Dogs trot through the snow in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dogs trot through the snow in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The Canadian military says aircraft and ships are responding to an emergency aboard a Canadian fishing vessel that has been damaged by fire off of the coast of Nova Scotia. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says the FV Atlantic Destiny is a scallop factory ship with 32 people on board and there are no reports of injuries. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 120 nautical miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens says a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has started removing some of the crew members from the ship. Owens says a small number of the crew will remain on board. He says the fire is out but the ship was taking on water. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Oshawa City Council is fighting to ensure a bar doesn’t end up at 711 stores. Council is sending a letter of objection to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission opposing the application by the 711 corporation for a licence to allow for the addition of a bar at 61 of its convenience stores across the province, including one in Oshawa at 245 Wentworth St. W. “I can tell you I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen an application for a licence with such a potential for negativity in a local community,” says Councillor Brian Nicholson. “What we’re talking about is placing a bar inside a convenience store and that people will be sitting and drinking right next to your children.” He notes the location of this 711 store, located at the corner of Wentworth Street West and Cedar Street, is just north of a plaza with restaurants and laundry mats, as well as a shopping centre with a restaurant and a beer store to the west. Nicholson adds the store is located in a high density area with a number of apartment buildings in the area and a school down the road. “You couldn’t design a worse possible place for adding a bar,” he adds, noting the city has worked hard to improve this stretch of road. “This would be a step backwards by the community.” Councillor John Gray agreed with Nicholson, noting it makes no sense. “Let’s keep the bars as bars. It doesn’t make sense to me that you can spike your slurpy. That is just a dumb idea,” he says. Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri says he’s glad council is on board with this, noting it’s important that council get ahead of the curb on this. “Anyone that’s travelled across Europe recognizes this is a model that exists there and maybe that’s where it came from but I don’t know if we’re ready for this and I don’t think it fits the kind of outlook for a small convenience store setting,” he says. However, council doesn’t just oppose the application by the 711 corporation, they’re opposed to all applications in variety stores. “I think this motion is right on, but let’s be proactive and decide now that it’s not just good in 711 – it’s not good in any convenience store,” says Councillor and Deputy Mayor Bob Chapman. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
The once-brash U.S. shale industry, which spent profusely in recent years to grab market share, is now focused on preserving cash, putting it at a disadvantage to low-cost OPEC producers as the global economy begins to gear up again. Prior to the pandemic-induced downturn, OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia restrained their production, eager to bolster prices to fund national budgets dependent on oil revenue. Shale drillers took advantage, boosting U.S. output to a record 13 million barrels a day.
St. Louis’ first-ever female mayor will be replaced by another woman, after city Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Alderwoman Cara Spencer on Tuesday bested two men in a new primary election format to advance to next month’s general election. Jones received 25,374 votes and Spencer was second with 20,649 votes, according to unofficial final results. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed was third, followed by businessman Andrew Jones. Incumbent Democrat Lyda Krewson chose not to seek a second four-year term. Tishaura Jones said on Zoom that St. Louisans “should be able to succeed here regardless of your skin colour, who you love, how you worship, your ZIP code, or any identity you have.” Spencer has been outspoken against special interests. She said on Facebook that her campaign “has changed the dialogue about how we serve St. Louis.” The city’s new “approval voting” format makes municipal contests nonpartisan and has another unique feature: Voters can “approve” of as many candidates in the primary as they want. Each vote counts as one. The idea is to get the two candidates with the most support to the general election, which is April 6. Four years ago, Tishaura Jones finished a close second to Krewson in the Democratic primary, and Reed was third. Krewson easily defeated Andrew Jones, a Republican, in the April 2017 general election to become the city's first woman mayor. Tishaura Jones and Andrew Jones are not related. Though this year's general election also will be nonpartisan, both Jones and Spencer are Democrats. The next mayor faces the daunting challenge of taming violent crime in a city that has been at or near the top of per capita homicide rankings for decades. Jones and Spencer, in interviews with The Associated Press last week, both said reducing violence was the top priority. Both pledged to address the underlying issues that lead to crime such as drug and alcohol addiction, poverty and mental illness. Jones, 48, is a former state representative who has been treasurer since 2013. She said the “arrest and incarcerate” model of criminal justice has been a failure. She would bring in more social workers, mental health counsellors and substance abuse counsellors, rather than adding more uniformed officers. Spencer, 42, has been a member of the Board of Aldermen since 2015. She favours a “focused deterrence” model connecting those at risk of committing violence to self-help resources, but making it clear those who cross into crime will face the consequences. Krewson, 67, had a personal connection to the violence -- her husband was fatally shot in a 1995 carjacking. She ran on a pledge to battle crime, but the city saw a staggering increase in killings during the coronavirus pandemic. Police said 262 people were killed in St. Louis last year — five less than the record of 267 set in 1993. But because the city’s population has declined since 1993, the homicide rate was much higher in 2020. In announcing her retirement from politics in November, Krewson said elections “are about the future.” She said at the time that challenges posed by crime, COVID-19 and other issues were not factors in her decision. In previous years, Democrats and Republicans squared off in separate primary elections in March. St. Louis is so heavily Democratic that the April general election was virtually irrelevant. Voters in November adopted the new “approval voting” method. St. Louis is just the second city to try it. Fargo, North Dakota, used it for the first time last year. Jim Salter, The Associated Press
One in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia's relationship with China, a survey by the Lowy Institute think tank reported. The findings prompted a call from the Chinese Australian Forum, a community group, for national leadership to tackle racism as Australia deals with a more assertive China, and also recognition that the Chinese community in Australia is diverse in its political views and origins.
SAN FRANCISCO — Teresa Parada is exactly the kind of person equity-minded California officials say they want to vaccinate: She's a retired factory worker who speaks little English and lives in a hard-hit part of Los Angeles County. But Parada, 70, has waited weeks while others her age flock to Dodger Stadium or get the coronavirus shot through large hospital networks. The place where she normally gets medical care, AltaMed, is just now receiving enough supply to vaccinate her later this month. Parada said TV reports show people lining up to get shots, but “I see only vaccines going to Anglos.” “It’s rare that I see a Latino there for the vaccine. When will it be our turn?” she said. Gov. Gavin Newsom has repeatedly called equity his “North Star" for vaccinating a diverse state of nearly 40 million. He partnered with the federal government to set up mass vaccination sites in working-class neighbourhoods in Oakland and Los Angeles. And it's a big part of why he tasked insurer Blue Shield with centralizing California's patchwork vaccine system, asking the hospital chain Kaiser Permanente to assist. Yet officials at community health centres that are considered the backbone of the safety net for the poor in the U.S., focused on health equity, say they are not receiving enough doses for their patients — the very at-risk residents the state needs to vaccinate. In California, nearly 1,400 such centres offer free or low-cost services to about 7 million people, many in communities with a higher concentration of low-income families and few providers who take Medicaid, which is known in California as Medi-Cal. Many of their clients speak a language other than English, work long hours, lack transportation and want to go to the medical care professionals they trust. Dr. Efrain Talamantes, chief operating officer for AltaMed Health Services, said it was disheartening to watch initial doses go elsewhere while his patients continued to test positive for the virus. “There is a clear disparity every single time there’s a resource that’s limited,” he said. Most states are grasping for ways to distribute limited vaccine supply, resulting in a hodgepodge of methods in the absence of a federal plan. Tennessee is among the states dispensing doses based on county populations, while California allocates them by eligible groups including teachers and farmworkers. The free-for-all has allowed people with the most resources to score scarce vaccinations. Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said it seems obvious that the best strategy to get vaccines to hard-hit communities is to turn to the places where residents already get care. But big-box administrators tend to think of community health centres as less efficient because of their smaller size, she said. “We’re not very imaginative in the way we deliver vaccine efficiently. Our only creative solutions are to build mass vaccination sites, and maybe give people preferential access to those sites,” she said. As California has ramped up vaccination efforts through mobile and pop-up clinics at churches, work sites and schools, state data show how relatively few shots have gone to Latinos and Blacks compared to their populations. African Americans have received 3% of vaccine doses while they make up 6% of the state. Latinos, who make up 39% of the state, have received 17% of doses. Blue Shield officials say they plan to keep open health centres that are already administering vaccines, but the clinics worry they won't get enough doses. State vaccine spokesman Darrel Ng said the governor's plan for equitable vaccination includes setting aside vaccines for “disproportionately impacted communities and ensuring that providers who serve these communities are part of the network." He said in a statement that it includes sending mobile clinics to places like Black churches. Andie Martinez Patterson, vice-president of government affairs at the California Primary Care Association, said while large-scale health systems can vaccinate people quickly, they likely won’t reach the targeted residents. Community health centres have worked hard to persuade their patients to take the shot, said Alexander Rossel, chief executive of Families Together of Orange County, adding his centre has inoculated 95 per cent of its patients age 65 and over. Health centres watched in dismay as vaccine for health care workers initially went to larger hospitals in December. Then they watched as more affluent, internet-savvy English speakers with time to navigate web portals and drive long distances for appointments flocked to inoculation arenas. When Orange County started opening large-scale vaccination sites in mid-January, community health centres asked for doses too, said Isabel Becerra, chief executive of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers. “We don’t have transportation. We don’t speak English. We don’t understand the technology you’re asking us to use to register and get in line. So, can we vaccinate the 65 and older population in the comfort of their own facilities?” she said. Jodie Wingo, interim president of the community health association for Riverside and San Bernardino counties, said member clinics were scaling up to inoculate more of their 500,000 patients. But now they’re receiving only a few dozen doses at a time. “Everybody is working toward equity, yet it doesn’t look equitable. At all,” she said. AltaMed, in Los Angeles and Orange counties, recently started receiving 3,000 doses a week from the two counties. The supply should allow clients like Parada, who is originally from Mexico, to receive her vaccine this month. AltaMed will send a vehicle to take her to a clinic for the shot that will protect her when she heads out, double-masked, to shop for the family. “I’m the one who has to go out. I have to protect myself,” she said. Amy Taxin And Janie Har, The Associated Press
Penticton city council has voted unanimously to deny B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit that the agency needs to continue to run an emergency winter homeless shelter past March 31. The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon where the mayor and councillors discussed the future of the 42-bed shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street in the Okanagan city's downtown. Upon hearing the news of the rejected permit, B.C. Housing Minister David Eby said he was "profoundly disappointed" and told CBC News he would do everything in his power to ensure that the people currently staying at the shelter do not end up living in a tent encampment. The move comes amid growing frustration from Penticton's mayor and council over issues with the city's homeless population and B.C. Housing's three supportive housing projects. Penticton's mayor and city councillors expressed frustrations about dealing with B.C. Housing on the issue of an emergency winter shelter during an online council meeting Tuesday.(City of Penticton ) In late January, Penticton asked the agency for an independent audit of how it runs them before considering a fourth such building in the city. And last month, Mayor John Vassilaki attributed the Penticton RCMP's heavy caseload and an influx of homeless people to the three supportive housing projects. 'We made it very clear it was just temporary' In October, city council granted B.C. Housing a temporary-use permit expiring on March 31 to allow the operation of an emergency winter shelter on Winnipeg Street to be run by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living. The space was needed because the COVID-19 pandemic meant the existing Compass House shelter could not be expanded as a winter shelter as it was in previous years, according to a city staff report. Earlier this year, B.C. Housing applied for a permit to operate the shelter for a year past the March 31 deadline, citing the need for more shelter space. At its Tuesday meeting, Coun. Katie Robinson said the shelter is not in an appropriate location for a long-term accommodation, as it is in the middle of the city's downtown and close to seniors housing. "We made it very clear [in October] that it was just temporary and I believe that it is incumbent upon us to go forward and do what we said we were going to do, which is shut it down on March 31," Robinson said. "I think communication is so sadly lacking here with B.C. Housing that it kind of somewhat boggles the mind at times that they don't have any conversations with us whatsoever." 'Profoundly troubling' Housing Minister David Eby said he met with Penticton mayor and council twice in the past five weeks to discuss the issue and said council assured him it would grant the permit to keep the shelter open. Eby said it's imperative to keep the shelter open until B.C. Housing builds an additional supportive housing project — something he says the agency is ready to begin once it gets approval from the city. "I cannot imagine a city council in B.C. in the middle of a pandemic who would think that is a good idea to evict 42 people from a homeless shelter into the nearest park," he said. "This is profoundly troubling for me as the minister for housing dealing with encampments in two cities already and not particularly excited about showing up in Penticton with a truck load of tents for the people who are evicted by a shortsighted city council." Eby said he will do everything in his power to compel Penticton to keep the shelter open, including using a procedure called paramountcy which allows the provincial government to circumvent the city's wishes. "This issue has become my No. 1 priority, making sure that the residents in this shelter are safe and sheltered and also making sure that the residents of Penticton don't have to deal with what Vancouver and Victoria are dealing with right now, which is a large-scale encampment in the park."
On Wednesday, the verdict in Toronto’s van attack trial will be revealed. Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Erica Vella reports.
The province believes it’s “nearly impossible” to come up with one-size-fits-all public-health orders for all types of businesses. But the idea of lumped categories for pandemic restrictions is causing frustration for many business owners across Manitoba — not just for their struggling storefronts, but also hundreds of customers and clients who depend on their services for medical or health reasons. It’s a “debilitating” problem that the operators of Winnipeg-based therapy facility FLOAT.Calm are particularly aware of. After watching their business seesaw with forced closures amid COVID-19, co-owners Brad Dauk and Leah Dawn are “disgusted” by discrepancies within current restrictions that are causing oversights for float centres such as theirs. “We spent months being shut down and called a non-essential service despite being a mental health treatment,” said Dauk. “Then, to finally open and be told we can only have one person at a time is just absolute nonsense. It doesn’t make any practical sense, or has any scientific backing.” Under the current orders, “personal services” is a grouped category that includes nail salons, spas, barbershops, tanning facilities, tattoo stores and “therapeutic treatments,” such as reflexology, Reiki and pedorthy or massage services. Every business within the category has been asked to limit the number of customers at 25 per cent of their “usual capacity” for the premises or one person, “whichever is higher.” Per those capacity limitations, FLOAT.Calm isn’t allowed to have more than one client at a time — even though they have five very large, sound-proof rooms with concrete walls in between and separate ventilation for each. In fact, customers don’t even directly interact with a worker while they’re using the float machine within each room. And they wear masks in any common areas, with the operators setting up staggered appointments to make sure there is time for a complete disinfection between each client’s usage of the isolation tank. None of that mattered, however, when provincial orders for new restrictions came into effect on Feb. 12, which allowed FLOAT.Calm to finally open. A lengthy email exchange between public health officials and the owners show the province did not provide any leeway or understanding on this matter. Instead, they threatened enforcement action. “Thanks for taking the time to explain your processes to me. Upon review of your re-opening strategy I can confirm that there is no leeway on the 25 (per cent) capacity of the premises,” reads one email addressed to Dauk and Dawn from Cristina Bueti, a public health inspector. “Various enforcement agencies are attending personal service facilities in Winnipeg to ensure compliance with the public health orders. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action.” In a statement to the Free Press Monday, a provincial spokesperson reiterated: “We must take a slow, measured approach and avoid reopening everything right away so our case numbers don’t increase in the weeks ahead. This includes limitations on things that cause risk – for example, close-contact settings. We continue to encourage people not to leave their homes for non-essential reasons. And, as has been mentioned a number of times in briefings, it is nearly impossible to account for every type of business, situation or activity when writing public health orders; however, the priority of the orders remains to protect Manitobans.” But FLOAT.Calm — which would normally have at least 500 regular customers per month — isn’t the only such facility that’s facing this problem. Owners from three others in the city said much the same. In Brandon, however, Kori Gordon who runs Natural Elements said she hasn’t been asked to limit capacity from any of the regional health inspectors. That’s why her four-room facility is allowing four customers at a time, despite the rules being different for FLOAT.Calm and others in Winnipeg. “It’s safe, socially-distanced and completely OK, from the interpretation I’ve been offered with the orders,” she said. “And frankly, I’ve learned a long time ago to not question these kind of things when they happen with pandemic protocols — there are way too many glaring discrepancies.” For Phyillis Ash-Harmon, it’s been hard not to access the float treatment at FLOAT.Calm for her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “To me it doesn’t matter what the politics of these things are,” she said Monday. “I just would like to get better, and it’s hard to understand a reason for these things when it’s a pandemic and you’re told you can’t access something which is supposed to help your health. That just boggles my mind.” Mike Zueff, another regular client agreed. “I mean this is the kind of thing that’s almost designed to be safe for COVID-19,” he said. “The rooms are alone, they’re specially ventilated and it’s called an isolation tank, for god’s sake.” “I know the government’s busy and I know they’ve got a lot on their hands,” said Lori Cohen, who also uses FLOAT.Calm for her mental health. “I’m sure they’re doing the best that they can, and they’ve got a lot of complaints already to deal with. “But this is an actual health crisis and you’re limiting active health. For that reason, I say: You can do better.” Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The security forces resorted to live fire with little warning in several towns and cities, witnesses said, as the junta appeared more determined than ever to stamp out protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The heaviest toll was in the central town of Monywa, where five people - four men and one woman - were killed, said Ko Thit Sar, editor of the Monywa Gazette.
At the press conference today March 2, 2021 Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab shared that over 80,000 doses of vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan and that 100% of long-term care homes have now been able to vaccinate all the residents who chose to be vaccinated. Fifty-three per cent of those residents have been given both doses of the vaccine. Approximately nine per cent of residents in long-term care facilities did not receive the vaccination due to a change in health status, not being available at the time of the vaccinations, or declined to receive it to name but a few of the various circumstances which led to not receiving the vaccination. As for personal care homes, ninety per cent have been given their first vaccine and forty-three per cent have received both. Premier Moe stated that with the increased numbers of the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna and now the vaccine from AstraZeneca, Saskatchewan should see over 115,000 doses of vaccine arrive in the province this month. Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shahab, stated that the province is considering following the lead of Quebec and British Columbia and extending the time between the delivery of the first and second doses of the vaccines. Current protocol for the Pfizer vaccine is 28 days but an extension up to 42 days was declared as acceptable back in January. The Moderna vaccine comes with the prescribed booster shot required in 21 days. The AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one of the three which manufacturers say has a strong efficacy for up to four months before a booster is needed. Dr. Shahab stated that his colleagues in the United Kingdom have been administering all vaccines at the same interval as the AstraZeneca and report that they have not seen any reduction in efficacy of the vaccines by doing so. Dr. Shahab will continue to review the available data before a decision is made, but if the province proceeds it will rapidly accelerate the time frame for everyone in the province who wishes to be vaccinated to receive the first dose. “Giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June and then completing the second dose … will help us prevent a potentially devastating variant-fuelled third wave,” Dr. Shahab said. The province is working closely with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and is waiting for their recommendation which he thinks will support the delay of the second dose. “If we are able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older potentially getting the first dose by June,” said Shahab. NACI currently is not recommending the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in individuals aged 65 years and older “due to the insufficiency of evidence of efficacy in this age group at this time.” Health Canada evaluated the data available from AstraZeneca’s clinical trials and determined that this vaccine is safe to be administered in people over 65 years of age and older, the agency said in a statement on Monday. With the current state of vaccine deliveries, the Premier and Dr. Shahab felt that most likely all residents in the 65 years and older age group would be receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines since these will be the most prevalent in the province for the upcoming weeks. Also of note in the press conference was the hint that restrictions on household gatherings could be easing as early as next week. Dr. Shahab noted that when it comes to relaxing restrictions there are three key things he considers: the trend of case numbers, testing rates and contact tracing, and the hospitalizations. All three of those areas are trending in the correct direction according to Shahab. Case numbers in the province are trending downwards, testing rates are staying stable (but it would be even better if they were increasing while the test positivity rate dropped) and the hospitalization rates are trending downward. With that the Premier asked everyone to “hang tight for just a few more days.” He said that he has frequent discussions about lifting restrictions with Dr. Shahab, adding, “We should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We’ll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March 19th.” Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Sean Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. General manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement Tuesday following a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators that gave rookie head coach Dominique Ducharme his first NHL victory. Burke replaces Stephane Waite, who held the position since 2013 and was let go Tuesday. Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien last week in the wake of consecutive shootout and overtime losses to the Senators in Ottawa. No. 1 goaltender Carey Price made 26 saves for the victory Tuesday over the Senators, but has struggled in 2020-21. He entered Tuesday with a 5-4-3 record to go along with an .888 save percentage and 3.13 goals-against average this season. Over his previous six starts, the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner was 1-4-1 with an .870 save percentage. Montreal backup Jake Allen, meanwhile, is 4-2-2 with a .929 save percentage and 2.12 GAA this season. Burke will be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine before joining the team. Laval Rocket goaltending coach Marco Marciano will work with Montreal's goaltenders until Burke is cleared to join the squad. The 54-year-old Burke was originally hired by the Canadiens in 2016 as a professional scout for the Western region. He has also worked as a goaltending consultant for Montreal. He spent six seasons as a member of the Coyotes' hockey management group, serving as goaltending coach and director of player development before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2012. He had an 18-year NHL career, suiting up for eight organizations before moving into management post-retirement. The three-time NHL All-Star represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, and served as Canada's general manager at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where the team won bronze without NHL players. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late on Tuesday that new sanctions imposed by the United States were evidence of a "hostile anti-Russian lunge" and said it would retaliate to what it described as another blow to U.S.-Russia ties. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition politician Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
The European Union aims to increase the region's COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying on Wednesday. In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera he also urged member states to implement their vaccination policies quickly "because the capacity to produce doses is increasing from week to week", he said. Breton said that while around 43 million doses have been delivered to the EU so far, only 30.2 million have been administered, adding the bloc was targeting deliveries of 95-100 million doses by the end of March.
An anti-government activist accused of burning a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn was arrested on Wednesday police said, the latest among dozens of people charged in recent months for insulting the monarchy. Musician Chaiamorn "Ammy" Kaewwiboonpan, 32, admitted after his arrest that he had torched the king's portrait as a gesture of defiance and to vent frustration at the detention of fellow activists awaiting trial for royal insult. Chaiamorn is charged under a strict lese majeste law that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, as well as arson and computer crimes.
Regina– The Government of Saskatchewan is clearly leaning towards a first-dose COVID-19 vaccination strategy, getting as many people vaccinated with their initial dose as possible, before following up with a booster shot much later to maximize immunity. Doing so would maximize the number of people immunized as quickly as possible, allowing nearly all Saskatchewan residents to receive their first shot by June and allowing things to begin to return to normal. However, that would mean stretching the period between doses from the three or four weeks, as they are supposed to be administered, to as much as four months. Premier Scott Moe and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab referenced this strategy numerous times during the regular COVID-19 briefing held at the Legislature on March 2. Shahab pointed to “great information from the (United Kingdom), from Quebec, from (British Columbia), on how effective one dose is for as long as four months.” He expects future recommendations from partners, including the federal government, to support delaying the second dose up to four months. “And what that will do is that will really accelerate our first dose program, and if you're able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older, potentially getting your first dose by June,” Shahab said. “And I think that would really help us in really putting the pandemic behind us. And like the premier said, I think we all need to then … be ready to take any vaccine that is available, when our age cohort comes up in the sequencing.” Shahab posed the question of how you can maximize the population benefit with a known supply of vaccines. He said, “The way we can maximize that is giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June, and then completing the second doses July onwards. And this will help us prevent a potentially devastating, variant fueled, third wave. “And we'll also maximize population-level protection, at no sacrifice to individual protection, because that is critical as well. Right now, the aim is clinical protection, which means hospitalization, death, at a clinical individual level, but as more and more people get vaccinated, you know, obviously we want to see the population impact of that as well, that kind of community immunity impacts. And the most efficient way to get that, based on strong scientific advice, is to give everyone one dose.” Moe said a four-month interval between first and second doses would mean virtually all Saskatchewan residents could be provided with their first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by the end of June. If you add AstraZeneca and perhaps Johnson & Johnson vaccines (the second has not yet been approved in Canada, but has been approved in the United States), Moe said, “Then we're starting to look at something in early June, where we could have everyone in the province provided with the opportunity to receive their first dose of vaccine.” “Understanding the efficacy of that first dose, and some of the data that is coming in, and continues to come in, and the protection that it provides, this really is a game changer for the dates that we can really strongly have some serious discussions about the measures that we have in place and what that looks like, over the course of the next number of weeks as opposed to having that conversation over the course of the next number of months,” Moe said. Oldest first Key to this first dose strategy is getting the oldest people in Saskatchewan vaccinated first, which the Province has already been working on. To that end, Moe announced that first doses have been delivered to every long-term care facility in Saskatchewan, and 91 per cent of their residents had been vaccinated. The remaining nine per cent either refused or were unable to take if at this time. A further 53 per cent of those long-term care residents had received their second shot and are now considered fully vaccinated. Moe called it an important milestone along the way to the pandemic being over. “We've also delivered vaccines to 90 per cent of the personal care homes in the province. About 78 per cent of the residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, and about 43 per cent have now received both shots,” Moe added. The province is expected to receive about 112,000 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna in the month of March, and a further 15,000 doses of the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine next week. That vaccine, which is approved for ages from 18 to 64, will likely be used for that age group, although Shahab pointed out that one should accept whatever vaccine is available when it is their turn, and that the United Kingdom has been using it for people 65 and older with success. However, by the time Saskatchewan gets larger volumes of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of its population 65 and older should have already been vaccinated with the other vaccines. Moe said Saskatchewan has been leading the nation in getting shots in arms, with over 100 per cent of doses received having been administered, as compared to 86 per cent for the next leading province. He said there is very little wastage. Appointments Moe said appointments for vaccination will be soon available online or by telephone, meaning eligible residents over 70 years of age will soon be able to book appointments. “We expect to launch that appointment system next week, so for everyone who is waiting to get your shot, and is in the Phase 1 category, we are working to get you vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Moe said case numbers and hospitalization numbers continue to stabilize, with the seven-day average of new cases now 144, down 55 per cent from our peak in January. Hospitalizations are around 154, down from a high of 238. Vaccinations of elderly residents should lead to a continued decline in serious cases and hospitalizations, Moe said, noting, “The truth is that the vaccines are working. They are reducing transmission. They are reducing serious outcomes. And that's very encouraging for all of us.” Relaxation of measures Moe noted that many people have asked for a relaxation in current public health measures, in particular those limiting household gatherings. He said, “I would say to this is we're very close to making, and finalizing, these decisions. I've spoken to Dr. Shahab about this frequently. He just wants to see the new case and hospitalization numbers remain stable for a few more days. If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We'll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March, the 19th. “So I'm asking everyone in this province to hang tight for just a few more days. The next number of weeks, not months, we're going to start to see things change, and change significantly. Spring is coming. Vaccines are on the way. We are on the path to getting life back to normal, as we know it, but we're just not quite there yet. So please, the next number of days and weeks keep doing what you're doing to keep yourself safe to keep those around you safe and to keep your family safe.” Moe added, “When it is your turn, and when you are offered a vaccine, there is only one answer that should come out of your mouth and that is ‘Yes.’ “They're all equally effective, the vaccines that are that are available, and a vaccine in our arm is far better than a vaccine that's sitting on the shelf, or not being administered to someone here in the province,” Moe said. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Former Oshawa hockey legend Dale Hawerchuk was one of four to be inducted into the Durham District School Board’s (DDSB) hall of fame. The board announced four new inductees into the 2021 Definitely Durham Hall of Fame at its most recent board meeting. The inductees included Hawerchuk, who passed away in August 2020 after a battle with cancer, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, songwriter Geoff Warburton, and Olympian and Pan American Games medalist Jessica Phoenix. Hawerchuk, one of Canada’s hockey stars, demonstrated excellence on the ice during his 16-year NHL Hall of Fame career and exemplified greatness through his charity work. “Dale was an inspiring leader, teacher and builder with an unmatched commitment to helping others,” states the DDSB, adding he believed it was his responsibility and that of his family to do whatever they could to give back, never expecting acknowledgement in return. Hawerchuk passed away in August 2020 after an ongoing battle with cancer. Hawerchuk’s sister, Dayna, accepted his award on his behalf. “As a former DDSB attendee and proud sister, I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of my brother, Dale,” she says, adding she’s sure her brother would have been honoured to receive this nomination, as he was very thrilled by the park being named after him. “I’ve always been very proud of my big brother, not just his athletic skills, but as a human being,” Dayna continues. “He’s always been very family oriented, as well as thoughtful, kind, considerate. Outside of his talent though, to be remembered as a kind, humble and generous person… you can’t ask for more than that.” Elliott built a successful career in business and law, working first as an auditor at one of Canada’s largest banks before co-founding a law firm. She later pursued a commitment to public service; she was elected MPP for Whitby-Ajax in 2006, and re-elected four more times. She was also appointed Ontario’s first-ever patient ombudsman, and has spent the last six years as the Ontario deputy premier and minister of health. Elliott, who grew up in Whitby, says she is a “very proud graduate” of DDSB schools and credits her education to where she is today. “Every step along the way at every school I was offered encouragement to continue learning, to ask questions, to see the bigger picture,” she says. “I learned to see the bigger picture, to push myself, to make sure I do the research, to do the job thoroughly and properly, and so much more.” She notes she’s grateful for the teachers that made a huge impression on how she does her work today. “This has a great deal of meaning for me and I want to thank you very, very much for including me in this award,” she adds. Warburton is a songwriter from Pickering whose love of music inspired him to learn the guitar, frequently playing alongside family members in church on Sundays. During his years at university, Warburton met singer/songwriter Shawn Mendez, which led to a longstanding collaboration, and most notably, a pair of multi-platinum singles, one of which was nominated for song of the year at the 2019 Grammy awards, states the DDSB. “It’s an honour to have been recognized along with these other inductees and a privilege to have grown up attending both Vaughn Willard Public School and Pineridge Secondary School,” he says. “I’ve had so many supportive teachers and coaches over the years who have invested so much into my life and I couldn’t thank you enough.” Phoenix, who grew up in Uxbridge, is a two-time Olympian and five-time Pan American Games medalist, equestrian mentor, coach, and inspirational public speaker. She competed in her first equestrian competition in 1996, achieving the champion Ontario training level with her horse, Let’s Boogie, and quickly moved on to compete nationally and internationally while being named to Canadian teams in several Olympics, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games. In her spare time, Phoenix shares her story with students, teaching them the values of dedication and commitment to achieve one’s dreams. “To be able to grow up in Durham Region and go to these incredible schools, and to now watch my children going to the same incredible schools, is just a dream come true,” says Phoenix, adding she and her sister being able to do the Rise school tour in Durham Region and speak to hundreds of students has a great deal of meaning to her as well. “Thank you for this honour,” she adds, noting she will be sporting her award in the barn next to all her other medals. Plaques of the Definitely Durham Hall of Fame Inductees will be featured on the wall in the atrium outside the board room at the education centre. “Our Hall of Fame holds tributes to all of our inductees and offers a reminder to everyone who passes by of the possibilities for success in which we are share,” says Board Trustee Scott Templeton. He notes the board pays tribute to the inductees as outstanding role models for the students of today and into the future. “To this year’s inductees, we say thank you for raising the bar high and for providing us with examples and reminders of our collective goal that DDSB students can and will meet the great future success.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express