Early morning snow collects on vehicles and rooftops in Langford, BC.
Early morning snow collects on vehicles and rooftops in Langford, BC.
LOS ANGELES — Jane Fonda cemented herself into Hollywood allure as a chameleonlike actor and social activist, and now the Golden Globes will honour her illustrious career with its highest honour. Fonda will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 78th annual awards ceremony on Feb. 28, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Tuesday. A member of one of America's most distinguished acting families, Fonda has captivated and inspired fans along with critics in such films as “Klute” and “Coming Home.” Fonda, the daughter of Oscar winner Henry Fonda and sister of Peter Fonda, made an impact off-screen by creating organizations to support women’s equality and prevent teen pregnancy and improve adolescent health. She released a workout video in 1982 and was active on behalf of liberal political causes. In a statement, HFPA President Ali Star applauded the Golden Globe winner’s decorated career and her “unrelenting activism.” “Her undeniable talent has gained her the highest level of recognition,” Star said of Fonda. “While her professional life has taken many turns, her unwavering commitment to evoking change has remained.” The DeMille Award is given annually to an “individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” Past recipients include Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball. Nominations for the upcoming Globes show are scheduled to be announced Feb. 3. Fonda, 83, has been nominated for five Academy Awards and won two for the thriller “Klute” and the compassionate anti-war drama “Coming Home.” She had other prominent films including “The China Syndrome,” “The Electric Horseman” with Robert Redford, and “9 to 5” with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. She stars in the Netflix television series “Grace & Frankie.” Fonda gained notoriety in the the 1970s when she travelled to North Vietnam during the height of the anti-Vietnam War protests and posed for photos next to an anti-aircraft gun. She fell under hefty criticism for her decision — one she repeatedly apologized for — to pose in the photo that gave her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” In 2014, Fonda was given a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute. She launched IndieCollect’s Jane Fonda Fund for Women Directors, an organization aimed to support the restoration of films helmed by women from around the world. Fonda was arrested at the U.S. Capitol while peacefully protesting climate change in 2019, an action dubbed Fire Drill Fridays. For her 80th birthday, Fonda raised $1 million for each her nonprofits, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential and the Women’s Media Center. She also serves on the board of directors and made $1 million donation to Donor Direct Action, an organization that supports front-line women’s organizations to promote women’s equality. Fonda’s book, “What Can I Do? My Path from Climate Despair to Action,” released last year, details her personal journey with Fire Drill Fridays. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
BURLINGTON, Ont. — Police say two women have died and three people are injured following a multi-vehicle crash on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Burlington, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police say they were called shortly after 5:30 a.m. to the four-vehicle collision. They say it appears a Mitsubishi vehicle crossed from the westbound lanes into the eastbound ones and collided head on with an Acura. Police say the Mitsubishi was then hit by a truck, after which a fourth vehicle lost control and rolled into the centre median ditch. Investigators say two women in the Mitsubishi were killed and three others are being treated for minor injuries. They say it's unclear what caused the crash, and it will likely take at least five or six hours for the highway to reopen in the area. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
BOGOTA — Colombian Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, one of the country's most recognized conservative politicians, has died from complications of COVID-19. He was 69. President Ivan Duque said in a televised address that Trujillo died early Tuesday, adding that he “couldn't express the pain” he was feeling over the news. He offered his condolences to Trujillo's wife, children and other family members. "His life was a reflection of vocation for public service," Duque said. Trujillo became defence minister in November 2019, after serving as foreign minister. He was also the mayor of Cali from 1988-1990 and held several ministerial and diplomatic positions during his decades-long political career. Trujillo ran for president unsuccessfully in 2018, when he was defeated by Duque, who was then a rookie senator, in an internal party contest. As a foreign minister, Trujillo backed U.S. efforts to force Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro out of office by supporting his rival Juan Guaidó. The campaign to remove Maduro through political and diplomatic pressure floundered, but has led to tougher U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's socialist government. Trujillo also oversaw Colombia's response to a massive influx of refugees from neighbouring Venezuela, coming up with programs that facilitated temporary residence for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans. As defence minister, Trujillo led the country's efforts to tackle cocaine production, which had been growing rapidly since 2013 but stabilized the last two years. Trujillo campaigned for Colombia to resume aerial fumigation of coca crops, which was suspended in 2015 over environmental and health concerns. He argued that the Colombian government had found cleaner ways to fumigate the crops and that manual eradication put military personnel and contractors in danger. In a statement, Colombia's government said that Trujillo fell ill during a visit to the coastal city of Barranquilla, where he was taken to a hospital on Jan 11. The defence minister was transferred to a military hospital in Bogota two days later and was placed in an intensive care unit and spent several days in an induced coma before dying. Colombia has recorded more than 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 2 million cases. Vaccination still hasn't begun in Colombia, which has a population of about 50 million people and is the largest country in Latin America so far without the life-saving shots. Duque said that his government has purchased 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca and has also signed an agreement with the World Health Organization's Covax platform for an additional 20 million shots. Government officials have said that they hope to start vaccinations in February. The Associated Press
An Australian gold mining company was arraigned on a slew of environmental charges in provincial court in Dartmouth, N.S., Tuesday morning. Atlantic Mining NS Inc. faces 32 charges under the province's Environment Act related to its gold mining operation in eastern Nova Scotia. Atlantic Mining NS Inc. is a subsidiary of St Barbara Limited, but is better known for its corporate name, Atlantic Gold Corp. The company is accused of "failing to comply with the conditions of an approval" and "releasing substances into the environment in amount, concentration or level in excess of approval level or regulations." The offences allegedly took place between February 2018 and May 2020. Most of the charges are related to the area of Mooseland and Moose River Gold Mines, where the company has an open pit gold mine. The other alleged offence locations named in the charging information are 15 Mile Stream, Jed Lake and Seloam Brook. The company was granted a request to adjourn the case until March 15, when it will enter a plea. Atlantic Gold plans to develop three more open pit gold mines on the Eastern Shore and truck the ore to a central processing facility at Mooseland where it operates the Touquoy mine. The company recently told investors it will proceed next with 15 Mile Stream and Beaver Dam locations. The startup date for its controversial Cochrane Hill site on the St. Marys River has been delayed by several years. There is uncertainty over whether the province will allow the company access to the water supply it wants to use at Cochrane Hill. There is some local opposition because of its proximity to the St. Marys River, home to a remaining Atlantic salmon population. MORE TOP STORIES
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, Timon Wientziak probably wouldn’t be buying a car while living in downtown Toronto. He’s looking into purchasing his first vehicle after the pandemic pushed him into carpentry work outside of the city, instead of his usual work as a composer and sound designer. But the purchase isn’t just based on his job: Wientziak said it’s easy to feel stifled in the city during COVID, and having the freedom to get out of town is a plus. “Toronto is such a concrete place,” said Wientziak, a first-time buyer who’s in the market for an affordable, older used car. “Even though it’s called a city within a park, we would love to get out more, and doing it with the GO train is just not as enticing.” Data from auto industry analysts shows there are many people like Wientziak who’ve been nudged towards buying a car during the pandemic. And prospective buyers should be aware that higher demand usually means higher prices. According to research by online marketplace autotrader.ca, the pandemic has caused a surge in demand as people avoid public transport and ride-hailing services. A survey released by the company in December showed 46 per cent of people who were interested in buying a new car listed the pandemic as a direct reason for their purchase. The website also saw a nearly 28 per cent increase in traffic from May to December. But the demand was underpinned by supply shortages in both new and used car markets, since some manufacturers stopped production at the start of the pandemic and continue to deal with supply chain issues. Baris Akyurek, Director of Marketing Intelligence at autotrader.ca, said a lower number of new car sales at the start of the pandemic translated to fewer vehicles being traded in, leading to tighter supply in both markets before an increase in demand. As a result, the average listing price of a vehicle on the marketplace in December was 5.2 per cent higher than the previous year, now sitting at $19,888. Akyurek said used cars are a particularly hot commodity because they’re an economical option at a time of financial uncertainty, and depreciation isn’t as much of a concern. “Moreover, with certified pre-owned programs, you are eligible for extended warranties on used vehicles,” said Akyurek, which protects consumers from the risk associated with used cars. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says it’s optimistic about the growth of new car sales, which have benefited from low interest rates and greater demand as more people move further away from city centres in search of larger homes as a result of the pandemic. The industry saw an unprecedented 20 per cent drop in sales this year, which CADA Chief Economist Oumar Dicko says was much higher than the 11 per cent drop in auto sales during the 2008 global financial crisis. Even though sales have rebounded and the pandemic has created strong demand, Dicko said manufacturers are still vulnerable to COVID-19. “The auto forecast is very closely dependent on the trajectory of the virus in the months to come and the ability to broadly roll out the vaccine,” said Dicko. “We’re also very concerned about the impact of COVID outbreaks even if they’re very localized, on the global supply chain. This could create labour shortages and there’s a concern right now about the shortage of semiconductor microchips that are used in the production of vehicles.” Dicko said the current shortage of microchips will already affect inventory in 2021. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on the auto industry, both Akyurek and Dicko expect it to have a lasting and positive effect on auto sales. “Given the current circumstances of COVID-19, the restrictions and overall fear of contracting the virus by Canadians, this is a better than expected performance by the industry,” said Dicko. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
Cet hiver, la MRC de La Vallée-du-Richelieu a lancé son atlas, un tout nouvel outil qu’elle décrit comme étant « convivial, promotionnel et pédagogique ». L’atlas regroupe les richesses du patrimoine paysager des 13 municipalités de la MRC, dont Chambly et Carignan. Des textes informatifs, des lignes du temps et des visuels de qualité propres aux sites les plus illustres y sont regroupés et présentés de sorte à favoriser une meilleure compréhension d’enjeux historiques, sociaux et géographiques. Celle-ci permettra d’émettre et de suivre des recommandations quant à la gestion du patrimoine. L’histoire derrière les paysages Dans le volet « temporel » de l’atlas, on suit la chronologie d’événements marquants ayant façonné nos villes à travers les siècles. On y aborde le déploiement de l’industrialisation sur les rives du Richelieu et la construction du canal Chambly, la colonisation aux abords du fort, l’avènement des industries du goudron et des scieries près des rivières et des cours d’eau de Chambly et de Carignan, les hauts et les bas de l’agriculture, les beaux-arts, la philosophie et plus encore. Une démarche en plusieurs étapes La MRC a lancé un appel d’offres à quelques firmes et regroupements spécialisés afin de procéder à des études sur les paysages de la région, qui ont mené à cette réalisation. C’est la firme Milieu qui a été retenue et qui a soulevé l’idée d’un atlas, permettant de présenter le territoire « de manière technique, mais aussi de manière artistique », amène François Senécal, coordonnateur à l’aménagement et mobilité. L’étude a été financée à 80 % par le Fonds d’appui au rayonnement des régions du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH). Bien que des citoyens et sociétés d’histoire aient été sollicités afin de mener à bien ce projet d’envergure, la Société d’histoire de la Seigneurie de Chambly espère toujours contribuer au projet. Le journal s’est entretenu avec René Fournier, son président. La société d’histoire « Je trouve que l’atlas est une excellente idée. J’espère que l’on va pouvoir collaborer, car je suis entouré de plusieurs historiens aguerris qui vont sûrement vouloir s’impliquer, mais dans le moment présent et avec la COVID-19, c’est compliqué. Je suis président depuis peu de temps, et avec les contraintes imposées par la pandémie, il nous est difficile de travailler efficacement. » Le local de la Société d’histoire faisant partie des bâtiments municipaux fermés, ce sont beaucoup d’archives qui ne peuvent être consultées à distance, puisqu’elles ne sont pas numérisées, et plusieurs réunions qui ne se déroulent pas dans les conditions auxquelles les membres sont habitués. Un mot des mairesses « On est bien contents de l’aboutissement, c’est très intéressant », confie la mairesse de Chambly, Alexandra Labbé. « C’est un bel outil qui nous servira pour toute la planification du territoire. Ça va alimenter notre prise de décision, notamment quant au développement de notre centre-ville. » Dans une vidéo promotionnelle diffusée en ligne, annonçant la disponibilité de l’atlas, la préfète de la MRC et mairesse de Beloeil, Diane Lavoie, explique que « pour le conseil des maires, c’était une démarche très importante. Ça fait partie de notre planification stratégique 2020-25, et en tant que préfète (...) je suis très fière de mon territoire (...) On voulait montrer nos beaux paysages. C’est aussi une question de protection de ces paysages. C’est de déterminer aussi notre identité paysagère, qui est très importante pour la MRC de La Vallée-du-Richelieu. » Une richesse à notre portée « À cause de la beauté qui nous entoure au quotidien (...) On ne s’en rend pas compte (...) l’atlas nous permettra de voir les éléments qui sont derrière chez nous. On a tout ça à proximité (...) et on (le) tient pour acquis », ajoute Évelyne D’Avignon, directrice générale et secrétaire-trésorière. Avec cet outil, la MRC espère mieux aiguiller les décisions qui y seront prises en matière d’aménagement du territoire, de développement économique et récréotouristique, puis de valorisation patrimoniale et culturelle. Il est possible de consulter l’atlas en tout temps sur le site de la MRC, à mrcvr.ca/atlas-des-paysages/.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence rose in January as Americans became more optimistic about the future. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index increased to 89.3, a rebound from December when it dipped to 87.1. The increase was fueled by the board's rising expectations index, which measures feelings about the future path of incomes, business and labour market conditions. The present situation index weakened further, likely reflecting concerns about the resurgence of COVID-19. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
BREAKING: UK becomes first in Europe to record more than 100,000 COVID-19 deathsView on euronews
The Trudeau Liberals are eyeing changes to the law governing public service hiring to help make federal departments and agencies more diverse. They also plan to do further research on the makeup of the federal public service and say they will try to hire more senior leaders with varied backgrounds. Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and his parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus, spelled out the priorities Tuesday to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. The government says while there has been some progress for Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and others who face racial discrimination in the workplace, too many public servants continue to face obstacles. The Treasury Board Secretariat has begun discussions about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at "possible amendments" to the Public Service Employment Act. The act is intended to ensure federal hiring is fair, transparent and representative. 'Far from perfect,' union president says But Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said he hears complaints from members about how it works. "It sounds like everything is there," Aylward said Tuesday. "But in practical terms, the way that it's applied, the way that managers go about doing staffing — it's far, far from perfect." The examination of the Public Service Employment Act would complement Labour Minister Filomena Tassi's planned review of the Employment Equity Act, a law aimed at protecting workers from discrimination and other unfair treatment. The government recently released new data about the composition of the public service. Duclos and Fergus say the annual public service employee survey will help the government identify more precisely where gaps remain and what is needed to improve representation. The government plans to increase diversity through promotion and recruitment, including the introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who might currently face barriers. The government says that although progress will take time, the public service can be a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world. "In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity," Duclos said in a statement. An anti-racist call to action Just last week, Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart issued a call to action on racism, equity and inclusion in the public service, setting out federal expectations for current leaders. "We must encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organizations," Shugart wrote. "We must create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership, and one we must meet head on. Now." The government also launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by a budget of $12 million, to create an ongoing discussion about change. "There is much to do before all public servants can feel they truly belong in a public service that values inclusiveness and differences," Fergus said. "Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action."
The S&P and Nasdaq slipped on Tuesday from record closing levels as investors digested a batch of corporate earnings results, while an expected policy announcement from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday helped to limit moves. 3M Co climbed 3.26% as one of the biggest boosts on the Dow after it benefited from lower costs and demand for disposable respirator masks, hand sanitizers and safety glasses amid a surge in coronavirus infections. Johnson & Johnson also provided a strong lift, up 2.71% as the drugmaker said it expected to report eagerly awaited COVID-19 vaccine data early next week.
The Municipality of Whitestone is considering launching an education campaign on invasive species in the region. Reports of Japanese knotweed in the Dunchurch area were brought to council over two years ago and, in October 2020, Coun. Joe Lamb brought the issue up again. During the Jan. 18 meeting, Coun. Beth Gorham-Matthews presented to council some recommendations on how to educate both municipal staff and the public. Some of the recommendations include webinars for residents, online training for staff and a clean equipment policy. Here are five quotes from the council discussion. “What the Ontario Invasive Plant Council suggests is whenever starting a program of invasive species, it’s best to begin with education and not just the education of the public, but for our staff as well because this is something new,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have discussed putting a line in the (2021) budget for invasive species and I think the chief administrative officer (Michelle Hendry) thought $5,000 would be good for this year in terms of educating staff, public and doing these webinars,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have applied for the TD Environmental Grant and we should hear back in April on that, which will go toward our training. We’re looking at protocols for clean equipment. I have reached out to the MTO and I’m waiting to hear back on the Japanese knotweed at the Highway 124 and Narrows bridge in Dunchurch,” said David Creaser, public works manager for Whitestone. “I’m supportive of the budget, I’m supportive of what you’re doing — my concern is we’re not scientists. I don’t want us to be doing things that (should) be assessed by the ministry that’s responsible. I don’t want our staff trickling over the bounds of what we should be doing and I’m concerned about liability that may come out of that … but no problems with training the staff but it should be limited,” said Lamb. “The Ontario Invasive Plant Council recommended a clean equipment policy ... where contractors we hire to come in and do work in the municipality have cleaned their equipment (beforehand) so that seeds and dirt that may be infected with invasive species don’t get transmitted from one area to another,” said Gorham-Matthews. The courses recommended for staff and the public, as quoted by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, would cost $650 for staff training and $900 for public outreach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Health officials north of Toronto say they now believe 99 people who have COVID-19 there have a variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. Almost all of those cases are tied to a devastating outbreak at the Roberta Place long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., but two cases have no link to the home, raising concerns the more contagious variant could be spreading in the community. If confirmed by whole genome sequencing — a process that is underway, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit — the new variant cases would mark a serious uptick in the number of such cases in Ontario. As of Monday, the province had only confirmed 34 cases of the mutated virus. Earlier Tuesday, there was better news as Ontario reported 1,740 cases of COVID-19 — the fewest on a single day since mid-December. The new cases include 677 in Toronto, 320 in Peel Region and 144 in York Region. They come as the province's network of labs processed just 30,717 test samples for the virus. That's the fewest number of tests since Nov. 17, 2020. Collectively, the labs logged a test positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. Tragically, 63 more people with the illness died. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in cases were: Waterloo Region: 77 Windsor-Essex: 59 Hamilton: 59 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 55 Durham Region: 51 Niagara Region: 49 Halton Region: 49 Simcoe Muskoka: 36 Middlesex-London: 34 Ottawa: 32 Eastern Ontario: 18 Southwestern: 13 Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 12 Sudbury: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The seven-day average of new daily cases continued its steady decline down to 2,346, from its peak at 3,555 on Jan. 11. Another 2,261 cases were logged as resolved in today's update. There are now 23,036 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, down from a high of more than 30,000 earlier this month. There were 1,466 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, 68 more than the previous day. Of those, 383 were being treated in intensive care and 298 required a ventilator to breathe. The 63 additional deaths pushed Ontario's official death toll to 5,909. Forty-three of the deaths were residents in long-term care. As of yesterday, there were 246 long-term care homes, or about 39 per cent of the province's 626 facilities, with ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the province said another 9,707 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Monday, bringing the number of shots given out so far to 295,817. A total of 83,285 people have received both doses of a vaccine. The first shipment of vaccine is scheduled to arrive in one of 31 fly-in First Nations communities today as part of Ontario's Operation Remote Immunity. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says that the ORNGE air ambulance service will be delivering and administering the Moderna vaccine to Weenusk First Nation. Weenusk is a largely Cree community of approximately 500 people in the Hudson Bay region of northern Ontario. Ford keeps calling for travel crackdown, but mum on paid sick days Also Tuesday, the province announced that more than 6,800 international travellers have been tested for the virus through its pilot project at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Ford has been calling on the federal government to implement mandatory testing of all incoming passengers — something he repeated at a Tuesday photo op at the airport —and a temporary ban on direct flights from countries where new variants are detected. He has also called for the federal government to consider banning flights with multiple stops in countries with a known variant. LISTEN | Retired Gen. Rick Hillier talks Ontario's vaccination rollout: However, recent provincial data shows just 1.8 per cent of all traceable COVID-19 cases are related to international travel at this time. On Monday, a group of Toronto and Hamilton-area mayors added their support to the call for more stringent travel measures, but also stepped up calls for greater provincial and federal action on paid sick leave, noting a significant number of workplace outbreaks among essential workers are contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Ford has so far not committed to any further action on that front, saying earlier this month that he sees no need for the province to double up on the federally-instituted paid sick leave measure that provides $500 per week for those who need to take time off to self-isolate. Critics, though, have pointed out that the federal initiative does not offer job protection and works out to less than minimum wage.
SAINT JOHN • Nearly one quarter of Anglophone South students were absent on the first day of the red phase in Zone 2, according to district superintendent Zoë Watson. Wednesday saw 23 per cent of students absent, up from 14 per cent on Tuesday, following Public Health returning the region to the red phase of COVID-19 recovery. Saint John father Mike Stephen said he plans to keep his son Kohen McKenna home for the rest of the week. McKenna is in Grade 9 at Simonds High School. "(Masks) definitely cut down transmission, but it's not a silver bullet. You can still get (COVID)," he said. "And I just think that we need to do more to try to shrink our bubbles, before something ends up bursting, and we end up in a lockdown like Quebec or Ontario." Up until this week, a switch to the red phase of recovery meant a switch to online learning from home for public school students. That's not the case any more, with the province recently announcing a change in protocol. Stephen called it a sharp change for parents. He said he doesn't understand why high schools can't be doing fully online learning or why students can't decide whether to learn from home or not, since many are already alternating days. Even if protocols are tight in schools, he said being together in schools gives kids the temptation to mingle without six feet of distance and without masks outside the school walls. "The best in-class protections in the world doesn't help when kids walk off the property. And at the end of the day, kids that age think that they're invincible." Kristina MacRae, a Nerepis mother who is immunocompromised, pulled all six of her kids out of school on Wednesday. "How are we supposed to be feeling safe to send our kids if [the provincial government] doesn't even know what they're doing?" she said. "They're just winging it is how I feel." In a letter released to families on Tuesday, Watson said that attending school helps facilitate learning, and students will be under strict health and safety protocols in a supervised environment. "Their social needs can be met, while physical distancing is maintained, masks are used, and proper hygiene is encouraged," the letter states. In the event a parent chooses not to send a child to school, the parent is responsible for the child's education, according to a government directive document issued Wednesday. Teachers are not required to support learning in those cases, the document states, but support to the families would be encouraged. For those attending school, under the red phase of recovery, school personnel will be screened every day. Students and personnel can't enter the building if they have one COVID symptom or more, according to the document. If there is a positive case at a school, then the school is closed for three days, including weekends, and personnel are offered COVID-19 tests. All students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, are required to wear masks while on buses and while at school. However, there are a few exceptions to mask wearing: Kindergarten to Grade 8 students can take off their masks when working silently or eating, and Grade 9 to 12 students can take their mask off when eating. School personnel can take off their masks when eating or when in a closed office or classroom by themselves. All after-school clubs and sports have been cancelled. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Un discours de Justin Trudeau appuyant le droit de manifester a été très mal accueilli en Inde. D’anciens ambassadeurs estiment qu’il s’agit d’une ingérence dans les affaires internes du pays.
A Saint Andrews councillor who recently voted on a new short-term rental bylaw for his town has a history of challenging an Airbnb proposal in his neighbourhood. But Coun. Guy Groulx says this situation doesn't put him in a conflict of interest position but rather gives him "insight" into the weaknesses of the town's current zoning bylaw, which will allow him to help the town create better planning rules. "It's hard to be completely separate in everything. And the only thing you can do is act in the best interests of the town," he said. In 2019, Groulx made a submission to the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission's Planning Review and Adjustment Committee outlining his objections to a planning application filed by Garth and Marissa Browne. The Brownes had received the green light from the regional committee to have a unit in their Ernest Street home be used “to provide sleeping accommodation for the travelling public,” according to a planning report. Judy Hartford, a development officer with the commission, reported to the committee in July 2019 that the Brownes had a “strong case for a variance” to allow for this arrangement. The property was zoned for mixed-use and both single-family dwelling, and tourist homes fit into that usage, she noted. The variance was granted, but then Groulx appealed the decision to New Brunswick's Assessment and Planning Appeal Board. It ultimately ruled in Groulx's favour and overturned the decision by the planning committee. Groulx said the case demonstrates that the planning committee didn't let his position as a councillor influence its decision despite his presentations against the variance. Saint Andrews council recently passed the first reading of its short-term rental bylaw. If implemented, the bylaw will develop a permit system to regulate short-term rentals in the town. It could potentially limit the number of short-term rental permits to three per person. Groulx voted on that first reading. Garth Browne declined to comment for this story this week. In a previous interview with the Telegraph-Journal, Browne said the web of zoning bylaws is “scaring away young people from this community.” “Which is a shame,” he added. Town clerk Paul Nopper said Saint Andrews' conflict of interest policy falls under the town's procedural bylaw and the Local Governance Act. A conflict of interest is defined as when a council member could make a personal profit or a financial gain from a decision. "As staff, I can't make judgment on it... From my personal point of view, and from what I've seen, there is no conflict of interest from Coun. Groulx," Nopper said, noting none of the council members own an Airbnb or any short-term rental. In the event of a conflict of interest, under the town's procedural bylaw, Saint Andrews council members have to declare any conflict themselves, and if they don't and there is a conflict, then there could be repercussions, such as an RCMP inquiry or investigation. Groulx said his duty as a councillor is to "promote the adherence and application of zoning bylaws." "I am not opposed to short-term rentals as they can play an important role in promoting tourism in our community, but a balance must be struck that protects the affordable housing stocks, respects the rights of neighbours and provides a level playing field with existing short-term rental providers," he said in an emailed statement. Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson said he's recused himself in the past from multiple debates, sometimes even if it's just because of a perceived conflict of interest. Groulx said he has recused himself before too. "It's a small community," Henderson said. "You certainly have to be more careful, in the fact that everybody knows everybody else, or seems to have a friend or a neighbour or a co-worker that's invested in a particular interest. So you do have to be careful." - With files from Mike Landry The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Saint Andrews passed the first reading of its short-term rental bylaw at a special council meeting on Monday. The bylaw was created, said Coun. Andrew Harrison, to develop a permit system to regulate short-term rentals in the town. Short-term rental residential units are full dwelling units (or parts of it) used as accommodation for travellers for no more than 30 days at a time, he said. "The purpose of this bylaw is to help limit negative impacts to long-term rentals and housing affordability, ensure the accommodations meet safety requirements and compliance, neighbour compatibility, support the tourism economy and support equity among all short-term rental accommodation providers," Harrison said. Town clerk Paul Nopper said AirBnBs have "very limited to no regulations at this point." Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson said it's to make sure that when people are visiting Saint Andrews, it's safe. The bylaw mostly covers permit requirements, inspections, responsibilities of the owner and operator, prohibitions and penalties. Saint Andrews resident Joanne Carney said she would like to see a compromise on the bylaw and aims to bring her concerns forward to council. Carney operates a short-term rental space within her home and has also purchased a property for her employees and for short-term rental space. She said if the bylaw is passed, it would make it so that certain zones require a primary resident on the property that houses the short-term rental space. She said she's not so sure that "penalizing" short-term rentals will make these spaces revert to long-term rental spaces or increase the vacancy rate. She said there needs to be a balance between long-term and short-term rentals "I know the councillors, they're open to changes and discussion. They'll definitely hear from people who are threatened to be shut down at the moment." In addition, she said limiting the short-term rental permits (if the primary resident lives there most of the time), doesn't make sense. In some cases, she said owning and operating short-term rentals, helps make living more affordable in Saint Andrews. The councillors discussed having a three-permit limit per individual for short-term rentals with a potential grandfather clause, or an increasing permit fee for individuals; instead of a 50-permit limit for the whole town. CAO Chris Spear said all existing short-term rentals would be included in this 50-permit total. Nopper said the 50-permit limit was based on the town's pre-existing short-term rental numbers and took into consideration council's aim to protect the long-term rentals by limiting the number of short-term rentals. "It limits that so that we don't have AirBnB Inc. coming in and buying up a bunch of short-term rentals," said Coun. Guy Groulx. Coun. Kurt Gumushel was against limiting the number of short-term rentals. Nopper said he would take the discussions and feedback and put it into the second draft of the document. There were also some discussions and clarifications at the meeting between the councillors concerning limiting of guests and permit qualifications. The full bylaw is posted on the town's website, so the public can view it before it goes onto further readings and a public hearing. Nopper said the bylaw could be passed by April 2021 but Mayor Doug Naish said it's subject to change. "It will be done right," said Naish. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Plusieurs pays ont pris l’engagement de réduire leurs émissions de gaz à effet de serre à zéro d’ici le milieu du siècle. Mais de nouvelles recherches montrent que ce n’est pas suffisant.
Jenna Russell says her home internet service on Grand Manan can't function while there are more than two devices, including cellphones, running at one time. This creates problems when her son is working at home for his schooling. "Especially during these times, that access is so important for everybody. Whether it's connecting with family, whatever it is, I just think that we all have the right to access," she said. Russell isn't the only one who feels this way on the island. Video calls with grandparents are difficult, staying in touch with work is hard and so are virtual doctors appointments and even paying bills online, according to Grand Manan islanders. Russell said her son, who is in Grade 9, is learning virtually every other day, and it means that sometimes others will have to stop what they're doing in order for him to get proper bandwidth. On Dec. 7, the power went out and so did Russell's wifi. She said it took nine days to get the wifi back on, and she asked Bell if she could get free data during that time to make up for the wait but she said they declined. "They certainly do not want to work together to accommodate anyone." In an email, Bell Aliant spokeswoman Katie Hatfield said Grand Manan is a "unique and challenging area to serve." "We’re looking to work with various levels of government on funding partnerships to help accelerate network enhancements on the Island," she said. Russell said she pays $200 for her high-speed ultra package with Bell – and sometimes more for additional data – and she can't even watch Netflix while other devices are running without it buffering every three minutes. Upon testing her internet speed, Russell said she found she had 0.48 Megabits per second (Mbps) upload speed and 1.86 Mbps download speed. She said that could drop drastically if there's another device being used. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has set standards of all Canadian homes and businesses having access to broadband internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. Islander Sam McKenzie-Granger blames the internet for her six-year-old son believing his grandmother didn't love him any more. His grandmother couldn't visit him under the first wave and the family was having a hard time contacting his grandmother because the calls kept dropping and freezing. McKenzie-Granger, who is homeschooling her kids in Grades 4 and 6, said she's given up on online resources. "My internet speeds are virtually nonexistent," she said. She pays $100 for a basic plan with Bell, where she typically gets 1.4 Mbps download speed and 0.48 Mbps upload. Greg Kinghorne, a Grand Manan fisherman, said he needed to purchase a booster for his cellphone because he doesn't receive service in 40 per cent of the island. That means missing calls from work sometimes that could alert him about weather-related postponements. "We're in 2021 here," he said. "We should be having cell coverage." Grand Manan Mayor Dennis Greene said there's been a lot of complaints of about the issue that has existed for 15 to 20 years on the island. He said village council has tried contacting Bell with no success. "I don't think a week goes by that we don't have, you know, a fair number of complaints." He said he doesn't think it will drive people off the island, but it won't help to attract new residents. Although some Grand Manan residents say Bell hasn't been helpful for the most part, some are looking forward to a new Grand Manan-based service. Proximity Fiber, which is a high-speed internet service based in Grand Manan, is a couple steps away from connecting to NB Power's undersea cable, which would increase the service's bandwidth and supercharge its existing service. The connection will enable company Crave Technologies to connect to fibre-optic portions to provide service to Grand Manan, Campobello and Maine. The existing service has covered 600 homes on Grand Manan and is seeking funding to expand to the full Fundy Isles, with help from government funding. Howard Small, CEO of Crave Technologies, said he’s looking to offer baseline packages with internet speeds of 1,000 Mbps download and 1,000 Mbps upload with an option to go even higher. However, he said the company needs more funding to reach everyone on Grand Manan. Right now, Russell doesn't have access to Proximity Fiber, but she says she looks forward to the service when she gets the chance. "I know the whole island will be thrilled when they're able to spread out a bit further, so we're all anxiously awaiting that," she said. "But you know, land only knows when that will come." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
HELSINKI — A new two-party coalition government was sworn in Tuesday in Estonia, led by the first woman prime minister since the Baltic nation regained independence in 1991. The 15-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas took office after lawmakers in Estonia's parliament approved the government appointed by President Kersti Kaljulaid. Kallas, 43, is a lawyer and former European Parliament member. The centre-right Reform Party that she chairs and and the left-leaning Center Party, which are Estonia’s two biggest political parties, reached a deal on Sunday to form a government. The previous Cabinet, with Center leader Juri Ratas as prime minister, collapsed this month due to a corruption scandal. The two parties each have seven ministers in the Cabinet in addition to Kallas serving as prime minister. The government controls a comfortable majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu. Kallas stressed gender balance in forming the new Cabinet, placing several women in key positions, including naming the Reform Party's Keit Pentus-Rosimannus as finance minister and Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, as the foreign minister. Kallas' Cabinet has a little over two years to leave its mark in this European Union and NATO member before the next general election set for March 2023. One of the government's immediate priorities is to tackle Estonia’s worsening coronavirus situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. The Reform Party, a pro-business party espousing liberal economic policies, emerged as the winner of Estonia's 2019 general election under Kallas' lead. However, she was outmanoeuvred by Ratas' Center Party, which formed a three-party coalition with the populist right-wing EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party. But Ratas’ government, which took office in April 2019, was shaky from the start due to strong rhetoric from the nationalist EKRE, the nation’s third-largest party which runs on an anti-immigration and anti-EU agenda. The EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin, brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice. However, Ratas' government was eventually brought down on Jan. 13 by a corruption scandal involving an official suspected of accepting a private donation for the Center Party in exchange for a political favour on a real estate development at the harbour district of the capital, Tallinn. Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, is now one of the few countries where both the head of state and the head of government are women. However, that may not necessarily last long as Estonian lawmakers will convene by September to elect a new president. Kaljulaid, who assumed her post in October 2016, hasn't announced whether she will seek reelection to another five year term. Jari Tanner, The Associated Press
An RCMP project to build two new detachments in Faro and Carcross, and renovate another one in Ross River, Yukon, is on track to come in $6 million above its initial budget, according to documents obtained by CBC News. An October briefing note prepared for Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says a funding shortfall was known since at least November 2019. In September, the project management team told government officials "the program budget remains at $11.69M and [is] currently trending at $13.4M." Justice department spokesperson Patricia Randell said in an email that the combined cost for all three detachments is now nearly $17.7 million. But she said the RCMP moved money around within its capital budget, which means there won't be any additional costs for the Yukon government. "Typical projects start with a preliminary concept and then move through planning, design, procurement and construction phases," Randell wrote. "As projects move through these phases, different options may be considered and decisions are made to keep costs within the assigned budget." Randell said the Yukon government's share of the project costs remains approximately $9.9 million. The federal government is contributing $7.8 million New detachments to be green buildings Randell said the Carcross detachment is forecast to cost $8.2 million and the Faro detachment $5.5 million. The current Ross River detachment is slated to undergo renovations at a cost of around $3.9 million. The three projects fall under a five-year capital plan that expires in 2022. Construction is scheduled to be completed by that year. Assessment documents filed with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) for the Faro project say the new detachment will be built on the site of the existing one. The building is to be built with modular components and will be net-zero carbon emissions, with solar panels and geothermal energy. No YESAB applications have yet been filed for the Ross River and Carcross projects. The briefing note says the Yukon government urged the RCMP to "consider a smaller detachment in Carcross that align with the current staffing model." The government also requested that the Faro detachment be built as a "community policy office" linked to a "hub policing model based in Ross River." The Yukon RCMP did not respond to a request for comment.