FFL Flash Alert - Will the Steelers WR go over/under 13.9 half-PPR points in Week 15?
FFL Flash Alert - Will the Steelers WR go over/under 13.9 half-PPR points in Week 15?
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen (CFSOS) is announcing $80,000 in grants to local organizations supporting gender equality. IndigenEYEZ, Foundry Penticton and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS), whose projects are working towards advancing gender equality in local communities, each received part of the funding to advance their work. “Our investment in their work is key in working towards equity and inclusion and in supporting women who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Sarah Trudeau, manager of grants and community initiatives with CFSOS. The Fund for Gender Equality is a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund which is supported by the Government of Canada. “The organizations who received funding have demonstrated a commitment to empowering women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships,” said Trudeau. IndigenEYEZ was awarded $40,000 for their Stepping Up Together program, empowering women leaders in the South Okanagan. The Indigenous-led leadership program is inclusive of women, gender diverse and two-spirit people with the goal of developing skills and supportive alliances to increase capacity to act as leaders in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. SOWINS was awarded $15,000 for the Explore Pre-Employment Program, a workshop-based, pre-employment program for women who have experienced gender-based violence to help them achieve economic empowerment and financial security. Foundry Penticton was awarded $25,000 to build a team-based approach to gender-affirming care in the South Okanagan. “Advancing the gender-affirming model will promote health and positive development for trans and gender-diverse youth aged 12 to 24. By integrating primary gender-affirming care, mental health, peer support and social services, the program will work towards eliminating health disparities, discrimination and stigma,” states a press release from CFSOS. To learn more about the national fund, click here. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood to a one-year, US$3-million contract. The move, which had been reported earlier this week, adds another arm to the Blue Jays' pitching staff along with 2019 MLB saves leader Kirby Yates, who signed a one-year deal with Toronto on Wednesday. The moves are part of a busy off-season for Toronto that includes an agreement with star outfielder George Springer on a six-year contract worth a reported $150 million, pending a physical. The 31-year-old Chatwood started five games for the Chicago Cubs in 2020, going 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings before getting derailed with various injuries, including a right forearm strain that shut him down for the second half of the season. Chatwood, from Redlands, Calif., is 51-57 with a 4.40 ERA over nine seasons split between Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies and Cubs. He made his debut with the Angels as a 21-year-old in 2011 before getting traded to the Rockies at the end of his only season with the club that drafted him. Chatwood spent the next five seasons in Colorado, before signing a three-year, $38-million deal with Chicago in 2017. Chatwood, who has been a starter for the majority of his career but has served as a reliever when needed, missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The role of Canada's vice-regal has been held by a wide variety of people, from British nobles to military leaders to humanitarian advocates. Here is a list of all those who have served as Canada's governor general since Confederation: — Viscount Monck: 1861-1868 Lord Lisgar: 1868-1872 Earl of Dufferin: 1872-1878 Duke of Argyll: 1878-1883 Marquess of Lansdowne: 1883-1888 Earl of Derby: 1888-1893 Earl of Aberdeen: 1893-1898 Earl of Minto: 1898-1904 Earl Grey: 1904-1911 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 1911-1916 Duke of Devonshire: 1916-1921 Lord Byng: 1921-1926 Viscount Willingdon: 1926-1931 Earl of Bessborough: 1931-1935 Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935-1940 Earl of Athlone: 1940-1946 Viscount Alexander: 1946-1952 Vincent Massey: 1952-1959 Georges Vanier: 1959-1967 Roland Michener: 1967-1974 Jules Léger: 1974-1979 Edward Schreyer: 1979-1984 Jeanne Sauvé: 1984-1990 Ramon Hnatyshyn: 1990-1995 Roméo LeBlanc: 1995-1999 Adrienne Clarkson: 1999-2005 Michaëlle Jean: 2005-2010 David Johnston: 2010-2017 Julie Payette: 2017-2021 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
A yet-to-be identified variant of COVID-19 found in a Barrie, Ont., long-term care home is extremely concerning because it appears to be spreading more quickly among residents, public health officials said Thursday. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said the unusually rapid spread of the virus at Roberta Place earlier this month prompted officials to start testing for a variant strain. Fifty-five people at the nursing home became ill within 48 hours of the first COVID-19 case being identified, said Dr. Colin Lee, the unit's associate medical officer of health. As of Wednesday evening, the health unit reported that 122 residents and 69 staff had been infected, and 19 residents had died. The variant was identified in six cases and further results are expected in the coming days, the unit said. "The problem is that this spreads so quickly to so many people that ultimately you're going to have a higher chance of more people severely ill and (more) deaths," Lee said. There's a "very high probability" that the variant detected at the home is one of three known COVID-19 variants – strains from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, said Lee. Public health officials will be carrying out more testing at the home and will be trying to immunize as many residents and staff at the facility as possible, he said. An earlier immunization effort saw only 21 residents vaccinated as most others were already infected with COVID-19, he said. "We went in there on Saturday and immunized as many as we could," he said. The health unit is trying to reach all close contacts of those infected as quickly as possible so they can self-isolate if needed, said Lee. "One of our primary goals right now is to prevent the spread further, as it gets into households and other hospitals," Lee said. Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical of health, said public health officials will also be stepping up infection prevention and control at the home. Yaffe said the source of infection is still hard to determine as the outbreak at the home is still under investigation. "At this point, we know a mutation is in there. The 501 mutation that’s associated with increased transmissibility ... We don’t know which mutant it is, or which variant of concern," she said. “So it’s hard to say right now how widespread it is because we don’t even know exactly what it is.” Last week, the Canadian Red Cross was deployed to Roberta Place to help with the growing outbreak. Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, along with other local organizations, has also been asked to help manage it. The Ministry of Long-Term Care said Thursday that it was working with its health partners to ensure staffing levels at the home were sufficient. “This development underscores the need for everyone to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our long-term care homes, especially as we find more evidence of new variants in our communities,” said spokeswoman Krystle Caputo. The nursing home's website says it can accommodate 137 residents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
La Sûreté du Québec demande l’aide de la population dans le but de retrouver le conducteur d’une camionnette qui aurait provoqué un accident, dimanche dernier, à Waterville, et qui aurait fui les lieux. Selon le communiqué publié par la SQ, jeudi après-midi, le conducteur recherché aurait eu un comportement dangereux alors qu’il circulait sur la route 147 dans le secteur du golf Milby, à Waterville, en Estrie. D’après le récit des événements fourni par les policiers, les faits se seraient produits vers 10 h 15, dimanche dernier. Le conducteur, au volant d’une camionnette blanche de type «pick up», modèle F150, circulait en direction nord vers Sherbrooke lorsqu’il aurait effectué «un dépassement illégal en empiétant sur la voie en sens inverse». «Cette manœuvre a provoqué la perte de contrôle d’un premier véhicule qui circulait en direction sud et ce dernier est entré en collision avec un second véhicule qui circulait en direction nord», peut-on lire dans le communiqué de la SQ. Les deux conductrices impliquées dans la collision ont subi des blessures qui ont nécessité leur transport à l’hôpital. L’individu en cause pourrait être accusé de conduite dangereuse causant des lésions. Les enquêteurs demandent à toute personne détenant de l’information permettant d’identifier le véhicule ou son conducteur de communiquer avec la Centrale de l’information criminelle au 1 800 659-4264.Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
WINNIPEG — Manitoba's auditor general says the provincial government is not retrieving the vast majority of overpayments it makes to doctors. Tyson Shtykalo examined fees that physicians across the province were paid for patient examinations, surgeries and other services over a five-year period. In a report released Thursday, Shtykalo said the Health Department's own auditing branch found $1 million in overbillings submitted by doctors, but only about $11,000 was collected — just over one per cent. The government seems to focus more on educating doctors to avoid future overbillings than retrieving the money, he said. The report says the fee-for-service system is complicated and some mistakes are to be expected when there are billions of dollars in payments over a five-year period. But the Health Department has the authority to withhold future payments as a way to collect money it is owed by physicians. "The (Health Services Insurance Act) provides the department with the authority to offset overpayments against future claims from the physician." Even when the province goes after an overpayment, reimbursements are negotiated, the report says. "We were told that the department starts by asking for 80 per cent of the amount owing and the physician suggests a much smaller amount. Eventually, an agreement is reached, resulting in a repayment lower than the original overbilled amount." The group that represents the province's doctors said it is committed to accurate billing. "The auditor general's report confirms the vast majority of physician billings — over 99.9 per cent — have not been found to be inaccurate or overbilled. Only an average of about $200,000 per year out of almost $1 billion in annual physician services has been flagged as potentially overbilled," Doctors Manitoba said in a written statement. The group also questioned one part of Shtykalo's findings. It said the $1-million figure for overbillings would include suspected cases that were later followed up and deemed correct. "While it's totally legitimate for provincial auditors to flag billing submissions as a potential overpayment, it's important to note that in many cases physicians provide additional documentation that backs up their billing submission and the matter is resolved." Shtykalo confirmed his figures refer to cases as they are initially flagged by Health Department auditors. His report makes six recommendations, including retrieving all overpayments, improving training for health department auditors, and doing more reviews of payments to physicians. The Health Department said it agrees with the recommendations. Many of the issues are addressed in a bill currently before the legislature, it said. "Legislative amendments contemplated in Bill 10 are fundamentally aligned with the recommendations made by the (auditor general's office) in its report," the department said in a written response that accompanies Shtykalo's report. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 The Canadian Press
The following statement was released by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette on Thursday announcing her resignation: "Everyone has a right to a healthy and safe work environment, at all times and under all circumstances. It appears this was not always the case at the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Tensions have arisen at Rideau Hall over the past few months and for that, I am sorry. ... in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal Office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new Governor General should be appointed. - Gov. Gen. Julie Payette "While no formal complaints or official grievances were made during my tenure, which would have immediately triggered a detailed investigation as prescribed by law and the collective agreements in place, I still take these allegations very seriously. Not only did I welcome a review of the work climate at the OSGG, but I have repeatedly encouraged employees to participate in the review in large numbers. We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better, and be attentive to one another's perceptions. "I am a strong believer in the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law, and that these principles apply to all equally. Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal Office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new Governor General should be appointed. Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times. "From a personal side, this decision comes at an opportune time, as my father's health has seriously worsened in the last few weeks and my family needs my help. "So it is with sureness and humility, but also with pride over what was accomplished during my tenure as Governor General and in my service to the country for the past 28 years, that I have submitted my resignation. I have informed the Prime Minister of Canada of my decision. I wish him the best as he seeks an individual to recommend to Her Majesty as the next Governor General of Canada and I wish the best to my successor. I will remain at his or her disposal. "It has been an immense privilege to serve my country and to fulfil the constitutional duties of my Office on behalf of all Canadians. I wish to extend my thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his trust and for offering me this incredible opportunity. I would also like to thank the personnel of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General for their work, especially under the difficult circumstances that we have known over the past months. All my gratitude also goes to the members of the RCMP who are willing to put their lives on the line to assure our protection; and to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have always shown tremendous respect, friendship and support. Being their Commander in chief for the last few year has been a tremendous honour. I hold them in great esteem. "For so many Canadians, the past few months have been extremely difficult. As our country, and indeed the world, faced the reality of a pandemic, we all have had to make sacrifice and do our part to limit the spread of the virus, and to protect others, especially the most vulnerable. One cannot choose when hardship comes, but one can choose how to respond to it in times of crisis, and Canadians all over the country have answered the call. At the forefront are the health and medical personnel, essential workers, military personnel, public health officials, leaders and scientists, who have been working tirelessly to provide care, support, leadership and solutions. We owe them an immense debt of gratitude. "I would like to conclude by conveying my sincere appreciation to Canadians for their support over the years. I have had the chance to meet, represent and celebrate the accomplishments of thousands of extraordinary Canadians from coast to coast over the past years and I will always cherish these memories. We live in a remarkable country. It has been an honour and a privilege."
WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg cartoonist says he is honoured to play a small role in a historic moment after his comic book about U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris was included in a Canadian celebration of Joe Biden's inauguration. “Kamala in Canada” by Kaj Hasselriis was part of a swag bag given to people who attended a virtual inauguration event at the United States embassy in Ottawa. The comic follows Harris during her time living in Montreal as a teenager. Hasselriis says he was inspired when he heard how a young Harris staged a protest after her landlord banned kids in her apartment building from playing soccer in the courtyard. He says many kids may have given up, but Harris chose to take action. Hasselriis says he hopes the book shows children that they can make change happen and inspires them to get involved in politics. “It’s useful for them to know that politicians were once kids themselves,” he said. “And if you are a kid, that means you could one day grow up to become a leader.” Hasselriis decided to create the comic when Biden named Harris as his running mate. It was published just before the vice-presidential debate in October. Harris lived in Montreal for five years from the age of 12 until she graduated from Westmount High School in 1981. Hasselriis said his book also looks at the climate around the Quebec referendum in 1980 and how that may have affected the new vice-president's view of politics. “There’s no way that Kamala Harris could have lived as a teenager in Montreal without having this huge political issue hanging over her head,” he said. Hasselriis previously wrote a comic called “Politikids” which tells childhood stories about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and former Green party leader Elizabeth May. In the lead up to the 2019 Canadian federal election, he was able to deliver a copy to each of the politicians during their stops in Winnipeg. Hasselriis said he’s not sure if Harris has seen the book about her childhood in Canada yet. He sent a copy to her Senate office after it was published. Copies of the book were also purchased by the U.S. consulate in Montreal. Hasselriis said he hopes the comic will make it into the vice-president’s hands one day. But for now, he’s happy to know that it was included in the inauguration celebrations at the U.S. embassy in Canada. “What it means is that they are celebrating the election of the first woman vice-president, the first woman of colour, the first Black woman,” Hasslriis said. “It’s a historic moment. It’s a big deal.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Critics of the provincewide curfew who argue that homeless people should be exempted from the health order are trying to divide Quebecers, Premier Francois Legault said Thursday. The premier responded to recent calls from all three opposition parties, the mayor of Montreal and the federal indigenous services minister, who said the homeless shouldn't be included in the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Their calls followed the death of a homeless man whose body was found in a portable toilet Sunday morning. Legault told reporters he was saddened by the death of Raphael Andre. But, he added, Montreal police know the city's homeless population "very well" and won't give fines to that community "for fun." "I've asked the opposition and many people to give me one example of a police officer who took a bad decision and they cannot answer that, so it's working well," he said, regarding the hundreds of instances when police have fined people for violating curfew. Opposition Leader Dominique Anglade said on Twitter Thursday that the premier's assertion is false. She said she had told Legault about a homeless man who had reportedly received a ticket while on his way to an overnight shelter. "What the premier asserted at the press conference today is simply not true," Anglade said. Legault said everyone wants to help the homeless, adding that those who had criticized his government are trying to sow division in society. "I find it very unfortunate to see certain people try to divide us, trying to say that there are good guys and bad guys, that there are some who care for the homeless and some who don’t care," he said. "We all want to help the homeless, it’s complex and it’s not the time to divide us, it’s the time to work together." The premier said that an investigation into the man's death is ongoing and that it's not fair to say people are dying because of the curfew. Legault has said the province has sufficient overnight shelter beds to accommodate the homeless during the curfew, which is scheduled to be in effect until at least Feb. 8. Quebec, however, recently announced it was adding 262 shelter beds in the Montreal area — including 150 beds in a soccer stadium for homeless people with COVID-19 who don't need to be hospitalized. The curfew is working, Legault said, citing the fact the province's infection rate has been lower over the past ten days compared with the beginning of January, before the health order entered into effect. Meanwhile, Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters nearly 100 per cent of long-term care residents in Quebec have received a first dose of vaccine. Quebec, however, is sticking to its plan to delay administering second doses up to 90 days from the first dose, he added. Public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said he's aware of reports from Israel suggesting one dose provides significantly less protection than the two doses required by vaccine manufacturers. He said he's waiting to read scientific papers on the efficacy of a single dose before reccomending the province change course. Legault repeated his call for the federal government to ban non-essential flights to Canada. If Ottawa refuses, the premier said he'd like to see travellers forced to quarantine for two weeks in hotels — at their own expense — where they can be monitored by police. Legault said he's particularly worried that people travelling to resorts in warm destinations could catch the highly contagious COVID-19 variants and bring them back to the province. "We cannot take any chances with the new variant," Legault said. "When I see the situation in hospitals in Great Britain, we don't want to see that. Right now, the quarantine for these people is not enough of a guarantee for the protection of Quebecers." Forcing people to pay for a two-week hotel stay after a trip would not only make it easier to monitor them, it would also discourage people from travelling, he said. Quebec reported 1,624 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 66 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 22 that occurred in the previous 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 14, to 1,453, and the number of people in intensive care remained stable at 216. The province has reported a total of 248,860 cases of COVID-19 and 9,273 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the curfew was scheduled to last until at least Feb. 9.
Nearly 20 new seats will be available for health-care assistants at the NVIT Merritt campus via an $8.4 million investment in education and training programs for people looking to secure jobs caring for BC’s seniors. “We’re moving forward with our plan to expand the number of health-care assistants working in B.C. to strengthen the level of care for people in long-term care homes and assisted-living residences,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The Health Career Access Program is underway and is already helping train workers for some of the most important jobs in B.C.” 600 new training seats will be created at public post-secondary institutions across the province as part of the Health Career Access Program, which was announced in Sept. 2020 and is expected to help meet the growing demand for health-care assistants in long-term care and assisted living residences. Those taking part in the Health Career Access Program will be hired as health-care support workers in long-term care and assisted living facilities where they will be paid while they work and complete the necessary coursework to become health-care assistants. This includes the 18 new seats NVIT can now accommodate. In addition, student who are completing a recognized health-care assistant program who commit to a 12-month-return-of-service and who choose to take employment in the long-term care or assisted living sector will be eligible for a $5,000 recruitment incentive. “Government is investing in relevant programs to enable people impacted by COVID-19 to upskill or reskill so they can return to work or advance their careers,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This funding for health-care assistant programs supports training for highly valued and respected workers who provide important daily care for our seniors in long-term care and assisted-living facilities.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
A director at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association believes provinces should set targets for vaccinating inmates in provincial jails — something half of jurisdictions have yet to do. The Correctional Service of Canada has started vaccinations for federal prisoners who are older or considered "medically vulnerable." But, as of last week, provinces had yet to start giving shots to inmates awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences in provincial jails. "Prisoners are disproportionately impacted by health conditions that would make them very susceptible to serious illness and death as a result of COVID," said Abby Deshman with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Because of a limited vaccine supply, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends people in correctional centres get inoculated behind those in long-term care homes, seniors 70 and older, critical health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities. British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia said that, as of last week, prisoners and staff are scheduled for vaccination in the second round of inoculations, with estimated start dates between next month and June. Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec didn't provide a timeline for when inmates will receive their shots. Newfoundland and Labrador said its inmates will be part of the second phase of its vaccine distribution, but didn't specify dates. Saskatchewan said the ranking of vulnerable groups is still to be determined. The Northwest Territories and Yukon planned to start giving shots this week and the Nunavut government says it plans to start vaccinating prisoners and correctional staff in Iqaluit starting Thursday. Deshman was part of a research project that tracked COVID-19 cases in jails and prisons. It found that since Dec. 1, there have been at least 1,962 infections among staff and inmates — more than all of the cases reported from last March until November. “We should have targets for immunizing key vulnerable populations, regardless of who they are," she said. “If those targets need to be adjusted, if they cannot be met, that needs to be publicly communicated and explained.” She noted some politicians, including federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, have pushed back against early vaccinations for federal inmates. Justin Piche, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa, said there are far fewer older prisoners in provincial jails than in federal prisons, where one out of five inmates is 50 and older. He said rhetoric from leaders that pits one group against another isn't helpful. “Prisons are among the congregate settings that are seeing significant transmission," he said. “You have prisoners who are getting COVID-19 at higher rates. You have prison staff that are going in and out of there on a day-to-day basis, going back to their families, going back to their communities." The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers believes it's wrong that Ottawa didn’t vaccinate correctional staff along with prisoners, and instead left it up to provinces to decide where staff fall in the vaccine line. "It’s completely foolish," said national president Jeff Wilkins. “We have (Saskatchewan Penitentiary), for example, which has seen quite an extensive outbreak. Our members are getting burnt out." As of last week, Manitoba listed provincial and federal correctional health-care workers as eligible to be vaccinated. Wilkins wants to see correctional officers inoculated along with long-term care staff. "In some areas, we’ve seen the rates of the institution be much higher than the community.” Catherine Latimer, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, questions why doses were sent to institutions in Atlantic Canada, which have no active COVID-19 cases, while inmates in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are at higher risk. Latimer is also concerned about what she says is solitary confinement-like measures being used to contain the novel coronavirus. “It’s a very, very harsh correctional environment right now," she said. "We’re probably going through the worst period in terms of general corrections, at least on the federal side, in the last 50 years." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine. Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week's order to the federal government. "The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada's case," Tory said. Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday. Tory said he knows members of Pfizer's management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government. "I'm trying to help the country's efforts to try to see if we can't get more supply," the mayor said. "I can't tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else's, will have." Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city's public health unit. An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer, said everyone's frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope. "Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted," De Villa said. "But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we'll do our very best." De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error. Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city's ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Democratic National Committee elected Jaime Harrison of South Carolina as chair on Thursday, signifying an early alignment between newly inaugurated President Joe Biden and state party leaders around the country. The party’s post-inauguration meeting, with election of a full slate of new officers, took place virtually, reflecting continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Vice chairs on the roster include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela Jr. of Texas. Harrison — a former chair of South Carolina's Democrats who proved his mettle as a fundraising powerhouse in his 2020 challenge to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham — already has been anointed by Biden, continuing the tradition of sitting presidents choosing their own party’s chair. “We are all a part of a movement that you all started, and we are nowhere near done,” Harrison said Thursday, thanking the party's outgoing leaders. “I have no intention of letting victory turn into complacency. ... There is important work ahead of us." A Yale and Georgetown Law graduate, Harrison succeeds Tom Perez, who won an unusually contentious open election in 2017, when Democrats were out of power. After Harrison dropped out of that race to back him, Perez tapped him as a deputy chair. Harrison was a key liaison with state party leaders with whom Perez sometimes had rocky relationships. “I am confident that Jaime will ... take us to even higher heights,” Perez said during Thursday's meeting, noting that the slate passed on a vote of 407-4. Harrison, 44, comes into the job with overwhelming support from state party leaders, making his elevation a sign of relative unity in a party organization often beset by infighting among state leaders and Washington power players. “We know Jaime will commit to keep supporting state parties, and what we all need to do on the ground, to do more than just elect Joe Biden,” said Texas Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, who saw disappointing local results in November as Republicans did a better job of turning out voters, including Latinos in south Texas. Biden has committed to supporting state parties, with his inner circle assuring Democrats he won’t let infrastructure wither after his victory over President Donald Trump. Many rank-and-file party leaders remain wary after the down-ballot beating Democrats took even as President Barack Obama, with Biden as his running mate, won two national elections. During their eight years in the White House, Democrats lost control of the House and Senate and lost nearly 1,000 legislative seats around the country. Jen O’Malley Dillon, a deputy White House chief of staff and Biden’s campaign manager, pointed to Democrats’ recent Georgia Senate runoff victories as proof Biden will not preside over a repeat. Georgia Democrats had been building their own infrastructure for years, but DNC aid boosted efforts heading into the presidential election. To help Raphael Warnock’s and Jon Ossoff’s runoff bids, Biden’s team helped fund at least 50 staff positions, worked closely with the campaigns’ digital teams on voter contact strategy and messaging. Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris also each made trips to Georgia. Party building, O’Malley Dillon said in an interview before the inauguration, “is part of who he is.” Harrison also comes in with the backing of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, a close Biden ally and the top-ranking Black member of Congress, who has said Harrison's experiences “have uniquely prepared him for this moment and this mission.” Harrison, who is also Black, found his footing in national politics as a top Clyburn aide on Capitol Hill and has often referred to Clyburn as his “political dad.” The pick is also in part a nod to South Carolina, where Black voters make up a majority of the Democratic electorate and which played a major role in Biden's win. Following lacklustre performances in the other early voting contests, and a key endorsement from Clyburn, Biden won the first-in-the-South primary by more than 30 points, a victory that helped propel him to big wins on Super Tuesday and rack up the votes needed for the nomination. “My buddy, Jim Clyburn, you brought me back,” Biden said after his South Carolina victory, acknowledging the lifeline. Sure to be up for debate among Democrats in the coming months is the early voting calendar and whether the lineup of states might be shuffled after an Iowa caucus fiasco. Party leaders said bad decisions, technological failures and poor communications created a mess that humiliated Democrats, undermined confidence in the outcome and threatened to end the tradition of Iowa getting to pick first. Some party leaders, including Clyburn, have argued that a more diverse state like South Carolina should be the first to vote. Thursday's meeting also included a video tribute to Don Fowler, a former national party chair and mainstay of South Carolina politics, who died last month at age 85. ___ Barrow reported from Washington. ___ Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is drafting legislation around the sale of used police vehicles and equipment, after a man driving a replica RCMP cruiser killed 22 people last April. Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday the legislation will regulate how police vehicles are decommissioned, which will include, he said, ensuring they are stripped of equipment and decals. "We are certainly aware of the previous circumstances and the most recent circumstances," Furey said. The minister made the comments a day after the Mounties said a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have driven a vehicle that looked like an unmarked police car and pulled over drivers. The vehicle in question, a white 2013 Ford Taurus, is similar to the car Gabriel Wortman used during his 13-hour, deadly rampage in northern and central Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020. Furey noted that under current law it's illegal to impersonate a police officer. "When it comes to police articles and decommissioned police vehicles there is certainly some work to do to fine-tune that legislation and the ability to mitigate and prevent, as best we can, access to this equipment that is used to mock-up police vehicles." he said. Furey said there are no plans to ban the sale of decommissioned police vehicles despite calls by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives to prohibit those sales. He said RCMP and municipal police services have been consulted and are in support of the government's draft legislation. Furey is recommending the Liberal government table a bill during the next sitting of the legislature. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Interior Health is ordering a review for “lessons learned” from the outbreak at McKinney Place long-term care in Oliver, after 17 residents died in just over a month. The focus of the review will be around multi-bed units in long-term care facilities, according to Carl Meadows, South Okanagan executive director of clinical operations for Interior Health. “With McKinney, I’ve requested a review for lessons learned,” Meadows told the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board while giving an update on COVID-19 in the South Okanagan at their Jan. 21 meeting. A total of 55 residents tested positive at the facility out of the 59 who lived there at the beginning of the outbreak in December, 2020. Interior Health has previously stated the spread of COVID-19 at the facility was partially due to a lack of single-bed rooms to isolate residents who have tested positive. McKinney Place is an older facility which does have more congregation areas and has fewer private rooms than some newer long-term care facilities, which may have contributed to the spread, Interior Health officials previously stated. “There’s going to be more awareness around these four-bed long term care units and how to do something about them in the near future because it was very difficult to cordon off or cohort infected patients with four-bed units,” Meadows said. In the South Okanagan, including Penticton and Summerland, COVID-19 case numbers are down, but so are the number of tests, Meadows said. “Our COVID numbers in the community are dropping but we have had obviously some significant events at places that have been made public so it has been a very long few months, we’re still in an incident command structure in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. “Our numbers are going down, what we don’t know is our testing numbers are also down, so we don’t know if people are getting tested and of course now we’ve got the Pfizer vaccine that has been delayed and Moderna.” Right now, Interior Health’s primary focus is on the vaccination of long-term care and assisted living staff and residents with priority vaccinations for emergency/intensive care staff and COVID units in Penticton, Meadows said. “(COVID-19) has tested our health system like we’ve never experienced and McKinney was the latest example where it was very challenging. But I can assure you our teams are nothing short of amazing, you’re in very good hands in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
A Saskatoon care home where the vast majority of residents have received their first vaccine dose is now reporting seven cases of COVID-19. Sherbrooke Community Centre announced two residents were infected on Tuesday, followed by five more on Thursday. All live in the Kinsmen Village area of the facility, located in the city's College Park area. News of the outbreak comes only a week after the first of 243 residents were vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Residents received the first of two Pfizer-BioNTech doses on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15. Clinical trials have shown the level of protection from just one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech is lower, and it also takes time for bodies to react — meaning people aren't protected immediately after getting a shot. The highest level of efficacy reported for Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine started a week after people got their second dose. According to Health Canada, for the vaccine to work best, people need to receive both doses. "Based on studies in about 44,000 participants, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning one week after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least seven days after the second dose." Sherbrooke Community Centre declined to confirm if any of the residents vaccinated are among those who have now tested positive for COVID-19, citing privacy concerns. No positive residents during vaccinations The home did not have any COVID-19 positive residents at the time of the vaccinations, a spokesperson for the home said. Sherbrooke had been under a suspected outbreak in late December after one resident tested positive. Twenty of the 243 residents were not vaccinated last week. "It was a mix," the spokesperson said. "Some residents declined. Some residents were on medications or had received other vaccinations that prevented them from receiving it at this time. We had a few residents change their mind throughout the day. Some did not want the vaccine at first but then later changed their mind. "We are doing lots of educating with our residents and staff about the vaccine." Sherbrooke Community Centre is an affiliate care home under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Residents and staff were being tested Thursday, according to a news release. The seven positive residents will remain isolated in their rooms.
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Wearing mittens made out of recycled materials and a warm winter jacket, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a casual inauguration outfit — and vibe — that only he could. Many people quickly highlighted the 79-year-old independent Vermont senator's look, and created endless memes, from Wednesday's inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, which he said was more about keeping warm than fashion. “You know in Vermont, we dress warm, we know something about the cold, and we’re not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today,” Sanders told CBS on Wednesday. People were particularly enthralled with Sanders’ mittens, which were made by a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool. “I love it that he loves them, and that he wears them,” Jen Ellis, an elementary school teacher, told NECN-TV. “And I’m totally honoured that he wore them today.” Ellis has never met Sanders. But when her daughter went to a child care centre owned by one of his relatives, she was able to slip a pair into Sanders' hands. “I think people like a heartwarming story — especially now,” she said when asked about the all the attention the mittens were getting on social media. The widespread interest in the mittens prompted Ellis to tweet Wednesday that there were “no more” of the coveted hand warmers. Sanders has donned the mittens before while running for president in 2020 and in interviews with Vermont journalists, the station reported. “Mittens are easy to slip on, they're cozy, you know you're hands stay a little warmer in a mitten, you've got the the body heat thing,” said Ryan Leclerc, a hard goods buyer for Onion River Sports in Montpelier, Vermont. “And you just can't deny how stylish they are, especially the ones he was wearing." Sanders’ inauguration look, including a brown winter jacket made by Burton snowboards, has spawned countless memes since Wednesday including the former presidential candidate on the subway, on the moon, sitting on the couch with the cast of “Friends”. In memes spreading across Indian Country, Sanders is draped with a Pendleton blanket sitting alongside the parade route during a tribal fair, next to the fire during a ceremony and riding in the back of a pickup truck across remote land. Even before inauguration day, he was dubbed “cheii,” the Navajo word for “grandfather." Ryan Leclerc, a hard goods buyer for Onion River Sports in Montpelier, Vermont, said Sanders is more about substance than style, noting the senator's inauguration attire emulated what is “great” about the him. “Those are the mittens you might see when you’re sipping cider around a fire. Sanders doesn’t care and it’s not important to him," Leclerc said. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that America's war on COVID-19 is under new command, promising an anxious nation progress to reduce infections and lift the siege it has endured for nearly a year. At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.” He brushed off a reporter's question on whether his goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in 100 days should be more ambitious, a point pressed by some public health experts. The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said at the White House. U.S. deaths have have surged past 400,000, and he noted projections that they could reach 500,000 in a month. But then, looking directly into the TV camera, Biden declared: "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.” The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. A key difference is that under Biden, the federal government is assuming full responsibility for the COVID response. And instead of delegating major tasks to states, he is offering to help them with technical backup and federal money. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. On Thursday a group influential with Republican office holders lent its support to Biden's strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “We support the new administration’s focus on removing roadblocks to vaccinations and reopening schools, both of which are important steps to accelerating a broad-based economic recovery for all Americans.” Biden officials have said they've been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people. The U.S. mask order for travel implemented by Biden applies to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travellers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and must quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property. Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump's administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission. Biden is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But some independent experts say his administration should strive for two or three times that number. Even with the slow pace of vaccinations, the U.S. is already closing in on 1 million shots a day. “It's a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Asked about that at the White House on Thursday, Biden told a reporter: “When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man.” The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centres, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He's ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan devised by the Trump administration. And he's launching an effort to train more people to administer shots. Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he's ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening them safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help get schools back open. Getting schools and child care going will help ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and for restaurants to find lunch-time customers. But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing. Biden is giving government agencies a green light to use the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to direct manufacturing. It allows the government to direct private industry to produce supplies needed in times of national emergency. In this case it could be anything from swabs, to masks, to certain chemicals. “We do not have nearly enough testing capacity in this country,” said White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients. “We need (more) money in order to really ramp up testing, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.” This means that efforts to boost the economy could hinge on how quickly lawmakers act on the $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden, which includes separate planks such as $1,400 in direct payments to most working people, a $15 minimum wage and aid to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers see as unnecessary for addressing the public health emergency. The Biden plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $160 billion, and he wants an additional $170 billion to aid the reopening of schools and universities. The proposal also calls for major investment in scientific research to track new variants of the virus. As part of his strategy, Biden ordered establishment of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government's response. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and disease from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine hesitancy is high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign. But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the top White House health adviser on minority communities, said she's not convinced that race is a factor in vaccination reluctance. Disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances. “It's not inherent to race,” she said. “It's from the exposures.” ___ Associated Press writers Collin Binkley and Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press