Canadians looking to pass the time on the slopes over the holidays should expect a different experience than usual, thanks to restrictions in place for COVID-19 safety.
Canadians looking to pass the time on the slopes over the holidays should expect a different experience than usual, thanks to restrictions in place for COVID-19 safety.
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
The Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) says it will be taking the government to court over a ministerial order signed last month that they say gives teachers less control over their pensions. The ATA said on Tuesday its provincial executive council had voted unanimously to initiate legal action, and that association lawyers are in the process of drafting a court application which will be filed once complete. On Dec. 23, 2020, Finance Minister Travis Toews signed a ministerial order allowing the government-owned Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) to reject any changes proposed by the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund (ATRF). That order went into effect on Jan. 1. Teachers have repeatedly expressed concerns following the passing of Bill 22, which transfers their pension investments under AIMCo's management. The pension fund lost billions last year, and some union leaders had expressed concerns the manager was making decisions to prop up oil companies. "We were never consulted on that, that move was never anything that was campaigned on … teachers are very happy with ATRF," ATA president Jason Schilling said in an interview with CBC. "So to have this moved over without consultation and then subsequently to have a ministerial order put in place, that basically gives AIMCo veto power … infuriated teachers." Toews has previously reassured teachers that the ATRF board would remain in control of pension decisions — a promise Schilling argues the recent ministerial order negates. "Teachers were betrayed by their MLAs, the minister and the premier when this imposed [investment management agreement] failed to live up to their promises made to respect the ATRF's ability to direct the investment of teacher pension dollars," says Schilling. "We will fight the order in court, but there still needs to be political accountability for the broken promises." Charlotte Taillon, press secretary for the minister, said while they're unable to comment on pending legal action, the ministerial order was necessary as a temporary measure as ATRF and AIMCo had not reached an agreement. She said the ATRF itself has said the ministerial order does not impact pension benefits, and that the government remains confident the parties will be able to reach an agreement — at which point the ministerial order will no longer be in effect. The ATRF board has made the case that under AIMCo management, the $18.9 billion pension fund would have been worth $17.5 billion — $1.3 billion less — by the end of 2019. The ATRF indicated mid-last year that its data showed it has outperformed AIMCo yearly from 2013 through 2019. AIMCo manages several provincial government funds, including the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and the pension funds of more than 375,000 Alberta public sector workers. A deal has yet to be reached between AIMCo and ATRF. About 83,000 current and retired teachers are affected by the management, which is expected to be complete this year.
Inaya Mirza’s bully, another student in her Grade 4 classroom, is a lot quieter online. “When she was at school every day, she would be talking about this girl,” said her older sister, Maryam Mirza. “She was doing poor academically because she was so stressed.” The bullying — name-calling, rumour-spreading and gossiping — stopped when classrooms were shuttered. “Now, she’s happy,” said Maryam, 23, an early-childhood educator. “She kind of misses her friends, but, at the same time, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the bully.” Nearly 60 per cent of public school students surveyed reported being bullied pre-COVID, according to a new report on bullying released Friday by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Amid the pandemic, that number dropped to about 40 per cent. The report was initiated by the board after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. Kristine Bolton, a parent to two students in the public board, said her eldest daughter, a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill, suffers from anxiety. “She didn’t feel safe all the time there with what happened with Devan,” she said. “She’s been scared.” Bolton said the 15-year-old puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform academically. “She blacks out during tests,” her mother said. “So being in the comfort of home, she’s not going through that and her marks have been really good so far.” Bolton said her kids have excelled with remote learning — each for a different reason. “Our youngest one, she’s always had a lot of struggles, unfortunately, in school,” Bolton said. Her daughter, a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, had been at a Grade 3 or 4 level for a couple of years, her mother said. Now, she is doing math between a Grade 6 and 7 level. “When the remote started last year after March break, I was able to give her that one-on-one support,” she said. “Her grades have improved.” Jennifer McTaggart, a clinical psychologist with the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, said success with remote learning “is going to vary based on the kid.” “I think there are some children who are thriving in remote learning,” she said. Self-directed learners and students who are easily distracted by may prefer to learn in a more independent environment. Remote learning might be a welcome break for students who are shy, have an anxiety disorder or suffer from bullying. But, she said, it’s “a double-edged sword.” “Getting out of the situation really does reinforce the anxiety, so our kids aren’t learning how to deal in these social situations,” she said. “There’s a temporary relief, but I also worry our children aren’t getting the benefit of learning how to work through those situations, which is important to our social development.” Sixteen-year-old Elena Kowalchuk, a Grade 11 student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is “kind of made for online learning,” her mother says. “She’s highly motivated, she’s got an excellent work ethic, she’s got really good work habits,” said Michelle Castellani, who is a high school teacher. But, despite her daughter’s success with remote learning, Castellani said she will “100 per cent” be going back to the classroom once schools reopen for in-person learning. “It’s not so much for the academics that I would send her back, it is for that little bit of a social piece,” she said. “It’s important for kids to get out of the house.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
