The ground-breaking technology used to create the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA, could also be used to produce vaccines for other diseases including HIV, the flu and even cancer.
The ground-breaking technology used to create the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA, could also be used to produce vaccines for other diseases including HIV, the flu and even cancer.
It was easy as one, two, three. On Thursday, the same day Ontario entered a province-wide stay-at-home order, leaving the country couldn’t have been easier. Just pick up the phone or log into the Air Canada website. Find a sunny destination outside the country. And voila, a flight from Pearson International Airport to Miami could be booked without a hitch. That’s exactly what The Pointer attempted Thursday despite Ontario’s local travel restrictions in place until at least February 11. How could that be? Why are residents allowed to travel to Florida, or many other overseas destinations, but they can’t visit their own family just a few blocks away? Most would assume, with a pandemic raging and daily case counts continually reaching new highs, that driving to the airport during a province-wide stay-home order would be hard and barriers in place would make booking travel difficult. This is not the case. Airports, like stores, have increased their COVID-19 protocols, but have not put steps in place to discourage travel. Much of the travel industry including airlines like Air Canada is still operating as if the pandemic is under control, requiring mask wearing, testing and quarantining but encouraging residents to still go on vacation. Questions about symptoms, plenty of hand sanitizer and the odd thermometer have been put into the mix, yet Ontario airports, including Pearson in Mississauga, aren’t subject to anything you wouldn’t see at the grocery store. On Wednesday evening, when the Province finally unveiled the details of its stay-at-home order, this was made clear. Nestled among the list of essential reasons to leave the house — exercise, groceries and medical trips — was another option: travel to an airport. During the lockdown it is not the place of police or bylaw officers in Ontario to ask where exactly someone’s eventual destination from an airport will be. As a result, a trip from the quiet streets of Peel, to the airport then into the sky and, eventually, onto a beach, remains firmly within the rules. “There are currently no legal barriers to getting on a plane to the U.S. from Pearson, nor have there been since the start of the pandemic,” Ambarish Chandra, associate professor of economic analysis and policy at the University of Toronto, who lists COVID-19 border closures in Canada among his areas of expertise, told The Pointer. “It's not clear that the Province has the power to curtail Canadians' right to foreign travel without suspending their Charter rights.” Over the holiday season, plenty of politicians took advantage of the loophole. Kamal Khera (Liberal MP Brampton West) and Rod Phillips, the former PC finance minister, were among those caught out and publicly criticized. One of the questions raised when politicians across the country were caught flying abroad during the holiday season was the issue of entitlement. While those who can afford such luxuries are still able to get on a plane, many suffering financially because of the pandemic or even before, can't even plan a local trip because of the stay-home order. It creates a two-tier reality, critics have said, and many wealthier Canadians have simply paid to avoid the recommendations while putting others at risk. While the trips demonstrated poor decision making and a selfish attitude toward the rules, the same holidays can still be booked by everyday Ontarians. Public health agencies are begging people not to, but the rules do not actually prohibit it. Booking a flight on the Air Canada website, for example, you would be hard pressed to find evidence of the pandemic that has claimed more than 5,400 lives in Ontario alone. A small, green bar across the top of the website offers answers to the question, “Where can I travel right now?” but otherwise things look the same. On Thursday, The Pointer searched for flights from Toronto Pearson Airport to Miami on Friday, January 22 through Air Canada to understand the process. In the various stages of booking the flight, reminders about flexible tickets and changes to the in-flight meal system were the only hints of the public health crisis playing out across the world. Travel to the United States from January 26 will require a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours, while the same rules apply to those travelling or returning to Canada, along with a mandatory 14 day quarantine. These rules do not stop travel or prescribe essential reasons, but do add an additional step to the process. “Other than our regular requirements (i.e. travel documents in order) we do not have any restrictions,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada told The Pointer, referencing the fact federal or provincial governments may have a different response. They didn’t. “The Province does not have the legal authority to prohibit international travel,” Ivana Yelich, director of media relations for Premier Doug Ford, told The Pointer. Yelich referenced numerous comments by Ford supporting increased border restrictions for those entering Canada. “International travel is solely the responsibility of the federal government.” “The Premier’s message is simple, stay home,” she added, when asked if Ford supported additional restrictions on outgoing travel. “We are asking Ontarians to avoid all non-essential travel at this time. Any restrictions on outgoing or incoming travel is the responsibility of the federal government.” The federal government did not return a request for comment in time for publication. The Pointer also phoned Air Canada’s booking call centre to specifically ask if there were any barriers or advisories against travelling out of Peel Region, or anywhere else in Ontario, to sit on a beach in Miami. The airline’s booking line, which also handles other customer support, was clogged, with a wait time of 56 minutes on Thursday afternoon, hours after the stay-at-home order came into effect. Eventually, an agent explained the U.S. and Canadian rules around receiving a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of flying, but said that was “basically the only requirement”. There was no advice offered against travelling or about the dangers of spreading COVID-19 through discretionary trips. “I'd be surprised if the federal government were to institute any ban on foreign travel either.” Chandra said. “The best they can do is discourage foreign travel which is already happening, both from explicit recommendations and from the need to quarantine for two weeks upon return.” In short, there is nothing to stop international travel by Canadians as COVID-19 fatigue and the dragging winter test people’s patience. Like so many of the COVID-19 protocols governing residents in Peel, it is about appealing to people’s better nature and commitment to flattening the curve. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Public health and elected officials are asking people to stay home and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. “With the Provincial Stay at Home Order in effect, it is crucial that residents not leave their homes for anything other than the essentials, like groceries, medical appointments or exercise,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, told The Pointer. “This means cancelling or postponing all non-essential activities or going virtual where possible. I know this is frustrating and it’s been a long year and we have all sacrificed a lot. With the arrival of [the] vaccine in Peel, let’s keep pushing and beat COVID-19 together.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term, as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of leading Putin critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin will further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. In 2019, the U.S. and Russia both withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed in 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and banned land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,410 miles). And last week, Russia declared that it would follow the U.S. to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Le ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) répondra aux questions des citoyens de Tadoussac en ce qui concerne le projet de réaménagement de la route 138 à l'approche de la traverse. Une séance d'information publique aura lieu le 20 janvier à 19 h via la plateforme virtuelle Teams. Les résidents de la municipalité intéressés à participer à la rencontre doivent s'inscrire par Internet via le lien suivant : https://forms.gle/j3JpTQfdz6cDDAcFA. Rappelons qu'avec l'arrivée des deux nouveaux traversiers à la traverse de Tadoussac-Baie-Sainte-Catherine, la Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) a demandé au MTQ de revoir le réaménagement des voies de circulation à l'approche du quai à Tadoussac, sur la rue du Bateau-Passeur. « Ces nouveaux navires ayant une plus grande capacité de chargement, la STQ souhaite que le processus d'embarquement et de débarquement se déroule en respectant l'horaire actuel de 20 minutes par traversée », peut-on lire sur le site du MTQ. Ainsi, le réaménagement comprend une aire de préchargement sur la route 138 à l'approche du quai ainsi qu'une aire d'attente du côté sud de la route, à proximité du quai. Ce réaménagement permettra de rendre le secteur de la traverse sécuritaire pour tous les usagers de la route, d'assurer le maintien des infrastructures routières, ainsi que d'améliorer la circulation et la signalisation routière, entre autres. Pour plus d'infos sur le projet: https://bit.ly/3stpb0uJohannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Dans le cadre de ses nouvelles mesures mises en place, afin de mieux gérer le contexte pandémique, notamment durant cette période de la deuxième vague, le ministère de l’éducation instaure un programme de tutorat et de mesures supplémentaires pour la réussite scolaire et la santé mentale. « Le financement alloué pour le programme de tutorat et les mesures supplémentaires pour la réussite et la santé mentale sont en lien avec les besoins soulignés par le personnel des écoles dans un contexte de pandémie et de confinement. Le contexte a eu un gros impact sur la persévérance, la réussite et le bien-être de plusieurs de nos élèves » souligne la directrice de l’école Gilbert-Théberge prim, madame Josée Gauvreau. « Un budget supplémentaire pour venir en aide à nos élèves avec des difficultés académiques et psychosociales est toujours bien reçu. Malheureusement, nous sommes déjà en pénurie de main-d’œuvre. Il reste à voir si les écoles seront en mesure de trouver des employés qualifiés pour accompagner davantage nos jeunes » a-t-elle ajouté. Annulation des épreuves ministérielles et le report du premier bulletin Le ministère de l’éducation a décidé également d’annuler les épreuves ministérielles et le report du premier bulletin. « L’annulation des épreuves ministérielles enlève un énorme facteur de stress chez les élèves et le personnel enseignant, surtout pour les élèves et les enseignants de 4e et 5e secondaire pour lesquels la diplomation en dépend. Le premier confinement a déjà exigé beaucoup de rattrapage en plus de compléter la matière de l’année en cours. Cette décision permettra aux enseignants et aux élèves de se concentrer sur les apprentissages nécessaires pour continuer le parcours scolaire sans ajouter à l’anxiété et aux soucis qui les perturbent déjà en pleine pandémie » estime la directrice de l’école Gilbert-Théberge prim. Un manque de personnel ! Les professionnels de l’éducation manifestent plusieurs attentes auprès du ministère de l’éducation notamment durant cette période si difficile du confinement et de la pandémie. « La consultation auprès du domaine de l’éducation est souhaitée afin de pouvoir répondre aux besoins qui sont en changement continuel dans un contexte semblable » espère madame Josée Gauvreau. « Le manque de personnel demeure un facteur problématique. Et, évidemment, l’importance de garder les élèves et le personnel en sécurité en respectant les mesures sanitaires tout en assurant que les élèves vivent dans un environnement agréable et stimulant sans perdre la motivation » a-t-elle conclu. Et en Ontario ? Bien que la situation en Ontario reste semblable à celle du Québec, chaque province se distingue par la particularité de la mise en applicabilité de ses mesures et ses orientations gouvernementales. « En Ontario, nous n'avons pas d'épreuves ministérielles. Toutefois, dans chacun de nos cours, nous devons préparer et administrer un examen de fin de semestre. En octobre, le ministère de l'Éducation de l'Ontario (MÉO) a annoncé que les examens n'auraient pas lieu. Habituellement, à ce moment-ci, je serais en train de faire de la révision avec mes élèves et la dernière semaine du semestre serait celle des examens. Là, comme c'est annulé, je continue tout simplement mes cours jusqu'à la toute fin. Dans la situation actuelle, je crois que c'est une bonne décision » nous fait savoir madame Dominique Roy, enseignant en Ontario. « Personnellement, la fin de semestre est toujours une période surchargée avec la préparation et l'administration des examens, la correction de ceux-ci, la préparation des bulletins et de mes cours pour le prochain semestre. Là, avec tout ce que l'on vit, j'avoue que c'est un soulagement. Ça me permet de souffler un peu et de me consacrer à l'essentiel, le bien-être de mes élèves. Pour les élèves, c'est un stress de moins, parce que l'anxiété est palpable chez plusieurs d'entre eux » a-t-elle ajouté. Des attentes suspendues… Les différents corps professionnels de l’Ontario ont également plusieurs attentes et souhaits à l’égard des gestionnaires de leur ministère d’éducation. « Notre calendrier n'en compte que 7 pour toute l'année scolaire. C'est bien peu pour préparer mes cours en fonction du nouvel horaire qui a dû être adapté à la réalité que l'on vit cette année. Je n'ai pas le temps de corriger à l'école. C'est donc en soirée, les fins de semaine et pendant les congés que je corrige. C'est épuisant » s’exprime Dominique Roy. Les craintes de la deuxième vague ! Alors qu’on est en pleine deuxième vague, plusieurs craintes concernant l’ouverture des écoles règnent au sein du personnel de l’éducation en Ontario. « Du 4 au 8 janvier, ce fut une semaine d'enseignement et d'apprentissage à distance. Comme le nombre de cas positifs n'est pas très élevé dans notre district du Nord de l'Ontario, nous étions de retour en classe le 11 janvier.» a conclu madame Roy. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
For the last four years, the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Care Centre in Botwood has been without 24-hour emergency services. Just prior to the 2019 provincial election, then-premier Dwight Ball pledged to bring those services back to the hospital in the fall of 2020 once a protective care unit was finished. According to Exploits MHA Pleaman Forsey, the time has come for the Liberal government to come through on its promises. “We are left with a commitment from the Liberal minister of health to review the service after the long-term care facility was finished in Botwood,” Forsey said in a prepared statement this week. “That’s not good enough.” The provincial government stripped the hospital of the service in 2016 in a move by Central Health to reduce its operating budget. An analysis completed by the Department of Health in 2018 indicated patient data supported the decision. Forsey recently sent an email to Central Health about the issue and was told the new health unit is expected to be in use by the end of this month. “This creates added stress to the residents of the Exploits district,” Forsey said of not having 24-hour emergency services. The provincial government's department of health and community services said in a statement the work on the protective unit was nearing completion and the matter of returning to 24-hour service will be looked at when it is done. "Following the completion of construction, the demand and the staffing will be examined to see whether or not there is a need to change the way emergency services are provided to the people in Botwood," wrote a spokesperson for the department. On several occasions since Ball pledged the return of 24-hour emergency services, the Botwood council has written to Gander MHA John Haggie, the minister of health and community services, regarding the status of emergency services at the hospital. Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour said responses the town has received have not indicated if or when any announcement will be made about the return of regular emergency services. At the time, the town was caught off guard by the decision to alter the emergency services at the hospital. It was expected to help save money, but the mayor says little money has been saved by the decision. “There was no justification for it,” he said. “It was a surprise to all of us.” Now that the area MHA has brought the issue to the forefront again, Sceviour said the town will write to Premier Andrew Furey about the commitments of his predecessor and bring him up to speed on the situation. Botwood is scheduled to have a council meeting this week, where the issue will be on the agenda. “We are going to hold this government to the promise,” said Sceviour. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
GREY-BRUCE – The Saugeen Field Naturalists conducted their 44th annual Hanover-Walkerton Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19, 2020. According to the group’s newsletter, this activity has become one of the largest citizen science projects in the world. The 2020 count was a bit different from past years, due to the pandemic. It didn’t end with a dinner the day after the field outing, but instead with one via Zoom. Care was taken to ensure distancing for everyone’s safety. Gerard McNaughton said the Walkerton-Hanover area count identified 44 species this year including one new species, an osprey. “The actual number of field participants was down as several long-time counters bowed out of this year’s count but once things return to normal I’m sure they will be back,” said McNaughton. He said the weather was a bit blustery, starting out with cloudy skies in the morning and little wind, and shifting to snow showers and limited visibility at times by mid-day, making finding birds harder as the day went on. Most groups said the birds were hunkered down and that most feeders were empty for the first time in years, making for a difficult day. McNaughton said, “As always, several quality birds were observed including a first-ever osprey found by Joy Albright just outside Walkerton. Presumably, the same bird was seen just before count week started but not since, so that was a great find for count day. Several winter finches also