The northeastern United States is digging out after a storm buried some areas under more than 3 feet of snow. The storm that ended Thursday broke records and left plow drivers in New York state and New England struggling to clear roads. (Dec. 18)
The northeastern United States is digging out after a storm buried some areas under more than 3 feet of snow. The storm that ended Thursday broke records and left plow drivers in New York state and New England struggling to clear roads. (Dec. 18)
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
TORONTO — Television personality Sid Seixeiro is leaving Sportsnet's "Tim & Sid" sports talk show to become the new co-host of "Breakfast Television" on Citytv. Seixeiro will make his final appearance as co-host on the show alongside longtime partner Tim Micallef on Feb. 26. Micallef will continue to host the show, which airs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, with a rotating roster of co-hosts. The "Tim & Sid" show made its debut on Toronto radio station CJCL Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Dec. 12, 2011. He will make his Breakfast Television debut alongside co-host Dina Pugliese on March 10. The program was simulcast on television on The Score (now Sportsnet 360) starting in 2013, then was relaunched on Sportsnet as an afternoon television show in 2015. The show has been simulcast on The Fan since 2019 as its late afternoon drive program. “It’s been a dream to work 20 years in the sports industry, especially alongside Tim Micallef, and express my passion and love for sports on a daily basis,” Seixeiro said in a release. “I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Canadian government anticipates that at least 95 per cent of the Canadian population will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter of the year, between July and September.
Premier Blaine Higgs has confirmed there is a single case of COVID-19 at CFB Gagetown near Fredericton. Cases on the military base fall under federal jurisdiction, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said she did not have any information about the Gagetown case when asked about it at the COVID-19 briefing Thursday. Higgs said the province has had discussions with the base commander, and officials have visited the site to understand the base's isolation protocols. He said the case is "under control." "We know we've had a number of people come back after tour," he said. "I do understand there is a single case. There's been tracing done." Higgs said isolation protocols at the base are "very rigid." Forces don't provide case numbers at local level In an email Thursday night, Base Gagetown's senior public affairs officer, Capt. Jamie Donovan, said "We can confirm the Premier's comments are accurate." Donovan declined to release any further details about the case, citing operational security and privacy reasons. He noted that the Canadian Armed Forces rigorously apply COVID-19 public health measures and work closely with public health authorities. "Cases of COVID-19 amongst CAF members are reported to the provincial or territorial public health authority in which they occur, in accordance with provincial or territorial requirements, and are included in provincial or territorial case counts," Donovan said. At Thursday's briefing, Higgs said a number of people have come back from tour recently but did not specify from where. "They've been very diligent," he said. "I have a very high-confidence level with their ability to contain it." Oromocto Mayor Robert Powell said there has been some concern in his community because it's close to the base and military members do have to travel, but it hasn't been keeping him up at night. "They travel a lot, some of them are over in Latvia now and then holidays and Christmas," he said. "But they've been doing a great job so far." Powell said he has not been briefed about this case but did hear about it "through the grapevine." He said this is the first case he's heard of at the base since the beginning of the pandemic. Powell said he's never been told if there's been a case in the town of Oromocto, since the province only announced cases by health zone, so not being told specifically about the CFB Gagetown case is nothing new. According to the Department of National Defence website, 884 cases of COVID-19 have been found among members of the Canadian military. Forty four of these cases were active as of Jan. 18. The website does not provide a breakdown of where the cases were found.
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
U.S. regulators have approved the first long-acting drug combo for HIV, monthly shots that can replace the daily pills now used to control infection with the AIDS virus. Thursday’s approval of the two-shot combo called Cabenuva is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medicines and to do so with more privacy. It’s a huge change from not long ago, when patients had to take multiple pills several times a day, carefully timed around meals. “That will enhance quality of life” to need treatment just once a month, said Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has no ties to the drug's makers. “People don’t want those daily reminders that they’re HIV infected.” Cabenuva combines rilpivirine, sold as Edurant by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, and a new drug — cabotegravir, from ViiV Healthcare. They’re packaged together and given as separate shots once a month. Dosing every two months also is being tested. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cabenuva for use in adults who have had their disease well controlled by conventional HIV medicines and who have not shown signs of viral resistance to the two drugs in Cabenuva. The agency also approved a pill version of cabotegravir to be taken with rilpivarine for a month before switching to the shots to be sure the drugs are well tolerated. ViiV said the shot combo would cost $5,940 for an initial, higher dose and $3,960 per month afterward. The company said that is “within the range” of what one-a-day pill combos cost now. How much a patient pays depends on insurance, income and other things. Studies found that patients greatly preferred the shots. “Even people who are taking one pill once a day just reported improvement in their quality of life to switch to an injection,” said Dr. Judith Currier, an HIV specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles. She consults for ViiV and wrote a commentary accompanying one study of the drug in the New England Journal of Medicine. Deeks said long-acting shots also give hope of reaching groups that have a hard time sticking to treatment, including people with mental illness or substance abuse problems. “There’s a great unmet need” that the shots may fill, he said. Separately, ViiV plans to seek approval for cabotegravir for HIV prevention. Two recent studies found that cabotegravir shots every two months were better than daily Truvada pills for keeping uninfected people from catching the virus from an infected sex partner. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
The Quebec government dampened hopes Thursday that it will lift the province-wide curfew next month, even though transmission rates have declined in recent days. At a news conference in Quebec City, Premier François Legault said there were still too many COVID-19 patients in hospital, and suggested the curfew would have to be in place for several more weeks. "As long as [hospitalizations] are that high, we can't think about lifting the restrictions, certainly not in Montreal or Laval, where there are a lot more cases," Legault said. The daily number of new cases in Quebec has dropped steadily over the last week. Quebec's seven-day daily average is now around 1,600, down from 2,600 earlier this month. A government-funded research group released a report Thursday that found the chances of hospitals overflowing in Montreal were diminishing. Legault has attributed the improvement to the overnight curfew that took effect Jan. 9 and is scheduled to expire Feb. 8, though experts say it generally takes two weeks to determine the effectiveness of a new public health measure. "We're encouraged by what we're seeing. The situation in Quebec is a lot better than it has been in recent weeks. But it's fragile," said Health Minister Christian Dubé. He pointed to the latest set of projections by the public health research institute, the INSPQ, which warn of a spike in cases and hospitalizations, particularly in the Montreal area, if the curfew is lifted on Feb. 8. New projections hint at caution The models predict a sharp decrease in new cases and hospitalizations into mid-February, followed by a return to the current rate of hospitalization and even higher rates of transmission by March. A separate model shows it would have taken closing schools until Feb. 8, along with the curfew, to keep hospitalizations down. "What the model projects is that if the schools are closed, it will lower the number of cases, especially in young people," said Dr. Jocelyne Sauvé, vice-president of scientific affairs at the INSPQ. But, she said, those cases won't necessarily lead to hospitalizations if infected children can be kept from interacting with older adults. The return to in-class teaching was delayed following the Christmas break as part of an earlier round of public health measures aimed at keeping hospitals from overflowing. But both elementary and high-school students are now back in class, which Dubé acknowledged is likely to push case levels higher. "We said reopening schools was our priority," the health minister told reporters. "We know there is going to be transmission there. And we said that was a risk we could take."
The role of Canada's vice-regal has been held by a wide variety of people, from British nobles to military leaders to humanitarian advocates. Here is a list of all those who have served as Canada's governor general since Confederation: — Viscount Monck: 1861-1868 Lord Lisgar: 1868-1872 Earl of Dufferin: 1872-1878 Duke of Argyll: 1878-1883 Marquess of Lansdowne: 1883-1888 Earl of Derby: 1888-1893 Earl of Aberdeen: 1893-1898 Earl of Minto: 1898-1904 Earl Grey: 1904-1911 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 1911-1916 Duke of Devonshire: 1916-1921 Lord Byng: 1921-1926 Viscount Willingdon: 1926-1931 Earl of Bessborough: 1931-1935 Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935-1940 Earl of Athlone: 1940-1946 Viscount Alexander: 1946-1952 Vincent Massey: 1952-1959 Georges Vanier: 1959-1967 Roland Michener: 1967-1974 Jules Léger: 1974-1979 Edward Schreyer: 1979-1984 Jeanne Sauvé: 1984-1990 Ramon Hnatyshyn: 1990-1995 Roméo LeBlanc: 1995-1999 Adrienne Clarkson: 1999-2005 Michaëlle Jean: 2005-2010 David Johnston: 2010-2017 Julie Payette: 2017-2021 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — Health officials have called off the regular COVID-19 briefing in British Columbia as they prepare to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus. An advisory from the premier's office Thursday said the briefing by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix was cancelled. Instead, they will join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout. The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure immunity from the virus that causes COVID-19, and Dix said Tuesday that B.C. was set to begin delivery of second doses and remains committed to ensuring all those who have had the first shot get a second within 35 days. Dix and Henry said in a joint statement on Wednesday that 98,125 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered. Interior Health said in a statement Thursday that 215 people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1. It said many of the infections are associated with social events or gatherings in Williams Lake, B.C. But 74 cases have been identified in people living in nearby First Nations, with one Indigenous community in the Cariboo region dealing with a quarter of its population testing positive for the virus. Chief Helen Henderson, of the Canim Lake Band, said the community has been in lockdown since Jan. 5, with crowded housing contributing to the outbreak, and one elder has died from the virus. She said there 60 cases among the 234 people living in the community. Henderson said all its members have now received a vaccination and she hopes the band is turning the corner on the outbreak. — With files from CHNL. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of a nuclear arms treaty that is otherwise set to expire in February, the White House said Thursday. Biden proposed the extension even as he asked the intelligence community to look closely into Russia's cyberattacks, its alleged interference in the 2020 election and other actions, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Russia has said for some time that it would welcome an extension of the New START treaty, which limits the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons. The Trump administration made a late bid to extend the treaty, but its conditions were rejected by Russia. U.S. allies, particularly in Europe, are sure to applaud Biden’s proposal, which also provides an early signal of his intent to pursue arms control, Psaki noted that a five-year extension is permitted by the treaty and it “makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial as it is at this time.” She called the treaty, which is the last remaining arms control pact between Washington and Moscow since the Trump administration withdrew from two others, “an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries.” Despite the extension proposal, Psaki said Biden was committed to holding Russia “to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” such as its alleged involvement in the Solar Winds hacking event, 2020 election interference, the chemical poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the widely reported allegations that Russia may have offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. The Pentagon's chief spokesman, John Kirby, said allowing the treaty to lapse would have weakened U.S. understanding of Russia's nuclear forces. “Extending the treaty’s limitations on stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons until 2026 allows time and space for our two nations to explore new verifiable arms control arrangements that could further reduce risks to Americans,” he said. “And the department stands ready to support our colleagues in the State Department as they effect this extension and explore those new arrangements.” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan was to convey the extension proposal to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, on Thursday afternoon, according to one official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private diplomatic conversations. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg earlier Thursday called on the United States and Russia to extend the treaty and to later broaden it. “We should not end up in a situation with no limitation on nuclear warheads, and New START will expire within days,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. The treaty expires on Feb. 5. Stoltenberg underlined that “an extension of the New START is not the end, it’s the beginning of our efforts to further strengthen arms control.” The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads. Obama won Senate ratification of the treaty with a commitment to move ahead with a vast and enormously expensive recapitalization of the U.S. nuclear force. That program, which some Democrats in Congress call excessive, is likely to be further scrutinized by the Biden administration. At a projected cost exceeding $1 trillion over the next several decades, the plan is to replace each of the three “legs” of the U.S. nuclear triad — ballistic missile submarines, nuclear-capable bomber aircraft and land-based nuclear missiles. President Donald Trump had been highly critical of New START, asserting that it put the United States at a disadvantage. His administration waited until last year to engage Russia in substantive talks on the treaty's future. Trump insisted that China be added to the treaty, but Beijing rejected the idea out of hand. Trump's lead negotiator on New START discussions with the Russians, Marshall S. Billingslea, wrote on Twitter on Thursday that Biden would be making a mistake by quickly agreeing to a five-year extension. “Hope this is not true,” he wrote, referring to news reports of Thursday's proposal. “If so, shows stunning lack of negotiating skill. Took just 24 hours for Biden team to squander most significant leverage we have over Russia.” Robert Soofer, who was the Trump administration's top nuclear policy official at the Pentagon, said in an interview that he sees the Biden decision to accept a five-year extension as a lost opportunity. “The Russians are likely to pocket this extension and walk away from the table,” Soofer said, rather than accede to a longstanding U.S. request that they negotiate limits on other categories of nuclear weapons, such as tactical weapons. Some U.S. officials have been leery of renewing New START without getting a Russian commitment to negotiate limits on new types of strategic weapons, including Moscow's nuclear-capable Avangard hypersonic long-range missile. Biden, who indicated during the campaign that he favoured extending New START, is not proposing any alterations, the U.S. official said. Thus it appeared likely that Moscow would be amenable to an extension. The proposal was reported first by The Washington Post. Matthew Lee And Robert Burns, The Associated Press
When Daniel Pereira sat down with his family to watch the MLS SuperDraft, he didn’t expect to hear his name called first by expansion Austin FC. Between doing virtual interviews with the teams at the top of the draft, the Virginia Tech star took time to look over all the other names being linked with the top selection. “I wasn’t really expecting to be number one, because of all the mock drafts and stuff,” Pereira said Thursday. “It’s an honour like I said. I’m happy, real happy. My family is crying. Just a moment I’ll never forget.” Pereira is the first-ever pick by the newest MLS franchise. Born in Venezuela, his family moved to the United States when Pereira was a teenager in the hopes of giving him better opportunities. His family settled in the Roanoke, Virginia, area, where Pereira became a star at the prep level. He was later an all-ACC freshman team selection after his first season at Virginia Tech. Pereira decided to leave college early to enter the MLS after signing a Generation Adidas contract with the league. “I never thought I’d be a pro. It was my goal, but I just always kept grinding, kept putting the work in and it’s paying off right now,” Pereira said. The 20-year-old midfielder was the headliner of the group of ACC stars that dominated the top of the draft. The top five picks and six of the first seven were from ACC schools. Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris went No. 2 to FC Cincinnati. Colorado traded with Houston to move up to No. 3 and selected Clemson’s Philip Mayaka, whom many expected to go with the top pick. D.C. United nabbed Mayaka’s teammate Kimarni Smith at No. 4, then traded with Atlanta United to take Wake Forest defender Michael DeShields at No. 5. Virginia midfielder Bret Halsey capped the run of ACC players, going No. 7 to Real Salt Lake. The only player outside the ACC to be taken in the top seven picks was Washington defender Ethan Bartlow, who went at No. 6 to Houston. Tim Booth, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Oct. 2, 2017: Julie Payette is sworn in as Canada's fourth female Governor General, taking over from David Johnston. Nov. 1, 2017: Payette takes on fake news and bogus science, criticizing climate change deniers, believers in creationism and even horoscopes at a convention on science policy, rankling some critics but earning plaudits from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau January 2018: Payette appoints as her top adviser Assunta Di Lorenzo, a close friend and corporate lawyer with no prior experience in protocol or the governor general's operations. October 2018: One year into her tenure, Payette has attended 195 official events compared to more than 250 for the last two governors general, raising questions around her work ethic. She also breaks with a tradition that saw previous governors general visit all provinces and territories in their first year, as she skipped Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. July 21, 2020: CBC News reports that Payette had yelled at and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit amid a toxic work environment. July 23, 2020: The Privy Council Office says it will launch an independent review of allegations that Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall. Aug. 7, 2020: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says public office holders should be mindful of how they spend taxpayers' money following a CBC report that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on designs and renovations to Rideau Hall, some allegedly at Payette's personal request, for privacy, accessibility and security reasons. Sept. 1, 2020: The Privy Council Office announces it has hired Quintet Consulting Corp., an Ottawa-based consulting firm with a history of reviewing harassment allegations on Parliament Hill, to conduct a third-party probe into workplace culture at Rideau Hall. Sept. 2, 2020: Trudeau comes to the defence of the embattled Payette, saying Canada has an "excellent" representative for the Queen and that now is not the time to replace the former astronaut at Rideau Hall. Jan. 21, 2021: Payette resigns ahead of the expected release of the third-party investigation report, a move unprecedented in the history of Canadian governors general. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
When Vancouver man Jason Brawn decided to string Christmas lights on trees on the North Shore mountains, he originally thought it’d just be a bit of festive fun to spread joy over the holidays. But, after seeing the smiles on the faces of passersby checking out his latest light display, he’s decided to keep decorating trees throughout the year. Brawn selects a tree, often just over five-metres tall, with epic city views in the background and then uses a customized telescoping pole to string 90 metres of lights around it, offering a little temporary magic and amazing photo opportunities. So far, he's been choosing trees on Mount Seymour, but he’s also looking to check out the trees on Hollyburn Mountain soon. “There will be many more of these trees to come,” he said, adding that he's now naming the decorated trees Bob, after Bob Ross – an American painter. “I thought I'd do one a couple of times a year, but seeing the smiles it's brought folks, how much that's lifted my own spirits, and how much I think we all need a bit of unexpected joy these days, I've been motivated to do them more often.” His latest tree was lit up on Thursday (Jan. 14) at Brockton Point on Mount Seymour. The tree before that was illuminated on Christmas Eve. “I've chosen that spot lately for a couple reasons – I can ski to and from that spot, which makes coming down with a 25 kilogram pack much more pleasant, and there's a lot of traffic there so people can easily come by for a selfie,” said Brawn. While the photo from his last endeavour is no doubt impressive and shows Vancouver’s bright city lights and a decorated tree standing tall, it’s still not quite Brawn’s “perfect tree” for his “dream image.” “The dream tree that I want will let me get a good distance from it so that I can use a long zoom lens – so I can compress distance,” said Brawn. “What I want to do is have the city in the background with this great big tree and then have some people around it for scale.” He’ll be back on the North Shore mountains over the next week (possibly Thursday or Friday) scoping out trees when the weather permits. “I'm not 100 per cent certain where I'll put this one – I've a few spots in mind – possibly up higher on the summit ridge below first peak where it's visible from Brockton [on Mount Seymour],” he said. “I'd also like to do one over at Cypress.” For Brawn, it’s all about sharing a little happiness during the coronavirus pandemic. He hopes his glowing trees will continue to put smiles on faces. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
Interior Health is ordering a review for “lessons learned” from the outbreak at McKinney Place long-term care in Oliver, after 17 residents died in just over a month. The focus of the review will be around multi-bed units in long-term care facilities, according to Carl Meadows, South Okanagan executive director of clinical operations for Interior Health. “With McKinney, I’ve requested a review for lessons learned,” Meadows told the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board while giving an update on COVID-19 in the South Okanagan at their Jan. 21 meeting. A total of 55 residents tested positive at the facility out of the 59 who lived there at the beginning of the outbreak in December, 2020. Interior Health has previously stated the spread of COVID-19 at the facility was partially due to a lack of single-bed rooms to isolate residents who have tested positive. McKinney Place is an older facility which does have more congregation areas and has fewer private rooms than some newer long-term care facilities, which may have contributed to the spread, Interior Health officials previously stated. “There’s going to be more awareness around these four-bed long term care units and how to do something about them in the near future because it was very difficult to cordon off or cohort infected patients with four-bed units,” Meadows said. In the South Okanagan, including Penticton and Summerland, COVID-19 case numbers are down, but so are the number of tests, Meadows said. “Our COVID numbers in the community are dropping but we have had obviously some significant events at places that have been made public so it has been a very long few months, we’re still in an incident command structure in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. “Our numbers are going down, what we don’t know is our testing numbers are also down, so we don’t know if people are getting tested and of course now we’ve got the Pfizer vaccine that has been delayed and Moderna.” Right now, Interior Health’s primary focus is on the vaccination of long-term care and assisted living staff and residents with priority vaccinations for emergency/intensive care staff and COVID units in Penticton, Meadows said. “(COVID-19) has tested our health system like we’ve never experienced and McKinney was the latest example where it was very challenging. But I can assure you our teams are nothing short of amazing, you’re in very good hands in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
OTTAWA — Some questions and answers about what happens when a governor general suddenly leaves office. Who does the job in the meantime? The usual term for a governor general is five years. In the event of the absence, removal, incapacitation or death of a governor general, the chief justice or, if he or she is unavailable, the senior judge of the Supreme Court of Canada assumes the powers of the governor general and holds the title of Administrator of the Government of Canada, until replaced by a new governor general. How is a new one is chosen? By constitutional convention, the governor general is appointed by the Queen on the personal recommendation of the Canadian prime minister. The prime minister has discretion about whether to consult others on the selection. The appointment is made through a commission granted under the Great Seal of Canada. Has a governor general ever left early or died in office? Yes. Roméo LeBlanc stepped down in 1999, before the end of his term, due to health issues. However, the office was not left vacant, with LeBlanc continuing until Adrienne Clarkson was ready to succeed him. Two have died while serving: Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan) in 1940 and Georges Vanier in 1967. In each case, the Supreme Court chief justice of the day stepped in to fill the role temporarily. (Sources: Library of Parliament, ourcommons.ca, Supreme Court of Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020. The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba's auditor general says the provincial government is not retrieving the vast majority of overpayments it makes to doctors. Tyson Shtykalo examined fees that physicians across the province were paid for patient examinations, surgeries and other services over a five-year period. In a report released Thursday, Shtykalo said the Health Department's own auditing branch found $1 million in overbillings submitted by doctors, but only about $11,000 was collected — just over one per cent. The government seems to focus more on educating doctors to avoid future overbillings than retrieving the money, he said. The report says the fee-for-service system is complicated and some mistakes are to be expected when there are billions of dollars in payments over a five-year period. But the Health Department has the authority to withhold future payments as a way to collect money it is owed by physicians. "The (Health Services Insurance Act) provides the department with the authority to offset overpayments against future claims from the physician." Even when the province goes after an overpayment, reimbursements are negotiated, the report says. "We were told that the department starts by asking for 80 per cent of the amount owing and the physician suggests a much smaller amount. Eventually, an agreement is reached, resulting in a repayment lower than the original overbilled amount." The group that represents the province's doctors said it is committed to accurate billing. "The auditor general's report confirms the vast majority of physician billings — over 99.9 per cent — have not been found to be inaccurate or overbilled. Only an average of about $200,000 per year out of almost $1 billion in annual physician services has been flagged as potentially overbilled," Doctors Manitoba said in a written statement. The group also questioned one part of Shtykalo's findings. It said the $1-million figure for overbillings would include suspected cases that were later followed up and deemed correct. "While it's totally legitimate for provincial auditors to flag billing submissions as a potential overpayment, it's important to note that in many cases physicians provide additional documentation that backs up their billing submission and the matter is resolved." Shtykalo confirmed his figures refer to cases as they are initially flagged by Health Department auditors. His report makes six recommendations, including retrieving all overpayments, improving training for health department auditors, and doing more reviews of payments to physicians. The Health Department said it agrees with the recommendations. Many of the issues are addressed in a bill currently before the legislature, it said. "Legislative amendments contemplated in Bill 10 are fundamentally aligned with the recommendations made by the (auditor general's office) in its report," the department said in a written response that accompanies Shtykalo's report. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 The Canadian Press
The Vancouver Whitecaps went international in the first round of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, taking a Nigerian forward and Jamaican defender. The Whitecaps selected Akron forward David Egbo ninth overall before taking Jamaica's Javain Brown from South Florida with the 23rd pick, obtained in the December 2018 trade that sent Erik Hurtado to Sporting Kansas City. Egbo, a 22-year-old senior from Enugu, Nigeria, scored 21 goals and added 13 assists in three seasons with the Zips. Egbo, who says he can play a variety of attacking positions, is not short on confidence "Personally I think I'm good at everything," said Egbo, who came to the U.S. in 2014 on an academic scholarship to Pennsylvania's Kiski School. "That's not to sound cocky … I wouldn't say I'm the perfect striker but I think I have a little bit of everything and that's what makes me different from the rest of the strikers." The 24-year-old Brown, who has won four caps for Jamaica, scored three goals in 15 games with South Florida in 2019. Expansion Austin FC took Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira first overall. The 20-year-old sophomore started all 26 games he played in for the Hokies with six goals and six assists. A native of Venezuela, Pereira was a teenager when his family came to the U.S. seeking