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WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
More than a month after the crew of a scallop dragger from Nova Scotia disappeared on the Bay of Fundy, the RCMP are calling off their search for the five men suspected of going down with the vessel, citing "significant" risk to the lives of divers. The body of one crew member was found the day the boat was last seen. The loved ones of missing crew members received a glimmer of hope last weekend when the sunken boat was located on the ocean floor, about two kilometres from Delaps Cove and more than 60 metres below the surface. The RCMP said at the time that their crews were not equipped to dive to the necessary depths to look inside, but they said they were studying their options. On Saturday, they announced in a news release that those options had been exhausted. Too risky for Canadian Armed Forces divers "The RCMP approached the Canadian Armed Forces to determine whether their divers may be able to assist," the RCMP news release said. "Upon conducting a thorough risk analysis, the CAF determined that the risk to the lives of their divers was too significant and unfortunately, were unable to support the request." With that, the RCMP said they were putting an end to all search operations, but they will continue to support investigations by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the provincial Department of Labour. In a statement, the TSB said it is conducting a Class 3 investigation into the incident. According to its website, this kind of investigation would result in a detailed report, which could include some recommendations. These investigations would usually be completed within 450 days. "This investigation is ongoing. It is too early to draw conclusions," the emailed statement said. "In this particular investigation, we have been able to collect significant information without access to the vessel itself. Should the vessel be recovered at a future date, we would examine the wreckage for additional information." The statement said the TSB is not responsible for wreckage recovery or search and rescue missions. "The TSB investigation team is mindful of the families who want answers rapidly. Throughout the investigation, we will be in direct contact with the next of kin," it said. The province's Department of Labour did not immediately respond to CBC's request for comment about the status of the investigation. Family members grapple with end of search The Chief William Saulis was last seen early on Dec. 15 heading toward shore after a week-long fishing trip. No mayday call was issued by the six-man crew, but an automated emergency beacon sounded at about 5 a.m. in the same area where the boat would eventually be found. An extensive search of the shoreline and water was mounted that day, which led to the discovery of two empty life-rafts and the body of one crew member — Michael Drake of Fortune, N.L. Family and friends of the other five crew members — Aaron Cogswell, Leonard Gabriel, Dan Forbes, Eugene Francis and the captain, Charles Roberts — have said they suspect the men were asleep in their bunks when something catastrophic caused the vessel to sink. Laura Smith, the sister and next of kin of Gabriel, said she's satisfied that the RCMP have done everything in their ability to find the men, but she thinks some other government entity should continue the search. She said no expense should be spared, "providing it's safe enough that we don't lose any other men doing the search.... I don't want to lose anybody else's family member trying to bring mine home." Smith said she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life wondering if her brother might eventually wash up on shore. The RCMP have not been able to confirm that the missing fishermen are inside the vessel, but Lori Phillips — the mother of crew member Cogswell — said she's confident they are. She feels there must be some way to bring them up. "They can send divers down to the Titanic to bring up artifacts ... realistically I'm having a hard time comprehending it. I think it comes down to the almighty dollar," Phillips said. But even if there is a way to recover the men, Phillips said she's torn about whether it should be done. "Right now you've got five people who are obviously together in their final resting place, all doing what they love doing. We [would be] bringing them up for our own selfish reasons." The company that owns the Chief William Saulis, Yarmouth Sea Products, has been raising money for the families, including through a GoFundMe campaign that as of Saturday had amassed more than $73,000. Phillips said there's been some talk among the families about putting that money toward an independent recovery effort. "Personally I'm torn, again. I know Aaron is where he would want to be. And the money that could be spent doing that could be put into trust funds for the nephews and nieces that he loved so much and give them a better chance at life so they don't have to go out and risk their lives out on the ocean," Phillips said. Nova Scotia RCMP said they'll continue to offer support and updates to family of the crew.
Edmonton's Sikh community is coming together once again to make sure those in need have food on the table Sikhs For Humanity, an initiative started seven years ago to help those who cannot afford to feed their families, is giving away groceries. Previously, the group served prepared meals like pasta, samosas, coffee and tea in a tent set up at Hope Mission every Saturday during the summer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the group decided to offer free groceries instead. "A lot of people are going through difficult times nowadays and people lost their jobs and things like that," volunteer Manjit Nerval told CBC's Edmonton AM. "We decided to help out as many of you can." The first event of the year took place a week ago in the parking lot north of Sherwood Park Costco on Buckingham Drive. Nerval said they were prepared to give away groceries to 400 families but only 100 cars showed up. "We had some extra food and we ran it down to a few of the apartments around Sherwood Park, lower income apartments," he said. He said from his conversations with people he learned many were out of jobs and in need of their service. "They really appreciate it," he said. He said members of the group pool money together and then individuals go on grocery runs. Some people donate food and perishables. Nerval said they plan on distributing groceries for the next few months and then hope to move their work to a new kitchen they are building in downtown Edmonton. "We plan on opening mid-April so we can serve the people," he said. Helping the less fortunate in the community is part of Sikh faith. Temples, called gurdwaras, house community kitchens and dining halls. "It's somehow in our blood," Nerval said. "We are taught to help others because we consider everyone to be like our own brother and sisters, because we are all one."
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Mayor Subkow called the regularly scheduled council meeting to order for the Village of Calder with all council members present. The council reviewed the minutes and Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the minutes as reviewed; motion carried. Moving on, the council then reviewed the agenda as amended; carried. The council heard concerns from a village resident and discussed the situation with the resident. Carrying on, the council reviewed the correspondence prior to Councillor Buzinski making a motion to file it; the motion carried The council next reviewed the bank reconciliation report prior to Mayor Subkow making a motion for it to be passed; the motion carried. Moving on, the council reviewed the village’s accounts. Administrator Brock explained to the council what to expect in the accounts for the village. Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the accounts which was carried. The council reviewed and signed the accounts payable prior to Mayor Subkow motioning to accept; motion carried. Administrator Brock was next to give her report to the council as to what she has done for the last month for the Village of Calder. Municipal Revenue Sharing was discussed under new business topics. The village meets all the criteria. Mayor Subkow made a motion to file the form for Municipals Revenue Sharing; motion carried. With only one (1) tender for garbage pickup, Councillor Buzinski made a motion to accept the tender which was carried. Summer student grants need to be filed prior to January 29, 2021. Councillor Spence made a motion to apply for a grant at a rate of $15 per hour for approximately 25-30 hours per week; motion carried. The meeting was then adjourned by Mayor Subkow. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
The Moose Hide Campaign is gearing up for its tenth anniversary with an upcoming livestream and set of virtual workshops. Founded in 2011 by a then 16-year-old Raven Lacerte and her father Paul, the campaign has now distributed more than two million squares of moose hide pins, representative of the commitments made during the campaign’s decade-long effort to end violence towards women and children. While out on a hunting trip near the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, called as such because of the many women who have gone missing or have been murdered along that 725-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, the father-daughter duo began thinking of the White Ribbon Campaign. Co-founded by former federal New Democratic Party leader, the now late Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign was sparked in response to the hate and violence that led to the shooting deaths of 14 women and others injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. “As we were talking about it, this moment of inspiration came to us,” Raven said. “We thought that moose hide would be something that men and boys would feel connected to with a hunter-gatherer, warrior feel to it,” she said, and that in turn could help raise awareness about the issue of violence toward women and children in the Indigenous community. Paul Lacerte had been at a conference in Vancouver focused on ending such violence when he recognized how few men were engaged by the issue. Of the hundreds of attendees, Lacerte noticed less than five men taking a true interest. “Women were doing all of it, the advocacy, the support, bearing the burden of the trauma and the healing,” Raven said. “We’ve been learning and growing over the years, as you can probably imagine as a 16-year-old and her dad just trying to sort it all out,” Raven said of the Moose Hide Campaign’s development over the years. “When we started, our idea was that ‘men need to end violence towards women and children’, with a special focus on Indigenous women and children,” Raven said. “As visibly Indigenous people, we know that the likelihood of something bad happening to me is much higher than other people. My dad really wanted to do that work to ensure that myself and my sisters could live lives free from violence.” Men and boys soon became engaged in the campaign, which includes a fast for one day as part of a call to action, which tests and deepens an individual’s personal commitment to honour and protect the woman and children in their lives. There was also a strong interest from other participants across the gender spectrum. “Immediately, women and gender non-binary folks were asking what their role could be in this movement,” Raven said. “It’s an awareness campaign. We invite everyone to wear the moose hide pin and fast with us, and continue these really important conversations.” “We’re still targeting men and boys specifically, but in the same breath saying that this campaign is for everyone. We need all of us to work together to end violence against women and children.” Raven also emphasized a greater integration of trans people and members of the greater LGBTQ2S+ community, with a goal of bringing an end to all gender-based and domestic violence. An event planned for Feb. 11 will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The intention is “To remember those we have lost. To share our stories and struggles. To grow closer through the experience of fasting and ceremony. To motivate one another with all we have managed to achieve,” reads the Moose Hide Campaign website. Forced online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event offers the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, the campaign’s founders, Elders and to participate in ceremony. February 11 is also the day people will undergo the traditional fast, which offers the opportunity for humility, healing and a signal that those taking part are serious about making change. Raven emphasized the importance of signing up through the campaign website to register for the day’s events, order a set of pins, learn healthy fasting techniques, and tips on organizing local Moose Hide Campaign events. There is also an option to order non-leather pins for those interested. Lacerte emphasized that the moose hides come from a variety of sources that are sent to a tannery, including donations from hunters who otherwise would have left the hides in the bush. “No moose are killed solely for the purpose of the campaign,” Raven said. The campaign encourages participants to wear the hide pins year-round. “Moose are iconically Canadian,” she said. “We wanted to offer a bit of the beauty and love and healing energy of the land as part of this movement. This is not just something you can throw in the garbage. We want you to wear it with pride.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
A decision to waive vision tests and other screening typically required to renew driver's licences for Ontarians aged 80 and older during the pandemic has some in the medical community raising concerns about the risks the move poses to those on the road. Residents aged 80 and older need to renew their licence every two years. The process involves a vision test, an education session, a review of driving records, a screening exercise, and, if needed, a road test. Last March however, in an effort to limit gatherings during the pandemic, Ontario paused licence renewal sessions for drivers aged 80 and older, and waived vision testing requirements. Seniors can currently renew their licences online with no testing needed. Dr. Hall Chew, an ophthalmologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, said the situation is a difficult one. "On the one hand, our seniors are the people who are at risk of getting sick from COVID, so any unnecessary appointments or exposure puts them at high risk," he said. "However, we know it is harder for patients over 80 to drive. They have more medical co-morbidities and vision problems, which we see quite commonly, and this is why renewal requirements exist in the first place." Chew said the suspension of renewal requirements for those 80 and older could lead to some being behind the wheel when they shouldn't be, posing a risk to everyone on the road. He also noted that seniors are likely paying fewer visits to eye doctors during the pandemic, which means some may not yet have been told they should no longer be driving. Chew suggested that vision testing, at minimum, be considered an essential renewal requirement. He said it could be done through virtual consultations or at Service Ontario sites with minimal contact and physical distancing. Dr. Barry Goldlist, a geriatrician at the University Health Network and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said licence renewals for those 80 and older should be seen as an essential service. "Why did the government sites close down completely, while others are trying to find ways to provide safe essential services,” he said. Goldlist said masking and physical distancing could at least help vision tests and and the education sessions that are part of senior licence renewals take place. He also suggested that licences renewed online during the pandemic be extended only for six months, as opposed to the typical two years. Several seniors said they wanted to ensure they could keep driving safely and hoped the pause on renewal requirements would not lead to any issues in the future. Anita Longe, an 87-year-old retired nurse, said being able to drive has been particularly useful during the pandemic. “I’ve always enjoyed driving. During COVID we are inside so much, at least we can go for a drive,” she said. Longe, whose licence will expire in September, said she was a careful driver and appreciated the independence the skill brought. She said she was eager to be able to keep driving. Hiroshi Ono, an 84-year-old vision science researcher at York University, recently renewed his license online and said he only learned about being able to do so from a friend. "There was a good reason for having those tests and they are not doing them now,” he said. Meanwhile, some seniors said they've been told by customer service agents that they can keep driving without renewals during the pandemic. John Roce, an architect who turned 82 in September, said he had last been through the renewal process in 2018 and had not yet renewed his licence again. He said he wasn't sure how to do so. "I was told by the licencing bureau to sit tight until I heard from the government," he said. Michael O’Morrow, a senior advisor at the Transportation Ministry said the renewal requirements were suspended “in order to support public health guidance to limit gatherings and encourage self- isolation.” He said licences that had expired from March 1, 2019 onward could be renewed online. "We strongly encourage everyone to renew their driver’s licence," he said. The ministry did not provide statistics on the number of seniors who had their licences revoked since 2018. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Radha Kohly is an eye physician and surgeon and vice-chair in her department at the University of Toronto. She is currently a fellow in global journalism at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Radha Kohly, The Canadian Press
Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) special constables have been fired following an investigation that found they used excessive force in an altercation involving a passenger on the 501 Queen streetcar last February, their union said Friday. The termination comes more than a month after an independent investigation into the violent arrest found that three TTC officers used "unauthorized" and "unnecessary" force on a passenger and that their actions were "discriminatory." CUPE 5089, the union that represents special constables, fare inspectors, and protective services guards employed by the TTC, posted the news in a Twitter statement Friday night and expressed their disappointment with the TTC's decision. "The decision comes in the wake of an 11-month investigation by Rubin Thomlinson that was politically motivated and failed to take into consideration any of the relevant legal, procedural, or factual evidence," the statement reads. A 12-second video of the arrest that occurred on Feb. 7, 2020 was posted to social media and showed two TTC staff members tackling a male rider and spraying him with a substance. The poster of the video said it began when the man, who appeared to be intoxicated, was approached by fare inspectors, who asked for proof of payment. He blew them off, which is when it turned physical, the poster said. Toronto police have said that the man was reportedly "acting aggressive and violent." The video gained public attention, with at least two city councillors speaking out in reaction to it. Coun. Brad Bradford called it an example of the "wrong way to handle fare evasion." In March of last year, the TTC retained Rubin Thomlinson LLP, an independent workplace investigation firm to probe the arrest, which found that both special constables used excessive force against the man. It also determined their application of force was based on the man's mental health and this was found to be "discriminatory on the basis of disability," the report stated. The investigator made multiple recommendations for the TTC, including improved training for special constables and fare inspectors on how they interact with people with mental illness and clarity on fare inspectors' use of force. Actions were reasonable: union CUPE 5089 disputed this report and maintains that the actions of the constables were reasonable. In Friday's statement, they note that the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Toronto Police Professional Standards a month after the incident. "As we have done from the beginning, we will continue to fully support the actions of our members," the union said. "The only positive that has come from this unfortunate incident is that the level of violence occurring almost daily towards customers and staff on Toronto Transit Commission has finally been brought to the public's attention." TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirmed in an email that the employees had been fired, but would not comment further as the union has shown this matter is still active. CUPE said they filed a grievance with the TTC and they look forward to the reinstatement of both officers.
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay's Amy Curlew is joining the big leagues this weekend, as she makes the jump from U.S. college hockey to the National Women's Hockey League. On Saturday, Curlew and her Toronto Six teammates will hit the ice for the first time in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the NWHL is holding its regular season and playoffs in a bubble in the leadup to the Isobel Cup final on Feb. 5. Curlew said playing pro hockey is a great chance to develop as a player and help grow the sport for women. "I think it's a great opportunity and there's definitely a lot of people that are pushing for us, and honestly, the NWHL is a great platform for women's ice hockey players and women athletes in general," she told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning. "We got a lot of great people helping us out and I think it's just phenomenal what they're putting together." Curlew was drafted in April by the Six, the NWHL's newest team and first team to play in Canada, based on the strength of her play while at Cornell University, where she put up 22 points in 32 games this year in a pandemic-shortened season. Her new coach, Margaret (Digit) Murphy — a fellow Cornell alum — noticed Curlew's game at the university and said she's a player who can play in all situations, in addition to being a "phenomenal human." "She stood out to me as someone who has energy for the game.… I think she has so much untapped potential and I think as players get older, they get better, they get more confident, and Amy's that kind of player that you can depend on," said Murphy. "She's there every day, working hard, comes with a smile on her face, has a lot of fun. And I think the other thing that inspires me is that other players are inspired by watching her play, so I think she's a magical Energizer bunny on the ice with us. I just love the way she plays." But Curlew is humble, despite the praise from her coach, who is among the most successful coaches ever at the highest level of American women's collegiate hockey. "She knows the game, so I guess she knows what she's talking about," she laughed. Curlew said her hard-working attitude began while she was growing up and playing hockey in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. "Starting at that rink back home and starting on my rink that my dad put together for me in my backyard, just shooting pucks, that led to something like Appleby College out here in Oakville, Ontario, which then led to me being able to go to Cornell University," Curlew said. "I think you need to go into every experience with an open mind, and just understand that you're going to go through some struggles, but you've gotta push through it.… If you're willing to do it, it's attainable." Role model for future players Murphy said Curlew's qualities as a skilled player and an inspiring person were just what she and the Six were looking for when they drafted her eighth overall. "When we built the team, it was really around more of a mindset than talent," she said. "What separates the Toronto Six and the culture that we build is how the connection and the mission is similar.… Do you want to play for a team that stands for, yes, women's hockey, great competition, but also being heroes, leaders and role models for the next generation?" With a team full of leaders and role models, Murphy said, her team will be able to compete on the ice, while creating opportunities for future female players who might not otherwise have a place to play just as they're entering their prime hockey years. "What happens is a lot of these players, they're just done and it's a hard stop in their NCAA career and there aren't a lot of opportunities post-college," she said. "What the NWHL is doing is they're affording players like Amy, and all the players on our team, top to bottom, opportunity to play post-collegiately, which quite frankly, I believe women deserve." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline. The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383. The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9. Premier Francois Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8. As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday. The province now has five active cases, with one person in hospital, as the Department of Health reported two more recoveries in Saturday's update. The health department did not say which region of the province the recoveries came from. This means 386 people have recovered from the virus in the province since the pandemic began in March. In total, 77,725 people have been tested as of Saturday. That's an increase of 259 in the last day. Further daily updates will continue to come via media releases sent by the Department of Health. The exception is on Wednesdays, when Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald will provide live updates on her own, until at least the end of the province's general election on Feb. 13. Around the rest of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported no new cases, while New Brunswick reported 17 on Saturday. There has been no update on Prince Edward Island as of 3 p.m. NT, but the province continues to have seven active cases. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hundreds of people marched in central Tunis on Saturday against inequality and police brutality, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations and as security forces tried to block off the city's main central avenue. Protesters chanted "the people want the fall of the regime" - a chant popularised during the so-call Arab Spring a decade ago - and held up banners and slogans decrying the security response to more than a week of demonstrations and nightly clashes between youths and police in cities across Tunisia. The protests, 10 years after a popular revolt against autocratic rule introduced democracy in Tunisia, represent the biggest bout of political unrest in several years, with police detaining hundreds of people.
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
Recently, the Town of Langenburg completed the work on a new sewage station. The lift station is used to move raw sewage out of town to the lagoon. The sewage station is state of the art and fully automatic. Sewage enters the station through the sewage pipes that come from each and every building in town. First, the sewage passes through a Muffin Monster, which is a device that mulches and grins up anything that happens to pass through the sewage system. Looking down the wet sewage well located just outside the sewage station. Muffin Monster is located at the bottom of the wet sewage well. Next, the sewage is pumped to the lagoon through two high-speed pumps that alternate between the two pumps installed (to extend the life of the pumps that can be costly to replace or repair). All of these pumps are controlled by the brains that make sure the station runs at peak performance, switching from SaskPower electricity to an emergency generator if the power happens to cut out for less than a few minutes. The brains behind the sewage station, including the control panel. Diesel generator changed to propane as a backup generator. The backup generator was converted to propane for direct and constant power if and when needed. The total cost for this project was $1,788,156.00 which was shared by the Federal and Provincial Governments as well; just over ⅓ of the cost covered by the Town of Langenburg. The 2 impeller pumps that move the raw sewage through the pumps. While the new facility equipment is state of the art, residents can do their part to help by making sure they only flush what is intended to go down the sewers. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 today and 52 more deaths related to the virus. The numbers mark a slight decline from the 2,662 cases recorded a day ago. Meanwhile the province says it plans to expand an inspection blitz of big-box stores to ensure they're complying with protocols meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Labour says inspection efforts focused on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, but will concentrate on Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions over the next two days. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte lashed out at suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday, saying delays in deliveries amounted to a serious breach of contractual obligations. Italy will have to rethink its whole vaccination programme if supply problems persist, a senior health official warned on Saturday, after Rome was forced to cut its daily rollout of COVID-19 shots by more than two thirds. Pfizer Inc last week said it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.
Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. "Nova Scotians can be proud of the work they're doing to keep our case numbers low," Premier Stephen McNeil said in a news release. "We need to stay the course — following public health protocols and being kind to each other — to keep the virus from spreading like we've seen in other provinces during the second wave of the pandemic." On Friday, McNeil said almost all of the province's public health restrictions will remain until at least Feb. 7, but some restrictions in sports, arts and culture will be eased starting Monday. Sports teams will be able to play games, but with limits on travel and spectators, and there can be no games or tournaments involving teams that would not regularly play against each other. Art and theatre performances can take place without an audience, he said. The province will also allow residents of adult service centres and regional rehabilitation centres to start volunteering and working in the community again. In the news release Saturday, the province announced that mental health and addictions support groups will also be able to meet in larger groups starting Monday. These groups may increase capacity to 25 from 10 with physical distancing. There are now 20 known active cases in the province and no one is in hospital with the virus. "While our new cases each day are staying low, we can't get complacent," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said in the release. "Please continue your vigilance and follow public health measures to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community." Nova Scotia Health's lab's completed 1,438 tests on Friday. Drop-in testing in Wolfville Late Friday, Nova Scotia's health authority said it would hold a pop-up testing clinic in Wolfville this weekend after an Acadia University student tested positive for COVID-19. The student tested positive after completing their 14-day self-isolation. They are self-isolating again, but did attend class Jan. 18-20. Drop-in testing will be available at the Acadia Festival Theatre on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals may visit the clinic if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, are not a close contact of a person with the virus and are not isolating because of travel outside of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
The owner of a Regina care home where 43 COVID-19-infected residents died says the outbreak there is finally over after two months. But at a Saskatoon Extendicare home still dealing with an outbreak, staffers are not properly using personal protective equipment at all times, according to two employees. They agreed to speak to CBC News on the condition of confidentiality. "All it takes is one single staff member making one mistake to infect a resident and have that resident later pass away," said a male worker at Extendicare Preston in Saskatoon. In an emailed statement, Extendicare spokesperson Laura Gallant said workers are doing everything possible to follow all provincial and local health directives. "Our team audits PPE practices regularly to make sure everyone is following best practice protocol," she said. "We conduct on-the-spot training to ensure staff know what to do." Health officials declared an outbreak at Preston on Dec. 10. The facility, which is operated by Extendicare under a contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has 82 beds, about 78 of which were occupied at the start of the outbreak, a female worker said. As of Wednesday, 33 residents were infected with COVID-19 after six others recovered, according to a note to workers that day. Thirteen staff members were positive for the illness, while two had recovered. Three residents who were infected have died, Gallant said. Eating in the hallway "Some co-workers, and I've witnessed it firsthand, are not using PPE properly," the male worker said. One staff member entered a COVID-positive resident's room wearing PPE, left to grab a water bottle from a staff break room, and then went back inside the resident's room with the same PPE, he said. In the last week, employees have taken masks off inside residents' rooms because they were hot, or ate food in hallways instead of the designated "green rooms" for staff, the female worker said. "[They're] touching their masks or faces with gloved hands that have touched residents who are COVID-19 positive," she said. Some staffers were wearing ill-fitting respirators because they were not supplied N95 respirators, even though air filters have been installed in parts of the home, she added. "They have the HEPA filter machines in certain rooms. People are just like, 'If they're cleaning the air, then why aren't they giving us N95s?" she said. Extendicare found problems with the air ventilation during the outbreak at its Parkside home in Regina, stoking fears about a similar problem at Preston, she said. In the note to workers on Wednesday — which also stressed the importance of properly using PPE — Extendicare senior administrator Jason Carson said Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines only require workers to wear N95 masks when carrying out certain tasks, such as intubating a resident. "The home continues to have an ample supply of PPE for all staff," Gallant said. "The SHA has determined that N95 masks are not required for all homes in outbreak and has confirmed that the existing PPE complement in use at the home is compliant with provincial direction." Carson's note also addressed the "air scrubbers." "We are not sure it will help but we are taking the extra step to help keep our [COVID-19] negative residents negative," Carson wrote. "It removes air pollution, surface contaminants, odours and dust. It provides a cleaner, healthier and more efficient air within your home." 'I would call it lazy' Many Extendicare Preston employees have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which the workers CBC spoke with say may be providing a false sense of security. Thirty employees and 52 residents had been vaccinated as of Friday, according to Extendicare. "I had a sneaking suspicion that people would start slacking because of getting the vaccine," the female worker said. According to Health Canada, for the vaccine to work best, people need to receive two doses. Clinical trials have found it also takes time for bodies to react — meaning people aren't protected immediately after getting a shot. The male Preston worker said he believes some co-workers are being "sloppy" with PPE because they don't know better. "I would call it lazy," the female worker said of what she's observed. Gallant said managers conduct daily walk-arounds to demonstrate PPE best practices and provide guidance to any employees with questions. "The SHA has been on site regularly to support our team and review infection prevention and control practices and PPE use," she said. When the Saskatchewan Health Authority took over day-to-day operations at the Regina Parkside home as the outbreak there reached its apex in early December, CEO Scott Livingstone said part of the reason for the move was to ensure "the PPE is there and being used appropriately to care for the patients." Asked a week later why the Parkside outbreak grew so bad — at its worst, more than three-quarters of the home's 200 original residents became infected — Livingstone said some things needed to be put in place at Parkside, including "infection control practices up to the SHA standard [and] the additional PPE." The authority had "heightened our measure for N95 usage" at Parkside, it told CBC News that same week. The SHA has not taken over operations at Preston as it did at Parkside. No active cases at Parkside Regina Extendicare operates three other care homes in the province, including a Moose Jaw home where an outbreak was declared on Nov. 12. It has since been declared over. In an update to family members of Parkside residents on Thursday, Extendicare said Regina's medical health officer had declared the outbreak over, "now that the standard 28-day period has passed after the onset of the last COVID-19 positive resident case that had the potential to contribute to transmission at the home." That outbreak had been declared on Nov. 20. Extendicare's five Saskatchewan homes are the only long-term care centres in the province operated by a private company under contract to the SHA, according to the health authority.
WASHINGTON — Inside the White House, President Joe Biden presided over a focused launch of his administration, using his first days in office to break sharply with his predecessor while signing executive orders meant as a showy display of action to address the historic challenges he inherited. But outside the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there were signs everywhere that those crises are as deep and intractable as ever. The coronavirus pandemic surges, the economy teeters and Republicans in Congress have signalled objections to many of Biden’s plans. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. He also knows that what a president can do on his own is limited so he is calling for Congress to act while he is being candid with Americans that dark days are ahead. “The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said Friday about the impact of pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.” “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said. Biden’s first moments as president were meant to steady American democracy itself. He took the oath just before noon Wednesday in front of a Capitol that still bore scars from the insurrection that took place precisely two weeks earlier and was aimed at stopping Biden’s ascension to power. The violence underscored the fragile nature of the peaceful transfer of power and led to the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. Biden resisted calls to move the inauguration to a more secure indoor setting. He was intent on preserving the usual inauguration trappings as a signal that normalcy could be achieved even though there were signs everywhere that things were far from normal: a military presence that resembled a war zone, guests on the dais wearing masks, a National Mall filled with 200,000 American flags standing in for the American people who were asked to stay away because of the pandemic. Biden was plain-spoken and direct about the confluence of crises the nation faces. More than 410,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, millions are out of work and the aftershocks of a summer reckoning with racial justice are still felt. “You can hear this collective sigh of relief that Trump is gone, but we have no time for a sigh of relief because of the cascading crises,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. “We don’t want to assume that the election of Biden solves everything. The scale of the problems is immense and the question for us is do we respond at scale.” The changes within the White House have been swift. After Trump’s departure, his final staffers cleared out and a deep clean began. The White House had been the site of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and, in a physical manifestation of a new approach to the virus, plastic shields were placed on desks and scores of new staffers were told to work from home. New pictures were hung on the West Wing walls and the Oval Office received a fast makeover. Gone were a painting of Andrew Jackson and the Diet Coke button of the desk; in came images of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. But the most important symbol, the clearest break from the previous administration, came from the president himself. When Biden sat down at the Resolute Desk to sign his first batch of his executive orders on Wednesday, he was wearing a mask. Trump had resisted wearing one, putting one on only occasionally and instead turning mask-wearing into a polarizing political issue Biden urged all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days and used his platform to model the same behaviour, one of several ways he tried to change the tone of the presidency in his first few days. Daily press briefings returned, absent the accusations of “fake news” that marked only sporadic briefings in the Trump era. Biden held a virtual swearing-in for hundreds of White House staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or they would dismissed, a marked change from the contentious, rivalry-driven Trump West Wing. Calls to the leaders of Canada and Mexico were made without drama. The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions meant to undo the heart of Trump’s legacy. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines. But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure. “Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight." "Everything he inherited is likely to get worse before we see improvement,” Gibbs saidtinued. “One thing you learn on January 20th is that you suddenly own all of it.” Just two Cabinet nominees were confirmed by week's end, to the frustration of the White House. But with the Friday night announcement that Trump’s impeachment trial will not begin until the week of Feb. 8, Biden aides were optimistic that the Senate would confirm more before then. The trial looms as an unwelcome distraction for the Biden team. But while Trump will shadow the White House, Biden aides have noted that the former president commands far less attention now that his Twitter account is gone. They have expressed confidence that the Senate can balance the impeachment proceedings with both Cabinet confirmations and consideration of the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden has made clear that steering the nation through the pandemic will be his signature task and some Republicans believe that Trump’s implosion could create an opening to work across the aisle on a relief deal. “There is a very narrow permission structure for congressional Republicans who want to move past the Trump era and want to establish their own political identities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney is now a Utah senator. “There is an old saying: ‘Make the main thing the main thing.’ And the Biden White House knows that’s the main thing,” Madden said. “If they can improve the pandemic response in the next 100 days, then they can move on to other priorities, they’ll have the capital for legislative fights. But they need to get it right.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press