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."
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
Chatham-Kent police have seized more than 25,000 marijuana plants worth $25.5 million after dismantling four illegal grow-ops in the region over the last few months, according to a news release. Since September, Chatham-Kent police have dismantled four illegal cannabis operations in the region, three of which were uncovered in January. "This past year, a significant amount of cannabis associated to illegal drug operations has been found in Chatham-Kent," Chatham-Kent police chief Gary Conn said in a news release. "These operations will not be tolerated here in our community as we know their actions may lead to violent behaviour, property crimes and organized crime." Since the operations are unsupervised, police said there are a number of threats to the community from unsafe electrical outlets, building code violations to the illegal use of pesticides and disposal of waste water. They said they are not targeting people who are legally growing cannabis for personal use or storefronts that have a legal permit. "These are large scale illegal production sites, who pose a negative impact on legitimate local businesses, as the money generated has been linked to funding organized crime," the news release reads. On Sept. 16, members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service's Intelligence Unit executed a search warrant at a greenhouse on Maynard Line. From this, more than 7,300 plant, valued at $7.3M, were seized. Police have issued an order for a 48-year-old London man to appear in court for growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that violated the Cannabis Act. On Jan. 8, Intelligence Unit members used another search warrant for a place on Richmond Street in Chatham, which led them to seize 9,004 plants valued at $9 million and a large amount of Canadian money. A 34-year-old Markham man and 62-year-old Stouffville man were arrested inside the building and charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that conflicts with the Cannabis Act. They were released with a court date of Feb. 11. Police also issued an order for a 58-year-old Markham man for the same offences. That same day, emergency crews responded to a fire at a building on Grand Avenue East in Chatham and discovered that the property was being used to illegally grow cannabis. Police obtained a search warrant and seized 489 plants valued at $489,000. An order was issued for a 62-year-old Kitchener woman for growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that conflict with the Cannabis Act. Days later on Jan. 15, members of the Intelligence Unit yet again searched another property on Richmond Street in Chatham and found 8,580 illegal plants valued at $8.6 million. Following this, a 46-year-old Markham man, 26-year-old Scarborough man, 24-year-old Oshawa man, 52-year-old Markham woman and 26-year-old North York man were found hiding inside the building. They were arrested and charged with growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that was against the Cannabis Act. They are expected to appear in court on Feb. 18.
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood to a one-year, US$3-million contract. The move, which had been reported earlier this week, adds another arm to the Blue Jays' pitching staff along with 2019 MLB saves leader Kirby Yates, who signed a one-year deal with Toronto on Wednesday. The moves are part of a busy off-season for Toronto that includes an agreement with star outfielder George Springer on a six-year contract worth a reported $150 million, pending a physical. The 31-year-old Chatwood started five games for the Chicago Cubs in 2020, going 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings before getting derailed with various injuries, including a right forearm strain that shut him down for the second half of the season. Chatwood, from Redlands, Calif., is 51-57 with a 4.40 ERA over nine seasons split between Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies and Cubs. He made his debut with the Angels as a 21-year-old in 2011 before getting traded to the Rockies at the end of his only season with the club that drafted him. Chatwood spent the next five seasons in Colorado, before signing a three-year, $38-million deal with Chicago in 2017. Chatwood, who has been a starter for the majority of his career but has served as a reliever when needed, missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union used a video summit of its 27 leaders Thursday to call on Russia to immediately release opposition leader Alexei Navalny and make sure that his rights are fully respected. Navalny was arrested last Sunday at a Moscow airport as he tried to enter the country from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin. EU summit host Charles Michel said the leaders “expect Russia to urgently proceed with the independent and transparent investigation into the attack on his life." Michel also insisted that Moscow “fully co-operate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to ensure an impartial international investigation" is carried out into the attack. Russia came under renewed pressure after Navalny's arrest to explain the nerve agent attack on the opposition figure s the annual meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog. Police on Thursday also took into custody two top associates of Navalny ahead of planned protests against his detention. The Associated Press
HALIFAX — A key member of outgoing Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil's cabinet says she too will leave politics once the next provincial election is called. Finance Minister Karen Casey, who is also deputy premier, made the announcement following a cabinet meeting Thursday, saying that after 15 years representing the riding of Colchester North, she is ready to retire and wants to spend more time with her four grandchildren. Casey said while she had been pondering her future for some time, she only made a final decision over the last week. "Fifteen years, I think, is a good amount of public service to give to my constituents," Casey told reporters. "I'm happy with the work that we (government) have achieved, and it's time to let somebody else represent Colchester North." Casey, a former teacher, also served in the education and health portfolios and was named deputy premier in 2017. Over her time in the education portfolio, she was instrumental in the Liberal government's move to rein in contract demands by the province's teachers — a battle that ultimately saw the imposition of a contract that ended a two-month work-to-rule campaign by public school teachers in February 2017. As finance minister, Casey also played a part in helping the government table five consecutive balanced budgets. "I learned a lot personally in the finance portfolio, but there were challenges there, and I quite like a challenge," she said. McNeil, who is leaving politics next month, said he counts Casey as a personal friend and believes she played an "integral role" in helping return the province to fiscal health. "We have really run a duo operation here in lots of ways," McNeil said. "She is one person that I have always sought counsel of in my most difficult days." Casey was a former interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives and defected to the Liberals in January, 2011 at McNeil's invitation. "That allowed me to join a caucus and a leader ... whose values I thought I shared," said Casey. "What motivated me? It would be knowing that my ideas and those of my constituents and me as a person would be respected." Casey confirmed she would stay on until the next election, which must be called by the spring of 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Can COVID-19 vaccines be mixed and matched? Health officials say both doses should be of the same vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines rolling out in the United States, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world so far require two shots given a few weeks apart. In the U.S. where Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being distributed, health officials say the vaccines are not interchangeable. In England where shots by Pfizer and AstraZeneca are available, officials also say the doses should be consistent. But in the rare event that the same kind isn’t available or if it's not known what was given for the first shot, English officials say it’s OK to give whichever vaccine is available for the second shot. Since the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines focus on the spike protein that coats the coronavirus, they say a mismatched dose is better than partial protection. But without any studies, vaccine doses should not be mixed, said Naor Bar-Zeev, a vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins University. If people do happen to get a different vaccine for their second shot by accident, Bar-Zeev said it is likely “to work fine and likely to be well tolerated," but evidence is needed to be sure. ___ The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read previous Viral Questions: Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had the virus? If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again? How quickly do I need a second vaccine shot? The Associated Press
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
OTTAWA — Julie Payette has resigned as Governor General, saying Canadians deserve stability in uncertain times. Payette says she is sorry for the tensions that have arisen at Rideau Hall in the past months. She is leaving amid reports that the results of an investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace at Rideau Hall are expected to be released. Payette says everyone has the right to a healthy and safe work environment and it appears this was not always the case. She says out of respect for the integrity of her office, and for the good of the country and its democratic institutions, a new Governor General should be appointed. In her statement, she says the decision also comes as her father's health has deteriorated and her family needs her help. More Coming … 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
The Alberta government is thinking about selling its profitable land titles, corporate and personal properties registries to a private company, according to public documents posted to its online procurement site. Service Alberta issued a request for expressions of interest on Monday. The document said the government would be willing to offer "an exclusive 35-year concession to operate an essential services business in the province." The registries offer potential purchasers a "robust financial profile with highly stable cash flow streams," the document said. Revenues for the three registries totalled $123.6 million in the last fiscal year. The province's objectives, according to the document, include maximizing "sale value and proceeds to the province" and modernizing technology used by the registries. If the province receives enough interest, it plans to issue a formal request for proposals in April. About 130 Alberta government employees work in those departments. Tricia Velthuizen, press secretary for Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish, said private sector operations of registry services have worked in other jurisdictions and the government wants to see if it could work for Alberta. "Service Alberta would continue to have legislative authority for these services and oversight of a potential private sector partner," she wrote in an email. "Right now, Service Alberta is looking into options to provide more modern and efficient registry services, and no decisions have been made." The provincial government has retained CIBC Capital Markets to facilitate any proposed sales. Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said the government on Monday sent the union notice about the start of the formal 90-consultation, as required under the collective agreement. The request for expressions for interest went online shortly afterwards. Barry said privatization could mean higher fees for Albertans accessing these services. He said he can't understand why the government would sell off operations that make money when it has lost so much revenue due to a slump in resource prices. "They're going to give that revenue up to the private sector," Barry said in an interview with CBC News. "It certainly is an odd timing with everything that's been happening of late that they're going to give up revenue or (are) even thinking about giving up revenue." Service Alberta lobbying According to the lobbyist registry, Regina-based Information Services Corporation hired Wellington Advocacy to lobby the Alberta government between July 23, 2019, and Dec.31, 2021. Wellington Advocacy was contracted to convince Service Alberta and other government ministries about the benefits of "alternative service delivery and business models for land registry, corporate registry and personal property registry." The president and founder of Wellington Advocacy is Nick Koolsbergen, who was chief of staff to Premier Jason Kenney when the United Conservative Party was the official opposition. Koolsbergen also ran the UCP's successful provincial election campaign in 2019. ISC was a Crown corporation operated by the Saskatchewan government until 60 per cent of it was sold in 2013, transforming it into a publicly traded business. ISC is listed on the Alberta Purchasing Connection site as one of the vendors that has viewed the Service Alberta bidding documents. Teranet, which operates land registries in Ontario and Manitoba, is also listed. According to the Alberta Lobbyist Registry, Teranet retained Maple Leaf Strategies to lobby Service Alberta and other areas of government between February 2020 and February 2021 on privatizing land, corporate and personal property registries.
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.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,916.20, down 98.71 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up 11 cents, or 16.42 per cent, to 78 cents on 26.5 million shares. Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY). Financials. Down 23 cents, or 0.21 per cent, to $107.84 on 12.6 million shares. BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB). Technology. Up two cents, or 0.12 per cent, to $16.17 on 10.6 million shares. Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH). Energy. Up one cent, or 5.41 per cent, to 19.5 cents on 7.3 million shares. Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Down eight cents, or 1.97 per cent, to $3.99 on 7.2 million shares. Air Canada (TSX:AC). Industrials. Down 86 cents, or 3.76 per cent, to $22.03 on 6.7 million shares. Companies in the news: TC Energy Corp. (TSX:TRP). Up $1.31, or 2.3 per cent, to $57.23. Western Canada's oil producers will likely cope better with Joe Biden's cancelling of the Keystone XL presidential permit than they did with the same move by ex-president Barack Obama in 2015, an industry analyst says. But Phil Skolnick, a New York-based analyst for Eight Capital, agreed with other observers that the end of the pipeline will stifle investment and production growth for years in the Canadian oilpatch. Shortly after being inaugurated on Wednesday, Biden, who was Obama's vice-president, fulfilled a campaign promise and again took away the pipeline permit that former president Donald Trump gave back to builder TC Energy Corp. in 2019. Eldorado Gold Corp. (TSX:ELD). Down 47 cents, or 3.2 per cent, to $14.30. Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corp. says it has struck a deal to buy the shares of Quebec exploration company QMX Gold Corp. it doesn't already own in a cash-and-shares transaction worth $132 million or 30 cents per share. Eldorado owns about 17 per cent of the QMX shares, purchased for six cents each in a private placement at the end of 2019. It's offering 7.5 cents in cash and 0.01523 of an Eldorado share for the rest. CEO George Burns says the deal opens up expansion opportunities for Eldorado within its operating footprint as QMX's lands are located adjacent to its Lamaque underground gold mine at Val-d'Or, Que. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — A day after President Joe Biden’s inauguration went off with only a handful of minor arrests and incidents, more than 15,000 National Guard members are preparing to leave Washington, D.C. and head home. The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with co-ordination and the logistics so that troops can get home. Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday's inaugural ceremony. The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday. The Guard said that it may take several days to make all the arrangements to return the 15,000 home, but it should be complete in five to 10 days. Guard members will have to turn in equipment, make travel plans and go through COVID-19 screening. Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
Resident sport-fishing licence sales soared by 30 per cent in 2020 over 2019 and Alberta Fish and Wildlife is hoping that will translate into more interest in how the province is managing its fish populations. "We are seeing more and more people fishing this year; more outdoor participating and therefore maybe more engagement in our sessions," says Kayedon Wilcox, regional fisheries manager for Alberta Environment and Parks. Every year Alberta Fish and Wildlife hosts public meetings to review sport-fishing regulations, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sessions online. While they are hoping for more participants, organizers know drawing anglers will be difficult. "We are trying to pull viewership from Netflix, Crave and have the hockey fans tune in to the evenings a little bit," Wilcox said Thursday in an interview on CBC's Edmonton AM. So far the webinars have been a success, he said. In the three of seven webinars held so far, about 1,000 participants attended. Last year, the total attendance at 14 public meetings was 1,300. That success has the province thinking about continuing online sessions once the pandemic ends. "I think I still see, and our staff appreciates, the ability of in-person discussions with stakeholders," Wilcox said. "That certainly won't go away, we also will see if there are members of the angler community who prefer the webinar method." One of the issues this year is a review of the 15-year-old walleye tag program. The program is used for certain bodies of water that cannot sustain open harvest. "In those cases, we do have a limited harvest tool where we provide a finite number of tags out and within that, a tag-owner can harvest anywhere between two or three walleye," Wilcox said. He said they have heard from people wanting improvement on the tags themselves. The province issues new fishing regulations for April 1 every year.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit says it is ready to start rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and expects to get its first shipment in early February. Medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill, addressed media Jan. 20 and said the unit submitted its rollout plan to the Ministry of Health earlier this week. Gemmill said although the date could change, the province has told the health unit to expect its first vaccines in early February. Vaccines will initially be directed to long-term care homes. “We are ready to go as soon as we get a vaccine available, with a focus on the residents, the staff and the essential caregivers in long-term care,” he said. Gemmill noted the region has relatively fewer cases, so it is a lower priority to receive the vaccine. But he added staff will be ready as soon as it does arrive. “The speed with which the general population will be protected will be determined by one factor only, and that is the supply of the vaccine,” he said. “We are going to have all hands-on deck.” Meanwhile, the district’s COVID cases are going down thanks to the Dec. 26 lockdown, according to Gemmill. There were only four new cases Jan. 20 – including zero in Haliburton – down from the 10-15 daily case average in the two weeks previous. “Our cases, at least for the last couple of days, have been diminishing. I hope that trend continues and I thank people for doing the things that need to be in place to make that happen.” However, the district saw a spike in cases the next day, with 40 new cases Jan. 21, including two in Haliburton. 35 of the cases were in Kawartha Lakes, which the health unit said was due to an outbreak at a long-term care come there. Snowmobile trails staying open The district is not planning to follow the lead of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit in closing Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club (OFSC) trails. “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19,” their medical officer of health, Dr. Jim Chirico, said. “The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously.” Their closure is effective Jan. 21. Gemmill said he does not intend to close local trails, but people need to follow the stay-at-home orders. “I have no problem with people going out for recreation,” Gemmill said. “But do keep within the spirit of the regulations so we don’t have transmission.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
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
Calgary police are urging vigilance after more than a dozen women were assaulted while walking alone in the last three months. Investigators are looking into the possibility that one man has assaulted at least 15 women since November. The groping incidents take place both in daylight and at night, according to police, who say the attacker flees immediately after. CPS is asking women to call 911 immediately if they have been targeted so that police have a better chance at finding the offender. "Officers will be dispatched to the area to help locate the suspect in a timely manner," said police in a written statement. Multiple attacks in 5 communities Communities where the assaults took place include downtown, Mission, Thorncliffe, Huntington Hills and Hillhurst. The most recent attack was on Tuesday in Thorncliffe. The method of attack has been similar. While walking alone, women have been approached from behind by a man who then groped them. In some incidents, the attacker seems to have waited for opportunities when the victims were distracted, either by an electronic device, or, as police explain, "during moments when their situational awareness was lowered, such as looking in a bag." Investigators haven't yet determined if all of the incidents are connected to one person, or if there are multiple assailants involved. Police have offered the following safety tips: Walk with others or in well-populated areas. Stay in well-lit areas with clear visibility. Be aware of your surroundings — limit the use of devices that would distract. Limit the number of belongings that you are carrying in your arms to reduce vulnerability. If you are attacked: Make noise to attract attention. Do not try to hold on to your possessions or valuables. Pay attention to the physical attributes of your attacker and what they are wearing. Call 911 immediately.
NEW YORK — A New York judge on Thursday denied the National Rifle Association’s bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business. Judge Joel Cohen’s ruling will allow New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit to move ahead in state court in Manhattan, rather than dismissing it on technical grounds or moving it to federal court, as the NRA’s lawyers desired. James’ lawsuit, filed last August, seeks the NRA’s dissolution under state non-profit law over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for trips, no-show contracts and other expenditures. James is the state’s chief law enforcement officer and has regulatory power over non-profit organizations incorporated in the state, such as the NRA, Cohen said. “It would be inappropriate to find that the attorney couldn’t pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants wants to proceed in federal court,” Cohen said at a hearing held by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cohen also rejected the NRA’s arguments that James’ lawsuit was improperly filed in Manhattan and should’ve been filed in Albany, where the NRA’s incorporation paperwork lists an address. The NRA’s arguments for dismissing the case did not involve the merits of the case. The NRA has been incorporated in New York since 1871, though it is headquartered in Virginia and last week filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas in a bid to reincorporate in that state. The NRA, in announcing its bankruptcy filing last Friday, said it wanted to break free of a “corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York” and that it saw Texas as friendlier to its interests. The NRA’s lawyers said at a bankruptcy court hearing on Wednesday in Dallas that they wouldn’t use the Chapter 11 proceedings to halt the lawsuit. After Thursday’s ruling, they said they were ready to go ahead with the case, including a meeting with lawyers from James’ office on Friday and another hearing in March. In a letter to Cohen in advance of Thursday’s heading, NRA lawyer Sarah Rogers said the organization had no position on seeking to stay the case through bankruptcy, but that it reserved right to seek such orders from bankruptcy court in the future. Normally, a bankruptcy filing would halt all pending litigation. James’ office contends that its lawsuit is covered by an exemption involving a state’s regulatory powers and cannot be stopped by bankruptcy. Assistant New York Attorney General James Sheehan said he hoped to bring the case to trial by early 2022. In seeking to dismiss or move the state’s lawsuit to federal court, Rogers argued that many of its misspending and self-dealing allegations were also contained in pending lawsuits in federal court — a slate of cases she described as a “tangled nest of litigation.” Part of Rogers’ argument for moving the state lawsuit to federal court involved an error in the state’s original filing that she said altered the timeline of when it was filed. James’s office filed its lawsuit on Aug. 6, but later had to amend the complaint to include a part that was left. That same day, the NRA filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging James’ actions were motivated by hostility toward its political advocacy, including her comments in 2018 that the NRA is a “terrorist organization.” Rogers contended that because of the filing glitch James’ lawsuit should be considered a counterclaim to the NRA’s lawsuit and handled alongside of it in federal court. Cohen rejected that, saying Rogers was placing “far too much weight on a non-substantive error that was quickly fixed.” “The attorney general filed first,” he said. ___ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press
Le maire de Baie-des-Sables et ex-préfet de la MRC de La Matanie, Denis Santerre, a confirmé son départ de la vie municipale en 2021 depuis décembre, à la suite de rumeurs entourant sa santé. M. Santerre s’explique sur la situation et dresse un bilan de son expérience politique. Les élections municipales de 2021 arrivent à grand pas, où il sera temps en novembre de nommer un nouveau conseil municipal à Baie-des-Sables. En effet, M. le maire ne pourra pas se représenter à nouveau pour un énième mandat, alors qu’il est maintenant âgé de 63 ans et aux prises avec des problèmes de santé. « J’adorerais pouvoir me présenter, mais malheureusement je suis atteint de la maladie du Parkinson, et elle s’est détériorée avec le temps. Sinon, c’est certain que je ferais d’autres mandats : les gens m’ont élu dans le passé avec un taux de participation à 74 %, et j’ai gagné 75 % des votes de la municipalité », a expliqué M. Santerre. La communauté l’a poussé dans le dos et encouragé depuis le début, a-t-il ajouté. « Quand on parle aux gens de Baie-des-Sables, ils disent qu’ils sont contents de ce qui a été fait par le conseil et de mes accomplissements à date », assure-t-il. Il mentionne notamment les installations et infrastructures de qualité dont ses citoyens bénéficient. Peu importe, M. Santerre ne pourra pas renouveler un mandat municipal, strictement pour des raisons de santé. Denis Santerre concluera sa douzième année à la tête de la municipalité et son troisième mandat au conseil municipal en 2021. Il se dit fier et satisfait du travail accompli, mais aussi fatigué après ces années. « Il faut aimer ça, car ça te demande beaucoup d’être maire, même pour les petites municipalités. S’ils sont sur le marché du travail en plus, c’est plus difficile. » Il défend qu’une de ses grandes qualités en tant que maire est d’être l’élément rassembleur au sein de sa municipalité. En effet, en entrant dans le monde municipal en 2009, ses concitoyens exprimaient des désaccords sur plusieurs dossiers, mais ils ont finalement été résolus. « Je souhaite donc que la prochaine personne à prendre la place soit à l’écoute de la population, qu’elle fasse des consultations publiques comme nous l’avons fait, par exemple », évoque-t-il. Le maire Santerre s’est d’ailleurs entretenu avec ses conseillers municipaux en décembre pour évaluer si une des cinq femmes ou l’homme étaient intéressés à se présenter comme maire, mais personne ne s’est avancé pour l’instant. Il juge que cette situation pourrait changer dans un futur rapproché.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane