Dozens of skaters took to the frozen surface of Amsterdam's historic Prinsengracht canal Saturday as the deep freeze gripping Europe briefly made it possible to skate on a small section of the canal for the first time since 2018. (Feb. 13)
Dozens of skaters took to the frozen surface of Amsterdam's historic Prinsengracht canal Saturday as the deep freeze gripping Europe briefly made it possible to skate on a small section of the canal for the first time since 2018. (Feb. 13)
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
(Submitted by Bill Schurman - image credit) Islanders who have lost their incomes or had their hours reduced by 12 hours a week between Feb. 28 and March 14 because of new COVID-19 restrictions are eligible for $500 in help from the provincial government, a P.E.I. cabinet minister said Monday. Matthew MacKay, the minister of economic growth, tourism and culture, said the King government is relaunching the P.E.I.'s Emergency Payment for Workers as of Tuesday. He said the payment will be provided in addition to any government assistance such as employment insurance. On Sunday, the province announced a 72-hour circuit breaker that left non-essential businesses closed or limited, meant no in-room dining at restaurants, shut down recreational facilities, and reduced the capacity at retail stores still allowed to serve the public. MacKay said the province is also relaunching $100 grocery gift cards for workers laid off from Feb. 28 to March 14, and rolling out a $1-million fund for Islanders who must take time off work due to illness and don't have paid sick leave. "We want to make sure people can put food on their table," MacKay said. MacKay said the province will be meeting with the business community as well, about support the owners of affected companies might need in order to stay afloat. Information on the new assistance will available on the provincial government website. No new cases yet After a weekend that saw 11 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Islanders got good news Monday afternoon: No new cases have been identified since Sunday evening. "A total of 6,632 COVID-19 tests were completed on Saturday and Sunday," said a provincial government release issued just after 3 p.m. AT. "This includes 2,250 results from the Three Oaks Clinic in Summerside, which was set up for targeted testing of young people in the area. "All results so far are negative, and an additional 1,600 results are still pending." P.E.I. Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling later told CBC News: Compass that about 3,000 tests had been collected as of late afternoon Monday, with many more expected at clinics scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m. Since there are no new cases, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison was not holding a media briefing Monday, the news release said. Her regular weekly briefing will take place on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. AT, the usual time. The news comes on the first day of a three-day period of enhanced public health measures intended to slow transmission of the coronavirus after outbreaks in Summerside and Charlottetown late last week. "There are currently 18 active cases of COVID-19 in the province; all are self-isolating and being followed daily by public health," said Monday's news release. "Over 190 people have been identified as close contacts of the cases." P.E.I. continues to have no deaths or hospitalizations due to COVID-19, but there are 18 active cases thanks to two recent outbreaks. Officials feared the virus that causes COVID-19 might be spreading among asymptomatic teens and young adults, so Premier Dennis King and Morrison's office brought in what they called "Alert Level Red measures with modifications." Schools across P.E.I. have shut, non-essential businesses are closed to the public, and private and organized gatherings are being strongly discouraged. Meanwhile, testing is being ramped up at several locations, especially for those who visited sites of potential public exposure in the last two weeks. More from CBC P.E.I.
WINNIPEG — Manitoba has released a report showing COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Indigenous, Black and other people of colour in the province. “This is systemic and it is seen in every jurisdiction,” Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said Monday. Roussin said the province’s race and ethnicity data show a similar pattern to information in other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world. He said it’s not about people in communities making bad choices. COVID-19 infections are largely linked to pre-existing inequities, including in housing and employment. “We know people in (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities are more likely to live in lower income neighbourhoods, live in overcrowded and multi-generational households,” Roussin said. “They are also more likely to have low-wage occupations.” The report compiled Manitoba infections data from May 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. Fifty-one per cent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 self-identified as Black, Indigenous or of colour, but 35 per cent of people in Manitoba belong to that group. The report said North American Indigenous people made up 17 per cent of infections, despite representing about 13 per cent of the overall population. Black and African people, accounting for four per cent of the population, made up eight per cent of positive tests. Filipino people also had significant infection rates — 12 per cent of cases, while representing seven per cent of the population. South Asian people, three per cent of the population, made up eight per cent of positive cases. The report noted that white people experienced less COVID-19 than would be expected based on population size. On Monday, Manitoba reported one more death and 35 new cases of the novel coronavirus. The province brought in significant restrictions last fall that shut down restaurants and limited group sizes after a surge of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The number of new cases has significantly dropped in recent weeks. The five-day test positivity rate was at 3.9 per cent provincially and three per cent for Winnipeg. The provincial government has indicated that details on what public-health restrictions are to be further loosened are to be provided Tuesday. Roussin said it’s important to take a cautious approach. “We are going to gradually reopen and stay open.” Vaccines also became available for the general population in Manitoba last week based on age. Roussin said the rollout has expanded to include people born in 1930 and earlier and First Nations people born in 1950 and earlier. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
(Andrew Harnik/AP Photo - image credit) The White House spokesperson today ruled out sending vaccines to continental partners like Canada and Mexico, saying U.S. President Joe Biden is committed to getting every American vaccinated before sharing doses with other countries. During a White House press briefing today, Jen Psaki was asked if Biden was considering sharing part of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine supply with allies. "No," she replied. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to every American. That is our focus," she added. Psaki was more definitive than U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was last week. In an interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton Live, Blinken said the U.S. was looking at "how we can help get vaccines around the world." "None of us are going to be fully safe until everyone in every part of the world is vaccinated," Blinken said when asked if the administration would scrap Trump-era restrictions on U.S. vaccine exports. WATCH: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Canada-U.S. border Canada is a vaccine laggard in the Western world right now; dozens of other countries have vaccinated more people per capita. The U.S. is expected to have enough supply to vaccinate 4.5 times more people, per capita, than Canada in the first three months of 2021. Biden has so far maintained the past administration's policy of earmarking virtually all U.S.-made vaccines for the American market. Pfizer's Kalamazoo, Mich. plant and Moderna operations in New England are dedicated to producing U.S. shipments alone. Last December, then-U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order demanding drugmakers first supply the U.S. government before assisting other nations. Trump's Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. mission to develop a vaccine, manufacture it in large quantities and push it out into communities — provided funding to Moderna to develop its product. That policy has forced Canada to turn to European plants for supply, despite the geographic proximity of those American operations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week, however, that Canada is expecting part of its supply of the AstraZeneca product to be shipped from U.S. plants in the second and third quarters of this year. U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. While Health Canada approved the shot last week, that company hasn't yet applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the U.S. market. "We are receiving positive indications that we will be on track to receive our 20 million doses from the facility in the United States," Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said. Anand has said she asked the U.S. administration to allow some Pfizer shots to flow north but her requests were rebuffed. Psaki said that once the 300 million-plus Americans who are eligible for a shot have been vaccinated, the U.S. could talk about sharing supply. "But our focus, [Biden's] focus, the administration's focus is on ensuring that every American is vaccinated, and once we accomplish that objective we're happy to discuss further steps beyond that," she said. "The next step is economic recovery and that is ensuring that our neighbours, Mexico and Canada, have similarly managed the pandemic so that we can open borders and build back better."
(David Laughlin/CBC - image credit) A prison sentence of nearly six years has been handed down to a man after a shooting last year in the Halifax area that left another man seriously injured. Jeffrey Paul Mason, 38, was sentenced to five years and 11 months on gun-related charges, uttering threats and intent to cause bodily harm. He was originally charged with attempted murder after the incident in Terence Bay. Police were called after a disturbance outside a home on Lower Prospect Branch Road last April 9. Mason and the 46-year-old victim were involved in an altercation when Mason left the scene and returned with a gun. He shot the victim before fleeing in a vehicle. The victim was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Officers found Mason at a nearby home and arrested him. Police say the two men were known to each other. MORE TOP STORIESwho shot a man last April in the Halifax-area community of Terence Bay.
In the season première of “Let’s Talk Kindness,” a YouTube talk show series for kids, two rainbow-sherbet-coloured puppets help answer the question: What is kindness? “That is a very big and important question,” said P.I.N.K. Power. “In speaking with one another, we will be able to gain a better understanding of the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others, which will help us get along better.” The voice behind co-hosts P.I.N.K Power and P.I.N.K Passion — the “superheroes of kindness” — is Vandana Verma, a Grade 3/4 teacher at Prince of Wales Elementary School in central Hamilton. “I learned how to change my voice in Adobe Audition,” she said. “I record the whole thing in one voice and then I make it higher for P.I.N.K. Power and then lower for P.I.N.K. Passion.” Verma, inspired by ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, came up with the idea in May of last year. She wrote the script, produced the videos and designed and sewed all 17 characters in the show. “I got the pattern and then I went to Fabricland and bought the material,” she said. “Whatever material they had, I had to think of what puppets to make.” Verma and five other educators — including a principal — voice the characters. But this isn’t the superhero duo’s first appearance. In 2013, Verma launched Just One Wish, an initiative to create a more positive school culture. “I used to have kids dress up — I had capes I made, and I had masks — and they used to walk around the school and recognize children for their kindness,” she said. When the pandemic hit, Verma took the concept online. The first season, debuted in early January, will have 10 episodes, seven of which have already been produced. A second season is set to launch in September. Verma said it was important to her that the series was accessible — the series are available cost-free on YouTube. The series is currently being used by educators and parents both in class and at home, and she hopes the series will become more mainstream. “Kindness is the solution to everything,” she said. “We talk about bullying and we talk about identity and we talk about equity. To me, if we were kind to each other and ourselves, we could end all those problems.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Huawei executive facing extradition to the United States says there's evidence showing the case against her is "manifestly unreliable" and he wants that evidence admitted to the record. Meng Wanzhou's lawyer Frank Addario says emails between staff at the telecom giant and international bank HSBC show the bank was well aware that Huawei controlled another company called Skycom, therefore Meng wasn't responsible for any violation of U.S. sanctions again Iran by the bank. He told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing that staff at HSBC knew that Skycom was sold to Canicula, that Canicula was Skycom's parent company and that Huawei controlled the Canicula account. Addario is asking the judge to admit affidavits including emails and bank account information into evidence to support the defence team's case at Meng's committal hearing, to be heard in May. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. Both she and Huawei deny the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is pressing ahead with efforts to counter economic-based threats to national security, such as theft of valuable intellectual property and damage to critical energy and information networks. In its newly published plan for the coming year, Public Safety Canada says it will lead the governmentwide development of a comprehensive framework to deal with the broad range of risks to Canada's economic well-being. The move comes as security agencies warn Canadians of the rising danger of hostile nations pilfering trade secrets and cybercriminals demanding ransom for sensitive files. The government says in a few short years, the threat landscape — once dominated by the scourge of international terrorism — has evolved dramatically as potential adversaries develop new and aggressive tactics made possible by the rapid spread of technology. Canada has already taken steps during the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to more strictly scrutinize foreign investments. National security expert Wesley Wark says the federal plan will require improved economic intelligence-gathering and related threat assessments, which currently have no central focus within the Canadian security-and-intelligence community. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has eased slightly more restrictions tied to COVID-19. Libraries can now open at 15 per cent capacity and gyms can now host indoors low-impact group activities, like Pilates and tai chi. Kenney had been expected to ease rules in other areas, such as retail capacity and hotels, but he says the COVID numbers have hit a plateau and they need more time to assess just to be safe.
People are sharing information and testimonies with each other, outside of official channels.
Residents of a backpackers’ hostel now being used as housing for low-income people hope they’ll be able to stay permanently, but the future of 1025 Granville St., along with 20 other Metro Vancouver hotels recently leased by the province, is up in the air. “I have friends, good friends here, who lived on the streets for years,” said Chris, a resident who became homeless last February when he lost his job. “You know what I see here? I see them smile every day.” The building is a standard single-room occupancy hotel, an older style of hotel that features small rooms and shared bathrooms, and often houses very low-income people. Between 2002 and 2020, the Granville hostel was operated as a low-cost tourist accommodation by Hostelling International Canada. But with tourism falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became one of 21 Metro Vancouver hotels leased by the province to provide shelter or to use as COVID-19 isolation space. Some residents came from a tent city that had been located at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside for two years, while others had been living rough in other parts of Vancouver or staying in shelters. With the hotels in place, the province and City of Vancouver removed the Oppenheimer Park encampment in May 2020. The province also bought the 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville St. for $55 million, just a block away from the Granville hostel, and awarded an operating contract to Atira Women’s Resource Society. Community Builders operates the former hostel at 1025 Granville St. Initially, public reception to the new housing on Granville Street was rough, with neighbours complaining about discarded needles and an increase in street disorder. But the current operator of the hostel says leasing 1025 Granville St. to formerly homeless Vancouverites has worked out well, with residents now thriving in a well-maintained building that has fostered community. “The Granville hostel has been a really remarkable success story,” said Julie Roberts, the executive director of Community Builders. “Some people that have been long-term residents of the park hadn’t been housed for a number of years or longer. We just found that people have really settled in, and a really strong community has formed.” Martin, who had been homeless for three years before ending up in the hospital with pneumonia, went first to a shelter and then to the hostel last June. “It’s fantastic here,” Martin said. “It’s safe and it’s clean, they feed us if we’re hungry. They really take good care of us. I hope I’m staying here for life!” Along with building staff, Martin, Chris and other residents often do volunteer work to keep the sidewalk clean and have made an effort to build relationships with nearby business owners. Roberts also sits on a community dialogue committee that includes other housing operators, businesses and neighbouring residents. “We’ve been an operator of shelters and non-profit housing on Granville Street for the last 15 years, so we know that homelessness has been a long-standing issue,” Roberts said. “And I think that sites like the Granville hostel and some of the shelters we operate actually make the businesses safer because people are inside and not outside, and they have a safe place to be. That’s our perspective, though I do know that there are some concerns that remain.” When it comes to how long the residents will be able to stay at 1025 Granville St., BC Housing says the length of the leases for the hotels vary, “and we typically have the option to extend by mutual agreement for as long as necessary.” Laura Matthews, a communications staffer with BC Housing, told The Tyee in an email that the agency usually has the option to extend the lease if the building owner agrees. But Matthews said BC Housing cannot release lease terms for any of the hotels and will not reveal the locations of the hotels. “Generally, as we get closer to a lease expiring, we either work to help people stay where they are by extending the lease or through other means, or we support them to transition to alternate accommodation,” Matthews wrote. “We understand the concerns people may have and we will communicate as much as possible with people as plans are finalized for individual locations. We do not want to see anyone forced back into homelessness.” A spokesperson for the owner of the hostel, Hostelling International, said the association cannot comment on the terms of the lease. Hostelling International operates 50 hostels across Canada. “Out of an abundance of caution, we made the very difficult decision to temporarily close our hostels in light of public health advice at the time,” Shelby Sy wrote to The Tyee in an email. “With our properties closed, HI Canada was pleased to give back to the city by leasing HI Vancouver Central as a housing solution to the most vulnerable in our city.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
B.C. is moving into the second phase of its immunization plan, vaccinating seniors in the community aged 80 and up over the course of this month. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said the second dose of the three approved vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—will be delayed to four months or 16 weeks, to provide more protection to more people sooner. Henry said the initial dose provides “a very high level of real-world protection.” In Phase 2, more than 400,000 people in B.C. will receive their first vaccine dose from March to early April, including: • seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors' supportive housing (including staff); • home-care support clients and staff; • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and • seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older). Today, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments—there is no need to call. Beginning Monday (March 8), seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors' supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15: • March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; • March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and • March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment. Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. "We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one, and my new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support our immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses." For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.'s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19 Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including: • Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1; • vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and • staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors. In mid-April, Phase 3 will begin mass vaccination of people aged 79 to 60 years, and people aged 16+ who are extremely clinically vulnerable, at community immunization clinics throughout B.C. Mobile clinics will be available in some rural communities and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues. In Phase 3, British Columbians will register and book their appointments to receive their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through an online registration tool. People born between 1942 and 1946 (ages 79-75), and Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960 (ages 64-60), will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31. As of last week, 252,373 people in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,808 who have received their second dose. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from out of this,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have a long way to go.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - Après avoir ouvert les inscriptions au public pour la prise de rendez-vous pour le vaccin contre le coronavirus jeudi dernier, c’est aujourd’hui que se met en branle l’opération de vaccination de masse, notamment dans Ahuntsic-Cartierville. Élargissement aux 70 ans et plus Initialement réservée aux 85 ans et plus et à leurs proches aidants de 70 ans et plus, la première phase de la campagne a rapidement été élargie. Depuis vendredi, les 80 ans et plus étaient également invités à prendre rendez-vous. Il y a une quinzaine de centres de vaccination sur l’île de Montréal, dont quatre sont situés sur le territoire du Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. Pour le reste de la population, la prise de rendez-vous doit se faire via le site Clic santé ou, pour les personnes qui ne peuvent pas utiliser Internet, par téléphone au 1 877 644-4545. Rappelons qu’il n’est pas nécessaire ni recommandé d’arriver à l’avance, car le processus est pensé pour éviter la création de files d’attente, comme celles qui ont été observées dans certains centres aux premières heures de la campagne. Quatre sites dans le Nord de l’Île, mais aucun dans Ahuntsic Les sites de vaccination du CIUSSS du Nord sont des sites de moyen à très haut débit, c’est-à-dire qu’on pourra, à terme, y administrer respectivement entre 5000 et 10 000 doses par semaine et plus. Vendredi, on estimait la capacité de vaccination à environ 8500 doses par jour, mais cette capacité est « toujours tributaire du nombre de doses reçues », indique Zina Benshila, directrice de la vaccination au CIUSSS. Frédéric Abergel, PDG du CIUSSS, explique que la capacité de vacciner est plus grande que le nombre de vaccins reçus à ce stade-ci. Pour l’heure, les quatre sites du Nord-de-l’Île ont donc une capacité d’environ 3500 rendez-vous par jour. « La demande est très forte. Entre le moment d’accéder au site et la complétion du formulaire, une journée complète de rendez-vous était déjà envolée », constate André Vaillancourt, directeur des ventes au Journaldesvoisins.com. Notre collègue s’est inscrit lundi matin et a obtenu son rendez-vous pour le 14 mars, dans un centre de vaccination situé sur le territoire du CIUSSS de l’Ouest, situé sur le boulevard Gouin (ndlr: M. Vaillancourt est résidant de l’Ouest-de-l’Île). Lors de l’inscription, les personnes peuvent entrer leur code postal pour voir quelle est la clinique la plus proche de leur domicile, note cependant Zina Benshila. Elle explique que les équipes du CIUSSS ont sillonné le territoire à la recherche de lieux qui permettent de maintenir la distanciation physique. La démographie des quartiers est l’un des nombreux facteurs qui ont été pris en compte, dit-elle. Elle souligne que d’autres facteurs comme l’accessibilité, notamment en transports en commun, a également fait partie des critères de choix de sites. Des brigades de marcheurs En point de presse la semaine dernière, les autorités de la santé montréalaises assuraient que tout allait être mis en œuvre pour offrir des services de transports aux aînés qui ne seraient pas en mesure de se déplacer seules, mais demandaient aussi aux proches d’aider avec le transport, dans la mesure du possible. Les brigades de sensibilisation formées l’an dernier seront à nouveau mises à contribution pour s’assurer que toutes les personnes admissibles au vaccin soient rejointes. Comme ils le font depuis plusieurs mois, les intervenants iront à la rencontre des gens, des leaders religieux et des organismes communautaires sur le terrain. En outre, des informations sur la vaccination sont prévues dans plusieurs langues, explique Frédéric Abergel. La directrice régionale de la santé publique, docteure Mylène Drouin, précisait pour sa part qu’une attention particulière était portée pour rejoindre les personnes âgées isolées et que la DRSP disposait notamment de listes de personnes ainées vulnérables, par exemple celles constituées pour veiller à leur sécurité lors d’épisodes de chaleurs accablantes. Avec des informations de François Robert-Durand. Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister-designate has found himself in a difficult diplomatic position ahead of taking the post following his country’s diplomatic ties with Israel. Albin Kurti of the Self-Determination Movement party, or Vetevendosje!, is expected to be Kosovo’s next prime minister after his party won the Feb. 14 parliamentary election. On Monday, Kurti met with the Turkish ambassador in Pristina, and Kosovo’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem was among the topics of discussion. “The place where the embassy will be located is to be considered following checking of the documentation of the outgoing government,” said a statement issued after the talks. On Feb. 1, Kosovo established diplomatic ties with Israel and decided to open an embassy in Jerusalem — becoming the first European country and Muslim-majority one to make such plans. It followed the U.S. and Guatemala in doing so. Most countries’ embassies are in Tel Aviv. Kosovo's decision was taken when outgoing Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic at the White House in September with then-President Donald Trump. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Kosovo that the move could damage future relations with his country. “I believe that it would be beneficial to avoid such a move that would cause great damage to Kosovo,” Erdogan said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote that “I attach much importance to Kosovo’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem and I look forward to hosting you in Israel for its inauguration.” The letters sent in February were published by Kurti’s spokesman, Perparim Kryeziu, on his Facebook page as part of congratulations from world leaders on his victory. Last week, Kosovo sent its ambassador to Israel. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed, as the capital of a future state. Most of the international community doesn't recognize the Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem and says the competing claims to the city should be resolved through negotiations. Kosovo’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after a U.S.-led 78-day NATO airstrike campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians — most of whom are Muslim — in Kosovo. Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not. ——- Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara, Turkey. Zenel Zhinipotoku And Llazar Semini, The Associated Press
For many energy companies, 2020 was a terrible year that started with the OPEC price war followed by the pandemic. Financial advisors have suggested a few reasons for the significant increase in M&A transactions that’s happening and expected to continue through 2021. In the case of small to medium-sized oil and gas companies, acquisitions through insolvency procedures are more predominant. Unfortunately, these companies cannot attract the capital to continue and can no longer get funding from the banks. Insolvency is the last option. For the larger companies with capital, they are looking for more growth through acquisition rather than drilling. These companies are looking for other oil and gas plays that can be purchased at a lower price and provide immediate returns on their investment. One of the most recent acquisitions announced this month is the sale of Shell Canada’s land holdings in the Duvernay field around Fox Creek. “Shell has reached an agreement with Crescent Point Energy Corp to sell its Duvernay shale light oil position in Alberta for a total consideration of $900 million.” as stated in their media release. The transaction is expected to close in April 2021. The sale includes transferring approximately 450,000 net acres in the Fox Creek Kaybob and Rocky Mountain House Willesden Green areas and related infrastructure. Well, licenses will be transferred over to Crescent Point, subject to regulatory approval. Chris Sillito,External Relations with Shell Canada, added, “Crescent Point will retain the Shell field employees and several technical and commercial roles that support the assets.” The news came as a shock to many in Fox Creek, as Shell has been a pillar of the community for many years. The company didn’t just have an interest in the Duvernay field but invested heavily into its community. Some of Shell Canada's contributions include the partnership in which Shell can use the Town of Fox Creek's treated wastewater for its operations in exchange; Shell funded the engineering and design to upgrade the town’s raw water facilities. The company has also sponsored the gymnasium in the new Multiplex, which is named the Shell Fieldhouse. Other contributions consist of making donations and sponsorships to the many smaller non-profit organizations in the community. Many contributions were also made to the Food Bank, the Friends of Fox Creek Hospital Society, to purchase medical equipment at the hospital. Other donations were made to the Fox Creek School, volunteering through the annual Day of Caring, Annual Grant Programs put out to the students to further their education, scholarships for graduates. The list could go on, but it’s a glimpse into the support Shell has given to the community over the years. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
Local municipalities were among the 30 projects among a $1.39 million investment through the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on behalf of the federal government. The programs aim is to strengthen local infrastructure planning and decision-making by increasing local asset management capacity through investments in activities such as asset management training, technology and software enhancements and information sharing. This is part of the federal government's commitment to providing local communities with tools and support for evidence-based decision-making that will help them plan a healthier, safer and more prosperous future for everyone. “The COVID-19 health crisis has reinforced the importance of infrastructure that supports safe, sustainable and healthy communities. Everything from ensuring communities have potable water to internet access to park spaces requires good planning. The 30 projects announced today ensure Saskatchewan municipalities have the tools and technology necessary to make well-informed decisions for the long term. Canada's infrastructure plan is resulting in thousands of projects, creating jobs across the country and building stronger communities.” Jim CarrSpecial Representative for the Prairies on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities said in a release. Municipalities receiving funding in the region included the RM of Moose Range which received $36,080 for an asset management plan, the District of Lakeland which received $50,000 for an asset management framework and system project and the RM of Porcupine which received $50,000 for an asset management roadmap and system project. “Municipalities of all sizes are Canada’s builders. They own nearly 60 percent of the public infrastructure that support Canada’s economy and quality of life. With strengthened asset management practices, they are making infrastructure investment decisions based on sound and reliable data. Supported by our strong federal-municipal partnership, FCM is delivering programs from coast to coast to coast that help municipalities in Saskatchewan do what they do best: deliver solutions that work.” Garth Frizzell, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities said in a release. MAMP offers funding, training, and resources to help small and medium sized municipalities improve their asset management policies and approaches enabling them to make solid infrastructure investment decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories. The COVID-19 Resilience Stream will help other orders of governments whose finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic by increasing the federal cost share for public infrastructure projects in a variety of areas including disaster mitigation and adaptation projects and pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Since 2016, the federal government has invested $28 billion in over 18,000 infrastructure projects in communities with populations under 100,000. More than 6,100 kilometres of highways and roads, and 103 bridges have been built, repaired or upgraded in rural communities, and more than 3,134 projects are providing rural communities with access to cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Two Yukon First Nations are renewing calls for a regional land use plan to be completed before any new development on their traditional territories is considered, including a mineral exploration project right next door to Tombstone Territorial Park. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun recently sent letters to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board stating that approving the quartz exploration project, called Antimony Creek, without a land use plan for the Dawson region would violate their rights. The board is in the midst of evaluating whether Ryanwood Exploration Inc., the Dawson City-based company behind the project, has provided enough information to develop the project without adversely affecting the environment. The assessment board is responsible for issuing recommendations to the Yukon and federal governments, which ultimately decide whether to greenlight a project. Regional land use plans determine what can and cannot occur in a particular region, essentially balancing conservation values, First Nations’ rights and industrial pursuits. These plans are created by independent commissions and signed off on by the Yukon government and affected First Nations. Creating them is a requirement under the Umbrella Final Agreement, which was signed by 11 First Nations in 1990 and paved the way for their self-governance. However, most First Nations have been waiting decades for these plans. Resource development in the absence of an approved land use plan “will negatively affect Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in final agreement,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Jan. 14 letter states. “This is unacceptable.” Antimony Creek is on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Na-Cho Nyäk Dun territory and about 2.5 kilometres away from Tombstone, the territory’s flagship park that boasts towering, jagged peaks and abundant wildlife. The project is in an area of great importance to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, whose citizens frequently harvest plants and wildlife for cultural and subsistence purposes. Traditional gravesites and heritage travelling routes are a short distance away from the project area. According to the company’s April 2020 permit application, up to 300 holes will be drilled per year, with some burrowing 10,000 metres into the earth, to find what appears to be gold and silver deposits. The 10-year project involves the construction of an access road, a network of trails and a drill pad. The company is proposing up to 883 round-trip helicopter flights on an annual basis to transport workers and supplies. According to GeoYukon, a Yukon government mapping tool, the project area covers roughly 86 square kilometres. Ryanwood Exploration Inc. didn’t return a request for comment. In its permit application, the company said First Nations haven’t been engaged, “but discussions will be conducted.” According to a 2020 assessment board report, the company intends to regularly host discussions with affected First Nations “to ensure that this project does not adversely affect surrounding local and First Nations lands, culture and people.” The Dawson Regional Planning Commission is in the process of developing a land use plan that will manage and monitor lands, waters and industry within the region — a roughly 40,000 square-kilometre area representing about 10 per cent of the territory’s land mass. According to a Jan. 26 letter the commission sent to the assessment board, permitting development before the completion of a land use plan “may impact the commission’s ability to develop recommendations for the appropriate use of land, water and other renewable and non-renewable resources within the planning region.” Sue Thomas, a spokesperson for Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, told The Narwhal in an email land use planning doesn’t negate tenure holders’ ability to develop their mineral claims. “Development and/or exploration projects, like any other industrial and non-industrial uses, are allowed to continue while the planning process is underway,” she said. Allowing industry to explore in a region where land use planning is underway could rule out protecting areas with high conservation values, Sebastian Jones, wildlife and habitat analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, told The Narwhal. “It’s no secret that if projects like this can get permitted before the land use plan is in place, it will [predetermine] land use planning,” he said, adding that projects like Antimony Creek are designed to eventually result in a large mine. Jones said miners likely recognize their days are numbered to develop claims in sensitive areas, which explains why they appear to be racing to get permits before land use plans are completed. “It’s very likely that developing a mine will not be one of the approved activities in the project area,” he said. If mineral deposits are located, several mines could crop up, leading to cumulative impacts on an otherwise undisturbed area, Jones said. In a Jan. 8 letter to the assessment board, the Yukon Conservation Society recommended the project not proceed, saying access roads and the eventual building and operation of mines would cause cumulative impacts on the region. The Antimony Creek project area is in a region that’s of very high cultural value to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens, according to the First Nation’s letter. The region, known as the “cultural integrity area,” which contains roughly 88 per cent of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s settlement land, provides critical habitat for caribou, moose, sheep and salmon. It is also home to mineral licks, rare plants and old-growth forests, all of which help sustain wildlife and, in turn, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in harvesters. “The whole ecosystem contributes to our lifestyle and our culture,” Chief Roberta Joseph told The Narwhal. “It’s not only about food value — it’s about ensuring our connection and our spirituality with the land, it’s about bonding and passing on traditional teachings through stories and teaching about harvesting.” There are also significant heritage sites in the area. The project is located about 300 metres away from a settlement land parcel that was originally selected to protect traditional gravesites, according to the letter. The letter suggests there are likely even more burial sites, as not all heritage areas have been mapped by the First Nation. “It is concerning that there could be potential impacts on our ancestors who may have been buried in the area near the proposed application,” Joseph said. “There needs to be regard and consideration on the burials of our ancestors, wherever they’re buried throughout our traditional territory.” “It’s just a matter of ensuring that our heritage as First Nations people of this land, since millennia, is being respected in accordance to our final agreements and the spirit and intent of our final agreements.” The area is considered so important to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens because it has yet to be disturbed by industry, the letter states. “Until a land use plan is in place that takes into account Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the final agreement, the cultural integrity area must remain intact in order for land and wildlife to thrive and for traditional pursuits to continue,” the letter states. Staking should be off-limits in the Dawson region until a land use plan is in place, according to a Jan. 20 letter Na-Cho Nyäk Dun sent to the assessment board. The letter said completion of the plan is “an essential prerequisite of any further permitting in this area.” Chief Simon Mervyn didn’t reply to a return for comment. According to the letter, land use planning helps facilitate development because it provides certainty “for all.” “It will allow for Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, other Indigenous nations, public government and industry to make decisions together respecting priorities, values and criteria for development and minimize future land use conflicts by making clear where development can and cannot be pursued,” the letter states. “Most importantly, it will ensure that development respects and supports, rather than undermines, the Treaty Rights of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.” Former vice-chair of the Dawson land use planning commission Art Webster also recently called for a halt on staking in the Dawson area. “By allowing the staking of mineral claims, it basically sends out a message saying, ‘This is the highest value of this land, the extraction of minerals’ … at the expense of considering any other values for that land,” Art Webster told The Narwhal in an interview. According to Na-Cho Nyäk Dun’s letter, the First Nation has been waiting for a completed land use plan in its traditional territory since it signed its final agreement 25 years ago. This would be separate from the Dawson land use plan. While Na-Cho Nyäk Dun is not an official party to the land use planning process in the Dawson region, it has observer status, as its territory overlaps with that of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. The nations have an agreement in place to settle possible disputes linked to overlapping traditional territories. “In the view of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, public government’s failure to initiate a land use planning process for the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun traditional territory is a fundamental breach of a key commitment enshrined in our treaty, and is flatly inconsistent with the honour of the Crown,” the letter states. The Antimony Creek project is only one mining application on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s traditional territory, Joseph said. “There are many of them every year,” she said. A similar quartz exploration project, called Coal Creek (Monster) located roughly 85 kilometres north of Dawson City is making its way through the environmental assessment process. The Vancouver-based proponent, Go Metals, is searching for battery metals such as copper, gold and silver, according to the project proposal. According to a letter Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in sent to the assessment board, the First Nation continues “to strongly oppose” any development in the northern reaches of its traditional territory, which is relatively intact and undisturbed wilderness. Go Metals spokesperson, Scott Sheldon, told The Narwhal in an email, “We’re committed to continuing our conversations with local First Nations and we look forward to progress being made by the Dawson Regional Planning Commission to help us create better exploration plans for our battery metals project.” The Coffee Gold project, a proposed hard rock mine in a remote corner of Yukon, is also on the traditional territories of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Yukoners can submit feedback on that project until March 26. If this proposal is approved, the mine would be the largest in Yukon’s history. Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal