What is it with dogs and brooms? They just hate them so much! Time to destroy this one!
What is it with dogs and brooms? They just hate them so much! Time to destroy this one!
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
BERLIN — Bayern Munich’s closest challengers, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday to give the eight-time defending champions a chance to move seven points clear at the top. Second-place Leipzig lost 3-2 at relegation-threatened Mainz and third-place Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Bayern visits last-place Schalke on Sunday. American midfielder Tyler Adams got Leipzig off to a great start with a goal in the 15th minute, but Moussa Niakhaté scored twice for Mainz, either side of Marcel Halstenberg’s 30th-minute strike for the visitors. New signing Danny da Costa set up Leandro Barreiro for Mainz’s winner in the 50th. Midfielder Ridle Baku’s 35th-minute header was enough for Wolfsburg. Leverkusen made a good start but Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario missed early chances, with Alario striking the post before Wolfsburg gradually settled. Leverkusen maintained its pressure but the defence took a break and left Baku to head in Renato Steffen’s cross against the run of play. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted at the break by bringing on former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his Bundesliga debut, but Wolfsburg saw out the win. Luka Jovic scored his third goal in as many substitute appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt since returning from Real Madrid to seal a 5-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld. Augsburg goalkeeper Rafa Gikiewicz saved a penalty to secure a 2-1 win over his former team Union Berlin. Gikiewicz denied Marcus Ingvartsen in the 56th, then produced a fine save to also thwart Taiwo Awoniyi. Florian Niederlechner, who conceded the spot kick, had already scored twice for the home side. Freiburg beat Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha Berlin hosted fellow struggler Werder Bremen later Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
South Africa jazz trombonist and composer Jonas Gwangwa, whose music powered the anti-apartheid struggle, died on Saturday aged 83, the presidency said. President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to the legendary musician who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song of the 1987 film "Cry Freedom". "A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest," Ramaphosa said.
A woman who was found dead in an apartment unit near York University on Thursday night has now been identified by Toronto police. Officers say they responded to a medical call at 9:41 p.m. on Thursday near Murray Ross Parkway and Sentinel Road. When they arrived, they said they found a woman suffering from serious injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the homicide unit was called in to take over the investigation. In a release issued Saturday, police identified the victim as 32-year-old Leah St Jean of Toronto. Police also said they have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man from Toronto with second-degree murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday. Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police or CrimeStoppers.
Spain's top general resigned on Saturday after allegations he had received the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of priority groups, one of a number of public officials who have sparked public anger because of reports they have jumped the vaccination queue. Defence Minister Margarita Robles had asked General Miguel Angel Villaroya, chief of defence staff, for explanations after media reports on Friday that he had received the vaccination.
The Scottish National Party published a "Roadmap to Referendum" on Saturday, laying out plans for another vote on Scottish independence just as the United Kingdom grapples with COVID-19 and the impact of Brexit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who would have to agree to a new referendum, argues there is no need for a new vote after independence was rejected by Scottish voters in 2014. But the SNP has said that if it wins a parliamentary majority at elections scheduled for May 6, it will pass its own bill so that a referendum can take place once the pandemic is over.
People are turning to different coping mechanisms during life amid the pandemic, but for some coastal-dwelling British Columbians, dipping into icy cool water has been a source of relief and respite this winter. Craig Stewart, president of the Vancouver Open Water Swim Association, says there's nothing like swimming outside under open skies. "I usually compare it to cycling in a gym versus cycling outside. For me, there's no comparison. I want to be outside. I want to be in nature and swimming is no different," Stewart said. The waters around B.C. can dip to a frigid 6 C or 7 C. The water itself can be quite opaque in the winter, Stewart said, and it can be unnerving to not see to the bottom. But Stewart says the challenge is part of the draw. "Part of the draw is it's like an inoculation. You are choosing to suffer a little bit and then endure it, and you feel good for having done that," he said. Deborah Calderon of Powell River is part of a local swimming group — the Powtown Popsicles — who go for a socially distanced swim or dip every day. "Everybody's got a completely different reaction," Calderon said. "When I get out [of the water], I get calm, which is what I need." She says the activity has been a huge source of comfort during the pandemic. "It's probably the biggest thing I've done to reduce isolation, to make sure I get outside with a bit of a purpose, to feel that kind of rush and then come out and then on with your day," Calderon said. Tips for open water swimming Like any new activity, Stewart says it's important to be prepared and do your research. Here are some other tips if you want to try cold water swimming. 1) Don't swim alone. It's always good to go with other people so that you can look out for one another, said Stewart. This is especially important if your body temperature plunges after coming out of the water and you need help. 2) Take it slowly. "The worst thing you can do is to jump into cold water and think you're going to be fine. No, that gives you cold water shock," Stewart said, noting the last time he went cold water swimming, it took him 10 minutes to get used to the cold water. Getting slowly acclimatized is important to help your body adjust to the conditions. Wearing proper gear — like layering on a swim cap and a wetsuit — can also help you stay warm in the water. 3) Know your water. "Don't jump into water you don't know. You don't know how deep it is, you don't know where the currents are," said Stewart, noting that ocean currents in particular can be very, very strong. 4) Listen to your body. It's important post-swim or post-dip to make sure you refuel and have hot beverages on hand. "It gives your body fuel because you've just been spending at an incredible rate. And have layers of warm clothing," he said. Finally, Stewart said, learn about the sport and try it out with people who are experienced. "It's inherently rewarding. You feel good. You feel tough. But joyful."
FREDERICTON — Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, just hours before the province's Edmundston region was set to enter a 14-day lockdown at midnight. Ten of the new cases are in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, while there were five in the Moncton region and one case each in the Campbellton and Saint John regions. There are currently 328 active cases in the province. Five patients are hospitalized, with three in intensive care. There have been 1,104 positive cases and 13 COVID-related deaths in the province since the pandemic began. Health officials say the strict health order of a lockdown is needed to curb a steady rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. "Our objective with the implementation of the lockdown measures ... is to reduce opportunities for transmission by having people limit their movements to the greatest extent possible," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Saturday in a statement. "When we stop moving and interactions, we stop COVID-19," she said. Starting Sunday, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the Edmundston area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited. The province says the situation in the region will be evaluated every seven days and that the provincial cabinet may extend the lockdown if required. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Houses of worship in Quebec are now allowed to reopen, but with strict limits on the number of people that can show up. Two weeks into the province's latest round of restrictions, which include an overnight curfew, the government has changed course. It's now possible for a place of worship to host a maximum of 10 people for religious gatherings. All places of worship were ordered to close earlier this month, except for funeral ceremonies. The changes come by way of a government decree published on Thursday, and provide exceptions to public health rules put into place Jan. 9, which ban all gatherings — indoors and outdoors — across Quebec. "By limiting the number to 10 people, it allows people to continue practicing their religious rites in a secure space, because with 10 people, social distancing can easily be respected," said a spokesperson with the province's Health Ministry. The rules may have been softened, but religious community leaders are expected to show "exemplary rigour" and encourage their members to respect physical standing rules, wear masks, wash their hands when entering and exiting the building, and refrain from singing, the spokesperson said. A registry of the people who attend ceremonies will also be mandatory, in order to help trace them in the event of an outbreak. The decree maintains the maximum size of gatherings for funerals at 25 people. "Places of worship cannot serve as a refuge," the Health Ministry spokesperson said. "However, if a person needs to get in touch with a representative of a place of worship to find support or comfort, it will be allowed to do so inside the place of worship, outside of the usual ceremonies."
WASHINGTON — Inside the White House, President Joe Biden presided over a focused launch of his administration, using his first days in office to break sharply with his predecessor while signing executive orders meant as a showy display of action to address the historic challenges he inherited. But outside the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there were signs everywhere that those crises are as deep and intractable as ever. The coronavirus pandemic surges, the economy teeters and Republicans in Congress have signalled objections to many of Biden’s plans. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. He also knows that what a president can do on his own is limited so he is calling for Congress to act while he is being candid with Americans that dark days are ahead. “The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said Friday about the impact of pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.” “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said. Biden’s first moments as president were meant to steady American democracy itself. He took the oath just before noon Wednesday in front of a Capitol that still bore scars from the insurrection that took place precisely two weeks earlier and was aimed at stopping Biden’s ascension to power. The violence underscored the fragile nature of the peaceful transfer of power and led to the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. Biden resisted calls to move the inauguration to a more secure indoor setting. He was intent on preserving the usual inauguration trappings as a signal that normalcy could be achieved even though there were signs everywhere that things were far from normal: a military presence that resembled a war zone, guests on the dais wearing masks, a National Mall filled with 200,000 American flags standing in for the American people who were asked to stay away because of the pandemic. Biden was plain-spoken and direct about the confluence of crises the nation faces. More than 410,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, millions are out of work and the aftershocks of a summer reckoning with racial justice are still felt. “You can hear this collective sigh of relief that Trump is gone, but we have no time for a sigh of relief because of the cascading crises,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. “We don’t want to assume that the election of Biden solves everything. The scale of the problems is immense and the question for us is do we respond at scale.” The changes within the White House have been swift. After Trump’s departure, his final staffers cleared out and a deep clean began. The White House had been the site of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and, in a physical manifestation of a new approach to the virus, plastic shields were placed on desks and scores of new staffers were told to work from home. New pictures were hung on the West Wing walls and the Oval Office received a fast makeover. Gone were a painting of Andrew Jackson and the Diet Coke button of the desk; in came images of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. But the most important symbol, the clearest break from the previous administration, came from the president himself. When Biden sat down at the Resolute Desk to sign his first batch of his executive orders on Wednesday, he was wearing a mask. Trump had resisted wearing one, putting one on only occasionally and instead turning mask-wearing into a polarizing political issue Biden urged all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days and used his platform to model the same behaviour, one of several ways he tried to change the tone of the presidency in his first few days. Daily press briefings returned, absent the accusations of “fake news” that marked only sporadic briefings in the Trump era. Biden held a virtual swearing-in for hundreds of White House staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or they would dismissed, a marked change from the contentious, rivalry-driven Trump West Wing. Calls to the leaders of Canada and Mexico were made without drama. The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions meant to undo the heart of Trump’s legacy. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines. But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure. “Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight." "Everything he inherited is likely to get worse before we see improvement,” Gibbs saidtinued. “One thing you learn on January 20th is that you suddenly own all of it.” Just two Cabinet nominees were confirmed by week's end, to the frustration of the White House. But with the Friday night announcement that Trump’s impeachment trial will not begin until the week of Feb. 8, Biden aides were optimistic that the Senate would confirm more before then. The trial looms as an unwelcome distraction for the Biden team. But while Trump will shadow the White House, Biden aides have noted that the former president commands far less attention now that his Twitter account is gone. They have expressed confidence that the Senate can balance the impeachment proceedings with both Cabinet confirmations and consideration of the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden has made clear that steering the nation through the pandemic will be his signature task and some Republicans believe that Trump’s implosion could create an opening to work across the aisle on a relief deal. “There is a very narrow permission structure for congressional Republicans who want to move past the Trump era and want to establish their own political identities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney is now a Utah senator. “There is an old saying: ‘Make the main thing the main thing.’ And the Biden White House knows that’s the main thing,” Madden said. “If they can improve the pandemic response in the next 100 days, then they can move on to other priorities, they’ll have the capital for legislative fights. But they need to get it right.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
Dutch police have arrested the alleged leader of a large Asian drug syndicate who is listed as one of the world's most-wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70 billion-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said on Saturday. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
Genome sequencing has confirmed that a variant of COVID-19 first detected in the United Kingdom is present at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., according to the local public health unit. This variant is considered highly contagious and can be transmitted easily. In a news release on Saturday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said the testing done on Friday has determined that six samples taken from the Roberta Place Long Term Care Home are of the variant that is known as the B.1.1.7 variant. The home is north of Toronto. On Wednesday, preliminary testing of the six cases at the home had shown a high likelihood of that they were of this COVID-19 variant. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the SMDHU, said in the statement that the development is of great concern. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Gardner said. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Public health unit concerned about further spread The public health unit added in the release: "This variant of concern is more easily transmitted, resulting in much larger numbers of cases in a very rapid fashion." In a media briefing on Saturday, Gardner said 127 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, all but two of the residents at the home. Six residents are currently in hospital. Eighty-four staff members have tested positive for the virus, which Gardner says account for nearly half of the home's staff. Gardner also said there have been 32 deaths at the home, as of Saturday. The outbreak was declared on Jan. 8. He said he is "very concerned about potential impact with spread into the community." Garder said the variant has spread to 21 household members of staff at the home and other people who have entered the home. "This progressed so rapidly," he said. "I'm very concerned it'll make it a challenge in future outbreaks in other LTC facilities." Two essential visitors and three others have tested positive. The Canadian Red Cross was deployed to the home on Jan. 17 to help stop the ongoing outbreak. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in the region have received their first dose of immunization. Officials said they planned to immunize residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka over the weekend. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. In an email on Saturday, the Ontario health ministry expressed concern. "The province continues to determine the impact the delay in shipments from the federal government will have on the province's vaccine rollout," ministry spokesperson Alexandra Hilkene said. "We continue to vaccinate our most vulnerable and remain committed to vaccinating long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents as quickly as we receive vaccines from the federal government."
