This election season, with all eyes on Georgia's Senate race, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. (Nov. 27)
This election season, with all eyes on Georgia's Senate race, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. (Nov. 27)
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Armed and ready to go, Taiwan air force jets screamed into the sky on Tuesday in a drill to simulate a war scenario, showing its fleet's battle readiness after dozens of Chinese warplanes flew into the island's air defence zone over the weekend. Taiwan, claimed by China as its territory, has been on edge since the large-scale incursion by Chinese fighters and nuclear-capable bombers into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone on Saturday and Sunday, which coincided with a U.S. carrier group entering the South China Sea. The base in the southern city of Tainan, home to F-CK-1 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF), frequently scrambles jets to intercept China's air force.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
A look inside two Toronto hospital ICUs one year after Canada's first case of COVID-19, and at the doctors and nurses both exhausted and determined to keep fighting.
Even before the pandemic hit, Sarah Klodnicki had considered homeschooling her four children, the oldest of which has autism spectrum disorder. When schools closed for in-person learning last spring, she took the leap. “They had to put a stationary bike in my kid’s classroom for crying out loud,” she said. “There was no way my child was going to sit there and try to do online learning, so I took them out.” Klodnicki, who also runs a non-profit aimed at supporting caregivers of individuals with special needs called Balance Support and Self Care Studios, teaches her kids — who were previously enrolled in the Catholic board — using their “own version of home school,” she said. That involves midday hikes and chores on their hobby farm on Twenty Road East in Hamilton, as well as traditional subjects like math and science. “I am very creative and, thank goodness for my own ADHD, I’ve got a lot of energy, but I mean, I’ve got four kids and I’m trying to teach them all different things at the same time,” she said. Klodnicki said her situation is unique and she recognizes that not all families have the option — or the ability — to homeschool their kids. Approximately 570 students with special needs are learning in-person — and many more learning remotely — at Hamilton’s public and Catholic schools during the stay-at-home order. “They need the socialization with other people for generalization of skills,” said Heather Atkinson-Rossi, whose nine-year-old son is currently learning in a self-contained classroom at a public school. “If we teach my guy something at home, I want him to be able to do that same thing with other adults, with other kids.” Atkinson-Rossi said her son, who is nonverbal autistic, spends about 45 minutes on the bus to get from their central Hamilton home to the school on Stoney Creek Mountain. He wears a mask, but she knows many of his classmates aren’t able to wear a face covering or physically distance. As an educational assistant with the public board, she said she is “on both sides.” “Am I scared? Of course I am. Because I have two little kids to look after at home and ... we don’t know who our students are exposed to,” she said. “But I do recognize what it does for my son being in school.” The classroom is just one of many places that has been disrupted by the pandemic, causing additional challenges for students with autism. “One of the diagnostic characteristics is that there is a preference, or almost a need, for sameness and routine and consistency,” said Andrew Davis, director of Sonderly, the learning division at Geneva Centre for Autism. Earlier this month, the province announced $7.5 million in funding for online training courses to help Ontario educators in all 72 school boards better support students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will be administered by Sonderly. Davis said some students with autism may prefer online learning because of the absence of classroom distractions. But, he said, many students will struggle, especially those who need more support — like gesturing or pointing to something on a page — than just the sound of a teacher’s voice. “It becomes a lot more difficult to provide those extra cues in a virtual setting,” he said. Walker Hill, a Grade 9 student with the Catholic board who has autism, has struggled since remote learning began. “He was loving high school, like, he loved going and the teachers were fantastic and the kids were great,” said his mother, Rebekah Clarke Hill, adding that he’s a more reluctant learner now that a day in the classroom has turned into hours glued to a screen. “We’re noticing a big difference in Walker.” She said her son’s friendships aren’t easily fostered over the phone or FaceTime. Since school went virtual, Clarke Hill has noticed her son talking to himself, answering his own questions. “He’s craving social interaction, which I can’t provide for him right now because there’s nowhere for him to go,” she said. “School was a huge outlet for him just to talk to other people.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
TORONTO — Public health officials in Ontario are taking further measures to trace a more contagious strain of COVID-19 that's been found in a number of regions since it was first detected in the Toronto area a month ago. As of Monday, 38 cases of the new variant, which was first reported in the U.K. late last year, had been confirmed in the province. The new variant is deemed to have caused a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., that has infected more than 200 people. The local public health unit was investigating whether it was a factor in another regional care home outbreak. The head of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario said a clearer picture of the variant's prevalence would emerge in the coming days. Dr. Vanessa Allen said all positive results from COVID-19 tests taken in the province on Jan. 20 will be assessed by public health to give a snapshot of the variant's prevalence. Public Health Ontario is also deploying tests to find possible cases of the "variants of concern" before sending them up for genomic screening, which can take days, Allen said. The screening test is focusing on cases considered "high-risk" for the mutations, such as aggressive outbreaks known as "superspreader events" and cases affecting known travellers. "The goal based on the data right now is to do everything we can to contain every single case we find and increase our capacity to find them, recognizing that we still don't have the full picture because we have not tested everybody to date," Allen said. Dr. David Williams, the province's top doctor, said people should remain vigilant and continue taking precautions like wearing masks and physical distancing to avoid infection. "We're going to have to be on our guard," he said. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday that the province is testing samples to look for three new variants -- separate strains that first emerged in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil -- to determine where they are and how they spread. So far, only the U.K. variant had been found in Ontario. Cases had been confirmed by public health units covering Toronto, Ottawa, York, Durham and Peel regions, as well as Simcoe, Middlesex-London and the Kingston area as of Monday. Elliott said the province had tested more than 9,000 samples for the new variants as of Monday, and is aiming to assess 1,500 samples per week starting next week. "We are very much on top of it and we are detecting it very quickly so that we'll know how to deal with different geographic areas where it may show up," Elliott told a news conference. Confirming its first case of the U.K. variant on Monday, the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington health unit advised anyone who had recently travelled or had visitors from outside the region to consider getting an asymptomatic test for COVID-19. The region's top doctor said with the new variant now in the area, it's "crucial" to make changes to COVID-19 control strategies to find and isolate cases early and prevent outbreaks. The public health unit is expanding the criteria for contacts considered to have high risk of exposure -- now including anyone who was not wearing a mask and less than two metres from someone with a confirmed infection. Simcoe Muskoka District Health, which had confirmed seven cases of the U.K. variant, announced a strategy Monday with similar measures aimed at mitigating spread. Measures include more frequent testing for residents, visitors and staff at care homes dealing with outbreaks where the variant is suspected -- currently two care homes in the region. The U.K. variant has been confirmed by Simcoe Muskoka health officials as "the causative agent" in the outbreak at Roberta Place, in Barrie, Ont., after six cases were confirmed in samples. The seventh individual with a confirmed case of the new strain was a close contact of someone infected in another outbreak at a long-term care home in Bradford, Ont. Public health officials were still investigating the link on Monday. The public health unit said 44 residents at Roberta Place had died from COVID-19, and the outbreak had infected 127 residents and 86 staff. Five other people assisting with the outbreak had been infected, the health officials said Monday, including two essential caregivers. One of the caregivers had died from the illness. Ten cases of the U.K. variant had also been confirmed in Toronto, the local health unit reported. Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford called for stricter border measures including mandatory testing at entry points to keep new strains of the illness out. "I can't emphasize enough: close down our borders and make sure anyone that's coming in gets tested," Ford said Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Handwritten tickets could become a thing of the past as the electronic equivalent becomes available to law enforcement officers on Prince Edward Island. P.E.I. RCMP, Kensington police and Summerside police are all part of the provincial initiative which rolled on out Jan. 23. "Ideally we would totally do away with paper tickets," Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin. "The reality is there will be circumstances where there may be a hardware or software issue that precluded a member from writing an e-ticket." 'Working very well' The tickets are printed inside the police cars on special thermal paper. And despite one minor printer problem over the weekend, Baillie said so far the switch is operating nicely. "A number of tickets, e-tickets, were written yesterday, a number have been written today," he said. "The platform itself is working very well." A news release from the province said training is underway to ensure police have the necessary equipment to implement e-ticketing. But, agencies can still issue handwritten tickets too. 'Less than half the time' According to Baillie, the change will have several positive impacts for officers on the Island. "There will be no misspelling of names or transposing of digits in a date of birth or other pertinent information," he said. "A number of tickets get rejected because of errors on the ticket." Baillie said the system is also expected to be a huge time saver. "It takes less than half the time ... to write an e-ticket as opposed to a paper ticket," he said. "The less time that the officer's out on the side of the road with a motorist, the safer it's going to be for the officer and other roadway users." Plans for the future But it's not only the officers on the road who will benefit. Back at the office, Baillie said ticket information will no longer need to be input manually. Instead, it will be directly uploaded from the police car. Hopefully, eventually we'll be able to send e-tickets right to the courthouse almost immediately — Staff-Sgt. Kevin Baillie "That data is already entered saving someone quite a bit of time in doing data entry." And soon, Baillie said the goal is to also be able to have that ticket information sent straight to the courthouse. "One of the problems now is an officer writes a ticket today, it may take up to a week for that ticket to get down to the courthouse." That means if the person goes to the courthouse before the ticket arrives, they will be unable to pay it. "Hopefully, eventually we'll be able to send e-tickets right to the courthouse almost immediately and get rid of that." More from CBC P.E.I
WASHINGTON — These suspects weren't exactly in hiding. “THIS IS ME,” one man posted on Instagram with a hand emoji pointing to himself in a picture of the violent mob descending on the U.S. Capitol. “Sooo we’ve stormed Capitol Hill lol,” one woman texted someone while inside the building. “I just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,” another wrote on Facebook about a selfie he took inside during the Jan. 6 riot. In dozens of cases, supporters of President Donald Trump downright flaunted their activity on social media on the day of the deadly insurrection. Some, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos and comments and sent them to the FBI. Their total lack of concern over getting caught and their friends' willingness to turn them in has helped authorities charge about 150 people as of Monday with federal crimes. But even with the help from the rioters themselves, investigators must still work rigorously to link the images to the vandalism and suspects to the acts on Jan. 6 in order to prove their case in court. And because so few were arrested at the scene, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have been forced to send agents to track suspects down. “Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of criminal activity inside the Capitol,” Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington office, said earlier this month. “Bottom line — the FBI is not sparing any resources in this investigation.” In the last few weeks, the FBI has received over 200,000 photos and video tips related to the riot. Investigators have put up billboards in several states with photos of wanted rioters. Working on tips from co-workers, acquaintances and friends, agents have tracked down driver’s license photos to match their faces with those captured on camera in the building. In some cases, authorities got records from Facebook or Twitter to connect their social media accounts to their email addresses or phone numbers. In others, agents used records from license plate readers to confirm their travels. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol, although it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime. Federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing. And they must weigh manpower, cost and evidence when charging rioters. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges against the rioters, which carry up to 20 years in prison. One trio was charged with conspiracy; most have been charged with crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. Many rioters posted selfies inside the Capitol to their social media accounts, gave interviews to news outlets describing their experience and readily admitted when questioned by federal investigators that they were there. One man created a Facebook album titled “Who’s House? OUR HOUSE” filled with photos of himself and others on Capitol grounds, officials said. “They might have thought, like so many people that work with Trump, that if the president tells me to do it, it’s not breaking the law,” said Michael Gerhardt, an expert on impeachment and professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Others made blunders, like a Houston police officer, who denied he went into the Capitol, then agreed to let agents look at the pictures on his phone. Inside his deleted photos folder were pictures and videos, including selfies he took inside the building, authorities said. Another man was wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor after a burglary conviction that tracked his every movement inside the building. A retired firefighter from Long Island, New York, texted a video of himself in the Capitol rotunda to his girlfriend’s brother, saying he was “at the tip of the spear,” officials said. The brother happened to be a federal agent with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, who turned the video over to the FBI. A lawyer for the man, Thomas Fee, said he “was not part of any attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol” and that “the allegation is that he merely walked through an open door into the Capitol — nothing more." Another man who was inside the Capitol was willing to rat out another rioter who stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and emailed the video to an FBI agent, even signing his own name to it. “Hello Nice FBI Lady,” he wrote, “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.” In another case, a man was on a flight leaving D.C. two days after the riot when he kept shouting “Trump 2020!” and was kicked off. An airport police officer saw the man get off the plane and the man was booked on another flight. Forty-five minutes later, the officer was watching a video on Instagram and recognized the man in a group of rioters. The man, who was wearing the same shirt as the day he stormed the Capitol, was arrested at the airport, authorities said. Even defence attorneys have acknowledged that the evidence poses a problem for them. “I’m not a magician,” said an attorney for the man seen in a photo carrying Pelosi's lectern. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property,” he told reporters. Police at the Capitol planned only for a free-speech demonstration and were overwhelmed by the mob that broke through and roamed the halls of the Capitol for hours as lawmakers were sent into hiding. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Trump was impeached after the riot on a charge of “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” Opening arguments will begin the week of Feb. 8. He is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. Unlike criminal cases, impeachment trials do not have specific evidence rules so anything said and done that day can be used. And several of the people charged have said in interviews with reporters or federal agents that they were simply listening to the president when they marched to the Capitol. ___ Richer reported from Boston. Michael Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
McGill University has forced at least 15 students to leave their dorms for a week after a COVID-19 outbreak was traced back to close-contact gatherings that violated public health restrictions. "As of Sunday evening, 44 students living in residence reported testing positive for COVID-19, 33 of whom are from Royal Victoria College (RVC)," wrote Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, in an email to students. A floor representative for McGill's New Residence Hall says about 15 students were kicked out for seven days. Multiple students have told CBC that residents have also been suspended from the Royal Victoria College (RVC) residence as well, though it's not clear how many. The university declined to comment on the suspension, but CBC has obtained an email that was sent to at least one student of New Residence Hall. The exclusion order accuses the student of violating COVID-19 rules. The student is ordered to vacate the residence by 10 a.m. on Monday, and won't be allowed back until Feb. 1. The email advises the student that the school has affiliations with local hotels should the student need a place to stay. "We have students in distress right now," said Elisha Mayer, a first-year McGill student and the 15th-floor representative on the New Residence Hall council. Mayer, who was not suspended, said the disciplinary measures are extreme and weren't preceded by a formal warning. "So they had less than 24-hour notice to leave the premises of McGill," said Mayer. "This comes without a warning for them, without a disciplinary meeting or without any other information." Mayer said some of the students who were kicked out are minors, which makes it harder for them to rent a temporary room. He said people are scrambling to find friends to stay with, and some international students say they have no choice but to return home. Mayer says the affected students are also missing out on their meal plans and the sudden expulsion risks depriving them of resources to continue their class work at a crucial time. "We already have quizzes, exams and not having a place to study or proper Wi-Fi can really make their studies difficult," he said. "Especially in the situation we have right now where all of the classes are online." McGill tracking outbreak As soon as the positive cases were reported in residences, McGill began tracing contacts and, in accordance with public health restrictions, ensuring those at medium to high risk are self-isolating. "As an added precautionary measure, we have also asked all RVC students to get tested, and over the weekend ... mobile testing was held in RVC for both students and residences staff," Labeau said. The recent cases have been linked back to sustained close contact between students that occurred at — or following — gatherings held in contravention of COVID-19 and residence regulations, according to the letter sent out by Labeau.
