Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax and its company of 252 is setting sail for a six-month deployment on Operation REASSURANCE with new COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax and its company of 252 is setting sail for a six-month deployment on Operation REASSURANCE with new COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Un gin biologique sera très bientôt produit directement à Val-des-Sources. L’entreprise Birster s’est installée dans le parc industriel et pourrait commencer la distribution dans quelques semaines à peine. « On est sur les derniers milles, assure Guillaume Birster, vice-président de l’entreprise qu’il dirige avec son frère. On fait des produits biologiques et le processus est plus long. Les bouteilles et les étiquettes s’en viennent. Il faut aussi attendre les analyses en laboratoire de la SAQ. Pour notre premier lot, ce sera en février et on pense plus au mois de mars avant qu’il se retrouve sur les tablettes. » La Distillerie Birster, nommée ainsi en l’honneur du père de Guillaume décédé il y a deux ans, proposera un gin avec une touche « florale ». « On parle d’un gin assez classique qui se mélange bien en cocktail, explique Guillaume Birster. On explore avec la racine de l’orpin rose. On travaille aussi avec la canneberge du Québec. » L’entreprise s’inscrit dans la volonté de la région de se diversifier au niveau économique. « Pour l’instant, notre plan est de rentrer dans les SAQ et ensuite ce sera à nous de vendre notre produit aux succursales, mentionne M. Birster. Éventuellement, c’est dans nos plans de vendre au lieu de production, mais la contrainte c’est qu’on doit le vendre au même prix que la SAQ. » Engouement Depuis une vingtaine d’années, la popularité du gin a explosé en raison notamment de son utilisation pour de nombreux cocktails. Plus de 90 gins sont produits au Québec aujourd’hui. « Il y a vraiment un engouement, confirme Guillaume Birster. La raison pour laquelle on fait beaucoup de gin au Québec, c’est parce que c’est un produit qu’on peut sortir rapidement. Pour le rhum, les lois canadiennes demandent une maturation d’au moins un an, donc il n’y a pas beaucoup de compagnies qui peuvent attendre un an avant de vendre une première bouteille. » C’est d’ailleurs dans les plans d’avenir de l’entreprise de Val-des-Sources de produire un rhum. « On veut développer un rhum de mélasse 100 % biologique, ajoute-t-il. On essaie de le travailler un peu comme les rhums jamaïcains avec des notes de bananes et d’ananas. On travaille là-dessus. » Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
Les montagnes, l’air frais et les forêts laurentiennes attirent les amateurs de sports d’hiver dans les Pays d’en Haut depuis plus d’un siècle, faisant du tourisme le moteur économique de la région. Malgré la pandémie, le confinement et le couvre-feu, cette année ne fait pas exception. Bien au contraire! Discussion avec André Genest, préfet de la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut. « Le gouvernement a demandé aux gens d’aller jouer dehors. Alors, je ne sais pas s’ils ont peur de la vice-première ministre ou s’ils sont dociles (rire), mais ils sont allés jouer dehors! », lance en boutade M. Genest, en référence à l’achalandage sans précédent des dernières semaines dans la MRC. Le préfet admet toutefois que le phénomène n’est pas unique aux Pays d’en Haut. Des collègues préfets lui ont rapporté des situations semblables ailleurs dans les Laurentides, et il est persuadé que c’est vrai pour l’ensemble du Québec. Les Québécois ont soif de plein air, et les Pays d’en Haut sont prêts à leur en offrir. « Nous sommes toujours contents de recevoir des excursionnistes, et nous sommes toujours un milieu accueillant », souligne M. Genest. L’achalandage élevé des dernières semaines a toutefois causé quelques inquiétudes chez les élus et les résidents de la région. À l’entrée des sentiers les plus populaires, les stationnements ont débordé, des rassemblements ont été aperçus et des citoyens ont été dérangés. Certaines municipalités ont même décidé de limiter l’accès à leurs infrastructures à leurs résidents seulement. M. Genest comprend la frustration de certains résidents, surtout que plusieurs sont venus s’installer dans les Pays d’en Haut pour les sports d’hiver, oui, mais aussi pour la quiétude. Mais pour le préfet, l’enjeu est plutôt de mieux répartir les usagers. Après tout, ce n’est pas la nature qui manque! « J’encouragerais les gens à découvrir des endroits moins populaires. » Il donne l’exemple du parc du Corridor aérobique, un ancien chemin de fer converti en parc linéaire, qui lie Morin-Heights à Amherst sur 58 km. Il mentionne aussi une nouvelle section de ski de fond entre Lac-des-Seize-Îles et Montcalm et des sentiers pour le biathlon à Wentworth-Nord. « Nos plateformes numériques montrent les endroits et les circuits disponibles. J’invite les gens à regarder ce qu’il y a à découvrir. Il y a des choses moins connues. Arrêtons d’aller toujours aux mêmes endroits et soyons imaginatifs! », soutient M. Genest. Les centres d’accueil peuvent aussi rediriger les excursionnistes vers des sentiers moins achalandés. Surtout, si vous arrivez quelque part et que le stationnement est plein, c’est signe que l’aventure vous attend ailleurs. Le préfet insiste que se stationner dans les rues avoisinantes peut gêner la circulation et les opérations de déneigement, voire compromettre la sécurité publique, si une ambulance ou des pompiers devaient passer pour porter assistance à un randonneur blessé ou en détresse. M. Genest encourage aussi tant les résidents et les villégiateurs que les visiteurs à varier les jours et les heures auxquels ils profitent du plein air. Les jours de semaine sont toujours moins achalandés, par exemple. « Je marche tous les matins à 6h, et je ne rencontre personne. Même à 7h ou 8h, il y a peu de monde. Il ne faut pas que tout le monde arrive en même temps à 10h ou à midi! Bon… si on marche à 6h il fait encore noir, mais à 7h, on peut profiter d’un magnifique lever de soleil! » Même si le nombre de cas actifs a diminué dans les Pays d’en Haut, le préfet indique qu’il faut demeurer prudents. Vous pouvez profiter des sentiers avec votre bulle familiale, mais pas avec un groupe d’amis, rappelle-t-il. « Et quand c’est plein, c’est plein! On ne veut pas revoir de situation comme cet été en Gaspésie. Généralement, les gens sont très respectueux, mais c’est sûr que les résidents ne veulent pas être envahis », prévient M. Genest.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
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
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
After a busy year and with ongoing efforts to update its helicopter fleet, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) has received continuing support from Wheatland County. During the Jan. 12 Wheatland County council regular meeting, a presentation about the organization’s operations in 2020 was provided by Glenda Farden, STARS major gift manager. STARS has been busy, as 2020 had the highest number of calls over the last five years. The organization responded to 135 calls between 2016 and 2020, including 60 inter-facility transfers from the Strathmore Hospital, and 28 scene calls near Strathmore. The May long weekend is the busiest weekend of the year, but most missions occur between September and March. Operations have been directly affected by the pandemic, with about 13 per cent of missions being suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, said Farden. The organization has also seen a rise in stress-related types of missions, including heart attacks, strokes and drug overdoses. The pandemic has also affected the organization’s balance sheets. STARS is experiencing a significant decrease in funding across all areas, including government, said Farden. The organization’s 10-year affiliation agreement with Alberta Health Services has expired. The organization received $9.1 million in government support from AHS in 2019 and funding has been extended until September 2021 while the province reviews health funding. Fundraising has also taken a hit. The 2020 stars lottery did not sell out and resulted in $1.2 million in lost revenue. The calendar campaign is also down by more than half. “With COVID-19 still looming around us, most of STARS fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future,” said Farden, who added registration revenue is down because of less certainty in the energy sector. There are some promising signs, however. The 2021 STARS lottery is now underway, and in its first week, outperformed predictions. The organization has also seen a rise in individual contributions. “We are humbled that Albertans are continuing to stand by our side,” said Farden. To deal with funding reductions, the organization has reduced administration costs by downsizing the number of staff members across all its bases. STARS is currently upgrading its helicopter fleet to the Airbus H145, which provides safety upgrades, improved avionics, better maneuverability, and increased speed and range. The organization is planning for nine new helicopters, costing about $13 million each. The total cost of the fleet renewal campaign is $135 million, of which about $14 million remains to be secured. Three H145s are now operational, with one each flying from both Calgary and Saskatoon, and the third serving as backup. Two more have recently been delivered. The sixth and seventh will feature a five-bladed system, increasing lift and load capacity. The organization is also deploying new portable ultrasound machines. These allow medical personnel to assess such medical issues as collapsed lungs, trauma-related internal hemorrhaging, heart abnormalities or suspected heart failures. Wheatland County made a three-year commitment in 2018 for funding STARS by $2 per capita. The funding for 2021 equals $17,576. Following the presentation, council voted in favour of a standing motion to continue this support rate within the annual budget, as a long-term pledge with no time commitment. “Wheatland County is grateful for the critical emergency care and transport that STARS provides in Wheatland County,” said Reeve Amber Link. “This service is particularly vital in rural areas.” Link said she and her family know firsthand the difference STARS makes. “Seventeen years ago, when our youngest son was an infant, we were relieved when STARS, with a specialized neonatal team, was there for our critically ill baby,” she said. “I would encourage residents who can, to consider STARS in their donation plans. Now more than ever financial support is needed.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
La MRC de La Matanie et la Ville de Matane ont décidé d’unir leurs forces pour mettre en branle le projet de « ferme » citoyenne à Matane. Les deux entités lancent donc un appel à participation pour tous les citoyens pouces verts et fervents de jardinage de La Matanie. Ce projet de « ferme citoyenne » vise l’élaboration d’une structure citoyenne dans la Ville de Matane se concentrant sur les univers du maraîchage, de l’apiculture et de l’agriculture urbaine. Selon un communiqué envoyé par la MRC, celui-ci pourrait d’ailleurs comprendre un volet communautaire ainsi qu’un volet collectif et éducatif. La MRC de La Matanie précise qu’au niveau communautaire, il pourrait s’agir de préparer des terrains pour les groupes souhaitant bénéficier de jardins communautaires. Au niveau collectif, il est envisagé que la structure ait une vocation d’éducation populaire. En même temps, elle permettrait la réinsertion et le don de denrées fraîches pour fournir les organismes sociaux. Le projet est encore en construction, et les possibilités sont nombreuses, selon le communiqué de la MRC. C’est pourquoi elle encourage les citoyens intéressés à s’inscrire, afin que le projet puisse se mouler à leur image et naître de leurs idées. La MRC de La Matanie cite notamment le projet d’agriculture communautaire de la MRC d’Argenteuil en exemple. Une première rencontre en ligne est organisée à travers Zoom le jeudi 28 janvier de 19h à 21h. L’objectif de cette consultation sera d’énoncer le constat de la situation actuelle, puis d’établir les étapes de réalisation et l’échéancier du projet. Un comité de travail incluant ceux ayant participé à la rencontre sera par la suite formé. « Je suis impressionnée et motivée par le groupe de citoyennes et citoyens qui a lancé le jardin communautaire les Lopins verts en moins d’un an. Cela montre le grand intérêt de la population matanaise pour ce type de projet. C’est une chance de pouvoir travailler ensemble à développer davantage l’agriculture urbaine », a lancé vivement Véronique Gagné, responsable. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de remplir le formulaire en ligne avant le 27 janvier à 23h45. Le lien de connexion Zoom pour assister à la rencontre sera ensuite envoyé par courriel.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Twitter suspended an account linked to Iran's Supreme Leader on Friday, hours after it carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone alongside a vow to avenge the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack. The post, on a Persian-language account linked to Khamenei's website, had carried the text of remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in December, in which he said "Revenge is certain".
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 on Friday, while Nunatsiavut prepares to roll out second doses of the Moderna vaccine next month. The new case is a man under 40 in the Eastern Health region. The Department of Health says it has completed contact tracing, and that the case is related to international travel. Friday's update brings the numbers of active cases to seven, with one person in hospital. So far, 77,463 people have been tested, including 193 since Thursday. Friday's case follows an infection announced Thursday related to contagion on the MV Blue Puttees, a ferry that runs between Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L. While a spokesperson for the operator, Marine Atlantic, said he expected 125 employees to be tested, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang said in a press conference Friday afternoon that all staff on board — 60 people — had been tested. Of those tests, officials found one other crew member who was positive, while everyone else tested negative, Strang said. The Nunatsiavut government on Friday released numbers on residents who got the vaccine when it arrived on the north coast earlier this month. The data shows 70.9 per cent of eligible adults, age 18 and older, got the vaccine. "From the community's feedback, it was very positive," says Gerald Asivak, Nunatsiavut's minister of health and social development. "People were happy and very ecstatic that it was finally here — a sense of relief. And the overall number of 70.9 per cent is something to be proud of." The percentage of those who received the vaccine varied by community: 73.8 per cent in Makkovik, 69.3 per cent in Hopedale, 89.1 per cent in Rigolet, 66.3 per cent in Nain and and 68 per cent in Postville. Asivak said there could be a number of reasons for the varying rates. "There could have been some people being away, out of town, acute illness, away for work, gone to their cabins," he told CBC's Labrador Morning. "I also feel that there might be some vaccine hesitancy around this. It's a brand-new pandemic, it's a brand-new vaccine. Some people might have been very wary of it." Asivak said he suspects there may be "some myths or misconceptions" about the vaccine, but assures residents it has undergone clinical trials with 94 per cent effectiveness. For those looking for more information, about the vaccine, he said residents should visit official websites, like Nunatsiavut's health page, Labrador-Grenfell Health, the provincial government's COVID-19 portal, or the federal government's website. "Trust only trusted sources," he advised. Asivak said planning is well underway for delivery of the second Moderna dose to Nunatsiavut communities from Feb. 8 to 13. "We have been in talks with Labrador-Grenfell Health, and Health and Community Services, even up to as of late yesterday, saying we've done our first part, we need commitment for the second dosage, and we have been receiving confirmation from the government that yes, there will be enough to roll out for the second dosage." While receiving the vaccine has been a great relief for many, Asivak stressed that following public health measures is still vital. Front-line health-care workers, long-term care residents, and isolated and Indigenous communities, as well as vulnerable populations, are the first priority groups identified in the province's vaccine rollout plan. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
January 8 marked the first anniversary of the tragedy of the crash of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. 176 passengers were on board the flight, in which 138 of them had ties with Canada. Minutes after the plane took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in Iran, Flight PS752 came down in a field where all passengers on board lost their lives. The cause was first said to be due to a mechanical error, but evidence was later discovered that the plane was hit by an Iranian missile. Area dentist Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion was one of the members who lost family on that fatal flight. His wife, Dr. Parisa Eghbalian, also a dentist, and daughter Reera Esmaeilion were two of the 176 victims. Dr. Esmaeilion, who has been working in the dentistry industry for the past 17 years, has practiced in Aurora, Caledon and Richmond Hill since moving to Canada in 2010. His wife and daughter were visiting family in Iran over the holidays and were returning home where they were transferred to a connecting flight – Flight PS752. “This whole year has been like a nightmare for me,” he said. In the beginning, Iranian officials declared no participation in the events. As investigations were pursued and evidence collected, Iran admitted to their involvement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later assigned Ralph Goodale in March as his special advisor in order to “examine lessons learned from the crash of Flight PS752 and other air disasters, develop a framework to guide Canada’s response to international air disasters, provide recommendations on best practices, including advice on tools and mechanisms needed to prevent future events.” Mr. Goodale released a report this past December which strongly underscored the importance of taking care of the families who’ve lost loved ones. “Each encounter is profoundly emotional because the families’ grief and anguish are so real and ongoing,” he stated. “They tell their personal stories. They describe their loved ones, now gone. They mourn the rich human potential so cruelly destroyed. They ask questions. They yearn for the truth.” Families from Iran, Afghanistan, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom also lost loved ones. After the loss of his two family members, Dr. Esmaeilion went back to work but found he couldn’t continue full-time. In order to work and fight towards getting the truth behind the tragedy, he, along with other family members of the victims of Flight PS742, organized an association in order to inform the public of recent news and to seek justice. “I lost two people,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “We passed one year. One year is nothing compared to the life span of a human being. I couldn’t do anything else, I needed to know what happened to my wife and my daughter.” PS752 Justice is a non-profit organization developed by the group of families of the victims of Flight PS752, for which Dr. Esmaeilion is the spokesperson. Their mission, according to their website is “to unite the grieving families, keep the memories of the passengers alive, and most importantly seek justice. We are determined to uncover the truth and find out why a commercial flight was shot down by IRGC’s (Islamic Revolution Guard Corps) missiles. We will staunchly seek justice until the culprits, perpetrators and commanders of this atrocious crime are identified and brought to justice before an impartial and independent court.” “The story behind it is very complicated. It’s very hard to understand the chain of events that ended up murdering 176 people,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “It’s a constant fight. Before all this we were ordinary people living in Canada, living in Richmond Hill. Then in three minutes, life changes. You have to tell yourself why, why this happened to me and it’s very difficult to answer. But you have two options: just sit at home and cry for the rest of your life or stand up and fight. So, [the] majority of the families chose the second one.” The downing of the Flight PS752, came about during high tensions between Iran and the United States. Just five days beforehand, the U.S launched a drone that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. The same day as the downing of Flight PS752, Iran launched missiles at the U.S military bases in Iraq. A timeline of events is provided on the PS752 Justice website along with other updates, news, and actions being held in order to seek the truth, as well as justice. “Justice for us, and closure for us is to see the criminals in an international court,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “There’s a long way to go. We are fighting with the government of Iran, but here we have to encourage and push our government forward. They have been very supportive, but after a year, there’s no truth. There’s no justice yet.” A major virtual memorial event was held to honour the victims of Flight PS752 on January 7 and January 8. The event was live streamed on the association’s YouTube channel, beginning at the same time the fateful flight took off one year ago. The event included videos and photos provided from the families of the victims and biographies were read out. A short movie of the children who lost their lives was aired, as well as a social distanced rally took place in Toronto where family members of the victims walked together from University of Toronto’s front campus and concluded at City Hall. Government officials also shared their words on the anniversary, including Premier Doug Ford who stated, “All Ontarians grieve with you. Our government continues to support our federal counterparts working with the international community to pursue accountability, reparations and justice.” Said Dr. Esmaeilion: “Everybody sees themselves in that flight. That’s why it’s not difficult to keep the memory alive among the Iranian Canadian community.” As the majority of the news since March of last year has revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic, PS752 Justice wasn’t able to clearly state their mission, but as the anniversary came around, they were able to speak to a wider audience. They fear they will be put into the dark once again but will continue to work together as a unit to inform and educate the public and seek justice. “My whole life is dedicated to PS752 Justice,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. A fundraiser is also continuously ongoing to help PS752 Justice continue to conduct their work. They have organized a Go Fund Me page which has reached over $160,000. The fundraiser can be found at gofundme.com under ‘Help Us to Keep Up the Fight for Justice’. To learn more about PS752 Justice please visit ps752justice.com or on their social media platforms Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
After complaints from its residents, Wheatland County is confronting large, personal medicinal cannabis growing facilities that, unlike regulated commercial facilities, operate without having to notify the municipality. Tom Ikert, Division 4 Councillor, brought forth the issue after becoming aware of a cannabis growing operation close to his residence. “I went to the county because the neighbours were complaining about the smell,” he said. At first Ikert was assured that no growing facility exists in the area – the county allows commercial cannabis cultivation in the Wheatland Industrial Park only – but he later determined the facility was a personal medical cannabis growing facility. A big one. In November 2020, Wheatland County published a white paper arguing there is a regulatory gap for personal and medicinal cannabis growing that is creating safety and environmental risks and causing disputes among neighbours. The white paper was sent to local MLAs, Bow River MP Martin Shields, and Premier Jason Kenney. Under Canada’s cannabis laws, the federal government is responsible for the rules for cannabis production and processing, while provinces and territories are responsible for regulating distribution and sale. While Alberta municipalities have the power to create land use bylaws on where cannabis can be grown, these apply to commercial enterprises only. Municipal policies and land use regulations are not applicable to personal cannabis production. Under Health Canada’s Medicinal Use of Cannabis application, individuals can apply for a medicinal growing license. The number of plants each license holder is allowed is determined by a calculator tool that creates an output based on the number of grams they are prescribed daily. Up to 485 cannabis plants can be grown at home, without the requirement of notifying local authorities. “Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s 1,000 pounds of weed you can grow in a year if you’re using 500-watt bulbs,” said Ikert. He added many of these growers have brought three-phase power onto the sites, which raises questions as to whether the cannabis grown is strictly for personal use as restricted by law. While the permit holder is expected to meet local bylaws, regulations and safety code requirements, the application and approval process does not require confirmation that all municipal requirements have been met. The county is arguing this has created a large regulatory loophole, where large cannabis growing facilities can be active without being known or accountable to municipal enforcement. The problem is exacerbated by regulations allowing a designated producer to be registered by multiple permit holders. Multiple (up to four) registrations can be active at one same location, meaning up to 1,940 plants can be grown together. “You can also congregate, in a sense,” said Bow River MP Martin Shields. “Three or four growers get together and say, ‘let’s just roll with this one place,’” he said. “Wheatland County is absolutely right saying that if cannabis is being grown as a congregated personal site, municipalities have no clue what’s out there.” Many growers choose to make changes to their homes or buildings that legally require an electrical, gas or building permit. If they applied for a permit, it would be reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code and the work inspected by a safety codes officer, once complete. But by not having to notify municipalities, these growers may skip the permit process and install new systems that are unsafe, the white paper argues. Without the requirement for proper ventilation, there is potential for environmental health issues from home cannabis growing, including air quality and moisture concerns (e.g. mould), and chemical exposure from use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, it states. Residents also have little recourse when faced with nuisance issues from a neighbouring facility, namely odours. If the county is notified of a nuisance growing facility that is not a known commercial operation with a development permit, the RCMP will be contacted. However, if the occupant or owner is found to have a license for medical cannabis, the only option is to let the license holder know of the complaint and work toward a voluntary solution. These personal medical grow operations do not have to have the same security systems that commercial sites require, resulting in a higher potential for crime, added Shields. The resolution of the white paper is for the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) to collaborate with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to advocate for Health Canada to ensure municipal compliance for all personal medical cannabis production facilities for existing license holders and prior to approval for all future applications. Reeve Amber Link presented the paper to the RMA District 2: Central directors, who supported the resolution. It will go forward to the RMA District 2 spring meeting on Feb. 5. If the resolution receives support at that meeting, it will go to the RMA spring convention for consideration by all rural municipalities in Alberta, she explained. The paper will also be presented to the FCM during its March 2021 board meeting. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay lawyer is facing charges of forcible confinement and assault related to an incident from August 2020. Court documents show Ronald Poirier, 70, and David Poirier, 36, each face charges stemming from an Aug. 28, 2020, incident. Ronald’s charges include forcible confinement and assault and David’s charges are assault, utter threats and breach of a release order. Ronald is a lawyer practicing in private in Thunder Bay. He is also retained as a federal crown agent through the Public Prosecution of Canada (PPSC). The federal agency confirmed this week they are aware of his charges currently before the courts. “The PPSC is aware of the situation and confirms that Mr. Poirier is one of its agents,” Nathalie Houle, a media relations advisor for the PPSC said in an email. “The PPSC has reassigned Mr. Poirier’s files at this time,” she said, adding the agency couldn’t comment any further on the case. There are currently no restrictions on his right to practice law, according to the Law Society of Ontario website. Both individuals are currently not in custody and are scheduled to appear in court next on March 8, according to court documents. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
JACKSON, Miss. — A leader of the Brexit movement and newly appointed government trade adviser in the United Kingdom is now the head of a conservative think-tank in the American South. Douglas Carswell, 49, started working this month as the new CEO and president of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Carswell, a libertarian and former member of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, was a member of Parliament for 12 years and a co-founder of Vote Leave, the campaign that pushed the Brexit referendum in 2016. Carswell said his home country was his primary focus as the U.K. negotiated terms of its recently finalized split from the European Union. However, he said he has had a growing interest in working in the U.S. “I think the fight for freedom in America is the most important battle for freedom in the world, because America is the exceptional country in the world,” Carswell told The Associated Press. Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who left office a year ago, has developed a work relationship with Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and Bryant attended a 2019 event for the lobbying group World4Brexit. Carswell said he has never met Bryant. Carswell clashed with more populist Farage after being the first of only two U.K. Independence Party candidates ever elected to Parliament. Farage ran unsuccessfully more than half a dozen times. Carswell's 2014 election victory gave political momentum to the party and the Brexit cause. He left the U.K. Independence Party in 2017, later stepping down from Parliament. After Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, many of the figures who led the campaign have moved on to new ventures. Farage became a radio talk-show host and Donald Trump’s main British supporter, once even attending and speaking at a 2016 Trump campaign event in Mississippi. Others have been appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It’s common for former British lawmakers of all political stripes to seek think-tank or academic posts in the U.S. — a career move that can often bring prestige back home. In an email introducing his new position in Mississippi, Carswell said he believes freedom in the U.S. is “under attack” from a “radical New Left.” “If liberty is extinguished, the United States will become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials,” he said. “That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.” Carswell said he thinks school choice can give low-income Mississippi families more opportunities. He said he will push policies to make the state more competitive in attracting new businesses and allowing existing ones to grow. “Businesses that are traditionally located in hubs like New York, or Chicago or California, quite a few of those businesses are moving away from high tax and regulation regimes to Texas, Florida or Tennessee,” he said. “Why not Mississippi?” The Mississippi Center for Public Policy lobbies for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and free-market approaches to health care. Carswell said he admires that people’s freedoms in the U.S. are defined in federal and state constitutions. “In America, if your local mayor wakes up one morning and decides to take away your fundamental freedoms, you can take the politicians to court under the Constitution, you can enforce your rights as an individual,” he said. It allows “ordinary folk to live their lives free from the arbitrary whim of government,” Carswell said. “It’s only when you don’t have that that you realize quite how precious it is,” he said. “It really is the secret of American success.” Carswell plans to live in Jackson with his family but is not leaving U.K. politics. In November, he was appointed to a three-year term as a nonexecutive director of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Liz Truss, the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade, said Carswell will work at “striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules.” ___ Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless contributed from London. ___ Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Leah Willingham, The Associated Press
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
Ontario reported another 2,662 cases of COVID-19 and 87 more deaths linked to the illness on Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will send two mobile health units to assist in the Greater Toronto Area. "The spike in COVID-19 cases this month has put a real strain on hospitals," Trudeau said during a morning news conference. "For Ontario, in particular, the situation is extremely serious." Trudeau said the units will provide up to 200 additional hospital beds as well as medical equipment and supplies, freeing up space in the region's intensive care units. In a news release, the federal government said the mobile units are being deployed after a provincial request for assistance, and that they expected to be in the GTA "as rapidly as possible." They are scheduled to remain available to the provincial government until May 1, depending on the COVID-19 trends in Ontario at that time. The province will be responsible for staffing the mobile units, the release added. WATCH | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on mobile health units headed to the GTA: The new cases reported today include 779 in Toronto, 542 in Peel Region, 228 in York Region, 128 in Waterloo Region, 188 in Windsor-Essex County and 102 in Halton Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Niagara Region: 95 Durham Region: 80 Hamilton: 78 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 77 Ottawa: 75 Simcoe Muskoka: 71 Middlesex-London: 65 Thunder Bay: 58 Eastern Ontario: 37 Huron-Perth: 26 Southwestern: 19 Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 16 Sudbury:13 Chatham-Kent: 11 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) They come as labs processed 71,750 test samples for the virus and reported a provincewide test positivity rate of 3.3 per cent, the lowest it has been since mid-December. Further, the seven-day average of daily cases dropped to 2,703, marking 11 straight days of decreases. Another 3,375 infections were marked resolved in today's report. There were 25,263 confirmed, active infections in Ontario yesterday — a figure that has also been trending downward since its peak on Jan 11. According to the province's data, the number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals, as well as those requiring intensive care and ventilators all decreased. As of yesterday, the total number of COVID-19 patients that were: In hospitals: 1,512 (down 21) Being treated in intensive care units: 383 (down five) On ventilators: 291 (down two) There were ongoing outbreaks of the illness in 244, or about 39 per cent, of Ontario's 626 long-term care homes. Revised projections recently released by the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table suggested if Ontario were to accelerate its immunization rollout and vaccinate all long-term care home residents by the end of January, rather than mid-February, as many as 580 lives could be saved. The 87 additional deaths push Ontario's official COVID-19-linked death toll to 5,701. Meanwhile, the province said it administered 13,784 doses of vaccines Thursday. A total of 264, 985 shots have been given out, while 49,292 people have received both doses. WATCH | Measures in Ontario, Quebec seem to be working, epidemiologist says: #StayHomeON media campaign The provincial government said it has a new #StayHomeON campaign, which will include messages from various online "influencers" and politicians, including a video from Rick Mercer posted this morning. Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, said in a news release that athletes on the Toronto Raptors and Ottawa Senators will also be participating. Markedly absent from the province's expanded effort to get Ontarians to stay home is the availability of permanent paid sick days, which the Progressive Conservative government eliminated in 2018. The government's own medical and science advisers, as well as a chorus of municipal officials and activists, have repeatedly called for Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to implement paid sick days, especially for essential and low-wage workers in the manufacturing, warehousing and food processing sectors. Ford has instead pointed to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which offers $500 per week for up to two weeks eligible workers. Critics have noted, however, that the program amounts to less than minimum wage and the financial assistance is not immediate. More cases at Canada Post facility Meanwhile, mandatory testing at a Mississauga Canada Post facility found 27 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in 48 hours. Canada Post said 149 workers at its massive Dixie Road site had tested positive between Jan. 1 and Thursday afternoon. Spokesperson Phil Legault said the latest cases were detected among workers who were asymptomatic or didn't believe they had symptoms. Testing of the entire shift was ordered by Peel Public Health and began Jan. 19. Legault said Canada Post is now offering voluntary testing to employees working outside the public health-identified shift. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site.
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying home for the first time since being poisoned with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent that Navalny says was applied to his underpants by state security agents. The 44-year-old lawyer, in a Moscow prison pending the outcome of four legal matters he describes as trumped up, accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering his attempted murder.
BROCKTON – Jennifer Stephens, general manager, did a presentation on the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority’s 2021 budget at the Jan. 12 meeting of Brockton council. This year’s budget shows a 1.6 per cent increase over last year, representing a dollar amount of $27,570. Brockton will be paying an additional $2,546. She stated the goal of the SVCA over the past few months has been to focus on the mandated programs and services outlined in the Conservation Authorities Act. Stephens outlined some of those programs including flood forecasting and warning. The goal is to “keep people away from the water, and keep the water away from people.” This is accomplished through a variety of measures including physical structures such as dams and channel work. SCVA is also involved in stewardship activities, environmental planning and regulations, conservation education, forestry, and non-revenue parks and property management throughout the watershed. To help identify priorities over the next five years, the SVCA is undertaking a strategic planning exercise. It will involve extensive consultation with the public, municipalities and other partners. The plan will incorporate recent changes to the Conservation Authorities Act through Bill 229. Council asked a number of questions, including about changes that have a direct impact on Brockton. Coun. James Lang mentioned two staff members who had played an important role in promoting tourism in the Greenock Swamp. Stephens responded by saying the business of the SVCA is to “protect natural spaces and conduct our mandated programs” through the entire watershed. Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak addressed plans to conduct needed maintenance work in the SVCA’s parks and said he was pleased at the direction that’s been put in place by Stephens. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
For the first time in seven months, Jeanette Harper isn’t looking over her shoulder for a long-term care employee trying to rush her out after her weekly 30-minute visit with her 89-year-old mother. Harper was granted essential visitor status this week after a long battle for the right to visit and help her mother Marguerite Bell in her Eden Gardens, Nanaimo dementia care centre. “I was thrilled,” said Harper, whose mother has Alzheimer’s. “My mom still knows me behind her mask, so hoping she gets a bit of her spark back.” Now instead of being limited to 30 minutes per week as her mother’s only allowed social visitor, Harper can spend 90 minutes with her mother three times a week. They’re still confined to Bell’s room but have been enjoying crosswords and looking at family photos together. But thousands of other families hoping to visit and support long-term care residents are still struggling to be approved under the province’s essential visitor guidelines. Harper suspects an appeal to the Island Health Patient Care Quality Office and a letter from her lawyer in Vancouver ultimately put enough pressure on the care home, which had denied her application, but she can’t be sure. Harper said it shouldn’t be so difficult for people to be able to support their loved ones’ mental and physical health during the pandemic. “It’s very sad that a person has to jump through that many hoops and fight that hard.” The decision offers a sliver of hope for families of long-term care residents that new and clarified rules on essential visits will allow them precious time with loved ones. The province released updated guidance on Jan. 7 that clarified the criteria to qualify as an essential visitor and the appeal process if care home managers deny a request. Currently, less than than 15 per cent of the province’s 20,000 long-term care residents have designated essential visitors, who are allowed to visit multiple times per week and for longer than designated social visitors. The original health orders placed the burden on families to prove the care home couldn’t provide essential care before they could be approved as a visitor. And a report from the BC Seniors’ Advocate found that between March and November, about half of all essential visitor applications were rejected by care homes. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said this week that she hopes every resident of long-term care will have the chance to have an essential visitor, but that it has been a “challenge to operationalize.” But Harper and a group of more than 30 other families say Henry should change the rules to ensure every care home resident is allowed one essential visitor. That has been the practice in Ontario since September. Karen Carteri, the lawyer representing the families, wrote Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Dec. 4 saying the province was denying long-term care residents basic rights and putting them at risk. “The existing isolation and visitation limits in long-term care and assisted living arguably violate the security of the person and liberty rights of residents of care homes and the rights of their families,” Carteri wrote. Carteri told The Tyee the group had not received a direct response from the government. On Dec. 29, they filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsperson due to the lack of response. The Tyee has reached out to the province for comment and did not hear back before publication. Carteri said most of her clients are now re-applying for essential visitor status under the new rules. She said they’ll continue fighting until it’s clear that essential visitors are being allowed for all residents. “The new guidelines are only a meaningful response to the calls for change, including ours, if government ensures the new guidelines are interpreted and implemented in a manner that results in changes for families who have been prevented from visitation for so many months,” she wrote in an email to The Tyee. “Too many seniors in long-term care have been denied any such contact at all with loved ones at any point since the outset of the pandemic.” Harper is grateful to have more time with her mother but doesn’t want others to have to go through the same arduous process as the pandemic continues. “Our loved ones don’t have forever, they only have now,” she said. “Time is not on their side.” Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
L’année 2020 derrière nous, à quoi peut-on s’attendre en 2021? Nous avons discuté des défis économiques qui nous attendent avec Brigitte Alepin, professeure en fiscalité au Campus de Saint-Jérôme de l’UQO. D’entrée de jeu, Mme Alepin veut être claire. « Je ne peux vraiment rien prédire en ce moment. Rien dans cette pandémie n’était prévisible. » Elle indique que plusieurs économistes de renommée se sont aventurés à faire des prévisions en 2020, mais que celles-ci se sont souvent révélées erronées. Elle rappelle aussi que la situation actuelle est sans précédent. Les gouvernements ont dû prendre rapidement des décisions radicales. « On sera longtemps en train d’analyser : est-ce qu’on a pris les bonnes décisions? » Elle souligne que les présents gouvernements sont ceux qui ont le plus d’expérience dans la gestion d’une pandémie. « Je ne sais pas quelle note je donnerais aux gouvernements. Ce n’est pas parfait, mais ils l’ont quand même gérée. On doit toutefois s’attendre, espérer qu’ils ont appris, et qu’ils seront plus proactifs qu’en réaction, en 2021. » Malheureusement, Mme Alepin est certaine d’une chose : les gouvernements continueront à faire des déficits pendant un bon bout de temps. Tant au fédéral qu’au provincial, la dette publique a explosé, gonflée par les mesures pour contenir la pandémie et pour soutenir financièrement les citoyens et les entreprises pendant la crise. Si certains économistes espèrent une relance économique vigoureuse après la vaccination, Mme Alepin croit que cela sera bien insuffisant pour renflouer les coffres de l’État. Sans compter que des investissements supplémentaires seront nécessaires pour cette relance… « Ça va être difficile. Tout le monde s’en vient à sec! » Selon la fiscaliste, nous n’aurons plus le choix d’imposer davantage les « méga-riches » et les multinationales, pour qu’ils contribuent à leur juste part. « Mais la pandémie coûte tellement cher, ça ne sera pas assez », avertit-elle. Ainsi, les déficits et la dette, nécessaires pour vaincre la pandémie, devront être gérés avec prudence. Ce qui inquiète aussi la professeure, c’est l’inflation. « On n’en parle pas assez, il faut poser des questions! » Difficile de connaître l’impact précis des dépenses gouvernementales sur l’inflation, mais déjà les prix des aliments ont augmenté, par exemple. « Quelles seront les conséquences? Comment va-t-on gérer ça? Doit-on s’en soucier? Les taux d’intérêt pourraient augmenter. Là, tout est contenu, nous ne sommes pas en crise, mais ça peut débouler vite! » Si l’inflation s’accélère, elle peut devenir un cercle vicieux et se transformer en hyper-inflation. Alors les prix augmentent exponentiellement, chaque dollar a de moins en moins de valeur, jusqu’à ce que votre fonds de pension ne vaille plus rien. Difficile d’évaluer si le risque est réel ou non, mais selon Mme Alepin, les gouvernements devraient, à tout le moins, se pencher sur la question. Impossible également de prédire quel impact la pandémie aura eu sur la mondialisation. « Au début, on croyait que ça donnerait peut-être lieu à moins de mondialisation. De plus en plus, je lis des choses qui disent le contraire. » D’un côté, les États ont fermé leurs frontières, ont cherché à produire davantage de biens localement, comme les masques, et les consommateurs, comme au Québec, se sont tournés vers l’achat local. De l’autre côté, les États ont dû collaborer et se coordonner pour certains efforts, et les pressions pour plus de coopération internationale sont grandes. « Aux États-Unis, Joe Biden a tenu tête à la concurrence fiscale internationale, en promettant de rehausser le taux d’imposition des corporations de 21 à 28 %. Il y a aussi un nombre critique de pays qui veulent un impôt minimum mondial. C’est le dernier jalon qu’il nous manquait pour la mondialisation. » Dans tous les cas, l’ordre géopolitique et économique mondial est irrémédiablement bouleversé… même s’il est encore hasardeux d’en prédire les conséquences. Enfin, Mme Alepin prévient que les citoyens seront moins tolérants face à la concentration de la richesse par les milliardaires et les multinationales, qui paient peu ou pas d’impôt. « Quand les gens avaient un emploi, du pain frais à manger, de bons soins médicaux, quand tout allait bien, les gens acceptaient. Mais maintenant, ils n’accepteront plus. »Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
WASHINGTON — Capitol Police are investigating an incident in which a Republican lawmaker was blocked from entering the House chamber after setting off a metal detector while apparently carrying a concealed gun. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off the metal detector while trying to enter the chamber Thursday afternoon. The metal detectors were installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The incident was witnessed by a reporter from the Huffington Post After setting off the machine, Harris was asked to step aside for further screening. At that time, an officer discovered Harris was carrying a concealed gun on his side, according to the reporter. The officer sent Harris away, at which point Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the gun from him. Katko refused, telling Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris eventually left and returned less than 10 minutes later. He once again went through security and did not set off the magnetometer. He was then allowed to enter the House floor. Harris, in his sixth term representing Maryland's Eastern Shore, issued a statement through his chief of staff, Bryan Shuy. “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defence,'' the statement said. "As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.'' Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for Capitol Police, said the incident is being investigated. The public is not allowed to carry guns on Capitol grounds, but members of Congress may keep firearms in their offices or transport them on the Capitol grounds if they are unloaded and securely wrapped. Lawmakers are not allowed to bring guns into either the House or Senate chambers. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Police are back at the scene of a previous homicide investigation in St. John's after receiving reports of shots fired at a home on Craigmillar Avenue early Friday morning. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers were at 40 Craigmillar Ave. on Friday, a house investigated in connection with the shooting of shooting of James Cody, 47, in July. Police would not confirm is the house was of interest in Friday's shooting. In a press release early Friday afternoon, the RNC said officers responded reports shortly before 6 a.m. of shots fired at a residence on Craigmillar Avenue and were investigating a weapons offence. Police did not confirm 40 Craigmillar was connected to those reports, but said there were no injuries. On July 5, Cody was found dead on the pavement on the west end St. John's street. Footage obtained by CBC News from a nearby street captured five gunshots at 4:09 a.m. that day. Three days later, according to police court filings, investigators seized a KelTec P-11 9mm Luger handgun on a street behind Craigmillar. The RNC's forensic identification services were on Craigmillar on Friday, and the RNC says its criminal investigation division is investigating. Friday's press release says the incident is not believed to be a random attack. Both Cody and the owner of 40 Craigmillar Ave., Kurt Churchill, have past charges accusing them of links to drug trafficking. In July, lead RNC investigator Supt. Tom Warren said there was no information to suggest the homicide was linked to the drug trade or any other past crimes. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador