUR MASK. “I made one mistake and almost lost my life so I feel very lucky to be here and just want to help this amazing community in any way I can. Thank you,” he wrote. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern):1:50 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting zero new COVID-19 infections today.The province is dealing with five active reported cases.One person is recovering in hospital with the disease.The province has reported a total of 396 infections and four deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.---1:40 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. With numbers decreasing in recent weeks, the government is proposing to ease several restrictions on business openings and public gatherings by the end of the week. The possible changes, subject to public consultation, include allowing non-essential stores, hair salons and barbershops to reopen with capacity limits. Another proposed change would ease the ban on social gatherings inside private homes to allow two visitors at a time.---1:30 p.m.Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault says he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier says it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he says it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.---12:45 p.m.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she has spoken to Pfizer and does not expect any more interruptions to its Canadian deliveries after mid-February.Anand says Pfizer is contractually obligated to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.Canada expects its shipments from Pfizer to be larger than previously expected from the middle of February until the end of March to make up for smaller shipments over the next month.---12:25 p.m.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says Canada will get no doses of vaccine from Pfizer at all next week.Fortin, the vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, says this week's shipment is almost one-fifth smaller than expected.That means only 171,093 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive over the next two weeks, instead of the 417,300 doses previously expected.Fortin says the deliveries over the first two weeks of February have yet to be confirmed, but Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.---11:20 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any Canadians who still have international trips planned need to cancel them.The variants of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil could change the situation rapidly and he warns that Canada could impose new restrictions on the border at any time, without warning.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting a significant drop in new COVID-19 infections today with 1,386 new cases.The province also reported 55 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 16 that occurred in the prior 24 hours.Health officials say hospitalizations rose by nine, to 1,500 and 212 people were in intensive care, a drop of five.Quebec has reported a total of 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the virus.---10:50 a.m.Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.There are now seven active reported cases in the province.P.E.I. has reported 110 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.---10:35 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 today, likely under-reported due to a technical error in Toronto.Health Minister Christine Elliott says that Toronto is reporting 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus.Over the past three days, Toronto reported 815 new cases, 1,035 new cases and 903 new cases.There were 46 more deaths linked to the virus in Ontario.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
La chanteuse jérômienne Margau participe ce mercredi à la deuxième édition du concours Talents Bleus à l’émission La semaine des 4 Julie. Elle représentera fièrement la région de Laurentides-Lanaudière. Rappelons que le concept rassemble 16 talents de tout art de la scène confondu, provenant de l’ensemble du Québec. Chaque semaine, deux participants s’affrontent et c’est le public qui détermine le gagnant, annoncé en direct dès la fin de l’émission. Celui qui remporte le vote se rend à la prochaine étape, soit les demi-finales, ou se voit tout de même repartir avec 1000$. Le prix ultime est de 100 000$. Margau est une habituée de l’émission, elle qui la regarde quotidiennement. Son coup de cœur? L’humoriste Mathieu Dufour. « Je suis une fan! », lance-t-elle. Hésitante au départ, elle a finalement décidé d’envoyer sa candidature au concours vers la mi-décembre. Environ un mois plus tard, elle pourra tenter sa chance sur le plateau de La semaine des 4 Julie. Le concept est toutefois bien différent de ce qu’elle connait. Contrairement à sa participation à La Voix et à The Voice en France, où elle s’était rendue aux quarts de finale, l’artiste se retrouvera cette fois vis-à-vis des participants aux multiples talents, ce qui rend la comparaison difficile. Mercredi, elle sera opposée à un duo de la Gaspésie en cirque. « Je ne me fais pas trop d’attentes », avoue-t-elle. Elle compte plutôt profiter au maximum de cette expérience qu’elle entrevoit comme une belle opportunité de chanter, alors que les occasions se font rares en ces temps de pandémie. Et en plus, elle sera accompagnée au piano par nulle autre que Guillaume Marchand, pianiste de Céline Dion! Sans vouloir nous révéler la chanson qu’elle interprétera, Margau nous confie qu’il s’agira d’un classique québécois revisité. Jeudi dernier, la chanteuse a passé la journée avec l’équipe de tournage de l’émission pour filmer un court résumé qui sera présenté tout juste avant sa prestation. Elle m’explique qu’elle devait notamment y promouvoir la région des Laurentides et identifier certains de ses coups de cœur. Margau étudie présentement en communications à l’Université TÉLUQ, une institution d’enseignement à distance affiliée à l’Université du Québec. Elle continue aussi de travailler sur sa musique. D’ailleurs, elle lancera bientôt un single, déjà enregistré. « Je devrais ensuite enregistrer un deuxième, puis un troisième single. Ensuite, on va discuter d’un album. On veut tâter un peu le terrain. » Une chose est certaine, nous entendrons parler d’elle cette année : « Il y a des trucs qui vont sortir en 2021, c’est certain! » On vous invite à aller voter en grand nombre pour notre représentante des Laurentides qui offrira sa prestation en début d’émission, le mercredi 20 janvier. La semaine des 4 Julie est présentée à 21h sur noovo.ca. Il est possible de voter pendant l’émission via le site internet.Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
NEW ORLEANS — The coronavirus pandemic, which forced cancellation of last year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, is forcing postponement of the festival this year. “ Jazz Fest ” is usually a spring event that begins on the last weekend in April. But festival producers announced in a news release Tuesday that the 2021 production will run Oct. 8 through Oct. 17. The event draws tens of thousands to the vast infield of the Fair Grounds Race Course horse track for music on multiple stages, food from a wide variety of Louisiana restaurants and arts and crafts from scores of vendors. “It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll all have our celebration when the time comes,” festival producer Quint Davis said in the release. "Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.” Details on the fall lineup are to be released in the spring. ___ Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. The Associated Press
Tax season is approaching. As with so many other parts of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic may have an effect on the usual way that seniors manage their taxes. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released some tips to help avoid interruptions to any benefits and help make sure that you receive all of the benefits and credits to which you may be entitled. Some of the easiest ways to avoid delays to your tax and benefit affairs are to sign up for direct deposit, file your tax return online, and make sure that your address and personal information is up to date. The CRA recommends signing up for My Account (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html) as a quick and easy way to manage and keep track of your tax and benefit information. The Get Ready page on the CRA website (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/taxes-get-ready.html) is an excellent resource with information about tax deadlines, ways to do your taxes, checking if you are eligible for credits and benefits, and other useful topics. There are also some helpful videos on this webpage. An income tax and benefit package will be sent to you automatically if you filed a paper return last year, so you do not need to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going out to get one. The income tax and benefit package is also available online at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/tax-packages-years/general-income-tax-benefit-package.html. File your tax return as soon as possible to avoid interruptions or delays to your benefit and credit payments. If you received COVID-19 benefits, it might affect your tax return. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) are all considered taxable income. The total amounts that you received from these benefits will have to be included on your tax return. You will be sent a T4A tax slip for benefits issued by the CRA and/or a T4E tax slip for benefits issued by Service Canada with the information needed for your tax return. You can view these tax slips in My Account starting in February. Depending on your personal circumstances and which COVID-19 benefits that you may have received, you might owe taxes when you file your return. Income taxes were not withheld on CERB or CESB payments, which will affect your tax return. 10% of the CRB, CRSB, and CRCB payments were withheld as taxes, but may not cover all of the taxes owed on this income. The total amount of income tax that you owe will depend on your total income for 2020. The CRA recognizes that the repayment of these benefits could cause considerable financial hardship for some individuals and have expanded the payment arrangement parameters to allow for more time and flexibility. The CRA’s TeleArrangement service can be reached at 1- 866-256-1147 (7 AM - 10 PM, Monday to Friday) to make payment arrangements. Please file your tax return by April 30, 2021, to avoid a late-filing penalty. There could be other impacts on your income taxes specific to the COVID-19 benefit(s) that you received. There may be organizations or volunteers near you that will complete your tax return for free if you have a simple tax situation and a modest income. Due to COVID-19, this may be conducted by videoconference or by telephone, or by dropping off your documents. You can find more information about free tax clinics at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/community-volunteer-income-tax-program.html. If you would like to file your tax return online, a list of NETFILE certified tax software is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/netfile-overview/certified-software-netfile-program.html. Some of these programs are free. Protecting yourself from scams is important in this day and age, as is knowing when and how the CRA might contact you. You can sign up for email notifications from the CRA (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/online-mail-helping-you-organize-your-canada-revenue-agency-mail.html) to help to prevent fraud. This service will notify you when you have new mail in My Account and when personal information such as your address or direct deposit information has been changed on the CRA’s records. More information on how to protect against fraud and scams is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/fraud-scams.html. You may be eligible as a senior for benefits and credits like the GST/HST tax credit (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/goods-services-tax-harmonized-sales-tax-gst-hst-credit.html ) and other related provincial and territorial benefits and credits (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/provincial-territorial-tax-credits-individuals.html). If you owe money on your tax return, you might be eligible to claim tax credits that can reduce the amount that you owe. Check into the Canada Caregiver Credit, the Disability Tax Credit, the Medical Expense Tax Credit, the Home Accessibility Tax Credit, the Age Credit, and the Pension Income Credit. You may also be eligible for pension income splitting. Look into the guaranteed income supplement. It’s a monthly benefit for recipients of the old age security pension who live in Canada and have low income. Residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario may be eligible for the climate action incentive payment when filing their 2020 tax return. Residents of small or rural communities could receive a larger amount. This incentive first lowers the taxes owed and then creates or increases a refund. Claiming potential benefits and tax credits is important. It helps you with your expenses and puts more money in your pocket. Research which benefits and credits you might be eligible for so that you don’t miss out on these money-saving opportunities. A list of all the available deductions, credits, and expenses can be found at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/deductions-credits-expenses.html. Look it over and check to see if you are eligible for any of them. More information on changes to your taxes when you retire or turn 65 is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/changes-your-taxes-when-you-retire-turn-65-years-old.html. Contact the CRA at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/contact-information.html. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
VICTORIA — British Columbia's representative for children and youth says she has heard harrowing stories from those who were involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness without access to legal advice. Jennifer Charlesworth has released a report with input from youth who say they were restrained, medicated and secluded against their will. Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act to allow youth to have access to a legal advocate while they're in care. She says that while the Health Ministry believes Indigenous youth are overrepresented when it comes to being detained in hospital, it lacks data on how many youth are being affected. Charlesworth says that's troubling because young people are being retraumatized when what they need is care that is culturally appropriate. She says over a decade, the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent, bringing into question the voluntary system of care and treatment. The province paused legislation last July to amend the act after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island's premier says public health orders should soon be eased across the province because of its low COVID-19 infection rate. "At a time when other jurisdictions are experiencing tightening restrictions and increased lockdowns, we are in the very fortunate and enviable situation to be looking at the days ahead to see an easing of restrictions within our borders," Dennis King told reporters Tuesday. But King said it won't be until at least mid-February before the Island re-enters the Atlantic bubble, which allows residents to travel freely between regional boundaries. "At this time, as a province, we are not comfortable moving forward with re-entering the Atlantic Bubble," King said. Health officials in Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said the new cases involved a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. She said there are now seven active reported cases on the Island. Morrison, however, said she's concerned by the situation beyond P.E.I.'s borders. "The situation in Canada remains concerning, with over 715,000 cases and 18,000 COVID-related deaths," she told reporters. "Since Jan. 1, New Brunswick reported 372 new cases, Nova Scotia 60 new cases, P.E.I. has had 12 since Jan. 1, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new infections. "Our friends and neighbours in New Brunswick are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19, reporting 89 new cases in the last three days. They currently have over 300 active cases — the most since the pandemic began," she said. P.E.I. has reported 110 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. Indoor private gatherings are limited to members of a household plus ten people, while most businesses are still required to operate at 50 per cent capacity. The restrictions are scheduled to remain until Jan. 25. Morrison said that as of Monday, 5,910 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered on P.E.I., including 1,407 second doses. "By the end of this week, everyone living and working in long-term care and community care facilities will have received their first dose of the vaccine," she said. "They will start receiving their second dose next week." Morrison said the anticipated slowdown in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will have very little impact on the Island. "The Pfizer slowdown means that we may not get a shipment of the product for one week, on Jan. 25. That shipment contains 975 doses. However, we will get two shipments of that same amount in the middle of February," she said. "Given the fact that we have been holding back the second dose of vaccine, and we expect the increased supply in February, we are confident that we have enough vaccine to continue with our original plan." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. — By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Federal authorities arrested a woman whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Riley June Williams was arrested Monday, according to a Justice Department official. The federal prosecutors' office in Harrisburg, where she was jailed, said Williams was due in court Tuesday afternoon. The FBI said in an arrest warrant Sunday that Williams hasn't been charged with theft but only with illegally entering the Capitol and with disorderly conduct. FBI officials said a caller claiming to be an ex of Williams said friends of hers showed him a video of Williams taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi's office. The caller alleged that Williams intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country's foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it. The FBI says the matter remains under investigation. Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed Jan. 8 that a laptop was taken from a conference room but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations." Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards.” Her father, who lives in the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn't stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said. Williams' mother told local law enforcement that her daughter packed a bag and left before she was arrested, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don't list an attorney for her. The Associated Press
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault said Tuesday he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier said it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he said it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.His comments came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day urged Canadians to cancel any plans they have for an international trip in the near future. Trudeau warned the federal government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.Quebec on Tuesday revised its COVID-19 vaccination schedule as a result of the expected slowdown in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments.The Health Department said it would lower its target of administering 250,000 doses by Feb. 8, to 225,000 doses, adding it expects to have received 1,203,100 doses of approved vaccine by March 29.Last week, Canada learned production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be reduced over the next month in order for Pfizer to expand its facilities.Quebec says it will maintain its plan to deliver booster shots within 90 days of the first injection.The vaccination announcement came as public health authorities in the province reported the lowest number of new infections in a single day since early December.Quebec today reported 1,386 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 55 additional deaths linked to the virus, including 16 deaths within the preceding 24 hours.The number of hospitalizations rose by nine from the day before to 1,500, the Health Department said, while the number of people in intensive care declined by five from the previous day, to 212.Quebec has reported 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.Health Minister Christian Dube on Monday boasted the province had met its target of vaccinating 75 per cent of long-term care residents, with the remainder expected to be inoculated by Jan. 25.Officials say people living in private seniors residences across the province are next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Tiger King" star Jeff Lowe, the former business partner at the private wildcat zoo featured in the hit Netflix series, has been ordered to surrender his cubs and their mothers after the death of two young tigers in his care. Lowe and his wife Lauren were also ordered not to put animals on public exhibit without a license in a federal court ruling issued in Oklahoma last week, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement on Tuesday. "The Lowes have shown a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law," Jonathan Brightbill at the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division, said in the statement.
When Brandy Roy’s son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 15 months old during the COVID-19 pandemic, her world was turned upside down. Isolated and unable to return to work, Roy described the experience as extremely isolating and overwhelming. “There is very little support out there – financial, educational, emotional – for parents of babies and toddlers with type 1 diabetes (T1D) because of the rarity of the diagnosis,” she said. “The average age of diagnosis is between four and 12 years of age. I couldn’t find any videos of babies getting their shots, support groups, books, or help getting access to life-saving equipment. “It was also heartbreaking to learn about how many babies and toddlers are misdiagnosed, including my son, because not many doctors test for diabetes in children that young.” As she learned to navigate her son’s diagnosis, Roy continued to search for support – but when that did not yield results, she decided to set out on her own. Roy, who was born and raised in Elliot Lake and currently lives near Ottawa, created her own online community and wrote a children’s book called “Little Shots for Little Tots.” She also started a petition to try to get life-saving equipment for babies and toddlers with T1D funded by the government and set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support her son. Any excess funds raised through the campaign will be donated to NEO Kids in Sudbury, CHEO Hospital, and SickKids to help parents of newly diagnosed children purchase the equipment they need. “The story kind of starts in February when I was coming off maternity leave. I was getting ready to go back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March,” said Roy. “Because of the pandemic, I was out of work. Then, two months later, Ryder got sick.” Ryder, who is almost two years old, was initially misdiagnosed by his family physician when he started to present symptoms. “The doctor checked his vitals, which were good at that point, and he said that he was concerned that Ryder was losing weight – dropped from the 75th percentile to the 3rd,” said Roy. “But the doctor said it was probably teething, and Ryder also might have some constipation from too much Advil because of the teething. His suggestion was to go home and feed him more fruit and fibre, which is the worst thing you can give to a type 1 diabetic.” After 24 hours, it was clear that Ryder wasn’t improving, so Roy took him to the emergency department. It was there they discovered what was really going on. “It was scary. My husband wasn’t allowed into the hospital because of COVID-19, so he was at home and I was on the phone with him telling him what was happening,” she said. “When I heard the diagnosis, I asked the doctor two questions. The first was, is it the bad kind (of diabetes)? The second thing was, can I give him my pancreas? Is there a way that we could switch, and I could become the diabetic?” TD1, she learned, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. People diagnosed with TD1 rely on insulin injections to survive. While TD1 typically develops early on in life, only 0.1 per cent of children aged 1 to 4 were diagnosed with diabetes in Canada in 2013-2014. In the months following Ryder’s diagnosis in May, Roy and her family experienced a lot of frustration, fear, and financial pressure. Ryder’s blood sugar levels must be constantly monitored, and he receives around seven to 10 needles per day. Roy must also ensure that Ryder maintains a special diet. On top of that, treating T1D in babies and toddlers is particularly challenging because they are often non-verbal and cannot move around independently. “Kids that young can’t communicate with you yet – they can’t tell you when something is wrong or come and get you if they don’t feel well. They’ve also got so many other things going on that masks the diabetes, like teething,” said Roy. “Children’s glucose levels can dip dangerously low at night when parents aren’t around to monitor them. The child could potentially lose consciousness, fall into a coma, or die as a result.” As part of Ryder’s care, Roy uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) made by the company Dexcom, because it is the only device that can send parents alerts when glucose levels are too high or too low. Without a CGM, Ryder would have to get up every three hours to monitor his blood sugar. CGMs, however, cost about $300 per month or $100 per senor every 10 days. “That’s one of the hardest things about this, the financial burden. Right now, I can’t work due to Ryder’s diagnosis and the COVID-19 pandemic. I used to be very independent and earned my own income,” she said. “Now, I have to stay home with Ryder because it’s difficult to even find a daycare willing to provide care. I get $200 per month for Ryder’s special needs, and that doesn’t even cover the CGM, never mind other supplies like needles.” Despite the challenges, Roy searched for a way to help channel her “negative energy” into something more positive and inspirational. That’s why she launched a number of initiatives she hopes will celebrate and educate parents of babies and toddlers with T1D. “I started an Instagram handle called @TD1Toddler this past July. Its purpose is to inspire and advocate, to be a place to share meal ideas and stories with other families going through the same thing,” she said. She also started a smaller support group over WhatsApp for moms around the world who were looking for a like-minded community. “Then, I wrote a book which is supposed to help educate toddlers, especially those who are newly diagnosed, and celebrate their hero parents.” “Little Shots for Little Tots,” published by Academy Arts Press in 2021 and illustrated by Mandy Morreale, is meant to introduce the concept of diabetes to young children using simple words. “The book welcomes a newly diagnosed toddler or baby and teaches them about what diabetes is and how to cultivate good habits like healthy eating,” she said. “It also celebrates the parents because when you’re a T1D toddler or baby parent, you’re the one with diabetes. Yes, the kids go through it physically, but the parent is the one with the mental and emotional burden who is constantly monitoring, checking, taking away the pain, hurting them by puncturing them. “The book really celebrates the parents and I think they need that recognition because they don’t get much help or support elsewhere.” The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to Roy’s GoFundMe campaign called Dexcom for Ryder. Some of the funds will go towards Ryder’s care and any left over will be donated to children’s hospitals in Ontario. “We did want to set up a fundraiser to help cover some of the costs of our son’s care, but if the government doesn’t want to help fund CGMs, we decided that we’re going to do it ourselves,” said Roy. “We are going to raise money so that these hospitals can provide Dexcom CGMs to newly diagnosed babies and toddlers. The more money we raise, the more money we can donate. Hopefully, the government will notice.” Roy also created a petition on Change.org to try and get Dexcom CGMs fully covered by the government for children aged 0 to 3. So far, the petition has over 1,600 signatures. To purchase a copy of “Little Shots for Little Tots,” visit amzn.to/2M3XGto. To donate to Dexcom for Ryder, visit bit.ly/3qyjZGC. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Masks off the minute you step inside. Bars packed and pulsing like it’s 2019. Social media stars waving bottles of champagne. DJs spinning party tunes through multi-hour brunches. Since becoming one of the world's first destinations to open up for tourism, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has promoted itself as the ideal pandemic vacation spot. It cannot afford otherwise, analysts say, as the virus shakes the foundations of the city-state's economy. With its cavernous malls, frenetic construction and legions of foreign workers, Dubai was built on the promise of globalization, drawing largely from the aviation, hospitality and retail sectors — all hard hit by the virus. Now reality is catching up to the big-dreaming emirate. With peak tourism season in full swing, coronavirus infections are surging to unprecedented heights. Daily case counts have nearly tripled in the past month, forcing Britain to slam shut its travel corridor with Dubai last week. But in the face of a growing economic crisis, the city won't lock down. “Dubai's economy is a house of cards," said Matthew Page, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Its competitive advantage is being a place where rules don't apply." While most countries banned tourists from the U.K. over fears of the fast-spreading virus variant found there, Dubai, home to some 240,000 British expats, kept its doors open for the holidays. Emirates flew five daily flights to London’s Heathrow Airport. Within days, the new virus strain had arrived in the emirates, but that didn't stop reality TV and soccer stars from fleeing Britain's lockdown and wintry weather for Dubai’s bars and beaches — without taking a coronavirus test before boarding. Scenes of pre-pandemic revelry were splattered across British tabloids. Facing backlash, Instagram influencers spotted at raucous yacht parties were quick to proclaim their travel “essential.” Dubai was glad of the influx. Hotel occupancy rates surged to 71% in December, according to data provider STR. The London-Dubai air route ranked busiest in the world over the first week of January, said OAG, an aviation data analysis firm. “People have had enough of this pandemic already,” said Iris Sabellano from Dubai's Al Arabi Travel Agency, adding that many of her clients have been forced to quarantine after testing positive for the virus on arrival or before departure. Travelers coming from a select list of countries don't need to get tests before their trips but all must at Dubai's airport. “With vaccines coming out, they feel it's not the end of the world, they're not going to die," she said. For those who do die of COVID-19, long-haul airline Emirates offers to pay $1,800 to help cover funeral costs. As the outbreak worsens, it seems the stampede will slow. Israeli tourists, who were coming in the tens of thousands following a normalization deal between the countries, have vanished due to new quarantine rules. A decision to suspend visa waivers for Israelis to the UAE until July took effect Monday. Britain's move to mandate a 10-day quarantine for those returning from Dubai threatens to clobber what's left of the tourism sector. “Brits make up such an important proportion of tourists and investors in Dubai,” said David Tarsh, spokesman for ForwardKeys, a travel data-analysis company. “Cutting that pipeline ... is a complete disaster for the city." British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that the government's decision was prompted by the UAE's latest virus data. Beyond daily infections, however, the data is scant. The UAE does not make public information about disease clusters or hospitalizations. Amid an aggressive testing campaign, the country has reported more than 256,000 cases and 751 deaths. On Tuesday, dozens of cars idled at a drive-in coronavirus clinic on Dubai’s desert outskirts awaiting tests. At Dubai’s American Hospital, where a makeshift tent administers virus tests in a parking lot, a guard said wait times stretched over two hours. At least 80 people lined up as the call to afternoon prayers echoed overhead. Hours after The Associated Press published this story, the sheikhdom’s government-run Dubai Media Office issued a statement saying the emirate "continues to maintain the highest levels of protection against the pandemic and compliance with preventive measures." Analysts speculate the UAE’s unique demographics — 90% expatriate, comprising mostly healthy, young labourers — have prevented well-staffed hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and kept the death rate low, at 0.3%. But that hasn’t assuaged Abu Dhabi, Dubai's more conservative neighbour and the country's capital. Without explanation, Abu Dhabi has kept its border with freewheeling Dubai shut, despite promises to reopen by Christmas. Anyone crossing into Abu Dhabi must present a negative coronavirus test. Relations between service-heavy Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi can get tense. During the 2009 financial crisis, Abu Dhabi needed to rescue Dubai with a $20 billion bailout. This time, it's unclear whether Dubai can count on another cash infusion, given the crash in global oil prices. Even pre-pandemic, Dubai's economy was heading toward another downturn thanks to a shaky real estate market, which has plunged 30% in value since 2014 peaks. The emirate and its web of government-linked entities face billions of dollars in debt repayments. Already the government has stepped in to help carrier Emirates, which received $2 billion in aid last year. Other indebted firms invested in hospitality and tourism may need help, especially with events like World Expo pushed back a year. S&P Global, a ratings agency, estimates Dubai's debt burden to be some 148% of gross domestic product if state-linked industries are included. Under pressure, authorities have seized on vaccines as the only way to contain the outbreak. Plastered across front pages of state-linked newspapers are stories touting the mass inoculation drive, which officials claim to be the world’s second-fastest after Israel, with 19 doses distributed for every 100 people as of Tuesday. The UAE is offering the Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinopharm to everyone, even as its announcement about the shot's efficacy lacks data and details. Demand has overwhelmed supply for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai, where hotline operators say thousands of high-risk residents remain on a waiting list. With the country shattering its infection record for seven consecutive days, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared that widespread vaccination, not movement restrictions, would “accelerate the full recovery of our country.” But even if Dubai meets its goal of inoculating 70% of the population by the end of 2021, Moody’s Investors Service expects the UAE's economy to take three years to bounce back. “I don't think Dubai's days are numbered,” said Page, the Carnegie scholar. “But if the city were more modest and responsible, it would be a more sustainable place.” ___ Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report. Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
Richmond’s Chimo Community Services is encouraging people to bundle up and help raise funds for their fifth annual Coldest Night of the Year event. Money raised will support people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. The family-friendly walk is completely virtual this year and will take place from Feb. 6 to 20. People can walk alone, or with members of their bubbles, throughout the community—while joining together with thousands of other participants in 149 cities across Canada. The Richmond event will see people walking outdoors on a self-designed route of two or five kilometres. Participants who raise over $150, or youth participants who raise over $75, will receive a unique toque to stay warm during their walk. Chimo is hoping to raise $25,000 to support their services. An anticipated 100 walkers and 16 teams are expected to brave the cold weather. The local lead sponsor is Vancity Richmond, as well as other sponsors Turning Point Recovery and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Chimo has been serving Richmond for 48 years, and funds raised during the Coldest Night of the Year event will benefit clients during a time of year known historically for low levels of giving. Participants can register for Chimo’s Coldest Night of the Year at cnoy.org/register Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel