Tributes, performances galore at "Premio Lo Nuestro" awards; Kamala Harris' stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, appears on Proenza Schouler runway for NYFW; Dolly Parton asks Tennessee not to put her statue at Capitol. (Feb. 19)
Tributes, performances galore at "Premio Lo Nuestro" awards; Kamala Harris' stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, appears on Proenza Schouler runway for NYFW; Dolly Parton asks Tennessee not to put her statue at Capitol. (Feb. 19)
China's medical products regulator said on Thursday that it had approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for public use, raising the number of domestically produced vaccines that can be used in China to four. The two newly cleared vaccines are made by CanSino Biologics Inc (CanSinoBIO) and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech approved earlier this month, and another from Sinopharm's Beijing unit approved last year.
Just over two weeks after his poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent in Siberia, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny began to respond to the words of his wife Yulia and wake from a drug-induced coma. In the months that followed, Navalny withdrew to a remote corner of the Black Forest. Reuters spoke to more than a dozen people who visited Navalny or communicated with him during his almost five months in Germany.
Starboard, which owns a 7.7% stake in ACI, had urged the company to hire advisers and consider a sale in December, two months after calling it an "attractive" takeover candidate. M&A activity in the payments sector has accelerated over the last few years as companies need scale against the backdrop of increasing complexity and technology requirements for e-commerce.
SAINT-LÉONARD-D’ASTON. Si la Santé publique le permet, les amateurs de golf de Saint-Léonard-d’Aston et des environs pourront bientôt s’adonner à leur passion à l’intérieur. Un golf virtuel initié par Alex B. Perreault, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan, Félix Guévin et Jonathan Lavoie s’ajoutera au complexe Chez Boris. «L’installation sera bientôt complétée. Il manque le turf. Les gens vont pouvoir amener leurs bâtons et leurs tees. C’est très réaliste comme expérience. C’est un système par radar qui calcule l’effet et la distance de la balle. À la base, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan avait un golf virtuel dans son garage. On a essayé ça et on a bien aimé. C’est là qu’est venue l’idée de l’ajouter à l’endroit où l’on trouve les espaces de jorkyball», explique Alex B. Perreault qui, avec ses associés, a voulu également rendre un hommage au terrain de golf développé par Richard Lebeau et Jean-Paul Provencher dans la conception du projet. «On a reproduit le parcours du golf Le Pro situé en bas de la côte à Saint-Léonard. On a pris les données avec Google Maps et les élévations avec un logiciel. Tout y sera, on verra même le tracteur à gauche du départ du trou 1», indique-t-il, enthousiaste. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
(Village of Pouce Coupe/Lorraine Michetti - image credit) The mayor of a small northern B.C. village says she won't step down over social media posts she made comparing gun owners to Holocaust victims and another seemingly disparaging how Indigenous people maintain their homes. Lorraine Michetti, the mayor of Pouce Coupe, B.C., insists she is sorry for making the posts and says that she will seek cultural sensitivity training, but she also says calls for her to step down are part of "cancel culture," and that she is being "bullied" by people opposed to her, some of whom she is considering taking to court. Among the posts to surface is one Michetti says was a commentary on the federal Liberals' plans for gun control. "Everyone probably can have them just not Caucasian, that is just about everything. I feel like a Jews [sic] back in the day. Waiting for my cattle car." Michetti says this Facebook comment was made in a discussion about the federal Liberals' plans to enact new gun control laws. She said she has apologized for the post, but also defended the comparison during a council meeting. Councillor questioned mayor On Sunday, Pouce Coupe Coun. Ken Drover told CBC News he is upset that the mayor's social media activity is casting a negative light on the small community of roughly 730 people in northeastern B.C., about a 20-minute drive southeast of Dawson Creek. "We are embarrassed," he said. "It's a black mark ... by no means do those comments represent the voice of council." He questioned Michetti about the posts during a council meeting Monday. "You would liken your position to a Jew in a cattle car waiting to go to..." he said before Michetti jumped in. "Once they take our guns away, back when Hitler, that's what it was all about," she said. "How dare you?" Drover responded. "That is a terrible, terrible comparison." Drover also asked Michetti if she would step down, and she refused. "OK, fair," he said. On Thursday, the village of Pouce Coupe announced Drover had submitted a letter of resignation, which will trigger a byelection to replace him. Drover could not immediately be reached for comment. WATCH | Coun. Ken Drover challenges Mayor Lorraine Michetti