Yahoo Finance's Oscar Williams-Grut has the latest from London.
Yahoo Finance's Oscar Williams-Grut has the latest from London.
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
The Township of Perry passed three beginning-of-the-year finance bylaws at the Jan. 20 council meeting. The province of Ontario requires that municipalities pass bylaws at the beginning of each year to allow for borrowing to cover expenditures, authorizing the interim tax levy and setting tax reduction rates for specific property tax classes. So, What Is an Interim Tax Levy? The interim tax levy allows the treasurer to issue temporary tax notices and set due dates, interest and penalty amounts for the new year. According to a report to council, this allows the municipality to maintain a positive cash flow and reduce the need for borrowing funds to cover operational expenses. How Does That Affect You? This year an interim tax payment in the amount of 50 per cent of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property shall be levied on all property classes. The tax levy is payable in two instalments on Feb. 25, 2021, and April 25, 2021. What Does the ‘Borrowing Bylaw’ Mean? The borrowing bylaw allows the municipality to temporarily borrow funds to cover operating expenses when necessary. The maximum amount of money allowed to be borrowed, according to the bylaw, is $500,000. The bylaw also includes a clause saying that, to access funds, a resolution must be passed by the council stating the facility and the amount to be borrowed. What Is a Tax Reduction Bylaw? The tax reduction bylaw sets out reductions on vacant and excess commercial and industrial property tax rates as well as rate reductions for first-class farmland in all property classes. These rate reductions are set out by the province of Ontario. What Do the Provincial Tax Reduction Rates Look Like This Year? The tax rate reductions for 2021 are: · The vacant land and excess land in the commercial property class is 30 per cent. · The vacant land and excess land in the industrial property class is 35 per cent. · First class of farmland awaiting development in residential/farm, multi-residential, commercial or industrial class is 75 per cent while the second class of farmland waiting development is zero per cent. Commercial property class includes all commercial offices, shopping centres and parking lot properties. Industrial property class includes all large industrial properties and first/second class of farmland awaiting development consist of land defined in accordance with provincial regulations. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
When Nora Funk was growing up in Stephenville on the west coast of Newfoundland, she always felt her Mi'kmaw ties to the land. After moving to Manitoba at 16 and beginning to increasingly experience her Indigenous culture, she knew she wanted to learn more. Funk, who now lives in Nanaimo, B.C., told CBC Radio's Weekend AM earlier this month that she hadn't been taking part in Mi'kmaw culture before she moved, because it was "almost lost" in Newfoundland. "I find now my heart really longs to know more," she said. Her lighter skin colour means she'd hear troubling comments about Indigenous people, made by people who didn't know she's Mi'kmaw. Moving west showed her a different world, she said, and she experienced a troubling mindset toward Indigenous people she hadn't seen in her home province. "My mom is Scottish and English, I'm whiter skin than most," she said. "The problem is you tend to hear more when you're like that, because people make allowances because they don't think that you're Native so a lot more things are said. And it really, really stung." Funk started volunteering at friendship centres to learn more about her culture, and then decided to take it step further by learning the Mi'kmaw language, which she sees as a way to help preserve her culture. "It's so crucially important not to let not only our language die, but our culture. It's so rich," she said. LISTEN | Nora Funk speaks with the CBC's Paula Gale about learning to speak Mi'kmaw: "I'm absolutely loving it. I am starting to learn how to put sentences together, proper pronunciation, participles, past participles. It's been challenging, but it's been so rewarding.… I'm starting to put out little stickers on my cupboard doors and my salt and my pepper, so I'm forcing myself to say it before I grab it. I really want to incorporate more of the language into my life." Funk's teacher, Marcella Williams, has been sharing her language skills with the Flat Bay Mi'kmaw band on Newfoundland's southwest coast. She said the band has been hosting language classes since 2014, teaching people a language seldom spoken for decades out of fear. "When we joined Confederation, it was said there are no Natives in Newfoundland," she said. "[If] they found out, you would lose your job. In order to not have that happen and to be able to make their livelihood, they hid it. Because they hid it so well … we ended up losing that piece of ourselves." Williams teaches close to 60 people over a 10-week online program. She said the core language is mostly the same among different regions like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Conne River, with different regional dialects developing over time — similar to calling a couch a "chesterfield" or "sofa" in English. "You will find some who are taking to it like a duck to water. They love it, I can't give them enough information," Williams laughed. "There are some on the opposite ends that struggle, but even though they're struggling they're giving it their all. And that's the most important thing." The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people. - Nora Funk While most of Funk's family are members of the Qalipu First Nation, she said she has not been able to become a member because she doesn't live in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, she hopes her work to preserve Mi'kmaw culture can bring a different kind of recognition. "I don't really care about the health care and all the things that come with it. What I care about, and why I want status, is because I want the government to acknowledge that we exist," she said. "When Joey Smallwood basically told the government that there was no Aboriginal people, I think he thought he was doing a service so that we could join Confederation. But it was such a disservice because we've never been acknowledged. And that's not fair." She also hopes speaking with others about the nearly lost language will encourage others to learn and preserve the culture. "Knowing that my own language and my own people were almost bred out and learning and knowing that the language was dying … it was something that my soul was longing to get in touch with who I am. I didn't want to see that die out," she said. "The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people." Williams hopes more can be done to revive the language, like sending language students to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, where Mi'kmaw is more commonly used. Work is also being done within the Qalipu First Nation, which will launch virtual language workshops beginning in February. "If you don't use it, you lose it … just like when you do French immersion in school. Without being able to hear it, you won't end up with fluent speakers," she said. "Language ties to culture. Just by learning about the language, not even learning the words but about why things are the way they are in the language, you can learn a lot about the culture that may otherwise be lost. It's part of our identity, and it's who we are." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Former Google executive Carlo d'Asaro Biondo has been appointed as Chief executive officer of Telecom Italia's (TIM) newly-created cloud unit Noovle, Italy's biggest phone group said on Monday. The creation of the new company is part of the former phone monopoly's strategy to boost and diversify its revenues, providing services to businesses and state-controlled offices looking to improve their digital reach. D'Asaro Biondo, who has been Google's president for EMEA partnerships, joined the former phone monopoly last year after TIM struck a deal with the tech giant to expand its cloud business in the country.
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
BERLIN — It’s back to the future for Hertha Berlin, a club tormented by its own ambition as it fails to deliver after huge investments and finds itself overshadowed by crosstown rival Union Berlin. The club re-hired former coach Pál Dárdai on Monday to shake up the team after yet another lacklustre start to the season. Dárdai replaces Bruno Labbadia, who was fired the day before. “Pál has Hertha Berlin in his blood and we are absolutely convinced that his clear manner will give the team the necessary new impetus,” Hertha chief executive Carsten Schmidt said. Hertha is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga, two points above the relegation zone after winning only one of its last eight games, over last-place Schalke. Dárdai's return was made possible following the dismissal Sunday of general manager Michael Preetz, who opted not to keep him on as coach at the end of the 2018-19 season. Dárdai had been in charge since February 2015 and his team was solid but unspectacular. Hertha needs stability at this stage. “As a die-hard Herthaner, he knows everyone here and doesn’t need any time to settle in,” Schmidt said of Dárdai. It is just under a year since investor Lars Windhorst said Hertha should be mixing with the best in Germany and qualifying for European competition. “It’s not rocket science,” Windhorst said in February 2020. But Hertha has only disappointed since Windhorst first invested in the club in June 2019. The financier has pledged 374 million euros ($450 million) to Hertha altogether. He is yet to see any sign that his money is well spent. Underwhelming performances on the pitch have been accompanied by turmoil off it. There have been major boardroom changes and Hertha worked its way through four coaches last season – Ante Covic, Jürgen Klinsmann, Alexander Nouri and Labbadia. Labbadia came in while the Bundesliga was suspended due to the coronavirus, and was fired after nine months in charge on Sunday. Hertha lost four of its last five games last season, and four of its first five this time around. Hertha captain Niklas Stark, asked Saturday if the team was still behind the coach, would only say that it was not his decision to make. The firing of Preetz, who hired 11 coaches altogether, ended his 25-year association with the club that began when he was a player in 1996. Preetz is taking most of the blame for Hertha’s problems. Hertha fans called for his resignation in a socially distanced protest outside the Olympiastadion before Bremen’s visit on Saturday. They also protested against Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer, who remains at the club. Preetz oversaw a spending spree of well over 100 million euros ($121 million) since Windhorst arrived. Only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have spent more. Preetz jettisoned experienced players like Vedad Ibisevic, Per Skjelbred, Salomon Kalou and Thomas Kraft in a shake up of the squad, but none of the new arrivals have been able to impress so far. Hertha’s struggles have been amplified by Union’s success with much less means. Union was expected to struggle in its second season in the Bundesliga, but it is currently eighth after earning points against Bayern, Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, among others. Hertha has already adjusted its targets for the season. “Whenever you think you’re better than the others, you’re already a point behind,” Schmidt said. ___ 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
William Joseph "Bill" Hireen was always easy to spot if you lived in Abbotsford, B.C. His unmistakable '91 Cavalier was covered in decals — everything from the Teamster's union to Canadian veterans — each representing a proud chapter in his life. He never missed a Remembrance Day ceremony. If the city council was in session, you'd better believe he was sitting four rows from the front on the left aisle in his usual seat. It even had his name on it. "From city councillors to the homeless, he could chat it up with all of them," said his daughter, Valerie Noble. Hireen, a Navy veteran, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in December. His battle lasted two weeks until his death on New Year's Eve. He's one of at least 11 people who have died following an outbreak at Menno Home, a care home in Abbotsford. More than 70 people have been infected. "When they gave us the phone call to tell us he tested positive, it was devastating," said Noble. "He wanted to fight it, and he did his very best." Proud of his service Hireen was born in Vancouver on March 23, 1927. He grew up in the city, before joining the Navy in the early 1940s. He served overseas during the Second World War, stationed in the United Kingdom. "I was one of the lucky ones," he once wrote in a letter after a local newspaper published a photo of him in mourning while attending a Remembrance Day ceremony. "My thoughts went back to the 1940s and the thousands wearing the same uniform as me who would never come back," he wrote. After he was discharged from the Navy, Hireen started a family in Vancouver. His eldest daughter, Valerie Noble, was born in 1953. Noble said her father was a devout Catholic and a great public speaker, never afraid to speak in front of the congregation. Noble's fond memories of her father include ice skating, camping adventures and a trip to Disney Land, and she also recalled her dad's love for driving and cars. He worked as a truck driver. "He was very proud of all his cars, everything from his VW Volkswagen to his '67 Chevelle. With every car, he put his own touches on," she said. At age 55, he was diagnosed with a spinal cord disease that paralyzed him from the waist down. Determined to stay behind the wheel, he had hand controls installed in his Cavalier so he could keep driving, which he did up until 2018. "He was very independent," Noble said, adding that she had registered him for handyDART, a paratransit service in B.C. "But he never used it once." A council fixture Hireen spent the last three decades of his life in Abbotsford, where he became one of the most well-known members of the community. He wouldn't miss Remembrance Day ceremonies, and he could always be spotted at school board, police board, and transit meetings. When it came to city council, his attendance record would give any elected official a run for their money. "I've been a city councillor for five terms, and as long as I can remember, Bill was a fixture in our chambers," said councillor Dave Loewen. Plaque part of Hireen's legacy One morning, while making his way to council chambers on crutches, he was greeted by mayor and council. They unveiled a plaque on his usual chair. "This seat is reserved for William J 'Bill' Hireen during council meetings," it read. "We'd always looked at Bill's chair, and if he wasn't there, someone would be asking about Bill," said Loewen. "He was someone who encouraged us, without words, that we were doing alright ... he affirmed us." Loewen says there are no plans to remove the plaque. It's part of Hireen's legacy that includes war medals, more than 200 blood donations, the respect of his peers and the love of his family. Hireen leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren and three great granddaughters.
“Every Waking Hour,” by Joanna Schaffhausen (Minotaur) The push-pull relationship between Boston police detective Ellery Hathaway and FBI Agent Reed Markham took a big leap last year in “All the Best Lies,” the third book in Joanna Schaffhausen’s compelling series of crime novels. Now, in “Every Waking Hour,” the world seems determined to pull the new lovers apart. Reed rescued Ellery from serial killer years ago, when she was just a teenager, so their mutual attraction has been fraught with complications from the start. And now? Reed’s ex-wife Sarit disapproves of Ellery. Still bitter about their divorce, Sarit threatens to stop him from seeing his toddler daughter unless he breaks off the relationship. Ellery’s teenage half-sister, a runaway from the father who abandoned Ellery and her mother years ago, shows up and moves in. And Ellery, whose kidnapping was such a huge story that journalists never lost interest in her, is horrified when a news photographer catches the lovers in a tender moment and makes their relationship public. Meanwhile, a 12-year-old girl has been kidnapped, battering Ellery with horrible memories of her own ordeal that are never far from the surface. The obvious suspect is the nanny who was supposed to be watching over the child. However, Ellery and Reed soon discover that the girl’s mother’s first child was murdered years ago when he was also 12 years old. That the crime was never solved. Might the two cases be connected? The result is a tension-filled investigation filled with twists that readers are unlikely to see coming. Though not a particularly stylish writer, Schaffhausen spins her yarn with clear, concise prose that keeps the plot moving at a torrid pace. But as usual in this series, the most compelling part of her story is the fragile relationship between the protagonists. Can it — and even should it — survive what the world keeps throwing at them? ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.” Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska held the enviable position of having the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations per capita in the nation as of last week, the state's top health official said. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said last Thursday that the progress was the result of community efforts to quickly distribute vaccinations and additional allotments for federal agencies within the state, KTOO-FM reported. Zink told the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce that Alaska receives more doses of vaccine because of allowances above the state’s share for the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. “We have the highest veterans per capita population. We have a large military presence. And we have a large Indigenous population with over 229 sovereign tribes,” Zink said. “And so, because of those reasons, we did get some additional vaccine in the state via those federal partnerships.” The allotment for the Indian Health Service, which works with tribal entities to deliver health care to Alaska Native residents, could have been subtracted from the state’s share of the federal supply, but ultimately was allowed to be added, Zink said. “That’s been transformational for Alaska, that decision for Operation Warp Speed,” Zink said of the Trump administration's name for the national vaccine distribution initiative. More than 14,000 people had received both required doses of a vaccine cycle as of last Thursday, while more than 67,000 people had received at least one of the shots in the series. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump’s former chief spokeswoman and one of his closest aides, announced Monday she’s running for Arkansas governor, vying for political office even as the former president’s legacy is clouded by an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. The former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, launched the bid less than a week after the end of Trump’s time in office and as the ex-president faces an impeachment trial. But her announcement reflected how much she expected voters in solidly red Arkansas to embrace the former president, if not his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a video announcing her bid. “In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas.” The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders had been widely expected to run for the office after leaving the White House — and Trump publicly encouraged her to make a go. She’s been laying the groundwork for a candidacy, speaking to GOP groups around the state. Sanders joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed current Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Sanders launched her bid weeks after a riot by Trump’s supporters at the U.S. Capitol left five people dead. More than 130 people have been charged in the insurrection, which was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s win over Trump. Sanders was the first working mother and only the third woman to serve as White House press secretary. But she also faced questions about her credibility during her time as Trump’s chief spokesperson. During her nearly two-year tenure, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her about administration policy and the investigation into possible co-ordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But Sanders earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. Trump’s tumultuous exit from the presidency may do little damage to Sanders in Arkansas. Republicans hold all of Arkansas’ statewide and federal seats, as well as a solid majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. Sanders’ nearly 8-minute video prominently features photos of Trump, along with references to his favourite targets such as “cancel culture,” socialism and the Green New Deal. Griffin and Rutledge have spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ announcement, lining up endorsements from the state’s top Republicans and raising funds. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million. The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat. Sanders, who published a book last year and joined Fox News as a contributor after leaving the White House, enters the race with a much higher profile than any of the candidates. She remains an unknown on many of the state’s biggest issues, though in her announcement she called for reducing state income taxes and cutting off funding for cities that violate immigration laws. Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The Pfizer mRNA vaccine and another one developed by Moderna have passed both animal and human trials in which they were tested on more than 70,000 people. The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by reviving earlier Chinese calls for a WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. State media have referenced past scandals at the lab, but China has given no reliable evidence to support the coronavirus theory. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
After arguments between residents who lived near Meadowcrest beach erupted in the later summer, McDougall’s council has decided that boats will not be permitted to launch from that location. At the previous meeting in December, Leduc brought forward three recommendations to council on how to remedy the situation at the small beach. The first option was to operate the beach the same as before the pandemic, with the launching of small boats limited to a vessel that a person can carry to the water. Option two was to operate the beach with the added restriction of no vessel launching of any kind, and the third option was to allow people to launch small boats or vessels on trailers only from ice out until May 31 and then again from Sept. 15 to the time the lake ices. Here are some quotes from the council meeting regarding the decision: “This isn’t a resolution, it’s just direction to staff; currently it is established as a beach and I spoke at the previous meeting about leaving it as a beach and my position hasn’t changed on that,” said Mayor Dale Robinson. “Are there any other spots on Portage Lake where it’s possible to look at for future boat ramps?” asked Coun. Joe Ryman. “The spot at Portage Creek right now is municipal property; there is no dock there currently, so there really is no encumbrance for us to put a dock there if we needed to, as it is our property,” said parks and recreation director Brian Leduc. At the Jan. 20 council meeting, three councillors and the mayor voted in favour of the beach remaining simply a beach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
One student poll in France found 72% had suffered recent psychological distress and more than a third had had depressive symptoms. View on euronews
After much discussion, the Township of McMurrich/Monteith will remain in the regional fire training program. The Township received 16 letters from residents on Jan. 18, relating to concerns of not entering into the shared fire training agreement. Here are some key quotes from the discussion: “My concern is that I will not be able to get my people trained anymore or be able to get them certified; as a result, I won’t have firefighters to meet what we need to do in our municipality,” said McMurrich/Monteith’s fire chief John Ross. “I do not have the manpower to take on a single-family dwelling, so the automatic aid has been a huge plus for us, along with everything else that comes with it: the training, the bulk purchasing … the collaboration with the other departments. Leaving just the training has such a huge fallout.” “The contract is the problem, not the trainer — I’ve never had a problem with the trainer so to be clear on that, it’s the contract,” said Coun. Alfred Bielke. “The only way I know we’re going to get the service we require is to enter into this agreement because, right now, we’re being told we can’t get the training. We don’t have the personnel to even fight a fire in our own township … we’re putting our people at risk, we’re putting their homes at risk and we’re putting lives at risk, so the only way to get this back is to rescind the motion we defeated and put it back on the table,” said Coun. Dan O’Halloran. “For the authors of our letters, and the people that are listening, this agreement (is) a prelude to the regional fire training and regional fire department …” said Coun. Lynn Zemnicky. “I just want people who are listening to realize that the previous council jumped on board to chip in on this equipment, (the) ice and fire rescue boats … they were thousands of dollars; one is housed in, I believe, Kearney and the other in Magnetawan. If you fall into Bear, Doe or Buck Lake, I hope you can stay treading water until it comes all the way from Magnetawan. That’s where your taxpayer money is sitting.” “Our stations are going to stay our own and be operated by our council and our fire chiefs. Purchases will still be done through our council and not through the region …” said Reeve Angela Freisen. “If we opt out of this, we’re losing the automatic aid and, as Chief Ross said, we don’t have enough personnel to handle our own fires, (and) we’re going to lose the benefit of group purchasing.” “I would like to see council agree to continue with the training and take an active part in the working out of the funding model over the (next three) years, but in the meantime, our fire department doesn’t suffer,” said Ross. McMurrich/Monteith council directed staff to notify the six municipalities participating in the regional firefighter training agreement that the following should be added to the draft agreement. The funding model will be discussed within three months of signing; the proposed allowance be submitted by invoice, not automatic payment, and all cost increases must be decided by unanimous vote of all the municipalities. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
AGRICULTURE. Une campagne de sensibilisation aux réalités du milieu agricole bat son plein en Montérégie. Cette initiative publique, lancée au printemps dernier sous la thématique Notre campagne, un milieu de vie à partager entre dans sa seconde phase. Elle doit aborder plusieurs thématiques, dont celles de la santé des sols, des odeurs, du partage de la route et des bruits générés par les activités agricoles. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska participe à ce projet, de même que douze autres MRC partenaires de la Montérégie, la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie et l’agglomération de Longueuil. «Plusieurs outils de communication ont été développés, portés par le réseau des municipalités afin de déboulonner les croyances, atténuer les contrariétés et aborder les enjeux liés au travail agricole. Cette campagne vise à favoriser le vivre ensemble et le dialogue entre les producteurs agricoles et les résidents de la zone agricole en Montérégie», précise Joëlle Jetté, porte-parole de la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie. Avec l’étalement urbain, les secteurs résidentiels se rapprochent inéluctablement des campagnes. Et les irritants se multiplient. Les municipalités en sont conscientes et cherchent à les désamorcer. «La vie a changé. Les agriculteurs de la Montérégie souhaitent dialoguer avec leurs voisins. Résider dans un milieu agricole nécessite parfois de la patience, mais l’agriculture locale nous garantit un approvisionnement en quantité suffisante de produits frais et de qualité supérieure», explique Jérémie Letellier, président de l’UPA de la Montérégie. «L’agriculture est un secteur innovant, à la recherche de solutions en matière d’agroenvironnement et de lutte aux changements climatiques. Il était temps, surtout en Montérégie, de faire le point», ajoute Mme Jetté. «Les commentaires sont très positifs. Quand on parle des réalités et des contraintes des agriculteurs, les gens apprécient.» L’agriculture, ma voisine! Chaque MRC a en main son Plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA). L’enjeu de la cohabitation avait souvent été soulevé par le secteur municipal. «La Montérégie est le garde-manger du Québec. Quand on veut privilégier les circuits courts, l’agriculture de proximité, cela veut dire, l’agriculture, ma voisine. Il faut comprendre ce que ça implique que de vivre dans un territoire agricole», affirme Joëlle Jetté de l’UPA. La première phase de la campagne lancée au printemps. Le projet avait l’été dernier rejoint avec succès les enfants dans plusieurs camps de jour. L’initiative a permis de sensibiliser près de 700 enfants aux réalités du monde agricole. Au total, 36 activités ont eu lieu dans 27 municipalités de la Montérégie. Il est probable que l’expérience soit reconduite l’an prochain. La campagne se poursuit jusqu’au mois d’octobre 2021. Les questions entourant la gestion de l’eau et des pesticides seront abordées au cours des prochains mois. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Conservateurs et néodémocrates critiquent le jugement du premier ministre qui avait nommé Julie Payette aux fonctions de gouverneure générale, s’interrogeant notamment sur la vérification des antécédents de gestion et le rejet du processus de nomination élaboré par le gouvernement Harper en 2012. Julie Payette a rendu sa démission à l’issue de la remise au président du Conseil privé de la Reine, d’un rapport d’enquête accablant sur des allégations de harcèlement en milieu de travail et de dépenses jugées fantaisistes. L’opposition reproche à Justin Trudeau d’avoir manqué de jugement en désignant l’ancienne astronaute à ces fonctions de représentation de la Reine en 2017. Certains élus à la Chambre des communes émettent des doutes sur l’enquête de moralité de l’impétrant. C’est le cas du député de Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Alexandre Boulerice, cité par Radio Canada. Selon le leader parlementaire du Parti conservateur, Gérard Deltell, repris par le réseau du diffuseur public, Justin Trudeau n’aurait pas dû écarter l’idée du comité consultatif pour la nomination vice-royale que le gouvernement de Stephen Harper avait adoptée en 2012. Dans ce contexte potentiellement ouvert à la tenue d’une élection au printemps, le chef du Parti conservateur, Erin O’Toole, recommande que la nomination de ce « commandant en chef des Forces armées » se fasse à l’issue d’une concertation. « Compte tenu des problèmes rencontrés avec sa dernière nomination et du Parlement minoritaire, le premier ministre devrait consulter les partis d’opposition et rétablir le comité des nominations vice-royales », a-t-il soutenu. Une institution « monarchique » Le Bloc n’a pas manqué l’occasion de relancer les débats sur la place d’une gouverneure générale au sein de l’appareil institutionnel du Canada. « Le poste vacant de gouverneur général est une belle occasion de remettre en question l’utilité d’une fonction dépassée qui n’a pas sa place en démocratie, a soutenu dans un communiqué le député de Rivière-du-Nord, Rhéal Fortin par ailleurs porte-parole du Bloc québécois en matière de Justice et du Conseil privé. Au Canada, le gouverneur général qui représente la reine Élisabeth II, est nommé par le premier ministre pour un mandat de 5 ans, qui peut s’étendre à 7 ans. Aux termes de la constitution, il peut nommer ou destituer un gouvernement, mais ces pouvoirs restent généralement théoriques ou protocolaires. “Une recommandation concernant un remplaçant sera présentée à Sa Majesté la reine Elizabeth II et annoncée en temps voulu”, a avancé Justin Trudeau dans une déclaration. “Tous les employés du gouvernement du Canada ont le droit de travailler dans un milieu sain et sécuritaire, et nous prendrons toujours cette question très au sérieux”, a-t-il souligné, présentant l’annonce de la démission comme “une occasion de renouveler l’équipe de direction à Rideau Hall dans le but de répondre aux préoccupations concernant le milieu de travail que des employés ont soulevées.” Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Structure and rhythm are important for Ayden Rana. The six-year-old is on the autism spectrum and requires a little extra help to complete his studies. When the winter break turned into an extended period away from the classroom, keeping most children and teachers at home, it presented a unique challenge for Ayden and his mother, Karen, who found herself playing the role of teacher, therapist, support worker and parent. “He was very receptive the first two days, I would say, to virtual learning because he got to see the teacher and the educational assistants,” Karen said. But the novelty quickly wore off. Studying became much harder. Learning became even more challenging than usual. Touch and sense are key to Ayden’s educational development, meaning the curiously flat, two-dimensional world of pixels on a screen, fell far short of meeting his needs. “The educational assistant realized his needs for tactile material — he’s not grasping the Chromebook — so she put together a binder with all the activities,” Karen explained. “All the math, English, all the subjects he would do at school, along with his puzzles, his timer [and] his favorite pens [are included].” The binder is carefully prepared by his educational assistant every week and left for Ayden to pick up, offering new material to make the best of a difficult situation. For some other students with special needs, learning at home — even with the extra work and resources — isn’t a possibility. As a result, despite the province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home-order, some are still physically in school. A few teachers are on hand, along with a small army of special education assistants. At the Peel District School Board, they are referred to as educational assistants (EAs) and a large number of the board’s 3,800 EAs are reporting for duty. At Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where they are known as educational resource workers (ERWs) 40 school sites are open and staffed. A major issue for EAs working at PDSB is a lack of coordination and tracking by the board, Natacha Verdiel, president of OPSEU Local 2100, the union representing EAs at PDSB, explained to The Pointer. Unlike students and teachers who cohort together, EAs do not have to sign into classrooms and are not included in contact tracing efforts when an outbreak is declared. “An EA might cross cohorts 14 times on any given day,” she explained. “They might report to 12 different classrooms to provide support to high needs students. They’re now cross contaminating between students, that’s alarming, and no one knows they’ve been in that classroom.” As a result of their specific profiles, many children with special needs are unable to wear a mask. Some even find staff wearing them to be upsetting and can attempt to physically remove them. Depending on a child’s age, size and unique needs, such behaviour can be challenging. In some instances the desire to create normalcy can even lead to aggressive actions by some students. That’s why some personal protective measures to mitigate the risk of viral spread can’t be used. “Here’s what I don’t think the public understands: the students that are reporting to the physical building right now are students who cannot wear masks,” Verdiel said. “They are all unmasked, all of the students are unmasked. Most of them are extremely behavioral, they are our highest needs students in the system.” Verdiel described one situation where a particular student coughs, spits and sneezes as part of their behavioural profile. “The staff in there are covered in bodily fluids, all day long,” she said, lamenting the lack of effective personal protective equipment and how masks can act “as a target” for some students who attempt to remove them or strike the workers wearing them. For the parents of children with special needs, the role EAs, ERWs and the education system play can be nothing short of a miracle. Staff are able to look after children during the day, calm them and tend to their various behavioural and physical needs. “Some of our workers have phenomenal skills… some of them are outrageously amazing at what they can do,” Pam Bonferro, president of the Dufferin Peel Educational Resource Workers’ Association, told The Pointer. “They’re like pied pipers, they walk into a room and the students calm down.” Karen Rana agrees, describing Ayden’s EA as a rock. “He changed three classes [due to COVID-19 attendence variations], so you can imagine,” she said. “Three classes, three teachers, three sets of students, but with the same assistant. She has been the constant and it’s been very positive for Ayden.” The work of classroom assistants is often born of passion. As a vocation, many pursue the work out of a desire to help care for children and assist with their challenging development. “It’s not that they don't want to support the students that are there,” Verdiel added. “They want the Province to acknowledge that those who are reporting in person are unable to maintain any kind of physical distancing at all. Their job is very, very, very high risk in terms of exposure to bodily fluids.” Highlighting the fact the government is working hard during a crisis, but still missing key supports, Bonferro said ERWs and EAs are being inadvertently positioned in opposition to the very families they support. “What they have technically done is they have pitted the EAs against the parents,” she said. “They are taking the EAs voice away, if an EA speaks up, they’re going to be kind of vilified as the bad guy [in the] situation. So they are way beyond stressed and what’s really tearing them apart is: they have a conscience, they care about the kids they work with.” The Ministry of Education did not provide a response in time for publication. Despite working in the same space as teachers, classroom assistants have unique demands, detailed by the unions who represent them. Where teachers can safely distance from pupils, even in the same classroom, EAs and ERWs are unable to make the space. Their duties include helping students use the bathroom, feeding and, when needed, physically helping them to calm down. “The exposure level that a teacher has when they’re standing in front of a classroom teaching versus the exposure that an EA has when they’re being spat in the face or restraining a student [is significantly different],” Verdiel said. The unions have several specific asks of the Doug Ford government to improve the situation. They include pandemic pay, more robust PPE and rapid access to the vaccine. Under the Province’s current vaccination rollout, teachers and classroom assistants find themselves on the list at the same time. The second phase, which also includes older adults living in the community and several other key worker categories, could run as late as July, which risks some EAs and ERWs not being vaccinated until during the summer break. “The government has taken on the position that EAs are now essential workers; however, they are not being provided with the same level of pay or protection,” Verdiel said. “The NDP has long called for pandemic pay for all frontline workers, and believes educators should be included among the groups prioritized to get their vaccine,” NDP Education Critic Maritt Stiles told The Pointer. “Special education assistants, who are now working in classrooms with vulnerable people, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, when the vaccine becomes available.” PDSB provided a statement offering extensive instructions to EAs around wearing PPE. It did not address questions around contact tracing and EAs working in multiple classrooms. “Since returning from the winter break, all students and staff, including EAs, who have returned to in-person learning and working are required to follow the Active Daily Screening process,” a spokesperson told The Pointer. At DPCDSB, contact tracing does not appear to be an issue and ERWs are carefully monitored. “School principals maintain a record of any ERWs that are working in the school and should a positive COVID case be reported, any staff and students that worked with, or could be considered to be a close contact, would be identified for contact tracing,” Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the board, told The Pointer. As most schools remain closed and the majority of children learn at home, EAs and ERWs continue to show up for work feeling increasingly isolated and vulnerable. “Everybody is sympathetic, everybody understands,” Verdiel said. “Nobody is willing to do anything.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Le professeur en Techniques de comptabilité et de gestion du Cégep de Chicoutimi Benoît Rochefort compte sur un nouvel outil pour intéresser ses étudiants au contenu de ses cours et à l’actualité: le balado appelé Benlala. Il compte en quelques mois environ 5000 écoutes pour l’ensemble de ses émissions produites. Benoît Rochefort est depuis près de 10 ans professeur en comptabilité et gestion au Cégep de Chicoutimi. Il a longtemps travaillé dans le domaine du marketing, ce qui l’a mené vers l’enseignement. Au cours de l’été, il a longuement réfléchi à l’enseignement à distance et cherchait un moyen de rejoindre différemment les étudiants. C’est à ce moment qu’il a imaginé la création d’un balado. Son podcast a été lancé le 20 août dernier, sur une foule de plateformes. Puisqu’il avait déjà du matériel à la maison et que le Cégep lui donnait accès à certains logiciels, celui qui est également chroniqueur pour certaines radios a pu rapidement monter un produit de qualité. Dans son balado, il aborde plusieurs sujets qui touchent son contenu enseigné et l’actualité régionale. « Je prends l’actualité comme trame de fond pour parler de la théorie. Je fais référence à ce qu’on apprend, pour amener les étudiants à bien réfléchir. Je veux fournir aux étudiants des outils pour être capable d’interpréter de façon intéressante ce qui se passe, en lien avec ce qui est enseigné », raconte M. Rochefort, dans un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Pour lui, son balado ne doit pas être une charge de travail lourde pour les étudiants, mais une façon différente d’apprendre tout en s’intéressant à l’actualité régionale. Il souhaite avec son initiative encourager la persévérance scolaire. Les épisodes sont de courte durée, d’une dizaine à trentaine de minutes. Les jeunes peuvent facilement l’écouter, n’importe où et n’importe quand. « J’espère qu’avec cet outil-là, en complément avec ce que j’enseigne, que ça puisse contribuer à ce que les jeunes aient du plaisir et à diversifier les plateformes de communication qu’on utilise pour enseigner. Je pense que ça peut les aider à rester motivés », souligne-t-il. Hors série Des épisodes hors série ont également été enregistrés en collaboration avec l’ancien animateur radio Sylvain Carbonneau. Le duo a reçu une foule d’invités spéciaux pour ces épisodes, dont la ministre Andrée Laforest, l’avocat Charles Cantin, le directeur général de la fromagerie Boivin Luc Boivin, l’homme d’affaires Robert Hakim, et bien d’autres. Certains de ses épisodes seront obligatoires pour les élèves de certains cours lors de la session d’hiver, tant leur contenu touche directement la matière qui sera enseignée en classe. Le hors série a amené de la crédibilité à l’émission et a fait exploser le nombre d’écoutes. « Le hors série a vraiment été un succès, qui a permis de propulser la saison 1 à un public plus large », continue M. Rochefort. L’homme compte aujourd’hui près de 5000 écoutes pour tout son contenu produit, ce qui le rend particulièrement fier. C’est au-delà de ses objectifs, pour lui qui n’a jamais vraiment fait de publicité. L’homme est comblée de voir que ce ne sont pas seulement ses étudiants qui sont intéressés par ce qu’il produit. La saison deux La deuxième saison commencera très bientôt. Toutes les semaines, un nouvel épisode sera publié. Déjà, le professeur a plusieurs idées par rapport au contenu. Il touchera les concepts de gestion de projets, commerce international, mais aussi la publicité, entre autres avec un épisode en lien le Super Bowl. Il pense aussi consacrer un épisode sur la fiscalité étudiante avec sa collègue du Cégep de Chicoutimi, Marie-Ève Tremblay, et sur les finances personnelles avec son collaborateur Sylvain Carbonneau, qui est courtier hypothécaire. M. Rochefort espère également trouver des invités jeunesse, qui pourront se servir du balado pour parler directement aux jeunes. Les intéressés sont invités à suivre la page Facebook du projet Benlala balado, ainsi que visiter le site Internet benlala.ca, pour tout savoir sur le projet.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Local police and town authorities are warning the public about the dangers of thin ice after four teens fell into a pond on the weekend. The incident happened on a pond at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex on Sunday, just after 2 p.m. Police said the teens went out to play hockey, but shortly after getting on the ice, it broke apart. One of the group members ended up under the water, according to Const. Terry Seguin. "They were all scared," he said. "You're just getting ready to go out and have a little fun and you don't expect the ice to give way underneath you." Police say a parent who was standing on shore called 911, and paramedics assessed the teens for any injuries or hypothermia. The group member who was submerged was sent to hospital for further assessment. Seguin said people should never go out on ice without first telling someone where they'll be. Having that parent on shore gave the teens a chance to contact emergency services immediately, rather than if or when they managed to scramble out of the water. 'It is very, very terrifying' Ice needs to be at least 10 centimetres thick to be considered safe, said Seguin. Thickness can also vary in different places and it can be difficult to know just how much ice there is without chopping a hole to be sure, he added. Regardless, police say it hasn't been cold enough — for long enough — for any ice to be safe. "It takes a good two, three weeks for sure, at least, of sub-zero temperatures, to develop a thickness of ice that can be considered safe," Seguin explained. Lakeshore is also cautioning residents to stay off of ice in the municipality. Mayor Tom Bain said in a news release that retention ponds in the municipality are not safe for skating. The news release added that several of the ponds in the area have pumps that are set to automatically turn on and off depending on conditions in Lakeshore's drainage system. As a result, ice on the ponds doesn't get very thick. For his part, Seguin said a fall into freezing water decades ago taught him just how much of a shock it can be. "I can speak from experience. It ... instantaneously takes your breath away and it is very, very terrifying," he said. "The key is, keep your wits about you and get out of the ice as quick as possible and get help as quick as you can."