Despite disagreement over Keystone XL, U.S. President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signals a likely return to normal U.S.-Canada relations.
Despite disagreement over Keystone XL, U.S. President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signals a likely return to normal U.S.-Canada relations.
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
La séance du conseil de la municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) de Minganie du 16 février a souligné l’accent et les efforts mis sur le développement du territoire. Les différents volets du Fonds régions et ruralité du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH) ont été l’objet de trois résolutions distinctes. D’une part, le volet 2 – Soutien à la compétence de développement local et régional des MRC exige que ces dernières disposent d’une politique de soutien aux entreprises. La MRC de Minganie a donc mis à jour sa politique adoptée en juin 2020 afin qu’elle soit plus flexible et accessible aux entrepreneurs. D’autre part, le conseil a accordé un mandat d’accompagnement de 43 605 $ à la firme conseil Espace Stratégies pour déterminer le projet ou l’ensemble de projets qui ciblera la « signature innovation » de la MRC. « La firme va travailler avec nous et différents acteurs de la planification stratégique pour trouver le fil conducteur de notre développement territorial », détaille le préfet de Minganie, Luc Noël. La somme octroyée à Espace Stratégies provient de l’enveloppe de 192 538 $ du volet 3 du FRR. Finalement, dans le cadre du volet 4 – Soutien à la vitalisation et à la coopération intermunicipale, la MRC a autorisé la signature d’une entente de vitalisation entre les municipalités de Rivière-au-Tonnerre, Aguanish, Rivière-Saint-Jean et la communauté de Nutashkuan. L’entente, d’un montant de 1 125 685 $ pour cinq ans, n’est que « l’étape embryonnaire » du processus, juge M. Noël. « Là, on doit s’asseoir avec le MAMH et les territoires concernés pour faire un plan de match. » Grâce à la récente création d’Action entreprise Québec par le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI), la Minganie renforcera ses services d’accompagnement aux entrepreneurs et entreprises de la région. La MRC pourra embaucher au moins deux ressources supplémentaires à temps plein « jusqu’à concurrence de 900 000 $ » jusqu’en 2025. « Ce qu’on espère, c’est qu’on ait été assez performants pour que les ressources se rentabilisent elles-mêmes ou que le ministère continue de les payer », souhaite Luc Noël en soulignant la difficulté de compétitionner avec les grands centres pour attirer ce type d’employés. « Les gens qui ont le profil pour travailler dans nos départements de développement vont être en demande partout et on croit que notre région va passer bon deuxième », déplore-t-il. L’ensemble des modalités liées à l’octroi de la subvention n’est pas encore connu du conseil. Du côté du développement territorial, la MRC déposera sous peu au ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAC) le rapport d’étape de mi-parcours concernant l’élaboration de son Plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA). « La réponse est très positive de la part des acteurs du milieu, on constate qu’il y a un engouement », a déclare Luc Noël. Un second mandat d’accompagnement a été adopté lors de la séance du conseil, cette fois à l’organisation à but non lucratif Communagir pour que celle-ci soutienne la MRC dans le cadre de l’élaboration et de la mise en œuvre de sa stratégie en développement social. Le mandat représente une banque d’heures ouverte jusqu’au 30 juillet 2021. Selon les besoins, l’accompagnement devra prendre entre 25 et 50 heures, ce qui signifie que la facture s’élèvera au plus à 5600 $. En matière de sécurité publique, le conseil a désigné quelles interventions il considère comme prioritaires pour la Sûreté du Québec : le contrôle de la consommation et le trafic de drogues illicites, particulièrement chez les jeunes, et l’application des règlements municipaux uniformisés. « Aussi, on demande aux agents de faire plus de surveillance en lien avec les véhicules tout terrain (VTT) et de maintenir une présence policière sur l’ensemble du territoire de la MRC », ajoute le préfet de Minganie. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Le transporteur Intercar a annoncé la relance graduelle de ses liaisons entre Sept-Îles, Baie-Comeau et Québec à partir du 26 mars. Les trajets de et vers Sept-Îles et Baie-Comeau reprendront à raison d’un aller quotidien du vendredi au lundi. La liaison de Baie-Comeau vers Québec sera disponible les samedis et lundis tandis que la liaison de Québec vers Baie-Comeau sera possible les vendredis et dimanches. Les allers-retours quotidiens entre Havre-Saint-Pierre et Sept-Îles du lundi au vendredi, qui avaient repris en octobre, demeurent en place. Tous les usagers devront remplir un questionnaire de santé lors de l’achat d’un billet et porter le masque lors du transport. Un maximum de 26 passagers pourront être présent dans le même autobus. La reprise partielle et progressive de ces liaisons est en partie permise grâce au programme d’aide d’urgence du ministère des Transports, bonifié de 10 millions de dollars supplémentaires au début du mois. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
ANKENY, Iowa — The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Officers called to the Lakeside Center in Ankeny around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday found a device that looked like a pipe bomb in grass near the centre. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb. The banquet hall was being used as a polling place for an Ankeny school district special election. Police evacuated the building, and the State Fire Marshal and agents with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in. Technicians safely detonated the device, and the centre was reopened around 12:30 p.m. — about three hours after the device was discovered, police said. No one was injured. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald described the device as a metal piece with two end caps, and said in a Twitter post that a couple walking their dog Tuesday morning had discovered the device. “I want to also add that there is no way of knowing how long this device had been at the Lakeside Center,” Fitzgerald said in a tweet, saying officials don't know whether the pipe bomb was related to the election. Fitzgerald and police said other polling places in Ankeny were checked an no other bombs or suspicious devices were found. An investigation into who left the device is continuing, police said. The Associated Press
A simple driveway repair project led to a fiery $1,000 invoice from the fire department for one Tiny resident. Kim Tomei and her husband Larry, who recently bought property in the township, were having minor repairs done to their driveway last summer when a gas line break led to the fire department being called out to the location. Five months later, the couple received a cost-recovery invoice for the service. "We found that $1,000 for this is an extreme amount, in our opinion," Kim Tomei told council this week. "We understand we need to support the fire department and we have no issues with that. We completely support that. We felt that those things would be more included in our taxes." She said she spoke with Enbridge immediately following the incident, and based on the location and the placement of the gas line, they did not find that the residents were at fault. "What we found was that the gas line was less than one foot below the ground," Tomei added. "They did not charge us or find that we were at fault based on the work we were doing." She said to demonstrate the simplicity of the work being done, she had sent a photo to Coun. Tony Mintoff. He, however, had managed to obtain other photos taken at the scene indicating it wasn't just a shovel-in-the-ground project. "There was a bobcat there doing some digging operations," said Mintoff. "Did you have a contractor working on that site at the time?" He also asked if she was familiar with the provincial One Call program. The service exists for residents, contractors and municipalities to help identify spots where services, such as gas and electricity are located underground. Tomei said she wasn't aware of the service before this and that the work was being done by a close family friend, so One Call wasn't discussed. "We have done work here at home, (when I lived) in Woodbridge," she said. "We did our driveway last year and there was never a need for any marking at all. When we came to do it up in Tiny, it was never a thought for me." Mintoff said he could see how she may not have been aware of the program or to check with them. "But perhaps somebody who owns that (bobcat) and uses it for gainful employment should have known," he added. "It seems to me that the concern you have should be promoted toward the person who caused the break as opposed to the fire department that had to respond." When MidlandToday reached out to Fire Chief Dave Flewelling he provided information regarding the fire department's role in the call. He said when a gas line is struck during digging, the person would typically call the service provider. Then they would either call 911 or ask the caller to do so. "Then the fire department will secure the area, block traffic if necessary, and advise neighbouring property owners to close their doors and windows and stay inside," said Flewelling, adding he wasn't at the call so he couldn't comment on the extent of the leak. However, speaking to protocol, he said, it all depends on the size of the line that was struck. "No matter what line is struck, you have escaping gas, which is in the atmosphere," said Flewelling. "If it's a windy day, typically, the gas will dissipate. If the break is below grade and there's still dirt on top of it, it can migrate underground and it likes to find low spaces, like basements." In such cases, he said, the municipality has a cost-recovery bylaw that applies. The bylaw, available online, outlines that in case of an environmental service call, the fire department will charge $500 per vehicle for the first hour and $250 per vehicle for continued service at half-hour increments. "(One Call) would come out or send someone and mark all the services in that area," said Flewelling. "They would de-mark where the hydro lines would be coming into the residence so you can safely hand dig around those areas instead of using machinery so they aren't inadvertently struck." One Call's service provides the user with documentation, along with the location of these services, he said. "Part of the rules is you're not allowed to use machinery in that area," said Flewelling. "You use a tool that doesn't pierce the line and (dig) within one metre of where they've marked the line until you find it and expose it all along to ensure you don't damage it." At the meeting, Coun. Gibb Wishart, however, had another possible solution for the Tomei's financial recovery. "When you purchase a property, typically, you buy an insurance policy that covers unforeseen situations on the property that the seller didn't inform you about," he said. "Just as a point of interest, gas has to be buried 24 inches below (ground) and this is something that you weren't informed about. Your insurance policy should cover the costs of dealing with this. I would be investigating that." Tomei said she would look into that at her end as council asked Flewelling to come back at a next meeting with more information around the situation. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
It’s been a tough year for Alberta physicians. Pandemic aside, doctors across the province have been practising in an insecure partnership with the Alberta government since the province unilaterally terminated the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association in an order of council on Feb. 20, 2020. Negotiations between the government and AMA had been mired for months before the government pulled the plug. The central issue was the province’s insistence that physician compensation remain at $5.4 billion a year, which doctors said didn’t fairly compensate clinics experiencing inflation and rising numbers of patients requiring care. Last Friday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and AMA president Paul Boucher announced a new, tentative agreement had been reached. Minister Shandro said negotiations proceeded on the basis of fiscal sustainability, fair and equitable solutions for physicians, and maintaining focus on patient care. “I’m confident that what we’re presenting doctors with is an agreement that provides certainty, provides stability, and it does so in the best interests of patients, the best interests of doctors, and the best interests of all Albertans,” he said. Finally reaching a deal, added Dr. Boucher, was a critical step in helping the province get through the pandemic and bringing the health-care system back to full strength. “This year of Covid-19 has changed the health-care system and Albertans forever,” Dr. Boucher said. “I know we will find a way through the pandemic, but we also need to look beyond it.” No specific details of the agreement have been publicly released, as the tentative deal must be ratified by the AMA. One hundred and forty members of the representative forum, which makes up the AMA medical leadership, will meet virtually this week to discuss the agreement. If approved, the forum will recommend to the AMA’s board of directors that the matter be presented to a general AMA membership vote. The process is anticipated to take about three weeks. The tentative agreement is a step in the right direction, says Dr. Sam Myhr of the Associate Clinic in Pincher Creek. “We obviously work better together, and that’s been the goal all along,” she says. Dr. Myhr represents the province’s rural physicians in the representative forum as the sectional president of rural health. Rural physicians have faced multiple challenges this past year, she says, and terminating the master agreement had an especially detrimental effect on rural practices as the lack of stability deterred recruits from committing to rural areas. Pincher Creek, for example, lost two such physicians who initially expressed interest in coming to the community. The lack of formalized agreement establishing doctors’ working relationship with the government led local physicians to notify the government last summer they would discontinue hospital care at the Pincher Creek Health Centre unless a master agreement was signed. Though at the request of town council the group never fully withdrew care, Dr. Myhr says the local advocacy of physicians and community members helped move the situation toward the tentative deal. “It was tough; those were not easy times,” she says. “But it helped keep the issue in the limelight, and it would have been easy for it to sort of get swept under the rug if there weren’t places like Pincher Creek and other rural sites that have been continually standing up and saying no, this isn’t OK.” Community members, she adds, are especially to be credited for their advocacy with elected officials and for their public support of doctors that “kept us going.” Moving forward in co-operation, Dr. Myhr continues, is now the best step, though she acknowledges the actions of the provincial government last year will still weigh on physicians’ minds as they consider voting on the new agreement. “We all need to put down our swords to some degree and just work together, but I think everyone is quite wary,” she says. Rebuilding trust with physicians will require concrete action from government officials, such as the health minister visiting the Pincher Creek hospital, which was initially scheduled back in January but was postponed due to rising Covid-19 cases. The visit is still something that Dr. Myhr feels is important, as it would showcase what rural physicians are able to accomplish and why decisions made in Edmonton have such a dramatic impact on rural medicine. “It would be an important step to show they are willing to hear us, that they are willing to collaborate, and they are willing to try and understand rural medicine better,” she says. The health minister’s office has expressed interest in rescheduling the visit but says plans to do so will proceed once the number of Covid diagnoses is low enough to make such a visit safe to do. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Germany's financial watchdog warned of "an imminent risk" that Greensill Bank would become over-indebted on Wednesday as it imposed a moratorium on the lender making disposals or payments. BaFin's move is another blow to the bank's owner, Greensill Capital, which said on Tuesday it is in talks to sell large parts of its business after the loss of backing from two Swiss asset managers which underpinned key parts of its supply chain financing model. Greensill, which was founded in 2011 by former Citigroup banker Lex Greensill, helps companies spread out the time they have to pay their bills.
NEW YORK — A short time after Broadway shut down last year, Elizabeth Stanley went on a tiny rescue mission. She was offered a chance to get back into her dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre — home of her musical “Jagged Little Pill” — and to grab anything she needed. “I went and retrieved a bunch of plants,” she says, laughing. “I knew they won’t survive in a room with no windows and no water.” That strong nurturing side of Stanley was also clearly evident from the stage before the pandemic closed theatres. She earned her first Tony Award nomination playing the mom of a Connecticut family spiraling out of control in the musical set to the music of Alanis Morissette's 1995 album of the same name. Stanley is seemingly comfortable singing anything, from complicated Stephen Sondheim show tunes to rock songs by Morissette, classics by Leonard Bernstein and modern gems by Jason Robert Brown. “In some ways, people didn’t know what to do with me always and I think that’s honestly worked out to my benefit most of the time,” she says. “I didn’t just get stuck playing one singular type of part.” Eva Price, the three-time Tony Award-winning producer behind “Jagged Little Pill,” says Stanley has put her entire heart and soul into her latest character ever since workshops started. “She actually created a multi-dimensional, 360-degree, completely layered, contemporary female protagonist in a way that none of us knew we even had on the page or in our minds,” said Price. Stanley made her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of “Company” and has had roles in “Cry-Baby,” “Million Dollar Quartet” and “On the Town.” A Tony nomination this time is welcome, indeed. “It’s a dream I’ve had for the whole time I’ve been performing and pursuing a career in the performing arts," she says. "So I feel like whatever crazy year it came in, I’ll take it.” The musical is about a family confronting drug addiction, sexual assault, struggles with gender identity and transracial adoption. Morissette has told the cast she hopes the musical can be a hopeful beacon. “She wants us to be a story about healing and connection," says Stanley. "And I think that’s such a beautiful sort of takeaway that she’s infused the piece with and that has always been in her music. I think it’s like this rallying cry for transparency and authenticity.” Stanley — as the mom, Mary Jane — is the spine of the musical, trying to connect with her workaholic husband and aloof teenage kids. She's also hiding an addiction to Oxycodone developed after being prescribed the opioid following a car accident. During the musical, her character also reveals her own history with sexual assault. “There’s so many layers to get into that I think it took me a long time to really find all of her,” says Stanley. “In fact, I don’t even think I’m done. That’s one of the reasons I’m anxious to get back to the show — I don’t feel done with this part yet.” The “Jagged Little Pill” musical is so rooted in contemporary issues facing America that she believes the discussions and marches over racial justice will find voice whenever Broadway restarts. “I think it will influence our interpretation of it as a cast, but it will also influence the audience and how they will see that,” she says. "Going to see a piece of theatre allows us to receive a message and feel it in a more palatable way than watching a three-hour news cycle about something.” During the past year, Stanley has been part of “Jagged Little Pill” online concerts and appearances. She also went through a series of crafting phases — baking, sewing and tie-dying. She made new throw pillows for her couch. COVID-19 ruined what was to be one of her happiest days: her wedding. Engaged in January 2020 to actor and teacher Charlie Murphy, the couple were supposed to tie the knot in September. They even put down — and lost — a security deposit at a venue. Now they're rethinking what they really want when COVID-19 releases its grip on the city. The original idea was to have an intimate affair with just family and a few close friends. “Now I really want to party with a lot of people,” she says, laughing. “Now I need everyone there that I haven’t been able to see, and I’m surrounded by all of my friends and we’re just being crazy.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
Licence to Kill, the 16th James Bond film produced, was initially titled Licence Revoked. Producers decided to change the title after test audiences in the United States thought the title referred to having driving privileges removed. As a result of government-mandated shutdowns, businesses across the province likely felt their own business licences were revoked as many were forced to temporarily close. Crowsnest Pass council considered altering the cost of renewing business licences during its Feb. 23 regular council meeting after a local business owner submitted a letter requesting fees for the 2021 business licence be reconsidered. General, resident business licences cost $125. General non-resident licences are $360. The municipality typically collects about $68,000 each year. With establishments like hair salons, barbershops and restaurants being unable to operate for the full term their 2020 licence permitted, Mayor Blair Painter said adjusting expectations for 2021 was not unreasonable. “There’s already a big enough hardship on them,” he said. While acknowledging some municipalities in the province have outrightly waived licence fees for small businesses, council was unsure how it would best determine if a business actually needed support. “I would have no problem with the approach if a business could show a certain amount of loss,” said Coun. Dean Ward, “but I know several businesses that had their best year ever and collected $60,000 from the federal government, 20 of which they don’t have to pay back. I don’t want to see us get into that kind of situation.” With over 75 per cent of businesses having already purchased their 2021 licences, Coun. Sygutek added, waiving fees for the whole community just wasn’t feasible and probably wouldn’t make much of a difference. “If 125 is going to make or break your business, then you got problems from Day 1,” she said. “Reimbursing 300 business licences would also be a tremendous amount of work.” Rather than forgiving fees, Coun. Sygutek continued, council could simply forego charging interest on late payments until the summer. Chief administrative officer Patrick Thomas suggested a route similar to overdue taxes could also be an option. “If someone requires or needs it for this year, we look at a payment plan [for licence fees] instead,” he said. “We do that with taxes, utilities — when someone gets behind you set up a payment plan so someone else can identify that they’re at least paying towards it and they’re not just ignoring it,” CAO Thomas continued. “If they are just going to ignore it, they’ll fall under the normal processes that we’ll try to pursue to deal with it.” Council accepted the suggestion and approved creating an option for businesses to utilize a payment plan for their 2021 licence fees. The next regular council meeting will be held Tuesday, March 9, at 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue. Agenda packages are available online at https://bit.ly/CNPagenda. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Paris Saint-Germain striker Moise Kean has tested positive for the coronavirus and has gone into isolation, the club said Wednesday. PSG said that Kean tested positive on Wednesday morning and stayed in Paris while his teammates travelled to Bordeaux for a league game. The 21-year-old Kean has done well since joining on a season-long loan from Premier League team Everton, scoring 15 goals in 27 games. PSG faces Barcelona in the Round of 16 of the Champions League next Wednesday, leading 4-1 from the first leg in Spain, with Kean scoring a goal in that game. But the Italy forward is expected to miss the return leg as he follows isolation protocols. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is a thrill like few others on earth. The ocean is full of life here with a diversity that is unlike any other place of earth. The underwater volcanic structures and unique combination of ocean currents support a rich abundance of life. Sharks thrive here and scuba divers are thrilled to see them during their underwater adventures. But these scuba divers were not so thrilled when they finished exploring and underwater cave and they headed back to the open ocean. They found a group of sharks had entered the cave and were resting just inside the opening. White tip sharks are not likely to attack humans, unless provoked, but the divers were not able to pass through the narrow chamber without coming into direct contact with the 9-10 foot beasts. This would definitely be inviting trouble and the divers would be unable to easily turn and retreat back inside the caverns. The moment provided an excellent opportunity to gets some spectacular footage of the unusual scenario with the sharks backlit in an eerie fashion. The scuba divers had planned their dive well and they had plenty of reserve air at this point in the dive. They calmly waited and watched the sharks and eventually all of them swam out into the open water, leaving the exit clear. But for a few minutes, the large sharks in the exit were an intimidating sight indeed! People who venture beneath the waves are wise to remember that they are the visitors, or even intruders in this mysterious domain. Incorrect behaviour here can have immediate and disastrous consequences. The ability to stay calm during unexpected challenges is crucial to survival in a world where your air supply is limited.
After massive Black Lives Matter protests across the world last year, 23-year-old Clarisse Bosco and 25-year-old Gallican Buki were feeling hopeful. They saw so many people sharing resources, research and initiatives. But soon after, they both felt that support die down. Their social media feeds went back to how they had been before. "I kind of felt like my skin was a trend for two weeks, not really something to be taken seriously," Bosco said. They set out to change that with their new project: Living With Black Skin, which they rolled out over Black History Month. They wanted to showcase the unique lives of other young, Black people like themselves. Bosco came up with the idea. Buki shot the photos and videos that went along with it. The editing and packaging was a collaborative process. The project rolled out with videos, photos and quote cards on both of their Instagram accounts. For Buki, the project was an outlet for his passion for photography, but also a way of sharing Black history and knowledge through channels he knows people will watch. "As a Black person, you're not always represented fairly when it comes to the arts, but also just when you're being edited, you're blown out, you are just insanely contrasted, or sometimes people just don't want to put the work in and will just put you black and white," he said. For Bosco, interviewing her friends and peers was a solid reminder that she's not alone out there. "As Black people, we kind of forget to check on each other," Bosco said. She said some of their close friends are among the people they interviewed for the project. "We can go and talk to them about anything," she said. "But we never really talk about things like the struggle that we have as Black people. We don't talk about the struggles, you know, within the community and just keep our head to ourselves and keep pushing." Response to Living With Black Skin has been overwhelming, according to the pair behind it. Teachers have approached them to ask if they can use the material in classes. "[We've had] friends that we know that we may have grown up with or have lost touch with reach out and say how appreciative they are of the videos and how much they've learned," Bosco said. The goal was always to spark conversation, and to keep authentic representation of Black lives at the front, something Buki said the project did really well. "To see that [these conversations are] truly happening within various homes and also to just hear stories about how like this has definitely opened their eyes into seeing how that this is still happening right now: the micro-aggressions, the systemic racism and just, the hate towards Black people," he said. "Because sometimes when you put statistics out there or stories or even newsletters, people are like, 'Hey, this is of the past. Why are you still bringing up the past?' But no, honestly, the support and the love and just the conversations that came out of that was just amazing." The pair are considering continuing the project in some way, but haven't settled on anything concrete. In the meantime, it's their hope that the conversation doesn't just fade away now that Black History Month is over. "These stories and these things that we live don't get to just end after a certain month or end after a certain trend," Bosco said. "There's things that we still live with today and still carry forward. And if we stop talking about it, we stop making room for growth and for change." (CBC) For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
TORONTO — The world's most beloved Beagle is carving out a new kennel in Canada. After debuting "Snoopy in Space" on Apple TV Plus in late 2019, Halifax-headquartered media company WildBrain and its mostly all-Canadian team are now digging deeper into the late Charles M. Schulz's comic strips with the newly launched "The Snoopy Show" and upcoming Peanuts gang specials for the streaming service. Toronto-based showrunner Mark Evestaff says the projects are the first major Peanuts content to come out since "The Peanuts Movie" in 2015, and seemingly the first to be made in Canada. The creators have worked closely with the Schulz family and his Creative Associates company in the U.S. to respect his classic works as the franchise establishes roots on this side of the border. That's why viewers won't see Snoopy and the gang using cellphones, for instance, or look much different than the simple line drawing of the comics. "It was all inspired by going back to the strip and pulling out some stories and then talking about them," he said in an interview. "And then of course, there's artistic licence. "As storytellers ourselves and fans, we want to remain loyal to the world that Mr. Schulz created. Of course we had to fill in some blanks, but it really was, 'How would Mr. Schulz have approached this?' And trying to be faithful to that world and to the characters." WildBrain, formerly DHX Media, became the majority owner of the Peanuts brand in 2017 and took a team to the Creatives Associates headquarters in Santa Rosa, Calif., to discuss ideas and Schulz's wishes for the future of the franchise. "Charles Schulz's office is still there and it's still set up," Evestaff said. "You can still see the worn-out places where he would have drawn these characters. Some of his pen nibs are there and some of the ink is there, and they preserved it. There's a wonderful museum there that's separate, and it was really humbling but very inspirational in terms of making the show." As per Schulz's wishes, the team agreed to stick to tradition and not include modern technology in the Peanuts world of the animated family series. "Snoopy still types on his old typewriter, they still use the old-school wired phones," Evestaff said, noting viewers may also see an old TV here and there. "It also keeps the kids outside all the time, so we didn't even really find any instances where we needed to have some of the other technology." Both "The Snoopy Show," which launched last month, and "Snoopy in Space," which has been renewed for a second season, were developed and produced by WildBrain’s animation studio in Vancouver. The voice artists are based in Toronto and have been recording there during the pandemic. Terry McGurrin voices Snoopy and Rob Tinkler performs his yellow feathered pal Woodstock. To make the characters' sounds, which range from Snoopy's signature "bleah" to Woodstock's high-pitched chirps, McGurrin and Tinkler use "a bit of audio magic" and a lot of physicality that's "pretty weird" to witness in person, Evestaff said with a laugh. "We bring them into the booth and they do ridiculous things with their voices, and then we treat them and play that back," he said. "If you were to walk in, you would certainly be surprised at what you're hearing. They embody these characters, and you see it." Canadian composer Jeff Morrow creates the show's score, staying true to its jazz origins and letting the musicians improvise a bit, which was also done on the original Peanuts specials. "It is something that was important to us, was important to Jeff, and has made a huge difference in the show in terms of just having that free-flow feel in the show that is characteristically Peanuts," said Evestaff. Some of the Canadian creators are based in Los Angeles but jumped at the chance to work the series because it's such a prestigious brand, Evestaff said. In "The Snoopy Show," viewers see the Peanuts world from the perspective of the dynamic dog's overactive imagination and flights of fancy — from his persona as a flying ace, to that of a lawyer and Joe Cool. As per the original Peanuts animation, when Snoopy is pretending to be a flying ace on top of his dog house, viewers never see the bottom of it, so it doesn't ruin the fantasy. Also like the original, the four weather seasons are an important part of the storytelling and design, which made Canada a perfect destination for the creation of such scenes. "Being Canadian, there are lots of nods to hockey and figure skating and winter sports and snow and winter activities that we're proud of, because it's something that we know we can represent and be authentic," Evestaff said. "If someone's taking a hockey shot, whether it's a snap shot or a slapshot, we are going to make sure that we're going to get it right or at least close anyways, but that we know the difference and that we're able to portray that. We feel quite at home with it." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Publicly shaming those who have COVID-19 could lead to fewer people getting tested for the virus, according to a Dalhousie University professor who has been studying the issue for three months. In December, Robert Huish, an associate professor in Dalhousie's department of international development, started gathering the experiences of people in the Maritimes who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and experienced shaming or stigma. "For those who have experienced it, it's pretty bad. It's enough to really impact the livelihoods of people who feel that they have been essentially excluded from communities that they had formerly been very active and a part of," Huish told Laura Chapin on CBC's Island Morning. "We heard a lot of health workers saying that there was sort of quiet aggression even when they would take their kids to playgrounds," he said. He said they have also heard shaming experiences from people such as truck drivers and other essential workers who have to leave the region periodically for employment reasons. It's enough to really impact the livelihoods of people who feel that they have been essentially excluded from communities that they had formerly been very active and a part of. - Robert Huish As well as affecting the mental health of the people being shamed, Huish said another consequence could be that people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms won't want to come forward and be tested for fear the same could happen to them. That could be a factor contributing to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, he said, especially since contact tracers in P.E.I. are having difficulty finding the source for some recent cases. "That's a big fear ... If people aren't being upfront or honest with contact tracers … that's another consequence of stigma," he said. Because the Maritimes has had so few cases overall since the pandemic began, when cases increase, the reaction is stronger, said Huish. "If there is an uptick, there's an immediate public reaction to say, 'Who's responsible, who did this? Now why do we have to lock down again?' And that thinking there just isn't helpful." No positive outcome to shaming Huish said there is no positive outcome to this type of stigma, and that despite what some believe, it won't help people follow the rules. "If an individual has made a mistake, you know, rather than trying to … get the pitchforks and torches up and going and try to find blame, try to find answers about what could be done for the next step to make that stronger, to make these policies more adaptable, to make sure that people have the ability to overcome the next challenge," said Huish. Huish's team is no longer doing interviews with people, but they would still like to hear stories, which you can submit at the website below. More from CBC P.E.I.
The first recorded treaty was ratified 3,279 years ago between ancient Egypt and the Hittite empire. Signed in 1258 BC, the treaty ended over two centuries of conflict between the two powers. A copy of the agreement is displayed in the United Nations headquarters in New York City as a reminder of the importance for parties with different backgrounds to come to the table together. To that end, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and the MD of Pincher Creek have carried on a small portion of a tradition thousands of years in the making with the creation of a new intermunicipal collaboration framework. The agreement was finalized back in January, and both councils approved it during their Feb. 9 regular meetings. Creating the ICF, said Mayor Blair Painter, “was a smooth process.” “This document,” added Coun. Dean Ward, “between the recreation and what we’re doing with the airport, shows a good spirit of co-operation between the two municipalities.” Unlike the ICF agreement signed with the Town of Pincher Creek last summer, the MD and Crowsnest Pass ICF contains only two specified financial obligations between the municipalities: a $25,000 commitment from each for developing the regional airport (an amount already agreed upon with the Town of Pincher Creek), and $25,000 from the MD to Crowsnest Pass to contribute to the municipality’s recreation programming and facilities that MD residents often utilize. The ICF is valid for a term of five years, though discussions will occur between the two municipalities as needed. Recognizing Crowsnest Pass has developed a more urban culture while the MD has remained agricultural, the ICF establishes procedures for differences to be embraced. Avenues for better communication between the municipalities are also laid out, creating an ability to provide better service levels to their respective ratepayers. Requirements to communicate on major capital projects that may impact the other municipality are described, along with commitments to co-operate in lobbying higher levels of government for mutually beneficial regional services. Both municipalities have also agreed to provide information regarding funding to organizations within the other respective municipality. Previous agreements concerning emergency services, solid waste management and intermunicipal development plans are acknowledged by the ICF, alongside plans for the airport. Future considerations will be given for supporting recreation and exploring agricultural services such as weed, pest and animal disease control. Formalizing the agreement comes at a time when many residents in both municipalities are at odds over potential coal mine development in the area. The debate leached into MD council discussions regarding the $25,000 recreation contribution, with Division 1 councillor Quentin Stevick voting in opposition due to comments made by Crowsnest Pass councillor Lisa Sygutek on CBC Radio while voicing her support for the mines. Though not backing down from her statements, Coun. Sygutek apologized to her fellow council members. “I just want to apologize to council that my views regarding our coal mine had to be taken to an extreme by one councillor,” she said. “At no time did I expect a decision where something I said personally could affect the community the way that councillor made it.” “I’m glad that the rest of the people on that committee had enough decency to recognize personal opinion versus me as a councillor,” Coun. Sygutek added. While acknowledging the different stances taken by each respective municipality on mining and other issues, Reeve Brian Hammond stressed the ICF is a document that supersedes differences and is mutually beneficial. “Regardless of ongoing difficulty between jurisdictions, for the most part it’s provided a new opportunity to open a channel of communication with our neighbours we probably didn’t have before,” he said. Establishing a formal framework of communication, he continued, provides an opportunity to identify areas of common interest and concern, creating a closer and more open relationship that will help provide solutions to problems. “Going forward it provides an ongoing structure, a procedural format, for how you can open up another dialogue or expand on the dialogue with your neighbours. I think that’s a good thing,” said the reeve. The ICF can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/MD-CNP-ICF. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
WASHINGTON — Growth in the services sector, where most Americans works, slowed sharply in February with hurdles related to the pandemic hindering growth. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of service sector activity dropped to a reading of 55.5% in February, down 3.4 percentage-points from January when activity neared a two-year high. Even with the decline, it was the ninth straight month of growth in the services sector. Any reading above 50 signifies growth. Economists had expected some rollback from the January high but the size of the February drop was much bigger than expected. Service sector businesses were mostly optimistic about the recovery, according to the report Wednesday, but they cited supply chain problems such as production-capacity restraints and material shortages among the problems they are facing. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Terrace RCMP arrested two men that had visited someone in COVID-19 isolation and tried to hit a police officer with a chair, according to an RCMP media release. On Feb. 17, RCMP received a report about two men who were visiting a person in COVID-19 quarantine at the Sunshine Inn. The occupant of the room, who is a client of ‘Ksan Society, called the front desk for help after the men refused to leave. The front desk called ‘Ksan Society, who then called who called the RCMP. When police arrived, they told the men they were unwelcome and needed to leave. “The men became combative with police, lifting a chair and attempting to strike the member with it, shouting expletives and threatening to kill police officers on scene,” the release states. The men were arrested for assault with a weapon, resisting arrest and uttering threats. They were later released by police undertaking to address the matter in court. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
LONDON — Prince Philip is “slightly improving” and the royal family is keeping its fingers crossed for the hospitalized duke's recovery, his daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said Wednesday. Philip, 99, has been hospitalized since being admitted Feb. 16 to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday, he was transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew’s, to undergo further treatment alongside testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition. Camilla said during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination centre in London that Philip is “slightly improving,” but he “hurts at moments.” “We keep our fingers crossed,” said the duchess, who is married to Prince Charles, eldest son of Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. The comments were reported by broadcasters covering the visit. Buckingham Palace said Monday that Philip was “comfortable and is responding to treatment but is expected to remain in hospital until at least the end of the week.’” The two-week stay is already Philip’s longest-ever stint in hospital. Philip, who retired from royal duties in 2017, rarely appears in public. During England’s current coronavirus lockdown, Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee. The statement differs from an advisory that was sent to members of Congress by the acting House sergeant-at-arms this week, saying that Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.” The threat comes nearly two months after thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win. So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4, which was the original presidential inauguration day, until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20. Many of the accounts that helped promote and organize the Jan. 6 riots on platforms like Facebook and Twitter have since been suspended, making it more difficult for the groups to organize. ___ Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Colleen Long and Alan Fram contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press