A goalie does some drills on the frozen backyard pool.
A goalie does some drills on the frozen backyard pool.
(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
The U.S. Senate will start debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday after Democrats backed down from an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 as part of it. The backpedaling did not end hopes of addressing the minimum wage issue in Congress. Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, for the first time since 2009, although they disagree on how much.
RENNES, France — Rennes coach Julien Stephan has stepped down from this position following a poor run of results this year. The French league team thanked Stephan for all the “exceptional results” secured with the club. Stephan took over as Rennes head coach in 2018. He led the Brittany side to a stunning victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019 French Cup final. He also helped the team qualify for the Champions League group stage for the first time last season. But Rennes slumped to a fourth consecutive loss in all competitions last week and has won only one game in 2021. The Associated Press
(Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC - image credit) For Onowakohton Rusty Nolan, the people's fire in Kahnawake, Que., has become a second home. It's where he feels a sense of comfort, comradery and unity and is able to show solidarity to First Nations across the country facing injustices. "It's a symbol of our resistance," said Nolan. "It's a symbol of who we are, our strength, and lately it's been a place to give us a little bit of hope." The fire, which is located in a green space at the foot of the Honoré Mercier Bridge, was lit on Feb. 8, 2020 when community members blockaded Canadian Pacific Railway lines in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' ongoing opposition to the Coastal GasLink project in northern B.C. Even though the barricades have since come down, the fire still burns a year later. The people's fire, housed behind this wooden structure, was moved to a green space at the foot of the Honoré Mercier Bridge when the railway barricade was dismantled on March 5, 2020. Nolan, who is one of the firekeepers, said being there evokes a sense of pride. "It's like we're on standby for Wet'suwet'en. We didn't want to give up. We didn't want to go home," he said. "I feel like I'm letting people know that I'm there and they can sleep tight at night. It's a nice big warm fire that is spreading positive vibes far." The fire is moved to its new location March 5, 2020 after the dismantling of barriers that halted rail traffic south of Montreal for more than three weeks. Ongoing fight Roxann Whitebean, a filmmaker in Kahnawake, was asked to read a letter last year to a crowd of reporters on behalf of the people of the fire, explaining the decision to take down the blockade. She said the fact that the camp is still up and the fire is still going sends a powerful message. "It's still a solidarity fire burning for the Wet'suwet'en, and I'm happy that people are still going and that there's a level of visibility there," said Whitebean. "Their fight is ongoing so we have to remind people that they are still dealing with this." A delegation of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs walks toward the Longhouse to meet with members of the Kahnawake branch of the Mohawk Nation in February 2020. The hereditary chiefs still oppose the pipeline, and the support has not gone unnoticed. "It's a continued fight and I really appreciate the fire is still on with the alliance we're building with Kahnawake," Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos said. "We stood up to create awareness, and that awareness has been a highlight of what is actually out there which is racism. The message that I get to Indigenous people is to continue to stand up against this racism." A place for solidarity In addition to showing solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs throughout 2020, the people's fire also helped raise awareness locally of the Black Lives Matter movement, 1492 Land Back Lane, and the plight of Mi'kmaw lobster fishers. The show of solidarity is something Whitebean said the people's fire has been doing for well over a decade and will continue to do. "Even when the physical structure comes down, the people still carry that same love within their hearts to want to make social change and to try to better our nation and and amplify the voices of people who are dealing with injustice within their communities," she said. As for Nolan, he said he just wants people who pass by the camp to know that it's a place of solidarity, unity and peace rather than harmful stereotypes often portrayed in media when Indigenous people use blockades to raise awareness of injustices. "We're Mohawks. We're still here. We're not going anywhere, and we're here for peace," said Nolan. "The fire is still there because our issues are neverending. Every time our fire is lit, it lasts longer and longer. It just seems like our resistance is becoming brighter and brighter."
(Leah Mills/Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters - image credit) Donald Trump's actions will take centre stage in a Vancouver courtroom this week as Meng Wanzhou's lawyers try to prove the former U.S. president poisoned extradition proceedings against the Huawei executive. The case should be tossed out because of alleged political interference, Meng's lawyers are expected to argue at the first of three sets of B.C. Supreme Court hearings scheduled to stretch into mid-May. A decision on the extradition request isn't expected until much later this year. The 49-year-old, who is Huawei's chief financial officer, is charged with fraud and conspiracy in New York in relation to allegations she lied to an HSBC banker in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The arguments related to the former president concern a statement he made to a Reuters reporter in the weeks after Meng's arrest at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018. At the time, Trump said he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary to help the U.S. reach a trade deal with China. Charter rights argument could be 'decider' The Crown — which represents the U.S. in the proceeding — contends there's no evidence Trump made good on his words and that any possible influence he could have had on the case ended along with his term in office. University of B.C. professor Michael Byers, an expert on international law, says he doubts the defence team will have much success convincing Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes the U.S. Department of Justice has been swayed by political considerations. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of the telecommunications giant. She is accused of fraud and conspiracy. But he does think they'll have a better shot in the coming weeks with claims Meng's rights were breached on her arrival when Canada Border Services Agency officers questioned her for three hours before RCMP executed a warrant calling for her "immediate arrest." "That three-hour period could well have constituted a violation of her Section 7 rights to security of the person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "And so if the extradition judge is to rule that Ms. Meng should be set free, my expectation is that it's that particular element of the case that will be the decider." Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, the man who became a billionaire by turning his global communications giant into a flagship business prized by the Chinese state. Meng's legal team includes lawyers from firms across Canada. And her case is being spearheaded by Vancouver's Richard Peck, of Peck and Company. Strategy to have case thrown out Along with arguments about Trump's role, the allegations related to Meng's treatment by the CBSA are part of a multi-pronged defence strategy to have the proceedings stayed. Meng's lawyers also claim the U.S. misled Canada about the strength of its case and that American prosecutors are reaching far beyond their jurisdiction by trying a Chinese citizen for a conversation that took place in Hong Kong with an executive for an English bank. Meng Wanzhou's lawyers are expected to claim her charter rights were violated during her first few hours in CBSA custody. Holmes will hear submissions about the events surrounding Meng's arrest during the second stretch of hearings, scheduled to begin in mid-March. The defence claims the CBSA conspired with the RCMP and CBSA to have border agents question Meng without a lawyer. They also seized her cellphones and later gave the passcodes to police, in contravention of policy. The defence has accused the RCMP of sending technical information from Meng's electronic devices to the Americans. A senior officer who was in touch with a legal attache for the FBI has refused to testify — and last month, Meng's lawyers announced their intention to try to force the Crown to disclose their communication with him about that decision. 'An irritant' in U.S.-China relationship In court documents filed in advance of this week's hearing, Meng's lawyers cited comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about a need to tie a trade deal between the U.S and China to the resolution of Meng's situation and the fate of two Canadians imprisoned in China. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been accused of spying by the Chinese government in what most observers believe is retaliation for Meng's arrest. Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, right, were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. U.S. President Joe Biden has called for their release. The Crown doesn't make any mention of the so-called "two Michaels" in its submissions, but the defence claims the constellation of factors riding on the case has made it extremely difficult for Meng to defend herself without worrying about the impact on others. U.S. President Joe Biden called on China to release Kovrig and Spavor last week following a bilateral meeting with Trudeau, saying "human beings are not bartering chips." Byers believes Biden may decide to bring an end to efforts to extradite Meng in the coming months as he looks to improve the U.S. relationship with China. "It is in the hands of the Biden administration to end this case. And the Biden administration will be in the process now of resetting the relationship between the United States and China. That is a hugely important relationship, for economic reasons, for security reasons. "Those two superpowers need to get along. They need to get things done. And Ms. Meng's presence in Vancouver is an irritant in that relationship." To that end, reports by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters last December claimed Meng was in discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring an end to the case through a deal that would see her admit to some wrongdoing in exchange for a deferred prosecution agreement. In an exclusive interview with CBC's chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton, newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said any deal would have to be made free of geopolitical considerations. "We follow the law. We follow the facts. "And one of the things that we don't do is have politics or foreign policy interfere in the workings of the Justice Department."
Canadians had something to celebrate as Catherine O'Hara took home a 2021 Golden Globe award for her role in "Schitt's Creek."
Dozens of Thai protesters and police were injured in violent clashes at an anti-government rally on Sunday, an emergency medical centre said, as police acknowledged firing rubber bullets for the first time since protests started last year. Police also used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who marched on a military base in Bangkok, calling for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to give up direct command of the army unit housed there. Protesters threw bottles at police near barricades.
(Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters - image credit) The first signs that the world is winning the battle with COVID-19 has sparked great news for the global economy as the number of people vaccinated grows and the death rate falls. Once shops and factories reopen, once people trapped working from home are finally set free to spend on restaurant meals and travel, sharing the savings they couldn't spend during lockdown, that recirculation of money is the very thing that will make economies strong. So it is fair to ask why stock markets tumbled last Thursday — the Dow and the Toronto market were down again Friday — if the economy is recovering. As Jim Reid, research strategist at Deutsche Bank told the Financial Times last week, it "proved to be nothing short of a rout in global markets, with the sell-off in sovereign bonds accelerating as investors looked forward to the prospect of a strengthening economy over the coming months." A global rout in markets, a sell-off in bonds, all due to the prospect of a strengthening economy? The explanation involves the uncertainty of where interest rates go from here if a post-COVID-19 economy gets cooking. The market not the economy But the first step in understanding the paradox is remembering that "the stock market isn't the economy," as now-U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen once said. Over the long haul, there is no question that a strong and growing economy adds to the value of the companies that operate within it. A study of 17 advanced economies by researchers at the University of Bonn showed that over the long term, total stock market values climb with gross domestic product. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen departs the White House. The stock market is not the economy, she once said. But as we clearly saw last year when the U.S. stock markets hit record highs even as GDP shrank more than it had in 70 years, that relationship is not perfectly in sync. In both Canada and the U.S., central banks have expressed confidence that the economy will grow strongly this year and next. Not only that, but to help put people back to work, both Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem and Fed Chair Jerome Powell have promised to keep interest rates low until there are clear signs the employment and business activity have recovered. So everyone seems to agree the economy will grow stronger. But while central banks try to hold rates down, there are increasing signs that the private investors in the bond market are anticipating rates will rise, making existing bonds worth less. Interest rates rising? Bonds are not generally the subject of supper table conversation in Canadian households, but the interest rates set in bond markets affect Canadians in many ways, including the rate you pay for your mortgage. According to mortgages brokers Rate Spy there are early signs that mortgage prices may be following bond yields up. The key point to understand the role of bonds in the rising economy is one of the things people often find most confusing about them: existing bonds fall in value as interest rates rise. (For more explanation of how that works and why bonds matter, this previous column serves as a primer.) As Reuters reported on Friday, "from the United States to Germany and Australia, government borrowing costs on Friday were set to end February with their biggest monthly rises in years as expectations for a post-pandemic ignition of inflation gained a life of their own." Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem says he expects any rise in inflation to be temporary, but bond traders seem to disagree. Economists are divided over whether low interest rates set by central banks and large injections of cash into the economy announced by governments will lead to inflation. Macklem has offered a pretty firm "no" but it appears that last week, the mass of global bond traders appeared to disagree with the Bank of Canada governor and voted with their money. On Friday some suggested the shift in bonds was actually due to technical factors. Confusingly, the bond market's anticipation of inflation — if that's what it is — is a vote of confidence in the future, because traders think consumers and businesses will want to buy more goods and services, driving up their prices. Speculation vs. fundamentals As to why stocks fell in response, there are a number of possible reasons, especially in a market where some fear a growing stock bubble. One is that higher bond prices increase the cost of borrowing for companies that raise money in the bond market. Another is that companies must compete with bonds in the money they pay out in dividends. Both cut into profits. But perhaps most interesting is the idea that stock markets are going through a transition from speculative casino-style investing, where people buy more because they see prices go up (and vice versa) to one based on actual return. "Markets are increasingly dominated by price action. The more price falls, the more they sell," James Athey, an investment manager with Aberdeen Standard Investments told the Wall Street Journal last week. "The problem is that not every investor is a fundamental investor." In a market where traders have been making bets on bitcoin with no earnings at all or companies that have so far failed to cover their costs, a switch to "fundamental" investing where valuations are based on what a company is likely to earn in a surging economy could lead to greater market stability in the longer term. But there may be a rough patch first. Follow Don Pittis on Twitter @don_pittis
Former Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he believes he was surveilled by Canadian intelligence while he lived in Montreal.
(Robert Krbavac/CBC - image credit) David Rooney couldn't believe what he was seeing when he looked out his front window in June and saw a Bell Canada contract employee aiming a high-pressure water excavator — the same one he'd been using to dig holes in the ground — at Rooney's car, peeling the paint right off. "There was quite a wash of water, probably 10 feet high," Rooney told Go Public. "So I came up to find that he's washing my car and asked him to stop immediately." By that time though, the damage was done — $1,500 worth. After accidentally splashing mud on Rooney's 2012 Hyundai Genesis, which was parked in the driveway, the worker used a power tool called a hydrovac excavator to try to clean it off. The worker was one of hundreds Bell hired to install fibre optic lines across the country, including on Rooney's street. Rooney figured getting compensation would be simple. After all, the worker admitted it was his fault. Instead, Rooney spent the next seven months battling both Bell and the company it hired to do the work on its behalf, Super Sucker Hydro Vac Service, for the cost of the damage. In many cases, property owners have no choice but to allow telecommunications companies on to their property. Land titles often include rights of way which allow city workers and other service providers to come onto a property when doing work considered essential. Fixing the paint peeled off Rooney's car cost $1,500. But when that work leads to damage, consumers are often treated like a "hot potato" that none of the companies involved want to compensate, says John Lawford, the executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a non-profit organization that provides legal and research services on behalf of consumers. "There's a very low likelihood of getting any money back if the company or the telco resists paying you … chances are you're going to get nothing [or] face a legal battle if you want to fight it," Lawford said. Contractors 'ultimately responsible' Rooney says when his car was damaged, Bell refused to offer any compensation and pointed him to Super Sucker. That company passed him to its insurance provider, Federated Insurance. "And they said that I should not be dealing with them, but going to my own insurance company. So I called my insurance company and found that I have a $500 deductible that will come out of pocket. I didn't think that was fair," he said. It wasn't until Go Public contacted the two companies months later that Super Sucker finally compensated Rooney. WATCH | High-pressure hydrovac digs into the ground: In an email to Go Public, Super Sucker spokesperson Mark Elias says the issue should have been settled by the insurance companies. "This is not a matter that should be handled by anyone internally or by Mr. Rooney himself — that's why we pay for insurance in the first place, not only to cover any of the financial costs of an incident but to handle the whole process from start to finish," Elias wrote. Bell spokesperson Nathan Gibson says the company's contractors are "ultimately responsible" for resolving complaints when they do damage and says Bell provides oversight until there is resolution. But in Rooney's case, Gibson says the situation wasn't handled to the company's standards and that the contractor didn't meet its obligations. It says it apologizes to Rooney for his experience. "There was a serious issue with communication from our contractor and we have addressed the incident with them," Gibson wrote in an email to Go Public. 'It's happening all the time' Rooney got his money, but Grace McLeod of Brantford, Ont., is still waiting for Bell to pay up. McLeod isn't even a Bell customer — her internet provider is Rogers. But when Bell employees installed underground fibre optic lines on her condo property in September, they cut the Rogers lines, cutting off McLeod's internet service and leaving her unable to work for the day. "So I said to the three guys working next to the hydro box, 'Are you guys from Bell Canada? And they said, yes. And I said, 'Did you just cut my Rogers lines?' And they said, no," McLeod told Go Public. But a few hours later, she says a Rogers technician confirmed the lines had been cut, telling her it's happening "all the time." McLeod — who works in collections — tried to get Bell to pay for the wages she lost when she wasn't online working, but was told no since she's not a Bell customer. Grace McLeod says Bell employees cut internet lines near her condo, leaving her unable to work for the day. "Every step I took I was stonewalled, and I guess that's how they get rid of people because they stonewall you," she said. Gibson, the Bell spokesperson, says the company did all the checks required to find lines belonging to its competition, but "no cable location information was provided." "Bell cannot be responsible for such a break," Gibson wrote. "If Mrs. McLeod had been a Bell customer, we could have credited her account for the temporary loss of service, but would not offer compensation for additional claims such as lost wages." Bell says it's about halfway through a major project that involves installing fibre lines to service as many as 10 million homes in seven provinces. The company says it has a "straightforward and reliable" complaint process that "works very well even considering the extraordinary volume of our activity." 'Many barriers' to compensation Legally, Lawford says both Bell and the third-party companies it hires to do its work are potentially liable for damage. Proving lost wages is more difficult, he says. But getting compensation can be tough if the companies don't co-operate. For one, Canada's telecom mediator, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), doesn't deal with property damage or lost wage complaints, so customers are left dealing directly with the companies, going to small claims court or hiring a lawyer. The last two options can be intimidating, time consuming and expensive, says Lawford — leading many people to give up. Bell's terms of service also cap compensation for damage at $20 or an amount equal to what customer paid for the service during the time it was unavailable. But it's more than just legal responsibility, Lawford says. "Is this really a conversation we should be having about which person catches the hot potato? Shouldn't it be the consumer getting redress for something that it doesn't really matter whose fault, strictly speaking, it is legally?" he said. "We need a fix." John Lawford of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre says if companies responsible for property damage don't want to co-operate, it's tough for homeowners to get compensation. The fix Go Public asked Bell how many property owners have been compensated for property damage and how much it has paid out over the last five years. It didn't answer. The CCTS says it's received 180 reports of property damage from customers over the last five years related to the installation of services by telecoms or their contractors. Lawford says he suspects many incidents go unreported. "I would suspect it's happening often because there are millions of installs and repairs going on," he said. The fix, he says, is expanding the role of the CCTS to deal with property access and damage. He points to Australia, where the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has been resolving rights of way and property damage disputes between customers and telecoms for more than a decade. "There's no real reason to not have that in Canada," he said. It has the power to make binding decisions up to about $50,000 and can direct a telecommunications carrier to compensate a landowner for reasonable costs associated with fixing any damage caused to their property. Telecommunications carriers and eligible service providers are required to be members of the TIO and fund its operation. Lawford says it shouldn't be hard to set up a system like the one in Australia, since Canadian telecoms already have to pay CCTS membership fees annually. The amount is based on the size of the company, and if you have higher complaint numbers, you pay a bit more. McLeod now has a sign on her property, denying Bell access. Rooney supports the idea of a telecom-funded system that deals with complaints like his, so does McLeod. McLeod is one of those rare cases where the telecom providers need her permission to go onto the property, and she says she'll never give it again. "I have a sign out there on my letter box," she said. "If they come back, I'll ask the police to have them removed because I truly don't want any more damage, especially if they're not going to stand behind what they do." Bell says it will honour her request. Submit your story ideas Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web. We tell your stories, shed light on wrongdoing and hold the powers that be accountable. If you have a story in the public interest, or if you're an insider with information, contact GoPublic@cbc.ca with your name, contact information and a brief summary. All emails are confidential until you decide to Go Public. Read more stories by Go Public.
TORONTO — Money vanishes in the banking world and an off-Broadway illusionist delivers his own disappearing act in March’s streaming highlights. Here’s a rundown of some TV shows and movies worth a look: “BAD BANKS” An ambitious female banker is pulled into the darker side of Germany’s financial industry when she’s recruited to spy on a rival investment bank. Driven by a propulsive storyline stacked with troubled characters, manipulative antics and grand machismo, this winner of multiple German Television Academy Awards fills the void left by the season wraps of “Succession” and “Industry.” (CBC Gem, March 12) “DEREK DELGAUDIO’S IN & OF ITSELF” Magician Derek DelGaudio’s live theatre show “In & Of Itself” shook audiences with its blend of visual trickery and emotional illusions, and director Frank Oz brings the experience home with a 90-minute film that captures all the wonder. Standing before a packed audience of willing participants, DelGaudio doles out mind-boggling card tricks, engaging stories and an inexplicable connection with everyone in the room. It’s a one-of-a-kind rollercoaster of magic that could leave you in tears. Even if it doesn’t, the show is sure to create plenty of conversation in your living room. (Crave, March 1) “63 Up” Many directors have committed their lives to filmmaking, but few so much as Michael Apted, the documentarian whose groundbreaking "Up" film series was a work in sociology and journalism, as well as hugely influential on the doc genre as a whole. Starting in 1964, he traced the lives of 14 Britons as they navigated race, class and the personal traumas that shaped their identities. The ninth film in the series, “63 Up,” is the most recent update Apted made before he died in January. It arrives on Britbox next to the previous eight installations, which offer a uniquely life-spanning binge experience. (Britbox, March 9) “Generation” A circle of high schoolers navigate the foibles of growing up in the social media age in this darkly comic five-episode series that echoes the progressive, yet controversy-fuelled, bent of “Euphoria.” Starring a cast of buzzworthy newcomers, including Justice Smith, Uly Schlesinger and Haley Sanchez. (Crave/HBO, March 11, episodes weekly) “Alice in Borderland” One wrong turn and three friends suddenly find themselves trapped in the centre of a desolate Tokyo where someone is forcing them to play deadly games using smartphone apps. Based on a Japanese manga, this crafty thriller evokes the action energy of Quentin Tarantino and John Woo with a twisted edge that’ll appear to horror fans. (Netflix, Now Available) OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: “Coming 2 America” – Eddie Murphy reprises his role as an African monarch in a “Coming to America” sequel. (Amazon Prime Video, March 5) “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” – The original director of 2017’s DC Comics superhero mash-up “Justice League” reworks the film he started before leaving the project due to a death in his family. This four-hour director’s cut promises many surprises and moments originally left on the cutting room floor. (Crave/HBO, March 18) “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” – Two Marvel characters forge a new path after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” (Disney Plus, March 19, episodes weekly) “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” – A mother fed up with politics of pee-wee hockey enlists Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) to launch a new team. (Disney Plus, March 26, episodes weekly) This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad held discussions on Monday with a senior Afghan official in Kabul over ways to accelerate the peace process, before heading to Qatar, where negotiations with Taliban representatives are ongoing. U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the militant group began in September but progress has slowed and violence has risen, while there is also uncertainty over whether international forces will pull out troops by May as originally planned. The State Department said in a statement on Sunday that Khalilzad and his team were visiting Kabul and Qatar.
(Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit) To mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, CBC Ottawa asked four local photographers to choose a single image they'll look back on that captures the mood or essence of COVID-19. Justin Tang Parliament Hill's Peace Tower and the National War Memorial are reflected in a window at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, in front of a digital screen displaying an image of a rainbow with the message, "Everything will be okay." Freelance photographer Justin Tang was assigned by The Canadian Press to take pictures at one of the very first news conferences with Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Dr. Theresa Tam on January 26, 2020, at Tunney's Pasture. Tang was struck by the stillness of mood. "It was unnerving — they were really calm," said Tang. He thought: "This can't be good." In February, Tang was sent to CFB Trenton to photograph the arrival of a charter plane full of repatriated Canadians. "It [still] felt really far away." said Tang. "How soon that would all change." Since the start of the pandemic, Tang has taken close to 3,000 photos. But one he took on April 19 of last year stands out for him. It shows a person reflected in the National Arts Centre window, with the now iconic pandemic message, "Everything will be okay". "There was a real sense of fear of the unknown. And I felt it, too," said Tang. "To me, this photo is a bit of light in the darkness." Lindsay Irene Lindsey Irene uses a mirror to capture an image of her family hunkered down at home. Ottawa photographer Lindsay Irene has had to put much of her creative work on hold during the pandemic. A solo show at Enriched Bread Artists was cancelled in June. Plans to launch her award-winning documentary book, The Sex Worker, were delayed. Irene and her partner separated in the fall of 2019, but had remained on good terms. COVID-19 prompted him to move back in temporarily. "He just slipped right back into our lives and we just existed in our little bubble," said Irene. "I couldn't imagine doing all of this alone." They spent the first part of the pandemic watching disaster movies and doing puzzles. Irene, who graduated from the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa in 2019, chose as her COVID-19 quintessential picture a self-styled family portrait that she took in the early days of the first wave. "It was just such a surreal day for all of us," recalled Irene. "There's this big mirror in front of the bed and I'm like, 'I gotta remember this.' It's actually one of the only photos I have of all three of us, because ... it's always me, the one who takes the photo." The old-school 35 mm camera was loaded with black and white film. "When you remove colour, it just focuses your eye and draws you to the subject," said Irene. Katherine Takpannie Award-winning Inuk photographer Katherine Takpannie chose this picture from the Black Lives Matter rally on Parliament Hill as her quintessential COVID-19 photo. "First and foremost, I'm an Inuk. I am a mother of a wild two-year-old and I am a photographer," said Katherine Takpannie, who also works for the federal government in the Indigenous Programs Directorate, and as a member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee with the city of Ottawa. As her quintessential COVID-19 picture, Takpannie chose an image taken on June 5, 2020, the day of the No Peace Until Justice rally in Ottawa, organized in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. At first, Takpannie was conflicted about joining the rally — "We have my father living with us, he's an elder, he has many health issues," she said — but in the end, she donned her mask, brought along her zoom lens, and added her voice. "How important it was to stand up against systemic racism and violence toward Black people. It was such a higher calling than just staying safe," said Takpannie. "Everyone wore masks, but everyone wanted to come together," said Takpannie. "Racism is also a pandemic. It is larger than a virus." Andrew Lee CBC photographer Andrew Lee captured thousands of images in the past year, many focusing on poverty, including this picture of a homeless man on Wellington Street in Ottawa. Andrew Lee is a network camera operator and photojournalist for CBC. When he's not shooting video on Parliament Hill, he's capturing still images on the streets of Ottawa. "You just see more and more businesses being closed every week. More and more storefronts shuttered," said Lee. With so many people staying home, those who are visible on the streets are often homeless. "One fellow said, 'There's just no "inside" for us to go to,'" said Lee. Lee chose as his representative COVID-19 photo a picture of a homeless man named Rick, who lives with his two small dogs at a makeshift encampment off Wellington Street, near the Parliament Buildings. Rick told Lee he's originally from Gananoque, that he had a traumatic brain injury that affected his short term memory, and that he's been living on the streets for seven years. "His chin is held high. That's his little spot in the world and that's where he's decided to be," said Lee. "But I just love the dignity. That's kind of what you hope to capture."
(Jean Delisle/CBC - image credit) The words "Tabor Luxury Apartment" are displayed in silver lettering across the red-brick lowrise tucked deep within Vanier. But that name doesn't tell the whole story of the building at the centre of a controversy coming to this week to city hall. Since 2015, the City of Ottawa has paid owner Ahmed Syed motel rates to house homeless families there — an extension of sorts of the arrangement he has with the city at his other property, the nearby Ottawa Inn. It's meant to be used in emergencies, but many people CBC spoke with have lived there not just for days, but in some cases years. Some report living with bedbugs, cockroaches and even rats. On Tuesday, despite their fears of what might happen if they share their stories publicly, many families will tell Mayor Jim Watson and city councillors about life at Tabor during a massive meeting on housing and homelessness. Some are only comfortable having their statements read by local advocates, who have also launched a petition on their behalf calling on the city to relocate them. Ahmed Syed owns the Ottawa Inn and the Tabor apartment building. The City of Ottawa pays Syed to use both as an emergency overflow shelter for homeless families. Syed will speak, too. He has shown CBC photos of renovated units with kitchens, and said he cannot understand what he characterizes as a campaign against his efforts to help large homeless families. Tuesday's discussions over the Tabor apartments — and whether the city should continue its relationship with Syed — are expected to be emotional and difficult, not just because of the residents' testimony, but because it highlights the huge challenge the city has finding shelter for homeless families. Shelter shortage When emergency family shelters are overflowing — and they're always overflowing — the city pays motel and hotel owners to shelter them. On any given night, some 370 families are sleeping in motel rooms or university dorms, which costs the city millions each year, money critics say could be used to shelter families in a more sustainable way. At Tabor, Syed is paid $89 a night by the city — a rate recently been reduced from $109 — to house 15 families, which comes to about $40,000 a month. City staff say if the committee votes to no longer use the Tabor apartments for emergency accommodation, families will be moved to multiple motel and post-secondary dorm rooms, with no kitchens and at greater cost to taxpayers. The debate was first meant to take place Feb. 18 at a community and protective services committee meeting, where local Coun. Mathieu Fleury had put the Tabor apartments issue on the agenda. But a last minute six-to-five vote moved the item to this Tuesday. One family, particularly upset at the debate being postponed, wrote city councillors, describing their fear at speaking out. "Those councillors who have voted to shut off our voices have not faced what we are facing," they wrote. "They are not living what we live every single day!"' The owners of Tabor showed CBC this empty, renovated apartment to demonstrate that the units have kitchens and are larger than the motel rooms the city routinely uses for emergency accommodation. Families speak of cockroaches, rats Organizations like Sisters in Sync and the African Canadian Association of Ottawa have been working with families to prepare statements for Tuesday's much larger joint meeting of the committees responsible for housing and for finances. CBC News spoke with some families to hear their stories first-hand, but is not identifying them because they fear reprisals. "... live cockroaches, blood stains on the bed sheets as a result of bed bug bites, rat feces in the kitchen ... " - Excerpt from an October 2020 letter to the city from the Vanier Community Services Centre One single mother said she found herself in the shelter system a couple of years ago after leaving her husband. Her children don't have bedbug bites like their neighbours do, but they hear rodents in walls and try to avoid one hallway for fear of large rats, she said. "People here are not living in good conditions. They need to move people," the woman said. "We need to move out, not [stay] here, no." Another single mother who sought asylum in Canada from the U.S. a few years ago couldn't find anything affordable to rent. She never expected to be in a family shelter for two years. She tries not to complain, she said. The three or four rats in her part of the building have been dealt with, she said, but the owners and their pest management company can't seem to get cockroaches under control. "The person who owns this building is in it for business. If the [city] wants to continue using this place it needs to be properly renovated." Syed says he bought the building to provide extra space and kitchens for homeless families, after seeing them eating takeout and living separately in motel rooms. October complaint led to inspections The Vanier Community Service Centre is a non-profit that offers social, legal and counselling services to the area's residents. According to documents released under freedom of information laws, employees with the Vanier Community Service Centre — a non-profit that offers social, legal and counselling services to the neighbourhood's residents — were alarmed by conditions they witnessed last fall on a rare visit inside Tabor. "They were appalled to see live cockroaches, blood stains on the bed sheets as a result of bedbug bites, rat feces in the kitchen, mould, leaky water pipes and windows without screens," the centre's executive director, Michel Gervais, wrote in a Oct. 6, 2020, letter to the city's housing staff. "They also saw makeshift wooden barriers, used to prevent the rats from escaping into the kitchen at night, gnawed right through," Gervais wrote. "Our staff witnessed neglect, severe disrepair, helplessness and fear." Within an hour of being sent the letter, the city's general manager in charge of housing, Donna Gray, set a series of repeat inspections in motion. "I'm being singled out. I don't know why." - Ahmed Syed, owner of Tabor "I saw that letter, too," Syed told CBC News, noting his staff were not allowed to go into the units to clean before October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "They did not find one bedbug, not one," he said of the inspections, although he said there were cockroaches "here and there." He produced a re-inspection report from December that showed no issues left to address. Bylaw, public health and housing officials were satisfied by the follow-up inspections, city staff wrote in the report that goes before committee Tuesday, and pointed out Syed did perform extra renovations. Families were also offered to be placed elsewhere, the report says, but "very few families accepted this relocation offer." 'Singled out', owner says Syed introduced other shelter users to CBC, who said they've never had problems at either the Tabor building or Ottawa Inn, and any issues that did arise were dealt with quickly. City case workers are quick to answer complaints raised by families, Syed said, and he resolves them in 24 hours. His staff clean the units weekly, he added. Syed said he bought the Tabor after watching families sitting on his Ottawa Inn motel beds sharing takeout food. He said he wanted them to live together in a single unit with a kitchen and be able to cook proper meals. Nor is he making big money, he said. At the new $89 nightly rate, Syed said he's left with little profit, as the rate includes internet, electricity, heat, linens and cleaning. Units often sit empty if the city sends no families, he added. Syed, whose apartment arrangement was also the subject of a 2019 audit, said the other 22 motels and post-secondary institutions that have overflow shelter agreements with the city aren't under the same scrutiny. "I'm being singled out. I don't know why," he said. "People don't like that I'm supporting the community. They should be supporting me. What government is supposed to be doing, I'm doing it."
TORONTO — Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a "soft launch" in six public health units this week, two weeks before it becomes available across the province, The Canadian Press has learned. But the website will not be available to the general population in those regions, said a senior government source not authorized to speak publicly about the plan. Instead, public health officials will reach out to a small number of individuals who are 80 or older, as well as some eligible health-care workers, starting Monday. The source said the plan will help the province test components of the system before the full launch, determine whether any changes need to be made to the system and organize the vaccination of larger populations. The site is a "public-facing extension" of the COVaxON system the province has been using since the start of the vaccine rollout, the source said, and will also serve to keep track of inoculation data. The regions participating in the soft launch are Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington; Peterborough County-City; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Grey Bruce; and Lambton. The source noted the site will not be available to other regions before March 15, even those that have already begun vaccinating members of the 80-and-over age group such as York and Peel. Those regions must use "existing relationships with residents" to book the vaccinations until the online platform launches on March 15, when they're expected to switch to the provincial system. The source said the website will focus at first on appointments at mass vaccination sites, but the province will work with public health units in the coming weeks to make sure it's compatible with other facilities such as hospital sites and mobile clinics. The government has faced criticism for what some describe as the slow rollout of its vaccine booking portal, which is expected to launch the same day the head of the vaccine task force said people aged 80 and over would start getting the shots. Retired general Rick Hillier said his team was "furiously working" to test and refine the site so it would be up-and-running on time. Health Minister Christine Elliott defended the timeline, saying the government was still testing the site and wanted to ensure it won't crash when it goes live. "We don't want to rush to failure,'' she said last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Glam was back for the Golden Globes virtual, bicoastal awards night Sunday as nominees Zoomed in from around the world and, for Leslie Odom Jr., from his front porch in Los Angeles not far from the action in Beverly Hills. And they were ready, style wise, as the Globes split hosts, with Amy Poehler at the Beverly Hilton and Tina Fey at the Rainbow Room in New York. There was nary a pair of sweats in sight. Jason Sudeikis was a glam outlier in a rainbow tie-dye hoodie from his sister's clothing line as he picked up an award remotely, saying : “Wow, do I talk now?” The sweatshirt, which retails for $110, whipped up buzz on social media, prompting Fey to joke after Sudeikis accepted his award: “If anybody wants to know where they can get Jason Sudeikis' hoodie, go to nbc.com/globesfashion.” The page, please note, doesn't exist. Backstage after the show, Sudeikis told reporters he owns a multitude of hoodies but chose the one emblazoned with “Forward” on the front and “Listen + Lead” on the back as fitting for the unusual night. “When people you care about do cool interesting things you should support them,” he said. Jodie Foster won wearing a black-and-white silk pajama set from Prada, her dog Ziggy in a bandana to match and her wife by her side. During a Zoom session with reporters after the show, a giddy Foster stuck out a bare foot showing she went shoeless to collect her award and said: “This is the best Globes ever! To be able to be home just felt really real. It didn’t feel like it was filled with so much artifice.” Regina King's dog snoozed in the background before the show as she showed off her Louis Vuitton gown in silver and black — and Amanda Seyfried previewed a springy, coral Oscar de la Renta with floral adornment, echoing many stars who said they wanted to bring a little joy. “I've got my son, who is 5 months old, laying against a pillow in a tux," Seyfried said. Cynthia Erivo went for neon green Valentino to present in person, and Kaley Cuoco munched pizza in a de la Renta design. Gillian Anderson, alone in Prague, wore a green gown and Julia Garner a two-tone Prada black and white look. She didn't forget the lipstick, a deep red. Laverne Cox, in a red, embellished cape-sleeve gown, did something even more unusual: She stood up to chat with reporters on E! and NBC via Zoom before the show. “I wanted to feel festive and go for it,” she told NBC. “It's really amazing about this whole Zoom world. People can do whatever they want.” That meant Chanel for Shira Haas in Los Angeles, and custom Gucci for Elle Fanning in London. “It's nice to have something to celebrate and get dressed up for, and actually put on a dress to walk from my living room to my kitchen,” Fanning told E!. “I thought, why not?” The jewels flowed along with the gowns, which included a stunning, bright green sparkler for Anya Taylor-Joy by Dior Couture with a matching coat. Fey and Poehler, both dressed in black to open the show, joked about the unusual set up and the distance between them, with Fey pretending to stroke Poehler's hair through their screens. The two, with numerous fashion changes, were joined by an array of presenters as winners accepted via Zoom, with an early glitch when winner Daniel Kaluuya's audio went silent at first, then perked up so he could speak. King's dog wasn't the only surprise star. Sarah Paulson held her little black pooch on screen and Emma Corrin's fluffy white cat grabbed a moment for itself. And there were kids, too. Mark Ruffalo's two wandered behind him as he accepted an award. Aaron Sorkin was joined by a bevy of women on hand for his win. Lee Isaac Chung, director of “Minari,” hugged his small daughter tight as he accepted an award, his dressed-up offspring squeezing back with: “I prayed, I prayed, I prayed.” Peter Morgan, creator of “The Crown,” was a winner from his “tragic little office,” calling the pre-pandemic Globes “always the most fun awards show.” Nominees bantered from screen to screen, shouting out their hellos to each other. On stage and for their small, in-person — and masked — audiences, production designer Brian Stonestreet pivoted like never before when the Globes decided to go bicoastal earlier in February, just days before show time. The awards veteran, who has designed for the Grammys, the Billboards, the Academy of Country Music and others, told The Associated Press ahead of the Globes' big night that he gained massive horizontal real estate for the screen-centric show with the shrinking of tables in size and number. “Funnily enough, it gave me a little more freedom in terms of scenery,” he said of the Beverly Hilton, while incorporating the Rainbow Room's massive centre chandelier adorned with stars and orbs in New York. He used the extra space (about 36 guests in New York and 42 in Beverly Hills) to expand screen presence and curvier, more dramatic, staircases. On the floor, he placed trophies on pedestals among his two- and three-person cocktail tables, rather than the usual 6-foot round tables seating 10 to 12 people for a total of more than 1,000. Instead of star-studded crowds crammed into the Hilton's ballroom, the Globes hosted frontline and essential workers, along with food bank workers from the show’s philanthropic partnership with Feeding America. Lydia Marks, a New York set decorator, told The Associated Press the evening's technical challenges were many. With so many remote locations and two live sets, the few glitches should be forgiven, she said. “While it looks easy, the direction needs to remain responsive in a way that is more like a live sporting event than an awards show,” Marks said. “I think it looks pretty seamless and controlled for the amount of feeds they are working with.” ___ Associated Press writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this story. Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit) It's impossible to know when exactly a minority Parliament will fall apart, and no amount of speculation is ever going to make that any clearer. But if you're the leader of a federal political party, it's never too early to start posturing about who will be to blame whenever that next election actually occurs. That's presumably at least part of the explanation for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's recent declaration that he and his party won't "trigger" an election until a sufficient number of Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the pandemic has been contained. Strictly speaking, there is only one MP in the House of Commons who has the power to single-handedly trigger an election — the prime minister. On any given day, Justin Trudeau could walk over to Rideau Hall and ask the governor general, or the governor general's interim replacement, to dissolve Parliament and sign the writs for a new election. Since he currently commands the confidence of the House and it has been more than a year since the last election, the governor general or the official administrator would have no grounds to refuse such a request. As the leader of the fourth party, Singh's influence over the timing of the next election is more limited. But his party's 24 MPs can provide the swing vote whenever the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois are unwilling to support the government — as the NDP did for last fall's throne speech and when the Liberals said they would regard a Conservative motion as a matter of confidence in October. At the time of that motion, which would have established what was originally billed as an anti-corruption committee, Singh said Trudeau was "looking for an excuse" to call an election, but the NDP was not going to give him one. But how far is Singh willing to go to avoid an election? During a news conference this week, Singh said on "any confidence vote," the NDP will "vote to keep the government going." But an NDP spokesperson said on Friday the party is not promising to support government legislation, including the budget that is expected to be delivered this spring, which would certainly be considered a matter of confidence. So, however much the NDP thinks an election should be avoided — and whatever Singh says about not triggering an election — it very much remains to be seen what that will actually mean in practice. Preparing for an election Last week, Singh also challenged Trudeau to match his own commitment: "Will the prime minister commit today in this chamber that he will not call an election while we are fighting this pandemic, yes or no?" But Trudeau was not willing to offer any such guarantee. "Mr. Speaker, we know well that in a minority Parliament, the government does not have the sole power to decide when we go into an election," he said. "The opposition members have a role to play not only in providing confidence for the House, but also by being able to function appropriately to deliver the help to Canadians that Canadians so seriously need." WATCH | Singh asks Trudeau to pledge not to trigger an election during the pandemic: It's not clear why any prime minister would take the possibility of an election off the table — at least not without a firm guarantee the government's entire agenda would be passed. In a minority Parliament, everything is a negotiation, and a threat to take a dispute to the voters is always a potential point of leverage. Not that any government wants to be seen as obviously agitating for an election, particularly in the middle of a pandemic. After it was reported in January that Trudeau had told the Liberal Party's board of directors that a spring election looked likely, the Conservative Party charged that the prime minister was paying more attention to preparing for a re-election campaign than to dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, seen during a recent news conference, has been featured in television ads recently. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has said an election "should be at a time when the country is not in this acute state of crisis." But then Conservatives have also started nominating candidates and running television ads to promote O'Toole — the sorts of things a party does when it is thinking about the next election. The pandemic undoubtedly adds a degree of complexity to any election calculation. Three provinces — British Columbia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan — got through campaigns without significant problems last year. But they may have been merely lucky, and the disarray in Newfoundland and Labrador is likely cause for any federal leader to think twice about precipitating an election. Notwithstanding that concern, the battle to frame the exact moment of this Parliament's dissolution will now continue for however long it takes to get to another election. In 2011, the interests of the opposition parties aligned enough that they were willing to find Stephen Harper's government in contempt. In 1974, Pierre Trudeau's government managed to draft a budget it was willing to campaign on but fairly certain the NDP would be unable to support. Prime Minister Stephen Harper basks in confetti after winning a second minority government on Oct. 14, 2008, in Calgary. But 2008 offers perhaps the most instructive example. In that case, Harper's Conservatives wanted to go to an election. But the opposition wasn't willing to defeat them in the House and the Conservatives had passed legislation that was supposed to establish that elections would only occur on a fixed date every four years — though the law stopped short of preventing the governor general from dissolving Parliament on the advice of the prime minister. Choosing when to go So Harper went looking for an excuse to call an election. He summoned each of the leaders of the opposition parties to meetings and asked them if they were willing to support the government's agenda until the fixed election date. Quite predictably, they scoffed at the suggestion. At which point, Harper claimed there was obviously no path forward and it was time for an election. Somewhat similarly, a cynical observer might read Trudeau's allusion to Parliament "being able to function appropriately" as a hint of how he might find a reason to go to an election. Harper's decision to ignore his fixed-date legislation was briefly a point of debate in 2008. But it was quickly overtaken by the actual issues and controversies of the election, including the stock market meltdown that occurred in the middle of the campaign. A similar sequence played out in 2011. By the end of that campaign, the finding of contempt was a footnote. The lessons here seem twofold. First, if the prime minister really wants to have an election, he'll probably be able to find an excuse to have one. And, second, there is a decent chance that all of the posturing that preceded the election will rapidly be forgotten as parties and voters turn to talking about what every election is ultimately about: the future.
(Stu Mills/CBC - image credit) The two main Canadian agencies that prepare puppies for a life guiding people with visual impairments say the unrealistic times of the pandemic won't prevent them from turning out well-prepared guide dogs. Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind (CGDB), based in Manotick, Ont., and Canine Campus, based in Carleton Place, Ont., prepare young labs, retrievers and the occasional shepherd to understand traffic, crowds and indoor etiquette for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind's Guide Dogs program. "We want to expose them to as much as we can so they think it's just a part of normal life and so it doesn't throw them for a loop when they're guiding through it," said CGDB manager Alex Ivic. Fawn waits for instructions before leading her companion toward the front door. A subway platform jammed at rush hour or a holiday visit to a house filled with screaming children, and the alluring smells of a roasting goose are just some of the experiences a guide dog-in-training couldn't get this year. Instead, the lack of crowds and retail closures have forced trainers to dream up creative ways to prepare the dogs for real world situations. "We needed to reinvent what we did and or be clever and creative in tweaking things we already did," said Ivic. Wearing a blindfold, Ian Hadlum lets trainee "Dahlia" guide him around an obstacle placed on the sidewalk at a Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind training site. Staged apartments and empty airport used for training Ian Hadlum, a trainer with CGDB, dons a blindfold and encourages two-year-old Dahlia to lead him down a walking path obstructed by construction barriers. The black lab gently nudges him to step off the path and safely around the pylons, her tail constantly wagging. Dogs have been conquering their fear of escalators in the mostly silent Macdonald–Cartier International Airport. Shelley Adams, with Rookie, showing that guide dogs can also misread directional signs in a retail shop. Others have been attending pretend tea parties in staged apartments where the furniture is constantly moved around. At CGDB, the pandemic shut down their normal eight-person, three-week residency training program where clients move in and learn how to live with their new guide dogs. It's been replaced with a two-week program working with one client, meaning fewer teams will graduate. Dogs might need tune-ups Costs at CNIB's guide dog school have gone up, as have those at CGDB, which depends heavily on donations. "I know we say it rains cats and dogs, but it doesn't actually, so we can't just produce a dog immediately," points out Diane Bergeron with the CNIB. Her program's Australian supply of retrievers has been blocked by border closures. At the same time, restrictions on gatherings and visiting in places across the country, more people with vision loss have contacted the CNIB about how to regain their independence by connecting with a guide dog. Bergeron said COVID-19 restrictions on training may mean new guide dogs might have to come back for tune-ups in the future. Ivic said even though the dogs will have been raised in a pandemic, they will be capable of extrapolation — figuring out the new normal whenever it arrives and whatever it looks like. Yet, trainers point out that a guide dog will normally spend the first 18 to 24 months of its life in training, so there is still time to cover the curriculum.
Rockets have hit Iraqi cities and COVID-19 has flared,yet, barring last-minute changes, Pope Francis will embark on a whirlwind four-day trip starting on Friday to show solidarity with the country's devastated Christian community. Keen to get on the road again after the pandemic put paid to several planned trips, he convinced some perplexed Vatican aides that it is worth the risk and that, in any case, his mind was made up, three Vatican sources said. "He is itching to get back out on the road after such a long period," said one Vatican official.