Meanwhile in Canada: Large elk posing for the camera.
Meanwhile in Canada: Large elk posing for the camera.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is considering a second firing of its moon rocket engines after a critical test came up short over the weekend, a move that could bump the first flight in the Artemis lunar-landing program into next year. The space agency had aimed to launch its new Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket and an empty Orion capsule by the end of this year, with the capsule flying to the moon and back as a prelude to crew missions. But that date could be in jeopardy following Saturday’s aborted test. “We have a shot at flying it this year, but we need to get through this next step," said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA's human spaceflight office. All four engines fired for barely a minute, rather than the intended eight minutes, on the test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The countdown rehearsal for the 212-foot (65-meter) core stage — made by Boeing — included the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, as well as the all necessary computers and electronics. On Tuesday, NASA attributed the automatic shutdown to the strict test limits meant to protect the core stage so it can be used on the first Artemis flight. The hydraulic system for one engine exceeded safety parameters, officials said, and flight computers shut everything down 67 seconds into the ignition. Two other engine-related issues also occurred. NASA said it can adjust the test limits if a second test is deemed necessary, to prevent another premature shutdown. Engineers will continue to analyze the data, as managers debate the pros and cons of proceeding with a second test firing at Stennis or shipping the rocket straight to Florida's Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations. Some of that Kennedy work might be able to be streamlined, Lueders said. This core stage can be loaded with super-cold fuel no more than nine times, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Tuesday evening. A second full-blown test firing would reduce the remaining number of fill-ups. The Artemis program is working to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. It's uncertain how the incoming White House will approach that timeline. In its annual report Tuesday, the Aereospace Safety Advisory Panel urged NASA to develop a realistic schedule for its Artemis moon program and called into question the 2024 date for returning astronauts to the lunar surface. On the eve of his departure from NASA, Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, stressed that key programs like Artemis need to encompass multiple administrations, decades and even generations. It's crucial , he said, that "we've got buy-in and support from all of America and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.” ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will be seeking an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death. Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old. The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The officer was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV with plates that didn't match on New Year's Eve. Paramedics and fellow officers tried to revive him, but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police allege the youth was driving the vehicle and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger. "I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court. An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody. The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12. Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The British Columbia government must do a better job of protecting its computer systems from cybersecurity threats, says auditor general Michael Pickup. An audit of five government ministries found only Education and the information branch of Citizens' Services provided strong protections against potential threats, he said Tuesday. The audit concluded the ministries of Finance, Health and Natural Resources as well as much of Citizens' Services did not have adequate cybersecurity practices to manage its information technology systems, Pickup told a news conference. The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally. Pickup said organizations with poorly managed security practices are vulnerable to attacks. "These weaknesses could hinder the ability of the ministries to develop and implement appropriate safeguards to protect their IT assets from cybersecurity threats," he said. The audit found security standards at the ministries lacked specific definitions of roles and responsibilities, said Pickup. It also found inappropriately maintained inventories, including unauthorized devices on networks and records that were missing important data, he said. "The established policies and standards, they lack specific guidelines to identify and manage IT assets for the purpose of managing cybersecurity risks," Pickup said. The audit makes seven recommendations, all of which have been accepted by the government. Pickup said he expects the audit's findings to be discussed by members of the legislature who sit on committees overseeing information technology services. "These reports are tools for the folks in the legislature to then look to government and hold them accountable on why are these things happening to start with and how does government improve," he said. Pickup said his office is also planning a future review of the government's computer systems during the COVID-19 pandemic because many government employees are working from home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Dozens of peer support workers on the front lines of Vancouver's overdose crisis are about to be unionized in a move aimed at formally recognizing the role they play in saving lives. Andrew Ledger, president of CUPE Local 1004, says the workers voted 100 per cent in favour of joining the union last March. But he says certification has been delayed by several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenge to certification filed by the employer, PHS Community Services Society. PHS Community Services did not immediately respond to an interview request. Ledger says the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia is expected to issue its official certification this week, affecting about 40 workers. Peer workers at overdose prevention sites, needle depots and other harm reduction services are employees with experiences similar to those they serve. Ledger says some have worked for decades without benefits like paid vacation or the ability to collectively negotiate higher wages. "It's access to benefits, it's acknowledgment of their service, it will establish seniority for these workers, it's job protection. It's all the same rights and benefits that their co-workers receive," Ledger says. "Those are really important for all workers and I think it's long overdue that these long-serving peer employees receive the same benefits." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
When Dave Smith was offered a subsidized Toronto bachelor apartment in January, it was the culmination of nearly two decades spent on-and-off the city’s social housing waitlist. “I applied, I think this was around 2001 or so,” Smith, 41, said by phone from the downtown shelter where he’s lived for roughly a year. When he first applied for housing, he was struggling to make rent, and later turned to couch-surfing. “It was really, really rough at the time.” But as he waited for a chance at a subsidized unit, Smith’s application was bumped from the waitlist several times. He’d missed some of the requirements — check-ins and updates to his file — needed to stay in the years-long line, said his current housing worker, De-Shawn Lett. It’s a situation Lett sees frequently. And too often, she said, her clients didn’t even realize they’d lost their spot in the housing line — a symptom of what she sees as a lack of accessible information. But this year, that could change. Toronto plans to roll out a new, digitized system to handle its social housing waitlist — a list that, as of January, has more than 81,000 names. According to the city, under the new system, applicants will be updated electronically about any changes to their files, will be able to confirm their interest annually online — currently a manual process — and will be reminded digitally when they need to update the information in their file. The city hopes that the new system will fill empty units faster, as vacancy rates in Toronto Community Housing have steadily increased under COVID-19. The plan is to move from a system where applicants wait idly for offers, to a choice-based system, where applicants nearing the top of the queue can select units of interest from online vacancy listings. “We know right now it is frustrating for people, and there is a sense that they don’t get enough good information,” said Mary-Anne Bedard, general manager of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA). The new system, she said, “will put the control in their hands.” The current waitlist process has been criticized for being inefficient. In 2019, Toronto’s auditor general found that just 13 per cent of offers were accepted. Some people couldn’t be contacted when offers went out, while others declined, which they could do up to three times. Those issues cost the city $7 million in 2018 alone, the auditor found, and left units empty. The city aims to roll out its new waitlist system at the same time it adopts a provincially mandated one-offer rule, which will see anyone who rejects a social housing offer without extenuating circumstances lose their place in line. Doug Rollins, SSHA’s director of housing stability services, said the one-offer rule would have been challenging under the current system — with applicants receiving offers “without much warning,” often after years-long waits. Jim Dunn, a professor at McMaster University with expertise in social housing, said a key concern with one-offer systems was applicants accepting units only out of fear about losing their spot in line, then immediately looking for a transfer elsewhere. “You’re not going to improve successful tenancies by forcing people into units they don’t really want,” Dunn said. That’s the kind of issue the city is hoping a choice-based housing offer model will mitigate. Units will be listed for a minimum of two weeks, Rollins said, then offers will go to whoever has the highest standing among those who expressed interest, based on chronology and priority. Some details of the new system aren’t yet ironed out, including how high someone will have to be on the waitlist in order to view listings. While both Dunn and Lori Oliver — a Queen’s University doctoral candidate whose research also involves social housing — agreed that having a choice-based model will likely fill empty units faster, both noted that demand will still outstrip availability. “Small measures to more rapidly house individuals are not going to help the flow of individuals entering this waitlist,” Oliver said. Right now, the city warns of a seven-plus year wait for subsidized bachelor units, and a wait of more than a decade for anything larger. “The need is still more units, more money for housing subsidies, and better functioning buildings (that) people want to live in, and people want to stay in,” said Dunn. Still, Dunn believes a choice-based model will be “advantageous,” since applicants can choose based on their most current needs — rather than receive offers simply based on what’s listed in their file. The new system sounds good Lett, but she hesitates to say how effective she thinks it’ll be before roll-out. “I hope it does work,” she said. “For now, it’s just a vision.” Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
OXFORD, Miss. — A Mississippi county will put up a marker to remember Black men who were lynched by white mobs between 1885 and 1935. It will be near a statue that honours Confederate soldiers. Lafayette County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the memorial for seven Black men known to have been lynched in in the county during the 50-year span. The vote originally was scheduled for December, but it was delayed because one supervisor, David Rikard, said he did not want to memorialize a man who was accused of killing a white woman in 1908. News outlets reported that Rikard met with a committee that planned the marker, and they agreed that the marker would say Lawson Patton was “accused in the murder of a white woman." The original proposal was to say the man was “accused in the death of a white woman." The metal sign will go outside the county courthouse on the Square in Oxford, near a marble statue of a Confederate soldier that was put up in 1907. Calls to remove the Confederate monument have intensified in recent months amid the national discussion over racial injustice, but the all-white Board of Supervisors has said the soldier statue will remain. Many lynching victims in the U.S. were Black people who were accused — sometimes falsely — of committing a violent crime. Patton never went to trial because a white mob seized him from the Lafayette County Jail and lynched him. Patton was sometimes called Nelse Patton in documents. According to the New York Times’ 1908 account of the lynching, W.V. Sullivan, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, led the lynch mob. The group that got approval to put the marker on the courthouse lawn is the Lynching Memorialization in Lafayette County Committee, which has worked with the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal aid organization seeking to reshape the narrative around lynchings and acts of racial terror. The Associated Press
The province urged the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday to dismiss an application for a judicial review of the UCP government's decision to allow open-pit coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. "There's no getting around the fact that the decision to rescind the coal policy may be seen as an unpopular one to some Albertans," said Melissa Burkett, a lawyer for the government. "However, an unpopular decision is not an unlawful decision," she told the virtual court hearing via video conferencing. Burkett says the courts are not the venue to resolve the issue, arguing such a policy change is within the mandate of elected officials. "This case is a classic example of what happens when courts are turned into political arenas," she said. "The rescission of the coal policy was driven by economic, social, political factors. It was a core, high level policy decision, and it's immune from this court review," she said. Landowners, environmental groups, municipalities and First Nations are hoping the court will force the government to revisit its decision to rescind the province's long-standing coal policy that was brought in under former premier Peter Lougheed in 1976. They're trying to persuade Justice Richard Neufeld to order a judicial review of the decision to rescind the policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. However, during the two-day hearing that started Tuesday morning, Burkett says the policy is redundant and outdated since the province has since implemented a robust, regulatory framework that would review exploration and mining applications through Alberta's energy regulator. "The coal policy really is obsolete because there's a framework in place now that was not there in 1976." Not obsolete, says ranchers' lawyer Richard Harrison, the lawyer for two ranchers who are seeking the judicial review, argued the nearly half-century old policy is not obsolete. He told the hearing that it's been used as a means to protect the area from coal development for decades. "The coal policy was a document that was consistently enforced by the respondents [the Alberta government] over the course of 44 years," Harrison said. He said it was used as a mechanism to prevent the exploration and development of coal extraction in certain land classifications in southwestern Alberta. "It was used right up until the time that the coal policy was rescinded by the respondents in March of 2020." Harrison says a proposed open-pit coal mine near his clients' property will have a profound effect. Mac Blades is one of the ranchers seeking the judicial review. Harrison says Blades owns land and holds grazing rights for his cattle near an area being explored by Australian-based Atrum Coal. Harrison said a conveyor belt that would be a part of the proposed open pit coal mine would be located near the confluence of the Oldman and Livingstone rivers, a source of water that Blades is licensed to use for his cattle. "The impact of a proposed coal project on my client's ability to earn an income is profound," he said. "It will affect every single aspect of his pecuniary interest on his grazing lease." "And it will affect every single aspect of both my clients' ability to earn an income on those grazing leases," he said. Harrison is expected to conclude his submission to the court Wednesday morning, followed by a response from the Alberta government. Earlier, several groups who plan to seek intervenor status in the request for a judicial review agreed to consolidate, to reduce duplication of their arguments and potentially speed up the hearing process. Justice Neufeld still has to hear arguments from those hoping to join the application. A number of groups were represented during the hearing, including the M.D. of Ranchland, the Alberta Wilderness Association, the Alberta Hiking Association, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Livingstone Landowners Group and the Alberta chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. A lawyer representing Cabin Ridge Project Ltd., an Alberta-based coal company, also attended via video link. A request to adjourn the hearing by a lawyer representing the Ermineskin, Kainai, Siksika and Whitefish First Nations was dismissed. Landowners and First Nations behind the legal challenge are expected to argue the government was in breach of their constitutional rights because it had a "duty to consult" them before the policy change was made. If the province's application for a dismissal fails, the actual judicial review would go ahead at some point in the future.
La ville de Grande-Rivière et de nombreux acteurs de l’industrie de la pêche dénoncent l’inaction de Québec et d’Ottawa vis-à-vis un projet d’agrandissement du parc d’hivernement du port municipal. Amorcées à l’automne 2018, les démarches sont dans une impasse, ministères et gouvernements se renvoyant la balle, au désarroi des élus et des pêcheurs. «On ne demande pas la charité, on veut de l’équité», lance d’emblée le maire de Grande-Rivière, Gino Cyr. Depuis deux ans, son administration multiplie les démarches afin de faire approuver un projet d’agrandissement du parc d’hivernement de la municipalité, sans succès. D’un ministère à l’autre, «on se renvoie la balle», dénonce-t-il. Avec les années, les espaces disponibles dans les parcs de la péninsule gaspésienne se font de plus en plus rares. «Les bateaux sont toujours plus gros et les grands parcs de la région sont presque pleins. Le besoin est criant», explique le homardier et vice-président de l’administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière, Vincent Gallagher-Duguay. Aussi, un nombre grandissant de crabiers des provinces atlantiques viennent entreposer leurs bateaux dans les parcs gaspésiens. Les glaces se libérant plus rapidement du côté québécois, la pêche pourraiy débuter plus tôt. Ces embarcations, souvent plus grosses, ont priorité sur les petits homardiers, qui doivent se trouver d’autres endroits pour passer l’hiver. De nombreux acteurs locaux, allant des associations de pêcheurs jusqu’aux transformateurs, souhaitent donc voir apparaître de nouvelles places pour entreposer les homardiers, comme le demande la Ville de Grande-Rivière. Cette dernière a proposé aux différents ministères un projet qui ferait passer son parc d’hibernation à 48 places pour les petits bateaux. En plus d’ajouter des espaces d’entreposage, l’administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière souhaite installer une grue-portique ainsi qu’une rampe adaptée sur le site, rendant la mise à l’eau et l’hivernation des embarcations beaucoup plus sécuritaires. «En ce moment, on utilise une remorque archaïque, mal adaptée et dangereuse. En 2017, on a échappé un homardier avec cette remorque artisanale. Qui va prendre la responsabilité si un accident survient?», se demande le maire. La communauté met la main à la poche Le coût du projet, estimé à un peu plus de deux millions $, serait en partie assumé par la communauté, qui a déjà récolté 200 000$ en ce sens. Au moyen d’une contribution de leur part, les pêcheurs financeraient 300 000$ supplémentaires si le projet devait voir le jour. La municipalité souhaite que les gouvernements se partagent le reste de la facture, mais elle se bute à des barrières administratives. «Il n’y a pas de flexibilité dans les programmes. Après trois ans de démarches, le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) nous a ramenés à la case départ en faisant valoir la non-admissibilité du projet aux programmes et en renvoyant la responsabilité de ce dossier au MAPAQ qui n’a pas de programme pour soutenir ce genre de projets», dénonce le maire de la municipalité, dont l’économie est étroitement liée à la pêche. M. Cyr dénonce aussi la rigidité du Fonds des pêches du Québec. «La majeure partie des budgets sont toujours disponibles. Encore un exemple éloquent que ce dernier répond très peu aux besoins de l’industrie! Des changements de fond sont nécessaires rapidement». Des précédents sur la Côte-Nord et aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine Les acteurs locaux s’indignent surtout de la différence de traitement qu’a reçu leur projet si on le compare à d’autres installations similaires récemment financées à 100% par les gouvernements. Au cours des dernières années, les Îles-de-la-Madeleine et la Côte-Nord ont toutes deux vu des agrandissements dans leurs parcs d’hivernement, entièrement financés par les gouvernements via des décrets et des enveloppes dédiées. «Nous connaissons le traitement qu’ont reçu les projets des Îles et de la Côte-Nord : Nous sommes aussi des pêcheurs du Québec», conclut le vice-président de l’Administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière. MM. Cyr et Gallagher-Duguay souhaitent obtenir une rencontre avec le ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêches et de l’Alimentation du Québec, André Lamontagne, dans le but que celui-ci signe un décret pour financer le projet. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like no other: pared down, distanced, much of it virtual. But for actor Christopher Jackson — the original George Washington in Broadway's “Hamilton" — performing in a virtual “ball” is a way of participating in an essential rite of American democracy. “I’m glad to play a part in it,” says Jackson, who will perform at the quadrennial ball for the Creative Coalition, a fundraiser for arts education and one of the more prominent unofficial events surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration. “It’s a great honour, and I’m very grateful that we have allowed our system to continue to work in the way it was intended.” Jackson -- not to mention former co-star and “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda -- joins a slew of celebrities descending on Washington, virtually or in person, for entertainment surrounding the inauguration of Biden and Kamala Harris. Although the festivities have been radically scaled down due to the raging coronavirus pandemic and security threats, a steady stream of A-list names have signed on, headlined by Lady Gaga singing the national anthem on the West Front of the Capitol, with Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks contributing musical performances. Other top-tier performers will be part of “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multi-network evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that officially takes the place of the usual multiple inaugural balls. Miranda will contribute a classical recitation, joining musicians like Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake and Bon Jovi. Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, chef Jose Andres, labour leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history. The inaugural committee has made sure to blend this high-powered list with ordinary Americans and inspiring stories. Segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsey, the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The proceedings will be carried by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC and PBS as well as the committee’s social media channels and streaming partners. Fox News will not carry the broadcast. Beyond that event, there’s also a virtual “Parade Across America” on inauguration afternoon, hosted by actor Tony Goldwyn with appearances by Jon Stewart, Earth Wind & Fire and the New Radicals — reuniting after more than two decades — among many others. There’s also star power on display Tuesday evening at the virtual “Latino Inaugural 2021,” hosted by Longoria and including Broadway and screen star (and EGOT winner) Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, and Miranda again, saluting Puerto Rico with his father, Luis Miranda. The show honours members of Latino communities keeping the country running during the pandemic as front-line workers. In a normal year, there would be a wealth of sideline events, parties and concerts around Washington. One of the higher-profile events is the Creative Coalition's ball, going all virtual this year, Along with Jackson, KT Tunstall will perform. Host Judy Gold will kick off with a comedy set, also featuring comedians Randy Rainbow, Michael Ian Black and Wendi McLendon-Covey. More than two dozen members of Congress are set to join celebrity guests like Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Jason Alexander, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ellen Burstyn, Alyssa Milano and others. Jackson, who spoke in an interview late last week while planning his performance, said he would not be appearing as George Washington -- but history was on the actor’s mind nonetheless, given the unique circumstances of this inauguration. “We put ourselves in a perilous position,” he said of recent events roiling the country. “So the idea that this inauguration is happening is testament to the resolute dedication that our public servants have to making this thing work.” He said he was also eager to shine a spotlight on arts education, the coalition’s core mission, noting that as a kid growing up in southern Illinois, he depended on resources like an early-morning band class at school, where he’d begin each day playing the trumpet. “There was a time when I went through a lot of bad emotional passages as a kid,” Jackson said. “Had it not been for the outlet the arts created for me, I don’t know where I would be today." He noted that support for the arts is ever more urgent given how the pandemic has decimated the arts industry. Actor Tim Daly, the coalition’s president, said that despite optimism for the new administration’s approach to arts funding, it’s still an uphill battle in the United States. “I feel there’s going to have to be a really long and powerful effort by the Creative Coalition and other organizations to finally try and make federal, local and state governments understand the importance of the arts," he said, adding that the arts, besides being a driver of the economy, "is part of our spirit. It’s how we teach empathy and kindness.” Daly said he has mixed feelings as he approaches this very unique inauguration. “This is going to be the strangest (celebration) ever,” he said. “It’s virtual, and the celebration will in some ways be very muted. But in some ways, very meaningful. In a way this year is more important than any other, because our democracy has been under threat.” The coalition’s ball will include breakout rooms where guests can mingle, and even simultaneous hand-delivered meals in multiple cities. But there’s still no way to replace an in-person experience, Daly acknowledged. “There’s nothing that takes the place of human interaction,” the actor said. “I’d be lying or dishonest if I said this was better. But we’re doing the best we can -- and it’s better than nothing.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte won a crucial confidence vote in the Senate late Tuesday, keeping his wobbly coalition afloat for now, but with such a shrunken majority it will make it extremely hard to effectively govern a country reeling from the pandemic. The vote went 156 to 140 in his favour, There were 16 abstentions, thanks to a coalition ally that bolted the centre-left government last week. An absolute majority in the Senate is 161, so to pass critical legislation, including aid to help Italy's battered economy, Conte will likely have to resort often on support from outside his coalition. Had he lost the confidence vote in Parliament's upper chamber, Conte would have been required to resign. But without absolute command of a majority there, he could still opt to hand in his resignation to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, in a bid to be tapped anew to try to cobble together a revamped, more dependable coalition. In the lower Chamber of Deputies, where the 16-month-old government holds a more comfortable margin, Conte won a first confidence vote on Monday. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. Premier Giuseppe Conte appealed in Parliament for a second straight day Tuesday for crucial support to keep his government afloat after the defection of a small but key coalition party as Italy struggles with a second surge of the COVIC-19 pandemic that has seen citizens subject to months of degrees of lockdown. "With today’s vote, I trust that the institutions will be able to repay the trust of citizens in order to put behind us this great act of irresponsibility as soon as possible,” Conte said. He was referring to ex-Premier Matteo Renzi's yanking his small Italia Viva (Italy Alive) centrist party from the centre-left government, in part to protest what Renzi saw was Conte's holding too much control on how more than 200 billion euros (dollars) of European Union recovery funds are spent. Conte on Monday clinched what amounted to a confidence vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies, securing a 321-259 victory after Renzi's party deputies abstained. Without the backing of Renzi and his 17 fellow senators, Conte went into Tuesday's vote in the upper chamber of Parliament facing an even more uphill battle for him and his government to stay in power, since the centre-left coalition's majority in the Senate is narrower than what it enjoys in the Chamber of Deputies. “Numbers are important, today even more so. But even more important is the quality of the political project,’’ Conte said. “We ask all the political forces to help us relaunch with the maximum speed and help us repair the damage to citizens’ trust that the crisis has produced.” Renzi, in replying to Conte in the Senate Tuesday, hammered away at what he contended was the government's less-than-bold response to fighting the pandemic, including in how funds will be spent to revive Italy's battered economy, already stagnant for years before COVID-19 struck. "In view of the pandemic, there's a need for a stronger government,” Renzi added in attacking Conte. But even surviving the Senate vote, Conte’s government still risked being hobbled going forward, since he would have to count on lawmakers outside his coalition to help pass legislation. Conte largely staked his hope on winning votes from senators outside both his government and the centre-right opposition. Among those were the tiny ranks of senators-for-life, who only occasionally come to Parliament to cast votes. In a sign of support, Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor and senator-for-life who travelled from Milan to vote. A representative said that Segre, 90, has not yet received a vaccine against the coronavirus. Segre was made a senator-for-life by Italy's president to honour her work in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive by speaking to students in schools throughout the nation. The government crisis heightened demands by the opposition for an election two years early. But President Sergio Mattarella is considered unlikely at this point to choose that option, given the difficulty of organizing a campaign and vote during a pandemic. Conte has boasted of his efforts to secure pandemic-recovery aid from the European Union. In Brussels, EU officials were following Italian political developments with concern. EU Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis expressed hope that Italy's “political instability would not compromise” Italy's already “substantial” preparation of the recovery plan. He noted that Italy is by far the largest recipient of the pandemic funding. A key source of irritation between Conte and Renzi has been who gets to control how the pandemic relief funds that hard-hit Italy are spent. Barry reported from Milan. Nicole Winfield in Rome and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed. Frances D'Emilio And Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
The small Saskatchewan town of Biggar made headlines in 2018 when the federal government approved the demolition of their CN Rail Station, which was designated a national heritage site in 1976. The town took a blow, said D'Shea Bussiere, community development officer for the Town of Biggar, but now, the mayor and town office is excited for the potential transformation of the space thanks to the Brownlee Family Foundation. The town, as well as former residents Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee, have been in discussions since 2019 on how a large charitable donation can “revitalize and energize” the community, said Bussiere in a Jan. 18 press release. Updating the downtown core and the former CN Station site became an important goal for the community. The Brownlee Family Foundation will match up $2.5 million in fundraiser dollars raised by the town and residents, meaning there is upwards of $5 million going towards the project. Especially with COVID-19 and vaccines dominating the news, communities need to start looking at how they can revitalize their communities, Bussiere said. “We have the same struggles as any small town. It's hard to compete with the cities, so anything to try and encourage a beautiful place for our people and other people to come, hang out, and shop is good development.” Mayor Jim Rickwood said the town has banded together during COVID-19 and when that is over, that need will still be there. Developing the CNR Grounds into a welcoming community space will bring tight-knit residents even closer, he said. “(The new development) is going to bring some opportunities for some gatherings, for some reasons to be downtown, and just to tighten us up a little bit more, and to give us more of a spirit of community. Communities are not just where we live, it's who we live with. (The development) is going to be a good step for that.” Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee felt it was important to honour their roots with this donation and leave a last legacy that celebrates their families. “Town leaders have framed a renewal concept that showcases Biggar’s history and speaks to its bright future. If the town is behind it, so are we,” said Ina Lou in the press release. A Public Open House on Jan. 22 and 23 and an online open house on Jan. 25 will share a concept plan that will turn the “Canadian National Railway grounds into a multi-use park, tourism hub and interpretive center,” said the release. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Renfrew – It’s expected the Community Safety and Well Being Plan the town is to have prepared by the extended deadline of July 21 will be met. Councillor Sandi Heins, who is co-chair of the advisory group creating the plan, is happy the Solicitor General extended the deadline from January 21. “We will meet the date,” she said. There are four areas in each local plan that will help make communities safer and healthier: social development, prevention, risk intervention and incident response. As part of the Police Services Act effective January 1, 2019, municipalities are required to develop and adopt community safety and well-being plans working in partnership with a multi-sectorial advisory committee comprised of representation from the police service board and other local service providers. For the area of Renfrew, the committee was formed in late 2019 and in early January 2020, hired Pat Finnegan to lead them through the steps of creating the plan, said Coun. Heins. There are six municipalities partnered with Renfrew: Admaston/Bromley, Horton, Whitewater Region, Arnprior, McNab/Braeside and Greater Madawaska. “Each of those municipalities have representatives on the advisory committee,” she said. “We are working with the Renfrew (OPP) Detachment Commander and of course under the leadership of Pat Finnegan to put together that plan.” Fire Chief Kevin Welsh, fire committee chair Jeff Scott and herself represent Renfrew, she said. “We’ve been working through various exercises to get the writing of the plan,” she said. Currently, they are working on qualifying the risks and how they may be handled. Next is the public consultation, which could be challenging in these COVID times, she said. “We have a unique committee and they have lots of expertise on how we might handle that (public meeting),” Coun. Heins said. Following the meeting, the report should be finalized and into council’s hand by mid-June, she said. Each municipality must pass it and it will then be listed on the website. There will be work with the plan for the rest of 2021. In Renfrew and the municipalities in the lower part of the Valley, a situation table has already been formed, which retired OPP Sgt. Brian Schutt has been leading since January 2017 under retired OPP Detachment Commander Colin Slight, Coun. Heins said. “We’re a big step ahead already having that Situation Table in place,” she said. The Situation Table is composed of many social service agencies, family and children’s services, health unit, mental health and housing, she said. “Representatives of those groups come together once a month and deal with the various situations, so that we’re not wasting our services on having everybody go to a situation when it should be housing, or a mental health issue,” she said. “They are co-ordinating that, so we’re really well-established in that and we’re lucky to have that here already in place and working very well.” Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
Yukon's first community vaccination clinic for COVID-19 wraps up Tuesday in Watson Lake, and local officials say it's been well-received. "As a community, we're just very thankful, and we really appreciate being put at the front of the line," said Mayor Chris Irvin, who was the second person to get the Moderna shot on Monday. Irvin said he experienced no side effects, and that he felt "great." "I almost felt like it was a bit euphoric, honestly, just because it's kind of a light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel is long and dark, we don't know where the end of it is, but there is a light." Two mobile vaccination teams will spend the coming weeks travelling across the territory to provide the Moderna vaccine. They bring everything they need with them — including tables, metal folding chairs and even their own sink. Stephen Charlie, chief of the Liard First Nation in Watson Lake, was first in line for a shot on Monday. He says the First Nation has been urging citizens to get the shot. "Well, I think some individuals are really excited about it, the opportunity to combat the virus," he said. "We've been going door to door. We've been having the resources available to our health team from Liard First Nation getting the word out and offering rides to the individuals that would like to go to the to the clinic." Under Yukon's vaccine strategy, priority is given to people living in long term care homes and shelters, health care workers, people over the age of 70 and residents of remote or rural communities, including First Nations citizens. The territory is expecting enough doses to vaccinate about 75 per cent of the adult population in the territory, between now and March. After Watson Lake, mobile vaccine clinics will be set up this week in Old Crow and Beaver Creek. Appointments can be booked on the government's website. 'A lot of apprehension' Charlie says hundreds of people registered ahead of time for the Watson Lake clinic. But he says some in his community are still reluctant to get the shot. "There's a lot of apprehension out there. There's a lot of misinformation. There's a lot of stuff online," he said. Doris Bill, chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in Whitehorse, agrees. This week, she posted a video online, urging citizens to get informed about the vaccine. "I see it online all the time. And I see people talking about the vaccine and the information that they have is just not accurate," she said. She says there is still some "unease" about how new the vaccine is, and that some people have suggested those at the front of the line are like "guinea pigs." "You try and assure people that things are going to be OK and that, you know, we're doing this to protect our community," Bill said. "You know, if you're not going to take the vaccine, at least know why you're not going to take it. And at least know the information that's out there."
Pembroke – With only 10 new COVID-19 cases in the last week in the region, Renfrew County and District Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman is encouraging residents to continue to be vigilant as they await the vaccine roll-out. “We are through the middle of January and we are seeing a turn-around,” he said on Monday afternoon. “Keep it up. Let’s bring on the vaccines and get through this.” After weeks of rapidly increasing numbers, the last week has seen the new cases trickle down to one or two a day. Currently there is one person in hospital with COVID from the district. He said they are in an Ottawa hospital and had significant co-morbidity issues. While outbreaks have all but been eliminated with one outbreak remaining at a long-term-care home, he cautioned this can “turn on a dime” and people need to continue to be cautious. Fortunately, area residents can enjoy being outdoors, he said. “We need to keep doing this,” he said. “Renfrew County is not a densely populated urban centre. Get out and get some fresh air. Stick to members of your household.” With December being the worst month for COVID cases, January seems to be improving slightly. He pointed out with seven people in isolation and no new cases on Tuesday, things were looking up. “We are seeing the fruit of the hard work everyone is doing since the Boxing Day lockdown,” he said. This contrasts with December and even the first 10 days in January where the numbers were increasing. The district, which includes not only Renfrew County but Nipissing and South Algonquin, has seen a total of 296 cases of COVID since the pandemic began in March. There has been one death early on. Numbers had begun to spike in November and December but are levelling off now significantly with only seven people currently in self-isolation with a diagnosed case of COVID. “We are seeing the drop off because of the lockdown and co-operation,” he said. With the numbers that low in the county the province might be looking at these numbers and pursuing a more regional approach again, he noted. “I don’t want to speak for Mr. Ford (Ontario Premier Doug Ford),” he said. “Maybe in another week or so we can re-assess, and certain jurisdictions can open up.” If the colour-coding system were in place, Renfrew County would be considered green right now, he said. One of the issues with the zones was people travelling from the grey (lockdown) zones to red, orange, yellow and green zones, he clarified. “And I do understand there is a lot of spillage when people find the rural areas and green zones,” he said. While many families are awaiting a provincial announcement on Wednesday about school re-opening, Dr. Cushman said this will be a provincial and school board decision. One concern by many is the impact on mental health the lockdown is having. It is not only affecting seniors isolated in long-term-care homes but children not able to go to schools and people in abusive relationships, including many others. “It is terrible,” he said of the mental health impact. “The collateral damage is almost on par. You can’t deal with one without the other.” Vaccine Roll-Out Stating he understands the desire to see businesses re-open and people able to congregate again, Dr. Cushman said it is important to wait on the vaccine roll-out and plans are in place to vaccinate the most vulnerable in early February in the county. “The latest is we think we do the long-term care homes the first of February,” he said. “We are very committed to that. “We have been advised that we can expect to receive Pfizer and/or Moderna vaccines in early February, but there has been no confirmation of the number of doses,” he noted. However, a clear plan is in place on how the vaccines will be administered. “We’ve seen examples of spoilage in other centres,” he said. “That will not happen here.” Each long-term care home has a plan in place to vaccinate residents and staff, he said. “We are ready to go,” he said. “We are working with each home and they have a plan.” In this first phase, the province has announced the vaccine will be rolled out to health care workers, adults in First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations and recipients of chronic home health care. Phase 2 is expected to begin in late winter and will expand to include additional congregate care settings and adults over 70. Phase three will expand the roll-out. Dr. Cushman said he remains concerned about travel as a risk factor for people in the area, noting cases have come in from travel to other regions, including Ottawa. As well, people should not let their guard down in the workplace or at home. “Don’t congregate in the work setting,” he stressed. As far as being outdoors, people don’t have to wear a mask if they are alone but should take one along in case it is impossible to keep physically distant, he said. While very few fines have been issued in the district, the health unit did go public on a few fines late last year. With the new State of Emergency order brought in by the province last Thursday, Dr. Cushman explained now by-law officers and police can also issue fines. “It means we have more means of enforcement,” he said. The health unit has received calls about some people breaking the Stay-At-Home order and lockdown order, he said. “We did have some chatter in one small neighbourhood,” he said. “We investigated and it was more chatter than reality.” In the meantime, he reminded area residents standard COVID-19 precautions go a long way and are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Area residents are reminded to: get the flu shot; stay home if sick; avoid contact with people who are ill; practice physical distancing (two metres); wear a mask/face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained; wash their hands, and use the COVID Alert App. COVID testing continues in the county with 51,243 tests completed. Testing is done by appointment and anyone needing a test must call RCVTAC at 1-844-727-6404 to schedule a testing time. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he won't shut down all restaurants and bars because a few are flouting COVID-19 rules. Instead, he says he's asking public-health officials to look at more enforcement measures, such as forcing rule breakers to close. Moe says "enough is enough" and is expressing frustration at a recent video that shows young people dancing without masks and mingling at a bar in Regina. Health officials are reporting another 309 COVID-19 infections and say six more residents have died. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer says the province remains stuck at a daily average of around 300 new cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. Moe says he doesn't believe the province needs to introduce stricter public-health measures to stem the virus's spread, but people need to follow the rules already in place. There are 207 people in hospital, with 31 of them in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020 The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia joined other provinces Tuesday in having to rapidly recast its plans to provide Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this month and next. Provincial officials initially provided an estimate that it would have 13,500 fewer doses than expected over the next six weeks. However, by mid-afternoon, chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang said that with Ottawa's announcement that Pfizer was shipping no vaccine next week, plans were underway to cope with a "substantive reduction in the weeks ahead." The province had forecast, as of midday on Tuesday, that due to the slowdown it would receive only 16,575 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer's Belgium plant by the end of the month and 28,275 in February. An official later confirmed Nova Scotia would no longer be receiving the 975 doses of vaccine it had expected next week. The federal government has said it's expected that the shipments will ramp back up after the company has made changes to its production facility in Belgium. Nova Scotia public health officials say it is among the best positioned jurisdictions in the country to cope with the vaccine delays due to its low case counts of the illness. As of Tuesday morning, the province has just 22 active cases, with four new cases of COVID-19 detected on Monday. Asked about the Pfizer announcement's impact, Strang said the news was still fresh. "We'll be able to talk in more detail in the next few days about what our vaccine supply will mean for the next few weeks," he said. However, Premier Stephen McNeil said the closure of a production line to allow for the increased production rate in the near future is "short-term pain for what we believe will be long-term gain." "The lack of shipment will be made up in the following month and the next six months for sure." The premier said the province will meanwhile focus on setting up vaccination sites in every region of the province. "When Pfizer starts ramping up, or a new vaccine gets permitted by Health Canada, we (will) have a system that allows us to ramp up vaccinations very quickly across our province," he said. The province had hoped to provide 78,750 vaccinations in March and then have a mass rollout of 333,333 doses in April at clinics in pharmacies and doctors offices. Over the next month, the first wave of shots will go to health workers and long-term care staff and residents, along with a pilot project for African Nova Scotian and First Nations communities. Special care homes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities will also have vaccinations for staff and residents. The second phase, happening over the next 60 days, will include a pilot project for community clinics for residents over 80 years old in Halifax and Truro, more vaccinations of health workers and special care facilities and a pilot project for delivering vaccines at pharmacies. The 90-day plan is to have mass immunization clinics established in all communities with cold storage locations. As of Monday evening, about 2,200 Nova Scotians had received both vaccine doses, and 8,520 total doses had been administered from the province's supply of 23,000 doses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press