over her comments at a council meeting: Multiple problematic posts The exchange between Drover and Michetti came five days after a different post from the mayor began circulating among Facebook users in the Peace region of northeastern B.C. It depicted an image of four homes with garbage in their yards and Michetti's caption: "Don't want Pipeline's? [sic] They want to protect our land. Yeah ok." A Facebook post from Michetti was quickly denounced as anti-Indigenous racism by several officials in the Peace River region of B.C. A number of people interpreted the post as playing into stereotypes of on-reserve housing and calling Indigenous pipeline opponents hypocrites. Connie Greyeyes, a Fort St. John resident from the Bigstone Cree Nation, said even though the post didn't directly reference Indigenous people, the implications were clear. "When you've lived with racism your whole life, when it shows itself to you ... you know it," she said. Greyeyes was among those asking the mayor to apologize and resign. Mayor did not attend special meeting Meanwhile, municipal leaders in the neighbouring communities of Fort St. John, Taylor, Dawson Creek and Chetwynd issued statements condemning the post. "We do not and never will condone racism within our walls or our community," Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman wrote in a Facebook post. "An egregious error was made by one of our colleagues. We will invite them to learn with us." On Saturday, a special village council meeting was held to discuss the post. Michetti did not attend, she said, because she was too upset. From left: Pouce Coupe Coun. Barb Smith, Coun. Donna White, Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Coun. Marlene Hebert and Coun. Ken Drover. Councillors asked Michetti to resign after she published a Facebook post that many people condemned as racist. At that meeting, council received a report documenting several instances of the mayor getting into online arguments with Pouce Coupe residents that were possible violations of the village's code of conduct. By the end, council had voted unanimously to ask Michetti to step down. Posts personal, not official, mayor says Reached for an interview Wednesday, Michetti insisted she had not intended to be racist and that the old posts were resurfacing because of a group of people in town who wanted her out of office. She said she was seeking cultural sensitivity training, and wanted to make a distinction between posts she made from her personal Facebook account versus those of an official mayoral page. "It was Lorraine Michetti, not the mayor" who made the posts, she said. Michetti said she was considering legal action against several people in the community who were making negative comments about her online, and she questioned why she was being held to a different standard than her opponents. "Why do people think the mayor is high stature?" she asked. "They harass and nag me about fireworks. Then they harass and nag me that I'm supposed to get the Shaw internet going. ... It's tiring." But, Michetti said, she is committed to finishing her term, and she intends to run for re-election in 2022. "There's lots of things I have on the go." Few options for removal Mona Brash, a retired political science professor from the University of Victoria and Camosun College specializing in municipal affairs, said unless the mayor steps down voluntarily, those who want her gone have few options. "Their only recourse is political," she said, noting opponents could continue to put pressure on the mayor to step down. In British Columbia, municipal leaders can only be removed if they improperly use their position for financial gain or for missing multiple regularly-scheduled meetings without being excused. The B.C. government has floated the idea of firing the entire Chilliwack school board in order to remove a single trustee who used a slur against people with intellectural disabilities, but Brash said it is unlikely the province would be willing or able to do the same in order to get rid of a mayor. "People don't realize how powerful municipal politicians are," she said. "You elect them for four years and that's it, they're in and it's rare you can remove them." In an emailed statement to CBC, B.C.'s Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne said anti-Indigenous racism and anti-Semitism must be confronted, and that she is "grateful to local leaders for standing up against unacceptable behaviour." She also said the government is exploring the idea of updating the provincial legislation governing municipalities. "We know more can be done to support local officials' accountability to their communities," she wrote. For more on the controversy in Pouce Coupe, tap below:
Chinese retailer Suning.com said on Thursday shareholders plan to sell 20% to 25% of the company to unnamed buyers which might lead to a change in control as its parent seeks to raise cash. The company said it was notified of the stake sale by its founder Zhang Jindong and its parent Suning Appliance Group, who respectively hold a 20.96% and 19.88% stake in the firm. Suning.com's other shareholders include e-commerce giant Alibaba Group which bought a 19.99% stake as part of a strategic partnership in 2015.
(Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada - image credit) N.W.T. MLAs seek a slew of mechanisms to improve addictions treatment in the territory including aftercare and permanent funding for harm reduction measures like managed alcohol. Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos said there are no adequate aftercare programs to support people in their recovery. She wants three facilities staffed with mental health workers built in the South Slave, central N.W.T. and the Beaufort Delta to provide those programs. "With the structure and routine suddenly gone, when they return home, people can easily slip back into their addictions," she said. Health and Social Services MInister Julie Green said there are no firm plans to construct those facilities, but a working group in her department is considering aftercare in the N.W.T and an addictions recovery survey that is currently being conducted will inform that work. Few culturally-relevant services Dehcho MLA Ron Bonnetrouge said he wants an alcohol and drug counsellor in his community who is not affiliated with the government. "(Alcohol) is also affecting many of our youth and young men," said Bonnetrouge, adding there a few culturally-relevant services in communities. "Most alcoholics need someone they can confide in, someone that they trust, someone that they know," he said. The health and social services department supports the Dene Wellness Warriors and the Rhodes Wellness College's Northern Indigenous Counselling program, whose first graduates come out next year, said Green. "We see a unique opportunity here to hire these N.W.T. residents who have the specialized counselling training and to bring them into our communities," said Green. The department of health recently reformed its community counselling program to allow same-day appointments without a wait list, and walk-in availability for 19 communities. MLA Ron Bonnetrouge encouraged the health minister to establish non-government positions for alcohol counselling in communities. Sustain managed alcohol programs beyond pandemic: Johnson During the pandemic, the territorial government established some managed alcohol programs that delivered alcohol to prevent withdrawal. Other programs, such as the one Spruce Bough, have some clients provided access to alcohol, tobacco and cannabis as determined by a physician. MLA Rylund Johnson said harm reduction measures should be continued beyond the pandemic and sustained through government long after the COVID-19 money dries up. "As these programs emerged, they were not fully funded or true managed alcohol programs," he said,. He added they require medical professionals and social workers for supervised consumption. Green said her department has a mandate to establish a managed alcohol program in the N.W.T. "We are currently exploring options to make that a reality," she said. Health Minister Julie Green said her department is collecting data from managed alcohol programs established during COVID-19. The health department is gathering data from programs in Yellowknife and Inuvik where managed alcohol was provided during the pandemic. The information should be analyzed by the spring, said Green. Spruce Bough is funded until September 2021, and Green says the department will work with the Yellowknife Women's Society to sustain the program once funding expires. Establish navigator supports to prevent evictions: Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler asked the health minister to work with Housing Minister Paulie Chinna and establish health and social service supports for people who risk eviction during recovery. "People struggle with housing stability and affordability especially during after care and post treatment," said Semmler. Green said local housing organizations should be made aware of community counselling programs and that previous pilot programs, like a navigator position in Behchokǫ̀, showed promise. Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler said health and housing departments need to bolster supports to prevent evictions against people in recovery. Funding issues On Tuesday, Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty suggested the territory allocate specific funds to in-territory treatment options using the proceeds of roughly $57 million in annual liquor and cannabis sales. He said the territory profits off of alcoholism but doesn't help people struggling with addiction. In 2019, for example, the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission made $33 million. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said the money goes into the consolidated revenue fund, which is spent on all departments in the N.W.T., including health and social services, and housing. Green said the health department is reviewing its spending in the face of rising health care costs. The N.W.T. will try to contain costs internally but that plan will not be made public, said Green. Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty says the territory should allocate one or two per cent of its alcohol profits to in-territory treatment.
(Natalia Goodwin/CBC - image credit) Thursday evening public health officials announced a cluster of three new cases of COVID-19, and asked all residents of Summerside to be on the lookout for symptoms. Also Thursday, Dr. Heather Morrison said enforcement is now involved with two new cases announced Wednesday and a link to one public exposure site, the Toys R Us in Charlottetown. Some changes the pandemic has made to the economy are permanent, says Premier Dennis King, and the province will support businesses through those changes. The University of Prince Edward Island announced it is planning a return to a "more normal" academic experience in the fall of 2021, and Thursday COVID-weary students expressed relief. The Chief Public Health Office says a public exposure at Toys R Us in Charlottetown Tuesday morning is now being investigated by enforcement. A report from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council shows potential vulnerabilities for P.E.I.'s economic recovery. It will likely be another six to eight weeks before the Atlantic bubble reopens, Dr. Heather Morrison said in her regular weekly COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. Prince Edward Island now has six active cases of COVID-19, and has diagnosed a total of 120 cases since the pandemic hit P.E.I. almost a year ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. On Thursday, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 10 new cases of COVID-19. The province now has 335 active cases. Nova Scotia reported eight new cases, with the total of active cases at 27. New Brunswick reported one new case with 49 active cases. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
The European Space Agency is currently recruiting astronauts from EU member states - and one country is serious about getting their candidate amongst the stars.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Caster Semenya is going to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge “discriminatory” rules that prohibit her from competing in certain track events because of her high natural testosterone, her lawyers said Thursday. The two-time Olympic champion in the 800 metres has already lost two legal appeals against World Athletics' regulations that force her to medically lower her natural testosterone level if she wants to run in women's races from 400 metres to one mile. The South African's lawyers said there's been a “violation of her rights” and wants the human rights court to examine the rules. Semenya has one of a number of conditions known as differences of sex development. Although she has never publicly released details of her condition, World Athletics has controversially referred to her as “biologically male” in previous legal proceedings, a description that angered Semenya. Semenya has the typical male XY chromosome pattern and levels of testosterone that are much higher then the typical female range, World Athletics says. The track and field body says that gives her and other athletes like her an unfair advantage over other female runners. The 30-year-old Semenya was legally identified as female at birth and has identified as female her whole life. She says her testosterone is merely a genetic gift. The regulations have been fiercely criticized, mainly because of the “treatment” options World Athletics gives to allow affected athletes to compete. They have one of three options to lower their testosterone levels: Taking daily contraceptive pills, using hormone-blocking injections, or having surgery. “The regulations require these women to undergo humiliating and invasive physical examinations followed by harmful and experimental medical procedures if they wish to compete internationally in women’s events between 400m and one mile, the exact range in which Ms. Semenya specializes,” Semenya's lawyers said. World Athletics, which was then known as the IAAF, announced in 2018 it would introduce the rules. Semenya challenged them and lost at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019. She also lost a second appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal last year. That second case will be central to her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. “Caster asks the Court to find that Switzerland has failed in its positive obligations to protect her against the violation of her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights," her lawyers said. They said the track body's rules were “discriminatory attempts to restrict the ability of certain women to participate in female athletics competitions.” Because of her refusal to lower her natural testosterone, Semenya has been barred from running in the 800 since 2019, when she was the dominant runner in the world over two laps. She is currently not allowed to run her favourite race — the race she has won two Olympic golds and three world titles in — at any major event. Semenya is not the only athlete affected. Two other Olympic medallists from Africa, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya, have said they are also bound by the rules. They also said they would refuse to undergo medical intervention to reduce their testosterone levels. “I hope the European court will put an end to the longstanding human rights violations by World Athletics against women athletes," Semenya said in a statement. "All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all." Semenya, Niyonsaba and Wambui finished 1-2-3 in the 800 metres at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, strengthening World Athletics' argument that their medical conditions gave them an athletic advantage over other women. It's unclear if the human rights court would be able to hear Semenya's case before the delayed Tokyo Olympics, which might be Semenya's last. The games are set to open on July 23. Previous sports cases that have gone to the European Court of Human Rights have taken years to be decided. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Gerald Imray, The Associated Press
India announced new rules on Thursday to regulate content on social media, making Facebook, WhatsApp and others more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts and sharing details on the originators of messages. The rules -- part of an effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist government to tighten the leash on Big Tech -- come after Twitter recently ignored government orders to drop content related to farmers' protests. India is the largest market by users for both Facebook and its messenger service WhatsApp.
Coinbase, the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, moved a step closer to listing on the Nasdaq with a filing on Thursday to go public, revealing that it had swung into profit last year as bitcoin surged. Approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a listing would represent a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates, vying for mainstream endorsement for a sector which has struggled to win the trust of mainstream investors, regulators and the general public. It would pave the way for the highest-profile share listing of a company whose business is primarily focused around the trading of cryptocurrencies, and could also be seen as a tacit regulatory approval of assets traded on its platform.
The explosive growth of Clubhouse, an audio-based social network buoyed by appearances from tech celebrities like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, has drawn scrutiny over how the app will handle problematic content, from hate speech to harassment and misinformation. Moderating real-time discussion is a challenge for a crop of platforms using live voice chat, from video game-centric services like Discord to Twitter Inc's new live-audio feature Spaces. Facebook is also reportedly dabbling with an offering.
