No winning ticket was sold for the $22 million jackpot in Friday night's Lotto Max draw.
The jackpot for the next draw on Jan. 5 will grow to approximately $27 million.
The Canadian Press
No winning ticket was sold for the $22 million jackpot in Friday night's Lotto Max draw.
The jackpot for the next draw on Jan. 5 will grow to approximately $27 million.
The Canadian Press
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Harry Truman Brown, one of Toronto's basketball pioneers, has died. He was 72. Brown inspired generations of players who became stars or coaches, and helped set the tone for how the game would be played in Toronto. The basketball legend and retired Toronto District School Board teacher died Sunday at St. Michael's Hospital. Brown, a former basketball star at the University of Oklahoma was known as a multi-sport player who had been invited to play basketball with the National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons and the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys. After a year of pro basketball, he eventually made his way to Toronto. "He was widely acknowledged as one of the best basketball players we'd ever seen on the court here in Toronto," said Dana McKiel, a sports broadcaster and family friend. "From no look passes to shooting from half court at the time when there was no three point line. The way that he used to drive to the bucket," McKiel recalled. Brown would make the rounds of all the city community centres that were early hotspots for the game and would play with the skills and intensity that would inspire a lot of players. "He has had such an impact on basketball in the city for the past 40 to 45 years," said McKiel. "He made basketball important to everyone in Toronto." Local legends in basketball would come out to play with him especially at George Brown College on Sunday nights where the who's who of the city's basketball scene would show up. "If Harry Brown picked you for his side then you knew you were somebody special, you knew you were doing something real well," said McKiel. "It was like being on Broadway. If you could make it there you could make it anywhere." Brown became a pillar of Toronto's basketball community inspiring local stars including Jim Zoet, Val Pozzan, Leo Rautins, Rob Samuels, Norm Clarke, Tony Simms, Simeon Mars, Joe Alexander and Danny Ainge, now president and general manager of the Boston Celtics. From players to coaches and team administrators, McKiel says Toronto has become an epicentre for basketball talent, due in part to the foundation Brown laid. Savanna Hamilton, a host with NBA Canada and the Toronto Raptors, who is a former Ryerson Rams forward, agrees that Brown influenced a generation of basketball players. "I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but a lot of the industry leaders and mentors I work with on a daily basis either played with him or were inspired by him." Hamilton says Brown is not only part of the reason why the game is so popular among GTA youth, but also why Toronto is now one of the hotbeds for top basketball talent in the world. "We have to always pay tribute and homage to those who come before us and how impactful he was to the city and the culture of basketball in Toronto," said Hamilton. "We're known as one the toughest cities to play in and our players are very gritty and you have to wonder where that comes from. "Harry Brown was one of those people who set the foundation for that reputation," said Hamilton. Brown died of complications from diabetes and long-term renal problems. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, family and friends have set up an online memorial on Facebook. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Donations in his name are being accepted by the Yonge Street Mission. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
BEIJING — A city in northern China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as COVID-19 cases rise ahead of the annual Lunar New Year travel rush. State media on Friday showed crews levelling earth, pouring concrete and assembling prefabricated rooms in farmland in an outlying part of Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei province, which has seen the bulk of the new cases. That recalled scenes from early last year, when China rapidly built field hospitals and turned gymnasiums into isolation centres to cope with a then-spiraling outbreak in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019. The spike in northern China comes as a World Health Organization team prepares to collect data on the origin of the pandemic in Wuhan, which lies to the south. The international team, most of which arrived Thursday, must undergo two weeks of quarantine before it can begin field visits. Two of the 15 members were held up in Singapore over their health status. One, a British national, was approved for travel Friday after testing negative for the coronavirus, while the second, a Sudanese citizen from Qatar, again tested positive, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. China has largely contained domestic spread of the virus, but the recent spike has raised concern due to the proximity to the capital, Beijing, and the impending rush of people planning to travel large distances to rejoin their families for the Lunar New Year, the country’s most important traditional festival. The National Health Commission said Friday that 1,001 patients were under care for the disease, 26 in serious condition. It said 144 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours. Hebei accounted for 90 of the new cases, while Heilongjiang province farther north reported 43. Local transmissions also occurred in the southern Guangxi region and the northern province of Shaanxi, illustrating the virus’s ability to move through the vast country of 1.4 billion people despite quarantines, travel restrictions and electronic monitoring. To date, China has reported 87,988 confirmed cases with 4,635 deaths. Shijiazhuang has been placed under virtual lockdown, along with the Hebei cities of Xingtai and Langfang, parts of Beijing and other cities in the northeast. That has cut off travel routes, while more than 20 million people have been told to stay home for the coming days. China is pushing ahead with inoculations using Chinese-developed vaccines, with more than 9 million people already vaccinated and plans for 50 million to have shots by the middle of next month. About 4,000 doses are delivered daily to the Chaoyang Planning Art Museum, one of more than 240 sites across Beijing where the first of two doses was being given Friday to high-risk groups, including medical, delivery and transportation workers. The vaccine, produced by a Beijing subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm, is the first approved for general use in China. “Being vaccinated is not only to protect myself but also to protect people around me,” Ding Jianguang, a social worker who received her first shot earlier this month, told foreign journalists on a government-organized visit to the site. Former World Health Organization official Keiji Fukuda, who is not part of the team in Wuhan, cautioned against expectations of any breakthroughs from the visit, saying that it may take years before any firm conclusions can be made on the virus's origin. “China is going to want to come out avoiding blame, perhaps shifting the narrative. They want to come across as being competent and transparent,” he told The Associated Press in a video interview from Hong Kong. For its part, WHO wants to project the image that it is “taking, exerting leadership, taking and doing things in a timely way,” he said. Scientists suspect the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people globally since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, possibly in southwest China. China approved the World Health Organization visit only after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO. The delay, along with the ruling Communist Party's tight control of information and promotion of theories the pandemic began elsewhere, added to speculation that China is seeking to prevent discoveries that chisel away at its self-proclaimed status as a leader in the battle against the virus. In Wuhan, street life appeared little different from other Chinese cities where the virus has been largely brought under control. Senior citizens gathered to drink and dance in a riverside park Friday, and residents had praise overall for the government's response to the crisis. In other countries, "people go out arbitrarily, and they hang out and gather together, so it’s especially easy for them to be infected," Xiang Nan said. “I hope they can stay home, and reduce travelling. ... Don’t let the pandemic spread further anymore." ___ Associated Press journalists Sam McNeil and Ng Han Guan in Wuhan, China, and video producer Olivia Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report. Emily Wang Fujiyama, The Associated Press
COVID-19. La Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) demeure vivement préoccupée par l'état des entreprises québécoises et s'inquiète pour la survie de plusieurs. Elle accueille tout de même favorablement l'ouverture du gouvernement pour maintenir certaines activités économiques tout en rappelant qu'une aide financière directe plus importante que ce qui a été annoncé par le passé devrait être prévue. «Les Québécois sont fatigués. La situation actuelle est extrêmement difficile pour de trop nombreux secteurs économiques et les annonces d'aujourd'hui sont un autre coup dur pour des milliers d'entrepreneurs. Nous reconnaissons toutefois que les décisions du gouvernement visent à maintenir le plus d'activités économiques possible sans nuire aux efforts pour lutter contre le virus, notamment pour le secteur manufacturier et celui de la construction. Les entrepreneurs québécois ont fait d'énormes efforts pour rendre les lieux de travail les plus sécuritaires possible. Voici leur chance d'en faire la démonstration», souligne Charles Milliard, président-directeur général de la FCCQ pour qui le gouvernement doit maintenant plancher sur deux priorités nationales : maximiser la distribution et l'administration des vaccins et s'assurer que les aides de soutien aux entreprises soient les plus directes et les plus efficaces possible. «Le gouvernement doit présenter et exécuter rapidement un plan de vaccination cohérent et efficace. En plus de pouvoir compter sur les professionnels de la santé, il devrait aussi prêter rapidement l'oreille aux offres d'aide du secteur privé pour accélérer la vaccination de la population», indique-t-il. Par ailleurs, pour couvrir un maximum d'entreprises ayant besoin d'une aide financière pour survivre, l'enveloppe globale devrait être augmentée et la notion d'aide directe devrait être privilégiée selon le réseau de 130 chambres de commerce et 1 100 membres corporatifs. «Le surendettement des entreprises était déjà une réalité bien présente qui sera aggravée par ces fermetures prolongées de plusieurs entreprises. La situation est exceptionnelle et impose des mesures exceptionnelles comme le couvre-feu, mais nos entreprises n'ont plus la capacité de s'endetter davantage et le gouvernement doit en tenir compte», précise Charles Milliard. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
It may be many years before turbines jut out of the Atlantic Ocean around Nova Scotia to spin wind into energy for the electric grid, but the growth of the offshore wind industry in other parts of the world has sparked the province's interest. "In Nova Scotia we are blessed with a long coastline. We're blessed with a tremendous wind resource," said Alisdair McLean, executive director of the Offshore Energy Research Association, which is using $50,000 from the provincial government to commission a report on offshore wind potential. The association wants to find out how Nova Scotia might use government policy to attract the offshore wind industry to build wind farms off the province's coasts, where winds are typically stronger than over land. "The purpose of our work is to try to understand whether it could be viable in Nova Scotia or not," McLean said in a recent interview. "Although it is viable in other jurisdictions, clearly, every jurisdiction has its own peculiarities. And so our role here is to evaluate whether or not it could be useful and productive and affordable in Nova Scotia." Nova Scotia already has hundreds of turbines at dozens of wind farms across the province. They generate about 20 per cent of the electricity on Nova Scotia's grid, and make up the single largest renewable energy source, but they're all onshore. Offshore wind energy farms were established in parts of Europe in the 1990s and the industry is still growing. The European Union released an offshore renewable energy strategy last fall that includes a goal of increasing offshore wind capacity five-fold by 2030, and five-fold again by 2050. The offshore wind industry started developing in the U.S. more recently, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard. According to the American Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the country's first offshore wind farm started operating off Rhode Island in 2016. Targets difficult to meet All the while, Nova Scotia has renewable energy targets that are proving difficult to meet. In 2020, renewable energy sources made up about 30 per cent of electricity on the grid — 10 per cent shy of what the province had hoped to achieve by last year. After the already-troubled Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project faced further delays in 2020, Nova Scotia's 40 per cent renewable energy target has been pushed back to 2022. McLean said "there's no way" any offshore wind projects would develop quickly enough to help achieve that goal, but offshore could fit in with the province's longer-term goals, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Dan Roscoe said he expects to see more onshore wind farms built in Nova Scotia before any offshore development begins. Roscoe, an engineer and lead of renewable energy at Cape Breton University's Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, said jurisdictions where offshore wind has taken off typically have space constraints on land, which is not currently a problem in Nova Scotia. "I think what it comes down to is what are we going to use that offshore wind energy for? And how can we get it to a spot where it's going to be cost-competitive?" Roscoe said. According to Nova Scotia Power's latest resource plan, released last fall, the cost of generating offshore wind in Nova Scotia in 2021 would be about double the cost of onshore wind — $113 per megawatt hour versus $56 per megawatt hour. The utility has forecast the cost of generating energy from both sources will drop, and the gap between them will tighten. By 2045, NSP's plan predicts onshore wind will cost $44 per megawatt hour and offshore will cost $59 per megawatt hour. Roscoe said wind energy costs are coming down in part because of the economies of scale. Wind turbines are getting bigger, with some recent offshore projects boasting capacities as high as one gigawatt — "which would be more than half the demand and roughly half of the needs of Nova Scotia, all in one project." In order to make projects of that size viable in Nova Scotia, Roscoe said some of the power generated would likely have to be sold for export. Researchers pinpoint best locations for wind energy Two researchers at Dalhousie University's Renewable Energy Storage Lab just published some findings that they think might help with the cost of wind energy. Mechanical engineering professor Lukas Swan and research engineer Nathaniel Pearre mapped out the best places around the Maritime provinces for wind farms, with an eye to mitigating one of the resource's major drawbacks: variability. Because wind speed and strength are constantly changing, the amount of energy generated through wind turbines is also constantly changing. At peak, there can be congestion on the grid. At base, wind power needs to be backed up by other energy sources. Swan and Pearre's mapping study shows potential wind farm locations around the Maritimes that could naturally balance what's already on the grid. "To put it into a bullet point … if you build out more resources towards the periphery of the area, the better," Pearre said in an interview. In Nova Scotia, the offshore area around Sable Island scored well, according to the researchers, as did parts of the Bay of Fundy, on the New Brunswick side. Onshore, they found potential in parts of Cape Breton and northwestern New Brunswick. Swan said he thinks offshore wind's potential deserves more exploration in Nova Scotia, but he isn't counting on the industry exploding any time soon. "Everything is harder than it looks and probably takes a little bit longer than you'd think." MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
STOKE, England — Ireland international James McClean was suspended by English second-division club Stoke for allegedly breaching coronavirus regulations by training in a private gym. There will be a disciplinary hearing into McClean's conduct, Stoke said late Thursday. The 31-year-old McClean, who tested positive for COVID-19 in November while on international duty, will not be available for selection for Saturday’s game against Blackburn. Indoor gyms are currently closed in Britain during the pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Recent heavy rainfall and flooding have caused rubbish and debris to be carried into Bulgaria's waterways.View on euronews
While most children in the province continue at-home learning for at least another few weeks, some students with special needs, including those in Windsor-Essex, have already returned to in-person classes. Nearly two weeks ago on Jan. 4, Windsor-Essex students in special education went back to school. Parents of these students say their children are happier and more productive compared to when they were in online learning. But some special education teachers are concerned and want enhanced safety measures, according to local president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Mario Spagnuolo. For parent Valérie Hodgins, in-person classes give her children, who have autism, the structure they need. "It's working very well for our family structure and routine," she said. "When they were off for the three weeks at Christmas break, their whole schedule was off. They weren't sleeping right. They just weren't completely themselves. "They've been back to school for almost two weeks now. They've had successful days. They're back to sleeping normally. They are back to eating properly. Like everything is back to normal for them." Both her children attend a local Catholic French immersion school. Hodgins said she communicates with her children's teacher on a daily basis and feels safe knowing her children wear masks and protective eye shields at school. "They're just happy, and that wasn't the case when they're at home," she said. Stephanie Seguin is another parent who's grateful to have the option of in-person classes for her daughter, Hazel, who has Down syndrome and attends a Catholic school. "It's been really awesome for her. She's so happy. We chose to send her half-day. So she goes half-day to school in-person and then she does the rest of the day virtual learning where I sit next to her in the afternoon. So that schedule right now is really working well for her," she said. Seguin said she feels fortunate she didn't need to fight to have the option of in-person classes — something Joanna Conrad has been trying to get for her five-year-old daughter, who also has Down syndrome. Conrad said her daughter, who is in senior kindergarten in a public school, is currently doing virtual learning and it's not going well for her. "She doesn't want to log on most days. If she does log on in the morning, it's four or five to 10 minutes max. It's very difficult for her to participate unless I'm sitting right beside her. And even then, she tunes out. She says, 'OK, bye-bye. And she turns it off and out," she said. 'A lot of distraction at home,' says one parent "For me to work on activities with her in the home is also very challenging. There's a lot of distraction. You know, most parents don't understand unless they have a child with special needs, what it means to try to support your child," she said. Conrad said her daughter requires special supports that are not available at home. She said she's contacted the board to try and get her daughter back in-class, but was told that isn't an option for students in kindergarten. She's waiting to hear from Mike Wilcox, the superintendent of special education with the Greater Essex County District School Board, for an answer. Wilcox told CBC News that he cannot speak to any specific situation as it would breach confidentiality, but said there are some students "who may be senior kindergarten age" attending classes in-person. "Right now, we are supporting our students with our most complex needs and we have lots of supports in place for those students who are not in in-person learning," he said. "We have speech and language [supports] and psychologists who are completing assessments in-person and online. So we have lots of supports there for our students with special education needs ranging from, you know, JK to to Grade 12." He said he recommends that parents who have concerns contact the principal of their school to find a way that the special education department can further support their child. Wilcox also said in-person classes for students with special needs are going well, adding that 73 per cent of those who were attending in-person classes before the holidays have returned. In an email statement to CBC News, Stephen Fields, the communications coordinator with Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said if students with special needs cannot be accommodated through remote learning, they are allowed to attend school. The statement in part reads, "there is no congregation of students with special needs in one location, and in many cases there might be only one or two students in the classroom." "At the secondary level, those students with special needs who elected to attend school would go to their Life Skills rooms the way they always would. These are usually smaller groups of students (around seven or eight)." He said the board continues to follow public health guidelines by "mandating the use of PPE for staff, masking for students, appropriate distancing and regular hand hygiene." Teachers concerned Spagnuolo said special education teachers who he spoke with on Wednesday raised concerns about in-person learning. He said they're afraid to speak out in fear of reprisal from their employer, but have flagged that they want some changes made to how in-person learning is conducted. "Some of the things that we're looking for is more enhanced PPE, better cleaning and enhanced cleaning products in these classrooms," he said, adding they also want better screening protocols, air ventilation and assessments. "Also to see if we can get any higher priority for these teachers that are continuing to work in these buildings in terms of vaccinations for those that choose to ask to be vaccinated," he said. "They're on the front lines currently and they need to have access to that vaccination as soon as possible." While special education teachers understand the need to teach students with special needs in-person, Spagnuolo said they would like to be included and heard in the decision-making process. "I think that's the least that the government in the school board could do, is include these teachers in the decision making," he said.
A Scottish court rejected on Friday an appeal to overturn the conviction of a now-deceased Libyan man found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing which killed 270 people. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, an intelligence officer who died in 2012, was jailed for life in 2001 for the murder of 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 residents of the Scottish town in the deadliest militant attack in British history. "The bombing of Pan Am 103 is, to this day, the deadliest terrorist attack on UK soil and the largest homicide case Scotland's prosecutors have ever encountered in terms of scale and of complexity," said Lord Advocate James Wolffe, Scotland's chief legal officer.
A former head of the United States' nuclear regulator is raising questions about the molten-salt technology that would be used in one model of proposed New Brunswick-made nuclear reactors. The technology pitched by Saint John's Moltex Energy is key to its business case because, the company argues, it would reuse some of the nuclear waste from Point Lepreau and lower the long-term cost and radioactivity of storing the remainder. But Allison Macfarlane, the former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a specialist in the storage of nuclear waste, said no one has yet proven that it's possible or viable to reprocess nuclear waste and lower the cost and risks of storage. "Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere because they don't know," said Macfarlane, now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. "Nobody's really doing this right now. … Nobody has ever set up a molten salt reactor and used it to produce electricity." Macfarlane said she couldn't comment specifically on Moltex, calling information about the company's technology "very vague." But she said the general selling point for molten-salt technology is dubious. "Nobody's been able to answer my questions yet on what all these wastes are and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are," she said. "My sense is that all of these reactor folks have not really paid a lot of attention to the back end of these fuel cycles," she said, referring to the long-term risks and costs of securely storing nuclear waste. Moltex is one of two Saint John-based companies pitching small nuclear reactors as the next step for nuclear power in the province and as a non-carbon-dioxide emitting alternative to fossil fuel electricity generation. Moltex North America CEO Rory O'Sullivan said the company's technology will allow it to affordably extract the most radioactive parts of the existing nuclear waste from the Point Lepreau Generating Station. The waste is now stored in pellet form in silos near the plant and is inspected regularly. The process would remove less than one per cent of the material to fuel the Moltex reactor and O'Sullivan said that would make the remainder less radioactive for a much shorter amount of time. Existing plans for nuclear waste in Canada are to store it in an eventual permanent repository deep underground, where it would be secure for the hundreds of thousands of years it remained radioactive. Reduced storage time and expense O'Sullivan said extracting and removing the most radioactive parts would reduce the needed storage time to only hundreds of years, and therefore lower the long-term expense. "The vast majority will have decayed within a couple of hundred years back down to regular natural levels," he said in an interview. Estimates for storing what's called intermediate radioactive material are from a hundred to a thousandfold cheaper, he said. "It's very different in cost, complexity, depth underground. … That's obviously a very big, very appealing factor." There is no permanent repository for storing spent nuclear fuel deep underground. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a national agency, is looking at two sites in Ontario but there's been no decision on a location. Shorter-term radioactivity complicates storage Macfarlane said a shorter-term radioactivity life for waste would actually complicate its storage underground because it might lead to a facility that has to be funded and secured rather than sealed up and abandoned. "That means that you believe that the institutions that exist to keep monitoring that ... will exist for hundreds of years, and I think that is a ridiculous assumption," she said. "I'm looking at the United States, I'm seeing institutions crumbling in a matter of a few years. I have no faith that institutions can last that long and that there will be streams of money to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. That's why you will need a deep geologic repository for this material." My response is: prove it. - Allison Macfarlane, nuclear waste expert And she said that's assuming the technology will successfully extract all of the most radioactive material. "They are assuming that they remove one hundred per cent of the difficult, radionuclides, the difficult isotopes, that complicate the waste," she said. "My response is: prove it. Because if you leave five per cent, you have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. If you leave one per cent, you're going to have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. So sorry, that one doesn't fly with me." Macfarlane, a geologist by training, raised doubts about molten-salt technology and waste issues in a 2018 paper she co-authored for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In the U.S., she questioned plans for a long-term nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. 'Baffled' by environmental backlash A New Brunswick group opposed to small modular reactors, or SMRs, the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development, has been pointing to her research as another reason to doubt their viability. O'Sullivan said he is "personally very baffled and frustrated" by opposition to SMRs by anti-nuclear activists. He said such activists have long complained about nuclear waste as a key concern "and we think we've finally got a solution that's cost effective to deal with it, and we're still getting this backlash. … We're environmentalists and we have this backlash." ARC Nuclear, the other Saint John-based company working on SMRs, also plans to use some existing nuclear waste in its reactor design. The company said in a statement Thursday that its technology "has successfully been demonstrated, therefore proven, at the engineering scale," but no one was available for an interview. Nuclear power essential to reduced emissions NB Power has predicted the creation of thousands of job and a $1 billion boost to the provincial economy if SMRs are built here. The utility did not respond to a request for comment on Moltex's plan for Point Lepreau's nuclear waste. The previous Liberal government handed Moltex and ARC a total of $10 million to support their research and development. The federal government said nuclear power is essential to Canada reducing its emissions but has not provided funding to the two Saint John companies.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he hoped positive steps will be taken on Turkey's role in the F-35 jet programme once U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office, describing Ankara's exclusion for purchasing Russian defences as a "serious wrong". Last month, Washington imposed long-anticipated sanctions on Turkey's defence industry over its acquisition of S-400 missile defence systems from Moscow, in a move Turkey called a "grave mistake". The United States has also removed fellow NATO member Turkey from the F-35 programme over the move.
The companies behind the White Rose offshore oil project are taking the Newfoundland and Labrador government to court, saying they have overpaid royalties. Husky Oil Operations and Suncor Energy are seeking a ruling from a judge that their interpretation of the regulations is correct, and would apply to "all past, current and future royalties payable" for White Rose. The application does not specify an exact amount being sought by the oil companies. However, affidavits from Husky and Suncor officials contend that they overpaid more than $32 million, in total, from 2014 through 2017. Those amounts apply to both the original White Rose field, and the White Rose expansion. In a nutshell, the oil companies say the intent of the royalty regulations is for them to pay the greater of two royalty levels in a certain period, but not both. They say that is sometimes happening, even though it's not the way the system is supposed to work. Husky spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said that is the unintended result of an "an anomaly" in the royalty regulations. "We have been working to address this with the province over the past three years; however, it remains unresolved," McConnell said in an email to CBC News. "As a result, we have referred it to court for a decision, which is a mechanism is available to the parties to resolve matters in dispute." The province had not yet filed any documents in reply as of midweek, and the Energy Department declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the case is before the courts. Similar issues with Terra Nova settled in the past In court documents, Husky and Suncor pointed to past disputes involving similar issues with the Terra Nova oilfield. The owners of Terra Nova filed court actions in 2010 and again in 2015 over comparable concerns about royalty calculations. Both cases were settled before a judge could issue a final ruling. The second dispute was resolved by both sides essentially deciding to split the difference. The White Rose case is due to be called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in early February. Husky is the operator of White Rose, owning a 72.5-per-cent share, with Suncor holding the remaining 27.5 per cent. Husky owns 68.875 per cent of the White Rose expansion. Suncor has 26.125 per cent, with Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers holding the remaining five per cent through a Crown-owned corporation. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A friendship and an eye-opening appreciation for health-care workers are what 38-year-old Colleen Kelly was lucky enough to take away from the 11 days she spent in hospital with COVID-19. For most of her stay, Kelly says she was on an oxygen machine and was told she was close to needing a ventilator. Despite how uncertain it all was, she walked away alive, befriended her 87-year-old COVID-positive roommate and came to better understand the unwavering efforts of the region's healthcare workers, she said. "The nurses were so kind and they would come in and check on you and there's a lot going on on that floor," she said. "These people need to be recognized ... it was just like an eye-opener for me, the whole experience, not even with me but just what the health-care workers do." Kelly shared her experience in the Facebook group Windsor Frontline Health Care Workers and told CBC News that she posted so that people working the front lines know that they are "changing people's lives" with their care. The group was started two weeks ago to offer support to local healthcare workers during the pandemic and already has more than 6,000 members. 'I'm going to make it' The whole experience has left Kelly in disbelief, mainly because throughout the entire illness, she said she never really felt "deathly" sick. While battling the illness she said she never felt scared, but looking back she realizes that she could have died. Now she worries about whether others are taking the appropriate action when they test positive. "Trust your instincts and listen to your body," she said. "They told me because my oxygen was so low my organs would start to shut down and I would not have made it through the night." Like many people who have contracted the disease, Kelly said shortly after testing positive on Dec. 9, she felt tired, lost her sense of taste and smell and had persistent headaches. A nurse friend told Kelly that the headaches might be from a lack of oxygen and that she should check her levels with an at-home monitor. When Kelly told her friend that her oxygen was around 65 per cent, the friend told her to immediately go to the hospital, as she said that was low. "I've never been in a hospital before in my life so I've no idea what's going on and when I went in and sat down and the guy hooked the [oxygen] machine up to my finger, it was like pure panic," she said. "And he just kind of went, 'oh my God, your oxygen's at 54 per cent' ... they kept asking me how I got to the hospital, did I walk into the hospital? because they couldn't understand how I was still walking and talking." Once admitted, Kelly said she spent the next nine days on oxygen. During this time, she bonded with her roommate. "She was incredible, like this lady was so funny, our energy in our room was always good, like we laughed and laughed all day long," Kelly said. "This 87-year-old lady was never scared either right. Like, never once did I hear anything negative come out of her mouth and I'm thinking like 'OK, you're going to make it, I'm going to make it.'" Eventually Kelly recovered and was discharged from the hospital and two days later, so was her roommate. Kelly says the two have already made plans to grab lunch together when it's safe to gather again.
Pension fund managers and religious investors on Friday asked top social media companies to step up their content control efforts to reduce the threat of violence ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden next week. The effort is the latest pressure on Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc over extreme rhetoric after the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Donald Trump.
ENVIRONNEMENT. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska a déposé son bilan de mi-parcours 2019 du Plan directeur de l’eau 2017-2021. Ce plan d’évaluation et d’intervention lancé en 2017 est financé par le Fonds vert. Il a été voté il y a treize ans par le conseil des maires de la MRC. Près de 1,24 M$ seront investis entre 2017 et 2021 dans les huit municipalités du territoire. De ce budget, 200 000 $ ont été dépensés en 2019. «La MRC a activement poursuivi son engagement en matière environnementale, par la mise en œuvre d’actions concrètes pour la santé des lacs et des cours d’eau en Haute-Yamaska. Autant en matière de protection des bandes riveraines, de mise à niveau des installations septiques, de lutte à la pollution ou de contrôle de l’érosion, voire de conservation volontaire des milieux naturels», précise Valérie-Anne Bachand, inspectrice en environnement et chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau. «Ça contribue à atténuer les impacts des changements climatiques sur les milieux hydriques.» La MRC a été productive. Elle affirme avoir pu compléter près de 92 % des 60 interventions qu’elle souhaitait mener en 2019 dans le cadre de son Plan directeur de l’eau (PDE) 2017-2021 — Pour des lacs et des cours d’eau en santé en Haute-Yamaska. Selon son dernier bilan, plus de 81 % des bandes riveraines du territoire sont aujourd’hui conformes, même si 350 avis d’infraction ont été envoyés aux nouveaux propriétaires riverains au printemps 2019. Par ailleurs, de nombreux efforts ont été déployés pour sensibiliser les propriétaires à la pollution, à l’érosion et à la végétalisation des berges. Plus de 1 600 arbustes ont été distribués. La MRC a aussi versé 25 000 $ à l’OBV Yamaska pour soutenir le projet collectif d’amélioration de la qualité de l’eau en milieu agricole du bassin versant du lac Boivin. La MRC en a profité pour procéder à la caractérisation et à la mise à niveau des installations septiques de la région. Près de 88 % des installations non conformes répertoriées depuis 2010, ont été corrigées ou sont en voie de l’être. «C’est un très bon bilan considérant ce que ça représente comme coûts pour les propriétaires.» Des centaines d’hectares protégés Un projet triennal mené avec la collaboration de la Fondation SÉTHY a permis «entre 2017 et 2019 de signer 55 ententes visant la conservation volontaire de 865 hectares en Haute-Yamaska» et «55 hectares d’écosystèmes à haute valeur écologique seront aussi protégés à perpétuité grâce à la négociation d’ententes de conservation légale entre la Fondation SÉTHY et des propriétaires privés.» Près de 35 000 $ ont été accordés à la Fondation SÉTHY dans le cadre de ce projet de conservation des milieux naturels. La qualité de l’eau est considérée comme généralement bonne, selon les analyses réalisées dans 92 % des 24 stations d’échantillonnage des eaux de surface du territoire, notamment en ce qui a trait à la présence de coliformes fécaux « à l’exception de deux stations dont la qualité de l’eau est ressortie mauvaise ou douteuse (en amont et en aval de la station d’épuration de la Ville de Granby)», écrit-on dans ce rapport. Ceci ne veut pas dire pour autant que Granby ne répond pas aux normes en la matière, précise Valérie-Anne Bachand. «Concernant les résultats du programme d’échantillonnage (dont des coliformes fécaux), le temps généralement plus sec, lors des prélèvements de 2019, pourrait avoir contribué à réduire le taux de dilution de certaines sources d’apports ponctuels (dont les rejets d’eaux usées municipales)», explique Mme Bachand. Une mise à niveau prochaine de la station d’épuration de Granby devrait permettre d’améliorer ces chiffres. Sinon, la quantité de phosphore présent dans l’eau s’améliore. Mais environ 70 % des stations sont encore affectées par une concentration élevée en phosphore total (qualité mauvaise ou douteuse). «On poursuit la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action. Lutter contre la pollution diffuse, l’érosion des berges et protéger les milieux humides figure en tête de liste des priorités de la MRC. «C’est un beau plan d’action qu’on a devant nous», conclut Valérie-Anne Bachand, chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau, pour la MRC de la Haute-Yamaska. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
CANBERRA, Australia — A pigeon that Australia declared a biosecurity risk has received a reprieve after a U.S. bird organization declared its identifying leg band was fake. The band suggested the bird found in a Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 was a racing pigeon that had left the U.S. state of Oregon, 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) away, two months earlier. On that basis, Australian authorities on Thursday said they considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it. But Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said on Friday the band was fake. The band number belongs to a blue bar pigeon in the United States which is not the bird pictured in Australia, she said. “The bird band in Australia is counterfeit and not traceable,” Roberts said. “They do not need to kill him.” Australia's Agriculture Department, which is responsible for biosecurity, agreed that the pigeon dubbed Joe, after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, was wearing a “fraudulent copy” leg band. “Following an investigation, the department has concluded that Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk,” it said in a statement. The department said it will take no further action. Acting Australian Prime Minister Michael McCormack had earlier said there would be no mercy if the pigeon was from the United States. “If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict biosecurity measures, then bad luck Joe, either fly home or face the consequences,” McCormack said. Martin Foley, health minister for Victoria state where Joe is living, had called for the federal government to spare the bird even if it posed a disease risk. “I would urge the Commonwealth’s quarantine officials to show a little bit of compassion,” Foley said. Andy Meddick, a Victorian lawmaker for the minor Animal Justice Party, called for a “pigeon pardon for Joe.” “Should the federal government allow Joe to live, I am happy to seek assurances that he is not a flight risk,” Meddick said. Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was surprised by the change of nationality but pleased that the bird he named Joe would not be destroyed. “I thought this is just a feel-good story and now you guys want to put this pigeon away and I thought it’s not on, you know, you can’t do that, there has got to be other options,” Celli-Bird said of the threat to euthanize. Celli-Bird had contacted the American Racing Pigeon Union to find the bird’s owner based on the number on the leg band. The bands have both a number and a symbol, but Celli-Bird didn’t remember the symbol and said he can no longer catch the bird since it has recovered from its initial weakness. The bird with the genuine leg band had disappeared from a 560-kilometre (350-mile) race in Oregon on Oct. 29, Crooked River Challenge owner Lucas Cramer said. That bird did not have a racing record that would make it valuable enough to steal its identity, he said. “That bird didn’t finish the race series, it didn’t make any money and so its worthless, really,” Cramer said. He said it was possible a pigeon could cross the Pacific on a ship from Oregon to Australia. “In reality, it could potentially happen, but this isn’t the same pigeon. It’s not even a racing pigeon,” Cramer said. The bird spends every day in the backyard, sometimes with a native dove on a pergola. “I might have to change him to Aussie Joe, but he’s just the same pigeon,” Celli-Bird said. Lars Scott, a carer at Pigeon Rescue Melbourne, a bird welfare group, said pigeons with American leg bans were not uncommon around the city. A number of Melbourne breeders bought them online and used them for their own record keeping, Scott said. Australian quarantine authorities are notoriously strict. In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev nominated Askar Mamin as prime minister on Friday, and the newly elected lower house of parliament swiftly approved his appointment after ruling party leader Nursultan Nazarbayev asked his lawmakers to back Mamin. Mamin had stepped down after a Jan. 10 parliamentary election, as required by the constitution, after almost two years in office. Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party swept this month's vote to retain control over the lower house.
The regular weekly price review of petroleum product prices by P.E.I.'s Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission saw some big increases overnight. The minimum price of a litre of regular, self-serve gasoline is up four cents Friday morning to $1.11. Following a collapse at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in the spring, prices for gas rose to hover around a dollar for much of the spring and fall. They fell into the low 90s in early November, but have been on a steady rise since. The minimum price of a litre of diesel is up five cents to $1.16. The maximum price for heating oil is up 4.4 cents to $0.85. Propane prices were also up across the board, and varied by retailer. Irving: up 2.9 cents. Island Petroleum: Up 3.3 cents. Kenmac: Up 3.5 cents. Noonan: Up 3.5 cents. Superior: up 4.4 cents. The next scheduled price review is Jan. 22. More from CBC P.E.I.
It was a decision parent Katerina Gamlin never wanted to make: continue struggling to care for her young daughter Kassie or hand her over to a government-funded care centre for at least a year. The 13-year-old suffers from multiple neurological disabilities, including autism and requires constant supervision. Last year, she went into psychosis and was hospitalized. "Our child is so complex, there's not just one person that can come along and care for her," said Gamlin. The family has been desperate for respite services, which give short-term relief to primary caregivers. But in B.C., those are in short supply, and many that were available have been put on hold because of the pandemic. It puts a heavy burden on parents like Gamlin, with few prospects of relief. "You're emotionally exhausted, you feel like you're not a good parent, that you're not doing everything you can. I hate to admit it, but at some point, you question whether you love the person you take care of," said Gamlin. The lack of respite services in B.C. has advocates sounding the alarm over the emotional and physical toll on parents, many of whom are burned out while also grappling with the economic and social challenges brought on by the pandemic. For some, it means making the hard decision to give up their children. Respite removed Gamlin says once her daughter was discharged from the hospital following her psychosis early last year, the Nanaimo-based family was provided with three-days-a-week respite services in a fully staffed group home. "We were starting to get some rest," said Gamlin. "I can't tell you how fabulous that was. That was the first time in her life that I was hopeful that things were going to be OK." But after three months, the Ministry of Children and Family Development pulled the services from them. Gamlin says she was told that children already in government care were taking priority. According to the ministry, the pandemic prompted MCFD to make service adjustments in April 2020 to "prioritize vulnerable youth and children and youth with support needs." Gamlin said she advocated for the services to be reinstated for nearly a year but with no success. Whether it was writing to ministries, social workers or politicians, she says she would run into brick walls and closed doors. Two months ago, after Cassie was hospitalized again, Gamlin made the decision to sign a special needs agreement with MCFD, which means her daughter now lives in a ministry-funded care centre about an hour-and-a-half away. The agreement lasts for one year, and Gamlin retains guardianship. "I'm thankful every day because she's in a place that is amazing," said Gamlin. "[But] I often get frustrated thinking about how it would be if we did have the respite that we so desperately needed." Care crisis Behaviour analyst Jemana Elsharkawi works with special needs children and says she's witnessed first-hand the toll the lack of services has had on families, which has been compounded by the pandemic. "Many parents have lost their jobs, it's very, very difficult," said Elsharkawi. "We're really in a crisis." She penned a letter to the MCFD last April calling for more funding for respite for families amid the pandemic, citing a noticeable uptick of parents coming to rely on specialists like her as a lifeline. "We didn't have enough services prior to the pandemic, and now as things have exacerbated, with families and their children desperately needing more support, what we're seeing is a lot more 911 phone calls ... the toll on the mental health of the families is incalculable," she said. A ministry spokesperson said B.C. has seen an increase in the number of homes "resuming respite care services since November." "We aren't yet back to pre-pandemic levels, but we are trending in that direction," read the statement. For parents that have already made big sacrifices, a return to "pre-pandemic levels" won't be enough. "The system seems really flawed in why are we not preventing burnout, why are we not preventing children going into care, if there were respite beds," said Gamlin.