With Chris St. Clair.
With Chris St. Clair.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Just a day before Joe Biden’s inauguration as the next U.S. president, Ontario Premier Doug Ford asked the next American president for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from U.S. facilities.
New Brunswick's Liberal opposition says it supports the decision to let schools stay open during the red phase of COVID-19 restrictions. Liberal Leader Roger Melanson is backing up Education Minister Dominic Cardy's assertion that Public Health officials recommended the change to the red-phase guidelines. "That's what Public Health recommended," said Melanson, who sits with other political party leaders on an all-party COVID-19 committee with Premier Blaine Higgs and key cabinet ministers. The province announced the abrupt change to the red-zone rules for schools on Sunday, the same day it put Zone 4 into the red phase. Melanson said he agrees with Cardy's rationale that schools, where rigid COVID policies are in place, are safer places for children than potentially uncontrolled gatherings outside school. Most of transmission "happen in an environment where it's in private sessions, in social gatherings, where people are unfortunately not respecting the guidelines," Melanson said. "The data that I received from Public Health is that it's a safer environment. It's in a controlled environment for the kids to be able to be in school in a safe way." 'Making up plans as they go' On Monday Liberal MLA Guy Arseneault, a former president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, accused the Higgs government in a tweet of "making up plans as they go." Arseneault questioned the decision to allow schools to open in the red phase, a decision also criticized by the teachers' association. "People are asking who's calling the shots?" he said in another tweet. Cardy said Tuesday morning in a series of interviews that changes to red-phase rules, based on Public Health data, had been in the works for some time and should have been ready before Sunday's Zone 4 decision. "My apologies for this coming at the last minute," he said. "I did not want it to be this way." Melanson said he had not heard about possible changes to red guidelines until the last few days. "That's the issue here," he said, arguing Arseneault's tweets did not risk confusing the public on the credibility of Public Health decisions. "I think what MLA Arseneault questioned was the process of how the stakeholders were informed or not informed." Minister should've contacted teacher organizations sooner Melanson said Cardy should have done better at contacting people affected by the changes, including teacher organizations, as soon as he could. "The dialogue is important here," he said. "People want to be part of the solution." Arseneault refused an interview request Tuesday. "Mr. Arseneault is comfortable leaving the leader [to] speak on behalf of caucus on this issue, so he will not be doing an interview today," said Liberal spokesperson Ashley Beaudin. Last November, before a spike in COVID-19 cases, Liberal education critic Benoit Bourque said New Brunswick high school students, who attend classes in two groups on alternating days, should be in school full-time to help them avoid mental-health issues. At the time, Cardy said the alternate-days system for high school had been endorsed by the all-party COVID committee before the start of the school year.
A Unifor blockade at the Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant is being removed following a dispute involving the union, the automaker and a contractor. Former employees of Auto Warehousing Company (AWC), who were represented by Unifor, have returned to work, according Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy, who shared the update in a video on Facebook. "The former AWC workers of Local 444 are back on the job as FCA and us work over the next little bit to sort out the fine details around it," Cassidy said, using the former name of the auto company that officially became Stellantis this week. In an email, Stellantis spokesperson LouAnn Gosselin confirmed that former AWC workers are back on the job while Stellantis and Unifor continue to have "discussions." She added that regular production continues at the Windsor Assembly Plant. Cassidy didn't elaborate further, but said he was very happy with the result. Unifor Local 444 set up a blockade at one entrance to the plant earlier this month. The union wanted workers from AWC to keep their jobs even though the contract for the service they provide was won by a different company, Motipark. The workers in question were responsible for driving the newly built minivans away from the factory ahead of shipment. The Motipark workers are represented by the Teamsters union, but Unifor has argued it should have had succession rights. Unifor has filed an application under the Ontario Labour Relations Act. On Monday, the automaker called on the union to call off the blockade. It said that if the factory had to shut down, workers would not be paid for the downtime. "It is unfortunate Unifor is choosing to use this inappropriate tactic of blockading our property, even though Stellantis is not involved in the dispute, and knowing that its effect will soon result in our Windsor operations being shut down," Gosselin said in a news release.
VICTORIA — British Columbia's representative for children and youth says she has heard harrowing stories from those who were involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness without access to legal advice. Jennifer Charlesworth has released a report with input from youth who say they were restrained, medicated and secluded against their will. Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act to allow youth to have access to a legal advocate while they're in care. She says that while the Health Ministry believes Indigenous youth are overrepresented when it comes to being detained in hospital, it lacks data on how many youth are being affected. Charlesworth says that's troubling because young people are being retraumatized when what they need is care that is culturally appropriate. She says over a decade, the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent, bringing into question the voluntary system of care and treatment. The province paused legislation last July to amend the act after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League is targeting the Victoria Day long weekend in May as the kickoff for its third season. However, the league acknowledges that will ultimately depend on local government and health authorities. "Our plans call for the start of play this spring — while recognizing that a major factor will be our nation's progress against this pandemic," commissioner David Clanachan said in a letter to fans. "Based on where we are right now, if health authorities say it is safe to do so, we are focused on targeting a start date of the Victoria Day long weekend (May 22, 2021) — Canada’s 'unofficial start of summer.' To that end, we will remain flexible but also adaptable in our planning. To be clear, our ultimate goal is to see our supporters in the stands as we take to the field." The league acknowledges opening the doors to any number of spectators again is a decision that will be made by others. The hope is to have each of the eight teams play a normal 28-game season. The league is currently looking at a number of scheduling models. The 2020 season was originally slated to run from April 11 to Oct. 4. The pandemic shelved that plan with the league eventually playing the Island Games, a truncated tournament in Charlottetown, from Aug. 13 to Sept. 6. The 2019 inaugural regular season ran April 27 to Oct. 19, divided into spring and fall campaigns. Hamilton's Forge FC won the league title both years. The CPL has also announced that young Canadians will see more action in 2021 with clubs now required to give at least 1,500 minutes of combined playing time to domestic players under the age of 21. The requirement previously for U-21 players was 1,000 minutes (pro-rated to 250 minutes at the Island Games). As before, CPL clubs must have at least three U-21 Canadian players signed on their rosters. The rule covers player born Jan. 1, 2000 or later. The league says the U-21 minutes requirement was met or exceeded by all clubs. In 2020, Winnipeg's Valour FC led the way with a total of1,532 minutes. In 2019, Pacific FC recorded 13,532 minutes. The league says it provided 43,000 minutes of playing time to young Canadians across its first two seasons. “Part of the mission of the Canadian Premier League is to foster the growth of young Canadian soccer players," James Easton, the league's vice-president of football operations, said in a statement. "The success to date of our under-21 player minutes is a testament to the quality that exists across Canada, which is now being served in a meaningful way by the opportunities provided by the CPL and is why we have decided to increase the minutes for young Canadian players.” --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Regina – By Tuesday, Jan. 19, SGI Canada had already received 1,885 property claims as a result of the Alberta clipper storm that whacked southern Saskatchewan Jan. 13-14. That’s according to Tyler McMurchy, manager, media relations, with SGI. He added that’s for just for one insurer, as SGI is one of many property insurers in the province. A further 386 auto claims were also received – not from people bumping fenders, but from things like trees landing on vehicles, or trailers being blown over. “Those were some pretty crazy winds,” McMurchy said by phone from Regina on Jan. 19. He said claims came from throughout the province, anywhere south of Prince Albert. Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn were particularly hit, but so were places like Saskatoon, Radville, Estevan and Milestone. In October, 2017, there had been a similar storm, but McMurchy said, “This past one had higher wind speeds and more trees knocked down.” Environment Canada had reported wind gusts as strong as an EF1 tornado north of Regina. Since it was winter, more outside items like lawn furniture and trampolines had been put away, while other items were frozen to the ground, he noted. There will be some “very large claims” he said, including building damage and farm claims. Adjusters worked throughout the weekend, and by Jan. 19, most of those who had filed claims had initial contact with an SGI adjuster, according to McMurchy. Shingles, roofs, soffits and siding are just some of the damage claims that have come in. “Some neighbourhoods, everyone’s got some shingles missing,” he said. He spoke of limiting further damage, but it may be necessary to get contractors to do that. Hold onto receipts, he noted, and take pictures, both wide angle and closeups. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Katie Thompson noticed a pattern emerging with appointments made at her chiropractic clinic for Wednesday afternoon that's usually typical of big sporting events: patients wanted to schedule sessions around the U.S. presidential inauguration. "We have never experienced this before," said Thompson, who co-owns the Barrie, Ont., clinic with her husband. "It’s clear that as Canadians, we are paying greater attention to the political climate of the United States now more than ever." The clinic has decided it will livestream the Washington, D.C., ceremony so patients and staff can "watch history be made" as president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris take office. The move felt natural for Thompson after months of speaking with patients about their thoughts and fears in the build-up to the November election that saw Democrat Biden win the presidency over Republican President Donald Trump. "It would be a shame to miss this transition take place," she said. Canadians have found themselves especially glued to American politics over the last four years since Trump was elected president of the United States. Trump embraced a combative, populist leadership style and cast doubt on the legitimacy of his own government with frequent scandals that saw him impeached by Congress an unprecedented two times. Earlier this month, his consistent disputing of the election results culminated with his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot aimed at blocking the transition of power. Images from the barricaded streets of Washington this week, showing hordes of fatigue-clad National Guard members taking up position ahead of inauguration day, have raised the stakes of Wednesday's ceremony, stoking anxiety for Americans and concerned observers around the world about potential violence. Simon Cumming of Surrey, B.C., said he hopes the transition to a Biden presidency brings more stability to the politically divided nation, where he has friends on both sides of the political spectrum. He’ll be watching on Wednesday with “a combination of relief and a little bit of anxiety,” especially after the violence of the last few weeks. "I think that the country is so fractured right now and it's so polarized that you never know what's going to happen, so there's a bit of trepidation," Cumming said by phone this week. He plans to tune in while working from home. "I'll have one eye on the TV and one eye on my computer screen," he said. “I'll just turn it on and watch and keep my fingers crossed that nothing bad happens." Retired realtor Louise Zieffle was also planning a quiet, pandemic-friendly viewing of the Wednesday ceremony. She’s taken a closer interest in U.S. politics during Trump’s presidency, which she said has laid bare how the political system works – and how it doesn’t. "It was very mesmerizing, really," she said by phone from her Calgary home. "I've been watching American politics, not my whole life, but certainly the last few years because there's such an influence in our country, and especially in our province." She’s observed populism creep into provincial politics in Alberta since Trump took office, especially with the election of United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney in 2019, a leader for whom conflict is also signature part of his brand. Zieffle said she’s hopeful the U.S. administration change-over can have an impact on politics north of the border. “I'm very hopeful that will have influence on how Canadian politicians do business,” she said. Political science and history student Keegan Gingrich, who's studying at Wilfred Laurier University from his home in Waterloo, Ont., also expressed hope that political watchers in Canada can relax once Biden takes office, after years of waking up with anxiety about the international ripple effects from Trump’s latest tweets. "It might just be boring politics again, which would be kind of nice at this point," Gingrich said. Gingrich plans to watch a Twitch livestream of the inauguration hosted by U.S.-based gamer Hutch, an online figure who's become more politically engaged in the last few years of Trump’s presidency, streaming live commentary of Trump’s impeachment hearings and the presidential debates. Gingrich said watching the livestreams and comments from viewers, some of them without much evidence backing up their claims, gives him a sense of the debates and divisions that have defined American politics over the last four years. “It's kind of fun to watch," he said. "But at the same time it’s terrifying." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
L’Académie de danse de Forestville s’est tournée vers le Web pour poursuivre ses activités malgré le reconfinement obligé par la pandémie de COVID-19. Au lieu de mettre un frein à ses cours, l’organisme offre ses services via la plateforme numérique Zoom. « Au printemps dernier, nous sommes vraiment tombés des nues quand on a appris que nous devions cesser nos activités. On ne voulait pas que cela se reproduise, alors on a demandé à notre professeure de danse de suivre une formation pour donner des cours en ligne », affirme la présidente de l’Académie de danse de Forestville, Ruth Villeneuve. À l’automne, quand les cours ont recommencé au local du Complexe Guy-Ouellet, l’organisme avait déjà un plan B s’il se voyait contraint d’arrêter ses services. « On se doutait bien que la pandémie ne se règlerait pas en quelques mois », soutient Mme Villeneuve, qui s’implique pour l’Académie depuis bientôt quatre ans. Stéphanie Lessard, professeure de danse de l’Académie, a toutefois dû adapter ses exercices afin qu’ils soient réalisables chacun chez soi. Le temps des cours a aussi été raccourci pour faciliter l’apprentissage. « Les plus jeunes se réunissent à raison de 30 minutes et les plus âgées s’exercent pendant 45 minutes, au lieu d’une heure », indique-t-elle. Le manque d’équipement électronique a aussi fait diminuer la participation des élèves à 75 %. « Certains désirent attendre à la reprise des cours au local », mentionne Mme Lessard. Quant au nombre de danseurs inscrits, il est aussi en baisse cette année en raison de la situation sanitaire. « Nous avons entre 70 et 80 élèves, ce qui est une petite diminution comparativement à l’an dernier, mais ce n’est pas si mal », de commenter la professeure. Toutefois, pour la présidente, il était important d’offrir l’opportunité aux jeunes de s’occuper et de garder un lien avec l’enseignante. « La plupart des élèves sont contents de se voir, même si ce n’est que par visioconférence, selon Stéphanie Lessard. Ceux du primaire ont recommencé l’école, mais le groupe de danse n’est pas composé des mêmes amis que dans leur classe. » Spectacle En ce qui concerne le traditionnel spectacle de fin d’année, qui se tient habituellement en avril, le conseil d’administration de l’organisme attend les consignes gouvernementales. « On se prépare en fonction qu’il y en aura un, mais on ne sait pas comment vont se traduire les règlements sanitaires à ce moment. On travaille donc sur des plans B et C pour ne pas l’annuler complètement comme l’an dernier », dévoile Ruth Villeneuve. Les réseaux sociaux pourraient faire partie des solutions. « On pense à une nouvelle formule comme faire des directs sur la page Facebook de l’Académie pour chaque groupe », explique la professeure de danse. Toutefois, rien n’est décidé pour l’instant. Rappelons que depuis la fermeture de l’auditorium de la polyvalente des Rivières, les spectacles de l’Académie de danse se déroulent au Complexe Guy-Ouellet. Les danseurs pourront peut-être utiliser la scène du tout nouveau Pavillon des arts, si la situation sanitaire le permet.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
When Brandy Roy’s son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 15 months old during the COVID-19 pandemic, her world was turned upside down. Isolated and unable to return to work, Roy described the experience as extremely isolating and overwhelming. “There is very little support out there – financial, educational, emotional – for parents of babies and toddlers with type 1 diabetes (T1D) because of the rarity of the diagnosis,” she said. “The average age of diagnosis is between four and 12 years of age. I couldn’t find any videos of babies getting their shots, support groups, books, or help getting access to life-saving equipment. “It was also heartbreaking to learn about how many babies and toddlers are misdiagnosed, including my son, because not many doctors test for diabetes in children that young.” As she learned to navigate her son’s diagnosis, Roy continued to search for support – but when that did not yield results, she decided to set out on her own. Roy, who was born and raised in Elliot Lake and currently lives near Ottawa, created her own online community and wrote a children’s book called “Little Shots for Little Tots.” She also started a petition to try to get life-saving equipment for babies and toddlers with T1D funded by the government and set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support her son. Any excess funds raised through the campaign will be donated to NEO Kids in Sudbury, CHEO Hospital, and SickKids to help parents of newly diagnosed children purchase the equipment they need. “The story kind of starts in February when I was coming off maternity leave. I was getting ready to go back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March,” said Roy. “Because of the pandemic, I was out of work. Then, two months later, Ryder got sick.” Ryder, who is almost two years old, was initially misdiagnosed by his family physician when he started to present symptoms. “The doctor checked his vitals, which were good at that point, and he said that he was concerned that Ryder was losing weight – dropped from the 75th percentile to the 3rd,” said Roy. “But the doctor said it was probably teething, and Ryder also might have some constipation from too much Advil because of the teething. His suggestion was to go home and feed him more fruit and fibre, which is the worst thing you can give to a type 1 diabetic.” After 24 hours, it was clear that Ryder wasn’t improving, so Roy took him to the emergency department. It was there they discovered what was really going on. “It was scary. My husband wasn’t allowed into the hospital because of COVID-19, so he was at home and I was on the phone with him telling him what was happening,” she said. “When I heard the diagnosis, I asked the doctor two questions. The first was, is it the bad kind (of diabetes)? The second thing was, can I give him my pancreas? Is there a way that we could switch, and I could become the diabetic?” TD1, she learned, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. People diagnosed with TD1 rely on insulin injections to survive. While TD1 typically develops early on in life, only 0.1 per cent of children aged 1 to 4 were diagnosed with diabetes in Canada in 2013-2014. In the months following Ryder’s diagnosis in May, Roy and her family experienced a lot of frustration, fear, and financial pressure. Ryder’s blood sugar levels must be constantly monitored, and he receives around seven to 10 needles per day. Roy must also ensure that Ryder maintains a special diet. On top of that, treating T1D in babies and toddlers is particularly challenging because they are often non-verbal and cannot move around independently. “Kids that young can’t communicate with you yet – they can’t tell you when something is wrong or come and get you if they don’t feel well. They’ve also got so many other things going on that masks the diabetes, like teething,” said Roy. “Children’s glucose levels can dip dangerously low at night when parents aren’t around to monitor them. The child could potentially lose consciousness, fall into a coma, or die as a result.” As part of Ryder’s care, Roy uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) made by the company Dexcom, because it is the only device that can send parents alerts when glucose levels are too high or too low. Without a CGM, Ryder would have to get up every three hours to monitor his blood sugar. CGMs, however, cost about $300 per month or $100 per senor every 10 days. “That’s one of the hardest things about this, the financial burden. Right now, I can’t work due to Ryder’s diagnosis and the COVID-19 pandemic. I used to be very independent and earned my own income,” she said. “Now, I have to stay home with Ryder because it’s difficult to even find a daycare willing to provide care. I get $200 per month for Ryder’s special needs, and that doesn’t even cover the CGM, never mind other supplies like needles.” Despite the challenges, Roy searched for a way to help channel her “negative energy” into something more positive and inspirational. That’s why she launched a number of initiatives she hopes will celebrate and educate parents of babies and toddlers with T1D. “I started an Instagram handle called @TD1Toddler this past July. Its purpose is to inspire and advocate, to be a place to share meal ideas and stories with other families going through the same thing,” she said. She also started a smaller support group over WhatsApp for moms around the world who were looking for a like-minded community. “Then, I wrote a book which is supposed to help educate toddlers, especially those who are newly diagnosed, and celebrate their hero parents.” “Little Shots for Little Tots,” published by Academy Arts Press in 2021 and illustrated by Mandy Morreale, is meant to introduce the concept of diabetes to young children using simple words. “The book welcomes a newly diagnosed toddler or baby and teaches them about what diabetes is and how to cultivate good habits like healthy eating,” she said. “It also celebrates the parents because when you’re a T1D toddler or baby parent, you’re the one with diabetes. Yes, the kids go through it physically, but the parent is the one with the mental and emotional burden who is constantly monitoring, checking, taking away the pain, hurting them by puncturing them. “The book really celebrates the parents and I think they need that recognition because they don’t get much help or support elsewhere.” The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to Roy’s GoFundMe campaign called Dexcom for Ryder. Some of the funds will go towards Ryder’s care and any left over will be donated to children’s hospitals in Ontario. “We did want to set up a fundraiser to help cover some of the costs of our son’s care, but if the government doesn’t want to help fund CGMs, we decided that we’re going to do it ourselves,” said Roy. “We are going to raise money so that these hospitals can provide Dexcom CGMs to newly diagnosed babies and toddlers. The more money we raise, the more money we can donate. Hopefully, the government will notice.” Roy also created a petition on Change.org to try and get Dexcom CGMs fully covered by the government for children aged 0 to 3. So far, the petition has over 1,600 signatures. To purchase a copy of “Little Shots for Little Tots,” visit amzn.to/2M3XGto. To donate to Dexcom for Ryder, visit bit.ly/3qyjZGC. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Adam Grant, who first began working for the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) in 2007 as the assistant director of the engineering and public works department, now gets a turn at the helm. Grant was appointed as the department’s new director at the RQM council meeting on January 12. He has been in the role of acting director since the retirement of Brad Rowter in December 2020. Rowter worked for the municipality for 24 years. He began his career at RQM as an engineer and was appointed Director of Engineering and Public Works in September 2003, after being in the role of acting director for about a year. “We are pleased to have Adam take on this important role with Region of Queens Municipality. With 14 years’ experience as an engineer with the municipality, we are confident Adam can lead the Municipality in our continued growth and continue to advance important infrastructure projects,” Darlene Norman, RQM’s mayor, commented in a press release. As director, Grant will be responsible for overseeing the management, maintenance and development of municipal infrastructure of two sewer systems, its water system, Queens Solid Waste Management Facility and Materials Recovery Facility, streets in Liverpool, parks and green spaces throughout Queens County, as well as the operational components of Queens Place Emera Centre. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska Senate organized a Republican majority as the new legislative session got underway Tuesday, with Soldotna Republican Peter Micciche elected Senate president. Micciche told reporters plans for the majority were made official Tuesday, ahead of the session's start. He said the majority would include all 13 Republican members. Committee assignments were expected to be announced later in the day. His election as Senate president was held by voice vote, with no one dissenting. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich, in a statement, said Democrats had “many conversations with Republican members of the Senate, but unfortunately, some of those members will not put party politics aside in favour of working with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion for an Alaska agenda that seeks to help all of us recover from the difficulties of this past year.” He did not specify which members he was referring to. The House has not yet organized a majority. The first day of a new Legislature is typically one of pomp, but Tuesday's start was muted amid COVID-19 concerns. Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford appealed to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden today for help securing more COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario. Ford expressed frustration about a delivery slow down of the Pfizer-Biotech shot that will see Ontario receive no doses next week and thousands less over the next month. Ford appealed to Biden to share a million doses of the Pfizer shot, which is manufactured in Michigan. He also expressed frustration with Pfizer executives about the delays and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ramp up pressure on the company to deliver more of the shots to Canada. Ontario says its weekly deliveries of the Pfizer-BioTech COVID-19 vaccine will be cut by as much as 80 per cent over the next month. The federal government says shipments are expected to get back to normal levels in late February and early March. The province still expects to meet its goal of providing the first dose of the vaccine to all of its long-term care residents, workers and essential caregivers by Feb. 15. That goal has already been achieved in COVID-19 hot spots including Toronto, Peel Region and York Region. A total of 224,134 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province. Ontario reported 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said that due to a technical issue at Toronto Public Health, there was likely an underreporting of cases today. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — An Alberta government lawyer says decisions about environmental policy should be made by elected officials, not the courts. Melissa Burkett is speaking at a court hearing that is to decide whether a request for a judicial review into Alberta's decision to revoke a policy protecting the Rocky Mountains from coal mining can proceed. She says the decision revoked a policy, not a law or a regulation, and was entirely within the responsibility of Energy Minister Sonya Savage. She says when the policy was first adopted in 1976 it anticipated a thorough regulatory process, which now exists in the province. Burkett argues that because the Alberta Energy Regulator would review any mine application, revoking the coal policy made little difference. Savage revoked the policy last May without any public consultation, which area ranchers and First Nations say violated laws that have incorporated its guidelines. The decision has been widely criticized, with petitions opposing it gathering more than 100,000 signatures. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Steve Fortin and his family survived a harrowing COVID-19 infection and he wants to share it with everyone “because it may save a life.” Fortin, a trucker and musician, said he and his wife started to notice mild symptoms Dec. 22, three days after exposure. “Sniffles, slight cough, and a dry, sore nose,” he wrote, but they weren’t sure if it was sinus problems or a cold. “Here is our mistake, we should have immediately been tested,” Fortin said, adding they were being careful in case they were infected that they wouldn’t spread it. “We are new to the area so we didn't really go anywhere to spread it but I did go to work and went to the store but wore a mask and sanitized regularly and kept a safe distance at all times,” he said. By New Year’s Eve, he and his wife “became terribly ill” with the full laundry list of symptoms. “We couldn’t get off the couch the pain was so bad, fevers and chills almost unbearable,” he wrote, with “stomach ache and diarrhea with no appetite at all. “My wife was vomiting and I was lucky enough not to vomit,” Fortin wrote. “Then we got the call, a friend of ours who works in the medical field tested posted for COVID-19. “Immediately we called the North Bay COVID centre for testing and our results came back positive as well. “My wife, kids, and myself all had COVID-19,” he said, explaining the children had no symptoms. “They didn’t even know they had it but my wife and I were very ill. “Public Health and I back-tracked all our steps to make sure we didn’t come into contact with anyone. They called my work and had employees that were around me tested and thank God they were all negative,” Fortin said. See: Some provinces see positive signs in COVID fight See: Two new COVID cases “My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick. I became so ill I should have been hospitalized but was afraid that I may never see my kids again,” he said. A Public Health nurse called to check and suggested they be hospitalized for treatment and to be more comfortable, he added. “I had every symptom possible and by the second week it started to affect my lungs, nose, and bronchial tube,” Fortin said. “It burned to breathe. One night, I woke up and asked my wife to talk to me because I was sure it may be our last conversation.” Things started to improve after being sick for three weeks and the Fortin family cases were considered resolved Sunday. “I feel much better but still a little weak,” he said, adding praise for the support they received. “As sick as we were, our neighbors were amazing with support and help. My closest neighbor Marcel did our grocery shopping and his wife made our family an amazing meat pie,” he said. “Neighbors were calling to check on us and to offer their help and I must say thank you so much to them” for being there in their time of need. “Sturgeon Falls is the most amazing community we have ever lived in and thank you for accepting us and making us feel so welcomed,” he wrote. He suggests people be diligent and follow Public Health advice: “If you show any cold or flu symptoms don't assume it is. Go get tested, it’s easy, painless, and fast. “Always keep your mask on and practice safe distancing in public. It’s so easy to spread this virus. When you go through a drive-thru or use a debit machine, sanitize immediately before they hand your stuff to you. “When grocery shopping, ask if your cart was sprayed before you use it and if not clean it yourself or request it to be and the most important thing when you’re around friends or family you don't live with, WEAR YOUR MASK. “I made one mistake and almost lost my life so I feel very lucky to be here and just want to help this amazing community in any way I can. Thank you,” he wrote. 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
Val-Brillant, l’école en musique La petite école primaire de Val-Brillant (95 élèves) va rejoindre un cercle très fermé : celui des établissements scolaires offrant un programme Arts-études en musique. Pour l’instant, seules neuf écoles primaires le font au Québec. Val-Brillant va donc devenir la dixième dès l’année scolaire 2021-2022, et la première dans l’Est. Il s’agit d’une progression logique pour cette école, qui proposait depuis une douzaine d’années déjà un programme de concentration en arts : des cours de musique étaient donnés sur les heures scolaires en partenariat avec le Camp musical du lac Matapédia. Mais la fermeture de ce dernier, couplée à la décision du ministère de l’Éducation de mettre fin à ce type de programmes en juin 2021, a poussé la direction de l’école à envisager un virage. « On était rendus à la croisée des chemins, explique la directrice Renée Belzile : on avait le choix de redevenir simplement une école avec un programme particulier en musique, ou de faire le grand saut vers un programme Arts-études officiel avec toutes les balises du ministère. » C’est la deuxième option qui a été retenue, en partenariat cette fois-ci avec l’École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent à Rimouski. Jusqu’à présent, les enfants pouvaient suivre des cours d’instruments (seuls ou en petits groupes) ou de chant choral. Bientôt, ils auront accès à de la formation auditive et des cours de musique d’ensemble. Pour obtenir la reconnaissance Arts-études, l’école doit permettre aux élèves inscrits de bénéficier d’un minimum de 20 % d’enseignement en musique par semaine durant la plage horaire scolaire. Bons pour les élèves… et les parents Selon Mme Belzile, le passage par l’école de Val-Brillant a été marquant pour de nombreux jeunes, certains étant depuis devenus enseignants de musique. Mais sans aller aussi loin, étudier la musique et devoir faire des prestations sur scène devant les amis et les parents permet d’améliorer confiance et estime de soi. « La fierté d’avoir accompli un gros projet qui sort des matières scolaires, comme par exemple une comédie musicale, ça va chercher des élèves qui ont parfois peu de valorisation au niveau des notes », ajoute la directrice tout en précisant qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « programme élitiste » mais qu’au contraire, tout le monde est accepté. La moitié des élèves de l’école de Val-Brillant viennent déjà d’autres municipalités. Avec ce nouveau programme, Renée Belzile espère attirer de nouvelles têtes, tout en assurant que cela ne crée pas de conflit avec les autres écoles primaires du coin. « Plus on aura d’élèves, plus l’offre de cours va être diversifiée et intéressante », déclare-t-elle. Les parents y trouvent aussi leur compte, puisqu’ils n’ont pas à amener leurs rejetons à des cours de musique après les classes ou en soirée. Pas besoin non plus d’acheter un instrument sans savoir si l’enfant va apprécier en jouer, puisque l’école en prête des petits (violons, ukulélé…) qu’on peut ramener à la maison.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
OTTAWA — The Canadian government is “deeply concerned” about the political situation in Uganda but says it has no plans to stop deploying a military aircraft to the African nation, where it has been helping different United Nations peacekeeping missions. Uganda has been on edge following presidential elections last week that saw longtime president Yoweri Museveni declared the winner despite opposition allegations of fraud and other electoral violations. Security forces have since put Museveni’s main rival Robert Kyagulanyi, a popular singer better known as Bobi Wine, under house arrest, while electoral commission officials have acknowledged that results from 1,000 polling stations had not been counted. Museveni has been president since 1986 and met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New York in September 2017 and discussed the COVID-19 pandemic with Trudeau by phone last May. He has denied allegations that he stole the election. Canada is nonetheless calling for investigations into reports of election irregularities and violations, Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Christelle Chartrand said, and for “Ugandan authorities to grant immediate freedom of movement to opposition candidates.” “Canada is deeply concerned by the serious restrictions exhibited during Uganda’s election, including the ongoing partial internet shutdown by the government of Uganda, and restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression,” she added. Wine has called for the U.S. and other donors to suspend aid contributions to Uganda, saying they are propping up Museveni’s regime. Canada provides assistance to the Ugandan people through charities and international organizations such as the UN, Global Affairs spokeswoman Patricia Skinner said, which includes helping 1.4 million refugees in Uganda who have fled from neighbouring countries. Canada does not provide direct financial support to the Ugandan government, Skinner said, adding: “Canada continues to monitor the situation and its impacts on our programs.” Even as Canada raised concerns about the political situation in Uganda, the Department of National Defence says there is no plan to stop the occasional deployment of a Canadian military plane there in support of UN peacekeeping efforts in the region. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says the arrangement, which involves a CC-130 Hercules transporting troops and equipment from the central Ugandan city of Entebbe to different UN missions, is with the UN and not the Ugandan government. “Canada is in its second year of deploying cross-mission tactical airlift support on an episodic basis to UN missions in the DRC and South Sudan from the UN Regional Service Centre Entebbe, in Uganda, to help fulfil the transportation needs of UN missions,” he said. “This support is an agreement between Canada and the UN, not Canada and Uganda. Canada does not pay any fees in connection with providing the UN with tactical airlift support out of Entebbe under Operation Presence.” The Hercules aircraft is based at Entebbe for about 15 days every three months and was one of Trudeau’s signature promises during a major peacekeeping summit in Vancouver in November 2017. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. —With files from The Associated Press. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press