Rapper Bow Wow was arrested for battery in Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend.
Rapper Bow Wow was arrested for battery in Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend.
Dans le cadre de ses nouvelles mesures mises en place, afin de mieux gérer le contexte pandémique, notamment durant cette période de la deuxième vague, le ministère de l’éducation instaure un programme de tutorat et de mesures supplémentaires pour la réussite scolaire et la santé mentale. « Le financement alloué pour le programme de tutorat et les mesures supplémentaires pour la réussite et la santé mentale sont en lien avec les besoins soulignés par le personnel des écoles dans un contexte de pandémie et de confinement. Le contexte a eu un gros impact sur la persévérance, la réussite et le bien-être de plusieurs de nos élèves » souligne la directrice de l’école Gilbert-Théberge prim, madame Josée Gauvreau. « Un budget supplémentaire pour venir en aide à nos élèves avec des difficultés académiques et psychosociales est toujours bien reçu. Malheureusement, nous sommes déjà en pénurie de main-d’œuvre. Il reste à voir si les écoles seront en mesure de trouver des employés qualifiés pour accompagner davantage nos jeunes » a-t-elle ajouté. Annulation des épreuves ministérielles et le report du premier bulletin Le ministère de l’éducation a décidé également d’annuler les épreuves ministérielles et le report du premier bulletin. « L’annulation des épreuves ministérielles enlève un énorme facteur de stress chez les élèves et le personnel enseignant, surtout pour les élèves et les enseignants de 4e et 5e secondaire pour lesquels la diplomation en dépend. Le premier confinement a déjà exigé beaucoup de rattrapage en plus de compléter la matière de l’année en cours. Cette décision permettra aux enseignants et aux élèves de se concentrer sur les apprentissages nécessaires pour continuer le parcours scolaire sans ajouter à l’anxiété et aux soucis qui les perturbent déjà en pleine pandémie » estime la directrice de l’école Gilbert-Théberge prim. Un manque de personnel ! Les professionnels de l’éducation manifestent plusieurs attentes auprès du ministère de l’éducation notamment durant cette période si difficile du confinement et de la pandémie. « La consultation auprès du domaine de l’éducation est souhaitée afin de pouvoir répondre aux besoins qui sont en changement continuel dans un contexte semblable » espère madame Josée Gauvreau. « Le manque de personnel demeure un facteur problématique. Et, évidemment, l’importance de garder les élèves et le personnel en sécurité en respectant les mesures sanitaires tout en assurant que les élèves vivent dans un environnement agréable et stimulant sans perdre la motivation » a-t-elle conclu. Et en Ontario ? Bien que la situation en Ontario reste semblable à celle du Québec, chaque province se distingue par la particularité de la mise en applicabilité de ses mesures et ses orientations gouvernementales. « En Ontario, nous n'avons pas d'épreuves ministérielles. Toutefois, dans chacun de nos cours, nous devons préparer et administrer un examen de fin de semestre. En octobre, le ministère de l'Éducation de l'Ontario (MÉO) a annoncé que les examens n'auraient pas lieu. Habituellement, à ce moment-ci, je serais en train de faire de la révision avec mes élèves et la dernière semaine du semestre serait celle des examens. Là, comme c'est annulé, je continue tout simplement mes cours jusqu'à la toute fin. Dans la situation actuelle, je crois que c'est une bonne décision » nous fait savoir madame Dominique Roy, enseignant en Ontario. « Personnellement, la fin de semestre est toujours une période surchargée avec la préparation et l'administration des examens, la correction de ceux-ci, la préparation des bulletins et de mes cours pour le prochain semestre. Là, avec tout ce que l'on vit, j'avoue que c'est un soulagement. Ça me permet de souffler un peu et de me consacrer à l'essentiel, le bien-être de mes élèves. Pour les élèves, c'est un stress de moins, parce que l'anxiété est palpable chez plusieurs d'entre eux » a-t-elle ajouté. Des attentes suspendues… Les différents corps professionnels de l’Ontario ont également plusieurs attentes et souhaits à l’égard des gestionnaires de leur ministère d’éducation. « Notre calendrier n'en compte que 7 pour toute l'année scolaire. C'est bien peu pour préparer mes cours en fonction du nouvel horaire qui a dû être adapté à la réalité que l'on vit cette année. Je n'ai pas le temps de corriger à l'école. C'est donc en soirée, les fins de semaine et pendant les congés que je corrige. C'est épuisant » s’exprime Dominique Roy. Les craintes de la deuxième vague ! Alors qu’on est en pleine deuxième vague, plusieurs craintes concernant l’ouverture des écoles règnent au sein du personnel de l’éducation en Ontario. « Du 4 au 8 janvier, ce fut une semaine d'enseignement et d'apprentissage à distance. Comme le nombre de cas positifs n'est pas très élevé dans notre district du Nord de l'Ontario, nous étions de retour en classe le 11 janvier.» a conclu madame Roy. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
PERTH COUNTY – In the fallout of the recent issues at Perth County council, many residents were curious how the local political scene is organized. The short answer is much like a relationship status on social media – it’s complicated. Even in North Perth, which is wedged between Huron and Wellington counties, the distribution of municipal responsibilities differs from our neighbouring communities across those county lines. North Perth Mayor Todd Kasenberg said the Perth County powers are very minimalist. He feels that the division of power between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government seems to have been predicated on the idea that the less responsibility the county has, the better. The Municipal Act is a consolidated statute governing the extent of powers and duties, internal organization and structure of municipalities in Ontario, but the act gives leeway for the distribution of responsibilities of the upper and lower tiers of local government. Municipalities are governed by councils which make decisions about financing and services. In Ontario, the head of a lower-tier council is called the mayor or the reeve and the members of council may be called councillors or aldermen. The way councillors are elected differs from municipality to municipality. Municipal councillors may be elected at large or by ward. The Municipality of North Perth is comprised of three wards: Elma, Listowel and Wallace Wards. Voters in each ward can choose only among the candidates who are running for election in that ward. For example, if a municipality has eight council members and four wards, two councillors will be elected from each ward. Each voter chooses two candidates from among the candidates running in that ward. In each ward, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will serve on council. In a municipality where the councillors are elected at large, all councillors represent the entire municipality. In an election, the voters choose among all candidates who are running in the election. The head of council is always elected at large by all of the voters in the municipality. The county council is composed of designated elected members from the lower-tier municipalities. The composition of Perth County council is determined by a Restructuring Order that came into force on Jan. 1, 1998; North Perth and Perth East each have three representatives and West Perth and Perth South have two representatives each. Each December, county council itself selects its head, who is called warden, from among its members. Depending on its size and its history, a local municipality may be called a city, a town, a township or a village. They are also referred to as lower-tier municipalities when there is another level of municipal government like a county or region involved in providing services to residents. There are several separated towns and cities in Ontario and although they are geographically part of a county, they do not form part of the county. Local examples of this are the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys. These are single-tier municipalities. A county or regional government is a federation of the local municipalities within its boundaries and they are referred to as upper-tier municipalities. Since the 1990s the provincial government has been encouraging municipal governments to amalgamate with a view that the municipal government provides services most cost-effectively and efficiently. Some local governments joined together voluntarily to achieve sustainable services and municipal infrastructure. In other cases, the province had facilitated amalgamations of municipalities through restructuring commissions and special advisors. Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of Mike Harris in the 1990s implemented changes in responsibilities of local government which led to a massive wave of municipal mergers. The most important changes saw some counties and regional municipalities merge with their constituent local municipalities. As a result, the number of municipalities was reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1996 and 2004, from 815 to 445. In January of 2009, that number went to 444. Consolidation of municipal service management has resulted in the creation of 47 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) across the whole province. In southern Ontario, the CMSM area is frequently aligned along the upper-tier boundary and includes a separated town or city if one exists within its geographic boundary. The service manager can be either the upper tier or the separated municipality. Under municipal leadership, CMSMs are implementing a more integrated system of social and community health services for delivery of Ontario Works, child care and social housing. When looking at services provided to residents, it is important to understand how municipal governments relate to the other orders of government in Canada – the provincial and federal governments. Although North Perth CAO Kriss Snell said municipal staff are happy to point residents to the proper level of government to get the help they need, there are many duties a municipal government is too small and localized to service. Separating the duties of the provincial and federal government from the shared duties of the municipal tiers will give citizens an idea of what their local government cannot help them with. The federal government has the big powers “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada” except for subjects where the provinces are given exclusive powers. Among the many exclusive powers of the federal government are citizenship, criminal law, copyright, employment insurance, foreign policy, money and banking, national defence, regulation of trade and commerce and the postal service. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, everything not mentioned as belonging to the provincial governments comes under the power of the federal government. The provincial government has the power to enact or amend laws and programs related to the administration of justice, education, hospitals, natural resources and environment, property and civil rights in Ontario and social services. The province directly funds or transfers money to institutions to ensure the delivery of these responsibilities; provincial highways, culture and tourism, prisons and post-secondary education. The provincial legislature also has power over all municipal institutions in the province so the powers of municipal governments are determined by the provincial government. Municipal governments in Ontario are responsible for providing many of the services within their local boundaries that residents rely on daily such as airports, paramedic services, animal control and bylaw enforcement, arts and culture, child care, economic development, fire services, garbage collection and recycling, libraries, long-term care and senior housing, maintenance of local roads, parks and recreation, public transit, community planning, police services, property assessment, provincial offences administration, public health, sidewalks, snow removal, social services and housing, storm sewers, tax collection and water and sewage. However, there is some leeway in the way these duties are divided up between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government. “You can look at Oxford, at Wellington, at Huron and you’ll see that those counties have more power and they do more because the lower tiers have consented to upload some of that stuff,” said Kasenberg. “I think that’s because over history those lower-tier governments just felt they didn’t have the resources and it made more sense to have a centralized function and do this efficiently for three or four of them.” Looking at the model of upper-tier municipal government in midwestern Ontario, Kasenberg said Perth County is the leanest of all. “There has been a longstanding reluctance to give the county any significant authority or power over things that are lower-tier matters,” he said. Municipal governments in Ontario spend billions each year to provide the public services that meet these important needs of Ontario residents. Most of the money for financing these services comes from the property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Additional funding comes from user fees or non-tax revenue such as parking fines. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by a tax rate which is made up of two parts; the municipal tax rate, which is set by the upper and lower-tier municipal governments, and the education tax rate, which is set by the provincial government. A municipality can set different tax rates for different classes of property. The main classes include residential, multi-residential, commercial and industrial. The services the County of Perth is responsible for are economic development and tourism, emergency management, paramedic services, provincial offences court, prosecution services, administration and collection of fines, archives services, county planning, county roads, bridges, traffic signals and controls and tax policy. Several services are paid proportionately by the county but delivered by local partners such as social services, delivered by the City of Stratford, health services, delivered but Perth District Health Unit, seniors services, delivered by Spruce Lodge Homes for the Aged, and cultural services, delivered by the Stratford Perth Museum Board. North Perth and the other lower-tier governments across the county provide animal control and bylaw enforcement, municipal elections, fire services, libraries, policing, licensing, local roads including sidewalks, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and property tax administration. So, dear resident of North Perth, this may not have been the most exciting thing you’ve read today, but perhaps it will clear up what local level of government you need to contact when satisfying your municipal needs. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
City council will discuss Monday extending a program that encourages businesses to expand or set up new operations in three areas of Calgary. By cutting red tape and reducing cost, the city hopes businesses can get moving with their plans quicker. The proposal would see more exemptions from development permits, allowing immediate applications for building permits and doing away with some permit fees. The pilot project would apply to the International Avenue business improvement area in Forest Lawn, the Montgomery business improvement area as well as two commercial streets in Sunalta. While the program would result in benefits for businesses, the city would also need fewer resources for permit processing. That's not a significant benefit as those services are paid for by permit fees. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have some questions about the program but is generally in favour. "We're taking a pilot project that we've used downtown to cut some red tape and encourage investment and development and expanding that to different parts of the city," said Nenshi. "I'm very much in favour of that as a concept." Downtown tried it first A similar project called the City Centre Enterprise Area was rolled out in 2017 as a way to make it easier for businesses to expand or try different concepts in many empty storefront spaces downtown. In 2019, council voted to extend that project until July 2021. The city acknowledges that there is greater commercial interest in the core, more employment uses and in normal times, more people in the vicinity than the three areas now being looked at for the program. However, the city says choosing the three additional areas for a small pilot project allows it to monitor change of use or renovation exemptions closely. Tough times Administration says making it easier for businesses to start up or expand their operations is critical in Calgary's pandemic-ravaged economy. The executive director of the Montgomery on the Bow business improvement area, Marion Hayes, said the city approached her organization to see if there would be interest. She said they jumped at the opportunity as businesses need ways to quickly adapt to the current environment. "If they can bring change to their business without going through a lot of red tape and also a lot of additional cost, it's a great benefit to them," said Hayes. If council approves the proposal, the pilot project in the three areas will be tried for a year and then be reviewed.
PARIS — France's Michelin Guide, which has long served as a bible for foodies, is adapting its awards ceremony in Paris for the year that was like no other - 2020. It is handing out its stars for the shuttered industry at a virtual ceremony to a virtual public. From the panoramic splendor of the Jules Verne restaurant on the the Eiffel Tower's second floor, judges are giving out this year’s stars for their 2021 France guide — based on reviews of eateries that have for large periods of time been completely closed nationwide. The country famed for its cuisine saw restaurants shut for large parts of last year during what was one of Europe's harshest lockdowns, while strict curfews disrupted the dinner service. Michelin France told the AP that it squeezed its anonymous reviews into a reduced six-month period, from May to October, when restrictions on restaurants were eased. And it called for help from overseas for its secretive inspections, bringing in twice as many foreign inspectors as usual. France had two lockdowns last year, one in spring and the other starting in the fall. The Michelin guide has 28 issues covering 25 countries, though awards in other countries are handed out at different dates. Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A petition to recall the chair of the Anchorage Assembly for failing to cancel an August meeting because of pandemic emergency regulations is scheduled be put to district voters on the April ballot. The petition to recall chair Felix Rivera was certified by the city clerk Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported. The petition included the required 2,735 signatures of voters from Anchorage’s District 4, the clerk’s office said in a letter to sponsor Russell Biggs. The required number is 25% of the votes cast for the seat in the April 2020 election during which Rivera was elected. The decision on the recall petition can be appealed to Alaska Superior Court, the letter said. The certified petition is expected to be presented to the Anchorage Assembly at its Jan. 26 meeting. The next regular election is April 6, which is within the 75-day window required to hold a recall vote following the assembly’s receipt of the petition. The petition claims Rivera failed to perform his duties as chair when he did not halt an August assembly meeting after another member said the gathering may have exceeded capacity restrictions under a pandemic emergency order. Rivera maintains the recall is “frivolous” and said he believes the attempt will die in court. “I remain confident that it’s not even going to get on the ballot, but we will see,” Rivera said. A group supporting Rivera plans to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the petition. The recall effort has support among a group of residents upset with the assembly’s recent actions involving pandemic management — including its backing of the acting mayor’s emergency orders and a vote to approve purchases of buildings for homeless and treatment services. 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
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. 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
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known and it remains valid." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States that have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of Putin's leading critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin would further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Budgeting is a pain. But what’s more painful is a bill you can’t easily pay, debt that costs a fortune or not having enough money to retire. Fortunately, you can have a useful, working budget without watching every penny. Automation, technology and a few simple guidelines can keep you on track. The following approach works best if you have reasonably steady income that comfortably exceeds your basic expenses. If your income isn’t steady or doesn’t cover much more than the basics, you may need to track your spending more closely. Also, no budget in the world can fix a true income shortfall, where there’s not enough coming in to cover your basic bills. If that’s the case, you need more income, fewer expenses or outside help. One place to start your search for aid is 211.org, which provides links to charitable and government resources in many communities. Otherwise, though, you can craft a spending plan with the following steps. START WITH YOUR MUST-HAVES Must-have costs include housing, utilities, food, transportation, insurance, minimum debt payments and child care that allows you to work. Using the 50/30/20 budget, these costs ideally would consume no more than 50% of your after-tax income. That leaves 30% for wants (entertainment, clothes, vacations, eating out and so on) and 20% for savings and extra debt payments. A budgeting app or your last few credit card and bank statements can help you determine your must-have costs. The more these expenses exceed that 50% mark, the harder you may find it to make ends meet. For now, you can compensate by reducing what you spend on wants. Eventually, you can look for ways to reduce some of those basic expenses, boost your income or both. “After tax,” by the way, means your income minus the taxes you pay. If other expenses are deducted from your paycheque, such as health insurance premiums or 401(k) contributions, add those amounts to your take-home pay to determine your after-tax income. If you don’t have a steady job or are self-employed, forecasting your after-tax income can be tougher. You can use a previous year’s tax return or make an educated guess about the minimum income you expect to make this year. A withholding calculator can help you determine what you’re likely to have left after taxes. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN Automatic transfers can put many financial tasks on autopilot, reducing the effort needed to achieve goals. If you don’t automate anything else, automate your retirement savings to ensure you’re saving consistently. Also consider saving money in separate accounts — often called “savings buckets” — to cover big, non-monthly expenses such as insurance premiums, vacations and car repairs. Online banks typically allow you to set up multiple savings accounts without requiring minimum balances or charging fees. You can name these accounts for different goals, and automate transfers into those accounts so the money is ready when you need it. My family typically has eight to 12 of these savings accounts at our online bank. I figure out how much I want to have saved by a certain date, divide by the number of months until that date and send the resulting amount, via automated monthly transfers, from our checking account. MANAGING WHAT’S LEFT Return to your after-tax monthly income figure. Subtract your must-have expenses, your contributions to retirement and savings accounts, and any extra debt payments you plan to make consistently. What’s left is your spending money for the month. (Nothing left? Try winnowing some of those must-haves or set less ambitious savings or debt pay-down goals.) In the olden days, you might have put cash in an envelope and used it for your spending money. Once the envelope was empty, you were supposed to stop spending. Some people still do that, but in today’s digital, contactless world, you might prefer other approaches. The easiest would be to put all your spending on a single credit card that’s dedicated to this purpose and paid in full every month. (And since you’re paying in full, consider using a cash back or other rewards card to get some extra benefit from your spending.) Check your balance every few days or set up alerts to let you know when you’re approaching your spending limit for the month. To protect your credit score, you can make payments periodically throughout the month so your balance stays low compared to your credit limit. Alternatively, you could use more than one card, a debit card or a spending app that’s tied to your checking account, such as Venmo, PayPal or Zelle. A budget app or spreadsheet can help keep you on track. You also could consider setting up a separate checking account just for this spending. Again, many online banks offer checking accounts without minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Your budget won’t be perfect and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go. But at least you, and your money, will be headed in the right direction. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Budgeting 101: How to Budget Money http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-budgeting Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Lorne Head fell into volunteer firefighting almost by accident. In February 2010, a fire ripped through the fire hall in Baie Verte and destroyed all that was inside, including the department’s two pumper trucks. The department got a replacement vehicle from the west coast, but there was a problem. No one in the department had air brake qualifications and there wasn’t anyone to drive the vehicle. That’s where Head comes in. An employee with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, he could operate a vehicle with air brakes, and he agreed to temporarily come onboard. Head has now spent 11 years on the fire department in Baie Verte, the last six of which have been as the town’s fire chief. Lately, he’s been thinking about the future of firefighting in the region and the challenges he faces. One of those is numbers. His department is getting older, and in the last year the department has lost members as they moved away. Right now, the Baie Verte department is down to 21 members. With work commitments, there are 10 to 12 firefighters available for fire calls during the workday. “It is a nervous few minutes to see who is going to respond to the call,” said Head. The challenges facing rural firefighting and how to best navigate those hindrances will be the subject of an upcoming research project being done through a collaboration between the Marine Institute and the province’s fire commissioner's office. It is being funded by a $54,500 grant from the International Grenfell Association, along with contributions from both the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Both of those contributions are $10,000 each. The two-year project will examine firefighting strategies and equipment used in volunteer firefighting departments, with an eye on declining populations. At the end there will be recommendations forwarded to departments on how they could best deal with issues through new firefighting methods and limiting risk to the community. “Our role is to gather the information,” said Elizabeth Sanli, a researcher with the Marine Institute’s ocean safety research unit and the project lead. “We’re looking for helpful strategies and helpful tools.” The project will be broken down into three phases, the first of which will have researchers delving into the subject through journal articles, previous research done by firefighting organizations and other documents relevant to what they’re looking to address. They will focus on literature that focuses on challenges faced by other coastal and northern regions with dwindling firefighter numbers. “We want to make (fire departments) effective and as efficient as possible,” said Sanli. From there, in the second phase, the group will formulate the strategies and equipment they’ve identified in the first phase. This could include examining things such as how the number of firefighters and the weather may effect each strategy. The results of the research will be published, and recommendations will be made to communities in the final phase of the project. One strategy Head believes will work is a focus on the regionalization of fire departments to maximize the number of firefighters in any particular region. It also maximizes the equipment necessary and allows the different departments to pursue other complementary goals. Many departments already pledge to help out neighbouring ones, but Head’s idea could mean stronger numbers for a singular department. “I think one of the reasons regional fire departments have to start working is that you have to be able to draw from other towns,” said Head. “Other towns helping us and we’re helping other towns.” Guy Oakley, the fire chief with the New-Wes-Valley Volunteer Fire Department, had an idea that could work with any form of regionalization. He says the province could look at forming a paid regional fire chief position in areas that take on regionalization. Oakley’s department already works well with other fire departments in Bonavista North, he says, but such a position may help with the organization of that work. “I could see that working and making things better that way,” said Oakley. Justice and Public Safety Minister Steve Crocker said he is looking forward to seeing the results of the project. A former firefighter in Heart’s Delight-Islington, he was one of the younger members then and knows how some departments struggle with their aging members. He says the research project will prove valuable in providing a roadmap for how the province helps fire departments through any future challenges. “It’s a strategy,” said Crocker. “It is, how do we provide safety to people in the future.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Abandoned houses and properties are found everywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are houses with chipped paint, boats laid on the shore for the last time and old barns that have been beaten down by the elements. Sometimes, families just left these places and never came back. Other properties fall into disrepair because owners aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Regardless of how they were left, these objects are living history and lend themselves to the story of the people who lived there. Photographer Cory Babstock has documented many of the abandoned structures and objects in his home of Clarenville and the surrounding area. He even produced a small book made up of images of houses left behind, called "Unsettled." “It is important to me. … I’m all about preserving what I can for my kids so that they know we didn’t always live in these bungalows, clumped together in orderly fashion,” he said. That idea of preserving history is part of the reason Babstock takes such pride in photographing the buildings and objects that are left behind. The photos he takes are a historical record of the people and the places where they lived. Last fall, what was left of the Mary Ruth, a sailing vessel built in 1918, had disappeared from its usual spot in Southport. An old home in Open Hall-Red Cliffe that Babstock had photographed frequently has blown down in recent years. Someday, others will be lost to time and there won’t be any record they were ever there. “There is a whole other story, and somebody has to document them," said Babstock. “Sometimes families aren’t able to.” Joe Woods started the Abandoned and Historic Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook group in 2016. He did so to showcase the many such structures across the province to a wide audience. It allowed photographers and those interested in those buildings to interact while sharing their experiences and their work. The group has about 20,000 members and there are several posts daily. “I love finding new places to explore, and Newfoundland and Labrador is endless with them,” Woods said in a social