asylum. Pereira was one of five players signed to Generation Adidas contracts, which don't count against the league's salary cap. All five went in the top seven of the draft. Toronto traded its 18th overall pick to Minnesota United, acquiring the 25th pick and US$50,000 in general allocation money in exchange. TFC used the pick to fill a need at fullback with Maryland's Matt Di Rosa. Toronto has incumbents Richie Laryea and Brazil's Auro at fullback. Veteran Justin Morrow's contract has expired and Tony Gallacher's loan from Liverpool is over. Di Rosa won the 21018 NCAA title with the Terrapins, scoring the winning goal in the semifinal against Indiana. CF Montreal's Amar Sejdic scored the lone goal in Maryland's 1-0 win over Akron in the championship game with Canadian Dayne St. Clair, now with Minnesota United, getting the shutout. Di Rosa's twin brother Ben, a defender from Maryland, went in the second round (44th overall) to New York City FC. Toronto chose Virginia forward Nathaniel Crofts in the second round (45th overall). The native of Sheffield, England, had 11 goals and 11 assists in 64 games (63 starts) with the Cavaliers. Vancouver picked UCLA midfielder Eric Iloski and Michigan defender Joel Harrison, a native of Langley, B.C., in the second round (46th and 53rd overall, respectively). CF Montreal, formerly known as the Montreal Impact, previously traded its first-round pick to Austin for Canadian defender Kamal Miller and its second-round selection to Minnesota in the Mason Toye deal. In 2019. the six-foot-one 185-pound Egbo led Akron in goals (7), assists (4), points (18), shots (49), while ranking second in shots on goal (19) en route to earning first-team all-Mid-American Conference honours. The 5-11 160-pound Brown played for HarbourView FC in Jamaica. Both players will require an international spot if signed to an MLS contract. There were 12 Canadians among the 170-plus players available in the draft, which was reduced to three rounds from four this year. Wake Forest and Clemson dominated picks No. 2 through 4. FC Cincinnati used the second overall pick on Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris, another Generation Adidas player and the son of former Sheffield United player Terry Harris. The 20-year-old from England, who grew up in Hong Kong and New Zealand, had 16 goals and six assists as a sophomore in 2019, his last season. Colorado traded up to get the third pick from Houston, using it to select Clemson midfielder Phil Mayaka. The 21-year-old, another GA player, was ACC Freshman of the Year and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2019. Mayaka emigrated from Kenya to the U.S. as a teenager. The pick cost Colorado $200,000 in general allocation money, with Houston possibly receiving another $50,000 of 2022 GAM as part of the deal. D.C. United took Clemson forward Kimarni Smith with the fourth pick and then acquired the fifth overall selection from Atlanta, using it to select Wake Forest defender Michael DeShields. D.C. also got the 32nd overall pick in the deal that sent Atlanta $125,000 in general allocation money and the 31st selection. Houston took Washington centre back Ethan Bartlow with the sixth pick. Virginia midfielder Bret Halsey went seventh to Real Salt Lake. Both are Generation Adidas players. Orlando City used the No. 8 selection on Georgetown' forward Derek Dodson. The pick was acquired from Portland in exchange for $100,000 in general allocation money — $75,000 in 2021 and $25,000 in 2022. Earlier Thursday, the Whitecaps flipped second-round draft picks with Nashville SC, acquiring a 2021 international roster slot in the process. Vancouver gave up the 36th overall pick, receiving the 46th overall selection. The deal also involved an exchange of general allocation money. Vancouver sent $175,000 to Nashville with a promise of up to $75,000 in return based on "performance benchmarks" of the player selected by Nashville. In other moves, Houston acquired former U.S. youth midfielder Derrick Jones from Nashville SC for $100,000 in general allocation money and $150,000 in 2022 GAM. ---- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Irving Oil has laid off 60 workers from its Saint John refinery, saying the pandemic has had an "extreme and serious" impact on its business and industry. The company says it also reduced its contractor workforce to 225 workers from its average first-quarter workforce of about 1,000 earlier this year. Irving Oil says the collapse in demand for motor fuels, jet fuel and other refined products continues to create prolonged and significant challenges. In addition, it says extreme market volatility, serious negative impacts on refining margins and high levels of uncertainty about the depth and duration of the downturn have forced the company to make operational changes. The company says it's sorry for the impact the changes have had on its team, and it's committed to supporting its employees through the difficult transition. It says the 60 laid off workers represented about seven per cent of our Saint John refinery team. Irving Oil announced the layoffs in a statement on its website Thursday attributed to president Ian Whitcomb and executive vice-president and chief brand officer Sarah Irving. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
"Once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time," said the U.S. computer chips firm in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, the Financial Times had cited Intel's chief financial officer as saying financially sensitive information was stolen by a hacker from its corporate website. CFO George Davis said the leak was the result of an illicit action that had not involved any unintentional disclosure by the company itself, according to the report.