Premier Doug Ford says his government is considering further measures to address rapidly rising COVID-19 cases across the province. Ford says the province won’t impose a curfew, but a variety of potential measures are being discussed.
Premier Doug Ford says his government is considering further measures to address rapidly rising COVID-19 cases across the province. Ford says the province won’t impose a curfew, but a variety of potential measures are being discussed.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island's premier says public health orders should soon be eased across the province because of its low COVID-19 infection rate. "At a time when other jurisdictions are experiencing tightening restrictions and increased lockdowns, we are in the very fortunate and enviable situation to be looking at the days ahead to see an easing of restrictions within our borders," Dennis King told reporters Tuesday. But King said it won't be until at least mid-February before the Island re-enters the Atlantic bubble, which allows residents to travel freely between regional boundaries. "At this time, as a province, we are not comfortable moving forward with re-entering the Atlantic Bubble," King said. Health officials in Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said the new cases involved a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. She said there are now seven active reported cases on the Island. Morrison, however, said she's concerned by the situation beyond P.E.I.'s borders. "The situation in Canada remains concerning, with over 715,000 cases and 18,000 COVID-related deaths," she told reporters. "Since Jan. 1, New Brunswick reported 372 new cases, Nova Scotia 60 new cases, P.E.I. has had 12 since Jan. 1, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new infections. "Our friends and neighbours in New Brunswick are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19, reporting 89 new cases in the last three days. They currently have over 300 active cases — the most since the pandemic began," she said. P.E.I. has reported 110 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. Indoor private gatherings are limited to members of a household plus ten people, while most businesses are still required to operate at 50 per cent capacity. The restrictions are scheduled to remain until Jan. 25. Morrison said that as of Monday, 5,910 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered on P.E.I., including 1,407 second doses. "By the end of this week, everyone living and working in long-term care and community care facilities will have received their first dose of the vaccine," she said. "They will start receiving their second dose next week." Morrison said the anticipated slowdown in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will have very little impact on the Island. "The Pfizer slowdown means that we may not get a shipment of the product for one week, on Jan. 25. That shipment contains 975 doses. However, we will get two shipments of that same amount in the middle of February," she said. "Given the fact that we have been holding back the second dose of vaccine, and we expect the increased supply in February, we are confident that we have enough vaccine to continue with our original plan." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. — By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
Val-Brillant, l’école en musique La petite école primaire de Val-Brillant (95 élèves) va rejoindre un cercle très fermé : celui des établissements scolaires offrant un programme Arts-études en musique. Pour l’instant, seules neuf écoles primaires le font au Québec. Val-Brillant va donc devenir la dixième dès l’année scolaire 2021-2022, et la première dans l’Est. Il s’agit d’une progression logique pour cette école, qui proposait depuis une douzaine d’années déjà un programme de concentration en arts : des cours de musique étaient donnés sur les heures scolaires en partenariat avec le Camp musical du lac Matapédia. Mais la fermeture de ce dernier, couplée à la décision du ministère de l’Éducation de mettre fin à ce type de programmes en juin 2021, a poussé la direction de l’école à envisager un virage. « On était rendus à la croisée des chemins, explique la directrice Renée Belzile : on avait le choix de redevenir simplement une école avec un programme particulier en musique, ou de faire le grand saut vers un programme Arts-études officiel avec toutes les balises du ministère. » C’est la deuxième option qui a été retenue, en partenariat cette fois-ci avec l’École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent à Rimouski. Jusqu’à présent, les enfants pouvaient suivre des cours d’instruments (seuls ou en petits groupes) ou de chant choral. Bientôt, ils auront accès à de la formation auditive et des cours de musique d’ensemble. Pour obtenir la reconnaissance Arts-études, l’école doit permettre aux élèves inscrits de bénéficier d’un minimum de 20 % d’enseignement en musique par semaine durant la plage horaire scolaire. Bons pour les élèves… et les parents Selon Mme Belzile, le passage par l’école de Val-Brillant a été marquant pour de nombreux jeunes, certains étant depuis devenus enseignants de musique. Mais sans aller aussi loin, étudier la musique et devoir faire des prestations sur scène devant les amis et les parents permet d’améliorer confiance et estime de soi. « La fierté d’avoir accompli un gros projet qui sort des matières scolaires, comme par exemple une comédie musicale, ça va chercher des élèves qui ont parfois peu de valorisation au niveau des notes », ajoute la directrice tout en précisant qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « programme élitiste » mais qu’au contraire, tout le monde est accepté. La moitié des élèves de l’école de Val-Brillant viennent déjà d’autres municipalités. Avec ce nouveau programme, Renée Belzile espère attirer de nouvelles têtes, tout en assurant que cela ne crée pas de conflit avec les autres écoles primaires du coin. « Plus on aura d’élèves, plus l’offre de cours va être diversifiée et intéressante », déclare-t-elle. Les parents y trouvent aussi leur compte, puisqu’ils n’ont pas à amener leurs rejetons à des cours de musique après les classes ou en soirée. Pas besoin non plus d’acheter un instrument sans savoir si l’enfant va apprécier en jouer, puisque l’école en prête des petits (violons, ukulélé…) qu’on peut ramener à la maison.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
OTTAWA — Canada is not going to get any vaccine does from Pfizer-BioNTech next week.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the Canadian military commander co-ordinating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says Canada's shipments of the vaccine will be cut by nearly one-fifth this week and then go down to zero next week.Pfizer told Canada last week its shipments would be affected because the production facility in Belgium is being upgraded to produce more doses overall.Fortin said last week that Canada expected to get about half the total number of doses it was originally expecting over the next four weeks, but can't say today what the total impact will be beyond this week and next.Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week nothing the next week.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says this is disappointing and she spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer officials about the matter.Pfizer says multiple countries will be affected but won't say which ones. Europe is seeing its shipments cut back this week but its dose deliveries will return to normal next week.Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated his commitment to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for any Canadians who want them by the end of September.Meanwhile, Trudeau also urged Canadians who might be planning an international trip in the near future to cancel it.Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel, but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals.The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4 alone, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19.That includes four flights from London since the ban on incoming flights from the United Kingdom was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say when pressed what other measures he is considering, noting only that travellers now must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding their planes, and must still quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
L’Académie de danse de Forestville s’est tournée vers le Web pour poursuivre ses activités malgré le reconfinement obligé par la pandémie de COVID-19. Au lieu de mettre un frein à ses cours, l’organisme offre ses services via la plateforme numérique Zoom. « Au printemps dernier, nous sommes vraiment tombés des nues quand on a appris que nous devions cesser nos activités. On ne voulait pas que cela se reproduise, alors on a demandé à notre professeure de danse de suivre une formation pour donner des cours en ligne », affirme la présidente de l’Académie de danse de Forestville, Ruth Villeneuve. À l’automne, quand les cours ont recommencé au local du Complexe Guy-Ouellet, l’organisme avait déjà un plan B s’il se voyait contraint d’arrêter ses services. « On se doutait bien que la pandémie ne se règlerait pas en quelques mois », soutient Mme Villeneuve, qui s’implique pour l’Académie depuis bientôt quatre ans. Stéphanie Lessard, professeure de danse de l’Académie, a toutefois dû adapter ses exercices afin qu’ils soient réalisables chacun chez soi. Le temps des cours a aussi été raccourci pour faciliter l’apprentissage. « Les plus jeunes se réunissent à raison de 30 minutes et les plus âgées s’exercent pendant 45 minutes, au lieu d’une heure », indique-t-elle. Le manque d’équipement électronique a aussi fait diminuer la participation des élèves à 75 %. « Certains désirent attendre à la reprise des cours au local », mentionne Mme Lessard. Quant au nombre de danseurs inscrits, il est aussi en baisse cette année en raison de la situation sanitaire. « Nous avons entre 70 et 80 élèves, ce qui est une petite diminution comparativement à l’an dernier, mais ce n’est pas si mal », de commenter la professeure. Toutefois, pour la présidente, il était important d’offrir l’opportunité aux jeunes de s’occuper et de garder un lien avec l’enseignante. « La plupart des élèves sont contents de se voir, même si ce n’est que par visioconférence, selon Stéphanie Lessard. Ceux du primaire ont recommencé l’école, mais le groupe de danse n’est pas composé des mêmes amis que dans leur classe. » Spectacle En ce qui concerne le traditionnel spectacle de fin d’année, qui se tient habituellement en avril, le conseil d’administration de l’organisme attend les consignes gouvernementales. « On se prépare en fonction qu’il y en aura un, mais on ne sait pas comment vont se traduire les règlements sanitaires à ce moment. On travaille donc sur des plans B et C pour ne pas l’annuler complètement comme l’an dernier », dévoile Ruth Villeneuve. Les réseaux sociaux pourraient faire partie des solutions. « On pense à une nouvelle formule comme faire des directs sur la page Facebook de l’Académie pour chaque groupe », explique la professeure de danse. Toutefois, rien n’est décidé pour l’instant. Rappelons que depuis la fermeture de l’auditorium de la polyvalente des Rivières, les spectacles de l’Académie de danse se déroulent au Complexe Guy-Ouellet. Les danseurs pourront peut-être utiliser la scène du tout nouveau Pavillon des arts, si la situation sanitaire le permet.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska Senate organized a Republican majority as the new legislative session got underway Tuesday, with Soldotna Republican Peter Micciche elected Senate president. Micciche told reporters plans for the majority were made official Tuesday, ahead of the session's start. He said the majority would include all 13 Republican members. Committee assignments were expected to be announced later in the day. His election as Senate president was held by voice vote, with no one dissenting. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich, in a statement, said Democrats had “many conversations with Republican members of the Senate, but unfortunately, some of those members will not put party politics aside in favour of working with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion for an Alaska agenda that seeks to help all of us recover from the difficulties of this past year.” He did not specify which members he was referring to. The House has not yet organized a majority. The first day of a new Legislature is typically one of pomp, but Tuesday's start was muted amid COVID-19 concerns. Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League is targeting the Victoria Day long weekend in May as the kickoff for its third season. However, the league acknowledges that will ultimately depend on local government and health authorities. "Our plans call for the start of play this spring — while recognizing that a major factor will be our nation's progress against this pandemic," commissioner David Clanachan said in a letter to fans. "Based on where we are right now, if health authorities say it is safe to do so, we are focused on targeting a start date of the Victoria Day long weekend (May 22, 2021) — Canada’s 'unofficial start of summer.' To that end, we will remain flexible but also adaptable in our planning. To be clear, our ultimate goal is to see our supporters in the stands as we take to the field." The league acknowledges opening the doors to any number of spectators again is a decision that will be made by others. The hope is to have each of the eight teams play a normal 28-game season. The league is currently looking at a number of scheduling models. The 2020 season was originally slated to run from April 11 to Oct. 4. The pandemic shelved that plan with the league eventually playing the Island Games, a truncated tournament in Charlottetown, from Aug. 13 to Sept. 6. The 2019 inaugural regular season ran April 27 to Oct. 19, divided into spring and fall campaigns. Hamilton's Forge FC won the league title both years. The CPL has also announced that young Canadians will see more action in 2021 with clubs now required to give at least 1,500 minutes of combined playing time to domestic players under the age of 21. The requirement previously for U-21 players was 1,000 minutes (pro-rated to 250 minutes at the Island Games). As before, CPL clubs must have at least three U-21 Canadian players signed on their rosters. The rule covers player born Jan. 1, 2000 or later. The league says the U-21 minutes requirement was met or exceeded by all clubs. In 2020, Winnipeg's Valour FC led the way with a total of1,532 minutes. In 2019, Pacific FC recorded 13,532 minutes. The league says it provided 43,000 minutes of playing time to young Canadians across its first two seasons. “Part of the mission of the Canadian Premier League is to foster the growth of young Canadian soccer players," James Easton, the league's vice-president of football operations, said in a statement. "The success to date of our under-21 player minutes is a testament to the quality that exists across Canada, which is now being served in a meaningful way by the opportunities provided by the CPL and is why we have decided to increase the minutes for young Canadian players.” --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Nominations are now open for the Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia. The award recognizes and honours British Columbians who have demonstrated an outstanding achievement or excellence and distinction in a field that benefits the people of BC or elsewhere. The Order of British Columbia was first established in 1989 by Lieutenant Governor David Lam, under Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Then, as now, British Columbians are encouraged to nominate inspiring individuals who have created a lasting legacy in their field. “Every year, we have the opportunity to recognize British Columbians whose legacies improve our lives, lift our spirits and support our communities,” said Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, who is responsible for the Order of British Columbia. “I encourage you to nominate those exceptional individuals who exemplify the best of British Columbia.” All nominations are reviewed by an independent advisory council, which is chaired by the chief justice of BC. The nomination deadline this year has been extended to Apr. 9, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nominations must be received by the Honours and Awards Secretariat by the ninth to be considered for 2021. In addition to the Order of BC, citizens may nominate individuals for another of the Province’s honours, the Medal of Good Citizenship. This award recognizes exceptional long-term service and contributions to their communities without expectation of reward or remuneration. The medal reflects acts of selflessness, generosity, service and contributions to community life. Unlike the Order of BC, there is no deadline and nominations are accepted year round. “In a global pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, so many people in our province have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others," said Premier John Horgan. “Now, more than ever, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to recognize and celebrate some extraordinary contributions and achievements by British Columbians.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
Division 1 and 2 students at the Swan Hills School will participate in an Earth Rangers virtual presentation on January 22, 2021. Crescent Point Energy has sponsored this presentation at no cost to the school. According to information shared by an Earth Rangers representative, the presentation will include: · Real-time broadcasting from the Earth Rangers Centre · Curriculum-linked education information appropriate for grades 1 - 6 · An integration of technology like green-screens, video segments, and multiple camera angles to create a unique and immersive virtual experience · Interactive elements like trivia and a choose-your-own-adventure format to keep students attentive and engaged · Demonstrations by our beloved Animal Ambassadors · Featured local content, including conservation work happening to restore habitat for the Western Bumblebee in Saskatchewan Earth Rangers is a conservation organization that focuses on “instilling environmental knowledge, positivity, and the confidence to take action in every child in Canada.” They offer free programming for children to participate in at school, home, and in the community. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
A Chatham-Kent police officer has been charged after a 40-year-old Chatham man was taken to hospital with injuries. Police responded to a home in Chatham on Jan. 9, just after 7 p.m., to help EMS with an injured man. The victim was transported to Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, but has since been released from hospital, according to a news release from police Tuesday. After an investigation, police said they learned that Const. Cristelle VandenEnden, who is currently on medical leave from the organization, might have driven the vehicle that injured the man. In order to remain impartial, Windsor police were called in to take over the investigation. On Monday, the officer was arrested by Windsor police and charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. In the past eight months, VandenEnden has been arrested and charged at least five times, three of them in the past two weeks. In May 2020, she was arrested and charged with fraud under $5,000, causing the use of a forged document and possession of property obtained by crime. Then in August 2020, she was arrested and charged with drug possession while on a leave of absence. In a news release last week, Chatham-Kent police said VandenEnden was arrested for allegedly breaching bail conditions. She was also charged with three counts of drug possession and possession of property obtained by crime by Leamington OPP on Jan. 6.
Katie Green has been interested in art since she could hold a pencil. Originally from Maryland, she describes herself as having lived “kind of all over the place.” For the last seven years she’s called Richmond home, and is perhaps best known as a caricature artist who goes by the name “Cartoon Katie.” Green’s parents were very supportive of her desire to have a career as an artist. “They were always getting me the little ‘how to draw Mickey Mouse’ books,” she says. As an art student, she studied visual effects and animation, but was doing caricature art on the side. The style appeals to her partially because of its similarities to animation. “I really like being a little sillier with the drawing,” she says. “I can take a picture of stuff, or I can spend a lot of time rendering perfect details. Mimicking life is impressive, but for me it’s not as fun, not as creative—I want (my art) to express something a little different than what you can normally see.” After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree, Green worked at a Los Angeles studio as a visual effects artist. And when that studio opened a branch in Vancouver, she was moved up north, still taking caricature gigs occasionally on the side. Eventually she decided to leave the film industry and pursue caricature art full-time. First looking up what kind of city permits she would need to be a caricature artist, Green says the City of Richmond suggested she contact the Harbour Authority. When she did, she was given a patch of grass outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to sell art from. “I do a bunch of markets and things, and what I primarily do are events—like Songs in the Snow, or people’s birthday parties, or charity things,” says Green. “(At events) I’ll go and perform, and rather than have people pay to get each drawing like at a market, I’m just drawing as many of the guests as I can in a set amount of time, like an entertainer.” Now an independent business owner, Green covers events from birthday parties to dry grads to business holiday parties. Sometimes she works with other artists at larger events, and she also teaches some classes at local community centres. Many of her gigs come through networking, where someone sees her at an event or market and asks her to work their event or activity as well. “At any kind of celebration party, caricature can fit right in because it’s a customized souvenir,” she says. Green has a process with each drawing: she begins by imagining a person’s head shape, trying to decide how much space it will take up. But usually, while the face shape is the first thing she thinks of, it’s the last part she draws. “People always say I start with the nose, but in my brain I’m starting with a lot of other shapes and things first,” she says. “The nose is in the middle, so if I get it down first I don’t have to draw on top of something to get it the right shape.” Sometimes when she sees people in public, Green imagines how she would draw them. “It’s a thought process that I can’t turn off,” she says. For instance, she might see someone on a bus with an interesting face, or have a conversation with someone who makes a noticeable facial expression. But because she knows she can’t whip out a sketchbook and start drawing without permission, she tries to remember shapes to recreate later. “Inspiration strikes when I see certain faces or certain features, (even) when I’m not drawing,” says Green. Her own personal style has changed over time, depending on what she’s interested in and what she feels like making. The COVID-19 pandemic has totally changed her style, for instance, as well as the way she’s been drawing. “I don’t really feel like I have one specific style, I’m just always trying to be funny, I want it to look good, and I want people to like it,” she says. Because of the humorous nature of caricature, Green says sometimes people don’t respond positively. She describes her art as an illustration rather than a recreation of a photograph, and always tries to have samples available so people know what to expect. “Even though I’m doing art every day, every day seems to be different, I have different challenges to problem-solve, I’m coming up with a new way to deal with something,” she says. One of the challenges this year was the pandemic, of course, which created a distinct lack of work opportunities for many artists. “Everyone was out of work—we had our livelihoods cancelled for some unknown amount of time,” says Green. Some artists created virtual set-ups, including Green. She began with free virtual caricature parties, then began networking with other artists on big virtual events. “There’s been a lot of trying to keep the art community lifted up, while also trying to figure out how to keep my business going.” Virtual events have become more successful and consistent, although not without some technical challenges. Green says as well as doing art, she also provides some technical support to people who may not necessarily know how to turn on their camera, for example. After the events, she emails out drawings so people can access them. During online drawing events, Green uses a tablet and stylus to create her art. She usually shares her screen so people can see what she’s drawing as it’s being created, while also seeing her face as she draws. Normally, she balances drawing on paper and drawing digitally, as she recognizes the complementary skill sets. But despite the challenges, Green is still optimistic. She says inspiration comes from everywhere, especially laughter and “anything fun.” “I don’t feel that it’s making fun of somebody. I know people get that mentality with caricature, with the editorial side of it where you’re usually making fun of politicians, but from a retail and event standpoint it’s more a celebration of what makes people unique rather than making fun of them,” she says. “When I see a unique face, it’s definitely fun—but it’s fun in a positive way, not in a negative way.” Over the years she’s worked on some interesting projects, including children’s storybooks, logos for businesses, and orders for board game or card game art design. But one project that stood out to her was an ongoing collaboration with a Danish man who wanted to create a book of idioms. “They were all in Danish, so he was using Google Translate to help communicate with me,” says Green. “But I had to be illustrating the imagery that would be associated with it, not the meaning.” The language barrier created some communication challenges, but also yielded some fun drawings. “That project was super fun, the guy was really nice and I work with him all the time—but it was one of those cases where every day was a different joke we were coming up with because it made no sense to the project,” she says. When she’s not drawing, Green likes to play video games to hang out virtually with friends, or watch movies with her husband. As a freelance artist, she appreciates being able to work on whatever she’s interested in. Recently, she’s been making a lot of tutorials to help other artists. “The cool part about being freelance and working independently is that I don’t have to dream about a project—I get to work on it when I want to, as long as I don’t have too much other work at the same time.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
OTTAWA — Canada’s veterans ombudsman is calling on the federal government to reverse restrictions on mental-health services for veterans' families. Ombudsman Nishika Jardine’s demand is in a scathing report released today, a year after Ottawa cut off this federal funding for veterans' families, even when the family member needs treatment because of their loved one’s military service. That move followed outrage over Veterans Affairs Canada having paid for Christopher Garnier’s PTSD treatment while in prison because he was the son of a veteran, even though Garnier had been convicted of killing police officer in Halifax. Jardine’s report quotes several veterans and their family members about the harm those restrictions have done to them and their children, most of whom were receiving support before the change was made without notice. Some of those quoted also question how the government can justify the restrictions when Canadian Armed Forces commanders have repeatedly stressed how supporting military families at home contributes to successful missions abroad. Jardine says reversing the restrictions is a matter of fairness given the unique challenges facing veterans' families, including constant moves, long periods of separation and the stress of living with someone suffering from physical and mental injuries. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Adam Grant, who first began working for the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) in 2007 as the assistant director of the engineering and public works department, now gets a turn at the helm. Grant was appointed as the department’s new director at the RQM council meeting on January 12. He has been in the role of acting director since the retirement of Brad Rowter in December 2020. Rowter worked for the municipality for 24 years. He began his career at RQM as an engineer and was appointed Director of Engineering and Public Works in September 2003, after being in the role of acting director for about a year. “We are pleased to have Adam take on this important role with Region of Queens Municipality. With 14 years’ experience as an engineer with the municipality, we are confident Adam can lead the Municipality in our continued growth and continue to advance important infrastructure projects,” Darlene Norman, RQM’s mayor, commented in a press release. As director, Grant will be responsible for overseeing the management, maintenance and development of municipal infrastructure of two sewer systems, its water system, Queens Solid Waste Management Facility and Materials Recovery Facility, streets in Liverpool, parks and green spaces throughout Queens County, as well as the operational components of Queens Place Emera Centre. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Regina – By Tuesday, Jan. 19, SGI Canada had already received 1,885 property claims as a result of the Alberta clipper storm that whacked southern Saskatchewan Jan. 13-14. That’s according to Tyler McMurchy, manager, media relations, with SGI. He added that’s for just for one insurer, as SGI is one of many property insurers in the province. A further 386 auto claims were also received – not from people bumping fenders, but from things like trees landing on vehicles, or trailers being blown over. “Those were some pretty crazy winds,” McMurchy said by phone from Regina on Jan. 19. He said claims came from throughout the province, anywhere south of Prince Albert. Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn were particularly hit, but so were places like Saskatoon, Radville, Estevan and Milestone. In October, 2017, there had been a similar storm, but McMurchy said, “This past one had higher wind speeds and more trees knocked down.” Environment Canada had reported wind gusts as strong as an EF1 tornado north of Regina. Since it was winter, more outside items like lawn furniture and trampolines had been put away, while other items were frozen to the ground, he noted. There will be some “very large claims” he said, including building damage and farm claims. Adjusters worked throughout the weekend, and by Jan. 19, most of those who had filed claims had initial contact with an SGI adjuster, according to McMurchy. Shingles, roofs, soffits and siding are just some of the damage claims that have come in. “Some neighbourhoods, everyone’s got some shingles missing,” he said. He spoke of limiting further damage, but it may be necessary to get contractors to do that. Hold onto receipts, he noted, and take pictures, both wide angle and closeups. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
GEORGETOWN – Holland College needs to have more of a presence in Kings County, a member of the Eastern P.E.I. Chamber of Commerce said. "I think it is important, particularly for the development of the rural communities," Alan MacPhee said. MacPhee is on the chamber's board, which invited Holland College to offer a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. College president Sandy MacDonald presented mostly on the college's new strategic plan, but discussion afterward focused on its role in Kings County. While the college's Georgetown centre is operational, its adult education centres in Montague and Souris were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "(So) you can't get adult education in Kings County now," MacPhee said. "It's all virtual." He notes that people in rural communities can have a harder time accessing virtual classes due to internet issues or technology limitations. He believes it would be mutually beneficial for the centres to be reopened and for each to have a staff member for locals to go to if they need guidance and support. "To have that connection, you have to have some sort of presence," he said. MacDonald is all for working more closely with rural communities and for taking suggestions on how to do it. The services Holland College offers ultimately come down to the population's demand, he said. "(Which) depends very much on where the industry goes." For example, discussion was raised toward some programs the college has cut or suspended in recent years due to low attendance rates, such as photography, theatre and dance performance, and commercial diving. While some are available in different forms, others simply can't be provided if they aren't sustainable, MacDonald said. Much of his presentation was framed around how Holland College is working to counter labour shortages on P.E.I., which both he and MacPhee see as prevalent in rural communities. Rural Islanders who can't find work often move away or off P.E.I. altogether. Doug Currie, the college's vice-president, also attended the presentation and said population retention is one of the first steps, as well as focusing more on P.E.I.'s international communities. "We need to think about what we're doing and how we're doing it," he said. "And we can't rely solely on the domestic (population)." The chamber recently secured funding to conduct a two-year study on what P.E.I.'s population and labour market needs to become more sustainable, which may prove a helpful resource for it and the college, MacPhee said. "We both have a problem, but we don't have the solution yet," he said. "The fact they came out here and engaged is really what we were looking for." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of Amber Dawn Wood, 38, of Bienfait, Sask. Justin Julien Englot, 29, and Jayden Marie Sanford, 25, both of Regina, have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Sanford and Englot made their first appearance in Regina provincial court Tuesday morning. Two other people, both males, are also in custody. They haven't been charged, but police say an investigation is continuing. Wood died after being severely injured Saturday morning at a home on the 700 block of Athol St., police said. Police were called to the scene following a report someone had been shot. Wood was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was the city's first homicide of 2021.
Katie Thompson noticed a pattern emerging with appointments made at her chiropractic clinic for Wednesday afternoon that's usually typical of big sporting events: patients wanted to schedule sessions around the U.S. presidential inauguration. "We have never experienced this before," said Thompson, who co-owns the Barrie, Ont., clinic with her husband. "It’s clear that as Canadians, we are paying greater attention to the political climate of the United States now more than ever." The clinic has decided it will livestream the Washington, D.C., ceremony so patients and staff can "watch history be made" as president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris take office. The move felt natural for Thompson after months of speaking with patients about their thoughts and fears in the build-up to the November election that saw Democrat Biden win the presidency over Republican President Donald Trump. "It would be a shame to miss this transition take place," she said. Canadians have found themselves especially glued to American politics over the last four years since Trump was elected president of the United States. Trump embraced a combative, populist leadership style and cast doubt on the legitimacy of his own government with frequent scandals that saw him impeached by Congress an unprecedented two times. Earlier this month, his consistent disputing of the election results culminated with his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot aimed at blocking the transition of power. Images from the barricaded streets of Washington this week, showing hordes of fatigue-clad National Guard members taking up position ahead of inauguration day, have raised the stakes of Wednesday's ceremony, stoking anxiety for Americans and concerned observers around the world about potential violence. Simon Cumming of Surrey, B.C., said he hopes the transition to a Biden presidency brings more stability to the politically divided nation, where he has friends on both sides of the political spectrum. He’ll be watching on Wednesday with “a combination of relief and a little bit of anxiety,” especially after the violence of the last few weeks. "I think that the country is so fractured right now and it's so polarized that you never know what's going to happen, so there's a bit of trepidation," Cumming said by phone this week. He plans to tune in while working from home. "I'll have one eye on the TV and one eye on my computer screen," he said. “I'll just turn it on and watch and keep my fingers crossed that nothing bad happens." Retired realtor Louise Zieffle was also planning a quiet, pandemic-friendly viewing of the Wednesday ceremony. She’s taken a closer interest in U.S. politics during Trump’s presidency, which she said has laid bare how the political system works – and how it doesn’t. "It was very mesmerizing, really," she said by phone from her Calgary home. "I've been watching American politics, not my whole life, but certainly the last few years because there's such an influence in our country, and especially in our province." She’s observed populism creep into provincial politics in Alberta since Trump took office, especially with the election of United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney in 2019, a leader for whom conflict is also signature part of his brand. Zieffle said she’s hopeful the U.S. administration change-over can have an impact on politics north of the border. “I'm very hopeful that will have influence on how Canadian politicians do business,” she said. Political science and history student Keegan Gingrich, who's studying at Wilfred Laurier University from his home in Waterloo, Ont., also expressed hope that political watchers in Canada can relax once Biden takes office, after years of waking up with anxiety about the international ripple effects from Trump’s latest tweets. "It might just be boring politics again, which would be kind of nice at this point," Gingrich said. Gingrich plans to watch a Twitch livestream of the inauguration hosted by U.S.-based gamer Hutch, an online figure who's become more politically engaged in the last few years of Trump’s presidency, streaming live commentary of Trump’s impeachment hearings and the presidential debates. Gingrich said watching the livestreams and comments from viewers, some of them without much evidence backing up their claims, gives him a sense of the debates and divisions that have defined American politics over the last four years. “It's kind of fun to watch," he said. "But at the same time it’s terrifying." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Canada will not be receiving any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week, but Nova Scotia's premier says the province is prepared to deal with the delay. Premier Stephen McNeil said the province is continuing to reserve second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until a continuous supply can be guaranteed. "If you have received your first shot or are in the process of receiving your first shot, we will have a second shot for you," McNeil said at a news briefing Tuesday. Last week, Pfizer said it would temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada. The pharmaceutical giant is pausing some production lines at a facility in Belgium in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. "We continue to work with the federal government and it is our hope that this temporary shut down will not last long and any supply issues will be resolved as soon as possible," McNeil said. According to a statement from the province, Nova Scotia won't receive 975 doses during the week of Jan. 25. Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia was already expecting a reduction of 13,500 doses in January and February. "It simply means we have to slow things down," Strang said at the briefing. "We only have so much vaccine available so we'll continue to work through our clinics, through our priority groups." Strang said any reductions in February will be added to the supply the province receives in March. He also said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was required to be stored at temperatures between –80 C and –60 C, can now be shipped throughout the province while thawed, but under strict conditions. "This does give us more flexibility to transport, store and administer this vaccines in the long-term care facilities, especially," he said. "It's one of the reasons we're able to put a greater emphasis and greater priorities on long-term care facilities." However, three more cold storage sites are expected to be set up in Amherst, Antigonish and Bridgewater by the end of January. Each site will have a freezer suitable for the Pfizer vaccine, a regular freezer for the Moderna vaccine and refrigerator space for vaccines expected to be approved in the future. Vaccine rollout breakdown The province has received 23,500 doses of the vaccine since Dec. 15, which includes 9,550 doses that arrived on Jan. 13-14, according to officials at a technical briefing that was not for attribution on Tuesday. Half of the doses that arrived last week have been stored to be used as second shots. Strang said a shipment of 5,850 doses will arrive later this week. As of Monday, 8,520 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to health-care workers and long-term care residents, staff and caregivers in Nova Scotia. Of those vaccinated, 2,215 have received a second dose. There are now clinics immunizing health-care workers in all four health zones in the province, as the first vaccines were administered in the northern zone on Tuesday. Zoe Ahern, a nurse who works in the emergency department at Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro, was the first health-care worker in the region to receive the vaccine. Nova Scotia has developed a phased approach to distributing the vaccines. Phase 1 has already begun and it will continue until the end of April. In the next 30 days, immunization clinics for health-care workers are expected to be opened at the IWK, at Yarmouth Regional Hospital and St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish, adding to the four existing sites. In the next 60 days, the province will also start running prototype clinics for individuals over 80 in Halifax and Truro. Elderly Nova Scotians in these areas can expect to receive a letter from the province's Medical Services Insurance, or MSI, with instructions about how to book their appointment online or by phone. The province will also conduct prototype clinics in First Nations and African Nova Scotia communities. Health-care workers at Cumberland Regional Hospital and South Shore Regional Hospital will also be vaccinated during this time. In the next 90 days, mass immunization clinics for the targeted groups will be established in the communities with cold storage sites. There are currently six cold storage sites operating in Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth, Kentville, Truro, Sydney and two in Halifax. The province will also establish prototype clinics at multiple pharmacies, primary health-care centres and outreach clinics during this phase. Clinic volunteers needed Strang said the Nova Scotia College of Nursing has started issuing conditional licences to retired nurses for free so they can help with immunization clinics. He said 125 have received licences in six days. Strang also said other health-care profession regulators, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Doctors Nova Scotia, the Pharmacists Association of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists, have also been issuing licences to retired clinicians to help with vaccinations. The province is also looking for volunteers outside the health-care industry. Anyone who wishes to volunteer at immunization clinics may apply on the Nova Scotia's health authority's website. 4 new cases Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. One new case is in the province's northern health zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. The other three are in the central zone and are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The people are self-isolating. One of the infected individuals is a student who virtually attends two Nova Scotia universities. The student lives off-campus. Strang said at the briefing that the outbreak at Eden Valley Poultry in Berwick, N.S., is officially over as of Monday. The plant had to shut down in December after a handful of workers tested positive for the virus. There are now 22 known active cases in the province, down three from Monday's report. No one is in hospital with the virus. Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,016 tests on Monday. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES