Shia LaBeouf’s attorney, Shawn Holley, filed a response on Feb. 5 denying the assault allegations in a lawsuit brought by FKA Twigs.
Shia LaBeouf’s attorney, Shawn Holley, filed a response on Feb. 5 denying the assault allegations in a lawsuit brought by FKA Twigs.
WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
An agreement to delay logging of an old-growth stand of British Columbia forest has given a one-year reprieve to one of Canada's most endangered species. But governments now have to come up with a permanent way to protect the vanishing spotted owl and other endangered species in the province, said Kegan Pepper-Smith of Ecojustice, which has been pushing the federal government on the issue. "We need to reimagine an approach that protects (species) and their habitat with legally enforceable measures." Just a tiny handful of spotted owls remain in the Canadian wild. Some estimates place the remaining population in the forests around Spuzzum in south-central B.C. as low as three. On Thursday, B.C., the federal government and the Spuzzum First Nation announced a deal to hold off logging that watershed for a year while the governments continue working on a recovery plan for the owls. It's part of a larger deal the two governments are developing to help the province preserve biodiversity. "These first pilot projects will strengthen habitat protection for the threatened species which depend on it, such as the Spotted Owl, and help build a systemic approach to protection of biodiversity,” B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said in a release. B.C. has a captive breeding program that now has 28 spotted owls whose offspring will be released into protected habitats. Pepper-Smith called the deal encouraging, but said both Ottawa and the province have a long way to go before the medium-sized, dark brown owl is fully protected. "(Critical) habitat has never been identified," he said. "How can they say they've protected habitat if they've never appropriately defined it?" B.C. claims about 281,000 hectares of protected spotted owl habitat. Pepper-Smith disputes that, saying much of that land is subject to logging. "The B.C. government's definition of protection is by no means sufficient," he said. Pepper-Smith said the one-year harvesting deferral should result in a clear plan. "We would like to see the updated recovery strategy published with a clear identification of the owl's critical habitat and measures in place on how to protect that habitat," he said. Ecojustice would also like to see progress on the so-called Nature Plan between the two governments, with clear identification of the most important habitats. Pepper-Smith points out that B.C. has more endangered species than any other province, adding Thursday's announcement is a good start. "There's some hopeful language," he said. "There's discussion of pilot projects and funding and moving forward on a pan-Canadian approach to transforming species at risk protection and conservation." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
La Ville de Saint-Sauveur a acquis deux terrains par dons écologiques pour créer la réserve naturelle du Mont-Christie. Les travaux débuteront au printemps et les sentiers seront accessibles dès l’été 2021. Un nouveau projet parmi les nombreux autres de la Ville. Ces dons proviennent du promoteur Immo-Mc inc et de Madame Nancy Guillemette qui ont donné chacun une partie de leur terrain. Au total, cela représente 1,6 million de pieds carrés dans le domaine du Mont-Christie, en bas et à l’est de la montagne du même nom. Il s’agit d’un milieu humide et un lac se trouve également au centre. La création de la réserve permettra de préserver ce territoire naturel et d’y faire de l’interprétation. « Il s’agit d’un don écologique, car c’est un milieu humide et il n’est pas possible de toute façon de construire dans ce genre d’endroit », a précisé le maire de la Ville, M. Jacques Gariépy. La Ville profitera donc de ce territoire pour y installer des sentiers d’interprétation de la faune et du milieu naturel. « Dans ce coin, la faune est très diversifiée. Des écologistes vont d’ailleurs travailler avec nous pour développer cette partie. » Des passerelles en bois seront également construites pour que le terrain ne soit pas abimé, mais aussi parce qu’il s’agit d’un milieu humide, donc il y a souvent de l’eau. Comme il s’agit de dons, la Ville a eu moins d’investissements à faire, sauf pour les infrastructures de bois et l’aménagement. Dans le budget 2021, le montant est estimé à 600 000$. En été, les sentiers seront accessibles pour la randonnée pédestre et pour y faire de l’interprétation. En hiver, il sera possible d’y faire de la randonnée pédestre également, mais aussi de la raquette et du ski de fond. « On regarde pour peut-être permettre le fatbike à l’hiver », précise le maire. Il y aura également un belvédère avec une vue sur le lac et le terrain pour y faire de l’interprétation. « Les écoles et les camps de jour pourront également en profiter. Du point de vue académique, c’est très intéressant. » Il y aura deux accès pour entrer dans la réserve : un sur la rue de l’Église et un autre à l’extrémité du chemin Papineau. Des stationnements sont prévus aussi à ces endroits, mais il reste à la Ville d’acquérir ces deux terrains situés au nord et au sud. Selon le maire, il est aussi important de prendre en compte cet enjeu avant de lancer le projet. « Le problème qu’on a dans les sentiers des Pays-d’en-Haut, c’est que les gens se stationnent n’importe où dans les milieux résidentiels et dans les rues, car il n’y a pas assez de stationnements. » La Ville souhaite donc travailler en amont, et ouvrir la réserve lorsque des stationnements auront été prévus à cet effet. Cela fait déjà plusieurs années que la Ville de Saint-Sauveur travaille pour créer cette réserve. « C’est un long processus, autant du point de vue écologique qu’au niveau interne. Mais toutes ces étapes sont maintenant passées et nous sommes prêts à passer à d’autres choses », explique M. Gariépy. Dès le printemps, la Ville entamera l’aménagement des sentiers et des passerelles en bois et travaillera avec des écologistes pour le volet interprétation. Mais la réserve du Mont-Christie n’est pas le seul projet qui prendra forme cette année. En effet, grâce au don écologique de la famille De Volpi, la Ville a acquis un terrain de plus de 3 millions de pieds carrés. Ce dernier est situé près du Lac des Becs-Scies et de la municipalité de Mille-Isles. À cet endroit seront aménagés des sentiers de randonnée pédestre et de vélo qui seront accessibles dès cet été. Certains sont déjà en place, mais il restera à les baliser par la Ville. Dans les autres grands projets de Saint-Sauveur, il y a également l’acquisition du Cap Molson pour y faire des sentiers balisés et y construire un belvédère. « Nous sommes actuellement en procédure d’expropriation. Dans les prochaines semaines ou mois, la procédure devrait être finalisée. On devrait commencer les travaux prochainement. » La Ville souhaite principalement sécuriser les sentiers, comme ils sont déjà beaucoup utilisés. Les sentiers du sommet de la Marquise seront aussi accessibles dès cet été. Il reste à la Ville d’acquérir un terrain pour en faire un stationnement à l’entrée sud des sentiers pour empêcher les gens de se stationner dans les rues. Selon M. Gariépy, ces projets aboutissent presque tous maintenant, mais la Ville travaillait sur eux depuis des années. « Les projets étaient liés à des échéanciers écologiques, avec le ministère de l’Environnement notamment. Par exemple, pour les sentiers du Mont-Christie, on attendait des autorisations de leur part qu’on a eues. » Voyant l’engouement pour le plein air cette année en raison de la pandémie, ces projets s’inscrivent parfaitement dans le mouvement. « On n’avait pas prévu la COVID-19 il y a deux ou trois ans lorsqu’on avait commencé ces projets, mais la concrétisation de ces derniers tombe pile avec ce besoin. » Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
(CBC - image credit) The provincial government is on the hook to pay 10 defence lawyers for their work defending 10 correctional officers charged in the death of Jonathan Henoche. CBC News has confirmed the province lost an arbitration hearing against the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, the public sector union representing the officers. A decision was sent to all parties on Thursday morning. NAPE notified the correctional officers via email, enclosing a snippet of the ruling, in which arbitrator James Oakley wrote, "The employer is required by Section 36 [of the officers' collective agreement] to pay legal fees incurred by the grievors until such time as there is a determination by the facts or the courts that the grievors have been deemed to have performed in a negligent manner." Section 36 deals with who pays legal fees when a person is charged or sued while acting in their role as a correctional officer. It says the province is responsible except in cases where officers are deemed negligent by "facts or the courts." Seven officers are charged with negligence causing death, and three are charged with manslaughter in the death of inmate Jonathan Henoche on Nov. 6, 2019. Henoche was facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Regula Schule, 88. He died after what sources told CBC News was an altercation with officers at Her Majesty's Penitentiary. Sources have told CBC News Henoche was involved in a physical altercation with officers in his cell. He was taken to the segregation unit and later died. His death was ruled a homicide by the province's chief medical examiner. The 10 officers' first court appearance was Feb. 11, when defence lawyers said they didn't have enough time to review all the documents handed over by the prosecution, and a second date was set for March 11. No facts have been proven by the court, but the province had refused to pay the officers' legal fees, while saying it was abiding by its interpretation of the collective agreement. NAPE disagreed, and filed a grievance. The hearing was held on Feb. 19. CBC News has yet to obtain a full copy of Oakley's decision. NAPE declined comment Thursday afternoon. Messages to representatives of the provincial government were not immediately returned. This story will be updated if the Department of Justice and Public Safety responds to a request for comment. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada is launching an investigation and reviewing its practices after two returning travellers were allegedly sexually assaulted during their mandatory quarantine periods. A spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said allegations of assaults reported in the media this week are "really concerning." Cole Davidson said the public health agency would review its own procedures as well as those of its service providers to ensure the safety of travellers returning to the country. The response follows reports that a quarantine screening officer as well as a returning traveller have been charged in separate sexual assault cases that allegedly occurred last week. The Opposition Conservatives immediately demanded a suspension of the obligation for travellers to quarantine in hotels until better safety measures are in place, as well as an end to the use of security guards, who they say haven't been properly evaluated, to check on people quarantining at home. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says he doesn't necessarily believe the quarantine measures need to be suspended, but he wants to see improvements to ensure the safety of travellers under quarantine. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba New Democrats will meet this weekend and may debate everything from hiking the minimum wage to stopping pipelines to running nicer election ads. The official Opposition party is to hear from delegates online at a policy convention Saturday. Among the resolutions being put forward by local constituency groups is one that calls for increasing the minimum wage to a level that could exceed $15 an hour. Another resolution calls on the party to push the federal and provincial governments to oppose any new pipelines, fracking or extraction projects. And another calls on the party to avoid negative personal attacks in election campaigns. In the 2019 election, the NDP ran ads with actors who appeared to call Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister an "ass," although the ending of the word was drowned out by traffic noise. "The Manitoba NDP will not engage in personally denigrating messaging during election campaigns," reads the resolution from the party's Interlake-Gimli constituency association. It says negative messaging must be avoided because it hurts the party's integrity, detracts from the party's platform and "because NDP election campaigns should not have to feel shame for the party's messaging." It's not clear how many resolutions will be debated this weekend. Because of time limits at each convention, only a small amount of the dozens of resolutions get discussed before time runs out. Even resolutions that get approved are not guaranteed to be adopted by the party if it forms government. Former NDP Premier Gary Doer never enacted convention resolutions that called for a ban on replacement workers during labour disputes, for example. On the minimum wage, a resolution put forward this year on behalf of some two-dozen constituency associations calls for a living wage that "may exceed $15 an hour when the NDP forms government." On energy projects, a resolution calls for an end to new pipelines, fracking and extraction projects in order to respect Indigenous land and to move Canada away from fossil fuels. Some resolutions call for aid during the COVID-19 pandemic — more health-care staff, more supports for small businesses and a ban on tenant evictions. Others call for expanded social programs — a cap on post-secondary tuition tied to inflation, no-fare transit in Winnipeg and wider medicare coverage for things like dental work and eye care. The weekend meeting is the second part of a NDP convention that started last month, when delegates gave Wab Kinew 93 per cent support in a leadership review. Recent opinion polls have suggested the party has grown in popularity. One survey in December from Probe Research Inc. suggested NDP support had surpassed that of the governing Tories for the first time in more than four years. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb 25, 2021. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) It's a mixed bag of weather for parts of the province over the next couple of days. Snow earlier Thursday in eastern Newfoundland has now turned to rain, and the St. John's metro area will see the same switchover Thursday evening. Ice pellets are possible for that region, too. In total, expect 5 to 10 centimetres of snow for eastern part of the island, 10 to 15 centimetres through central and up to 5 centimetres for the Northern Peninsula. On Friday, snow squalls are expected in parts of the province. Port aux Basques to Gros Morne will see a smattering of accumulation, with upwards of 10 centimetres in some of the more persistent squalls on the west coast. The Avalon peninsula will see its own squalls closer to Friday evening. That, combined with winds from 40 to 60 km/hr, will bring near zero visibility at times. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Twitter is branching out from advertising to find more ways to make money — both for itself and for its most prolific users, whether those are businesses, celebrities or regular people. In an investor presentation Thursday, the social media company announced a new feature called “Super Follows,” which will let users charge for extra, exclusive material not shown to their regular followers. This can include subscriber-only newsletters, videos, deals and discounts. Users would pay a monthly subscription fee to access the extra content. Twitter users — and the company's investors — have long been asking it to launch a subscription-based model. This as a growing number of internet creators and influencers use tools like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans to make money from their online popularity. The subscriptions will also allow Twitter to tap into a broader range of revenue sources in a world where online advertising is dominated by a Facebook-Google duopoly. Twitter did not detail what percentage of the revenue it would share with celebrities and others who sign up paying subscribers. “Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves," the company said in a statement. Super Follows is not available yet but Twitter says it will have “more to share" in the coming months. Another coming product, “Revue,” will let people publish paid or free newsletters to their audience. There's also “Twitter Spaces,” a Clubhouse competitor that lets users participate in audio chats. It is currently in private beta testing, which means it's not yet available to the general Twitter audience. The San Francisco-based company also said its revenue goal for 2023 is more than $7.5 billion, more than double its 2020 revenue of $3.7 billion. Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
(Ed Hunter/CBC - image credit) New Brunswick's child and youth advocate says he's cautiously optimistic after the province announced it's five-year plan to tackle mental health and addictions in the province. Earlier this week, the province announced a provincial treatment centre for youth would be open by 2024. Such a centre has been a priority for successive governments, both Liberal and Progressive Conservative, and a centre was planned for Campbellton. Concerns about the location and staffing led the Blaine Higgs government to move the centre to Moncton. Child and youth advocate Norm Bosse said he was happy to see the plan released but hopes the treatment centre can open sooner. "The Addiction and Mental Health Action Plan released by Minister Shepherd this week is a welcome sight, that's for sure," said Bosse. "I know she said 2024, but let's hope that it's built before then." Going beyond centre of excellence The new centre in Moncton has been trumpeted as a centre of excellence for youth mental health and addictions services. But Bosse said treating youth mental health and addiction issues can't stop at the centre of excellence. A network of excellence is needed, he said This would allow young people to be treated for more moderate issues in their communities, with more serious cases being reserved for the Moncton centre. He cited Saint John's Access Open Minds as an example and said treating youth in their own communities is key to getting them better, faster. "Youth can go there, they can talk to a counsellor, if they need assistance, they can certainly get it," said Bosse. "It's what we call treating the situation at the right place at the right time and not waiting for months and months to get in to see either psychologists or psychiatrists. Those are what make a difference sometimes so that the situations of mental health don't escalate to the point where they need tertiary care" Bosse said the data is too fresh to draw any permanent conclusions, but anecdotally, he said, youth have had a hard time during the pandemic. "What we're hearing and receiving from calls for assistance in our office is that children are suffering, there's depression and there's also risk of suicide," said Bosse. "I've not heard of one case of youth dying by suicide during this pandemic, but the the elements are all there to create those situations."
OTTAWA — Canada's top court has decided against hearing a pair of appeals brought to it by Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and a number of cable companies seeking to overturn a CRTC decision that lowered the wholesale rates those companies charge smaller competitors. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeals is a victory for Canada's independent internet service providers and may lead to lower internet prices for consumers. The independent ISPs compete with bigger internet network owners, such as Bell and Rogers, and say lower wholesale rates would let them cut retail prices The Federal Court of Appeal in September had dismissed the appeals. Thursday's decision means the ball is back in the court of the CRTC, which has not yet implemented the new prices and is instead reviewing its decision, though the federal government has indicated it could step in at some point if it thinks the arms-length regulator doesn't strike the right balance. As is usual, the Supreme Court didn't give a reason for its dismissal. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B) The Canadian Press
MILAN — Miuccia Prada has adapted to the digital runway and isn’t ready to give up its lessons when the pandemic is over. Prada showed her first fall-winter collaboration with Raf Simons on Thursday, the camera following models as they traverse architectural spaces of marble floors and walls clad with faux fur. It was not the usual parade of looks seen from a fixed position, but the camera allowed an intimacy with the collection and a closer look at details, suggesting repetitions to consider and new angles that might have gone unnoticed in a packed show room. While a runway show fades with the lights on the last look, the digital presentation requires another step: Picking the details that “create an atmosphere,” Prada said in a streamed conversation after the digital show. “Of course, we can go back to reality,” she said, referring to the post-pandemic world. “But ... this shouldn’t be lost. It was much more effort but much more interesting. Probably we will have to do both.” Digital shows have become hard to ignore even for media accustomed to the runway bustle. Collections coming out during this second pandemic year, projecting hopes of renewed normality into the next cold weather season, by and large are as ambitious as during the pre-pandemic era, demanding attention. The Prada-Simons collection was a layered affair, with graphic prints on body-hugging separates, faux fur wraps, sequined dresses and naïve patterned knits as inserts on dresses and jackets. Beyond the obvious suit, the straightforward jacket, there was a surprise, a rich geometric pattern peeking out or warming, furry linings. The women’s collection continued the body-hugging comfort layer of long johns from menswear, as well as leather gloves fitted with zipped pouches. Giorgio Armani has scaled back the number of offerings, a move he discussed last April in a letter to Women’s Wear Daily, where he outlined how he thought the industry needs to slow down and rescale so customers “perceive its true importance and value.” Armani staged a combined men’s and women’s show for Emporio Armani, which was filmed in his show room with models traversing a curved runway of upbeat colours that were splashed in the collection as accents of optimism against neutrals. The Emporio collection projects beyond the current regime of virus restrictions to a time when one can hope to be more regularly out and about, but with softness. To ease men back in, Emporio’s wool suits mimicked knitwear but never gave in to full leisure wear. Women will have cozy knitwear tucked into trousers or with shorts for day, and satiny dresses with ribboning detail for a return to evenings out. Evening wear was full-on sparkle, both for him and for her. Armani insisted on real shoes -- no more sneakers -- with boots for men and low-heeled shoes or stocking boots for women. Moschino’s Jeremy Scott maintained his usual playfulness, casting top models, actresses and a burlesque star that might have been front-row guests in another period to populate his Moschino digital show. Scott directed the Moschino society woman on a mashup tour from the countryside to a 5th Avenue shopping spree and a night out at the opera. Hailey Bieber appeared in a double-breasted pinstripe suit with shorts and a tiny hat, carrying a Moschino Market newspaper. Amber Valletta was caught on a shopping safari in a faux golden crocodile suit, replete with lizard tail. Miranda Kerr frolicked in a bucolic cinched-waist dress with a blue sky print over a full skirt featuring cows at pasture. Dita Von Teese finished as the queen of hearts, a heart cutout on the back of the dress baring her behind, beneath an old movie-style title: The End. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Canada's Auditor General Karen Hogan on Thursday delivered her 2021 report, including five performance audit reports to the House of Commons. Hogan's report found that Canada's ship building strategy was slow to deliver combat and non-combat ships.
Businesses in Strathmore could start paying different licensing fees, depending on their size or other characteristics. A motion passed during the on Feb. 17 town council meeting directs town administration to explore whether Strathmore could adopt an approach used in other municipalities, where different license fees are charged depending on business size. Under the town’s current business license bylaw, passed in 2010, general business licenses cost $100 for residential businesses and $200 for non-residential businesses. Under this model, a large “big box” retailer pays the same fee as a small downtown storefront. Strathmore town Councillor Jason Montgomery said Canmore uses a tiered structure, where different businesses pay different amounts, depending on certain variables. In Canmore, license fees vary by square footage (for retail, commercial, wholesale and industrial businesses), by number of rooms (for hotels) and by seating (for restaurants), among other business-specific classes. Chestermere also employs a tiered approach for home-based businesses. It differentiates home businesses into two classes based on whether clients or customers visit, with a major home business (where customers visit) is charged $100 annually for a business license, compared to $50 for a minor home business (where customers do not visit). The intent of the possible change would not be to take in more revenue from business license fees overall, but rather to ease fees on smaller businesses that use less resources than larger ones, said Montgomery. Adopting the change would make the system fairer among different sized businesses in the community, said Mayor Pat Fule. Councillor Denise Peterson also spoke in support of the motion. “I think our community has grown to the point that it’s time for a review of how we operate,” she said. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
TORONTO — Ontario had no updated plan for dealing with a pandemic when COVID-19 began cutting a deadly swath through the province last spring, a public commission was told. In testimony before the panel released on Thursday, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, denied responsibility for the shortcoming. The province had developed a pandemic response plan in 2006 that was updated in 2013, but the process stalled after work started on a "Ready and Resilient" blueprint in 2016. "Do you have any knowledge about the "Ready and Resilient" plan and why it wasn't completed in four years before COVID?" commission co-counsel John Callaghan asked. "The process was in place, and they were doing reviews on it," Williams answered. "Why was it not done?" "Because it was not completed." The commission is delving into the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Ontario's long-term care homes. To date, coronavirus disease has killed 3,753 residents and 11 staff members. Williams said pandemic preparation drifted down the priority list because things had been relatively quiet for several years. Historically, he said, planning focused on influenza A, a situation that hadn't changed as late as 2019 when the World Health Organization said the world is not ready for a pandemic. "For seven years, you never felt the need to increase your pandemic plan, your influenza pandemic plan?" Callaghan asked. "We did quality work back in 2006," Williams said. "You are saying, in your opinion, it was your decision not to upgrade the 2013 plan?" "No, I was not asked to update the plan." Williams said he "took flak" over pushing more robust preparation for a major infectious disease outbreak because others saw the exercise as wasting time and resources for something that would never occur. "It is hard to keep that prevention thing always at the front table because the tyranny of the urgent always pushes things aside," Williams said. "It was to me disappointing to find the lack of depth and breadth of infection prevention and control expertise that was available out there." Williams said he was shocked to discover the poor situation at long-term care homes when it came to masks and other personal protective equipment. The purpose of the provincial stockpile, he said, was to equip front-line doctors and their offices, not long-term care facilities. Nursing homes, he said, were supposed to have their own supplies able to last between four and seven weeks. However, when the pandemic hit in earnest, he learned most of the protective equipment was made in China and global demand had outstripped supply. "That was startling and shocking to me that that had happened in there because it is something that I thought we had in-house; anyways in North America at least," he said. Constant staff turnover of key personnel in nursing homes hampered efforts to ensure adequate infection prevention controls were in place, he said. "The changeover was at times disconcerting," he said. Callaghan called it "vexing" the commission had received 217,000 pages of documents from Williams only in the week before he testified. The co-counsel also noted Williams had provided 2,000 pages of his redacted notes. New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath said Williams' testimony made it "astoundingly clear" the government was trying to hide its response to COVID-19 in nursing homes. “The Ford government and Dr. Williams are taking great pains to hide, bury and cover up how they dealt with COVID-19 in long-term care homes,” Horwath said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
La campagne de sociofinancement pour les rénovations du Bar à Pitons bat son plein. En moins d’un mois, plus de 8000 $ ont été amassés, sur un objectif de 30 000 $, afin de permettre l’agrandissement de ce lieu culturel et d’ainsi assurer sa survie. Avec ces rénovations, l’établissement pourra revoir sa capacité d’accueil à la hausse et bonifier son offre d’activités. C’est la Coopérative de Solidarité V.E.R.T.E qui est responsable du bar et qui a mis en place la campagne de sociofinancement appelée Pour l’amour du Bar à Pitons. Selon Christine Rivest-Hénault, coordonnatrice générale de la coopérative, le Bar à Pitons est devenu, au fil des années, un endroit unique pour la scène émergente artistique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. « La signature du Bar à Pitons, c’est que tout le monde peut être une vedette. Ils peuvent tous venir chanter ou lire leurs textes. On accueille aussi beaucoup de groupes émergents. On a une offre qui, je pense, est importante pour la région culturellement », explique-t-elle, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Alors que les gestionnaires avaient pris la décision, en février 2020, de concentrer leurs activités sur le Bar à Pitons et de fermer l’auberge, ils ont été frappés de plein fouet par la pandémie. Le bar a dû fermer ses portes tout l’hiver, avant de rouvrir quelques mois à l’été. La terrasse extérieure a permis la tenue de certaines activités. Cet automne, la coopérative a dû faire face à la réalité. Les normes sanitaires ne permettent pas au bar d’ouvrir ses portes à l’hiver. Les gestionnaires devaient donc décider de le laisser fermé tout l’hiver ou d’amorcer des rénovations qui permettraient au lieu d’être adapté aux règles sanitaires. « Ça faisait déjà deux ans que nous pensions à ces rénovations et, comme tout le monde, nous ne savons pas combien de temps nous serons dans cette pandémie. Nous nous sommes donc lancés. Nous savons qu’il y a plein de gens qui nous aiment, qui tiennent au Bar à Pitons. Nous avons décidé de prendre le pari que tous ces gens-là, qui voient que notre mission est importante, allaient nous aider », se réjouit-elle. Déjà, les rénovations sont amorcées. La coordonnatrice est fière du montant amassé jusqu’à maintenant et reconnaît que son objectif est ambitieux. L’important pour elle est d’amasser le plus de sous possible, pour que la relance de l’établissement soit le plus facile possible, à la réouverture. Jadis un lieu touristique Le Bar à Pitons a bien changé avec les années. Lorsque la coopérative a acheté la Maison Price, où se trouve le Bar à Pitons, le but était de transformer cette maison en auberge. Au sous-sol, une salle de réunion avait été aménagée, surtout pour les visiteurs. « C’est comme ça qu’est né le Bar à Pitons, une toute petite salle principalement pour les utilisateurs de l’auberge. Rapidement, les gens qui habitent autour se sont approprié le lieu », souligne la coordonnatrice générale. C’est cet engouement qui a motivé les gestionnaires à faire des rénovations en 2015 et à mettre sur pied le Bar à Pitons. Le bar a eu le droit à un léger agrandissement, mais plusieurs espaces étaient toujours réservés à l’auberge. En 2018, l’auberge a commencé à perdre de la clientèle, tandis que le Bar à Pitons lui, en gagnait. C’est ce qui a amené les gestionnaires à fermer l’auberge, en février 2020, pour de bon et se concentrer sur le lieu culturel. « C’était rendu le Bar à Pitons qui faisait vivre l’entreprise. Notre programmation culturelle était de plus en plus riche, aimée et fréquentée, donc nous avons concentré nos activités là-dessus puisque c’est ce qui fonctionne et ce qui attire les gens », continue Mme Rivest-Hénault. La mission de l’établissement alors touristique a officiellement changé pour devenir plus culturelle. Tous les intéressés à participer à la campagne peuvent se rendre sur le site de la coopérative pour faire un don. Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
WASHINGTON — Antony Blinken will meet virtually Friday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau in a day of online diplomacy for the U.S. secretary of state. Blinken will meet with Trudeau, Garneau and other members of the federal cabinet as part of a "virtual trip" to Canada and Mexico, Blinken's first bilateral video conferences since taking office. The visit follows up on Trudeau's own virtual summit this week with U.S. President Joe Biden, which produced a "road map" for plans to collaborate on issues like climate change, the economy and COVID-19. The pandemic made an in-person visit impossible, said Julie Chung, the acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. "We decided to do this virtually instead of waiting for the time when it would be safer to travel," Chung said. "This is the new world we live in through virtual platforms, but we thought it was really important to engage with both Canada and Mexico early on." Agenda items for the two "neighbours, friends and allies" also include "defending human rights in the Western Hemisphere and around the world, and bolstering our shared defence and security," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price. That means the conversations will likely include the plight of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians who have spent the last two years in custody in China. Spavor and Kovrig — the "two Michaels," as they are known in Canada — were swept up in the weeks that followed Canada's arrest in December 2018 of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei and daughter of the company's founder. Meng is facing extradition to the U.S., where she has been charged with violating sanctions against Iran — a case some observers believe is sure to keep the two Michaels behind bars indefinitely. On Tuesday, Biden vowed to work with Canada to secure their release, but offered no clues as to what specifically the U.S. is prepared to do. Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi would only say the U.S. will "continue to seek extradition" of Meng, who is under house arrest in Vancouver and due back in court Monday. Earlier this month, Canada, the U.S. and a coalition of 56 other countries collectively denounced the state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes. "We've been consistently for the past year talking about the two Michaels … and calling for Beijing to release these two individuals and stop the arbitrary detention," Chung said. "Human beings should not be used as pawns. And we stand by Canada, our strong friend and partner, in the issues of arbitrary detention and for the release of the two Canadian citizens." The followup work after Tuesday's bilateral meetings continued this week in other departments as well. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson spoke Wednesday with John Kerry, Biden's special envoy on climate, to shore up plans for more stringent emissions-reduction targets in advance of a climate summit in April. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra committed to more stringent vehicle pollution standards to push both countries toward a zero-emissions future on roadways throughout the continent. They are also collaborating on new standards for aviation and for seagoing vessels, as well as efforts to develop new clean-tech solutions with an eye toward the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Blinken is also scheduled to meet with a group of Canadian students, as well as with Mexico's foreign secretary and secretary of the economy during a "visit" to a port of entry facility along the southern U.S. border. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que le port du masque d'intervention pédiatrique sera rendu obligatoire en tout temps pour les élèves de la 1ère à la 6e année qui fréquentent un établissement scolaire situé en zone rouge. À Laval, cette mesure sera mise en place dès le 8 mars, soit au même moment que pour tous les autres élèves de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal. La livraison de ces masques vers les centres de services scolaires et les établissements d'enseignement privés est déjà en cours. Cette mesure s'appliquera plutôt à compter du 15 mars pour les autres territoires en zone rouge en raison des délais de livraison. Les élèves devront tout de même porter un couvre-visage en tissu partout dans les établissements scolaires pendant cette période. Rappelons que le port du couvre-visage était déjà obligatoire en tout temps pour les élèves des 5e et 6e années. L'ajustement se fait plutôt auprès des niveaux plus jeunes qui devaient seulement porter le couvre-visage dans les aires communes, lors des déplacements et dans le transport scolaire. Les régions situées en zone orange pourront continuer de procéder de cette façon. L'opération de vaccination de masse a débuté plus tôt jeudi sur le territoire lavallois. Elle se déroule simultanément avec le lancement de la prise de rendez-vous pour obtenir une première dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. Selon Christian Dubé, ministre de la Santé, plus de 70 000 rendez-vous avaient déjà été confirmés dans la province moins de quatre heures après l'ouverture de la plateforme web. En conférence de presse, M. Dubé s'est d'ailleurs dit ouvert à l'idée de créer un «passeport de vaccination» qui pourrait notamment permettre aux personnes vaccinées d'accéder à certains lieux ou événements. «Tous les outils qu'on va pouvoir utiliser comme mesures sanitaires pour moi sont importants, précise-t-il. Pour moi, ça en est un, mais il faut le mettre en place. Il faut être capable de s'assurer des pratiques, mais c'est sûr que nous sommes en train de regarder ça.» Le ministre de la Santé a aussi confirmé que le Québec devrait recevoir 700 000 doses des vaccins de Pfizer-BioNTech et de Moderna d'ici la fin du mois de mars. Avec un bilan de 24 367 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 113 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès augmente à 868 depuis le début de la pandémie. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 22 718 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 781 cas actifs (+57) confirmés sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 31 sont hospitalisées, dont 10 aux soins intensifs. 15 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Trois résidence privée pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 285 330 cas et 10 361 décès. Au total, 633 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 122 aux soins intensifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The Town of Strathmore will undergo a rebranding, through which a new logo and tagline will be developed for the town. Over the past three years, council has been working on a new strategic vision for Strathmore to guide economic development and marketing, among other areas. But according to town administration, Strathmore’s current brand, which includes design elements (e.g. its logo) and its tagline, do not fit this vision. While the current logo works for larger signage, it reportedly is difficult to use or reproduce in many digital or print applications. On Feb. 17, town council approved a plan to proceed with a new rebranding initiative strategy for Strathmore. The rebranding will be performed in-house, rather than with the help of external consultants, which will help to lower the cost of the project, explained Geoff Person, the town’s communication manager. “I think it’s something that we can do for a really affordable price,” he said, adding that $10,000 allocated to the project this year will be enough to complete it. “Oftentimes, when you have a consultant-led rebranding initiative, a lot of money is spent in the community engagement portion,” he said. “So, we really benefit from the fact council has already done a lot of those strategic visioning processes as a group already.” The project will help achieve a council-led vision, allowing the town to bring in stakeholder groups, have them engage with the community and bring ideas forward, and then return to council to ensure it matches council’s vision, explained Person. While this process included many stakeholders, additional groups should be included, namely representatives of the Strathmore Farmers’ Market and Bow Valley College, said Councillor Lorraine Bauer. Councillor Jason Montgomery inquired whether the town would delay some of the necessary physical rebranding, referring to such things as signs and logos on vehicles, to help save costs. But compared to other municipalities, Strathmore has a less obvious branded presence, said Person. “Right now, not a lot of external signage, outside of our vehicles, has our current logo on it,” he said. “This means that the town can replace many of its branded elements when replacement is needed.” Some aspects will need more immediate attention. The town’s digital highway sign is actually “two brands old,” so the town will be looking to replace it over the next three to five years. The town will research a plan to replace its Welcome to Strathmore signs this year, to deliver a replacement plan sometime in 2022. Currently, the most visible parts of the town’s brand are digital, such as on websites and social media, said Person. “In that regard, a rebranding can actually be really affordable for us right now, because we can sidestep a lot of the physical costs, focus on the digital ones and really change our identity that way.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Wheatland County voted not to support the draft of a regional planning document that, if adopted, could shape development across 10 municipalities in the Calgary region into the future. The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) was established by regulation passed by the NDP-led provincial government in 2017 to promote the long-term sustainability of the region around Calgary. It is composed of 10 member municipalities, including Strathmore and (a portion of) Wheatland County. A requirement of the CMRB is the creation of a regional planning document to establish overarching planning strategies for the region, relating to such things as land use, infrastructure investment and service delivery. This document, called the CMRB Growth and Servicing Plan, is due to be submitted to the province by March 1. While a draft growth and servicing plan has been developed by an external consultant, HDR Calthorpe, a planning consulting firm, it has not yet been finalized. As such, the CMRB is requesting an extension of this deadline to June 1, but it has not yet publicly received a response from the province. HDR Calthorpe has been presenting an overview of the draft CMRB Growth and Servicing Plan to member municipalities. This plan was presented to Strathmore town council during its Feb. 10 committee of the whole meeting and to Wheatland County council during its Feb. 16 regular meeting. Following the Feb. 16 presentation, Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link raised several questions about the impacts of the proposed CMRB Growth and Servicing Plan on Wheatland County. An aspect of the draft regional growth plan could affect Wheatland County as it prohibits employment areas from rural areas, outside of hamlets and “joint planning areas” (of which there are three: between Calgary and Chestermere, Calgary and Airdrie, and Okotoks and High River). The plan thus aspires to shut down rural growth and mandate that most of the growth in the Calgary metropolitan region be directed into urban municipalities, said Link. “This entire plan is built on a basic premise that specific types of development are only appropriate in certain municipalities, and that’s really being delineated by virtue of whether a municipality is considered urban or rural – and that doesn’t capture the reality of Alberta,” said Link. “Our rural neighbours in the CMRB have demonstrated that effective, sustainable and efficient servicing can happen for industrial or commercial developments outside of urban centres.” With challenges in the oil and gas sector, Wheatland County has seen significant reductions to its linear tax assessment revenue. In response, its council has been looking to attract investment, diversify and maintain the sustainability of the municipality, said Link. But this new restriction could hinder long-term investment attraction. “This growth plan certainly constrains, if not completely sterilizes, our ability to (attract investment).” The CMRB draft growth and servicing plan honours existing area structure plans (ASP), planning documents for major developments (e.g. residential communities, industrial parks), passed by member municipalities. But if significant amendments to an ASP are required, approval from the CMRB will be required. Under the CMRB regulation, if a decision is to be made by a vote, it must be supported by at least two thirds of the representatives from member municipalities with at least two thirds of the population in the Calgary metropolitan region. As Calgary accounts for about 90 per cent of the Calgary metropolitan region’s total population, this essentially gives the City of Calgary veto power. This voting structure of the CMRB, together with the growth plan, will move decisions away from local democratic governments to a model where one municipality exercises authority over all others, said Link. “That voting structure is essentially based on the notion that authority is given due to the population of that certain municipality, and ignores the responsibility we as rural municipalities have for stewarding large masses of land and our local communities.” This dynamic could affect Wheatland County directly, which has an approved ASP for its West Highway 1 industrial park which currently requires developers to provide self-servicing for wastewater and stormwater. But as the county is considering providing servicing to the area, this would likely constitute a significant change, requiring CMRB approval, and may not be seen as aligned with the new plan. “I don’t think anybody could have anticipated that our local autonomy would be stripped, and another municipality would be making the decisions on those amendments,” said Link. Link also questioned whether public engagement for the growth and servicing plan was sufficient. “The public was only asked to comment on high-level concepts,” she said. “They were never given the opportunity to comment on policy that would give them an understanding of how the plan would impact them.” There was little to no participation by Wheatland County residents, she added. Later in the meeting, Wheatland County council passed unanimously a multi-part motion to not support the draft regional growth plan, stating it is concerned significant portions of the growth plan have not been submitted as required. “We just don’t feel that we can in good conscience support the growth plan as it stands with the impacts of the policy that it contains,” said Link. “It is potentially extremely detrimental to economic growth in Alberta.” The contract between CMRB and HDR Calthorpe stipulates the submission of the regional growth plan, as well as a regional servicing plan and a regional evaluation framework, the motion states. But Wheatland County is “greatly concerned” none of this work has been “satisfactorily completed,” despite the county contributing over $165,000 worth of staff and elected officials’ time over the past 13 months towards the project, it reads. As a result, county council is requesting an analysis of the time and money spent by all member municipalities as contributions toward the work of the consultant for review and discussion at the next CMRB board meeting. An accounting of all project costs to date and project work submitted should also be provided, according to the motion. The final part of the motion states the CMRB board should review the draft submissions while considering the provincial mandate of red tape reduction and other provincial economic strategies. An updated growth and servicing plan will be presented to the CMRB during its next meeting, on Feb. 26. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
(Colleen Connors/CBC - image credit) Business owners across the province are urging the chief medical officer of health to consider a regional reopening of the province, and lift the Alert Level 5 lockdown for all areas outside of the metro St. John's region. The Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce — which represents 300 businesses — posted its letter to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald publicly Wednesday night, asking for areas outside the Northeast Avalon to be moved into Alert Level 3. The letter comes just ahead of Fitzgerald's Friday deadline for an update on a two-week provincial lockdown first announced on Feb. 13. While most businesses made it through last spring's lockdown, the chamber's chair told CBC News, they never fully recovered and the second wave of restrictions has proved far rougher than the first. The chamber letter is a result of a flood of those concerns. "The problem we're hearing from our members is that, this is bad this time. And they don't know if they're going to make it through," said Sheldon Handcock. Gander itself has taken a hard hit in the last year, as the core industry in the town — aviation — has been pummelled by the pandemic, with its airport losing Air Canada entirely in January. Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Sheldon Handcock, seen here during a Zoom interview with CBC, says he hopes Dr. Janice Fitzgerald takes a regional approach to reopening businesses. As of Thursday, only eight of the 335 active cases are outside the Eastern Health region, four of them in central Newfoundland. "Our numbers are low. We know that the threat is still there, we know the virus can move rapidly, but we would like to have the island assessed more granularly," Handcock said, pointing to New Brunswick as a prime example where public health officials have shuffled various regions of its province in and out of alert stages in the last few months. Under provincial guidelines, Alert Level 3 allows for retail stores and restaurants to reopen with restrictions. So too can personal care services such as hair salons, barber shops and estheticians, although other segments of society, like fitness centres and movie theatres, remain closed. 'If I do not work, I don't make any money' Tash Noble, the owner of Tash's Studio in Corner Brook, agrees with Handcock's points. "Coronavirus is a very serious virus, but if it's not here in this area, we should start alleviating some of the restrictions," she told CBC News on Thursday. Noble said while some businesses can pivot to online sales or curbside pickup, hair, nail and waxing services obviously cannot. Business owners outside St. John's are hoping they will get the go ahead to flip their signs to 'Open.' "If I do not work, I don't make any money," she said. "We're still recovering from last year ... Bills still keep coming out. They shut down our business, but Newfoundland Power doesn't shut down, the rent doesn't shut down." In an update on Thursday, the provincial government announced the new extended deadline of March 11 for applicants to apply for financial help under the small business assistance program. So far, 3,130 applications have been approved. A safe reopening The current lockdown in Newfoundland and Labrador involves a particularly contagious variant of the coronavirus — with confirmation of the B117 variant spurring public health to move all of the province to Alert Level 5 — and Handcock commended Fitzgerald's actions thus far, calling her "a rock star." But he said he hopes she is looking at a different reopening from last spring, when the entire province moved in lockstep into freer forms of public life, although whatever reopening looks like Handcock said needed to keep public health top of mind. "If there can be safe way that business can open and the economy can resume, that's what we're hoping for," he said, looking toward Friday's announcement, about which no hints thus far have been given, with Fitzgerald only saying any reopening with the variant in play will involve limited personal interactions. Adding to the chamber of commerce's economic argument, Handcock said, is a medical one: all regional health authorities have put off routine hospital appointments, and he worried about the possibility of backlogs like those seen last spring. Those could be avoided, he said, in at least some areas of the province if there was a regional re-opening. "People need bloodwork, people need to have certain surgeries, people need to get these appointments, and it's a tough time," he said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador