In this excerpt from the XChange Rate, Monet X Change discusses the issue of racism in the fandom with the queens of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13.
In this excerpt from the XChange Rate, Monet X Change discusses the issue of racism in the fandom with the queens of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Merrickville-Wolford council will be changing the time of their meetings, at least until they are able to welcome the public back into the council chambers. T he idea was first brought to council by Councillor Don Halpenny last year. He made the suggestion to move the meetings into the afternoon so that staff wouldn’t have to stay at the office after hours. “If you can remember when we had people coming here, everybody that comes are not working anyway,” Councillor Halpenny noted. “They’re all retired.” Although Councillor Halpenny’s original idea was to start the meetings at 4pm, Councillor Bob Foster suggested that they move their meetings to 2pm, to make sure they are wrapped up during the work day. “Especially with the budget deliberations coming up, we might want to start earlier to hammer it out,” he said. The only council member who was opposed to the change in meeting time was Councillor Timothy Molloy. He remembers that, prior to amalgamation, Merrickville had their meetings at both 4pm and 7pm. They ended up changing all the meetings to 7pm, as they found that the afternoon meetings did not accommodate those who worked in Ottawa. “What would be the circumstances if we changed those meetings to 2pm or 4pm, or whatever it is, on the people who are working in Ottawa and can’t make those meetings?” he asked. “My feeling is, even if there’s only one or two, that’s substantial, because you’re limiting a voter’s right to a council meeting based on time.” Councillor Foster reminded Councillor Molloy that the change in time would only be in place until the requirements set out by the province due to the pandemic are lifted and residents are able to attend the meetings in person once again. “This is just an interim measure, to try afternoon meetings while COVID is still raging and people aren’t allowed in here anyway,” he said. Mayor Struthers also mentioned that, at this point, a 2pm meeting is no different than a 7pm meeting, as recordings are uploaded to the website as soon as the meeting is over to ensure transparency. “In part, this is a nice gesture for our staff,” he said. “Whether we continue on afterwards, we can have that discussion once restrictions lift.” The motion to move the council meetings to 2pm on the second and fourth Mondays of the month was passed in a recorded vote, with only Councillor Molloy voting against the change. Council meetings will continue to be recorded and posted on the municipal website directly after each meeting. Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
Sexsmith considered hiring an energy manager, a position to be shared with other small municipalities in the South Peace. According to the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC), the program would create an energy management plan, promote conservation and save money on energy. The project was proposed by energy consultant Larry Gibson as a possible partnership with Beaverlodge, Hythe, Wembley and the town and municipal district of Spirit River. The cost of having the position was estimated at $11,300 per year for one or two years and there could be MCCAC grant funding available, said CAO Rachel Wueschner. Wueschner said the town hasn’t recently received word from the other municipalities about whether they’ll go forward with the project. Beaverlodge CAO Jeff Johnston said Beaverlodge council has yet to discuss the proposal. Mayor Kate Potter said she thought the project could be positive for the town, but said she recognized most of council was skeptical due to the costs and the town’s tight budget. Coun. Isak Skjaveland’s motion to take no action was carried. Council also amended its Election Bylaw to govern how declared candidates can pay the $100 needed to enter October’s race. In mid-November council approved an election bylaw setting a fee for candidates in future municipal elections. The bylaw previously allowed payment by cash, certified cheque or money order. Wueschner recommended allowing debit and disallowing credit cards because of logistical difficulties, as the town’s debit machine doesn’t take credit cards. Councillors Skjaveland, Dennis Stredulinsky and Bruce Black’s motions to allow debit payments were carried. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
The Nova Scotia Police Review Board is looking into claims from convicted murderer Christopher Garnier's family that accuse Cape Breton Regional Police officers of conducting an illegal arrest and seizure of evidence in 2017. Garnier was taken into custody for breaching bail conditions after failing to present himself to the municipal force at his mother's basement door in Millville, N.S. during a compliance check His mother, Kim Edmunds, said she does not believe police were at her home as they have stated. "I honestly don't think they were," Edmunds told members of the board's three-person panel. "When somebody knocks on the door, it wakes me up." Alleged breach In February 2017, while awaiting trial for murder, Garnier took a trip to Cape Breton, where his mother lives. He was allowed to live at his father's house in Bedford or at his mother's residence in Millville as part of his bail conditions. Garnier was to submit to regular compliance checks from either members of the CBRP and Halifax Regional Police. Before his trip, Garnier called a Halifax police answering service to advise he was going to stay at his mom's place, although he did not leave his cell phone number with the service at that time. A CBRP officer testified under oath at a bail revocation hearing that he went to the Millville home in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2017, but Garnier did not present himself at the door. A Supreme Court judge later ruled Garnier did not intentionally breach his conditions, as he was likely asleep. That same year, Garnier was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell. Complaint launched Christopher Garnier's father, Vincent Garnier, is representing himself as a complainant at the police hearing into the actions of four officers. The men accused of misconduct are Const. Steve Campbell, Const. Gary Fraser, Const. Dennis McQueen and Const. Troy Walker. Each officer is represented by a lawyer, while a member of Cape Breton Regional Municipality's legal team is acting on behalf of the police organization. "We'll dig deep into the practices of the [CBRP] which I believe violate the constitution, violate the charter and violate aspects of the criminal code. Those are the informations I would like to bring forth over the next two weeks," Vincent Garnier said during a break in the proceedings. "The police, without a warrant, and without any consent of the property owners, accessed private property, walked into a private residence and placed a person under arrest." The board heard that photographs of the property were taken without the knowledge of the homeowner. Hearing continues Vincent Garnier said his family incurred more than $35,000 in legal fees as a result alleged breach. After his son's arrest, he filed a complaint with CBRP. An internal investigation found that if a breach had occurred, it was only minor. Members of the police review board, Hon. Simon J. MacDonald, Stephen Johnson and chair Jean McKenna are hearing arguments on both sides of the case at a Sydney hotel. Police will have a chance to explain their actions on the weekend in question once Vincent Garnier finishes calling witnesses. In total, 14 people are expected to testify at the hearing that is slated to run over two weeks. So far, the board has heard from Christopher Garnier's mother and stepmother, his uncle, and his former common-law partner. MORE TOP STORIES
Après l’annonce d’une aide financière de Québec pour lancer les travaux du chantier de construction du Port de Contrecoeur, la semaine dernière, on apprend maintenant l’identité des entreprises qualifiées en vue de décrocher ce lucratif contrat. Trois consortiums se feront la lutte dans le cadre d’un appel d’offres. Par voie de communiqué, l'Administration portuaire de Montréal (APM) a annoncé, mercredi, que trois consortiums ont été retenus à la suite d’un appel de qualification. Les trois groupes s’identifient sous les noms Ancre Contrecoeur, CAP Contrecoeur et Kiewit-Pomerleau. Derrière Ancre Contrecoeur, on retrouve un partenariat des entreprises Dragados Canada et AECOM Consultants. Sous CAP Contrecoeur, ce sont Eurovia Québec Grands projets, Janin Atlas, Soletanche Bachy International, VINCI Infrastructure Canada, GHD Consultants, COWI North America et CH2M Hill Canada qui se sont associées. Finalement, le groupe Kiewit-Pomerleau est composé des entreprises Construction Kiewit et Pomerleau ainsi que CIMA+, Englobe, Hatch et Solmatech. D’après le communiqué de l’APM, cinq dossiers ont été reçus et trois ont été retenus. Ces consortiums seront donc invités à participer à l’appel d’offres pour la conception et la construction du futur terminal de Contrecoeur. En entrevue à La Presse Canadienne, la vice-présidente affaires publiques de l'APM, Sophie Roux, a affirmé que l'appel d'offres devrait être lancé «dans les prochains mois» sans pouvoir donner plus de précision. La semaine dernière, le ministre des Transports, François Bonnardel, et la ministre responsable de la région de Montréal, Chantal Rouleau, ont dévoilé une aide financière de 55 millions $ pour appuyer la phase de démarrage du projet. Le chantier n’a cependant pas encore obtenu le feu vert du ministère fédéral de l'Environnement, alors que des inquiétudes persistent au sujet de l'impact sur certaines espèces menacées, dont le chevalier cuivré. Dans l’éventualité où l'APM reçoit l'approbation nécessaire, les travaux devraient débuter dès l'automne, avait fait savoir le président-directeur général Martin Imbleau. Sophie Roux a réitéré, mercredi, que les démarches progressent dans le but de lancer les travaux dès que le gouvernement fédéral donnera son accord final. «On est sur un échéancier critique, a-t-elle soutenu. Nous savons qu'avec nos installations portuaires en manutention de conteneurs sur l'île de Montréal, nous opérons à quasi pleine capacité présentement.» L'APM plaide donc l'urgence d'agir pour bonifier sa capacité d'accueil de conteneurs. À la fin de l'ensemble des travaux, que l'on prévoit pour 2024, le terminal devrait être en mesure d'accueillir 1,15 million de conteneurs afin de permettre au port de Montréal de poursuivre sa croissance. D'après les projections du gouvernement, le terminal devrait permettre la création de 1000 emplois lorsqu'il sera en pleine opération. La facture totale du projet est estimée entre 750 millions $ et 950 millions $.Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A new study links the fitness level of Canadian children to that of their parents. The StatCan analysis suggests a child's aerobic fitness, muscular strength and flexibility all correlate to that of their parent. But there were differences when it came to the sex of each parent and child involved. Boys whose parent had "excellent" cardiorespiratory fitness had better cardiorespiratory fitness than boys whose parent had a "poor" cardiorespiratory fitness level. Girls whose parent had "excellent" flexibility had higher flexibility than girls whose parent had "poor" flexibility. But the correlation in cardiorespiratory fitness was only seen significantly in mother-and-son pairs; while a significant flexibility correlation was only seen in mother-son and father-son pairings. Grip strength was associated in all duos except father-son pairings. The study was based on data from the ongoing Canadian Health Measures Survey, and draws from a sample representative of children aged 6 to 11 years and their biological parents. Previous research also found associations between parents and children in obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. StatCan notes the results should be interpreted with some caution since the aerobic test used by the study is only meant for adults. Researchers allow that it's possible the sample represents "a slightly healthier" subset of children. Researchers also note that analysis was limited to data where a birth parent also responded to the survey. These adults were more likely to be younger, have a bachelor's degree or higher education, come from a smaller household size, and have a household income of more than $100,000 than respondents to the ongoing survey who were not the birth parent. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
La tempête automnale du 1er novembre 2019 restera gravée dans la mémoire de bien des Cowansvillois. Et l’inondation qui l’a suivie laissera des marques permanentes sur le paysage du boulevard des Vétérans et de la rue Bonnette, à Cowansville. Quelques maisons ont disparu tandis que d’autres seront démolies dans les prochains mois en vertu d’un décret provincial qui permet à une municipalité de refuser l’émission d’un permis de rénovations et d’obliger la démolition. « Lorsque les gens de ces zones-là viennent nous voir pour des demandes de permis, on doit vérifier ce qu’ils veulent faire comme travaux et suivre le décret, explique Manon Moreau, inspectrice en bâtiment et règlementation à Cowansville. On a une certaine démarche à suivre et ça peut arriver que les travaux soient trop importants. À ce moment-là, on demande la démolition du bâtiment. » Ensuite, les propriétaires se tournent vers la Sécurité publique du Québec pour obtenir une subvention qui permettra de rembourser la perte de la propriété. Une entente est prise entre la Ville et les propriétaires privés pour que le terrain soit remis à l’administration. Avenir incertain pour les terrains vacants Deux adresses ont déjà été démolies sur le boulevard des Vétérans et la rue Bonnette. Les terrains ont été légués à la Ville. Des demandes sont en cours d’étude pour quelques autres immeubles. « À cause de la COVID-19, le délai a été prolongé. Le ministère a accepté que ça attende jusqu’à l’été, ajoute Mme Moreau, le temps que les gens se retrouvent une maison et se relogent. » Ce secteur est majoritairement composé de résidences unifamiliales, de jumelés et de duplex. Pour l’instant, la Ville n’a pas prévu de nouvelle vocation pour les nouveaux terrains vacants. S’ils étaient tous adjacents, un parc ou un accès à la rivière pourrait être envisagé, mais ces terrains sont éparpillés jusqu’à présent.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
CALGARY — The lawyer for a teen charged with first-degree murder in the hit-and-run death of a Calgary police officer says it will likely be a difficult case because of the high level of scrutiny it is already generating. Kaysi Fagan spoke to reporters at the conclusion of a two-day bail hearing Wednesday for her client, who was 17 at the time Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed on Dec. 31 and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Police have said Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV after noticing its plates didn't match its registration. They allege the accused youth was driving the vehicle and a 19-year-old man, also charged with first-degree murder, was a passenger. "Certainly any time there's a death, whether it be an officer or a member of the public, certainly it's more difficult. The exposure's greater, the attention is greater, scrutiny is greater," Fagan said. She said the fact that Harnett was a police officer, killed in the line of duty, will add to the divisiveness when it eventually goes to trial. "When the police kill someone it takes a year to investigate it, maybe there's charges laid, maybe there aren't. Here's we've got a first-degree murder charge laid against a youth within 12 hours. So I think it's a bit of a double standard," Fagan said. "Certainly the fact an officer was killed here is concerning to the public and obviously it's going to be very divisive." Youth court Judge Steve Lipton has reserved his decision on bail for the teen suspect until Jan. 28. Crown Prosecutor Doug Taylor is opposed to his release. "The young person ought to be detained for both the safety and the protection of the public, and to maintain confidence in the administration of justice," Taylor said. He told court Tuesday that the Crown will seek an adult sentence for the youth if he's convicted. That would mean life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 10 years. The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman, is to appear in court on Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
KENORA — An Indigenous police service in northwestern Ontario is implementing a new project that will help address sexual violence, harassment and human trafficking in the Treaty Three Territory. The project named The Spirit of Hope will include both community-based activities and increase the capacity of Treaty Three police officers in addressing crimes against women and families, according to a news release issued this week. “I am excited for this opportunity and to hold the Treaty Three Police service and surrounding area with high regard,” coordinator of the project Jody Smith said in a news release. Smith is from Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation. The project will address sexual violence, harassment and human trafficking specifically related to the 231 calls to justice and the need for national action. Through this project, police will engage with Anishnaabe youth, women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to provide education and awareness. The program will engage with the communities’ elders, Grand Council Treaty Three, community outreach groups, women’s groups, child and family services and local education authorities. Treaty Three Police is responsible for policing duties in the Greater Treaty Three Region in northwestern Ontario which includes approximately 20,000 residents in 23 First Nations communities. The project is funded by the ministry of the solicitor general. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
OTTAWA — "Canada and the United States have worked side by side to tackle some of the greatest challenges we have faced in our history. We will continue this partnership as we fight the global COVID-19 pandemic and support a sustainable economic recovery that will build back better for everyone. We will also work together to advance climate action and clean economic growth, promote inclusion and diversity, and create good middle-class jobs and opportunities for our people while contributing to democracy, peace, and security at home and around the world." — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau --- "Congratulations to President Biden and Vice-President Harris on your inauguration. Looking forward to working together to get Canadians and Americans back to work." — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole --- "Today is historic. As Kamala Harris is sworn in as the first woman and woman of colour to become vice-president of the United States of America, (an) entire generation of women will reimagine what is possible in ways they have never before." — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh --- Ontario and the U.S. both benefit from our strong economic partnership. Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. I am looking forward to building on our strong relationship and working together to grow our economies and create good-quality jobs. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford --- Congratulations to President Joe Biden on his inauguration! We will continue working to strengthen our relationship to make Quebec the green battery of Northeast America. I also want to congratulate the new vice-president of the United States Kamala Harris. You are the pride of Montreal, the city of your youth. You will always be welcome in Quebec. — Quebec Premier François Legault --- "And that’s a wrap on the series finale of Trump. I started his presidency by chugging a beer live on-air with Peter Mansbridge. There's been a lot of orange makeup since. I’ve never been so relieved to lose a gig." — Comedian Mark Critch --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
Curiosity about a free newspaper in his mailbox turned into surprise when former St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe found his name printed inside — in a story that said he, along with the mayor of Calgary and other officials, was a target of interest for the Chinese Communist Party. "I couldn't believe it," said O'Keefe outside his St. John's home while holding a recent copy of the Epoch Times, which was distributed this month for free to households in the region. "I mean, I've had a lot of surprises in my life, believe me. But this one really takes the cake." The article said O'Keefe's name was found in a 2019 document that came from the Foreign Affairs Office in Daqing, a city in northeastern China. The paper said it obtained the document that included names "spanning a wide range of sectors and countries in which the Chinese regime seeks to cultivate talent." O'Keefe retired as mayor before the 2017 municipal election. "It's just inexplicable," said O'Keefe who called the article "terribly misleading," and said nobody from the Epoch Times contacted him for comment. The Epoch Times has been distributing free copies of its paper throughout Canada over the course of the last year in an effort to grow subscribers. The newspaper has often been controversial for publishing articles that promote unfounded conspiracy theories, some of them embraced by alt-right groups, and many of them about China. The newspaper has, for instance, promoted the belief that the novel coronavirus was produced in a lab in China, and that the American deep state stole November's presidential election from Donald Trump. What is the Epoch Times? The Epoch Times started 20 years ago in what the paper called a "response to communist repression and censorship in China." The paper is headquartered in New York and says it operates in 22 languages in 36 countries. Simon van Zuylen-Wood, a New York based journalist who recently did a deep dive on the paper's embrace of Donald Trump for The Atlantic magazine, said the paper has found favour with the conspiratorial strains of the American right wing. His Atlantic article was called "MAGA-land's Favorite Newspaper," with the subhead, "How the Epoch Times became a pro-Trump propaganda machine in an age of plague and insurrection." In a phone interview with CBC News, Zuylen-Wood called the Epoch Times a fast-growing newspaper that changed tack in the Trump era. He said what makes it unique is that it's backed and run by members of the Falun Gong sect — a spiritual movement that was persecuted and banned by the Chinese government in the late 1990s. The paper's connection to the Falun Gong has been widely reported in mainstream publications, including CBC News. When Trump ran for president, the paper saw that for "the first time in decades a major party's presidential nominee was running an overtly protectionist campaign, with China in his crosshairs." He wrote the "Falun Gong came to see Trump as a kind of killer angel, summoned from heaven to smite the Chinese government." The article goes on to say "The Epoch Times ramped up its spending on Facebook ads and hitched its wagon to the 45th president." That hitch has also proven lucrative. Van Zuylen-Wood said the paper's revenues have quadrupled in the last four years. The paper also has a large online presence. A recent NBC News report said the Epoch Times now has one of the biggest social media followings of any news outlet. Van Zuylen-Wood says the paper has become one the "leading purveyors of content suggesting that the American election was stolen." He noted it also prints recipes, lifestyle stories and wellness tips. "So it's a strange mix of pedestrian and often kind of irrelevant news and then sort of hard right, often sort of conspiratorially laced content," he said. 'Utter nonsense' concerns resident That mix is what worries Lesley Burgess about the paper she found in her St. John's mailbox recently. She is among those who have voiced their concerns on social media about the paper and its content. "It has all these kinds of health and lifestyle stories woven in with all of this misinformation, basically," said Burgess. She said she had heard about the paper before but it wasn't until she looked through that she realized there was "utter nonsense" everywhere. CBC's request for comment from the Epoch Times has gone unanswered. "If you don't know any better, you might think this is a run-of-the-mill paper. And I think that's really dangerous," Burgess said. Kurt Phillips, a board member with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, has been following the subscription drive of the Epoch Times. He said the paper's content is of concern because it keeps disseminating disinformation about conspiracy theories on the far right such as "Spygate" and QAnon. Phillips said he's seeing stories from the paper shared in some mainstream conservative circles, which has the potential to radicalize people with misinformation. "It is contributing to an ever-growing divide between reality and a fictionalized version of the world that is especially dehumanizing and dangerous," he said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ATHENS, Greece — Lawmakers in Greece Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to extend the country's territorial waters along its western coastline from six to 12 nautical miles. In the 284-0 vote, representatives of four opposition parties backed the centre-right government, while members of the Greek Communist Party abstained. Although the move does not directly affect an ongoing maritime boundary dispute with Turkey to the east, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament that Greece was adopting a more assertive foreign policy. “It's a clear message to those who are trying to deprive our country of this right,” Mitsotakis said. Greece’s western coastline faces Italy and borders Albania at its northern tip. But the expansion is aimed at underscoring the country’s right to implement the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which set the 12-mile limit in 1982. Greece and Turkey, neighbours and NATO allies, are at odds over sea boundaries and mineral rights in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean in a dispute that caused a tense military standoff last year. Under pressure from western allies, Turkey and Greece will resume talks aimed at reducing tensions on Jan. 25, restarting a process that was suspended five years ago. Turkey says an extension of Greece’s territorial waters eastward would be considered an act of war, arguing that Greek islands would effectively block its access to the Aegean. The longstanding dispute between the two countries has been fueled by the discovery of large offshore gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years. Greece has signed recent agreements with Italy and Egypt for the delineation of maritime exploration rights and is in talks with Albania to take a maritime boundary dispute to an international court. The Associated Press
Overnight, St. Albert had six new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the city. On Tuesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing active cases in the city dropping from 173 on Monday to 157 on Tuesday, representing a drop of 16 active cases. Newly diagnosed cases climbed by six, from 1,824 to 1,830 on Tuesday. Recoveries jumped from 1,623 on Monday to 1,645 on Tuesday, representing an increase of 22 cases recovered. In Sturgeon County, active cases sit at 33, while 521 people have recovered from the virus since the pandemic began. Morinville has 22 active cases with 318 people having recovered from COVID-19. Across Alberta, there were 456 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed with 8,200 tests run. The positivity rate sits at 5.6 per cent, which Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said is still a high rate compared to the one- to three-per-cent seen in Alberta in the summer and fall. Hinshaw said the province isn't sure why so few people are getting tested but said it could be because fewer people are feeling ill. Hinshaw encouraged anyone who is feeling symptoms to get tested for COVID-19. There are current 154 active alerts in schools across the province with outbreaks in two schools, representing a total of six per cent of schools. There are 212 total cases linked to schools in the province. Hinshaw said hospitalizations remain high in Alberta with 740 people currently in the hospital and 119 of them in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). "Our health system is still under severe strain,” Hinshaw said. In the past 24 hours, another 17 deaths were reported to Alberta Health. As of Jan. 18, the province has given out 92,315 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
VAUGHAN, Ont. — CannTrust Holdings Inc. says it will create a $50-million trust to settle claims from class action lawsuits filed after the company was found growing cannabis in unlicensed rooms two years ago. The Vaughan, Ont. business says the trust is part of a restructuring support agreement it reached with Canadian and American plaintiffs to sort out securities claims they made against CannTrust. The plaintiffs previously banned together as a consortium to file lawsuits complaining they lost millions of dollars after CannTrust allegedly made misrepresentations about having necessary licenses for growing. The plaintiffs discovered they had been misled in 2019 when Health Canada uncovered illicit cultivation at CannTrust’s Pelham, Ont., greenhouse, seized cannabis from the facility and stripped the company of its licenses, some of which it has since regained. CannTrust says its new agreement with plaintiffs will be part of a broader restructuring the company and its subsidiaries will undergo as they remain under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act protection. The company says the agreement will resolve claims against CannTrust and lawsuit defendants including chief executive Greg Guyatt and other senior staff. "Today's announcement represents a significant milestone towards the resolution of substantially all of the civil litigation claims that were filed against CannTrust following the Company's non-compliance with certain Health Canada regulations," said Guyatt said in a statement. "Although much work remains to conclude the matters contemplated by the RSA, I am pleased that, in addition to relaunching our medical and recreational businesses, we are also making further tangible progress to exit from the CCAA and put CannTrust in a position to be a successful player in the cannabis industry." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says he's rethinking his role on an all-party COVID-19 committee because of inconsistent pandemic guidelines that he is finding hard to justify to New Brunswickers. Austin said the recent watering down of red-phase restrictions, and the lack of information being provided to opposition party leaders, causes him to question the value of the committee. "That is something that frankly I have thought about," he said. "At what point do you throw up your hands and walk away?" The Alliance leader said he's not ready to quit yet but his support for the committee is "waning." And he said that's in part because it's difficult for opposition parties to both have a role in recommendations and at the same oppose COVID-19 policies they disagree with. "I'm honoured to be on the committee, and to be able to speak and to be a part of the discussion that happens … but at the same time, as opposition parties we have to have the flexibility to speak when we don't agree." He is also questioning whether moving four health zones to the red phase of restrictions this week was necessary. "I think we should have stuck it out in orange for a bit longer and see where we can go from there." Premier Blaine Higgs struck the all-party committee last March, the same week the first case of COVID-19 appeared in New Brunswick. It includes Higgs, key ministers and the leaders of the three opposition parties in the legislature. I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. - Kris Austin, People's Alliance leader Higgs had a minority government at the time and the committee was a way for the government to present a unified public health message to New Brunswickers that would not be undermined by partisan bickering. The premier kept the committee in place even after he won a majority in last September's election and told CBC News he hopes Austin won't break from the consensus. "It's important that we stay together as a team in our cabinet committee," he said. "This is no time after a successful 10 months to have diverse opinions in the public." But Austin said he's increasingly disenchanted with how the body works and is calling for "a real reset of this committee to determine how it's going to be done better." It has no decision-making power but gives feedback and advice on various COVID-19 measures. Only the actual Progressive Conservative cabinet has the power to approve pandemic measures. Higgs says though that the three opposition parties are getting "all the information" that he is given as premier by Public Health officials. "There's nothing new or different from what I'm presented." Consensus not always reached This isn't the first time cracks have appeared in the consensus. Last spring Green Party Leader David Coon broke ranks with Higgs over restrictions on temporary foreign workers that were later rescinded. At the time, Coon complained that the confidentiality oath taken by him and the other party leaders prevented him from discussing publicly what concerns he raised about the decision in the committee. And this week Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said the committee was given little notice of the change to red-phase rules to allow schools to stay open, a shift that Education Minister Dominic Cardy said had been in the works for some time. Austin said he supports schools staying open but questioned why the red-phase rules were being changed now. Consistency is the key to giving New Brunswickers confidence in COVID-19 measures, he said. But now the government is talking for the first time this week about a new, stricter lockdown phase beyond red. "I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. But now red seems to be another version of orange. Schools are remaining open, and yet we're targeting churches and hair salons." Among other rules in the red phase, only drive-in religious services are allowed, salons, gyms and entertainment centres must close, and restaurants are not allowed to provide in-housing dining. Higgs said keeping schools open is the only change to the red rules and described it as "a bridge" between red and orange restrictions. "The challenge becomes that we're all a bit frustrated with where we are now .. and how far do we go to shut this down?" The Alliance leader said he gets calls from New Brunswickers asking him, as a member of the committee, to explain certain decisions, but without "relevant, specific information" it's often hard to justify them. Austin's riding is part of Zone 3, which saw one new case on Tuesday when it was put in the red phase. The zone had a single new case again Wednesday. "People can't grasp that," he said, and it's made more difficult when he isn't even told where in the zone — which stretches from Minto and Chipman all the way to Perth-Andover and Plaster Rock — the cases are located. Higgs says he understands Austin is getting pushback and believes it's a reflection of rising case numbers. "In two weeks time, if this absolutely turns around, everybody's going to be thankful we made the moves we did. And if it doesn't turn around, people are going be saying 'do more.'"
European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.View on euronews
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials say delays in getting COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech will force the province to sharply reduce the number of injections planned for February.The province says it is planning for incoming supplies to be cut in half.The federal government announced Tuesday that Canada is not getting any COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech next week. "We originally were told we would be receiving 18,720 doses (in the next two weeks) and our new estimate is 9,360," Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province's vaccine committee, said Wednesday.There are enough doses for all appointments currently booked, but fewer appointments will be scheduled next month, Reimer said. The goal of administering an average of 2,500 doses a day in February is being reduced to 1,496 daily.In the unlikely event that supply delays continue and the province does not receive any doses in the first week of February, its current supply of the Pfizer vaccine would be used up and appointments would begin to be cancelled, Reimer said.The revised outlook comes just as Manitoba is ramping up its vaccination capacity. A so-called supersite, which can handle hundreds of vaccinations a day, opened this week in Brandon and another is planned for early February in Thompson.Because of the supply issues with the Pfizer vaccine, the Thompson site will instead use the Moderna vaccine, the only other one approved in Canada to date.Health officials reported 153 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths Wednesday. Manitoba's numbers, including the number of people in hospital and the percentage of people testing positive, have dropped since a spike in the fall.The provincial government is considering easing some of the restrictions that were put in place in November by this weekend, subject to public feedback. The proposals include letting non-essential stores reopen, as well as hair salons and barber shops, and easing a ban on social gatherings in private homes to allow two visitors at a time."I know that people are eager to reduce restrictions, especially businesses," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief public health officer."But we need to be cautious. We can't open everything at once."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Ontario's police watchdog cleared an officer of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a man west of Toronto on Wednesday, saying there were no reasonable grounds to lay charges in the incident that took place last year. The Special Investigations Unit noted, however, that there were legitimate questions about the Peel Regional Police officer's conduct on the evening that Jamal Francique was shot in the head in Mississauga, Ont.Joseph Martino, the director of the Special Investigations Unit, said in a report that the officer told investigators he feared for his life when Francique drove at him during a botched arrest."Confronted by a vehicle that the subject officer had reason to believe was intentionally being driven in his direction, the officer's decision to disable its operating mind by shooting in the direction of the driver was not devoid of logic," Martino wrote.There were, however, aspects of the officer's conduct that raised questions, Martino said. "One may question, for example, the wisdom of the (subject officer) placing himself in the vicinity of a vehicle whose driver was evidently attempting to flee from police," Martino wrote. "There are those who would also take issue with shooting at a moving vehicle when the prospect of stopping the vehicle in its tracks is low and the risk of contributing to a dangerous situation on the roadway is real. On the other hand, one must be mindful of the fluid and dynamic nature of the incident."Police were investigating Francique for allegedly dealing drugs and possessing a firearm, the SIU said.Officers were unable to confirm if Francique had a gun or was dealing drugs, but decided to arrest him for allegedly breaching bail conditions, the SIU said.On Jan. 7, 2020, several plainclothes officers and their unmarked cars gathered near Francique's home in Mississauga, Ont., where they waited for him to get into his car.Around 5:45 p.m., the SIU said, Francique got into an Acura TSX and began to drive, but one officer was late blocking him in the driveway.A second unmarked police car came behind Francique and tried to hem him in, the SIU said, while other officers got out of the cars and rushed to the area, guns pointed at the young man. Francique accelerated toward a grassy area, the SIU said, and struck one car while one officer jumped out of the way. At that point another officer on foot fired his gun four times as Francique drove towards him, the SIU said. The Acura came to a halt 30 metres away after it hit a home. The SIU said officers did not approach the car for fears of a gun — which was later found in Francique's satchel — and waited until tactical officers arrived more than two hours later at 8:05 p.m.The tactical team then approached with a shield and smashed the rear windows."Mr. Francique was seated in the driver’s seat in obvious and acute medical distress," the SIU wrote. "He had suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of the head."Francique was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and died three days later.Knia Singh, a lawyer representing Francique's family, criticized the SIU."The SIU has failed to serve Ontario's diverse community in a way that fosters confidence in the process," Singh said. "The public perception from affected communities, lawyers, and human rights organizations, is that the SIU is heavily biased in favour of police."- with files from John Chidley-Hill.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
A fire at a Wellington seniors’ home Monday night displaced around 50 residents who are now lodged temporarily at the Mill River Resort. Wellington Fire Department got the call to the Cooperative Chez Nous at 9:40 p.m. “When we arrived on the scene our members were quick to realize there was some heavy smoke, and there was an urgent need to evacuate all the residents,” said firefighter Desmond Arsenault, who handles communications for the department. In total, four departments battled the blaze for around three hours. “We’re lucky it happened when it did. A lot of the residents were still up,” said Wellington Fire Department deputy chief Leon Perry. Tyne Valley, New London and Miscouche fire departments also answered the call. Arsenault said it didn’t take long to evacuate the residents. Perry said that was the home’s evacuation plan “paying off”. “Residents knew which doors to go out of. The staff were great, they did an excellent job to get everyone out,” said Perry. Initially, residents were loaded into personal vehicles and RCMP cruisers for transport to the Wellington Legion. Then school buses started to arrive to help take the residents to safety. Perry was moved by the number of bus drivers who came out in the middle of the night to help. “We loaded up two, and just as we were looking for a third, I looked up and could see seven more waiting – the community support has been great,” said Perry. Island EMS sent around six ambulances to the legion and every resident and all the staff were assessed for injury and smoke inhalation. Only one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Once everyone was safe from immediate danger it became clear they needed a place to stay the night. The seniors were then transported by school bus to nearby Mill River Resort. “They were all, of course, cold, afraid and nervous,” said Arsenault. “It’s pretty traumatic for these people … They literally came out with the clothes on their back, some didn’t even have slippers on." Tuesday morning, firefighters were able to retrieve some personal belongings like hearing aids, glasses, dentures and medications. “I’m sure they won’t feel very comfortable without those items,” said Perry. At Chez Nous, the central areas, including the kitchen and lobby, sustained the most damage as the fire broke out in the basement underneath these rooms, said Perry. The rest of the home is affected by smoke damage. Tuesday morning, the Fire Marshal’s Office was on the scene with security officers to secure the building. “We’re at the ‘making sure the fire is still out’ stage,” said deputy fire marshal John Chisholm as he cleared the site. “I just want to assure all families that the residents are really well taken care of,” said Marcel Richard. “They’re in really nice accommodations, they’ve been fed nice hot meals.” Many of the residents have mobility issues, so wherever they landed it needed to be accessible. Mill River Resort is meeting those needs. Staff members are working to keep the routines similar to those of the home. He can’t say how long they’ll get to stay at the Mill River Resort, though, as the hotel is fully booked for the weekend. Geoffrey Irving, president of the resort, said he and his staff were happy to welcome the residents from Chez Nous. “Happy to help. Something like this has to be quite scary and from what we understood, there wasn’t a lot of options. We’re just happy we were here to help,” said Irving. As for whether it’s a boon for business – he said he hasn’t even discussed payment yet, he’s just working to provide accommodations for as long as he can with bookings looming. To help out, a construction crew renovating 12 of the resort’s rooms will work extra hours to get them done by Thursday evening, said Irving, which will accommodate half of the residents. Going forward, he said it’s “not off the table” to reschedule some reservations to keep the Chez Nous residents together and in the same place while they wait out the disruption to their lives. Until the fire marshal completes the investigation, Richard said he won’t know how long the residents will be away from home. Chez Nous staff will be contacting families to update them about their loved one’s needs. In the meantime, he asks everyone to respect the privacy of the seniors. Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer