Snow begins to fall at a Newfoundland campground.
Snow begins to fall at a Newfoundland campground.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 9:05 a.m. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are among the stars who will highlight a prime-time virtual celebration televised Wednesday night after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president. Biden’s inaugural committee announced the lineup Sunday for “Celebrating America,” a multinetwork broadcast that the committee bills as a mix of stars and everyday citizens. Miranda, who wrote and starred in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” will appear for a classical recitation. Musicians John Legend, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake, among others, will join Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Actresses Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will act as hostesses, with former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also scheduled to appear. The segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsey, the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The broadcast is in lieu of traditional inaugural balls. Biden plans still to be sworn in on the Capitol's West Front, but with a scaled-down ceremony because of the coronavirus and tight security after the Jan. 6 violent insurrection on the Capitol as Congress convened to certify his victory. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THE INAUGURATION AND THE FALLOUT FROM THE JAN. 6 RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL: Across the country, some statehouses are closed, fences are up and extra police are in place as authorities brace for potentially violent demonstrations over the coming days. The safeguards will remain in place leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Biden plans to roll back some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies and take steps to address the coronavirus pandemic hours after taking office. Read more: — Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president — Biden outlines ‘Day One’ agenda of executive actions — Gen. Milley key to military continuity as Biden takes office — Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call — Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor at inauguration — Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants — Will Trump’s mishandling of records leave a hole in history? — Biden says his advisers will lead with ‘science and truth’ — More backlash for GOP’s Hawley as Loews Hotel cancels event ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 8 a.m. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirm the timing and say Gov. Gavin Newsom is aware of her decision. That clears the way for Newsom to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California’s secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris’ term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic. Harris will give no farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Tuesday, the eve of Inauguration Day. ___ 3 a.m. The threat of extremist groups descending on state capitals in a series of demonstrations Sunday prompted governors to roll out a massive show of force and implement tight security measures at statehouses across the country. Fencing, boarded-up windows and lines of police and National Guard troops have transformed statehouse grounds ahead of expected demonstrations leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The stepped-up security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob supporting President Donald Trump overran the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests in the nation’s capital and all 50 state capitals. Some social media messages had targeted Sunday for demonstrations, though it remained unclear how many people might show up. The Associated Press
First Nations, ranchers, municipal officials and environmentalists hope to persuade a judge this week to force Alberta to revisit its decision to open one of the province's most important and best-loved landscapes to open-pit coal mining. At least nine interveners will seek to join a southern Alberta rancher's request for a judicial review of the province's decision to rescind a coal-mining policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. "You talk about the Alberta identity," said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association, one of the parties looking for standing. "The eastern slopes, the Rocky Mountains and the foothills, are at the heart of what the Alberta identity is. This policy change threatens that." The eastern slopes are the source of three major rivers — the Red Deer, the Oldman and the South Saskatchewan. Everyone in southern Alberta and many in Saskatchewan depend on those rivers for drinking water, irrigation and industry. The water is heavily allocated. Endangered species, including cutthroat trout and grizzly bears, live there. The region's beauty is universally acknowledged. A 1976 policy brought in by Peter Lougheed's government laid out how and where coal development could go ahead, forbade open-pit mines over a large area and banned any mining at all in the most sensitive spots. It came after years of work and dozens of public consultations, said David Luff, a retired civil servant and consultant who worked on the policy. "Albertans overwhelmingly said the eastern slopes should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation and tourism. Lougheed had a very compelling vision based on input he received from extensive public consultation." Over the years, the policy informed the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and was written into legally binding land-use plans. Last spring, the policy was quietly revoked by Energy Minister Sonya Savage with no consultation. It was done on the Friday of the May long weekend, during the height of COVID-19's first wave, through an information letter on the department's website. "It's morally and ethically wrong," said Luff. But legally wrong? The province doesn't think so. The hearing in Calgary Court of Queen's Bench is to begin Tuesday with Alberta arguing that there was no duty to consult because the coal policy was just that — a policy. "The 1976 coal policy was not enacted using a legislative tool, so it can be rescinded unilaterally by Alberta Energy at any time," says a provincial briefing note entered in the court record. The province plans to ask the court to rule that the change is a political decision, not a legal matter, and the review request should be dismissed. Nigel Bankes, chair of natural resources law at the University of Calgary, notes land-use plans and the land stewardship act both promise consultation before major change. "This is effectively an amendment to the plan and therefore triggers the consultation obligations," he said. "There's certainly case law to suggest that high-level policy changes may trigger the duty to consult." As well, Bankes said, First Nations are owed a duty to consult. Three of them — the Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish — are asking to intervene. He suggests there's a good chance the court will turn down the provincial request for dismissal. Other hopeful interveners include the Municipal District of Ranchland, which is concerned about the impact that coal development could have on municipal services and infrastructure. Environmental groups seeking to intervene want to ensure water quality and ecological degradation are taken into account. One coal company — Cabin Ridge Coal — has asked for standing as well. It says it's already invested substantial money in exploration leases. "Restoration of the coal policy will create uncertainty in circumstances where the (Alberta Energy Regulator) presently has clear standards and processes for considering proposed exploration and development activities in Alberta," it says in a court filing. Alberta officials have said mining will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of tax dollars at a time when the province really needs them. They say any proposed mines would still be reviewed by the provincial regulator. Prominent and popular Alberta country musicians Corb Lund and Paul Brandt have publicly opposed the mines. A petition to the federal government opposing one development already in the review stage had more than 25,000 signatures as of Friday morning. The government has sold leases on about 1.4 million hectares of land for coal exploration since the policy was revoked. At least one provincial recreation area is partly covered by a coal lease and four others are surrounded by them. The province has also reopened water allocation agreements. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Prince George RCMP saw a small dip in crime in 2020, as measured by files opened, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Insp. Shawn Wright told city council. Files opened in 2020 added up to 46,668, down by 1,036 from 2019. With many businesses shut down and more people working from home, Wright said shoplifting dropped to "virtually nil" for a time while break and enters also declined noticeably. If the pandemic sparked an spike in domestic violence, Wright said it was not reflected in the count as the number of such files grew by only nine from 2019, to 487. Looking at the downtown, calls for service stood at 6,816, up by 118 from 2019. Wright said the "vast, vast majority" were non-criminal in nature. At nearly 1,200, calls related to mischief led the way and Wright said they typically related to someone sleeping in a doorway and causing a disturbance. Next highest were calls for causing a disturbance, which Wright said usually involves someone with a mental health issue. "I know there is a lot of apprehensions from a lot of the citizens that they don't feel safe downtown, that they think they're going to get robbed, that they're going to get assaulted but statistically speaking, we don't see those numbers being a large part of what we deal with down there," he said. Wright noted businesses in the vicinity of Canada Games Plaza, where public washrooms have been in place, reported a lot of nuisance activity during the summer. But he later also agreed with Coun. Murry Krause that the washrooms meet a need. "I don't dispute that at all," Wright said. Wright also suggested the storage facilities for street people in the downtown has enabled a "downtown camping lifestyle" but later added they also serve a need. "Sometimes there are unintended consequences and sometimes the intended consequences outweigh those, for sure," Wright said. He commended Carrier Sekani Family Services for opening the Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre at 1575 Second Ave. in late 2020. He said it has given people as old as 29 years a place to "hang out" and access services while also lessening the distress on area businesses. "I have been very pleasantly surprised," Wright said. Open use of illicit drugs downtown emerged as a theme when Wright fielded questions from city council members. He called the activity a "thorn in our side" but added pursuing prosecutions against individuals who insist on shooting up "not realistic" in today's legal climate. He said police have relied on patrols to move users along to areas where they can use while out of sight, such as a rooming house or, preferably, the safe injection site at the needle exchange. He said the 100 units of social housing planned for the corner of First Avenue and Ontario Street and the recently-announced conversion of the National Hotel at First and Dominion to social housing makes him optimistic. "Nothing is a magic bullet, nothing is going to change overnight, but I think they are very large steps in the right direction," Wright said. He said people who get their own place also get a sense of responsibility, accomplishment and dignity. "A lot of these people don't have a place to go, so it'll provide them that opportunity and I think the biggest key to those proposed developments is the fact that it's not just housing, it's supportive housing," Wright said. Looking ahead, Wright said RCMP are working to get a sobering centre established in Prince George. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
KENOVA, W.Va. — Griffith & Feil Drug has been in business since 1892, a family-owned, small-town pharmacy. This isn't their first pandemic. More than a century after helping West Virginians confront the Spanish flu in 1918, the drugstore in Kenova, a community of about 3,000 people, is helping the state lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. West Virginia has emerged as an unlikely success in the nation's otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout, largely because of the state's decision to reject a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens and instead enlist mom-and-pop pharmacies to vaccinate residents against the virus that has killed over 395,000 Americans. More shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state, with at least 7.5% of the population receiving the first of two shots, according to federal data. West Virginia was the first in the nation to finish offering first doses to all long-term care centres before the end of December, and the state expects to give second doses at those facilities by the end of January. “Boy, have we noticed that. I think the West Virginia model is really one that we would love for a lot more states to adopt,” said John Beckner, a pharmacist who works at the Alexandria, Virginia-based National Community Pharmacists Association, which advocates for pharmacies across the country. It's early in the process, but that has not stopped Republican Gov. Jim Justice from proclaiming that the vaccine effort runs counter to preconceived notions about the Mountaineer State. “Little old West Virginia, that was thought of for hundreds of years, you know, as a place where maybe we were backward or dark or dingy,” Justice said last week. Rather than relying on national chains, 250 local pharmacists set up clinics in rural communities. The fact that residents who may be wary of the vaccine seem to trust them makes a difference. “As my uncle always told me, these people aren’t your customers, they’re your friends and neighbours,” said Ric Griffith, the upbeat pharmacist at Griffith & Feil in Kenova, a town just west of Huntington near the Kentucky state line. A chatty raconteur and former mayor of Kenova, he can recall generations of patrons frequenting the shop, which is almost unchanged since the 1950s, with a soda fountain and jukebox in the front and prescriptions in the back. Griffith, 71, began taking over the pharmacy from his father in the early 1990s and was elected to the House of Delegates as a Democrat last year. His daughter, Heidi Griffith Romero, 45, followed into the family business and is also administering shots. Holding a vaccination clinic at the town high school, he recalled his uncle telling him he lost four classmates to the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide. “And it was a tragedy that I thought I would never be involved with,” he said, taking a break from giving vaccines to teachers aged 50 and over. When Mark Hayes, a middle school guidance counsellor in Kenova, walked up to receive his first dose, he spotted Griffith, who holds local celebrity status for hosting an extravagant annual Halloween pumpkin-carving party that attracts thousands. “I recognized him right away,” Hayes said. “‘The Pumpkin King? Are you giving me the shot?’” Kevin Roberts, a 59-year-old school bus driver in Kenova, said “it makes a difference” for a pharmacist he knows to administer the shots. “I hope that a lot of these skeptics change their mind,” he said. Officials also credit a 50-person command centre at the state’s National Guard headquarters in the capital of Charleston. Inside a cavernous hall, leaders of the vaccine operation and state health officials sit between plexiglass dividers to oversee shipments of the precious doses to five hubs. From there, deliveries go to drugstores and local health departments. CVS has so far declined to work with state officials on vaccinating people at its stores, but Walgreens is participating and has joined in to hold clinics at some nursing homes, officials said. The federal partnership involving both companies would have allowed Washington officials to dictate the terms of nursing home vaccinations, said Marty Wright, the head of the West Virginia Health Care Association, which represents health care companies. “If the state would've activated the federal plan, the state would've had zero control over the situation,” Wright said. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised West Virginia's efforts to vaccinate the elderly. “Expanding eligibility to all of the vulnerable is the fastest way to protect the vulnerable,” Azar said Tuesday at an Operation Warp Speed meeting. He also highlighted Connecticut as a bright spot in the vaccine rollout. Given West Virginia's success so far, leaders are now seeking more doses so they can open vaccinations for more groups. The Griffith & Feil store has had to decline shots for out-of-state customers who caught word of West Virginia's success. The governor recently lowered the age of eligibility for members of the general public to 70. The efforts have not been without errors. The Boone County Health Department was barred from distributing the vaccine last month after it mistakenly gave 44 people an antibody treatment instead of vaccines. The state began vaccinating school workers aged 50 or older less than two weeks ago. The governor wants in-person learning to resume at as many schools as possible by Tuesday, long before teachers will have received their second vaccine doses. As of Saturday, over nearly 128,000 first doses have been administered, and 22,966 people have received both shots. Over 54,000 of the first doses have gone to residents aged 65 and older. Mitchel Rothholz, who leads immunization policy at the American Pharmacists Association, said other governors would be wise to enlist local pharmacies. “Especially at a time when you have vaccine hesitancy and concerns in vaccine confidence, having access to a health care provider like a community pharmacist provides a comfort level to the patients and communities,” Rothholz added. ___ Associated Press Writer John Raby contributed to this report. Cuneyt Dil, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:30 a.m. Ontario has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. The province is reporting 3,422 new cases of the virus today and 69 associated deaths. More than a thousand of the most recent diagnoses were based in Toronto, 585 were in neighbouring Peel Region, and 254 in Winsor-Esssex County. Hospitalizations across the province declined by 62 to 1,570, with 395 patients in intensive care. Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province has administered more than 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of last night. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August, the head of its vaccine distribution plan told CBC News Sunday. The updated timeline came as the province saw 3,422 new COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths, with Toronto alone recording more than 1,000 new infections. Retired general Rick Hillier said while accomplishing the summer goal hinges on Ontario getting a steady supply of vaccine, there's a plan to get them in arms. "When they come, we're going to be able to use them all," Hillier told the CBC's Rosemary Barton. "I'd love to see the province of Ontario done by the end of July or early August with all those who want to have a vaccine and who are eligible to receive it. But until we get the vaccine allocation, until we know what's coming, we just can't do it." WATCH | Hillier's full interview on Rosemary Barton Live: Ontario has distributed the most COVID-19 vaccines of any province, but has administered only 72 per cent of the doses it has received. You can get the latest details by using the CBC News vaccine tracker. For now, a provincewide stay-at-home order remains in place as Ontario tries to limit the spread of the virus. GTA continues to see bulk of province's new cases Toronto reported 1,035 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking another day that the province's biggest city also had the most infections. In addition to Toronto's cases, there were 585 new cases in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex, 246 in York and 186 in the Niagara area. The new cases drive the seven-day average, a key figure that reduces noise in the data, to 3,143 new cases per day. A further 69 more people with the illness died, bringing the province's official death toll to 5,409. At least 1,570 people are in hospital, and there are now 293 patients on ventilators. Just over 3,078 cases were marked resolved. There were 60,183 tests completed, and the province's positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent. Ford, Tory touring future mass vaccination site Ontario has now administered 200,097 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and remains in the first phase of its rollout plan. Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the city's first mass vaccination site, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Sunday. Mass vaccinations haven't started yet (long-term care and health-care settings are being prioritized) but the Toronto facility is set to serve as a blueprint for what could be coming to other locations in the coming months. The city provided these details about the mass vaccination site, which it's calling a "proof-of-concept clinic": Opens Monday, but not to the general public. Will start with 250 vaccinations per day. Will use the Moderna vaccine. Tory said he hopes the test site will provide some hope during the grey winter months. "Vaccination is soon to come and we're just working away at being ready to do that," Tory said. Ford said the province will be ready when it's time to ramp up vaccinations in April, May and June. "Our goal is to get as many needles in people's arms as possible," he said. The two leaders didn't take questions from reporters. When will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here's a look at how the province is prioritizing its rollout plan
Members of Yukon's two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school Friday before hitting the road. Vanier Catholic Secondary School's gym was transformed into a pop-up mock vaccination clinic, similar to the ones that the teams — Balto and Togo, named after sled dogs — will set up in rural communities in the weeks to come as they deliver and administer the first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Team Balto deployed to Watson Lake on Sunday. A mobile clinic was also set up in Dawson City on Jan. 6, but only to administer vaccines to long-term care residents and staff as well as high-risk health professionals. 'Advance team' will precede Balto, Togo John Coyne, who's in charge of the Yukon government's vaccine roll-out logistics team, told reporters at the mock clinic that officials needed a system that would allow for a high number of vaccines to be administered in the communities as early as possible, but without disrupting operations at local health centres. "The best way to do that … was to bring the clinic to the community," he said. "It's a multi-tiered, multifaceted approach to make sure it's efficient." The arrival of mobile clinic teams in communities will be preceded by an advance team made up of three to five members whose jobs will be to "engage" community members, share information about Yukon's vaccine plan and help get people to the clinic when it arrives, Coyne said. They'll also be encouraging community members to book an appointment either online or over the phone to be vaccinated as opposed to dropping in, something that Coyne said would be key for planning and ensuring resources are allocated properly. Teams underwent week of 'extensive' training Teams Balto and Togo, meanwhile, are made up of Yukon EMS members who will be offering post-vaccine monitoring and care in case any adverse side effects occur, as well as greeters, cleaning personnel, security and "traffic-flow navigators." They went through a week of training the week prior, which Yukon EMS paramedic supervisor and Team Balto member Robert Morris described as "extensive." "We all come from different divisions and departments of the Yukon government — some of us are from Wildland Fire, we have some in Health and Social Services, accounting departments, Finance, and of course Emergency Medical Services as well, so taking that time to get to know our teams … figure out our feel, our dance, our rhythm, we've had the last three days to really solidify that," he said. The teams will be responsible for setting up, tearing down and moving the mobile clinics on their own. As part of that, they'll also be bringing all the equipment and furniture they need with them including shelves, tables, metal fold-up chairs (they're easier to sanitize than chairs with cloth surfaces) and even a sink for hand-washing. Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Odessa Beatty told CBC in an email that there will be members on both teams who will be able to serve people in French, and Yukoners who aren't able to make it to the clinic in their communities can find out about other opportunities to get vaccinated by contacting their local health centres. Morris said that while some logistical details are still being ironed out and that he expects some things to change as the teams get to work, he felt "very rewarded" to be part of Yukon's vaccination initiative. "I really do hope that when we look back on this that we can say that this historic moment was not only a success to everybody who was a part of it but also to the communities we're reaching out to as well," he said. "It's been a long time since COVID started and I really do feel like this is an integral part to an end of a long chapter with this pandemic."
For a decade, Cynthia Knuttioa has turned to social media for advice on caring for her sensitive skin. As a teen, the Edmontonian used tips from people on YouTube and Instagram suggesting things like lemon juice astringent or scrubs made from cinnamon, baking soda and sugar But after the pandemic took hold this spring, the 23-year-old found solutions that work from a surprising source: the popular video app TikTok. And Knuttioa isn't alone. More and more Albertans are turning to TikTok for skincare advice they would otherwise only get from a professional. Dermatologists and so-called skinfluencers — individuals on social media who have become trusted voices in everything related to skin care — have seen a faster rise in popularity on TikTok than they have on other apps like Instagram and YouTube, thanks to the app's unique algorithm. Knuttioa, who follows popular TikTok influencers like Hyram Yarbro (a.k.a. Skincare By Hyram), said she has developed a trust in their recommendations thanks to skincare advice that has worked. "I resonate a lot with Hyram because of his transparency," Knuttioa said about 24-year-old Yarbro, the Honolulu-based influencer who took his Skincare By Hyram YouTube channel to TikTok, where he has since amassed more than six million followers. "He breaks down the ingredients in a really matter-of-fact way ... and communicates the ingredients in a way that it makes sense to the everyday consumer," she said. "And he's also very honest that different people are going to have different reactions to different products. So I find that very refreshing and it makes it easier to trust him." To keep their credibility intact, TikTokers like Yarbro and Vi Lai (known on TikTok as @whatsonvisface) will test products thoroughly before offering straightforward, sometimes blunt, reviews of the products. When both Yarbro and Lai were underwhelmed by product samples they received from singer Rihanna's new skincare line, neither hesitated to pass along their critical reviews. Spike in sales Some companies directly credit TikTok's new breed of influencers for dramatic increases in the bottom line. The Ordinary is an affordable line of skincare product launched in 2016 by Deciem, a beauty and skincare company with head offices in Toronto. In February, it saw a massive spike in the sales of one of its popular exfoliants, said Nicola Kilner, Deciem's co-founder and CEO. About 52,000 units were sold in the first two weeks of February, followed by 77,000 in the third week, while demand from retailers rose by more than 1,000 per cent, Kilner wrote in an email to CBC. "I think with so many users being able to access this platform, it's been able to spread so quickly to individuals all over the world," she said. "This was incredibly exciting for us to see it reach a whole new audience — and quite humbling truthfully." It was a similar situation for CeraVe, another affordable line of skincare products which has gotten several nods from the Canadian Dermatology Association. In April, the products were as scarce as toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, said Jacinthe Lavergne, general manager for CeraVe Canada. TikTok influencers inspired the jump in sales, she said. "It was a real, all-at-once wave of love and by far never expected this wave to arise so fast," Lavergne said. "It was like word-of-mouth 2.0." Accessible advice If companies making skincare products are seeing financial success via TikTok's influencers, it's mainly because the platform is designed to get its user's videos in front of as many sets of eyes as possible. "Tiktok's algorithm does a really, really good job of presenting interesting or funny or useful content to people, regardless of who they follow," said Linda Hoang, a Edmonton social media strategist, blogger and TikToker. On Instagram and YouTube, only viral videos will see surges in audience beyond followers, Hoang said. With TikTok, once a user interacts with a certain video, the app's algorithm will send more videos on the same topic regardless of the number of views. She said another explanation for TikTok content being widely spread is the app's mastery of sharing to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while still giving credit. "It does drive back quite a bit of viewership to that original user on TikTok," she said. Dr. Muneeb Shah, a dermatologist in North Carolina, downloaded TikTok at the start of the pandemic and now has more than two million followers. He credits the app and COVID-19 for the rise in interest in skincare. "Historically people were really into makeup," he said. "But since people aren't going out as much, they started to focus more on having healthy skin." Compared to Instagram, where he has a respectable 153,000 followers, Shah said TikTok makes it much easier to reach the masses. "On Instagram and Facebook ... you end up in these basically echo chambers of similar thought," he said. "So if you know that you like fashion and you're following some fashion bloggers, you'll get a lot of information about fashion, but you don't really learn about new things. Discoverability, I think, on the other platforms is relatively low." Shah noted that influencers like Yarbro and Lai have earned the trust of followers by doing their homework and ensuring that products they like have approval from dermatologists, including himself. When misinformation is posted, it is very quickly tamped down by skincare experts and more serious content creators. Shah said that's a good reason for experts like him to have a presence on the platform. "It's imperative that we meet people and patients where they get their information," he said. "One, to be relatable to them so that when they come in to their appointments, they have trust in that system. Two, to combat misinformation where it starts. And three, to just be a voice of reason when things become unreasonable."
Rotational workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are grappling with yet another burden, after Air Canada announced Tuesday it's closing major transit corridors in and out of the province later this month. "It's another huge blow," said Michael Dean, who works in Alberta but resides in Newfoundland. As of Jan. 23, Air Canada will no longer fly out of Gander and Goose Bay, with both those airports losing runs to and from Halifax. The carrier has also cut its Toronto to St. John's route. Dean said the loss of those flights means most people living outside the metro area must drive to the capital and likely stay in a hotel overnight. "It's just money, money, money adding up, and extra days away from your family," he said. Quarantine rules for inbound travelers have meant thousands of rotational workers across the province must hole up on their return for at least seven days, taking precious time away from their families. For some, the restrictions have meant not coming home at all. Dean regularly travels through Toronto on connecting flights, and doesn't yet know what the latest changes will mean for his own rotations. But he doesn't doubt the news has flabbergasted workers like him, already worn down and fed up with tight quarantine restrictions. "It's closing in on one year now, and it doesn't seem like much light at the end of the tunnel for workers," he said. "[It's] very hard, very hard. Mentally draining." Travel woes could lead to 'mass exodus': PC MHA Grand Falls-Windsor–Buchans MHA Chris Tibbs, the PC Party's tourism critic, sympathizes with the workers' plight. He also worries the added hardship could mean workers, and their tax dollars, leave Newfoundland and Labrador soil for good. "The revenue they take into the province is very important," Tibbs said Wednesday. "If they see that they can't afford to make these flights, or it's too much of a hassle for them, they're basically going to pick up their family when the time comes and move out west. "If they don't see the government working for them to keep them here ... we're going to have a mass exodus like we had before." Tibbs echoed Dean's concerns: long drives to St. John's, multiple transfers, added costs. "You're going to be taking an extra two or three extra flights ... maybe even through different airlines. It becomes extremely cumbersome for them," he said. "It's going to deter them from staying here." Tibbs doesn't lay blame with Air Canada itself. "Air Canada is a business," he said. "Unless they get the support they need from the federal government, in partnership with our provincial government ... they're going do what they have to do, what's best for them." Premier Andrew Furey addressed the dropped service earlier this week, saying he'd been reassured by federal ministers that Newfoundland and Labrador would not lose the routes permanently. When asked whether his government would play a role in negotiating with the airline, Furey refrained from making promises. "Air travel does often fall under federal jurisdiction," Furey said Wednesday, noting his confidence in Ottawa to "protect those routes as we emerge from the pandemic." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
WASHINGTON — The lead prosecutor for President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment began building his case for conviction at trial, asserting on Sunday that Trump's incitement of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was “the most dangerous crime" ever committed by a president against the United States. A Senate trial could begin as soon as this week, just as Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., did not say when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will send the single article of impeachment against Trump — for “incitement of insurrection” — to the Senate, which will trigger the beginning of the trial. But Raskin said “it should be coming up soon” as Pelosi organizes the formal transfer. The House voted to impeach Trump last Wednesday, one week after the violent insurrection that interrupted the official count of electoral votes, ransacked the Capitol and left Congress deeply shaken. Before the mob overpowered police and entered the building, Trump told them to “fight like hell” against the certification of Biden's election win. “We're going to be able to tell the story of this attack on America and all of the events that led up to it,” Raskin said. “This president set out to dismantle and overturn the election results from the 2020 presidential election. He was perfectly clear about that.” Democrats and the incoming administration are facing the challenge of reckoning with the Capitol attack at the same time that Biden takes office and tries to move the country forward. They say the Congress can do both, balancing a trial with confirmations of the new president's Cabinet and consideration of his legislative priorities. Raskin said Congress cannot establish a precedent where “we just want to let bygones be bygones” just because Trump has left office. Yet it's clear that Democrats do not want the Senate trial to dominate Biden's opening days. Pelosi on Friday said that Democrats intend to move quickly on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid and economic recovery package to speed up vaccinations and send Americans relief, calling it “matter of complete urgency.” Ron Klain, Biden's incoming White House chief of staff, said he hopes Senate leaders, on a bipartisan basis, “find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities. This impeachment trial is one of them, but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities.” It is unclear how many Senate Republicans — if any — would vote to convict Trump. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is telling his caucus that their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president will be a “vote of conscience.” His stance, first reported by Business Insider, means the GOP leadership team will not work to hold senators in line one way or the other. McConnell is open to considering impeachment, but said he is undecided on how he would vote. He continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial this week could be among his last acts as majority leader as Democrats prepare to take control of the Senate with the seating of two new Democratic senators from Georgia. For Republican senators, the trial will be perhaps a final test of their loyalty to the defeated president and his legions of supporters in their states back home. It will force a further reevaluation of their relationship with Trump, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate, and a broader discussion about the future of the Republican Party as he leaves office. Some GOP senators are already standing by Trump, despite their criticism of his behaviour. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most loyal allies, said impeachment was a "bad, rushed, emotional move” that puts the presidency at risk and will cause further division. He said he hopes every Senate Republican rejects impeachment. “Please do not justify and legitimize what the House did,” Graham said. A handful of Republican senators have suggested they will consider conviction. Two of them, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, have said he should resign. Murkowski said the House responded “appropriately” with impeachment and she will consider the trial arguments. No president has ever been convicted in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds vote against Trump, a high hurdle. But conviction is not out of the realm of possibility, especially as corporations and wealthy political donors distance themselves from Trump's brand of politics and the Republicans who stood by his attempts to overturn the election. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, was spotted at the White House Saturday and told ABC he was likely going to join Trump’s impeachment defence team. He suggested he would continue to spread baseless claims of election fraud on the Senate floor. Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley moved to distance Trump from Giuliani’s comments, tweeting: “President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the 'impeachment hoax.' We will keep you informed.” There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to his tenure. A precedent set by the Senate in the 1800s established that a trial can proceed even after a federal official leaves office. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted last year to acquit. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 impeachment vote on Wednesday, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment. When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but directly intended to interrupt the electoral count as part of his escalating campaign to overturn the November election. A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack, and police shot and killed a woman. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Raskin and Klain were on CNN's “State of the Union,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.” ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
When the border finally opens, Priscilla Brough says she's going to cross into Detroit and hug the first American she sees. "But the first American I'll see will be the border guard and I'm sure he won't appreciate it like, 'hey, remember me?'" she said with a laugh. Brough has been taking the bus across the border by herself since she was a child to visit her dad, who lived in Michigan. Over the years, her relationship with Detroit has deepened and she has gone over seeking new thrills from the city's rich music scene to its telling street art. "People all over the world come here for ... the jazz festival, they come here for the art, the experience of being in Detroit — it's its own thing," she said. But for the first time in her 40 years of living in Windsor, Detroit is temporarily unavailable and has been for the last 10 months. T On March 21, the border closed, as COVID-19 swept across Canada and the United States. And it's yet to reopen. The time away from some of Brough's favourite places and people have been "awful." And for many other Windsorites, the Detroit River has never felt so big. Most locals went from weekly visits to gazing at the looming buildings from afar. It wasn't just the food, shopping or the entertainment that was missed, but the people. Yet without their American counterpart, Windsorites said they rediscovered parts of their hometown and put more effort into supporting local Canadian businesses. The last time Brough hopped across the border was on a weekend in early March of 2020. Just like any other, she was headed over with a list of things to do: go to a concert, grocery shop, head to a bar with some friends and check out the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). She didn't end up going to the DIA, but figured she would just head there another day. "That other day hasn't actually come yet, which is really, really sad. I love Detroit, I really do," said Brough, who would often visit the city several times a week. Sanja Srdanov, is another Windsorite who went from crossing into Detroit once or twice a week to waving at it from across the river. "It's bizarre and sad, it's just looming there and you can't go," she said. As a visual arts and photography teacher in Windsor, Srdanov said Detroit's art and music scenes are also her favourite, along with the tacos in the city's Mexican town. "But it did get me to get out in this community here," she said. Srdanov said she spent quite a bit of time walking Windsor's Riverfront trail, Drouillard Road and the Walkerville and Riverside neighbourhoods. And she managed to satisfy her taco fix with ones out in the county at Birdie's Perch in Leamington. Similarly, Meaghan Marton, who would go over to see friends, eat at vegan restaurants and volunteer at a Detroit animal shelter, said the restricted access only deepened her love for her hometown. "I'm already a huge advocate and love everything local," she said. "I have just kind of developed and cultivated more of my love for it ... but I think I'm really just putting more of my energy into what we have here." As for Brough, she said despite how difficult its been, she too came to appreciate Windsor-Essex all the more from the Downtown Farmers' Market in the summer to discovering the street art in the city's core. A loss of perspective And while there was lots to gain by staying put in Windsor, there was one major loss: perspective. In a year that saw a tense election that overturned Donald Trump's presidency, protests over the Black Lives Matter Movement and a struggle with a global pandemic, Windsorites said they missed out on getting to understand those challenges from America's point of view. Brough said it's a lot easier to understand what others are going through when you can personally ask them. "The big con is that we don't have as much exposure to other points of view as we may have once, cause it's one thing to see it on social media or one thing to see it on television on how the average person ... sees their world and ... how they perceive their situation," she said. "The Black Lives Matter Protest, imagine how much different that would have been ... we're all seeing it on television, we're hearing stories, but we're not there to witness it." There was more disconnect than usual, Marton added and that created more feelings of division in a year full of turmoil. "It really does feel like we have this wall built up between Canada and the U.S.," she said. "There's already so much division this year in so many different things, I think having that border closed in a way it symbolizes kind of like a closure between these two cities when for so many years, Windsor-Detroit has had such a huge connection and relationship among it's people that live there [and] businesses ... [The border] breaks down the barriers and our perception of what we think Detroit is or what we think America is and I really miss that." Ready for Detroit reunion All three Windsorites said they're eager to head over once it's safe to and hope that 2021 might be the year for that. "I'm really excited to cross back over when the possibility is there and everybody believes that it's safe and there's no stigma behind crossing cause I think the unfortunate part about it too is once you start or decide to cross over there's still going to be people that might be like 'oh I can't believe you're going across," Marton said. She said if it's possible to go over in a "healthy and safe" way, she's more than ready to get back to how life used to be. As for Brough, the first person she'll actually hug is her friend Angela who lives in the U.S. When the day comes, she says it will be a moment of celebration. "There will be dancing in the streets, I'm sure — probably by me, frankly," she said. Brough's only concern is that the places she frequented may not be there when she returns due to the toll of the pandemic. Earlier this week the border closure was extended until Feb. 21, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the border likely won't reopen until the pandemic is globally under control.
Two doctors who study COVID-19 say that when it comes to reducing the spread of the virus, Canadian health officials should focus more on tactics to help high-risk populations instead of imposing blanket restrictions on everyone. Dr. Sharmistha Mishra, the Canada Research Chair in mathematical modelling and program science, will be sharing her findings at an upcoming talk on equity and epidemics at B.C.'s Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. "We talk about equity in a social science sort of framework, but it's actually fundamental to epidemic theory," Dr. Mishra said. Mishra says all diseases spread more among some groups than others, so the job of epidemiologists like her is to find out which groups are the most affected and work from there. The data that Mishra has been working with shows that people at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 include essential and low-wage workers, people living in multi-generational or crowded homes, and those experiencing homelessness. The virus can spill over to other demographics, Mishra adds, so reducing the numbers for those most at-risk will reduce transmission overall. Mishra's talk will be a continuation of the talk her colleague Dr. Stefan Baral gave as part of the same series in December. Both doctors are based in Toronto. Baral, an associate professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, says there are strategies that will specifically help at-risk populations. These include providing more testing sites in neighbourhoods where those who are the most at risk are likely to live, as well as keeping those sites open longer so they can accommodate shift workers. Baral also recommends offering more financial support for low-income workers so they will be more likely to take time off work if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting test results. "We need to alleviate the pressures that people face when making the decision about whether they're going to stay home from work," Baral said. Another strategy he suggests is to provide self-isolation sites for those who live in crowded homes. Systemic inequities vs. individual choices Baral says it can be easy, and satisfying, to blame the spread of COVID-19 on people's individual choices rather than systemic inequities that put certain people at risk more than others. Some physicians in Canada have advocated for COVID Zero, or COVID Near Zero — to lock down and restrict movement as much as possible in order to reduce transmission to more manageable levels. But Baral and Mishra say they believe it would instead be more effective to address the needs of those at most risk of getting infected and passing it on to others. Any type of lockdown will involve some form of essential workers, they argue. "Restrictions have a tendency to increase disparities because they don't address people's underlying needs," Baral said. "We still have Amazon, we still have Uber. We still have all of these folks that are serving the needs of society." Community-based approach Mishra and Baral say an important element in developing these strategies is to work with at-risk communities to figure out what works best for them. Dr. Birinder Narang, a physician and member of the newly-formed South Asian COVID Task Force in Metro Vancouver, says a community-based and culturally-appropriate approach is what has helped to greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission in the Fraser Health region. "There's been a lot of work happening behind the scenes with the community and with health care leaders," Narang said. In November, the region was the epicentre of COVID-19 in British Columbia — in particular, the City of Surrey, which is home to many essential workers who live in multi-generational households. But in the past few weeks the level of transmission there has dropped sharply. Dr. Narang says the task force came together to address the increase in cases in their community. Members have created culturally relevant information in multiple languages and gathered information about what barriers people in the region are facing. "We knew that the majority of people were trying the hardest, but that there were systemic and societal factors that were making it more difficult," he said. "One of the challenges of the public health orders is as they change, we don't know how accessible they are to every community."
CALGARY — Vacancies in Calgary's downtown office towers have risen to record levels and there's no landlord relief in sight with almost one in three offices sitting empty and sublets accounting for a quarter of available spaces on the market. The city's glut of empty office space has previously been linked to overbuilding but two commercial real estate reports released this past week show that downtown vacancy rates in Canada's oil and gas capital are the highest in the country and growing — despite no major new towers opening in the past two years. Vacancies are likely to go even higher, both reports note, driven by short-term factors including layoffs resulting from the takeover of Husky Energy Inc. by Cenovus Energy Inc. and longer-term job losses from cost-cutting and mergers in the oil and gas sector. In its report released Thursday, real estate firm CBRE says the equivalent of four CFL football fields in downtown office space was emptied in the last quarter of 2020. The net reduction of 355,000 square feet (32,000 square metres) took the vacancy rate to a record high of 29.5 per cent compared with 27.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019. "The negative absorption is due to the oilpatch, not COVID-19," said Greg Kwong, Calgary-based regional managing director for CBRE. "People may not be going back to work because of the lockdowns but these companies still have leases in place and have to pay the rent. It's not considered vacated space." CBRE found that 23.7 per cent of the available downtown office space in Calgary is being sublet by the lease holder. In a separate report using different calculation methods, Avison Young pegged the downtown office vacancy rate at a record 26.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, up from 24.2 per cent in the year-earlier period. Under an optimistic scenario, Avison Young predicts the vacancy rate will rise to 28.6 per cent by the end of 2023; in its pessimistic forecast, it foresees a rate of 32.9 per cent. The merger of Cenovus and Husky offices in 2021 is projected to result in between 36,000 and 54,000 square metres of downtown space being vacated later this year, said Todd Throndson, managing director for Avison Young's Calgary office. That's around one per cent of the total inventory of 4.16 million square metres. "We have a very difficult marketplace and there's no quick solutions to solving that problem," he said. "The next 12 to 24 months are going to be a challenging time for there to be any growth in our marketplace." Cenovus and Husky have said their merger will result in a reduction of between 20 and 25 per cent of the 8,600 combined employees and contractors — potentially more than 2,000 workers. The two companies have about 300,000 square metres of lease commitments in Calgary, with some of it already being sublet to other tenants, said Cenovus spokesman Reg Curren. More space is expected to be sublet going forward, he said, declining to give specifics. "Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we determine our plan to return to the workplace, Brookfield Place will be the head office of the combined company," he said, referring to the 56-storey glass and steel tower opened in 2017 that Cenovus calls home. Husky's head office is a few blocks west in the much older Western Canadian Place. It's not hard to find other Calgary companies reducing staff and their need for office space. Suncor Energy Inc. announced in October it would reduce total staff by 10 to 15 per cent over 18 months, cutting as many as 1,930 jobs. Those cuts will be offset by the relocation of its Petro-Canada head office and most of its 700 jobs from Ontario to Calgary. Imperial Oil Ltd. announced in November it would lay off 200 staff. Meanwhile, office space held by Equinor Canada at Jamieson Place in downtown Calgary is on the sublet market after the Norwegian oil company decided to consolidate its Canadian operations in St. John's, N.L. Lower staff counts are also expected with the close of a handful of smaller oil and gas producer corporate mergers announced late last year. Calgary's office buildings have lost an overall 13 per cent of value, about $2.3 billion, over the past year due to higher vacancy rates and lower rents, the city said Thursday as it issued its 2021 property assessment notices. Declines in recent years have pushed more of the municipal tax burden to residential and other business ratepayers. Economic Development Calgary is using the city's abundance of discounted office space as a "huge selling feature" in attracting Calgary employers in new sectors like technology and renewable energy, said CEO Mary Moran, but she concedes those new tenants haven't replaced the oil and gas losses. "I think, long-term, we know that the energy industry is not going to be the job creator," she said. "It's a jobless recovery in oil and gas." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:SU) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
Joyce Miller and her husband have lived in their 9100-block North Kelly Road home for 50 years and for 45 of them, Canada Post has delivered mail to their door. But depending on the outcome of a review in answer to concerns about safety for carriers working in that area, the service could soon come to an end. On Dec. 18, the Millers and 29 other households received notices saying door-to-door delivery will be put on hold starting the next day while the review is carried out. Since then, they have had to go to the post office on Fifth Avenue downtown, a 15 to 20 minute drive one-way, to collect their mail. With both Miller and her husband well into their 70s, they have been housebound due to the COVID pandemic and have relied on a neighbour to pick up their mail. And at their ages, Miller said they have yet to learn how to pay their bills online. "All my bills are always mailed to me and then I phone the bank and I pay them," Miller said. Traffic congestion, vehicle speed, and the street width were raised as the points of trouble in the notice. Miller conceded speeding along the stretch, where the limit is 50 km/h, has been a problem, but also noted children walk along the road to attend nearby Springwood elementary school. Miller suspects much of the problem lies with some changes she maintains were made between the time Springwood was closed in 2010 and reopened in 2018, namely that signs warning drivers they were entering a 30 km/h school zone were taken down. "When they reopened Springwood and I questioned why there were no school signs there, they said there never were and we don't need them there," Miller said. "And I said, 'well, my youngest daughter went to Grade One in Springwood school and she's 50, so if you go back and look you'll see that there were school signs on North Kelly." Miller prefers to see a return of service but if that doesn't happen, she noted that there are superboxes on Zral Road just a two-minute walk away from where she lives. "We could go across and get our mail," Miller said. Either way, Miller hopes something better than having to go downtown will be in place sooner than later. In an email, Canada Post spokesperson Nicole Lecompte said it's expected the review will be completed shortly. "We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and thank them for their patience while we finalize our review," Lecompte said. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Small groups of right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.” As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the U.S., a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap. Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis said he hoped the apparently peaceful day reflected some soul-searching among Americans. “I would love to say that it’s because we’ve all taken a sober look in the mirror and have decided that we are a more unified people than certain moments in time would indicate,” he said. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection. Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race. On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend. Tall fences also surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall was closed to the public, and the mayor of Washington asked people not to visit. Some 25,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to arrive in the city in the coming days. U.S. defence officials told The Associated Press those troops would be vetted by the FBI to ward off any threat of an insider attack on the inauguration. The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media. Tensions have been running high in the state since authorities foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow. Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol. "I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities "continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.” Utah's new governor, Republican Spencer Cox, shared photos on his Twitter account showing him with what appeared to be hundreds of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers standing behind him, all wearing masks. Cox called the quiet protests a best-case scenario and said many ”agitating groups" had cancelled their plans for the day. At Oregon's Capitol, fewer than a dozen men wearing military-style outfits, black ski masks and helmets stood nearby with semiautomatic weapons slung across their bodies. Some had upside-down American flags and signs reading such things as “Disarm the government.” At the Texas Capitol, Ben Hawk walked with about a dozen demonstrators up to the locked gates carrying a bullhorn and an AR-15 rifle hanging at the side of his camouflage pants. He condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and said he did not support Trump. “All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” Hawk said. At Nevada's Capitol, where demonstrators supporting Trump have flocked most weekends in recent months, all was quiet except for a lone protester with a sign. “Trump Lost. Be Adults. Go Home,” it read. More than a third of governors had called out the National Guard to help protect their capitols and assist local law enforcement. Several governors declared states of emergency, and others closed their capitols to the public until after Biden's inauguration. Some legislatures also cancelled sessions or pared back their work for the coming week. Even before the violence at the Capitol, some statehouses had been the target of vandals and angry protesters during the past year. Last spring, armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol to object to coronavirus lockdowns. People angry over the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer's knee vandalized capitols in several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last last month, crowds in Oregon forced their way into the Capitol in Salem to protest its closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures. Amid the potential for violence in the coming days, the building's first-floor windows were boarded up and the National Guard was brought in. "The state capitol has become a fortress,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. “I never thought I’d see that. It breaks my heart.” ___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio; Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon; Mike Householder and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Marc Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report. David A. Lieb And Adam Geller, The Associated Press
In one of his final interviews as Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance tells Mercedes Stephenson on ‘The West Block’ the mission to root out sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces is a forever mission that will evolve over time. When asked if there are things he would have done differently in his career, Gen. Vance says, “I would have certainly paid more attention. I didn’t really see this. And the Deschamps report was a shock to me.”
The discovery of a prohibited firearm on his property has led to a 26-month jail sentence for a McBride-area man. Steven Richard Stewart was issued the term at the Prince George courthouse. On June 8, 2018, a man and a woman walked into the McBride RCMP detachment to report that Stewart had threatened to beat the man up and burn down his house. They also told RCMP that Stewart had a shotgun, prompting North District RCMP's emergency response team to be called to the property. Stewart was arrested and a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip and a flashlight taped to it was found, as was a sling holding 20 rounds of ammunition in the back of an SUV parked on the property. RCMP also found a number of bladed weapons and several marijuana plants. Stewart pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon and uttering threats. He maintained he kept the shotgun for protection and claimed $3,000 worth of pit bull puppies he had been raising had been stolen from him. Defence counsel had argued for a two-year conditional sentence order, in which the sentence is served at home with conditions such as a curfew, followed by three years probation, noting in part that he is employed, has lived up to his bail conditions since he was released from custody and has been working to deal with his substance abuse issues. However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale agreed with Crown prosecution's position that the offence warranted 30 months in jail. Less credit of four months for time served in custody, that left Stewart with 26 months left to serve. While sentences for the offence can range from 18 months for regulatory infractions to 10 years for serious criminal offences, Tindale found that Stewart's actions amounted to an offence at the "low end of the true crime spectrum." Tindale also dismissed defence counsel's argument that Stewart's behaviour since his release was enough to warrant the "exceptional circumstances" needed to reduce the sentence to two years and thus allow a conditional sentence order. A record of previous criminal offences and limited expressions of remorse, insight and responsibility for the crime worked against Stewart. "Mr. Stewart has worked hard but at this point, I cannot conclude that he has truly turned his life around," Tindale said. Stewart was also issued a 10-year firearms prohibition and ordered to provide a DNA sample. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Alberta security companies say they're busier than ever, largely due to COVID-19 protocols and a rise in crime. "When COVID hit, there's been an increase in crime, an increase in vandalism, property damage," said Moe Hadayat, operations manager at Optimum Security. "Property owners reached out to us and they said, 'Look, we have never seen this kind of increase ... so we need to have security monitor these properties to make sure that nothing is escalated.'" Hadayat said crime is largely rooted in unemployment and a lack of things to do, thanks to business and social restrictions that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Paladin Security has seen an increase in patrols going out as a result of so many Albertans working from home, said operations manager Damian Radcliffe. "That opens up more opportunities for criminal activity," Radcliffe said. Radcliffe emphasized that an empathetic approach is proving valuable in dealing with people who are under pressure as a result of the pandemic. "If we lead with that sort of compassion-first type mentality, I think that we can have most of those interactions go well and still do the job that we need to do," Radcliffe said. Paladin has also worked with clients who have seen their revenues drop — hotel operators, for example — to come up with cost-effective security plans. Backwoods Security Services traditionally serves the oil and gas industry but since the pandemic has expanded its work to include homeless shelters and health-care facilities. "In some of our northern facilities and camps that we're in, the guards are mainly there just to ensure that COVID protocols are being followed, people aren't congregating together — just those gentle reminders to keep their distancing and sanitize and wear their masks," said Kyle Applejohn, the director of security at Backwoods. Backwoods, which is owned by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and Enoch Cree Nation, also does mass temperature screenings in high-density workplaces using thermal imaging technology launched in May. The company provided security for the NHL playoff bubble and the 2021 world junior men's hockey championship.
The past week has been challenging for the Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the community started off at 73 on Monday and continued to climb all week. Then, after a barrage of racist comments were posted online in reaction to the reported cases, the First Nation decided to stop publicly sharing its COVID-19 data. "It was a lot all at once," said Councillor Stephanie Atleo. "It left us tired and a bit overwhelmed." Cowichan leaders say new cases continue to emerge. But there was a glimmer of hope, in the form of 600 vaccine doses that were delivered to the community. Atleo was one of the people tasked with coordinating the response and said while getting vaccines was clearly positive, it led to its own challenges. "We were informed Monday and we had the clinic up Wednesday," said Atleo. Using the model the community developed for administering the flu shot last fall, the nation set up tents and checkpoints in parking lots. Atleo said they had originally planned to offer vaccinations over three days with the addition of a possible fourth day. But demand from community members forced them to change their plans yet again. "I was shocked that we ended up doing it in just two days. But I was so happy for all the people who got vaccinated," said Atleo. Being able to administer the vaccines so quickly was a result of hard work and dedication on the part of health-care staff and band workers, many of whom had to work overtime or in staggered shifts, Atleo said. It's not clear when the next round of vaccines will arrive, but Atleo is happy that a tough week had at least a little silver lining. "I feel pretty confident that everybody we wanted to vaccinate first came out," she said.