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick Liberal party has chosen a new executive as 1,100 members took part in a virtual biennial meeting today. Former Moncton mayor and MP Brian Murphy has been elected the new party president. Murphy says during the last provincial election the party did well in francophone ridings and not well in anglophone areas. He says the party needs to improve organization, policy and unity. Murphy says the party will look to a number of methods, including social media, to get their message out to attract young voters. The party has not set a date for a leadership convention to replace Kevin Vickers, who quit after failing to win a seat in last year's provincial election. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Police detained more than 1,000 people across Russia and used force to break up rallies around the country as tens of thousands of protesters demanded the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, whose wife was among those arrested.
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he was once willing to give his former leadership rival Derek Sloan the benefit of the doubt, but no longer. And he dismissed the idea that kicking Sloan out of caucus this week has pitted him against one of the party's most powerful wings, social conservatives, whose support O'Toole courted directly during the leadership race last year in part by backing Sloan at the time. In an interview with The Canadian Press, O'Toole said he didn't believe Sloan meant to be racist last year in his characterization of chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. That's why he opposed efforts then to kick him out of caucus, O'Toole said. "I always will give a colleague, or anyone in Parliament, in public life, the benefit of the doubt or, you know, listen to them the first time," O'Toole said. "And that was the case early on with Derek, when he said he did not mean to malign the intentions of Dr. Tam." But O'Toole said a "pattern developed" since then, and frustrations mounted that Sloan's extreme social conservative views posed an ever-present danger to the party's goal of forming government. It all appeared to come to a head last week. In the aftermath of riots in the U.S. led by extreme right wing supporters of now-former U.S. president Donald Trump. O'Toole faced pressure from caucus, conservative supporters and his rivals to firmly disavow any elements of extremism in his party's ranks. Last Sunday, O'Toole issued a statement doing just that. The next day, media organization PressProgress reported O'Toole's outrage over Sloan's leadership campaign accepting a donation from a known white nationalist. While O'Toole moved swiftly to start the process of kicking Sloan out — getting 20 per cent of MPs on side as required by law — he insisted the demand was driven by caucus, as evidenced in the majority vote to remove him. "The caucus was ready to make that decision and send a strong message that we are a welcoming party, we respect one another, and we respect Canadians," he said. O'Toole disputed accusations from Sloan and anti-abortion groups that the decision to kick him out had nothing to do with the Ontario MP's previous statements. In recent weeks, Sloan has been pushing to get as many socially conservative delegates as possible registered for the party's policy convention in March. Sloan, as well as the Campaign Life Coalition and RightNow, want enough delegates in their camp so motions they support will pass, including one that would remove the existing policy stating a Conservative government would never regulate abortion. They also want to elect a slate of directors to the party's national council to entrench their strength. Sloan said the decision to kick him out was a kneejerk reaction to what happened in the U.S. But he also contends the move was driven by anger from his fellow MP's unhappy to se him actively courting money and support in their ridings. He's pledged to name them so social conservatives know who is trying to silence their voices, he said. "They think they are little petty princes ruling these fiefdoms and no one else can have a say," Sloan said. O'Toole rejected the idea that Sloan's efforts amount to an attempt to take over the party, and O'Toole's own move was a bid to stop it. "There is no such effort to the extent that Mr. Sloan is suggesting," he said. Sloan had little national profile when he entered the Conservative leadership race just a few months after becoming an MP. But early on, he garnered attention for suggesting he wasn't certain of the scientific basis for a person being LGBTQ. From there, he quickly became well known for his often extreme social conservative views. His comments about Tam, in which he suggested her loyalty lay with China rather than Canada, sparked outrage and took criticism against him to the next level. Last spring, in discussing the Liberal government's pandemic response and Tam's use of suspect World Health Organization data from China, Sloan provocatively asked whether Tam was working for Canada or China. Tam was born in Hong Kong. Questioning someone's loyalty is considered a racist trope. Sloan denied he was being racist. Still, a number of Ontario MPs — some who were supporters of leadership contender and longtime Conservative Peter MacKay — began an effort to have him removed from caucus. O'Toole shut it down, for reasons he wouldn't divulge then, but to observers, it smacked of politics. MacKay was running a progressive campaign. O'Toole's was aimed at the more centre right, while Sloan and Leslyn Lewis were targeting the socially conservative right. With Sloan gone, his backers would have more likely gone to Lewis, splitting the vote on the right between her and O'Toole, giving MacKay a path to victory. Except O'Toole backed Sloan, and would later take out social media ads hyping his decision. It was one of several steps he took to directly court Sloan's supporters, and when it came to voting time, they would ultimately help put O'Toole over the top to beat MacKay. The way the race played out has led to questions for O'Toole ever since about how he'd balance the demands of the social conservative wing of the party with his stated intent to broaden its overall appeal. O'Toole said he's aware people have "trust issues" with his party, suggesting social media contributes to the issue and noting he must break that online bubble if he hopes to see his party win. "The Prime Minister has to try and bring the country together: the diversity of its people, its geography, its industries, and the points of view and backgrounds of everyone," he said of the office he hopes to hold. "No one ever said it's easy." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
The United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top U.S. health officials said on Saturday, cautioning more data is needed. Officials are somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
LAHTI, FINLAND — Canadian Katherine Stewart-Jones had a career-best 24th place finish Saturday in a women's World Cup cross-country ski event. Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., posted a time of 41 minutes 8.6 seconds in the women's 15-kilometre skiathon. Cedrine Browne, of Saint-Jerome, Que., was 27th - her best-ever skiathon finish - in 41:30.0, marking the first time since 2014 that two Canadian women registered a top-30 finish on the World Cup. And Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., finished 29th in the men's 30-kilometre skiathon. The skiathlon, which combines classic and skate skiing, was the first World Cup start in nearly 10 months for the Canadians. They trained at home for the first half of the World Cup season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was good to get the first race of the season done, and I’m also very happy to get a new personal best result,” said Stewart-Jones after just her second career top-30 result. “I wanted to ski as relaxed as possible in the classic part and get myself in good position. "My legs started to feel heavy in the skate, so I just held on to the skiers around me. The wax techs did an incredible job with the skis today. They were very fast.” Browne registered her fourth top-30 result despite getting tangled up in an early crash. “There was a big fall in the first kilometre of the race that I couldn’t avoid and ended up nearly last," she said. "I had to be very strong mentally, be patient and trust myself for the rest of the race.” Norwegians Therese Johaug, Helene Marie Fosssesholm and Heidi Weng swept the top-three positions. Laura Leclair, of Chelsea, was 44th in her first-ever World Cup start in 44:26.8. Kennedy, who shared guiding duties for Brian McKeever at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, was quite happy with his finish. "That was a sweet first race to start the season off,” he said. "It’s a hard way to get into the World Cup season but it was so nice to finally race again." Emil Iverson led another Norwegian sweep of the medals. Sjur Roethe was second ahead of Paal Golberg. Antoine Cyr, of Gatineau, Que., was 37th (1:14:08.5) while Philippe Boucher, of Levis, Que., was 47th (1:15:52.6). Remi Drolet, of Rossland, B.C., finished 49th (1:16:48.5). This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
Ottawa is reporting 92 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 92 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Saturday. The city's death toll now sits at 419. The health authority also declared another 138 cases resolved. The infection rate in Ottawa rose to record levels after Christmas, but has started to decline. The current lockdown in eastern Ontario went into effect Dec. 26, and is scheduled to last until Feb. 11. A provincial stay-at-home order is also in effect. Numbers to watch 34: The number of Ottawa residents being treated in hospital for COVID-19, down slightly from Friday. 65: The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, which has also dropped since Friday. 0.88: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Anything below one suggests the spread is coming under control. Across the region In western Quebec, officials confirmed another 22 new cases and two more deaths on Saturday. Quebec's lockdown is in effect until Feb. 8, and includes an 8 p.m. curfew. Two more deaths were also reported by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit on Friday afternoon, bringing the region's total to 50.