Its candidacy for EU membership long-since rebuffed, Turkey appears more firmly set than ever on a path of assertive independence. Where it leads, will be a major issue in the year to come.
Its candidacy for EU membership long-since rebuffed, Turkey appears more firmly set than ever on a path of assertive independence. Where it leads, will be a major issue in the year to come.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
The new Peggys Cove viewing platform will mostly replace a paved turning lane and won't be built over any important Mi'kmaw sites, the CEO of Develop Nova Scotia said Tuesday. Jennifer Angel leads the provincial Crown corporation building the platform. Angel said she listened to the protests against the platform over the weekend and understands how much people care about the area. "We're reclaiming that space for people," she told CBC Radio's Information Morning. Angel said 12,000 square feet of the deck will replace an existing paved turning circle. Another 2,000 square feet will extend beyond that, she said. "There's a portion we're calling the Nose that is cantilevered out over some of the rocks in a bit of a more dramatic experience," she said. People will still be able to walk over the rocks and paths to the lighthouse and enjoy uninterrupted views of the ocean, she said. Some of the weekend protesters complained that they hadn't been consulted. A Mi'kmaw activist said it could block access to sacred sweet grass. Angel said they've been consulting widely since 2018, including with the 40 people who live in the village. "This is the largest and deepest public engagement we've ever done," she said. "But we do think the concerns raised are authentic and are rooted in a true desire to protect the place." Angel said she's spoken to the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax and with the activist, and has planned a site visit with them and a botanist. "We're 99 per cent confident we're not in conflict with any sacred sites, but we're going to double check. And we will not be building a platform over a sacred Mi'kmaw site," Angel said. Angel said people can join a public webinar Thursday at 6 p.m. to learn more. 'It's what a kind society does' Paul Vienneau, an activist for people with disabilities and Halifax's accessibility consultant, said the platform will open up Peggys Cove to more people. "I've had a 30-year span where I haven't been able to take part fully in many things," said Vienneau, who uses a wheelchair. "When I hear my human rights and my right of access easily debated away, it kind of makes me feel like I don't count as a citizen." He said making the spot accessible to more people outweighs the changes to the area. "I think it's what a kind society does. I think it's what an enlightened society does," he said. "To have a safe place to sit in that air and look at all the rocks and the lighthouse and the ocean — I can't wait for that." Gerry Post, an accessibility advocate, also welcomed the changes. He praised Develop Nova Scotia for taking accessibility seriously and said they've done great work. "Before I became disabled — I use a wheelchair — I used to go frequently. Whenever visitors come from away, it's the first thing you do, right? You go to Peggys Cove and show it off and enjoy it," he said Tuesday. "Since that, I've been there once, but basically sat in the car in the parking lot. It's not a very accessible place to enjoy that wonderful space there." Post hopes the new public bathrooms will be fully accessible, including changing tables for young children and for adults who need support. "It's not a big expense when you design it in from the front end," he said. Work has not started on the platform, but it's due to open in June. MORE TOP STORIES
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada's vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent. Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is "very confident" Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September. "We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due," Trudeau said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a "vaccine export transparency mechanism" so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world's largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped. "Europe invested billions to help develop the world‘s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good," she said. "And now the companies must deliver." Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded. AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems. But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time. "Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business," said von der Leyen. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open. "There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada," Ng said in question period. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn't that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one. With all of Canada's current vaccine doses coming from Europe, "that's a concern," Rempel Garner said. "If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what's Plan B for Canada?" she asked. Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S. Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well. President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely. Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it. Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose. Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn't supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment. More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose. But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits. Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna's shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track. MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada's vaccine program Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Given the broad range of chip products supplied by the company, investors consider its quarterly report card as a proxy for both the health of the industry and other sectors where semiconductors are key components. The company said it also saw strong demand from automotive and industrial markets, benefiting from a growing number of chip components in their products. Total revenue rose to $4.08 billion from $3.35 billion a year earlier, above Wall Street estimates of $3.6 billion.
OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals are eyeing changes to the law governing public service hiring to help make federal departments and agencies more diverse. They also plan to do further research on the makeup of the federal public service and will try to hire more senior leaders with varied backgrounds. Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and his parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus, are spelled out the priorities Tuesday to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. The government says while there has been some progress for Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and others who face racial discrimination in the workplace, too many public servants continue to face obstacles. The Treasury Board Secretariat has begun discussions about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at "possible amendments" to the Public Service Employment Act. The act is intended to ensure federal hiring is fair, transparent and representative. But Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says he hears complaints from members about how it works. "It sounds like everything is there," Aylward said Tuesday. "But in practical terms, the way that it's applied, the way that managers go about doing staffing … it's far, far from perfect." The examination of the Public Service Employment Act would complement Labour Minister Filomena Tassi's planned review of the Employment Equity Act, a law aimed at protecting workers from discrimination and other unfair treatment. The government recently released data that provides more detail about the composition of the public service. Duclos and Fergus say the annual public service employee survey will help the government identify more precisely where gaps remain and what is needed to improve representation. The government plans to increase diversity through promotion and recruitment, including introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who might currently face barriers. The government says although progress will take time, the public service can be a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world. "In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity," Duclos said in a statement. Just last week, Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart issued a call to action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the public service, setting out federal expectations for current leaders. "We must encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organizations," Shugart wrote. "We must create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership, and one we must meet head on. Now." The government has also launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by a budget of $12 million, to create an ongoing discussion about change. "There is much to do before all public servants can feel they truly belong in a public service that values inclusiveness and differences," Fergus said. "Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Public health regulations in the Sudbury district could be made even more restrictive than the current lockdown and stay-at-home order if a variant of the COVID-19 virus somehow increases the number of infections. The issue was discussed in an online interview hosted by Science North on Monday with Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Public Health Sudbury and Districts. Staff scientist Katrina Pisani joined Sutcliffe for a 40-minute discussion on why the COVID-19 guidelines in Ontario keep changing. Pisani told the online audience the purpose of the discussion was to get a better understanding of why guidelines change and what the public needs to know about the current emergency regulations and the stay-at-home order currently in place. On Monday afternoon, the province decided to expand the order for an additional two weeks. Sutcliffe said despite some initial confusion, the order was simple and direct. "So the stay-at home order is exactly that for all Ontarians, to stay home unless it is really essential that you're not at home." She said it is intended to be as simple as possible notwithstanding some of the confusion about it. This is despite speculation and questions that people might have about every little excuse to somehow get around essential reasons for leaving home. Sutcliffe said essential reasons could include such things as picking up groceries, going to the pharmacy, getting health care or doing some essential work that cannot be done from home. "It's different from the lockdown, because the lockdown is one of the areas of the coded phases for management of COVID in our province. And so those that were in the gray or lockdown parts of our province meant that they had high rates of COVID-19 and there are specific requirements there, but not an overall stay-at-home order as we have now, really to protect our health and our health-care system as we have seen rates of the disease really increase across the province," said Sutcliffe. Pisani asked about the importance of one's mental health, because some people believe it is important to get out of the house for something like a walk around the block. Sutcliffe said it was an important point as the pandemic has left many people feeling isolated, not being able to engage with their friends or their families as they would normally. She added it has had an impact on people with addictions and risks associated with drug overdoses. Sutcliffe said the stay-at-home order does allow people to go outside for exercise. It allows you to spend time with members of your own household, but not to have more than five people when you are gathered outdoors and no gatherings indoors. Sutcliffe said from the public health perspective the order does recognize the importance of having time outdoors. She said it is understood the risk of the virus outdoors is lower, with fresh air and better ventilation by not being in an enclosed space, but it is still important to wear a face mask when one is close to others in the outdoors. When asked if the outdoor activities could be made more restrictive, Sutcliffe said that had