At least six people were injured after a crash just before 11:30 a.m. on New Year’s day at the intersection of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West.
At least six people were injured after a crash just before 11:30 a.m. on New Year’s day at the intersection of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirmed the timing and said Gov. Gavin Newsom was aware of her decision, clearing the way for him to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California's secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris' term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic. Newsom announced his choice in December, following intense lobbying for the rare Senate vacancy from the nation's most populous state. Harris will give no farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until Tuesday, the eve of Inauguration Day. Padilla's arrival, along with Harris becoming the Senate's presiding officer when she's sworn-in as vice-president, is part of Democrats' upcoming Senate majority. But the party still needs Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia to be certified as victors in their Jan. 5 elections and then be sworn in. Harris will be the first Black woman and first woman of South Asian descent to serve as vice-president, but her Senate departure leaves the chamber’s roster without a Black woman. Harris was just the second Black woman senator, winning her California election 17 years after Democrat Carol Moseley Braun finished a single term representing Illinois. Among many potential successors to Harris, Newsom passed over at least two prominent Black women, U.S. Reps. Karen Bass and Barbara Lee. Bass also was among Biden's finalists for running mate. Democrats were in the minority during Harris' four years on Capitol Hill. Perhaps her biggest mark came as a fierce questioner of judicial nominees and other witnesses as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Harris was viewed as a future presidential candidate almost immediately upon joining the Senate in 2017. She announced her White House bid in January 2019 but dropped out the subsequent December after a lacklustre campaign and before the ballots were cast in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. Biden, himself a former senator, invited her to join the national ticket in August. The wins by Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia ensured a 50-50 Senate, positioning Harris as the tie-breaking vote for Democratic control. But Ossoff and Warnock cannot join the chamber until Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certifies the final vote tally. Raffensperger, a Republican, has said he could act as soon as Tuesday, conceivably allowing Padilla, Ossoff and Warnock to join the Senate together as early as that afternoon's session. But Republicans will maintain a narrow majority until all three take office and Harris sits in the presiding officer's chair. Harris' early departure from the Senate has multiple precedents. Biden was the last sitting senator to be elected vice-president. He resigned his Delaware post on Jan. 15, 2009, five days before he and Barack Obama were inaugurated. Obama, a senator at the time of his election, had resigned his Illinois seat two months before Biden. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
A heavy presence of law enforcement officers guarded state capitol grounds across the United States on Sunday in preparation for protests that so far have drawn only a small number of Trump supporters who believe the president's false claim that the 2020 election was rigged. More than a dozen states have activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. Capitals in battleground states, where Trump has directed his accusations of voter fraud, were on especially high alert.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday Jan. 16, 2021. There are 702,183 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 702,183 confirmed cases (76,234 active, 608,084 resolved, 17,865 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,479 new cases Saturday from 89,622 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 202.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 49,169 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,024. There were 137 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 975 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 139. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.53 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,486,584 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 395 confirmed cases (eight active, 383 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 143 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 76,165 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 104 confirmed cases (nine active, 95 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 477 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 85,889 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,554 confirmed cases (30 active, 1,459 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Saturday from 1,334 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.30 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 26 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 195,067 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 911 confirmed cases (268 active, 631 resolved, 12 deaths). There were 27 new cases Saturday from 1,312 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 34.5 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 146 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 21. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 127,403 tests completed. _ Quebec: 240,970 confirmed cases (21,601 active, 210,364 resolved, 9,005 deaths). There were 2,225 new cases Saturday from 9,590 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,737 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,105. There were 67 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 358 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 51. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.6 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 106.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,647,264 tests completed. _ Ontario: 234,364 confirmed cases (28,618 active, 200,406 resolved, 5,340 deaths). There were 3,056 new cases Saturday from 71,183 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 196.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22,527 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,218. There were 51 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 372 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 53. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,575,369 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 27,322 confirmed cases (2,986 active, 23,575 resolved, 761 deaths). There were 180 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 218.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,156 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 165. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 436,236 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 19,985 confirmed cases (4,043 active, 15,730 resolved, 212 deaths). There were 270 new cases Saturday from 1,218 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 22 per cent. The rate of active cases is 344.24 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,178 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 311. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 18.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 320,404 tests completed. _ Alberta: 116,087 confirmed cases (12,713 active, 101,957 resolved, 1,417 deaths). There were 717 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 290.83 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,446 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 778. There were 15 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 145 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 21. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.47 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.42 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,979,663 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 60,117 confirmed cases (5,955 active, 53,115 resolved, 1,047 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 4,365 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 117.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,947 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 421. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 48 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,021,911 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (two active, 67 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,256 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 25 confirmed cases (one active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 2.23 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 8,323 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,558 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — True to form, Betty White has something impish to say about her birthday Sunday. “Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!” she told The Associated Press in an email. White's low-key plans include feeding a pair of ducks that regularly visit her Los Angeles-area home. Her birthday meal will be a hot dog and French fries brought in — along with a bouquet of roses — by her longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas. The actor’s TV credits stretch from 1949’s “Hollywood on Television” to a 2019 voice role in “Forky Asks a Question,” with “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” among the enduring highlights. In January alone, White is on screen in reruns including “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland”; the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie “The Proposal,” and the 2018 documentary “Betty White: First Lady of Television,” about her life and career. White's devotion to animals will be on display next month with the DVD and digital release of “Betty White's Pet Set," a 1970s series in which she visited with celebrity guests and their pets as well as wild animals. Her work, always marked by top-drawer comedic timing, has earned her five Emmy Awards, including a 2010 trophy for a guest-host appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” A native of Oak Park, Illinois, White was married to game show host and producer Allen Ludden from 1963 until his death in 1981. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
Canada's procurement minister urged drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech to get the country's COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule back on track as soon as possible as cases of the novel coronavirus surged past the 700,000 mark on Saturday. The country hit the milestone less than two weeks after recording 600,000 cases of the virus on Jan. 3 -- a feat that took months during the pandemic's first wave. Seven provinces recorded 6,479 cases on Saturday, pushing the national tally over 702,000. Nationwide inoculation efforts had resulted in more than half a million residents receiving a vaccine dose as of Friday night, though the pace of immunizations is set to decrease as Pfizer-BioNTech upgrades its production facilities in Europe. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians' concerns about the drug company's decision to delay international vaccine shipments for four weeks during the upgrades. "We are once again in touch with representatives from Pfizer to reiterate firmly the importance for Canada to return to our regular delivery schedule as soon as possible," she said on Twitter Saturday. "Pfizer assured us that it is deploying all efforts to do just that."She noted that shipments for the upcoming week will be largely unaffected, and said Ottawa will provide updates as they become available. Ontario became the latest province to adjust its vaccination rollout plans in light of Pfizer's announcement.Dr. David Williams, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a statement on Saturday saying officials do not yet know the full impact the delay will have on Ontario's immunization strategy. "We understand that this change in supply could see deliveries reduced by at least half for Canada in the coming weeks," Williams said in a statement Saturday."We will assess and take appropriate action to ensure we can continue providing our most vulnerable with vaccines."In Ontario, long-term care residents, caregivers and staff who already received their first dose of Pfizer's vaccine will get their second dose between 21 and 27 days later, no more than a week beyond what was originally planned. But that time frame will be longer for anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine, with second doses being delivered anywhere from 21 to 42 days after the initial shot.Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday the reduced shipments mean that 86,775 of the 176,475 doses of the vaccine expected by Feb. 8 won't be delivered on schedule.Officials are establishing a new distribution plan, but the Quebec Health Department said it still intends to immunize as many people as possible within priority groups, with a delay of up to 90 days for the second dose.Officials in Saskatchewan said COVID-19 vaccinations will continue as doses are received, with Premier Scott Moe telling reporters Friday that the province's strategy for the two-dose regime depends on steady shipments.Canada's top doctor continued her push for strict adherance to public health guidelines as Saturday's case count inched closer to levels forecasted in bleak federal projections released earlier in the week. Modeling released on Thursday indicated Canada could see 10,000 daily cases by the end of January if current infection rates continue. "If we ease measures too soon, the epidemic will resurge even stronger," Dr. Theresa Tam said in a tweet. "This is double-down time!!"Tam said Hospitalizations and deaths across the country, which tend to lag one to several weeks behind a spike in cases, are still on the rise.Canada averaged 4,705 hospitalizations across the country with 875 patients requiring intensive care treatment For the seven-day period ending Jan. 14. During the same period, an average of 137 deaths were reported daily.Ontario topped 3,000 cases in a 24-hour period once again on Saturday and added another 51 deaths linked to the virus.In Quebec, 2,225 new infections were reported along with 67 deaths attributed to the virus, pushing the province over the 9,000 death mark since the beginning of the pandemic.New Brunswick continued to report the highest daily COVID-19 case counts in Atlantic Canada, with 27 new diagnoses reported Saturday. Nova Scotia, by contrast, reported just four.Saskatchewan reported 270 new COVID-19 cases and two further deaths on Saturday. Alberta logged 717 new infections, while Manitoba reported 180.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the province against considering a domestic travel ban, saying restricting travel between provinces to fight COVID-19 would only further harm the sector.The B.C. government should steer away from pursuing an outright ban and work instead with the industry and communities to better educate travelers about pandemic health and safety protocols, said Vivek Sharma, chairman of the Tourism Association of B.C.He said many tourism-related businesses are barely surviving due to the pandemic and a travel ban now would likely mean many won't survive the winter. "Tourism businesses in large and small communities are the glue that binds communities together," Sharma said in an interview. "It runs through the fabric of our province and we need to find solutions as to how we can support them to get into spring and to create an environment in the spring where those businesses can flourish and succeed."He said the tourism sector wants to stress to the government that individual behaviour and not travel is behind the spread of COVID-19."What we are saying is the problem is not happening because of the travel," said Sharma.Premier John Horgan said earlier this week his government is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel.Sharma, speaking on behalf of tourism and accommodations organizations from Vancouver, Richmond and Greater Victoria, said a non-essential travel ban could also heighten unnecessary fears and misperceptions toward visitors to B.C.There were several police reports last year from people driving vehicles with out-of-province licence plates about being confronted by local residents concerned about the spread of COVID-19.Sharma said the association has a legal opinion stating a travel ban would be difficult to implement due to Canada's mobility rights provisions, but the industry is not looking for a legal confrontation with the province."We don't want to talk about conflict," he said. "I don't even want to say we will challenge this in court."Cara Zwibel, a lawyer with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said earlier the B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary.She said it is not clear that B.C. has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to interprovincial travel.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is appealing an earlier court decision upholding travel restrictions imposed last year by the Newfoundland and Labrador government. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan .16, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will cap a busy day of inauguration pageantry by using the powers of his new office to push policy changes on housing, student loans, climate change and immigration, a top aide said on Saturday. Biden, who campaigned on a raft of promises to undo President Donald Trump’s legacy even before the novel coronavirus pandemic walloped the nation, will unveil “roughly a dozen” previously promised executive actions on Wednesday, incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said in a memo distributed to reporters. Most of the measures are a reversal of policies Trump pursued and do not require congressional action.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on the fallout and increased security efforts after the attack of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 7:30 p.m. Police have arrested a man with a handgun and 500 rounds of ammunition at a checkpoint in Washington set up ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Wesley Allen Beeler of Front Royal, Virginia, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license after being stopped at the checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol on Friday. Court documents say Beeler approached the checkpoint but did not have a valid credential for that area. Separately, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press he had a valid credential for inaugural events, though it was not issued by the government and was not recognized by the officers. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Court documents say an officer noticed Beeler had “firearms-related stickers” on his vehicle and asked him if he had any weapons inside. The papers say Beeler told the officers he had a handgun under the armrest and police detained him at the scene. They searched Beeler's car and found a high-capacity magazine in the 9mm handgun, along with more than 500 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle. Authorities said he didn’t have a license to carry the gun in Washington. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. — Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo. The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Dr. Dre was back at home Saturday after being treated at a Los Angeles hospital for a reported brain aneurysm. Peter Paterno, an attorney for the music mogul, said Dre was home but offered no other details in an email exchange Saturday. The rapper and producer reportedly was released Friday from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In a Jan. 5 social media post, Dre, 55, said he was “doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team.” TMZ had reported that he suffered a brain aneurysm the day before and was recovering at the medical centre. On Friday, actor and rapper Ice T posted that he had connected with Dre on FaceTime and that he had “just made it home. Safe and looking good.” Born Andre Young in the Southern California city of Compton, Dre broke out on the music scene as a co-founding member of N.W.A., producing the group’s groundbreaking 1988 debut album, “Straight Outta Compton.” He produced his own hits and multiplatinum albums, along with crafting music for many others including Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Nas. He also found success outside of the rap genre, producing pop hits for Gwen Stefani and Mary J. Blige. Dre founded Beats Electronics in 2008 with Jimmy Iovine, and six years later they launched a streaming subscription service, Beats Music. Apple acquired both in a $3 billion deal in 2014. The Associated Press
For years, legal troubles have cast a cloud over Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee as he stood on the cusp of stepping out of his father's shadow and making a name for himself as the leader of the global tech giant. On Monday, he faces sentencing on a bribery charge that could sideline him from the world's largest smartphone and memory chip maker just as it looks to overtake rivals in areas such as chip contract manufacturing and artificial intelligence (AI). "Samsung is at a crossroads," said Park Ju-gun, head of researcher CEO Score.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Fairbanks man in his 80s has died from COVID-19 and another 305 confirmed infections were reported Friday, health officials in Alaska said as the state continues vaccination efforts. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said 228 state residents and one nonresident have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March, including 23 deaths since Jan. 1, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The death rate per capita is among the lowest in the country, though the state's geographical size and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons, officials said. Hospitalizations and daily confirmed case counts have also declined in recent weeks. Officials said many people have been tested for COVID-19 more than once, but that each case count represents one person. The data does not specify if people who test positive are experiencing symptoms. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The state received the coronavirus vaccine in mid-December, health officials said. About 44,000 people have received the first dose and another 10,900 had received both doses required for the vaccine to be fully effective. Health care workers and adults older than 65 are now eligible for vaccination, although appointment slots are limited and have filled up quickly since being offered last week. The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — An election campaign in a Newfoundland and Labrador winter entails thigh-high snowbanks and winds strong enough to peel back eyelids. But on Saturday, Progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie found it does have an upside: knocking on doors is a little easier if people are already out shovelling. "It's been very encouraging here," he said from inside his campaign's SUV, as his team warmed their hands and their phones. Crosbie is flipping the partisan playbook, campaigning on a pledge to spend in order to create jobs. "Our philosophy is that you can't cut your way out of financial mess, you have to grow your way out of it," he said. "Fiscal conservatism is something best practised when you can afford to do it. And we can't afford it at the moment." He sees the stance as a rebuttal to the spending cuts some fear will come from the Liberals, led by surgeon Andrew Furey. Furey pushed back against that narrative at his first official campaign event at the St. John's Farmers' Market Saturday morning. "Now is not the time for cuts," he told reporters. "We need to grow the economy and the cuts are not going to come on the backs of hard-working men and women across the province." Before the legislature was dissolved Friday afternoon ahead of the election call, the Liberals held power with a minority government. Furey was installed as leader of the party in August, inheriting the premiership from Dwight Ball, and had to call an election within a year, according to provincial rules. In the fall, Furey assembled the premier's economic recovery team to address the province's staggering $1.84-billion deficit and $16.4-billion net debt, and to make suggestions on how the government could reorganize operations and build a stronger economy. The team has been controversial, with a major labour leader dramatically resigning. A first draft of the team's suggestions is due in February, but it's not clear if it will be made public before the election on Feb. 13. In his campaign announcement speech on Friday evening, Crosbie said Furey is trying to bury a plan for austerity measures, sending voters to the polls without knowing what they're in for. "Andrew Furey's secret plan will mean fewer jobs," he said in the speech. Crosbie and the Progressive Conservatives are Furey's biggest competition. On Saturday, in the Cowan Heights suburb of St. John's, a few shovellers who stopped to chat with Crosbie seemed impressed — particularly with Kristina Ennis, the PC candidate running in the district. Ennis is a young professional who was laid off in December from her job as a research and development analyst with ExxonMobil. "I loved it, I really miss it," she said on Saturday. "And I am just another of those people who've lost their jobs — the thousands of people — this year." She said she gets asked a lot why she joined the Progressive Conservatives, "especially as a young woman," answering that she was attracted to the party's emphasis on creating jobs through growth. "I don't want my friends to keep moving away, and I don't want to have to move away," she said. "The labour market, there's not a lot out there right now, and the competition to get those jobs is really high. There's so many people unemployed right now." At dissolution, the Liberals held 19 seats, the Progressive Conservatives held 15, the NDP had three and there were three Independents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a man whose bulldozer fell through the ice on one of its inactive tailings ponds earlier this week has now been recovered. The company issued a statement saying emergency responders completed their recovery efforts for Patrick Poitras on Friday night. The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction. Crews responded to the accident Wednesday afternoon at the mine site near Fort McMurray, Alta. A Suncor spokeswoman said at the time that occupational health and safety authorities were notified. The company says it's confirming Poitras' death with "great sadness" and "heavy hearts." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
The second wave of COVID-19 continues to put a strain on health resources across the province. New numbers indicate the pandemic has deeply affected people experiencing homelessness. Health agencies and physicians are calling for more to be done to help. Katherine Ward reports.
The Manitoba Métis Community and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) have been shut out of critical participation in Manitoba’s rollout of the vaccine and of yet, has not participated in any kind of token engagement with the province, the MMF says. While the Manitoba Government has invited the federation to participate in discussions of limited scope, it has failed to involve the MMF in any meaningful way. There has also been no data-sharing agreement with the provincial government despite numerous requests by the MMF. “Despite what Pallister’s officials suggest, we haven’t been engaged in a plan to deliver any vaccines to the Manitoba Métis,” said the MMF President David Chartrand in a news release. “How can we provide support to communication and infrastructure for a vaccine rollout to our people when we don’t know the basics? Where are the vaccines for the Métis people? How many are there? When will they be delivered? How will our population be identified? The province has no data on our Citizens and has long refused to sign a data-sharing agreement with us.” The federation believes that the current province’s vaccination plan does not address the lack of priority for the Métis Nation’s vulnerable Citizens and Elders. With no concrete plan in place, the Manitoba Métis Community feels as though they have been abandoned by the provincial government. “The Province of Manitoba has missed its mark on the Métis Citizens. Our Elders and our vulnerable have been calling our office to find out what the plan is from the Métis government,” said MMF Minister of Health and Wellness Frances Chartrand on Friday. “However, the province presently holds the strings regarding the vaccine, and until they start working with us, we have no plan. Because of this, we have to keep reassuring our citizens that we are still trying to get Manitoba to recognize that the Métis should be included in the rollout plan.” Frances noted that as there is no data-sharing agreement between the province and the Métis, most of the information they received about their people’s COVID-19 rates is through word of mouth. Last Friday, Frances was invited to a communications meeting with the province. During the meeting, the province wanted to know how the MMF will roll out the vaccine to its community. “When we went in the meeting, we thought that it was a foot in the door for us to work together, but all they wanted was to know our vaccination plan,” said Frances. “The province did not provide any information on how many vaccines will be allocated to the Métis citizens or the number of positive cases within our community. It was just a ploy to prove that they had consulted with the Métis government.” A spokesperson from the Department of Indigenous and Northern Relations said that invitations were extended to the MMF regarding access to Manitoba’s vaccination sites and participation with the Indigenous Vaccination Communications Working Group. “The province has also reached out to encourage the development of an information-sharing agreement, and provincial officials have been regularly engaged with staff from the MMF regarding COVID-19,” said the spokesperson. “MMF staffs have been regular and active participants of weekly meetings at the provincial Indigenous COVID-19 collaboration table to address specific to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Although the MMF has declined to participate in an information-sharing agreement, their engagement with provincial health officials regarding the response to COVID-19 is demonstrable.” Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
LEICESTER, England — Leicester climbed to second place in the English Premier League by beating Southampton 2-0, with James Maddison marking his opening goal with a humorous solo celebration to follow new pandemic protocols urging players to stop hugging and kissing. After running onto Youri Tielemans' pass and smashing home a rising shot into the roof of the net in the 37th minute, Maddison turned to face his approaching teammates and — with a broad smile on his face — waved them away before applauding himself repeatedly. “If little things like that are what we need to keep football going, then so be it,” Maddison said. "We have been told to stop gatherings of people and I tried to make it light-hearted. “Footballers, we get a lot of stick and it’s nice to put a lighter note on it." Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in England because of a new variant, the Premier League has warned clubs that punishments will be handed out for flouting the rules when it comes to celebrations. Some have questioned whether football should continue to be played in the circumstances. Harvey Barnes netted the second goal in the fifth and final minute of second-half stoppage time at King Power Stadium, running in behind Southampton's defence to slot home a finish at the end of a counterattack. Leicester's joint-best 11th victory of the campaign meant Brendan Rodgers' team split leader Manchester United and champion Liverpool ahead of their much-anticipated match at Anfield on Sunday. Leicester again looks like challenging for the Champions League qualification spots like last year when the team fell short in the final weeks after looking like a lock in the top four. “It’s nice to be second in the table," Maddison said, "but last year we petered off in the new year so the next few months will be tough.” Southampton lacked a cutting edge without star striker Danny Ings, who missed the game after only recently returning to training after contracting the coronavirus. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec reported 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Saturday as the province marked one week since instituting a curfew and tougher public health measures. In announcing the most recent tally, Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted Saturday that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down. Quebec has now reported more than 9,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, but hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients. There were also four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. Among the measures introduced one week ago was a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. with police dolling out fines to those who are contravening the order. A group braved a snowstorm to gather in east-end Montreal to denounce the province's decision to employ a police solution, saying the curfew has a "symbolic effect" but only serves to create a "climate of fear." Organizers said in a statement the provincewide curfew -- a first in Canada -- is "unacceptable", "absurd" and "dangerous," particularly for the most vulnerable in society. Earlier this week, Dube said it was too early to say whether the new measures, which will last until at least Feb. 8, are having the desired effect. The hard-hit province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with 210,364 recoveries. Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases. Meanwhile, the province said it was working on an updated vaccine distribution plan after Dube announced Friday that 86,775 of the 176,475 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine won't be delivered as planned between now and Feb. 8. The drugmaker is upgrading its European production facilities to increase the number of doses it can produce, meaning a reduction in output. "This decrease in arriving vaccines implies a revision of the objectives presented in recent days," the province's Health Department said in a statement on Friday. "Teams are actively working to establish a new dose distribution plan in accordance with the vaccination priorities established." On Thursday, Quebec announced its vaccination rollout, which includes waiting between 42 and 90 days to administer a second booster in an effort to vaccinate as many Quebecers as possible amid mounting pressure on the health-care system. "The strategy adopted by the public health authorities is to immunize as many people as possible with priority groups," the department said. "All vaccine doses received will therefore be used for this purpose." Quebec has administered 137,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine including 62,733 people in the past seven days and 10,783 people on Friday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
SAN DIEGO — President-elect Joe Biden's decision to immediately ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million people in the country has surprised advocates given how the issue has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties. Biden will announce legislation his first day in office to provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, according to four people briefed on his plans. The president-elect campaigned on a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, but it was unclear how quickly he would move while wrestling with the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and other priorities. For advocates, memories were fresh of presidential candidate Barack Obama pledging an immigration bill his first year in office, in 2009, but not tackling the issue until his second term. Biden's plan is the polar opposite of Donald Trump, whose successful 2016 presidential campaign rested in part on curbing or stopping illegal immigration. “This really does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that recognizes that all of the undocumented immigrants that are currently in the United States should be placed on a path to citizenship,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, who was briefed on the bill. If successful, the legislation would be the biggest move toward granting status to people in the country illegally since President Ronald Reagan bestowed amnesty on nearly 3 million people in 1986. Legislative efforts to overhaul immigration policy failed in 2007 and 2013. Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Saturday that Biden will send an immigration bill to Congress “on his first day in office.” He didn’t elaborate and Biden’s office declined to comment on specifics. Advocates were briefed in recent days on the bill's broad outlines by Esther Olivarria, deputy director for immigration on the White House Domestic Policy Council. Domingo Garcia, former president of the League of Latin American Citizens, said Biden told advocates on a call Thursday that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate may delay consideration of the bill and that they shouldn’t count on passage within 100 days. “I was pleasantly surprised that they were going to take quick action because we got the same promises from Obama, who got elected in ’08, and he totally failed,” Garcia said. Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum and among those briefed Thursday night, said immigrants would be put on an eight-year path to citizenship. There would be a faster track for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields people from deportation who came to the country as young children, and Temporary Protected Status, which gives temporary status to hundreds of thousands of people from strife-torn countries, many from El Salvador. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris offered similar remarks in an interview with Univision that aired Tuesday, saying DACA and TPS recipients will “automatically get green cards” while others would be on an eight-year path to citizenship. More favourable attitudes toward immigration — especially among Democrats — may weigh in Biden's favour this time. A Gallup survey last year found that 34% of those polled favoured more immigration, up from 21% in 2016 and higher than any time since it began asking the question in 1965. The survey found 77% felt immigration was good for the country on the whole, up slightly from 72% in 2016. Noorani said the separation of more than 5,000 children from the parents at the border, which peaked in 2018, alienated voters from Trump's policies, particularly conservatives and evangelicals. He believes a constantly shifting outlook for DACA recipients also hurt Trump among people who felt he was using them as “political pawns.” “What was seared in their mind was family separation. They took it out on the Republican Party in 2018 and they took it out on Trump in 2020," Noorani said. "To put a really fine point on it, they want to end the cruelty of the Trump administration.” It is impossible to know precisely how many people are in the country illegally. Pew Research Center estimates there were 10.5 million in 2017, down from an all-time high of 12.2 million in 2007. The Homeland Security Department estimates there were 12 million people in the country illegally in 2015, nearly 80% of them for more than 10 years. More than half were Mexican. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
The supply gaps, coming as the U.S. vaccination effort enters its second month, prompted some healthcare systems to suspend appointments for first-time vaccine seekers and one New York healthcare system to cancel a slew of existing ones. "As eligibility increases, you just increase demand, but we're not able to increase supply," Northwell Health spokesman Joe Kemp told Reuters by telephone. Northwell, New York's largest healthcare provider, offers appointments only as it gets more vaccine, and only after allocating doses to people scheduled for their second shots, Kemp said.
Roughly 5,000 more Alberta businesses are now eligible for the provincial relaunch grant. The province announced Thursday that small- and medium-sized businesses that began operating between March 1 and Oct. 31, 2020 can receive up to $15,000. They had previously been excluded from the program. For some it's a hand up, a way to grow their business during tough times. Others say it's a Band-Aid that won't stop the bleeding for long. Opportunity to expand Calgary eatery PizzaFace started a takeout operation in March, first building custom pizzas in a friend's restaurant kitchen. In September, they took over a brick-and-mortar location and since have been doing brisk business. "With the more lockdown and restrictions we tend to be busier, so we have been on a steady upclimb but that also has to do with the situation we're in as well," said co-owner Antonio Migliarese. "People can't go to restaurants, so they are stuck at home and you only want to cook so much at home before you order pizza." PizzaFace didn't qualify for the grant when it was originally launched in the spring but decided to make a go of the pizza business anyway. Migliarese said the expansion of eligibility has allowed PizzaFace to expand the business, and put some unemployed Calgarians back to work. "We've increased our employee load, reaching out to hard workers who we know want to work but can't. So we've been able to, I guess, give back in that sense." But while Migliarese is able to use the grant to grow his busy eatery, others say the money will simply be a way to stay afloat — for a little while. Barely staying afloat in tourist town Heather Merrett and Melodie-Joy Miller started Seed N Salt just before the pandemic hit, but also didn't qualify for the grant the first time around. "It was a new business that had signed leases in 2019, filed GST in 2019, incurred costs in 2019 but did not have revenue in 2019, therefore we're a new business and we're excluded," Miller said. Small- and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that faced restrictions or closures because of public health orders and experienced a revenue loss of at least 30 per cent due to the pandemic are eligible under the expansion. Merrett and Miller said while Banff is usually the perfect spot for a restaurant, theirs was impacted in several ways. Food and beverage is already one of the hardest hit areas due to the pandemic. On top of that, Banff is a destination reliant on tourism. With borders closed and restrictions in place, not only are visitors not flocking to the mountain town, but it also means fewer people are moving to Banff to take jobs in the hospitality sector. A decrease in population means a decrease in demand for food. "We are grateful. It will definitely help us out. I mean, it is $15,000, and it's a grant, so that will help us with operating costs," Merrett said. "But it won't sustain our business or help us go forward with the minimal tourists we have here in Banff right now." Merrett and Miller said they nearly decided to close and forget their Seed N Salt dream, but said they had few options except to continue. "We were already $200,000 in when COVID hit. Because of provincial and federal restrictions, we've been shut down and so our revenue compared to our forecast .. we aren't making any money," Miller said. "Now, Heather and I are fearful about the variant that everyone is talking about. "What if it causes another shutdown? What would that look like? If summer were to be like it is right now, we won't be able to move forward." The two said the only real hope of recouping what they've lost so far will be to put visitors back in Banff and open doors to dine-in service. As they hope for a return to normalcy, they'll use the grant money to pay rent and other operating costs for a restaurant they can't open. Any new company that meets the 30 per cent threshold for lost revenue will be able to apply for the grant starting Feb. 4, 2021. The province said businesses like PizzaFace and Seed N Salt that didn't qualify when the original program was announced should wait until Feb. 4 to reapply to avoid being deemed ineligible. According to provincial statistics, small- and medium-sized businesses make up 99.8 percent of all job creators in the province, and employ about half a million Albertans.