Quebec's month-long curfew is now in effect, in an attempt to curb its surge in COVID-19 cases. But the new rules were immediately met with protests, as well as concerns police are being too heavy-handed with restrictions. Mike Le Couteur reports.
Quebec's month-long curfew is now in effect, in an attempt to curb its surge in COVID-19 cases. But the new rules were immediately met with protests, as well as concerns police are being too heavy-handed with restrictions. Mike Le Couteur reports.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
The CP railway that runs all the way from Alliston, through Beeton, and right through the middle of Tottenham won’t be going anywhere. A rail line has existed there for around 150 years, so it’s obviously a success, however the controversy over long train whistles is still ongoing. Complaints from residents in the Deer Springs subdivision in Tottenham about overly long train whistles near the 3rd Line crossing said the trains blow their whistles too long, especially during early morning hours between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. A local resident appeared before Town Council on December 14 to inquire about a request for a whistle cessation zone near the crossing. New Tecumseth Fire Chief Dan Heydon, who has been investigating the situation said, “They (the trains) are required, under Canadian Rail Operating Rule number 14, to whistle at all public grade crossings and they must begin sounding at least a quarter-mile upon approach to the crossing,” with no distinction made between daytime and nighttime operations when it comes to signaling an approach to a rail crossing. The issue was again brought up at the January 11 Council meeting when Ward 4 Councillor Fran Sainsbury brought up future planned developments that will be located very close to the existing railway. Councillor Sainsbury inquired if the “insurance and liability policies” of other towns like Markham and Milton, who have whistle cessation zones in urban centres, could be obtained. She referred particularly to future development plans in Beeton suggesting that they may “change how close we put these houses [to the railroad] and make them more soundproof.” A request was made for a report from other centres who have whistle cessation areas to find out about liability issues and costs with having crossings where the trains do not sound upon ap-proach, as well as to find out if there had been incidents related to having a train approach a crossing without sounding its whistle. Chief Heydon replied he has submited questions to CP Rail regarding the duration of the train whistle and how long the whistle should be sounded when approaching a crossing. whistle concerns are considered an “open item” meaning residents from Tottenham may still address this issue in the future Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
L’Auberge des Îles de Saint-Gédéon débutera dans les prochaines semaines les phases deux et trois de son projet de développement de condos. Le propriétaire de l’établissement, Éric Larouche, indique vouloir commencer ces phases en février prochain. Rappelons que le projet, évalué à 10 M$, a pour but de construire et vendre 40 unités de logement d’ici 2023. La première phase de ce projet est d’ailleurs déjà complétée. Ce sont ainsi huit condos qui ont été construits et vendus. Les investissements de la deuxième et de la troisième phase du projet sont évalués à 4 M$, selon ce qu’avance Éric Larouche. Chacune de ces deux phases permettra la construction de huit unités, pour un total de 16 condos. « L’objectif est de compléter ces phases d’ici cet été. Au minimum, on veut avoir fait la phase 2 qui comprend 8 unités, mais on aimerait faire les 16 condos », indique-t-il. Ski de fond Éric Larouche a par ailleurs lancé une idée sur sa page Facebook qui attire beaucoup d’intérêt, soit de mettre en place un réseau de sentiers de ski de fond dans le secteur de l’Auberge des Îles. « J’avais vu au départ une publication d’une personne disant rêver de voir des sentiers à Saint-Gédéon. J’ai donc relancé l’idée. De mon côté, ça fait 2 ans que je sensibilise les acteurs du secteur de Saint-Gédéon à ce sujet. Et avec la venue de la SÉPAQ dans le secteur, l’agrandissement de la Pointe-Taillon, ça fait en sorte qu’il faudrait développer un panier de services extérieurs. » Il y a donc actuellement des pourparlers entre les différents acteurs de Saint-Gédéon pour concrétiser le projet. Dans un monde idéal, Éric Larouche aimerait proposer les sentiers pour l’hiver 2021. Espace quatre saisons L’Auberge des Îles a également complété ses investissements pour son Espace quatre saisons. Les investissements, évalués à environ 2 M$, ont permis la création d’une piscine intérieure de 25m, des jeux d’eau intérieurs, un spa, un gym et une salle de jeux interactifs. Le tout avec une vue sur le lac Saint-Jean. De ce 2 M$, une partie a aussi été investie dans l’amélioration des chambres avec un changement du revêtement de plancher, de l’ameublement et la mise en place de portes automatiques et autres éléments techniques pour être conforme en cette période de crise sanitaire. Janick Emond, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Some trails in Vancouver's Stanley Park have been shut down a second time after more reports of coyotes nipping at joggers. Park rangers have again closed trails near Brockton Oval — the same area restricted earlier this month — as officials investigate, according to the Vancouver Park Board. B.C. Conservation Officer Service Sgt. Simon Gravel said unlike previous incidents where people were actually bitten, no one has suffered injuries in the latest incidents. "We received multiple reports, the most recent yesterday, of very close encounters. We call them a near miss but there was no human injury," he said. "Those coyotes are chasing humans and seeking food. Every indication is that they have been fed and have learned that behaviour." Two coyotes were captured and killed by conservation officers within the past two weeks. Gravel said officials are certain they found the coyotes that had bitten people. People approached by a coyote are advised to make themselves appear as large as possible by waving arms, yelling and staying in place. Coyote sightings can be reported to 311.
Une pétition pour soutenir les ainés Si la Covid-19 frappe particulièrement fort chez les ainés, ces derniers font aussi partie des victimes collatérales de la pandémie. En effet, les 65 ans et plus, qui forment 25 % de la population du Bas-Saint-Laurent, souffrent de l’isolement et de la précarité financière induits par les périodes de confinement. Ce jeudi, trois organismes se sont joints aux deux députés fédéraux Maxime Blanchette-Joncas et Kristina Michaud pour lancer une pétition demandant au gouvernement fédéral d’assurer un meilleur soutien aux personnes âgées. Car si Ottawa n’a pas été avare d’aides financières en tout genre dans la dernière année, les ainés font figure de grands oubliés : ils n’ont eu droit qu’à une aide ponctuelle de 500 $ en mars 2020, loin des milliards dépensés en PCU… Cette différence de traitement alimente un « profond sentiment d’injustice », selon M. Blanchette-Joncas, d’autant plus que les personnes âgées doivent composer avec des frais supplémentaires, qu’il s’agisse d’inflation ou de coûts de livraison. Augmenter le revenu des ainés est donc une priorité, ainsi que le martèle le président régional du Réseau FADOQ Gilles Noël : « Nous demandons que le gouvernement mette en œuvre sa promesse électorale faite lors de l’élection de 2019 en rehaussant minimalement de 10% le montant des prestations de la Sécurité de la vieillesse. » Le bénévolat en déroute Du côté de la Table de concertation des ainés du Bas-Saint-Laurent, on souligne l’urgence de briser l’isolement des 65 ans et plus. « Le gouvernement du Canada doit innover afin de mettre en place un réseau d’aide et de soutien direct aux ainés », explique la vice-présidente Kathleen Bouffard. Il devient difficile de trouver des bénévoles (la majorité ayant plus de 70 ans) pour faire des livraisons ou accompagner quelqu’un devant se rendre à l’hôpital pour passer des examens, et il faudrait donc former des travailleurs de milieu pour aller à la rencontre des personnes vivant seules, qui se sentent de plus en plus abandonnées. De son côté, le président du Carrefour 50 + Richard Rancourt alerte sur la situation des organismes qui font vivre les villages : ceux-ci sont portés à bout de bras par des retraités, et leurs revenus s’effondrent suite à la baisse de leur membership. M. Rancourt aimerait que le gouvernement pense à implanter des mesures de compensation pour assumer les coûts fixes, comme cela a été fait dans d’autres secteurs. La remise en route post-pandémie ne se fera pas d’elle-même, ajoute-t-il : « La culture de la peur s’est installée, il va falloir remotiver tout l’engagement bénévole de nos ainés. » Il sera alors probablement nécessaire d’avoir recours à des professionnels en animation, ce qui aura un coût. Internet haute vitesse et transferts en santé exigées Deux autres revendications plus universelles permettraient également d’améliorer le sort des ainés : tout d’abord, l’amélioration de la connexion au réseau internet haute vitesse, qui pourrait permettre de reconnecter les personnes seules au reste du monde si elles sont en mesure d’utiliser les outils web. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est la région la moins bien branchée au Québec, souligne le député Blanchette-Joncas. La pétition demande également d’indexer les transferts en santé de 6 %. L’autre députée bloquiste de la région, Kristina Michaud, rappelle que pour « chaque [tranche de] 100 $ dépensé[e] par le gouvernement fédéral depuis le début de la pandémie, seulement 33 cents sont allés dans le réseau de la santé du Québec. » La pétition sera déposée à la Chambre des communes si elle atteint plus de 500 signatures d’ici le 20 mars.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered. Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia has restored an online portal through which the public can submit freedom of information requests, almost three years after the site was shut down because of a security breach. The new site was launched Thursday and allows people to track the progress of requests, pay fees and receive responses. The site was shut down in March 2018 after a 19-year-old downloaded documents from the site to his home computer. About 7,000 documents were accessed over two days, affecting 700 people. The young man wasn't charged because he told officers he had used a widely available software to search for documents about a teachers' labour dispute, and it became clear to authorities that the basic firewalls weren't in place. The province says it has updated and improved security features on the site to prevent further breaches. Paula Arab, Nova Scotia's Internal Services minister, said the province has a five-year contract worth $760,000 with two companies to operate the site. Arab said it took time to set up the portal because the project was split into several parts. One portion involved receiving requests while another involved disclosing documents. Added security measures also required time, she said. "We wanted to do as many security tests as we could and to come up with the right solutions, and we took seriously two reports given to us following the (security) breach," Arab said. The new access to information application site can be found at iaprequest.novascotia.ca. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
A new type of gas bar will be coming to roadsides and communities throughout Western Canada. Co-op has partnered with Indigenous communities and organizations to launch the Western Nations gas bar brand. Indigenous communities will be able to work with Co-op to build and run a local gas bar with Western Nations branding. They will also have access to grants, as well as building, training and management support. Cam Zimmer, communications and public relations manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), says Western Nations is going to be a win-win for Co-op and Indigenous communities. "To get off the ground, that's always the most difficult stage for any business," he said. "But we can offer support there.… And this expands the network that we supply fuel to as well, so of course there's a business opportunity in there for us." In development for 2 years Tyler Case, assistant professor of management at the University of Saskatchewan, believes Western Nations has the makings of a strong partnership. "Co-op has a longstanding history and brand in Western Canada," he said. "So creating a new brand that is collaborative with Indigenous stakeholders … seems like a unique, authentic way for Co-op to invest in communities." The project has been in development for approximately two years. During that time, Zimmer says Co-op has been consulting with Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Western Canada to design a sustainable new program. A major component of Western Nations that came out of the consultations is the community building assistance program. Zimmer says there's an opportunity to benefit communities in a meaningful way, beyond simply business. "There's a formula that's based on the volume [of fuel sales] the site would do," Zimmer said. "And based on that, every year our partners that are part of Western Nations would have a certain amount reallocated to them. And they can choose where and how to invest that in their communities." 'It's their business' The funding would go toward community infrastructure, programming or events. Indigenous communities who want to own a Western Nations gas bar can start the process by contacting Co-op. "We will look for a good fit in terms of traffic and volume, all that good stuff," said Zimmer. "If it looks like a good fit, they would qualify for the Western Nations program, and they would own that site. It's their business. They own it. "But what they would get from us is the brand, of course, and a lot of support." Communities that already operate a gas bar under their own brand, or don't qualify for Western Nations, can still participate in Co-op's Indigenous gas bar program as Indigenous resellers. Indigenous resellers are also eligible for the community building assistance program.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation has launched a new program, Safer + Stronger Grants, to provide financial support for organizations addressing and combating gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s a lot of research that shows that gender-based violence does increase in times of disaster and this is something that’s global and Canada of course is no exception to that rule,” said Andrea Gunraj, vice president of public engagement at Canadian Women’s Foundation. “We’ve been seeing that that increase in gender-based violence tends to be because folks might be more isolated, folks might have less access to services, maybe communities are struggling with the disaster response and therefore the response or the services available for gender-based violence are limited.” The Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the grant program back in December after receiving a $19.6 million investment from the Department of Women and Gender Equality (WAGE). The grant will provide organizations with funding for a number of activities and expenses such as crisis intervention, digital resources, staffing, operating cost and COVID-19 prevention. “It’s very open in terms of what organizations could say they need uniquely in their community and the whole idea is we want to make sure that organizations get what they need in this emergency period, to be able to meet those needs of their communities.” With the new grant Canadian Women’s Foundation said through that they will be particularly committed in advancing initiatives in rural, remote and Northern areas which can see increased risk with less available support. “Statistics Canada has found that women in rural areas really do experience the highest rates of violence of intimate partner abuse, and of course some groups within those rural areas experience higher rates as well,” said Gunraj. “We also see that there might be greater barriers for folks who are in rural and remote northern areas, which could be that the shelter is not available for them, if they want to find emergency shelter programs they may not be available in their areas, there may be issues with trying to get to the services because of the distance between and lack of affordable housing options, affordable transportation options,” explained Gunraj. “Resources may be scarce for them, there’s the isolation and the difficulty in leaving a violent situation is going to be more difficult in those areas.” During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic police calls for domestic disturbance increased through March and June. Women’s Shelter Canada reported that 52 percent of 266 shelters surveyed reported seeing clients experiencing more severe forms of violence. In a survey from Statistics Canada, released in April 2020, it showed that 1 in 10 women were very or extremely concerned about the possibility of violence in the home. Family Transition Place (FTP) a local organization that provides services for women and children back in July said at the peak of the first wave they initially saw a decrease in calls for help, but as restrictions lifted they saw numbers begin to rise again. With the second wave of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, Canadian Women’s Foundation says there is higher risk of intimate partner violence and that the emergency grant will help support stretched organizations. Deadlines to apply for the Safer + Stronger Grant are Feb. 1 and 15. For more information on the grant go to www.canadianwomen.org. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
Shelburne Police Services (SPS) has revealed how they plan to enforce the Province’s new emergency declaration and stay-at-home order – ensuring officers won’t be conducting random vehicle or individual stops to check compliance. In a press release given last Thursday (Jan. 14), media relations officer Sgt. Paul Neumann said the local force’s initiatives for enforcing the order will be both “complaint-driven and proactive, with the goal of gaining compliance.” “Those that refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty,” wrote Neumann in the press release. “Enforcement will be aimed at those individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community.” The new stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Jan. 14, requires individuals to remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving for an essential purpose such as the grocery store, pharmacy, accessing health-care services, exercising or essential work. Shelburne Police say that over the past few months the vast majority of cases, where they’ve received a complaint or responded to a call where individuals are in violation, have willingly complied after being educated. “We expect this to remain the same moving forward and we thank those citizens who are doing their part,” said Neumann. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), while requesting Ontarians to “voluntarily comply” with the new order, also announced through a press release on Jan. 15 how they plan to enforce compliancy. The OPP said officers will be enforcing the order by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people. “In the absence of a complaint or other ground, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act,” noted Neumann. SPS and OPP officers will be enforcing the stay-at-home order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA); dispersing tickets to individuals found non-compliant. Fines for failing to comply with the order include $750 and/or $1000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following the order. Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporation. Failure to follow the order can result in prosecution or jail time. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa asked the U.S. House on Thursday to dismiss an election contest filed by her Democratic challenger that argues the six-vote race was wrongly decided. Miller-Meeks argued in a legal motion that the Democratic-controlled chamber should not consider Rita Hart's appeal because Hart did not contest the outcome under Iowa law. Longstanding House precedent in prior cases calls for contestants to take that step first, her lawyer Alan Ostergren argued. "Rita Hart should have raised her claims before a neutral panel of Iowa judges rather than before a political process controlled by her own party,” Ostergren said. After a recount, Iowa's canvassing board certified Miller-Meeks as the vote winner in Iowa's 2nd District with a tally of 196,964 to 196,958 — the closest congressional race nationwide in decades. Hart declined to challenge the result under Iowa law, saying it did not allow enough time to conduct additional recount proceedings. The law would have required a panel of judges to rule on challenges within days. Instead, Hart filed a contest in December directly to the House under a 1969 law that spells out how congressional candidates can challenge elections that they believe were marred by serious irregularities. Hart's attorneys claim they have identified 22 votes that were wrongly excluded due to errors, including 18 for Hart that would change the outcome if counted. They also want the House to examine thousands of ballots marked by machines as undervotes and overvotes that weren't visually inspected during the recount. Miller-Meeks' filing agreed that Iowa law would have required a quick legal review but said that “was no excuse” for Hart's decision to skip it altogether. The 22 ballots that Hart claims were wrongly rejected involve interpretations of state law that should have been decided by Iowa judges, the filing said. Additional votes for Miller-Meeks may also have been rejected “in the ordinary course of election administration,” it said. Taking the extreme step of overturning a state-certified election would lead to a “parade of contests” in which losing candidates from the House majority's party will ask for intervention after close races, Ostergren warned. The House decided earlier this month to provisionally swear in Miller-Meeks, pending the outcome of Hart's challenge. The two candidates had been competing to replace seven-term Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack in the southeastern Iowa district that has trended Republican in recent years. The House Administration Committee will determine how to proceed, including whether to investigate or dismiss the case. A spokesman said it would closely review the filings from both campaigns, as required by law. Hart said that she was disappointed by Miller-Meeks' motion, saying at least 22 voters would be disenfranchised without additional proceedings. “It is crucial to me that this bipartisan review by the U.S. House is fair, and I hope our leaders will move swiftly to address this contest and ensure all votes are counted," she said. The Associated Press
CALGARY — A Calgary man who killed his daughter and seriously injured her best friend in a drunk-driving crash is appealing his conviction and sentence. Michael Shaun Bomford was found guilty last January of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as causing the 2016 crash while impaired. He was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison. Bomford has filed an appeal that claims the sentence was excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances. He also suggests the trial judge erred by ruling hearsay text messages admissible at trial. Bomford is serving his sentence at the Drumheller Institution in Alberta. Court heard Bomford had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he took his 17-year-old daughter, Meghan, and her friend, Kelsey Nelson, to get police checks so that they could become junior ringette coaches. His daughter did not survive the crash, while Nelson suffered a severe brain injury and has no recollection of it. Bomford's trial heard that he lost control of his Jeep while driving 112 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. The Jeep rolled into the median and all three occupants were thrown out of the vehicle. (CTV Calgary) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020. The Canadian Press
Though the position of school settlement worker — someone who guides and supports students and their families who are new to Canada as they familiarize themselves with their new home — is not a new one in Southern Ontario, it is new to the North. In July, 2020, Tibila Sandiwidi took on the role of “Travailleur d’établissement dans les écoles” (school settlement worker) for the two Francophone school boards (Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon and Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario ) in Sudbury through his position with Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury. In addition to degrees in early childhood education, political science, applied research and social work, Sandiwidi is a newcomer to Sudbury himself, arriving in Sudbury in 2003 from Burkina Faso, West Africa. In his role as settlement worker, Sandiwidi aids parents and children new to Sudbury from beyond Canada’s borders, as well as the educators that have called Sudbury home for years – perhaps their whole lives. The role itself is financed through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IIRC) and co-ordinated through the Centre de santé, where Francophone newcomers to Sudbury can find most of the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their new home. It is about ensuring that parents and students can become a part of their school community by helping them understand how the education system works, the curriculum they will be learning, the interactions between parent and educator, and how to make the most of them, as well as helping with the cultural aspects of Canada that those who have lived here their whole lives may take for granted. “Everything is new,” said Sandiwidi. “To the parents, to the children, everything is new. So, you have parents who are learning new things, but they are supposed to teach their children, who are also learning new things.” It is a challenge, to say the least. For as much as it is of the utmost importance to make sure a child is succeeding in school in their new home country, it is also important they understand cultural traditions here – for instance, Halloween. The event features the simple and oft-repeated question: ‘What are you going out as?’ If you have not heard that line all your life, that’s a pretty vague question. “When you celebrate Halloween, if you ask them about Halloween activities when they have never been in them, have never done them before, it’s hard for them. Even for a newcomer parent to understand how to dress the kids with a Halloween costume or do activities like trick-or-treating, or even activities at the school.” Sandiwidi not only ensures that educators understand the need to offer more information or background on these events for any students in their class, but he also ensures that parents can understand the requirements as well, so that students can enjoy the fun and never have to feel as though they are on the outside. They can participate as if they had been ‘trick-or-treating’ all their lives. It also helps with cultural differences in behaviour; for example, looking someone in the eyes. There are many cultures that consider looking anyone older than you in the eyes while they are speaking, rather than casting them down at the ground, is considered a sign of disrespect – challenging your elders in a way that is disrespectful and rude. Eurocentric traditions would have you meet an elder’s gaze. The phrase ‘look me in the eyes when I am speaking to you,’ may be a familiar one here among parents and teachers, but not so in other countries. This results in a child that doesn’t know whether to choose up or down. And it’s something that Sandiwidi can help with as well. He also works to offer intercultural training workshops, supports schools with their registration efforts and acts as an ambassador for Francophone schools in Greater Sudbury. Of course, like everything in the world, the pandemic has changed how Sandiwidi is working. It is much more virtual and Sandiwidi says that though “it is hard to build trust when someone has never met you in person,” he continues to work within the limitations to assist parents, students and educators in their learning and development. He says that while online learning has presented even more challenges, not to mention a focus on achieving what’s possible under the circumstances rather than moving ahead with goals, the program is going strong and his interactions with newcomers are proving everyday that he can make a difference in their lives. If you would like more information on the program, visit SanteSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Stephen Fisher, a former constable with the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) has been found not guilty of the two charges alleged against him, relating to the disclosure of a video conversation between two OPS officers. Appearing in court via Zoom on Friday (Jan. 15) for the fifth day of his trial, Fisher was acquitted by Justice Shannon McPherson following final submissions by the defence and crown attorneys. “Mr. Fisher, it is not my normal practice to give judgment without reasons, but in this case I am going to find you not guilty of both counts currently, as alleged against you. My reasons will follow it sometime in the future,” said Justice McPherson. Fisher was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in December of 2018, after an investigation was made into the release of a video which contained a conversation between manager officers, Const. Andy May and Staff. Sgt. Dave McLagan, reportedly discussing and harassing other employees. Fisher was charged with disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer. Fisher’s trial began on Jan. 11 and saw testimonies from OPS officers including former OPS Const. Andy May, OPP Sgt. Dave McLagan, Sgt. Steve Phillips, Const. James Giovanetti, Special Const. Rick Stevens, and Fisher himself. Defense attorney Pamela Machado started her final submission by saying an internal policy of the Orangeville Police mandated reporting workplace violence and harassment – either in or outside the workplace, on or off duty to a direct supervisor. Machado noted that the policy did not account for what an officer must do when they can’t report up the chain of command. Machado argued that numerous conflicts of interest, made it so Fisher could not report up the chain of command, as per OPS policy. Const. Giovanetti in his testimony said that there was little separation between frontline members and upper management at OPS which made it uncomfortable for people to bring complaints forward due to fear of reprisal. “The evidence has also demonstrated the long contentious history of the Orangeville Police Service,” said Machado. “The toxic work environment, the history of harassment by Andy May and the failure of the executive to act, all of which created a necessity for Steven Fisher to disclose this recording.” Throughout the trial it was established that Fisher found the video recording of Const. May and Staff Sgt. McLagan, discussing and allegedly harassing other employees on a computer in the OPS monitor room. A publication ban is currently in place for the video and information derived from it. Machado in her submission noted that other employees of OPS had in the past made submissions of harassment against OPS supervisors with no outcome. “One area that has been entirely absent from the Crown’s case, is whether the content of the video did in fact amount to harassment,” said Machado. In her argument against the breach of trust by a police officer Machado said: “He testified, he did not disclose this video to anyone other than a law enforcement officer. He did not therefore breach the standard responsibility and conduct demanded, in fact, I would submit it is the opposite, as the public demands accountability and transparency from police.” Crown attorney Katie Beaudoin in her submission argued that the conversation between May and McLagan was a private communication based on four factors. “All [factors] lead to the conclusion that both May and McLagan had an expectation of privacy and were engaged in a private communication,” said Beaudoin. Beaudoin also argued that Fisher went outside his purpose of assisting a harassment complaint, by disclosing the entirety of the 40 minute video and that he breached an oath of confidentiality. “The oath of confidentiality requires police officers not to disclose any information obtained in the course of their duties as a police officer, unless authorized or required by law,” said Beaudoin. “I submit Const. Fisher breached his oath of confidentiality by disclosing Orangeville Police property where it was not authorized or required by law.” Justice McPherson asked Beaudoin to explain her conclusion that Fisher had breached his oath, as he had disclosed the property to another police officer. “My submission is he gives it to a civilian who happens to be a special constable,” said Beaudoin. Justice McPherson, at the conclusion of the Crown’s submissions, ruled Fisher not guilty of both counts – disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
Vital, critical, indispensable, crucial and necessary … all words the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is using to describe the province’s current stay-at-home order. “People ask the question, is it necessary? We're doing really well in Grey-Bruce. Yes, we're doing really well, but it is very necessary,” said Dr. Ian Arra, MOH for the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) during a virtual town hall event hosted by Bruce Power on Wednesday evening. “The Premier said it best, you can look at the regulations and all the complexity of it. But it is simple – just stay home,” Arra said. “When you do this, just remember it's painful but it is saving lives.” Arra is asking the public to look at the current order in a positive light, as it has alleviated the concern of individuals travelling into Grey County from other high-risk, red-zone areas. He said in December the health unit had placed a lot of focus on how individuals from neighbouring communities that were experiencing high COVID case numbers had been moving into the county. “All that planning and communication was not necessary anymore when the province issued the lockdown. It has definitely balanced that equation that would be increasing the risk in our area,” he said. According to Arra, case numbers in recent weeks have remained relatively favourable, despite the health unit seeing a surge in cases following the holidays. “I'm very proud of the community, proud to be part of this community, that the surge was not larger than what it was over the past few weeks,” Arra said, adding that the case numbers have now begun to taper down. “The past week has been averaging around three or four cases per day, which is a success,” he said. As of Jan. 20, there have been 657 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Grey and Bruce counties. Currently, there are 30 active cases and two individuals being hospitalized. According to Arra, early December is believed to have been the peak of the second wave of COVID in Grey-Bruce. However, Arra is asking the public to remain cognizant that the province has been seeing a large number of cases reported every day since the holiday. “We've seen 3,000 cases per day and they're going to translate into higher admission to the hospital, to the ICU, and unfortunately, in deaths,” he said. “People might say, well, in Grey-Bruce we have only two cases in the hospital. But, again, we're not on an island. And our [healthcare] system is built to support universality.” He explained that as the provincial healthcare system continues to be strained, the impacts will trickle down to other regions, adding that the province has already begun transferring patients between hospitals. “We need all of us to stay this course until the vaccine is in enough arms to make this pandemic nonexistent,” he said. “This is not going to end tomorrow. It's going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay the course.” Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, are resigning after an outside workplace review of Rideau Hall found that the pair presided over a toxic work environment. Last year, an independent consulting firm was hired by the Privy Council Office (PCO) to review reports that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. Sources who were briefed on the consulting firm's report told CBC News that its conclusions were damning. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, which he said offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. LeBlanc said Payette indicated her intention to resign during a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last night, where they discussed the report's contents. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months, saying that everyone has "a right to a healthy and safe work environment." "While no formal complaints or official grievances were made during my tenure, which would have immediately triggered a detailed investigation as prescribed by law and the collective agreements in place, I still take these allegations very seriously," she said in the statement. "We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better and be attentive to one another's perceptions." WATCH | Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns after scathing workplace review: Payette said her resignation comes at a good time because her father is in poor health and her family needs her help. Trudeau's office confirmed receiving Payette's resignation. "Every employee in the Government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, and we will always take this very seriously," Trudeau said in a statement. "Today's announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review." Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner will fulfil the duties of the Governor General on an interim basis. In a short statement, Buckingham Palace said "the Queen has been kept informed of developments." Third-party review The Privy Council Office launched the unprecedented third-party review in July in response to a CBC News report featuring a dozen public servants and former employees confidentially claiming Payette belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff. Di Lorenzo, Payette's longtime friend and second-in-command, is also accused of bullying staff. Payette tweeted two days after that story aired that she was "deeply concerned about the media reports" and she "takes harassment and workplace issues very seriously ... I am in full agreement and welcome the independent review." As of Jan. 5, Rideau Hall had spent more than $150,000 in public funds on legal representation in response to the toxic workplace allegations, and had hired a former Supreme Court justice to represent Payette and Blakes law firm for the institution itself. That sum is larger than the original value of the federal contract that hired Quintet Consulting to conduct the review. The private firm was hired on an $88,325 contract in Sept. 2020. Sources have also told CBC that Secretary to the Governor General Assunta Di Lorenzo, who has also been accused of harassing employees, recently hired Marie Henein's firm to represent her. Henein represented ex-Vice Admiral Mark Norman, the military's former second-in-command, during his trial for breach of trust. Federal prosecutors stayed that charge. It's not clear if Henein or another lawyer at her firm is personally representing Di Lorenzo. The Bloc Québécois issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the Rideau Hall workplace review and said the position of Governor General has no place in a democracy. LeBlanc said his department has already received — and will comply with — access to information requests for the report. But he added that federal privacy law limits what can be disclosed. "The government is not in a position ... to necessarily release all the details of the report," LeBlanc said. "We will clearly comply with the access to information legislation and the appropriate version will be made public as soon as we can." Removing a Governor General Payette joins a very short list of governors general who have left the post early — but she is the first to do so mired in controversy. Lord Alexander left for England a month before Vincent Massey was sworn in as his replacement in 1952. John Buchan, also known as Lord Tweedsmuir, and Georges Vanier both died while serving, in 1940 and 1967, respectively. In those cases, the Supreme Court chief justice of the day stepped in to fill the role temporarily. Romeo LeBlanc, Dominic's father, stepped down in 1999 before the end of his term due to health issues. The office was not left vacant; LeBlanc continued until Adrienne Clarkson was ready to succeed him. Governors general have resigned under pressure — and have been asked to resign by prime ministers — in Commonwealth countries in the past. In 2003, Australian Gov. Gen. Peter Hollingworth resigned after controversy erupted over the way he had handled sexual abuse claims while he was archbishop of Brisbane. WATCH | Former heritage minister on choosing a governor general Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole released a statement calling on the Liberal government to consult the other parties before choosing Payette's permanent replacement. "The Governor General is the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces and has an important constitutional role," O'Toole said. "Considering the problems with his last appointment and the minority Parliament, the Prime Minister should consult opposition parties and re-establish the Vice-Regal Appointments Committee." That committee was created by the Harper government in 2012 to identify a list of possible candidates for viceregal offices, including the Governor General, through a non-partisan consultation process. It was later disbanded and was dormant in 2017. LeBlanc committed the Liberal government to a "robust and thorough and complete" vetting process when choosing Payette's successor. In a statement, Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, called media reports about Payette's behaviour "regrettable." He said he hopes that her resignation will usher in a new chapter at Rideau Hall defined by "loyalty, dignity and respect." "It is important to remember that the Governor General represents our admired head of state, the Queen," said Finch. "If future vice-regals aspire to perform their roles with the grace, dedication and duty as our Sovereign has during almost 70 years, they will excel."
Russia has ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
CALGARY — An industry analyst says Western Canada's oil producers will likely cope better in the short term with Joe Biden's cancelling of the Keystone XL presidential permit this week than they did with the same move by ex-president Barack Obama in 2015. But Phil Skolnick, a New York-based analyst for Eight Capital, agrees with other observers that the end of the pipeline will stifle new investment and production growth in the Canadian oilpatch for years to come. Shortly after being inaugurated on Wednesday, U.S. President Biden, who was Obama's vice-president, fulfilled a campaign promise and took away the pipeline permit that former president Donald Trump returned to builder TC Energy Corp. in 2019. Skolnick says the difference between now and 2015 is that producers are looking forward to opening two other export pipelines -- Line 3 and Trans Mountain -- that together provide nearly one million barrels a day of export capacity. Richard Masson, an executive fellow and energy expert at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, agrees the two remaining pipelines will provide enough capacity to allow oil production to grow into the second half of this decade. But he says uncertainty about capacity beyond that point makes it impossible for producers to make decisions about new multibillion-dollar oilsands projects, which could take five years or more to plan and build. Canadian Energy Pipeline Association CEO Chris Bloomer, meanwhile, says excess space in the oil transport system is vital going forward to provide optionality, energy security and stable pricing for producers. Earlier Thursday, TC Energy Corp. said it planned to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. The company had previously warned that blocking the project would lead to thousands of job losses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP) The Canadian Press
Les élus de la MRC de Lac-Saint-Jean-Est ont donné leur appui à un important projet de requalification de l’église de Saint-Gédéon évalué à 1,8 M$. Une étape essentielle pour que la municipalité puisse aller chercher l’aide financière dont elle a besoin. « C’est une demande que nous avons reçue de la part du maire Émile Hudon. La ville se dirige dans une phase de projets importants concernant l’église et une aide financière a été demandée au ministère de la Culture et des Communications, que la ville devrait recevoir », indique le directeur général de la MRC, Sabin Larouche. La localité souhaiterait notamment faire de l’église une salle multifonctionnelle tout en conservant son lien de culte. La ministre responsable de la région, Andrée Laforest, avait fait savoir à la municipalité de Saint-Gédéon qu’il serait plus intéressant que le projet puisse compter sur un appui de la MRC. « C’est un beau projet, donc on l’a évidemment appuyé », ajoute Sabin Larouche, qui précise toutefois qu’aucune somme n’avait à être versée dans l’immédiat par la MRC. Le maire de Saint-Gédéon, Émile Hudon, n’a pu se rendre disponible pour offrir plus de détails sur le dossier. Il fera le point sur ce projet dans notre prochaine édition. Chemin du Golf Par ailleurs, les élus ont également adopté une résolution pour l’asphaltage du chemin du Golf à Saint-Gédéon. « Il s’agit de la dernière phase concernant les travaux d’envergure pour permettre l’accès à l’agrandissement de la Pointe-Taillon dans le secteur de Saint-Gédéon. Le camping est pas mal prêt, et tout ce qui concerne la SÉPAQ également. » Sabin Larouche indique que les travaux d’infrastructure du chemin sont pratiquement tous terminés, mais comme l’entrepreneur qui était responsable a fait faillite, la MRC a récupéré le projet pour le compléter. « Principalement, ce n’est que l’asphaltage qui reste à compléter, ce qui sera fait ce printemps. On ira en appel d’offres bientôt. »Janick Emond, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best. While the discovery of insulin has saved the lives of millions of people afflicted with diabetes, it is not a cure. Diabetes continues to take the lives of Canadi-ans and the rate of dia-betes is alarming. One in three Canadians are living with, or are at risk of developing diabetes. Currently, youth around 20 years-old have a 50 per cent chance of being diagnose with Type 2 dia-betes in their lifetime. The current COVID-19 pandemic is hindering care for some people with diabetes and placing people with the disease at three-times higher risk of dying from the virus if contracted. Diabetes Canada is launching a new fund-raising and awareness campaign called, “We Can’t Wait Another 100 Years to End Diabetes.”“ The discovery of insu-lin in Canada ranks among the leading achievements of medical research,” said Laura Syron, President and CEO of Diabetes Canada. “Although insulin has enabled an incredible change in life expectancy and quality of life for millions of people around the world, it isn’t a cure. It is a treatment. More than ever, the millions of Canadians with or at risk of diabetes need our support. We can’t wait another 100 years and we hope Canadians will support us and help to end diabetes.” Beginning in January 2021, the year long campaign will recognize the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning scientific achievement by Sir Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and fellow scientists and co-discoveres of insulin, JJR Macleod and James Collip. While celebrating the milestone, the campaign aims to remind Canadians about the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of the disease which can lead to other chronic illnesses includ-ing blindness, heart attack and stroke, amputation and kidney failure. Through the campaign, Diabetes Canada will engage in a national conversation about the disease. Although this is the anniversary of an incredible discovery, Diabetes Canada says “insulin is not enough. It is the starting line, not the finish line for diabetes.” New Tecumseth has a special connection to Sir Frederick Banting. He was born on a farm in Alliston in 1891 and attended high school in the Town before leaving to attend school at the University of Toronto.T he Banting Homestead Heritage Park preserves this historic site. Diabetes Canada was started by Charles Best in 1940, and is dedicated to supporting people living with diabetes. None Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times