Personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares some timely tips to keep a tap on your credit card bills after the heavy holiday expenses.
Personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares some timely tips to keep a tap on your credit card bills after the heavy holiday expenses.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Stephen Fisher, a former constable with the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) has been found not guilty of the two charges alleged against him, relating to the disclosure of a video conversation between two OPS officers. Appearing in court via Zoom on Friday (Jan. 15) for the fifth day of his trial, Fisher was acquitted by Justice Shannon McPherson following final submissions by the defence and crown attorneys. “Mr. Fisher, it is not my normal practice to give judgment without reasons, but in this case I am going to find you not guilty of both counts currently, as alleged against you. My reasons will follow it sometime in the future,” said Justice McPherson. Fisher was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in December of 2018, after an investigation was made into the release of a video which contained a conversation between manager officers, Const. Andy May and Staff. Sgt. Dave McLagan, reportedly discussing and harassing other employees. Fisher was charged with disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer. Fisher’s trial began on Jan. 11 and saw testimonies from OPS officers including former OPS Const. Andy May, OPP Sgt. Dave McLagan, Sgt. Steve Phillips, Const. James Giovanetti, Special Const. Rick Stevens, and Fisher himself. Defense attorney Pamela Machado started her final submission by saying an internal policy of the Orangeville Police mandated reporting workplace violence and harassment – either in or outside the workplace, on or off duty to a direct supervisor. Machado noted that the policy did not account for what an officer must do when they can’t report up the chain of command. Machado argued that numerous conflicts of interest, made it so Fisher could not report up the chain of command, as per OPS policy. Const. Giovanetti in his testimony said that there was little separation between frontline members and upper management at OPS which made it uncomfortable for people to bring complaints forward due to fear of reprisal. “The evidence has also demonstrated the long contentious history of the Orangeville Police Service,” said Machado. “The toxic work environment, the history of harassment by Andy May and the failure of the executive to act, all of which created a necessity for Steven Fisher to disclose this recording.” Throughout the trial it was established that Fisher found the video recording of Const. May and Staff Sgt. McLagan, discussing and allegedly harassing other employees on a computer in the OPS monitor room. A publication ban is currently in place for the video and information derived from it. Machado in her submission noted that other employees of OPS had in the past made submissions of harassment against OPS supervisors with no outcome. “One area that has been entirely absent from the Crown’s case, is whether the content of the video did in fact amount to harassment,” said Machado. In her argument against the breach of trust by a police officer Machado said: “He testified, he did not disclose this video to anyone other than a law enforcement officer. He did not therefore breach the standard responsibility and conduct demanded, in fact, I would submit it is the opposite, as the public demands accountability and transparency from police.” Crown attorney Katie Beaudoin in her submission argued that the conversation between May and McLagan was a private communication based on four factors. “All [factors] lead to the conclusion that both May and McLagan had an expectation of privacy and were engaged in a private communication,” said Beaudoin. Beaudoin also argued that Fisher went outside his purpose of assisting a harassment complaint, by disclosing the entirety of the 40 minute video and that he breached an oath of confidentiality. “The oath of confidentiality requires police officers not to disclose any information obtained in the course of their duties as a police officer, unless authorized or required by law,” said Beaudoin. “I submit Const. Fisher breached his oath of confidentiality by disclosing Orangeville Police property where it was not authorized or required by law.” Justice McPherson asked Beaudoin to explain her conclusion that Fisher had breached his oath, as he had disclosed the property to another police officer. “My submission is he gives it to a civilian who happens to be a special constable,” said Beaudoin. Justice McPherson, at the conclusion of the Crown’s submissions, ruled Fisher not guilty of both counts – disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
Though the position of school settlement worker — someone who guides and supports students and their families who are new to Canada as they familiarize themselves with their new home — is not a new one in Southern Ontario, it is new to the North. In July, 2020, Tibila Sandiwidi took on the role of “Travailleur d’établissement dans les écoles” (school settlement worker) for the two Francophone school boards (Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon and Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario ) in Sudbury through his position with Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury. In addition to degrees in early childhood education, political science, applied research and social work, Sandiwidi is a newcomer to Sudbury himself, arriving in Sudbury in 2003 from Burkina Faso, West Africa. In his role as settlement worker, Sandiwidi aids parents and children new to Sudbury from beyond Canada’s borders, as well as the educators that have called Sudbury home for years – perhaps their whole lives. The role itself is financed through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IIRC) and co-ordinated through the Centre de santé, where Francophone newcomers to Sudbury can find most of the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their new home. It is about ensuring that parents and students can become a part of their school community by helping them understand how the education system works, the curriculum they will be learning, the interactions between parent and educator, and how to make the most of them, as well as helping with the cultural aspects of Canada that those who have lived here their whole lives may take for granted. “Everything is new,” said Sandiwidi. “To the parents, to the children, everything is new. So, you have parents who are learning new things, but they are supposed to teach their children, who are also learning new things.” It is a challenge, to say the least. For as much as it is of the utmost importance to make sure a child is succeeding in school in their new home country, it is also important they understand cultural traditions here – for instance, Halloween. The event features the simple and oft-repeated question: ‘What are you going out as?’ If you have not heard that line all your life, that’s a pretty vague question. “When you celebrate Halloween, if you ask them about Halloween activities when they have never been in them, have never done them before, it’s hard for them. Even for a newcomer parent to understand how to dress the kids with a Halloween costume or do activities like trick-or-treating, or even activities at the school.” Sandiwidi not only ensures that educators understand the need to offer more information or background on these events for any students in their class, but he also ensures that parents can understand the requirements as well, so that students can enjoy the fun and never have to feel as though they are on the outside. They can participate as if they had been ‘trick-or-treating’ all their lives. It also helps with cultural differences in behaviour; for example, looking someone in the eyes. There are many cultures that consider looking anyone older than you in the eyes while they are speaking, rather than casting them down at the ground, is considered a sign of disrespect – challenging your elders in a way that is disrespectful and rude. Eurocentric traditions would have you meet an elder’s gaze. The phrase ‘look me in the eyes when I am speaking to you,’ may be a familiar one here among parents and teachers, but not so in other countries. This results in a child that doesn’t know whether to choose up or down. And it’s something that Sandiwidi can help with as well. He also works to offer intercultural training workshops, supports schools with their registration efforts and acts as an ambassador for Francophone schools in Greater Sudbury. Of course, like everything in the world, the pandemic has changed how Sandiwidi is working. It is much more virtual and Sandiwidi says that though “it is hard to build trust when someone has never met you in person,” he continues to work within the limitations to assist parents, students and educators in their learning and development. He says that while online learning has presented even more challenges, not to mention a focus on achieving what’s possible under the circumstances rather than moving ahead with goals, the program is going strong and his interactions with newcomers are proving everyday that he can make a difference in their lives. If you would like more information on the program, visit SanteSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
American forward Sebastian Soto was recalled to Norwich of the second-tier English Championship on Thursday from his loan to Telstar of the Dutch second tier. The 20-year-old from Carlsbad, California, has seven goals in 12 appearances or Telstar this season. Soto scored twice in his U.S. national team debut against Panama in November and also appeared in December's match against El Salvador. Norwich said his recall is subject to confirmation of a British work permit. Norwich leads the League Championship with 53 points, seven ahead of second-place Swansea. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
If you have been shopping for a new or used car over the past few months, you prob-ably noticed that local dealerships are starting to look a little bare as their lots don’t have the same amount of inventory they had a year ago. A check with one dealership noted that they usually have around 150 units on the lot but had been reduced to around 20 .It is a two-fold problem. During a visit to a prominent dealer in the Orangeville area, it was explained that dealerships are having trouble getting new vehicles delivered to their lots. Disruptions in trans-portation due to the current pandemic means dealerships can’t get the inventory they need. On top of that, the recent province-wide lockdown has seen a drop in sales as custom-ers aren’t as willing to make appointments to visit a dealership. One sales person said, “It happened almost overnight. People just stopped coming in.” The shortage of vehicles has also impacted the used car market. With fewer people trad-ing in their old cars, there isn’t a lot of inven-tory on the pre-owned side of the dealership lots. “Used cars are going fast,” one salesperson said. “There’s not a lot of vehicles coming in. When we get a nice one it won’t be here long.” The latest concern in the auto industry is a shortage of parts that is causing delays in pro-duction. The parts shortage has affected pretty much every auto manufacture, not only in North America but around the world. In Brampton, the Chrysler plant has already seen temporary layoffs and also suspended operations at its plant in Mexico. The Alliston Honda plant has announced it will stop production on one of its lines during the week for January 25. The problem is a shortage of semiconductor microchips.After a slow down in production earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductor manufacturers allocated more capacity to meet the soaring demand from consumer-electronics makers. Microchip makers favour consumer-electronics customers because their orders are larger than those of automakers. The annual smartphone market alone is more than 1 billion devices compared to fewer than 100 million for cars. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in sales in phones, game consoles, smart TVs and laptops, as people are spending more time at home. New cars are using more and more micro-chips in their vehicles to handle everything from navigation systems to traction control.Industry experts say the situation will most likely turn around in the next three months. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
Within the East Kootenay and Kootenay-Boundary regions of southeastern B.C., there are 21 recognized harm reduction sites and a total of 95 Take Home Naloxone Kit sites. The Shuswap Indian Band’s (SIB) health unit received approval to become a safer sex and drug use supplies distribution centre as a designated harm reduction site through the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) for the District of Invermere (DOI) in 2018. The SIB has continued to maintain the credentials to offer the program to Indigenous communities, as well as to provide support for individuals from all nations in the Columbia Valley community, for safer sex and drug use supplies through a regional partnership with the Interior Health Authority (IHA) and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). The goal of the safer sex program is to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites that can be transmitted to another person during sex or intimate contact through raising awareness with education and supplies. The harm reduction aspects of the program aims to raise awareness about safe usage of drug use supplies and addictions through a science-based approach in an effort to reduce the risk of opioid overdoses in the Kootenays as well as within the province. During the month of December 2020, the SIB reported a surge in requests for Take Home Naloxone Kits in the Columbia Valley with a total of 13 kits being distributed over the holidays as opposed to its usual requests from the community for about eight kits. “On average, we hand out six-to-eight kits per month,” said Danielle Armstrong, SIB health director. “In December, we saw a big increase. Around 13. It was a little bit higher because we had family members coming in from out of town.” As a result of the uptick, here are some resources about the supplies available and what you can expect to learn about the harm reduction site offered at SIB’s health unit. Take Home Naloxone Kits With the mixtures of fentanyl and benzodiazepines becoming increasingly common due to travel restrictions, the continued risks of opioid overdoses from toxic drug supplies have encompassed communities throughout the province. The SIB has joined forces with IHA and the FNHA to provide Take Home Naloxone Kits and training for life-saving training for anyone interested in recognizing the symptoms of an opioid overdose and responding to emergencies for those at-risk. “Naloxone is a medication that reduces an opioid overdose,” said Jennifer Driscoll, Interior Health Authority regional harm reduction coordinator located in the Kimberley Health Centre. “The drug supply is increasingly toxic, so just as an example today (Jan. 8, 2020), we just put out five or six drug overdose alerts because of drug checking services had picked up (mixtures of fentanyl and benzodiazepines), which means the risk of an overdose are much higher… we’re really pushing the message of staying with the person (for a buddy system).” The main goal of the Take Home Naloxone Kit program is to reduce opioid overdoses and to encourage behavioural changes in consumption of illicit substances. First Nations have the opportunity to access nasal response kits through the FNHA since 2018. However, the BCCDC Take Home Naloxone Kit program began in 2012 in an effort to mitigate the risks of a toxic drug supply fuelling an overdose epidemic in B.C. communities. Driscoll added that 145 kits were shipped to the Windermere health services area in 2020. Armstrong added that individuals with a status card could access free kits from any pharmacy, including at Pharmasave or Lambert-Kipp Pharmacy. In addition, the East Kootenay Addiction Services and the SIB provide nasal and needle kits at no-cost. The Aboriginal Response Working Group through IHA, which is composed of Indigenous stakeholders from across the region, have recently developed a label that’s fixed onto the kits with a statement to let people know that they’re not alone with a 1-800-number to get help for mental health and substance use resources. Needles kits come with three doses of naloxone as opposed to nasal kits which contain two doses. “The kits are great,” said Armstrong. “They’re set up just beautifully. There’s new gloves, new needles, there’s instructions in each kit and anybody can administer them. If you can read and follow the instructions, it’s good to go.” The SIB’s safer sex and harm reduction site is open between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. mountain time from Monday to Friday each week. Those interested in picking up supplies may visit the back door of the SIB health unit during operational hours and knock for supplies, or for the needle exchange collection service. “It’s also really important to know that all Interior Health centres accept used sharps,” said Driscoll. Armstrong added, “You can exchange old needles for new needles, or you can get it without the exchange too. We try to keep 40 (kits) on hand at any given time.” Fentanyl Test Strips It’s essential to check unregulated drug supplies for fentanyl to encourage users to make informed decisions. Armstrong stocks and distributes Fentanyl Test Strips from the SIB Health Centre, with Driscoll’s support for others within the Kootenay regions, while offering 1-1 private training about how to use the safety program effectively. “Even if it shows up as negative, it does not mean fentanyl is not present,” said Driscoll, noting that Fentanyl Test Strips will not give users information about quantity or quality in their test group. In fact, Driscoll explained some fentanyl analogs cannot be detected with test strips. “They will detect if fentanyl but they can’t detect all fentanyl analogs, so even if it tests negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have fentanyl in it,” clarified Driscoll. Armstrong added there had been at least three individuals who have returned to the SIB health centre with stories about positive Fentanyl Test Strips where users opted out of using their stashes and changing their behaviour in an effort to stay safe. “I’ve had three different people come back saying the strips have detected fentanyl in them and they chose not to use those drugs,” said Armstrong. “They were very grateful to have those strips and make an informed choice.” The duo encourages users to use the buddy system, to download the Lifeguard App on your phone and to test drive your substances gradually to minimize the risks of drug use. In order to find a harm reduction site in B.C. if you’re travelling, please visit Toward the Heart to search for centres closest to you at: towardtheheart.com/site-finder and be mindful of the hours of operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the safer sex program, please visit the Smart Sex Resource at: smartsexresource.com/ for details. In fact, Driscoll explained some fentanyl analogs cannot be detected with test strips. “They will detect if fentanyl but they can’t detect all fentanyl analogs, so even if it tests negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have fentanyl in it,” clarified Driscoll. Armstrong added there had been at least three individuals who have returned to the SIB health centre with stories about positive Fentanyl Test Strips where users opted out of using their stashes and changing their behaviour in an effort to stay safe. “I’ve had three different people come back saying the strips have detected fentanyl in them and they chose not to use those drugs,” said Armstrong. “They were very grateful to have those strips and make an informed choice.” The duo encourages users to use the buddy system, to download the Lifeguard App on your phone and to test drive your substances gradually to minimize the risks of drug use. In order to find a harm reduction site in B.C. if you’re travelling, please visit Toward the Heart to search for centres closest to you at: towardtheheart.com/site-finder and be mindful of the hours of operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the safer sex program, please visit the Smart Sex Resource at: smartsexresource.com/ for details. Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer
A Bedford, N.S., man is facing three sexual assault charges in relation to incidents that occurred in student housing at Dalhousie University in 2019. Halifax police say they have charged Michael James Allain, 20, with two counts of sexual assault involving one woman and a third count involving a different woman. The alleged assaults occurred in September and October 2019 and were reported to police in February and March 2020. Police say Allain was acquainted with both women, but did not provide further information in order to protect the identity of the women. MORE TOP STORIES
Russia has ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
This column is an opinion from journalist and political commentator Jen Gerson. Dear Alberta Conservatives: Now that U.S. President Joe Biden has followed through on his promise to cancel the Keystone XL permit, I have to ask you all a simple question: How is this working? I'm not trying to be mean about it. I understand why this province elected the UCP with historic turnout in 2019. I get the appeal of that campaign, the lure of nostalgia that it evoked. It was a tempting fantasy, one in which Rachel Notley allied with Justin Trudeau, and Alberta's noble oil industry was beleaguered by a gaggle of environmentalists and socialists, who were conspiring to bring the province down. I also understand why so many bought into the claim that by electing a conservative government, we could just make all of these problems go away; that Alberta would return to the glory days of 2014, or 2005, or 1994. Or 1973. The 2019 campaign promised tax cuts that would bring the jobs back; fiscal discipline; fair deal panels that would put Ottawa in its place and highlight this province's growing, muscular sense of its own independence. A white knight returns Kenney promised to rescind the job-killing-carbon-tax. He promised to be a premier who would win the province glory, a white knight and returning prodigal son who would finally fight for Alberta. He promised "war rooms" and inquiries that would finally unearth Alberta's nefarious enemies. Somehow, this was all going to work wonders for pipeline capacity — which is why it made sense to invest $1.5 billion in taxpayer money in Keystone XL. Whoops. Almost two years into this mandate, I have to ask: How has it been going? Is this working? From the cheap seats, things don't look great. I've been trying to come up with one single solitary win since that election, and I can't find it. It looks to me like the UCP spun a fantasy in 2019 that it now can't make real. And, yeah, this province has been hard hit by COVID-19, but I thought I was being generous by putting that file to the side for a moment. WATCH | Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to Keystone decision: The jobs haven't come back. Alberta had a competitive corporate tax rate before the UCP was elected. It was always doubtful that cutting the rate even more was going to make a difference. Our public finances are in shambles. A tax hike is inevitable. Kenney did kill Notley's carbon tax — and then replaced it with another, less effective one. Meanwhile, this province's court challenge of the federal carbon tax is unlikely to hold up. Kenney's "war room" is an international joke led by a PC-party loyalist who didn't get elected in 2019. And that inquiry into foreign funding — dogged at the outset with reports that its commissioner, Steve Allan, awarded a sole-source $905,000 contract to the law firm in which his own son was a partner, because, of course — has already devolved into a series of delays and controversies. A clown show The latest, that the inquiry spent $100,000 to commission reports from several external groups, including a U.S. firm called Energy in Depth, which is affiliated with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and a paper from Calgary-based political scientist Barry Cooper, whose contribution was entitled: "Background Report on Changes in the Organization and Ideology of Philanthropic Foundations with a Focus on Environmental Issues as Reflected in Contemporary Social Science Research." Meanwhile, Greenpeace, which has already been publicly excoriated by the Allan inquiry as "a new breed of zealots less interested in saving Planet Earth than in destroying the capitalist system," has yet to be contacted to provide any evidence at all. (In fact, Greenpeace has already issued a legal warning to the inquiry.) It should be noted here that we've spent an estimated $3.5 million on this clown show. Put aside for a moment, dear Conservatives, the question of whether you think anything the inquiry is "investigating" is true. Instead, ask yourselves this question: whom is this inquiry going to convince? Is anyone under the impression that a report informed by Cooper and the climate change denial group Friends of Science is going to turn the tide for Alberta? What's the theory, here? Were we going to FedEx the Oval Office a final report that prompts Joe Biden into an epiphany on climate change? Or is it possible — just maybe — that doubling down on climate change skeptics and conspiracy theories paints a worse picture of Alberta and her priorities than anything the environmentalists themselves have concocted to date? How hard does Greenpeace really need to work to make Alberta look like a cartoonishly villainous backwater right now? In November, Premier Kenney starred in a podcast in which he criticized Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — Biden's campaign co-chair — over their attempts to decommission a segment of Enbridge's Line 5. Kenney noted that those fighting to cut off Alberta's oil and gas exports were "brain dead." Kenney also said: "We thought it was essential to send a message to the interest groups trying to block us, that resistance is futile, that Alberta is determined to take control of our own destiny." Again, I ask: How is this working? Delusions of self-importance For the record, I think Alberta has been treated unfairly and hypocritically; we clearly have been the target of international and national campaigns to obstruct oilsands development. That's not in dispute. Ironically, many of those campaigns began to abate in 2015 when Notley introduced an aggressive carbon tax policy that demonstrated Alberta was taking climate change seriously. And these anti-oilsands actors aren't the cause of all of our problems. The price of oil is down everywhere, and we're now producing a commodity that is extracted in abundance within the United States thanks to the fracking boom. Further, global concern about climate change means more banks and major companies are disinvesting in a jurisdiction that goes full ride-or-die on coal and petroleum extraction. Something needs saying here, and there's no way to say it kindly. Boom times and wealth have conditioned Albertans to believe that we matter a lot more than we do. Money gave this province delusions of self-importance that is reflected in a premier whose bombastic bar-brawl banter is increasingly revealed as short-man bluster. We're the guy who gets drunk and picks a fight but can't actually land a punch. I don't mean to be too mordant about all of this. I love Alberta, and I still think we have a lot going for us. We're good people, we work hard, and we pull together in a crisis. But we're a landlocked jurisdiction of four million on the high plain that happens to enjoy large oil and gas reserves that are costly and emissions-intensive to produce. By population, that puts us somewhere between Oklahoma and Oregon, and all the less important to a United States that is effectively energy independent. In other words: we don't matter to these people. We don't matter to Joe Biden, who would happily torch our entire provincial economy if it bought him two weeks of peace from his own restive left flank. And what's Canada going to do about it, exactly? Issue a letter of protest? Proclaim tariffs and boycotts that will hurt us more than it will hurt the U.S.? Oh wait, Kenney implied that we should do exactly that on Wednesday, or Alberta would "go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation." On and on it goes. This is the same obstinate attitude that led to the cringey display Kenney offered us in a press conference earlier this week. It included an appeal — just short of a demand — to Justin Trudeau to advocate more fiercely on behalf of the Keystone XL. By the feds' own account, Trudeau has attempted to make the case for Keystone XL, and even brought it up in his first phone call with Biden, to the prime minister's credit. But let's reflect on the idea that Trudeau has any special motivation to help Kenney out, here — Kenney, the man who has spent the last three years winning Alberta's heart by drawing blood from Trudeau's. Hey, maybe Kenney could reach out to some international oil and gas players. The very ones led by the CEOs he denounced for supporting the carbon tax in 2019. Get the head of Royal Dutch Shell on the line. I'm sure he's waiting for Alberta's call. Limitless self-aggrandizement The thing that continually baffles me about the UCP is its combination of limitless self-aggrandizement coupled with its incredible parochialism. You see this in who the government selects to head its pet projects. You see it in the habit of tripling down on ideologically derived solutions to complicated problems. You see it in the lack of original thinking; hell, their platform was practically cribbed from the Reform Party. Even the fair deal panel is just a rehash of ideas that were largely rejected as cost-ineffective in 2003. This party acts like it's run by a bunch of jocks in a secret fraternity at a second-rate school who suddenly realize that nobody who matters knows their names. They're kings of the small campus. Oil means nothing if nobody buys it. The only lever we have — the only real lever we've ever had — is vested in the relationships we maintain with the nations, provinces, interests and people around us. And, yes, that includes relationships with people who disagree with us: Ottawa, environmentalists and NGOs. So, hey, all you Free Alberta types, here's some good news for you: Kenney is teaching us all what it really means to stand alone. How is it working? This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please readour FAQ.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland hired Paulo Sousa as its national team coach Thursday to replace the fired Jerzy Brzeczek. The appointment was announced by Polish soccer federation president Zbigniew Boniek, three days after Brzeczek was surprisingly dismissed despite leading the team to the 2020 European Championship, which was delayed to this summer. The 50-year-old Sousa, a former Portugal international, has previously coached clubs including Basel and Fiorentina. He takes over a Poland team that includes Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, FIFA's world player of the year for 2020, but has just two months to prepare for the start of World Cup qualifying. His assistants will be fellow Portuguese Manuel Julio Cordeiro da Silva and Spaniard Victor Manuel Sanchez Llado. Poland will face Spain, Slovakia and Sweden at Euro 2020 in a group being played in Dublin and Bilbao, Spain. In World Cup qualifying, Poland was drawn into a six-team group that includes England and Hungary. Boniek said the decision to fire Brzeczek was a “very difficult” one but that he didn't expect the team to improve without a coaching change. ____ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
On a regular patrol of their trail this week, officials with the Morell River Management Cooperative in eastern P.E.I. were dismayed to discover hundreds of pieces of plastic snowflake confetti, likely used in a photo shoot. Confetti bombs containing large amounts of paper or plastic confetti have become popular with people taking photos or videos, especially for social media, and for events like gender reveal parties — pink confetti for a girl, blue for a boy. "We were kind of surprised to find that there," said group co-ordinator Hannah Murnaghan, who outlined her concerns on the organization's Facebook page. The confetti was difficult to clean up because some of it had already been frozen into the ground, she said. It took volunteers a couple of hours to pick up all the pieces using shovels and picking up individual pieces by hand. "We're pretty sure we got all the pieces, but if we hadn't have got them all, rain or wind would have eventually carried them into the river and that would end up impacting the aquatic life," she explained. 'Long, slow death' Plastics left in the environment can have negative consequences on the health of wild animals, says Parks Canada wildlife health specialist Dave McRuer, who works out of the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown. Animals may eat the plastic, which cannot be digested or passed. "This blockage or impaction can lead to starvation and a long, slow death," McRuer said. "Depending on environmental conditions, larger pieces of plastic may break down into microplastics; pieces less than 5 millimetres in length. These are known to negatively impact hormone cycles, reproduction, and growth." Cigarette butts are also a concern, Murnaghan said — toxic chemicals from the filters can leach into the soil and water. "Plastic doesn't belong in the environment," Murnaghan said. "If you take it in with you, take it out, whether you're going for a picnic, a photo shoot, fishing or a hike." She said the people who left the confetti have contacted the organization and apologized, and have also volunteered to help with future clean-up projects. She urges people who want to use confetti to search for biodegradable paper versions rather than plastic. More from CBC P.E.I.
Chatham-Kent approved it’s list 2021 to-do list and longer-term investments for its capital budget at Monday night’s council meeting. Around $6.3 million was earmarked for the 2021 capital budget. On the list of stuff getting done this year is a plan to introduce traffic calming strategies throughout Chatham-Kent’s streets in an attempt to reduce speeding. The costs will amount to $300,000 put aside for 2021. Traffic calming strategies could include items such as speed bumps, raised intersections or narrowing roads. “One of the issues we have within Chatham-Kent is speeding. So often we call upon our police to ensure there's compliance - it’s very effective to have officers issue compliance, but the real solution, the long-term solution, is to design in speed reduction and you do that through what we term traffic calming,” Thomas Kelly said. Kelly said the municipality received a number of complaints regarding three-way and four-way stops installed throughout Chatham-Kent which has proved not to be an effective strategy. He explained that roads such as King Street where parking is available on both sides and the street is narrow, are the ideal design to reduce speeding. A report on specific traffic strategies and the locations will be issued to council at a future date. Also on the list are plans to upgrade cemeteries throughout Chatham-Kent, after starting to save for the project in 2018. Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, as well as the Blenheim, Dresden and Wallaceburg cemeteries, will all get upgrades and paved roadways for vehicles. Kelly said the upgrades should hopefully last for 30-40 years. The most costly work to be done this year will be Grand Avenue East upgrades set to cost $1.5 million from the budget and a grand total of $7 million. Chatham-Kent is also closer to it’s $24.8 million goal for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) which was announced in 2019. The project involves reinforcing shorelines on the Thames River, Sydenham River and McGregor Creek. The 6th Street Dam will also be replaced in order to reduce potential flooding and ice jams from the nearby rivers. More than $3.5 million sitting in the capital reserve fund was transferred to the DMAF projects. The municipality has 10 years to come up with its target in order to receive a $16.6 million contribution from the federal government. In 2020, the municipality managed to save $16.4 million, resulting in a current municipal shortfall of $8.5 million. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Alleged street gang associates accused of shooting at police who were pursuing them during a high-speed chase on Onion Lake Cree Nation had appearances in Lloydminster Provincial Court Jan. 20. Crown Prosecutor Oryn Holm from North Battleford, told the court he was opposed to the release of Twaine Derek Buffalo, 39, Glynnis Larene Chief, 37, and Tyler Ryan Wolfe, 35, all from Onion Lake Cree Nation. Buffalo and Wolfe have show cause hearings on Feb. 3, and Chief has a hearing on Jan. 28. Melissa Lee McAlpine, 32, of Lloydminster, Sask., appeared by CCTV from Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women and the appearances for the rest of the defendants were waived. The Crown agreed to McAlpine’s release. Defence Cameron Schmunk from Legal Aid in North Battleford told the court he was only representing McAlpine that day as duty counsel. She is scheduled to appear again on March 3. The case against Danny Lee Weeseekase, 38, from Makwa Sahgaiehcan First nation, was adjourned to Feb. 3. Buffalo, Chief, Weeseekase, Wolfe and McAlpine were all arrested on Jan. 1, 2021. The incident started at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 1 when Onion Lake RCMP received a call from a resident in a rural area west of Onion Lake that a black SUV came into their private yard, drove off and smashed through their fence. RCMP patrolled the area in search of the SUV and found it driving at a high rate of speed on Highway 17 about four kilometres south of the Chief Taylor Road junction. They followed the SUV down Highway 17 and then onto Chief Taylor Road. That’s when police saw a long-barreled firearm come out of the SUV window and shots were fired at police. Police continued to pursue the SUV, which stopped in front of the Onion Lake Cree Nation high school. Two men, including the driver and a front passenger, jumped out of the SUV and fled on foot into an open field. Police chased the fleeing suspects on foot and additional RCMP officers arrested the remaining three passengers, including one man and two women. RCMP found the driver, Tyler Wolfe, hiding inside a garbage bin and the passenger in a nearby baseball field. From the SUV, police seized two SKS rifles, one sawed-off shotgun, one sawed-off 22-caliber rifle and different types of ammunitions. RCMP say the occupants of the SUV were identified as street gang associates. North Battleford Provincial RCMP General Investigation Section took over the investigation. Wolfe, Weeseekase, Chief and Buffalo were charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. Wolfe is additionally charged with flight from police and dangerous driving. Weeseekase is additionally charged with breach of recognizance for possessing a weapon. McAlpine was charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. The charges against Wolfe, Weeseekase, McAlpine, Chief and Buffalo haven’t been proven in court. Onion Lake state of emergency Onion Lake Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in January 2020 after a string of drug and gang-related violence threatened the safety of the community, including three murders in as many months. If anyone has any information that could assist investigators, please contact Onion Lake RCMP at 306-344-5550. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. Onion Lake Cree Nation borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is located about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords Regional News-Optimist Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showcased American designers at their inauguration Wednesday, and Harris gave a nod to women's suffrage, Shirley Chisholm and her beloved sorority in pearls and purple. Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush also donned hues of purple. Harris has cited Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, as an inspiration for her career. Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black major-party candidate to run for U.S. president. Pearls had a strong fashion showing, in line with a social media campaign that had inauguration watchers donning strands in support and celebration of Harris. Nobody in attendance did them quite like Jennifer Lopez — from earrings to bracelets — as she sang “This Land is Your Land" in head-to-toe white Chanel. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wore a pearl necklace owned by Chisholm herself. It was a gift from Chisholm's goddaughter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, I am,” Lee, who is Black, posted on Twitter. “Because of Shirley Chisholm, Vice-President Harris is.” The pearls Harris wore, by Wilfredo Rosado, were also a symbol of unity with her sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African American Greek-letter sorority, said Rachel Torgerson, fashion features director for Cosmopolitan. The sorority's founders are referred to as the “Twenty Pearls.” Every new member receives a badge adorned with 20 pearls. Harris attended Howard University, one of the nation's historically Black colleges and universities. “There’s no doubt that every part of her look today celebrates who she is, where she came from and where she hopes to lead the country. Every piece was carefully considered and packed with meaning,” Torgerson said. Like Harris, Rosado is the child of immigrants. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable inauguration wear: His signature beige parka and a pair of knit patterned mittens. The look earned him his own inauguration Bobblehead to mark his viral fashion moment. It's now on pre-sale for $25 at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. Jill Biden wore an ocean blue wool tweed coat over a dress by American designer Alexandra O’Neill of the Markarian label. The new first lady's matching coat and dress included a velvet collar and cuffs on the coat, and a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt on the dress. The neckline of the dress is embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals. The same crystals adorn the coat. The outfit was handcrafted in New York City. Aides said Harris was dressed in Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina. Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit. Michelle Obama, a fashion icon, drew praise from fans on social media for her belted pantsuit in plum, also by Hudson. Joe Biden wore a navy blue suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren. It was a change from Brooks Brothers, the oldest U.S. clothier at 202. The brand has outfitted 41 of the 46 American presidents, including Barack Obama during his inauguration in 2009. Brooks Brothers fell on hard financial times last year, when it filed for bankruptcy reorganization and announced a planned sale. Ralph Lauren has a history of nonpartisan dressing, including moments with Michelle Obama and outgoing first lady Melania Trump. Joe Biden wore Polo shirts, emblazoned with the label’s pony and polo player logo, to take both of his COVID-19 vaccinations on television. Véronique Hyland, fashion features director for Elle magazine, noted the wins for young American designers. “They chose a diverse group of talents — Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill and Jonathan Cohen — to be a part of this historic moment," she said. “It made for a meaningful statement at this particular time, when all small businesses, including fashion businesses, are in need of support and spotlighting.” Harris’ choice to wear pieces by Black designers “felt particularly significant in light of her triply historic title as the first female, Black and Asian American vice-president of our country,” Hyland added. As for the colour purple, it was a symbol of unity and bipartisanship. Republican Red and Democratic blue make purple. “If there’s a message to be taken from today’s inauguration fashion, it’s that those who attended are signalling faith in unity and bipartisanship, as well as restoring truth and trust,” Torgerson said. Hillary Clinton confirmed she wore “purple with a purpose,” telling The Associated Press: “I want to just send a bit of a symbolic message that we need to come together.” Lady Gaga went for red and let her pin do the talking. She sang the national anthem in a lavish custom Schiaparelli gown designed by Daniel Roseberry with a full red skirt and a navy coat adorned with a humongous gold dove holding an olive branch. Garth Brooks went another way: country. He performed “Amazing Grace” holding his black cowboy hat and dressed in blue denim jeans paired with a black suit jacket and shirt. Another inauguration fashion star on Twitter was Nikolas Ajagu, the husband of Harris' niece, Meena Harris. Sharp-eyed sneakerheads noted his ultra-rare and pricey Air Dior Jordan 1 shoes. The Dior 1s, a collaboration between Dior and Jordan, debuted last year and retail for $2,000. They're reportedly going for up to $7,000 on some sneaker resell sites. Harris' stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, schooled some of the older folks in her embellished Shetland Miu Miu coat in a pied de poule pattern with a large brown button at the neck and a pointed collar. “To put it quite plainly, over the last four years we’ve been starved for fashion choices from the White House that are thoughtful and intentional for the sake of the greater good," said Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director for Harper’s Bazaar. ____ This story was first published on January 20, 2021. It was updated on January 21, 2021, to correct the fact that Meena Harris is Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, not her sister. Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Thursday expelled a Russian diplomat for allegedly not respecting the country’s virus lockdown rules. An Albanian foreign ministry statement declared Alexey Krivosheev “person non grata,” asking him to leave the country within 72 hours. The ministry said that since April last year there were continuous violations from the diplomat. It said Albanian authorities first contacted the ambassador but the diplomat still persisted in breaking pandemic restrictions. “A repeated challenging of the protective rules and steps on the pandemic, and disregarding of the concern of the Albanian state institutions related to that, cannot be justified and tolerated any more,” the statement said. The ministry did not provide details on the alleged violations, or give the post of the diplomat. Albania has set an overnight curfew, mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoors and social distancing. “We hope that such a decision ... at such a very challenging time for the globe, will be well understood from the Russian side as a necessary step to protect the health and security" of everyone in Albania, the ministry statement added. Albania resumed diplomatic ties with Moscow in 1991, 30 years after the country's then-communist regime severed previously close relations with Russia. The Associated Press
Vital, critical, indispensable, crucial and necessary … all words the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is using to describe the province’s current stay-at-home order. “People ask the question, is it necessary? We're doing really well in Grey-Bruce. Yes, we're doing really well, but it is very necessary,” said Dr. Ian Arra, MOH for the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) during a virtual town hall event hosted by Bruce Power on Wednesday evening. “The Premier said it best, you can look at the regulations and all the complexity of it. But it is simple – just stay home,” Arra said. “When you do this, just remember it's painful but it is saving lives.” Arra is asking the public to look at the current order in a positive light, as it has alleviated the concern of individuals travelling into Grey County from other high-risk, red-zone areas. He said in December the health unit had placed a lot of focus on how individuals from neighbouring communities that were experiencing high COVID case numbers had been moving into the county. “All that planning and communication was not necessary anymore when the province issued the lockdown. It has definitely balanced that equation that would be increasing the risk in our area,” he said. According to Arra, case numbers in recent weeks have remained relatively favourable, despite the health unit seeing a surge in cases following the holidays. “I'm very proud of the community, proud to be part of this community, that the surge was not larger than what it was over the past few weeks,” Arra said, adding that the case numbers have now begun to taper down. “The past week has been averaging around three or four cases per day, which is a success,” he said. As of Jan. 20, there have been 657 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Grey and Bruce counties. Currently, there are 30 active cases and two individuals being hospitalized. According to Arra, early December is believed to have been the peak of the second wave of COVID in Grey-Bruce. However, Arra is asking the public to remain cognizant that the province has been seeing a large number of cases reported every day since the holiday. “We've seen 3,000 cases per day and they're going to translate into higher admission to the hospital, to the ICU, and unfortunately, in deaths,” he said. “People might say, well, in Grey-Bruce we have only two cases in the hospital. But, again, we're not on an island. And our [healthcare] system is built to support universality.” He explained that as the provincial healthcare system continues to be strained, the impacts will trickle down to other regions, adding that the province has already begun transferring patients between hospitals. “We need all of us to stay this course until the vaccine is in enough arms to make this pandemic nonexistent,” he said. “This is not going to end tomorrow. It's going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay the course.” Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
A Calgary father who killed his daughter when he rolled his Jeep while drunk wants his conviction overturned or at least a lighter sentence. Michael Shaun Bomford was convicted of drunk driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm. In September, Bomford was handed a 5½-year sentence for his crimes. In a notice filed with the Alberta Court of Appeal this week, Bomford asked the province's top court to overturn his conviction and either substitute an acquittal or order a new trial. If he is turned down, he wants a lesser sentence because he says the one imposed "was excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances." On Oct. 18, 2016, Bomford's Jeep Liberty was travelling west on McKnight Boulevard between 68th Street and 52nd Street N.E. when it went out of control, fishtailing in the far right lane. Meghan Bomford, 17, died after she was thrown from her father's Jeep. Meghan's best friend, Kelsey Nelson, was also thrown from the vehicle. She survived but suffered a serious brain injury. A number of Good Samaritans stopped to help, including an off-duty firefighter, a paramedic and an ER nurse. Family members credit them with saving Nelson's life. At the time of the crash, Bomford's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit. Accident reconstructionists were able to show the Jeep was travelling more than 30 km/h above the speed limit when the father lost control. Bomford had picked up his daughter and her friend so the girls could go to the police station to get criminal background checks done that would allow them to become junior ringette coaches. While they were en route to the police station, Meghan was texting with her mother. The text messages were important evidence for the prosecution because they showed Bomford was behind the wheel, not Meghan, as defence suggested. But in his notice of appeal, Bomford indicated he will argue the text messages should not have been admitted as evidence. After Bomford was convicted and sentenced, Meghan's family said that with the court process over, they'd finally be able to properly grieve their loss.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation has launched a new program, Safer + Stronger Grants, to provide financial support for organizations addressing and combating gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s a lot of research that shows that gender-based violence does increase in times of disaster and this is something that’s global and Canada of course is no exception to that rule,” said Andrea Gunraj, vice president of public engagement at Canadian Women’s Foundation. “We’ve been seeing that that increase in gender-based violence tends to be because folks might be more isolated, folks might have less access to services, maybe communities are struggling with the disaster response and therefore the response or the services available for gender-based violence are limited.” The Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the grant program back in December after receiving a $19.6 million investment from the Department of Women and Gender Equality (WAGE). The grant will provide organizations with funding for a number of activities and expenses such as crisis intervention, digital resources, staffing, operating cost and COVID-19 prevention. “It’s very open in terms of what organizations could say they need uniquely in their community and the whole idea is we want to make sure that organizations get what they need in this emergency period, to be able to meet those needs of their communities.” With the new grant Canadian Women’s Foundation said through that they will be particularly committed in advancing initiatives in rural, remote and Northern areas which can see increased risk with less available support. “Statistics Canada has found that women in rural areas really do experience the highest rates of violence of intimate partner abuse, and of course some groups within those rural areas experience higher rates as well,” said Gunraj. “We also see that there might be greater barriers for folks who are in rural and remote northern areas, which could be that the shelter is not available for them, if they want to find emergency shelter programs they may not be available in their areas, there may be issues with trying to get to the services because of the distance between and lack of affordable housing options, affordable transportation options,” explained Gunraj. “Resources may be scarce for them, there’s the isolation and the difficulty in leaving a violent situation is going to be more difficult in those areas.” During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic police calls for domestic disturbance increased through March and June. Women’s Shelter Canada reported that 52 percent of 266 shelters surveyed reported seeing clients experiencing more severe forms of violence. In a survey from Statistics Canada, released in April 2020, it showed that 1 in 10 women were very or extremely concerned about the possibility of violence in the home. Family Transition Place (FTP) a local organization that provides services for women and children back in July said at the peak of the first wave they initially saw a decrease in calls for help, but as restrictions lifted they saw numbers begin to rise again. With the second wave of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, Canadian Women’s Foundation says there is higher risk of intimate partner violence and that the emergency grant will help support stretched organizations. Deadlines to apply for the Safer + Stronger Grant are Feb. 1 and 15. For more information on the grant go to www.canadianwomen.org. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19, an employee of a Marine Atlantic vessel flagged by officials this week as a possible risk for spreading the virus to crew members and passengers. The MV Blue Puttees, which operates between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L., was temporarily pulled out of service for contact tracing Wednesday, after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19. The new case, the second Marine Atlantic employee this week to contract the virus, is a man in his 60s in the Central Health region. The Department of Health says the man is isolating and contract tracing is underway. The department also says it's sharing contact tracing information with authorities in Nova Scotia and advising Marine Atlantic. Health officials would not provide details on the new case, instead deferring to the ferry operator. A spokesperson for Marine Atlantic told CBC the man was part of the same shift as the previously infected employee. Marine Atlantic is adding a boat to the route, with the MV Atlantic Vision entering the schedule departing North Sydney early Thursday evening. The spokesperson said the Blue Puttees is still sidelined. "We will continue to monitor this situation and make any additional operational adjustments as required," the spokesperson said in a statement. Officials are asking passengers who travelled on the Blue Puttees to or from North Sydney or Port aux Basques between Dec. 29 and Jan. 16 to arrange COVID-19 testing. With no new recoveries since Wednesday's update, the province has six active cases, with one person in hospital. In all, 384 people have recovered from the virus, and 77,273 people have been tested. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Shelburne Police Services (SPS) has revealed how they plan to enforce the Province’s new emergency declaration and stay-at-home order – ensuring officers won’t be conducting random vehicle or individual stops to check compliance. In a press release given last Thursday (Jan. 14), media relations officer Sgt. Paul Neumann said the local force’s initiatives for enforcing the order will be both “complaint-driven and proactive, with the goal of gaining compliance.” “Those that refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty,” wrote Neumann in the press release. “Enforcement will be aimed at those individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community.” The new stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Jan. 14, requires individuals to remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving for an essential purpose such as the grocery store, pharmacy, accessing health-care services, exercising or essential work. Shelburne Police say that over the past few months the vast majority of cases, where they’ve received a complaint or responded to a call where individuals are in violation, have willingly complied after being educated. “We expect this to remain the same moving forward and we thank those citizens who are doing their part,” said Neumann. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), while requesting Ontarians to “voluntarily comply” with the new order, also announced through a press release on Jan. 15 how they plan to enforce compliancy. The OPP said officers will be enforcing the order by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people. “In the absence of a complaint or other ground, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act,” noted Neumann. SPS and OPP officers will be enforcing the stay-at-home order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA); dispersing tickets to individuals found non-compliant. Fines for failing to comply with the order include $750 and/or $1000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following the order. Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporation. Failure to follow the order can result in prosecution or jail time. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press