put in appearances to help bolster overall numbers.” The overall summary is as follows: Mute swan - 7 Canada goose – 1,339 Mallard - 383 Common goldeneye - 19 Common merganser - 50 Sharp-shinned hawk - 3 Cooper’s hawk - 2 Red tailed hawk - 12 Rough legged hawk - 9 Bald eagle - 11 Osprey - 1 Ruffed grouse - 2 Wild turkey - 132 Ring-billed gull - 428 Herring gull - 121 Great black-backed gull - 2 Rock dove - 439 Mourning dove - 105 Eastern screech owl - 7 Belted kingfisher - 2 Red-bellied woodpecker - 6 Downy woodpecker - 34 Hairy woodpecker - 13 Pileated woodpecker - 3 Northern shrike - 4 Blue jay - 100 American crow – 1,083 Common raven - 3 Black-capped chickadee - 344 Red-breasted nuthatch - 27 White-breasted nuthatch - 32 Brown creeper - 10 European starling – 1,117 American tree sparrow - 51 Dark-eyed junco - 348 Snow bunting - 300 Northern cardinal - 39 Purple finch - 2 House finch - 108 Common redpoll - 164 Pine siskin - 71 American goldfinch - 334 Evening grosbeak - 1 House sparrow - 136 Total was 44 species, 7,405 individuals. Accipiter Sp. - 1 Hawk Sp. - 1 Gull Sp. - 83 Woodpecker Sp. - 1 Two additional species were recorded during the count week period. The hooded merganser and pine grosbeak were both seen in the three days leading up to the count; nothing was reported in the three days after count day. “The next count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 so mark your calendars now,” said McNaughton. “Let’s hope that everything is back to normal by then and that we’re able to get together to swap stories from the field. Until then, the best of health and happiness to everyone and good birding.” The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago. Winter hike All indoor activities of the Saugeen Field Naturalists have been cancelled because of COVID-19, but outdoor activities continue. The next one is Jan. 16 – the Winter Nature Hike. The location will be the Murray Tract, the less-well-know part of the Kinghurst Nature Reserve, at 1:30 p.m. Participants must register (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
WASHINGTON — As the rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, many of the police officers had to decide on their own how to fight them off. There was no direction. No plan. And no top leadership. One cop ran from one side of the building to another, fighting hand-to-hand against rioters. Another decided to respond to any calls of officers in distress and spent three hours helping cops who had been immobilized by bear spray or other chemicals. Three officers were able to handcuff one rioter. But a crowd swarmed the group and took the arrested man away with the handcuffs still on. Interviews with four members of the U.S. Capitol Police who were overrun by rioters on Jan. 6 show just how quickly the command structure collapsed as throngs of people, egged on by President Donald Trump, set upon the Capitol. The officers spoke on condition of anonymity because the department has threatened to suspend anyone who speaks to the media. “We were on our own,” one of the officers told The Associated Press. “Totally on our own.” The officers who spoke to the AP said they were given next to no warning by leadership on the morning of Jan. 6 about what would become a growing force of thousands of rioters, many better armed than the officers themselves were. And once the riot began, they were given no instructions by the department’s leaders on how to stop the mob or rescue lawmakers who had barricaded themselves inside. There were only enough officers for a routine day. Three officers told the AP they did not hear Chief Steven Sund on the radio the entire afternoon. It turned out he was sheltering with Vice-President Mike Pence in a secure location for some of the siege. Sund resigned the next day. His assistant chief, Yogananda Pittman, who is now interim chief, was heard over the radio telling the force to “lock the building down,” with no further instructions, two officers said. One specific order came from Lt. Tarik Johnson, who told officers not to use deadly force outside the building as the rioters descended, the officers recounted. The order almost certainly prevented deaths and more chaos, but it meant officers didn’t pull their weapons and were fighting back with fists and batons. Johnson has been suspended after being captured on video wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while moving through crowds of rioters. Johnson told colleagues he wore the hat as a tactic to gain the crowd’s confidence as he tried to reach other officers who were pinned down by rioters, one of the officers said. A video of the incident obtained by the Wall Street Journal shows Johnson asking rioters for help in getting his colleagues. Johnson, who could not be reached for comment, was heard by an officer on the radio repeatedly asking, “Does anybody have a plan?” ___ The Capitol Police has more than 2,300 staff and a budget that’s grown rapidly over the last two decades to roughly $500 million, making it larger than many major metro police departments. Minneapolis, for example, has 840 officers and a $176 million budget. Despite plenty of online warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration on Jan. 6. They rejected offers of support from the Pentagon three days before the siege, according to senior defence officials and two people familiar with the matter. And during the riot, they turned down an offer by the Justice Department to have FBI agents come in as reinforcements. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the decision-making process. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher. Another officer died in an apparent suicide after the attack. The attack has forced a reckoning among law enforcement agencies. Federal watchdogs launched a sweeping review of how the FBI, the Pentagon and other agencies responded to the riot, including whether there were failures in information sharing and other preparations that left the historic symbol of democracy vulnerable to assault. Top decision-makers have offered differing explanations for why they didn't have enough personnel. Sund told The Washington Post that he was worried about the possibility for violence and wanted to bring in the National Guard, but the House and Senate sergeants at arms refused his request. To bring in the Guard, the sergeants at arms would have had to ask congressional leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said congressional leaders had not been informed of any request for the National Guard before the day of the riot. The office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, declined to comment. It's not clear why the threat was not taken more seriously. John Donohue, a 32-year veteran of the New York Police Department who advises the Capitol Police on intelligence matters, sent a memo on Jan. 3 warning of the potential for an attack on Congress from the pro-Trump crowd, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the memo first reported by The Washington Post. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal memo. Donohue was well-versed in the extremist threat. At a congressional hearing in July, before he starting advising the Capitol Police, Donohue told lawmakers the federal government needed a system to better monitor social media for domestic extremists. “America is at a crossroads," he said in his testimony. “The intersection of constitutional rights and legitimate law enforcement has never been more at risk by domestic actors as it is now as seditionists actively promote a revolution.” Tens of thousands of National Guard members have now been called to secure the Capitol in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Capitol Police did not respond to questions Friday. ___ For major events, the Capitol Police normally holds meetings to brief officers on their responsibilities and plans in case of an emergency. Three of the officers interviewed by the AP said there were no meetings on or before Jan. 6. It’s also unclear whether the department held over its overnight shift or called in more officers early to help those who would be on duty that day. “During the 4th of July concerts and the Memorial Day concerts, we don’t have people come up and say, ‘We’re going to seize the Capitol,‘” one officer said. “But yet, you bring everybody in, you meet before. That never happened for this event.” Another officer said he was only told that morning to pick up a riot helmet. He said he had training on dealing with large crowds, but not on how to handle a riot. “We were under the impression it was just going to be a lot of yelling, cursing,” he said. As Trump called on his supporters to go to the Capitol, telling them to “fight like hell,” members of the House and Senate were inside the building to certify Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College. Crowds of Trump supporters, many of them linked to far-right or white supremacist groups, began gathering on both sides of the Capitol. An officer working the western front of the building, which faces the White House and where risers were set up for the inauguration, quickly realized that the crowds were not peaceful. The rioters began breaking down short fences and systematically clipping off “Area Closed” signs, the officer said. Videos from the event show the crowd climbing the walls on the western side and eventually breaching the building. One officer listed the various weapons used to hit him and people near him: batons, flagpoles, sections of fencing, batteries, rubber bullets and canisters of bear spray that went further than the chemicals the officers themselves had. Some of the rioters showed their badges from other law enforcement agencies, claiming they were on the side of the Capitol Police, the officer said. Most of the insurrectionists left without being arrested, which officers who spoke to the AP say was because it was next to impossible to arrest them given how badly the force was outnumbered. That was underscored by the rioters taking away a man who officers had tried to arrest inside the Capitol. “The group came and snatched him and took him away in cuffs,” one officer said. “Outside of shooting people, what are you supposed to do?” ___ Merchant reported from Houston. Nomaan Merchant And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Should councillors be talking to the media independently? That was the second time in a week the matter had come up before a North Simcoe council, after it had been discussed at the Penetanguishene council Wednesday night. This time, it was Tay Township's deputy mayor that was asking if it was best for the mayor or chief administrative officer to respond to media requests when representing the municipality. Once again, the media request was a yearend survey sent out to all council members by MidlandToday's Community Editor Andrew Philips. "He didn't email it to council; he emailed it to all of us," said Coun. Jeff Bumstead. "I could see all the recipients. The way I took it is that they were looking for a specific response from all of council. I didn't see any harm in the questions. I didn't see anything specific that was going against the township. It was just the general feel of how I felt as a councillor." He then talked about a MidlandToday reporter reaching out to him for a story he had brought to council's attention (poppy masks being made by a local resident). "She had reached out and I asked the mayor about it," said Bumstead. "She was just looking for an opinion from me on a specific topic. The advice I got was that media is asking a question there's no problem is answering it." "If we want to clamp down and direct media to the mayor and CAO, I don't have a problem with it," he added. "If it's not okay for individual councillors to answer behalf of the township, then we can have it in the code of conduct." Fellow Coun. Paul Raymond also talked about what the integrity commissioner had outlined in the code of conduct policy. "We do have a right to an opinion as long as we make it clear it is our opinion and not the township and council as a whole," he said. "That is when the CAO or mayor come in. It's very important we take great measures to make sure that distinction is made. "As far as the other social media, I'm sure there will be other questions there," added Raymond. "We are allowed to be approached for our opinion but our opinion only." Coun. Mary Warnock said she had sought clarification on the survey, asking if it was to be based on personal opinions or a council view. "I did want to clarify that before I answered it," she said. "If it's a message coming from council or township as a whole, it should come from the CAO or mayor. You want your message to have some control and precision." CAO Lindsay Barron agreed that the councillors had raised some good points about distinguishing between an independent opinion and a township stance. "A clear distinction is if he/she is responding as an individual member of council or on behalf of the township," she said. "In the second case, it should be coming from the mayor or myself." Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle said maybe the next time a reporter reaches out to an individual councillor, he/she can seek direction from the CAO. "I would suggest we should contact the CAO to find out if we can speak to it individually," he said. That didn't sit well with Raymond. "I don't go to the CAO for permission on anything, with all due respect to the CAO," he said. "We are allowed to be individuals. If we're going to go on an endeavour like this, we give a heads-up to the CAO and mayor. If they feel it's not beneficial to the community on the whole, they can let us know. We all want betterment for the township and we all have different ideas of how that can be accomplished." The conversation then turned toward answering questions posed by residents. "A lot of times we get emails from customers/residents, what do we think as council is best direction?" said LaChapelle. Coun. Sandy Talbot shared her process around that. "What I always do is if I get an email, I will forward it to a staff member," she said. "It's worked for me for all these years and that's best practice when it comes to residential inquiries." Raymond said each situation is unique. "There's a lot of different types of communications from residents, sometimes it's a question, sometimes they're in a situation where they're at odds with staff," he said. "They approach us as councillors to try and intervene to get the two parties talking. I think that, also, is our role. At the end of the day, we're the bridge between residents and staff and the services they provide." Barron said she hoped residents would reach out to staff before taking matters to their councillor. "Often times, I get involved when the councillor gets involved," she said. "I'd like to see my position as facilitator before council intervenes. If the resident wants to talk to you after, by all means. As far as being copied on the response, I'd really like to see where we get to a point where a councillor forwards it to staff and lets staff handle it." Raymond said when residents reach out to him, it's after they've reached a dead-end with staff. "When the two parties get talking to each other, I will back out and just need to know it's been resolved," he said, adding he didn't think it was pertinent for councillors to get into the weeds of matters. "When I do talk to residents, they're not aware of the structure of staff," added Raymond. "If we had an opportunity to simplify that structure, to let them know which way to go, maybe that would simplify it." Then councillors discussed behaviour on social media. "It has to do with Facebook use so we don't get ourselves in a situation," said LaChapelle. Mayor Ted Walker said he would definitely like directions around that incorporated in the municipal code of conduct. "I have seen some instances where the line has been crossed," he said without mentioning specifics. "The unfortunate part of that is that those that don't use Facebook don't have a chance to give their opinion or correct any errors. I think discussions of that nature need to be held here and not on Facebook." All councillors agreed that the communications specialist should help prepare some do's and don't's for council surrounding social media use. "All they are is a tool to facilitate you," said Raymond. "We already have standards, a code of conduct, that as councillors we're supposed to follow wherever we are. It's easy when you're on social media to get dragged into a fight. You have to know when to stop." Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, indicated such an endeavour was already underway and would soon be brought to council's attention. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
At a time when Vancouver venues are struggling, the historic Hollywood Theatre in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is banking on more than just movies to survive. The theatre, located near Broadway and Balaclava Street, has reopened its Depression-era doors with pandemic-friendly changes. Operator David Hawkes and his business partner Shawn Mawhinney, both Vancouver locals, painstakingly restored the theatre's art-deco charm while keeping pandemic safety top of mind. Hakwes said they created platforms to be able to move and remove the theatre's seats — most of them originals from when the theatre opened in the 1930s — in order to create a more flexible event space. "We ... reupholstered all of those chairs," he said. "They unbolt from the floor ... we can take them all away." Other elements like the building's exterior paint colour, box office and it's colourful neon sign also had to be restored to the finest detail in order for the building to achieve the highest heritage status offered by the city. "The character of it is really, really quite remarkable," said Donald Luxton, a consultant who worked on the building's heritage plan. "It just feels like ... an updated version of itself without losing any of its character." Preserving heritage during COVID-19 Hawkins' original plans to start running movies as well as arts and culture events last fall were shattered due to COVID-19. Right now, the theatre is open for drinks, but will not be operating as a cinema while B.C. health restrictions are in place. However, Hawkes doesn't want the building to just be known for showing films. He's hoping that creating a space to host a wider variety of arts and culture events will help keep this era of the theatre's history alive. "If we were just a theater, we would have been pigeonholed into one thing and then, economically, it just wouldn't work," he said. "The idea here is to be flexible … if you're a one-trick pony, you're not going to survive." Hakwes added he hopes the building's classic neon sign will become a symbol of resilience in a post-pandemic Vancouver. "We have a history of rolling over ... and paving over our history [in Vancouver]," he said. "We decided to open because it's a little bit of a ray of good, good hope coming, showing that things are coming to be better over time."
BRUCE COUNTY – Christine MacDonald, director of human services, made a brief presentation in December on a new emergency response agreement with the Canadian Red Cross. The county has had an agreement with the Red Cross since October 2014. The most recent three-year agreement was set to expire at the end of December. MacDonald said staff have been negotiating with the Red Cross on a revised two-year agreement that will expire Dec. 31, 2022. At that time, the Red Cross anticipates modifications to their service approach due to lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the reason a two-year agreement was recommended instead of one lasting three years. The revised agreement establishes parameters that would have the Red Cross provide emergency services that may include registration, reception and information, family reunification, emergency lodging, emergency food services, emergency clothing, transportation and personal services. In addition, the Red Cross responsibilities in preparing for an emergency include recruiting and training volunteers to deliver local emergency services; stocking and maintaining supplies and logistics capacity; and participating in county-led emergency preparedness exercises, activities, and/or meetings. The annual cost of the agreement is $10,000. It is included in the 2021 budget. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging incoming U.S. President Joe Biden to follow through on a commitment to hear Canada out on the merits of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion before cancelling it following Wednesday's inauguration. Kenney says Albertans are on the hook for $1 billion if the project doesn't go ahead following an earlier decision by his government to invest directly.
Après des années de débats sur son rôle, l’aéroport du Rocher-Percé croit enfin avoir trouvé sa place dans le marché gaspésien. Vols nolisés, services publics et transport des produits de la mer sont sur le tableau de bord de la MRC, qui a récemment investi plus de 12 millions $ pour remettre l’infrastructure à niveau. «Ça fait des années que ce projet-là est demandé, discuté, débattu et reporté. Je suis très contente qu’on soit rendu là où on en est», lance d’emblée la préfète de la MRC du Rocher-Percé, Nadia Minassian, qui en a fait un cheval de bataille lorsqu’elle s’est présentée à la préfecture. «Il y avait un appétit. Les besoins étaient criants du côté économique, mais aussi pour les services. Parfois l’avion médical ne pouvait pas atterrir!», se rappelle-t-elle. La préfète croit que grâce aux récents investissements, l’aéroport situé dans le secteur de Pabos, à Grande-Rivière, pourra se frayer une place dans le marché gaspésien. Payés en grande partie par une enveloppe du gouvernement provincial du Québec, les travaux majeurs réalisés ont pu remettre à niveau une piste qui en avait bien besoin, notamment en ajoutant près de 300 mètres à sa longueur, en installant une station météo dernier cri et en améliorant les aides à la navigation. «Les pilotes ont presque hâte d’atterrir à Rocher-Percé!» ajoute Mme Minassian en riant. Vols nolisés et produits de la mer Le marché visé par l’administration de l’aéroport se clarifie de plus en plus. Tout en restant un aéroport de service, la MRC souhaite attirer une nouvelle clientèle sur la piste : les vols touristiques nolisés. «On souhaite développer un marché pour des séjours plus courts en Gaspésie. Pour faire du fish and fly ou du hunt and fly par exemple. Ce genre de clientèle plus aisée nous permettrait d’allonger la saison touristique», explique la préfète. «On vient de s’offrir l’occasion de développer notre milieu», se réjouit-elle. La MRC envisage aussi mettre l’accent sur l’exportation des produits de la pêche. «C’est une bonne nouvelle, ça pourrait nous permettre de vendre du volume en Europe ou en Asie. On a beaucoup de produits qui doivent être exportés frais», note le président de Lelièvre, Lelièvre et Lemoignan, une importante usine de transformation de fruits de mer, Roch Lelièvre. «En ce moment, pour vendre dans ces marchés, on n’a pas le choix de passer par Montréal ou Halifax. Ça nous enlève de la compétitivité», ajoute-t-il. Les pêcheries sont un secteur particulièrement compétitif met en garde Nadia Minassian, qui admet que de nombreuses études seront nécessaires avant de voir des cargaisons de homard s’envoler de l’aéroport du Rocher-Percé. «Mais c’est un secteur qui est mature et qui peut grossir. C’est prioritaire de développer ce créneau-là, et les entreprises sont au rendez-vous», soutient-elle. Avec près de 80 % de la production gaspésienne, les secteurs de Grande-Rivière et de Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, près de Percé, sont très étroitement reliés à l’industrie de la pêche et de la transformation. De nombreux projets y sont d’ailleurs en développement, notamment un projet d’incubateur pour le milieu. On y retrouve aussi l’école des pêches et de l’aquaculture du Québec.Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
WOODBRIDGE, Ont. — A long-term care home in Woodbridge, Ont., and a local hospital have agreed to a voluntary management contract.Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill, Ont., will provide enhanced support to Villa Leonardo Gambin, according to the Ministry of Long-Term Care.The voluntary management contract will be in effect for 90 days as the facility grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak.Ontario's Ministry of Health says there are 15 confirmed cases of the virus among its residents and 13 staff members.Twenty-one residents at the home have died during the current outbreak.The Ministry of Long-Term Care says that if necessary, the voluntary management contract can be extended beyond its initial 90-day term.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
President-elect Joe Biden will take the stage for his inaugural address at perhaps the most difficult starting point for a president since Franklin Roosevelt began his first term by assuring a nation scarred by the Great Depression that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” But memorable turns of phrase like Roosevelt’s are more the exception than the rule when it comes to inaugural addresses. Former President Barack Obama in his memoir noted that singer Aretha Franklin’s showy hat and a glitch in Chief Justice John Roberts' administration of the oath of office got more attention than his speech in the days following the first Black president’s address, delivered as the nation was mired in recession and a growing malaise over two intractable wars. Now, with the coronavirus raging, unemployment claims soaring and partisan divisions sharpening, Biden faces a fraught moment as he prepares to deliver a speech that aides say he wants to use to “call Americans to unity.” “The situation he faces is absolutely brutal,” said Cody Keenan, who served as a chief speechwriter for Obama and assisted with his two inaugural addresses. He added that Biden in many ways is ”the perfect president for the moment, because he is not hyperbolic, he’s not a bomb thrower, he’s surrounded himself with policy wonks who already have all these plans. I think what we are going to hear him talk about is ‘Here’s where we are, here’s what we have to get done.' I think that’s going to go a long way just to making people feel better." With the current mood of the country, Biden’s consistent focus on restoring “the soul of America” may be of greater value to the nation than any soaring oratory, in the view of some Democratic allies of the incoming president. “It is entirely possible that this inaugural is one we remember for generations to come, because of the gravity of this moment” said David Litt, who served as an Obama speechwriter and wrote the comedic memoir, “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years.” “But I also think it’s possible that the signature speeches of the Biden administration come at less expected moments and that would be par for the course.” The inaugural address is as much a celebration of the peaceful handover of power as it is a set piece for a new or reelected president to lay out a vision for the nation. In recent memory, inaugural addresses have followed a predictable structure: The nation has challenges but there is hope to solve the problems if the president’s agenda is embraced. One tradition dating back at least to Jimmy Carter’s 1977 inaugural is for the incoming president to offer the nation’s gratitude to the outgoing president — a moment of graciousness intended to put aside the strife of the political campaign and signal to Americans that it’s time to come together as a nation. President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it. He’s already said he won’t attend the inauguration — the first outgoing president to skip his successor's swearing-in since Andrew Johnson did not attend Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration in 1869. Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush, said there are still ways that Biden’s speechwriting team can continue the tradition of honouring the peaceful transition of power by simply giving a nod to the past presidents and Vice-President Mike Pence, who are expected to be at the Capitol for the address. Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said during a recent event hosted by The Washington Post that the president-elect has been chipping away on the address through the entire transition — taking time every few days to write and rewrite his thoughts. His speechwriting team is led by longtime Biden collaborator Vinay Reddy. More important than flowery oratory is substantively demonstrating how Biden will take steps to begin unifying a country that remains emotionally raw because of the pandemic and a divisive election cycle that culminated with the violent insurrection at the Capitol, Fleischer said. “Don’t dwell on today’s difficulties. Focus on tomorrow’s answers,” Fleischer advised. “Soaring oratory is just not Joe Biden. The effectiveness of his speech is going to be much more about what he says than how he says it.” Edward Frantz, a presidential historian at the University of Indianapolis, said Biden’s daunting moment has parallels to what Roosevelt faced in 1933 as he sought to rally support for his agenda, as well as to Rutherford B. Hayes, who delivered his inaugural address in 1877 after winning by a single Electoral College vote in an election in which he and his allies alleged fraud in several states. In addition to pushing a message of unity for Americans, Biden should signal to the world that the United States will recalibrate after four years of Trump, Frantz said. That may be easier said than done, though. “How do you talk about returning to new normal while also not seeming arrogant about the United States’ position in the world — especially after what’s transpired over the last four years of the Trump administration and also with what foreign observers watched in horror as the riots transpired,” Frantz said. “There really is no parallel to what Biden faces.” ___ Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed reporting. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
BRUCE COUNTY – South Bruce Grey Health Centre Walkerton’s New Year’s baby, Maisyn Olivia Bosch, is the daughter of Kyla Johnston and Kyle Bosch, and the little sister of three-year-old Wyatt Bosch. The family lives in Inverhuron. She was born on New Year’s Day, at 2:27 a.m., weighing 8 lb. 1 oz. and 21 inches long. When Maisyn went home from the hospital, her family hadn’t announced her name. However, that’s now changed. Maisyn’s mom said the family hadn’t planned on a New Year’s baby. Her original due date was Dec. 20 or 21. “Perhaps a Christmas baby,” said Johnston. However, Maisyn had her own schedule and waited until 2021. “Everything went well,” said Johnston. “Wyatt is very protective over her, and gives her lots of love. He’s very good with her.” Johnston is employed at Tiverton Park Manor and is a part-time administrator for Sun Life Financial. Kyle Bosch works at the Goderich Salt Mine. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Le consultant en préparation mentale Marc-Antoine Roussel lance un tout nouveau projet intitulé Laisse ta Marc, un balado axé sur la psychologie sportive. Les deux épisodes par semaine du podcast permettront d’informer les auditeurs sur l’importance de la préparation mentale, en plus de faire rayonner les parcours d’athlètes, de parents et d’entraîneurs des régions éloignées. L’objectif de Marc-Antoine Roussel est clair: aider les gens dans leur préparation mentale. Selon lui, trop peu de personnes s’intéressent à cet aspect pourtant primordial de la performance sportive. Il considère aussi que trop souvent, quand on parle de santé mentale, le sujet est stigmatisé. Celui qui est originaire de Baie-Comeau a travaillé comme consultant en préparation mentale au sein de plusieurs équipes sportives, dont le Drakkar de Baie-Comeau, les Saguenéens de Chicoutimi et les Mustangs de l’école Odyssée/Dominique-Racine, au hockey, en plus d’accompagner une centaine d’athlètes de niveau élite et plusieurs militaires de Bagotville. Marc-Antoine Roussel a vu, dans le balado, une façon de rejoindre un plus grand public. Une idée dans ses cordes, alors qu’il a toujours aimé discuter avec des sportifs de différents horizons, en plus de vulgariser de l’information. Le kinésiologue donne une quarantaine de conférences par année sur la psychologie du sport et a participé, en 2019, au plus grand congrès des sciences éducatives du monde, à Hawaii, aux États-Unis. Avec Laisse ta Marc, il souhaite démystifier l’importance de la préparation mentale, et ce, dans tous les domaines. «En temps de pandémie, tout le monde est plus stressé, anxieux, et peut ressentir des difficultés à se concentrer. C’est aussi un moment difficile pour plusieurs au niveau de la confiance en soi, de la gestion des émotions et de la communication. Ce sont tous des facteurs de préparation mentale et je me suis dit que j’allais trouver une façon d’éduquer les gens sur ce sujet», explique celui qui a complété un baccalauréat et une maîtrise en kinésiologie à l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). Deux émissions complémentaires Chaque semaine, une émission sera consacrée à un aspect précis de la psychologie du sport, pour éduquer et démontrer qu’elle touche tout le monde, et non seulement les athlètes de haut niveau. Le deuxième épisode de la semaine touchera davantage des sportifs des régions qui performent ou qui ont marqué le sport à leur façon. « Je trouve qu’en région, nous avons des diamants bruts, que ce soit des parents, des entraîneurs ou des athlètes, et que peu de personnes en parlent. Je veux faire rayonner ces gens, qu’ils soient de la Côte-Nord, du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, de l’Abitibi ou d’ailleurs », affirme l’homme originaire de Baie-Comeau. M. Roussel aimerait aussi permettre aux petites entreprises régionales d’avoir accès à une plateforme pour de la publicité à faible coût. Il sait que certains vivent des moments plus difficiles et souhaitent les aider à sa façon. Il encourage d’ailleurs toutes les personnes intéressées par le projet à lui écrire et à lui envoyer des suggestions. « Mon but, c’est vraiment de donner une visibilité aux personnes des régions et de faire connaître la préparation mentale. Je ne le fais pas pour moi. Je veux que la préparation mentale soit plus connue, tout en faisant rayonner des personnes qui ont marqué leur domaine », martèle-t-il. Simplement en se tournant vers ses connaissances du milieu, le consultant a une bonne liste de noms d’invités éventuels de l’émission. Il a déjà en tête assez d’idées pour combler la prochaine année, assure-t-il. Avec la technologie, Marc-Antoine Roussel peut facilement réaliser des entrevues à distance, ce qui lui permet de créer le balado en plein confinement. Cette nouvelle tribune lui permettra aussi de discuter avec des personnes de partout dans la province, et ce, très facilement. Bien sûr, lorsque le confinement sera terminé, il aimerait bien organiser des discussions en face à face quand l’occasion se présentera. Un large spectre En tant que consultant en préparation mentale, Marc-Antoine Roussel peut donner des conférences ou des conseils sur une foule de sujets : l’anxiété de performance, l’attitude gagnante, la gestion des émotions, la fixation d’objectifs, la confiance en soi, le rôle des parents, la préparation aux compétitions, et bien plus. Il peut aussi faire l’évaluation des besoins et de l’accompagnement. Il offre également des services en entreprise. Il est convaincu que la préparation mentale peut aider tout le monde. « Ce qui est fou, c’est que la préparation mentale, elle sert à l’école, au travail, dans les sports. En tant que consultant, j’optimise les performances des personnes avec de l’enseignement et des exercices. La personne qui vient me voir, elle n’a pas des problèmes mentaux. Je vais plutôt lui donner des outils qui pourront lui servir dans tous les aspects de sa vie », continue-t-il. S’il n’a qu’un conseil à donner aux sportifs, qui sont nombreux à ne pas pratiquer leur sport ces temps-ci, c’est que cette pause obligatoire est le moment parfait pour se concentrer sur les aspects de la préparation mentale, afin d’être à leur meilleur lorsque le sport recommencera. Une foule de ressources peuvent les aider. On peut suivre le consultant sur sa page Facebook, Marc-Antoine Roussel, kinésiologue et consultant en préparation mentale. Le balado est quant à lui disponible sur les différentes plateformes numériques, dont Apple Podcasts et Spotify.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Leon Draisaitl offers his condolences to defencemen on the other six Canadian teams forced to contend with the foot speed of Connor McDavid this shortened NHL season. "It's so hard to defend," Draisaitl says of the Edmonton Oilers captain's burst up ice. "I wouldn't want to be that guy standing at the blue-line with him coming 1,000 miles an hour at me. He just has that gift that no one else has." Whether it be in practice or in games, Draisaitl and the Oilers routinely witness the magic of McDavid's gifts. At six-foot-three, 193 pounds, McDavid skates fast enough to garner speeding tickets in school zones. His drive to the net is relentless. His playmaking abilities sublime. WATCH | Ranking the North division: At age 24, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native is determined improve his game this season, if that's even possible for a player with 164 goals and 474 points in his first 354 NHL appearances. On the eve of training camp, McDavid told reporters that his team must do a better job of keeping the puck out of the Edmonton net. "No one's hiding their head in the sand here," he said at the time. "Everyone understands where we're at." And he plans to lead by example in that regard. "Offensively, I think I check off most of the boxes," he said. "Defensively is where it's at. It's the little things: stopping on pucks, winning battles, hounding pucks on the forecheck. Getting involved in battles and winning faceoffs. "It's just rounding out that game and being solid all over the ice." Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's seven NHL teams are playing only one another during the 56-game campaign. Treating the fans As such, Canadian hockey fans are in for a treat with McDavid on their tablets, smartphones, and televisions all season long — with many of his games in primetime for those in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. "We're all a little bit more careful against McDavid," said Montreal centre Phillip Danault. "We all know the speed he's got, his quick hands, quick edges. "I don't know how he changes directions like that, but that's one of his strengths." McDavid's many strengths took over the game last Thursday in a 5-2 victory for the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks. The captain dominated with a hat trick and four points. "He was exceptional," said Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green. "One of the best players in the world." With a game plan designed to minimize the damage inflicted by No. 97, the Canadiens limited McDavid to a lone assist Saturday night and, not coincidentally, beat the Oilers 5-1. WATCH | Connor McDavid dominates the Canucks: Leading the charge With the Canadiens up 1-0 in the first period, McDavid stripped the puck from Montreal forward Tyler Toffoli and roared up the ice on a breakaway. Montreal goalie Carey Price slammed his pads shut just in time. "You want to play against the best players in the world," Price says. "Connor, in my opinion, is the best player in the world. "He's so talented, and with his speed and his hands and his vision, it's a pleasure to share the ice with him." The question of who shares the ice with McDavid — on the home side — will no doubt dominate workday chats around the virtual water cooler this week in the Alberta capital. On Saturday, McDavid's linemate Zack Kassian missed the game due to the birth of his daughter Olivia. And the Canadiens were the more rested team. Still, Edmonton's depth looked shaky, especially in comparison to Montreal's contributions from all four lines and the back end. "They were definitely quicker than us," McDavid said. "They got the jump on us early and Price was solid all over. "Playing three games in three-and-half-days is a lot coming out the gate. But not making any excuses for ourselves. We have to be better. We have to win more battles." Rest assured; the captain will lead the charge.
A Burk’s Falls man is hoping to help those who may be feeling isolated during the second provincial lockdown by bringing back good old-fashioned letter writing. Ryan Baptiste, 32, began the project shortly after the success of the letters to Santa Claus initiative he began before the holidays upon hearing the whisperings of another impending lockdown due to rising COVID-19 numbers. “We can see the emotional effects that lockdown can have on individuals,” said Baptiste, who graduated as an addictions and mental health counsellor in 2011. “We started this as a means to keep people connected and hopefully let them know that there are people out there that care about their well-being.” For the pen pals project, people can drop off a letter and Baptiste — along with two other volunteers, Nicole Byng who lives in Toronto, and Debbie Hope who lives in Almaguin — will reply. While counselling isn’t a full-time job for Baptiste, he said he cares deeply, and the effects of COVID-19 can be felt heavily across the profession. “More intake, referrals and virtual sessions with those who are struggling with the isolation is creating larger backlogs,” he said, adding that lockdowns, isolation and social distancing exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions or addictions. After seeing the success of Baptiste’s Santa mailbox, Penny Brandt, who runs a centre for healing arts at 195 Ontario St. in Burk’s Falls, reached out to him to offer him a spot in front of her office. Brandt shares office space with Yolande’s Hair Salon. “I loved what I saw Ryan do at Christmastime with the letters to Santa, and that really hits the heartstrings because of the children and how important it is,” said Brandt. “He has a councillor background, (but) he’s also understanding that there are some awfully lonely people out there that have nobody and sometimes people want to remain anonymous as well.” “So, when I saw that he was looking for a spot to put the mailbox on the main street it was like hey, and I checked with Yolande and she was fine with it, and I thought, this can only help,” she said, mentioning that everyone is suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially in some way due to COVID-19. “The other thing, for me, is remembering that empathy is a starting point for actually creating a community and taking action like Ryan has just done,” Brandt said. “It is the start of change.” The COVID-19 pen pals mailbox can be found at 195 Ontario St. in front of I Am Centre for Healing Arts and Yolande’s Hair Salon or for those who don’t want to venture outside, they can email email@example.com. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
PERTH COUNTY – In the fallout of the recent issues at Perth County council, many residents were curious how the local political scene is organized. The short answer is much like a relationship status on social media – it’s complicated. Even in North Perth, which is wedged between Huron and Wellington counties, the distribution of municipal responsibilities differs from our neighbouring communities across those county lines. North Perth Mayor Todd Kasenberg said the Perth County powers are very minimalist. He feels that the division of power between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government seems to have been predicated on the idea that the less responsibility the county has, the better. The Municipal Act is a consolidated statute governing the extent of powers and duties, internal organization and structure of municipalities in Ontario, but the act gives leeway for the distribution of responsibilities of the upper and lower tiers of local government. Municipalities are governed by councils which make decisions about financing and services. In Ontario, the head of a lower-tier council is called the mayor or the reeve and the members of council may be called councillors or aldermen. The way councillors are elected differs from municipality to municipality. Municipal councillors may be elected at large or by ward. The Municipality of North Perth is comprised of three wards: Elma, Listowel and Wallace Wards. Voters in each ward can choose only among the candidates who are running for election in that ward. For example, if a municipality has eight council members and four wards, two councillors will be elected from each ward. Each voter chooses two candidates from among the candidates running in that ward. In each ward, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will serve on council. In a municipality where the councillors are elected at large, all councillors represent the entire municipality. In an election, the voters choose among all candidates who are running in the election. The head of council is always elected at large by all of the voters in the municipality. The county council is composed of designated elected members from the lower-tier municipalities. The composition of Perth County council is determined by a Restructuring Order that came into force on Jan. 1, 1998; North Perth and Perth East each have three representatives and West Perth and Perth South have two representatives each. Each December, county council itself selects its head, who is called warden, from among its members. Depending on its size and its history, a local municipality may be called a city, a town, a township or a village. They are also referred to as lower-tier municipalities when there is another level of municipal government like a county or region involved in providing services to residents. There are several separated towns and cities in Ontario and although they are geographically part of a county, they do not form part of the county. Local examples of this are the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys. These are single-tier municipalities. A county or regional government is a federation of the local municipalities within its boundaries and they are referred to as upper-tier municipalities. Since the 1990s the provincial government has been encouraging municipal governments to amalgamate with a view that the municipal government provides services most cost-effectively and efficiently. Some local governments joined together voluntarily to achieve sustainable services and municipal infrastructure. In other cases, the province had facilitated amalgamations of municipalities through restructuring commissions and special advisors. Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of Mike Harris in the 1990s implemented changes in responsibilities of local government which led to a massive wave of municipal mergers. The most important changes saw some counties and regional municipalities merge with their constituent local municipalities. As a result, the number of municipalities was reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1996 and 2004, from 815 to 445. In January of 2009, that number went to 444. Consolidation of municipal service management has resulted in the creation of 47 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) across the whole province. In southern Ontario, the CMSM area is frequently aligned along the upper-tier boundary and includes a separated town or city if one exists within its geographic boundary. The service manager can be either the upper tier or the separated municipality. Under municipal leadership, CMSMs are implementing a more integrated system of social and community health services for delivery of Ontario Works, child care and social housing. When looking at services provided to residents, it is important to understand how municipal governments relate to the other orders of government in Canada – the provincial and federal governments. Although North Perth CAO Kriss Snell said municipal staff are happy to point residents to the proper level of government to get the help they need, there are many duties a municipal government is too small and localized to service. Separating the duties of the provincial and federal government from the shared duties of the municipal tiers will give citizens an idea of what their local government cannot help them with. The federal government has the big powers “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada” except for subjects where the provinces are given exclusive powers. Among the many exclusive powers of the federal government are citizenship, criminal law, copyright, employment insurance, foreign policy, money and banking, national defence, regulation of trade and commerce and the postal service. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, everything not mentioned as belonging to the provincial governments comes under the power of the federal government. The provincial government has the power to enact or amend laws and programs related to the administration of justice, education, hospitals, natural resources and environment, property and civil rights in Ontario and social services. The province directly funds or transfers money to institutions to ensure the delivery of these responsibilities; provincial highways, culture and tourism, prisons and post-secondary education. The provincial legislature also has power over all municipal institutions in the province so the powers of municipal governments are determined by the provincial government. Municipal governments in Ontario are responsible for providing many of the services within their local boundaries that residents rely on daily such as airports, paramedic services, animal control and bylaw enforcement, arts and culture, child care, economic development, fire services, garbage collection and recycling, libraries, long-term care and senior housing, maintenance of local roads, parks and recreation, public transit, community planning, police services, property assessment, provincial offences administration, public health, sidewalks, snow removal, social services and housing, storm sewers, tax collection and water and sewage. However, there is some leeway in the way these duties are divided up between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government. “You can look at Oxford, at Wellington, at Huron and you’ll see that those counties have more power and they do more because the lower tiers have consented to upload some of that stuff,” said Kasenberg. “I think that’s because over history those lower-tier governments just felt they didn’t have the resources and it made more sense to have a centralized function and do this efficiently for three or four of them.” Looking at the model of upper-tier municipal government in midwestern Ontario, Kasenberg said Perth County is the leanest of all. “There has been a longstanding reluctance to give the county any significant authority or power over things that are lower-tier matters,” he said. Municipal governments in Ontario spend billions each year to provide the public services that meet these important needs of Ontario residents. Most of the money for financing these services comes from the property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Additional funding comes from user fees or non-tax revenue such as parking fines. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by a tax rate which is made up of two parts; the municipal tax rate, which is set by the upper and lower-tier municipal governments, and the education tax rate, which is set by the provincial government. A municipality can set different tax rates for different classes of property. The main classes include residential, multi-residential, commercial and industrial. The services the County of Perth is responsible for are economic development and tourism, emergency management, paramedic services, provincial offences court, prosecution services, administration and collection of fines, archives services, county planning, county roads, bridges, traffic signals and controls and tax policy. Several services are paid proportionately by the county but delivered by local partners such as social services, delivered by the City of Stratford, health services, delivered but Perth District Health Unit, seniors services, delivered by Spruce Lodge Homes for the Aged, and cultural services, delivered by the Stratford Perth Museum Board. North Perth and the other lower-tier governments across the county provide animal control and bylaw enforcement, municipal elections, fire services, libraries, policing, licensing, local roads including sidewalks, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and property tax administration. So, dear resident of North Perth, this may not have been the most exciting thing you’ve read today, but perhaps it will clear up what local level of government you need to contact when satisfying your municipal needs. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner