Take a moment and see Sturgeon Lake on a calm day.
Take a moment and see Sturgeon Lake on a calm day.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The announcement Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests U.S. authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home. The threat assessment is being co-ordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will confront the problem with resources and policies but also “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.” Asked whether new methods were needed, she said, “More needs to be done. That's why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “critical” that the Biden administration appeared to be prioritizing the threat of domestic extremism. “In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,” Schiff said. The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump's second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for decades has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in America is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism. It's an issue that has flared repeatedly over the years, with different attacks — including a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue — periodically caused renewed debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed. It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections. FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the police and stormed into the Capitol. Scores of people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as people identified in court papers as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups. ___ Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Curling Canada has decided to use the national ranking system as its selection criteria for the final wild-card berths at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier. The announcement clears a path to the Calgary bubble for Manitoba's Mackenzie Zacharias and Ontario's Glenn Howard. Beth Peterson, also from Manitoba, saw her chances greatly improve but the decision closed the door on Alberta's Kelsey Rocque and Saskatchewan's Robyn Silvernagle. “We needed to take our time and do our due diligence on this selection process,” Curling Canada chief executive officer Katherine Henderson said Friday in a release. “In the end, it was decided that we created the Canadian Team Ranking System for exactly these purposes. "It is a proven system with a history that we use for all of our other selection processes, and ultimately, from a consistency standpoint, it makes the most sense for this situation.” The Scotties is set for Feb. 19-28 at the Markin MacPhail Centre and the Brier will run March 5-14. The Canada Olympic Park venue will hold six events in all in a spectator-free setting due to the pandemic. Curling Canada scrapped its usual play-in game for both national team championships. Instead three wild-card entries were added to each field, creating 18-team draws. The federation previously announced that the final 2019-20 Canadian rankings would be used for the first two wild-card spots. Criteria for the third wild-card spot was listed as "to be determined," giving some hope to slightly lower-ranked teams or rinks who made off-season roster adjustments. Formal wild-card team entry announcements are expected next month once all provincial and territorial playdowns are complete. Howard, a four-time Brier champion, gets the third wild-card spot thanks to his No. 9 ranking. The first two wild-card spots were already clear with Mike McEwen of Manitoba at No. 5 and Kevin Koe of Alberta at No. 6. The complete women's wild-card picture won't be determined until the end of the month. Second-ranked Tracy Fleury of Manitoba is a lock for the first spot. Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt is next at No. 9, but she's a heavy favourite to represent her province again. Birt is one of two entries in the Jan. 29-31 P.E.I. championship. Either way, Zacharias — who won a world junior title last year — will get the second or third wild-card spot based on her No. 11 ranking. Peterson, meanwhile, is a whisker behind her on the list and only needs a Birt victory to book her ticket for Calgary. Chelsea Carey is ranked fifth in Canada but is a free agent. Rocque, at No. 6, and Silvernagle, at No. 10, weren't eligible since they only have two returning members, one short of the required minimum. A Curling Canada spokesman confirmed Friday that the 3-of-4 rule also applies to the third wild-card picks. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La province de l’Ontario déplore 87 décès causés par la COVID-19 survenus au cours de la dernière journée. En tout, 5701 Ontariens ont perdu leur combat contre le coronavirus. Par ailleurs, la santé publique a répertorié 2662 infections à la COVID-19, jeudi, portant le total à 250 226 cas depuis le début de la pandémie. La même journée, 1512 personnes atteintes du virus étaient hospitalisées, dont 383 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 291 avaient besoin d’un respirateur pour rester en vie. Foyers de soins de longue durée En foyers de soins de longue durée, 99 résidents et 64 membres du personnel ont reçu un diagnostic positif à la COVID-19 au cours des 24 dernières heures. Jusqu’à présent, 13 746 infections ont été répertoriées chez les résidents en FSLD, ainsi que 5494 cas chez les employés. On compte aussi 42 résidents de ces établissements qui ont perdu la vie au cours de la dernière journée à cause de la COVID-19. En tout, près de 3300 personnes habitant en FSLD sont décédées en raison du virus. Depuis le début de la pandémie, la COVID-19 a causé la mort de dix membres du personnel, dont deux ayant perdu la vie en 2021. Jeudi, 11 168 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour se faire vacciner contre la COVID-19. En tout, ce sont 49 292 personnes en province qui ont reçu les deux doses nécessaires pour être complètement vaccinées contre le virus. Cela représente 264 985 doses totales administrées depuis que le vaccin est disponible en Ontario. Le nombre de doses quotidiennes devrait diminuer au cours des prochains jours, en raison des problèmes d’approvisionnement des vaccins de la compagnie pharmaceutique Pfizer. Les données liées au coronavirus présentées dans ce texte ont été tirées du plus récent bilan de la COVID-19, présenté par le Système intégré d’information sur la santé publique (SIISP), vendredi à 10h30. À LIRE AUSSI: L’Ontario juge pouvoir réaliser son objectif de vaccinationÉmilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Nova Scotia announced four new cases of COVID-19 Friday, along with the revelation that two previous cases were found to be variants of the virus. The four new cases include one in the central health zone related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, one in the northern zone who is a close contact of another case, and two in the western zone, both related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. One of the western zone cases is a student at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., who tested positive after completing their 14-day self-isolation. They are self-isolating again, but they did attend class Jan. 18-20 and Nova Scotia Health has begun contact tracing. There are 22 active cases in the province. During a news briefing Friday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said the province detected the variants in cases that were reported in December. He said the two cases were related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and the individuals self-isolated. After further testing, one was found to have had the U.K. variant, while the other had the South African variant. Both cases are now resolved, McNeil said. "I know this may come as a worry, it's our first exposure to this variant, but it is not unexpected," said McNeil. "It is yet another reason why we continue to maintain our ... restrictions." Cases being investigated further Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said neither of those two cases resulted in community spread, but the person with the South African variant did infect other members of their household. Strang said there was no spread beyond that. Strang said the amount of virus in the household's testing samples were low and they were unable to send their samples for sequencing. So while it's likely they had the variant as well, it hasn't been confirmed. "We know that significant work is happening internationally to better understand the implications of these variants, and we are working closely with the lab to investigate further both of those cases and whether anything more needs to happen," he said. Some restrictions eased McNeil said almost all of the province's public health restrictions will be in place until at least Feb. 7, but some restrictions in sports, arts and culture will be eased starting Monday. Sports teams will be able to play games, but with limited travel and limited spectators, and there can be no games or tournaments involving teams that would not regularly play against each other. Art and theatre performances can take place without an audience, he said. The province will also allow residents of adult service centres and regional rehabilitation centres to start volunteering and working in the community again. "We are lifting only these restrictions because it's important to the mental and physical health of all those involved," said McNeil. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment delayed Strang said another shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived this week and has already been distributed at the Valley Regional Hospital and Cape Breton Regional Hospital. There will be no shipments next week, and the province is expected to get "limited amounts" of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as the "usual" shipment of the Moderna vaccine, in the first week of February. Strang said the delays for the Pfizer vaccine won't alter the current timeline to have most Nova Scotians vaccinated by September's end. "Every indication we have from Pfizer is that this is very short term. And even within the next 90 days, we're anticipating that what they aren't able to deliver in the next two weeks, they'll make that up, that amount, in February and March." Nova Scotia has administered 10,575 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 2,705 second doses, as of Thursday. Updates on vaccine administration across the country can be found here. Focus on testing university students Strang also mentioned he has received some questions about why the student at Acadia University tested positive after completing their 14-day quarantine and attending classes. "No one measure is perfect," Strang said. "In this case, he became infectious toward the very end of his quarantine period. The fact he was out and about doesn't mean he didn't comply with what he was required to do." He said the student sought testing as soon as they developed symptoms following their self-isolation. Strang said the province will refocus its efforts on pop-up testing in university communities as the number of students returning from outside of Nova Scotia after the holidays dwindles. Late Friday, Nova Scotia's health authority said it would hold a pop-up testing clinic in Wolfville this weekend because of the high number of people who want to get tested. Drop-in testing will be available at the Acadia Festival Theatre on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Truro school remains closed On Thursday, a new case of COVID-19 was announced at École acadienne de Truro, a pre-primary to Grade 12 school. The province said the person did not attend Thursday and is self-isolating. The Department of Health and Wellness said the school closed at noon to begin deep cleaning, contact tracing and any necessary testing. Close contacts of the case will be notified. École acadienne de Truro will move classes online until at least the start of the next week, with an update to be provided to families on Tuesday, Jan. 26, about a possible reopening on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Strang said Friday that the case was related to a close contact of another case. 'Very good news' about Marine Atlantic ferry After a crew member of Marine Atlantic tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Strang said 60 crew members have been tested and only one case — in Newfoundland and Labrador — has been detected, which Strang said is "very good news." "It gives us some comfort that the public, who would have been less likely to be exposed … it's lower risk that we're going to see further cases from this ferry," he said. Still, the province is asking anyone who was on the MV Blue Puttees, a ferry that runs between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L., on the following dates and times should be tested as a precaution. Anyone exposed to the virus on this ferry may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 30, 2021. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats confirmed centrist Armin Laschet as their new party leader on Friday after a postal ballot, which was required to legally uphold his election by delegates in a digital vote on Saturday. Laschet, premier of Germany's most populous state and the self-styled Merkel continuity candidate, won 83.35% of the valid postal votes cast by 1,001 delegates, the CDU said. Laschet must now unite a conservative bloc that has never been entirely comfortable with Merkel's centrist course, despite her four successive federal election victories.
LONDON — Four people-smugglers convicted of killing 39 people from Vietnam who died in the back of a container truck as it was shipped to England were sentenced Friday to between 13 and 27 years in prison. The victims, between the ages of 15 and 44, were found in October 2019 inside a refrigerated container that had travelled by ferry from Belgium to the eastern England port of Purfleet. The migrants had paid people-smugglers thousands of dollars to take them on risky journeys to what they hoped would be better lives abroad. Instead, judge Nigel Sweeney said, “all died in what must have been an excruciatingly painful death” by suffocation in the airtight container. The judge sentenced Romanian mechanic Gheorghe Nica, 43, described by prosecutors as the smuggling ringleader, to 27 years. Northern Irish truck driver Eamonn Harrison, 24, who drove the container to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, received an 18-year sentence. Trucker Maurice Robinson, 26, who picked the container up in England, was sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in prison, while haulage company boss Ronan Hughes, 41, was jailed for 20 years. Nica and Harrison were convicted last month after a 10-week trial. Hughes and Robinson had pleaded guilty to people-smuggling and manslaughter. Three other members of the gang received shorter sentences. Prosecutors said all the suspects were part of a gang that charged about 13,000 pounds ($17,000) per person to transport migrants in trailers through the Channel Tunnel or by boat. Sweeney said it was “a sophisticated, long running, and profitable” criminal conspiracy. Jurors heard harrowing evidence about the final hours of the victims, who tried to call Vietnam’s emergency number to summon help as air in the container ran out. When they couldn't get a mobile phone signal, some recorded goodbye messages to their families. The trapped migrants — who included a bricklayer, a restaurant worker, a nail bar technician, a budding beautician and a university graduate — used a metal pole to try to punch through the roof of the refrigerated container, but only managed to dent it. Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten, the senior investigating officer on the case, said the victims “left behind families, memories, and homes, in the pursuit of a false promise of something better.” “Instead they died, in an unimaginable way, because of the utter greed of these criminals,” he said. The Associated Press
In this David and Goliath story, David threw a dozen rocks, but couldn’t knock the giant down. David Strachan, treasurer of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association, who fought against the Geranium company’s plans to build two large subdivisions in the small village 10-minutes north of Barrie, is still bitter. “If we’d have thrown lots of money at it in the first place, we might have stood a chance,” Strachan said after news of the bulldozers arriving on-site at the Carson Road subdivision was released last week. But after fighting the good fight and raising more than $250,000 for legal fees and professional planners to oppose 2,500 new homes in their neighbourhood, Strachan and company realized their 12-year battle is over. In 2008, the initial plan for the Midhurst Carson Road development was approved by the township and later by the Ontario Municipal Board, the County of Simcoe, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, and several provincial agencies in 2014. It took five more years for the environmental assessment to be approved by the ministry of the environment, conservation and parks in 2019. Water and storm water management work was approved in 2020. Last December, council gave the green light for Phase 1 of the subdivision of 342 homes to begin. A bulldozer sits on the former farmland at the top of Anne Street North, where snowmobilers currently race through a small tract of trees that will remain standing. Inside the cold work trailer, site supervisor Dominic Palombi hunches down inside his coat and pulls out the site drawings of the new subdivision that will be his work address for the foreseeable future. "We start building Monday (Jan. 25)," he said. “We’ll start with the sewers for the subdivision and we’ll start building the sales office there,” added Palombi, pointing to the snow-covered field. “It’s going to be big.” Stretching between Carson Road on the south, along Wilson Drive on the west and near Snow Valley Road on the north, Palombi’s not wrong. There are expected to be more than 340 detached and semi-detached houses available to preview schematically at least this summer, said Geranium spokesperson Cheryl Shindruk. “We expect 2,500 units approximately at full build,” she continued, explaining the Doran Road site will be built along Carson Road in the future. Shindruk won’t comment on the lengthy timeline it took to push the subdivisions through the roadblocks, other than to say “development approval takes the time it needs to take.” President of the Midhurst ratepayers group, Sandy Buxton, said it wasn’t a case of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard), but also to save Minesing Wetlands which border the property. Also at stake are the Hine’s Emerald Dragonflies, which only nest in a few places in Canada, including the Springwater wetlands, she said. “It’s a very fussy animal in terms of the habitat it requires,” said Buxton. “It’s a fragile beast … which is classed as an endangered animal, not just provincially but also federally.” Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer, said it was just one of many requirements that had to be satisfied before the work project could be approved. “The completion of the environmental assessment was a significant condition that needed to be satisfied to ensure the Midhurst developments could be serviced with significant consideration for the environment,” said Audette. It also included jumping through a slew of technical hoops, such as engineering design, species at risk assessments and environmental impact studies, in addition to requiring securities to ensure funding will be available to complete work in accordance with municipal regulations. As soon as weather permits, tree clearing and the installation of services including the watermains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and a stormwater management pond will begin. For more information, visit www.springwater.ca Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
British Columbians living on the South Coast should take advantage of the last couple of days of sunshine on Friday and Saturday, as clouds are expected to roll in Saturday evening, bringing a light dusting of snow with them. Environment Canada has posted a special weather statement warning of a "cool air mass and low-pressure system" Saturday night and Sunday morning, with potential snowfall of two to five centimetres for the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, inland sections of western Vancouver Island and for the Central Coast. However, eastern and inland areas of Vancouver Island, including the Malahat Highway could see more, with up to 15 centimetres falling. CBC Vancouver meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says it looks like the snow won't begin to fall until the pre-dawn hours on Sunday. "The approaching system isn't packing quite as much moisture for the top-end scenario of snow," she said. "I think we are trending toward just a few centimetres before a change-over to rain on Sunday." This combination sets the South Coast up for its first slushy snowfall of the year, Wagstaffe says. Vancouver opening shelters The City of Vancouver says its crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan is underway. Major roads, bridges, bus routes, and bike paths are being treated with brine ahead of the snowfall. A city statement says over 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to be used on any snow and ice, and crews will focus on priority routes first. It asks residents to take only essential road and bike trips, and property owners must clear any snow from walkways and sidewalks by 10 a.m. the morning after a snowfall. The city says it's also opening additional indoor shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness, from January 22 to 27, as a "life saving measure." The warming centres will be located at: The Powell Street Getaway, at 528 Powell St., from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Vancouver Aquatic Centre, at 1050 Beach Ave., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Creekside Community Centre, at 1 Athletes Way., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The city says these centres will also allow people who have pets and carts, and hot drinks and snacks will be provided. All sites have reduced their capacity, in order to meet the province's COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.
THUNDER BAY — A number of inmates from the Thunder Bay jail have been temporarily transferred to a Toronto detention centre in an effort to manage the current number of active COVID-19 cases at the facility. On Friday, Jan. 22, a spokesperson with the ministry of the solicitor general confirmed the Thunder bay jail currently has 12 active inmate COVID-19 cases and six COVID-19 positive cases among staff. The inmates were transferred to the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) temporarily to bring the facility within operating capacity and reduce the risk of infection, spokesperson Andrew Morrison said in an emailed statement. “The inmates selected for transfer are low risk for COVID-19 and will be isolated for 14 days upon arrival at the TSDC,” Morrison said, adding the ministry cannot provide details about inmate transfers for security reasons. All inmates are being transferred to a separate area at the TSDC and won’t be placed with current inmates to reduce any potential spread of the virus, Morrison said. “Appropriate protocols are being followed to ensure the protection of all staff and inmates,” Morrison said. The Toronto facility is the ministry’s newest jail with a modern health care unit with medical isolation units to effectively manage and support inmates with COVID-19, the ministry says. The Thunder Bay Correctional Centre currently has 42 active inmate cases and two active cases among staff of COVID-19. According to the ministry, any inmate who tests positive for the virus is placed under droplet precautions and is isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive medical care. The ministry continues to work with local public health authorities to complete contact tracing. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Malgré la pandémie, l’élan économique de Val-des-Sources ne s’essouffle pas. Après le début de la construction d’Alliance Magnésium et l’arrivée de plusieurs entreprises comme General Recycled en 2020, voilà que pour 2021 déjà plusieurs millions de dollars en investissements sont prévus. Les prochains mois verront d’ailleurs au moins deux nouvelles constructions s’ajouter dans le parc industriel. Concept Promet, acquis par l’entreprise Métal Pless de Plessisville en 2018, construira un nouveau bâtiment de plus de 30 000 pieds carrés sur la rue de l’Ardoise. Environ 3,5 millions de dollars seront investis pour la construction du bâtiment, sans compter l’achat de l’équipement. Concept Promet, qui fait de la peinture et l’assemblage de gratte à neige et d’équipements agricoles, emploi environ 45 personnes et la direction envisage ajouter une autre chaîne de production, ce qui créerait une dizaine d’emplois. « Il y a une grosse ouverture d’esprit de la part de la Ville et il y a un bel avantage de se construire là, souligne Ivan Boucher, adjoint à la direction. On est à Plessisville et ça nous amène un autre bassin de population aussi. » Les locaux laissés vacants par Concept Promet seront repris par ABS Remorques et agrandis de 27 000 pieds carrés. Pour ce faire, les investissements oscilleront entre 3,5 et 4 millions de $. Près d’une dizaine d’emplois seront créés à terme par ce projet. « On va déménager notre usine de soudage dans ces nouveaux locaux, indique François Gouin, président. On vend partout au Canada et un peu aux États-Unis. On veut raffermir notre position au Canada et être plus actifs sur l’exportation aux États-Unis. Parallèlement, on veut développer d’autres types de remorques. » Bulles du Nord, qui produit des jus de fruit naturels gazéifiés, et Distillerie Birster, qui fait du gin (voir autre texte), s’installent aussi à Val-des-Sources. « Quand quelqu’un a un projet, ça nous en prend beaucoup pour dire non, lance Martin Lafleur, directeur de la Corporation de développement socioéconomique de Val-des-Sources. On est aussi en train de mettre sur pied un projet pour développer et acquérir un bâtiment dédié aux écomatériaux. » Dans l’optique de favoriser les investissements, la Ville de Val-des-Sources offre aussi la possibilité de bâtir elle-même les installations pour ensuite les louer à une entreprise qui viendrait s’établir dans la région. « On leur charge un loyer et on leur donne la possibilité d’acheter dans trois, quatre, cinq ou six ans, quand ça leur adonne, résume M. Lafleur. On leur crédite le capital qu’ils ont déjà payé. On se met entre eux et la banque. On en a plusieurs qui ont acheté leur bâtiment de cette façon. » Écomatériaux Presque toutes les nouvelles entreprises de Val-des-Sources et de la MRC ont un point en commun, elles ont toutes un lien direct ou indirect avec l’environnement. « On mise sur les technologies environnementales, confirme Frédéric Marcotte, directeur général de la MRC. Ça fait partie de notre ligne directrice de notre stratégie de diversification économique. Les écomatériaux constituent un levier d’avenir pour le développement de la région. » Alliance Magnésium, qui exploite les haldes pour produire du magnésium, et Nature Fibres, qui produit des panneaux isolants à base de paille de chanvre industriel, sont quelques exemples d’entreprises qui exploitent des écomatériaux. « On prend un résidu et on lui donne une valeur tellement forte qu’il peut même surpasser des matériaux existants », explique M. Marcotte. La région est également l’hôte du Rendez-vous des écomatériaux qui se tient habituellement à l’automne. Diversification Avec tous ces investissements et ces nouvelles entreprises, la région a énormément diversifié son économie au cours des dernières années, mais il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à faire selon le DG de la MRC. « Une diversification économique à la suite d’une économie mono-industrielle de plus de 130 ans, ça ne se fait pas en sept ans, admet M. Marcotte. Si on me pose la question à savoir si la diversification économique est atteinte, c’est difficile de répondre positivement à cela. Par contre, les fondations de la diversification économique sur le long terme sont atteintes. Les secteurs d’activités, leur complémentarité, leur différence, le nombre d’entreprises et la diversité de la topologie d’emploi font en sorte qu’on est sur la bonne voie. » « Une diversification ce n’est pas que les entreprises qui sont implantées, c’est aussi la dynamique de l’économie de la région qui est à faire, résume-t-il. Il y a encore beaucoup de choses à construire et à attacher. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
With COVID-19 cases on the decrease at Sugar Cane, Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) leaders are looking to reopen government offices next week. WLFN acting emergency operations centre (EOC) director Aaron Mannella said 23 WLFN members have been considered to be free of the disease since their EOC was activated Jan. 8. “That’s something our EOC is incredibly happy about and incredibly excited about, and we’re looking forward to those recovery numbers to improve,” he said in a Jan. 21 community Facebook update. As of 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Mannella said there had been 38 confirmed cases within WLFN membership. The EOC continues to operate at level two, with EOC staff remaining focused on supporting members with groceries and supplies, mental health resources and traditional medicines. Since its activation, Manella said groceries and supplies had been delivered to 55 homes. He said staff has responded to an additional 34 calls for general support and information through the WLFN COVID-19 support line. In conjunction with EOC staff, Borland Creek Logging has also delivered 23 loads of firewood. Mannella said chief and council had provided approval Jan. 21 for a gradual reopening plan for government offices, Little Chiefs Daycare, Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming and after-school support at Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium. WLFN government offices in Sugar Cane and Williams Lake will be staffed but remain closed to the public as of Monday, Jan. 25. Little Chiefs Daycare will also open that day. Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming will not reopen until Monday, Feb. 1. “Keep in mind this is a concept,” Mannella said. “Obviously, our council, our leadership is going to continue to adapt anything that changes.” Next week, vaccines are expected to be available to WLFN elders via appointment through Three Corners Health Services Society. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
Meagan Reid a fait les manchettes en 2013 en devenant la plus jeune élue du Québec, à seulement 18 ans. Elle a toutefois démissionné en juillet dernier de son poste de conseillère municipale à East-Angus à la suite de plusieurs décisions incompatibles avec ses valeurs. « Les premières années, ç’a été beaucoup d’observation, car je n’avais même pas d’appartement ou de maison et je gérais des finances publiques, lance-t-elle. Dans mon deuxième mandat, mes bases étaient solides et je commençais à avoir des opinions sur les gros dossiers et c’est là que je me sentais tiraillée entre certaines décisions et mes valeurs. Quand ma personnalité de jeune femme a été assumée, je me suis rendu compte que soit je ne comprenais pas bien comment amener ma couleur, soit je ne pouvais pas l’apporter. » Elle ne blâme toutefois pas ses collègues, qu’elle a en haute estime. Elle considère cependant que le message ne passe pas nécessairement bien d’une génération à l’autre. « À certains moments, je me sentais comme si on parlait deux langages au conseil, admet-elle. Ce sont toutes de bonnes personnes. Je trouve ça toujours difficile parler de générations parce que les gens disent qu’on généralise, mais ça reste qu’on a des caractéristiques distinctes. » Écart de mentalité Meagan Reid donne l’exemple des jardins en façade des rues qui ont été refusés par le conseil municipal pour illustrer cet écart de mentalité. « Si quelqu’un n’a pas de terrain derrière ou que ce n’est pas plein sud, on aurait pu le laisser faire un jardin devant, explique-t-elle. C’est cool et ça se fait à plusieurs endroits, comme à Montréal. On veut que les gens soient un peu autonomes au niveau alimentaire. Mais mes collègues au conseil disaient que ça allait être laid et sale. Ils ne comprenaient pas pourquoi je voulais diffuser en direct les assemblées publiques. Ils avaient peur que les gens enregistrent et l’utilisent contre eux ou que ça se retrouve à Infoman. » La charge de travail était aussi trop élevée par moment pour celle qui est conseillère pédagogique au Centre de services scolaire des Hauts-Cantons. « Les lundis de conseil, c’était des journées de 16 heures, souligne-t-elle. Même pour quelqu’un sans famille, c’est un rythme de vie élevé. On avait plusieurs rencontres par semaine. Il faut que tu sois un peu workaholic. » Meagan Reid touchait 900 $ par mois et mettait une moyenne de 10 heures par semaine dans ses tâches de conseillère. Elle estime que d’aller intéresser les jeunes via les réseaux sociaux avec du contenu adapté ainsi qu’une meilleure conciliation travail-travail permettrait à plus de jeunes de s’impliquer en politique municipale. Va-t-on revoir Meagan Reid prochainement en politique? « J’ai un peu l’écœurantite de la game politique en ce moment, admet-elle. Mais je n’ai pas claqué la porte. Donc, peut-être... »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
A COVID-19 field hospital in Edmonton is now ready to admit patients should regular hospitals in the region become overwhelmed. The temporary 100-bed facility has been set up inside the Butterdome on the University of Alberta main campus. Officially known as the Universiade Pavilion, the building is a multi-purpose sports complex. Construction on the facility is complete, Alberta Health Services announced via Twitter on Thursday. The statement included images of large white medical tents equipped with hospital beds lined up on the gymnasium floor. The field hospital would only be used if local hospitals are stretched past capacity. It would care for patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but are at low risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus. In December, an AHS spokesperson said it could also be used to care for other patients without COVID-19. As of Thursday, 726 people across Alberta were being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including 119 in ICU beds. Despite decreasing case numbers and hospitalization rates, health officials warn that Alberta hospitals remain under significant strain. 'Only if needed' "Equipment is onsite and the Pandemic Response Unit at the Butterdome is ready and will open for patient use only if needed," AHS said on Twitter. "Overall occupancy in Edmonton-area hospitals remains high. We want to be prepared for all possible scenarios, these 100 additional inpatient spaces are part of our ongoing, proactive pandemic response planning." The field hospital has been characterized by government and provincial health officials as a precautionary measure. If it needs to open, beds will be opened in a "phased approach," AHS said. The Butterdome was used as a COVID-19 assessment centre in the spring. Work on the hospital began in late December with help from the Canadian Red Cross. CBC News reported in December that internal documents contained plans to establish two or more Alberta field hospitals to accommodate up to 750 patients. That month, Premier Jason Kenney said the field hospital plans were a sign of "responsible planning" in case of a "potential extreme scenario." At the time, about 500 Albertans were in hospital, including about 100 in intensive care. Hospitalizations in Alberta peaked on Dec. 30 at 941, including 145 in ICU. The pandemic continues to burden the health-care system, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. The province reported 16 more deaths on Thursday and 678 new cases of the illness. At least 119,114 Albertans have become infected by the disease, and 1,500 people have died.
WASHINGTON — Testing wristbands are in. Mask-wearing is mandatory. Desks are socially distanced. The clearest sign that there's a new boss at the White House is the deference being paid to coronavirus public health guidelines. It’s a striking contrast to Donald Trump’s White House, which was the epicenter of no less than three separate outbreaks of COVID-19, their true scale not fully known because aides refused to discuss cases publicly. While the Trump administration was known for flouting safety recommendations, the Biden team has made a point of abiding by the same strict guidelines they’re urging Americans to follow to stem the spread of the virus. It’s part of an overall effort from President Joe Biden to lead by example on the coronavirus pandemic, an ethos carried over from his campaign and transition. “One of the great tragedies of the Trump administration was a refusal to recognize that many Americans model the behaviour of our leadership," said Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary to President Barack Obama who worked on the Biden transition. “The Biden administration understands the powerful message that adhering to their own guidelines and modeling the best public health behaviour sends, and knows that that’s the best path to climbing out of this until we can get a shot in the arm of every American.” To that end, most of Biden’s White House staff is working from home, co-ordinating with colleagues by email or phone. While the White House aims to have more people working onsite next week, officials intend to operate with substantially reduced staffing for the duration of the pandemic. When hundreds of administration staffers were sworn in by Biden on Wednesday, the ceremony was virtual, with the president looking out at team members displayed in boxes on video screens. The emphasis on adhering to public safety guidelines touches matters both big and small in the White House. Jeffrey Wexler is the White House director of COVID-19 operations, overseeing the implementation of safety guidelines throughout the administration, a job he performed during the transition and campaign. During her first press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested those working in the office would receive daily testing and N95 masks would be mandatory. Indeed, Biden's new federal mask mandate executive order requires that federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings and on federal lands wear masks and adhere to social distancing requirements. The executive order allows for agency heads to make “case-by-case exceptions" — like, for instance, Psaki's. She wears one until she steps up to the podium for briefings. Officials in close contact with Biden wear wristbands to signify they have been tested that day. Every event with the president is carefully choreographed to maintain distancing, with strips of paper taped to the carpet to show the likes of Vice-President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci where to stand when Biden is delivering an address. When Biden met with his COVID team in the State Dining Room on Thursday, the five people in the room sat at individual tables placed at least six feet apart and four others joined by Zoom to keep numbers down. Plexiglass barriers have been set up at some desks that are in open areas, but nearly all staff who are already working in the building have enclosed offices. The Biden team already had a robust contact tracing program set up during the transition, which it's keeping around for any possible exposures. Staffers also were issued laptops with wallpaper displays that offer a list of COVID symptoms and a directive to “call the White House medical unit” if they have experienced any of them. The Trump White House was another story altogether. After one virus scare in May, the White House mandated mask-wearing, with a memo from chief of staff Mark Meadows requiring their use in shared workspaces and meetings. Simple surgical masks were placed at the entrance to the West Wing. But after only a few days of moderate compliance, mask-wearing fell away almost entirely, as Trump made it clear to aides he did not like the visual of people around him wearing masks — let alone wearing one himself. Trump’s White House reduced staffing capacity during the earliest days of the pandemic, but by late spring, when Trump was intent on projecting that the country was “reopening” from pandemic lockdowns — and the U.S. was at roughly 80,000 deaths — aides quickly resumed normal operations. That provided ideal conditions for the spread of an airborne virus. It was only after Trump himself tested positive that some aides began staggering their work schedules to provide enhanced distancing and contingencies in case someone tested positive. Those working for the new administration welcome the stricter guidelines now, but they do pose some potential complications as the Biden team builds out its operation. Karen Finney, who was a spokeswoman in the Clinton White House, said the first challenge may simply be creating a cohesiveness and camaraderie when some new staffers are brought on board without ever having worked in the same room. “When you sit in the same office as everyone, it’s just a different dynamic," she said. “There's a sense of, ‘We’ve got each other's backs, we're going to be working together on this.'” Finney added that most of the staff are used to working remotely at this point, so it's not necessarily a new challenge. But she allowed that the national COVID response itself could be somewhat hamstrung by the COVID requirements at the White House. “Having to co-ordinate between limited staff in the office, those working remotely, along with governors, mayors, their staff, those on the Hill — it’s a challenge,” she said. “They’ve had the time to think through how to do some of this, but look, it’s going to be a work in progress." Alexandra Jaffe And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Families in Windsor-Essex have been given more time to decide whether they want to change from remote learning to in-person classes — or vice versa — for the remainder of the school year. The Greater Essex County District School Board says that for elementary students it has reopened the form to request a change to coincide with the planned reopening of schools, currently set for Feb. 10. The forms are due on Jan. 26. No action is required for families that want to stick with the current model of learning or those who have previously requested a change, the school board said in a media release. After this window, no changes can be made to whether a child learns from home or at school for the rest of the school year. Originally, parents with children in the public board were supposed to have made a decision in early January but the deadline was extended. At that time, some parents expressed concern over the difficulty of making a decision given the current status of the pandemic. Local schools have been closed since the week before the holiday break, with students currently learning from home at all grade levels. Some special education classes are still in-person. It remains unclear whether the province will extend the closure past early February. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said Friday he has not had any direct discussions with the province regarding the reopening or closure of schools. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says it has suspended its deadlines to change instruction delivery indefinitely. "Before setting new deadlines, we are waiting further direction from the Ministry of Education regarding school openings," board spokesperson Stephen Fields said in an email. Once new dates are established, parents will be informed a new declaration form will be made available, he said.
Midland's top staffer says more clarity around enforcement means sterner action by the town against those that disobey stay-at-home orders. "I know there's been a lot of discussion with the health unit around educating people," said CAO David Denault. "The education can only go so far. I think you're going to have to enforce much more strongly. The health unit itself is getting around to some of the areas where we've heard some of the complaints, like the malls. "Unfortunately, we're going to have to start patrolling areas like the toboggan hills and rinks," he added. "If people don't listen, we're going to have to ticket them. If numbers continue to rise as they're predicting, I think there will be a sterner side to enforcement." Until now, said Denault in his update to council this week, the approach was to educate and then enforce. Since Nov. 15, he said bylaw has issued 282 tickets and done 12 tows (non-COVID related). "We really don't want to do that to the public," said Denault. "But to be efficient and make sure we're taking care of our services, we need to do this. Please make sure you move your vehicles so we can get around and take care of the facilities." Coun. Jon Main wanted to know what the town planned for warming centres, considering public buildings are closed due to the stay-at-home orders. "Unfortunately, a lot of our warming centres are municipal facilities, which are not open," he said. "Is it our responsibility to provide warming centres?" Denault said that is one facet municipalities are struggling with. "It is one of the opportunities we have with the rec centre," he said. "We have been able to accommodate some individuals that have come there during frigid times. We'll continue to do that. We'll make sure we connect with our organizations in the community to understand that can be done. The more traditional facilities just aren't able to open." At the beginning of the meeting, Coun. Bill Gordon also asked what had become of the YMCA's request for town support in reopening its facility. "I know the YMCA had approached us without a financial ask, but with the indication that there would be something coming," he said. "It looks like we attempted to reach out to them and do something that didn't work out so I wonder if we could talk a little bit about that." Denault said all municipal CAOs had met up with the YMCA to discuss what they would need and to share with them options their municipalities may be able to bring forward with council approval. "There were no offers made," he said, adding he couldn't share any numbers due to a request of confidentiality by the Y. "At the end of the day, the YMCA determined they could best address their needs on their own. "We did leave them with the option that if they do require some assistance from the municipality, we can be engaged to help out," said Denault. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com