Some Ontario parents and the Opposition are putting pressure on the government to not cancel or postpone the March break because of concerns it could increase COVID-19 spread.
Some Ontario parents and the Opposition are putting pressure on the government to not cancel or postpone the March break because of concerns it could increase COVID-19 spread.
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States. That gives Canada four distinct vaccines — along with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. Health Canada includes a fifth vaccine, Covishield, which is a separate brand name for doses of the AstraZeneca product made at the Serum Institute of India. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27. Canada has already secured 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, with the option to buy another 28 million. The 10 million pre-purchased doses will be delivered before September, but they're not expected to start flowing into Canada until at least April. Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death. The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus. An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials. The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE? The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says. Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures while AstraZeneca can be stored in a fridge. WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED? Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus, which can't copy itself, as a vector to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein. The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future. WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED? No specific safety concerns were identified in participants of the trials, regardless of age, race and comorbidities. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said in a press conference Friday that almost 20 per cent of participants in the Johnson & Johnson trials were 65 years of age and older, and "no differences in safety or efficacy were seen compared to the younger groups." The FDA said the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance has taken its first, short drive on the surface of the red planet, two weeks after the robot science lab's picture-perfect touchdown on the floor of a massive crater, mission managers said on Friday. The six-wheeled, car-sized astrobiology probe put a total of 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) on its odometer on Thursday during a half-hour test spin within Jezero Crater, site of an ancient, long-vanished lake bed and river delta on Mars. Taking directions from mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, the rover rolled 4 meters (13.1 feet) forward, turned about 150 degrees to its left and then drove backward another 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).
Toronto's former police chief has been appointed special adviser to the province for its redevelopment of Ontario Place. The government says Mark Saunders will offer input on plans for the former waterfront theme park in Toronto. The province closed the park to the public in 2012 due to falling revenues and tight finances. The current Progressive Conservative government has said it wants to make the space that first opened in 1971 an impressive attraction. A government news release says Saunders will consult with the City of Toronto, local stakeholders and Indigenous communities. Saunders faced criticism in his tenure as police chief from both the LGBTQ and Black communities over his handling of various cases. He retired from the police force last year, and the search for his permanent replacement is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Elling Lien, seen in this file photo, says Newfoundland and Labrador is once again punching above its weight on the global music stage for the 2021 RPM Challenge.(Heather Barrett/CBC) The annual RPM Challenge has wrapped up for another year, with musicians in Newfoundland and Labrador again making their presence felt in the global enterprise. The challenge, now in its 15th year, invites musicians to record new music in February. In previous years, the goal was to produce a full album, but this year the length of the recording was up to the entrant. The 2021 edition saw nearly 700 entries from 34 countries across all seven continents — including Antarctica. RPM Challenge co-ordinator Elling Lien said 113 entries came from Newfoundland and Labrador. "The music community here has really taken the RPM Challenge on and made it their own," said Lien from his home in St. John's. "It's a thing that people … look forward to every year. They convince each other to do it. The word of mouth is really how all of this happens." Newfoundland and Labrador's enthusiasm — and Lien's own — has a lot to do with why, when the New Hampshire-based founders of the challenge decided to move on, they put the endeavour in Lien's hands, and the RPM Challenge is now headquartered in St. John's. Lien said the challenge has shown off the range of musical styles in the province, with tracks and albums, including pop and rock, electronic and world music. "The diversity of music here is something that would have surprised me early on with the RPM Challenge, because Newfoundland was known for … folk music," he said. "We were expecting a lot of that early on, but the diversity is just all over the place in terms of sound. Name any genre and you'd probably find something." Pandemic provided ups and downs This year's edition was the first one affected by COVID-19. Newfoundland and Labrador was also in a much different place when this year's challenge ended than when it started, after the province moved back to Alert Level 5 in mid-February. "I think it probably derailed some people in some ways," Lien said. "They had been expecting to be able to focus on making music and being creative, and the variant coming to town and the lockdown.… It was scary." "It affected people's emotions, I'm sure. It certainly did mine. It put people in a unique head space." The pandemic has also changed how the music of the RPM Challenge will be shared with the world. While in-person listening parties have been a staple of the challenge, the listening party will instead take place online on Saturday. The RPM Challenge has been a highlight of Newfoundland and Labrador's music calendar since 2006.() "We're going to host a number of listening streams, cause we're doing it all in one day," he said. "I think even just playing a clip from each record adds up to about 39 hours or 40 hours, so we have to do a bit of fancy footwork and create a bunch of listening streams." Despite the uniqueness of the 2021 challenge, Lien said in a way it remains the same, allowing a creative vessel for people to use to escape the everyday. "This year, we also happened to be escaping from a pandemic and focusing on creativity because of that," he said. "Typically in Newfoundland and Labrador it's like 'The weather's bad, it's hard to go outside, it's cold.' So why not just spend the time inside and focus on that?" Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
CORNWALL – As the provincial government moves to the second phase of its vaccination plan, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit will open six mass vaccination centres to administer doses. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the EOHU said that centres will open in Winchester, Cornwall, Alexandria, Casselman, Rockland, and Hawkesbury. These will not be the only mass-immunization sites for the region, but they are the ones to start. He identified the Cornwall Civic Centre as the Cornwall location, the other centres will be in arenas as well due to physical spacing requirements. He did not give a timeline on when those centres would open. Roumeliotis said there will also be mobile clinics for vaccination for those who cannot attend a clinic. "Next month will be increased acceleration of vaccine output," he said. "This does not take into account AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines." The EOHU is already scheduling vaccination appointments for people 80 years old or older (born 1941 or earlier) and is sending out automated robocalls to inform eligible people of instructions on how to book an appointment. Walk-ins are not accepted. The provincial Phase Two vaccination plan will vaccinate: older adults between 60 and 79 years of age; individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers; people who work or live in congregant living centres; people who live in so-called "hot spots" where there are high rates of death, hospitalization, or transmission; and certain workers who are unable to work from home. Ontario is launching an online booking tool around March 15th for scheduling vaccinations. While vaccination plans continue to ramp up, so have COVID-19 infection numbers in the region. Active infection numbers have increased from 108 on February 26th to 164 as of March 5th. Overall there have been 2,870 people who have contracted the Novel Coronavirus since the pandemic was declared one year ago. In South Dundas, there is one active case, North Dundas has two active cases, and South Stormont has 27 active cases. The City of Cornwall (53) accounts for nearly one-third of all active cases of COVID-19 in the region. So far only four people have been identified as having COVID-19 variants, three linked to an outbreak last week at the St. Albert Cheese Cooperative in St. Albert, the fourth case was in Akwesasne. Of the six long-term care home facilities currently in a declared outbreak, only the Woodland Villa in Long Sault involves residents who have tested positive. The other five facilities in declared outbreak have only employees who have tested positive. All residents of LTC homes who wanted a vaccine have now received both doses, and all residents of retirement homes have receive at least one dose. Isolated COVID-19 cases have been detected in 11 schools. Each of the 11 have one staff member or one student who tested positive. These include Morrisburg Public School in Morrisburg, Rothwell-Osnabruck School in Ingleside, and North Stormont Public School in Berwick. No outbreaks have been declared in those schools. The region remains in the Orange-Restrict zone with a rolling seven-day average of infections per 100,000 people of 32.1, and the reproductive rate is 1.15. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
The largest working cattle ranch in Canada has won its fight against public access to two pristine fishing lakes in B.C.'s Nicola Valley, after appeal court judges overturned part of a previous ruling that said the lakes should be accessible to the public. The Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DCLC) had been battling the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club over access to the two trout lakes near Merritt, B.C., for years. The David and Goliath fight came close to resolution in 2018 after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake should be publicly accessible. The owner of the ranch, American billionaire Stan Kronke, won his part of his appeal challenging that decision on Friday. The B.C. Court of Appeal found the lower court erred in 2018 because portions of trails and road leading to the lakes are not public and don't quite reach the shorelines of either lake. So, even though the water in the lakes is public, there is no way to get there without trespassing on private property. Rick McGowan, who argued for decades that the DLCC had unlawfully blocked anglers from visiting the lakes, said the decision sets a precedent that could threaten hiking routes across the province, since many cross private property. "This is a real serious blow to the people of B.C. and Canada," said McGowan, who lives in Merritt. "What they are saying is that the laws that describe roads lanes and publics places, that those laws don't apply [to roads and trails]." Rick McGowan's wife, Patti McGowan, and his granddaughter stand beside a frozen-over Stoney Lake in December 2018, a week after public access was granted by the B.C. Supreme Court —a ruling that has now been overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal .(Rick McGowan) For years, DCLC blocked Stoney Lake Road and centuries-old trails with fences and locked gates to keep people away from the lakes. Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake are surrounded by 200,000 hectares of land owned by the ranch, which claimed the access roads, water bodies and fish in them are private property. Members of the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club argued the lakes and roadway were Crown land and should be free for anyone to use. The B.C. Supreme Court judge in 2018 noted public money was spent on Stoney Lake Road, a route that was previously a historic trail from an Indigenous village. McGowan told CBC's Radio West on Friday afternoon that the club has decided to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada. Tap the link below to hear Rick McGowan's interview on Radio West:
Squamish Nation says the rollout of vaccines for its communities on the North Shore and in the Squamish Valley next week is a welcome “relief” for many of its residents. Vancouver Coastal Health and First Nations Health Authority confirmed this week that Squamish Nation will be receiving a first round of doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its community the week of March 8. “I think people are relieved and excited,” said Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, spokesperson for Squamish Nation. “I know for our elders and a lot of our members who are vulnerable, they have had to really do their best to protect themselves, and to avoid COVID-19, and they are looking forward to having that extra layer of protection.” Khelsilem said the nation was hoping around 600 members would be vaccinated in the first round of doses, but it would depend on the supply they are given. The first community members who will get the vaccine are elders 65+ and those with serious underlying health conditions, including people living with a compromised immune system. Khelsilem said once elders have their appointments booked, Yúustway Health and Wellness will continue booking vaccination appointments based on age, starting with those ages 55-64, then ages 45-54 etc., until all of the vaccine has been used. “We're encouraging people to get the vaccine, but we welcome any members that might have concerns or questions,” he said. “They can talk to their doctor, if they feel that's an option, but they can also talk to our health nurse and our staff to address any concerns that they might have about the vaccine.” He wanted to remind community members that this is only the first of several vaccine shipments to the nation and they are planning on holding clinics in the coming months to vaccinate all nation members who want to receive the vaccine. “We anticipate that most of the community or many community members are going to access it when they have the opportunity too,” Khelsilem said. Yúustway Health and Wellness will be scheduling clients by appointment only for the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in the Squamish Valley at the Totem Hall, 1380 Stawamus Rd., and on the North Shore at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, 100 Capilano Rd., West Vancouver. Appointments will begin at Totem Hall on Tuesday (March 9) and the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on Wednesday (March 10). Members unable to attend an on-reserve clinic, Indigenous people ages 65+, can book an appointment close to their residence starting March 8. The nation has listed further details on how to contact clinics and make appointments in a notice on its website. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia welcomed Ottawa's go-ahead for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday as health officials geared up for the opening of the first of 10 community inoculation clinics across the province next week. Premier Iain Rankin called the approval of Canada's fourth vaccine a "positive step forward." "As you can see this is a very dynamic situation that is dependent on the federal government's regulatory approval process," Rankin said. "Our vaccine rollout is ramping up as more clinics open and we receive more doses from the federal government." Rankin confirmed that Nova Scotia would be adopting a 16-week interval between first and second shots as recommended by the national panel of vaccine experts, meaning all Nova Scotians who want vaccine will get one shot by the end of June. "We are committed to being ready to getting shots in arms when it is available," the premier said. He added the province's goal remains to achieve full immunity by this fall. Keeping with its aged-based approach to vaccine distribution, Nova Scotia will open community clinics for those 80 and over in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro on Monday. Clinics are also scheduled for Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth on March 15, and Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth on March 22. Frustrations mounted earlier this week when the province's appointment booking web page had to be temporarily taken off-line after traffic was double what had been anticipated. About 48,000 people aged 80 and over in the province are eligible to receive vaccinations. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said booking for new appointments would resume online and by telephone on Monday for those who were born between Jan.1 and April 30. Those with later birthdays will be informed when they can register later this month. "It is early days, and our supply is still limited, but we are on the cusp of rapidly expanding the volume of vaccine we'll get," Strang said. Officials said they would also have more specific details next week on the rollout of the 13,000 doses the province is receiving of the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The shipment must be used by April 2 and is targeted for those aged 50 to 64 years. It will be administered starting March 15 at 26 locations. Health officials said that as of Thursday, they had administered 38,676 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 14,395 people having received a booster shot. Meanwhile, the province reported two new cases of COVID-19 Monday in the Halifax area. Health officials said one case involved a close contact of a previously reported infection and the other was under investigation. The province has 31 active reported cases of novel coronavirus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut's health minister says all 25 communities in the territory are to receive by the end of the month enough COVID-19 vaccine so every adult who wants a first dose will get one. Lorne Kusugak says the territory will receive its expected allotment of 38,000 Moderna doses by mid-March. He says although the goal was to have first and second doses administered by the end of March, shipment delays mean second-dose clinics will extend into April. A community-wide vaccination clinic will also launch in Iqaluit on March 15. Starting March 10, people in the capital who are 18 and older can book an appointment to get a shot. To date, 8,767 first doses have been administered in Nunavut and 5,144 people have received two doses. "It is the best protection we have in Nunavut to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death," Kusugak said Friday. "This vaccine is a way to get things back to normal. It will allow us to gather, have fishing derbies, do community feasts, square dances and visit our elders more safely." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
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Edmonton students have a choice again this fall as school divisions are offering online and in-person learning starting in September. Pre-enrolment for Edmonton Public Schools begins Monday and runs until April 15, during which time students may choose which school they wish to attend. Between June 21 and Aug. 12, public school students will be asked to specify whether they want to learn remotely from home or attend classes in person. Kathy Muhlethaler, assistant superintendent of operations and learning services, said options are important as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and people's comfort levels change. "There are families that are feeling really confident that yes, now I want to go back to in-person learning, we've been online all year," Muhlethaler said during a news conference Friday. 'I got to tell you, teachers want their kids back' - Kathy Muhlethaler, Edmonton Public Schools Some families aren't ready for that yet, Muhlethaler acknowledged. "We want to honour that choice for families and that has been such an important part of our reentry plan." After the Aug. 12 deadline, families will not be free to change their minds, the division noted. The first semester runs from Sept. 2, to Jan. 28. While online learning will continue to be an option into 2022, the division is aiming to bring the majority of students back for in-person classes by February. "I got to tell you, teachers want their kids back," Muhlethaler said. "You walk into your school and you feel the energy of the school environment." Of the district's 103,000 students at 214 schools, about 30 per cent have opted to learn remotely since last September. Many are thriving in the online environment, Muhlethaler said, while others are missing their friends and in-person interaction. If the province continues to require strict safety protocols into 2022 because of COVID-19, the school division will readjust. "[If] parents feel, based on the information from Alberta Health, that they're a little nervous about that option, then we will open up choice again for the second half for parents to choose either online or in-person learning." Families who've already decided that they want to take classes exclusively online for the entire year are directed to enrol with the public schools' Argyll Centre. Argyll Centre runs teaching-at-home programs, online programming, the K-9 Caraway Program and summer classes. Edmonton Catholic Schools is holding early registration with parents and students asked to specify their preference for in-person or online instruction by March 22. "Your cooperation is critical as this is a significant step in the preparations and planning necessary at the respective school level," the website says. Families will be able to make a final decision before the beginning of the school year and the division will give notice of the official deadline. However, when school starts, families are asked to stick with their choice of online or in-person. @natashariebe
The Northwest Territories government must do more to eliminate systemic racism, its politicians declared during a session dedicated to the subject at the territorial legislature this week. Members of the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly ended Wednesday’s session by passing a motion requesting that the government, known as the GNWT, review its policies and determine where any racial and cultural bias may exist. Moved by Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos, the motion requests an examination of policies related to education, health and social services, justice, housing, and government hiring. “This motion is very much in line with my entire life philosophy of improving government for the people we serve. I have been fighting my entire adult life for the betterment of Black, brown, and Indigenous people,” said Martselos, the former chief of the Salt River First Nation. “Racism takes many different forms, especially in government. Gaps in cultural barriers have always been a problem. Affirmative action and the procurement policy are prime examples of bureaucratic systemic racism. This has to change. Only then, we will make a difference.” Premier Caroline Cochrane and her six fellow cabinet members abstained from the vote on Martselos' motion, as is convention for such motions brought to the House by regular MLAs, but said they were in favour of it. The territorial government has about four months to respond to the motion. What that response may look like remains unclear. Some MLAs used Wednesday's themed session to address personal experiences of systemic racism, while others discussed how to make policies more equitable. Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, said action must follow Wednesday's discussion to ensure real change occurs. Deh Cho MLA Ron Bonnetrouge, who seconded Martselos' motion, said he had felt racism first-hand from a range of institutions, describing "lots of racist overtones happening to our people." Lesa Semmler, the Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA, said recent steps in the right direction had still to eliminate many barriers. “It’s very hard, steering this ship in a new direction with the obstacles that we have. We have not enough money from our federal government to correct the past policies that were created to try to eradicate or assimilate Indigenous people, that caused more damage,” Semmler said. “There is much more that needs to be done to correct the damage history has caused to the Indigenous people of this territory.” Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been on the 19th Legislative Assembly’s to-do list since this set of MLAs was elected in 2019. That process has moved slowly. In November, a Special Committee on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs said it was working to begin the process of implementing the declaration. On Wednesday, Premier Caroline Cochrane reinforced the need to adopt the declaration and to “ingrain these principles into our legislation, policies, and institutions.” “We are committed to learning from the mistakes of the past and moving on from colonial and outdated ways of thinking," Cochrane said. "We must embrace the principles of the United Nations declaration and the principles of anti-racism in the way that we approach all of our mandate commitments." Great Slave MLA Katrina Nokleby questioned how the GNWT is combating racism in hiring practices. She asked whether hiring targets will be implemented for senior levels of management. Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek, who carries responsibility for human resources, said an Indigenous recruitment and retainment framework would in the coming year introduce departmental hiring targets that extend beyond entry-level positions. She said the territory will launch an anti-racism campaign from March 16 to April 21 that “will encourage all GNWT employees to challenge their beliefs and attitudes around racism.” “Systemic racism hides in plain sight," Wawzonek said. “We recognize that, in order to eliminate systemic racism in the N.W.T., we must build a culture of anti-racism within the public service.” The implementation of mandatory cultural awareness training for employees has yet to be completed. The N.W.T.'s affirmative action policy is under review. Health minister Julie Green vowed to address racism in all its forms in the N.W.T.’s health department and health authorities. “Research shows that Indigenous peoples experience a disproportionate amount of negative health and social outcomes in comparison to non-Indigenous people,” Green said. “It is our responsibility as a government to address this inequity directly by making sure that all aspects of the Health and Social Services system are culturally respectful and safe for Indigenous peoples. "This also includes respecting Indigenous understandings of health and wellness and finding ways to accommodate traditional healing in our system.” Green said a cultural safety action plan released in 2019 had so far resulted in 13 cultural safety training sessions involving 225 healthcare or social services workers. The sessions teach people about Indigenous medicine, residential schools and intergenerational impacts, and racism at interpersonal and systemic levels. Green said an N.W.T. cultural safety framework being developed will be reviewed by health and social services staff as well as an Indigenous advisory board. Most of that work, the minister said, will come from a unit of almost entirely Indigenous staff from across the territory. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Mourners left flowers and hockey sticks outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., on Friday. The city is mourning Walter Gretzky, a fixture in the community, who died Thursday at age 82.
CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending licences for thousands of wells and pipelines after an oil and gas producer failed to bring its operations into regulatory compliance. The regulator says it has ordered SanLing Energy Ltd. to suspend its 2,266 wells, 227 facilities and 2,170 pipelines and ensure they are left in a state that's safe for the public and the environment. It adds the company currently owes $67 million in security to the AER for its assets' end-of-life obligations. The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination, ensure its emergency response number is working and provide a detailed plan to maintain its assets while they are suspended. The AER says it issued an order to SanLing in September because of a poor compliance record and its outstanding security issues. It says it met with the company several times over the past five months to request a plan to come back into compliance but the company's responses proved to be inadequate. “If SanLing, or any company, wants to do business in Alberta, they must follow our rules,” said Blair Reilly, AEB director of enforcement and emergency management, in a news release. "We cannot allow a company that has ignored the rules continue to operate—that's not in Alberta's interest." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
It may have been short of participants, but truly the best pilots came out last weekend, for the first annual Cardboard Sled contest in Kanesatake. Panzer Wagon and Sweet Victory, two homemade cardboard vehicles, competed for the grand prize of $250 on Saturday, February 27. With a name like Sweet Victory, community member Tanner Etienne said he was 90 percent sure that he was going to win. And whether it was a premonition or just luck, the 12-year-old boy came in first against Kanehsata’kehró:non Sage and Nation Harrington. “I think I’m ready to go pro, I’m definitely the best out there,” said Etienne during his victory speech, after he congratulated his opponents. For Etienne, becoming a professional only took him a day of construction, some green spray paint and a Home Depot box. While they suffered some engine trouble during their hill run, the Harringtons’ green two-seater sled was a little bit more sophisticated, compared to the winning box. “We decided to make a Jeep at first, but it turned into something else,” explained the siblings. The Harringtons received $150 for second place, while the third prize was handed to the media outlet APTN. Journalist Jeff Dorn donated the $75 toward the Tsi Ronterihwanónhnha ne Kanien’kéha Language and Cultural Center. Co-organizer Al Harrington said that this year, he invited different media outlets to take part in the contest, as a way to strengthen the relationship between the community and the media. He explained that while the community has had bad experiences with the media’s tendency to focus on negative stories, this was the opportunity to share something positive. “Not all journalists and media are bad,” said Harrington. APTN was selected as the contest’s judge by default as they were the only media who responded with their own personalized cardboard sled. APTN journalist Sylvie Ambroise arrived in Kanesatake thinking she was taking part in a team activity, only to discover that she was the test pilot. “They told me there was a race and that we would all compete,” she said. “But then I realized I’m the one representing them all!” The APTN mobile’s Innu name, Ka Tshepennte Mishkumit, meaning fast on ice, could have dangerously competed against Etienne’s cardboard sled. Right before the competition, Dorn, the engineer behind the APTN sled, shared its secret tool and wondered how safe it was. “Lots and lots of tapes,” said Dorn with a laugh. “It may be fast, it might not be... We will see.” The lack of participants didn’t keep the smiles off everyone’s face during the event. All enjoyed hot chocolates and snacks sponsored by the Medicine Box, who also donated the monetary prizes. By the end of the afternoon, participants around the bonfire were secretly dreaming of their potential international bobsleigh careers while planning for their future vehicle creations. email@example.com Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
TORONTO — As expected, Toronto FC will join the Raptors and Blue Jays in Florida for the start of the Major League Soccer season. Toronto will stay in the Orlando area, training at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate some 35 kilometres southwest of Orlando Airport. The team said it can play home matches in both Orlando and Tampa. Orlando City SC plays at Exploria Stadium while the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship play at the 7,500-seat Al Lang Stadium in nearby St. Petersburg, where CF Montreal has held its training camp in the past, The team said its stay in Florida will be contingent upon health and safety regulations as borders reopen in Canada. The Raptors are playing out of Amalie Arena in Tampa while the Blue Jays, who played in Buffalo, N.Y., last season, are holding their first two homestands in nearby Dunedin. TFC finished out the 2020 season in East Hartford, Conn., due to pandemic-related border restrictions. The team played just four games at BMO Field last season. The team is no stranger to ChampionsGate, having held part of its pre-season camp there in past years. A short walk across the hotel golf course leads to training fields. TFC is currently training under the bubble at the club's north Toronto training centre and at BMO Field, whose pitch has underground heating. The team was granted permission to open camp early, on Feb. 17, to prepare for the Canadian Championship final against Hamilton's Forge FC. The winner of that match advances to a two-legged Scotiabank Champions League round-of-16 tie against Mexico's Club Leon. The return leg is April 14. The MLS regular season is slated to kick off April 17. The date and venue of the Canadian Championship final have yet to be announced, although March 20 has been floated. Time is short given the March 22-30 FIFA international window features both World Cup and Olympic qualifying. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (18,380.96, up 255.24 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up five cents, or 7.69 per cent, to 70 cents on 27.7 million shares. Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up 93 cents, or 3.46 per cent, to $27.82 on 17.1 million shares. Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up 15 cents, or 11.11 per cent, to $1.50 on 13.3 million shares. Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH). Energy. Up 10 cents, or 21.74 per cent, to 56 cents on 13.1 million shares. The Supreme Cannabis Co. Inc. (TSX:FIRE). Health care. Down one cent, or 3.85 per cent, to 25 cents on 11.4 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up 24 cents, or 0.54 per cent, to $44.83 on 11.1 million shares. Companies in the news: Martinrea International Inc. (TSX:MRE). Down $1.50, or 9.9 per cent, to $13.70. Frustrations stemming from COVID-19 travel restrictions boiled over during a conference call Thursday when top executives at auto parts manufacturer Martinrea derided the health measures, saying it's "time to move on" and recognize the "good things happening," despite employee deaths from the novel coronavirus. "Everything is getting better, except for the government policy that we're seeing. It is just absolutely outrageous," said chief financial officer Fred Di Tosto, on the call. Deanna Lorincz, global director of communications and marketing at Martinrea, said Friday that Di Tosto meant "it is time to move on, lessen the restrictions on the border and continue to open up the economy." Ensign Energy Services Inc. (TSX:ESI). Up eight cents, or 6.8 per cent, to $1.26. Drilling company Ensign Energy Services Inc. says oilpatch activity in its Canadian and U.S. operations is staging a slow recovery from a deep slump in 2020. The Calgary-based company says it earned net income of $3.1 million or two cents per share on revenue of $201 million in the last three months of 2020, compared with a net loss of $71.6 million on revenue of $375 million in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected a net loss of $57.9 million on revenue of $197 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Revenue slumped 43 per cent in Canada compared with the same period in 2019, by 52 per cent in the U.S. and by 36 per cent in its international arm, which operates in South America, the Middle East and Australia. Recipe Unlimited Corp. (TSX:RECP). Unchanged at $18.57. Recipe Unlimited Corp. saw system sales fall more than 30 per cent in its most recent quarter as the pandemic continued to cause dining room closures and seating restrictions at its restaurant chains across Canada. The Vaughan, Ont.-based company says system sales in its fourth quarter totalled $611.3 million, down 31.8 per cent from $895.8 million in the same quarter the previous year. Still, the company, which operates brands like Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, St-Hubert and The Keg, saw off-premise system sales for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 27 of $150.4 million, a 66.6 per cent increase compared to $90.3 million in the same period of 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tofino, BC - For the majority of Steve Howard’s life, he lived by the phrase, “real men don’t cry.” “Back in my day we were always taught not to cry,” he said. “We were always taught not to feel. So, we grew up kind of tough. Whatever we held in, we kept in.” It’s a mindset that the Tla-o-qui-aht man is trying to shift by encouraging his four sons to openly share their feelings. And yet, his past traumas of physical, mental and sexual abuse continue to hold him back. “We all have troubles and we all have flaws,” he said. “We don’t share our stories. Sexual abuse is a really big thing that happened to First Nations people – not just in Tla-o-qui-aht, but all over Canada and the United States. We as men don’t express that feeling of being raped, not just by a priest but by [our] own family members.” Noticing a gap in men’s support, Howard, Chris Seitcher, Dwayne Martin, Craig Devine and William Goodbird formed a men’s group and started hosting informal men’s circles in Ty-Histanis in the Fall of 2017. While they noticed options for women, youth and elders, there wasn’t a place for men to come together. For Howard, the men’s circle provided him a safe space to share his story without fear of judgement. In turn, he encouraged the men around him to “feel strong enough to express who they are.” “Everybody’s story helped my journey,” he said. “It’s the growth of knowing that I’m not alone in this world.” In those early stages, the men’s group struggled to host regular circles because they didn’t have a consistent space to gather in. The setback meant attendance was scarce and yet its impact started to pulse throughout the nation. “One of the key things that we noticed was it started a conversation in and around the community,” said Devine. “These men would [return] home from our men’s gathering and be totally high as a kite on the good vibe of everything. They brought that energy back home with them and their wives noticed it and their kids noticed it. We started really wanting to build on that.” Eventually, the group of volunteers secured a space within the nation’s health centre and three to 18 men started regularly attending. Through sweats, brushings, singing, drumming and talking circles, the group aimed to integrate a more ancestral approach to dealing with trauma. “We communicate our emotions in a different way, or the way that we were taught,” said Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation cultural support worker. "Sometimes expressing them will come out through yelling, swearing or causing harm to another person.” While there is no excuse for that behaviour, Seitcher said the men’s group is trying to shift those forms of expression through connection and ceremony. “If we are able to truly work on ourselves and truly heal, we are able to be in the moment,” he said. “We are able to live for today. We’re able to see and be connected with the people that we meet and talk to – with our families and loved ones. We won’t sit with the things that were done in the past. We won’t sit with the hurts that have happened in the past. It will come up – those hurts and those pains – but we have to allow it to flow through our bodies so that we can let it go.” As momentum started to build, the First Nations Health Authority stepped in last year and provided a significant amount of funding for the group. Despite being unable to gather due to COVID-19 restrictions, Seitcher, Devine and Naomi Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation community services manager, have been working to formalize the group, which has been named, ƛ̓iik̓pitap taqumł. Levi Martin offered the name, which means “to build a solid foundation for the community.” “It always makes me feel good when people are wanting to do something to make changes in themselves, in their families and communities,” he said. They landed on the name because the structure of a house cannot stand without the foundation, said Seitcher. “Each one of us in the community can be that foundation,” he said. “If one person heals, the hope is that the next person heals too. If we heal as a community, the next generation will be that much better off.” By letting go of the past, Seitcher said the community will be able to “move forward in a good way.” Looking ahead, ƛ̓iik̓pitap taqumł plans to provide an open, consistent space where Tla-o-qui-aht men can gather and grow through ceremony, health programming and cultural learning. By supporting men in their healing journey through connection, Howard said the men’s group is a tool “to speak your mind.” “A lot of us are too scared to speak,” he said. “But once you learn how to speak, then you learn how to stand. And once you learn how to stand, you learn how to walk. It’s learning how to move forward again.” Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
YANGON, Myanmar — Demonstrators defied growing violence by Myanmar security forces and staged more anti-coup rallies Friday, while the U.N. special envoy for the country called for urgent Security Council action, saying about 50 peaceful protesters were killed and scores were injured in the military's worst crackdowns this week. The escalation of violence has put pressure on the world community to act to restrain the junta, which seized power on Feb. 1 by ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Large protests against military rule have occurred daily in many cities and towns. Security forces escalated their crackdown with greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. At least 18 protesters were shot and killed Sunday and 38 on Wednesday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. More than 1,000 have been arrested, the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said. Protests continued in the biggest cities of Yangon and Mandalay and elsewhere Friday. They were met again with force by police, and gunfire was heard. In Mandalay, Zaw Myo was fatally shot as the 26-year-old and other residents sought to protect a march by a group of engineers. U.N. special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener said in her briefing to a closed Security Council meeting that council unity and “robust” action are critical “in pushing for a stop to the violence and the restoration of Myanmar’s democratic institutions.” “We must denounce the actions by the military,” she said in her briefing, as released by the U.N. “It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results.” Schraner Burgener reiterated an earlier appeal to the international community not to “lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime that has been forcefully imposed and nothing but chaos has since followed.” She urged council members to hear “the voices of the people of Myanmar” and support Kyaw Moe Tun, the country’s U.N. ambassador who was terminated by the military after denouncing the coup in a dramatic speech to the General Assembly. The military appointed his deputy, who resigned a day later and Tun has said he remains Myanmar’s permanent representative to the U.N. The Security Council took no immediate action. Council diplomats said Britain circulated a draft presidential statement for consideration, a step below a legally binding resolution. Any kind of co-ordinated action at the U.N. will be difficult because two permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia, are likely to veto it. Schraner Burgener, a veteran Swiss diplomat, said she hopes to visit Myanmar and use her “good offices” to find a peaceful solution through dialogue. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said Friday that the government has taken action to prevent Myanmar’s military from improperly accessing more than $1 billion in Myanmar government funds held in the United States. And YouTube removed five channels run by Myanmar’s military for violating its guidelines and said it is watching for any further violations. It earlier pulled dozens of channels as part of an investigation into content uploaded in a co-ordinated influence campaign. The decision by YouTube followed Facebook’s earlier announcement that it has removed all Myanmar military-linked pages from its site and Instagram, which it owns. Many cases of targeted brutality by security forces in the streets have been captured in photos and videos that have circulated widely on social media. Videos have showed security forces shooting people at point-blank range and chasing down and savagely beating demonstrators. The U.S. called the images appalling, the U.N. human rights chief said it was time to “end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar,” and the world body’s independent expert on human rights in the country, Tom Andrews, urged Security Council members to watch the videos. While many abuses are committed by police, there is even greater concern about military forces being deployed in Myanmar's cities that are notorious for decades of brutal counterinsurgency tactics and human rights abuses. In Yangon, members of the army's 77th Light Infantry Division have been deployed during protests of the coup. The 77th was also deployed in Yangon in 2007 to suppress anti-junta protests, firing on protesters and ramming them with trucks, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. The 99th Light Infantry Division also has been deployed, including in Mandalay. It is infamous for its counterinsurgency campaigns against ethnic minorities, including spearheading the response that led to a brutal crackdown that caused more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee from Rakhine state to Bangladesh. It also has been accused of war crimes in Shan state, another ethnic minority area, in 2016 and early 2017. A leader of barred lawmakers who say they are the legitimate representatives of the country released a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging the Security Council to help end the violence and restore the ousted government. The letter asked for outside parties to help prevent human rights violations, sanctions on military leaders and military-linked businesses, a total arms embargo and penalties for perpetrators of atrocities. The letter is signed by Dr. Sasa, who uses one name, on behalf of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Myanmar’s Parliament, which the military has barred from convening. The lawmakers want foreign countries and international organizations to recognize them instead of the junta. Schraner Burgener said earlier this week she warned Myanmar’s army that the world’s nations and the Security Council “might take huge, strong measures.” “And the answer was, ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived those sanctions in the past,’” she said. When she also warned that Myanmar would become isolated, Schraner Burgener said, “the answer was, ‘We have to learn to walk with only a few friends.’” The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has urged a halt to violence and the start of talks on a peaceful solution in Myanmar. The 10-member regional group, which includes Myanmar, is constrained from enacting serious measures by a tradition of acting by consensus and reluctance to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. However, one member, Singapore, was outspoken Friday in criticizing Myanmar’s coup. “It is the height of national shame for the armed forces of any country to turn its arms against its own people,” Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament. But he also warned that the approach favoured by some Western nations of pressuring Myanmar’s generals with sanctions would not be effective. The U.S., Britain and several other countries have already started to use that approach. “Despite all our fervour and earnest hopes of reconciliation ... the keys ultimately lie within Myanmar. And there’s a limit to how far external pressure will be brought to bear,” he said. The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canadian actor Patrick J. Adams is defending his "Suits" co-star Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, as she and husband Prince Harry square off against media critics and the British Royal Family. Toronto-raised Adams has posted a series of tweets praising Meghan and admonishing what he calls "the endless racist, slanderous, clickbaiting vitriol spewed in her direction from all manner of media across the U.K. and the world." Adams also criticizes the Royal Family in his tweets, which end with him telling Meghan's detractors to "find someone else to admonish, berate and torment," adding she is way out of their league. Meghan and Harry, who live in California after stepping back from royal duties, are set to speak about life at Buckingham Palace in a TV special with Oprah Winfrey on CBS and Global on Sunday. Teaser clips from the two-hour prime-time interview show Meghan saying "the firm" — a nickname for the Royal Family — is playing an active role "in perpetuating falsehoods about" herself and Harry. Harry also talks about his fears that history would repeat itself after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while pursued by paparazzi. Meghan, a biracial former actor who is pregnant with the couple's second child, has faced relentless criticism in the British press since marrying Harry in 2018. As Sunday's interview clips circulate, new accusations have surfaced against her in the Times of London, with a former aide accusing her "bullying" Royal Family staff in 2018. Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation into the allegation. The royal rift comes as Prince Philip, Harry's 99-year-old grandfather, recovers from a heart procedure in hospital. Adams and Meghan played a couple working in the legal world on "Suits," which was shot in Toronto from 2011 to 2019. Adams said Meghan "was an enthusiastic, kind, co-operative, giving, joyful and supportive" friend and colleague, and remained so as her "fame, prestige and power accrued." "She has always been a powerful woman with a deep sense of morality and a fierce work ethic and has never been afraid to speak up, be heard and defend herself and those she holds dear," Adams wrote on Twitter. "Like the rest of the world, I have watched her navigate the last few years in astonishment." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press