British Columbia has introduced mandatory masking for middle and high school students, but some parents and educators say the new policy doesn't go far enough to protect students and teachers from COVID-19.
British Columbia has introduced mandatory masking for middle and high school students, but some parents and educators say the new policy doesn't go far enough to protect students and teachers from COVID-19.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
One in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia's relationship with China, a survey by the Lowy Institute think tank reported. The findings prompted a call from the Chinese Australian Forum, a community group, for national leadership to tackle racism as Australia deals with a more assertive China, and also recognition that the Chinese community in Australia is diverse in its political views and origins.
Emergency crews were evacuating crew members from a fishing vessel that twice caught fire and was taking on water off the Nova Scotia coast Tuesday night. A CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has removed six of the 32 crew members from the Atlantic Destiny, according to Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, a spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), a federal government search and rescue organization. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 222 kilometres south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. There were no reports of injuries. All fires are out, but the ship is still taking on water, Owens said. A small crew will remain aboard the vessel "to control the water coming into the vessel," the JRCC said. "They have restored generator power, so the pumps are working," Owens said. The master of the Atlantic Destiny called the JRCC to report the fire at 8 p.m. AT. Experienced crew The Atlantic Destiny is based in Riverport, N.S., and is part of the fleet owned by Ocean Choice International of Newfoundland and Labrador. Company CEO Martin Sullivan said it's unclear how many people will have to stay onboard the vessel, but estimated it will be between six and 10. Sullivan said the crew and captain have lots of experience. "It's a tough situation, but we have great people that can stand up to it," he said. A CC-130 Hercules aircraft from Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, a fisheries patrol vessel and two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were responding. JRCC said all crew evacuated from the ship will be flown to Yarmouth, N.S. The first six crew members were being flown aboard the CH-149 Cormorant, Owens said. Additional crew members will be transported in the U.S. helicopters, Sullivan said. Another fishing vessel, the Lahave, is near the Atlantic Destiny and is standing by to assist. High seas and strong winds Owens said the Atlantic Destiny was adrift in eight-metre seas and winds of 55 knots. "The weather is quite adverse," he said. It's unclear what caused the fire. Sullivan said the company is focused on the safety of the crew and have been providing updates to family members throughout the evening. "The rest we can deal with later," he said. In March 2017, the Atlantic Destiny suffered a catastrophic engine failure that caused the ship to lose power. A year later, a Transportation Safety Board report blamed the failure on a combination of maintenance gaps, a broken emergency stop mechanism and the actions of an inexperienced crew member. MORE TOP STORIES
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Sean Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. General manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement Tuesday following a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators that gave rookie head coach Dominique Ducharme his first NHL victory. Burke replaces Stephane Waite, who held the position since 2013 and was let go Tuesday. Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien last week in the wake of consecutive shootout and overtime losses to the Senators in Ottawa. No. 1 goaltender Carey Price made 26 saves for the victory Tuesday over the Senators, but has struggled in 2020-21. He entered Tuesday with a 5-4-3 record to go along with an .888 save percentage and 3.13 goals-against average this season. Over his previous six starts, the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner was 1-4-1 with an .870 save percentage. Montreal backup Jake Allen, meanwhile, is 4-2-2 with a .929 save percentage and 2.12 GAA this season. Burke will be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine before joining the team. Laval Rocket goaltending coach Marco Marciano will work with Montreal's goaltenders until Burke is cleared to join the squad. The 54-year-old Burke was originally hired by the Canadiens in 2016 as a professional scout for the Western region. He has also worked as a goaltending consultant for Montreal. He spent six seasons as a member of the Coyotes' hockey management group, serving as goaltending coach and director of player development before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2012. He had an 18-year NHL career, suiting up for eight organizations before moving into management post-retirement. The three-time NHL All-Star represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, and served as Canada's general manager at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where the team won bronze without NHL players. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — “Trump needs you,” one fundraising email implored. “President Trump’s Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded. Others advertised “Miss Me Yet?” T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face. While some Republicans grapple with how fiercely to embrace the former president, the organizations charged with raising money for the party are going all in. The Republican National Committee and the party's congressional campaign arms are eager to cash in on Trump's lure with small donors ahead of next year's midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress. But there's a problem: Trump himself. In his first speech since leaving office, the former president encouraged loyalists to give directly to him, essentially bypassing the traditional groups that raise money for GOP candidates. “There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again," Trump said Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “And that’s through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com.” The comment was particularly notable because Trump is generally loath to ask for money in person. It amounts to the latest salvo in the battle to shape the future of the GOP, with Trump making clear that he holds no allegiance to the party's traditional fundraising operation as he tries to consolidate power. That could help him add to an already commanding war chest, aiding his effort to influence the party. Save America has more than $80 million cash on hand, including $3 million raised after the CPAC speech, according to a person familiar with the total. Some of that money could help Trump settle scores with incumbent members of Congress who have crossed him. In his Sunday speech, Trump read aloud the names of every Republican who voted against him and called for them to be defeated. He's already endorsed a Republican challenger to GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach Trump over the U.S. Capitol riot. “Trump’s call to give directly to him shows that the normal organs of the party ... are going to have to fight for relevance in the 2022 cycle,” said Dan Eberhart, a longtime Republican donor who has given large sums to all three as well as to Trump’s campaign. Bill Palatucci, a RNC member from New Jersey, called Trump's comments “unwelcome" and “counterproductive" and voiced concern that the GOP would suffer further losses, like Georgia' Senate runoff elections in January, if they don't work together. “Listen it’s a free country. Anybody can form a federal PAC or a super PAC and there's always lots of competition for dollars. But the crossing the line there is then to also tell people to not give to the important committees of the national party," said Palatucci. “There’s got to be a willingness on the former president to look beyond his own self-interest." The RNC and spokespeople for the House and Senate campaign committees declined to comment. But others sought to downplay the apparent tensions. They noted, for instance, that Trump is scheduled to speak at the RNC's spring donor retreat — a major fundraising source — in April in Palm Beach. And Trump told the party’s chair, Ronna McDaniel, in recent days that he wants to continue fundraising for the RNC, according to a person briefed on the conversation who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations. Before making his money pitch on Sunday, Trump's team quietly updated its fundraising filings. They converted his Save America leadership PAC to an entity that can also support other candidates, and turned his main Donald J. Trump for President campaign committee into the Make America Great Again, or MAGAPac. Money raised through Trump's website now goes to Save America JFC, a joint fundraising agreement between the two. While Trump left office as a deeply unpopular figure, he remains a powerful draw for small-dollar, grassroots donors, a reality that has been abundantly clear in fundraising appeals over the last week. Over the course of a single hour last Thursday, the RNC, both GOP congressional campaign committees and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which tries to elect Republicans to state office, blasted supporters with urgent fundraising appeals that included urgent references to Trump. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned this week that its “limited edition” T-shirts featuring Trump were almost sold out. Regardless of Trump's next move, the GOP is unlikely to remove him from its sales pitch anytime soon. “Our digital fundraising strategy is simple: raise as much money as possible," said Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for the RSLC. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
A group of Chinatown advocates are calling on Vancouver Coastal Health to involve them in the COVID-19 vaccination effort and provide more information in Chinese to seniors as Phase Two of vaccinations starts in B.C. Vancouver Coastal Health says translated information will be available in Phase Three of the vaccination plan, expected in mid-April. In Phase Two, starting Monday, seniors aged 90 or over and Indigenous people who are 75 or over will be able to make appointments to get vaccinated starting the following week. Michael Tan is the vice-president of the Chau Luen Society, which operates an apartment building for Chinese seniors at Keefer Street and Gore Avenue in Chinatown. He says his group wants to see Vancouver Coastal Health do more to support vaccination in the community based on what it saw during an initial push in February to vaccinate people living in the Downtown Eastside. That vaccination program targeted people living in shelters or supportive housing or people who are unhoused. For the elderly Chinese people who lined up for vaccinations, many of whom don’t speak much English, it could have gone better, Tan said. “There was an extreme lack of translated information, volunteers or even staff that could provide linguistically accessible information relating to the vaccination,” Tan said, adding that it also wasn’t ideal for the seniors to be waiting in line outside in the rain and cold. Tan said Chinese seniors are vulnerable to misinformation questioning the safety of vaccines, so it’s important to provide accurate printed information in Mandarin or Cantonese. Seniors are often seeing misinformation through WeChat, a Chinese-language social media app. “That’s their only way to access the news through the internet, and they get clippings from friends,” Tan said. Tan estimates that 1,900 seniors living in independent housing in Chinatown and Strathcona will be eligible for the next round of vaccinations. He said he expects seniors who have trouble speaking or understanding English will also need help with making appointments to get vaccinated over the phone or online. Tan is urging Vancouver Coastal Health to make a plan to vaccinate people where they live, in spaces like building lobbies or common rooms of the independent living buildings operated by societies like his. He said he and other Chinatown advocates have been searching for translated material on the Vancouver Coastal Health and provincial Health Ministry websites, but haven’t been able to find anything. After Tan started speaking to the media about the issue, Vancouver Coastal Health staff asked him for feedback on translated materials they are preparing. But the health authority has not yet committed to mobile vaccination clinics, Tan said today. In a letter sent to Vancouver Coastal Health last week, Tan asked it to “provide vaccination information printed on flyers translated into Chinese and direct your staff to liaise with providers of seniors’ living residences like Chau Luen Society, seniors’ outreach groups like the SRO Collaborative and Yarrow Intergenerational Society, and also City of Vancouver staff so that these vulnerable seniors can access COVID vaccine information and the vaccination process itself, in a timely and safe manner. “A co-ordinated effort to ensure vulnerable seniors in Chinatown/Strathcona have translated information and access to the COVID vaccine is urgently needed.” In response to questions from The Tyee, Vancouver Coastal Health said it will be working “closely with community partners, providers and agencies to ensure all eligible residents have access to the information they need regarding COVID-19 vaccines. This will include the translation of pertinent information about the vaccine and how individuals can register for vaccination once they are eligible, in addition to other translation supports.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Every Tuesday morning Keiko Funahashi goes door to door, delivering bento boxes to 55 Japanese seniors throughout the Lower Mainland. This week's boxes are special, prepared for Japan's traditional Girls' Day on March 3. But next week, tucked inside the boxes, seniors will also find important instructions — details on how they can sign up to receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, carefully translated into Japanese by volunteers. "Japanese-speaking seniors ... they don't necessarily watch the evening news and they don't necessarily use the Internet. Some of them, they don't even have Internet at home. So we need to translate, but we also can't always email things to them," said Funahashi, the executive director of the Japanese Community Volunteers Association. As B.C. moves into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, the province is aiming to immunize community-based seniors over the age of 80, with seniors who do not live in care being asked to call to book their own appointments. But community organizers and physicians are worried that seniors who don't speak English, don't have family support or don't have access to news sources may slip through the cracks of B.C.'s vaccine strategy, despite the province's efforts to reach everyone. 'People are getting isolated' Funahashi said that weeks ago she began to receive a flurry of questions about vaccinations, with seniors saying they felt stressed that they may miss their window of opportunity to be vaccinated. "A lot of seniors, they told us that they felt very anxious and worried, and then they would hear stories from their friends who might not also speak English," she said. "You know, people are getting isolated." The questions spurred the Japanese Community Volunteers Association to begin their own information campaign to ensure seniors living in their own homes are able to access the critical information that will help them get vaccinated — like informing seniors who don't speak English that they can get help to book their vaccine appointment. B.C. released a graphic showing when and how seniors can register to get their COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.(B.C. Ministry of Health) Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been a variety of campaigns to translate and communicate provincial health orders. With immunization efforts underway, Vancouver Coastal Health has translated information pamphlets on vaccines into nine languages. Call centres are currently available in Cantonese and Mandarin, with more languages to come. Interpreters will also be present at vaccination clinics. But geriatrician Naaz Parmar said she's still been inundated with calls from seniors unsure about how to book an appointment. "It's a really tough thing. There is that first barrier for people who are marginalized with their language skills, not knowing where to look. So they have been relying on their health practitioners instead," she said. "We've actually gone to the point where we're printing out the forms in different languages and mailing it to their house, which takes a week — obviously not ideal." Bob Chapman with Vancouver Coastal Health said for many seniors, making a phone call is the most straightforward way to book an appointment. But the health authority also knows many seniors will be dependent on their family supports and community groups to ensure they're not missed. "It is going to take a village to support this. And we want to make sure that no matter where that person's support is, we can actually get the information to them," he said. "There shouldn't be any barrier for people being able to get this vaccine." CBC British Columbia is hosting a town hall on March 10 to answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions. You can find the details at cbc.ca/ourshot, as well as opportunities to participate in two community conversations on March 3, focused on outreach to Indigenous and multicultural communities. Have a question about the vaccine, or the rollout plan in B.C.? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The once-brash U.S. shale industry, which spent profusely in recent years to grab market share, is now focused on preserving cash, putting it at a disadvantage to low-cost OPEC producers as the global economy begins to gear up again. Prior to the pandemic-induced downturn, OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia restrained their production, eager to bolster prices to fund national budgets dependent on oil revenue. Shale drillers took advantage, boosting U.S. output to a record 13 million barrels a day.
HALIFAX — The Canadian military says aircraft and ships are responding to an emergency aboard a Canadian fishing vessel that has been damaged by fire off of the coast of Nova Scotia. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says the FV Atlantic Destiny is a scallop factory ship with 32 people on board and there are no reports of injuries. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 120 nautical miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens says a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has started removing some of the crew members from the ship. Owens says a small number of the crew will remain on board. He says the fire is out but the ship was taking on water. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes. “Our purpose was to remove ... obstacles of participation for Democrats or Republicans. That’s what the law requires, that was the right thing to do,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday on the House floor. “That’s what this legislation does.” To Republicans, though, it would herald a massive expansion of the federal government's role in elections, overruling state laws that limit ballot access in the name of election security. “If this were to become law it would be the largest expansion of the federal government's role in our elections that we’ve ever seen,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. The measure, which was all but certain to pass the House in a vote expected Wednesday, has been a priority for Democrats since they won their majority in 2018. But it has taken on added urgency in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Spurred on by the former president’s lies about the election, state lawmakers across the U.S. have filed over 200 bills in 43 states that would limit ballot access, according to a tally kept by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. In Iowa, the legislature has voted to cut absentee and in-person early voting and prevent local elections officials from setting up additional locations to make early voting easier. In Georgia, the House on Monday voted for a law to require identification to vote by mail and allow counties to cancel early in-person voting on Sundays, when many Black voters cast ballots after church. “They are not even being coy about it. They are saying the ‘quiet parts’ out loud,” said Tiffany Muller, the president of End Citizens United, a left-leaning group that aims to curtail the influence of corporate money in politics. “For them, this isn’t about protecting our democracy or protecting our elections. This is about pure partisan political gain.” That’s the same charge Republican level at Democrats. “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said from the House floor on Tuesday. The bill would require states to automatically register eligible voters and offer same-day registration. It would limit their ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and mandate the restoration of former felons' voting rights in states where they aren't allowed to vote. It would also require states to offer 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting. Many Republican opponents in Congress have homed in on narrower aspects of the measure, railing against provisions that would create a public financing system for congressional campaigns. Davis charged that it would “launder corporate dollars” to publicly fund congressional campaigns. What the bill would actually do is use fines and settlement proceeds raised from corporate bad actors to create a pool of money open to candidates who meet certain requirements. Republicans also attacked an effort to revamp the federal government's toothless elections cop. That agency, the Federal Election Commission, has been gripped by partisan deadlock for years, allowing campaign finance law violators to go mostly unchecked. Still, the biggest obstacles lie ahead in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. On some legislation, it takes only 51 votes to pass, with Vice-President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker. On a deeply divisive bill like this one, they would need 60 votes under the Senate’s rules to overcome a Republican filibuster — a tally they are unlikely to reach. Some have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow some legislation to be exempt. Democratic congressional aides say the conversations are fluid but underway. Brian Slodysko, The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Health experts in China say their country is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June. Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a group of experts attached to the National Health Commission, said the country has delivered 52.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Feb. 28. He was speaking Monday at an online forum between U.S and Chinese medical experts hosted by the Brookings Institution and Tsinghua University. The target is the first China has offered publicly since it began its mass immunization campaign for key groups in mid-December. China has been slow to vaccinate its people relative to other countries, administering 3.56 doses per 100 people so far, according to Zhong, in a population of 1.4 billion. The fastest to vaccinate is Israel, which has given 94 doses per 100 people. The U.S. has administered 22 doses per 100 people. Chinese health experts say the country has enough vaccine supply for its population, although the country has pledged to provide close to half a billion doses abroad, roughly 10 times the number it has delivered at home. “The current vaccination pace is very low due to outbreak control (being) so good in China, but I think the capacity is enough,” said Zhang Wenhong, an infectious diseases expert based in Shanghai who also spoke on the panel. Developers of China’s four currently approved vaccines have said they could manufacture up to 2.6 billion doses by the end of this year. Still, vaccinating China’s massive population will be a daunting task. Even at the rate of vaccinating 10 million people a day, it would take roughly seven months to vaccinate 70% of its population, Zhang noted. The experts all acknowledged the complex task of vaccinating the world's population, pointing to the slowness in the global rollout of vaccines. “Demand will outstrip supply for many months, and unless there is more manufacturing, … for years,” said Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also cautioned against expecting a quick return to normal. The head of China’s Center for Disease Control, Gao Fu, predicted that life could return to an “approximate normal” in summer next year. Gao, along with Zhong and other Chinese health experts, urged more U.S.-China co-operation. Gao specifically called on the U.S. and China to co-operate on COVAX, an initiative to distribute vaccines more fairly across the developing world. “Let’s work together,” he said. ____ This version has been updated to CORRECT that the figures of doses administered per 100 people in China, Israel and the United States is not a percentage of their populations since many people vaccinated have received both of the two doses required. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
Washington targeted seven mid-level and senior Russian officials along with more than a dozen government entities.View on euronews
Tuesday's Games NHL N.Y. Rangers 3 Buffalo 2 Columbus 4 Detroit 1 Montreal 3 Ottawa 1 N.Y. Islanders 2 New Jersey 1 Pittsburgh 5 Philadelphia 2 Winnipeg 5 Vancouver 2 Carolina 4 Nashville 2 Tampa Bay 2 Dallas 0 --- AHL Providence 4 Hartford 2 --- NBA Memphis 125 Washington 111 Atlanta 94 Miami 80 Boston 117 L.A. Clippers 112 San Antonio 119 New York 93 Denver 128 Milwaukee 97 Phoenix 114 L.A. Lakers 104 Detroit at Toronto -- potsponed --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The European Union aims to increase the region's COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying on Wednesday. In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera he also urged member states to implement their vaccination policies quickly "because the capacity to produce doses is increasing from week to week", he said. Breton said that while around 43 million doses have been delivered to the EU so far, only 30.2 million have been administered, adding the bloc was targeting deliveries of 95-100 million doses by the end of March.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s attorney-general denied having sexual contact with a 16-year-old who had accused him of raping her 33 years ago and said Wednesday he would not resign as the nation's top law officer. Christian Porter instead said he would take leave to care for his mental health after the allegations recently became public. “I’m going to take a couple of short weeks leave just for my own sanity,” Porter told reporters. “I think that I will be able to return from that and do my job.” The accuser took her own life last year, and her allegations against Porter became public last week when they were sent anonymously to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other lawmakers. Media had reported the alleged rapist was one of the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-member Cabinet, but Porter was widely identified online. The 50-year-old former criminal prosecutor said he decided to speak out after police said Tuesday there was insufficient admissible evidence to proceed with a criminal investigation. Prominent lawyers and the woman’s friends have called for an independent inquiry to test the evidence against Porter. Morrison has noted Porter’s denials and said the allegations should be left with police to handle. Porter said the reported rape allegation did not warrant him standing down from his job. “If I stand down from my position as attorney-general because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print,” Porter said. “If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation,” he added. Porter said he was 17 when he competed alongside the then-16-year-old accuser on a four-member school debate team in January 1988. He said he had not heard from her since. “I did not sleep with the (alleged) victim. We didn’t have anything of that nature happen between us,” Porter said. “I remember the person as an intelligent, bright, happy person,” he added. The woman has not been named. Police are preparing evidence to help a coroner determine the cause of her death. The case has added to intensifying into attitudes toward sexual harassment and violence in Parliament after a staffer made an unrelated allegation two weeks ago that she had been raped by a senior colleague in a minister's office. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late on Tuesday that new sanctions imposed by the United States were evidence of a "hostile anti-Russian lunge" and said it would retaliate to what it described as another blow to U.S.-Russia ties. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition politician Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair America’s relations with the rest of the world, but one major nation has yet to see any U.S. effort to improve ties: China. From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump’s four years in office. Yet, there have been no overtures to China. Although the Biden administration has halted the ferocious rhetorical attacks and near daily announcements of new sanctions on China that had become commonplace under Trump, it has yet to back down on any of Trump's actions against Beijing. This persistent state of low-intensity hostility has profound implications. China and the United States are the world’s two largest economies and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Their power struggle complicates global efforts to deal with climate change and recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden's tough stance has its roots in the competition for global power, but it's also a result of the 2020 presidential election campaign in which Trump and his allies repeatedly sought to portray him as soft on China, particularly during the pandemic that originated there. There's also little appetite from lawmakers in either party to ease pressure on China. Thus in their first month in office, Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have reaffirmed many of the Trump administration’s most significant steps targeting China, including a determination that its crackdown on Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in western Xinjiang region constitutes a “genocide” and a flat-out rejection of nearly all of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. Nor has the new administration signalled any let-up in Trump's tariffs, restrictions on Chinese diplomats, journalists and academics in the U.S. or criticism of Chinese policies toward Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It's also critical of Beijing's attempts to further its increasing global influence through telecommunications technology, social media and educational and cultural exchanges. Biden's nominee to head the CIA, William Burns, was explicit about his concerns over many of these issues at his confirmation hearing Wednesday. And, the newly confirmed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, made a point of highlighting her unease with the state of affairs and pledged to combat Chinese attempts to exert undue pressure on other countries at the U.N. The backdrop is clear: The United States is convinced that it and China are engaged in a duel for global dominance. And neither is prepared to back down. China has sounded at times hopeful that Biden will reverse what foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said were Trump administration actions that “caused immeasurable damage to the relationship between the two countries.” Those remarks followed a speech in which China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, demanded that Biden’s administration lift restrictions on trade and people-to-people contacts and cease what Beijing considers unwarranted interference in the areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet. Wang urged the U.S. to “stop smearing” the reputation of China’s ruling Communist Party. “We hope that the U.S. policy makers will keep pace with the times, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy, steady development of China-U.S. relations,” he said. But the anti-China rhetoric hasn't eased. Top Biden administration officials have vowed to use American power to contain what many Democrats and Republicans see as growing Chinese threats to U.S. interests and values in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. They have all repeatedly referred to China as a strategic rival or foe, not a partner or potential friend, and have also evinced their belief that America must “outcompete” China. “Outcompeting China will be key to our national security in the decades ahead,” Burns said at his confirmation hearing. “China is a formidable authoritarian adversary, methodically strengthening its capabilities to steal intellectual property, repress its own people, bully its neighbours, expand its global reach, and build influence in American society.” “It is hard for me to see a more significant threat or challenge for the United States as far out as I can see into the 21st century than that one. It is the biggest geopolitical test that we face,” he said. At least some Asia hands in the United States see Biden as moving slowly toward potential reengagement with China in part because he wants to shore up his domestic position and make clear the U.S. is not a victim of Chinese predation. “They are restraining themselves from the normal syndrome of a new administration running into problem-solving with China,” said Danny Russel, who was assistant secretary of state for Asia during the Obama administration and is now vice-president of the Asia Society Policy Institute. Russel said Biden is "sending out messages that have the effect of showing he’s not soft on China, that he’s not a patsy for China, that he isn’t so desperate for a breakthrough on climate change that he’s going to trade away our national security interests.” Chinese academics see little difference in Biden’s approach. “Continuity takes precedent over adjustment and change,” said Zhu Feng, professor of international relations at elite Nanjing University. Biden will have to deal with a China that is far more powerful and influential than under past U.S. administrations, said Yu Wanli, a professor of international relations at Beijing Language and Culture University. “There has been huge deviation between what they believe China is and what China really is,” Yu said. “Their China polices are based on illusions, which must result in some bad consequences. It takes time for them to come back to reality.” Apart from its support for Taiwan, the U.S. views China’s policies in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and elsewhere as matters of human rights, whereas China sees them as questions of sovereignty, Yu said. “Frictions will still exist, and the pattern will still be the same.” Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Penticton city council has voted unanimously to deny B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit that the agency needs to continue to run an emergency winter homeless shelter past March 31. The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon where the mayor and councillors discussed the future of the 42-bed shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street in the Okanagan city's downtown. Upon hearing the news of the rejected permit, B.C. Housing Minister David Eby said he was "profoundly disappointed" and told CBC News he would do everything in his power to ensure that the people currently staying at the shelter do not end up living in a tent encampment. The move comes amid growing frustration from Penticton's mayor and council over issues with the city's homeless population and B.C. Housing's three supportive housing projects. Penticton's mayor and city councillors expressed frustrations about dealing with B.C. Housing on the issue of an emergency winter shelter during an online council meeting Tuesday.(City of Penticton ) In late January, Penticton asked the agency for an independent audit of how it runs them before considering a fourth such building in the city. And last month, Mayor John Vassilaki attributed the Penticton RCMP's heavy caseload and an influx of homeless people to the three supportive housing projects. 'We made it very clear it was just temporary' In October, city council granted B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit expiring on March 31 to allow the operation of an emergency winter shelter on Winnipeg Street to be run by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living. The space was needed because the COVID-19 pandemic meant the existing Compass House shelter could not be expanded as a winter shelter as it was in previous years, according to a city staff report. Earlier this year, B.C. Housing applied for a permit to operate the shelter for a year past the March 31 deadline, citing the need for more shelter space. At its Tuesday meeting, Coun. Katie Robinson said the shelter is not in an appropriate location for a long-term accommodation, as it is in the middle of the city's downtown and close to seniors housing. "We made it very clear [in October] that it was just temporary and I believe that it is incumbent upon us to go forward and do what we said we were going to do, which is shut it down on March 31," Robinson said. "I think communication is so sadly lacking here with B.C. Housing that it kind of somewhat boggles the mind at times that they don't have any conversations with us whatsoever." 'Profoundly troubling' Housing Minister David Eby said he met with Penticton mayor and council twice in the past five weeks to discuss the issue and said council assured him it would grant the permit to keep the shelter open. Eby said it's imperative to keep the shelter open until B.C. Housing builds an additional supportive housing project — something he says the agency is ready to begin once it gets approval from the city. "I cannot imagine a city council in B.C. in the middle of a pandemic who would think that is a good idea to evict 42 people from a homeless shelter into the nearest park," he said. "This is profoundly troubling for me as the minister for housing dealing with encampments in two cities already and not particularly excited about showing up in Penticton with a truck load of tents for the people who are evicted by a shortsighted city council." Eby said he will do everything in his power to compel Penticton to keep the shelter open, including using a procedure called paramountcy which allows the provincial government to circumvent the city's wishes. "This issue has become my No. 1 priority, making sure that the residents in this shelter are safe and sheltered and also making sure that the residents of Penticton don't have to deal with what Vancouver and Victoria are dealing with right now, which is a large-scale encampment in the park."