The Mayor of London was criticised in a heated exchange with a Conservative councillor over the celebration, which took place while London was under Tier 4 restrictions.
Credit: London Assembly
The Mayor of London was criticised in a heated exchange with a Conservative councillor over the celebration, which took place while London was under Tier 4 restrictions.
Credit: London Assembly
OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole pushed back against attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics on Sunday, saying there is "no place for the far right" in the Tories while accusing the Liberals of divisive dirty tricks.In a statement Sunday, O'Toole asserted his own views on such issues as abortion, gay rights and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada while insisting that his party is not beholden to right-wing extremists and hatemongers. "The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party — as old as Confederation — that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics," O'Toole said."My singular focus is to get Canada's economy back on track as quickly as possible to create jobs and secure a strong future for all Canadians. There is no place for the far right in our party."The unusual statement follows the riot on Capitol Hill, which U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused of inciting and which has since been held up as proof of the dangers posed by right-wing extremists to Western democracy.It also comes on the heels of a Liberal Party fundraising letter sent to members last week that accused the Conservatives under O'Toole of "continuing a worrisome pattern of divisive politics and catering to the extreme right."As one example, it cited the motto used by O'Toole's leadership campaign: "Take back Canada."It also referenced a photo that has been circulating of Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen wearing a hat with Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," and a since-deleted Tory website alleging the Liberals want to rig the next election.O'Toole on Sunday condemned the Capitol Hill attack as "horrifying," and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism by touting his party's support for free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power and accountable government.To that end, he lashed out at the Liberals, referencing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to prorogue Parliament last summer as hurting accountability, before turning the tables on the governing party and accusing them of using U.S.-style politics."If the Liberals want to label me as 'far right,' they are welcome to try," O'Toole said. "Canadians are smart and they will see this as an attempt to mislead people and import some of the fear and division we have witnessed in the United States."Former Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is now chairman of Summa Strategies, believes O'Toole's team saw a "gathering storm" and felt the need to act to prevent the Liberals from painting the Conservatives as beholden to Trumpism.Such action was especially important ahead of what could be an extremely divisive week down in the U.S., where there are fears that Trump supporters and far-right actors will respond to Joe Biden's inauguration as president with violence.Powers suggested it is also the latest act in O'Toole's effort to introduce himself to Canadians and redefine the Conservatives ahead of the next federal election, both of which have been made more difficult by COVID-19.And when Conservatives in caucus make statements or otherwise act counter to his stated positions, Powers said O'Toole will need to "crush them and take them out" to prove his convictions.Shuvaloy Majumdar, who served as a policy director in Stephen Harper's government, welcomed O'Toole's statement while also speaking of the threat that events in the U.S. could pose to the Tories in Canada — particularly if the Liberals try to link them.O'Toole was accused during last year's Conservative leadership race of courting social conservatives who oppose abortion, among other issues. That raises questions about the degree to which he may anger the party's base by taking more progressive positions.But Majumdar suggested many of the populist elements left the Tories for Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada and that O'Toole is seeking to appeal to more voters by taking a broader view on social issues while sticking to the party's core economic positions.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misquoted Shuvaloy Majumdar saying many social conservatives had left for the People's Party of Canada. He actually said many of the populist elements had left.
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
City council will discuss Monday extending a program that encourages businesses to expand or set up new operations in three areas of Calgary. By cutting red tape and reducing cost, the city hopes businesses can get moving with their plans quicker. The proposal would see more exemptions from development permits, allowing immediate applications for building permits and doing away with some permit fees. The pilot project would apply to the International Avenue business improvement area in Forest Lawn, the Montgomery business improvement area as well as two commercial streets in Sunalta. While the program would result in benefits for businesses, the city would also need fewer resources for permit processing. That's not a significant benefit as those services are paid for by permit fees. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have some questions about the program but is generally in favour. "We're taking a pilot project that we've used downtown to cut some red tape and encourage investment and development and expanding that to different parts of the city," said Nenshi. "I'm very much in favour of that as a concept." Downtown tried it first A similar project called the City Centre Enterprise Area was rolled out in 2017 as a way to make it easier for businesses to expand or try different concepts in many empty storefront spaces downtown. In 2019, council voted to extend that project until July 2021. The city acknowledges that there is greater commercial interest in the core, more employment uses and in normal times, more people in the vicinity than the three areas now being looked at for the program. However, the city says choosing the three additional areas for a small pilot project allows it to monitor change of use or renovation exemptions closely. Tough times Administration says making it easier for businesses to start up or expand their operations is critical in Calgary's pandemic-ravaged economy. The executive director of the Montgomery on the Bow business improvement area, Marion Hayes, said the city approached her organization to see if there would be interest. She said they jumped at the opportunity as businesses need ways to quickly adapt to the current environment. "If they can bring change to their business without going through a lot of red tape and also a lot of additional cost, it's a great benefit to them," said Hayes. If council approves the proposal, the pilot project in the three areas will be tried for a year and then be reviewed.
NORTH PERTH – Residents are being encouraged by Amy Gangl, interim manager of recreation, to have their say in the development of a community park which will replace Listowel Memorial Arena after its demolition this year. Municipal staff are working with consultants, SHIFT Landscape Architecture, to explore design options to help shape the future park space, and they are looking for input on two preliminary design options presented on Your Say North Perth. On the Memorial Arena Park design options project page at YoursayNorthPerth.ca, residents can review the designs and provide feedback through a survey until Jan. 18. “We’ve received some great input and quite a bit of engagement from the community which is fantastic news,” said Gangl. “That is one of the items council was hoping for and our consultants are already quite pleased with the… input regarding the concept of the designs.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
Should councillors be talking to the media independently? That was the second time in a week the matter had come up before a North Simcoe council, after it had been discussed at the Penetanguishene council Wednesday night. This time, it was Tay Township's deputy mayor that was asking if it was best for the mayor or chief administrative officer to respond to media requests when representing the municipality. Once again, the media request was a yearend survey sent out to all council members by MidlandToday's Community Editor Andrew Philips. "He didn't email it to council; he emailed it to all of us," said Coun. Jeff Bumstead. "I could see all the recipients. The way I took it is that they were looking for a specific response from all of council. I didn't see any harm in the questions. I didn't see anything specific that was going against the township. It was just the general feel of how I felt as a councillor." He then talked about a MidlandToday reporter reaching out to him for a story he had brought to council's attention (poppy masks being made by a local resident). "She had reached out and I asked the mayor about it," said Bumstead. "She was just looking for an opinion from me on a specific topic. The advice I got was that media is asking a question there's no problem is answering it." "If we want to clamp down and direct media to the mayor and CAO, I don't have a problem with it," he added. "If it's not okay for individual councillors to answer behalf of the township, then we can have it in the code of conduct." Fellow Coun. Paul Raymond also talked about what the integrity commissioner had outlined in the code of conduct policy. "We do have a right to an opinion as long as we make it clear it is our opinion and not the township and council as a whole," he said. "That is when the CAO or mayor come in. It's very important we take great measures to make sure that distinction is made. "As far as the other social media, I'm sure there will be other questions there," added Raymond. "We are allowed to be approached for our opinion but our opinion only." Coun. Mary Warnock said she had sought clarification on the survey, asking if it was to be based on personal opinions or a council view. "I did want to clarify that before I answered it," she said. "If it's a message coming from council or township as a whole, it should come from the CAO or mayor. You want your message to have some control and precision." CAO Lindsay Barron agreed that the councillors had raised some good points about distinguishing between an independent opinion and a township stance. "A clear distinction is if he/she is responding as an individual member of council or on behalf of the township," she said. "In the second case, it should be coming from the mayor or myself." Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle said maybe the next time a reporter reaches out to an individual councillor, he/she can seek direction from the CAO. "I would suggest we should contact the CAO to find out if we can speak to it individually," he said. That didn't sit well with Raymond. "I don't go to the CAO for permission on anything, with all due respect to the CAO," he said. "We are allowed to be individuals. If we're going to go on an endeavour like this, we give a heads-up to the CAO and mayor. If they feel it's not beneficial to the community on the whole, they can let us know. We all want betterment for the township and we all have different ideas of how that can be accomplished." The conversation then turned toward answering questions posed by residents. "A lot of times we get emails from customers/residents, what do we think as council is best direction?" said LaChapelle. Coun. Sandy Talbot shared her process around that. "What I always do is if I get an email, I will forward it to a staff member," she said. "It's worked for me for all these years and that's best practice when it comes to residential inquiries." Raymond said each situation is unique. "There's a lot of different types of communications from residents, sometimes it's a question, sometimes they're in a situation where they're at odds with staff," he said. "They approach us as councillors to try and intervene to get the two parties talking. I think that, also, is our role. At the end of the day, we're the bridge between residents and staff and the services they provide." Barron said she hoped residents would reach out to staff before taking matters to their councillor. "Often times, I get involved when the councillor gets involved," she said. "I'd like to see my position as facilitator before council intervenes. If the resident wants to talk to you after, by all means. As far as being copied on the response, I'd really like to see where we get to a point where a councillor forwards it to staff and lets staff handle it." Raymond said when residents reach out to him, it's after they've reached a dead-end with staff. "When the two parties get talking to each other, I will back out and just need to know it's been resolved," he said, adding he didn't think it was pertinent for councillors to get into the weeds of matters. "When I do talk to residents, they're not aware of the structure of staff," added Raymond. "If we had an opportunity to simplify that structure, to let them know which way to go, maybe that would simplify it." Then councillors discussed behaviour on social media. "It has to do with Facebook use so we don't get ourselves in a situation," said LaChapelle. Mayor Ted Walker said he would definitely like directions around that incorporated in the municipal code of conduct. "I have seen some instances where the line has been crossed," he said without mentioning specifics. "The unfortunate part of that is that those that don't use Facebook don't have a chance to give their opinion or correct any errors. I think discussions of that nature need to be held here and not on Facebook." All councillors agreed that the communications specialist should help prepare some do's and don't's for council surrounding social media use. "All they are is a tool to facilitate you," said Raymond. "We already have standards, a code of conduct, that as councillors we're supposed to follow wherever we are. It's easy when you're on social media to get dragged into a fight. You have to know when to stop." Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, indicated such an endeavour was already underway and would soon be brought to council's attention. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
July 2008: TC Energy Corp. — then called TransCanada Corp. — and ConocoPhillips, joint owners of the Keystone Pipeline, propose a major extension to the network. The expansion, dubbed Keystone XL, would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oilsands bitumen from Alberta to Texas. 2009: As the U.S. State Department wades through comments based on an environmental assessment of the project, TransCanada starts visiting landowners potentially affected by the pipeline. Opposition emerges in Nebraska. June 2009: TransCanada announces it will buy ConocoPhillips's stake in Keystone. March 2010: The National Energy Board approves TransCanada’s application for Keystone XL, though the OK comes with 22 conditions regarding safety, environmental protection and landowner rights. April 2010: The U.S. State Department releases a draft environmental impact statement saying Keystone XL would have a limited effect on the environment. June-July 2010: Opposition to Keystone XL begins mounting in the United States. Legislators write to then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton calling for greater environmental oversight; scientists begin speaking out against the project; and the Environmental Protection Agency questions the need for the pipeline extension. July 2010: The State Department extends its review of Keystone, saying federal agencies need more time to weigh in before a final environmental impact assessment can be released. March 2011: The State Department announces a further delay in its environmental assessment. Aug. 26, 2011: The State Department releases its final environmental assessment, which reiterates that the pipeline would have a limited environmental impact. August-September 2011: Protesters stage a two-week campaign of civil disobedience at the White House to speak out against Keystone XL. Police arrest approximately 1,000 people, including actors Margot Kidder and Daryl Hannah as well as Canadian activist Naomi Klein. Sept. 26, 2011: At a demonstration on Parliament Hill, police arrest 117 of 400 protesters. Nov. 10, 2011: The State Department says TransCanada must reroute Keystone XL to avoid an ecologically sensitive region of Nebraska. Nov. 14, 2011: TransCanada agrees to reroute the line. December 2011: U.S. legislators pass a bill with a provision saying President Barack Obama must make a decision on the pipeline’s future in the next 60 days. Jan. 18, 2012: Obama rejects Keystone, saying the timeline imposed by the December bill did not leave enough time to review the new route. Obama said TransCanada was free to submit another application. Feb. 27, 2012: TransCanada says it will build the southern leg of Keystone XL, from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast, as a separate project with a price tag of $2.3 billion. This is not subject to presidential permission, since it did not cross an international border. April 18, 2012: TransCanada submits a new route to officials in Nebraska for approval. May 4, 2012: TransCanada files a new application with the State Department for the northern part of Keystone XL. Jan. 22, 2013: Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approves TransCanada’s proposed new route for Keystone XL, sending the project back to the State Department for review. January 2013: Pipeline opponents file a lawsuit against the Nebraska government claiming the state law used to review the new route is unconstitutional. Jan. 31, 2014: The State Department says in a report that Keystone XL would produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than transporting oil to the Gulf of Mexico by rail. Feb. 19, 2014: A Nebraska judge rules that the law that allowed the governor to approve Keystone XL over the objections of landowners was unconstitutional. Nebraska said it would appeal. April 18, 2014: The State Department suspends the regulatory process indefinitely, citing uncertainty about the court case in Nebraska. Nov. 4, 2014: TransCanada says the costs of Keystone XL have grown to US$8 billion from US$5.4 billion. November-December 2014: Midterm elections turn control of the U.S. Congress over to Republicans, who say they’ll make acceptance of Keystone XL a top priority. But Obama adopts an increasingly negative tone. Jan. 9, 2015: At the Nebraska Supreme Court, by the narrowest of margins, a panel of seven judges strikes down the lower-court decision. Jan. 29, 2015: The U.S. Senate approves a bill to build Keystone XL, but the White House says Obama would veto it. Feb. 24, 2015: Obama vetoes the bill. June 30, 2015: TransCanada writes to then-secretary of state John Kerry and other U.S. officials saying the State Department should include recent climate change policy announcements by the Alberta and federal governments in its review of Keystone XL. Nov. 2, 2015: TransCanada asks the U.S. government to temporarily suspend its application. Nov. 4, 2015: The U.S. government rejects that request. Nov. 6, 2015: The Obama administration rejects TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling says he is disappointed, but continues to believe the project is in the best interests of both Canada and the U.S. Jan. 6, 2016: TransCanada files notice to launch a claim under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, alleging the U.S. government breached its legal commitments under NAFTA. The company also files a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Texas arguing that Obama exceeded his powers by denying construction of the project. May 26, 2016: Republican presidential contender Donald Trump says he would approve Keystone XL if elected, a pledge he repeats several times during the campaign. Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected president. Jan. 24, 2017: Trump signs an executive order that he says approves Keystone XL, but suggests the United States intends to renegotiate the terms of the project. He also signs an order requiring American pipelines to be built with U.S. steel. Nov. 9, 2018: A U.S. federal judge blocks the pipeline's construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact. March 29, 2019: Trump issues a new presidential permit in an effort to speed up development of the pipeline May 3, 2019: TransCanada changes its name to TC Energy. March 31, 2020: Alberta agrees to invest $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, followed by a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021. April 7, 2020: Construction begins, despite calls from Indigenous groups and environmentalists to pause their efforts. May 18, 2020: Joe Biden, then the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, vows to scrap Keystone XL if elected, but doesn't set out a timeline for doing so. Nov. 3, 2020: Biden is elected president. Jan. 17, 2021: Transition documents show Biden plans to cancel Keystone XL on the first day of his presidency. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX: TRP) The Canadian Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Norway has stressed that there was no established link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.View on euronews
Alimentation Couche-Tard would revive its $20 billion bid for France's Carrefour if the Canadian convenience store operator saw a change in the French government's stance on the proposed deal, its chief executive said on Monday. Couche-Tard dropped its surprise bid for the European retailer over the weekend after the plan ran into opposition from the French government. "We'd love to do the transaction .... if we got signals that the environment could change or would change from the French government or other key stakeholders," Brian Hannasch told an analyst call.
Ontario reported its lowest COVID-19 case count since Jan. 1, with 2,578 new cases confirmed on Monday, but with only 40,300 tests completed.
For the last four years, the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Care Centre in Botwood has been without 24-hour emergency services. Just prior to the 2019 provincial election, then-premier Dwight Ball pledged to bring those services back to the hospital in the fall of 2020 once a protective care unit was finished. According to Exploits MHA Pleaman Forsey, the time has come for the Liberal government to come through on its promises. “We are left with a commitment from the Liberal minister of health to review the service after the long-term care facility was finished in Botwood,” Forsey said in a prepared statement this week. “That’s not good enough.” The provincial government stripped the hospital of the service in 2016 in a move by Central Health to reduce its operating budget. An analysis completed by the Department of Health in 2018 indicated patient data supported the decision. Forsey recently sent an email to Central Health about the issue and was told the new health unit is expected to be in use by the end of this month. “This creates added stress to the residents of the Exploits district,” Forsey said of not having 24-hour emergency services. The provincial government's department of health and community services said in a statement the work on the protective unit was nearing completion and the matter of returning to 24-hour service will be looked at when it is done. "Following the completion of construction, the demand and the staffing will be examined to see whether or not there is a need to change the way emergency services are provided to the people in Botwood," wrote a spokesperson for the department. On several occasions since Ball pledged the return of 24-hour emergency services, the Botwood council has written to Gander MHA John Haggie, the minister of health and community services, regarding the status of emergency services at the hospital. Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour said responses the town has received have not indicated if or when any announcement will be made about the return of regular emergency services. At the time, the town was caught off guard by the decision to alter the emergency services at the hospital. It was expected to help save money, but the mayor says little money has been saved by the decision. “There was no justification for it,” he said. “It was a surprise to all of us.” Now that the area MHA has brought the issue to the forefront again, Sceviour said the town will write to Premier Andrew Furey about the commitments of his predecessor and bring him up to speed on the situation. Botwood is scheduled to have a council meeting this week, where the issue will be on the agenda. “We are going to hold this government to the promise,” said Sceviour. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Lorne Head fell into volunteer firefighting almost by accident. In February 2010, a fire ripped through the fire hall in Baie Verte and destroyed all that was inside, including the department’s two pumper trucks. The department got a replacement vehicle from the west coast, but there was a problem. No one in the department had air brake qualifications and there wasn’t anyone to drive the vehicle. That’s where Head comes in. An employee with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, he could operate a vehicle with air brakes, and he agreed to temporarily come onboard. Head has now spent 11 years on the fire department in Baie Verte, the last six of which have been as the town’s fire chief. Lately, he’s been thinking about the future of firefighting in the region and the challenges he faces. One of those is numbers. His department is getting older, and in the last year the department has lost members as they moved away. Right now, the Baie Verte department is down to 21 members. With work commitments, there are 10 to 12 firefighters available for fire calls during the workday. “It is a nervous few minutes to see who is going to respond to the call,” said Head. The challenges facing rural firefighting and how to best navigate those hindrances will be the subject of an upcoming research project being done through a collaboration between the Marine Institute and the province’s fire commissioner's office. It is being funded by a $54,500 grant from the International Grenfell Association, along with contributions from both the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Both of those contributions are $10,000 each. The two-year project will examine firefighting strategies and equipment used in volunteer firefighting departments, with an eye on declining populations. At the end there will be recommendations forwarded to departments on how they could best deal with issues through new firefighting methods and limiting risk to the community. “Our role is to gather the information,” said Elizabeth Sanli, a researcher with the Marine Institute’s ocean safety research unit and the project lead. “We’re looking for helpful strategies and helpful tools.” The project will be broken down into three phases, the first of which will have researchers delving into the subject through journal articles, previous research done by firefighting organizations and other documents relevant to what they’re looking to address. They will focus on literature that focuses on challenges faced by other coastal and northern regions with dwindling firefighter numbers. “We want to make (fire departments) effective and as efficient as possible,” said Sanli. From there, in the second phase, the group will formulate the strategies and equipment they’ve identified in the first phase. This could include examining things such as how the number of firefighters and the weather may effect each strategy. The results of the research will be published, and recommendations will be made to communities in the final phase of the project. One strategy Head believes will work is a focus on the regionalization of fire departments to maximize the number of firefighters in any particular region. It also maximizes the equipment necessary and allows the different departments to pursue other complementary goals. Many departments already pledge to help out neighbouring ones, but Head’s idea could mean stronger numbers for a singular department. “I think one of the reasons regional fire departments have to start working is that you have to be able to draw from other towns,” said Head. “Other towns helping us and we’re helping other towns.” Guy Oakley, the fire chief with the New-Wes-Valley Volunteer Fire Department, had an idea that could work with any form of regionalization. He says the province could look at forming a paid regional fire chief position in areas that take on regionalization. Oakley’s department already works well with other fire departments in Bonavista North, he says, but such a position may help with the organization of that work. “I could see that working and making things better that way,” said Oakley. Justice and Public Safety Minister Steve Crocker said he is looking forward to seeing the results of the project. A former firefighter in Heart’s Delight-Islington, he was one of the younger members then and knows how some departments struggle with their aging members. He says the research project will prove valuable in providing a roadmap for how the province helps fire departments through any future challenges. “It’s a strategy,” said Crocker. “It is, how do we provide safety to people in the future.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
BRUCE COUNTY – Mark Paoli, land use planning manager, presented a report to the planning and development committee in December recommending changes to the current fee schedule. The changes will be phased in within one year. At the November meeting, the committee passed recommendations arising from the development fees final report by StrategyCorp that included recovery of all activity costs and appropriate overhead; four new fees (general inquiries, pre-consultations, studies over five hours, and pit/quarry Official Plan amendments); deposit for peer reviews; and resume increasing fees annually by the Consumer Price Index in 2022. The recommendations included that the matter return to the committee in December for approval. The committee approved the following amendments: • Allow for a flat fee for one or two minor variances in the same application, and add to it a separate flat fee that is 30 per cent higher for cases of three or more minor variances in the same application. • For multiple consents, reduce the price of each additional lot in the same application to 50 per cent, after the first one. • Segment fees for major county Official Plan amendment and minor county Official Plan amendment, based on whether it requires more than three technical studies or not. For major amendments, increase the new base fee by eight per cent for each additional technical study required over the threshold of three studies. Paoli’s report stated there’s more involved than greater transparency and ensuring fees fully reflect costs. Fees should “also recognize ‘bulk rate’ savings that come from economies of scale in multi-unit applications, to the benefit of the developer-user. Passing on the savings of economies of scale will accurately reflect actual costs, to the benefit of both the county and the user.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported Monday the lowest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since late November. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said the health unit doesn't believe the increase of 35 new cases is related to an intentional delay in test results, but noted there have been big swings in the numbers in recent days. "At this point, I don't have any official notification from the labs about any planned delays in reporting," he said during his daily briefing. "But it is possible due to the high volume, test results are prioritized in a different way, leading to day-to-day fluctuations in our daily case counts." On Saturday, the health unit reported 87 new cases, while there were 270 on Sunday. There are 2,673 active cases in the region, out of a cumulative total of 11,057. Ahmed said he remains cautiously optimistic about the numbers, and noted that taken as an average, the recent numbers still show improvement. Over the past seven days, there has been 177.4 daily reported cases, on average. "I would take that as a good sign for us moving in the right direction," he said. The sharp decline comes after the region saw a weekly decrease in a few key indicators such as case rates and test positivity. But Windsor-Essex is not out of the