(Submitted by Helcim - image credit) Tech companies in Alberta are enjoying a bumper year in spite of the pandemic, but they say measures are needed from the province to stay competitive with other jurisdictions. Tech CEOs and conglomerates say retraining programs for workers, providing fiscal incentives to keep companies in Alberta and adjusting tax measures are major areas where the provincial government could make a huge difference for the industry. They're hoping to see some of those steps in Thursday's budget. "The government needs to re-establish investor incentives that promote interest in investing with Alberta-based tech companies. Alberta needs to be a competitive place to invest because, at the moment, other provinces are doing a better job to support their tech industries and investor interest," said Vince O'Gorman, the CEO of Vog App Developers. One of the biggest problems facing tech growth in Alberta is talent "brain drain" to other places, like the United States. O'Gorman says those tax and investor incentives would enable companies to attract and retain the skilled workers needed to expand the industry here. Helcim, a Calgary-based company, wants to see an emphasis on training — and retraining — Albertans to work in tech. "I hope to see the government continue to find new ways to support working with our post-secondary institutions on creating fast-track training for not just developers but data scientists, quality assurance specialists, financial analysts and more," said Nicolas Beique, CEO of the online payment company. His CFO echoed that priority. "We believe the Alberta government needs to create a clear financial path for more mature individuals to access retraining programs while supporting startups to hire more inexperienced talent. Investing in training junior talent brings a huge productive output to our tech industry in Alberta, but that output is delayed during the onboarding and training of new recruits," Marjorie Junio-Read said. Success needs a boost The tech sector has been an outlier during the pandemic, with many companies seeing growth in revenues and staffing. Calgary and Edmonton both broke records for venture capital investments in 2020. "Alberta is coming to play in the tech and innovation space," Minister Doug Schweitzer said shortly after being appointed to the jobs, economy and innovation file. The tech sector has been a personal focus of his in the months since. However, companies have warned policymakers that the success is precarious and won't be sustainable without the support of effective policy. The Council of Canadian Innovators has asked the province to consider four key pillars when developing tech sector measures for this budget: Securing access to capital, markets, talent and building a strong framework to retain promising companies in Alberta. "Any sort of investment or funding really needs to have metrics attached to it and really make sure that any investments are really getting value for the province," said Benjamin Bergen, the executive director of the council. "That's something that a lot of governments have struggled to do in the past, not just in Alberta, but nationally." The council has asked the government to use the budget to provide strategic funding to specific companies with proven concepts, along with investing in retraining and upskilling workers. Companies in Alberta have stated that incubator and accelerator programs, which have traditionally been used, often don't result in cash getting to smaller enterprises. While each expressed gratitude for the increased spotlight from the government on their industry, the companies said the dollars could be used more efficiently. Accidental damage to the private sector Sometimes the provincial government's efforts actually cause damage, according to the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories. The council says private labs in Alberta are losing $10 million a year in business to a provincial program called InnoTech — run as a subsidiary of the government's Alberta Innovates program. "They use their tax favoured position to undercut private sector businesses and basically provide testing that is cheaper than the private sector is right now. So it's basically a case of waste and duplication as well as unfair competition," said Tony Araujo, president of the council. The council is calling on the government to privatize InnoTech in this budget. Araujo says the 90 labs he represents in Alberta don't want tax cuts or investor incentives, they just want the government to stop competing against them for contracts. "The fact that InnoTech Alberta is there in the way is actually discouraging innovation from private sector companies." A 2018 Conference Board of Canada report ranked Alberta as 19 out of 26 in a jurisdictional comparison of innovation. The Opposition has proposed its own plan for tech growth ahead of the provincial budget, saying an NDP government would create a $200-million venture capital fund for Alberta tech companies. All of the companies and organizations are keeping a wary eye on talent and innovation slowly draining from Alberta into other provinces and the U.S. They say that will be the biggest consequence of not having adequate incentives and programs introduced soon.
Bonhomme Carnaval has been a great success so far, says Centre Culturel La Ronde’s executive director Lisa Bertrand. The two-week carnival wraps up Saturday, Feb. 27, with a virtual Bill Bestiole show, a concert from the Lapointe family and the reveal of Bonhomme. Wednesday, the centre held a cooking workshop with Julie Lefebvre, who’s a member of La Ronde’s fundraising committee. During the live-streamed event, Lefebvre showed people how to make a green salad and Coquilles Saint-Jacques, a dish involving shrimps and scallops. When choosing what to cook, Lefebvre said she was looking to make something that would cater to everyone. For those who aren’t into seafood, Lefebvre advised using chicken instead. “It is a perfect winter meal on a snowy carnival day,” she said, adding Coquilles Saint-Jacques is her favourite dish to make. La Ronde’s technical director Luc Chalifoux was on hand, helping set up the equipment to live stream the event on Facebook and Zoom. The carnival has had a lot of great feedback, according to Bertrand. She said Bonhomme has been making visits to different schools in Timmins and Iroquois Falls. “The kids were so happy even though there were some kids Bonhomme said hi through the window. We went to schoolyards and we kept our social distancing,” Bertrand said. The virtual dance class with Melissa Kelly-Lavoie attracted around 600 to 800 students, Bertrand said. The window decorating contest has wrapped up and people can vote for the best-decorated window on La Ronde’s Facebook page until Friday at 5 p.m. The unveiling of Bonhomme’s identity will be announced Saturday. This year, three dance teachers were chosen as candidates. Voting for who is Bonhomme closes Saturday at 10 p.m. “We are pre-recording the reveal of the Bonhomme because we have three dancers, so we’re going to have a different way of revealing this year,” Bertrand said. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
COVID-19 is here to stay, France and Germany said on Thursday, after European Union leaders discussed ways to fight new variants of the virus, step up inoculations and save Europe's tourism industry from another ruinous summer. Leaders of the 27 EU member nations agreed in a video conference to keep "tight restrictions" on public life and free movement as the bloc races against the emergence of new variants that are holding back an economic rebound. "We have to prepare for a situation where we have to continuously vaccinate for a longer period of time, maybe over years, due to new coronavirus variants, akin to the situation we know from the flu," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
(CBC - image credit) The P.E.I. Legislature opens Thursday for its spring sitting, the first since Premier Dennis King shuffled his cabinet earlier this month. Full details of the government's priorities will be revealed during the speech from the throne, but in advance, here are five things to watch for during this sitting. 1. Mental health top priority Mental health access for Islanders will likely continue to dominate the spring session, as it did during the fall. During his state of the province address earlier this week, King talked about access to mental health and addictions services on P.E.I. In particular, King spoke about a new P.E.I. Centre for Mental Wellbeing, an organization that would be dedicated to helping Islanders access services. The details about the new centre are scant at this point, but King said it will not be a brick-and-mortar building but more of an entity offering a collaborative approach to mental health care on P.E.I. "Having listened to many, many Islanders who are struggling to get into the system and to be treated adequately and properly in a timely manner, we really thought it was important to bring all of our partners together to have a body that has a little bit more authority to give direction to how we deliver mental health and addiction services," King told Kerry Campbell on Mainstreet P.E.I. Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker says his party will be 'holding government to account in a more robust manner than perhaps we have in the past.' Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker said in theory, the idea for this centre sounds good, but raised one issue. "Unless [the premier's words] are attached to a significant funding increase in the services that Islanders need, then we're still not going to be dealing with the mental health crisis that is ongoing here," he said. Both the Greens and the Liberal Party said mental health services are also a priority for them heading into the spring session. 2. Focus on P.E.I.'s post-pandemic economic recovery All three parties in the legislature said helping P.E.I. bounce back economically from the COVID-19 pandemic will be a focus this spring. In his state of the province address, King spoke about the possibility of a vaccine passport for future travellers to P.E.I., though he confirmed there have been very few discussions so far about the idea. "It's important for us to sort of be as open and honest as we can be, particularly with those in the tourism sector, so they can try to plan the best they can for some type of tourism season," he said. Bevan-Baker echoed that sentiment. "How are we going to continue to support [the tourism] industry to make sure that they are still there, post-COVID?" he said. Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant says the tone in the legislature has 'changed greatly' in the last two years, but his party will still ask important questions. Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant also said he'll be watching for how small businesses are doing. "Small businesses and tourism, you know, are really going to need some help if the tourism sector doesn't pick up," Gallant said. 3. Opposition wants poverty and housing kept on the agenda Bevan-Baker said beyond mental health and economic recovery, poverty reduction and the housing crisis are big priorities for the Official Opposition. "We've seen … a distinct lack of decisive action when it comes to some of the most serious problems that are afflicting islanders that were here before the pandemic, and that will outlast the pandemic," he said. "The housing crisis … is ongoing despite the fact that the vacancy rate has increased a little bit." One of the bills the Greens plan to introduce during this session is a bill on the elimination of poverty. 4. Access to rural internet will continue to be an issue With many Islanders still working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Gallant and Bevan-Baker would like to keep access to rural internet on the government's agenda. "Broadband is pretty essential across the province with most people trying to study from home or work from home," said Gallant. "We have an opportunity here, to create, with good internet services in rural areas, an economy that is incredibly diverse, that is incredibly robust," said Bevan-Baker. 5. Recruiting more doctors to P.E.I. Physician recruitment was a top issue during the last sitting and one Islanders can expect to see raised again by both the Liberals and the Greens. Right now, there are more than 15,000 Islanders on P.E.I.'s patient registry list waiting for a family doctor. "You should never take your foot off the gas looking for doctors. We know it's difficult, but it's something that you have to work at," said Gallant. The province, in partnership with the Medical Society of P.E.I., recently hired its first physician recruiter. In his state of the province address, King announced the province will launch a new health-care model in three Island communities, called "medical homes." More from CBC P.E.I.
Sheikha Latifa, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, has written to British police asking them to reopen their investigation into the kidnap of her older sister from a street in Cambridge in 2000, the BBC reported on Thursday. In a handwritten letter seen by the British broadcaster and dated 2018, Latifa asked Cambridgeshire Police to refocus on the case of her sister Shamsa, now 39, who was captured aged 18 and has not been seen in public since. The Dubai government's media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TORONTO — The magazine long known as the Ryerson Review of Journalism is temporarily removing "Ryerson" from its name. The biannual magazine published by the Ryerson School of Journalism will place brackets in front of its name, going by the ( ) Review of Journalism, the Review, or the ( ) RJ until the end of the winter semester.The move comes after the school of journalism announced in December it would review the names of its two student publications -- the Review and the Ryersonian -- given their namesake's legacy. Egerton Ryerson was an architect of Canada's residential school system, which sought to convert and assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian culture and saw them suffer widespread physical and sexual abuse.Ryerson University is also examining its relationship with its namesake, with the school's head creating a task force that will "recommend actions to reconcile the legacy of Egerton Ryerson."The 15 final-year undergraduate and graduate students currently running the Review say that while they don't have the power to permanently change the magazine's name, they want this year's publication to reflect the processes that are currently underway. "The Review's mission is to probe the quality of journalism in Canada. One of the central tenets of our mission is to 'foster critical thinking about, and accountability within, the industry,'" the masthead said in a written statement. "This means we must also foster critical thinking and accountability within our own publication."They also pointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, which includes a call to better educate Canadian journalism students on the history of Indigenous Peoples. Questions surrounding the university's relationship to its namesake are far from new. In 2010, the school published a statement saying that while Ryerson did not implement or oversee residential schools, his beliefs "influenced, in part, the establishment of what became the Indian Residential School system."Eight years later, the school added a plaque beside a statue of Ryerson that's displayed prominently on campus. It reads, in part, "As Chief Superintendent of Education, Ryerson's recommendations were instrumental in the design and implementation of the Indian Residential School System." The issue came back to the fore over the summer when the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis prompted anti-racism protests all over the world. In July, the school's statue of Ryerson and a monument to John A. Macdonald at the provincial legislature were both splashed with pink paint. There have also been calls to rename Dundas Street -- which happens to be the southern border of Ryerson University's campus -- because its namesake, Henry Dundas, delayed the abolition of slavery in Britain by 15 years. The City of Toronto is currently reviewing those calls. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
(Jennifer Harris/submitted - image credit) Lalia Halfkenny was the first Black New Brunswick woman to graduate from an institute of higher education at a time when few Black Canadians had access to any schooling at all. Halfkenny was the only Black graduate in her class at the Acadia Ladies Seminary in 1889. Theresa Halfkenny, who believes she is likely a descendant, said stories of accomplishments like Lalia Halfkenny's need to be kept alive. "When we first found out and heard about it, we were like, 'Oh my gosh'," she said. Like Lalia, Theresa is from Dorchester. She moved to Amherst, N.S. years ago, where she still lives. Theresa Halfkenny is a likely descendant of Lalia Halfkenny. She is on the board of the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, where she focuses on cultural events and stresses the importance of valuing and sharing history. Halfkenny is on the board of the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, where she focuses on cultural education. She helps to organize cultural events, and speaks in schools stressing the importance of valuing and sharing history. "There's so much here that is so rich," she said. "Those of us that are involved in trying to keep this alive, it's been a little bit difficult because sometimes it's hard to get the youth to come on board with it." But Halfkenny said there is a renewed interest in Black history since conversations around anti-black racism have become part of mainstream conversation. "It's so important that we do that for our youth, but then it's also important that we do that for others in the community." She said everyone is worse off when Black history is erased from the history books. Halfkenny said she wasn't aware of Lalia Halfkenny's achievements until about ten years ago. That's when her story was rediscovered by Jennifer Harris, professor of English at the University of Waterloo. She encountered Lalia Halfkenny's name when she was researching historic Black families in the Sackville area. Because it's such a distinctive name, Harris started tracing the family. Jennifer Harris, professor at Waterloo University, said it took two years of research to put together Lalia Halfkenny's life story. "I came across this reference to a Lalia Halfkenny in an educational context and I was surprised because I'd never heard of her," said Harris. Other prominent educated Black families like the Winslow sisters who were the first women to graduate from the University of New Brunswick and Edwin Howard Borden, the first Black Nova Scotian to graduate from Acadia University had been written about, but not Halfkenny. "I wanted to know more," said Harris. After two years of pouring over microfilm, writing to archives and ordering records, she'd put together a story that seems to have gone untold for decades. Lalia Halfkenny was born to an unwed mother in 1870 in the Sackville area. Soon after, the family moved to Dorchester to live with relatives. Despite Lalia's difficult beginnings, the Halfkenny family had a reputation as skillful stonemasons. "They traveled and built all kinds of fabulous buildings in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine," said Harris. Little access to education At the time, schools in New Brunswick were segregated, often denying Black children access to an education. According to Harris, in Dorchester, "it was a little bit easier for Black New Brunswick families to get into the school system for a whole host of reasons." In her research Harris found that Dorchester was better of financially than many communities and it's possible the Halfkenny's reputation as skilled labourers gained them access. Whatever the reason, Harris said under the circumstances, for Halfkenny to continue on to Acadia Ladies Seminary, "she must have excelled." Harris said family support played a major factor in Halfkenny's schooling. It's who you know "Lalia Halfkenny probably got to go to the Acadia Ladies Seminary because her great uncle Yates Hamilton was the janitor," said Harris. "He was the much beloved janitor who had a wonderful relationship with the president and he sponsored her." Having a member of her family at the school most likely gave her access to education other Black families would not have had. Harris said proof of Halfkenny's academic excellence was found in newspapers of the time, that talked about her giving talks in Halifax. She wanted to continue her education at the Boston School of Elocution, but didn't. "I suspect it was a funding issue," said Harris. Ushered into the kitchen Instead, Halfkenny looked for work. "What we know is that for Black women of a certain level of education in the 19th Century in New Brunswick, it wasn't easy," said Harris. Twenty-eight banners have been affixed to light posts along Fredericton's Queen Street to celebrate New Brunswick's Black history, including one featuring Mary Matilda Winslow. She refers to a quote from Mary Matilda (Tilly) Winslow, who graduated from UNB a few decades after Halfkenny. "Whenever she went to apply for a job, she was ushered into the kitchen," said Harris. "This is someone who'd been top in her class and she just kept being taken to the back." Like Winslow, Halfkenny went on to find success in the United States, working in Virginia as a teacher. Tragic end Halfkenny's life was cut short when she died at the age of 26, most likely of consumption. Harris said the trail blazer volunteered in a home for African American families who were living in poverty. "It seems quite likely she contracted something there and died relatively young." Her early death is another reason why Halfkenny's story may have faded for a time, but Harris says her death didn't go unnoticed. Records show that her students showed up at the train station and sang as her coffin was loaded aboard. "Which is heartbreaking," said Harris. Halfkenny's body was returned to Nova Scotia, "where there was a recognition of her life and her contributions." "She was very much a valued and beloved individual who made a difference in people's lives, even in such a short time frame," said Harris. Harris continues to study Black history in the Maritimes, but said there are others doing important work too. She notes Harvey Amani Whitfield at the University of Vermont and the founding director of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design's Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery, Charmaine Nelson. Theresa Halfkenny said she's glad the work is being done to rediscover, and preserve the region's rich Black history. She's doing her part as well on a small scale with her own children and community, by putting a together a history of her own life. "I notice there are pieces of history that even I never shared with them, and so now they're asking questions," said Halfkenny. "I do believe we all have a story to tell and we all have something to offer and we always have things that were done that did contribute to the communities that we live in."