Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly's red hot romance is a "once in a lifetime thing," according to the actress. Fox participated in Nylon magazine's cover story about the rapper turned rocker and said they have a connection of "mythic proportions."
Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly's red hot romance is a "once in a lifetime thing," according to the actress. Fox participated in Nylon magazine's cover story about the rapper turned rocker and said they have a connection of "mythic proportions."
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
If we didn't know any better, it would have seemed that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a tour through Canada's North recently. The U.S. senator popped up in a series of spoof photos this week that showed him in front of Iqaluit's post office, at a handgames tournament, and all the way to Yukon, posing in front of the SS Klondike. The hilarious shots were part of a wave of Bernie Sanders memes that have cropped up after he drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable attire at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, including a fuzzy pair of mittens. And northerners couldn't resist turning the photo of Sanders, cozied up on a chair with his mittens, into memes. Thaidene Paulette in Fort Smith, N.W.T., was behind the meme of Sanders playing traditional Indigenous handgames. "We basically live in the age of memes right now ... like with the internet and stuff going viral," Paulette said. "Whatever the meme may be at the moment, Indigenous people always put the best spin on it." He said he opted to put the U.S. senator into the handgames photo because it was fitting, based on Sanders' posture, which is similar to how players sit. Opposing teams of men kneel in lines and challenge each other to guess which hand an object is in — the idea is to trick the opponent into guessing the wrong hand. Paulette says Sanders could make a good handgames player in real life, calling him "pretty sly." "Those old timers are pretty good, you know, you don't think they move around too much, but once they get playing, they're into it and they can pull some tricks," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie's an old champ, maybe." Handgames isn't the only adventure the senator had in the North. Northerners enjoyed putting Sanders on a scene of a Nunavut government COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer. And they took him on a hunting trip. He watched Yukon's well-known Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher Bhangra. And was outfitted with more traditional wear. He went to the recycle depot in Whitehorse, made a pit stop at Tags gas station downtown, and of course, dropped by the public library. Then Sanders took a load-off at the Iqaluit post office. And finally, he waited for the northern lights to dance through the sky.
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Bob Avian, a Tony Award-winning choreographer who had a role in some of the most beloved and influential shows on Broadway, including “Dreamgirls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Follies” and “Miss Saigon,” has died. He was 83. Avian died Thursday of cardiac arrest at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Matt Polk, head of the theatrical publicity firm Polk & Co. Tony-winner Tony Yazbeck on Twitter called Avian “a sweet and kind spirit who generously gave his creative talents to legendary works.” Marvin Hamlisch said: “His legacy will live on stage for years to come.” Avian rose from a dancer in “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl” to work alongside such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Cameron Macintosh, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was with Bennett that Avian enjoyed a long professional partnership, working as associate choreographer or assistant director on such Bennett-choreographed productions as “A Chorus Line,” “Promises, Promises,” “Coco,” “Company,” “Follies, “Seesaw” and “God's Favorite.” He was a producer on the original “Dreamgirls” and “Ballroom” and did musical staging for “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close in 1994, “Putting It Together” with Carol Burnett and the original “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga in 1991. Avian earned six Tony nominations and won twice, for choreographing “Ballroom” and co-choreographing “A Chorus Line.” He won an Oliver Award for choreographing Boublil and Schonberg's musical “Martin Guerre” in London. He also choreographed “The Witches of Eastwick” in the West End starring Ian McShane. Avian's association with “A Chorus Line” continued when he directed the 2006 revival on Broadway and the London revival at the Palladium in 2013. He also directed touring versions. He earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University and also studied at Boston Ballet School. In 2020, his memoir “Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey” co-written with Tom Santopietro was published by University Press of Mississippi. He is survived by his husband, Peter Pileski, and a sister, Laura Nabedian. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
Thor is over the moon happy that it snowed! Nothing better than some snow zoomies!
OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has suspended the sale of decommissioned RCMP vehicles, two days after a man in Nova Scotia was arrested for allegedly impersonating an officer while driving a fake police car. The suspect's 2013 Ford Taurus was a decommissioned police car and was allegedly altered to look like an unmarked police vehicle. The car was similar to the replica RCMP cruiser used by a gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19. Blair issued a statement today saying the RCMP's resale process for decommissioned vehicles ensures they cannot easily be misused for criminal purposes. The minister said, however, such sales will be suspended to ensure the process is not flawed. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said today he was pleased with Blair's decision. "It's a great first step," McNeil said, adding that the province's justice minister, Mark Furey, has been working with Blair on the police vehicle file. "We have a piece of legislation that will be introduced during the next session. It deals with (police) accessories and how to deal with municipal (police) vehicles in our province." On Wednesday, the Mounties said that in the most recent case, a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have used the car in question to pull over other vehicles in the Halifax region and Antigonish County. The vehicle was outfitted with LED lights in the rear window, a microphone on the dashboard, a public address system, citizens band radio and a push bar with LED lights mounted on the grill. Police also confirmed the suspect did not appear to have any police clothing or firearms of any kind. "It remains illegal to impersonate a police officer and we will take every step possible to prevent such crimes from taking place," Blair said in the statement. "We will continue to work so that all Canadians feel safe in their communities." The vehicle used in the April mass shooting was heavily modified with an emergency light bar on the roof and decals that looked exactly like those found on marked RCMP cruisers. Early in the RCMP's investigation of the mass killing, a senior officer said the killer's vehicle allowed him to "circulate around the province, steps ahead of our investigators." The replica vehicle was so convincing that questions were raised about the availability of former police vehicles for public purchase. The Mounties have confirmed that on the night of April 18, the killer set fire to several homes and killed 13 people in Portapique before evading police later that night while disguised as an RCMP officer. The next morning, he resumed killing people he knew and others at random before he was fatally shot by a Mountie at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., which is just north of Halifax. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Images of National Guard soldiers camped in a cold parking garage after being sent to protect Washington sparked new calls Friday for investigations of the U.S. Capitol Police, now facing allegations that the agency evicted troops sent to help after its failure to stop rioting mobs two weeks ago. Members of both parties were irate about reports that Guardsmen were forced to take rest breaks outside the Capitol building. About 25,000 Guard members from across the country deployed to help secure President Joe Biden's inauguration, which went off with only a handful of minor arrests. Biden spoke Friday morning to Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She said the president thanked Hokanson and the Guard for their help the last few weeks and offered his assistance if Hokanson needed anything. She did not say if they discussed what happened at the Capitol on Thursday. First lady Jill Biden visited Guard troops outside the Capitol on Friday, bringing them cookies and thanking them for protecting her family. She noted that the Bidens’ late son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard. A jittery Washington requested the aid following the riot where police were badly outnumbered, locking down the nation's capital with soldiers, police and barricades and lawmakers and Biden took pains to thank security forces for their effort. All 25,000 Guard members were vetted by the FBI over concerns of an insider attack, and a dozen were removed from their posts including two who made extremist statements about the inauguration. The National Guard said it originally moved troops out of the Capitol Rotunda and other spaces to garages at the behest of the Capitol Police. The Guardsmen were allowed back inside late Thursday after reports were widely shared of the conditions in the garages, with few bathrooms and little covering from the cold. Capitol Police Interim Chief Yogananda Pittman issued a statement Friday saying her agency “did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities.” But two Capitol Police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity contradicted her statement, saying they were told department higher-ups had ordered the Guardsmen out. It was unclear why. The two officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the department to speak. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said that “multiple members of military leadership” had told him a uniformed Capitol Police officer told them to leave the Capitol Visitor Center. “The troops didn't move on their own,” said Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added: “This isn’t a blame game, but I want to know what happened so we can make sure it can’t happen again.” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who leads a subcommittee that oversees the Capitol Police budget, said Pittman and other commanders would eventually need to testify about their decision-making. “If the Capitol Police in any way, shape, or form pushed the Guard out into a cold garage, then there’s going to be hell to pay,” Ryan said . “We’re already trying to re-establish trust with the Capitol Police and we’ve got to figure out exactly what happened.” The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with co-ordination and the logistics so that troops can get home. Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony. Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month. The insurrection highlighted multiple failures by the Capitol Police to prepare for what became a violent mob overrunning parts of the building. Officers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said there was little planning before the riot or guidance from department leaders once the riot began. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher. Another officer died in an apparent suicide after the attack. ___ Merchant reported from Houston. Nomaan Merchant, Lolita Baldor, And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
SAINT JOHN • Dogs at the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue will be a little more cozy this winter. A group of Simonds High School students delivered Friday sweaters to 10 lucky dogs at the Saint John animal shelter. All of the sweaters were handmade by the students, who chose and bought the material, picked the pattern and sewed up each sweater. "It's a colder season. Some of [the dogs] don't have as much hair as others do. So maybe it'll just keep them warm and stylish," said student Brooklyn Darentt. All of the 14 students behind the sweater project are part of the Essential Skills Achievement Pathway, a different way to earn a high school diploma which doesn't use the traditional credit system. The program consists of three parts: the foundational learning binder, the post-secondary binder and the capstone project, which is specific to the specialty the student has chosen to go into after they receive their diploma, according to teacher Linda O’Blenis. The program was launched in 2018. The sweater project was part of the foundational learning part of the program, and the students have been working on it since the beginning of October. "That's kind of what this whole program is about is for the kids to take the ownership and really be the driving force to what's going to happen," O'Blenis said. She said typically the projects have to help out the school or larger community. "I'm really proud of them for, you know, kind of starting this, coming up with the idea and really seeing them follow it through," she said. The class is also working on a mural for the school, designing a quiet room and helping to build a stage for the school. On Friday, Saint John SPCA shelter greeter Nicole Tarcon accepted the sweaters. Students and teachers couldn't go into the shelter to deliver them personally to the dogs because of COVID-19 restrictions, but Tarcon said the shelter was happy to receive the welcome donation. "We're really happy to see the younger generation supporting us," she said. "Every time a dog is outside, whether it be for a walk or playing in the yard, they wear coats in the wintertime. Just like us they can get cold, so it's important to keep them protected from the elements." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Residents and local organizations are joining Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher in objection to a cluster of seven cannabis shops around Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue. It’s the second time Fletcher’s office has sent a letter to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regarding the issue. The first was sent in July 2020, when the city passed her motion requesting ACGO to consider the proximity to community services and parks, as well as communications from the city against clustering of cannabis shops. While in the summer the initial objection referred to four pending applications for pot shops on Queen Street East, this second objection comes as the area is expecting to see seven such shops. “It is concerning that there are so many along this stretch of Queen Street East, and that they are so close to the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, the Queen/Saulter Library and public parks,” Fletcher wrote in the letter. She said she has heard from several community members, with more than 20 constituents writing in, all trying to understand why there are seven cannabis stores near one major intersection and how the AGCO approves applications for these shops. “Everyone’s clear, no one is opposed to legal marijuana,” Fletcher told the Beach Metro News. “They’re opposed to the overconcentration of shops.” She cites the corner store model adopted by the current provincial government as problematic for residents and communities, akin to having “seven LCBO stores one after the other.” Original regulations set up by the provincial government of Kathleen Wynne restricted cannabis shops within 300 metres of a school, childcare centre, or daycare centre, but Fletcher said “it flew out the window” with the change in Ontario governments. Others in the community raise economic and social concerns of the clustering of pot shops. “The problem is what’s happening on Queen is if you end up with all these stores selling the same thing a whole lot of them will go out of business,” Ralph Thornton Community Centre board chair Alan Lennon said. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small business closures and commercial evictions, Lennon is concerned that it will become more and more difficult to fill the small storefronts in an economically viable way. “The other part is, if you have a block with all the same shops, you’re not going to have a lot of traffic – you’ve limited it,” he said. “It doesn’t make economic sense to us,” Lennon said. “You’re setting up people for failure in their business, and you’re making it so they will fail, and it doesn’t make social sense, you’re setting up a community to be one-dimensional.” “That’s not what we want,” he added. “And they’re [AGCO] not listening.” Non-profit community organization Fontbonne Ministries has a branch – Mustard Seed – on 791 Queen St. E. The location is a short walk from Queen Street East and Boulton Avenue, where there are three pending cannabis shops at the small intersection. “We understand it’s something legal, regulated, and you have these stores,” Fontbonne Ministries executive director Ben Vozzolo said. “But we question the need for that many in such a small area.” The organization serves vulnerable populations and runs a drop-in program at its Mustard Seed location on Queen Street East. Vozzolo raises concerns of having so many cannabis stores in close proximity to vulnerable people. But it’s not just the social effects, they’re concerned about the diversity of retail in the neighbourhood. “I’m curious to know what AGCO’s criteria is for determining how many of these shops are put in one neighbourhood,” Vozzolo said. Fontbonne, along with Ralph Thornton Community Centre, and other community members, has sent letters to the AGCO asking about the approval of these shops. No one has received any replies. “It would be nice to have a response acknowledging the concern,” Vozzolo said. In December 2020, AGCO announced it was issuing 80 cannabis retail store authorizations per month. To date, it has received more than 1,300 applications for retail store authorizations, 305 have been issued and 269 authorized cannabis retail stores are currently open in the province. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
The federal government is mulling a mandatory quarantine in hotels for returning travellers as the country's top doctor warns that easing COVID-19 restrictions too quickly could cause case numbers to shoot up again. The federal government is also looking at other options that would make it harder for people to return from foreign trips, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. He said it's time to "kill the second wave of the virus." Monday will mark a year since the first recorded appearance of the novel coronavirus in Canada. Trudeau said it is understandable that Canadians are tired and fed up, but they must remain cautious. “We need to hang on and hold tight for the next few months,” he said. “We must get through to the spring and mass vaccinations in the best shape possible.” Trudeau said the next few weeks will be challenging for vaccine supply as Pfizer-BioNTech slows deliveries to Canada and other countries while the company retools its plant in Belgium. The prime minister said Pfizer-BioNTech has committed to ensuring Canada will receive four million vaccine doses by the end of March. Provinces have reported a total of 738,864 vaccine doses used so far. That's about 80 per cent of the available supply. COVID-19 cases began to spike across the country in December and January, which put a strain on hospitals. Quebec and Ontario were particularly hard hit and officials responded with restrictions. Quebec instituted a curfew, while Ontario brought in an order for people to stay at home except for essential purposes such as work, food shopping or health care. Daily case numbers have slightly decreased in Ontario in the last week. There were 2,662 new cases Friday and 87 more deaths. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 2,703, down from a high of 3,555 on Jan. 11. There were 1,512 people in hospital on Friday, a decrease of 21 from the previous day. COVID-19 continued to pressure some local hospitals, so Ottawa said it would send two federal mobile health units to the Greater Toronto Area, adding an additional 200 hospital beds. Quebec has been under its provincewide curfew for nearly two weeks. Health officials reported 1,631 new cases and 88 deaths Friday. Hospitalizations decreased by 27 people to 1,426. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said that bringing down the second wave of COVID-19 has been a "trickier path" than the first wave last spring. Daily case counts are higher than they were then and have put increased pressures on the health-care system. "If we ease up too soon or too quickly, resurgence will be swift," she said. She also expressed concern that 31 cases of the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant, and three of the South African variant have been found in Canada. It's believed that both are more contagious. The cases were identified through screening smaller batches of tests. Tam said more needs to be done to understand the level at which new variants are circulating in communities. Nova Scotia reported four new COVID-19 infections on Friday, two of which were variant cases. Health officials said both cases were related to international travel. There were 731,450 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada and 18,622 deaths as of Thursday. Over the past seven days, there were a total of 42,555 new cases. The seven-day rolling average was 6,079. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index dipped to cap a losing week as COVID-19 virus and vaccine concerns weighed on the energy sector. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 70.29 points to 17,845.91. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 179.03 points at 30,996.98, the S&P 500 index was down 11.60 points at 3,841.47, while the Nasdaq composite was up 12.14 points at 13,543.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.64 cents US compared with 79.2 cents US on Thursday. The March crude contract was down 86 cents US at US$52.27 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 4.1 cents US at nearly US$2.46 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$9.70 at $1,856.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was down about 2.1 cents at almost US$3.63 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
A Pineview resident is fighting back against the Fraser-Fort George Regional District's attempt to get him to remove more than 100 vehicles stored on his property. The FFGRD filed a notice of claim in December seeking a court order to compel him to remove the vehicles or allow the FFGRD to do it for him, saying the collection violates the regional district's zoning and unsightly premises bylaws. But in a response filed January 7 at the Prince George courthouse, a lawyer acting on behalf of the property owner maintains the collection remains within the boundaries of the law. On whether the collection makes the property unsightly, lawyer Dan Marcotte says all of the vehicles are contained within a fully enclosed compound and cannot be seen by anyone standing outside the property line or the view is so slight it makes no difference. On whether the zoning bylaw is being violated, Marcotte casts doubt on the bylaw's clarity and maintains the collection is "consistent with an incidental to the permitted uses" of the property's rural residential zone. The FFGRD claims that as recently as mid-November, there were as many as 140 vehicles on the property and that at least 23 of the vehicles had significant damage, at least 22 vehicles were without valid licence plates and that several piles of vehicle parts and other material were found on the property. It is seeking an order that he lower the count down to 10 vehicles, of which no more than two can be derelict, and to remove all of the piles of parts and rubbish. Marcotte says his client restores vintage Ford pickup trucks, rebuilds cars to race in "hit to pass" and stock car events at the Prince George Auto Racing Association Speedway and carries out minor repair work as hobbies on the property. "Many of the motor vehicles are used by the defendant, from time to time and as needed, for parts in the restoration of his vintage vehicles or in the rehabilitation of vehicles in hit to pass racing events or stock car racing events," Marcotte says. The allegations have not yet been tested in court. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Tanner Stewart can think of no better way to flush 2020 down the drain than by filling up a tub with his cannabis-infused bath bombs in 2021. Stewart, founder and CEO of St. Stephen-based Stewart Farms, said his new bath bomb, made with 50 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 50 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) and essential oils, has been receiving rave reviews. "It's a really nice way to engage with a familiar thing like a bath bomb for a lot of consumers who already really like bath bombs and combine it with a cannabis-infused experience," he said. Stewart Farms makes three different types of bath bombs, each tailored with the help of the essential oils for a different experience. Trainwreck combines the scents of eucalyptus, sweet orange and Spanish rosemary to be uplifting and energizing. Bubba Kush is meant to be calming, with the scents of lavender, white grapefruit and cassia, and Blue Dream is meant to be a harmonizing bath bomb, with the scents of lemon grass, pepper, orange and lavender. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory, Stewart said, and THC is known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal. All of the products, which retail for $16.99 per bath bomb, are packaged individually in 100 per cent biodegradable packaging. Stewart said it's believed his farm is the first cannabis producer in Canada to use this type of packaging. He said environmental protection is a cannabis company’s responsibility. "We think that's setting a new precedent in the industry," he said. Stewart Farms' bath bombs have just sold out for the second time in multiple locations since launching about a month ago. Products are being sold in New Brunswick and in Alberta for now, with plans to expand from coast to coast by the end of 2021. Stewart said the bombs are a great, easy and harmless introduction for those who've never used cannabis products before, especially older people. "They need to be grabbing these things, and giving themselves a nice, well-deserved self-care treatment." Stewart said bath bomb users won't get high from the cannabis per se, but he's received feedback from customers that tell him their skin feels great after, they're relaxed and they have a great night's sleep. Some other say they feel clarity and it helps with pain, he added. Stewart, who's originally from Miramichi, said he's grateful the cannabis industry allowed him to move back to his home province in August 2019 from Alberta to start this business. "This industry has allowed me not only to come back home to my own province and have a job, but I'm able to build a business in a globally-leading industry." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
A victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher in the 1980s has secured an apology and $1.1 million in damages from School District 57.. The terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the abuse he suffered at the hands of Wendell Diakiw, who taught at Austin Road elementary school in Prince George during the 1970s and 1980s. Had the school district not included an apology, Bruneau said he would have gone ahead with taking the matter to trial. As it stands, Bruneau was pleased with the school district's response. "The school district handled it so well and really did the right thing, which is unheard of, and I really want the news to reflect that and set a new precedent for other institutions to do the same," Bruneau said in an interview. According to a statement issued Thursday by London, Ontario-based Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, the $1.1-million payout is understood to be the largest reported settlement of an individual teacher abuse case in British Columbia and will be covered by School District 57's insurer. Bruneau was a Grade 6 student at Austin Road when, according to the statement, the abuse began and continued for three years in the mid-1980s. Bruneau, in turn, played a key role in Diakiw's downfall. In 1986, Bruneau, then 16 years old, attended Diakiw’s house with a tape recorder and secured a taped confession, which led to police charges. In 1987, Diakiw was charged with a range of sexual offences in relation to six students, including Bruneau, and was sentenced to five years in jail later the same year. Bruneau was among four alleged victims for which Aaron Lealess, a lawyer at Beckett, had filed lawsuits against Diakiw and School District 57. The other three have also settled out of court but with the terms undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements. Court records show that Bruneau's case was the only one for which School District 57 did not file a response to the civil claim. Each of the claimants had sought as much as $3.2 million in damages. "At the very beginning of the claim, you just pick a high number - that's the maximum you could hope for basically, and then once more facts become known - you get all the medical records, education records, Mr. Bruneau was assessed by an expert psychologist - and so once you get all the information together, you get a bit better of an idea," Lealess said in an interview. "The plaintiff has their view of what the case is worth which is usually much higher than what the defence has their own view, which is much lower, and then this case was ultimately settled." Lealess said it was scheduled to proceed to trial this past November but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, "and ultimately we were able to get a settlement." Lealess said the $1.1 million represents the damage Bruneau has suffered in terms of the impact on his education and career and the expenses related to a lifetime of counseling, as well as inpatient treatment due to the psychological fallout. After living away from Prince George for 30 years, Bruneau has since moved back to the city. He expressed a degree of closure with the settlement and particularly the letter of apology. "It's a big shift in my thinking too, like the anger," Bruneau said. "Now it's a big thank you, I mean that's a huge difference." Diakiw was also named in the lawsuits and has been served but has not filed statements of response. As such, Lealess said they will be pursing a default judgment. "Now whether we can get a dime out of him is probably doubtful but we're going to continue to pursue the case against him," Lealess said. "It's more for the principal of the matter." Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Centre Culturel La Ronde’s annual winter tradition is returning with a wide variety of virtual activities and events. The carnival runs from Feb. 15 to Feb. 27. Friday, La Ronde unveiled the three candidates for the Bonhomme Carnaval mascot. This year’s candidates are dance teachers from Dansons La Ronde: Melissa Kelly-Lavoie, Emma Bertrand and Seth Guillemette. “We’re pretty excited because we never had that opportunity to be Bonhomme Carnaval,” Kelly-Lavoie said. “We’re going to make sure he’s enthusiastic and full of life.” Bertrand, 18, teaches jazz and contemporary, while Guillemette, 15, teaches hip-hop and musical theatre. “When I was really, really small, Bonhomme used to come around,” Guillemette recalled. “And a few of my friends and I were a little frightened but we used to hide and spy on him. It was a great time.” In the past, people would go to businesses and fill out a ballot to guess who Bonhomme is. This year, people will be able to vote through a Facebook poll. There’s a $100 prize. While details of the upcoming events are still being ironed out, La Ronde’s executive director Lisa Bertrand said events are open to adults and children, and everyone is welcome to attend. “Bonhomme is going to be on the Zoom meetings, saying hi and stuff like that,” she said. “Out of the people who guessed the right Bonhomme, we will put all their names in the draw and one person.” Some of the potential events this winter include a Sip and Paint via Zoom, a pop-up dance class, a cooking class with Merv Russell, online readings for kids and virtual shows featuring local musicians. Instead of a snow sculpture competition, which used to take place during the carnival in previous years, there will be a window painting contest for each class in all the French and French immersion schools. Participants will paint their windows with Bonhomme Carnaval, take a picture and send it to La Ronde's email. “And then we’re going to have the competition online to see what school will win. The school that wins will get $100 and they get a trophy," Bertrand said. The full confirmed schedule of the carnival will be revealed in the first week of February. All events will be free. The identity of the Bonhomme will be revealed on the last day of the carnival, Feb. 27. “For us, the francophone community, it means a lot,” Kelly-Lavoie said. “Throughout school, I remember growing up we were always part of the carnival. We used to go skating, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing. Last year, they had a ball hockey (tournament).” “La Ronde always makes it so much fun. And it’s a great way for the francophone community to come together for this event.” The carnival has been taking place in Timmins since 1968, with an exception for 2015 when La Ronde’s previous building was destroyed in a fire. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
One of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK) chiefs was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of over a year ago. On January 13, Kanehsata’kehró:non Victor Bonspille willingly turned himself in to the Surete du Quebec (SQ) after he received a letter by mail, endorsing a warrant against him. The St. Jerome courthouse issued a warrant against Bonspille on December 22, for aggression that would have taken place between the MCK vice-chief Patricia Meilleur and Bonspille. The vice-chief had filed a complaint against Bonspille last April and the file had been under investigation ever since. The SQ confirmed that they released the 50-year-old man with a promise to appear in court at a later date. Bonspille will officially be accused of sexual assault on February 24, at the St. Jerome courthouse. Kanesatake grand chief Serge Otsi Simon was reluctant to comment on the issue, saying that it hasn’t been decided yet if Bonspille can continue to sit on council as chief while the accusation hangs over his head. “Until this is brought to the other chiefs’ attention, I need to look at what our options are going to be,” said Simon. However, the grand chief also finds himself a part of another legal case. Earlier in October, Bonspille filed a defamation lawsuit against both Simon and Meilleur. It was claimed that the grand chief and the vice-chief used threats, false accusations and insults toward Bonspille - resulting in the latter seeking $75,000 in damage. The first hearing is set for next Thursday, January 28. Legal documents obtained by The Eastern Door showed that the plaintiff’s name was repeatedly mentioned over social media in many statements by the MCK, as the initiator of misinformation, which caused division within the community. It also revealed that Meilleur filed a complaint against Bonspille in regards to the sexual assault allegedly suffered on January 29, 2020. A second criminal investigation, filed this time in December 2019 by the grand chief, placed Bonspille in the middle of potential fraud accusations. Both allegations were denied by Bonspille, stating that he’s been wrongfully accused. firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is making another demand of Justin Trudeau over the Keystone XL pipeline ahead of the prime minister's call today with new U.S. President Joe Biden. In a letter to Trudeau, Kenney reiterates that the prime minister must press for a meeting with Biden so that Canada can make its case for the pipeline, which Biden cancelled this week on his first day in office. Kenney also repeats that if that fails, Trudeau must take retaliatory measures such as trade sanctions. But he also asks that Trudeau press Biden for direct compensation. Kenney says Alberta and pipeline builder TC Energy Corp. invested in the project believing it was going ahead under stable review and governance. The premier committed $1.5 billon to the project last year, with another $6 billion in loan guarantees. Biden made it clear last spring that he would cancel the Keystone line if he became president. He said that shipping more product from Alberta’s oilsands did not mesh with his broader objective of battling climate change. The Keystone line would have taken more Alberta oil to refineries and ports in the United States to relieve a North American bottleneck that has led to discounts and sometimes sharp reductions in the price of Alberta’s oil. In the letter dated Thursday, Kenney says the Keystone project that Biden once rejected is now a different, more environmentally friendly undertaking. “Keystone XL will be the first pipeline of its kind to operate at net-zero emissions on its first day of operations and will purchase 100 per cent of its power load from renewable energy sources,” Kenney writes. “I propose that we approach Washington together to begin a conversation about North American energy and climate policy.” If that doesn’t happen, he is pushing for “proportionate economic consequences." “At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the U.S. administration to compensate TC Energy and the government of Alberta for billions of dollars of costs incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date. “These costs were incurred on the assumption that the United States had a predictable regulatory framework and based on the presidential permit authorizing the Keystone XL border crossing, which was installed in the summer of 2019.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
SEATTLE — U.S. national team forward Jordan Morris was loaned Friday from Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders to the Welsh club Swansea of the second-tier English Championship for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Morris left the U.S. camp earlier this week in Florida as the final stage of his move to Swansea. Morris joins a Swans side that is second, seven points behind Norwich, which recalled American forward Sebastian Soto om Thursday from the Dutch club Telstar. The top two clubs at the end of the season receive automatic promotion to the Premier League. “We have worked directly with Jordan and his family on completing this loan agreement as he looks to take a seminal step in his career,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said. Swansea’s next league match is against third-place Brentford next Wednesday. Swansea was last in the Premier League during the 2017-18 season. Morris has 41 goals 23 assists in 121 appearances for the Sounders since signing with the club in 2016. At the time, Morris turned down offers to play in Germany to start his professional career with his hometown club. Morris was the MLS newcomer of the year in 2016. He missed the 2018 season following a torn ACL, but returned to be the league’s comeback player of the year in 2019. Last season, Morris was an MLS Best XI selection for the first time in his career and an MVP finalist after having 10 goals and eight assists in 18 regular season matches. “This particular move gives him a chance to showcase his skillset and opens a number options for his future,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “On top of that, I am excited to watch him play for Swansea.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Booth, The Associated Press