As families in Britain celebrate Christmas apart due to strict pandemic measures, Queen Elizabeth delivered her annual Christmas speech, acknowledging the sacrifices made during this tumultuous year. Crystal Goomansingh reports.
As families in Britain celebrate Christmas apart due to strict pandemic measures, Queen Elizabeth delivered her annual Christmas speech, acknowledging the sacrifices made during this tumultuous year. Crystal Goomansingh reports.
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
You might say Springwater Township’s zero-per-cent tax increase falls into the zero-net-sum game. If you continue to pay your taxes, they won’t raise them in 2021. “We generated a zero-per-cent increase because any increase is impacted by COVID-19. To generate a tax increase in this environment is just not fair,” said Coun. Jack Hanna. The 2021 budget has set aside $21.3 million in operating costs, $18.6 million for capital expenditures, $2.8 million for water operations and $1.7 million for wastewater management, for a grand total of $44.4 million. Originally, the budget was expected to show a 1.8-per-cent increase, but council convinced staff to keep the status quo for another year. “This year has brought unprecedented challenges for residents and businesses, as many struggle to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. By approving a zero-per-cent tax increase, council is providing relief to property owners and allowing them to better weather these uncertain times,” said Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer. However, the budget does include a $2.6-million price tag for a new Springwater Fire Station 2 to be located at the corner of Bayfield Street and Snow Valley Road. It will eventually help service the Geranium subdivision development, which will see 342 homes built on Carson Road in the coming year. The County of Simcoe also approved its annual budget with a zero-per-cent increase. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
THUNDER BAY — For more than five years, the Thunder Bay police force and its partner agencies have been dealing with a high-volume of individuals travelling from southern Ontario to traffic drugs in the northwest. Through a virtual news conference on Thursday, Jan. 21, Thunder Bay police announced the results of a major joint-forces police investigation involving several agencies in southern Ontario which resulted in the seizure of $2.7 million worth of street drugs. Despite the massive seizure of drugs and arrest of 12 individuals, police said they continue to be “plagued” with more individuals ready to take over for those who have been arrested. “Any given day, our highways have couriers bringing more drugs to our communities,” Det.-Insp. John Fennell of the Thunder Bay Police Service said Thursday. “It has been made very clear from our investigations and the people being charged that much of this illicit drug trade is coming from southern Ontario,” he said. Several police forces were involved in the operation called Project Valiant including Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and Canada Border Services Agency. The operation was led by the Thunder Bay Police Service. “Our gang and gun problem is real and it needs to be taken very seriously by our legal system and our government,” Fennell said. "As much effort as we put into these initiatives we continue to be plagued with a steady stream of new persons taking over for those we have been able to charge.” The investigation took place from August 2020 to December 2020. Approximately six search warrants were conducted in Thunder Bay and one major search warrant was executed in Markham, Ont. As a result, police seized 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.55 kilograms of cocaine, more than 4,000 pills of fentanyl, 846 packages of cannabis edibles for the black market and eight capsules of hydromorphone. Furthermore, police seized several weapons including 10 rifles, four shotguns, one crossbow, two high-capacity magazines, two tasers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Police also located and seized four cars, one motorcycle, more than $120,000 in Canadian cash, fake government identification and drug trafficking paraphernalia. The project’s lead, Det.-Sgt. Dan Irwin, said during Thursday’s news conference, the long-term impact of initiatives such as Project Valiant aimed to address the high volume of illicit drugs coming into the community from southern Ontario is minimal. “It makes an impact at the beginning but like Det.-Insp. Fennell said as soon as we make arrests unfortunately the highways and the planes are full of individuals coming from the south to continue to sell fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, and various other drugs,” he said. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was referring its decision to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump to its independent oversight board. Trump will remain suspended while the board, a recently created body that can overrule the company's decisions on content, reviews the decision. The board, which said it had accepted the case, will have a maximum of 90 days to make a ruling and for Facebook to act on it.
For 17-year-old Ethan Turpin, a high school student and aspiring welder, co-op has been a pandemic saving grace. “He came home with a sense of confidence, of achievement, and things that he wouldn't be able to get anywhere else because he's not allowed to go anywhere,” said Linda Stenhouse, his grandmother. Ethan is enrolled in a co-operative education program at Waterdown District High School, completing his placement at Flamboro Technical Services, a fabrication and millwrighting company. Stenhouse said he has been invited back for another term. “He went from failing grades and ended up being an honour student,” she said. “We likened it to the fact that he was in the co-op program.” The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says about half of its students are able to continue with co-op placements — both in person and virtual — amid a provincewide stay-at-home order announced by the Ontario government on Jan. 12. The board has been offering in-person co-op placements since Oct. 21, “after a pause to ensure that student safety was considered, and appropriate protocols were in place,” HWDSB spokesperson Shawn McKillop said in an email to The Spectator. In cases where an in-person placement is not possible, staff will determine whether or not the student can continue virtually or present “alternate learning opportunities” in order to meet curriculum expectations. “There are some community placements that have been unable to place a student given the recent provincial state of emergency stay-at-home order,” he said. “Horse-crazy” Meghan Wahl said she found out last week she would not be going back to her placement at Halton Equine Veterinary Services, where she cleaned stalls, filled water buckets and observed procedures. “That was kind of hard because Meg had to say bye to everyone, like, then,” her mother, Nicolle Wahl, said. Meghan was given the “green light” to begin a co-op placement at the horse vet in October. “It was the vet part, the technical, hands-on seeing treatments and stuff, that was really interesting,” she said. Her mother said masking and physical distancing — where possible — were required at the vet clinic. “The fact that it was in a medical setting was the reason why both my husband and I felt comfortable with sending Meg,” she said. “That definitely made us feel reassured that she was in a safe environment.” Abbie Boyko’s son, a grade 12 student with the HWDSB, landed a part-time job at his co-op placement, the auto department at the Canadian Tire on Barton Street, before his placement ended when the province further tightened restrictions. “It's very disappointing because it's a great opportunity for students,” Boyko said. “He's just lucky that he did well in his co-op that they've hired him on.” She said co-op is valuable for high school students, particularly those who are graduating. “Not every child is going to go on to college or university, they're going to be out in the (workforce),” she said. Students in the Catholic board, which paused in-person co-ops after winter break to “do some consulting,” were offered the option to go back to in-person placements last week after feedback from co-op teachers. “They felt it was very important to continue with that provision, should the parents and the students still want it,” said Sandie Pizzuti, superintendent of education for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB). The board has added more requirements, including face shields, a revised consent form, repeated COVID-19 training and additional workplace evaluation. The board expects to have approximately 730 students in co-op this school year — about two-thirds of last year’s enrolment. Pizzuti said she understands the concerns some families may have over the decision to return to in-person placements. “But what we needed to do was listen to what our co-op teachers were telling us based on student voice and student input," she said. “And we felt that for those who really wanted to get back to their workplace — and in the case where we felt their workplace was very, very safe — that we would still provide the opportunity because we want them to have a very meaningful, relevant experience.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A regional chief from the Assembly of First Nations says the practice of birth alerts may result in court action. “I have not out-ruled bringing forward a class action for all birth alerts that have been put in place, for the atrocities and the separation between mothers and children unnecessarily in the past,” said Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart. Hart was speaking at the AFN’S virtual gathering Jan. 19 to discuss An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. That Act came into law Jan. 1, 2020. Section 14 of the Act ends the practise of birth alerts. It states, in part, “To the extent that providing a prenatal service that promotes preventive care is consistent with what will likely be in the best interests of an Indigenous child after he or she is born, the provision of that service is to be given priority over other services in order to prevent the apprehension of the child at the time of the child’s birth.” Birth alerts, according to the Manitoba Department of Children and Families, “are used as a mechanism to notify hospitals and other child and family services (CFS) agencies of the need for further assessment before a newborn is discharged to the care of a parent who has been assessed as ‘high risk’. Under this practice, a CFS agency issues the birth alert and Manitoba Families is responsible for the distribution of the alert.” Manitoba stopped issuing birth alerts as of July 1, 2020, six months after the federal Act came into force, announcing the practise would be “replaced with preventative and community-based supports for families.” For Ontario, the call came even later. The Ontario Ministry of Children and Women’s Issues made the announcement on July 14, 2020 that it would eliminate the birth alerts effective Oct. 15, 2020. “It has been reported the practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families,” the Ontario government said in a news release. Ending the use of birth alerts was a recommendation from both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the legacy of Indian residential schools, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “The birth alerts, in my respectful view as a law professor and someone who has worked in this field for a long time as a lawyer, they have never been legal in terms of taking your private information and pasting it into an entire healthcare system,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who also spoke at the AFN virtual conference. She called birth alerts “one of the most traumatic, toxic, harmful experiences” a mother could have with her newborn baby ripped away from her. Turpel-Lafond pointed out that that experience with the healthcare system followed the mother, who often times was reluctant to seek health care and when she did she experienced discrimination because the birth alert was on her file. “I do see for … Indigenous women, even by the time they’re grandparents, their kids have (been) brought up, they still feel they cannot access needed health care and they are treated disrespectfully in the health care system. That is discrimination, the stain of discrimination,” she said. Turpel-Lafond said she is aware of some provinces and territories claiming they are phasing out birth alerts, but have not as of yet, which she called “unconscionable.” Indiginews reported on Jan. 15 that British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon officially cancelled the practice of birth alerts in 2019, but Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Quebec continue the practice of birth alerts. Neither Hart nor Turpel-Lafond offered any suggestions for remedies should a class action go ahead. However, Turpel-Lafond said there has to be consequences “because harm has been done.” Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
TORONTO — Experts at a leading children's hospital say schools need to ramp up COVID-19 testing and masking in order to have all kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. The guidance comes a day after Ontario said it would permit just seven public health units in southern Ontario resume in-person learning Monday, while students in hot-spot regions will continue with online learning until at least Feb. 10. They join others in northern regions that returned to class last week, but areas including Toronto and Peel were deemed too-high risk to return to class. The new guidelines, led by experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, urge COVID-19 tests for all staff and students exposed to a confirmed case, while indoor masking be made mandatory for all those Grade 1 and up. The report's co-author Dr. Ronald Cohn says the current protocol is that testing is only required for those who display symptoms. He also stresses the social and mental-health needs of young children, recommending kindergartners be cohorted so they can play and interact with their peers. Cohn, president and CEO, SickKids, said schools closures should be "as time-limited as possible." "It is therefore imperative that bundled measures of infection prevention and control and a robust testing strategy are in place," he said Thursday in a release. The report also cautions against rapid tests using molecular or antigen tests because of their lower sensitivity and less effectiveness with asymptomatic cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
When Tao Hipwell drove through Delta’s main thoroughfare, she felt the village’s strong energy, and yet, she knew it was one of those villages “that got lost to big-box stores.” She is seeking to change that by opening a wellness studio, purchasing and renovating the historic Jubilee Block building, with its 14-foot ceilings, large bay windows and hardwood floors. “It was becoming more derelict, so we decided to go ahead and purchase it in March 2019. We have an old farmhouse, so we know some things about renovations and restorations. My husband is a stonemason, but we’ve never tackled a big project. It was a steep learning curve, but it was fun, too,” Hipwell said. Hipwell is a doula, practices yoga and has taken wellness courses. Her mother is a massage therapist, with acupressure and reflexology training. “I come from a background of exposure to the benefits of those practices,” she said. When her family moved from Ottawa to Delta five years ago, Hipwell found it hard to find wellness studios in the area. She decided to open the studio “hoping to bring a more alternative, holistic understanding of health — physical, mental and spiritual to our small town. “Having a storefront and a place to actualize our vision of wellness is what we’re trying to do and embody here,” Hipwell said. As for the village’s reaction to a yoga studio, Hipwell said the response has been great. “It’s all been very positive. I was teaching yoga at the town hall, and I was getting 10 to 12 people per class three times a week. People are eager to get in touch with their health, (and) need to connect with their bodies,” she said. Fern and Fox Wellness studio was slated to open in December 2020, but had to postpone due to the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. “We’ve completed the commercial aspect. We are hoping to open (once restrictions are lifted),” she said. The studio will carry local, ethically sourced, handcrafted natural products for the home and body, according to the website. Yoga classes will be offered for seniors, kids, teens and men at $15 per adult, as well as reiki, hot stone, reflexology and readings (tea, tarot, palm and chakra). The Jubilee Block has five storefronts, and Hipwell owns the first two units, as well as the three residential apartment units on the second floor. The apartments have been gutted to its “bare bones,” according to Hipwell, and the second commercial unit, with a bakery, will open soon. On the practice of yoga, Hipwell has this to say: “Generating peace in itself gives you a broader understanding that we’re part of a much wider web. Yoga helps you understand that.” For more information, call 613-292-1564 or visit www.fernandfoxwellness.com. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
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
You can pass through Penville and not real-ize the area was once a thriving village that was settled by early pioneers in the 1830s. The area has no real reminders of a village that would have had all the amenities needed to keep a small town viable at the time. It was located at what is now the 5th Line and 19th Sideroad of New Tecumseth. There are now several houses surrounding the site but almost all are of a relatively recent design. Penville was founded in the 1830s when the area was unpopulated and wild.With no real roads leading into the region, settlers would have had a tough life arriving, probably by ox cart, and building their fi rst home from the materials on the land. The Penfield, Ausman, and Dale families are recorded as being the first to arrive in the area and they began clearing the land for farming operations. They were all Scottish immigrants.Presumably, the Penfield family lent its name to create the village on a map. The village attracted more settlers to the area.So many arrived that a Town Hall was built in 1858 at a cost of $450.00 with the fi rst Reeve being recorded as Robert Cross. Black’s Methodist Church was built in 1850 and a cemetery established in 1858. There is no record of a tavern in the area, however almost every new town in Ontario had at least one local watering hole, and some had several, so most likely some enterprising entrepreneur set up some kind of hotel or tavern in the town. By 1871, the town had grown to a thriving village of 130 souls. By early Ontario standards, that was a sizable population for a pio-neer settlement. Most likely the town would have had a blacksmith, cabinet maker, and a saw mill, which were pretty much standard business in pioneer towns at the time. Like many small towns in Central Ontario, Penville reached its peak in the late 1800s. Over time, residents began to leave to search for more opportunities in other places. By the time the twentieth century arrived, the village was all but abandoned. The church was still standing as late as the mid 1950s, but by that time hadn’t had servic-es in decades and was being used as a granary. The church was demolished sometime in the 50s although the cemetery remains.There are 18 recorded interments in the cemetery, with the last person buried in 1933. After the demolition of the church, the remaining headstones were grouped together in a cairn in the middle of the property. It has been suggested that many of the graves in the cemetery were moved to other cemeteries in the area in the late part of the 19th century, however there is no offi cial record of that. Penville had a good start; however, like many small early settlements, it faded into history as residents moved on to fi nd their fortunes elsewhere. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Kingston City Council unanimously passed a motion at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2021, moving that the City of Kingston write to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Environment, Conservation, Energy, and Parks to request that the Government of Ontario develop and implement a plan to phase-out all gas-fired electricity generation as soon as possible to ensure that Kingston and other municipalities are enabled to achieve climate action goals. The City of Kingston was the first city in Ontario to declare a Climate Emergency, and has a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040. The province of Ontario is phasing out the Pickering Nuclear Power plant in 2024, and plans to increase the output of natural gas-powered plants as the demand for electricity increases. An increase in gas plant production will see greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rise, which is counterproductive to the province’s goal of a 30 per cent reduction of GHG emissions by the year 2030. Two delegations spoke to council, describing Ontario’s current and forecasted power needs, and the pros and cons of available power generation options. Jack Gibbons, from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, spoke about Quebec’s surplus Hydroelectric power, and shared some ideas for future cross-provincial electrical agreements. He also asked the City to consider joining the other municipalities in Ontario in passing a resolution requesting Ontario start phasing out our gas fired power plants to help Ontario, and the City of Kingston, achieve their climate targets. “We all know that the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine, and therefore wind and solar need a backup or a storage option,” Gibbons said. ”Ontario is very lucky to be located right next door to Quebec. There's a recent study from MIT, which shows that Quebec’s hydroelectric reservoirs are the best and lowest cost storage option, or backup option, for wind and solar.” “The reservoirs can act like a giant battery and help us convert wind and solar from an intermittent source of electricity into a firm baseload source of electricity supplied 24/7,” he continued. “By integrating our wind and solar with Quebec's hydroelectric reservoirs, wind and solar power can be a firm reliable source of supply.” Terry Young, interim president and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) spoke to council on the province’s electricity needs, how they are currently being met, and what they want to see happen in the future. The IESO is an agency whose primary job is to manage reliability of the power system, ensuring electricity is available when and where it is needed across the province. Young said that each year the IESO produces what they call a Planning Outlook that looks out over the next 20 years and projects what Ontario’s needs might be. Nuclear and hydro power are meeting 85 per cent of Ontario’s power needs, according to Young, with solar and wind providing less than 10 per cent due to their inconstant ability to create electricity. Gas power is used to make up the difference, and has greater flexibility for meeting increased needs, as well as reducing output when needs are low. “The key point I want to make is this that we need flexibility in the system,” Young explained to council. “One of the attractive things that we're starting to look at is pairing wind and solar with storage,” Young continued. “Then you get the opportunity to increase the value of wind and solar cells. If they’re producing, we can store it and then supply it back when and when the demands for electricity are on, then it gives us another option. So, in terms of the future of gas, one of the things that it depends on is how quickly some of these technologies can be developed.” Councellor Bridget Doherty put forth her thoughts on this proactive motion. “We've all been receiving frequently emails from people, or constituents, saying ‘You've declared a climate emergency. What are you doing about it?’ And tonight we have a couple of very positive examples about what we're doing about reducing greenhouse gases.” “I think that this [motion], and the other actions we've taken tonight, clearly address the fact that we unanimously passed a climate emergency motion a year and a bit ago. And so this is our opportunity to show that we mean what we say.” Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
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
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
GENEVA — (asterisk)(asterisk) EMBARGOED TO 1700 GMT RELEASE(asterisk)(asterisk) Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter spent a week in an induced coma after having heart surgery in December, his family said Thursday. The 84-year-old Blatter, who also tested positive for COVID-19 late last year, was well enough only this week to be moved out of intensive care at the hospital in Switzerland. “The doctors are satisfied with his condition. But there’s still a long way to go,” Blatter’s daughter, Corinne Blatter Andenmatten, said in an interview with Swiss media. "It was the hardest and saddest Christmas of my life.” Blatter has been under criminal investigation by Swiss federal prosecutors since 2015, and has not yet been told that FIFA filed a further criminal complaint against him last month, his daughter said in an interview circulated on behalf of the family. The latest case relates to FIFA financing the World Football Museum in Zurich. It was a pet project of Blatter that did not open until February 2016, after his presidency ended following the fallout from American and Swiss investigations of soccer officials. “He knows nothing about the museum complaint yet,” his daughter said. “And that is a good thing. He would just get unnecessarily agitated.” Asked about the stress of facing multiple legal cases and interviews with prosecutors, Blatter Andenmatten said “you can imagine that he has been under great pressure.” She spoke in detail about Blatter’s health for the first time ahead of a scheduled meeting next week in one of several civil and criminal cases between FIFA and its president from 1998-2015. Blatter had seemed to overcome his COVID-19 infection and expected his heart surgery to be routine. “But then everything became more complicated and dangerous,” his daughter said. “In total he spent over a week in an artificial coma and was no longer able to communicate. “He has earned the right to be able to enjoy the rest of life without constantly being torpedoed by his previous employer,” Blatter Andenmatten said, asking that “he should be granted what he needs on the path to, hopefully, a complete recovery: rest, time and relaxation.” ___ AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Düsseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press
Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) Chief Willie Sellars asked for continued co-operation while also being optimistic the community’s COVID-19 numbers among on-reserve members will begin to drop. From his home, with a picture of his late grandfather wearing goalie pads in the background, Chief Willie Sellars began his Jan. 20 community Facebook address on a sad note. “We have heavy hearts in the community today with the passing of another loved one,” Sellars said, confirming the passing of community member Michelle Wycotte. Wycotte’s death follows the recent passing of another WLFN member, Byron Louie. Her cause of death, as well as Louie’s, have not been released. As of 4 p.m. Jan 20, Sellars said 34 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed within the WLFN community of Sugar Cane. “Of those 34, the good news is 11 have now fully recovered and are completing their 14-day isolation,” he said. “That leaves 23 active cases in the community.” Sellars also provided an update on COVID-19 cases within the Cariboo Chilcotin region which does not include 100 Mile House and Quesnel. He said there are 156 active COVID-19 cases and that it was WLFN’s understanding Interior Health would be declaring a COVID-19 cluster within the Cariboo Chilcotin region later today (Jan. 20). “We encourage our membership, the community at large, not to panic or become anxious in light of the declaration,” Sellars said. “This declaration is being done with transparency in mind and will allow Interior Health to provide area-specific COVID-19 numbers and updates to the Williams Lake community.” A limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is anticipated to be distributed at the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium by the end of the week. While encouraged and optimistic the number of cases will drop by the end of the week at Sugar Cane, Sellars said it will be individuals’ actions that will prevent any spread. Three of six beds at two fully-furnished duplex units complete with groceries and supplies are available for self-isolation. “The greatest challenge our EOC team has faced to date is being a matter of self-isolation practices and ensuring individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 have the opportunity to isolate away from their family members who have tested negative,” Sellars said. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was referring its decision to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump to its independent oversight board. Trump will remain suspended while the board, a recently created body that can overrule the company's decisions on content, reviews the decision. Facebook blocked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by the former president's supporters.
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
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showcased American designers at their inauguration Wednesday, and Harris gave a nod to women's suffrage, Shirley Chisholm and her beloved sorority in pearls and purple. Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush also donned hues of purple. Harris has cited Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, as an inspiration for her career. Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black major-party candidate to run for U.S. president. Pearls had a strong fashion showing, in line with a social media campaign that had inauguration watchers donning strands in support and celebration of Harris. Nobody in attendance did them quite like Jennifer Lopez — from earrings to bracelets — as she sang “This Land is Your Land" in head-to-toe white Chanel. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wore a pearl necklace owned by Chisholm herself. It was a gift from Chisholm's goddaughter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, I am,” Lee, who is Black, posted on Twitter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, Vice-President Harris is.” The pearls Harris wore, by Wilfredo Rosado, were also a symbol of unity with her sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African American Greek-letter sorority, said Rachel Torgerson, fashion features director for Cosmopolitan. The sorority's founders are referred to as the “Twenty Pearls.” Every new member receives a badge adorned with 20 pearls. Harris attended Howard University, one of the nation's historically Black colleges and universities. “There’s no doubt that every part of her look today celebrates who she is, where she came from and where she hopes to lead the country. Every piece was carefully considered and packed with meaning,” Torgerson said. Like Harris, Rosado is the child of immigrants. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable inauguration wear: His signature beige parka and a pair of knit patterned mittens. The look earned him his own inauguration Bobblehead to mark his viral fashion moment. It's now on pre-sale for $25 at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. Jill Biden wore an ocean blue wool tweed coat over a dress by American designer Alexandra O’Neill of the Markarian label. The new first lady's matching coat and dress included a velvet collar and cuffs on the coat, and a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt on the dress. The neckline of the dress is embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals. The same crystals adorn the coat. The outfit was handcrafted in New York City. Aides said Harris was dressed in Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina. Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit. Michelle Obama, a fashion icon, drew praise from fans on social media for her belted pantsuit in plum, also by Hudson. Joe Biden wore a navy blue suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren. It was a change from Brooks Brothers, the oldest U.S. clothier at 202. The brand has outfitted 41 of the 46 American presidents, including Barack Obama during his inauguration in 2009. Brooks Brothers fell on hard financial times last year, when it filed for bankruptcy reorganization and announced a planned sale. Ralph Lauren has a history of nonpartisan dressing, including moments with Michelle Obama and outgoing first lady Melania Trump. Joe Biden wore Polo shirts, emblazoned with the label’s pony and polo player logo, to take both of his COVID-19 vaccinations on television. Véronique Hyland, fashion features director for Elle magazine, noted the wins for young American designers. “They chose a diverse group of talents — Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill and Jonathan Cohen — to be a part of this historic moment," she said. “It made for a meaningful statement at this particular time, when all small businesses, including fashion businesses, are in need of support and spotlighting.” Harris’ choice to wear pieces by Black designers “felt particularly significant in light of her triply historic title as the first female, Black and Asian American vice-president of our country,” Hyland added. As for the colour purple, it was a symbol of unity and bipartisanship. Republican Red and Democratic blue make purple. “If there’s a message to be taken from today’s inauguration fashion, it’s that those who attended are signalling faith in unity and bipartisanship, as well as restoring truth and trust,” Torgerson said. Hillary Clinton confirmed she wore “purple with a purpose,” telling The Associated Press: “I want to just send a bit of a symbolic message that we need to come together.” Lady Gaga went for red and let her pin do the talking. She sang the national anthem in a lavish custom Schiaparelli gown designed by Daniel Roseberry with a full red skirt and a navy coat adorned with a humongous gold dove holding an olive branch. Garth Brooks went another way: country. He performed “Amazing Grace” holding his black cowboy hat and dressed in blue denim jeans paired with a black suit jacket and shirt. Another inauguration fashion star on Twitter was Nikolas Ajagu, the husband of Harris' niece, Meena Harris. Sharp-eyed sneakerheads noted his ultra-rare and pricey Air Dior Jordan 1 shoes. The Dior 1s, a collaboration between Dior and Jordan, debuted last year and retail for $2,000. They're reportedly going for up to $7,000 on some sneaker resell sites. Harris' stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, schooled some of the older folks in her embellished Shetland Miu Miu coat in a pied de poule pattern with a large brown button at the neck and a pointed collar. “To put it quite plainly, over the last four years we’ve been starved for fashion choices from the White House that are thoughtful and intentional for the sake of the greater good," said Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director for Harper’s Bazaar. ____ This story was first published on January 20, 2021. It was updated on January 21, 2021, to correct the fact that Meena Harris is Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, not her sister. Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
After months of mounting calls to remove police from the front-line response for people in mental health distress, the City of Toronto is proposing a pilot program that would see mobile crisis support teams dispatched to non-emergency calls in four communities with some of the highest rates of calls like this. If approved early next month, the pilot would allow for a "non-police led response for non-emergency, non-violent calls including those involving persons in crisis and for wellness checks," the city said in a news release. The project would be piloted in three areas of the city: northwest Toronto, northeast Toronto and Downtown East, while a fourth would serve Indigenous communities. The crisis teams themselves would be multidisciplinary, the city says, involving crisis workers with mental health and intervention training, as well as de-escalation, situational awareness and field training. The pilot would also provide follow-up care including case management, mental health counselling, substance use support and referrals to other services that may be required. Move follows multiple deaths of people in crisis at hands of police The proposal comes after a string of deaths of people in crisis at the hands of police across Canada. Those include 26-year-old D'Andre Campbell and 62-year-old Ejaz Choudhry in Brampton, 48-year-old Rodney Levi in New Brunswick and in Toronto, 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, whose death in May 2020 saw thousands take to the streets to demand accountability and protest racism in policing. In the case of Korchinski-Paquet, Toronto police have said they were called after reports of an assault involving a knife. In the ensuing minutes, the 29-year-old fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment building. The five officers involved were later cleared of wrongdoing by the province's special investigations unit. Korchinski-Paquet's relatives have said police were called because of a family conflict that left her in distress. Claudette Korchinski-Beals, her mother, has said she asked police to take her daughter to Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to get her help but that instead, she ended up dead. Given the city pilot project is geared only toward "non-emergency" and "non-violent" calls, it's unclear if the new measures would have changed anything for someone in a position like Korchinski-Paquet. Toronto has seen increase in 'person in crisis' calls Currently, Toronto's mobile mental health teams — consisting of a registered nurse and police officer — are mandated only to provide secondary responses. Police officers alone remain the first responders, particularly for calls involving a weapon. A report from the city manager this week notes Toronto police have seen a 32.4 per cent increase in "person in crisis" calls over the past five years. Out of the nearly one million calls officers respond to every year, about 30,000 are mental health calls, Toronto police have told CBC News. However, the report acknowledges, using law enforcement to respond to health-related issues "creates barriers and risks for many Torontonians, particularly Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities." "Systemic discrimination in Toronto has negatively impacted how these communities experience community safety," it says. "Evidence of disproportionate use of force including deadly force, invasive searches, and greater surveillance on Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities has impacted community trust and confidence in a police-led response for those experiencing a health crisis." In the release, Mayor John Tory called the project "a step in the direction" for residents experiencing "a non-violent crisis." The project will go to the city's executive committee for consideration on Jan. 27 and if approved, will be voted on by city council at the Feb. 2-3 meeting.
American forward Sebastian Soto was recalled to Norwich of the second-tier English Championship on Thursday from his loan to Telstar of the Dutch second tier. The 20-year-old from Carlsbad, California, has seven goals in 12 appearances or Telstar this season. Soto scored twice in his U.S. national team debut against Panama in November and also appeared in December's match against El Salvador. Norwich said his recall is subject to confirmation of a British work permit. Norwich leads the League Championship with 53 points, seven ahead of second-place Swansea. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press