more to do not necessarily with an increase in active COVID-19 cases, but more about the kind of virus that presents itself. "People will be aware that there are the variants of concern (VOC) or different variants; the UK Variant, the South African Variant, the Brazil Variant that we understand are more transmissible," Sutcliffe explained. It was revealed Monday afternoon that a variant of the COVID virus might have infected a Sudbury person who had been travelling. That person is now in isolation. "The big concern is, as those get more commonplace and spread in our communities, what additional public health measures might be needed to prevent transmission?" said Sutcliffe. "If something is so transmissible that it might require further restrictions outdoors then those decisions, based on science, will have to be made," she added. "But really I think that the kind of virus we are seeing and the transmissibility is a big factor in that. If we're finding that being outdoors people are still gathering together closely, then there might be additional measures and we know that's been the case in some parts of the province put in place." Pisani mentioned the situation of the North Bay Parry Sound district health unit, where it was decided earlier this month that snowmobiling, outdoor skating and tobogganing would be banned for the time being. Sutcliffe also acknowledged that the pandemic is indeed frustrating and people are having a difficult time with it. “I think we are tired of hearing that we are all in it together, but we are still all in it together. And that means Team Sudbury, or Team Northern Ontario or Team Ontario or Team World. You know we are all in this together and we need to support each other.” Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Council approved a property tax increase of 5.68 per cent at last night’s meeting. “Keeping this community safe should be our No. 1 priority,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, who was in favour of the increase. A main point of contention in the increase is the hiring of 16 RCMP officers and 11 municipal employees, amounting to a 1.24 per cent increase. However, Coun. Chak Au was not in favour of the “historical” increase, saying he would not approve growth of more than five per cent. He added that Richmond is not the worst city in the region in terms of police officer to population ratio, with 666 residents per officer. In comparison, Surrey has 692 residents per officer, Burnaby 799, and Coquitlam 829. “We’ve been playing catch-up, we had a very low ratio of police to our population,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “I hear so many people talking about being in favour of community safety and how we really have to be safe as a community. What is more fundamental than having police officers?” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Three years ago, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West got a dream Sundance debut. They premiered their film “RBG” to a sold-out crowd with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only in attendance but seeing it for the first time. There was a standing ovation, a bidding war and a big sale. It also went on to be a major awards contender. It’s the kind of Sundance experience most filmmakers fantasize about. This year they’re returning to the festival with their follow-up, “My Name is Pauli Murray” about the somewhat obscure legal trailblazer, and while their excitement remains high, the festival itself will be quite different. Like so many in the past year, Sundance has had to reinvent itself as a mostly virtual experience. Still, the 2021 Festival which kicks off Thursday is shaping up to be a robust market for companies looking for content. More than 72 feature films are debuting over the seven days. It’s slimmed-down lineup from the previous years’ 118 and some already have ways to get to audiences, like Robin Wright’s “Land” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which will both be available to the masses in the coming weeks. But many this year are acquisition titles seeking distribution deals. “Buyers and sellers have found a rhythm for conducting business at virtual markets, to great success. And consumers are continuing to ask for more content,” said Deb McIntosh, an SVP at Endeavor Content. “I’m confident that we’ll find distribution partners for all of our films." Julie Dansker, an executive at Shout! Studios, is coming to the virtual festival looking for films to buy and Sundance, she said, always offers a variety of films from established and emerging talents. This year there are high profile projects from well-known names like actor Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut “Passing,” starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as two light-skinned Black women who choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. Jerrod Carmichael is making his debut with the dark satire “On the Count of Three” with Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish. Questlove is too with his opening night documentary “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).” Zoe Lister-Jones also reunites with her “Craft: Legacy” star Cailee Spaeny for “How It Ends,” co-starring Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen. And “CODA,” a day one film from Sian Heder about a child of deaf adults, is expected to be one of the breakouts. As always, the documentary sections are fertile ground for buyers. Cohen and West’s “My Name is Pauli Murray” is among the sales titles as is Mariem Pérez Riera’s “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which examines how the entertainer battled racism to become one of the few performers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lucy Walker has a documentary about the history of wildfires, “Bring Your Own Brigade” and Jonas Poher Rasmussen will debut his animated refugee documentary “Flee.” And then there’s the more unconventional efforts like animator Dash Shaw’s psychedelic “Cryptozoo,” featuring the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Grace Zabriskie. Or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Wong Kar-Wai produced drama “One for the Road” and Timur Bekmambetov’s social media age Romeo and Juliet riff “R#J.” There are boundless “discovery” opportunities for parties looking beyond the flashy names who might just stumble upon the next Ryan Coogler or Damien Chazelle. As Sundance programmer Kim Yutani said, “You don’t really know what these films are until you see them.” Audience enthusiasm for a particular film might be harder to judge virtually, though. “There’s all this energy that happens at a festival when you’re in person that is hard to translate to a virtual environment,” said Jordan Fields, head of acquisitions for Shout! Studios. “But on the upside, it gives us the ability to judge movies a little more objectively because we’re not necessarily influenced by a crowd who stands up to cheer it at the end.” And indeed, for better or worse, that in-person energy has often played a role in negotiating the price. Sometimes the hype is warranted, and you get a “Little Miss Sunshine.” But other times off the mountain, the glow fades and companies are left with a flop. Prices have also been going up steadily due to the influx of deep-pocketed streaming companies who don’t have to worry as much or at all about box office returns. Six years ago, Amazon and Netflix both struggled to get titles. Now, the streamers are some of the biggest players in the game. Last year saw Hulu and NEON pay over $17.5 million (a record) for the worldwide rights to the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs.” “Boys State” also got a $12 million deal from Apple and A24. This year there is an added anxiety about content since many productions were put on hold because of the pandemic. But there’s also opportunity in the fact that there could be a bigger and more diverse audience seeing the films who may never have had the opportunity to attend the expensive festival. The cost of entry for the virtual films is $15 a ticket and many are sold out. “Taking Sundance off the mountain and to the whole country will be a beautiful way to commune together over our shared love and need for artistic expression,” said McIntosh. There have already been a few pre-Festival deals. RLJE Films on Tuesday announced that it had acquired the Nicolas Cage film “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” Magnolia Pictures took the rights to “A Glitch in the Matrix” from “Room 237” director Rodney Ascher, Bleecker Street snagged the Ed Helms drama “Together Together” and Juno Films picked up the documentary “The Most Beautiful Boy” about Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen. But many are holding back pre-screenings and waiting until the actual Sundance premiere. “I’m still excited,” said Hall, whose “Passing” premieres Saturday. “But would I rather that we were all together wandering through the snow, freezing cold and, you know, trudging down Main Street? Yes, I would, because that communal experience is part of it.” Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — The interruption in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine justifies Nova Scotia's conservative distribution strategy, Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday. McNeil defended the province's immunization plan to hold doses back for booster shots, and he voiced concerns about the ongoing availability of vaccine. "We have serious concerns about supply," he told reporters. "We had hoped that we wouldn't be in this situation but we will not be receiving any new doses this week." The premier said vaccinations will continue at some long-term care homes because the province had put doses in reserve for booster shots. As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, with 2,708 people having received their second of two doses. McNeil acknowledged the criticism about his government's approach of holding back doses. Quebec, by contrast, decided against that strategy and instead vaccinated as many people as possible with a single dose. The premier, however, said his main concern has been around the consistency of vaccine supply. "We want to reassure all Nova Scotians that if we give you the first shot you will get the second shot," McNeil said. "Until we see a level of consistency in supply, that's the protocol we are going to continue to follow." Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia would get no vaccine this week from Pfizer and then 1,950 doses the week of Feb. 1, along with another 5,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. "Beyond that there is no certainty around the amount of vaccine, whether its Pfizer or Moderna, that we are going to get," Strang said. Strang, however, said the province remained committed to its strategy. He said Nova Scotia feels less pressure compared to other provinces to vaccinate the largest amount of people as quickly as possible. Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday and a total of 11 active reported infections. No one was in hospital with the disease. Strang said science is also solidly behind the approach of giving two doses of vaccine within the 21-to-28-day window prescribed by the manufacturers. Over the next three months, he said, the province will continue to focus on vaccinating front-line health-care workers as well as staff, residents and designated caregivers in long-term and residential care facilities. To date, Strang said, vaccinations have been completed at the Northwood long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 of the provinces 65 deaths occurred last spring. He said vaccinations are also complete at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Dartmouth and at Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney. As well, Strang said the province is targeting mid-to-late February to open its first community clinic, which he said will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, for people over 80 years of age. "These are community clinics that will help us understand what works and what doesn't work, so when we are ready to administer large quantities of vaccine we are able to do so immediately," Strang said. Meanwhile, health officials urged post-secondary students in the Halifax area to get tested for COVID-19. They said several cases of COVID-19 had been identified among Halifax's student population, and they recommended that all students be tested — even if they haven’t travelled, have no symptoms or haven't visited a location that had been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Drop-in testing began Tuesday and at Dalhousie University and pop-up rapid testing was scheduled to begin Wednesday at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and at two locations in Sydney, N.S., including Cape Breton University. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
At today’s press conference from the Legislative Building in Regina, Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab expressed their condolences not only to the families of the fourteen individuals who were reported to have passed today, but also to those reported since last week. Over the past week 46 residents of the province have passed away due to COVID-19. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 254. This continues the downward trend of the past week and although it is slow it is a positive result. The highest seven-day average was posted on January 12 at 321 and another seven-day average of 320 recorded on January 15. Further evaluation of the provincial trends has led Premier Moe to extend the current public health order which came into effect December 17th. Current measures will now remain in effect for a further three weeks until February 19, 2021. It is hoped that the three-week extension will prevent a spike in cases that might result from Valentine’s Day and the Family Day statutory holiday which happens on February 15th this year. Dr. Shahab added that the three-week window will take us to the February school break which may also provide a respite in transmissions. Public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission trends throughout this period and make new recommendations prior to the expiration of these measures. Although Manitoba has enacted a 14-day quarantine period for those who travel intra-provincially, this is seen as an unnecessary move by Saskatchewan since we have a number of people who work across the borders of both Alberta and Manitoba and restrictions of that sort will severely impact those people. As long as individuals who must travel to other provinces for work follow all the necessary precautions, there should be no need to follow Manitoba. Dr. Shahab reminded all that non-essential travel is not recommended. As well the Premier has called for an increase in enforcement measures. Enforcement of public health orders is permitted under The Public Health Act, 1994. With that Public health inspectors will be supported in their efforts to ticket violators quickly, to ensure that businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible in addition to the enforcement efforts that have been undertaken by police agencies throughout the province. The Premier also stated that they will continue to release the names of those businesses who have been fined for non-compliance. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
À Laval, la Cité de la biotech abrite une société de recherche contractuelle qui est non seulement impliquée dans la moitié des projets de développement de vaccins contre la COVID-19, mais qui s’affiche désormais comme «le plus important joueur» mondial en matière de tests cliniques liés à l’approbation de nouveaux vaccins. Il s’agit de Nexelis, un prestataire de services auprès d’entreprises pharmaceutiques et biotechnologiques né en 2015 (sous l’ancien vocable NÉOMED-LABS) à la suite de la fermeture du centre de recherche sur les vaccins que GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) exploitait au 525, boulevard Cartier. Le 20 janvier, l’entreprise lavalloise annonçait une importante acquisition, la 5e à survenir au cours des trois dernières années. D’ici la fin du mois de janvier, le laboratoire de bioanalyse clinique certifié GCLP que détenait GSK à Marburg, en Allemagne, sera la propriété de Nexelis, qui gonfle ainsi ses effectifs à plus de 360 employés dont près de la moitié œuvrent à Laval. Composée de quelque 80 scientifiques et analystes, l’équipe allemande continuera à œuvrer étroitement avec le géant pharmaceutique britannique en soutien au développement de futurs candidats vaccins de GSK, et ce, en vertu d’un accord de collaboration stratégique d'une durée de 5 ans. «La sous-traitance stratégique permettra à GSK d'accroitre sa capacité de tests et son agilité [et] de continuer à accélérer le développement des candidats vaccins dans notre pipeline», a indiqué par voie de communiqué Emmanuel Hanon, chef de la R&D; de GSK Vaccins, rappelant au passage «la réussite du transfert d’activités de laboratoire à Nexelis» en 2015. Depuis 2017, Nexelis aura en moyenne doublé ses revenus chaque année pour atteindre le plateau des 100 M$ US en 2021, indique son président et chef de la direction, Benoit Bouche. «Le segment de la bioanalytique dans le domaine des vaccins est une niche de l’ordre de 250 M$ et notre part de marché mondiale est supérieure à 20 %», précise-t-il. Benoit Bouche souligne également que les quelque 150 employés affectés aux laboratoires de Laval sont actuellement mis à contribution pour les essais cliniques de 20 des 42 projets de vaccin contre la COVID-19 en développement à travers la planète. En clair, le mandat consiste à valider l’efficacité des candidats vaccins en vue de l’ultime homologation des agences réglementaires, tels Santé Canada et la Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aux États-Unis. Les méthodes analytiques et les plateformes technologiques de pointe développées par Nexelis lui assurent une capacité de tests d’échantillons cliniques à très haut débit. «Notre capacité d’analyse est de 10 à 15 000 tests par jour», illustre M. Bouche en évoquant l’ensemble des laboratoires que l’entreprise possède dans ses cinq installations en Amérique du Nord et en Europe. Entreprise détenue par la société de portefeuille Ampersand Capital Partners, Nexelis a le vent dans les voiles et entend bien poursuivre son expansion comme en témoignent les 80 nouvelles embauches projetées en cours d’année. «On s’engage à recruter au moins 100 nouveaux chercheurs à Laval dans les 3 années qui viennent, dont 40 en 2021», termine Benoît Bouche. Dans la foulée de cette expansion à très court terme, le patron de Nexelis est d’ailleurs à évaluer l’occupation d’un second site à la faveur d’un immeuble vacant de la Cité de la biotechnologie et de la santé humaine. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
To help Erin businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic, the town’s economic development committee will focus its efforts on three areas. In a presentation to Erin council Tuesday, chair Jim White laid out the plan. Board members will create an entrepreneurial hub, zone in on tourism growth related to businesses and discuss business retention and expansion initiatives. Plans, however, have been on hold or partially delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These programs were meant as ways of diversifying how businesses operate, but now it’s about ensuring they make money to stay in town with the lockdown closing virtually all of the stores. “Given COVID-19’s arrived in (March 2020), we deferred the implementation of the entrepreneurial hub,” said White. “Similarly, we had to defer the growth of tourism activities, and the third one, the business attraction, retention and expansion. The committee elected to put all of our resources from September in working on business recovery in face of COVID-19. That then became the priority.” Linda Horowitz, program manager at Innovation Guelph will lead the entrepreneurial hub. The committee wants to develop a physical presence for businesses to share ideas, attend seminars and use workplace tools. They've developed a plan to engage all local businesses to participate in the hub and are moving to create a virtual hub to facilitate communications with businesses. Jim White will lead the growth of the tourism initiative. His group plans to engage Central Counties Tourism and Headwaters stakeholders to ensure Erin’s needs are reflected in an integrated plan, study the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry and identify priorities for local businesses, among many other things. Business attraction, retention and expansion will be led by board member Laurie Davis. This group will focus on attracting new businesses to increase the tax base from the industry and ensure that existing businesses become advocates for Erin to attract new businesses. Industries represented include advanced manufacturing, tourism and professional services. Market sectors are engineering, food and beverage, retail, wellness and restaurants. The committee determines the status of 10 key businesses in Erin for 9 months into the pandemic, worked to gain insights into their high-level plans for 2021 and determined the impact of the situation on employment, among many other things. Councillor Rob Smith shared his concerns, as a business owner, about the majority of the workforce not working at this time. “They’re going to get conditioned to being very lax,” said Smith. I think we’re going to be up against the wall when COVID is over and introducing these people back to the workforce.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Residents of Île-à-la-Crosse will now have a new place to gather with the completion of their community hall. However, with COVID-19, this is a bittersweet time for the community given that public health restrictions will keep them from using it in the coming months, said Mayor Duane Favel. “Having that space that holds community gatherings and such as weddings and other activities that we like to do within our communities, I think it's going to be a wonderful place for people to gather and socialize in a healthy way.” Île-à-la-Crosse used their Municipal Economic Enhancement Program funding that was announced back in May to finally get the project underway to replace the ageing community hall that was donated in 1980. Additional funding has also been secured, Favel said. The concrete foundation and utility lines are still in good shape, said Île-à-la-Crosse councillor Gerald Roy for an article back in September, so those will remain as they replace the building. The community is looking forward to being able to use the facility, Favel said. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Police are warning users of illicit drugs across the Northwest Territories of two new noxious substances they found in illicit drugs seized in Yellowknife last November, and for which the health effects are not known. In a Tuesday news release, RCMP said the drugs they seized — believed to crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets — were found to contain Adinazolam and 5-MeO-DBT after being analyzed by the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service. "These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present," said Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in the release. Police said the substances are either presented as a new form of drug that people may be unaware they are consuming or is so novel that limited information is available on its safety. The presence of the two new substances has increased the danger of illicit drugs, the release says. "In fact, given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories" said Insp. Dyson Smith, the officer in charge of the RCMP's Yellowknife detachment, in the release. The RCMP said it is working with the N.W.T. government Department of Health and Social Services to determine the impacts of the two new substances. Delli Pizzi said in the release that people who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan in case someone overdoses. "The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose" he said. The Yellowknife RCMP's general investigation section seized the illicit drugs on Nov. 27, 2020 from a Yellowknife residence. They said there have been charges as a result of the case and that it is currently before the courts.
VANCOUVER — Public condemnation grew Tuesday of a Vancouver couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with British Columbia's solicitor general calling their alleged actions "despicable."Mike Farnworth criticized former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker and his wife Ekaterina Baker, who have been issued tickets under the territory's Emergency Measures Act and face fines of up to $1,000, plus fees."Frankly, I think what we saw yesterday of individuals flying to Yukon was probably one of the most despicable things that I've seen in a long time. It shows a complete lack of any sort of ethical or moral compass," Farnworth said at a news conference on a separate matter."As we've also seen, they have paid a pretty high price, losing a $10-million-a-year job, as they should."Tickets filed in a Whitehorse court show the 55-year-old man and his 32-year-old wife were each charged with one count of failing to self-isolate for 14 days and one count of failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon.The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them.Ekaterina Baker did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting comment. An attempt was made to speak to Rodney Baker through a request to Great Canadian Gaming, which accepted his resignation Sunday, after he couldn't be reached.An information circular published by Great Canadian Gaming in March 2020 says Baker earned a total of about $6.7 million in compensation from the company in 2019. The company owns and operates more than 20 casinos in B.C., Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Baker became president in 2010 and CEO the following year.Spokesman Chuck Keeling said in a statement on Monday that the company does not comment on personnel matters, but it complies with guidelines from public health authorities in all jurisdictions."Our overriding focus as a company is doing everything we can to contribute to the containment of COVID-19," he said.Ekaterina Baker is an actress who had small roles this year in "Chick Fight," starring Malin Akerman and Bella Thorne, and "Fatman," which starred Mel Gibson as a rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus, according to her IMDB Pro page.The biography on the page describes her as a European-born actress who is now based in Canada.Calls and emails to the agent and manager listed on her page were not immediately returned.Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker said last week the couple allegedly chartered a plane to Beaver Creek, posed as visiting workers and received shots of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic.Streicker said he was outraged by their alleged actions and members of White River First Nation in Beaver Creek felt violated.The community was prioritized to receive vaccine because of its remoteness, elderly population and limited access to health care, said White River Chief Angela Demit. Kevin Rodrigues, a medical ethicist with the University Health Network at Toronto General Hospital, said using "financial muscle" to go elsewhere to be immunized undermines difficult decisions over who should be prioritized for a vaccine when supplies are limited."I think that for affected groups or for people who have been struggling and waiting it does feel like a slap in the face. And they went into a remote community and introduced the possibility of infection. It was done for quite a selfish reason."The pandemic has exposed deep health inequities but the Bakers' alleged actions are a "much more egregious way of exposing this" and raise issues about fundamental injustice within society, he said."The reality is that those without means are at greater risk for poor health outcomes as we're trying to get on top of having an equitable health approach," Rodrigues said."You hear our government officials say it to the point where it sounds like a buzz word, that 'We're all in this together,' this idea of solidarity, and it doesn't feel like we are a nation that is in solidarity if some people are able to jump the queue and access (vaccines) ahead of others who are waiting and trying to do the right thing."— With files from Camille BainsThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Actor Elliot Page and Emma Portner said Tuesday that they are divorcing after three years of marriage. “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce following our separation last summer," the Canadian couple said in a joint statement. "We have the utmost respect for each other and remain close friends.” They gave no further details. Page, the 33-year-old Oscar-nominated star of “Juno,” “Inception” and “The Umbrella Academy,” and Portner, a 26-year-old choreographer and dance teacher, announced their marriage early in 2018 after only having hinted at their relationship on social media. Portner was vocal in her support of Page when the actor came out as transgender in December, an announcement that was widely greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood. The Associated Press