President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
(File/Getty Images - image credit) Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse caution hockey fans looking forward to an old-fashioned, 80's-style track meet in a three-game series that opens Saturday between the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. For McDavid and Nurse say their Oilers know better than to give players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares on-ice real estate to work their magic. "Every time we play Toronto, the games have been pretty low scoring," McDavid says. "People expect these big offensive nights and I think both teams have that respect for each other where neither of them want to open it up and let the other offensive guys get going. "I think you can expect a tight-checking little series." Tight checking or not, the baseball-style set in Edmonton represents a rare mid-season opportunity – thanks to the creation of the NHL North Division due to the COVID-19 pandemic – to witness two of the league's best clash in a mini-playoff. And the stakes are high. The first-place Leafs (15-4-2) hold a four-point lead over the Oilers (14-8) in the North. League-leading Toronto has a game in a hand. The Oilers are the hottest team on the entire circuit, riding a five-game winning streaking with victories in 11 of their last 13. WATCH | Week 6 roundup of the NHL's North Division: "We're obviously playing better," McDavid says. "Special teams have helped. Goaltending has helped. Everyone's buying in and starting to really believe. I think that's the main thing. When everyone believes in what we're doing, that's when it gets real dangerous." On the line: North Division supremacy. "A team like Edmonton has played as good or better than anybody in the league here the last while," says Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe. "They've been picking up a lot of points here. 'But we feel like we've been going pretty well as a team here and it's still real close. You can't take any games or any days off and certainly this week, that's going to be the case going head-to-head." The series promises some amazing hockey featuring four of the top five most prolific offensive stars in the game. McDavid (14 goals, 40 points) leads the league in scoring. His Oiler teammate Leon Draisaitl is right behind in second (10 goals, 34 points.) WATCH | Connor McDavid earns 500th career point: Matthews is the league's top goal scorer (18) and tied for third in points with 31, but won't be suiting up in Saturday's game due to a lingering wrist injury, according to Keefe. Marner is fifth in league-scoring with 30 points. "They're a team with a lot of really, really good offensive weapons that can score at will if you give them time and space," Nurse says of the Leafs. "We want to check hard and not give free ice and free space to their creative players. "Because they will make you pay." Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin feels the same about the McDavid and the Oilers. "You have to be aware when he's on the ice," Muzzin says. "You try to take away his speed, try to take away his time. You give him open ice and boom, he makes plays. And he's pretty good at it." WATCH | McDavid powers Oilers past Flames with 5 points: On defence, Nurse, for Edmonton, and Toronto's Morgan Rielly are two of the brightest stars in the game – with both in the conversation for inclusion on the Canadian Olympic team at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. In goal, Jack Campbell should be ready to start for Toronto for the first time since injuring his leg last month against Montreal. Fiery veteran Mike Smith is splitting time with Mikko Koskinen in the net for Edmonton. At age 38, Smith is a perfect 6-0 to start the season after missing the first month due to injury. "I just really want to play well for this group," Smith says. "I feel like we've done a lot of good things this year to put us in a good spot right now, and I don't want that to slide away because of goaltending. "It's a mission I'm on." WATCH | I was in net for... Auston Matthews' 4-goal debut: In a season with no training camp, both the Leafs and the Oilers have established themselves as contenders. Now they get to see where they stand against the best. "We're going to have to be ready," Muzzin says. "They're a team that's firing right now. They've got good goaltending. Their defence is playing well, and their stars are playing hard. It's going to be a challenge." Let the puck drop.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two days before the assault on the U.S. Capitol, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican, said supporters of then-President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were basically in a “death match with the Democrat Party.” A day later, right-wing activist Alan Hostetter, a staunch Trump supporter known for railing against California's virus-inspired stay-at-home orders, urged rallygoers in Washington to "put the fear of God in the cowards, the traitors, the RINOs, the communists of the Democrat Party.” The shared grammatical construction — incorrect use of the noun “Democrat” as an adjective — was far from the most shocking thing about the two men's statements. But it identified them as members of the same tribe, conservatives seeking to define the opposition through demeaning language. Amid bipartisan calls to dial back extreme partisanship following the insurrection, the intentional misuse of “Democrat” as an adjective remains in nearly universal use among Republicans. Propelled by conservative media, it also has caught on with far-right elements that were energized by the Trump presidency. Academics and partisans disagree on the significance of the word play. Is it a harmless political tactic intended to annoy Republicans' opponents, or a maliciously subtle vilification of one of America’s two major political parties that further divides the nation? Thomas Patterson, a political communication professor at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said using “Democrat” as an adjective delivers a “little twist” of the knife with each usage because it irritates Democrats, but sees it as little more than that. “This is," he says, “just another piece in a big bubbling kettle of animosities that are out there.” Others disagree. Purposely mispronouncing the formal name of the Democratic Party and equating it with political ideas that are not democratic goes beyond mere incivility, said Vanessa Beasley, an associate professor of communications at Vanderbilt University who studies presidential rhetoric. She said creating short-hand descriptions of people or groups is a way to dehumanize them. In short: Language matters. “The idea is to strip it down to that noun and make it into this blur, so that you can say that these are bad people — and my party, the people who are using the term, are going to be the upholders of democracy,” she said. To those who see the discussion as an exercise in political correctness, Susan Benesch, executive director of the Dangerous Speech Project, said to look deeper. “It’s just two little letters — i and c — added to the end of a word, right?” she said. “But the small difference in the two terms, linguistically or grammatically, does not protect against a large difference in meaning and impact of the language.” During the “Stop the Steal” rallies that emerged to support Trump's groundless allegations that the 2020 election was stolen from him, the construction was everywhere. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel accused “Democrat lawyers and rogue election officials” of “an unprecedented power grab” related to the election. Demonstrators for the president's baseless cause mirrored her language. After Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was removed from her House committees for espousing sometimes dangerous conspiracy theories, she tweeted: “In this Democrat tyrannical government, Conservative Republicans have no say on committees anyway." Trump’s lawyers used the construction frequently during his second impeachment trial, following the lead of the former president, who employed it routinely while in office. During a campaign rally last October in Wisconsin, he explained his thinking. “You know I always say Democrat. You know why? Because it sounds worse,” Trump said. “Democrat sounds lousy, but you know what? That’s actually their name, the Democrat Party. Right? The Democrat Party. So I always say Democrat.” In fact, “Democratic” to describe some version of a U.S. political party has been around since Thomas Jefferson and James Madison formed the Democratic-Republican Party in the 1790s. Modern Democrats are loosely descended from a split of that party. The precise origins of Republicans' truncated phrasing are difficult to pin down, but the Republican National Committee formalized it in a vote ahead of the 1956 presidential election. Then-spokesman L. Richard Guylay told The New York Times that “Democrat Party” was “a natural,” because it was already in common use among Republicans and better reflected the “diverse viewpoints” within the opposing party — which the GOP suggested weren’t always representative of small-d democratic values. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who had just led his notorious campaign against alleged communists, Soviet spies and sympathizers, was the most notable user of the phrase “Democrat Party” ahead of the vote. The current RNC did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment for this story. The construction was used sparsely in the following decades, but in recent times has spread to become part of conservatives' everyday speech. At the height of last summer’s racial justice protests, the group representing state attorneys general criticized “inaction by Democrat AGs” to support law enforcement. In explaining its rules for cleaning Georgia's voter roles, the office of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it was following a process started in the 1990s under “a Democrat majority General Assembly and signed into law by a Democrat Governor.” Asked recently what he would think of his former health director running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine responded, “I’m going to stay out of Democrat primaries.” Using Democrat as a pejorative is now so common that it’s almost jarring to hear a Republican or conservative commentator accurately say “Democratic Party.” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor said she wishes both parties would abandon their heightened rhetoric toward each other. She spoke out forcefully in September after the Ohio Republican Party maligned a “Democrat common pleas judge” who had ruled against them. The party later apologized. Her objection was the politicization of the judiciary, which she has fought against, and not specifically the GOP's misuse of the word “Democrat." But in a later interview, she said the language was a reflection of today's hyperpartisan political environment. “It's used as almost like a curse word,” said O'Connor, a Republican. “It's not being used as a compliment or even for purposes of being a benign identifier. It's used as a condemnation, and that's not right.” For their part, Democrats rarely push back, even when the phrase is used in state legislative chambers or on the floor of Congress. It wasn't always that way. Then-President George W. Bush departed from his written remarks and used the phrase “Democrat majority” in his 2007 State of the Union address. He was swiftly rebuked and apologized. “Now look, my diction isn’t all that good,” a rueful Bush said. “I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language, so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic party.” Bush’s self-deprecating joke highlighted a key issue around Republicans' use of “Democrat” as an epithet, says political scientist Michael Cornfield, an associate professor at George Washington University. Democrats don't have a comparable insult for Republicans. "It's a one-way provocation,” he said. In the 1950s, Democrats toyed with a tit-for-tat approach in which they would refer to Republicans as “Publicans,” the widely despised toll collectors of ancient Rome. Republicans scoffed at the effort, which they rightly noted no one would understand. Republicans also could turn it around as a way to burnish their brand: In British usage, a publican is someone who owns a pub. Meanwhile, “Republic” — without the “a-n” — isn’t derogatory. It's known as a “God word” in American politics, just as small-d “democratic” is, meaning a revered cultural concept that's universally understood. The truncated “Democrat,” on the other hand, “rhymes with rat, bureaucrat, kleptocrat, plutocrat," Cornfield said. "‘Crats’ are bad. So you can see why they do it.” David Pepper, a former Democratic Party chairman in Ohio, says Republicans' phrasing has “clearly been thought about." Even so, he doesn't see trying to erase it as a good use of Democrats' time as the party seeks to reset the national agenda after four years of Trump. He said that while President Joe Biden has pledged national unity, “the other side is literally trying to make the other party sound like rodents." “To me,” Pepper said, “that’s absurd and disturbing at the same time.” ___ AP news researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report. Julie Carr Smyth, The Associated Press
A man remains guilty of selling drugs outside a Prince George convenience store after his lawyer failed to convince a judge he was entrapped by undercover police officers posing as customers. Douglas William Gibbs was arrested and charged after he sold heroin-fentanyl and methamphetamine for cash to the officers on Aug. 29 and 30, 2018 outside the 7-11 at 20th Avenue and Spruce Street. The officers were from out of town and had been brought in as part of an investigation that, at first, did not include the spot. At issue was whether RCMP had reasonable suspicion to send in the officers. During a trial last month, defence counsel Connor Carleton argued the grounds for the action were "too vague and soft." In particular, he noted that in the lead up, an RCMP officer noticed suspicious activity but could not confirm an actual transaction had taken place nor provide a date for the sighting. In a decision issued Monday, Provincial Court Judge Peter McDermick agreed that on its own, it was not enough to justify the move but noted it was not the only reason the undercover officers were deployed to the spot. People involved in drug trafficking and drug use were starting to spend time at the location, there were overt signs of intoxication by some of the people seen, drug paraphernalia was found in the parking lot and nearby alley and police were getting calls to the spot several times a day for drug-related issues, the court had heard. "This was an address are or near the top of all calls for service," McDermick said. Sentencing will occur at a later date. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
MONTREAL — One year since Quebec recorded its first presumptive case of COVID-19, the province is recording 858 new infections and 13 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The Health Department reported 599 hospitalizations today, a drop of 21 patients. There are also seven fewer people requiring intensive care for a total of 112. One year ago today, Quebec authorities reported that a woman returning from travel to Iran was the province's first presumptive COVID-19 patient. Her status was confirmed the next day. Since the pandemic was declared last March, the province has reported 287,003 confirmed infections and 10,385 deaths, with 268,645 people recovered. Quebec administered 15,902 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday for a total of 418,399. Premier Francois Legault, in a letter posted today to his Facebook page, says he feels great hope as vaccinations of the general population have begun in recent days and are scheduled to ramp up on Monday in the Montreal area. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Health Canada announced its approval of two versions of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Friday, and Dr. Joss Reimer said the province is ready and waiting on supply for deployment to clinics and pharmacies. "AstraZeneca is an important next step in our vaccine campaign because it is much easier to ship and to store as compared to the vaccines that we are currently using. It can be stored in the fridge, for example, and doesn’t require the low-temperature freezers that the other vaccines do," said Reimer, medical lead for the province’s vaccine implementation task force. "This will make it possible for people to be immunized in their doctor’s offices and in pharmacies in familiar settings, if that’s where they choose to do so." Reimer said the province has been planning for this eventuality, with 250 clinics and pharmacies that have gone through all the processes to be ready to go when the vaccine arrives. Another 500 clinics and pharmacies that have expressed interest are now in various stages of either the approval process or the logistics of becoming ready. "We encourage physicians and pharmacies who are interested and have not yet signed up to go to manitoba.ca/vaccine, where you can get some more information about how to register," said Reimer. While that is great news, Reimer also clarified the vaccine is not here, yet. "We’re waiting for more information from Health Canada about how many doses we will be receiving and when we can expect them. In the meantime, we are finalizing the eligibility criteria for this vaccine." The eligibility will be based on the task force’s analysis of the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which has not yet been released. Reimer expects to have more details next week. Dr. Cory Baillie, president of Doctors Manitoba, weighed in by email. "This approval means Manitobans are one step closer to getting the vaccine from their doctor — a trusted medical professional who knows their health situation best," he said. "Physicians overwhelmingly trust and support the approved COVID-19 vaccines, including the version approved today. They are all safe and highly effective at preventing COVID-19, particularly severe illness, hospitalization and death. We recommend that nearly all Manitobans get immunized as soon as they become eligible." He did say it is natural for Manitobans to have questions, as these are new vaccines for a new disease. "Whether you’re eligible today or not, you can call your doctor to ask questions or discuss your concerns. We care about the health and well-being of Manitobans, and we want to support everyone on their personal vaccine journey," said Baillie. Reimer said AstraZeneca’s approval is great news for the province’s vaccination timeline and pushes it closer to the high-supply scenario planning. "As soon as we find out what Manitoba can be expecting, we will be adjusting our timelines and letting Manitobans know. Certainly, this is only good news as far as how long it will take to reach all Manitobans because the more options that we have, and the more convenient it is for people to receive a vaccine, the more Manitobans will be able to receive it before the end of summer," she said. However, Reimer added the task force would remain cautious because vaccine supply is always unpredictable. "I think we need to expect that we’ll see more supply disruptions at some point. So our system is trying to plan to have multiple mechanisms to reach Manitobans that can be flexible, depending on which vaccine we have available at what time." Also of note, the age of eligibility has dropped from 95 and older to 94, and for First Nations it has dropped to 74, due to available vaccine appointments. "Our team is going to continue to look at that every day," said Reimer. "Right now, our estimate would be that next week we’ll be able to reach people who are over 90." Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
NEWPORT, R.I. — The Breakers is taking a break. The Preservation Society of Newport County says it's closing the famed Gilded Age mansion for three months starting Monday. But there's good news for mansion aficionados — Marble House, a popular Newport destination and National Historic Landmark that's been closed since last March because of the coronavirus pandemic, is reopening to visitors. “We are excited to welcome people back to this spectacular house and share its fascinating history," Trudy Coxe, CEO and executive director of the Preservation Society, said in a statement. Marble House was completed in 1892 as a summer home for William K. and Alva Vanderbilt of New York City. It was designed by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt with inspiration from the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France. Hunt was also commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II to design The Breakers after it burned down in an 1892 fire. The Italian Renaissance-style mansion was completed in 1895. The Breakers is scheduled to reopen by May 28, Coxe said. The Associated Press
Si la pandémie a affecté un grand nombre d’entreprises, ce n’est certainement pas le cas pour les entrepreneurs électriciens, qui font des affaires d’or. Pour plusieurs d’entre eux, il s’agit ni plus ni moins de la plus grosse période de leur histoire. Habituellement, le début de l’année est une période creuse. L’an dernier à pareille date, les contrats et les soumissions se sont multipliés et la tendance s’est maintenue. Que ce soit dans le secteur résidentiel ou industriel, il n’y a pas eu de relâche depuis ce temps. Selon l’un d’entre eux, la pandémie est en grande partie responsable. « En étant dans leurs maisons, les gens se sont trouvé des travaux à faire. Normalement, on est une quinzaine d’employés. Maintenant, nous sommes au-dessus de 20. On n’a pas baissé la garde du tout, tout le monde travaille. On n’a jamais autant soumissionné. Ça n’a pas diminué encore et ça ne tend pas à diminuer non plus », prédit Michel Lessard, président de Valmo Électrique, d’Hébertville-Station. Du « jamais vu » De son côté, Jacques Tremblay, président de Rémy Bouchard Électrique à Alma n’hésite pas à le dire, c’est du « jamais vu ». Il assure toutefois que même s’ils sont occupés, les électriciens ne sont pas débordés pour autant. La clientèle pourra être desservie sans problème. L’entreprise, qui se spécialise surtout dans le secteur industriel, a notamment obtenu des contrats auprès de Rio Tinto, de la Mine Niobec et Produits forestiers Résolu. « Le plus fort cette année, c’est le côté industriel. Pourquoi? Parce que beaucoup d’entreprises qui sont en rénovation, font des agrandissements, et souhaitent être conformes aux nouvelles normes environnementales », explique-t-il. De meilleurs salaires? Ghislain Tremblay, président des Électriciens du Nord, situé à l’Ascension-de-Notre-Seigneur, ne croit pas que la pandémie ait une quelconque incidence sur la demande de services d’électriciens. Selon lui, c’est parce que les gens font de meilleurs salaires qu’auparavant. « Oui, on fait de la rénovation, mais ce qu’on a le plus, c’est de la construction neuve. C’est rendu que le monde gagne tellement de gros salaires. Chaque mois, je reçois une trentaine de plans de maison et il n’y en a aucune qui est en bas de 300 000 $. On parle de maison avec des garages doubles chauffés », constate-t-il. Au niveau de la main d’œuvre, même si la relève est bien présente, Ghislain Tremblay estime que celle d’expérience se fait plutôt rare. Jacques Tremblay ajoute pour sa part que son entreprise tire son épingle du jeu grâce au bouche-à-oreille. Enfin, Michel Lessard dit ne pas avoir de problème de rareté de main-d’œuvre. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect at midnight. The province reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total continues to drop. The new cases are people in their 70s in the Edmundston region (Zone 4). There are 41 total active cases across New Brunswick, with two additional recoveries announced Saturday. One person is hospitalized and in intensive care related to the virus. Residents can now go between orange zones for non-essential trips and include people from other regions as part of their steady 10 contacts. Hospital visits are also permitted as of Saturday with public health measures in place. The change follows several instances of family members unable to see ill or dying relatives. In one situation, an 80-year-old was kicked out of the hospital for holding her husband's hand. Under the revised orange rules, compassionate travel exemptions to attend a funeral will be offered to people living outside New Brunswick. People will need approval from Public Health and must adhere to guidelines that include a five-day self-isolation and negative test upon arrival. The province announced the looser restrictions at a news conference on Friday. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province chief medical officer of health, said a return to the less-restrictive yellow phase could be just over a week away if the decline in cases continues. She said rules will be modified due to the presence of COVID variants. "The fewer contacts each person has, the better," Russell said. "This is so very important." Public Health has updated and loosened some of the orange phase rules as of Friday. People will be asked to limit their contacts to a steady 15 under the yellow phase, which can include those living in other health zones. New Brunswick reported 1,430 total cases of COVID-19 in Saturday's update. There have been 1,362 recoveries and 26 deaths. Public Health has conducted 228,219 tests, including 827 on Friday. More vaccine arrives New Brunswick has a larger supply of COVID-19 vaccine after additional shipments arrived this week. The province received more than 11,000 doses, according to the latest numbers from the federal government. Those shipments boost the total number of doses to 46,775, including 36,075 of Pfizer-BioNTech and 10,700 of Moderna. Another 9,360 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive next week. Play to resume for N.B. teams in QMJHL The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced plans to resume the season for New Brunswick teams after the pandemic put their games on pause. The province's three teams will be allowed to compete against each other starting the week of March 8. A new schedule is expected to be released next week, and fans will be allowed at arenas. The league said the decision follows meetings with Public Health and government and that the situation will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Calling it a difficult issue, Cariboo Prince George MP Todd Doherty says a more fulsome debate is in order on expanding medical assistance in dying to cover Canadians who are not approaching the natural end of their lives. The federal Liberals are hoping to have Bill C-7 passed to meet a court-imposed deadline for bringing the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling. But with the Conservatives signaling that they may drag out debate on recently-introduced amendments, the government has asked the court to give it one more month - until March 26, according to The Canadian Press. "I think my concern remains the same as it was back when it was C-14 in my first term, and now with C-7, is that a piece of legislation such as this is being rushed through without proper consultation and without proper communication and debate," Doherty said. The Conservatives largely opposed expanding access to assisted dying in the original bill. "I understand all sides of the argument, I truly do... and I think we would be doing a disservice to many, many Canadians if we just allowed this to pass without fulsome review and debate," Doherty said. Among the amendments proposed by the Senate is to provide assistance in dying to Canadians suffering solely from grievous and irremediable mental illnesses. As originally drafted, the bill would have imposed a blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses. A strong majority of senators argued that the exclusion was unconstitutional, violating the right to equal treatment under the law, regardless of physical or mental disability, as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They voted to impose an 18-month time limit on the mental illness exclusion, which the government now wants to extend to two years. During that interlude, the government is also proposing to have experts conduct an independent review of the issue and, within one year, recommend the "protocols, guidance and safeguards" that should apply to requests for assisted dying from people with a mental illness. "What I feel is that people with a mental illness problem, they need assistance to live and thrive, not hasten death," Doherty said. "There are dark days, there are no two ways about it, but I don't think that there is anyone there that can determine whether a mental illness represents an advanced state of decline in capabilities that cannot be reversed." Doherty was named special advisor to the leader on mental health and wellness when Erin O'Toole became Conservative leader. - with files from The Canadian Press Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Alma pourrait intenter des recours judiciaires envers Bell Mobilité puisque l’entreprise ne paie pas son bail pour la location d’installations. Depuis 2016, Bell Mobilité loue des espaces sur 16 poteaux électriques à Alma pour des émetteurs-récepteurs de téléphonie cellulaire. Dès le départ, elle n’a jamais payé les frais liés à l’analyse de la demande ainsi qu’à l’hébergement des équipements. Selon le bureau des communications du maire, la multinationale doit 10 000 $ à la Ville. Pour justifier son absence de paiement, elle invoque une entente datant de 1958 visant les équipements de téléphonie sur les poteaux. Or, Alma plaide que cette entente ne vise que les équipements de téléphonie et non ceux de la téléphonie cellulaire. « Malgré les nombreuses démarches qu’on a initiées à la ville d’Alma pour que Bell régularise la situation, on se heurte à un mur. C’est un refus total de collaborer. Le contrat finit en juin 2021 et il ne se renouvelle pas automatiquement. Ce qu’on souhaite donc faire, c’est transmettre un avis de fin de contrat d’ici le 1er mars et de demander à Bell Mobilité de retirer ses équipements », a indiqué le conseiller municipal Frédéric Tremblay lors de la séance du conseil municipal le 15 février. Mesquinerie Le maire d’Alma, Marc Asselin, soutient que l’entreprise fait preuve de « mesquinerie » malgré la bonne foi de la ville. « Je le dis assez souvent concernant les entreprises, il y en a qui sont de bons citoyens corporatifs, qui participent à l’évolution de leur société. Bell, c’est une multinationale qui fait des sous, des surplus importants. Elle doit contribuer comme les autres. Tous nos efforts de discussion ont été faits d’une manière respectueuse. Or, on a une fin de non-recevoir. Ils font des profits avec les citoyens d’Alma », déplore le premier magistrat. Recours La municipalité pourrait du même coup intenter des recours judiciaires envers l’entreprise de télécommunication. En effet, le Service du greffe et le cabinet d’avocats Cain Lamarre ont été mandatés afin de transmettre les avis, préparer les recours et prendre entente pour récolter les sommes dues. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Chief Chris Moonias looked into a web camera as he prepared to get a COVID-19 vaccine just after precious doses arrived in his northern Ontario community. “I’m coming to you live from Neskantaga First Nation community centre where our vaccines will be administered,” a jovial Moonias, wearing a blue disposable mask, said during a Facebook live video at the start of February. Moonias was first to get the vaccine in the fly-in Oji-Cree First Nation on the shores of Attawapiskat Lake north of Thunder Bay. The vaccine had arrived by plane earlier in the day after weeks of planning, and the chief's video was part of a campaign to get community members on board. Moonias said in an interview that he had done his own research, had spoken with medical professionals and wasn’t concerned about getting the shot. About 88 per cent of eligible on-reserve members have since received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Second doses are to arrive Monday. However, earlier this week, the reserve declared a state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak, with some cases linked to the Thunder Bay District Jail. Moonias said four off-reserve members in Thunder Bay, all under the age of 40 — including his nephew — have died. And he's worried about the 200 other members who live off the reserve — almost the same number as those on the reserve — and when they'll get inoculated. “I even thought about flying my people up ... to get the vaccine,” said Moonias, who added it's unlikely to be an option because of cost. Canada is in the midst of the largest vaccine rollout in its history. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous populations much harder and Ottawa says they are a priority for vaccinations. The actual distribution remains complex and varied across the country. Neskantaga is one of 31 fly-in First Nations included in Operation Remote Immunity, part of the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination rollout. The operation was developed with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Ornge, the province's air ambulance service. The goal is to provide mass vaccinations by April 30 and it is having early successes. There are challenges getting the vaccine to remote First Nations and questions about distribution for urban Indigenous populations. The Assembly of First Nations says most Indigenous communities haven’t received sufficient supply to extend doses to their off-reserve members. The National Association of Friendship Centres says there is no national vaccination plan for urban Indigenous people. There's also concern there is no national plan to tackle decades of mistrust created by systemic racism and experimentation on Indigenous people. There are many examples throughout Canadian history of scientists sponsored by the federal government or the government itself doing medical experiments on Indigenous people, including children, who were the subject of a tuberculosis vaccine trial in Saskatchewan that began in the 1930s. Ontario New Democrat Sol Mamakwa, who represents the electoral district of Kiiwetinoong, said some constituents tell him they are scared to take the vaccine. They don’t trust it. He has been travelling to communities to help promote it and received his first dose alongside members of Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation. Community engagement has been key in vaccine uptake, Mamakwa said. Promotion begins weeks before vaccine teams arrive and includes radio campaigns, social media posts and live online question-and-answer sessions. It’s about giving people information, he said. “One of the only ways out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” said Wade Durham, Ornge’s chief operating officer, who added it's key to have Indigenous people involved in vaccine planning. Each First Nation in Operation Remote Immunity has a community member responsible for answering questions and setting up a vaccination site. Immunization teams are required to take cultural training and, when possible, include Indigenous medical professionals and language speakers. Indigenous Services Canada said it is aware that a history of colonization and systemic racism has caused mistrust, so campaigns are being developed specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. Michelle Driedger, a Metis professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said experience has shown that stakes are high when it comes to Indigenous communities. During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada prioritized vaccines by geography. A main lesson learned was to increase Indigenous representation at decision-making tables, she said. At the time, Indigenous people were over-represented in hospitalizations and intensive care stays, as well as in deaths. Those living in remote and isolated communities experienced worse outcomes. Driedger said the vaccine response is better now, but there is “rational skepticism.” There needs to be a transparent vaccination plan for Indigenous communities — no matter where they are, she said. The Matawa First Nations tribal council said its four communities reachable by road are not getting the same vaccine access as its five fly-in ones, and more needs to be done. Provincial officials have said that remote First Nations received priority for the vaccine rollout because of less access to on-site health care and increased health risks. Chief Rick Allen from Constance Lake First Nation has said the vaccine needs to go where the outbreaks are. Back in Neskantaga, Moonias said he'll do anything he can to protect anyone he can. He continues to give updates about his vaccination. In another Facebook video posted soon after he received his shot, the chief gave a thumbs-up and said he had no pain or discomfort. “We need this. We need to beat this virus.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. ___ This story was produced through the Journalists for Human Rights Indigenous Reporters Program under the mentorship of The Canadian Press, with funding from the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch. Crystal Hardy Zongwe Binesikwe, The Canadian Press
(Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - image credit) The interim report from the Premier's Economic Recovery Team (PERT) will not be ready by the original Sunday deadline, according to Moya Greene who heads up the taskforce. Greene called a news conference on Saturday morning to offer an update on where the PERT stood on its recommendations to help dig the province out of its fiscal dilemma. She said the team will need another five to six weeks to deliver the interim "Greene Report." Greene pointed blame at the pandemic and most recent lockdown across the province for delaying the interim report, which was due by Feb. 28. "With all of the necessary rearranging that all of us have had to do as a result of the pandemic, and now this new lockdown period, we are just not going to be able to work in the time that I had originally thought," she said. "But even with that, if you look at our terms of reference, there's a lot of ground that we have been asked to cover. We want to cover it well, and so we are going to need a few extra weeks, maybe five or six extra weeks to get the report done in a way that we'll be happy with." Greene said the decision to delay has nothing to do with the ongoing provincial election, and the interim report just isn't ready. The report will be out there and it would be available for everybody to consider when it's done and it's not done yet. - Moya Greene As for the Feb. 28 deadline, she said she never thought of the date as a "time is of the essence thing." "I really thought of it as a notional date, and if all the things had gone in the way that I had hoped when we started our work, I thought that would be a reasonable period of time to prepare the interim report," she said. "A lot has changed since we started and now, most recently with the lockdown, people are working from home and the flow of our work, just like I'm sure things that you are doing, has become more interrupted." Greene said she is unsure if the interim report delay will have any effect on the final report, which is due by the end of April. When asked if she could offer some insight into what recommendations are being made so far, Greene said, "the report will be out there and it would be available for everybody to consider when it's done and it's not done yet." Premier Andrew Furey said he was informed on Friday of the interim Greene Report delay. She said over the last 15 to 20 days, she figured the deadline would be missed as it was taking longer for work to be completed. Greene noted she told this to the clerk of the executive council at least a week ago, and everybody on the team knows they needed more time to table the report, the decision wasn't hers alone. Premier Andrew Furey told reporters on Saturday he was made aware the report would be delayed on Friday by the clerk of the executive council, and he only found out about Greene's news conference on Saturday morning. "I was surprised to hear that this morning as well. I talked to the clerk this morning and he said Dame Moya Greene did approach him about a potential delay, but they were working toward trying to formulate an interim report and working hard," Furey said. "This week, it became obvious to him and to her that this was not possible, and he informed me on Friday morning." Voters misled: Crosbie Meanwhile, the province's opposition parties aren't buying the reasoning behind the delay. PC Leader Ches Crosbie said the delay "confirms our worst fears" that the provincial Liberals don't want voters to see the report before casting their ballots, and continues to accuse the party of having a secret plan to make cuts to jobs and services, specifically to rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The new fluid deadline Greene tabled on Saturday will come after the deadline for voters to have their ballots returned. Crosbie said many of the undecided voters he had been speaking with wanted to wait until Sunday to read the interim report before making their decision. "All those people have been badly misled," Crosbie said. Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie says voters have been 'badly misled,' given the delays to the interim Greene Report. Furey said on Thursday that he hasn't spoken with Greene since Christmas, though the team's mandate is to meet with the premier on a weekly basis, a detail that has been called into question by both the provincial Tories and the NDP. Greene said things are different now that the province is in the middle of an election, and Furey still doesn't know what is being recommended. "It's just not appropriate for me to communicate with the premier during the time from the date at which the writ was dropped, and I never arrived back after the Christmas break until Jan. 8," Greene said. "Before Christmas, I would mostly communicate with the premier by telephone to let him know how things were going. But he certainly doesn't know what the recommendations will be because they're not written yet." NDP Leader Alison Coffin accused the Liberals of being secretive after Saturday's delay. NDP Leader Alison Coffin says a delay in the release of the report means a delay in making vital economic decisions for the future of the province. She said the Liberals are back to their "antics" and "secrecy." She said she suspects if there was good news coming from the report the team would have tried to rush ahead to deliver it. "I would assume that if it's bad news then perhaps they would try to delay it as long as possible," she said. "Certainly, I'm sure, the premier would hate to have the people of Newfoundland and Labrador see the results of something that's bad before they get a chance to vote." Elsewhere, the NL Alliance said Newfoundlanders and Labradorians "aren't as naive" as Furey thinks they are. "The showing of Mr. Furey having a complete disregard for the well-being of the people of this province merely to save his own political interests is disgusting," Leader Graydon Pelley said in a statement. "First, calling a pandemic election, next the debacle of democracy on full display and now his refusal to release a plan he commissioned because he knows it will hurt his chances in a pending election." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
It's a year of change at the Canadian women's curling championship in the Calgary bubble. The field was padded to 18 teams this year for the first time. There are no spectators at the Markin MacPhail Centre due to the pandemic. The Page system was dropped in favour of a three-team playoff. Coaching benches are at opposite ends of the ice rather than beside each other. Traditional post-game handshakes are verboten with some players tapping brooms instead. Curling fans and athletes are still thrilled to have the sport back on the domestic stage after a long absence. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the first of six events to be held in the protected "bubble" environment — has been a success entering the final weekend. Championship pool play continues Saturday and the playoffs are set for Sunday. Many classic traditions specific to the Hearts are on hiatus for 2021. The HeartStop Lounge, a party barn with entertainment, food and drink, is obviously idle this year. The annual women's curler banquet and full-field group photo should also return in 2022. And in a change to a long-standing routine that Hearts competitors have held dear since 1981, many teams will not receive jewelry this year. Longtime event sponsor Kruger Products decided it will only award jewelry to the four teams — P.E.I., N.W.T., Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador — who were able to play provincial/territorial playdowns. The nine provincial teams who accepted invitations after the pandemic forced the cancellation of their respective association championships are out of luck. "Players/teams that were acclaimed entry into the 2021 Scotties and any alternate players that were not part of a winning provincial/territorial team are unfortunately not eligible to receive jewelry," said Kruger corporate marketing director Oliver Bukvic. "This is a very unique year, with many changes due to COVID, and we will recognize the winners who earned a berth in the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts." That's a change from last season when Nunavut — the other territorial entry in the field — received jewelry despite not playing down. Jewelry is not given out to defending champions (automatic entry) or wild-card teams (entry via ranking). Unlike the nine pandemic-affected provincial entries, Iqaluit was able to host championships this year. However, women's playdowns weren't held because the Nunavut team — which did not receive jewelry this year — was unopposed for a second straight season. Bukvic didn't comment on previous setups but said this year's plans came down to eligibility. "We look forward to next year when we'll hopefully be back to normalcy and we'll be able to recognize all of these provincial and territorial winners with their jewelry for winning their playdown," he said. First-year players who are eligible for jewelry receive a gold necklace with a four-heart pendant. A diamond is added to the pendant for each of the next four appearances. After that, a tennis bracelet is awarded with a diamond addition for every return to the Hearts. "We knew that that wasn't really on the table this year, which is fine," said Alberta vice Kate Cameron. "I think we were really excited to have this opportunity to even be here right now. "I think given the state of the world and everything we're going through and then being selected to represent Alberta, I think was something that we were really honoured to do. So I think we're just happy to be here." The jewelry is a significant perk for all teams who receive it, but particularly those who finish on the low end of the event payout structure. Teams cut after the preliminary round receive $2,500 apiece. The winning Hearts team receives $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse. Curlers who reach the podium will still receive traditional rings. The champions have rings set with a diamond, the finalists with a ruby and the third-place team with an emerald. The Hearts finalist receives $60,000 and the third-place team receives $40,000. Other championship pool teams receive $15,000 apiece. Kruger is celebrating its 40th year of Hearts sponsorship this season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Pour une deuxième journée consécutive, la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean jouit d'une absence de nouveaux cas. Le total régional demeure donc à 8 817 depuis le début de la pandémie. Aucun décès supplémentaire s'ajoute au bilan. À cet effet, le total reste inchangé à 264 décès. Depuis le 21 février, seulement 7 nouveaux cas du coronavirus se sont ajoutés au bilan régional. En date de vendredi, 15 cas étaient actifs. Le CIUSSS n'était toutefois pas en mesure de fournir le nombre d'hospitalisations. À l'échelle du Québec, on dénombre 858 nouveaux cas. Les hospitalisations sont en baisse à 599, soit 11 de moins qu'hier. 112 personnes sont aux soins intensifs. 13 nouveaux décès s'ajoutent, portant le total à 10 385 depuis un an. Vaccination En ce qui a trait à la vaccination, 15 902 doses ont été administrées hier, pour un total de 418 399, à l'échelle du Québec. Jusqu'à présent, la province a reçu 537 825 doses. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
NICOLET. Dans la cadre de la Grande Journée provinciale du 25 février 2021 d’Opération Enfant Soleil, les élèves de l’école Jean-Nicolet ont exprimé en grande leur solidarité à l’égard des enfants malades. En effet, nombreux ont été ceux à porter leur pyjama à l’école en échange de dons totalisant plus de 650$. Une générosité qui va droit au cœur d’Éloïse Parisé, une jeune fille qui a bénéficié de l’aide de l’organisme qui soutient le développement d’une pédiatrie de qualité au Québec. «Je suis hyper touchée et fière de mon école! J’ai été sur la place centrale toute la semaine avec un kiosque. Les gens sont très généreux. Moi, j’ai l’hypoplasie du ventricule droit avec atrésie pulmonaire. J’ai été opéré quatre fois. Tout va bien maintenant. Je sais que l’Opération Enfant Soleil fait la différence. Je veux que les enfants malades vivent une vie normale et qu’ils guérissent. Grâce à toute l’aide que j’ai eue, moi je peux aller à l’école et faire ce que je veux. J’aimerais qu’ils aient la même chance que moi», exprime Éloïse. Une implication qui réjouit Claudia Bourgeois, animatrice de vie spirituelle et d’engagement communautaire à l’école secondaire située à Nicolet. «La journée pyjama, c’est un super moyen pour développer la philanthropie chez les élèves», précise-t-elle en soulignant l’empathie qui se révèle. «C’est une bonne façon de leur permettre de se mettre à la place de jeunes qui passent leur journée en pyjama à l’hôpital. À travers tout ça, il y a une belle solidarité qui s’exprime. C’est beau de voir l’implication d’Éloïse et de ceux qui ont effectué un don», précise-t-elle. Kamylle Frost, une autre élève, était également de la partie pour la collecte de fonds. «Ma sœur a été opérée et elle a eu de l’aide. Je suis sensibilisée à Opération Enfant Soleil. C’est pour cela que je donne de mon temps», indique la jeune fille résidente de Saint-François-du-Lac. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Award-winning Canadian film director Tyler Simmonds has suffered from mental health issues since his teenage years. He decided to use his craft to push for dialogue and discussion on mental health and mindfulness — especially within the Black community.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario's COVID-19 case count is nearing the 300,000 mark. The province reported 1,185 new infections today for a total of 299,754 since the onset of the pandemic. Ontario also reported 16 new virus-related deaths over the past 24 hours. Health Minister Christine Elliott says Toronto saw 331 new cases in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 220 and York Region logged 119. Hospitalizations in the province declined by three to 680, with 276 patients in intensive care and 182 on a ventilator. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021 The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that was championed by President Joe Biden, the first step in providing another dose of aid to a weary nation as the measure now moves to a tense Senate. “We have no time to waste,” Biden said at the White House after the House passage early Saturday. "We act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again. People in this country have suffered far too much for too long.” The new president’s vision for infusing cash across a struggling economy to individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by COVID-19 passed on a near party-line 219-212 vote. That ships the bill to the Senate, where Democrats seem bent on resuscitating their minimum wage push and fights could erupt over state aid and other issues. Democrats said that mass unemployment and the half-million American lives lost are causes to act despite nearly $4 trillion in aid already spent fighting the fallout from the disease. GOP lawmakers, they said, were out of step with a public that polling finds largely views the bill favourably. “I am a happy camper tonight," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Friday. “This is what America needs. Republicans, you ought to be a part of this. But if you're not, we're going without you." Republicans said the bill was too expensive and said too few education dollars would be spent quickly to immediately reopen schools. They said it was laden with gifts to Democratic constituencies like labour unions and funneled money to Democratic-run states they suggested didn't need it because their budgets had bounced back. “To my colleagues who say this bill is bold, I say it's bloated," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “To those who say it's urgent, I say it's unfocused. To those who say it's popular, I say it is entirely partisan.” The overall relief bill would provide $1,400 payments to individuals, extend emergency unemployment benefits through August and increase tax credits for children and federal subsidies for health insurance. It also provides billions for schools and colleges, state and local governments, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, renters, food producers and struggling industries like airlines, restaurants, bars and concert venues. Moderate Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two lawmakers to cross party lines. That sharp partisan divide is making the fight a showdown over whom voters will reward for heaping more federal spending to combat the coronavirus and revive the economy atop the $4 trillion approved last year. The battle is also emerging as an early test of Biden's ability to hold together his party's fragile congressional majorities — just 10 votes in the House and an evenly divided 50-50 Senate. At the same time, Democrats were trying to figure out how to assuage liberals who lost their top priority in a jarring Senate setback Thursday. That chamber's nonpartisan parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, said Senate rules require that a federal minimum wage increase would have to be dropped from the COVID-19 bill, leaving the proposal on life support. The measure would gradually lift that minimum to $15 hourly by 2025, doubling the current $7.25 floor in effect since 2009. Hoping to revive the effort in some form, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is considering adding a provision to the Senate version of the COVID-19 relief bill that would penalize large companies that don't pay workers at least $15 an hour, said a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. That was in line with ideas floated Thursday night by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a chief sponsor of the $15 plan, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to boost taxes on corporations that don't hit certain minimum wage targets. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered encouragement, too, calling a minimum wage increase “a financial necessity for our families, a great stimulus for our economy and a moral imperative for our country.” She said the House would “absolutely" approve a final version of the relief bill because of its widespread benefits, even if it lacked progressives’ treasured goal. While Democratic leaders were eager to signal to rank-and-file progressives and liberal voters that they would not yield on the minimum wage fight, their pathway was unclear because of GOP opposition and questions over whether they had enough Democratic support. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., sidestepped a question on taxing companies that don't boost pay, saying of Senate Democrats, “I hesitate to say anything until they decide on a strategy." Progressives were demanding that the Senate press ahead anyway on the minimum wage increase, even if it meant changing that chamber's rules and eliminating the filibuster, a tactic that requires 60 votes for a bill to move forward. “We’re going to have to reform the filibuster because we have to be able to deliver,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., another high-profile progressive, also said Senate rules must be changed, telling reporters that when Democrats meet with their constituents, "We can’t tell them that this didn’t get done because of an unelected parliamentarian.” Traditionalists of both parties — including Biden, who served as a senator for 36 years — have opposed eliminating filibusters because they protect parties' interests when they are in the Senate minority. Biden said weeks ago that he didn't expect the minimum wage increase to survive the Senate's rules. Democrats narrowly hold Senate control. Pelosi, too, seemed to shy away from dismantling Senate procedures, saying, “We will seek a solution consistent with Senate rules, and we will do so soon.” The House COVID-19 bill includes the minimum wage increase, so the real battle over its fate will occur when the Senate debates its version over the next two weeks. Democrats are pushing the relief measure through Congress under special rules that will let them avoid a Senate GOP filibuster, meaning that if they are united they won't need any Republican votes. It also lets the bill move faster, a top priority for Democrats who want the bill on Biden's desk before the most recent emergency jobless benefits end on March 14. But those same Senate rules prohibit provisions with only an “incidental” impact on the federal budget because they are chiefly driven by other policy purposes. MacDonough decided that the minimum wage provision failed that test. Republicans oppose the $15 minimum wage target as an expense that would hurt businesses and cost jobs. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec provincial police say a body was discovered in the rubble of a home that exploded in Morin-Heights on Friday in the Laurentians. Police say there was an explosion that preceded a fire on the property that was brought under control. Emergency services were called to the residence at about 11:20 a.m. on Friday in the town about 85 kilometres northwest of Montreal. Police say the coroner will formally identify the victim, who was found later by technicians. A spokesman says police are continuing their investigation at the scene today. The cause of the explosion and the fire remain under investigation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press