Passengers are now being disembarked from a Stena Line ferry in Birkenhead.
Passengers are now being disembarked from a Stena Line ferry in Birkenhead.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
Une pétition pour soutenir les ainés Si la Covid-19 frappe particulièrement fort chez les ainés, ces derniers font aussi partie des victimes collatérales de la pandémie. En effet, les 65 ans et plus, qui forment 25 % de la population du Bas-Saint-Laurent, souffrent de l’isolement et de la précarité financière induits par les périodes de confinement. Ce jeudi, trois organismes se sont joints aux deux députés fédéraux Maxime Blanchette-Joncas et Kristina Michaud pour lancer une pétition demandant au gouvernement fédéral d’assurer un meilleur soutien aux personnes âgées. Car si Ottawa n’a pas été avare d’aides financières en tout genre dans la dernière année, les ainés font figure de grands oubliés : ils n’ont eu droit qu’à une aide ponctuelle de 500 $ en mars 2020, loin des milliards dépensés en PCU… Cette différence de traitement alimente un « profond sentiment d’injustice », selon M. Blanchette-Joncas, d’autant plus que les personnes âgées doivent composer avec des frais supplémentaires, qu’il s’agisse d’inflation ou de coûts de livraison. Augmenter le revenu des ainés est donc une priorité, ainsi que le martèle le président régional du Réseau FADOQ Gilles Noël : « Nous demandons que le gouvernement mette en œuvre sa promesse électorale faite lors de l’élection de 2019 en rehaussant minimalement de 10% le montant des prestations de la Sécurité de la vieillesse. » Le bénévolat en déroute Du côté de la Table de concertation des ainés du Bas-Saint-Laurent, on souligne l’urgence de briser l’isolement des 65 ans et plus. « Le gouvernement du Canada doit innover afin de mettre en place un réseau d’aide et de soutien direct aux ainés », explique la vice-présidente Kathleen Bouffard. Il devient difficile de trouver des bénévoles (la majorité ayant plus de 70 ans) pour faire des livraisons ou accompagner quelqu’un devant se rendre à l’hôpital pour passer des examens, et il faudrait donc former des travailleurs de milieu pour aller à la rencontre des personnes vivant seules, qui se sentent de plus en plus abandonnées. De son côté, le président du Carrefour 50 + Richard Rancourt alerte sur la situation des organismes qui font vivre les villages : ceux-ci sont portés à bout de bras par des retraités, et leurs revenus s’effondrent suite à la baisse de leur membership. M. Rancourt aimerait que le gouvernement pense à implanter des mesures de compensation pour assumer les coûts fixes, comme cela a été fait dans d’autres secteurs. La remise en route post-pandémie ne se fera pas d’elle-même, ajoute-t-il : « La culture de la peur s’est installée, il va falloir remotiver tout l’engagement bénévole de nos ainés. » Il sera alors probablement nécessaire d’avoir recours à des professionnels en animation, ce qui aura un coût. Internet haute vitesse et transferts en santé exigées Deux autres revendications plus universelles permettraient également d’améliorer le sort des ainés : tout d’abord, l’amélioration de la connexion au réseau internet haute vitesse, qui pourrait permettre de reconnecter les personnes seules au reste du monde si elles sont en mesure d’utiliser les outils web. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est la région la moins bien branchée au Québec, souligne le député Blanchette-Joncas. La pétition demande également d’indexer les transferts en santé de 6 %. L’autre députée bloquiste de la région, Kristina Michaud, rappelle que pour « chaque [tranche de] 100 $ dépensé[e] par le gouvernement fédéral depuis le début de la pandémie, seulement 33 cents sont allés dans le réseau de la santé du Québec. » La pétition sera déposée à la Chambre des communes si elle atteint plus de 500 signatures d’ici le 20 mars.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Brent Secondiak is no stranger to jumping into freezing cold water for a good cause. For as many years as it has been running in Medicine Hat, Secondiak and his Medicine Hat Police colleagues have taken part in the Polar Plunge. The event is simple: jump into cold water and raise money for Special Olympics Alberta. The plunge has once again been altered this year due to COVID-19, and it has gone virtual. Those wishing to participate can raise funds digitally through the Special Olympics Alberta website. Then they can participate in a solo plunge, whether it is pouring cold water on their head, safely wading into the river or rolling around in snow. The Plunge will take place on March 13, when Secondiak will take a quick dip in the South Saskatchewan River. “It’s going to be cold, but it will be worth it,” he said. “I’ll have a few people out with me just to make sure everything is safe. “This is a really great cause that I really believe in.” Those raising money can choose to help out local athletes. “There’s a number of fantastic athletes in our city,” said Secondiak. “I do this every year and this is a cause that’s near and dear to me.” Those wishing to contribute can go to http://www.specialolympics.ca/albertapolarplunge Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
