Saskatchewan currently has the worst COVID-19 infection rate in the country and cases are on the rise. Instead of adding new restrictions, the government is asking people to follow the existing ones but some say those don’t go far enough.
Saskatchewan currently has the worst COVID-19 infection rate in the country and cases are on the rise. Instead of adding new restrictions, the government is asking people to follow the existing ones but some say those don’t go far enough.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
FORT ERIE, Ont. — Police are investigating after the bodies of two women were found inside a house in Fort Erie, Ont. Niagara Police say they received a call early Monday morning about a disturbance that possibly involved a firearm. They say officers found the bodies when they arrived at the house. Homicide and forensic units have taken over the investigation. A portion of a regional roadway was shut for most of Tuesday as police asked people to stay clear of the area. Investigators want anyone with information to contact them. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Despite an array of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency responsible for stocking B.C.’s lakes with freshwater fish successfully completed its mission for 2020, ensuring a smooth transition for the recreational fishery going into the new year. The importance of the achievement by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) is heightened this year with a 20 per cent spike in new licence holders expecting the most from this outdoor pursuit. “It was a huge feat, because this past year was unique given the pandemic,” Andrew Wilson, president of FFSBC said. “We had to develop new protocols, new procedures to ensure we were compliant with the the provincial health officer and WorkSafe BC, and that meant a bit of a rethink on how we were able to culture the fish and deliver them. But at the end of the day we were able to do that. We never got to the place where we thought it wasn’t going to happen.” FFSBC is solely responsible for stocking B.C.’s freshwater lakes on behalf of the provincial government. Throughout 2020 the society stocked 5.63 million rainbow trout, coastal cutthroat trout, eastern brook trout and kokanee into 662 lakes across the province. More than 311,000 steelhead smolts were also raised and released into six rivers in the Lower Mainland, and four rivers on Vancouver Island. The society’s Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery also released 15,306 anadromous coastal cutthroat trout into the Oyster and Quinsam rivers on Vancouver Island. Wilson said once new procedures were in place, operations moved smoothly. He credits the participation of BC Parks, BC Rec Sites and Trails, and BC Hydro to develop workable plans for accessing the bodies of water. Without the completion of the program, Wilson said anglers would have experienced immediate impacts. “At the beginning of the year there were so many unknowns … particularly with the government having to walk that fine line of trying to look after British Columbians while also encouraging them to get outside to stay healthy.” The annual provincial recreational stocking program is funded through the sale of B.C. freshwater fishing licences. In the early stages of the pandemic the society was concerned about deep financial losses in 2020, as many in the tourism sector experienced, but the government’s encouragement for residents get outdoors resulted in a 20 per cent uptake in new freshwater fishing licences sales to B.C. residents. The 16-20-year old category saw the largest gains of 64 per cent. “That 20 per cent increase in resident anglers pretty much offset the 94 per cent decrease in international anglers,” Wilson said. “It is big news. People are getting out and engaging with their backyard, getting out on the water in a really healthy pursuit.” Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
Katie Green has been interested in art since she could hold a pencil. Originally from Maryland, she describes herself as having lived “kind of all over the place.” For the last seven years she’s called Richmond home, and is perhaps best known as a caricature artist who goes by the name “Cartoon Katie.” Green’s parents were very supportive of her desire to have a career as an artist. “They were always getting me the little ‘how to draw Mickey Mouse’ books,” she says. As an art student, she studied visual effects and animation, but was doing caricature art on the side. The style appeals to her partially because of its similarities to animation. “I really like being a little sillier with the drawing,” she says. “I can take a picture of stuff, or I can spend a lot of time rendering perfect details. Mimicking life is impressive, but for me it’s not as fun, not as creative—I want (my art) to express something a little different than what you can normally see.” After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree, Green worked at a Los Angeles studio as a visual effects artist. And when that studio opened a branch in Vancouver, she was moved up north, still taking caricature gigs occasionally on the side. Eventually she decided to leave the film industry and pursue caricature art full-time. First looking up what kind of city permits she would need to be a caricature artist, Green says the City of Richmond suggested she contact the Harbour Authority. When she did, she was given a patch of grass outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to sell art from. “I do a bunch of markets and things, and what I primarily do are events—like Songs in the Snow, or people’s birthday parties, or charity things,” says Green. “(At events) I’ll go and perform, and rather than have people pay to get each drawing like at a market, I’m just drawing as many of the guests as I can in a set amount of time, like an entertainer.” Now an independent business owner, Green covers events from birthday parties to dry grads to business holiday parties. Sometimes she works with other artists at larger events, and she also teaches some classes at local community centres. Many of her gigs come through networking, where someone sees her at an event or market and asks her to work their event or activity as well. “At any kind of celebration party, caricature can fit right in because it’s a customized souvenir,” she says. Green has a process with each drawing: she begins by imagining a person’s head shape, trying to decide how much space it will take up. But usually, while the face shape is the first thing she thinks of, it’s the last part she draws. “People always say I start with the nose, but in my brain I’m starting with a lot of other shapes and things first,” she says. “The nose is in the middle, so if I get it down first I don’t have to draw on top of something to get it the right shape.” Sometimes when she sees people in public, Green imagines how she would draw them. “It’s a thought process that I can’t turn off,” she says. For instance, she might see someone on a bus with an interesting face, or have a conversation with someone who makes a noticeable facial expression. But because she knows she can’t whip out a sketchbook and start drawing without permission, she tries to remember shapes to recreate later. “Inspiration strikes when I see certain faces or certain features, (even) when I’m not drawing,” says Green. Her own personal style has changed over time, depending on what she’s interested in and what she feels like making. The COVID-19 pandemic has totally changed her style, for instance, as well as the way she’s been drawing. “I don’t really feel like I have one specific style, I’m just always trying to be funny, I want it to look good, and I want people to like it,” she says. Because of the humorous nature of caricature, Green says sometimes people don’t respond positively. She describes her art as an illustration rather than a recreation of a photograph, and always tries to have samples available so people know what to expect. “Even though I’m doing art every day, every day seems to be different, I have different challenges to problem-solve, I’m coming up with a new way to deal with something,” she says. One of the challenges this year was the pandemic, of course, which created a distinct lack of work opportunities for many artists. “Everyone was out of work—we had our livelihoods cancelled for some unknown amount of time,” says Green. Some artists created virtual set-ups, including Green. She began with free virtual caricature parties, then began networking with other artists on big virtual events. “There’s been a lot of trying to keep the art community lifted up, while also trying to figure out how to keep my business going.” Virtual events have become more successful and consistent, although not without some technical challenges. Green says as well as doing art, she also provides some technical support to people who may not necessarily know how to turn on their camera, for example. After the events, she emails out drawings so people can access them. During online drawing events, Green uses a tablet and stylus to create her art. She usually shares her screen so people can see what she’s drawing as it’s being created, while also seeing her face as she draws. Normally, she balances drawing on paper and drawing digitally, as she recognizes the complementary skill sets. But despite the challenges, Green is still optimistic. She says inspiration comes from everywhere, especially laughter and “anything fun.” “I don’t feel that it’s making fun of somebody. I know people get that mentality with caricature, with the editorial side of it where you’re usually making fun of politicians, but from a retail and event standpoint it’s more a celebration of what makes people unique rather than making fun of them,” she says. “When I see a unique face, it’s definitely fun—but it’s fun in a positive way, not in a negative way.” Over the years she’s worked on some interesting projects, including children’s storybooks, logos for businesses, and orders for board game or card game art design. But one project that stood out to her was an ongoing collaboration with a Danish man who wanted to create a book of idioms. “They were all in Danish, so he was using Google Translate to help communicate with me,” says Green. “But I had to be illustrating the imagery that would be associated with it, not the meaning.” The language barrier created some communication challenges, but also yielded some fun drawings. “That project was super fun, the guy was really nice and I work with him all the time—but it was one of those cases where every day was a different joke we were coming up with because it made no sense to the project,” she says. When she’s not drawing, Green likes to play video games to hang out virtually with friends, or watch movies with her husband. As a freelance artist, she appreciates being able to work on whatever she’s interested in. Recently, she’s been making a lot of tutorials to help other artists. “The cool part about being freelance and working independently is that I don’t have to dream about a project—I get to work on it when I want to, as long as I don’t have too much other work at the same time.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
MONTREAL — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is highlighting the disconnect between the way Canadians see their role in the world and reality, according to international affairs experts. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau boasts that the country has secured more vaccine per capita than any other country. Canada's pre-purchase agreements for nearly 400 million doses would give it enough to cover the entire population five times over. But as Ottawa faces pressure to help poorer countries access COVID-19 vaccines, it is also being pulled internally by provinces demanding their citizens be vaccinated as quickly as possible. The federal government says it will donate hundreds of millions of dollars to help developing countries vaccinate their citizens. But federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand has said Canada will do "whatever it takes'' to get more vaccine delivered to the country sooner — including, she said, by upping the price it is willing to pay. David Hornsby, professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said the pandemic has shed light on an inward-looking trend that has been developing in the country for decades. Over the past 25 to 30 years, Hornsby said in a recent interview, Canada has gone from having a “very broad and inclusive definition of national interest” to one that is “very narrow and very much focused and located on what is immediately relevant to Canadians.” Canada’s role in international organizations also declined over that period, he added. Canada is certainly not alone in wanting to help itself before it helps others. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, this week warned that the world is “on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure” as rich countries make deals to secure vaccine and drive up prices. While more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income countries, said Tedros, who goes by his first name, only one country that the WHO considers lowest income has given out any vaccine — a total of 25 doses. But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had made the right move by signing bilateral deals with drug makers — the exact sort of deals criticized by Tedros. "We took extra care to sign more contracts with more potential vaccine makers than most of our allies and indeed have secured more doses per person than any other country," Trudeau told reporters. Jason Nickerson, humanitarian affairs adviser for Doctors Without Borders, says he's worried wealthy countries such as Canada will vaccinate people who are at lower risk of developing serious cases of COVID-19 before people at high risk in poorer countries get their shots. "I think there's just a straight moral obligation to vaccinate people who are at a higher risk of developing the disease, developing severe complications and dying from it when we have a vaccine that could potentially prevent all of those things from happening," Nickerson said in a recent interview. Maxwell Smith, a medical ethicist at Western University and a member of Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said it makes sense that Canadian governments want to get vaccines as fast as they can, but Canadians, he said, also need to recognize that vaccines are a scarce global public good. "Everyone really needs it and would benefit from it,” he said in a recent interview. “That's not to say that Canada doesn't have a particular obligation to its citizens and shouldn't be trying to do what we're doing in getting as many vaccines as quickly as possible into this country. But I hope that it's being balanced against our obligations, also, to those in other countries and our obligations based in our humanity.” Federal International Development Minister Katerina Gould said she doesn't think the idea of inoculating Canadians quickly while helping other countries access vaccines is mutually exclusive. “We're going to ensure that we vaccinate our own population, but at the same time, support global multilateral efforts to vaccinate those who otherwise would not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine,” she said in an interview Monday. But Canada is facing criticism from groups that say it needs to act faster to support global efforts, especially because it has pre-purchase agreements for more doses of vaccine than any other country in the world. Anne-Catherine Bajard, a policy manager with Oxfam Canada, said Canada has made a strong commitment to COVAX, an international organization that aims to help lower-income countries access vaccines. But she'd like to see Canada start contributing to the COVAX vaccine pool immediately, rather than waiting to vaccinate all Canadians first. It's not just the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, she said in an interview Friday. There’s also an element of self-interest. “We're not going to stop the pandemic if we do it one country at a time," she said. While the federal government has “secured access” to nearly 400 million doses, Gould said most of those doses remain hypothetical. Only two of the seven vaccines that Ottawa has the right to buy have been approved by Health Canada. “We don't actually have a closet full of hidden vaccines," she said. "These doses don't yet exist." Gould, who co-chairs a COVAX governance body, said Canada is one of the top five donors to the ACT-Accelerator, the international organization that runs COVAX. In total, the federal government said it has committed $865 million in funding to the organization in addition to any donations of surplus vaccine. While the federal government did not provide a timeline for that commitment, according to data from Gavi, the ACT-Accelerator's parent organization, Canada has committed to provide $600 million in direct funding between 2021 and 2025 and to provide $246 million to COVAX this year. And while Canada might be more inward-looking today than in generations past, Hornsby noted the country remains deeply integrated into the global economy and that many Canadians have family overseas. That means Canada can’t isolate itself from the rest of the world and only focus on vaccinating people here, he said. Finding a "happy medium" is difficult, he added. "There's going to be clear winners and clear losers." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the streets of the nation's capitol, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked the empty streets around the U.S. Capitol. From behind miles of fencing, Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after pro-Trump rioters besieged the U.S. Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials were monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests, but no serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: "Just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground, it did not happen. It will never happen. Not today. Not tomorrow, not ever, not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the U.S. Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, members who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that their long belief in the unfounded conspiracy that top Democrats would be arrested for a sex trafficking ring and that Trump could seize a second term did not materialize. And 12 National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials wouldn't give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for potential issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI has also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the extremist groups are known to recruit former military personnel and train extensively and have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A Saskatoon non-profit arts organization says its efforts to promote an upcoming exhibit that critiques social media and QAnon has turned into a Facebook ban. On Jan. 6, the same day that rioters were invading the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Saskatoon's Paved Arts posted a news release about an exhibit by Montreal artist Clint Enns called Conspiracies in Isolation. The exhibit is about "thinking through this idea of misinformation, which I think is like the new form of propaganda," Enns said. It includes a book made up of images Enns found online. "The images were meant to complement the writing in kind of a humorous way and focuses on the QAnon phenomenon, given its current popularity and the absurdity of their beliefs," he said. The Paved Arts Facebook post used words like "QAnon" and "conspiracy theory" and used one of the images from the exhibit, said David Lariviere, the organization's artistic director. As soon as the post went up, Facebook banned the page, along with the accounts of Paved Arts five administrators. "In my estimation, it was kind of an innocuous communication about the exhibition," Lariviere said. "It delivered information about what Clint's art project is concerned with. It didn't go into great detail. It certainly in no way signaled any kind of political alliance on the part of Paved Arts." The staff members whose accounts were affected have tried going through Facebook's appeal process, Lariviere says, but that led to a "dead end pop-up" stating they had violated the company's community standards. Paved Arts has sent messages to Facebook's reporting system with requests for a review, he said, but hasn't yet received a reply. Lariviere said Paved Arts hasn't been told why it was banned other than for contravening community standards. "To the best of our estimation, some kind of algorithmic bot flagged us because it picked up on that key term — QAnon," Lariviere said. He said such bots aren't able to differentiate between art and actual conspiracy groups. "Getting into the weeds and trying to understand the nuance of critique is just not within its capacity. It only has the means to … identify, flag, and then whatever kind of process that's triggered from there," Lariviere said. "We were never given any sort of actual reason for why [they were banned]." Social media companies under pressure: prof Alec Couros, professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina, said Facebook is unable to appropriately distinguish how "something like an art critique can be seen differently than some QAnon-loving group." Couros said Facebook and other social media companies are under pressure to start cracking down on accounts that spew misinformation and lies. "From what I understand, keywords certainly would have been one part of the detection algorithm [that got Paved Arts banned]," he said. "But also, even if a photo is shared, there's a hash or a fingerprint of that photo which would identify that photo in context. "So it's very difficult from an algorithm's perspective, since there's probably not humans involved in this decision to pick it out differently." Couros said there is also political pressure, as Democrats in the U.S. are threatening to split up mega-companies like Facebook. "So obviously, they've stepped up their game. Twitter's done the same. They've banned 70,000 QAnon accounts and Facebook has done the same on its platforms." QAnon refers to a baseless, wide-ranging, far-right conspiracy theory that asserts outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump is fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes powerful elites. Facebook 'an unwieldy platform' Lariviere said in hindsight, Paved Arts might have made it more explicit in the release that the show is critical of QAnon. "But then again, we also think as a media arts organization, that the nuanced critique contained in Clint Enns's work, as an example, is something that demands a kind of attention and care that an unwieldy platform like Facebook just cannot afford to give." Lariviere said they must now find other methods to communicate with its members and the general public. "I think we spent about 1,600 bucks on promoting posts on Facebook, because that really was one of the main conduits of communicating our programs," he said. Some have suggested just starting a new Facebook page, but Lariviere isn't sure that's the answer. "You know, we're quite critical of what has happened, and so maybe we need to do some soul searching and think about parting ways with Facebook as well." Couros said that's difficult, though, because we have become so dependent on social media for promoting events. "It's a bit of a Faustian bargain," Couros said. "You get the followership. You get the ability to produce ads and get people to your page, which would be much more difficult in a web page environment that we had in the '90s and the 2000s. And so for that bargain, you know, you're giving up a lot of control." For Enns, the ban relates back to what his exhibit is all about. "The banning of Paved Arts from Facebook is sort of a practical example of many of the concepts that were explored in the book. For instance, it raises questions like what constitutes reliable information and who controls the information that we have access to." The exhibit runs Jan. 22-Feb. 27. In-person visits are limited, and must be booked in advance through Paved Arts.
Hamilton police is looking for a man they say is wanted in three provinces for fraud. Police say the 50-year-old man is wanted in Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Quebec City and "has a long history of presenting himself using other names, living an assumed life, and committing frauds against unsuspecting victims in the GTA and throughout the country." Police say the man is 5'6" and 174 pounds with grey hair, glasses and a medium build. Mark Dupuis faces three fraud charges and a charge for breaching probation. Police say he may also refer to himself as Richard Sestak, Mark Richards, Peter Adamcova and Anthony Simms. They add the suspect was last seen in Toronto and if he's spotted, police should be called immediately.
GEORGETOWN – Holland College needs to have more of a presence in Kings County, a member of the Eastern P.E.I. Chamber of Commerce said. "I think it is important, particularly for the development of the rural communities," Alan MacPhee said. MacPhee is on the chamber's board, which invited Holland College to offer a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. College president Sandy MacDonald presented mostly on the college's new strategic plan, but discussion afterward focused on its role in Kings County. While the college's Georgetown centre is operational, its adult education centres in Montague and Souris were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "(So) you can't get adult education in Kings County now," MacPhee said. "It's all virtual." He notes that people in rural communities can have a harder time accessing virtual classes due to internet issues or technology limitations. He believes it would be mutually beneficial for the centres to be reopened and for each to have a staff member for locals to go to if they need guidance and support. "To have that connection, you have to have some sort of presence," he said. MacDonald is all for working more closely with rural communities and for taking suggestions on how to do it. The services Holland College offers ultimately come down to the population's demand, he said. "(Which) depends very much on where the industry goes." For example, discussion was raised toward some programs the college has cut or suspended in recent years due to low attendance rates, such as photography, theatre and dance performance, and commercial diving. While some are available in different forms, others simply can't be provided if they aren't sustainable, MacDonald said. Much of his presentation was framed around how Holland College is working to counter labour shortages on P.E.I., which both he and MacPhee see as prevalent in rural communities. Rural Islanders who can't find work often move away or off P.E.I. altogether. Doug Currie, the college's vice-president, also attended the presentation and said population retention is one of the first steps, as well as focusing more on P.E.I.'s international communities. "We need to think about what we're doing and how we're doing it," he said. "And we can't rely solely on the domestic (population)." The chamber recently secured funding to conduct a two-year study on what P.E.I.'s population and labour market needs to become more sustainable, which may prove a helpful resource for it and the college, MacPhee said. "We both have a problem, but we don't have the solution yet," he said. "The fact they came out here and engaged is really what we were looking for." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
A new OPP detachment has opened its doors in Moosonee. The $20-million facility has 11 holding cells, closed-circuit television technology (CCTV), a modern infrastructure design to meet technological requirements and other security features, according to a Ministry of the Solicitor General news release Located at 16 Butcher Rd., the approximately 18,000-square-foot facility is a satellite station that is a part of the OPP James Bay Detachment. "This modern, new workspace allows our Moosonee detachment members to enhance their policing services and support to many vast, remote communities and First Nations territories that present significant land and air accessibility challenges," OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in the news release. "This important modernization project demonstrates the commitment we share with our government to preserve public safety and uphold the law." The new building is accessible and was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard, which recognizes buildings with reduced environmental impacts, according to the government announcement. It was built as part of the $182-million OPP Modernization - Phase 2 project. Announced in 2018, the modernization project replaced nine aging OPP facilities across the province. All nine detachments were built by Bird Capital OMP Project Co Inc. The initiative was delivered by Infrastructure Ontario through its public-private partnership (P3) model. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
Veterans Affairs Canada hasn't gone far enough in reversing restrictions on mental health counselling for the families of former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, the county's new veterans ombudsman says in a hard-hitting report. The federal government imposed constraints on access to mental health counselling for families of veterans almost a year ago. The policy shift was a response to a political embarrassment — the case of convicted killer Christopher Garnier, a son of a veteran who obtained taxpayer-funded post traumatic stress treatment. While Veterans Affairs never formally amended the family care policy, it began using a much stricter interpretation of it — which had a direct impact on some veterans' families. "There was also a lack of transparency with respect to how these significant changes in interpretation were implemented," Nishika Jardine, a retired colonel, wrote in her report released today, her first since being appointed veterans ombudsman last fall. "The lack of clear communication caused confusion and frustration among some veterans and their families, especially since some family members only found out about the changes during their mental health appointments." Late last winter, CBC News documented several cases of families who had seen services reduced or halted because of the stricter interpretation of the policy. Federal officials responded by denying that families had been "cut off" from care. But as of mid-March 2020 — just when the pandemic was getting started — the department had notified 133 families in writing that their counselling benefits were in danger of being discontinued. Jardine's investigation noted that the restrictions were revised, but not reversed. 'I walk on eggshells' It's not good enough, she concluded. "The [Office of the Veterans Ombudsman] believes this guideline continues to be too narrow and that families should receive better access to the mental health supports that they need," says her report. The investigation heard from some of the families directly affected by the service change and quoted them anonymously in the report. "I barely survive. I walk on eggshells and try to smooth things over," one unnamed spouse told ombudsman's office investigators. "This is not fair to take away these kinds of services from our children. I will try to manage and deal with him the best I can. My kids should not be cut off from support. They did not ask for this, they did not ask for a broken father. All they often want is a dad who is not sick, a normal dad." The ombudsman was moved. "It's heartbreaking," Jardine told CBC News. "It's heartbreaking when you see the impact that can be experienced." While the majority of military families are resilient, she said, every family "is unique in their dynamics ... We now understand how difficult it is to deal with mental health issues if you don't have access to support and professional mental health services." The department's policy ties family access to mental health treatment to the individual veteran and is meant to aid veterans themselves in their recovery. The ombudsman argues that the families enduring the pressures of military life — the frequent moves, the isolation and the stress of knowing a loved one on deployment is in harm's way — deserve their own unfettered access to taxpayer-funded treatment. Stung by scandal "In the OVO's assessment, when a family member suffers from an illness or injury related to the unique conditions and challenges of military service, they should have access to mental health treatment, independent of the veteran's treatment or rehabilitation plan," said the report. The department tightened its rules governing when families can receive subsidized counselling in the wake of the Garnier case. Stung by public criticism over that case, then-veterans minister Seamus O'Regan ordered a review and public servants began pursuing a stricter interpretation of the rules. The current minister, Lawrence MacAulay, asked his officials to be as flexible as possible in deciding whether family members qualify. In a written response to the report, Veterans Affairs gave little indication that it would accept the ombudsman's recommendations — which, among other things, call for veterans families to be given separate legislative treatment so they can access services more smoothly. "In short, while the existing Veterans Health Care Regulations do not provide the department the regulatory authority to offer funding for treatment benefits for a veteran's family member in their own right, Veterans Affairs Canada will continue to offer alternative resources resources where it cannot provide mental health support and to be as flexible as possible where it can," said the department's response letter. MacAulay did note, however, that his recently updated mandate letter from the prime minister instructs him to focus on mental health services for families and their primary caregivers. He said he intends to launch a review of the issue but did not offer a timeline. Jardine said her office can make recommendations but "it is up to politicians to hear, it's up to the government to hear the distress that exists in these families." Jardine would not say whether she agrees with some veterans' families who have claimed they were made to pay the price for bureaucratic overreaction to the Garnier case.
As with businesses elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has left companies in Queens County scrambling to adjust and become more lean and efficient. Strict provincial pandemic regulations motivated residents to shop local. The South Queens Chamber of Commerce is determined that they continue to do so. While at least some local businesses, such as Liverpool’s Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar and Lloyoll Prefabs in Brooklyn, are managing to pivot toward continued prosperity. Kerry Morash, the chamber’s president, suggested that most businesses in Liverpool so far have been able to ride out the pandemic. But like those elsewhere they’re looking forward to a new start. “A lot of the businesses went above and beyond the rules and regulations that had been set out by the province – sanitation, masks, everything,” he said. “Businesses were very vigilant and made consumers feel as comfortable as possible.” Morash is among others in anticipating that the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine will be a shot in the arm of local business. “Once they get started with the vaccinations, I’m hopeful things will ramp up after that and we will have a brighter 2021,” he said. Meanwhile, business owners such as Shani Beadle of Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar, on Main Street in Liverpool, are working to adjust. “We had to adapt, but we’re lucky because obviously Liverpool didn’t have a lot of cases.” As with other years, summer residents returned for the season, and other visitors from the Nova Scotia “bubble” also visited. “We had people traveling from all over Nova Scotia here. People that haven’t come to Liverpool for years were coming down because of the bubble, spending their money here. And so we had all of these people that discovered us. For us, that’s great,” said Beadle. She and her husband, Andreas, opened Main & Mersey in 2017, after they moved from London, UK. They began with the interior décor portion of the business and added a small coffee bar in 2019 with outdoor space. “I’ve been a business owner for a long time. I had a manufacturing business in the U.K., so I’m very familiar with having to adapt a business formula on a regular basis,” said Beadle. The coffee shop consists of a small bar and a large communal table. not allowing for a lot of people under normal circumstances. And government health restrictions have meant that available seating has had to be reduced even further. With the onset of winter, the owners closed off their outdoor space with corrugated plastic, so that patrons might use it on warmer days. And with the Christmas tree gone in the home décor part of the business, they were able to add another table. Lloyoll Prefabs meanwhile is also managing to ride out the COVID storm, according to its president, Jonathan Lloy. The company, which builds premium modular homes in Liverpool, has been in operation since 2010. Lloy admitted being concerned early on in the pandemic last year about what the summer and fall were going to look like. “From a sales perspective, many customers were limited in their ability to travel to Nova Scotia, which was a deterrent to start some projects,” said Lloy. But contrary to initial expectations, there was “a surprising surge in demand and we were fortunate that opportunity came our way.” The businessman indicated that the biggest adjustment through COVID-19 was working with the “market volatility, especially when it comes to commodities.” Prices for materials skyrocketed and the shortcomings of the supply chains they use were brought to the forefront. “We had to start buying materials way ahead of schedule and materials were costing a lot more and some were just unavailable,” he said. “This year we bought a fireplace from Italy and it was four months behind getting here. We regularly buy cabinet products from New York and that has been a challenge.” While the company’s usual Canadian suppliers were struggling to keep supplies in stock. However, through it all, he said, the company has become leaner and better. It was able to purchase shaping equipment this year, allowing it to secure raw wood materials and mill it in-house, alleviating some of the reliance the business had on other companies. “This also allows us to grow the business a little bit. We can now employ more people to run this equipment specifically, that don’t necessarily have the training and experience to do some of the more technical things that we do,” added Lloy. “It opens things up to who we can hire, which is important when you are from a small area like we are.” Meanwhile, the company has managed to retain its existing component of 14 staff members, and hopes to employ another six workers by the end of summer. “We took some of our slower times and did some infrastructure work on the shop, did some organizing, made some improvements and now we’re really set up for a strong year in 2021,” said Lloy. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
VANCOUVER — Dozens of peer support workers on the front lines of Vancouver's overdose crisis are about to be unionized in a move aimed at formally recognizing the role they play in saving lives. Andrew Ledger, president of CUPE Local 1004, says the workers voted 100 per cent in favour of joining the union last March. But he says certification has been delayed by several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenge to certification filed by the employer, PHS Community Services Society. PHS Community Services did not immediately respond to an interview request. Ledger says the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia is expected to issue its official certification this week, affecting about 40 workers. Peer workers at overdose prevention sites, needle depots and other harm reduction services are employees with experiences similar to those they serve. Ledger says some have worked for decades without benefits like paid vacation or the ability to collectively negotiate higher wages. "It's access to benefits, it's acknowledgment of their service, it will establish seniority for these workers, it's job protection. It's all the same rights and benefits that their co-workers receive," Ledger says. "Those are really important for all workers and I think it's long overdue that these long-serving peer employees receive the same benefits." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
In an effort to help guide the redevelopment of two long-term care (LTC) facilities in the region, Grey County council has established a dedicated task force. “Grey County has received support from the province to proceed with the redevelopment of 128-bed facilities at both Rockwood Terrace in Durham and Green Gables in Markdale,” said Kim Wingrove, CEO of Grey County at a committee of the whole meeting held last week. In the Town of Durham, the county has acquired a 32-acre parcel of land for the expansion of Rockwood Terrace. SHS consulting has also been retained for the project to prepare a business case that will explore the demand for senior’s housing in the area and redevelopment design options. A consultant report is expected to be received in the spring, at which point county council will proceed with acquiring design drawings. Once a design drawings have been approved by the province, a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be released for the construction of the project. The project currently has a projected completion date of 2025. “The timeframe is very tight and we want to see these things move forward. This will require quite a bit of commitment of time and effort to make sure that the project stays on schedule,” said the Town of the Blue Mountains Mayor Alar Soever. As for Green Gables, an RFP closed on Friday that will be seeking a consultant company to prepare an assessment report of how the current facility can be re-purposed. When approving the Grey Gables redevelopment project, the Ministry of LTC noted that the newly expanded facility would become a campus of care – a LTC facility that offers varying levels of care on one site. “This could include LTC, assisted living (retirement home), seniors apartments, and other services. There is not one single definition of a campus of care. A campus reflects the needs of the community and is designed to support an individual throughout the aging journey,” Jennifer Cornell, director of LTC for Grey County explained in a previous interview. Wingrove says the county will be looking at how it can encompass this campus of care before exploring any design options. “Additional or changed uses that would come at a later phase in the development need to be considered at this time so that we can lay out the sites appropriately, or, in the case of Grey Gables, best understand how a new building would connect with and leverage the current facility that already exists on that site,” Wingrove said. Once the future use of the facility has been determined, county staff will contract consultants to create design drawings, which will need to be approved by the province. With approval, an RFP for construction will be released. In anticipation of both projects moving forward, county council launched a related task force last week. Grey County's LTC redevelopment task force will be lead by Warden Selwyn Hicks and councillors Scott Mackie, mayor of Chatsworth; Christine Robinson, mayor of West Grey; Brian Milne, deputy mayor of Southgate; Brian O’Leary, deputy mayor of Owen Sound; Dwight Burley, mayor of the Georgian Bluffs; and Paul McQueen, deputy warden of Grey County and mayor of Grey Highlands. “I think there's going to be a huge commitment there from these representatives and I think this is a good solution. It brings together quite a wealth of information and knowledge. I think it's a very positive thing,” added McQueen. The consultant report for Rockwood Terrace is expected to be presented to county council this spring, and Wingrove anticipates the consultant report for Grey Gables to be delivered sometime in the summer months. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
«On est tombés en amour avec la place», affirme le couple Dumont-Lapointe qui a bien réfléchi avant de se lancer. M. Dumont et sa famille sont dans les affaires depuis belle lurette. M. Dumont lance en 2016 avec sa fille et son épouse, la compagnie de vélo Téo Fat Bike. L’entreprise est un succès. Elle est présente partout au Canada et à l’international. M. Dumont et sa conjointe dirigent aussi deux autres entreprises dont Pieux Métropolitain, ainsi que d’une compagnie de gestion d’immeubles. Leur idée pour le vignoble est claire et leur projet de relance s’articule autour vélo-tourisme et de l’agrotourisme. Vignoble, distillerie, hébergement, érablière, récréotourisme et vélos Fat Bike sont au menu. La mémoire et l’histoire du lieu seront préservées. L’auberge et ses chambres seront rénovées, l’érablière et ses 10 000 entailles seront redéployées sur le site. Le château sera aussi agrandi en fonction des plans qu’avait dessinés la fondatrice du vignoble, Henrietta Anthony, décédée en 2015. «On a les plans, la maquette et un texte qu’elle nous a laissé. On va terminer son projet» explique M. Dumont. Le couple investira près de 5 M$ dans cette entreprise qui ouvrira de nouveau ses portes au public en juin 2021. Il était fermé depuis le 12 août 2018. «Les employés qui étaient ici, on les a réengagés. John Anthony (le fils de l’ancienne propriétaire du vignoble) va nous donner un petit coup de main pour la transition pour le vin. Ça fait trois ans qu’on vient ici, c’est un coup de cœur. On regardait. Et c’était toujours à vendre. On va en faire une halte vélo, mais aussi proposer la location, la réparation et la vente de vélos électriques sur place.» Une boutique de vélo y sera construite. M. Dumont continuera d’exploiter le vignoble. Une distillerie de gin pourrait y être lancée sous peu. «On va exploiter ce qui peut être exploité sur le site» afin d’en faire un rendez-vous toutes saisons. «Nous, c’est des Fat Bike électriques quatre-saisons. On va tracer des pistes dans la montagne». Car le vignoble est un fantastique terrain de jeu de 173 acres. Les 7 000 vignes qui y poussent sont en bonne santé. «En décembre, on les a habillées. C’est un beau projet. La dame (Henrietta Anthony, une antiquaire d’origine tchèque et anglophone ayant immigré à Montréal) avait investi 12 M$» dans ce projet, précise M. Dumont. «La vigne et l’hébergement seuls, ce n’était pas suffisant pour rentabiliser l’entreprise» affirme M. Dumont qui ne projette pas pour autant d’y faire fortune. Il veut surtout faire aboutir la fantastique histoire qu’avait imaginée Henrietta Anthony. «Je serai ici 20-25 ans. Après ça quelqu’un d’autre va reprendre l’affaire. On va en faire profiter les gens qui viennent ici en vélo. On va introduire le vélo électrique là-dedans. Quand on fait du vélo électrique dans les Alpes, c’est vraiment capoté. Ici, c’est la même chose» souligne M. Dumont. «Après leur randonnée, les cyclistes pourront venir se reposer, prendre un petit verre, faire un pique-nique. On va ouvrir les portes. J’ai été chanceux dans la vie. Ça va être le fun.» Pour Louise Laporte, sa conjointe, la relance du vignoble est un défi qu’elle accueille avec fébrilité. «On se lance un peu dans l’inconnu, ça va être excitant. Je l’appuie. C’est Benoît qui a les idées et le front tout autour de la tête et je l’aide» nous dit Mme Laporte. La propriétaire d’origine, Henrietta Anthony a profité de l’exode des anglophones après l’élection du Parti Québécois pour mettre la main sur cette propriété. Des sommes colossales y seront investies pendant 40 ans. Mme Anthony y fait construire en 1993 une superbe chapelle de style roman en pierre des champs «une structure éternelle d’une grande beauté qui élèverait l’âme et apporterait la paix aux passants». Ajoutez-y une salle de bal, des celliers creusés à même la montagne et de style médiéval, deux maisons, des quartiers pour les invités et une panoplie de dépendances. Le compte est bon.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
ATLANTA — For some, helping to get out the vote during Georgia's U.S. Senate runoffs meant writing checks for campaigns. Others signed up to canvass neighbourhoods or make calls for campaign phone banks. Brandon Litman took a different approach by making thousands of pieces of art to connect the Democratic candidates with voters. The 39-year-old artist from Brooklyn, New York, packed up his spray paint and travelled to Atlanta in early December amid a critical election overtime period in Georgia. Control of the U.S. Senate was at stake in what Litman called “the most important runoff elections of our lifetimes.” His plan: to create and give away art that would inspire voters to turn out for Democratic Senate contenders Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. For weeks leading up to the Jan. 5 election, Litman churned out handmade posters featuring likenesses of Ossoff and Warnock. Boosted by a coalition of Black and younger voters, the challengers went on to defeat Georgia’s two Republican senators and hand the Senate majority to Democrats as President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Georgia certified the results Tuesday. After arriving in Atlanta last month, Litman started showing up at Ossoff and Warnock campaign rallies, painting custom yard signs for supporters. He would sometimes set up shop under an overpass in downtown Atlanta, where passersby would stop and wait in line for a free poster. Litman soon connected with the Ossoff campaign, which let him tag along to events in other Georgia cities. Litman, known on social media as @voteruthless, would chat with prospective voters and let them choose their favouritecolours for the customized portraits. They would watch him work through clouds of spray paint, and within a few minutes the posters would be done. Ellen Foster, Ossoff’s campaign manager, credited Litman with bringing “a lot of excitement to the campaign trail.” She called his efforts “an organic and fresh way to engage voters while also creating buzz for this movement.” Litman had previously done artwork featuring 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But he said none of them were as popular as his work centred on the Georgia Senate races. By the time the campaigns ended, he figured he had produced about 3,500 posters. “I’ve refined this get-out-the-vote model of co-creating politically themed art over the past few years,” Litman said. “It is so powerful in attracting people, young and old and all backgrounds.” Brynn Anderson, The Associated Press
Historically, we immunized children against diseases like polio that were a clear danger to them, but COVID-19 is usually mild in children. However, herd immunity is unlikely without vaccinating kids.
Silicon Valley startup Aeva Inc and Japanese automotive supplier Denso Corp on Tuesday said the two will collaborate on bringing a key sensor for self-driving cars to the "mass market." Aeva, founded by two former Apple Inc engineers, makes a lidar sensor that helps cars gain a three-dimensional view of the road and can also detect how quickly distant objects are moving. Founded in 2017, Aeva is in the process of becoming publicly traded through a reverse merger with blank-check firm InterPrivate Acquisition Corp in a deal that has raised $563 million.