Families of the Canadian Forces members who died in Afghanistan say they feel betrayed after officials held a dedication ceremony for a cenotaph that honours the fallen, but did not invite their families.
Families of the Canadian Forces members who died in Afghanistan say they feel betrayed after officials held a dedication ceremony for a cenotaph that honours the fallen, but did not invite their families.
MONTREAL — The Quebec coroner is investigating the death of a man whose body was found inside a portable toilet early Sunday morning close to a Montreal homeless shelter he frequented.On Monday, a spokesman for the coroner identified the man as Raphael Andre, 51, and said the investigation will establish his cause of death and the circumstances surrounding it.Montreal homeless shelter The Open Door said in a Facebook post that Andre, identified by the nickname "Napa", was a regular and was often the last person to leave the facility.The Open Door had been operating 24 hours a day, but a COVID-19 outbreak in mid-December and a plumbing issue forced it to suspend its overnight service and to close at 9:30 p.m.Because of the provincewide curfew that is in effect between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., people who are not in overnight shelters risk confrontations with police if they are found outside. The Open Door said in its Facebook post that had it been allowed to stay open overnight and operate its warming centre, Andre would not have been left outdoors in the cold. "When people are in a safe place with support workers watching over them, help can be called when someone is in distress," the shelter wrote. "Instead, he tragically passed away in a portable toilet. This needs to change." A spokesperson for the shelter did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.Montreal's public health department said in a statement Monday that it issued a recommendation on Jan. 12 supporting the reopening of The Open Door's warming station. A Montreal health board that oversees the area said the shelter can reopen for overnight service once conditions are met."Following an evaluation of the situation, a list of 13 recommendations were submitted to Open Door's management and board of directors to prevent future outbreaks and to protect the clientele and shelter staff," the board said in a statement Monday, adding that it was still waiting for the measures to be implemented.The city's homeless community has been dealing with numerous outbreaks fuelled by a high rate of community transmission. A plan by local health officials to vaccinate the homeless began on Friday.Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante offered her condolences regarding the death of Andre and said the city and public health authorities are working to ensure The Open Door's warming station is able to reopen as soon as possible and in compliance with sanitary measures. "Each death in these circumstances is one death too many," Plante said. "This tragic event reaffirms the urgency of providing vulnerable people with resources adapted to the various needs which have been exacerbated by the health crisis."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Active cases of COVID-19 in St. Albert increased over the weekend, up from 165 on Friday to 173 on Monday. New provincial data, released on Monday, shows the city added 25 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, while 17 more people recovered. The data reflects testing done Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Overall cases in the city increased from 1,799 to 1,824 between Friday's report and the data released Monday. Saturday brought news of 10 new diagnoses and four more recoveries. On Sunday, the province reported nine new diagnoses in St. Albert and nine more recoveries. Monday's data showed six more diagnoses and four more recoveries. In Sturgeon County, 41 people currently have COVID-19, with 513 people having recovered since the pandemic began. The county added seven new cases over the weekend and four people recovered. Morinville has 25 active cases, with 315 people having recovered from the virus since the pandemic began. The town added three new cases over the weekend and one person recovered. Across the province, another 474 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in the past 24 hours. Some 8,500 tests were run overnight with a 5.4-per-cent positivity rate. There are currently 730 Albertans in the hospital with 120 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There were 11 new deaths reported by the province on Monday. To put that in perspective, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 11 deaths in one day alone make up nearly 20 per cent of all influenza deaths last year, with 58 people having passed away from the flu last year. Sixty-six per cent of all deaths related to COVID-19 in Alberta since the pandemic began have been in long-term care and seniors homes, Hinshaw said. There are currently 181 cases of COVID-19 in 133 schools since in-person classes resumed last monday. Hinshaw said those cases are being brought into schools from community spread and there are not many cases being transmitted in schools. "This number reflects community transmission and not in-school transmission, and it's important to distinguish between the two," Hinshaw said. On Monday, social gathering and business rules loosened, with the province allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and wellness businesses to operate by appointment only. Hinshaw said while the province is loosening restrictions, it is important for Albertans to continue to make safe choices around COVID-19. "We are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet," Hinshaw said. The province's top doctor said while COVID-19 numbers in the province are declining, there is still a lot of work to be done to continue to bring down case counts. Monday brought with it the relaxing of some provincial restrictions, allowing personal services businesses to reopen and outdoor gatherings, with limits, as well as eased rules for funerals. Hinshaw noted that three months ago, on Oct. 18, the active case count was sitting at just over 3,000. On Monday the provincial active case count sat at 11,923. "Critically, on Oct. 18, there were 120 people in hospital with COVID-19. Today we have more than six times that total," Hinshaw said. "So as we ease the restrictions on three province-wide measures today, please continue to take every precaution you can, and make good choices – choices that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, choices that will help save lives and our health-care system, and choices that will help lead us in a direction where we may be able to safely relax more measures in the weeks ahead." Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday that the province will not be scheduling anymore appointments to administer first COVID-19 vaccine doses, but is looking to enter into their own bilateral purchase agreement with other producers.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan. 26, a spokeswoman for Biden said. Trump signed an order Monday lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic - a decision first reported Monday by Reuters - after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials. Soon after Trump's order was made public, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted "on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26."
Joe Biden’s apparent plan to swifty stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline may not have been a surprise in political circles, but it will certainly be a headache for Justin Trudeau’s government and be an economic blow for Alberta.
Ethel Lockrey, 97, and a resident of Silver Fox Estate in Salisbury said people might be surprised at what she and some other seniors have come up with while under lockdown at their retirement residence: floor curling. The game bears some resemblance to regular curling, except there are little wheels under the stones, and of course the absence of ice, said another resident, Doug Sentell, 83, adding that a smooth surface is still important. "I think people would be surprised to know such a game exists. It's fantastic,” said fellow resident Glenna Brugess, 91, adding that she really enjoyed playing and thinks she could be good at it. This week, the seniors had a faceoff: women versus men, said Sentell. The women's team won, he said The women’s team’s most senior senior was certainly a big part of their success, though she is very humble, Sentell said. Lockrey, who many referred to in interviews as “Speedy Ethel” said she thinks “people would be surprised that at 97 years old I can play." "I like to curl. It exercises my whole body and I feel that's important,” she said. Sentell said this week’s game was only the second time he and his fellow residents have given the new game a shot, but noted their skills have improved considerably. “The first time we were flipping the stones upside down,” he said, sharing that his biggest tip would be not to push too hard initially. “We had 10 playing this time. The first time there were maybe four or five that tried, with more as spectators,” said Sentell, adding that people have been learning by watching. Jason Wilson, operator of Silver Fox Estate, said the home, which opened in May during the pandemic, has hired a full-time wellness coordinator, who has been organizing everything from curling to chair fitness. Residents can’t have visitors nor can they participate in off-site visits right now, he said. The home is their household bubble, he said. But while opening during a pandemic was a nightmare from a business perspective, Wilson said, the positive side has been really getting to know each resident slowly and watching residents grow closer to each other than they perhaps would have been otherwise. “They rely on each other. They take care of each other,” he said. From crib, to bingo, to chair exercises, they do activities together, said Wilson. And now, of course, they curl together. Sentell said he thinks as they get more players interested they could explore the possibility of a tournament. “I think this could take off,” he said. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
A Regina company was fined $35,000 after taking responsibility for a workplace death that occurred in 2018. Alsport Sales Inc. — which sells snowmobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes and other motorsports vehicles — was charged in 2018 under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. According to the Saskatchewan government, a worker was fatally injured after being thrown from a snowmobile near Pilot Butte, Sask. Earlier this month, the company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure a worker was trained, resulting in their death, the Government of Saskatchewan said in a press release. Three additional charges were withdrawn. The company was fined $25,000 plus a surcharge of $10,000.
The U.S. government has asked Australia to scrap proposed laws that will make it the first country in the world to force Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to pay for news sourced from local media outlets. In a submission asking the government to "suspend" the plans, assistant U.S. trade representatives Daniel Bahar and Karl Ehlers, suggested Australia instead "further study the markets, and if appropriate, develop a voluntary code." Under the law, which has broad political support and is currently before a senate committee, Google and Facebook will be subject to mandatory price arbitration if a commercial agreement on payments to Australian media cannot be reached.
With face masks becoming the norm in many Ontario workplaces, will it be long before COVID-19 vaccines will also become the accepted norm at work? Sure you can say you don't like vaccines for many reasons, but do your personal feelings count against the rights of other workers to carry on in a safe workplace confident they are free from disease? Those are the sorts of questions that Hope McManus has to deal with as the head of Health and Safety at the Peninsula Canada human resources consulting firm in Toronto that specializes in health and safety. One question is whether getting the COVID-19 vaccine will mean that masking and physical distancing will no longer be necessary. "It will be some time before the majority of the population is vaccinated and restrictions are relaxed. For best results in containing and preventing the spread of the virus, vaccines must be used in conjunction with other health and safety measures. Social distancing, face masks, capacity limits, protective barriers and hygiene practices are requirements that employers should continue enforcing in their workplaces even as workers start getting vaccinated," McManus said in an emailed news release. Another vaccine related question is whether employers can require their workers to get the vaccine. The answer was no. "Employers cannot make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for workers, however they can encourage their workers to get it. It is unlikely that the government will make the vaccine mandatory due to human and civil rights concerns. Employees may not be able to get the vaccine for health or religious reasons. If an employer pressures an employee to get the vaccine they run the risk of being accused of discrimination, particularly if the worker experiences serious side effects as a result," McManus advised. The follow up question is whether employers can ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace. The answer was more complex. "Generally, employers cannot ban employees from entering the workplace. However, employers have a duty to provide a healthy and safe work environment. If risk in the workplace is high and the levels of community spread of COVID-19 are high, employers may ask unvaccinated workers to go on leave. Once restrictions are lifted and the risks are not as great, employers would have a hard time justifying this decision," McManus revealed. "Additionally, employers cannot terminate staff for refusing to get the vaccine. If the employee has been terminated for refusing the vaccine, the employee may bring forward a human rights claim," McManus said in the email. Then there is the question of what an employer can do to protect the workplace. McManus said this is a relevant question because not all workers will have the vaccine. "In this case, employers must ensure that they continue to follow public health guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining respiratory and hand hygiene. If it is possible, employers can also allow unvaccinated staff to work remotely," McManus advised. "To further protect the workplace, employers should continue with workplace sanitization procedures, staff screening and contact tracing. To ensure that workers stay home when they have symptoms of illness, employers can also consider providing paid sick leave." McManus said employers can also be pro-active if they want to encourage their workers to buy into the program. "Workplaces that want staff to get the vaccine should conduct run-through vaccination courses on how the vaccine works, its safety, who is able to take it, the vaccination process and what happens after. If employers do set up vaccination clinics in their workplace, they must ensure that workers complete the vaccination process correctly. This means tracking the vaccine brand, the timing of the first dose and ensuring workers get the second dose on time," she advised. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Could Port Hardy be the next home of Air B&B or VRBO? Council is thinking about it. At least, they’re considering changing the zoning bylaws so that short term vacation rentals and modular homes would be allowed in Port Hardy. There’s an online public hearing scheduled for Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. if you want to have a say on the matter. There are two proposed zoning changes, one to allow pre-fabricated/modular homes to be placed on residential properties, and the second would allow property owners to offer short-term vacation rentals. New zoning bylaws are drafted and posted for perusal on the District website here: https://porthardy.ca/2021/01/15/public-hearing-short-term-vacation-rentals-and-prefabricated-modular-homes/. Current zoning prohibits separate dwellings on residential blocks. If approved, the change would allow home owners to build separate suites that could be used as short term rentals. As for vacation rentals, District zoning allows bed and breakfasts but with tight restrictions. If approved, the new bylaws would allow things like Air B&B on approved properties. If you are affected by either of these proposals, join the Zoom hearing on Tuesday. RELATED: Tiny home demand up during pandemic as people seek change RELATED: Rooster bylaw causing a cock-a-doodle-doo on Malcolm Island Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
By Melissa Renwick Tofino, BC - Over three years ago, Hayden Seitcher spent a lot of time at home in Ty-Histanis sulking. At 16 years old, he felt cynical of the world outside his shell. “I was expecting the world to turn on me,” he said. “I was just in my own bubble.” That bubble was popped when Seitcher was invited to join the Tla-o-qui-aht Warrior program. Designed to foster brotherhood and build leadership in First Nations youth through land-based learning, the Warrior program re-ignited the “fire that burned inside,” he said. Through weekly meet-ups and monthly camping trips, the program is challenging the complicated legacies of colonialism by teaching young men to respect their bodies, respect their sexuality and respect each other. While out on the land, they are learning to listen to their ancestors and re-connecting to their culture and language. With newfound purpose, Seitcher’s mindset and habits began to shift. “It was a safe place to gather where it didn’t feel like you had to be someone you’re not,” he said. “It was a good way to gain other perspectives on life – to connect yourself to culture, other people [and] to connect to the land around you.” Ricardo Manmohan launched the program with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation as the Hitacu Warriors over six years ago. The initiative has since expanded to five other Nuu-chah-nulth nations, including Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h' , Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations. What started with only a few youth who consistently showed up for weekly gatherings has blossomed into a group of over 50 young men across the five nations. “It’s a brotherhood,” said Manmohan. “It’s a family that’s forming.” With growing interest from the youth, nations across the province, like Haida Gwaii, have been inquiring about how to adopt the program into their own communities. But as momentum was building, COVID-19 brought it to a halt. Unable able to gather in large numbers, the weekly meetings and monthly camp-outs have been put on pause since March. “I’ve become a lot more anti-social,” said Seitcher. “I do miss going out camping – I think about that weekly.” Undefeated, Manmohan has been forging ahead by trying to provide opportunities for the youth leaders to develop new skills while in isolation. Through training in coordination, planning and grant writing, Manmohan’s mentorship is designed to support the youth leaders in each community to eventually take over in leading their “warriors” out on the land. His ultimate aim is for the youth leaders to introduce the program to other nations and teach new cohorts of youth how to run it in their own territories. After years of breaking ground without any outside funding, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has stepped forward with pilot funding for the project. The operational backing means that Manmohan can finally purchase the camping equipment, food and transportation he requires to take the growing number of youth out on the land when it’s safe to do so. It also means that each nation is able to hire a youth coordinator who will help to plan and organize overnight camping trips. James Walton first joined the Tla-o-qui-aht Warrior program when he was 13. At the time, it was under his mother’s direction, but now he works as a youth leader of his own volition. Since then, Walton acquired basic wilderness survival skills, including first aid and power saw training, but above all else, he said it’s the talking circles that have left the biggest mark. In circle, the youth voluntarily take turns answering questions such as, “how was your day,” and “is there anything on your mind?” Walton said that it took a long time to open up, but after he saw other boys and men sharing their worries and fears he felt like a trust was formed. “No one is here to judge,” he said. In time, the talking circles became a space where Walton felt comfortable to confront his emotions and shed his layers, undistracted by the digital world. Looking forward, he dreams about the next time the Tla-o-qui-aht warriors are able to return to the land and gather as a group at Effingham. Both Walton and Seitcher plan to apply for the youth coordinator position. “It’s hard to transition into [becoming] an adult,” said Walton. “These experiences really helped me.” For Seitcher, it’s his way of giving back to the program which has changed his life “in big ways and small ways.” “It’s given me more confidence and it’s allowed me to understand that there’s a lot of other perspectives in the world,” he said. “It’s also understanding that everyone has their reasons for who they are and learning to love yourself.” Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. — A teen who became lost while on a family snowmobile outing in a remote British Columbia mountain wilderness is being praised for using his backcountry survival skills.The 17-year-old did everything right when things went wrong, including parking his snowmobile in an open area where it could be easily spotted by searchers and building himself a snow cave for shelter, said Val Severin, a team leader with the South Cariboo Search and Rescue Society."He displayed some real mature choices there," she said Monday in an interview. "He had separated from his group and no one saw he dropped down into a really steep section."The teen, who has not been named, was riding in a designated snowmobile recreation zone known as Mica Mountain when he got lost, Severin said.Mica Mountain is located more than 100 kilometres east of 100 Mile House on the western border of Wells Gray Provincial Park."The terrain that he was in is lots of creeks and tree wells, all those things we've seen in recent weeks where folks have actually lost their lives," Severin said. "The fact that he stayed put and kept himself safe and warm, absolutely, the best choice he could have made."His actions likely also shortened the time searchers spent looking for the youth, who was lost in an area known for dramatic shifts in weather conditions, she said.The RCMP and search and rescue team received calls for help Saturday around the dinner hour and a search team reported finding the teenager at about 10:30 that night. "He was nestled in the snow cave all comfortable and warm with food and water," Severin said. "From there, he joined our team and we escorted him on a different route off the mountain because the terrain he had come down was so steep and you are not able to snowmobile back up in the direction that he came from."The youth was emotional when the rescue crew arrived, she said."He was very, very thankful," Severin said. "You could tell he was overwhelmed."She said the teen's mother has called the society numerous times to thank everybody for their efforts. The family said it plans to make a donation to the non-profit society, said Severin, a volunteer who is a funeral director in 100 Mile House.Last week's death of a 21-year-old snowshoer in Vancouver-area mountains prompted the RCMP to urge those visiting the wilderness to be prepared with necessary gear and knowledge of local conditions.— By Dirk Meissner in VictoriaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Uganda's Bobi Wine is a pied piper of a figure who dared raise the hopes of the country's youth, only to be beaten in an election with the odds tipped against him by a man who has had his hands on the levers of power for 35 years. So what now for the self-styled "ghetto president"? Two days after Uganda's electoral commission announced that President Yoweri Museveni had decisively won last week's ballot, Wine and his wife, Barbara, remained under house arrest at their home in Magere, just north of the capital, Kampala. "Nobody is allowed in, nobody is allowed out. We are stuck," Wine said in a telephone interview with CBC News on Monday morning, adding that government security forces had not only surrounded his house but "jumped over the fence and taken control of my compound." "We demand that they release me and they release all the political prisoners so we can be able to assemble freely, like is provided for by the law, and discuss the way forward." Wine said it was clear Museveni was trying to prevent him from speaking to his supporters. "[The government is] worried I will make a statement that will make the people go active. We've been telling the people of Uganda and we continue to tell them that they must be non-violent, but that they must be assertive." Wine said his National Unity Platform (NUP) plans to launch a legal challenge to the results, which accorded him 35 per cent of the vote, and to present proof of electoral tampering once internet access is restored to the country. Museveni 'looking beyond this election' The government shut internet providers down just a day before the vote on Jan. 14 and one day after military tanks and security forces paraded through opposition neighbourhoods in Kampala, in a show critics say was intended to intimidate opposition supporters already hurting from weeks of violence and arrests by government security forces. Few analysts thought Wine stood a chance of winning the elections, given Museveni's determination to hold on to power and the tools available to him. But they say Wine nonetheless remains a threat to Museveni's hold on power, and that it's clear Museveni sees him as such. Although not necessarily from the ballot box. "People are right to say Mr. Museveni is looking beyond this election," said Fred Muhumuza, a lecturer in economics at the University of Makerere in Kampala. "His biggest worry is the ideology that has started, this thinking that is beginning to come. We've seen it in the Arab Spring: Once citizens feel they are not being well provided for by services that have been given by government, it becomes very hard to govern them. So I think there are concerns about the governability of the country going forward." In a speech on Saturday, Museveni claimed the election to be the fairest in Uganda's history. His support and that of his party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), comes in large part from rural voters and those old enough to remember the stability he brought to the country after the bloody legacies of Idi Amin and Milton Obote in the 1970s and '80s. "For the older generation, the Museveni [appeal] has to do with security," said Muhumuza. "There are people who think [support for Wine] might have to do with other governments or foreign interests trying to take advantage of the youth and cause some kind of insecurity in the country." Wine appeals to younger Ugandans But two-thirds of Uganda's population is under the age of 30, offering up a powerful constituency for Wine in a country where jobs are scarce and many voters will have known no other president than Museveni. "They need to get opportunities to work and for the first time they have a younger person representing them who is in their age bracket," said Muhumuza. Now 38, Wine grew up in a Kampala slum, which earned him the moniker of the "ghetto president." He grew first to be a successful musician, changing his name from Robert Kyyagulanyi to Bobi Wine and writing songs about social injustice. In 2017, he stood for the national parliament and won. "He's been a public commentator. Every time in Uganda we had a very sensitive issue, Bobi Wine had a song, [and was] making an intervention. The music that made him a star was music about HIV/AIDS," said Yusuf Serunkuma, a social researcher at Makerere University. Serunkuma also thinks Museveni is worried about Wine's ability to mobilize the street. The 2018 protests in nearby Sudan, which led to the ousting of president Omar al-Bashir after 30 years in power, offer a fresh reminder of what public demonstrations can do. Serunkuma also said opposition activists understand that it's almost impossible to win an election in a dictatorship that disguises itself as a democracy. "So what happens is that you mobilize the constituents that make it difficult for [the government] to continue. And I think that this is what Bobi Wine is doing." Serunkuma said it's that possibility that Museveni has been preparing for, rather than the election. Election observers kept away The president's supporters say he has every right to order security forces onto the streets to prevent what they say could be a potential insurrection. Andrew Mwenda, a journalist with close ties to Museveni and his inner circle, said he knows Bobi Wine "very well." "I don't have a problem with him, even though I think he is intellectually handicapped to understand the complexities of government," said Mwenda, the founder and managing editor of a newsmagazine called the Independent. He dismisses Wine's supporters as thugs and hooligans. "They are incapable of tolerating dissent. It's not in their DNA. They make Trump's supporters look like the most liberal democrats the world has ever seen." On the other hand, Mwenda describes Museveni as a "very tolerant man" — even though the editor almost boasts that he himself was once jailed by Museveni, presumably for criticizing the government. He said recent attacks by security forces against reporters covering the Bobi Wine campaign — or trying to — were "regrettable," but not a "reflection of the freedom that exists" in Uganda. WATCH | CBC news crew deported from Uganda ahead of election: Canada joined several European Union countries, the United Kingdom and the United States in expressing concern over the harassment of journalists and media freedom ahead of the election. Election observers from the U.S. were refused permission to monitor the vote while the European Union pulled out its own team late last year, citing Uganda's failure to implement previous recommendations on electoral reform. A coalition of civil society groups making up Africa Elections Watch issued a statement saying their observers found that the vote did not "meet the threshold of a democratic, free, fair and transparent credible electoral process." Wine happy to 'inspire young people' Wine's challenge to Museveni is the story of this election and is potentially a defining moment for the country. But it makes it no easier to predict his future. On the phone on Monday, Wine was endlessly gracious, but the fatigue in his voice came through. Serunkuma has described Wine's popularity as contagious. He acknowledged that Wine has "really been successful, but I'm not sure whether what he's done is sustainable. Ugandans do not take to the streets." When they did in November, it came with a heavy price — at least 54 people were killed by security forces when protests erupted after one of Wine's arrests, allegedly for breaking COVID-19 restrictions. "I don't think anything is going to happen because the president has done so much to prepare for the moment after the election," said Serunkuma. "It started way, way back." Muhuzuma said "there are people who think the election will simply be an event in a long process of what will eventually remove Mr. Museveni." The question is, will his regime crack down even harder on civil liberties or will some of those in power be rattled enough to try and change something from within? "A lot of [Museveni's] supporters have, I think, picked up that signal, to say we can't just keep growth that is not inclusive, that is not creating opportunities for youth," said Muhuzuma. For his part, Wine said he is determined to see Uganda through to a new chapter. If that means merely serving as an inspiration for real change, it will be enough. "I came in not saying that I am the alpha and the omega, but I wanted to spark the mind that would change the world, to influence and inspire young people, and I am very glad to see that happening," he said. Wine also said he continues to fear for his safety and that of his wife. "We hope the world continues to put the focus on Uganda and to hold General Museveni accountable for our lives."
The long wait to learn who will represent Alberta at the national curling championships is over. The decision provided some clarity on the wild-card front too. Reigning Alberta champions Laura Walker and Brendan Bottcher will wear provincial colours once again, Curling Alberta announced Monday, 10 days after cancelling its playdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Walker, ranked seventh in Canada, was expected to get the nod for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. However, the selection of the fourth-ranked Bottcher for the Tim Hortons Brier was tougher to predict. Sixth-ranked Kevin Koe and 15th-ranked Jeremy Harty also had a case. Koe didn't play in the last Alberta playdowns since he had a Brier entry as Team Canada, while Harty is the provincial standings leader. "This was an extremely difficult decision for Curling Alberta’s board of directors,” Curling Alberta president Steven Young said in a release. "As a province, we were faced with a unique set of circumstances in unprecedented times. "No one could predict that we would be forced to make a decision like this, which we tried to avoid by pushing hard to host our championships." Koe will instead get one of the two wild-card spots based on the final 2019-20 domestic rankings. Fifth-ranked Mike McEwen of Manitoba gets the other. "My disappointment level really isn't that high," said Team Koe lead Ben Hebert. "If we knew that this was the make-or-break (decision) of whether or not we were going to be in (the Brier), obviously my tune would change. "I'm pretty grateful that we still get to compete regardless and that Curling Canada is putting on this bubble for us." Harty could still be considered for the third wild-card spot in the 18-team Brier field. The national federation will make that decision once all member associations either complete playdowns or name representatives. The Feb. 19-28 Scotties will kick off a run of six straight competitions in a so-called bubble at Calgary's Markin MacPhail Centre. "We're excited to wear the Alberta colours and the Alberta jackets," Walker said. "It's obviously not the same as when we won the honour to go but we definitely feel honoured to have been asked." Also Monday, the New Brunswick Curling Association cancelled its women's playdowns. Reigning champion Andrea Crawford has been invited to represent the province again. The New Brunswick men's tankard, meanwhile, is still on the schedule for Feb. 10-14. Bottcher, the Canadian No. 4, reached the Brier final last year but lost to Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador. The 2021 Brier is set for March 5-14. Ninth-ranked Glenn Howard of Ontario appears to be a good bet for the final wild-card spot, although other teams may be considered. On the women's side, two Alberta skips — No. 5 Chelsea Carey and No. 6 Kelsey Rocque — are ahead of Walker in the women's rankings. But Carey is a free agent and Rocque only has two returning players from last season's team, one short of the required minimum. Manitoba's Tracy Fleury is a wild-card lock at No. 2. The other two women's berths will be filled over the coming weeks. Suzanne Birt is a heavy favourite to win the two-team Prince Edward Island championship at the end of the month, but a loss would move her into a wild-card spot at No. 9. World junior champion Mackenzie Zacharias is in the mix at No. 11 along with fellow Manitoban Beth Peterson at No. 12. It's possible that Rocque and 10th-ranked Robyn Silvernagle of Saskatchewan - who also has two returning members - could be in play for the third wild-card spot. A Curling Canada spokesman said the 3-of-4 rule applies to the first two wild-card teams in each gender, but added that qualifying criteria for the third wild-card team won't be finalized until after all member associations have declared teams. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
As communities work to stop the spread of COVID-19, Indigenous health experts say there is a “social sickness” that also must be addressed. A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization that’s faced by Indigenous communities in the wake of the pandemic. The video, co-produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) and BC Northern Health, is titled “Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19.” Dr. Margo Greenwood, academic leader of NCCIH, is the executive producer of the video, which she says she hopes will start important conversations around stigma and discrimination. “When we begin to talk about these things I think we begin to learn,” she says. “I think education is a critical way to address stigma.” The four-and-a-half-minute video is narrated by Dr. Evan Adams of Tla’amin First Nation and features a Nlaka’pamux healing song. In the video, Adams — who is well known for playing Thomas in the famous 1998 film Smoke Signals — speaks over a cartoon animation by Joanne Gervais. The cartoon shows people in various scenarios, such as a group of people whispering and pointing at an Indigenous woman. “Pandemics can promote harmful stigmatization,” Adams says during the video. “COVID-19 is a physical virus. Stigma is a social sickness.” Greenwood says the initial idea for the video was prompted by Mary Ellen Turpond-Lafond‘s recent In Plain Sight report that outlined systemic racism in B.C.’s healthcare system. Greenwood says there are many harmful and untrue stereotypes that are anchored in colonial views and reinforced through generations. “Our work today is to challenge those old stereotypes, to know when they’re influencing our thinking and our behaviors,” she says. “Once we are aware and we know we are being influenced by them we need to challenge them. I’m really hopeful that this video will promote that kind of reflection and discussion and it will illuminate the urgent need for change.” On Jan. 14, CBC News released a story wherein Indigenous people in Powell River, Port Hardy and Duncan spoke of being denied service in various establishments after COVID-19 outbreaks in their communities. The same day, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke out against this discriminatory behavior in her regular COVID-19 update, saying this type of racism “must stop.” “This type of racism cannot be tolerated and I stand against this with my colleagues to say this must stop on Vancouver Island and elsewhere,” she said. “Racism has no place in our society, in our communities here in British Columbia and we must all take the time to speak out and speak up.” Henry said it has become clear that First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples in British Columbia did not come into the pandemic on equal footing to the rest of the province. “COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, but systems do,” she said. “It has illuminated for us many long-standing inequities in different parts of our society.” Meanwhile, other Indigenous communities are also speaking out against stigma during the pandemic. Snuneymuxw First Nation released an open letter stating people in that community and the nearby Cowichan Tribes have also experienced racism after a COVID-19 outbreak. “Similar commentary was also seen in a number of other communities around British Columbia,” the Jan. 15 letter states. “Anti-Indigenous racism has no place in B.C.’s pandemic response or community commentary.” The letter is co-signed by Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse and six other community leaders, including Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly and Telaxten Paul Sam of the First Nations Health Council. It points out that some of the commentary has been around Indigenous communities receiving urgent access to the vaccine — saying that Indigenous peoples require this access because of proven poorer health outcomes and chronic health conditions. “Together we need to continue to stand up for respectful treatment of Indigenous Peoples and nations,” the letter continues. “The burden of addressing racism needs to come off the shoulders of Indigenous peoples.” Greenwood says she is hopeful that the new video will begin to unpack definitions such as stigma and stereotypes that will help people in organizations to question their own thinking around differences with respect to racial inequalities. “Sometimes we’re just not aware of our own biases, of those unfavourable beliefs or opinions that we hold and sometimes we don’t even know where they came from,” Greenwood says. “I’m hopeful that the video adds critical information that will promote important conversation on how best to address and stop stigma and discrimination.” Catherine Lafferty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
A culture-based private school will build on a surplus school site in southeast Edmonton after council's executive committee agreed to the move, recommended by administration, on Monday. The city will sell the three-acre parcel in Kiniski Gardens to the Headway School Society of Alberta for $2.5 million. The site is at the corner of 38th Street and 38th Avenue. Public interest groups and Edmonton Public School Board oppose the city selling the site to a private entity. The current Headway School, in Forest Heights, offers a Punjabi language course and accommodates about 370 students. Most students live in Mill Woods and spend about an hour on a bus each way. School principal Jagwinder Singh Sidhu has been working for years to secure a site closer to the community. Many parents have said the current location is too far from home and they would like to have "something cultural," Sidhu said Monday. He said the executive committee's decision is a victory for immigrant families looking to preserve their heritage and language. "I feel good today, I feel good," Sidhu told CBC News. "I finally feel like I'm being treated like 100 per cent Canadian." He said the Punjabi language component of the school helps preserve language, noting that third generation immigrants lose 70 per cent of their language. The site was assembled in 1992 for a public elementary school but Edmonton Public Schools declared it surplus in 2009. Neither the Catholic nor francophone school boards wanted to use the land, so it reverted to the city. Trisha Estabrooks, chair of the Edmonton public school board, spoke to the committee Monday, opposing the land sale to a private school. "This will impact Edmonton Public and our ability to offer what is important programming, important diverse programming within the public system, within the public setting — accessible to everyone," Estabrooks said. She said she acknowledges the right for private schools to exist. "What I take great exception to," she added, "is private schools receiving public money to operate when in fact they're not open and accessible to the entire public." Students attending private schools make up 5.5 per cent of the province's student population and receive 3.5 per cent of the education budget, according to figures from Alberta Education. Private schools receive 70 per cent of the base funding provided to all public schools, based on enrolment, and do not receive infrastructure funding to build schools, said Justin Marshall, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. "This funding approach has been in place for over a decade," Marshall said in an email. The public school system receives approximately $7.2 billion in operational funding while private schools receive $294 million, he added. Estabrooks said the site could be used for a variety of purposes "for the greater purpose of serving all citizens, rather than a select few." Small businesses, seniors or community groups could use the land, she suggested. Sidhu believes the Edmonton Public Schools perspective is undemocratic. "They don't want competition, they don't want choice," he argued. "When you only have one party or one institution or one of anything delivering those things, I call it communistic." He said the new school could double as a place for community events and sports like basketball and volleyball. Joint use deal The land sale is governed by a joint use agreement between the city and school boards, which guides how sites are planned, developed and maintained for school and park purposes. It also provides the framework for decision making related to surplus reserve and non-reserve sites and reserve accounts, the city says. Mayor Don Iveson said he understands the school board's concern about the use of surplus school sites. "If the question of them all becoming private schools from a competition standpoint is a real question to them then I think we've got to settle that to the satisfaction of both parties to be able to mobilize the lands for highest and best use." Coun. Scott McKeen also recognized the tension of the public versus private argument. "This, to me, is a complex clash of values, some of which are occurring in my head right now as I speak," McKeen said during the meeting. "But I don't feel that I have a comfortable position to stand on to oppose this." Chris Hodgson, the city's branch manager of real estate, said the department is working on an updated strategy on surplus school sites. The Headway School has three years from the March 1, 2021 closing date of the sale to build the new structure. @natashariebe
Ontario physicians are calling on the province to provide paid sick days for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and other long-term care home (LTCH) workers in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. There is also a recommendation that government needs to invest more money to improve internet infrastructure in Northern Ontario with the ideaof being able to improve virtual care. These are just a couple of several calls to action by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) to fight against the forecasts that say more deaths will be occurring in long-term care homes. The recommendations were provided in a recent teleconference hosted by OMA president Dr. Samantha Hill, who said physicians have been seeing the terrible toll the pandemic is taking on elderly residents in nursing homes. "Our members, Ontario doctors, have been on the first line of the pandemic since the very beginning," said Hill. "We've seen first hand the effects on our patients, our colleagues, our hospitals and people in all settings including long-term care," she added. Hill said the medical community in Ontario has been watching the long-term care situation for several months and she said it was dire and heart-breaking. "Over Christmas some of our members came forth to help in overwhelmed LTCHs and described conditions and situations that are truly inhumane," said Hill. "Right now, we all know more needs to be done quickly," said Hill. "What can we do now for the residents, for the families, and for those who are caring for them?" And while she asked the question, Hill had an answer chambered. She said there are actually five important steps that can be taken immediately by the provincial government to improve the situation in long-term care homes. Hill said this included the following: 1. Increase efforts to vaccinate all long-term care residents and caregivers, including health workers, personal support workers, other staff and relatives who provide physical and mental health support. Hill said in concert with that, the province should continue COVID-19 testing so that public health officials have better real-time information to prevent or manage outbreaks. 2. Cut the red tape preventing physicians from moving rapidly into long-term care homes with outbreaks or other significant needs. The OMA said this would include better valuation of all LTC employees and caregivers to the point that paid sick days would be provided. This means that personal support workers (PSWs) who might be feeling under the weather would not have to make the choice of going to work to earn money for food and rent or stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. The OMA said this also included the need to speed up training of new PSWs including retraining people who lost jobs in other industries because of COVID. 3. Continue the use of virtual care in long-term homes to prevent the spread of the virus and improve access to specialists, in conjunction with in-person care where appropriate, especially in homes with outbreaks and where patients are in declining health. Virtual care also helps LTC residents receive more timely care and limit unnecessary trips to the hospital or community medical clinics, said the OMA document. For Northern Ontario and rural areas, this would mean that an additional financial investment would be required by the government to ensure that there is reliable internet infrastructure so that certain residents can get care by cellphone, by tablet or video device. 4. Appoint a chief medical officer for long-term care for each Ontario Health region to ensure the best quality care is being provided; for example, by coordinating efforts between the acute and long-term care sectors, liaising with Public Health and co-ordinating physician coverage over multiple sites. 5. Shift social attitudes so that caring for frail older adults is considered to be one of the most important jobs in the world. “The situation in our long-term care homes is dire and heartbreaking,” said Dr. Hill. “We appreciate the steps the government has taken and continues to take. But we all know more needs to be done and done quickly.” The OMA said the five recommendations have been forwarded to the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission with the message that instead of waiting for a final report in April as expected, the premier should consider taking action now. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
What does it take to introduce, and then maintain, a herd of bison in a national park? Years of planning, meticulous tracking — and a really cool fence. With one year left in the Banff Bison Reintroduction Project, facilitators say it has been going well. "Bison are really iconic animals," Karsten Heuer, the project manager, told CBC. "I mean, they symbolize the wild, free, North American idea of what this continent used to be, and I think bringing them back after an absence of over 140 years is an incredibly powerful notion of restoration, and reconciliation, and rejuvenation for people." The bison were brought from Elk Island National Park, just east of Edmonton. There were 16 animals to start, including 10 pregnant females. They were originally held in a fenced habitat. "They've been free for over two years now. And their health is … a really good measure of it is how well they're reproducing," Heuer told the Calgary Eyeopener. "We've had about a 38 per cent growth rate in the herd every year. And that's led us to have 50 animals, as compared to the 16 we brought in just over three years ago." Up to 20 calves are expected this year, and Heuer says he wouldn't be surprised if the herd grows from 50 to 75 in 2021. Heuer says they have lost two calves, one to unknown causes and the other to wolves. "In a way, it is a little bit of a measure of our success, because, as you know, we're trying to not just restore bison to the landscape, but their ecological role and the actual integrity of the ecosystem." Heuer says bringing plains bison into a mountain landscape was a bit of an unknown. "As soon as we released them, they went up onto the ridge tops, started using avalanche slopes ... where the vegetation is quite productive and really kind of succulent and palatable in those summer months," Heuer said. "We thought that was maybe a bit of an anomaly as they were searching around their new home range. But that's a pattern that's played out over the last three summers pretty consistently, that they did go up high and use the full extent of the mountain habitat that's available to them during the course of the year." Heuer says there's early evidence that the herd is having a positive impact on the landscape and ecosystem in the area. The clumps of fur that they cast off are proving popular in many bird nests, and the grass seems to grow back just a little more lush in the meadows where they have grazed. "I wasn't sure, to be perfectly honest, how well they would fit into the landscape. But the first time I kind of came around the corner and saw them feeding in a shrub meadow and their backs in, you know, beautiful sort of reddish brown colour in the light, it was — it just totally seemed like it fit, like it was, it was made to happen here," he said. The area that has been earmarked as the initial reintroduction zone is 1,200 square kilometres, which provides plenty of room to roam for what Heuer says is a relatively small number of bison. It is one of only five bison populations in North America that will be subject to all the natural selection pressures, including exposure to wolves and grizzly bears. "You know, they're exposed to all the climatic extremes that the world is going to throw at them. We haven't fed them anything since we released them from the pasture in the backcountry over two years ago," Heuer said. "And they've been thriving." For those who will be born in the mountains, the habitat seems like a natural fit. Listen to the full interview on the bison herd here: "The calves are pretty incredible. They're born very, very ready to go, they're up and standing and running within hours," he said. "They have these beautiful, big, liquid black eyes. They're robust, they're tough, they're playful … it's hard not to chuckle as you see them, you know, butting heads and going up to the biggest bulls and trying to provoke playful responses." One of the biggest challenges was how to contain the herd within the safety of the national park. That's where the "bison fence" came into the picture. When the 16 wild bison were reintroduced to the park, it was the first time bison had been there in nearly 150 years. And the current fences would not contain them. That meant the team had to design a fence that would allow the free passage of other wildlife, while containing the bison. "The riddle we were faced with was that these fences are an important tool in keeping the reintroduced bison inside the park," Dillon Watt, team member and a co-author of the research paper, told The Homestretch. "But as you zoom out and think about the overall objective of preserving and maintaining biodiversity and the natural processes of the ecosystem, it becomes clear that you need these fences to not have a negative impact on the other wildlife that share the park." The team spent more than three years using remote cameras and GPS collars on wildlife to narrow it down. "It required a lot of adaptability on our part," Watt said. The result was a series of short fences that were placed in strategic areas. "These short fences, we placed them in natural topographic pinch points, and they're a lot like fences that you … would probably expect to see, wire and rail fences," Watt said. "But the interesting part for us was how to configure these rails and wires in number and spacing to accommodate different ways for other species to get through." The bison reintroduction team recently published their research in the online academic journal Wildlife Biology. "They're working well, the fences have largely been successful in containing the bison, and our research showed that all the species can navigate the fences — and on top of that, the fences do not have an effect on larger scale movements and migration," Watt said. Watt says the research will likely prove useful to other projects. "That's where our contribution can be important, I think, beyond just what our team has done here. We know now globally that species reintroductions are such an important tool in restoring ecosystems.… The world being the way it is now, these large, intact, big wild places are harder and harder to come by," Watt said. "And so as our species are reintroduced, it's increasingly common that they have to be kept in these discrete areas. So using tools like the fence is super important." There is one year left in the project. Facilitators hope to answer the question of whether it is feasible to continue to restore bison to the landscape when the pilot phase of the Banff Bison Reintroduction Project wraps up in 2022. With files fromThe Homestretch and the Calgary Eyeopener.
MONTREAL — CF Montreal sacrificed offence for defence Monday, trading Argentine forward Maxi Urruti to the Houston Dynamo for centre back Kiki Struna. Montreal also got an international roster spot for the 2021 season in the deal while Houston received a second-round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft. The 30-year-old Struna played 46 MLS games, including 45 starts, for Houston over the last two seasons. He joined the Texas club in December 2018 from Italy's Palermo FC. The six-foot-two 185-pounder has won 21 caps for the Slovenian national team. "We are pleased to add a tall centre back to our defensive core," CF Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement. "He has experience in MLS and on the international scene, and he's played several years in Italy." Montreal ranked 23rd in goals allowed last season, averaging 1.87 a game. Houston was 15th in goal-scoring, averaging 1.30 a game. Struna will serve as veteran help for 19-year-old Louis Binks, whose loan deal with Bologna has been extended through December 2021. The contracts for Montreal defenders Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala and Jorge Corrales expired at the end of December. Montreal has already added Canadian international defenders Kamal Miller and Zorhan Bassong during the off-season. CF Montreal was known as the Montreal Impact until last week when the team rebranded. Houston will retain a percentage of any sell-on fee if Struna is transferred outside of Major League Soccer. The 29-year-old Urruti has scored 53 goals and added 33 assists in nine MLS seasons with Toronto, Portland, FC Dallas and Montreal. He collected nine goals and eight assists in two seasons with Montreal. He has won the MLS Cup with Portland, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield with Dallas and the Canadian Championship with Montreal. “Maxi knows first-hand what it takes to be a champion in MLS and has consistently scored goals since he arrived in the league,” Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos said. “He brings quality, speed and a tremendous work ethic.” Urruti is a product of the Club Atletico Newell's Old Boys academy, making his pro debut in 2011. Urruti holds a Green Card as a permanent U.S. resident and will not occupy an international roster slot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18. 2021 The Canadian Press
A majority of Canadians, New Brunswickers among them, want improved access to psychologists, according to a poll conducted by Nanos. Canadians most frequently report having the most confidence in psychologists when it comes to helping people with mental health problems, but many say access to these professionals is still a problem and they’d like both the private and public sector to help them do that more easily. “COVID-19 has impacted the psychological health of New Brunswickers who were already faced with a shortage of psychologists,” said Mandy McLean, executive director of the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick. "Access to necessary psychological support was difficult before – and the need for the services of licensed psychologists continues to grow." Fifty-eight per cent of New Brunswickers responded that COVID-19 has had a negative or somewhat negative impact on their ability to access mental health care by psychologists. In the public sector, which includes psychologists who work in schools, hospitals and community mental health systems, the shortage is significant, McLean told the Times & Transcript. Of New Brunswick respondents, 46.1 per cent said the amount of time needed for Canadians to get access to psychological services in the publicly-funded health-care system is either unreasonable to somewhat unreasonable. More than 88 per cent of New Brunswickers supported or somewhat supported improving access to psychologists through the publicly-funded health-care system. Many New Brunswickers say the cost of receiving care from a psychologist is influencing their decision to pursue treatment privately. More than 83 per cent said cost was very or somewhat significant in deciding whether to access a psychologist. McLean said some extended workplace health plans are offering benefits for sessions with a psychologist for about $300 a year, which would not provide more than a couple of sessions with a private psychologist. More than 76 per cent of New Brunswickers said providing greater access to psychologists through employer health benefit plans would be a good or very good idea. Access is also about wait times. Long wait times significantly or somewhat significantly were a factor for 76.2 per cent of New Brunswickers in deciding to access a psychologist. Psychologists have nearly a decade of training or more, said McLean, making them unique in their extensive training in how people think, learn and behave. Nearly half of New Brunswickers believe psychologists are effective in diagnosing people living with depression, anxiety, addiction of learning disabilities. Nanos conducted a representative online survey of 3,070 Canadians, drawn from a non-probability panel between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, 2020. The research was commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association and the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists and was conducted by Nanos Research before being compiled into a report. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal