First Nations leaders in southern Manitoba are hoping to build trust in the COVID-19 vaccines through pop-up clinics in larger communities, while the Canadian Forces help remote communities manage outbreaks.
First Nations leaders in southern Manitoba are hoping to build trust in the COVID-19 vaccines through pop-up clinics in larger communities, while the Canadian Forces help remote communities manage outbreaks.
LOS ANGELES — When “WandaVision” wraps its initial run next month on the Disney+ streaming service, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda will make her next appearance in the big-screen “Doctor Strange” sequel. It’s storytelling that determines how and when characters from the Marvel Comics universe hopscotch between TV and movies, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said Wednesday. “All of the crossover between series, between films, will always vary based on the story,” Feige said. “Sometimes (a series) will go into a season two, sometimes it’ll go into a feature and then back into a series.” Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, plays opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s title character in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” planned for a 2022 release. Feige wouldn’t say whether “WandaVision,” Marvel Studios' first original series for Disney+, has a future after its March 5 season finale. The riff on generations of TV sitcoms — with the added superhero twist — brought Wanda and Paul Bettany's character, Vision, to the fore from the “Avengers” movie franchise. “I’ve been at Marvel for too long to say a definite no or definite yes to anything,” Feige replied when asked about the show's future during a virtual panel discussion held by the Television Critics Association. But second seasons are being considered and planned for series, he said, without giving away details. There’s a flurry of potential new Disney+ candidates, including “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” debuting March 19 with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their roles from “Avengers: Endgame.” “Loki,” starring Tom Hiddleston revisiting his character following the events of “Endgame,” debuts June 11. After “Ms. Marvel” arrives on the streaming service (with the date yet to be announced), the character will move to the next “Captain Marvel” movie, Feige said. He was asked if shifting Marvel stories and characters between film and TV might end up cutting into the potential audience. “I always say when the lights go down and and a movie starts, it’s a clean slate — forget everything that’s come before and be able to enjoy something that’s its own self-contained story line,” Feige said. He acknowledged that as the studio makes more shows and films and introduces new characters, it “becomes harder and harder” to meet that goal. “But it is something that all of our writers and filmmakers pay great attention to, to make sure that fans can follow" the latest chapter and that newcomers can enjoy it too, he said. When the Walt Disney Co. acquired Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion in 2009, prior deals left some of its properties with other studios. Asked if Marvel Studios might be able to regain them, Feige said he believes it could happen, but added that “rumours online about things reverting” to Marvel aren't always true. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
For eight years, Waheeda Giga has struggled with an eating disorder that was triggered by the death of her father. She viewed food as an enemy that needed to be restricted, and if she failed, she’d throw herself into a punishing routine of vigorous exercise. “I use food and exercise to control and feel safe when I can’t deal with heavy emotions or grief,” she says of her ongoing battle with anorexia nervosa and compulsive exercise. Giga, a 37-year-old city of Toronto employee, is now a year into her recovery at the eating disorders outpatient program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, which she participates in virtually from home. It’s a journey that took place under the unusual backdrop of the global pandemic, for better and for worse. It’s also a journey that isn’t unique to Giga. Hospital data from the Greater Toronto Area points to an alarming rise in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia during the pandemic, as people try to cope with widespread grief from losing loved ones, income, or even a sense of routine and normalcy. The pandemic has also disrupted the way eating-disorder care is provided, shedding light on cracks in the system and the continued need for access as more people struggle. Ontario’s public health officials nodded to the issue in their latest COVID-19 projections on Feb. 11, where they noted a substantial increase in eating-disorder-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits among young people aged three to 17. In July 2020, the hospitalization rate for youth was three per 100,000, higher than the average of around 1.8 per 100,000. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre helpline has seen a 70 per cent increase in calls and texts, said Alexa Giorgi, a spokesperson for the University Health Network, which runs the helpline. This includes an 87 per cent increase in chats from individuals 25 and younger. Experts and people with lived experience say it’s a problem that has affected adults too. Dr. Michele Laliberte, a clinical psychologist and lead of the eating disorders program at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which treats adults, said wait-times for the program have doubled from three months to five or six months since the pandemic began, partly due to COVID’s interruption of the admission process while the program was transitioning to virtual care. But a virtual outpatient program may stay for the long-term beyond the pandemic, Laliberte added, as it could improve access to an already-scarce type of eating-disorder care in the region. It’s been especially helpful for Giga, who was able to attend her recovery program from the comfort of her own home instead of commuting weekly to Hamilton — the closest city to Toronto that houses an outpatient eating disorder program covered by OHIP. “I was scared to start because I didn’t know what it would involve with getting accommodations from work, and I was anxious because of the commute,” said Giga, who began treatment a month before the pandemic after being on a five-month long wait-list. At that point, Giga’s Body Mass Index (BMI) reached a critical point of 17.5 — what is considered to be close to severely underweight. She had weighed about 102 lbs. at that time, and was told she would require more intensive treatment if her BMI slipped any further. “I think that was a wake-up call for me,” she said. Limiting barriers to care is now paramount with more people looking to access eating-disorder care as a result of the pandemic. Kyle Ganson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said COVID-19 has presented many triggers for eating disorders, all tied to how our lives have changed in the last year. “The major disruptions in routines for people is key,” Ganson said. We’ve been forced to stay home where opportunities for exercise are limited, which could trigger changes in eating habits for some who worry about maintaining “a healthy lifestyle.” Some anticipate they will gain weight as a result of these changes, Ganson added, which creates stress, anxiety and even feelings of stigma. “There’s also a lot of loss and a lot of trauma,” Ganson said. “Food is a way to control some of that.” Maria Estrada, a 25-year-old woman who struggled with an eating disorder at age 15, said some elements of the disorder have resurfaced during the pandemic, mainly due to isolation and feelings of losing control over her life. “Nobody’s supervising you, nobody’s seeing you, nobody’s gonna notice,” Estrada said. “You’re not seeing your friends. They’re not going to feed you, or ask to go out for lunch. I don’t have that anymore.” Ganson is careful to add that these issues affect both women and men, albeit in different ways. For men, eating disorders can sometimes manifest in the form of seeking masculinity or leanness through excessive exercise or the use of supplements. “In our culture, we are much more OK with these types of behaviours and we don’t necessarily shun them or acknowledge there might be a problem,” Ganson said. For youth in particular, the pandemic has meant more time spent on screens and social media as schools transitioned online. Research has shown that increased time spent consuming social media can lead to issues like body dissatisfaction, Ganson said. “We also know that kids with eating disorders are known to have what we call co-occurring mental health issues, specifically anxiety and depression,” said Christina Bartha, the executive director of the brain and mental health program at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. At Sick Kids, the number of admissions for eating disorders began to dramatically increase in late August of last year, said Dr. Debra Katzman, co-founder of the hospital’s eating disorders program. It’s a trend that continues to be observed well into 2021. “We’re seeing a 35 per cent increase in the number of kids we are admitting in the hospital, and they’re coming in primarily in the latter half of the year,” Katzman said. Since April of last year, Sick Kids admitted 175 children for eating-disorder-related issues, compared to 120 children in the same time-frame before the pandemic. The wait-times for the outpatient program at Sick Kids have also more than doubled as a result, Katzman said. “Our systems were not designed for this sort of level of necessary clinical intervention, so we’re trying to adjust to that,” she said. Eating disorders are hard to treat, Katzman added. It’s not a health issue that is treated with prescription medication, but rather one that requires intensive care with a multidisciplinary team of experts that can continue for weeks to months on end. “I think we are taxing the system right now given the number of kids that are presenting to care,” Katzman said. The Ontario government announced a few funding initiatives geared towards eating disorders last October, though none involve directly supporting existing services. One includes $3.7 million for a new eating disorders program for youth aged 25 and under, with four pilot sites to start. “At this time, the program is in development as it is brand new,” said Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, in an email. Another $800,000 has been put forward to support the creation of Eating Disorders Ontario, a pilot program to train and deploy eating disorder prevention experts who will work with local communities and schools in the province. The program is also currently in development, Hilkene said. At St. Joseph’s Hospital’s eating disorders program, demand has quadrupled since 2010, Laliberte said. Despite that, staffing hasn’t increased in that time due to lack of resources. “Eating disorders are never at the table,” Laliberte said. But the pandemic hasn’t been all bad, especially for patients like Giga who have endured lengthy waits to receive adequate treatment. For example, the closure of gyms in Toronto heightened her anxiety as she tried to increase her food intake, a necessary and early component of her recovery plan. But gym closures also meant she had to increase her calorie-count knowing she wouldn’t be able to offset it by vigorous exercise — a feat that would have been harder to achieve with the temptation of open gyms and yoga studios. Being able to receive treatment in her own home, she added, meant she could receive treatment in a space she considered safe without the pressure of commuting. “My nutritionist at treatment called it a divine intervention,” Giga said. “Sometimes I feel like it honestly probably took a pandemic for me to recover.” Giga is now close to a fully-restored weight of 112 lbs. and a BMI of 20.3. It’s a small hopeful note in an otherwise difficult time for many. With a renewed focus on eating disorders, Laliberte and others hope the pandemic could be an opportunity to revamp what has been traditionally an inaccessible care system for the long term. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
(Don Pablo/Shutterstock - image credit) Vancouver city council has approved a temporary parklet in the Downtown Eastside to be used as a COVID-safe drinking place for people enrolled in a program for severe alcohol use disorder. The parklet will be installed in front of the Drinker's Lounge at 111 Princess Ave. as part of the Portland Hotel Society's Community Managed Alcohol Program, which provides beer and wine to people who might otherwise consumer dangerous substances like hand sanitizers and mouthwash. "Providing safe, low-barrier spaces for people to consume alcohol in the Downtown Eastside will help those most at risk in this community to socialize and look out for each other's safety," Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, said in a news release. "Managed consumption sites also provide opportunities to link people to much needed support services, which is critical as part of our response to both public health crises — the overdose emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic." The parklet is set to be installed from March 1 to July 31. According to a press release from the city, the idea was developed in response to concerns from people and businesses in the area, who reported an increase in people drinking the street after COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. That raised the possibility that both community members and drinkers could be injured by falling or being hit by vehicles. City staff are also looking into creating more washroom facilities in the area, the press release says. The parklet pilot project follows last summer's temporary program allowing people to drink at four public plazas in the city. This spring, city staff expect to report back to council about how that worked out and make recommendations about whether to repeat it this year.
A remote First Nation in Northern Ontario has declared a state of emergency for its off-reserve members in Thunder Bay after an outbreak among them in the city, where COVID-19 infections continue to surge. In a press release Wednesday, Chief Chris Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation said 12 off-reserve members in Thunder Bay have confirmed infections, affecting six per cent of the 217 members living in the city. Chief Moonias is asking Indigenous Services Canada to provide emergency housing for at least 14 of its members who are among those without adequate housing in Thunder Bay and at higher risk of becoming infected. He says a lack of housing in Neskantaga forces members to leave the community. Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said his department is prepared to offer support to the community and has been in close contact with Thunder Bay authorities as the cases rise. COVID-19 outbreaks have affected the city’s homeless population and schools. Associate Deputy Minister Valerie Gideon said the department has funding available for First Nations affected by COVID-19 while living away from their communities. Chief Moonias said immunizing First Nation members living in Thunder Bay against the virus has to be a priority as soon as more vaccines are available. Ontario has identified all Indigenous adults as among the next priority groups in phase one of its vaccine rollout. In a COVID-19 update Wednesday, Mr. Miller said Ontario’s Ornge air-ambulance service and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority in Northern Ontario are close to vaccinating 70 per cent of members in 31 remote, fly-in First Nations, including Neskantaga, with the first dose. Manitoba has opened up vaccinations to the general public, with appointments now available to people 95 and older and First Nations people older than 75. Mr. Miller said the department is working closely with the National Association of Friendship Centres and provinces and territories in the vaccine rollout for Indigenous adults in urban cities and towns across the country. “Urban Indigenous populations face many if not the same systemic barriers to accessing services of those living in isolated or remote communities or on reserve,” said Mr. Miller. Jocelyn Formsma, the executive director for the National Association of Friendship Centres in Ottawa, has been advocating for safe and accessible vaccination clinics for urban Indigenous populations. She said that because the vaccines are allocated by provinces and territories to local public-health authorities, Friendship Centres are pushing for provincial vaccine rollouts to include a plan for urban Indigenous people. She said it’s encouraging to see vaccine clinics for urban Indigenous adults being set up in places such as the Wabano Centre in Toronto – a result of local public-health authorities partnering with urban Indigenous organizations. However, she added that there need to be vaccine clinics in rural locations, as well, and that Friendship Centres have the resources to facilitate those clinics and ensure that all Indigenous adults have appropriate access. Mr. Miller said that overall COVID-19 case counts in First Nations continue to decline and that more than 103,000 vaccine doses have been administered in about 450 First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Tom Wong, Chief Medical Officer of Public Health for Indigenous Services, said that there have been no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variants in Northern Manitoba. However, Dr. Wong said that it’s a matter of when, not if, the variants arrive in First Nations and that redoubling public-health efforts will be key to stopping the spread to prevent outbreaks. Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
Council voted Wednesday to approve a 2.5% blended (municipal, county, and education) tax rate for 2021. The decision came at the end of day three of deliberations, at the end of which some were still dissatisfied by the lack of options to save more money. "I won't be able to vote for this budget," said Coun. Beth Prost, who with her peers Couns. Bill Gordon and Carole McGinn voted against the rate. "We're in a pandemic and I just cannot do it. Not to say everybody's hard work isn't acknowledged. It's a hard decision, but I have to think about every resident in this town and that's what I'm doing." Her stance was backed by Gordon. "I really don't think we've sharpened our pencils enough; there wasn't enough appetite," he said. "Not a single thing pulled from the capital budget. There wasn't an appetite. In totality, if there was ever a year in this corporation's history to hold the line, I don't know what else would be. I believe we failed in that, and I cannot support the budget." Deputy Mayor Mike Ross said he would have liked to see more savings, but would respect the democratic process and vote with his "team." Others expressed more clear support for the budget. "The last couple of days have been incredibly eye opening," said Coun. Jon Main. "I would say this isn't a catch-up year and we certainly don't want this to be a fall behind year. We want to continue to deliver quality services the town provides. It's a work in progress and I think for this year, we have to survive and the theme is healing. Next year, the theme might be celebration." Mayor Stewart Strathearn was in agreement. "I will support the budget," he said. "I think it's appropriate. Yes, we're in a pandemic, yes people are struggling, and if we're going to change that, we're going to have to invest. You can't save your way to prosperity, but you can invest and get a dividend and build prosperity." The budget features gross operating expenditures of $31,585,011, including: $29,385,598 for municipal operations, $2,099,413 for agencies, boards. The capital budget is set at $9,218,680 while the waste and wastewater operating budget is $7,050,911. During the question hour earlier in the day, Gordon was on top of the list when it came to looking for places to save money. One of the sections of budget he targeted was under council and committees. He, along with Ross, Prost, and McGinn, was looking for a reduction in the amount budgeted under the line item grants and donations. Gordon started out by asking for the $130,000 to be slashed to $110,000, saving $20,000 for physician recruitment purposes. Others viewed that as a bit extreme. There was opposition to the motion. "I will not be supporting that motion," said Main. "This is not a lot of money that is disbursed. It's community development. We're very mindful of how we disburse it. Our hospital is woefully underfunded by the province and we have to make up for the difference. If we want to gradually pull out money, that's a good discussion to have." Ross said he would want to have the conversation around it later this year and reduce the amount to around $60,000. Gordon proposed an amendment to his motion. Gordon said his suggestion was only for this year. "We need everybody to be all-in to help reduce the spend," he said. "I have seen some flexibility, nowhere near what I was hoping, but there's some flexibility. I'd be okay cutting it down to $60,000. We need to reduce something." His motion, however, was defeated by majority vote. "From my perspective, there are a lot of people who have put effort into the application process so far and that deserves to be respected," said Mayor Stewart Strathearn. "I'm interested in seeing a staff report on this. I understand the goal is to reduce the levy, but I'm not sure this is the best place of doing this at this late point in time." Earlier during the day, there were also questions around various other items such as insurance costs, which have increased significantly, harbour fees, and parking revenues. Ross asked about how the increase in parking revenue was calculated. In 2021, it is budgeted at $730,000, up $230,000 from the previous year. "We're increasing our parking from 350 to 1,100," said Jim Reichheld, municipal law enforcement officer. "That's where that revenue is coming from. We're tripling our paid parking spots." Ross also asked about an opportunity for long-term parking down at the harbour front. "We're working out the fine details," said Reichheld. "We're looking at a pass for slip holders. We're exploring avenues for the boat launch as well to allow out-of-towners to use it with a fee." Gordon wanted to clarify the parking rate. "The initial shock is that we're going to rape the town with no more free parking," he said. "But the parking rate itself, are we holding the line on that?" Reichheld confirmed that was the case. "You may see a change in the fine on the tickets," he said, adding that was why the department is looking to bring on a second summer law enforcement student. "Parking permit fees are going down, an annual cost of under $100 for permit holders. We'll pilot that for a year at that price and then see where it is." Town solicitor and executive director of corporate services, Tina Lococo, was asked about the increase in insurance fees, which have been on the rise overall. "It's not specific to Midland," she said. "Everyone is experience huge insurance hikes because of the industry risk. Municipalities are viewed as high risk for a number of reasons." In the another section, Gordon asked staff if the half a million approved for playground equipment would be spread out or could it be focused on only one park, such as Little Lake Park. Andy Campbell, executive director of environment and infrastructure, said that would be up to public input and council. On day two, he had presented to council some design concepts that showed how much equipment could be added to four parks. With $500,000 divided among them, each listed park would receive up to three structures, or as otherwise decided by council with public input. Ross wanted to know if there was opportunity to bring in more revenue through increased harbour fees. "Last year, we increased the fees by 10%," said Campbell. "That was a significant increase. Over the last few years, it's only been inflationary increase. That 10% wasn't to recoup all those repair dollars in one year but over time. For this year, we've raised it only by 1.5% (inflationary increase)." After no more savings could be found, council voted on the budget with the three main reductions that lead to the tax rate being reduced to 2.5% blended (municipal, county, and education). The savings came from moving $100,000 for affordable and transitional housing policy and initiatives to the tax-rate stabilization reserve instead of the operating budget, vetoing a $76,500 library communications hire and a reduction of $60,000 in the total ask for four other staff positions within the organization. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press - image credit) The Alberta government will offer a one-time payment of $561 for parents who used child care (including licensed or unlicensed daycares, day homes, out-of-school care or pre-school) between April and December of last year. Families with annual household incomes of $100,000 or less will be eligible for the benefit. They can apply online between March 1 and 31. Around 192,000 children are expected to be supported by the $108-million fund, which will be paid for out of unspent money in the Children's Services budget. That money would have normally gone toward child-care subsidies but went unused due to lower enrolment during the pandemic. The government had been facing questions around its plans for the fund for months leading up to the budget, which will be unveiled Thursday. One-time payment comes as $25/day program winds down The benefit comes as the province winds down the $25-per-day child-care pilot program, which was implemented by the previous, NDP government. Last summer, the federal government announced it would give Alberta $45 million for child care, much of which will go toward subsidizing costs for families under a new provincial program. Children's Services Minister Rebecca Schulz said expanding the $25-per-day pilot program would be too costly. "To expand this program right across the province would cost more than a billion dollars. This is a difficult economic time, and the feedback from the pilot, this includes from parents and centres … felt that it was inherently unfair because it did choose winners and losers and didn't necessarily always support the parents and families that needed that support," Schulz said Wednesday. The median cost of child care was $1,100 per month in Calgary and $975 in Edmonton in 2018, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The Opposition party criticized the announcement, saying that providing universal, accessible, affordable child care is significantly more effective than a single payment in getting parents back to work. "Parents need affordable child care every month, not just when the UCP has a budget to sell," NDP children's services critic Rakhi Pancholi said. "The economic imperative in this moment is to get Albertans back to work. No parent is going to be able to return to work or school based on half a month's worth of child-care fees."
Scuffles broke out between rival protesters in the southern Mexican city of Iguala on Wednesday amid growing anger over President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's backing of a gubernatorial candidate accused of rape. Video shared on social media showed one woman hitting another woman with a megaphone, bloodying her face, following a joint event between Lopez Obrador and Argentina's president, Alberto Fernandez. The injured protester, Yolitzin Jaimes, was demonstrating against Felix Salgado, a gubernatorial candidate for the southern state of Guerrero and a member of Lopez Obrador's ruling MORENA party.
(Anderson family, CBC - image credit) February is Black History Month, and we recognize it by celebrating the contributions that Black Canadians have made to Canada's history and culture. CBC Calgary is highlighting the legacies of three Black Calgarians who broke barriers, changed the city's history and influenced its present. WATCH | Find out more about their lives in the video above Virnetta Anderson became the first Black city councillor in Calgary. When American-Canadian activist and politician Virnetta Anderson was elected to city council in 1974, she became Calgary's first Black municipal councillor. And according to Barry Anderson, Virnetta's youngest son, the work reflected a fundamental aspect of her personality: a commitment to public service that can be traced throughout the entirety of her life. "I think one of the reasons people still seem to recognize her and celebrate her today, after all these years, is that she brought that sense of service and community commitment to politics," Barry said. "She had the heart of a volunteer and she wanted to serve the community. She was not naive in any way, in that she knew what politics was all about. And she was able to play that game as good as anybody could. "But she did it from kind of a point of integrity and authenticity." Politician, leader, civic champion Born in Monticello, Arkansas in 1920, Virnetta moved from Los Angeles to Calgary in 1952 after her husband, Ezzrett (Sugarfoot) Anderson, was signed to play in the Canadian Football League. In Alberta, the weather was colder but the prairie hospitality was warm, Barry said, and Virnetta soon became involved in the community and the United Church. "Even as she kind of grew her base of supporters and friends and influencers, it was still all during a time when women were thought of as supporting the man. And for many years she raised the family, was Sugarfoot's wife," Barry said. Virnetta Anderson relaxes with her family. But Virnetta was energetic, sharp and committed to contributing to her community, Barry said. She would be encouraged by her friends, and people she had met through years of volunteer work, to run for a city council seat. And in 1974, more than 20 years after moving to Calgary, Virnetta threw her hat into the political ring — and won. "It was kind of radical for her to be a woman, a woman of colour, and to be branching out — getting out from under her husband's shadow, doing anything but church socials and church organizing, to get out and actually be a politician," Barry said. "She never thought that politics would be a place where she would flourish, she really had the heart of the volunteer all her life, the heart of someone of service and contributing to the community in that way. "But, yeah, you know, wife and mother. And then all of a sudden: politician, leader, civic champion." 'It all just came down to helping people' During her years at city council, Virnetta focused heavily on social issues, Barry said. That funding was secured for social services, community services, and the health and welfare of seniors and disadvantaged people were priorities for her. According to the City of Calgary, Virnetta also took on issues such as Indigenous employment opportunities, affordable housing and transportation, and influenced decisions to build the CTrain line. "She was very much concerned about making sure that there was proper attention paid — and money — backing up these types of services and community organizations and institutions that would help people. [It] just all came down to helping people," he said. Virnetta Anderson not only had a lot of heart, but a lot of style, too. However, as a Black woman in a male-dominated field, Barry said she faced challenges. Racism and sexism were forces back then, as they still are now, he said. "People used to approach her and say, 'Well, are you for women's rights, are you for Black rights,' and all of those things. And she would always say to them … 'I'm for human rights,'" he said. "So, she saw herself as a human being. A wife, a mother, a Calgarian, a Canadian … she was just who she was, and that's the way she carried herself her whole life." Part of her world Though Virnetta served only until 1977, the role built upon itself, Barry said. It led to connections and volunteer opportunities that helped her to continue a life of public service well after her political career. She worked with the United Way and the Calgary Rotary Club, which named her a Paul Harris Fellow in 1988. Virnetta Anderson dedicated a lot of her time to public service over the years. Virnetta was also a nominee for the YWCA's Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award for community service in 1992. That same year, she was nominated for the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal. Virnetta died in 2006 at the age of 85. When the restoration of Calgary's Historic City Hall was completed in 2020, a municipal reception hall was named after Virnetta, to honour her legacy. "She was just an amazingly loving woman," Barry said. "But I also just remember how much fun she was … as well as her ability to to bring that all together, to connect with people and make them feel comfortable and make them feel part of her world." If you've ever taken the CTrain in Calgary, you have Oliver Bowen to thank for the ride. Oliver Bowen was a civil engineer with the City of Calgary who would become the architect of Calgary's CTrain system. He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1965, and moved to Calgary to work in the public transit department that same year — and that work would be groundbreaking, said Nicole Dodd. Alongside Cindé Adgebesan and Pam Tzeng, Dodd is a founder of the AB Anti-Racism EDU Committee that campaigns for Black Canadian history and anti-racism coursework to be included in Alberta's K-12 curriculum. Dodd said that with a $144-million budget and five-year timeline, Bowen was tasked with creating and building the CTrain — which he completed under-budget and with time to spare. "Oliver Bowen is very inspirational, because he has had a lasting impact on the City of Calgary with the design and implementation of one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city," said Dodd. "[And] his legacy, design and leadership are still benefiting Calgarians today." Full of the dickens Bowen was born in 1942 in Alberta's Amber Valley, which is about 170 kilometres north of Edmonton. It was one of several communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan settled by Black people from Oklahoma, Texas and other southern states, who were looking for a life away from racial segregation and violence in the early 1900s. But they still faced pushback in Western Canada. Oliver Bowen got a job with the City of Calgary right out of university. Peggy Brown, Oliver's cousin, lived a mile and a half from him. She remembers Oliver as funny, impish and well-liked; he delighted in driving too fast and cheating at board games, she said. "[Oliver] was full of the dickens, he was always full of mischief," she said. "He had a little shy smile, a little grin, and you knew right away that he was up to something." Bowen had a strong work ethic, however, and that dedication led to a quick professional ascent. 'He was going to do it' According to Brown, Bowen studied hard throughout university, and when he was offered a job with the City of Calgary before graduating in 1965, he would go on to work hard there, too. Bowen began his career as the city's first special project engineer, where he was responsible for construction of major roads, Brown said. Oliver Bowen was known by his colleagues for his hard work. And he would be promoted many times until 1977, when he became the manager of light rail transportation construction and implementation. The division was responsible for designing and building Calgary's first light rail transit leg. "[Oliver] had sort of an ability to figure out things … if a situation came up, he could think of how to manage it," Brown said. "He just put his mind to it — that he could do it, and he was going to do it, as far as I know of, and it happened. But it was by no means easy." The opportunity to shine It was not easy, Brown said, because of how much work the role required. But there is a likelihood that Oliver faced other challenges, too. If Bowen experienced racism and discrimination, he did not discuss it with her directly — but Brown acknowledged it was commonplace. "I would imagine he did, as we all did, once we left the farm and went into work," she said. "We all had difficulties getting jobs, being promoted. Now, did he have that or not, I don't know, because he was promoted through the city quite rapidly, and did very well." Dodd said Bowen was likely recognized by progressive administrators within the city for his sterling qualifications and his committed work ethic. "Obviously, there was some visionary leadership who provided him the opportunity to shine," Dodd said. Bowen's legacy Oliver Bowen receives a gift as Ralph Klein, who served as premier and Calgary mayor, looks on. Bowen died in 2000. Nine years later, the City of Calgary paid tribute to the transportation pioneer by naming a light rail transit maintenance facility after him — the Oliver Bowen Light Rail Facility in the city's northeast. But what he leaves behind goes even deeper than that, Brown and Dodd said. "Black students, and specifically Black male students, are often funnelled into athletics, or into music," Dodd said. "It's important for … all students, really, to be exposed to a historical figure such as Oliver Bowen, because he breaks those stereotypes." Bowen, Dodd said, was involved in science, technology, engineering and math before it was called STEM. His accomplishments and legacy are lasting, still seen and used by Calgarians every day. "For all students to recognize that Black achievement has many, many different outcomes, and it's not simply in entertainment or in sport, I think, is very important." And as a Black man who was so influential in Calgary's history, and its present, Brown hopes Bowen serves as an inspiration. "I'd think that [young Black people] would be encouraged to try, if they wanted to — in whatever field they wanted to work in. I think they would think of, well, 'Oliver made it back then, certainly, I can make it now,'" Brown said. "So I think they would be encouraged, and think, well, they would pursue what they wanted to do, with Oliver in mind." In 1953, Violet King became the first Black graduate of the University of Alberta's faculty of law. She was the first Black woman to practise law in Canada after being called to the bar in 1954. And she would become the first Black lawyer admitted to the Law Society of Alberta. To understand the impact of Violet King's legal career is to recognize a series of broken barriers. In 1953, she became the first Black graduate of the University of Alberta's faculty of law. She was the first Black woman to practise law in Canada after being called to the bar in 1954. And she would become the first Black lawyer admitted to the Law Society of Alberta. "She is just a trailblazer in terms of being a Black Canadian, and having her achievements reach such high levels, during a time that was historically quite discriminatory and racist toward people of African descent," said Dodd. "Today there are Black student law associations, there are all types of associations specifically for different Black professionals in their fields. And I feel like somebody like Violet King was a trailblazer to allow for those types of organizations to exist today. "So, her impact in Alberta and in Canada was truly immeasurable." Her character Born in Calgary in 1929, King lived in the northwest community of Sunnyside and went to Crescent Heights High School, where she excelled, Dodd said. King would attend the University of Alberta in 1948. Six years later, she would become Canada's first Black female lawyer. And to accomplish what she did, Dodd said, King was likely confronted with both racism and sexism in a field that was overwhelmingly represented by white men. "I think it says a lot about her character, it says a lot about her ability to look past, probably, comments and behaviours that were discriminatory," Dodd said. "It speaks to her ability to just continue moving forward with the belief that this is what she was supposed to be doing, and nothing can stop her. Not racism, not discrimination and not barriers against women. "And I believe that that is truly what powered her through her law career." Strong and resilient and tenacious King defied stereotypes that would undermine Black women's achievement and success, Dodd said. And as a Black woman who also attended the University of Alberta while completing a bachelor of commerce, Dodd said she would ask King about her experience if she could. "I remember my own experience at U of A, feeling relatively isolated and not really feeling like I saw a lot of people that looked like me in leadership positions," Dodd said. Violet King, right, stands beside her family as her brother, Ted, arrives back in Calgary in 1946. "I can't even imagine how it would have felt in 1948, walking through those halls.… I just would be interested in knowing: Where does she get her resolve? Her resolve to keep going, her resolve to make a difference, her resolve to do something, that she literally had never met anybody else who looked like her who was doing that same thing. "That is truly incredible, and something within her must have been very strong and resilient and tenacious to keep going." And, indeed, King would openly acknowledge the struggle for people of colour in the workforce. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, King delivered a speech in 1955 at a Beta Sigma Phi sorority banquet in Calgary. "It is too bad that a Japanese, Chinese or coloured girl has to outshine others to secure a position," she said. Standing on their shoulders King practised criminal law in Calgary before she moved to Ottawa, where she worked for the federal department of citizenship and immigration for seven years. Eventually, King made her way to New Jersey, where she became the executive director of the Newark YMCA's community branch. Violet King, pictured as a young Calgary lawyer, was guest speaker at the Beta Sigma Phi pledge banquet in 1955. In 1976, she became the first woman to have an executive position with the National Council of the YMCA's Organizational Development Group. King died in 1982. She was 52. She was inducted into the National YMCA Hall of Fame in 1998. "As somebody who later pursued higher education beyond my undergraduate degree, I think knowing about Violet would have helped me to feel as though my accomplishments are not novel," Dodd said. "That there are people who have accomplished great things in Canada who look exactly like me, and, in fact, I am standing on their shoulders." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
(Viking Press - image credit) Jack Whyte — a Scottish Canadian novelist who lived in Kelowna, B.C., for 25 years — died of cancer Monday at 80. Born in 1940, Whyte is the author of several historical novels, including the Arthurian-rooted Dream of Eagles series and the Templars Trilogy, which have been translated into more than 20 languages and read by millions of people around the globe. After immigrating to Canada in 1967, Whyte taught English at a local high school for a year before becoming a professional writer as well as a musician and actor. Michele and Michael Neill, who co-own Mosaic Books in downtown Kelowna, first met Whyte when the couple moved to the central Okanagan city in 1995 and purchased the bookstore. They remember Whyte as a fun-loving man dedicated to excellence in creative writing. Whyte was a frequent visitor to the store for his book launches. "We'd go upstairs to the office and have a bottle of wine sitting there … we'd have a smoke [cigarettes] up there and have a few words," Michael Neill said Wednesday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South of the launch of Whyte's book Uther in 2000. "He was just full of energy and what a storyteller," Neill said of his friend who also loved to sing. "You could hear a pin drop in the room (of more than 200 people) while he read from his book." In September 2018, Whyte told fellow novelists that research on historical details played a substantial role in his crafting process. "By and large the plot development of each of my books was dictated by the research I conducted and the ancillary details that grew out of it," he said to fantasy fiction writer Sarah Raughley. "Research, for me, takes on a life of its own, and I do all of it to serve a single purpose, which is to allow me to write intelligibly about something that, up to that point, I might have known little or nothing about," he told Haisla and Heiltsuk writer Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster. Michele Neill says Whyte collected an incredible amount of historical detail and went to great lengths to embellish them in his stories, not hesitating to toss his imperfect drafts. "He once wrote 600 pages of a book and then realized it was all wrong and threw it out and started again," she said. Michele Neill, right, co-owner of Kelowna's Mosaic Books store where Jack Whyte, left, hosted several book launches, remembers the writer for his exhaustive research on his novels. Whyte is survived by his wife Beverley. "He loved his wife really well. They loved one another so much, so I feel sad for Beverley," Neill said. Tap the link below to hear Michele and Michael Neill's interview on Daybreak South:
(Facebook, Jo Smith - image credit) The man accused of fatally beating two dogs says he confessed to abusing the animals only because he believed it would keep his family together. John Geick, 39, is on trial on three counts of animal abuse. On Wednesday, he testified in his own defence. In February 2019, Geick lived with his son and then-girlfriend, Joanna Smith, who owned a basset hound named Sophie and a Chihuahua named Tyler. Over a three-day span, both dogs died of what a forensic veterinarian would eventually determine was multiple blunt force trauma. "I am a very good dog parent," Geick said at the beginning of his testimony. 'Major trauma' suffered by dogs In her testimony Tuesday, Smith testified that after the second dog died, she confronted Geick, asking him if he had hurt the dogs. Smith testified that Geick nodded and cried when she asked if he'd kicked the animals. After her second dog died suddenly, Smith had become suspicious and had asked the veterinary hospital to get the Calgary Humane Society involved in an investigation. Later, in an interview with police, Geick said he had thrown Sophie outside, across the patio and into the wall of the garage. He also said he kicked Tyler once because the dog had bitten him in the garage. Geick said that just before he was questioned by police, Smith and her mother told him he needed to tell investigators he was responsible for the deaths. He said he believed if he took responsibility, he could save his family. Geick also testified that he felt like the police officers were his friends and "wanted to say what they wanted to hear." And although the descriptions do not match the "major trauma," the Crown's theory is that Geick minimized the beating he delivered to Tyler and Sophie. 'I would never hurt Tyler' On Feb. 15, Geick woke Smith up to say Sophie wasn't well. When she got to the dog's side, Sophie was dead. Geick told defence lawyer Efrayim Moldofsky he performed CPR on Sophie when he found the dog unresponsive, cold and not breathing. The veterinarian who performed the necropsy found injuries to Sophie's lips, mouth, eye, legs, stomach, head, chest and ears and said the dog wouldn't have lived more than 60 minutes after being abused. The basset hound's liver had been "pulverized" and she bled into her abdomen. The dog, said the vet, would have been in "immense pain." Two days later, Smith woke up to find Tyler shaking and unable to stand. She and Geick brought him to the vet, who ultimately euthanized the dog because of catastrophic injuries to his belly, inside his mouth, ears and lungs. Blood had also pooled in the dog's eyes, indicating he had been choked. "I would never hurt Tyler," said Geick. "I loved that dog, he was my best friend." Prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood will cross-examine.
Canada's main stock index is expected to extend its record-setting rally this year as a global economic recovery boosts the outlook for the index's heavily weighted financial and resource stocks, a Reuters poll found. "The TSX Composite with its heavy makeup of financials, energy and material stocks should be a perfect proxy and beneficiary of a global economic reopening," said Matt Skipp, president of SW8 Asset Management. Investors expected the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, historically low interest rates and fiscal stimulus to support an economic recovery.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa House Republicans cast the final vote needed Wednesday to send a bill to the governor that sharply limits early voting in the state, months after a general election overseen by a Republican secretary of state resulted in record turnout and overwhelming victories by GOP candidates. The bill passed with only Republican votes just a day after it similarly passed the Senate. Supporters of the legislation cited fraud concerns as the reason early voting must be reined in. However, like in many other Republican-led states where similar steps are being considered, there historically haven't been widespread concerns about irregularities in the election system. “When we go back home and talk to people in the gas stations, at the grocery stores and at the hardware stores there is no disputing there are tens of thousands of Iowans that tell this Republican caucus every single week when we go home we emphatically support this bill, we want this bill, we think this bill is necessary and we support it,” said Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, who managed the bill in the House. Democrats who are outnumbered in both chambers were left aghast but in no position to stop the changes. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, has indicated she'd consider them. “Last fall we had elections overseen by a Republican secretary of state in which Republicans gained seats in the Iowa House and the U.S. House, so if there is any significant voter fraud in this state then two things are true," Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach of Ames said. “It’s your fault, and second, it raises questions of the legitimacy of your own elections.” The bill written by Republicans would shorten the early voting period to 20 days from the current 29, just three years after Republicans reduced the period from 40 days. It also would require most mail ballots to be received by county election officials by the time polls close on Election Day, rather than counting votes as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and arrived by noon on the Monday following the election. The bill prohibits the use of a U.S. Postal Service postmark as a way to verify when a ballot was mailed. Polling times also would be reduced by an hour, closing at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. And there would be new rules on absentee ballot request forms, banning officials from sending out the forms unless a voter requests one. Satellite voting sites also could only be set up if enough voters petition for one, and voters would be removed from active voting lists if they miss a single general election and don't report a change in address or registered as a voter again. Rep. Chris Hall during House debate told Kaufmann his bill “is a cruel trick on the very voters we are here to serve. It is morally hollow.” The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 253 bills across the country this year meant to limit access to voting. Republican lawmakers have said the proposals are meant to bolster confidence in future elections, though they have been the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the previous election was fraudulent. Sylvia Albert, director of the voting and elections project at Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization that advocates to expand access to voting, said the GOP is moving to depress turnout following their losses in the last election cycle. “Instead of dealing with real issues these legislatures are revoking access to the ballot,” she said. “The motivation is not to secure an election, the motivation is to undermine access to the ballot.” Democratic Sen. Pam Jochum pointed out that 76% of Iowa Democrats voted by mail in November and 52% of Republicans as mail voting surged in popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa Republicans backing the bill argue there was voter fraud in states where Trump narrowly lost to Democrat Joe Biden, though courts have repeatedly ruled there was no significant fraud. Still, Republicans said that belief has caused their constituents to lose faith in the integrity of elections, so changes are needed. Their action follows repeated claims by Trump that mail balloting was vulnerable to fraud, again without any evidence. During Senate debate, Sioux City Republican Sen. Jim Carlin said “most of the Republican caucus believe the election was stolen.” He added, “Who believes that Joe Biden got 12 million more votes than Obama on his best day? I don’t believe that he did better than Barack Obama.” Iowa City Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom said those kind of conspiracy theories and cult behaviour toward Trump are what has led some people to lose faith in elections. “I for one am not going to normalize this bizarre irrational conspiracy theory thinking and behaviour,” he said. In a public hearing held Monday night nearly 1,200 people signed up to comment on the measure. All but 28 opposed the legislation. Janice Weiner, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, said the section of the bill that shortens the time for absentee voting will hurt people who go south for Iowa winters, victims of domestic violence, voters in rural areas and the elderly. She cautioned lawmakers against believing debunked lies about election fraud. “Just as Sen. (Joni) Ernst won her election and each of you won yours, President Biden won freely and fairly,” she said. “The remedy for the big lie of a stolen election is not to take an axe to election laws that worked exceedingly well, it’s simply to tell the truth.” Gary Leffler, a West Des Moines resident who supports the bill, said he was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and could attest that people are concerned about voter integrity. “Right now you’ve got half the people who voted in a national election who are feeling like yesterday’s newspaper in the bottom of a birdcage and they’re trying to figure out how in the world did this happen. You must restore integrity back into our voting. I think this bill goes a long way to getting that done," he said. ___ Associated Press writer Anthony Izaguirre in Lindenhurst, New York, contributed to this report. David Pitt, The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — A quick look at the Raptors schedule for the second half of the shortened NBA season had Nick Nurse already thinking about managing minutes. A gruelling four-game western road trip that sees Toronto play four games in six days at Denver, Utah, and Los Angeles against the Clippers and Lakers highlights the Raptors' second half of the season. "It looked busy. It looked busy. Looked like a lot of games. Felt like a (United States Basketball League) schedule," Nurse joked before the Raptors tipped off against the Miami Heat on Wednesday. The USBL was a pro spring league that folded in 2008. "You used to say 'Oh you've got a back-to-back here in a couple weeks,' and now you've got one every week, so that thought can go past your head," Nurse said. "In all seriousness though, there's got to probably be a look at -- I haven't done it yet -- but thinking about managing that. I think that maybe getting more guys on the floor in certain situations and maybe using a deeper roster in some fashion or other. I'm kicking those ideas around in my head, or I'll start to. I'll probably leave that for a few days." The NBA announced the schedule in two halves this season in order to add make-up games for COVID-19 postponements. The Raptors haven't had any games postponed. The season has been shortened to 72 games, further compressed because of the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 23. The NBA Finals could go until July 22. The Raptors tip off the second half on March 11 against the visiting Atlanta Hawks, one of 19 games at their temporary home at Amalie Arena in Tampa. They'll play 35 games in total in the second half. The Raptors will make four U.S. national television appearances. Their April 24 game at New York will be televised by ESPN, while TNT is broadcasting the May 4 game versus the Clippers in Los Angeles. NBA TV has the Raptors games April 11 at New York and May 2 against the Lakers in L.A. The Raptors' longest homestand is five games from April 13 to 21. They play eight back-to-back sets. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24. 2021. The Canadian Press
(Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit) A week into the province's COVID-19 red zone, Windsor-Essex business owners and customers are taking advantage of the services that are now open. Some businesses had to close for two months due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the region. While those who spoke with CBC News say they're glad to finally reopen their doors, some hope restrictions will ease up even more. Tina Ngoc Tram, owner of Paris Nails in Windsor, says the first week back was "busy" but she's excited to be in the chair and playing with nail designs again. Headline Barbershop owner Hussein Tehaili also said business is booming, with his days fully booked since the reopening. WATCH: To hear more about how local businesses are doing a week into the red zone, tap the player below. Under the province's 'red-control' zone, these sorts of personal services are allowed to open, though customers can't remove their mask. Restaurants and bars are also allowed to open their indoor dining sections with a limit of 10 guests at a time. As of February, the province also expanded the capacity limits of retailers under the red-control zone. This meant that supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies could have 75 per cent capacity limits. Meanwhile, all other retailers could open at 50 per cent capacity.
There’s a special recipe for “meat-counter economics” that’s simmering across grocery stores in Canada. The not-so-secret ingredient? COVID-19. Leading food economists believe spiralling pricing and consumption trends won’t just last during the course of the pandemic, but will likely result in sticker shocks for any kind of protein for many years to come. That includes plant-based products along with the “industry trifecta” of chicken, pork and beef, said Sylvain Charlebois, speaking to more than 700 nutritionists and food-sector professionals at a virtual conference Tuesday. Charlebois, a keynote speaker at the event hosted by the Canadian Nutrition Society and senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, talked at length about the many ways in which the coronavirus has “rampaged” the trajectory of food-related commerce. “Before the crisis, vegetable proteins were truly rising and very much in fashion, plastics were the new threat and shopping online was seen by many as a far-fetched idea,” said the supply management professor, based at Dalhousie University in Halifax. “That hasn’t only changed now, but it’s impacted everyone — from restaurants, grocers, abattoirs, online services and those that are customers for them, down to the suppliers and manufacturers, and even delivery people.” Through studies and polls conducted last year, food experts have many reasons to believe meat prices will likely continue to rise. At the same time, pricing for plant-based products is expected to remain stagnant, with fewer competitors in the market. “I like to think of those two food categories as the different dimensions of proteins,” said Charlebois. “Right now, there’s no equilibrium between them. Prior to the pandemic, we were thinking that would happen very soon. And it seems that that peace might still come, it just won’t happen for a while.” According to polling from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab shared Tuesday, the Prairies rank the highest across Canada in terms of daily consumption for meat — with 72.58 per cent saying they consume meat daily, 17.74 per cent once or twice a week, and 4.84 per cent monthly. Although they’re about 20 points down for daily consumption in other provinces such as Quebec or British Columbia, those trends are fairly consistent across Canada. In Manitoba, data from Statistics Canada for beef prices alone shows that, stewing cuts jumped to $17.20 per kilogram from $13.50; sirloin cuts climbed to $24.04 from $17.84; and striploin cuts came to a staggering $31.57 from $18.15. But those are figures from the summer of 2020, and experts believe they will continue bumping up across the board for several years. For Charlebois, a lot of that has to do with “the many economic anomalies” created by the pandemic. “We’ve never seen our trifecta of meats on sale with rising prices at the same time really, never ever before,” he said. “The only way I see this changing though is if consumption itself changes, and there’s some inclinations to show it could happen.” Since the pandemic has caused meat prices to rise, Charlebois believes Canadians might eventually start buying more plant-based products not just due to dietary desires, but also because of comparatively cheaper costs. “Think about it this way,” he said. “You’re doing your groceries and about to buy some meat, but you’re sticker-shocked at the price. Wouldn’t you want the cheaper alternative, which in this case is the greener choice and probably even healthier for you?” At the end of Tuesday’s presentations, moderator Mary L’Abbé asked questions on behalf of the attendees, poring from more than 50 that came in. L’Abbé is a much-lauded nutritional science professor at the University of Toronto. Questions ranged from how to navigate post-pandemic markets to the language that could be used to create awareness for nutritional products which aren’t performing well in terms of sales. It all depends on how companies and store chains market their products, Charlebois said, and whether nutritionists can fulfil the “heavy task” of educating widely and readily. “We’ve seen that food literacy is a pretty big issue for Canadians through our polls across the year,” he said. “We’d expected people would become more aware because of the pandemic, but the reality is, they’re just not. It’s like they know it’s good to be vegan or vegetarian and they respect those who are, they just don’t know why they should be one themselves. “To combat many of these interesting consumption and economic issues, I think it may be time to realize the entire trajectory has changed. Maybe then we can find the solutions.” Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
HARRIGAN COVE – Back in the day when Garnet Snow fished for a living to provide for his wife and five children, he fished alone. He paid 25 cents for a seasonal lobster license to a Nova Scotia fisheries officer at the time. Snow started fishing full time in a 25-foot boat called Olive Oil, with his father Earl Snow, when he left school in Grade 8 at age 14. Snow was born in 1929 on Snow’s Island – on the Eastern Shore about halfway between Ecum Secum and Sheet Harbour – and now, at 92, he looks back at the local fishery of the 1950s and the next several decades. “Once you had your license you could fish lobster, codfish, herring, mackerel and a separate license for netting salmon,” Snow told The Journal during an interview at his home. Eventually, in 1952, he had his own boat, the Miss Harrigan. “I fished alone – with a watch and a compass.” In the summers, Snow caught herring and mackerel, which he salted and stored in barrels to be bait for the next year’s season. “I eventually transferred my license to my son and today, in 2021, he can buy his lobster bait – caught fresh and frozen – from a bait supplier who will deliver it, and so it’s not all that work I had to do.” Snow’s area for fishing lobsters was “… in a section just off Harrigan and to Quoddy and Moosehead. There wasn’t a designated area but most people just stayed in their own place. We didn’t have a quota … I just brought home anything available – whatever was in the net.” In the early days Snow said they’d fish about six miles out and he never was afraid of the sea. “Fog never made any difference to me,” he said. Lobster prices varied and increased over the ensuing years. Snow recalls the lowest market price he got per pound was 30 cents and 15 cents for canners. As he recalls, around the time he retired in 1996 the highest he had been paid was $4 a pound. Snow says he made a comfortable living until 1962 and “… lobster went down to nothing. The quantity of lobsters had started to decline and, as a result, I had only made $700 by late May, so I quit the season June 1.” He took a seasonal job with the power corporation. His wife, Bonita, whom he married in 1954, went back to work for a time as a schoolteacher and, in 1966, they built a mink farm, which they ran together for the next 49 years. Snow didn’t give up fishing and Bonita helped care for the mink. “It was darn hard work,” said Snow, “but we grew it to 6,000 mink and, at one point, the feed had to be mixed with a paddle. We graduated to a mixer and a power grinder, and then we had a feed cart we could drive.” In time, the mink market became unsustainable as it became saturated due to over production worldwide. In early 1980, Snow set 18 traps to get his family a good feed of lobster. “I didn’t catch enough to eat,” he recalled. Lobster stocks started picking up again in the 1990s. “The catch for a year is eggs laid maybe seven or eight years ago,” he explained. “That’s why lobster seasons are hard to predict. Maybe eight years ago was a poor spawning year.” The most significant change for lobster fishers of today, Snow believes, is the distance they can go offshore to trap. Codfish eat lobster and, with the cod fishery now decimated, the lobster stock is replenishing. Boats and equipment of today can safely take the fishers a greater distance out to where the lobsters are. While he navigated with his watch and a compass, Snow smiles and said of today’s methods: “Nowadays with all the equipment they have – they can’t get out the harbour without a compass, GPS and a cell phone!” A concern for Snow is that the unrestricted size of the funnel bow of today’s lobster traps allows too many large breeders to be caught. “They need a five-inch gauge to measure the body of the lobster. Anything larger than that has to be put back or we’re going to run into trouble.” Today, the pandemic has slowed Snow up, he said, by keeping him in his rocking chair. “I didn’t go too many places.” Bonita added: “We saved money because we couldn’t go anywhere. Normally we go somewhere and eat, pay for gas and do a little shopping.” “This COVID pandemic is the biggest public health crisis in our lives,” Snow reflected. “Years ago, there was diphtheria, measles, polio … and Dr. MacMillan would scramble to get everybody vaccinated. He’d come down to Moser River to vaccinate the people.” During his school days, the school that housed 43 students was closed during outbreaks and would stay closed, sometimes for a few months, until the sickness had passed. “One year we went a whole year without a teacher – but that was during the war. I was paid $14 a school year to make the fire on every morning and sweep the floor before the kids came.” His first job, at age 11, was collecting monthly for The Halifax Herald, where subscribers paid 50 cents a month and 40 cents a month for The Halifax Mail. “Six months cost about $2.40 … compared to $226 now. I made eight cents off each monthly subscription I collected.” Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Plastic bags have been overtaken by face masks as one of the most common pieces of plastic waste. In fact, 102 million are thrown every week in the UK alone. View on euronews
President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked a series of presidential orders and memorandum signed by Donald Trump, including one that sought to cut funding from several cities the 45th president deemed “anarchist” havens and another mandating that federal buildings should be designed in a classical esthetic. Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of Trump orders and issued dozens more of his own as he’s sought to target foundational aspects of Trump's legacy and promote aspect of his own agenda without going through Congress. The latest slate of revocations targeted a grab-bag of issues, including a few that Trump signed in his last months in office. Trump issued a memorandum in September that sought to identify municipal governments that permit “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.” The memorandum followed riots during anti-police and anti-racism protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The Justice Department identified New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed. Those cities in turn filed a lawsuit to invalidate the designation and fight off the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold federal dollars. Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes welcomed the Biden revocation, saying he was “glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks." Trump in his “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” intoned that America’s forefathers “wanted public buildings to inspire the American people and encourage civic virtue." The memorandum added that architects should look to “America’s beloved landmark buildings” such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Department of the Treasury and the Lincoln Memorial for inspiration. Another order halted was one Trump issued in the final days of his presidency dubbed the “Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking." It called for limiting the ability of federal agency employees in making regulatory decisions. Biden also revoked a 2018 order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programs — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and strengthening work requirements for certain recipients. ___ Associated Press writer Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Paramount Pictures is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday announced that some of the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theatres. Like all studios in the past year, Paramount has had to adapt. Paramount sold some of its films to streaming services, including “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which went to Netflix, and “Coming 2 America” to Amazon, but held back its biggest titles, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick” for more traditional theatrical releases. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed several times over the past year. It was originally set to come out last March, but was pulled from the schedule when theatres closed nationwide. Both it and “Mission: Impossible 7” are currently scheduled to open in the fall. The 45-day plan is yet another sign of how quickly the pandemic has changed the business of Hollywood. In the past theatre owners have been able to insist upon exclusive 90-day theatrical windows, but most have had to compromise to stay afloat during the pandemic. In the past few months, Universal Pictures reached an agreement with many theatre chains to shorten the theatrical window for its films. Warner Bros. and parent company WarnerMedia followed with the more controversial decision to debut films simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max. And there's also the pressure to get premium content to new streaming services faster. Paramount+ launches March 4 and has some hefty competition for audience dollars and attention in Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max. A few films are being produced to go directly to to the service, including a new “Paranormal Activity” and a new “Pet Sematary” origin story. The company has also struck a deal with EPIX that will add thousands of other movies to Paramount+. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is resting at home with mild symptoms, his office said on Wednesday. Dunleavy, a Republican, has been isolating at his home in Wasilla, about 44 miles north of Anchorage, since he was notified on Sunday that he had been in contact the previous day with an infected individual. An initial COVID-19 test on Sunday was negative, but Dunleavy remained at home in accordance with health guidelines, his office said in a statement.