EDMONTON — Two Edmonton high schools have moved classes online after a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases among students and staff. There have been 20 confirmed cases at M.E. LaZerte School in northeastern Edmonton, where nearly 1,300 students been attending in-person classes. At J. Percy Page High School in the city's southeast, 715 students who had been receiving classroom instruction are now learning at home. Thirteen cases have been confirmed at that school. Between the two schools, 666 students and 60 staff were asked to quarantine. Edmonton Public Schools Supt. Darrel Robertson says he sought permission from the Alberta government Sunday for two-week "circuit-breaker" shutdowns. The Education Ministry approved the request within hours and parents were informed by letter shortly after, he said Monday. Robertson said Alberta Health has told the school division that most of the new cases reported in the past week came from outside, but there has been some in-school transmission. "I have full confidence that the contact tracers are going to ... try to provide more of an explanation as to why these particular two areas in the city experienced that number of cases in a short period of time," Robertson said. Several cases emerged last week, but additional ones reported over the weekend compelled the school division to act, Robertson said. It also made sense to make the switch to home learning before a new school quarter began and students broke off into new cohorts. A large backlog in contact tracing had previously been an issue. But Robertson said since the holidays, schools in his division have received notifications of positive cases within a day or sometimes hours. Monday was being treated as a "transition day" for students and staff to adjust, he said, and equipment loans and technological support are available. "There is a lot of anxiety around a pandemic, as everyone can appreciate, and we're doing our best to take care of each other." Learning for Alberta students in grades 7 to 12 shifted online in late November amid a general surge in cases. Face-to-face instruction resumed two weeks ago. Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday that 11 per cent of Alberta schools currently had COVID-19 infections and that nine had five or more cases. She said 51 schools had transmission within the institution, with about three quarters of those having only one new case as a result. Hinshaw said her office is closely monitoring new, more transmissible variants of the novel coronavirus that have been detected in Alberta. "There is no time when we can let our guard down. It doesn't matter if it's lunch time, break time, after school or after work," she said. The Alberta Federation of Labour said the school shutdowns should be a "wake-up call" for the province's United Conservative government. The labour group is calling for mandatory paid sick leave and isolation pay, "dramatically" increased funding for schools and investments in proper ventilation in schools and workplaces. It also wants proactive inspections of workplaces and a strategy to "crush and contain" COVID-19 as other jurisdictions, such as New Zealand and Australia, have done. An email from Education Minister Adriana Lagrange's office said the government approved the requests for the shutdowns out of an abundance of caution. "We consider the operational needs of the school — such as having numerous staff in isolation that makes it hard to continue with a high level of learning for students in school — when making this decision," wrote Justin Marshall, the minister's press secretary. — By Lauren Krugel in Calgary This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought countless projects around the world to a standstill. Many others, like the clean energy plan for Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella, B.C., have been forced to pivot somewhat but are still moving forward. Leona Humchitt, the climate action co-ordinator for Heiltsuk Nation, was among three presenters on Jan. 21 at the Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering discussing current programs in their communities. Besides Humchitt, the presentation featured two other project leads from Indigenous communities involved with the Indigenous Clean Energy’s Bringing It Home Initiative. They were Melissa McDonald from the Red Rock Indian Band in northwestern Ontario and Leon Cardinal from the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement in Alberta. Corey Cote, Indigenous Clean Energy’s program co-ordinator, moderated the presentation. This Bringing It Home Initiative, which currently involves six communities across Canada, is focused on scaling up energy efficiency in Indigenous communities. Humchitt said the pandemic has forced those in her community to meet differently, but work on its clean energy plan has continued. “With COVID we had to pivot from where we would gather in person as a community to online, and that’s been challenging,” Humchitt said. “But we’re overcoming those barriers by really working together as a team and wanting to address the needs of our people by asking them what’s important to them in terms of clean and renewable energy.” Heiltsuk Nation’s clean energy plan kicked off back in 2017 with assessments. “In 2018 we commenced with a pilot project in 20 homes,” Humchitt said. “A second round of 20 heat pumps were later installed.” Humchitt said a positive thing about pilot projects is that they can be reviewed and changes made if those ventures continue. “Most homes in Bella Bella are two storeys so the next installs we pivoted to essential heating using existing furnace ducts for an even distribution of heat and air conditioning,” she said. “By March 31 we will have retrofitted 129 of our 420 residential units.” Humchitt said educating Heiltsuk Nation residents is a vital component of the community’s clean energy plan. “We’ve shared with them that it’s important to know that it costs less to save a kilowatt than to generate one.” Humchitt said that it is important residents in the community are aware of benefits they will incur. “Heat and electricity bills on average per annum was $3,600 per home,” she said. “Fuel switching to heat pump eliminates five tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. With the 129 homes we will have completed by March, 645 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will have been eliminated. And we’ll also have reduced our fuel consumption by 2,000 litres of diesel per home.” Humchitt said officials in her First Nation are not content yet with the proposed changes. “Our goal is to continue to find as much funding to retrofit all of our homes in the community,” she said. McDonald said Red Rock Indian Band, located about 120 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, also has some lofty goals and is eager to deal with its current housing situation. The First Nation has 116 houses and 323 permanent residents. “The initiative will solve the issues that current home occupants are having from some sub-standard construction practices, such as air leaking through doors and windows, mold issues or insufficient heat,” McDonald said. She’s hoping the situation improves considerably and the sooner the better. “Red Rock’s goal is to create construction policies that go beyond minimum building code and create net zero home plans for future construction,” McDonald said. “This will help stop the cycle of sub-standard construction. We will also have energy and structural audits on all the existing reserve homes and do any retrofits to get them to net zero ready.” McDonald said community members will be employed to do the work. “Throughout the project we will utilize local community members to do the retrofits and we will provide training for the retrofit crew, energy auditors and training for the home occupants for home maintenance plans,” she said. Red Rock officials are not only planning to upgrade current homes and build better ones but they will also construct another vital facility. “For Red Rock, our project will be constructing a highly energy efficient safehouse facility for Indigenous women and children that will be on the reserve,” she said. Cardinal said his community had some big clean energy plans prior to the pandemic. Since then community engagements have been limited to five-person sessions to follow safety protocols. Cardinal said the goal is still to strive to implement clean energy plans in his community. “I think the biggest impact is breaking cycles,” he said. “We don’t do the same old, same old. We look and find solutions to problems. We don’t try to build off of something that isn’t working. We’re going in a totally new direction.” Cardinal said creating a community vision is extremely important. “If everybody gets to be on the same page, it makes it that much easier to push things forward,” he said. Windspeaker.com By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
The American Film Institute on Monday announced its top 10 films of the year, including Pixar’s jazz themed “Soul” and two of Chadwick Boseman’s final films: the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Spike Lee’s Vietnam drama “Da 5 Bloods,” both of which are Netflix films. Netflix featured heavily in the AFI’s list, which took up four positions on the list including David Fincher’s “Citizen Kane” origin story “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Amazon, too, got two spots with the hearing loss drama “Sound of Metal,” with Riz Ahmed and Regina King’s “One Night in Miami...”. Chloé Zhao’s awards and festival favourite “Nomadland” with Frances McDormand was also named an honoree in advance of its theatrical rollout in the coming weeks, as was “Minari,” with Steven Yeun, which opens Feb. 12. AFI also selected Warner Bros.’ Black Panther Party film “Judas and the Black Messiah” which will have its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Feb. 1. The AFI also named its top 10 television shows, including Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” the Disney+ phenomenon “The Mandalorian” and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso.” The selection jury included filmmakers Rian Johnson and Lulu Wang. The group also included a special citation for “Hamilton.” In lieu of the annual luncheon celebrating the honorees, AFI will hold a virtual benediction on Feb. 26 streaming on YouTube and the AFI website. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — R&B artist Trey Songz was jailed overnight after he scuffled with police officers during his arrest for not following coronavirus protocols and other rules at the AFC championship game in Kansas City, police said Monday. Songz, 36, whose name is Tremaine Aldon Neverson, was released Monday while an investigation continues, Jackson County Sheriff's spokesman LeVanden Darks said. No charges have been filed. Songz's representative, Sydney Margetson, declined to comment Monday. Songz is a three-time Grammy-nominated singer. He earned his third No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart with “Back Home” last year. His other two chart-topping albums are “Trigga” and “Tremaine The Album.” He has also appeared in films including “Texas Chainshaw 3D,” “Baggage Claim” and he starred in “Blood Brother” in 2018. In October, Songz posted on Instagram that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He said he was taking the disease very seriously and urged his fans to do the same. Kansas City police said in a statement that fans at the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills complained about a man who was not following COVID-19-related protocols and other code of conduct rules for fans, which include not being disruptive, intoxicated, or using obscene language. The statement did not identify the man as Songz and did not say exactly which rules he was breaking. Police said the man refused to follow orders from private security guards at Arrowhead Stadium and was asked to leave. When he refused, officers from the Kansas City police and Jackson County sheriff's office were called and he was told he would be arrested if he didn't comply, police said. He punched one officer and put him in a headlock, police said. TMZ released a video Monday that showed Songz was not wearing a mask and struggled with several officers before he was led away in handcuffs. The video does not show how the confrontation began. Some fans can be heard yelling at officers to leave him alone. The video shows at least one officer without a mask and others with masks not completely covering their mouth and nose. Kansas City police told The Associated Press that officers working Chiefs games “comply with all mask mandates.” “He clearly had his mask on prior to being assaulted and placed in a headlock,” KCPD spokeswoman Donna Drake said in an email. Law enforcement officials said several agencies work NFL games, making it difficult to know how many other fans might have been ejected or arrested Sunday. Earlier this month, Songz was set to perform at a concert in Houston but police shut it down after seeing hundreds of people lining up to enter the venue, which was supposed to be operating at 50% capacity. In 2017, Songz was charged with felony assault and assaulting a police officer after he became upset when he was told to end a performance in Detroit. Authorities said microphones and speakers were thrown from the stage during the concert. Songz pleaded guilty in August 2017 to two counts of disturbing the peace and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. Margaret Stafford, The Associated Press
ARVIAT, Nunavut — The centre of Nunavut's COVID-19 outbreak is now facing a second outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Last week, Arviat, a community of about 2,800, reported its first new case since Dec. 28.With cases spiking over the weekend, the community, which had been COVID-free since Jan. 2, now has 17 active cases of COVID-19. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says the new cluster of cases involve several households and all infected people are asymptomatic. Patterson says there's no evidence the infection came from outside Arviat, but he also can't confirm the new cases are connected to the original outbreak. So far, 69 per cent of Arviat's eligible adult population has received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. All travel to and from Arviat is restricted and the community is in full lockdown to prevent further spread. There have been 280 cases in the territory since the start of the pandemic. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The seats were nearly empty Monday as the House of Commons returned in hybrid form, but the opposition was full of fighting spirit over the Liberal government's handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. A new sitting convened after an extended winter break for MPs, though many remained in their ridings Monday after reaching an agreement to resume sitting in a format that allows them to either log in virtually or attend in person. While a smattering of Conservatives, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois MPs took up their seats, Liberal cabinet ministers — including the prime minister — appeared from their homes or offices to fend off criticisms from their rivals about their COVID-19 response. The fury emanating from the Opposition was such that Speaker Anthony Rota was forced to remind them several times to watch their language, even as he also had to remind MPs to unmute their devices. The sitting began as the country continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic: over 19,000 people are dead, there are new outbreaks of a highly contagious variant ripping through long-term care homes, curfews, stay-at-home orders and a vaccine rollout that started with promise now being compromised by manufacturing delays. The Liberals insist their goal of getting a shot in the arm of every Canadian who wants one by September remains feasible even as Canada was set to receive no doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and sharply curtailed deliveries next week. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner challenged the math, noting the time in between the required two doses of vaccine means September seems impossible. "This means that Canada, on average, needs to be administering roughly two million doses per week to meet this goal. This week's total is zero," she said. "How the hell did this happen, and what are the Liberals doing to fix it?" Though she was rapped on the knuckles by Rota for her language, Rempel Garner continued her pressure unabated, a theme picked up by MPs from all opposition parties as they castigated the government for appearing to fail Canadians. Procurement Minister Anita Anand insisted again and again that was not the case. The delays — due to Pfizer needing to retool a factory in Belgium — won't compromise the ultimate goal, she said. Claims from Ontario that it has run out of vaccines are untrue, she said, as there are thousands of doses yet to be used. Anand invoked the fact her own 90-year-old father is waiting for his vaccine as proof she understands the pressure to get the rollout right. "We are on track to have vaccines for all Canadians before the end of September because we will stop at nothing to ensure that all Canadians have access to a vaccine this year," she said. The political scandal that broke last week — the resignation of Julie Payette as governor general ahead of a damning report into working conditions at Rideau Hall — barely made the cut in question period. Ahead of time, opposition leaders had demanded the prime minister provide more transparency around the terms of her departure. Both Conservative and NDP leaders said given the circumstances around her departure, Payette should not receive the customary lifetime salary afforded to outgoing governor generals, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ought to disclose whether he offered one. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the scandal created by Payette's departure was one of the Liberals' own making and also serves as a distraction from the goal at hand: managing through the pandemic. But even as he pushed on the vaccine rollout, Singh also sought — and won — a symbolic victory on another subject: all-party consent on a motion condemning white supremacy and asking for the group Proud Boys to be listed as a terrorist entity. The group has ties to Canada and was involved in the deadly riots in the U.S. earlier this month. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was also successful in his efforts to get emergency debates on vaccines, and also on the implications of a decision by the new U.S. president to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, which will kill thousands of jobs in Tory-held ridings in the prairies. Such a show of unity was not in place for efforts by the Liberals to fast-track their first piece of legislation for the sitting, a bill that would close a loophole allowing anyone forced into quarantine for COVID-19 to access government benefits. The bill, which was in response to people returning from vacations abroad accessing the benefit, will now move through the legislative process. The key piece of legislation up ahead for the government, however, is the next federal budget, which Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday is one of the most significant of a generation. It could also send Canadians to the polls, as any vote on its contents will be a confidence motion. The NDP and Conservatives suggested the Liberals are too focused on pre-positioning for an election than on pandemic response, a charge Trudeau denied Monday. "Our focus is on delivering for Canadians and supporting Canadians through the tragedies and the incredible heroics we're seeing on display right across the country from our front-line workers," he said. "There are far too many tragedies but we know that Canadians are continuing to be there for each other and this government will continue to be there for them." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
B.C. is at a “precipice” in its fight against COVID-19, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry today. “If we start to see rapid transmission, then we could be in a position where we’re having way more transmission in our communities than what we’re having now,” said Henry. Averaging 500 new cases a day is “too many,” she said. It leaves B.C. at a brink where rapid takeoff is possible, particularly if new variants begin to transmit in the community. “Over the next two weeks, I believe we can bend our curve. Not just plateau, but bend it back down,” said Henry. “This is the most challenging of times for us. It’s not the time to falter, despite us being tired and frustrated and wanting it to be over. We need to hang in there. We are so close, but we need to do this now.” Testing for variants of the virus has yielded five cases of the so-called United Kingdom variant and three of the South African variant in B.C. While the former cases are linked to travel or related to close contact, all three cases of the South African variant were acquired in the community and are not linked to travel—nor are they linked to each other. There were 1,344 new cases in B.C. over the weekend, practically the same as last weekend’s number. This includes 527 from Friday to Saturday, 471 from Saturday to Sunday and a further 346 in the last 24 hours. Three of the weekend’s cases are epidemiologically linked. Of the new cases, 314 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 618 in the Fraser Health region, 73 in the Island Health region, 234 in the Interior Health region, 104 in the Northern Health region and one in a person who normally lives outside Canada. There are 4,392 active cases and 328 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in critical care. Some 6,607 people are being monitored by public health. Eleven outbreaks around the province have been declared over, including at Richmond’s Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge where 41 people were infected (27 residents and 14 staff members) and seven residents died. A further 26 people lost their lives over the weekend due to the virus. To date, 119,850 vaccines have been delivered, including 3,193 second doses. For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Dr. Jeannette Armstrong is the associate professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus. Armstrong was one of three speakers discussing systemic racism in science in a conversations on Indigenous knowledge in academia. Indigenous people still face systemic racism, and their voices are often left unheard, said Ananya Mukherjee Reed, provost and vice-president of UBCO during her opening remarks of the Jan. 20 webinar. During the two-hour discussion, three Indigenous leaders and researchers discussed some of the differences and misunderstandings of Indigenous knowledge and western science, as well as the impacts of what they framed “environmental racism.” Armstrong, who shared a Syilx Okanagan perspective, spoke alongside Aaron Prosper from Eskasoni First Nation, and Elder Albert Marshall from the Mi’kmaw Nation. “In these times of climate change, societal disease and diseases, we need Indigenous knowledge,” said Armstrong. As Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, Armstrong has been recognized for her award-winning literary work on education, ecology and Indigenous rights. Indigenous knowledge remains overlooked in academia, particularly in science, because unlike a western scientific method, Indigenous knowledge is not evidence-based, according to Armstrong. Indigenous knowledge is focused on a holistic perspective incorporating traditional knowledge and lived experiences, she says. “A general definition of Indigenous knowledge consists of those beliefs, assumptions, and understandings of non-western people developed through long-term associations with a specific place,” Armstrong told participants during the event. “Therefore, Indigenous knowledge is considered the second tier of knowledge, that is, below science. This is racist.” According to Prosper, Indigenous knowledge has been misused or co-opted within the scientific field. “Indigenous people had knowledge prior to Western scientific knowledge, in terms of traditional medicine,” said Prosper, who studies Indigenous Health and Indigenous Ethics & Research Methodologies. “In my personal opinion, there is a significant issue within the scientific field when it comes to racism, systemic racism.” Prosper feels Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous information or data should be valued the same as Western scientific knowledge. “Usually what you see done is an Elder getting interviewed, getting traditional knowledge taken out, and then the researcher collects the data as a western methodology, to interpret that data, which makes it incorrect,” Prosper explained. Marshall believes two-eyed seeing is the transformative change society needs to understand and incorporate Indigenous knowledge. “Being Indigenous, I see everything through my Indigenous lens,” said Marshall, who says ‘two-eyed seeing’ means a worldview which reconciles and incorporates Indigenous ways of knowing and western scientific ways of knowing. “To see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western science knowledge and to use both of these eyes together, is two-eyed seeing.” Indigenous knowledge systems can offer society solutions for living in balance with the environment, the speakers stressed. According to Armstrong, the Syilx Okanagan people view the land as a dynamic system, and their sole purpose is to protect the tmxwulaxw (land) and tmixw (all living lifeforms). “In the Syilx view, the human duty is to perceive how the tmixw are regenerating themselves and how therefore the human must move forward in unity with them,” she said. “Immersion in the knowledge of tmixw allows us to view its reality and makes it possible for the aliveness of each separate life form.” During the webinar, environmental racism was discussed. “In the context of environmental racism, the government had been failing to shut down treatment plants in Indigenous communities,” Prosper told participants. The Pictou Landing First Nation community in Nova Scotia is east of Boat Harbour and is utilized for traditional fishing and hunting. “This place is a significant importance to the Pictou Landing First Nation community,” he said. According to Prosper, Boat Harbour has been receiving wastewater effluent from the industry, and the government has neglected health concerns from the Indigenous people living there. The government told the community that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to make a change, he says. “The government told the people, there’s no evidence of this effluent that we’re putting into boat harbour is affecting the health of the people,” says Prosper. “If our environment is not healthy, how can we be healthy?” said Marshall. Marshall said Indigenous Peoples need to amplify our voices, to protect the environment for future generations. People cannot live in silence, he says, allowing the government to continuously destroy the land. “The government needs to be held accountable because all they do is compromise the ecological entirety of the area, and they compromise the system,” Marshall says. “I was taught, while you stay here on earth, you have to be mindful for the next generations. Most importantly, the future generations will have the same opportunity as we had, of being able to sustain themselves in a healthy environment.” Armstrong is committed to pursuing an alternative academic approach to Indigenous environmental knowledge in her research and study. She has created a methodology that she says may assist as a model in Indigenous Peoples’ struggle to include Indigenous knowledge in the academy. “I am developing better access to Indigenous knowledge through Indigenous oral literature situated as the knowledge documentation system of the Syilx peoples,” Armstrong explains. Marshall is working on cultural understandings and healing of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother through two-eyed seeing. “These essentials of the web of life should be protected under the charter of human rights because they constitute to me, a climate emergency,” says Marshall. In response, Prosper is committed to approaching his research mindfully. “How do Indigenous communities consent to research when they were exposed to these unethical experiments, whether be in the residential school or within their own communities?” Prosper asked the group. “We have to be mindful when engaging with Indigenous communities.” “Even the most adverse individuals are still dealing with various issues as a result of their experience with colonialism, and they are still trying to reconcile that.” Prosper acknowledges that little progress in the scientific field has been made, but a lot of work needs to be done. “Yes, we’ve been a lot done within 100 years. Have we done a great job? I don’t think so,” explained Prosper. “I think it’s going to take another hundred years to see a difference.” This event is the second of three examining racism in science, specifically from Indigenous perspectives, with the final one, planned for the spring, will explore Black scientists’ views. Editor’s note: Jeannette Armstrong is reporter Athena Bonneau’s grandmother. At IndigiNews, we take journalistic independence seriously, adhering to the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines. Due to Armstrong’s role at UBCO and participant in the webinar as an elder and knowledge keeper, we felt it was important to include her perspective in this piece. Athena Bonneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
TORONTO — Officials with the Yukon government have confirmed the identities of a couple from Vancouver who allegedly travelled to a remote community last week to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccine amid media reports that the former president of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. was one of those charged with breaching the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act. Tickets filed with a court registry in Whitehorse last Thursday show 55-year-old Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker, who is 32, were each charged with one count of failing to self-isolate for 14 days and one count of failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon. The tickets were issued on Thursday under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act and both face fines of $1,000, plus fees. The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them. Great Canadian Gaming Corp. president and chief executive Rodney Baker resigned on Sunday and media reports say he is the same person charged in Whitehorse. Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker could not be reached for comment and The Canadian Press could not independently confirm their identities, including that they are married and that Ekaterina is an actress. Great Canadian Gaming Corp. spokesman Chuck Keeling says in a statement that the company does not comment on personnel matters. The statement also says the company complies with guidelines from public health authorities in all the jurisdictions where it operates. "Our overriding focus as a company is doing everything we can to contribute to the containment of COVID-19," it says. Yukon officials could only confirm that the two people charged in Whitehorse had travelled to the small community of Beaver Creek near the border with Alaska. Yukon Community Services Minister John Streiker said Friday the couple who allegedly chartered a plane to Beaver Creek posed as visiting workers and received shots of COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic. Territorial enforcement officers received a call about the pair who were later intercepted at the Whitehorse airport trying to leave Yukon, he said. Streiker said he was outraged by their actions and members of White River First Nation in Beaver Creek felt violated. In a statement, White River Chief Angela Demit said the unwanted visitors put elders and vulnerable people at risk for selfish purposes. "We implore all Canadians to respect the vaccination rollout process and to not take similar actions." White River was prioritized to receive vaccine because of its remoteness, elderly population and limited access to health care, Demit added. Great Canadian said in a statement released Monday that its former CEO has also resigned as a member of the company's board of directors. It said Terrance Doyle, president of strategic growth and chief compliance officer, has been appointed as interim chief executive. The company is in the middle of being acquired by a fund affiliated with Apollo Global Management Inc. Great Canadian shareholders voted to approval the deal late last year and the Supreme Court of British Columbia has also signed off on the investment fund's takeover offer. The gaming company is expected to be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange after the deal is finalized in the second quarter of 2021, as long as regulatory and closing conditions come through. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GC) The Canadian Press
The Jungle Cruise ride at Disney's theme parks in California and Florida is getting a makeover to remove what the company called "negative depictions" of some cultures. Disney said on Monday that the river boat attraction would be updated to "reflect and value the diversity of the world around us." Critics have accused Jungle Cruise, which was first launched in 1955, of having racist overtones in its depiction of some non-Western characters as savages and cannibals.