An Ontario woman says home care for her bedridden husband was cut off after she informed the care agencies she had tested positive for COVID-19, leaving him stranded in bed, soiled, for days.
An Ontario woman says home care for her bedridden husband was cut off after she informed the care agencies she had tested positive for COVID-19, leaving him stranded in bed, soiled, for days.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The announcement Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests U.S. authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home. The threat assessment is being co-ordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will confront the problem with resources and policies but also “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.” Asked whether new methods were needed, she said, “More needs to be done. That's why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “critical” that the Biden administration appeared to be prioritizing the threat of domestic extremism. “In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,” Schiff said. The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump's second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for decades has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in America is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism. It's an issue that has flared repeatedly over the years, with different attacks — including a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue — periodically caused renewed debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed. It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections. FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the police and stormed into the Capitol. Scores of people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as people identified in court papers as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups. ___ Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
BROCKTON – Jennifer Stephens, general manager, did a presentation on the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority’s 2021 budget at the Jan. 12 meeting of Brockton council. This year’s budget shows a 1.6 per cent increase over last year, representing a dollar amount of $27,570. Brockton will be paying an additional $2,546. She stated the goal of the SVCA over the past few months has been to focus on the mandated programs and services outlined in the Conservation Authorities Act. Stephens outlined some of those programs including flood forecasting and warning. The goal is to “keep people away from the water, and keep the water away from people.” This is accomplished through a variety of measures including physical structures such as dams and channel work. SCVA is also involved in stewardship activities, environmental planning and regulations, conservation education, forestry, and non-revenue parks and property management throughout the watershed. To help identify priorities over the next five years, the SVCA is undertaking a strategic planning exercise. It will involve extensive consultation with the public, municipalities and other partners. The plan will incorporate recent changes to the Conservation Authorities Act through Bill 229. Council asked a number of questions, including about changes that have a direct impact on Brockton. Coun. James Lang mentioned two staff members who had played an important role in promoting tourism in the Greenock Swamp. Stephens responded by saying the business of the SVCA is to “protect natural spaces and conduct our mandated programs” through the entire watershed. Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak addressed plans to conduct needed maintenance work in the SVCA’s parks and said he was pleased at the direction that’s been put in place by Stephens. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Ottawa is reporting 87 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 87 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death Friday. The health authority also declared another 105 cases resolved. As of Friday, OPH has received 25,350 vaccine doses, of which it has administered 22,981. The infection rate in Ottawa rose to record levels after Christmas, but has started to decline. The current lockdown in eastern Ontario went into effect Dec. 26, and is scheduled to last until Feb. 11. A provincial stay-at-home order is also in effect. Numbers to watch 36: The number of Ottawa residents being treated in hospital for COVID-19, down slightly from Thursday. 69.7: The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, back down after a slight increase on Thursday. 0.88: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Anything below one suggests the spread is coming under control. Across the region Quebec's lockdown is in effect until Feb. 8, and includes an 8 p.m. curfew.
Curious onlookers may be forgiven for thinking the Stettler area is quickly becoming the fibre board capital of Canada, as a second company has announced they’re building a major plant here. Alberta BioBord Corp. contacted the ECA Review newspaper last week after a story was printed about Great Plains MDF’s plans to develop a fibre board mill in the region south and east of Stettler. Now, Alberta BioBord, unrelated to Great Plains MDF, stated they plan to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant adjacent the Town of Stettler. Alberta BioBord is headed up by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) George Clark, who was formerly a spokesperson for Great Plains, and Clark, along with directors Randy Kerr and Lorne Murfitt, joined the ECA Review for a teleconference interview Jan. 19. Murfitt stated during the Great Plains effort a lot of time and effort was spent meeting the public and touring rural Alberta looking for a place to build an MDF facility and Stettler was selected at that time for a variety of reasons, including its excellent road system, proximity to rail lines and population. Murfitt added that even after several people joined Alberta BioBord, they still focused on Stettler. Clark stated that when looking for a great place to build an MDF plant, which uses wheat straw to make fibre board, Stettler kept coming to the top of the list. While Clark said the mill rates are not necessarily the lowest in this region “the logistics were absolutely the best.” Clark stated that Alberta BioBord hopes to continue with the site named last summer, a parcel of land across the road from the Stettler airport, which he said has easy rail access and good connector roads nearby. He stated Alberta BioBoard won’t be causing any traffic troubles as the existing truck routes will suffice, and also pointed out no Alberta BioBord traffic will be using Main Street. Clark also pointed out trucks supplying Alberta BioBord's facility will be coming from all directions surrounding Stettler, not just one. Additionally, Alberta BioBord is proposing straw depots around the area where material can be stored and trucked when needed, plus the use of train cars. The CEO stated Alberta BioBord’s project is valued at between $650 and $750 million, but noted the project will first begin as a fuel pellet plant. Murfitt and Kerr explained straws can be used to make fuel pellets, a heating fuel in big demand. This phase is estimated at between $35 and $40 million. After the fuel pellet plant is up and running, the MDF plant could move forward. It’s estimated the fuel pellet plant will be producing 300,000 metric tonnes of pellets per year with 40 metric tonnes of biomass fibres entering the plant every hour. Clark pointed out Alberta BioBord is also willing to buy flax straw from producers, which he stated is probably good news for producers looking to sell their flaw straw. The CEO explained the company’s first round of financing is being finalized now and expects that to be ironed out by the end of February, when things like municipal approvals can then be addressed. Clark said the company would like to see construction start this year with the fuel pellet plant in operation next fall. Where will this wheat and flax straw be coming from? Central Alberta producers. Clark noted Alberta BioBord's collection zone for straw will be at least a 250 kilometre radius of Stettler, and the company is planning an extensive public consultation process. All three men stated the company keenly wants to develop strong relationships with producers. They added that producers should watch for more information coming over the next weeks and months about Alberta BioBord’s Stettler project. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
British Columbians living on the South Coast should take advantage of the last couple of days of sunshine on Friday and Saturday, as clouds are expected to roll in Saturday evening, bringing a light dusting of snow with them. Environment Canada has posted a special weather statement warning of a "cool air mass and low-pressure system" Saturday night and Sunday morning, with potential snowfall of two to five centimetres for the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, inland sections of western Vancouver Island and for the Central Coast. However, eastern and inland areas of Vancouver Island, including the Malahat Highway could see more, with up to 15 centimetres falling. CBC Vancouver meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says it looks like the snow won't begin to fall until the pre-dawn hours on Sunday. "The approaching system isn't packing quite as much moisture for the top-end scenario of snow," she said. "I think we are trending toward just a few centimetres before a change-over to rain on Sunday." This combination sets the South Coast up for its first slushy snowfall of the year, Wagstaffe says. Vancouver opening shelters The City of Vancouver says its crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan is underway. Major roads, bridges, bus routes, and bike paths are being treated with brine ahead of the snowfall. A city statement says over 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to be used on any snow and ice, and crews will focus on priority routes first. It asks residents to take only essential road and bike trips, and property owners must clear any snow from walkways and sidewalks by 10 a.m. the morning after a snowfall. The city says it's also opening additional indoor shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness, from January 22 to 27, as a "life saving measure." The warming centres will be located at: The Powell Street Getaway, at 528 Powell St., from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Vancouver Aquatic Centre, at 1050 Beach Ave., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Creekside Community Centre, at 1 Athletes Way., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The city says these centres will also allow people who have pets and carts, and hot drinks and snacks will be provided. All sites have reduced their capacity, in order to meet the province's COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
JACKSON, Miss. — A leader of the Brexit movement and newly appointed government trade adviser in the United Kingdom is now the head of a conservative think-tank in the American South. Douglas Carswell, 49, started working this month as the new CEO and president of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Carswell, a libertarian and former member of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, was a member of Parliament for 12 years and a co-founder of Vote Leave, the campaign that pushed the Brexit referendum in 2016. Carswell said his home country was his primary focus as the U.K. negotiated terms of its recently finalized split from the European Union. However, he said he has had a growing interest in working in the U.S. “I think the fight for freedom in America is the most important battle for freedom in the world, because America is the exceptional country in the world,” Carswell told The Associated Press. Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who left office a year ago, has developed a work relationship with Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and Bryant attended a 2019 event for the lobbying group World4Brexit. Carswell said he has never met Bryant. Carswell clashed with more populist Farage after being the first of only two U.K. Independence Party candidates ever elected to Parliament. Farage ran unsuccessfully more than half a dozen times. Carswell's 2014 election victory gave political momentum to the party and the Brexit cause. He left the U.K. Independence Party in 2017, later stepping down from Parliament. After Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, many of the figures who led the campaign have moved on to new ventures. Farage became a radio talk-show host and Donald Trump’s main British supporter, once even attending and speaking at a 2016 Trump campaign event in Mississippi. Others have been appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It’s common for former British lawmakers of all political stripes to seek think-tank or academic posts in the U.S. — a career move that can often bring prestige back home. In an email introducing his new position in Mississippi, Carswell said he believes freedom in the U.S. is “under attack” from a “radical New Left.” “If liberty is extinguished, the United States will become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials,” he said. “That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.” Carswell said he thinks school choice can give low-income Mississippi families more opportunities. He said he will push policies to make the state more competitive in attracting new businesses and allowing existing ones to grow. “Businesses that are traditionally located in hubs like New York, or Chicago or California, quite a few of those businesses are moving away from high tax and regulation regimes to Texas, Florida or Tennessee,” he said. “Why not Mississippi?” The Mississippi Center for Public Policy lobbies for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and free-market approaches to health care. Carswell said he admires that people’s freedoms in the U.S. are defined in federal and state constitutions. “In America, if your local mayor wakes up one morning and decides to take away your fundamental freedoms, you can take the politicians to court under the Constitution, you can enforce your rights as an individual,” he said. It allows “ordinary folk to live their lives free from the arbitrary whim of government,” Carswell said. “It’s only when you don’t have that that you realize quite how precious it is,” he said. “It really is the secret of American success.” Carswell plans to live in Jackson with his family but is not leaving U.K. politics. In November, he was appointed to a three-year term as a nonexecutive director of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Liz Truss, the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade, said Carswell will work at “striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules.” ___ Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless contributed from London. ___ Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Leah Willingham, The Associated Press
Le Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux (CISSS) des Laurentides fait de la campagne de vaccination contre la COVID-19 sa priorité, dès maintenant et pour les mois à venir. Pour ce faire, Mme Caroline Chantal sera directrice responsable du dossier de la vaccination et travaillera en collaboration avec Dre Danielle Auger, médecin-conseil à la Direction de santé publique. Elles seront supportées par un comité stratégique formé de représentants des différentes directions du CISSS des Laurentides. Cette nouvelle structure de coordination sera centrale aux efforts du CISSS, qui met déjà tout en œuvre pour être prêt à débuter la campagne de vaccination aussitôt qu’il recevra les premières doses. L’équipe de Mme Chantal sera responsable d’assurer le bon fonctionnement de la campagne et de relever les nombreux défis intrinsèques à une opération de cette envergure. « Avec tous les enjeux engendrés par la COVID-19, mettre fin à la propagation du virus est une priorité incontournable pour nous et la campagne de vaccination est notre priorité organisationnelle. Même si plusieurs orientations en lien avec le déroulement de la campagne de vaccination restent à confirmer, nous sommes déjà en action. Ainsi, lorsque viendra le moment de débuter la vaccination, nous serons efficaces dès le départ, tout en maintenant les efforts pour offrir des soins et services de qualité à la population », a laissé savoir Mme Rosemonde Landry, présidente-directrice générale du CISSS des Laurentides, par voie de communiqué. Mme Landry a aussi affirmé que la vaccination devrait commencer dans les Laurentides d’ici la fin du mois. La priorité sera donnée aux résidents des CHSLD et des ressources intermédiaires et de type familial (RI-RTF), ainsi qu’aux travailleurs de la santé qui sont en contact avec eux. Mme Landry rappelle que les Laurentiens doivent continuer de respecter les mesures sanitaires en place. « Continuez vos efforts pour vous protéger et pour protéger les plus vulnérables! » Ailleurs au Québec, la vaccination est commencée! En date du 18 décembre, 2 582 Québécois avaient déjà reçu une première dose du vaccin de Pfizer-BioNTech. Ce vaccin requiert une seconde dose, trois semaines plus tard, pour être pleinement efficace. Radio-Canada a par ailleurs ajouté à ses tableaux interactifs le nombre de doses de vaccin administrées, aux côtés des infections, des rétablis, des morts, des hospitalisations et des tests de dépistage. Durant une conférence de presse le 15 décembre, Justin Trudeau a annoncé que le Canada devrait recevoir 168 000 doses du vaccin de Moderna, dans les jours suivant son approbation par Santé Canada. 200 000 doses supplémentaires du vaccin de Pfizer-BioNTech arriveront aussi au pays durant la semaine du 21 décembre. Le Canada aura donc reçu 417 000 doses de vaccin avant la fin de l’année 2020.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Nova Scotia announced four new cases of COVID-19 Friday, along with the revelation that two previous cases were found to be variants of the virus. The four new cases include one in the central health zone related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, one in the northern zone who is a close contact of another case, and two in the western zone, both related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. One of the western zone cases is a student at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., who tested positive after completing their 14-day self-isolation. They are self-isolating again, but they did attend class Jan. 18-20 and Nova Scotia Health has begun contact tracing. There are 22 active cases in the province. During a news briefing Friday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said the province detected the variants in cases that were reported in December. He said the two cases were related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and the individuals self-isolated. After further testing, one was found to have had the U.K. variant, while the other had the South African variant. Both cases are now resolved, McNeil said. "I know this may come as a worry, it's our first exposure to this variant, but it is not unexpected," said McNeil. "It is yet another reason why we continue to maintain our ... restrictions." Cases being investigated further Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said neither of those two cases resulted in community spread, but the person with the South African variant did infect other members of their household. Strang said there was no spread beyond that. Strang said the amount of virus in the household's testing samples were low and they were unable to send their samples for sequencing. So while it's likely they had the variant as well, it hasn't been confirmed. "We know that significant work is happening internationally to better understand the implications of these variants, and we are working closely with the lab to investigate further both of those cases and whether anything more needs to happen," he said. Some restrictions eased McNeil said almost all of the province's public health restrictions will be in place until at least Feb. 7, but some restrictions in sports, arts and culture will be eased starting Monday. Sports teams will be able to play games, but with limited travel and limited spectators, and there can be no games or tournaments involving teams that would not regularly play against each other. Art and theatre performances can take place without an audience, he said. The province will also allow residents of adult service centres and regional rehabilitation centres to start volunteering and working in the community again. "We are lifting only these restrictions because it's important to the mental and physical health of all those involved," said McNeil. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment delayed Strang said another shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived this week and has already been distributed at the Valley Regional Hospital and Cape Breton Regional Hospital. There will be no shipments next week, and the province is expected to get "limited amounts" of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as the "usual" shipment of the Moderna vaccine, in the first week of February. Strang said the delays for the Pfizer vaccine won't alter the current timeline to have most Nova Scotians vaccinated by September's end. "Every indication we have from Pfizer is that this is very short term. And even within the next 90 days, we're anticipating that what they aren't able to deliver in the next two weeks, they'll make that up, that amount, in February and March." Nova Scotia has administered 10,575 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 2,705 second doses, as of Thursday. Updates on vaccine administration across the country can be found here. Focus on testing university students Strang also mentioned he has received some questions about why the student at Acadia University tested positive after completing their 14-day quarantine and attending classes. "No one measure is perfect," Strang said. "In this case, he became infectious toward the very end of his quarantine period. The fact he was out and about doesn't mean he didn't comply with what he was required to do." He said the student sought testing as soon as they developed symptoms following their self-isolation. Strang said the province will refocus its efforts on pop-up testing in university communities as the number of students returning from outside of Nova Scotia after the holidays dwindles. Late Friday, Nova Scotia's health authority said it would hold a pop-up testing clinic in Wolfville this weekend because of the high number of people who want to get tested. Drop-in testing will be available at the Acadia Festival Theatre on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Truro school remains closed On Thursday, a new case of COVID-19 was announced at École acadienne de Truro, a pre-primary to Grade 12 school. The province said the person did not attend Thursday and is self-isolating. The Department of Health and Wellness said the school closed at noon to begin deep cleaning, contact tracing and any necessary testing. Close contacts of the case will be notified. École acadienne de Truro will move classes online until at least the start of the next week, with an update to be provided to families on Tuesday, Jan. 26, about a possible reopening on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Strang said Friday that the case was related to a close contact of another case. 'Very good news' about Marine Atlantic ferry After a crew member of Marine Atlantic tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Strang said 60 crew members have been tested and only one case — in Newfoundland and Labrador — has been detected, which Strang said is "very good news." "It gives us some comfort that the public, who would have been less likely to be exposed … it's lower risk that we're going to see further cases from this ferry," he said. Still, the province is asking anyone who was on the MV Blue Puttees, a ferry that runs between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L., on the following dates and times should be tested as a precaution. Anyone exposed to the virus on this ferry may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 30, 2021. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
TORONTO — After a 10-month investigation, a task force commissioned by the Ontario government has issued a range of sweeping recommendations to reform the province's securities regulator. The Capital Markets Modernization Task Force's 70 recommendations include major governance changes to Ontario Securities Commission, such as establishing an adjudicative body within the OSC to rule on alleged securities act violations. The task force also recommends expanding the agency's mandate to augment its regulatory function, and changing its name to the Ontario Capital Markets Authority. The task force was commissioned in 2019 by Ontario's finance minister, with the goal of encouraging growth and competition in the province's capital markets. In the report, the task force decried the lack of new securities issuers in Ontario, which they warned could lead to fewer head offices and fewer investment growth opportunities in the province. Over the course of its investigation, the task force met with more than 110 different stakeholders as it was developing its recommendations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Émilie Pelletier firstname.lastname@example.org Initiative de journalisme local Queen’s Park TORONTO — Dès ce week-end, de nombreux magasins à grande surface d’Ottawa recevront la visite d’inspecteurs qui distribueront des contraventions à ceux qui ne se conforment pas aux exigences en matière de santé et de sécurité liées à la COVID-19. Lorsqu’elle a déclaré l’état d’urgence sanitaire il y a deux semaines, la province a mis en place une campagne élargie d’inspections pour s’assurer que les entreprises essentielles fonctionnent en toute sécurité. Les établissements de vente au détail visés par cette campagne comprennent les magasins comme Walmart et Costco, les restaurants qui offrent des repas à emporter, les stations-service et les exploitations agricoles, notamment. «Les inspections des lieux de travail agroalimentaires font partie de nos efforts continus visant à sensibiliser les gens et à prévenir et limiter les éclosions de COVID-19 afin de protéger la santé et la sécurité des travailleurs et de maintenir notre approvisionnement alimentaire solide», a fait savoir le ministre de l’Agriculture, de l’Alimentation et des Affaires rurales Ernie Hardeman. La fin de semaine dernière, une cinquantaine d’inspecteurs du Travail ont sillonné 240 magasins à grande surface de la région du Grand Toronto, accompagnés d’agents des règlements administratifs locaux et d’agents de police. En tout, ils ont donné 76 contraventions et constaté que plus de 30% de ces entreprises ne respectaient pas les exigences en matière de santé publique. Ce week-end, c’est au tour des entreprises ottaviennes de passer sous le peigne fin de ces inspecteurs, comme l’a annoncé au cours de la semaine le directeur général des Services de protection et d’urgence pour la Ville d’Ottawa, Anthony Di Monte. La prise de mesures adéquates de contrôle des foules et de distanciation physique aux caisses, l’utilisation adéquate des masques et les pratiques de nettoyage et de désinfection font partie des facteurs qui seront dans la mire des inspecteurs. Les contrevenants sont confrontés à des amendes se chiffrant à 750$ pour les employés et à 1 000$ pour les sociétés. Si une violation est plus grave, le tribunal peut aussi imposer des amendes allant jusqu’à 100 000$ pour les particuliers et jusqu’à 500 000$ pour les administrateurs et les dirigeants d’une société. Ces derniers peuvent aussi se voir imposer une peine d’emprisonnement d’une durée allant jusqu’à un an. L’amende maximale pour une société reconnue coupable d’une infraction est de 10 000 000$. La durée des campagnes de sécurité peut aller de quelques jours à plusieurs semaines, selon les circonstances locales.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is looking at ways to strengthen the vetting process for the next governor general after his choice for the job — Julie Payette — resigned yesterday following reports she presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall. Trudeau faced multiple questions from reporters today about the vetting process he followed in appointing Payette back in 2017, and the red flags raised by former employers about her behaviour. "Obviously the vetting process that was in place was followed, but obviously we're going to also look at ways we can strengthen and improve the vetting process for high-level appointments," he said outside his home at Rideau Cottage, not far from Rideau Hall. "We are looking right now at processes that can be strengthened as we move forward and we will have more to say on that as we make decisions." WATCH | Trudeau is asked why Payette wasn't thoroughly vetted before being appointed GG In an unprecedented move, Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned Thursday after an outside workplace review of Rideau Hall probed allegations she had belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff. "Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new governor general should be appointed," the former astronaut wrote in her statement. A senior government source (speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly) said about 100 public servants took part in the outside review. The report concluded it was an overwhelmingly toxic and poisonous workplace and the two people at the very top, Payette and Di Lorenzo, were responsible for it, the source said. PM and Queen spoke today The source also said Payette received parts of the report that pertained to her on Monday and that the clerk of the Privy Council and Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc had a tense conversation with her on Tuesday. Speaking from prepared remarks, Trudeau said he spoke to the Queen Friday morning and let her know Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner will fulfil the duties of the governor general — her representative in Canada — on a temporary basis. He said a recommendation on Payette's replacement is coming. Trudeau was asked repeatedly today about his decision to not use a selection committee in 2017, something his predecessor implemented. "We will continue to the look at the best way to select people for the vice regal appointments. It is an important role for Canadians and we'll look at how we can improve it," he said. WATCH Jagmeet Singh on Payette resignation Conservative House leader Gérard Deltell said this could have been avoided if Trudeau hadn't shunned the Harper-era committee. "This is all sad, but it's so Justin Trudeau's style," he said. "He thinks that he knows better than anybody else, than the special committee created by the Conservatives. But we were right at that time. We made the right decision, he did the wrong decision and unfortunately, today we paid a price for this mess." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggested other parties be brought into the process of selecting the official 30th governor general. "The system is deeply problematic in that the federal government, whoever's in power, can choose who they want," he said Friday morning. "I think there would be a great benefit in having a better system...so that the selection is not just a government appointment, but it's something that is done in a manner that is more fair." Questions about annuity Payette will collect a six-figure annuity for the rest of her life, a tradition critics are calling into question given the report on the Rideau Hall workplace climate — a report LeBlanc said came to some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. Under the Governor General's Act, former vice-regals are entitled to a lifetime annuity — which, according to the 2020 Public Accounts, amounts to $149,484. They are also entitled to a lifetime expense program for office and travel expenses. Documents obtained by the National Post in 2018 show that each former governor general is allowed to claim up to $206,000 per year under the program, which has existed since 1979 and is based on the notion that governors general never truly retire. "This country has very clear rules and regulations and processes and procedures in place to follow in these cases of reporting expenses, or indeed on annuities for governor generals," Trudeau said Friday. "Those processes will be followed, but obviously we're always open to having discussions on changes that need to be made moving forward." A spokesperson for the NDP said that if there's a way to cancel Payette's annuity, New Democrats would support it since Payette failed to provide a harassment-free workplace for her workers. WATCH | Trudeau is asked about the annuity Julie Payette will receive after her resignation "With respect to the annuity, I think that Canadians, rightly so, are concerned that given this report and how horrible the workers were treated, that this doesn't sit well with people," said Singh. In a statement, the outspoken Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on the Liberal government to change the way former governors general are paid. "With the resignation of Julie Payette, now is the time for this government to ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for the expense accounts of former governors general," said Aaron Wudrick, the advocacy group's director. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would 'review' this program. Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." In 2018, following reports that Adrienne Clarkson had billed more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the viceregal job, Trudeau called for more transparency. "These are people who've stepped up and offered tremendous service to this country but Canadians expect a certain level of transparency and accountability, and we're going to make sure we're moving forward in a thoughtful way," he said. A spokesperson for the Privy Council said the final cost of the Quintet Consulting review was $393,367.13, nearly four times higher than the original value of the contract. The original terms of reference of the contract did say the amount could change depending on how long the review took.
Even during the pandemic, the Okanagan continues to become a hotspot for film projects with bigger stars and films expected on the horizon according to the head of the Okanagan Film Commission. Chair of the film commission, Jon Summerland, told the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) board at their Jan. 21 meeting that movie producers created around $48 million in economic impact in the region last year. The non-profit film commission, funded in part by local regional governments, led the way in health and safety protocols while shooting in 2020, according to Summerland. “One month into the pandemic, we were already quarantining crews in hotels and shooting Hallmark movies. So we were the first in Canada to have film and we’ve been steady since. We were instrumental in creating the protocol for COVID with WorkSafe BC, they were on our sets every day in the beginning,” Summerland said. Health and safety officers became full-time crew members, now there are three on each set in the Okanagan. There were a total of 25 productions filmed in the Okanagan in 2020, including “Dangerous,” from Mind’s Eye Entertainment starring Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious) with an approximate $11 million in economic impact for the region. Much of the economic boon from the year could be attributed to around 10 Hallmark and Lifetime movies shot mostly in Summerland, Peachland and Kelowna. With more productions in the Okanagan and the word getting back to Hollywood, the film commission is opening the door to bigger projects and features. The film commission advertised the landscapes of the Okanagan in the magazine Hollywood Monthly, and having some big-name producers and directors living in the region doesn’t hurt either. “So all of them have been great tools in my tool belt to talk to Netflix, who I spoke with yesterday, to talk to bigger feature films, who are now already calling us because all these little shows that nobody watches, Hollywood watches. Hollywood goes ‘where are these being done?’ So now we’re on the radar,” Summerland said. He added he was working on a package for a film with a budget of $180 million. While Summerland said it is unlikely the commission will land the film, it could be a preview of things to come. “We are growing as a film community.” Combined, regional districts in the Okanagan contributed $255,244 to the film commission in 2020, with $45,000 coming from the RDOS and $130,000 from the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
THUNDER BAY — A number of inmates from the Thunder Bay jail have been temporarily transferred to a Toronto detention centre in an effort to manage the current number of active COVID-19 cases at the facility. On Friday, Jan. 22, a spokesperson with the ministry of the solicitor general confirmed the Thunder bay jail currently has 12 active inmate COVID-19 cases and six COVID-19 positive cases among staff. The inmates were transferred to the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) temporarily to bring the facility within operating capacity and reduce the risk of infection, spokesperson Andrew Morrison said in an emailed statement. “The inmates selected for transfer are low risk for COVID-19 and will be isolated for 14 days upon arrival at the TSDC,” Morrison said, adding the ministry cannot provide details about inmate transfers for security reasons. All inmates are being transferred to a separate area at the TSDC and won’t be placed with current inmates to reduce any potential spread of the virus, Morrison said. “Appropriate protocols are being followed to ensure the protection of all staff and inmates,” Morrison said. The Toronto facility is the ministry’s newest jail with a modern health care unit with medical isolation units to effectively manage and support inmates with COVID-19, the ministry says. The Thunder Bay Correctional Centre currently has 42 active inmate cases and two active cases among staff of COVID-19. According to the ministry, any inmate who tests positive for the virus is placed under droplet precautions and is isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive medical care. The ministry continues to work with local public health authorities to complete contact tracing. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Police are back at the scene of a previous homicide investigation in St. John's after receiving reports of shots fired at a home on Craigmillar Avenue early Friday morning. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers were at 40 Craigmillar Ave. on Friday, a house investigated in connection with the shooting of shooting of James Cody, 47, in July. Police would not confirm is the house was of interest in Friday's shooting. In a press release early Friday afternoon, the RNC said officers responded reports shortly before 6 a.m. of shots fired at a residence on Craigmillar Avenue and were investigating a weapons offence. Police did not confirm 40 Craigmillar was connected to those reports, but said there were no injuries. On July 5, Cody was found dead on the pavement on the west end St. John's street. Footage obtained by CBC News from a nearby street captured five gunshots at 4:09 a.m. that day. Three days later, according to police court filings, investigators seized a KelTec P-11 9mm Luger handgun on a street behind Craigmillar. The RNC's forensic identification services were on Craigmillar on Friday, and the RNC says its criminal investigation division is investigating. Friday's press release says the incident is not believed to be a random attack. Both Cody and the owner of 40 Craigmillar Ave., Kurt Churchill, have past charges accusing them of links to drug trafficking. In July, lead RNC investigator Supt. Tom Warren said there was no information to suggest the homicide was linked to the drug trade or any other past crimes. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — Global trials examining the potential of blood thinners to treat moderately ill COVID-19 patients have proven so successful its Canadian investigators say clinicians should immediately start using them in standard care.Investigators at Toronto's University Health Network say interim results of clinical trials spanning five continents in more than 300 hospitals suggest full-dose blood thinners could significantly avoid severe cases that are now straining hospital ICUs.The study involved more than 1,300 moderately ill patients admitted to hospital, including some at UHN. Investigators say full doses of Heparin improved outcomes and decreased the need for life support.The full dose was also more effective than the lower dose typically administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.Critical care physician Ewan Goligher, co-chair of the therapeutic anticoagulation domain of the trial, says the findings could significantly transform care.“Having cared for so many severely ill COVID-19 patients and witnessed the suffering involved for patients and their loved ones, it is profoundly gratifying that together we have discovered a treatment that can prevent patients from becoming severely ill and improve their recovery,” Goligher, also a scientist with the University Health Network, said Friday in a release.Ryan Zarychanski, associate professor, hematologist and critical care physician at the University of Manitoba, said the findings were promising. "In a disease with a limited number of effective therapies, our results have the potential to define a new standard of care for moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients around the world," Zarychanski said.Doctors noticed early in the pandemic that COVID-19 patients suffered an increased rate of blood clots and inflammation. This led to complications including lung failure, heart attack and stroke.Back in December, investigators found that giving full-dose blood thinners to critically ill ICU patients did not help, and was actually harmful.The trials are supported by international funding organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute in the United States, the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom, and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Les montagnes, l’air frais et les forêts laurentiennes attirent les amateurs de sports d’hiver dans les Pays d’en Haut depuis plus d’un siècle, faisant du tourisme le moteur économique de la région. Malgré la pandémie, le confinement et le couvre-feu, cette année ne fait pas exception. Bien au contraire! Discussion avec André Genest, préfet de la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut. « Le gouvernement a demandé aux gens d’aller jouer dehors. Alors, je ne sais pas s’ils ont peur de la vice-première ministre ou s’ils sont dociles (rire), mais ils sont allés jouer dehors! », lance en boutade M. Genest, en référence à l’achalandage sans précédent des dernières semaines dans la MRC. Le préfet admet toutefois que le phénomène n’est pas unique aux Pays d’en Haut. Des collègues préfets lui ont rapporté des situations semblables ailleurs dans les Laurentides, et il est persuadé que c’est vrai pour l’ensemble du Québec. Les Québécois ont soif de plein air, et les Pays d’en Haut sont prêts à leur en offrir. « Nous sommes toujours contents de recevoir des excursionnistes, et nous sommes toujours un milieu accueillant », souligne M. Genest. L’achalandage élevé des dernières semaines a toutefois causé quelques inquiétudes chez les élus et les résidents de la région. À l’entrée des sentiers les plus populaires, les stationnements ont débordé, des rassemblements ont été aperçus et des citoyens ont été dérangés. Certaines municipalités ont même décidé de limiter l’accès à leurs infrastructures à leurs résidents seulement. M. Genest comprend la frustration de certains résidents, surtout que plusieurs sont venus s’installer dans les Pays d’en Haut pour les sports d’hiver, oui, mais aussi pour la quiétude. Mais pour le préfet, l’enjeu est plutôt de mieux répartir les usagers. Après tout, ce n’est pas la nature qui manque! « J’encouragerais les gens à découvrir des endroits moins populaires. » Il donne l’exemple du parc du Corridor aérobique, un ancien chemin de fer converti en parc linéaire, qui lie Morin-Heights à Amherst sur 58 km. Il mentionne aussi une nouvelle section de ski de fond entre Lac-des-Seize-Îles et Montcalm et des sentiers pour le biathlon à Wentworth-Nord. « Nos plateformes numériques montrent les endroits et les circuits disponibles. J’invite les gens à regarder ce qu’il y a à découvrir. Il y a des choses moins connues. Arrêtons d’aller toujours aux mêmes endroits et soyons imaginatifs! », soutient M. Genest. Les centres d’accueil peuvent aussi rediriger les excursionnistes vers des sentiers moins achalandés. Surtout, si vous arrivez quelque part et que le stationnement est plein, c’est signe que l’aventure vous attend ailleurs. Le préfet insiste que se stationner dans les rues avoisinantes peut gêner la circulation et les opérations de déneigement, voire compromettre la sécurité publique, si une ambulance ou des pompiers devaient passer pour porter assistance à un randonneur blessé ou en détresse. M. Genest encourage aussi tant les résidents et les villégiateurs que les visiteurs à varier les jours et les heures auxquels ils profitent du plein air. Les jours de semaine sont toujours moins achalandés, par exemple. « Je marche tous les matins à 6h, et je ne rencontre personne. Même à 7h ou 8h, il y a peu de monde. Il ne faut pas que tout le monde arrive en même temps à 10h ou à midi! Bon… si on marche à 6h il fait encore noir, mais à 7h, on peut profiter d’un magnifique lever de soleil! » Même si le nombre de cas actifs a diminué dans les Pays d’en Haut, le préfet indique qu’il faut demeurer prudents. Vous pouvez profiter des sentiers avec votre bulle familiale, mais pas avec un groupe d’amis, rappelle-t-il. « Et quand c’est plein, c’est plein! On ne veut pas revoir de situation comme cet été en Gaspésie. Généralement, les gens sont très respectueux, mais c’est sûr que les résidents ne veulent pas être envahis », prévient M. Genest.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
In his office overlooking Gage Park in downtown Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown turned away from the live video feed of Wednesday’s committee of council meeting. He peered through the window for a view of the tree-lined outdoor skating rink below, a place that transports visitors to an idyllic winter escape. The ice width is “significantly larger than a sidewalk, or typical creek trail,” Brown pointed out to council members. Given the City’s ability to control rink capacity through its online booking system, he argued that existing measures to promote social distancing are sufficient. Non-medical masks or face coverings were in place only as a recommendation at Brampton’s outdoor rinks, but are mandatory in line-ups, the washrooms, or staging areas. “In general, wearing a mask is always good practice. I would just say let’s be careful about what precedents we set here…and what this means for the city and other avenues,” he said. Brown’s worry was that other City-owned properties, including basketball courts and soccer fields when they re-open, and even sidewalks, could then be subject to mandatory masking orders. The mayor put forward concerns supported by those fatigued by some of the protective measures imposed on them, but his more liberal attitude toward mask use stood in contrast with a motion that had just been forwarded. The comments came in response to a move by Councillor Rowena Santos for Brampton to implement an immediate policy to make face-coverings mandatory while skating, a decision Toronto already made. According to the motion – which passed unanimously despite the mayor’s concerns – provincial public health factsheets point to evidence that people can develop COVID-19 after repeated and cumulative exposure to someone with the novel coronavirus, “in the same manner as prolonged close contact.” Santos told Council the motion was aimed to “provide a little bit more clarity and consistency” to rink etiquette in a shared space, even if outdoors. The City will mobilize its surplus of masks to various skating rinks and inform those who have registered online about the new mandatory policy. The move to make these spaces safer in Ontario’s hardest-hit city comes after a more drastic measure to close winter amenities in Vaughan. Last week, the municipality announced it was closing outdoor amenities, including dog parks, in line with its “disciplined, reasonable and measured approach to COVID-19,” according to a press release announcing the move three days after the province entered a state of emergency and the stay-at-home order came into effect on January 14. “You need to do all that you can to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and when you get large gatherings of people, you’re actually increasing it,” said Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, in response to criticism, during a taped interview with CityNews. “So our decision was based on what we know at the moment to be true...and use all measures at [our] disposal.” Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, publicly opposed the move, saying the use of outdoor facilities should be encouraged and regulated by the City to help promote mental health and exercise. Most municipalities in the GTA, including Toronto and Mississauaga have kept these amenities open during the current emergency order, which allows the use of such facilities. Keeping outdoor recreational activities, such as Brampton’s Winter Wonderland program, open has been supported by many infectious disease specialists who recognize the need for healthy, active alternatives during a lockdown. Public health officials have pointed out that if residents do not have the opportunity to exercise and get outside, mental health can suffer, and people might be pushed to violate other rules if they feel restrictions are unreasonable. “From our perspective, here at the Region of Peel, we know that it is ultimately [about] trying to balance outdoor recreation and an opportunity for individuals to exercise, which remains an essential reason to be out of one's home,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, at Mississauga’s weekly press conference on Wednesday. “Region-hopping has always been a challenge or problem, but I imagine there are ways to address that,” said Dr. Loh, pointing to online booking tools and capacity limits that would help mitigate that risk. “It’s always been [the] recommendation, if you are unable to maintain two metres of distance – even outside – that you should be wearing a mask.” In a test of Brampton’s booking system, The Pointer was able to reserve a time at Gage Park using a registration account that listed a non-Brampton postal code as a home address. Mobility patterns analyzed by Peel Public Health using Google’s anonymized, aggregate cellphone location data show that during the first emergency declaration in March, there was a 60 percent drop in trips to workplaces, retail and other recreational locations, and a 20 percent increase in time spent at home. Second wave trends show that the time at home had increased by 21 percent in the first week of January this year, compared to 14 percent in October, which is measured against a January 2020 baseline of pre-pandemic, at-home time. The analysis, which appears in Peel Region’s January 15 epidemiological report, shows Brampton had a 17.6 percent positivity rate for the week ending on January 9; anything above 2.5 percent indicates viral spread in a jurisdiction is not under control. Brampton’s incidence rate was at 351.8 cases per 100,000 residents, for the week ending January 9, compared to 284 in Caledon and 200 in Mississauga. Ontario’s incidence rate was a little more than half of Brampton’s during the same period. Despite Premier Doug Ford’s pleas for Ontarians to stay home, barring essential trips, attending a recreational setting is another choice Peel residents can consider. As previously reported in The Pointer, despite the stay-at-home order, a flight out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, to get a resident from Peel to Miami, or many other destinations, is still allowable, though not advised, another confusing reality of the Province’s state of emergency order. Email: email@example.com Twitter: LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Medicine Hat College education students have released their masterpiece. The students took to the virtual stage recently to present their showing of ‘The Show Must Go Online.’ The musical documents a drama teacher and her students, who put on a play virtually after the live, in-person showing is cancelled. Every year education students at the college put on a musical to teach them how to organize, practice, promote and put on a production. Many arts teachers end up directing plays and musicals once they start their career, and this is a way for college students to see how it works. “This is a good opportunity to show the community that there are still ways we can do the things we love, we just learn how to adapt to new situations. We’ve learned about time management, it’s given us confidence and strengthened our communication skills,” said student Kendra Lynn-Tripp. The show can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dl0EhnYa20&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=WilliamLambsdown Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
France has one of western Europe's highest rates of distrust in modern-day vaccines. On Unreported Europe we take a look at why, what anti-vaxxers have to say and what can bring sceptics rounds. View on euronews