Early in the morning last Friday, Marissa Murphy and her partner were asleep in bed when they heard "aggressive banging" on the doors and windows of their home in Inuvik, N.W.T. "We were kind of scared we didn't know what was going on … as soon as I got downstairs I could see that the whole street was filled with smoke and people were running around, and somebody was at my door looking very panicked," said Murphy. "She was saying that there was a fire and we need to leave." That woman was Murphy's neighbour from across the street, Elise Decarie-Jean, who is being praised by the other tenants for her courage when she stopped to wake up people sleeping during the fire. 'You could feel the heat' No one was injured during the fire on Natala Drive, but there was significant damage to the four-unit townhouses, which included Murphy's unit. Decarie-Jean said she was getting ready for work when she went outside and saw dense smoke. In the past, she has smelled the wood stove burning from the unit where the fire started, but this time was different. That morning, it also smelled like chemicals, and she realized it was a bigger fire. Outside, another woman was calling the fire department, but Decarie-Jean noticed no one else was standing outside and she thought people might still be asleep. I would've never woken up without them pounding on the door - Jerry Lennie-Inglangasuk, resident "That's when I dropped my bags and went to the first door closer to the unit on fire because it was too smoky to go to the first unit where the fire started," said Decarie-Jean. She knocked on the windows and doors of two of the units on both sides of the building. She said someone else had alerted the person in the fourth unit. Murphy, who is new to Inuvik and has only been living in her home since September, praises Decarie-Jean's actions. "I just went into pure adrenaline mode," Murphy said. "I have four parrots and two rabbits. I wasn't exactly prepared to do something, but luckily I had a couple of carriers in the room and I just kinda shoved them in the carriers and we ran out. I was still in PJs." Murphy, her partner and animals all waited at Decarie-Jean's house as they figured out what to do. "It was just incredible the heroism that it took to go and to make sure that everyone was awake and that the fire department was called. It could've been really dangerous," said Murphy. I don't think anyone would've been able to stand there and do nothing. - Elise Decarie-Jean, resident Jerry Lennie-Inglangasuk and his partner live in one of the units Decarie-Jean knocked on. "My room was right behind where the fire was, and that was full of smoke already," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. "You could feel the heat … I would've never woken up without them pounding on the door … true northerners." Fire being investigated Both Lennie-Inglangasuk and Murphy say the unit where the fire started doesn't have power. They say the person living there creates his own heat, which they suspect is either a generator or wood stove. They also say this isn't the first time the fire department has been called to the unit; sparks were flying from the same unit's chimney back in November. "I feel really ticked off because he endangered my family," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. Fire Chief Cynthia Hammond confirmed to CBC that the fire is still under investigation. Lennie-Inglangasuk, whose granddaughter lives in the fourth row house, says the units are still out of water and they have all been cleaning tirelessly due to the smoke damage. He couldn't be more thankful to Decarie-Jean, and gave her a painting to express his gratitude. "I would just like to thank them for saving my life, and my granddaughter's life, and my family's life," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. But for Decarie-Jean, she says anyone would've done the same thing if they were in her position. "What else would you have done? I don't think anyone would've been able to stand there and do nothing," said Decarie-Jean. "You do good, and you receive good."
TORONTO — Experts at a leading children's hospital say schools need to ramp up COVID-19 testing and masking in order to have all kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. The guidance comes a day after Ontario said it would permit just seven public health units in southern Ontario resume in-person learning Monday, while students in hot-spot regions will continue with online learning until at least Feb. 10. They join others in northern regions that returned to class last week, but areas including Toronto and Peel were deemed too-high risk to return to class. The new guidelines, led by experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, urge COVID-19 tests for all staff and students exposed to a confirmed case, while indoor masking be made mandatory for all those Grade 1 and up. The report's co-author Dr. Ronald Cohn says the current protocol is that testing is only required for those who display symptoms. He also stresses the social and mental-health needs of young children, recommending kindergartners be cohorted so they can play and interact with their peers. Cohn, president and CEO, SickKids, said schools closures should be "as time-limited as possible." "It is therefore imperative that bundled measures of infection prevention and control and a robust testing strategy are in place," he said Thursday in a release. The report also cautions against rapid tests using molecular or antigen tests because of their lower sensitivity and less effectiveness with asymptomatic cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered. Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Though the position of school settlement worker — someone who guides and supports students and their families who are new to Canada as they familiarize themselves with their new home — is not a new one in Southern Ontario, it is new to the North. In July, 2020, Tibila Sandiwidi took on the role of “Travailleur d’établissement dans les écoles” (school settlement worker) for the two Francophone school boards (Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon and Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario ) in Sudbury through his position with Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury. In addition to degrees in early childhood education, political science, applied research and social work, Sandiwidi is a newcomer to Sudbury himself, arriving in Sudbury in 2003 from Burkina Faso, West Africa. In his role as settlement worker, Sandiwidi aids parents and children new to Sudbury from beyond Canada’s borders, as well as the educators that have called Sudbury home for years – perhaps their whole lives. The role itself is financed through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IIRC) and co-ordinated through the Centre de santé, where Francophone newcomers to Sudbury can find most of the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their new home. It is about ensuring that parents and students can become a part of their school community by helping them understand how the education system works, the curriculum they will be learning, the interactions between parent and educator, and how to make the most of them, as well as helping with the cultural aspects of Canada that those who have lived here their whole lives may take for granted. “Everything is new,” said Sandiwidi. “To the parents, to the children, everything is new. So, you have parents who are learning new things, but they are supposed to teach their children, who are also learning new things.” It is a challenge, to say the least. For as much as it is of the utmost importance to make sure a child is succeeding in school in their new home country, it is also important they understand cultural traditions here – for instance, Halloween. The event features the simple and oft-repeated question: ‘What are you going out as?’ If you have not heard that line all your life, that’s a pretty vague question. “When you celebrate Halloween, if you ask them about Halloween activities when they have never been in them, have never done them before, it’s hard for them. Even for a newcomer parent to understand how to dress the kids with a Halloween costume or do activities like trick-or-treating, or even activities at the school.” Sandiwidi not only ensures that educators understand the need to offer more information or background on these events for any students in their class, but he also ensures that parents can understand the requirements as well, so that students can enjoy the fun and never have to feel as though they are on the outside. They can participate as if they had been ‘trick-or-treating’ all their lives. It also helps with cultural differences in behaviour; for example, looking someone in the eyes. There are many cultures that consider looking anyone older than you in the eyes while they are speaking, rather than casting them down at the ground, is considered a sign of disrespect – challenging your elders in a way that is disrespectful and rude. Eurocentric traditions would have you meet an elder’s gaze. The phrase ‘look me in the eyes when I am speaking to you,’ may be a familiar one here among parents and teachers, but not so in other countries. This results in a child that doesn’t know whether to choose up or down. And it’s something that Sandiwidi can help with as well. He also works to offer intercultural training workshops, supports schools with their registration efforts and acts as an ambassador for Francophone schools in Greater Sudbury. Of course, like everything in the world, the pandemic has changed how Sandiwidi is working. It is much more virtual and Sandiwidi says that though “it is hard to build trust when someone has never met you in person,” he continues to work within the limitations to assist parents, students and educators in their learning and development. He says that while online learning has presented even more challenges, not to mention a focus on achieving what’s possible under the circumstances rather than moving ahead with goals, the program is going strong and his interactions with newcomers are proving everyday that he can make a difference in their lives. If you would like more information on the program, visit SanteSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Avec les confinements, nous pouvons nous attendre à une augmentation de notre facture énergétique d’environ 30 %.
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 624 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 248 860 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 221 327 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 66 nouveaux décès, mais le nombre total de décès s'élève à 9 273 en raison du retrait de 1 décès pour lequel l'enquête a démontré qu'il n'était pas attribuable à la COVID-19. De ces 66 décès, 22 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 39 entre le 14 et le 19 janvier, 4 avant le 14 janvier et 1 à une date inconnue. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 14 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 453. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs est resté stable, pour un total actuel de 216. Les prélèvements réalisés le 19 janvier s'élèvent à 32 845, pour un total de 5 533 972. Toujours le 19 janvier, 10 207 doses de vaccin ont été administrées, pour un total de 174 260. Au cours des 7 derniers jours (depuis le 13 janvier), ce sont 66 895 personnes qui ont été vaccinées, pour une moyenne quotidienne de 9 556 personnes vaccinées.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The new U.S. president has signed a string of executive orders to combat the worsening COVID-19 situation in the United States. Canadian infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says the approach signals 'good news' for the U.S. and Canada.
A Bedford, N.S., man is facing three sexual assault charges in relation to incidents that occurred in student housing at Dalhousie University in 2019. Halifax police say they have charged Michael James Allain, 20, with two counts of sexual assault involving one woman and a third count involving a different woman. The alleged assaults occurred in September and October 2019 and were reported to police in February and March 2020. Police say Allain was acquainted with both women, but did not provide further information in order to protect the identity of the women. MORE TOP STORIES
According to the government of Alberta COVID-19 website updates as of January 19, 2021, there are 22 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Cardston County- which brings the county to 109 active cases. To compare, during the same time span there have only been 11 new cases in all of Lethbridge, and only one new case in Lethbridge County. The government of Alberta website does not break down the locations of the cases further. The County of Cardston covers a large area of over 3,000 square kilometres of land, which includes 11 hamlets, 2 towns, 2 villages, many Hutterite colonies, and the Kainai Blood Tribe. According to the government of Alberta website there are 16, 459 people living within these boundaries. While no other detailed records could be found on other municipal websites about where each of these cases are across the county, the blood tribe website specifies that 78 cases are currently found on the kainai reserve, leaving 30 elsewhere in the area. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief medical officer of health, stated Tuesday night that the vaccine had begun to be administered. She says “we started with long-term care and designated supportive living facilities because residents in these locations are the most at risk.” Statistics show that two out of every three Albertans who have died from COVID-19 live in these settings, which is why Albertans over the age of 75 will be candidates to receive the vaccine during one the next batch arrives. According to the Alberta regional dashboard website, approximately 3% of residents in the county fall into this age category and 6% of town residents. Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
Le virus responsable de la Covid-19 peut infecter différentes espèces. Les scientifiques sont toujours à la recherche de l’animal intermédiaire. Les regards se tournent vers l’élevage de visons.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showcased American designers at their inauguration Wednesday, and Harris gave a nod to women's suffrage, Shirley Chisholm and her beloved sorority in pearls and purple. Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush also donned hues of purple. Harris has cited Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, as an inspiration for her career. Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black major-party candidate to run for U.S. president. Pearls had a strong fashion showing, in line with a social media campaign that had inauguration watchers donning strands in support and celebration of Harris. Nobody in attendance did them quite like Jennifer Lopez — from earrings to bracelets — as she sang “This Land is Your Land" in head-to-toe white Chanel. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wore a pearl necklace owned by Chisholm herself. It was a gift from Chisholm's goddaughter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, I am,” Lee, who is Black, posted on Twitter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, Vice-President Harris is.” The pearls Harris wore, by Wilfredo Rosado, were also a symbol of unity with her sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African American Greek-letter sorority, said Rachel Torgerson, fashion features director for Cosmopolitan. The sorority's founders are referred to as the “Twenty Pearls.” Every new member receives a badge adorned with 20 pearls. Harris attended Howard University, one of the nation's historically Black colleges and universities. “There’s no doubt that every part of her look today celebrates who she is, where she came from and where she hopes to lead the country. Every piece was carefully considered and packed with meaning,” Torgerson said. Like Harris, Rosado is the child of immigrants. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable inauguration wear: His signature beige parka and a pair of knit patterned mittens. The look earned him his own inauguration Bobblehead to mark his viral fashion moment. It's now on pre-sale for $25 at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. Jill Biden wore an ocean blue wool tweed coat over a dress by American designer Alexandra O’Neill of the Markarian label. The new first lady's matching coat and dress included a velvet collar and cuffs on the coat, and a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt on the dress. The neckline of the dress is embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals. The same crystals adorn the coat. The outfit was handcrafted in New York City. Aides said Harris was dressed in Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina. Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit. Michelle Obama, a fashion icon, drew praise from fans on social media for her belted pantsuit in plum, also by Hudson. Joe Biden wore a navy blue suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren. It was a change from Brooks Brothers, the oldest U.S. clothier at 202. The brand has outfitted 41 of the 46 American presidents, including Barack Obama during his inauguration in 2009. Brooks Brothers fell on hard financial times last year, when it filed for bankruptcy reorganization and announced a planned sale. Ralph Lauren has a history of nonpartisan dressing, including moments with Michelle Obama and outgoing first lady Melania Trump. Joe Biden wore Polo shirts, emblazoned with the label’s pony and polo player logo, to take both of his COVID-19 vaccinations on television. Véronique Hyland, fashion features director for Elle magazine, noted the wins for young American designers. “They chose a diverse group of talents — Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill and Jonathan Cohen — to be a part of this historic moment," she said. “It made for a meaningful statement at this particular time, when all small businesses, including fashion businesses, are in need of support and spotlighting.” Harris’ choice to wear pieces by Black designers “felt particularly significant in light of her triply historic title as the first female, Black and Asian American vice-president of our country,” Hyland added. As for the colour purple, it was a symbol of unity and bipartisanship. Republican Red and Democratic blue make purple. “If there’s a message to be taken from today’s inauguration fashion, it’s that those who attended are signalling faith in unity and bipartisanship, as well as restoring truth and trust,” Torgerson said. Hillary Clinton confirmed she wore “purple with a purpose,” telling The Associated Press: “I want to just send a bit of a symbolic message that we need to come together.” Lady Gaga went for red and let her pin do the talking. She sang the national anthem in a lavish custom Schiaparelli gown designed by Daniel Roseberry with a full red skirt and a navy coat adorned with a humongous gold dove holding an olive branch. Garth Brooks went another way: country. He performed “Amazing Grace” holding his black cowboy hat and dressed in blue denim jeans paired with a black suit jacket and shirt. Another inauguration fashion star on Twitter was Nikolas Ajagu, the husband of Harris' niece, Meena Harris. Sharp-eyed sneakerheads noted his ultra-rare and pricey Air Dior Jordan 1 shoes. The Dior 1s, a collaboration between Dior and Jordan, debuted last year and retail for $2,000. They're reportedly going for up to $7,000 on some sneaker resell sites. Harris' stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, schooled some of the older folks in her embellished Shetland Miu Miu coat in a pied de poule pattern with a large brown button at the neck and a pointed collar. “To put it quite plainly, over the last four years we’ve been starved for fashion choices from the White House that are thoughtful and intentional for the sake of the greater good," said Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director for Harper’s Bazaar. ____ This story was first published on January 20, 2021. It was updated on January 21, 2021, to correct the fact that Meena Harris is Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, not her sister. Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
A new type of gas bar will be coming to roadsides and communities throughout Western Canada. Co-op has partnered with Indigenous communities and organizations to launch the Western Nations gas bar brand. Indigenous communities will be able to work with Co-op to build and run a local gas bar with Western Nations branding. They will also have access to grants, as well as building, training and management support. Cam Zimmer, communications and public relations manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), says Western Nations is going to be a win-win for Co-op and Indigenous communities. "To get off the ground, that's always the most difficult stage for any business," he said. "But we can offer support there.… And this expands the network that we supply fuel to as well, so of course there's a business opportunity in there for us." In development for 2 years Tyler Case, assistant professor of management at the University of Saskatchewan, believes Western Nations has the makings of a strong partnership. "Co-op has a longstanding history and brand in Western Canada," he said. "So creating a new brand that is collaborative with Indigenous stakeholders … seems like a unique, authentic way for Co-op to invest in communities." The project has been in development for approximately two years. During that time, Zimmer says Co-op has been consulting with Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Western Canada to design a sustainable new program. A major component of Western Nations that came out of the consultations is the community building assistance program. Zimmer says there's an opportunity to benefit communities in a meaningful way, beyond simply business. "There's a formula that's based on the volume [of fuel sales] the site would do," Zimmer said. "And based on that, every year our partners that are part of Western Nations would have a certain amount reallocated to them. And they can choose where and how to invest that in their communities." 'It's their business' The funding would go toward community infrastructure, programming or events. Indigenous communities who want to own a Western Nations gas bar can start the process by contacting Co-op. "We will look for a good fit in terms of traffic and volume, all that good stuff," said Zimmer. "If it looks like a good fit, they would qualify for the Western Nations program, and they would own that site. It's their business. They own it. "But what they would get from us is the brand, of course, and a lot of support." Communities that already operate a gas bar under their own brand, or don't qualify for Western Nations, can still participate in Co-op's Indigenous gas bar program as Indigenous resellers. Indigenous resellers are also eligible for the community building assistance program.
THUNDER BAY — For more than five years, the Thunder Bay police force and its partner agencies have been dealing with a high-volume of individuals travelling from southern Ontario to traffic drugs in the northwest. Through a virtual news conference on Thursday, Jan. 21, Thunder Bay police announced the results of a major joint-forces police investigation involving several agencies in southern Ontario which resulted in the seizure of $2.7 million worth of street drugs. Despite the massive seizure of drugs and arrest of 12 individuals, police said they continue to be “plagued” with more individuals ready to take over for those who have been arrested. “Any given day, our highways have couriers bringing more drugs to our communities,” Det.-Insp. John Fennell of the Thunder Bay Police Service said Thursday. “It has been made very clear from our investigations and the people being charged that much of this illicit drug trade is coming from southern Ontario,” he said. Several police forces were involved in the operation called Project Valiant including Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and Canada Border Services Agency. The operation was led by the Thunder Bay Police Service. “Our gang and gun problem is real and it needs to be taken very seriously by our legal system and our government,” Fennell said. "As much effort as we put into these initiatives we continue to be plagued with a steady stream of new persons taking over for those we have been able to charge.” The investigation took place from August 2020 to December 2020. Approximately six search warrants were conducted in Thunder Bay and one major search warrant was executed in Markham, Ont. As a result, police seized 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.55 kilograms of cocaine, more than 4,000 pills of fentanyl, 846 packages of cannabis edibles for the black market and eight capsules of hydromorphone. Furthermore, police seized several weapons including 10 rifles, four shotguns, one crossbow, two high-capacity magazines, two tasers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Police also located and seized four cars, one motorcycle, more than $120,000 in Canadian cash, fake government identification and drug trafficking paraphernalia. The project’s lead, Det.-Sgt. Dan Irwin, said during Thursday’s news conference, the long-term impact of initiatives such as Project Valiant aimed to address the high volume of illicit drugs coming into the community from southern Ontario is minimal. “It makes an impact at the beginning but like Det.-Insp. Fennell said as soon as we make arrests unfortunately the highways and the planes are full of individuals coming from the south to continue to sell fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, and various other drugs,” he said. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
American forward Sebastian Soto was recalled to Norwich of the second-tier English Championship on Thursday from his loan to Telstar of the Dutch second tier. The 20-year-old from Carlsbad, California, has seven goals in 12 appearances or Telstar this season. Soto scored twice in his U.S. national team debut against Panama in November and also appeared in December's match against El Salvador. Norwich said his recall is subject to confirmation of a British work permit. Norwich leads the League Championship with 53 points, seven ahead of second-place Swansea. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Thursday expelled a Russian diplomat for allegedly not respecting the country’s virus lockdown rules. An Albanian foreign ministry statement declared Alexey Krivosheev “person non grata,” asking him to leave the country within 72 hours. The ministry said that since April last year there were continuous violations from the diplomat. It said Albanian authorities first contacted the ambassador but the diplomat still persisted in breaking pandemic restrictions. “A repeated challenging of the protective rules and steps on the pandemic, and disregarding of the concern of the Albanian state institutions related to that, cannot be justified and tolerated any more,” the statement said. The ministry did not provide details on the alleged violations, or give the post of the diplomat. Albania has set an overnight curfew, mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoors and social distancing. “We hope that such a decision ... at such a very challenging time for the globe, will be well understood from the Russian side as a necessary step to protect the health and security" of everyone in Albania, the ministry statement added. Albania resumed diplomatic ties with Moscow in 1991, 30 years after the country's then-communist regime severed previously close relations with Russia. The Associated Press
This column is an opinion from journalist and political commentator Jen Gerson. Dear Alberta Conservatives: Now that U.S. President Joe Biden has followed through on his promise to cancel the Keystone XL permit, I have to ask you all a simple question: How is this working? I'm not trying to be mean about it. I understand why this province elected the UCP with historic turnout in 2019. I get the appeal of that campaign, the lure of nostalgia that it evoked. It was a tempting fantasy, one in which Rachel Notley allied with Justin Trudeau, and Alberta's noble oil industry was beleaguered by a gaggle of environmentalists and socialists, who were conspiring to bring the province down. I also understand why so many bought into the claim that by electing a conservative government, we could just make all of these problems go away; that Alberta would return to the glory days of 2014, or 2005, or 1994. Or 1973. The 2019 campaign promised tax cuts that would bring the jobs back; fiscal discipline; fair deal panels that would put Ottawa in its place and highlight this province's growing, muscular sense of its own independence. A white knight returns Kenney promised to rescind the job-killing-carbon-tax. He promised to be a premier who would win the province glory, a white knight and returning prodigal son who would finally fight for Alberta. He promised "war rooms" and inquiries that would finally unearth Alberta's nefarious enemies. Somehow, this was all going to work wonders for pipeline capacity — which is why it made sense to invest $1.5 billion in taxpayer money in Keystone XL. Whoops. Almost two years into this mandate, I have to ask: How has it been going? Is this working? From the cheap seats, things don't look great. I've been trying to come up with one single solitary win since that election, and I can't find it. It looks to me like the UCP spun a fantasy in 2019 that it now can't make real. And, yeah, this province has been hard hit by COVID-19, but I thought I was being generous by putting that file to the side for a moment. WATCH | Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to Keystone decision: The jobs haven't come back. Alberta had a competitive corporate tax rate before the UCP was elected. It was always doubtful that cutting the rate even more was going to make a difference. Our public finances are in shambles. A tax hike is inevitable. Kenney did kill Notley's carbon tax — and then replaced it with another, less effective one. Meanwhile, this province's court challenge of the federal carbon tax is unlikely to hold up. Kenney's "war room" is an international joke led by a PC-party loyalist who didn't get elected in 2019. And that inquiry into foreign funding — dogged at the outset with reports that its commissioner, Steve Allan, awarded a sole-source $905,000 contract to the law firm in which his own son was a partner, because, of course — has already devolved into a series of delays and controversies. A clown show The latest, that the inquiry spent $100,000 to commission reports from several external groups, including a U.S. firm called Energy in Depth, which is affiliated with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and a paper from Calgary-based political scientist Barry Cooper, whose contribution was entitled: "Background Report on Changes in the Organization and Ideology of Philanthropic Foundations with a Focus on Environmental Issues as Reflected in Contemporary Social Science Research." Meanwhile, Greenpeace, which has already been publicly excoriated by the Allan inquiry as "a new breed of zealots less interested in saving Planet Earth than in destroying the capitalist system," has yet to be contacted to provide any evidence at all. (In fact, Greenpeace has already issued a legal warning to the inquiry.) It should be noted here that we've spent an estimated $3.5 million on this clown show. Put aside for a moment, dear Conservatives, the question of whether you think anything the inquiry is "investigating" is true. Instead, ask yourselves this question: whom is this inquiry going to convince? Is anyone under the impression that a report informed by Cooper and the climate change denial group Friends of Science is going to turn the tide for Alberta? What's the theory, here? Were we going to FedEx the Oval Office a final report that prompts Joe Biden into an epiphany on climate change? Or is it possible — just maybe — that doubling down on climate change skeptics and conspiracy theories paints a worse picture of Alberta and her priorities than anything the environmentalists themselves have concocted to date? How hard does Greenpeace really need to work to make Alberta look like a cartoonishly villainous backwater right now? In November, Premier Kenney starred in a podcast in which he criticized Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — Biden's campaign co-chair — over their attempts to decommission a segment of Enbridge's Line 5. Kenney noted that those fighting to cut off Alberta's oil and gas exports were "brain dead." Kenney also said: "We thought it was essential to send a message to the interest groups trying to block us, that resistance is futile, that Alberta is determined to take control of our own destiny." Again, I ask: How is this working? Delusions of self-importance For the record, I think Alberta has been treated unfairly and hypocritically; we clearly have been the target of international and national campaigns to obstruct oilsands development. That's not in dispute. Ironically, many of those campaigns began to abate in 2015 when Notley introduced an aggressive carbon tax policy that demonstrated Alberta was taking climate change seriously. And these anti-oilsands actors aren't the cause of all of our problems. The price of oil is down everywhere, and we're now producing a commodity that is extracted in abundance within the United States thanks to the fracking boom. Further, global concern about climate change means more banks and major companies are disinvesting in a jurisdiction that goes full ride-or-die on coal and petroleum extraction. Something needs saying here, and there's no way to say it kindly. Boom times and wealth have conditioned Albertans to believe that we matter a lot more than we do. Money gave this province delusions of self-importance that is reflected in a premier whose bombastic bar-brawl banter is increasingly revealed as short-man bluster. We're the guy who gets drunk and picks a fight but can't actually land a punch. I don't mean to be too mordant about all of this. I love Alberta, and I still think we have a lot going for us. We're good people, we work hard, and we pull together in a crisis. But we're a landlocked jurisdiction of four million on the high plain that happens to enjoy large oil and gas reserves that are costly and emissions-intensive to produce. By population, that puts us somewhere between Oklahoma and Oregon, and all the less important to a United States that is effectively energy independent. In other words: we don't matter to these people. We don't matter to Joe Biden, who would happily torch our entire provincial economy if it bought him two weeks of peace from his own restive left flank. And what's Canada going to do about it, exactly? Issue a letter of protest? Proclaim tariffs and boycotts that will hurt us more than it will hurt the U.S.? Oh wait, Kenney implied that we should do exactly that on Wednesday, or Alberta would "go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation." On and on it goes. This is the same obstinate attitude that led to the cringey display Kenney offered us in a press conference earlier this week. It included an appeal — just short of a demand — to Justin Trudeau to advocate more fiercely on behalf of the Keystone XL. By the feds' own account, Trudeau has attempted to make the case for Keystone XL, and even brought it up in his first phone call with Biden, to the prime minister's credit. But let's reflect on the idea that Trudeau has any special motivation to help Kenney out, here — Kenney, the man who has spent the last three years winning Alberta's heart by drawing blood from Trudeau's. Hey, maybe Kenney could reach out to some international oil and gas players. The very ones led by the CEOs he denounced for supporting the carbon tax in 2019. Get the head of Royal Dutch Shell on the line. I'm sure he's waiting for Alberta's call. Limitless self-aggrandizement The thing that continually baffles me about the UCP is its combination of limitless self-aggrandizement coupled with its incredible parochialism. You see this in who the government selects to head its pet projects. You see it in the habit of tripling down on ideologically derived solutions to complicated problems. You see it in the lack of original thinking; hell, their platform was practically cribbed from the Reform Party. Even the fair deal panel is just a rehash of ideas that were largely rejected as cost-ineffective in 2003. This party acts like it's run by a bunch of jocks in a secret fraternity at a second-rate school who suddenly realize that nobody who matters knows their names. They're kings of the small campus. Oil means nothing if nobody buys it. The only lever we have — the only real lever we've ever had — is vested in the relationships we maintain with the nations, provinces, interests and people around us. And, yes, that includes relationships with people who disagree with us: Ottawa, environmentalists and NGOs. So, hey, all you Free Alberta types, here's some good news for you: Kenney is teaching us all what it really means to stand alone. How is it working? This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please readour FAQ.
A Calgary father who killed his daughter when he rolled his Jeep while drunk wants his conviction overturned or at least a lighter sentence. Michael Shaun Bomford was convicted of drunk driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm. In September, Bomford was handed a 5½-year sentence for his crimes. In a notice filed with the Alberta Court of Appeal this week, Bomford asked the province's top court to overturn his conviction and either substitute an acquittal or order a new trial. If he is turned down, he wants a lesser sentence because he says the one imposed "was excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances." On Oct. 18, 2016, Bomford's Jeep Liberty was travelling west on McKnight Boulevard between 68th Street and 52nd Street N.E. when it went out of control, fishtailing in the far right lane. Meghan Bomford, 17, died after she was thrown from her father's Jeep. Meghan's best friend, Kelsey Nelson, was also thrown from the vehicle. She survived but suffered a serious brain injury. A number of Good Samaritans stopped to help, including an off-duty firefighter, a paramedic and an ER nurse. Family members credit them with saving Nelson's life. At the time of the crash, Bomford's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit. Accident reconstructionists were able to show the Jeep was travelling more than 30 km/h above the speed limit when the father lost control. Bomford had picked up his daughter and her friend so the girls could go to the police station to get criminal background checks done that would allow them to become junior ringette coaches. While they were en route to the police station, Meghan was texting with her mother. The text messages were important evidence for the prosecution because they showed Bomford was behind the wheel, not Meghan, as defence suggested. But in his notice of appeal, Bomford indicated he will argue the text messages should not have been admitted as evidence. After Bomford was convicted and sentenced, Meghan's family said that with the court process over, they'd finally be able to properly grieve their loss.