woods, Ahmed said Friday, and remains one of the regions of Ontario most badly affected by the virus. The last time the health unit reported a daily case count lower than Monday's total was on Nov. 29, when there was an increase of 26 cases. Across Ontario, 40,300 test samples were processed over the past 24 hours, which is lower than many recent days, when that number topped 70,000. Ahmed said the number of people tested fluctuates every day locally, but he doesn't have any reason to believe that the number has gone down in recent days. 1 new death as vaccinations continue in seniors' homes On Monday, the health unit also reported the region's 256th COVID-19 death, a woman in her 90s who was a resident of a seniors' home. Ahmed said vaccinations are continuing at retirement residences this week. While the health unit previously said the initial round of vaccinations could be complete by this early week, Ahmed said it's looking more like Thursday, barring any issues. Vaccinations at the homes are rolling out with varying levels of support from the health unit. Ahmed said some homes don't have the nursing capacity to administer the vaccine to residents themselves. "We are supporting them as quickly as possible," he said. 48 outbreaks active There are currently 48 active coronavirus outbreaks across the region and 119 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Three outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital, two on the Ouellette campus and one on a unit of the Met Campus. One community setting, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario, has been in outbreak since Jan. 3. Outbreaks are active at 23 workplaces: Five in Leamington's agricultural sector. Four in Kingsville's agricultural sector. Four in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector. One in Leamington's health care and social assistance sector. One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in a personal service setting in LaSalle. Three in public administration settings in Windsor. One in a retail setting in Essex. One in Essex's finance and insurance sector. There are 21 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities: Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with one staff case. Regency Park in Windsor with two resident cases and one staff case. Richmond Terrace in Amherstburg with two staff cases. Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case. Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with five resident cases and two staff cases. Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases. Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 31 resident cases and four staff cases. Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with three staff cases. Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 30 resident cases and four staff cases. Chateau Park in Windsor with four staff cases. Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 51 resident and 14 staff cases. Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 11 resident cases and eight staff cases. Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and 26 staff cases. Sun Parlor Home in Leamington, one resident case and 10 staff cases. Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 53 staff cases. The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 28 resident cases and 11 staff cases. Extendicare Tecumseh, with 83 resident cases and 57 staff cases. Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 94 resident and 60 staff cases. The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 150 resident cases and 122 staff cases. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 53 resident cases and 25 staff cases. Cases in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia In Lambton County, officials reported two new COVID-19 deaths and 31 one new cases on Monday. There have been 1,647 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. Chatham-Kent saw 46 new cases over the past three days, bringing its total to 1,017, and one additional death. Chatham-Kent does not update its figures on Saturdays and Sundays.
GREY-BRUCE – The Saugeen Field Naturalists conducted their 44th annual Hanover-Walkerton Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19, 2020. According to the group’s newsletter, this activity has become one of the largest citizen science projects in the world. The 2020 count was a bit different from past years, due to the pandemic. It didn’t end with a dinner the day after the field outing, but instead with one via Zoom. Care was taken to ensure distancing for everyone’s safety. Gerard McNaughton said the Walkerton-Hanover area count identified 44 species this year including one new species, an osprey. “The actual number of field participants was down as several long-time counters bowed out of this year’s count but once things return to normal I’m sure they will be back,” said McNaughton. He said the weather was a bit blustery, starting out with cloudy skies in the morning and little wind, and shifting to snow showers and limited visibility at times by mid-day, making finding birds harder as the day went on. Most groups said the birds were hunkered down and that most feeders were empty for the first time in years, making for a difficult day. McNaughton said, “As always, several quality birds were observed including a first-ever osprey found by Joy Albright just outside Walkerton. Presumably, the same bird was seen just before count week started but not since, so that was a great find for count day. Several winter finches also put in appearances to help bolster overall numbers.” The overall summary is as follows: Mute swan - 7 Canada goose – 1,339 Mallard - 383 Common goldeneye - 19 Common merganser - 50 Sharp-shinned hawk - 3 Cooper’s hawk - 2 Red tailed hawk - 12 Rough legged hawk - 9 Bald eagle - 11 Osprey - 1 Ruffed grouse - 2 Wild turkey - 132 Ring-billed gull - 428 Herring gull - 121 Great black-backed gull - 2 Rock dove - 439 Mourning dove - 105 Eastern screech owl - 7 Belted kingfisher - 2 Red-bellied woodpecker - 6 Downy woodpecker - 34 Hairy woodpecker - 13 Pileated woodpecker - 3 Northern shrike - 4 Blue jay - 100 American crow – 1,083 Common raven - 3 Black-capped chickadee - 344 Red-breasted nuthatch - 27 White-breasted nuthatch - 32 Brown creeper - 10 European starling – 1,117 American tree sparrow - 51 Dark-eyed junco - 348 Snow bunting - 300 Northern cardinal - 39 Purple finch - 2 House finch - 108 Common redpoll - 164 Pine siskin - 71 American goldfinch - 334 Evening grosbeak - 1 House sparrow - 136 Total was 44 species, 7,405 individuals. Accipiter Sp. - 1 Hawk Sp. - 1 Gull Sp. - 83 Woodpecker Sp. - 1 Two additional species were recorded during the count week period. The hooded merganser and pine grosbeak were both seen in the three days leading up to the count; nothing was reported in the three days after count day. “The next count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 so mark your calendars now,” said McNaughton. “Let’s hope that everything is back to normal by then and that we’re able to get together to swap stories from the field. Until then, the best of health and happiness to everyone and good birding.” The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago. Winter hike All indoor activities of the Saugeen Field Naturalists have been cancelled because of COVID-19, but outdoor activities continue. The next one is Jan. 16 – the Winter Nature Hike. The location will be the Murray Tract, the less-well-know part of the Kinghurst Nature Reserve, at 1:30 p.m. Participants must register (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
President Donald Trump never hid how he felt. For more than four years, Trump, a Republican, cultivated a political base by sharing his thoughts and emotions - pride, happiness, indignation, rage - on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, creating an omnipresence of sorts that completely dominated the news cycle. Like no U.S. president has done before, he made himself the center of attention, the star of a literal reality show that was his administration, always with an eye for the camera, a flair for the dramatic, an instinct for the outrageous.
An old roadbed in Conception Bay North is getting a new lease on life. Up until the 1970s, the road between Old Perlican and Bay de Verde was the main thoroughfare that connected the two communities. That road was phased out in the 1970s as the current road was put in. Now, decades later, the old roadbed is getting a facelift as a group of volunteers is restoring the old road into a multi-use trailway. “We thought we could go all the way through to Old Perlican,” said organizer Carl Riggs, who is from Bay de Verde. The idea for the trailway started as a conversation between friends, and it ballooned from there. Riggs decided he would take the idea to the councils of Bay de Verde and Old Perlican. They were supportive of the idea and things took off from there. “The support has been tremendous,” said Riggs. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks between work starting and the idea coming to fruition. Since work got underway on Jan. 11, between 80 and 100 people have contributed to clearing brush, rocks and other debris from the trail. There have been significant contributions from the towns of Old Perlican and Bay de Verde, who have sent various pieces of heavy equipment to help with the job. The business community has also chipped in, and there have been donations of equipment, time and money from people all over the province. “It is amazing how much work has been done in a short period of time,” said Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy. While the original motivation for the restoration of the old road was for use by all-terrain vehicles, the group believes there is ample room for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and others to use the trail. When finished, it will connect to Bay de Verde’s Lazy Rock Walking Trail. “It is a little bit of an attraction for the whole area,” said Old Perlican Mayor Clifford Morgan. “It is a very, very nice initiative.” The work being conducted this winter by the group is just the start of things for them. Riggs said they want to install gazebos, rest areas and signage along the route in the future. There are also plans to work with the CBN T’railway group to connect their projects. The CBN group is working to clear and maintain the old railbed in the region. The hope is they will be able to connect and provide all-terrain vehicle users with the chance to go from Brigus Junction to Bay de Verde. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Riggs. “Excited is not the word.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice