Armed and ready to go, Taiwan air force jets screamed into the sky on Tuesday in a drill to simulate a war scenario, showing its fleet's battle readiness after dozens of Chinese warplanes flew into the island's air defence zone over the weekend. Taiwan, claimed by China as its territory, has been on edge since the large-scale incursion by Chinese fighters and nuclear-capable bombers into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone on Saturday and Sunday, which coincided with a U.S. carrier group entering the South China Sea. The base in the southern city of Tainan, home to F-CK-1 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF), frequently scrambles jets to intercept China's air force.
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
A Nova Scotia man accused of murder and awaiting trial in 2017 left a voice message on a Halifax Regional Police answering service detailing a trip home to visit his mother, the province's police review board heard Monday. The February 2017 message was played at the hearing into complaints over Christopher Garnier's arrest for breaching conditions of his bail. Garnier's message disclosed a forthcoming visit to his "mother's house in Millville" for the weekend of Feb. 17-19, 2017. It was left on an answering service for people released on court-imposed conditions. The department later sought to arrest Garnier, who was charged at the time with second-degree murder in the death of Catherine Campbell, an off-duty police officer from Truro. He was found guilty in December 2017. 'Lost in translation' Const. Mike Stevens of the Halifax Regional Police said he did not check the messaging service before or after Garnier's arrest, as that was the responsibility of other officers in his department. Garnier's message, presented to him by the other officers, "might have been lost in translation," Stevens said. He couldn't provide his own notes from Garnier's arrest that February because he said they are missing. Board chair Jean McKenna pointed out the Sydney hearing is not meant to find fault within the Halifax department, but is instead meant to examine the actions of four members of the Cape Breton Regional Police. The constables accused of misconduct are Steve Campbell, Gary Fraser, Dennis McSween and Troy Walker. Complaint filed by Garnier's father Garnier's father, Vincent Garnier, filed a complaint against the Cape Breton department accusing the force of unlawfully arresting his son, taking photographs on private property without the knowledge or consent of the homeowner, and inviting themselves into the home where his son was staying. A complaint was also filed against Halifax police, but the matter was not referred to the review board. Christopher Garnier's whereabouts came into question after police conducted a compliance check in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2017. A Cape Breton officer knocked on two doors at Garnier's mother's home, but no one answered. Charges were pursued against Garnier after he told police he hadn't heard a knock, said Const. Stevens. Had always complied with checks He said prior to the incident, Garnier always complied with checks at his Bedford residence. A Supreme Court judge later ruled that Garnier did not intentionally breach his conditions, as he was likely asleep. Members of the three-member review board panel will consider written arguments in the case. It is unknown when their decision or findings will be released. A lawyer for the Cape Breton Regional Police said Monday that he didn't see any evidence of misconduct. MORE TOP STORIES
VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor says the province is extending the interval between the two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bonnie Henry says further delays in the production and delivery of the vaccine over the next two weeks prompted health officials to extend the time period between the shots from 35 to 42 days. She says about 60 per cent of the more than 119,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in the province so far have been used to protect residents of long-term care homes. Henry provided an update on B.C.'s vaccine supply on Monday while reporting 26 more deaths linked to the illness and 1,344 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed over the last three days. She says the curve of the pandemic in B.C. has plateaued at around 500 cases a day, which is too many, particularly if transmission of several faster-spreading variants of the illness increases in the province. The latest situation report posted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa and six of the variant first found in the United Kingdom. Those diagnosed with the South African strain had neither travelled nor had contact with anyone who did, which is concerning, Henry said Monday. Each case of the U.K. variant has so far been linked to travel or close contact with a traveller, with no ongoing transmission, she said. The centre for disease control has studied about 11,000 samples of COVID-19 in B.C. as part of ongoing efforts to find new variants, Henry added. Premier John Horgan also marked the one-year anniversary of the first presumptive COVID-19 case in Canada in a statement on Monday. "While the end of the pandemic is in sight, thanks to the availability of vaccines, the threat is not over. We must remain vigilant," he said. Horgan said the anniversary is an appropriate time to commemorate the more than 1,000 B.C. residents who have died of COVID-19 and acknowledge the sacrifices people have made to take care of others. "Today, we recommit ourselves to protecting people's health and livelihoods from the threat of COVID-19, knowing that better days are ahead." — By Brenna Owen in Vancouver This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
The RCMP in New Brunswick has suspended criminal background checks in red zones across the province. Such checks are required for coaches, educators, youth workers, those who work or volunteer with the homeless or other vulnerable populations, as well as numerous other professions. They can also be required for those looking to start or grow their family. Nicole Boucher and her family have begun the process of adopting two children, but the process has now stalled until background checks can resume, she said. Foster parents and prospective adoptive parents require these checks, Boucher said. Their social worker told them to get them done as soon as possible, she said, but that now depends on when Zone 1, which covers southeastern New Brunswick, comes out of red. Const. Hans Ouellette, media relations officer for New Brunswick RCMP confirmed that the decision was made to limit front counter services in these zones, which includes criminal record checks, vulnerable sector checks and fingerprinting. However, community members who need to obtain these services are being encouraged to contact their local detachment for more information. All current volunteers now working in Anglophone East District schools would have completed their criminal record and vulnerable sector checks, so they will be able to continue as normal and follow the red phase guidelines, said Stephanie Patterson, director of communications for the Anglophone East. But, since these checks are mandatory, the district will not be accepting any new volunteers until the restriction on checks is lifted by the RCMP, she said. If the zone stays in the red level for a short time, it will post few problems, said Ghislaine Arsenault, strategic communications director for District scolaire francophone sud. But, longer term, it could impact the district's volunteer system and the hiring of new employees, she said. Rob Campbell, councillor for the Village of Salisbury, said as many organizations, like sports leagues, can't operate while the region is in red, meaning a pause in this service is likely not a major concern right now. However, if someone were to leave a job that requires a check, the town or any organizations in a similar position, may not be able to replace them as quickly as they would like, he said. And if the suspension remains in place in April when summer students are being hired by municipalities and organizations, it could become a bigger issue, he said. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
WASHINGTON — These suspects weren't exactly in hiding. “THIS IS ME,” one man posted on Instagram with a hand emoji pointing to himself in a picture of the violent mob descending on the U.S. Capitol. “Sooo we’ve stormed Capitol Hill lol,” one woman texted someone while inside the building. “I just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,” another wrote on Facebook about a selfie he took inside during the Jan. 6 riot. In dozens of cases, supporters of President Donald Trump downright flaunted their activity on social media on the day of the deadly insurrection. Some, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos and comments and sent them to the FBI. Their total lack of concern over getting caught and their friends' willingness to turn them in has helped authorities charge about 150 people as of Monday with federal crimes. But even with the help from the rioters themselves, investigators must still work rigorously to link the images to the vandalism and suspects to the acts on Jan. 6 in order to prove their case in court. And because so few were arrested at the scene, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have been forced to send agents to track suspects down. “Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of criminal activity inside the Capitol,” Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington office, said earlier this month. “Bottom line — the FBI is not sparing any resources in this investigation.” In the last few weeks, the FBI has received over 200,000 photos and video tips related to the riot. Investigators have put up billboards in several states with photos of wanted rioters. Working on tips from co-workers, acquaintances and friends, agents have tracked down driver’s license photos to match their faces with those captured on camera in the building. In some cases, authorities got records from Facebook or Twitter to connect their social media accounts to their email addresses or phone numbers. In others, agents used records from license plate readers to confirm their travels. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol, although it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime. Federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing. And they must weigh manpower, cost and evidence when charging rioters. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges against the rioters, which carry up to 20 years in prison. One trio was charged with conspiracy; most have been charged with crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. Many rioters posted selfies inside the Capitol to their social media accounts, gave interviews to news outlets describing their experience and readily admitted when questioned by federal investigators that they were there. One man created a Facebook album titled “Who’s House? OUR HOUSE” filled with photos of himself and others on Capitol grounds, officials said. “They might have thought, like so many people that work with Trump, that if the president tells me to do it, it’s not breaking the law,” said Michael Gerhardt, an expert on impeachment and professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Others made blunders, like a Houston police officer, who denied he went into the Capitol, then agreed to let agents look at the pictures on his phone. Inside his deleted photos folder were pictures and videos, including selfies he took inside the building, authorities said. Another man was wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor after a burglary conviction that tracked his every movement inside the building. A retired firefighter from Long Island, New York, texted a video of himself in the Capitol rotunda to his girlfriend’s brother, saying he was “at the tip of the spear,” officials said. The brother happened to be a federal agent with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, who turned the video over to the FBI. A lawyer for the man, Thomas Fee, said he “was not part of any attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol” and that “the allegation is that he merely walked through an open door into the Capitol — nothing more." Another man who was inside the Capitol was willing to rat out another rioter who stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and emailed the video to an FBI agent, even signing his own name to it. “Hello Nice FBI Lady,” he wrote, “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.” In another case, a man was on a flight leaving D.C. two days after the riot when he kept shouting “Trump 2020!” and was kicked off. An airport police officer saw the man get off the plane and the man was booked on another flight. Forty-five minutes later, the officer was watching a video on Instagram and recognized the man in a group of rioters. The man, who was wearing the same shirt as the day he stormed the Capitol, was arrested at the airport, authorities said. Even defence attorneys have acknowledged that the evidence poses a problem for them. “I’m not a magician,” said an attorney for the man seen in a photo carrying Pelosi's lectern. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property,” he told reporters. Police at the Capitol planned only for a free-speech demonstration and were overwhelmed by the mob that broke through and roamed the halls of the Capitol for hours as lawmakers were sent into hiding. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Trump was impeached after the riot on a charge of “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” Opening arguments will begin the week of Feb. 8. He is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. Unlike criminal cases, impeachment trials do not have specific evidence rules so anything said and done that day can be used. And several of the people charged have said in interviews with reporters or federal agents that they were simply listening to the president when they marched to the Capitol. ___ Richer reported from Boston. Michael Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
A man is in critical condition following a two-vehicle collision in Mississauga, Peel Regional Police say. Police earlier said the man had died but later issued a correction indicating he had lost vital signs and was revived. Emergency crews were called to the area of Dixie Road and Winding Trail at 2:47 p.m, where the man had been found with life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to a trauma centre and by 4:23, police said he had died. Shortly afterwards, they said the man had in fact lost vital signs and that medical staff were able to revive him. Dixie Road has been shut down in both directions from Burnhamthorphe East to Winding Trail, with drivers asked to use alternate routes. Peel police's major collision bureau has taken over the investigation. Anyone with dashcam or surveillance footage is being asked to contact police.
Dr. Jeannette Armstrong is the associate professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus. Armstrong was one of three speakers discussing systemic racism in science in a conversations on Indigenous knowledge in academia. Indigenous people still face systemic racism, and their voices are often left unheard, said Ananya Mukherjee Reed, provost and vice-president of UBCO during her opening remarks of the Jan. 20 webinar. During the two-hour discussion, three Indigenous leaders and researchers discussed some of the differences and misunderstandings of Indigenous knowledge and western science, as well as the impacts of what they framed “environmental racism.” Armstrong, who shared a Syilx Okanagan perspective, spoke alongside Aaron Prosper from Eskasoni First Nation, and Elder Albert Marshall from the Mi’kmaw Nation. “In these times of climate change, societal disease and diseases, we need Indigenous knowledge,” said Armstrong. As Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, Armstrong has been recognized for her award-winning literary work on education, ecology and Indigenous rights. Indigenous knowledge remains overlooked in academia, particularly in science, because unlike a western scientific method, Indigenous knowledge is not evidence-based, according to Armstrong. Indigenous knowledge is focused on a holistic perspective incorporating traditional knowledge and lived experiences, she says. “A general definition of Indigenous knowledge consists of those beliefs, assumptions, and understandings of non-western people developed through long-term associations with a specific place,” Armstrong told participants during the event. “Therefore, Indigenous knowledge is considered the second tier of knowledge, that is, below science. This is racist.” According to Prosper, Indigenous knowledge has been misused or co-opted within the scientific field. “Indigenous people had knowledge prior to Western scientific knowledge, in terms of traditional medicine,” said Prosper, who studies Indigenous Health and Indigenous Ethics & Research Methodologies. “In my personal opinion, there is a significant issue within the scientific field when it comes to racism, systemic racism.” Prosper feels Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous information or data should be valued the same as Western scientific knowledge. “Usually what you see done is an Elder getting interviewed, getting traditional knowledge taken out, and then the researcher collects the data as a western methodology, to interpret that data, which makes it incorrect,” Prosper explained. Marshall believes two-eyed seeing is the transformative change society needs to understand and incorporate Indigenous knowledge. “Being Indigenous, I see everything through my Indigenous lens,” said Marshall, who says ‘two-eyed seeing’ means a worldview which reconciles and incorporates Indigenous ways of knowing and western scientific ways of knowing. “To see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western science knowledge and to use both of these eyes together, is two-eyed seeing.” Indigenous knowledge systems can offer society solutions for living in balance with the environment, the speakers stressed. According to Armstrong, the Syilx Okanagan people view the land as a dynamic system, and their sole purpose is to protect the tmxwulaxw (land) and tmixw (all living lifeforms). “In the Syilx view, the human duty is to perceive how the tmixw are regenerating themselves and how therefore the human must move forward in unity with them,” she said. “Immersion in the knowledge of tmixw allows us to view its reality and makes it possible for the aliveness of each separate life form.” During the webinar, environmental racism was discussed. “In the context of environmental racism, the government had been failing to shut down treatment plants in Indigenous communities,” Prosper told participants. The Pictou Landing First Nation community in Nova Scotia is east of Boat Harbour and is utilized for traditional fishing and hunting. “This place is a significant importance to the Pictou Landing First Nation community,” he said. According to Prosper, Boat Harbour has been receiving wastewater effluent from the industry, and the government has neglected health concerns from the Indigenous people living there. The government told the community that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to make a change, he says. “The government told the people, there’s no evidence of this effluent that we’re putting into boat harbour is affecting the health of the people,” says Prosper. “If our environment is not healthy, how can we be healthy?” said Marshall. Marshall said Indigenous Peoples need to amplify our voices, to protect the environment for future generations. People cannot live in silence, he says, allowing the government to continuously destroy the land. “The government needs to be held accountable because all they do is compromise the ecological entirety of the area, and they compromise the system,” Marshall says. “I was taught, while you stay here on earth, you have to be mindful for the next generations. Most importantly, the future generations will have the same opportunity as we had, of being able to sustain themselves in a healthy environment.” Armstrong is committed to pursuing an alternative academic approach to Indigenous environmental knowledge in her research and study. She has created a methodology that she says may assist as a model in Indigenous Peoples’ struggle to include Indigenous knowledge in the academy. “I am developing better access to Indigenous knowledge through Indigenous oral literature situated as the knowledge documentation system of the Syilx peoples,” Armstrong explains. Marshall is working on cultural understandings and healing of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother through two-eyed seeing. “These essentials of the web of life should be protected under the charter of human rights because they constitute to me, a climate emergency,” says Marshall. In response, Prosper is committed to approaching his research mindfully. “How do Indigenous communities consent to research when they were exposed to these unethical experiments, whether be in the residential school or within their own communities?” Prosper asked the group. “We have to be mindful when engaging with Indigenous communities.” “Even the most adverse individuals are still dealing with various issues as a result of their experience with colonialism, and they are still trying to reconcile that.” Prosper acknowledges that little progress in the scientific field has been made, but a lot of work needs to be done. “Yes, we’ve been a lot done within 100 years. Have we done a great job? I don’t think so,” explained Prosper. “I think it’s going to take another hundred years to see a difference.” This event is the second of three examining racism in science, specifically from Indigenous perspectives, with the final one, planned for the spring, will explore Black scientists’ views. Editor’s note: Jeannette Armstrong is reporter Athena Bonneau’s grandmother. At IndigiNews, we take journalistic independence seriously, adhering to the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines. Due to Armstrong’s role at UBCO and participant in the webinar as an elder and knowledge keeper, we felt it was important to include her perspective in this piece. Athena Bonneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
The Windsor-Essex County Regional Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) and CUPE Local 543 to provide a $154,000 program to help local restaurants struggling with the pandemic closure. "We all know that because of the pandemic and because of the long term condition, this particular sector has taken a huge hit," said chamber president Rakesh Naidu in a teleconferenced announcement Monday morning. The program called DINE#YQG includes a website that lists local restaurants and has pictures featuring some of their meals and how to place an order. The program also includes incentives such as a contest where patrons can win $100 for ordering local - the restaurant would win $1,000. There is also marketing help, free memberships in the chamber and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel Motel Association and subsidies for delivery service charges. Local restaurants welcomed the help. "We're trying to survive here, and so we take any help that we can get," said Mike Wetzel, co-owner of John Max Sports and Wings. John Max has been able to pivot to providing take-out orders of chicken wings but some restaurants can't provide take-out service. Naidu said for them the DINE#YQG program will provide help accessing government support grants. "In many cases, the restaurants are not informed about what is out there," said Naidu. "I was told by one colleague of mine that last week a local restaurant received about $80,000 in terms of support through the regional recovery fund." Mike Stojcic, the owner of Panache Restaurant in downtown Windsor, says it is keeping the lights on by providing take- out service. "Any advertisement out there or any other forms of getting our name out there for people to look into, purchase food off us for their own needs, anything helps," said Stojcic. Naidu said in a survey last year, one in six restaurant owners said they expected they would have to close permanently due to the pandemic. Naidu said the lockdown measures have resulted in the loss of 3,600 jobs in the Windsor area. "Without question, the losses and sacrifices are real, and there have been and will be many," said Gordon Orr, CEO of TWEPI. "What we've been heartened by is seeing the way that businesses have pivoted and adapted their business delivery model to accommodate and adapt to the environment that we're currently faced with."
