Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
THE LATEST: Health officials announced 542 new cases and seven more deaths on Wednesday. To date, 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are now 246 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care. There are currently 4,652 active cases of coronavirus in the province. 200 cases of variants of concern have been identified. So far, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 86,616 of those being second doses. Another 542 cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths from the disease have been confirmed in B.C., health officials announced Wednesday. The latest numbers show a steady rise in the rolling seven-day average of new cases and the number of patients in hospital over the last two weeks. Right now, 246 people are in hospital with COVID-19 including 64 in intensive care. To date, 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 out of 81,909 confirmed cases. There are now 4,652 active cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C. Since the province's vaccination program began late in 2020, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,616 second doses. The numbers come as Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization has endorsed B.C.'s plan to space out first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by 16 weeks in order to reach more people. In Wednesday's written statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said they were pleased with the endorsement. "Our goal is to protect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, through the available COVID-19 vaccines. With a single primer dose, these vaccines are helping to stop outbreaks and reduce serious illness and death," they said. B.C. now expects every eligible adult who wants a vaccine will receive their first dose by the end of July. The plan is to space out doses by four months. Wednesday's update also included another 18 confirmed cases of variants of concern, bringing B.C.'s total to date to 200. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 7:30 p.m. PT Tuesday, Canada had reported 872,747 cases of COVID-19, with 30,252 cases considered active. A total of 22,045 people have died. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Britain is more than doubling to 100 pounds ($139.75) the limit on contactless payments made with debit or credit cards, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, as COVID-19 accelerates a shift to electronic payments from cash. The finance ministry said that while legally in force from Wednesday, the changes to limits from the current ceiling of 45 pounds will not happen in practice immediately, as firms will need to make the necessary systems changes. The banking industry is due to implement the new 100 pound limit later this year, it said.
Chris Daken is taken aback by the outpouring of attention, support and condolences his family is receiving in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. Lexi Daken, daughter to Chris and Shawna Betts, sister to Piper and Brennah, student at Leo Hayes High School, friend, athlete, teenager, took her own life last Wednesday. She was just 16. A week earlier, Lexi had been taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital by a guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. After she was told by a nurse that calling a psychiatrist would take another two hours, Lexi left the hospital with a referral for followup. Since her death, Daken said, the family has been bowled over by the offers of support, from here in New Brunswick and right across the country. "Lexi's story has touched a lot of people in ways we would never have imagined," he said. Chris Daken with daughter Lexi, when she was about 2-years-old. (Submitted by Chris Daken) 'Lexi didn't get the help she went there for' On Tuesday, one day after Lexi's funeral service, Daken told CBC News his heart is aching but his mission is clear: to shine a spotlight on the broken system that allowed this to happen, and to never let it fade until things change. "It can't be acceptable that a person could go to the hospital and not get the care they need, that they be made to feel like a burden and pushed away," he said. "Lexi didn't get the help she went there for, and I really believe the government has to take a good look in the mirror and … at the decisions that were made that day." That's part of the reason Daken said his family made a conscious choice to speak openly about the tragedy. "The day after her death, we started getting calls from media," he said. "We sat down as a family to decide whether we should ignore the publicity and deal with Lexi's death in our own way, or speak out about it to everyone." Ultimately, they decided that "keeping it in the dark" would only perpetuate the stigma around mental health issues. "This has happened too often," Daken said. "We can't let this go away. We want to keep the momentum going, and hopefully it leads to change." That can't happen if people aren't talking about it, he said. "We want kids to know there's help out there. We're hoping to make mental health an easier subject to talk about. … It's no problem for people to talk about having a broken bone, so why can't we talk about having a broken brain?" Green Leader David Coon said Tuesday he will push the government to call for a public inquiry in the wake of Lexi Daken's death, noting "I will be relentless about it."(CBC News file photo) Family supports call for a public inquiry For this reason, the family also supports Green Party Leader David Coon's call for an inquiry into the province's handling of suicidal youths in emergency rooms. In an interview Tuesday morning, Coon said he plans to push the government to call a public inquiry into Lexi's death, noting "I will be relentless about this." "Too many teens in crisis have been turned back from emergency rooms without getting help, without getting admitted into a safe place where they won't be able to harm themselves," he said. "Something has to be done. We can't keep going with this broken system." Coon said he'd like to see "everyone along the chain" called as witnesses at the inquiry, from the psychiatrist and nurse on duty the day Lexi visited the hospital to the hospital management. Lexi Daken shown here with her sisters. From left to right, Brennah, Piper and Lexi. (Submitted by Chris Daken) Daken said he spoke with Coon about his plan at Lexi's vigil, and he supports it completely. "I think it's a good thing," he said. "The public is looking for answers just as we are." Daken sees a public inquiry as another crucial step on the road to real change. "What we have seen over and over again in the past, when a teen has taken their own life, there's a big outcry for a week or two, and then after a while it just quietly goes away," he said. "We don't want that to happen this time." The sheer number of individuals and groups who have contacted Daken and his family to offer help and support gives him hope that this time, it really will be different, he said. "We've had mental health associations reaching out from across the country, people here in the community organizing fundraisers, we've had [People's Alliance Leader] Kris Austin and the Liberals and Mr. Coon in touch with us," he said. "None of us wants to let this fade away. "So as tragic as Lexi's death is, we hope some good can come out it." If you need help: CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.
A wild rally in shares of Rocket Companies that saw the stock rise 70% in an apparent short squeeze has attracted fresh bets that the stock price will decline. Shares of Rocket, the parent of mortgage lender Quicken Loans, were down 31.7% to $28.43 in afternoon trading on Wednesday. The heavily-shorted stock had surged more than 70% on Tuesday in a move that analysts said was likely sparked by bearish investors unwinding bets against the stock as its share price surged.
Starting Thursday, non-essential travellers who are already required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test on the Windsor side of the land border must participate in on-site testing at the Ambassador Bridge or Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. Trailers in the duty-free parking lots of both the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, set up by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, will be used for tests of non-essential, Canadian travellers coming back into Canada — as well as those who have landed from out of the country. Testing will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. at both the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge. An onsite testing trailer can be seen in the duty free store parking lot at the Ambassador Bridge. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "This won't affect [essential workers]. They'll pull up to the customs lanes. They'll say they're an essential worker and they'll do what they've done for the past year," said Chris Tremblay, general manager for Windsor Detroit Borderlink, the company which operates the tunnel. Melanie Soler, vice president of emergency management response operations for the Canadian Red Cross, said individuals who partake in on-site testing at the land border will be given two testing kits. The first kit will be self-administered by the traveller inside the testing trailer. "Our personnel will observe them administering their own sample and packaging their own sample," said Soler. "Once the traveler deposits that sample in a safe and sanitary spot, our personnel will put that in a refrigeration package to make sure it gets to the lab for testing." It's not mandatory for individuals to be supervised by Red Cross staff when they self-administer their "day one" test, but the option is there in case they have any questions about it or need assistance, she added. In fact, a non-essential traveller can self-administer the "day one" swab in their personal quarantine location, if desired, according to PHAC. The general manager of the Ambassador Bridge says while it may seem redundant to come to the border with proof a COVID-19 test result only to be swabbed again on site, it's an added measure to keep people safe.(Sanjay Maru/CBC) After the first test is done, the traveller will be given a second testing kit which they will self-administer on "day 10" of quarantine. "The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the collection of samples from travellers at land borders in coordination with federal partners including Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Canada Border Services Agency," said PHAC in a statement. In all instances of on-site testing, travellers will be pulled away from the flow of essential traffic to ensure border flow keeps moving. 'A lot can happen within 72 hours' Since Feb. 15, non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border have been required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted 72 hours before arrival. According to the Public Health of Agency of Canada, this on-site testing effort will help travellers "meet day one arrival requirements." But that doesn't mean on-site testing will replace the need for a pre-arrival test. Non-essential travellers will still have to show up to the border with proof of a negative result even if they participate in on-site testing. In fact, travellers without that pre-arrival test result may be directed to a designated quarantine facility by PHAC officials, according to the CBSA. COVID-19 testing trailers like these have been setup near Windsor's two international land border crossings. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "From our level, is it redundant? Sounds like it's redundant," said Ambassador Bridge general manager Randy Spader. "I'm going to give you a negative test — and you're going to test me?" He adds, however, that "a lot can happen within 72 hours," and the federal government is seemingly doing whatever it can to prevent the cross-border spread of COVID-19. "Somebody who takes a test on Thursday, they're at the border on Sunday. What were they doing for those three days?" he said. "I think it's just a precaution to ensure the testing ramps us and Canada has the most information available to them for people wanting to get home." An invalid or inconclusive "day 10" test result will result in another test being mailed out to the traveller. The federal governments adds that failure to complete either of the self-administered swabs "could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment."
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario is happening at 34 different speeds, with each public health unit taking its own approach. The pace in the province's largest public health unit is notably slower than average. Officials in Toronto can't say when people aged 80 and up will be eligible to get vaccinated and are urging people not to call the public health hotline with questions about the timeline. Meanwhile, several public health units covering large urban areas have already started giving shots to that age group. York Region and Windsor-Essex both began their vaccinations of 80-plus-year-olds on Monday. In York Region, 20,000 of the roughly 45,000 people eligible have already booked appointments. People aged 80 and older line up outside a sports centre in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Monday to be among the first participants in York Region's mass vaccination program against COVID-19.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) During a City of Toronto news conference on Monday, officials were asked specifically when people in this age group in can expect to get the shot. There was no clear answer. Medical officer of health Dr Eileen de Villa spoke for two and a half minutes without addressing the question. WATCH | Questions and concerns continue around the timeline for Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Next, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, leading Toronto's COVID-19 emergency response, said bookings would begin once the province's appointment system launches (slated for March 15), and added that vaccinations would begin in "early April." De Villa then jumped in to say that vaccinations of some sub-groups of people in this age group could begin this month, but added, "We need supply to be more readily available to get into the large-scale administration of vaccine for that 80-plus population." Given that all of Ontario's public health units are facing the same supply constraints, why is Ontario's largest city weeks behind other major population centres in the province? Ontario's timeline for vaccinating people against COVID-19 puts 2.1 million people in its Phase 1 priority group, including long-term care residents, health-care workers and people aged 80 and older.(Ontario Ministry of Health) The chair of Toronto's board of health, Coun. Joe Cressy, blames a vaccine allocation mismatch: the province is distributing doses to each public health unit based solely on its total population, not based on its population in the high-priority groups. In short, the argument is that Toronto is hampered from moving on to vaccinate seniors aged 80 and older because it has yet to receive enough doses to vaccinate those who were first in line -- such as hospital workers. "We have a disproportionately large number of people who qualify in phase 1 because they are more vulnerable," Cressy told the news conference. That leads to a question: why didn't the province provide a larger number of vaccines to places with a larger number of people in priority groups? Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones acknowledged Tuesday that Toronto's explanation for its slower pace "makes sense." But when asked whether the province should have distributed doses on an as-needed basis instead of a per-capita basis, she didn't directly answer. Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, left, gives Ontario Premier Doug Ford, centre, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, right, a tour of a vaccination clinic for health-care workers in January. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) "The focus on the over 80 (age group) is critical," Jones told a news conference. "We'd love to have more vaccines to give to our public health units." Just don't ask the provincial government how many vaccine doses it has actually given to its public health units. The Ministry of Health refused CBC's request for this data on Tuesday, citing security concerns. The government also refused to provide a breakdown of how many vaccine doses have been administered by each public health unit, even though the ministry reports a province-wide total every day. The lack of disclosure makes it challenging to prove or disprove the claim that the distribution of vaccines has been unfair to Toronto. However, some figures disclosed by health units allow for rough math. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it has received 12,285 doses of vaccine, while Toronto has received 195,440 doses. Using population data from Public Health Ontario, those shipments are enough to give one dose to 10.8 per cent of people living in Haldimand-Norfolk, but just 6.3 per cent of the population of Toronto. Toronto Public Health estimates that 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under Phase 1 of Ontario's vaccine rollout. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) What is less clear is the evidence for Toronto's claim of being home to a disproportionate number of people in the priority groups for vaccination. People aged 80 and over are part of phase 1 of Ontario's vaccination timeline. But before getting to them, public health units were told to target the province's top-priority categories: long-term care residents and staff, other front-line health-care workers and Indigenous people. Ontario estimates 1.15 million people belong to those highest-priority groups. That is roughly eight per cent of the province's total population. Toronto Public Health could not provide an estimate Tuesday of how many people in the city are in those top-priority groups. But for Toronto to have a disproportionate burden, the number would need to be more than 240,000. Another comparison stick is the number of people eligible for vaccination through the whole of phase 1. Toronto Public Health says it's 325,000 people in the city, roughly 11 per cent of Toronto's population. That is no higher that the proportion of Ontario's population eligible in phase 1. Toronto Public Health COVID-19 vaccination numbers 195,440 doses of vaccine have been shipped to Toronto around 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1 around 135,000 of them are aged 80 and above, including some 10,000 residents of long-term care
The Red Shores racetrack in Charlottetown is in a complete lockdown in an effort to control an outbreak of strangles. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week, and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions. "We decided that to get a better understanding of what we're dealing with, and for heightened precautionary measures, that we would go into a lockdown for the grounds, which essentially means no horses coming or going for a time period," said Lee Drake, manager of racing, brands and broadcast divisions at Red Shores. "We've only had two confirmed cases of strangles on Prince Edward Island. Those horses were removed from the barns and are undergoing isolation at this point, and we are conducting screening tests for all the horses that are currently on the grounds." Red Shores Racetrack has taken measures to prevent the spread of strangles, including adding security and restricting who can enter the barns.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) The cost of the mandatory testing is being covered by Red Shores, the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission. Highly contagious Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, as identified by each trainer, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures. That means foot baths, brushes and disinfectant have been supplied to each barn. (Red Shores Racetrack)Strangles is an upper-respiratory illness that can cause swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge and fevers in horses, donkeys and mules. While the illness can be fatal, most animals do survive. It is highly contagious and spreads easily through nose to nose contact between horses, or even contact with people. If handlers get the bacteria from one horse on their hands, feet or clothing, they can pass it on to another horse. A meeting was held on February 23 that included the Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown Veterinary Clinic, Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association, Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission and Red Shores. The lockdown took effect two days later, with no additional horses allowed on the grounds until further notice. "The next step is to to consult with the veterinarians — they are, of course, guiding us through this — and just get a better understanding of those results, the next steps," Drake said. "I should say that's confidential, like a doctor-patient privilege, if you will, between them and their client [the horse owner]. And so they'll be guiding them, and updating us, on the next steps that are going to be taken." Lockdown rules Under the lockdown rules, horses will be allowed to leave the track property only if they have a clearance letter from a veterinarian. During the lockdown, Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures, including foot baths, brushes and disinfectant supplied to each barn. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions.(CBC) Owners and trainers are also being encouraged to take their horses' temperature daily and log the results, and consult a veterinarian if they see any symptoms. Drake said he can't confirm stories of strangles in other horses on P.E.I., outside of the racetrack. "Whether you're based on track, or you're on a farm, you have a heightened awareness of what's happening," Drake said. A medical laboratory technician in the AVC Diagnostic Services bacteriology lab examines bacterial growth on culture plates. (Anna MacDonald/AVC) "Until we know more of what we're dealing with, every stable — whether you're either on the grounds here or off the grounds — should be doing the measures that the veterinarians have asked. And that is, keeping a close watch on your horses and doing daily temperature checks." Meanwhile, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it has been informed that three additional horses tested positive for strangles in a barn at Shamrock Training Centre. Restrictions were put in place there after a horse shipped from Prince Edward Island tested positive. It had just been transported from Red Shores on Sunday, Feb. 14. No horses will be allowed to ship in for training until further notice.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) Also, Truro Raceway has issued a statement saying that it will be restricting horses from P.E.I. because of the strangles outbreak. "Any individual seeking to move a horse from P.E.I. to Truro will need the horse to have two negative strangles tests, conducted one week apart, prior to being permitted to enter the property," Truro officials said in the statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation, and this will be our policy until further notice." More from CBC P.E.I.
Orban announced the decision in a letter to the chairman of the EPP, Manfred Weber, on Wednesday, making good on his threat to leave the grouping over changes to its rules.View on euronews
While many P.E.I. students are enjoying some extra days off during the three-day period of heightened public health restrictions, a couple of private schools decided to offer online learning. Teachers at the Mount Academy were sending Google Meet invites to students in time for them to be part of an online class Monday. "We had the ability to do it so why not?" said Kenny MacDougall, head of school at the Mount Academy. He said because athletes with the school often travelled in pre-pandemic times, the school is set up to switch back and forth between online and in-person learning. The Mount Academy is a small school with 105 students, which he said also helps in making the switch. MacDougall says the three-day closure is 'a small blip in the road.'(Laura Meader/CBC ) MacDougall said it's not just about the education but also touching base with students, and looking after their mental health. "Have an opportunity to see their face, check in, give them a bit of school work, see how they're doing," he said. MacDougall, who also worked in P.E.I.'s public school system for more than 20 years, said he understands how it would be difficult for the much larger system to do what they did. "I think it's a massive undertaking, so I certainly understand the difficulty they would have pulling that off," he said. Wanted to offer school work Grace Christian School's online plan was to provide some math and reading activities for elementary students and some more traditional ongoing assignments for older students. "We haven't introduced a full online platform learning like we did last March," said Jason Biech, principal and head of school for Grace Christian School. Both private schools say online learning is not ideal, but it's nice to able to have it as an option when public health rules don't allow staff or students to be in school. (Marlee McKinnon) Biech said the school wanted to offer some basic work for students. He said teachers gave assignments through blogs or other online platforms. He also pointed out school closures can happen because of weather during winter and said it made sense to offer digital learning. Thoughts from students Emily Chong is a Grade 12 student at Grace Christian, and said she was working on some assignments during the school closure. "I think it's impressive that we're able to do this," Chong said. She said she prefers going to school but she's getting used to COVID-19 restrictions and closures. Emily Chong says she's been working on some school presentations during the closure.(Laura Meader/CBC ) Marlee McKinnon, also in Grade 12 at the school, said that she loves online school. "It's given me a chance to catch up on work I might need to catch up on, or get ahead of work as well," McKinnon said. She said she's been mostly working on English and biology assignments. Fellow Grade 12 student Anna Paquet said there weren't a lot of new assignments for her so she kept working on ongoing work. "We haven't been getting a whole lot of new work," she said. She said she misses school sports and the socializing with her peers. Marlee McKinnon does her homework with her dog on her lap, something that wouldn't happen at school. (Marlee McKinnon) Chenyu Hsu said the three-day closure was unexpected and although he's happy to have some digital learning, he said he gets distracted working on his computer. "In-person learning has definitely helped me to pay more attention," said Hsu. 'Not ideal' Both schools hope in-person learning will be back soon, noting that online is not the preferred way. "It's not a way to go to school, it's not the ideal way — it's a fill in, it's stop-gap measure," said MacDougall Biech agrees that digital learning is tough on parents, children and educators. "We have the ability to do remote learning, we can do that, but that's not what we wish to do. We really want our students and our staff back here." More from CBC P.E.I.
Consumers filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in record numbers in 2020, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit consumer advocacy group. Credit reporting issues were cited in 282,000, or 63%, of the complaints. The majority noted “incorrect information” on credit reports or “information belongs to someone else,” the report said. Not only did complaints about credit report errors lead the list of consumer grievances, but the three major credit-reporting bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — were the top three companies complained about. ERRORS CAN ENDANGER YOUR SCORE Accuracy matters since credit report errors can suggest identity theft or fraudulent activity on your accounts. And because credit report data provides the raw material for credit scores, errors can lower your score. Some of the volume of complaints may be an unintended consequence of payment accommodations mandated by the 2020 coronavirus relief bill and temporary concessions offered by lenders and credit card issuers. But credit report errors were common even before the pandemic, says Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the advocacy group’s Federal Consumer Program and author of the report. Payment accommodations may have led more people to check their credit reports and find those errors, he says. Mierzwinski recommends that “any consumer with any credit account” check their credit reports. People who have common names may be at particular risk of a mix-up, he says. HOW TO GET YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORTS You can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus by using AnnualCreditReport.com. You’ll be asked to provide personal identifying information — your name, Social Security number, birthdate and address. You will also be asked security questions to verify your identity. Some of those can be tough. If you aren’t able to answer correctly, call 877-322-8228 to request your credit reports by mail. You can also download and mail a request form to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. HOW TO READ YOUR CREDIT REPORTS Your reports from the three bureaus won’t look exactly the same. Not every creditor reports to all three and the bureaus present information in different formats. But you can use a similar procedure for reading your credit reports. First, check your identifying information. Errors such as misspellings of a former employer are unimportant, but something like an address you’ve never lived at could suggest identity theft. Next, check account information. Each credit account you have (and some that are closed) should be listed and include: — Creditor’s name, account number and date opened. — Type of account (credit card, loan, etc.). — Account status and whether you’re current on payments. Accounts that were in good standing when pandemic-related payment accommodations began must continue to be reported that way until the accommodation ends. — Whether you are a joint account holder, primary user or authorized user. — Credit limit and/or the original amount of a loan. — There may be negative information, such as collections accounts or bankruptcy records. Be sure that you recognize it and that it is accurate. HOW TO DISPUTE ERRORS The Fair Credit Reporting Act holds both the creditor that reports to the credit bureaus and the credit bureaus responsible for making sure the information in your credit reports is accurate. If you spot an error in one credit report, check for it in the other two. Dispute the error with each bureau that’s reporting it. You can dispute by mail, phone or online — the credit report will include information on how to file your dispute. Credit bureaus must investigate and inform you of the result. You can also contact the business providing the incorrect information. It must inform the bureaus of the dispute and, if it finds the information was wrong or incomplete, ask the credit bureaus to delete it. If disputing doesn’t resolve the issue, Mierzwinski recommends filing a complaint with the CFPB and asking for an investigation. That can bring additional pressure to correct misinformation, he says. The CFPB’s acting director, Dave Uejio, has said one of his goals is “making sure that consumers who submit complaints to us get the response and the relief they deserve.” ______________________________ This article originally appeared on the personal finance website NerdWallet. Bev O’Shea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea. RELATED LINKS U.S. PIRG: Consumers in peril https://uspirgedfund.org/reports/usf/consumers-peril NerdWallet: How to Get Your Annual Credit Reports From the Major Credit Bureaus http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-credit-reports AnnualCreditReport.com request form https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf NerdWallet: How to Read a Credit Report http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-report-reading NerdWallet: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-report-errors Bev O'Shea Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Regina's COVID-19 case numbers are among the highest per capita for major Canadian cities. Dr. Alexander Wong, an infectious diseases physician in Regina, says it's no reason to panic, but that people should keep following public health advice on how to contain the spread. As of Monday, Regina had 180 active cases per 100 000 people — about double Saskatoon's per capita number. Regina's per capita numbers are significantly higher than cities like Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Winnipeg, according to data gathered from provincial governments and regional health authorities. "I don't necessarily feel that things are, quote unquote, out of hand. I think our public health colleagues have a pretty good grasp of sort of what's kind of taking place," Wong said. "But I can understand how some people might look at the raw data and think that there could potentially be issues." Wong said several factors could be contributing to the high rates, including outbreaks linked to homes and workplaces, and contact tracers in the province being good at finding secondary cases. Are variants at play? Variants have been cited as a possible reason for the rising numbers. Wong said there's not clear evidence to show that variants are common in the province, but that some cases have been found so it's a reasonable assumption they are out there. "Assuredly there is community transmission of variants of concern that's currently occurring. We just don't know what the prevalence of that actually looks like. Right now that's pure speculation," he said. "Regardless of what prevalence of variants are circulating or not, it doesn't change the fundamental pieces that we all need to take responsibility for." Wong said people need to continue to reduce contact with others, wear masks and get tested if they show any symptoms to contain the spread. Consequences of slow restrictions at play: doctor Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a public health physician, agreed. He said Regina's per capita numbers being high isn't surprising. In fact, as case numbers are still relatively high in multiple places throughout the province. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of cases per capita out of all provinces. "What we're seeing in Saskatoon and Regina is really just a continued expression of the fact that our restrictions have just not been as much as other provinces," Neudorf said. The province's unwillingness to implement strong restrictions early is part of why the province remains under heavy public health order, he said. The province saw a sustained high level of cases that rose throughout the fall and peaked in January. Now the decline from the peak has been slower compared to other regions. Neudorf said the people need to proceed with caution, because even though numbers are dropping in some parts of the province, they're dropping slowly. He said community spread still prevails in homes (where one family member brings it home and gets the rest of the family sick) as well as in the workplace. Health officials need to keep aggressive tabs on the variants, ramp up testing to control community spread and be ready to tighten restrictions if the province wants to see meaningful decline in numbers, he said. Doctors urge people to remain vigilant Neudorf said the reproductive number for the virus remains in a risky area between .8 and 1 — a range that is viewed as a growth phase. He said that number should ideally be below .7 with the new variants. Wong said the "new normal" people talk about is still a long way off. "Stay the bleep home. The pandemic is going to continue on indefinitely. It's not going to disappear," Dr. Wong said. "There will be new variants, never ending strains of the virus and probably ongoing need to vaccinate." Both Wong and Neudorf said it's important people are prepared for what's to come and that things won't return to normal until most of the general population is vaccinated. "It's like we're balanced on a bit of a knife edge right now," Dr. Neudorf said, adding a drop in numbers will allow the vaccine program to work. "It doesn't take very much to all of a sudden see a spike in cases, and if that happens we could very easily see a third wave starting in March and April, especially if these new variants take hold." Premier teases loosening of restrictions Premier Scott Moe said in a news conference Tuesday that he has heard from people who want the public health restrictions eased up, specifically around household gatherings. "We are very close to making and finalizing these decisions," Moe said. Moe said chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab wants to see the hospitalizations and case number stabilize for a "few more days." "If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions possibly by early next week," Moe said.
GUYSBOROUGH – As Nova Scotia ushered out the month of February, the province also ushered in a new premier. On Feb. 23, Iain Rankin was sworn in as the 29th Premier of Nova Scotia. The change at the head of the table brought a new 16-member cabinet with some new faces and revisions to roles and names of departments. Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines holds his position in cabinet as the minister for the Department of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal). Hines said of his appointment, “I am so very humbled to rejoin Premier Rankin’s cabinet as Minister of Transportation and Active Transit. I look forward to working with our communities and the department’s great staff to provide safe efficient transport for all Nova Scotians.” Speaking to the change in the department’s mandate, Hines told The Journal that over the past four years a “significant portion of my responsibility and a massive amount of budget was specifically for the rebuild of the bricks and mortar of hospital facilities in the province … The infrastructure portion of the responsibility grew significantly over that period of time.” The new premier, said Hines, decided those responsibilities, along with those attached to Housing Nova Scotia, would justify a stand-alone minister. Geoff MacLellan was named the minister of the new Department of Infrastructure and Housing. “I fully support the establishment of that particular department because spending that kind of public money – it is good to have that close oversight on it,” said Hines. Hines said he was particularity pleased to remain the “minister responsible for the implementation of the highway budget in the province. That was my primary desire and because I enjoy the work and we also have a tremendous team of people. We have 2,250 people in the department and a tremendous senior management team at all of those levels. Everybody is pulling together to make sure we have good safe highways for Nova Scotians. On that side of the ledger, we have the five highway twinning projects that are all underway, fully funded and financed.” When asked about the active transit addition to his portfolio, Hines said, “Active transportation is something that started in the last decade. Of course, we have paved roads and cars, but we also have other modes of transportation. We have a great trail system in the province, which is probably the best example of active transportation and, of course, we have bicycle transportation; the piece of road between Boylston (Guysborough County) and Guysborough is purposely widened so there is a paved shoulder outside the main travel area to provide some area where bicycles can operate. “Also, across the province, we have been tackling the problem of the lack of (public) transport systems. We have three (public) transportation systems in the province (Metro Transit in HRM, Kings Transit in Kings County and Transit Cape Breton in CBRM) – beyond that there is no public transportation system where it is need most; in the rural areas,” he said. On the same day the new cabinet was announced, a CBC news story reported that the province had been paying $1.7 million a year to Bay Ferries as a management fee to operate the ferry between Nova Scotia and Maine, even when the boat was not in operation. The information was released by the company after it, and the province, lost a court decision requesting the details of the fee launched by the PC Party of Nova Scotia. The ferry and the agreement come under the umbrella of the Department of Transportation. When asked for comment on the court decision Hines said, “The company decided not to appeal. That was the company’s decision not the government’s … The company was unwilling to release it (management fee) because they thought it was proprietary. They decided on the judge’s ruling to release it.” Speaking to the cost of the management fee, Hines said, “It’s a standard practice. If you take it and look at it as a regular tender that we put out to build a bridge – we don’t know what the management fee is in that tender. That is not released. They bid a gross volume of money to do the project. We have an estimate of what we think the project is going to cost to do and, if the two of them are close then we award the contract. We don’t know what management fee … That’s proprietary information for that particular company.” Hines added that the ferry business, “got sideswiped by the pandemic. And, in the last year that we were hauling people, we took in 52,000 customers, I think. That created a significant base for the tourism operations in Southwest Nova. It is important to the economy of the entire province and certainly to Yarmouth and West Nova.” The Nova Scotia legislature begins a new session on March 9. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The City of Charlottetown needs to pull its socks up when it comes to flooding prevention, according to a new report from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. The centre has been studying flooding preparedness in 16 Canadian cities, and Charlottetown's grade dropped from C– to D+ between 2015 and 2020. "Where is water going to go when the big storms hit, either through rivers overflowing or water backing up through sewer systems?" said Blair Feltmate, a professor at the university and head of the centre. "Charlottetown does not have up-to-date flood risk maps," he told Laura Chapin on Island Morning. Blair Feltmate says flood risk maps need to take into account that future storms will likely be more intense and longer than storms of the past. (uwaterloo.ca) Feltmate said Charlottetown scored worse than in 2015 on five of the seven areas they looked at, tying for the second-worst overall grade in the country. "In terms of land-use planning, directing that no new developments be built on flood plains, Charlottetown scored fairly low," he said. The city also scored low for its efforts in urban drainage, directing water away from areas where infrastructure currently exists. There was one area where Charlottetown has improved, however: educating homeowners about the risks of basement flooding. "We have an infographic that delineates on one page, 15 things you can do around your house to lower the probability that you will end up with water in your basement. And the city has been putting that material out through various forms of communication to homeowners," said Feltmate. The weather of the past is not a good predictor of the weather of the future under climate change. - Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation The average cost of a flooded basement in Canada right now is about $40,000, said Feltmate, and often the homeowner ends up paying for all or part of that because of a lack of insurance coverage or a cap on pay-outs. "That's why we put so much attention on helping homeowners to help themselves, to put the measures in place around their home, to hopefully not realize a flooded basement when the big storms hit," he said. Charlottetown has 'picked up the ball', says Feltmate, when it comes to helping homeowners prevent basement flooding. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC) A staff member from the Intact Centre is working with the city and the province of P.E.I. right now in the area of flood home protection. "And that's training individuals in the province to go out into the community, meet with homeowners and be able to perform an assessment of their flood vulnerabilities for their home," said Feltmate. Charlottetown recently received about $87,000 in funding from P.E.I.'s Climate Challenge Fund to do homeowner flooding education and assessment work. Feltmate said the centre's evaluation ended at the beginning of 2020, but Charlottetown has done some good work since then. "I think they've picked up the ball quite a bit to be more aggressive in the whole area of helping homeowners help themselves." City says reports like this are 'valuable' In a statement to CBC News, Ramona Doyle, manager of environment and sustainability for the City of Charlottetown, said that the city is "displeased" with the report's results, but that it is valuable in identifying areas where the city must improve. "We believe that a number of ongoing initiatives, including recent funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, our active partnership with ClimateSense, as well as joining the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative will help us work towards mitigating flood risks going forward," Doyle said. 'New regime' of extreme weather Feltmate said that across Canada, extreme weather events are becoming more common, and governments need to change the way they model flood risk. "The weather of the past is not a good predictor of the weather of the future under climate change. We are getting storms today that are more intense, more water coming down over shorter periods of time than has happened historically," he said. "So the question is, are you also forward-looking under the new regime of the extreme weather that's on the ground today and the more extreme weather that's coming?" More from CBC P.E.I.
Regina's executive committee has approved a $2.5-million program to increase bus driver safety in the city. The program will now go to Regina's city council on March 10 for final approval. In November 2020, the city applied for funding under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for two upgrades: permanent bus driver shields and spots on buses where people with mobility issues could secure themselves without driver assistance. Buses currently are equipped with vinyl barriers, however city administration said the shields would help in multiple ways. "It's definitely something that will protect the health and safety of the driver, but it will also make sure that opportunity or interaction of physical altercation potentially occurring will no longer exist," Chris Holden, city manager, said. City administration says there are other benefits to the mobility station. Drivers won't to come out of their shields and take time to help the person secure themself. That can help keep buses on time, the city said. "It does provide a level of independence," Holden said. The total cost would be $2,571,177, with 40 per cent from the federal government, 33.3 per cent from the provincial government and 26.7 per cent — $656,505 — from the city. City council approval is needed to move ahead on the project. It just seems to be getting a little bit more dangerous out there all the time. - Kevin Lucier, ATU 588 president Kevin Lucier, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 588, said the upgrades are long overdue. ATU 588 represents more than 200 Regina Transit employees. "We were incredibly happy to receive this and we feel it's long overdue, but very welcomed," Lucier said. He said the shields are needed beyong the COVID-19 pandemic after assaults on drivers. He said a driver was assaulted in Regina just last week over a fare dispute and that there have been four assaults since last March. "It just seems to be getting a little bit more dangerous out there all the time," he said. "Every employee, every worker has the right to feel safe at work and an ability to get home at the end of their day safely." Lucier said the union has been having ongoing discussions with councillors and expects this proposal to pass at both executive committee and city council. Kevin Lucier is the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 588. (Submitted by Kevin Lucier)
Estevan, Sask., is officially laying out the welcome mat for tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. On Wednesday, Mayor Roy Ludwig officially sent the invitation to Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, in order to raise the profile of the SaskPower Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage facility (CCS) located near the city. Last month, Musk announced details of a competition that would put up a total of $100 million US in a global carbon capture competition. Mayor Ludwig thought the competition would be a good chance to showcase the local project. "It's one of the largest clean coal units anywhere," said Ludwig. "We've got people from all over the world beating a path to our door to learn about the technology." The Boundary Dam CCS project was completed in 2014 and was the first carbon capture project in the world to use carbon capture technology. According to the City of Estevan, the facility is capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Ludwig noted that Musk has family living in Saskatchewan and even lived in the province for a brief time as a youth. "We would like to bring him back to a province that, I think, he has some familiarity with, and have him tour our clean coal plant and show him how many technological advances we have been able to make here," he said. Concerned about future Ludwig admitted he was worried about movement away from coal-fired plants. Coal has traditionally been a major economic driver for Estevan and talk of phasing it out has been a major local concern for years. Despite the project's cost, the mayor believes carbon capture and storage could help prolong the life of the power plant. "These are well-paying jobs that we have out here," said Ludwig. "They pay a lot of income tax. They help the local, the provincial, the federal coffers. And it is clean energy and it does work." Musk's competition will last for four years and complete in 2025. The grand prize winner will take home $50 million US.
ORLANDO, Fla. — “Trump needs you,” one fundraising email implored. “President Trump’s Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded. Others advertised “Miss Me Yet?” T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face. While some Republicans grapple with how fiercely to embrace the former president, the organizations charged with raising money for the party are going all in. The Republican National Committee and the party's congressional campaign arms are eager to cash in on Trump's lure with small donors ahead of next year's midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress. But there's a problem: Trump himself. In his first speech since leaving office, the former president encouraged loyalists to give directly to him, essentially bypassing the traditional groups that raise money for GOP candidates. “There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again," Trump said Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “And that’s through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com.” The comment was particularly notable because Trump is generally loath to ask for money in person. It amounts to the latest salvo in the battle to shape the future of the GOP, with Trump making clear that he holds no allegiance to the party's traditional fundraising operation as he tries to consolidate power. That could help him add to an already commanding war chest, aiding his effort to influence the party. Save America has more than $80 million cash on hand, including $3 million raised after the CPAC speech, according to a person familiar with the total. Some of that money could help Trump settle scores with incumbent members of Congress who have crossed him. In his Sunday speech, Trump read aloud the names of every Republican who voted against him and called for them to be defeated. He's already endorsed a Republican challenger to GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach him over the U.S. Capitol riot. “Trump’s call to give directly to him shows that the normal organs of the party ... are going to have to fight for relevance in the 2022 cycle,” said Dan Eberhart, a longtime Republican donor who has given large sums to all three as well as to Trump’s campaign. Bill Palatucci, a RNC member from New Jersey, called Trump's comments “unwelcome" and “counterproductive" and voiced concern that the GOP would suffer further losses, like Georgia' Senate runoff elections in January, if they don't work together. “Listen it’s a free country. Anybody can form a federal PAC or a super PAC and there's always lots of competition for dollars. But the crossing the line there is then to also tell people to not give to the important committees of the national party," said Palatucci. “There’s got to be a willingness on the former president to look beyond his own self-interest." The RNC and spokespeople for the House and Senate campaign committees declined to comment. But others sought to downplay the apparent tensions. They noted, for instance, that Trump is scheduled to speak at the RNC's spring donor retreat — a major fundraising source — in April in Palm Beach. And Trump told the party’s chair, Ronna McDaniel, in recent days that he wants to continue fundraising for the RNC, according to a person briefed on the conversation who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations. Before making his money pitch on Sunday, Trump's team quietly updated its fundraising filings. They converted his Save America leadership PAC to an entity that can also support other candidates, and turned his main Donald J. Trump for President campaign committee into the Make America Great Again, or MAGAPac. Money raised through Trump's website now goes to Save America JFC, a joint fundraising agreement between the two. While Trump left office as a deeply unpopular figure, he remains a powerful draw for small-dollar, grassroots donors, a reality that has been abundantly clear in fundraising appeals over the last week. Over the course of a single hour last Thursday, the RNC, both GOP congressional campaign committees and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which tries to elect Republicans to state office, blasted supporters with urgent fundraising appeals that included urgent references to Trump. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned this week that its “limited edition” T-shirts featuring Trump were almost sold out. Regardless of Trump's next move, the GOP is unlikely to remove him from its sales pitch anytime soon. “Our digital fundraising strategy is simple: raise as much money as possible," said Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for the RSLC. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
SoftBank aims to double user numbers at its PayPay QR code payment app in the next three to four years, an executive at its domestic internet subsidiary Z Holdings told Reuters on Wednesday, as it seeks to extend its lead in cashless payments. PayPay has used SoftBank's sales network and aggressive rebates to attract 36 million users in the three years since launch, driving a shift to push Japanese consumers to digital payments away from their traditional preference for cash. "We want to double the user base during the investment phase," Z Holdings co-CEO Kentaro Kawabe said in a joint interview with fellow co-CEO Takeshi Idezawa.
For 17 years, trucker Colin Birch has been hitting the highways to collect used cooking oil from restaurants. He works for Vancouver-based renderer West Coast Reduction Ltd, which processes the grease into a material to make renewable diesel, a clean-burning road fuel. Birch is caught between soaring demand for the fuel - driven by U.S. and Canadian government incentives - and scarce cooking oil supplies, because fewer people are eating out during the coronavirus pandemic.