Turns out that not taking part in the Spice Girls' reunion tour of 2019 gave Posh Spice major FOMO.
Turns out that not taking part in the Spice Girls' reunion tour of 2019 gave Posh Spice major FOMO.
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Fingers crossed, residents and visitors to the area will be able to attend the Ripley Food, Art and Craft Show on Aug. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Community Centre. The annual show is a showcase for local vendors, bringing them all together under one roof to connect with shoppers. Like so many other events scheduled last summer, the show had to be cancelled because of pandemic restrictions that prohibited large gatherings under one roof. “This past year has been tough on small businesses, local artisans and our residents,” said Maggie Young, who handles community services programming and administration for the Township of Huron Kinloss. “The Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Community Services Department are committed to providing a space and hosting an event to help showcase local artisans and food producers, as well as re-introducing events for the community to attend. Therefore, every effort is being made to host the 2021 Ripley Food Art Craft Festival, keeping in mind the safety and wellbeing of both the vendors and visitors.” Young said all protocols advised by public health will be followed, and may include masks if required, the number of people allowed in the building at one time and sanitizer will be available. If necessary, booths can be spaced two-metres apart and directional flow arrows will be placed on the floor. Young says community services will “go above and beyond” what restrictions are in place. Organizers also have a plan B ready, should it be decided that the event cannot be held on the arena floor. It can be moved outside, under tents, if necessary, and as a last option, held online with a marketplace and vendor focus. Registration is now open for vendors, which has in past years welcomed 40-50 small businesses. Information is available by calling 519-395-2909 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the event on Facebook @RipleyArtisansFestival for status updates. All money raised from the event is directed back to the Town of Ripley and Huron Kinloss. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Le transporteur Intercar a annoncé la relance graduelle de ses liaisons entre Sept-Îles, Baie-Comeau et Québec à partir du 26 mars. Les trajets de et vers Sept-Îles et Baie-Comeau reprendront à raison d’un aller quotidien du vendredi au lundi. La liaison de Baie-Comeau vers Québec sera disponible les samedis et lundis tandis que la liaison de Québec vers Baie-Comeau sera possible les vendredis et dimanches. Les allers-retours quotidiens entre Havre-Saint-Pierre et Sept-Îles du lundi au vendredi, qui avaient repris en octobre, demeurent en place. Tous les usagers devront remplir un questionnaire de santé lors de l’achat d’un billet et porter le masque lors du transport. Un maximum de 26 passagers pourront être présent dans le même autobus. La reprise partielle et progressive de ces liaisons est en partie permise grâce au programme d’aide d’urgence du ministère des Transports, bonifié de 10 millions de dollars supplémentaires au début du mois. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Police in Moose Jaw have arrested two people and are searching for a third in connection with an attempted murder. Last Friday, police were told about an assault on Stadacona Street West, but could not find a victim or any suspects. Some time later, police located a man with serious head injuries who was taken to hospital. The man has since been released and sent home. Police returned to the scene on Stadacona Street with a search warrant and found some evidence. Now, two people have been charged with attempted murder in the crime, as well as robbery and possession of crystal meth. The accused made their first court appearance in Moose Jaw provincial court Tuesday morning. Police are searching for a third suspect, also wanted for attempted murder and robbery.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A blast smashed five windows at a coronavirus testing centre in a small Dutch town early Wednesday, police said. Nobody was hurt in the explosion, which was condemned by the government and health officials. “For more than a year, we've been leaning heavily on the people on the front line. And then this. Crazy,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge tweeted. The head of the country’s umbrella organization for local health services that carry out coronavirus testing called the blast a “cowardly act.” “Our people have to be able to do this crucial work safely,” Andre Rouvoet tweeted. Police in the province of North Holland tweeted that “an explosive went off” near the testing centre in Bovenkarspel just before 7 a.m. Police cordoned off the area, which is 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Amsterdam, and were investigating the cause of the blast. Police spokesman Menno Hartenberg said it was unclear whether the testing centre was deliberately targeted or when the facility would be able to reopen. He said it was clear that the explosive didn't "get there by accident. But we have no idea at the moment who exactly left it there and what the intention was.” Police said a metal cylinder that had exploded was found outside the building. The northern regions of North Holland province have been identified as a virus hotspot in recent weeks, with infection numbers higher than the national average. In January, rioters torched a coronavirus test facility in the fishing village of Urk on the first night of a 9 p.m.-to-4:30 a.m. nationwide curfew imposed as part of the government’s latest coronavirus lockdown. Attacks health workers and facilities around the world have increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A new report by the Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities last year. Some Dutch lockdown restrictions were relaxed Wednesday with hairdressers, masseurs and other “contact professions” allowed to reopen if they adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene measures. Nonessential shops also were allowed to reopen in the Netherlands for the first time since mid-December, though only to very limited numbers of customers who make an appointment in advance. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday she will support New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be Interior secretary, the first Republican senator to publicly back a nominee set to become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The announcement makes Haaland's confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland's endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland’s nomination by President Joe Biden. Manchin caused a political uproar last month by announcing plans to oppose Biden’s choice for budget director, Neera Tanden, a decision that played a key role in Tanden's withdrawal on Tuesday. Collins, a moderate who frequently sides with Manchin, said she differs with Haaland on a number of issues but appreciated her role in helping to lead House passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The landmark law, co-sponsored by Collins in the Senate, authorizes nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. Collins said she also appreciated Haaland’s support on issues important to Maine, such as Acadia National Park, “as well as her deep knowledge of tribal issues, which has earned her the support of tribes across the country, including those in Maine.'' Interior oversees the nation's public lands and waters and leads relations with nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. The Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland's nomination Thursday. Several Republicans, including Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top GOP senator on energy, oppose Haaland, saying her opposition to fracking, the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other issues made her unfit to serve in a role in which she will oversee energy development on vast swaths of federal lands, mostly in the West, as well as offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Barrasso said a moratorium imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands “is taking a sledgehammer to Western states’ economies.? The moratorium, which Haaland supports, could cost thousands of jobs in West, Barrasso said. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 958 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the number of deaths linked to the illness in the province topped 7,000 and public health units administered a record number of vaccines. The new cases — the fewest logged on a single day in two weeks — include 249 in Toronto, 164 in Peel Region and 92 in York Region. Other health units that saw double-digit increases were: Ottawa: 57 Hamilton: 47 Waterloo Region: 46 Durham Region: 41 Thunder Bay: 30 Middlesex-London: 28 Niagara Region: 23 Sudbury: 22 Windsor-Essex: 21 Halton Region: 20 Peterborough: 18 Simcoe Muskoka: 18 Brant County: 17 Eastern Ontario: 13 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit on a given day, because local units report figures at different times.) They come as Ontario's lab network completed 52,613 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and reported a test positivity rate of 2.4 per cent. Labs also recorded 10 more cases linked to the virus variant first identified in the United Kingdom, bringing the total confirmed by genomic sequencing thus far to 552. According to the province, a total of 1,078 test samples were screened for the tell-tale spike gene that suggests the presence of a variant of concern. The spike was detected in 325, or about 30 per cent, of those samples. The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 1,084. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education reported another 160 school-related infections: 138 students, 21 staff members and one person who was not identified. Twenty-four schools are currently closed to the illness. That's about 0.5 per cent of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools. A total of 668 people with COVID-19 were in hospitals, according to the Ministry of Health. Of those, 274 were being treated in intensive care and 188 needed a ventilator. The 17 additional deaths in today's update push the province's official toll to 7,014. Meanwhile, health units administered 27,398 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, topping the previous high by more than 3,000 shots. Some 266,710 people in Ontario have now received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Halton Region announced this morning that its health unit will begin booking vaccine appointments for residents aged 80 and older. It is the latest to join a growing list of cities and municipalities offering appointments and shots before the province's centralized system launches on March 15. Health Minister Christine Elliott said yesterday that the province will soon release an updated rollout plan and timeline for the ongoing immunization campaign, in light of Health Canada's approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine late last week. The province is also awaiting guidance from federal health authorities and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on whether the time between doses can be extended up to four months. British Columbia has already opted for a 16-week interval, while Quebec has allowed for up to 90 days between shots. Both jurisdictions say a longer interval will allow more residents to get a first dose of vaccine earlier. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, suggested yesterday that more clarity is expected from NACI soon.
MADRID — The sisters of Spanish King Felipe VI acknowledged Wednesday that they got COVID-19 vaccine shots during a visit to the United Arab Emirates to see their father, the former monarch who has faced financial investigations at home. In a statement published by leading newspaper La Vanguardia, the Infantas Elena, 57, and Cristina, 55, said they were “offered the possibility” of receiving the vaccines while in Abu Dhabi to visit their father, former monarch Juan Carlos I. The sisters said they agreed to accept the vaccines “with the goal of obtaining a health passport” that would allow them to regularly visit their father, who left Spain in August amid investigations into alleged financial wrongdoing. Their statement came a day after the Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial reported their vaccinations. The two women would apparently not have been eligible yet to get COVID-19 vaccinations in Spain. Spain is still only administering vaccines to the very elderly and essential workers, before working its way down to younger age groups. The sisters of Spain’s King Felipe VI are not part of the official royal household, which has told Spanish media that the 53-year-old Felipe, Queen Letizia and their two daughters have not yet been vaccinated. __ Follow all AP stories on the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic. The Associated Press
The Nasdaq ended sharply lower on Wednesday after investors sold high-flying technology shares and pivoted to sectors viewed as more likely to benefit from an economic recovery on the back of fiscal stimulus and vaccination programs. Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc dropped more than 2%, weighing more than any other stocks on the S&P 500. The S&P 500 financial and industrial sector indexes reached intra-day record highs.
THE LATEST: Health officials announced 542 new cases and seven more deaths on Wednesday. To date, 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are now 246 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care. There are currently 4,652 active cases of coronavirus in the province. 200 cases of variants of concern have been identified. So far, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 86,616 of those being second doses. Another 542 cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths from the disease have been confirmed in B.C., health officials announced Wednesday. The latest numbers show a steady rise in the rolling seven-day average of new cases and the number of patients in hospital over the last two weeks. Right now, 246 people are in hospital with COVID-19 including 64 in intensive care. To date, 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 out of 81,909 confirmed cases. There are now 4,652 active cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C. Since the province's vaccination program began late in 2020, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,616 second doses. The numbers come as Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization has endorsed B.C.'s plan to space out first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by 16 weeks in order to reach more people. In Wednesday's written statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said they were pleased with the endorsement. "Our goal is to protect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, through the available COVID-19 vaccines. With a single primer dose, these vaccines are helping to stop outbreaks and reduce serious illness and death," they said. B.C. now expects every eligible adult who wants a vaccine will receive their first dose by the end of July. The plan is to space out doses by four months. Wednesday's update also included another 18 confirmed cases of variants of concern, bringing B.C.'s total to date to 200. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 7:30 p.m. PT Tuesday, Canada had reported 872,747 cases of COVID-19, with 30,252 cases considered active. A total of 22,045 people have died. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
For more than a year, the PC government’s plan to build a sprawling GTA West transportation corridor flew under the radar. When Doug Ford and his colleagues moved to restart the highway’s environmental assessment (EA) in 2019, reversing the previous Liberal government’s decision to scrap it, few noticed. Subsequent advancements of the project also received little attention, despite sustained opposition by advocacy groups such as Environmental Defence. As 2021 dawned, something started to shift. While the PCs at Queen’s Park approved the highway’s route in August and then quietly moved to speed up the environmental assessment process to get the project started even faster (perhaps to get shovels in the ground before the next election) opposition to their actions mounted. First, Halton Region and the Town of Halton Hills took an aggressive stand against the plan late last year. Then early in the new year the NDP came out against the project, confirming they would scrap it if the party wins election in 2022, and the Liberals followed a few weeks later with the same pledge. Pleas from environmental groups and local residents who will be directly impacted by the massive stretch of six-lane highway grew louder. Early in February, Environmental Defence teamed up with an environmental law-group, Ecojustice, and sent a request to Ottawa. Take over the EA process being rushed through by Queen’s Park, they asked. The request, originally something of a hail mary that relied on a generous interpretation of federal legislation, has already borne fruit. In a series of unexpected votes, Peel’s lower-tier municipalities finally woke up. Caledon and Brampton had endorsed the highway’s progress for years, while Mississauga had chosen not to get involved. Suddenly, Mississauga passed a motion actively opposing the highway, while Caledon and Brampton both backed calls for the federal government to take over the environmental assessment process, meaning it could scrap the entire project, if it decides to get involved. On Tuesday, in another surprise move, the City of Vaughan, where the 400-series highway would run, voted to revoke its support for the project, passing a motion rejecting the plan, instead of simply debating how the assessment should proceed, which was the original plan for the council meeting. Clearly, politicians have been shocked into action by the mounting anger over the PC government’s decision to unilaterally ram through a project that will have devastating consequences on climate change, GTA watersheds, local ecosystems and the environment in general. The world’s largest protected green space, Ontario’s Greenbelt, would see the giant asphalt corridor run right along its southern edge and, in some places, right through the sensitive natural environment covered by provincial legislation. Sustaining the GTA’s watershed, which prevents flooding while ensuring clean water and healthy ecosystems is critical to the health of Ontario’s most populous region. Building a highway across these valuable lands goes against everything the Province has done over the last two decades to protect the environment. But with the blessing of the development industry, Ford ignored all the past work and the decision in 2018 to scrap the project. The tone deaf move at a time when the planet faces unparalleled challenges, is finally being reconsidered. Shaken by the swelling opposition, even the Province has softened its position, with the PCs stating this week in the legislature that the highway might not happen. Hanging over the process is the potential for the federal government to wrestle control of the EA from Queen’s Park and complete its own assessment. The Liberal government has made climate change a key pillar of its mandate, and a massive 400-series highway would only make it more difficult for Canada to meet its obligations under the Paris Accord. In 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the document officially at a United Nations ceremony in New York, he said, "Today, with my signature, I give you our word that Canada's efforts will not cease. Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge." His government now has a clear opportunity to make good on the pledge. If a federal EA is conducted and concludes the highway’s impact to the environment or Canada’s emissions targets would be too great, it could end the project once and for all. Under the Impact Assessment Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has 90 days from the initiation of a request to decide whether or not to designate the project and take control. A spokesperson for the federal government confirmed to The Pointer a decision by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada would be made by May 4 “The agency is currently soliciting the views of the public, Indigenous groups and stakeholders to inform its analysis and prepare a recommendation for the minister,” the spokesperson said. “The agency’s recommendation will also be informed by science, input from the proponent, federal authorities, and other jurisdictions.” There are several concerns around the planned GTA West Corridor. Environmental groups and members of the public were alarmed when the PCs announced in the summer that the EA would be streamlined to get the project started faster. Critics said a shortened assessment would fall short of the rigorous scientific standards required to safely build highway infrastructure on or around protected lands. The issue of whether “the potential adverse effects can be adequately managed through other existing legislative or regulatory mechanisms” is one of the questions Ottawa will now consider in its deliberations. The federal government will also consider if the potential greenhouse gas emissions from the project “may hinder the Government of Canada’s ability to meet its commitments with respect to climate change”. This factor, something a new highway would clearly contribute to, suggests Ottawa could be motivated to intervene. The same legislation applied in the decision on the GTA West Highway is being challenged in Alberta. Court documents submitted by the Government of Alberta call the Impact Assessment Act a “trojan horse” and ask the province’s top court to rule it unconstitutional. "This overreach of federal jurisdiction threatens to eviscerate provincial authority over resource development and must be rejected by this court,” the Alberta government states in the court documents. It follows a theme of similar struggles, particularly in Alberta and Ontario, where Conservative governments have found their policies at odds with aggressive national climate change commitments. Ontario Premier Doug Ford believes large-scale construction projects such as the GTA West Corridor will help reignite the economy when COVID-19 eventually retreats. But the federal Liberals have doubled down on their climate change commitments by significantly increasing the national carbon tax. The spokesperson explained the decision-making process to determine if Ottawa will take over the EA for the highway. “The recommendation will consider whether the carrying out of the project may cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction or adverse direct or incidental effects, and public concerns related to such effects. It will also consider the potential impacts of the project on the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada.” The Fording River Extension in British Columbia, formerly known as the Castle Project, serves as an example. The project was a result of a proposal by Teck Coal Limited to extend the life of its metallurgical coal mine north of Elkford. Between May 12 and July 17, eight separate requests for the Federal government to step in were submitted. They came from different parties, including Indigenous communities and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. On August 19, 99 days after the initial request, the federal government agreed to take over the project’s assessment. So far, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s website only lists one request for the GTA West Corridor to be designated as a federal project, linking to the original February letter from EcoJustice on behalf of its client, Environmental Defence. Other requests in the form of council motions have since been sent, including resolutions passed in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. More than 50 comments have also been submitted by members of the public. A final decision will be publicly rendered by May 4. You can visit the federal government's newly created GTA West Highway impact assessment webpage here. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Late last week reports began circulating on social media alleging a group of hunters from Quebec had travelled to southern Labrador to hunt caribou, believed to be the threatened Joir River herd, a small group of the Mealy Mountain herd that is the most southeasterly caribou of their range. SaltWire Network contacted the Department of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture, which confirmed the department is aware of a group of people who travelled to Labrador from Quebec. “Resource enforcement officers located these individuals when they initially arrived and advised the group that any harvesting of caribou in the Labrador region is illegal,” the department said in a statement. “There are now in excess of 30 snowmobiles in the area. Officers have made patrols to the area and have observed illegally harvested caribou.” The statement said evidence has been collected and enforcement action will be taken as the investigation continues. Hunting caribou is illegal in Labrador, and over the years a handful of hunters from Quebec have been charged and convicted with illegal hunting of the herds. Most recently, three Pakua Shipi Innu men were convicted in January of violating the Wildlife Act and obstruction related to illegal caribou hunting in 2015. The Pakua Shipi Innu hunt in the area annually and have said in the past they dispute the official numbers of the herd and the impact of hunting. Hollis Yetman with the Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association posted about the hunt on Friday, saying the hunters had left Quebec a few days before and spent a night at a hotel near the Quebec-Labrador border before heading into the country. SaltWire spoke with Yetman, who said the hunt happens this time every year like clockwork, and he understands the challenges wildlife officers face when trying to enforce the hunting ban. The remoteness of the area where they hunt, different provincial jurisdictions, the time it takes to mobilize enough officers to respond, and the challenge of confronting a large group of armed men are just some factors, he said. Yetman said consultations need to happen within the communities, and within the Indigenous governments, the provinces and the federal government, “with everybody at the table and find out what the real issues are.” “You have to get at the table and hash out what the real issues and solutions are and deal with it at the table. You can’t deal with it in the country. It’s already too late then.” Yetman said with the caribou numbers as low as they are, the time for enforcement has passed and it’s up to the different governments to find a solution. Everyone he’s spoken to with the federal, provincial and Indigenous governments has been upset about the hunt that happens in the area every year, but it keeps happening, he said. “It makes me believe that everybody, except the Innu in this situation, is powerless,” Yetman said. “They must be, because they can’t stop it. I would say the federal and provincial government is weak. When the hunting happens it’s already too late. I challenge them all to get up and deal with it, behind the scenes, do something and start talks to keep these caribou alive.” The Nunatukavut Community Council (NCC), which represents the Southern Inuit of Labrador, released a statement on Sunday about the illegal hunting, saying they are concerned and disappointed to hear of the hunt. NCC President Todd Russell said they are closely monitoring the situation and are working with provincial authorities to share information. He said in their view, there are no legitimate grounds for taking these animals at this time and NunatuKavut Inuit “have always had a fundamentally important relationship with caribou and our approach has been one of respect." “We have a responsibility as Inuit, as do other Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, to do all we can to protect the caribou and their habitat," Russell said. "This is necessary so that future generations can know about caribou, and to always have it be part of our culture.” Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
ANKENY, Iowa — The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Officers called to the Lakeside Center in Ankeny around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday found a device that looked like a pipe bomb in grass near the centre. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb. The banquet hall was being used as a polling place for an Ankeny school district special election. Police evacuated the building, and the State Fire Marshal and agents with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in. Technicians safely detonated the device, and the centre was reopened around 12:30 p.m. — about three hours after the device was discovered, police said. No one was injured. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald described the device as a metal piece with two end caps, and said in a Twitter post that a couple walking their dog Tuesday morning had discovered the device. “I want to also add that there is no way of knowing how long this device had been at the Lakeside Center,” Fitzgerald said in a tweet, saying officials don't know whether the pipe bomb was related to the election. Fitzgerald and police said other polling places in Ankeny were checked an no other bombs or suspicious devices were found. An investigation into who left the device is continuing, police said. The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Laurentian Bank Financial Group beat expectations as it reported a first-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago even as its provision for credit losses edged higher. The Montreal-based bank says it earned $44.8 million or 96 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from a profit of $32.2 million or 68 cents per diluted share a year ago. Revenue totalled $247.4 million, up from $238.7 million in the year earlier quarter. The provision for credit losses totalled $16.8 million for the quarter up from $14.9 million a year earlier, due to a rise in allowances on impaired commercial loans. On an adjusted basis, Laurentian says it earned $1.03 per diluted share for its most recent quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 79 cents per diluted share a year earlier. The average analyst estimate had been for an adjusted profit of 74 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. "Our results were driven by a strong performance in capital market activities, the resumption of growth in commercial banking and our strong cost discipline," Laurentian chief executive Rania Llewellyn said in a statement. "We will take the experiences of the past year to propel us forward, as we renew our leadership team and create an organization that is agile, efficient and above all customer centric." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:LB) The Canadian Press
More than 30 years after Prince Akeem Joffer and his sidekick Semmi first travelled to the United States to find a royal bride, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their roles in comedy sequel "Coming 2 America". Murphy, creator and star of the 1988 film - which proved more popular with audiences than critics when it came out - returns to the fictional nation of Zamunda, this time as Akeem prepares to become king. A father to three daughters in a country where only a male heir can sit on the throne, Akeem finds out he has a son in America and returns to Queens, the New York borough he first visited decades ago, to meet him.
Infectious diseases expert, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, answers your latest COVID-19 vaccine questions including whether or not AstraZeneca should be given to seniors and how long is too long to delay your second dose.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s governing party pulled out of its conservative group in the European Union’s legislature on Wednesday following years of conflict over the rule of law and European values. The right-wing Fidesz party has held a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament almost uninterrupted since 2010. It left the European People’s Party over the latter’s adoption on Wednesday of new procedures allowing for entire parties to be excluded from the group rather than just individual lawmakers. Fidesz officials, including Hungary’s prime minister and head of the party, Viktor Orban, had argued that the rule changes were “tailor-made” to sanction Fidesz, and threatened over the weekend to pull out of the EPP if the rules passed. The EPP backed the rule changes with an overwhelming majority in a 148-28 vote, with four abstentions. In a letter Wednesday to Manfred Weber, chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Orban announced Fidesz’s decision to leave the group. “The amendments to the rules of the EPP Group are clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters ... This is anti-democratic, unjust and unacceptable. Therefore, the governing body of Fidesz has decided to leave the EPP Group immediately,” Orban wrote. Orban said the rule changes deprived Hungarian voters of their democratic rights and that Fidesz lawmakers would continue to represent Hungary in the European Parliament. In a statement, the EPP said it “respects and welcomes” the adoption of the new rules allowing for the expulsion of parties, and that a decision on Fidesz’s fate within the party family would be made at a later date. “Fidesz is now facing an exclusion procedure from the party, under Article 3 of the EPP Statutes. This must be decided by the EPP Political Assembly which will meet when it is safe to do so given the current pandemic situation,” the EPP wrote. Fidesz’s decision to leave the group could be the final note in a series of longstanding clashes with the EPP, the largest political family in Europe. The group suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership. In a tweet, Hungary’s minister for family affairs and a Fidesz vice-president, Katalin Novak, confirmed Fidesz’s decision to leave the EPP Group. “We will not let our MEPs be silenced or limited in their capacity to represent our voters. Tackling the pandemic and saving lives remains our number one priority,” Novak wrote. Even without Fidesz’s 11 lawmakers, the EPP will remain the largest caucus in the European Parliament. It remains unclear whether in addition to pulling its lawmakers from the EPP’s parliamentary group, Fidesz will also quit the EPP party family, led by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Some observers have speculated that Fidesz could seek a new home with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) alongside its ideological ally, Poland’s Law and Justice party, or the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID), of which Matteo Salvini’s Lega is a member. Austrian EPP member and vice-president of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas, tweeted that the group’s decision to enable the sanctioning of member parties was “a clear sign of our ability to act and our credibility.” “Today’s vote also is rejecting the blackmail attempt by Viktor Orban. Our votes cannot be dictated nor prescribed. This attempt from Orban joins in a long list of inappropriate actions from Fidesz politicians,” Karas wrote. The news of Fidesz’s departure from the EPP Group was also welcomed by some more liberal European lawmakers. Iratxe Garcia, chairwoman of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (DS) in the European Parliament, said in a statement, “Fidesz should have been kicked out years ago. Instead, the EPP Group sat by and watched while Orban’s anti-democratic government attacked European citizens’ freedoms again and again.” Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Les municipalités de Saint-David-de-Falardeau et Dolbeau-Mistassini ont été sanctionnées par l’Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) après qu’elles aient accordé illégalement des contrats à des entreprises privées sans que ces dernières détiennent d’autorisation de contracter en vertu de la Loi sur les contrats des organismes publics (LCOP). L’AMF explique qu’en août 2018, Saint-David-de-Falardeau a accordé un contrat d’une durée de deux ans à l’entreprise JRM Excavations pour des travaux d’entretien d’hiver de chemins d’une valeur de 1,3 M$. Les vérifications faites par l’AMF ont révélé que cette entreprise ne détenait pas d’autorisation de contracter au moment du dépôt de sa soumission. Le conseil municipal a procédé au renouvellement du contrat pour la saison hivernale 2020-2021 par le biais d’une résolution adoptée le 4 mai 2020. L’exécution du contrat se terminera au printemps 2021. Le même scénario s’applique à la même époque dans le cas de Dolbeau-Mistassini, alors que la municipalité a accordé un contrat à l’entrepreneur Excavation Unibec alors que le soumissionnaire ne détenait pas d’autorisation de contracter au moment du dépôt de sa soumission. Selon René Bouchard, directeur des Affaires publiques à l’AMF, en vertu de la LCOP, toute entreprise voulant offrir des contrats de services de plus d’un million ou de construction de plus de 5 M$ doit obligatoirement apparaître sur le registre des entreprises autorisées à contracter avec le gouvernement. « Les entreprises qui veulent obtenir des contrats de plus de 1 M$ en services professionnels ou de 5 M$ en construction doivent déposer une demande à l’AMF qui transfère le dossier à l’Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) qui, elle, vérifie la situation de ses dirigeants », explique-t-il. l précise que la problématique dans les deux cas cités plus haut se situe à deux niveaux, soit le fait que les deux entreprises n’étaient pas autorisées à contracter et que les deux municipalités n’ont pas effectué les vérifications requises. En vertu de la décision de l’AMF, Saint David-de-Falardeau et Dolbeau-Mistassini devront se doter de procédures afin de s’assurer que toute entreprise ayant remporté un contrat public selon les critères fixés détient une autorisation de contracter et qu’elle maintient son autorisation durant l’exécution du contrat. De plus, ces municipalités doivent assurer la formation de leurs employés œuvrant en gestion contractuelle tout en établissant un processus de contrôle. Elles disposent de 45 jours pour informer l’AMF des changements apportés à la suite des recommandations déposées. Le directeur des communications a précisé que chaque fois que l’AMF dépose des recommandations, les dossiers des municipalités sont transférés à l’UPAC pour examen par le Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales, lequel peut intenter des poursuites. Pour ce qui est des entreprises concernées, elles doivent se conformer à la loi si elles souhaitent obtenir de nouveaux contrats gouvernementaux. Depuis deux ans que l’AMF rend des décisions de cette nature, M. Bouchard mentionne qu’une trentaine de cas ont été traités, excluant les interventions de nature administrative. Environ 5000 entreprises au Québec ont obtenu leur droit de contracter avec des organismes gouvernementaux selon la loi. Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
A house fire on Tuesday afternoon was caused by an accidental grease fire in the kitchen, according to Windsor's fire department. One person was treated for a minor burn at the home on Lauzon Road, the fire department said in a series of tweets Tuesday. Two people are displaced as a result of the fire, and damage is estimated at $100,000. At about 5:30 p.m., the fire department tweeted that the flames had been extinguished. More from CBC Windsor
The global semiconductor chip shortage led General Motors Co on Wednesday to extend production cuts at three North American plants and add a fourth to the list of factories hit, and Stellantis to warn the pain could linger far into the year. The extended cuts do not change GM's forecast last month that the shortage could shave up to $2 billion from this year's earnings. GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson subsequently said chip supplies should return to normal rates by the second half of the year and he was confident the profit hit would not worsen.