media conversation. In the group, there are pictures of ancient graveyards, abandoned barns, empty storefronts and the skeletons of wooden boats. Often, the interactions inspire others to seek out the images they find in the group, while adding their own. When a new picture is posted, the comment section will sometimes spiral into a cross-section of a person’s connection to the object in the photo, people marvelling at the photo and others who seek to add that object to their photo bucket list. After a quick scroll through the comments, it becomes swiftly evident that these callbacks to an earlier time strike a nerve with people. “One day photographs will be all we have to remember they even stood one time,” said Woods. “It's second chances to admire the beauty and architecture.” The abandoned places Babstock walks don’t always feel like they’re supposed to. Those homes hit your senses differently as you try to picture how families lived a life that was so different from your own, he says, and stepping through their doors pulls you somewhere else. “Every one of these places has a different feel to them,” said Babstock. “Some places resonate with sadness.” He recalled an abandoned home he entered — Babstock always gets permission first — where he found a bed that was left behind. It still had some dressing and a pillow laid on top of it. The floor of another home had long collapsed when he found it. Babstock found a table in the home with dishes still set on it. The dishes appeared to have been left behind in a hurry, he said. “There is a different weight to (the place),” said Babstock. Life has kept west coast photographer Jaimie Maloney from chasing life through a camera lens recently, but that hasn’t diminished her love for photographing and exploring old buildings. When her schedule did allow her to explore the west coast, she found herself drawn to the older structures she found there. “I find it draws me in because it wants to tell me a story,” said Maloney. “I go looking at them and feel the energy and think of various people living there and what they may have done. “It's like the building is talking to you and wants you to share it and pass the information along. It’s almost like being a detective.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press
Calling an emergency responder. Accessing an affordable housing unit. Children learning inside school buildings, not portables. Patients receiving care in a hospital room, not a hallway. The services delivered in cities are the heartbeat of safe and comfortable communities, ones that attract residents, jobs, and investment opportunities for municipal and regional development. Municipalities own 60 percent of Canada’s infrastructure, according to StatsCan, and bear the corresponding duty to maintain its state of good repair with limited resources. Peel’s cities rely on funding from higher levels of government to provide key services to residents, including local children’s aid societies, healthcare, schools, and social services. A tacit feature of funding to Peel is – no matter the party colours at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill – the hyper-growth region is not getting its “fair share” of public dollars, despite the equal contribution of local income taxpayers. During the pandemic, the latest examples from Ottawa and Queen’s Park include the federal government’s initial decision to give Toronto $14 million for COVID-19 isolation centres and none to Peel, before local efforts to point out the higher infection rates in the region forced the feds to allocate $6.5 million to Peel. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, despite socio-economic conditions that drove higher case counts in Peel, gave Toronto 17 provincial testing centres, but funded only 4 in Peel, which advocates said was one of the reasons the viral spread was not properly contained in the hard hit region. “What the pandemic has done is put more of a spotlight on how we’re chronically underfunded,” said Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros, of Brampton. “The leader of any political party needs the 905 to win a majority, and we’ve delivered…But when it comes to getting love, we don’t get the love. Why is that?” Local leaders have struggled to glean an answer to this for more than three decades. But what was once a booming battle cry to put pressure on upper levels of government – most recently via a campaign called the Peel Fair Share Task Force – has been reduced like a diminuendo to a restless hum. Nine months shy of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2019, Brampton councillors began making some noise through demands for increased funding to address its healthcare emergency. They highlighted the dangerous lack of hospital beds in the city, which has less than half the per capita number of Ontario overall. The city receives $1,000 less in funding for healthcare, per person, about half the provincial average. These inequities have been magnified during the pandemic. The region has had the highest infection rates in the province, and residents were put at increased risk because of the chronic failure of healthcare funding, which has left local hospitals particularly vulnerable to capacity issues. Prior to the pandemic, the three full-service hospitals in Mississauga and Brampton were already among the worst in Ontario for performance, with average wait times to be admitted between two-and-a-half and three times higher than the provincial target of 8 hours. As part of its 2020 budget asks, the City launched a “Fair Deal for Brampton” campaign for immediate funding to expand Peel Memorial hospital’s urgent care capabilities, fund the second phase of its build, and create a third healthcare facility. A city of about 650,000 residents, Brampton currently has only one full-service hospital, Brampton Civic, operated by the William Osler Health System. More than one-third of Brampton’s population has at least one chronic condition, and the City says it is projected to have the highest rate of dementia between 2015 and 2025. According to a 2014 study by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in collaboration with Peel Public Health, the region was headed for a rate of one in six people having diabetes by 2025, largely due to the significant South Asian-Canadian population, which suffers much higher rates of the disease than the general population. At the time, it was one in ten, as reported by Peel’s former medical officer of health in 2018. According to the City’s pre-pandemic data, the emergency department at Brampton Civic was equipped for 90,000 visits a year, but received about 130,000, while Peel Memorial is funded for 10,000 visits a year and received 75,000. Patient-loads have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. As of January 15, Osler’s system was treating 109 COVID-19 patients, where about nine weeks ago, patient transfers were triggered around the time when it was treating just 64 people. In October, Premier Doug Ford announced funding to support the addition of 766 beds for 32 hospitals in the province, including 46 at Etobicoke General Hospital, which is also in the Osler system, and 41 beds in Brampton, which has about 60 percent more residents than Etobicoke. The smaller community was also given two testing facilities through Osler during the first half of the pandemic, among the total of 17 in Toronto, while Brampton only had one. The apparent differential treatment between funding the two hospitals under Osler’s management is a snapshot of the issues facing Brampton as it seeks its fair share from the province, Councillor Medeiros said. “They gave [funding] to Etobicoke without any ties. Notwithstanding, it’s the Premier’s riding,” Medeiros said. “Yet, when the City of Brampton is looking for more investment in healthcare, and we're looking to complete the second phase of Peel Memorial Hospital, they say that there’s provincial legislation requirements that we give 20 to 30 percent as a contribution.” A lack of commensurate allocation by the Province and federal governments has also affected Peel’s $1-billion Housing Master Plan, which has not yet been fully funded. The plan seeks to create 280 emergency shelter beds and another 5,300 affordable housing units by 2034. As previously reported by The Pointer, the federal government’s commitment of $276.5 million is on top of the Region’s $333.5 million, which has been criticized by Peel social services staff as being “significantly and disproportionately high.” Regional Councillor Annette Groves, of Caledon, said that local taxes and development charges are not sufficient to support the wealth of services offered by Peel. “I don't think it has anything to do with the current government. I think that it’s been such a long, outstanding battle,” Groves told The Pointer. “The Province has given us some funding to help with the pandemic, and so has the federal government, but again, it’s still not enough because we’re so far behind in terms of, for example, affordable housing.” Both Queen’s Park and Ottawa are guilty of a form of hypocrisy. The federal government sets immigration targets for the whole country, 401,000 for 2021 and growing to 421,000 in 2023. But it does not establish a funding formula for those municipalities that willingly accommodate newcomers. Brampton, over the past two decades, has welcomed more immigrants per capita than any other large city in Canada, but the federal government does little to provide adequate services and infrastructure for the hyper-growth community that openly supports the country’s immigration policies through its growth planning. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, relies desperately on Peel to accommodate the province’s largest share of population growth, but continues to ignore the funding needs it creates through provincial growth legislation, known as the Places To Grow Act. While Mississauga and Brampton rapidly expand, schools, for example, are not brought on line fast enough by the Province, forcing the use of portables, which have become a common feature in Peel’s education landscape. GO services are also glaringly under-funded, as more and more commuters move into the region without proper transportation infrastructure. The list of inadequate funding commitments for Peel grows every year. On top of education and healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, public health, settlement support, legal aid, children’s aid and almost every other funding area are all under-funded in Peel. For example, despite skyrocketing demand, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic receives far less funding per capita than Toronto. In 2019 the co-executive director of the city’s legal aid clinic, Douglas Kwan, said it receives the second lowest funding per capita of all legal aid clinics in Ontario: the lowest – Brampton. Led by Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, Peel revived efforts in its Fair Share for Peel coalition about four years ago to address its municipalities receiving less than half of the per capita rate of others in Ontario. In the fall of 2017, the Region organized a $90,000 conference with neighbouring municipalities, called the Summit 4 Fair Funding, to encourage a dialogue surrounding funding needs ahead of the 2018 provincial election. According to the Brampton Guardian, the summit was later cancelled after staff were not able to obtain transparent formulas as to how funding transfers were calculated from the provincial and federal governments. The effort followed years of pressure, culminating in an earlier effort in 2011 to assess underfunding and service delivery obstacles including those for seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of violence and abuse. As Peel braces for what February brings during the pandemic, the Region’s Governance Committee continues to advocate for government dollars. After almost a year of neglect, which contributed to Peel’s designation as a COVID-19 hot spot, and its placement in the current lockdown on November 23, the Ontario Ministry of Health recently agreed to a one-time funding disbursement of $14-million to Peel Public Health, to “support extraordinary costs associated with monitoring, detecting, and containing COVID-19 in the province.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @LaVjosa 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. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Global News correspondent Mike Le Couteur is following the developments around U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on his first day in office.
MILAN — Stellantis, the car company combining PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, was launched Monday on the Milan and Paris stock exchanges, giving life to the fourth-largest auto company in the world. Stellantis shares rallied 7.6% in Milan to 13.53 euros ($16.32). CEO Carlos Tavares said during a virtual bell-ringing ceremony that the merger creates 25 billion euros in shareholder value. “The focus from day one will be on value creation from synergies, which will increase competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers,” Tavares said. Stellantis has a new logo and will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, due to the Monday U.S. bank holiday, followed by a press conference with Tavares. Chairman John Elkann, heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family, said that the new company has “the scale, the resources, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunities of this new era in transportation.” The technological shift includes electrified powertrains as well as moves toward greater autonomous driving. The merger is aimed at creating 5 billion euros in annual savings. The new company will have the capacity to produce 8.7 million cars a year, behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. Fiat Chrysler, which was created from the merger of the Italian and U.S. car companies in 2014, closed Friday down 4.35% at 12.57 euros, having gained in previous days. Its closing market capitalization was under 20 billion euros, far off its 2018 highs of more than 30 billion euros. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Should councillors be talking to the media independently? That was the second time in a week the matter had come up before a North Simcoe council, after it had been discussed at the Penetanguishene council Wednesday night. This time, it was Tay Township's deputy mayor that was asking if it was best for the mayor or chief administrative officer to respond to media requests when representing the municipality. Once again, the media request was a yearend survey sent out to all council members by MidlandToday's Community Editor Andrew Philips. "He didn't email it to council; he emailed it to all of us," said Coun. Jeff Bumstead. "I could see all the recipients. The way I took it is that they were looking for a specific response from all of council. I didn't see any harm in the questions. I didn't see anything specific that was going against the township. It was just the general feel of how I felt as a councillor." He then talked about a MidlandToday reporter reaching out to him for a story he had brought to council's attention (poppy masks being made by a local resident). "She had reached out and I asked the mayor about it," said Bumstead. "She was just looking for an opinion from me on a specific topic. The advice I got was that media is asking a question there's no problem is answering it." "If we want to clamp down and direct media to the mayor and CAO, I don't have a problem with it," he added. "If it's not okay for individual councillors to answer behalf of the township, then we can have it in the code of conduct." Fellow Coun. Paul Raymond also talked about what the integrity commissioner had outlined in the code of conduct policy. "We do have a right to an opinion as long as we make it clear it is our opinion and not the township and council as a whole," he said. "That is when the CAO or mayor come in. It's very important we take great measures to make sure that distinction is made. "As far as the other social media, I'm sure there will be other questions there," added Raymond. "We are allowed to be approached for our opinion but our opinion only." Coun. Mary Warnock said she had sought clarification on the survey, asking if it was to be based on personal opinions or a council view. "I did want to clarify that before I answered it," she said. "If it's a message coming from council or township as a whole, it should come from the CAO or mayor. You want your message to have some control and precision." CAO Lindsay Barron agreed that the councillors had raised some good points about distinguishing between an independent opinion and a township stance. "A clear distinction is if he/she is responding as an individual member of council or on behalf of the township," she said. "In the second case, it should be coming from the mayor or myself." Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle said maybe the next time a reporter reaches out to an individual councillor, he/she can seek direction from the CAO. "I would suggest we should contact the CAO to find out if we can speak to it individually," he said. That didn't sit well with Raymond. "I don't go to the CAO for permission on anything, with all due respect to the CAO," he said. "We are allowed to be individuals. If we're going to go on an endeavour like this, we give a heads-up to the CAO and mayor. If they feel it's not beneficial to the community on the whole, they can let us know. We all want betterment for the township and we all have different ideas of how that can be accomplished." The conversation then turned toward answering questions posed by residents. "A lot of times we get emails from customers/residents, what do we think as council is best direction?" said LaChapelle. Coun. Sandy Talbot shared her process around that. "What I always do is if I get an email, I will forward it to a staff member," she said. "It's worked for me for all these years and that's best practice when it comes to residential inquiries." Raymond said each situation is unique. "There's a lot of different types of communications from residents, sometimes it's a question, sometimes they're in a situation where they're at odds with staff," he said. "They approach us as councillors to try and intervene to get the two parties talking. I think that, also, is our role. At the end of the day, we're the bridge between residents and staff and the services they provide." Barron said she hoped residents would reach out to staff before taking matters to their councillor. "Often times, I get involved when the councillor gets involved," she said. "I'd like to see my position as facilitator before council intervenes. If the resident wants to talk to you after, by all means. As far as being copied on the response, I'd really like to see where we get to a point where a councillor forwards it to staff and lets staff handle it." Raymond said when residents reach out to him, it's after they've reached a dead-end with staff. "When the two parties get talking to each other, I will back out and just need to know it's been resolved," he said, adding he didn't think it was pertinent for councillors to get into the weeds of matters. "When I do talk to residents, they're not aware of the structure of staff," added Raymond. "If we had an opportunity to simplify that structure, to let them know which way to go, maybe that would simplify it." Then councillors discussed behaviour on social media. "It has to do with Facebook use so we don't get ourselves in a situation," said LaChapelle. Mayor Ted Walker said he would definitely like directions around that incorporated in the municipal code of conduct. "I have seen some instances where the line has been crossed," he said without mentioning specifics. "The unfortunate part of that is that those that don't use Facebook don't have a chance to give their opinion or correct any errors. I think discussions of that nature need to be held here and not on Facebook." All councillors agreed that the communications specialist should help prepare some do's and don't's for council surrounding social media use. "All they are is a tool to facilitate you," said Raymond. "We already have standards, a code of conduct, that as councillors we're supposed to follow wherever we are. It's easy when you're on social media to get dragged into a fight. You have to know when to stop." Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, indicated such an endeavour was already underway and would soon be brought to council's attention. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
La Grande Alliance est une collaboration de la nation crie et du gouvernement québécois. Un de ses projets est de construire une voie ferrée reliant Matagami à Whapmagoostui (via Radisson), où se trouveraient aussi des infrastructures maritimes. « La réalisation principale de la Grande Alliance n’est pas de construire un chemin de fer »,nuance le président directeur général de la Société Plan Nord, Patrick Beauchesne. « L’ambition est de construire un axe de transport de niveau stratégique avec une sortie en milieu maritime. » Des fonctions à définir Cette voie ferrée servirait pour le transport des minéraux critiques,mais aussi pour les passagers,les matières ligneuses, l’approvisionnement des collectivités, etc. Ses fonctions seront déterminées par une étude de faisabilité qui est présentement en cours, qui touche les aspects socioéconomiques, environnementaux et autres du projet. Cette étude sera suivie d’études d’impacts environnementaux et de consultations. Si le projet se concrétise tel qu’anticipé, les travaux d’infrastructures à Whapmagoostui commenceraient en 2035, estime un porte-parole du gouvernement de la nation crie, qui souligne au passage qu’il est très prématuré de tenter de définir quoi que ce soit sur ce projet. Whapmagoostui et Kuujjuarapik Whapmagoostui et sa jumelle inuite,Kuujjuarapik,partagent territoires et services, même si la Convention de la Baie-James et du Nord québécois définit ce que ce sont leur aire respective, alors que lieu s’appelait Poste-de-la-Baleine Le maire de Kuujjuarapik, Anthony Ittoshat, se désole d’apprendre l’existence du projet de voie ferrée par La Sentinelle et les médias sociaux. « Nous n’avons jamais été approchés ou informés […], alors que nous devrions être les premières personnes informées parce que nous traçons la ligne entre les territoires cri et inuit. […] C’est bizarre. […] Ils devraient montrer un peu de respect. » Aucuns pourparlers M.Ittoshat est néanmoins convaincu que les promoteurs du projet vont prendre conscience de leur oubli et consulter la population inuite. « Ils vont se dire « Attends un peu, il y a des Inuits là! Nous avons oublié ça, nous devons parler aux Inuits avant que nous fassions notre chemin de fer. Est-ce que les Inuits veulent un chemin de fer Qu’est-ce qu’ils pensent? Qu’est-ce qui arrivera à leurs terrainsde chasse? » L’Administration régionale Kativik, qui s’occupe notamment des infrastructures municipales et maritimes et de la marina de Kuujjuarapik, n’a pas été non plus approchée par les partenaires de la Grande Alliance. « Personne ne s’y oppose ou n’approuve. Il n’y a pas de pourparlers », dit un porte-parole de l’Administration, ajoutant qu’un tel projet aurait des « effets fondamentaux pour la communauté ». Porte ouverte Un porte-parole de la nation crie affirme que son grand chef, Abel Bosum, a directement ouvert la porte aux Inuits, aux Innus et aux Naskapis lorsque la Grande Alliance a été annoncée, en février 2020. Le pdg de la Société du Plan Nord confirme,qu’à l’initiative du gouvernement cri, plusieurs représentants inuits ont été informés du projet de la Grande Alliance, dont la Société Makivik. Cette dernière, responsable du développement économique du Nunavik, n’était pas disponible au moment d’aller sous presse. Pour M. Beauchesne, il est beaucoup trop tôt dans le processus pour faire la distinction entre les parties crie et inuite du territoire. « Les obligations de la Convention [de la Baie-James et du Nord québécois] vont s’appliquer, affirme-t-il. C’est à travers le cadre existant d’évaluation de projets de cette nature que ces distinctions vont se faire. Mais nous sommes très loin de l’étape de réalisation de l’étude environnementale. » Signée en 1975, la Convention prévoyait qu’une route relierait Matagami à Poste–de-la-Baleine.Denis Lord, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
GREY-BRUCE – Grey Bruce Public Health will be receiving the first part of its shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine this week, earlier than had been expected. The remainder of the shipment is due to arrive the last week of January. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health, said the vaccine has been earmarked for long-term care – residents, staff and any other essential workers. In Grey-Bruce, what will happen is the vaccine will be administered to long-term care staff in stages, about 10 per cent at a time. Arra explained that this will ensure there will be enough staff to care for residents. The vaccine can lead to symptoms such as fever, which would require a staff member to isolate. This is a somewhat different situation from what’s been happening in cities where the vaccine has been distributed through hospitals. Arra explained that when the vaccine arrives in Grey-Bruce, it will be transported to the long-term care homes. While the news of the earlier shipment is excellent, it also means the test to showcase the hub concept proposed by Arra and staff will have to wait for a later shipment. Arra said receipt of the 1,000-dose shipment is “the first step in the right direction” even though the plan isn’t yet being put to the test. He said there are actually two plans that have been proposed to the province for Grey-Bruce. The first would involve distribution by traditional routes. That’s basically what will happen with this week’s shipment. The second is for mass immunization using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which requires storage at very low temperatures. “We asked for the Pfizer vaccine,” said Arra. One reason is others will want the Moderna vaccine, which does not need to be kept extremely cold. And Grey-Bruce is not in a grey or red zone, but yellow. “We are low priority,” he said, adding, “we are a victim of our own success.” The plan would serve as a pilot project for an area that’s a mix of rural and small urban – like most of Ontario. The successful implementation of the plan would be great news for both Grey-Bruce and the rest of the province, since it would free up health care resources to assist in other areas. The project has the support of municipalities, health care, and private industry. Mass immunization with the Pfizer vaccine would utilize the freezers and expertise provided by community partners Chapman’s Ice Cream and Bruce Power. It would be administered at central locations – the health unit in Owen Sound and Davidson Centre in Kincardine. Two other locations are also being looked at, said Arra – the Bayshore in Owen Sound (not the full-scale field hospital located there, which may well be required for use as a hospital) and the P&H Centre in Hanover (not necessarily the ice surface). Arra said the mass immunization would put “the last nail in the coffin of the pandemic.” A task force has been formed regarding vaccine distribution. Mass immunization would require health-care volunteers. Arra said the province is providing support in that regard. According to the province’s plan released before Christmas and now well underway, vaccine will be administered in three phases, beginning with health-care workers at two test sites in Toronto and Ottawa and continuing with residents of long-term care and retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and First Nations populations. Phase two would expand to health care workers including EMS, residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, and additional First Nations communities. Phase three would occur when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wants to be immunized. Arra said the situation is complex, but would be simplified if there were ample supplies of the vaccine. The initial role of the vaccine is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. That means vaccination of staff and people at high risk of becoming extremely ill with the virus. Once that is accomplished, the next goal is herd immunity which would require about 75 per cent of the population to be immunized. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Tunisia's defence ministry said Monday that army units deployed overnight and police have quelled days-long social unrest that saw violent protests by young people in various cities across the North African country. The ministry said military units were called in on Sunday night to protect public buildings and “seats of sovereignty,” and the situation was “calm” Monday. Tunisians are angry at the state of the economy and of public services. Many feel disappointed that on the 10th anniversary of the uprising that ousted the autocratic former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, little seems to have improved. There is also added frustration over coronavirus restrictions. The defence ministry said the army will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where clashes with police broke out Sunday evening for the second consecutive night. The interior ministry said authorities had made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone. According to local media the outbreak of violence spread to other parts of the northeast, in particular Nabeul and the south, including the region of Kebili where demonstrators looted shops and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings in some places. Tunisia on Thursday commemorated the 10th anniversary since the flight into exile of iron-fisted Ben Ali, after a popular revolt that foreshadowed pro-democracy uprisings, strife and civil war in the region during what became known as the Arab Spring. But a pall of disenchantment still hangs over Tunisia, marked by extremist attacks, political infighting, a troubled economy and unfulfilled promises, including development of the interior. Despite numerous democratic elections, protests break out, especially in the central and southern regions where youth joblessness reaches 30% and the poverty level is above 20%. According to the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights, more than 1,000 demonstrations took place in November alone. Months of sit-ins paralyzed production of oil and phosphate, a key resource, for months, costing billions of dollars in lost state revenues. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press