It may be getting colder out, but stepping inside Rita Pintea's greenhouse offers a balmy escape from the chill. Rising steam fills the humid tunnel with the smell of fresh, soft earth, planted recently with lettuce. The 75-foot-long greenhouse is a first for Rita and her husband, Laurentiu, who, two weeks ago, constructed the framing and assisted Rita in installing a plastic covering. "We were trying to figure out how we can deal in Canadian winters with some inexpensive methods," Rita said. Also known as a "caterpillar tunnel," for its ribbed segments, the greenhouse is covered by two, six-millimetre-thick polyethylene sheets, which have warm air funnelled in between, inflating the layers to help prevent temperature loss and keep snow from piling up. "It should keep the zone difference about two zones up," she said, referring to hardiness zones, which traditionally dictate what plants will have the best chance of survival according to climate conditions. Rita is educated as a nurse and paramedic but has opted to stay close to her familiar roots, settling down and planting some of her own in Canada, eight years ago. “As kids, we grew up constantly on the field,” she said of her parent's farm back in Romania, where they still grow food today. Now, her children, ages three, nine and 12, help out with the farming on roughly an acre of land in Beamsville where she operates Rita's Market. Manure from their chickens is used for fertilizer inside the greenhouse and absolutely no sprays are used, Rita says. Had the greenhouse been around sooner, it would've prolonged her growing season beyond last year's fall killing frost. This year, she hopes to plant salad greens, green onions, peas and cucumbers. Provided seeds and trays arrive on time, harvesting could begin as soon as February for some salad greens. "Everything is an experiment this year," she said. Not so for Sascha and Agnes Ohme, of Ohme Farms, who have had a greenhouse since first acquiring their Jordan Station property in 2009. “Within a month we had a greenhouse up," Sascha said. They knew it would be a necessity to keep growing when winter came. The farm could operate 52 weeks of the year, "no problem," he says — breaking a concept of domestic production being hampered by cruel Canadian winters. “We have something growing in every greenhouse, back to back, all year round,” Sascha said. While hardy root vegetables like squash, rutabaga and carrots actually do better outside and can tough out a freeze, the climate-controlled greenhouse environment allows for a head start on the growing season, keeping fresh greens local and providing more products during wintertime. “Variety truly is interesting and keeps it fun for the person eating,” Sascha said, mentioning some of their rarer offerings: crosne, oca tubers and mâche. The Ohmes also farm organically, using composted cow manure, organically-certified sprays and biologically beneficial insects. “They basically just slow release; there’s different stages of insects in there and they just come out of holes,” Sascha said of small, white packets stuck into dirt on a stick around a mâche crop. But with more variety and organic farming methods also comes added cost. Unlike Rita's tunnel, the Ohmes electrically heat their greenhouses and, on days with less sun, use artificial light to supplement daylight, resulting in hefty energy bills. The Ohmes also try to add another greenhouse each year, leading Sascha to notice what he says is a doubling of cost for greenhouses since cannabis production became legal. Once supplying Niagara's restaurants with premium greens, Ohme Farms and Rita's Market now rely on individuals consumers to reap what they've sown. Rita's Market runs a winter stand selling microgreens and produce, while Ohme Farms offers a smorgasbord of veggies and greens via a community supported agriculture model. Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
MONTREAL — The Quebec government came under pressure Monday to ease lockdown restrictions, from the opposition who called for the homeless to be curfew exempt, to regional mayors who said the rules are unjustified in their towns. Mayors in less-populated parts of the province where COVID-19 infections rates are low said health authorities should ease restrictions after they are set to expire Feb. 8. Marc Parent, the mayor of Rimouski, Que., said his region shouldn't be treated like Montreal, which reports hundreds of new cases every day. Rimouski, by contrast, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Montreal, reported a single new case on Sunday, he said. “When you look at the lower St-Lawrence, the Gaspe and the North Shore, we are in the neighbourhood of about 10 cases per 100,000 residents,” Parent said in an interview Monday. He said residents are looking for health orders to reflect the COVID situation in their region. “I believe the Quebec government must take into consideration the regional realities … it’s a must," Parent said. Much of Quebec has been under some form of lockdown since October, when in-person dining at restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues were closed. But in early January, following a rise in COVID-related hospitalizations, the premier ordered all non-essential businesses across the province to close and imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for virtually all Quebecers. Rejean Porlier, mayor of Sept-Iles, Que., said he’s had conversations with Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, about identifying thresholds that would trigger certain extra measures as needed. “That’s what was behind the colour-coded system in the beginning, but we’re in a completely different place now: it’s oatmeal for everyone,” Porlier said. He said curfews and restaurant closures don't make sense in Sept-Iles, located about 650 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, which reported zero new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and five cases last week. “We’ll have to respect the decisions that are taken but we’re hopeful our concerns will be heard and we’ll be able to resume certain activities here,” Porlier said. “When there are zero cases, our (hospital) beds aren’t occupied, what could justify such extreme measures?” Also on Monday, opposition parties joined community groups for a virtual news conference during which they repeated demands the government exempt the homeless from the provincewide curfew. Meanwhile, lawyers argued in Quebec Superior Court that the curfew violates homeless people's Charter rights to safety and security and to be protected against cruel and unusual punishment or treatment. The judge hearing the case is expected to rule later in the week. Last week, Premier Francois Legault rejected the Montreal mayor's request for an exemption, saying he had concerns people would fake homelessness to defy the curfew and avoid the fine, which can be as high as $6,000. Montreal's request came following the recent death of Raphael Andre, a 51-year-old homeless Innu man found dead in a portable toilet. New data indicates the daily infection rate and number of hospitalizations are trending downward. Quebec has reported a drop in hospitalizations for the past six reporting periods, representing 179 fewer patients in hospital. Health officials reported 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The Health Department said hospitalizations dropped by six, to 1,321 and 217 patients were in intensive care, a decrease of two. Fewer hospitalizations in recent days are starting to impact hospitalizations, Heath Minister Christian Dube said. "Case data continue to be encouraging," Dube said in a tweet announcing the daily count. "It shows that our efforts over the past few weeks are bearing fruit." Health officials said Monday 1,672 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 228,887, adding that Quebec has 16,424 active reported cases. Officials said 220,715 doses of vaccine had been administered as of Sunday, representing 2.58 per cent of the population that had been vaccinated. Quebec has reported 254,836 infections and 9,521 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. — with files from Morgan Lowrie Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Le bilan lavallois de la COVID-19 est désormais de 1305 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 168 cas actifs par rapport aux dernières données émises avant le weekend. Il s’agit toutefois d’une augmentation de 112 cas confirmés en 24 heures, ce qui porte le total à 21 460 citoyens lavallois touchés depuis le mois de mars 2020. Au total, 813 personnes (+4) sont décédées du virus sur l’île Jésus. Parmi les Lavallois actuellement touchés, 79 (-9) sont hospitalisés, dont 26 (-1) aux soins intensifs. 79 employés du CISSS de Laval sont quant à eux absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Chomedey (+108) demeure le quartier le plus touché par la COVID-19 lors des 14 derniers jours, que ce soit en chiffres absolus (687) ou en taux d'infection (721 cas par 100 000 habitants. À l'inverse, Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (+49) est le secteur le moins touché en chiffres absolus avec 279 cas confirmés sur cette même période, tandis que Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose (+50) constate le plus bas taux d'infection avec 399 cas par 100 000 habitants. Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul présente quant à lui la plus faible augmentation du weekend avec 43 nouvelles personnes touchées. De leur côté, Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides et Vimont/Auteuil ajoutent 60 et 56 cas confirmés à leur total respectif depuis le début de la pandémie. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 32 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. CEO Brian Penney struck a hopeful tone on the opening day of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final hearing on his company’s proposed mine expansion, saying that many concerns about the project have been addressed. He also offered a warning: the Mary River iron mine can’t continue operating unless it’s allowed to grow. “The [Mary River] project has not been financially sustainable, regardless of ore price,” Penney said Monday as the hearing got underway in Pond Inlet thought its proceedings were streamed online. The nine-member Nunavut Impact Review Board assesses the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advises the federal and territorial governments on whether they should go ahead. For the Mary River mine to turn a profit, Penney said, Baffinland needs to reduce transportation costs. The proposed 110-kilometre railway between Mary River and Milne Inlet, among other additions, would help accomplish that, he said. Since the hearing was put on hold in November 2019, Baffinland has tried to address concerns about the environmental and cultural impact of its phase two plans. These attempts included an Inuit stewardship plan, to allow Inuit to “report on social, environmental, and cultural impacts” of the phase two proposal, which will be run by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and paid for by Baffinland. As well, the Inuit Certainty Agreement, a multimillion-dollar agreement between the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland, was signed in July 2020 and outlines community benefits, Inuit participation in the project and incentives for affected communities. But it looks like this inducements may not be enough. P.J. Akeeagok, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, said in his opening remarks that organizations involved are unsatisfied with the specifics of the project, including how and in what quantities ore will be shipped. “Baffinland, I ask you to be adaptive, I ask you to challenge the depth and the form of your commitments to Inuit,” Akeeagok said. “Heed the advice you have been given about the environment you are seeking to operate among [and] within; acknowledge your place as settlers within an Inuit homeland. Your project grows out of Inuit lands and resources.” On Sunday, a statement issued by the hunter and trapper organizations and hamlets from North Baffin called the project’s adaptive management “ineffective and dysfunctional.” “The existing Mary River mine and proposed expansion have caused serious concern among North Baffin communities,” the statement reads. “While there are some benefits, we are not convinced the benefits outweigh the adverse impacts.” Penney, prior to the lunch break, said he is willing to work with Inuit to complete the deal. “We are very proud of the work our team has done over the past year to improve the project, expand the benefits, and to support and enhance the framework for project planning, monitoring and adaptive management to achieve environmental and social sustainability,” Penney said. The final hearing will continue until Feb 6. Afterwards, the review board will send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead. Meagan Deuling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News
The increasingly popular Sun Peaks Nordic trail system boasts 35 kilometres of groomed trails. Looked at from above, they criss cross in numerous ways, with a total of 29 different intersection points and 38 individual trail sections. Like others before him, one day several years ago Richard Taylor put his mind to determining a route that would allow him to ski all the trails in a day. “I sat down to try to actually like draw out a route, just using the trail map, and I just got overwhelmed with how hard it was,” he said. “You inevitably have to kind of retrace your steps a little bit and do parts of the trail network twice, just to hit everything.” While other people might have simply called it a day and moved on, Taylor took things to the next level. Drawing on his robust education background—Taylor teaches math and physics at Thompson Rivers University—he developed a computer program to help determine some solutions (ie. the best routes possible). “I just kind of made it a fun weekend project, ” he said. In the end, the program ended up running over the weekend, processing billions of options, and eventually coming up with several of the most efficient options. Taylor said there is a certain amount of subjectivity when it comes to which is the most efficient, and that the shortest of the options clocks it at around 45 kilometres—a distance that is doable for strong cross country skiers. Taylor added that the math involved in solving the problem draws from graph theory, and that the specific problem is actually quite well known. “I guess the classic version of [the problem] is that you imagine a travelling salesman who needs to travel to a bunch of different cities, and needs to find the kind of most efficient way of getting to all of them so that they all get visited at least once,” he explained. Wikipedia has a good description of this “travelling salesman problem” if you’re interested. After producing his work,Taylor shared his findings with the Sun Peaks Nordic Club, where they received an enthusiastic reception. If interested, you can view a blog post he wrote on his findings here. Taylor said while he was thrilled that his work got a positive reception and that some people (including his wife) have completed one of the suggested routes, ultimately he decided doing so wasn’t for him. Having skate skied for the past six years, he would rather stick to his favourite trails, and enjoy the beautiful Noridc trail system on his own terms. “In the end, I just kind of felt like it was boring,” he said. “I’d rather ski my favorite routes repeatedly, rather than trying to hit everything.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
A look inside two Toronto hospital ICUs one year after Canada's first case of COVID-19, and at the doctors and nurses both exhausted and determined to keep fighting.
OTTAWA — The seats were nearly empty Monday as the House of Commons returned in hybrid form, but the opposition was full of fighting spirit over the Liberal government's handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. A new sitting convened after an extended winter break for MPs, though many remained in their ridings Monday after reaching an agreement to resume sitting in a format that allows them to either log in virtually or attend in person. While a smattering of Conservatives, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois MPs took up their seats, Liberal cabinet ministers — including the prime minister — appeared from their homes or offices to fend off criticisms from their rivals about their COVID-19 response. The fury emanating from the Opposition was such that Speaker Anthony Rota was forced to remind them several times to watch their language, even as he also had to remind MPs to unmute their devices. The sitting began as the country continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic: over 19,000 people are dead, there are new outbreaks of a highly contagious variant ripping through long-term care homes, curfews, stay-at-home orders and a vaccine rollout that started with promise now being compromised by manufacturing delays. The Liberals insist their goal of getting a shot in the arm of every Canadian who wants one by September remains feasible even as Canada was set to receive no doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and sharply curtailed deliveries next week. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner challenged the math, noting the time in between the required two doses of vaccine means September seems impossible. "This means that Canada, on average, needs to be administering roughly two million doses per week to meet this goal. This week's total is zero," she said. "How the hell did this happen, and what are the Liberals doing to fix it?" Though she was rapped on the knuckles by Rota for her language, Rempel Garner continued her pressure unabated, a theme picked up by MPs from all opposition parties as they castigated the government for appearing to fail Canadians. Procurement Minister Anita Anand insisted again and again that was not the case. The delays — due to Pfizer needing to retool a factory in Belgium — won't compromise the ultimate goal, she said. Claims from Ontario that it has run out of vaccines are untrue, she said, as there are thousands of doses yet to be used. Anand invoked the fact her own 90-year-old father is waiting for his vaccine as proof she understands the pressure to get the rollout right. "We are on track to have vaccines for all Canadians before the end of September because we will stop at nothing to ensure that all Canadians have access to a vaccine this year," she said. The political scandal that broke last week — the resignation of Julie Payette as governor general ahead of a damning report into working conditions at Rideau Hall — barely made the cut in question period. Ahead of time, opposition leaders had demanded the prime minister provide more transparency around the terms of her departure. Both Conservative and NDP leaders said given the circumstances around her departure, Payette should not receive the customary lifetime salary afforded to outgoing governor generals, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ought to disclose whether he offered one. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the scandal created by Payette's departure was one of the Liberals' own making and also serves as a distraction from the goal at hand: managing through the pandemic. But even as he pushed on the vaccine rollout, Singh also sought — and won — a symbolic victory on another subject: all-party consent on a motion condemning white supremacy and asking for the group Proud Boys to be listed as a terrorist entity. The group has ties to Canada and was involved in the deadly riots in the U.S. earlier this month. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was also successful in his efforts to get emergency debates on vaccines, and also on the implications of a decision by the new U.S. president to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, which will kill thousands of jobs in Tory-held ridings in the prairies. Such a show of unity was not in place for efforts by the Liberals to fast-track their first piece of legislation for the sitting, a bill that would close a loophole allowing anyone forced into quarantine for COVID-19 to access government benefits. The bill, which was in response to people returning from vacations abroad accessing the benefit, will now move through the legislative process. The key piece of legislation up ahead for the government, however, is the next federal budget, which Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday is one of the most significant of a generation. It could also send Canadians to the polls, as any vote on its contents will be a confidence motion. The NDP and Conservatives suggested the Liberals are too focused on pre-positioning for an election than on pandemic response, a charge Trudeau denied Monday. "Our focus is on delivering for Canadians and supporting Canadians through the tragedies and the incredible heroics we're seeing on display right across the country from our front-line workers," he said. "There are far too many tragedies but we know that Canadians are continuing to be there for each other and this government will continue to be there for them." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Marty Allain was just looking for something to put a smile on the face of his five-year-old son, but a recent MacGyver-ed job involving a mini-tractor is putting a smile on the face of thousands across the continent. His son, Nicholas Allain, loves Zambonis. “Last year was his first year in hockey,” said Allain, and Nicholas would never leave the rink side to get changed until he had watched the Zamboni clean the ice. The pandemic had Allain worried that hockey leagues like theirs in Kent South could be interrupted this year, so he built a rink for the first time in his backyard. The family of four has gotten good use of it, he said, even scheduling games with visitors while they were in the yellow phase of pandemic recovery, he said. But the hockey plans didn't stop there. His son has a mini John Deere tractor, and Allain decided to tinker with it and turn it into a mini-Zamboni. With water stored in a container on the back of the tractor, he attached a towel for the water to drip onto, and then the damp cloth sweeps the ice, he said. The Zamboni is a hit. Nicholas uses it every time the family is done skating, said his dad. Nicholas really holds Zambonis in high regard. “Zambonis are the reason we have ice,” he said. Allain decided to share a post of his son riding the home-made Zamboni on social media. To the family’s surprise, the NHL took note. Marty was contacted by the league through Instagram on Friday, asking if the NHL could share the post. He agreed. “As soon as it happened, all my local friends started texting me,” he said. It became a point of connection for old friends he hadn’t chatted with in a while too, he said. It seems that the post was what many needed at this time, something to put a smile on their faces, he said. Allain said the take-away is, “Be creative and do something your children will like.” He made the contraption for his son, he said, adding it’s great that it has brightened the day for so many others in the process. The NHL's social media director said this was an adorable moment the NHL was eager to share. "One of our guiding mantras is ‘humans over highlights.’ While we aim to share the amazing skills that our players showcase on the ice every night, there are so many great moments in the sport of hockey that occur outside of NHL arenas,” said Sean Dennison. “And since we’re currently unable to host a full arena of hockey fans at this time, we are always looking to share those #HockeyAtHome moments more than ever, especially the adorable ones, with our millions of followers across our social media platforms.” As of Monday evening, the video of Nicholas driving his Zambonii had close to 600,000 views on the NHL's Instagram page and over 1,000 comments, many of which were encouraging comments about the five-year-old's future prospects in various roles in the NHL. • The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Two major casino companies announced deals Monday with daily fantasy sports providers as they seek to expand their reach and integrate different forms of fan engagement with professional sports into their gambling operations. In the first deal, announced Monday morning, Bally's continued its acquisition juggernaut by acquiring the daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight in an all-stock transaction that further widens the fast-growing company's drive to add casino, online sports betting and media companies. Later in the day, Caesars Entertainment announced a strategic investment in SuperDraft, a daily fantasy sports company launched in September 2019, with the option to acquire the whole company over time. Daily fantasy sports involves players assembling virtual rosters of professional athletes, and then competing against others based on the performance of those athletes in real life. It is played just for fun, as well as for cash. There has been growing synergy between daily fantasy sports and sports betting; two of the original dominant fantasy providers, DraftKings and FanDuel, have become leading sports betting bookmakers in the U.S. Providence, Rhode Island-based Bally's becomes the third U.S. sports betting company to have a daily fantasy sports component, along with DraftKings and FanDuel. Bally's has been on a tear in recent months, adding gambling and media properties as it aims to become a major national player. “With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth (daily fantasy sports) market," said George Papanier, the company's president and CEO. "Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to incorporating into Bally’s constantly growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and iGaming platforms.” Bally's recent moves include the purchase of Bally's casino in Atlantic City, a media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its pending acquisition of Bet.Works. The company plans to integrate Monkey Knife Fight's geographic presence in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, with Sinclair’s portfolio of 21 regional sports networks. Monkey Knife fight has about 180,000 registered users, 80,000 of whom have made monetary deposits in order to play. Papanier said Monkey Knife Fight will support Bally’s plans to develop a potential customer database in states that have not yet adopted sports betting but which are considered lucrative potential markets, including California, Florida and Texas, as well as in Canada. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Caesars did not divulge the amount of its investment in SuperDraft, which operates in more than 35 states. "We’re super excited to be part of Caesars’ powerful gaming ecosystem,” said Steve Wang, CEO and founder of SuperDraft. “Daily fantasy players deserve a breath of fresh air, and we’re here to transform the industry. SuperDraft is now well-positioned to accelerate its growth with financial staying power while broadening its consumer appeal with bigger contests and better rewards to players of all interest levels.” ___ Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC. Wayne Parry, The Associated Press