VICTORIA — Canadian rescue crews are helping to search for a small plane off of the B.C. coast after United States officials received a mayday distress call. The U.S. Coast Guard says in a tweet that crews are searching the waters between Victoria and Port Angeles, Wash., for a downed Cessna 170. It says one man was reported aboard the aircraft. The coast guard says the flight originated from Ketchikan, Ala. Lt.-Cmdr. Tony Wright of the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says the pilot described his location during the mayday call Tuesday afternoon. Wright says Canada is supporting the search with the Canadian Coast Guard's Sir Wilfred Laurier vessel and a CC-115 Buffalo aircraft out of Comox, B.C. He says they are searching along with an American helicopter and vessels. "We're supporting the U.S. Coast Guard," Wright said, adding he had no other information immediately available. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. DHS also noted violent riots in “recent days,” an apparent reference to events in Portland, Oregon, linked to anarchist groups. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Critics of Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed Mary River mine expansion questioned the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge, during the second day of a Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing. It revealed that a clear divide between company and community still exists, despite CEO Brian Penney’s assertion Monday his company has addressed community concerns about the mine’s phase two expansion. Baffinland says it needs to build a 110-kilometre railway from Milne Inlet to the Mary River mine to make the mine financially sustainable. But the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization was one of the more outspoken presenters during Tuesday’s proceedings in Pond Inlet, repeatedly asking Baffinland staff if they considered Inuit traditional knowledge in their proposals, especially when regarding the environment. “Does Baffinland understand that proper incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is a requirement of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, not only an expectation of communities?” Eric Ootoovak, a member of the hunters and trappers organization asked. He also asked if Baffinland respects traditional knowledge as “factual information that is essential to the environmental impact statement.” Megan Lord-Hoyle, Baffinland’s vice-president of sustainable development, and Lou Kamermans, senior director of sustainable development, said the company has adapted its proposal to the needs of affected communities, even if it hasn’t been to the extent that groups such as the MTHO would like. “We can agree to disagree on the conclusions of our assessments, but your disagreement doesn’t mean that we haven’t carried out the studies that are included in our assessment,” said Kamermans, in reference to incorporating traditional knowledge. “That information is objectively there, there’s no debate on that. We have considered the information.” Critics’ questions about whether their environmental concerns will be addressed and honoured by Baffinland have persisted since November 2019. That was when the hearings were postponed after Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk brought forward a motion to postpone the hearing because were too many questions remained about the proposal. Since then, Baffinland has held meetings with affected communities and revised its proposal. Vessels would operate for four, rather than 10, months a year, to help avoid disturbing marine life. The company also introduced the Inuit stewardship plan to allow Inuit to “report on social, environmental, and cultural impacts” of the phase two proposal, which will be run by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and paid for by Baffinland. As well, the Inuit Certainty Agreement, a multimillion-dollar agreement between the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland, was signed in July 2020 and outlines community benefits, Inuit participation in the project and incentives for affected communities. “Science and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will be considered in parallel and on equal footing as part of the adaptive management planning,” Lord-Hoyle said. But community representatives have yet to be won over. On Tuesday, Amanda Hanson Main, technical advisor to the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, asked Lord-Hoyle three times if, during the 2019 proceedings, Baffinland supported any requests or motions by communities to slow down the hearings when they felt their concerns weren’t being answered. The third time, Lord-Hoyle referred to Baffinland’s legal counsel to answer. “We believe that an answer has been given to this question, and the answer is that the position of the company on the motions is on the record and is well known to the board,” said Brad Armstrong. Hanson Main replied, “Noting the non-response at this oral hearing, I’ll move forward, recognizing that Baffinland not only did not support the motions or the requests, and in fact pressed forward despite the protests of communities.” The nine-member Nunavut Impact Review Board assesses the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advises the federal and territorial governments on their findings. The hearing will continue until Feb 6. Afterwards, the review board will send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead. Meagan Deuling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,505 new vaccinations administered for a total of 868,454 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,291.479 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.37 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,102 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,622 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.909 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 4,164 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.281 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 9,707 new vaccinations administered for a total of 295,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,618 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,369 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.781 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 727 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.902 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.674 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 2,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.844 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,397 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 105.365 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 7,578 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 265 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,723 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 121.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 39.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador first felt the onset of COVID-19 on Sunday and was tested after returning to the capital on a commercial flight from an event in central Mexico, his spokesman said on Tuesday. Spokesman Jesus Ramirez said that passengers on the flight were being contacted, and that journalists traveling with the president were recommended to isolate. Lopez Obrador had a fever on Sunday and was still experiencing some mild symptoms by Tuesday, including a minor headache, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said in an evening news conference.
South Korean authorities were scrambling on Wednesday to rein in coronavirus outbreaks centred on Christian schools as the country reported a jump in infections, dampening hopes of a speedy exit from a third wave of the pandemic. At least 323 COVID-19 cases had been traced to churches and mission schools run by a Christian organisation in two cities, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) data. More than 100 cases were confirmed overnight among people linked to churches and its mission schools in Gwangju, about 270 kms (168 miles) south of Seoul, officials said.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Mikyla Grant-Mentis scored the go-ahead goal at 4:56 of the third period, and the Toronto Six held on to edge the Boston Pride 2-1 on Tuesday in National Women's Hockey League action. It's the first victory in franchise history for the expansion team. Toronto (1-1-1) trailed 1-0 heading into the third before Brooke Boquist tied the game 3:31 into the period with a power-play goal Christina Putigna opened the scoring at 11:59 of the first while on a Pride (1-2-0) power play. Elaine Chuli made 24 saves for the Six, while Boston's Lovisa Selander stopped 36-of-38 shots. The NWHL went full bubble hockey Saturday in a quarantined environment in Lake Placid, New York. Each of the six teams are set to plays five games in eight days followed by the playoffs, with the semifinals and final airing on NBCSN. The semifinals are Feb. 4 and championship game is Feb. 5. The NWHL didn't crown a 2020 Isobel Cup champion in its fifth season because of the pandemic. The majority of the Six roster is Canadian NCAA Division 1 alumni with some who also played in the defunct Canadian Women's Hockey League. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Rapid growth of the greenhouse industry in Kingsville and Leamington has caused the Union Water Supply System to prioritize plans to increase water capacity sooner than expected. Greenhouses use about half the amount of water supplied by Union Water in Essex County. The rapid development of that agriculture sector in the area means Union Water is working to get a planned five million gallon reservoir project up and running in about two years, rather than the anticipated five years. It's a race to complete the project sooner because if water supply doesn't increase, the municipalities may have to decide between housing developments or new greenhouses. "The area is kind of booming and I mean, a lot of people are moving in from other areas, from Toronto, it's a retirement area, there's a lot of housing going up," said Union Water manager Rodney Bouchard. "So that's that's a positive thing. And that's great. And we want to make sure we can treat enough water to provide that to our municipal partners so they can provide it to the residents as well." The water system, according to Bouchard, will make some upgrades to its current plant that will add anther one to two million gallons of water per year by 2022. But if it ends up taking five years to get the new reservoir built, the regions might not be able to sustain a growing housing market and thriving greenhouse industry. "So it could mean not as robust growth for large water users, it could mean a concentration of dedicated connections to commercial to residential growth, which we've seen in each community, " said Kingsville mayor Nelson Santos, who is also the chair of the Union Water System. But, some members in the town of Essex, which owns six per cent of Union Water, are concerned. Essex councillor Chris Vander Doelen says the area is only being given about a 10th of the water supply he believes it should be entitled to and that this is insufficient. "That would allow us to build about 800 homes or less than we've got approved on the books and that would mean we could never accept a new industrial plant or our own greenhouse under construction because we just don't have the capacity," said Vander Doelen, who is also a Union Water board member. He said that a sharing agreement still needs to be negotiated. But Santos says Essex only issues about 100 building permits per year so the water supply should be enough. Manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Joe Sbrocchi said he also believes the capacity will be there when needed and notes that the industry is always working on being more efficient. "We're fixated as being as efficient as possible at all times," he said. "I think our members ... understand what is needed and seem to be able to get it done and we're surrounded by a community that understands we're an important economic driver." Union Water said another possibility is to hook up with Windsor's water supply to offset any potential issues.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first conversation as counterparts Tuesday in a phone call that underscored troubled relations and the delicate balance between the former Cold War foes. According to the White House, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia’s alleged involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign and reports of Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. The Kremlin, meanwhile, focused on Putin’s response to Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty. While the readouts from the two capitals emphasized different elements, they both suggested that U.S-Russia relations will be guided, at least at the beginning of the Biden administration, by a desire to do no harm but also no urgency to repair existing damage. The two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete a five-year extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty that expires next month. Former President Donald Trump's administration had withdrawn from two arms control treaties with Russia and had been prepared to let New START lapse. Unlike his immediate predecessors — including Trump, who was enamoured of Putin and frequently undercut his own administration's tough stance on Russia — Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations. Instead he has indicated he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And with a heavy domestic agenda and looming decisions needed on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not likely something Biden seeks. Although the leaders agreed to work together to extend New START before it expires Feb. 5 and to look at other areas of potential strategic co-operation, the White House said Biden was firm on U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, while Russia is supporting separatists in the country's east. Biden also raised the SolarWinds cyberhack, which has been attributed to Russia, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 U.S. election, the poisoning of Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny's supporters. “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” the White House said. Biden told Putin in the phone call, first reported by The Associated Press, that the U.S. would defend itself and take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure Moscow does not act with impunity, officials said. Moscow had reached out last week to request the call, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Biden agreed, but he wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, which he did. Before he spoke to Putin, Biden also called NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to pledge U.S. commitment to the decades-old alliance founded as a bulwark against Russian aggression. The Kremlin's readout of the call did not address the most contentious issues between the countries, though it said the leaders also discussed other “acute issues on the bilateral and international agenda.” It described the talk as “frank and businesslike” — often a diplomatic way of referring to tense discussions. It also said Putin congratulated Biden on becoming president and “noted that normalization of ties between Russia and the United States would serve the interests of both countries." Among the issues the Kremlin said were discussed were the coronavirus pandemic, the Iran nuclear agreement, Ukraine and issues related to trade and the economy. The call came as Putin considers the aftermath of pro-Navalny protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities over the weekend. Biden’s team has already reacted strongly to the crackdown on the protests, in which more than 3,700 people were arrested across Russia, including more than 1,400 in Moscow. More protests are planned for the coming weekend. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Biden has previously condemned the use of chemical weapons. Russian authorities deny the accusations. Just from the public accounts, Biden's discussion with Putin appeared diametrically opposed to Trump's relationship with the Russian president. Trump had seemed to seek Putin's approval, frequently casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including when he stood next to Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki. He also downplayed Russia’s involvement in the hack of federal government agencies last year and the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties. Still, despite that conciliatory approach, Trump's administration toed a tough line against Moscow, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian companies and business leaders for issues including Ukraine, energy supplies and attacks on dissidents. Biden, in his call with Putin, broke sharply with Trump by declaring that he knew that Russia attempted to interfere with both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. ___ Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Matthew Lee And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
North Shore Rescue say ground crews have rescued a snowboarder who was caught in an avalanche in the backcountry on Tuesday afternoon in Cypress Provincial Park. Team leader Mike Danks said rescue crews received a call at about 4:15 p.m. from a friend of the person who needed help. Danks said the man had been involved in a small avalanche and couldn't get out of the area on his own. "He was stuck, basically buried up to his waist. So we had crews responding into that area. The conditions are not optimal for sending people in the field, but because of the restriction of daylight for the helicopter, were not able to get crews into that area." By 10 p.m. the man had been transported to Cypress Resort and was to be taken to hospital. Danks said the man was confused and hypothermic, and may have suffered a pelvis fracture and injury to his shoulder. Complex rescue Ground teams were led by an avalanche forecaster and professional ski guide. The rescue was complex and involved two avalanche professionals, a doctor, an emergency nurse, a paramedic, and multiple rope rescue technicians, according to a Facebook post from North Shore Rescue. Talon Helicopters were eventually deployed along with North Shore Rescue's air operations team, and Cypress ski patrol, who also performed a rope rescue. North Shore Rescue warns that avalanche conditions are considerable, and are a danger to the lives of rescue crews as well as those they help. Danks said this snowboarder was "very lucky" given the circumstances. "He was out of bounds, caught in an avalanche. No avalanche safety equipment with them, no one else with them, either. So those are really big risks to take in conditions like this." He advises people to call 911, not friends, if they are caught in an avalanche so it's easier for crews to find them.
The call is out for municipal leaders around the world to join a network using COVID-19 as an opportunity to develop more climate-resilient communities. The new program,“1000 Cities Adapt Now,” was launched Monday at the global Climate Adaptation Summit, co-convened by the government of Canada and the United Nations Environment Programme, among others. The 10-year plan was unveiled by the mayors of Miami, Paris and Rotterdam, Netherlands, alongside world-leading research organizations World Resources Institute and Global Centre on Adaptation. The goal is to encourage urban development at the municipal level that will prepare cities and residents for the coming changes in climate. “Our cities are at the forefront when it comes to tackling COVID-19, but also tackling the crisis of climate change,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. More than a dozen other centres have signed on, including: Accra, Athens, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Antwerp, Belgium. No Canadian cities have yet to join the initiative. Antwerp Mayor Bart de Wever said worrying about climate change and the end of the century is a luxury for citizens who right now are financially stable enough to not have to worry about the end of the month first. De Wever advocated for climate adaptation at the municipal level in order to protect those at the lowest socio-economic levels who will feel the impacts of climate change the most. His city is already implementing adaptation plans that include flood dykes, repurposing of parking lots for community use, and amending building codes so every new build is required to have a “green roof.” Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said he was eager to be involved, because cities were the only level of government that could implement a bottom-up approach to tackling climate change. In Athens, this means “changing the face of the city” as green corridors and cycling infrastructure are prioritized. “We need to get ourselves ready for the day after the pandemic, because I think none of us want this pandemic to actually become an alibi or an excuse for our cities to lose valuable time,” Bakoyannis said. Former U.N. secretary-general and current co-chairman of the Global Commission on Adaptation Ban Ki-moon congratulated the mayors who have signed on for being leaders in the field of climate adaptation and preparedness. “The world is at a crossroads. COVID-19 is colliding with the existential crisis of a climate emergency, and your cities are on the front lines. But the good news is, that because of your work, cities around the world are rising to the challenge of protecting their citizens,” Moon said. He reminded conference attendees New York’s Central Park and Victoria Park in London were created in response to historical public health crises, and have since become the most iconic green spaces in the world. “If we work together, I believe we can prepare our cities for a warmer future, and create healthy living spaces where people and biodiversity can thrive.” Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
NEW YORK — Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. is deepening its partnership with Target Corp. by launching its first-ever home collection at the discount chain. Levi's limited time only 100-item collection of denim-inspired tableware, quilts, pillows and other items will be launched on Target's website and most Target stores on Feb. 28. Target started selling low-price brand Denizen from Levi's in 2011 and then began carrying its premium Red Tab brand in 2019. It will be expanding the Red Tab brand to 500 stores by fall of this year. The move is yet another blow to department stores, which have been struggling even more during the pandemic. Target CEO Brian Cornell and Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told The Associated Press they believe the Levi products, which also include some clothing, will be collectors' items. For Target, it's the latest strategic partnership with a major brand and comes as Target extends its strong sales streak through the pandemic. The Minneapolis-based discounter signed a deal late last year with beauty chain Ulta to open more than 100 beauty shops by middle of this year. In 2019, it forged a partnership with Disney & Co to open Disney-branded shops at its stores. Cornell said that strategic partnerships “have been key to Target’s success" and has set it apart from rivals. For San Francisco-based Levi, the collaboration reflects how the company has been diversifying its label away from department stores and focusing on retailers that drive customer traffic. Bergh said that the expansion with Target has helped the brand reach a broader customer base, but he cautions that the jeans maker has no intention of going into the home business in a permanent way. “This is unexpected Levi’s stuff that they are going to find inside Target, and it’s going to surprise and delight them," Bergh said. _______ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
“There's not enough words in the English language to share how much this will impact First Nations; how much every time the land is destroyed, how much that that tears apart who we are as Niitsitapi,” said Latasha Calf Robe. The member of the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) and founder of the Niitsitapi Water Protectors spoke at a town hall Jan. 21 focused on the changes to the provincial coal policy brought in by Alberta’s current UCP government. A Coal Development Policy for Alberta, known also as the 1976 Coal Policy, was rescinded effective June 1, 2020 by the government. The policy protected large portions of land, like the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from strip mining. After intense public backlash to a December 2020 coal mining auction, the UCP government, through the office of Minister for Energy Sonya Savage, cancelled 11 pending leases for coal mining. In a statement issued by the ministry Jan. 18, Savage said the “pause will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.” But participants at the town hall made it clear that they do not believe the government is looking out for their interests, and the best-case scenario is to have the coal policy reinstated completely. One of the main concerns is the potential for toxic amounts of selenium to enter the headwaters of the Old Man River, contaminating the drinking water of more than 200,000 Albertans, including the Blood Tribe. The town hall was organized by NDP Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips, the former minister of Environment and Parks and minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. She said at least 10 per cent of her constituents are members of Blackfoot Nations and will be affected by the government’s coal policy changes. In addition to concerns about selenium entering the drinking water, Phillips said the significant change in land use sets a dangerous precedent for the possibility of backroom deals on water licensing that would impact the availability of water for the Kainai Nation. She said the Grassy Mountain Mine is getting access to water in large volumes in order to operate, alleging this would only be possible by some sort of skirting of the rules when it comes to water licensing. “We are already in a very water-stressed area made only worse by the effects of climate change,” Phillips said. “Already, we see communities all across this corridor struggling with (lack of water) or even their water infrastructure… because climate change changes when you have more water and the volumes and, you know, extreme weather events and so on.” The mounting criticism over the lack of consultation with First Nations, as well as concerns over the potential environmental impacts, have resulted in stakeholders from across the province coming together to file a judicial review of the rescission of the coal policy. That is set to begin today, Jan. 26 in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The review argues for the policy to be restored. “These kinds of projects have zero legitimacy from seven generations beyond me, beyond us,” said Diandra Bruised Head, a member of the Blood Tribe council, at the town hall. The mayor of Lethbridge, Chris Spearman, and the former premier of Alberta, now Leader of the Opposition, Rachel Notley, both spoke out against the rescission of the coal policy. “Albertans have overwhelmingly said that the eastern slope should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation tourism, and just, of course, that the land itself should be respected for the way it has interacted with original peoples for so many years before anybody else was here,” said Notley. Mayor Spearman talked about the potential dangers to commercial and drinking water for the residents of Lethbridge and the surrounding areas. “To have this go forward and have the headwaters potentially contaminated is a huge betrayal of trust,” said Spearman. CJWE By Tsering Asha, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief, has been nominated for a rare third term, a Party official said, according to several state media articles that were published on Wednesday then subsequently amended, removing the comments. On Monday, more than 1,600 delegates began nine days of mostly closed-doors meetings at the Party's five-yearly Congress, during which a new leadership team will be picked to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule. Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president and architect of its anti-corruption campaign, had been widely tipped to continue as party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.
Fans of the Voyageur Days Festival will not gather where the rivers meet in Mattawa again this summer. Council agreed during their meeting Monday night to postpone the 2021 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic without much discussion. The recommendation came from the recreation committee and the only amendment was the removal of the year it was being postponed until, with 2022 scratched from the motion as well. See: No Voyageur Days in 2020 'heartbreaking' A media release was issued Tuesday by Renee Paquette, recreation and facilities services manager: “Over the last few weeks, we have been monitoring the situation closely and have determined that, along with government mandates in Ontario, it is no longer safe to move forward with our festival in July of 2021,” the release stated. “The well-being of our fans, artists, staff, vendors, partners, and the surrounding community is our number one priority. We have, therefore, decided to hold off on having the festival this year. “These are without doubt unprecedented times but as a town and community, we will all get through this together. We will overcome this and grow from it, but now is the time to be safe and look out for one another by protecting everyone else who supports us. Stay safe and rock on.” Council decided in April 2020 to pull the plug on the festival as the first wave of the pandemic was in full force with Mayor Dean Backer saying the “risks are way too high.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca