With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Dwayne Johnson’s new NBC comedy “Young Rock” has him campaigning for president in 2032, but the actor and producer sidestepped the possibility of a real-life run someday. A coming-of-age story inspired by the former pro wrestler's colorful but challenging childhood and youth, “Young Rock” is framed by the adult Johnson's reflections on his life as he stumps for office. Is Johnson cleverly preparing America for his next act? “I think the people will prepare me. I can say that,” he replied with a laugh. Using the candidacy as a device to revisit his past was suggested by Nahnatchka Khan, executive producer of “Young Rock,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Johnson also is an executive producer for the series, debuting Feb. 16, with his younger versions played by Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant and Uli Latukefu. “We were trying to figure out a creative way that I can be intertwined in every episode, to be part of it. This was (Khan’s) idea, and at first I was a little reticent about it because it’s political,” he said. “You just knew that by the time the show was coming out, politics was gong to take yet another hard turn and be so polarizing as it is.” Khan’s persuasive argument: “She said something to the effect of, ‘Well, you always say you’re a man of the people, and I think we should give it a shot,’” Johnson recounted. In a 2018 Vanity Fair interview, the film and TV star said he'd seriously considered a 2020 run for president but decided against it. During a Q&A Tuesday with TV critics, Johnson was asked if he would invite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a self-proclaimed fan of Johnson's 2015-19 “Ballers” sports comedy — to make a cameo appearance on “Young Rock.” “If we're lucky enough to come back for a second round (of episodes), then maybe she will then," he said. And what about President Joe Biden as a guest? “Well, I can see that happening,” he told The AP. “It all depends on how far we go with it (the series). But I am friends with Sen. Warren, President Biden as well, and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and so I wouldn't rule it out." Johnson, a self-described independent, bestowed his first political endorsement on the Biden-Harris Democratic ticket last year. But he suggests a a bipartisan approach ahead for “Young Rock." "I'm also friends with a lot of Republicans, so who knows what kind of melting-pot politics we'll have down the road, if by chance we're lucky to come back,” Johnson said. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
Peel police are seeking help from the public in identifying a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl last week in a Mississauga park. In a news release on Tuesday, police said the girl and her younger sibling were in a park near apartment buildings at Bodmin Drive and Truscott Drive at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. For a brief of period of time, a man sat on a park bench near the girl before he sexually assaulted her, police said. The man fled the area on foot and headed towards a plaza nearby. "The victim did not sustain any physical injuries as a result of the assault," police said in the release. Police described the suspect as a white male, of average height and a stocky build. He is said to have uncut brown hair that is long on top, with brown eyes, no facial hair and thick eyebrows. He was wearing a black hooded sweater with a pocket in front, brown track pants, black face mask and black running shoes. Peel police are urging anyone with information to call their special victims unit at (905) 453-2121 ext. 3460, or to anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
NEW YORK — Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. is deepening its partnership with Target Corp. by launching its first-ever home collection at the discount chain. Levi's limited time only 100-item collection of denim-inspired tableware, quilts, pillows and other items will be launched on Target's website and most Target stores on Feb. 28. Target started selling low-price brand Denizen from Levi's in 2011 and then began carrying its premium Red Tab brand in 2019. It will be expanding the Red Tab brand to 500 stores by fall of this year. The move is yet another blow to department stores, which have been struggling even more during the pandemic. Target CEO Brian Cornell and Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told The Associated Press they believe the Levi products, which also include some clothing, will be collectors' items. For Target, it's the latest strategic partnership with a major brand and comes as Target extends its strong sales streak through the pandemic. The Minneapolis-based discounter signed a deal late last year with beauty chain Ulta to open more than 100 beauty shops by middle of this year. In 2019, it forged a partnership with Disney & Co to open Disney-branded shops at its stores. Cornell said that strategic partnerships “have been key to Target’s success" and has set it apart from rivals. For San Francisco-based Levi, the collaboration reflects how the company has been diversifying its label away from department stores and focusing on retailers that drive customer traffic. Bergh said that the expansion with Target has helped the brand reach a broader customer base, but he cautions that the jeans maker has no intention of going into the home business in a permanent way. “This is unexpected Levi’s stuff that they are going to find inside Target, and it’s going to surprise and delight them," Bergh said. _______ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling it a precipice, a plateau from which the novel coronavirus could spring upwards, or decline. New cases in B.C. have hovered around 500 per day, but on Vancouver Island, numbers have anything but plateaued. While B.C. is showing a gradual decline in new cases, Island Health is smashing through new highs weekly. The Island took 10 months to reach 1,000 cumulative cases. Three weeks later, that total has already reached 1,458. What’s behind the exponential increase? Vancouver Island’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick isn’t sure. But whatever the cause, the Island is seeing double digit case counts every day in January. The region has registered 25 or more new cases 11 times. Ten of those totals came in the past three weeks. Contact tracing teams have gone all out — as of Jan. 26, the region had 753 people isolating after being identified as close contacts, and 217 people confirmed as positive. Total cases are still manageable, hospitals are not at capacity. In fact, Vancouver Island has been able to offer support to Northern B.C., an area that is bursting at capacity for beds. Most of the current Island cases are within the Central Island region, between the Nanaimo hospital outbreak, some school exposures, and Cowichan Tribes which has had more than 150 cases. The First Nation’s membership is sheltering in place until at least Feb. 5. Indigenous people are four times more likely to experience the worst effects of COVID-19, Stanwick said. “This is open to speculation as to why, whether they are under-housed, or a is there a propensity to it? The simple fact is unfortunately they are more vulnerable to the effects,” Stanwick said. It’s one of the reasons First Nations communities are included in priority vaccinations along with long-term care and assisted living residents and workers. RELATED: Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19 RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital “The good news is that we have finished immunizing all long-term care clients who have wished to be immunized as of [Jan. 24], and are working hard to complete all of our assisted living by mid-week,” Stanwick said. But we’re far from out of the woods, even with positive first steps. “It’s only the first dose they’ve gotten, and this is where I cross my fingers and my toes. It takes 14 days to get a good immune response mounted by the body. So we’re still vulnerable for two more weeks. There is a possibility we could still see outbreaks in our long-term care and assisted living facilities.” The First Nations Health Authority has set a goal of delivering vaccinations to all First Nations on the Island by the end of March. That process is well underway. What really worries Stanwick is the rising number of people who have no clue where they contracted the virus. It makes contact tracing nearly impossible, and makes it a lot harder to control the spread. Take the U.K. variant for example; one Central Island resident caught it while travelling. They passed it to two others, but all three people followed quarantine rules and the strain died there. The South African variant — which has not yet been found on the Island — is of unknown origin at this time. “It’s when it surprises us that’s where we worry the most,” Stanwick said. Vancouver Island’s positivity rate is another concern. Dr. Henry regularly says the goal is to keep it at 1 per cent or below, but the Island is almost at 4 per cent right now. “We’re still looking at a few months out for wide vaccinations. We are so close, I’d hate to see us backslide into the same situation as the U.K., going into full lock down,” he said. “The orders [Dr. Henry] puts in place have worked. They’ve gotten us where we are, we’ve just got to hang in a little longer.” In the meantime, Stanwick said Vancouver Island Health Authority is assigning environmental health officers to identify places where standards are not being met. It’s not a hunt to issue fines, he said, but an effort to help people understand what Work Safe requirements are. However, they are issuing fines to people unwilling to comply. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief, has been nominated for a rare third term, a Party official said, according to several state media articles that were published on Wednesday then subsequently amended, removing the comments. On Monday, more than 1,600 delegates began nine days of mostly closed-doors meetings at the Party's five-yearly Congress, during which a new leadership team will be picked to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule. Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president and architect of its anti-corruption campaign, had been widely tipped to continue as party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.
A person has been arrested and a vehicle seized in connection with a hit-and-run in North Vancouver Monday night that left a 17-year-old pedestrian in critical condition. North Vancouver RCMP say the female teen was found around 10:15 p.m. lying injured and unconscious near Keith Road East and St. Andrews Avenue. Sgt. Peter DeVries said RCMP are looking for witnesses who may have seen or heard a white, newer model vehicle in the area or on neighbouring streets. "If you were near Keith Road East between Ridgeway Avenue and St. George's Avenue around 10:15 p.m. last night, or live in the area, and you saw the vehicle or heard the collision, or if you were near Lynn Valley Road and the Safeway parking lot at Lynn Valley Centre shortly after 10:15 p.m. and saw a vehicle matching that description, then please call us at 604 985-1311," said DeVries. Police are also seeking related dashcam or surveillance video and are asking people to check their recordings.
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Public Prosecutions Service announced Tuesday that no criminal charges will be filed against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rodney Levi last June.Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12 after police responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.The incident was investigated by Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des Enquetes independantes, which submitted a report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December.A statement from the prosecutions service said it is clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present."This action followed repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield," the statement said.The prosecutions service concluded the police officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home that evening."The evidence presented to Public Prosecutions Services does not establish a reasonable prospect of conviction, and therefore, we will not proceed with criminal charges," it said.Levi's killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check. The two killings sparked dismay and anger in the province's Indigenous community along with demands for a full inquiry.Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for Levi's family, said Tuesday that family members are disappointed with the outcome."They were provided with a very thorough explanation and review of the evidence and the law. They are now taking the time to process this information and to grieve," she said in an interview.Lombard said she expects the family will want to take further action. "I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is not the end," she said.A summary of evidence prepared by the prosecutions service and published Tuesday says an autopsy confirmed Levi died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses told investigators Levi had been acting erratically, and a toxicology report revealed the presence of traces of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his body, the report said.The report summarizes what investigators heard from witnesses, though it does not name them. One woman, identified as a close relative of Levi, did not witness the shooting but spoke of his state of mind and intent on June 12.She said Levi had been living in her home for a few days and was very depressed, according to the report. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP'," the report says. The witness tried to dissuade Levi, but suicide by RCMP was all he would talk about. She never saw him again after he left her home on the afternoon of June 12.The report states that four witnesses at the home in Sunny Corner believed Levi was under the influence of something when he took knives from the kitchen of the home and began waving them around. He refused to put down the knives, and two people called 911.The witnesses said the officers were calm and tried to defuse the situation but Levi refused to drop the knives. They said Levi was Tasered three times by police and at one point said something to the effect of "you'll have to put a bullet in me," the report says. The witnesses said Levi "lunged" or "charged" at one of the officers, who then opened fire.The evidence included a 37-second video filmed by a witness, which shows Levi being hit with the stun gun three times. After the third time, Levi drops one of his knives but immediately picks it back up and seconds later is moving toward one of the officers with the knives pointed toward him, according to the report. The sound of two shots follows.The officer who fired the shots told investigators Levi was about three to five feet away from him and he perceived a “threat of death or grievous bodily harm” when he fired.In its statement, the prosecutions service said the decision not to lay charges against the officers does not "diminish the tragedy of the event." It said Levi's death is "a pain shared by members of the Metepenagiag First Nation and residents of neighbouring communities that cared about him."A coroner's inquest will be held into the incident, although a date and location have not been set.At such an inquest the presiding coroner and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the death. The jury can then make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
As the 76th anniversary on Wednesday of the liberation of Auschwitz draws closer, Bill Harvey, who survived the concentration camp, said he was shocked by displays of anti-Semitism during the U.S. Capitol riot. Some of the supporters of former President Donald Trump who broke into and ransacked the seat of Congress on Jan. 6 wore clothes bearing anti-Semitic messages, or displayed Nazi symbols. Harvey, interviewed by Zoom from his Los Angeles home on Monday, expressed concern that the lessons that should have been learned from World War Two's Nazi Holocaust are fading.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Jozef Venglos, a Slovak coach who was the first manager born outside Britain and Ireland to take charge of a top-tier club in England, has died. He was 84. Slovakia’s soccer association said Venglos died Tuesday surrounded by his family. No details about the cause of death were given. The association described him as “the greatest personality of Slovak soccer.” Venglos was a respected, experienced coach when he arrived in Birmingham in 1990 to take charge of Aston Villa in the first division for what was the toughest job of his illustrious career. “You have to have a joy from football, even as manager,” Venglos told The Associated Press in a 2016 interview at his house in the Slovak capital of Bratislava. “There’s a specific feature of English football, that it’s inspirational in all aspects: for the managers, players and of course fans.” The Premier League has since had a number of star-studded coaches from overseas, such as Juergen Klopp at Liverpool, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Tottenham, and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Venglos, who was not a household name in Britain when he arrived, became the “First One.” “It was a surprise to me,” Venglos said. “But also an appreciation of what I had done. It was a well-managed and controlled club.” When Venglos was introduced as the Villa manager, the media at the news conference remained silent when they were asked: “Hands up those of you who know this man.” Prior to his job at Villa, Venglos’ biggest successes came in international football. He was an assistant coach to Vaclav Jezek when Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in 1976. Four years later, he was in sole charge as he led his national team to third place at Euro 1980. At the 1990 World Cup, he led the team to the quarterfinals. After his spell in England, Venglos moved to Fenerbahce in Turkey and later to Celtic in Scotland. The coach with a degree in physical education and known as Dr. Jo — or the Doctor — also led the national teams of Australia, Malaysia, Oman and Slovakia. In 1995, he became the president of the European Coaches Union and led European and World select teams on several occasions. In his homeland, he was named the coach of the 20th century. Coming from behind the Iron Curtain just a year after it collapsed, Venglos’ appointment by Villa chairman Doug Ellis looked revolutionary. Taking over from Graham Taylor, Venglos was ready and eager to move the team from the traditional English physical style and apply new methods, starting with a more passing approach, pre-match warmups and new diets. Venglos had playmaker David Platt, but many in his squad didn’t seem ready to adopt the changes he was making. And with expectations high and the media critical, the coach himself had a hard time adapting. No bitter memories, though. “The players were true professionals,” Venglos said. “I would say there was a mutual respect between us and that kept us moving forward. I think we understood each other. And that’s important that the team follows the coach, respects him, and the results follow. The results are key, in any country.” At times, it worked, namely in a 2-0 victory at Villa Park over Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup. But victories were not as frequent as hoped. Villa ended the season in 17th place, a significant drop from the second-place finish the previous season. Venglos developed high blood pressure during the season and continued to face criticism from the media, finally resigning despite an offer from Ellis to continue. Ron Atkinson replaced him. “I learned a lot,” said Venglos, who closely followed the results of the team after his departure. “I watch Aston Villa. I feel joy when things go well for the club.” In 2016, Venglos said he would never forget Alex Ferguson’s gesture when Villa played Manchester United for the first time. “Alex Ferguson came to welcome me and said, ‘If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, I’m happy to help,’” Venglos said. “It was a sign of real professionalism and attitude to football.” In 2014, Venglos received the highest honour by FIFA, the Order of Merit, for the development of the game. He is survived by his wife Eva and his sons, Jozef and Juraj. “Mr. Venglos, we will never forget you,” the association said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan's top doctor says he believes there are limits to where people can protest after a handful of demonstrators unhappy with COVID-19 restrictions showed up outside his home. Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says while people can go to public spaces like legislatures to stage their frustration, he doesn't believe they have the right to protest at someone's private residence. Premier Scott Moe says his government has offered security to Shahab after police were called to his house on the weekend to respond to protesters who had gathered nearby. Moe says it's up to police in Regina to investigate and decide whether to lay any charges. The premier says the demonstration crossed a line between protesting government decisions around COVID-19 and the privacy of a person, his family and his neighbours. He says his Saskatchewan Party government is looking at what options exist to address protests at the homes of public servants. "We have been starting to look at what other jurisdictions have in place with respect to some of the laws that they have, and looking at whether or not we should consider those here," he said during a briefing Tuesday. Moe said he wasn't sure what options the government has to address what happened, since streets and sidewalks are public property. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
First Nation leaders in Manitoba have shared that hundreds of Manitoba First Nation citizens have always been neglected in some aspect when it comes to health services. First Nation leaders are making a plea to the provincial and federal governments to take concrete action to reduce and eventually eliminate anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care system. “It is hard to believe that in this day and age, we have to talk about racism,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. in a press conference on Facebook Live on Tuesday. “I thought that we as a nation have evolved to a place that we are more tolerant and accepting of one another, but in our health care system, that is not the case. Anti-Indigenous racism is apparent, and stories from our First Nations confirm that it does exist.” Organizations such as MKO and KIM have voiced out their frustrations as their members continue to face mistreatment in hospitals and nursing stations. It has even come to a point whereby First Nations would rather suffer quietly in their own homes because they know they will not receive adequate health services as they are continually being doubted by health officials. “No one should be doubted when they are looking for medical attention. They should be treated with respect and compassion. That is all we want,” said Chief Shirley Ducharme, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. On Jan.11, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation Councillor Brian Wood’s wife, Carol, had a car accident that caused tremendous pain in her right leg. That day, Wood quickly brought her to the nursing station in South Indian Lake where a nurse attended to her for less than five minutes. The nurse diagnosed her and stated that since her leg does not appear to be broken, Wood should return home with his wife and schedule a flight to Thompson so that she can be reassessed the next week. When they got home, her leg started to swell and turned blue. Not trusting the nurse, he decided to call Ducharme about his dilemma. After speaking with her, he managed to approve his wife as an outpatient. Immediately, he and his wife drove four hours to Thompson so she could receive proper care. “The health staff there noticed that she wasn’t doing very well. They took her to the emergency room right away and did some x-rays. They found that there were two fractures in her leg and that there was something wrong with her knee,” said Wood. She was later sent to Winnipeg via medevac so that she could receive surgery. As of now, she is recuperating in Thompson with a 14-inch scar on her leg. Wood noted that this is only an example of First Nations people who cannot access medical care in their home community due to negligence. First Nations who have issues accessing medical systems in a culturally safe way may contact Bernice Thorassie, MKO’s Client Navigator for advocacy assistance at Bernice.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-307-5066. Dr. Barry Lavallee, Chief Executive Officer at Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin (KIM) Inc. said that racism in the health care system essentially promotes torture and suffering towards First Nation citizens attempting to seek help. On Wednesday and Thursday, MKO and KIM will hold an online event aimed to unify federal, provincial, and territorial governments, First Nations, Inuit, Métis Nation and health system partners to discuss and confirm actions planned and underway to address anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care systems. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
A special kind of cold is needed for mukluks. The traditional Anishinaabe footwear crafted out of moose hide with a fleece lining and adorned with coloured glass beads and rabbit or beaver fur doesn’t wear well in mild, wet winter weather, but rather when it’s cold and dry. That’s something Alley Yapput, an Anishinaabe Two Spirit artist, learned growing up with his grandmother Clara Yapput during the 1970s and 1980s in Nakina, Ont., about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. His grandmother was known in the area for her beadwork and other crafts, and a young Alley kept close watch. Decades later, Alley is sharing his teachings with his mother Madeline, who in her 60s has recently learned how to bead and make moccasins like her own mother used to. Unlike her son, however, she didn’t grow up learning from her parents. Clara Yapput, who was born Christmas Day, 1918, and was from Aroland First Nation, an Ojibway community not far from Nakina, was a master in the craft of beading and sewing items such as mukluks, moccasins and mittens. She also made miniature snowshoes, cradles and birch-bark baskets with willow branches. Clara and her husband Lloyd, a Cree man born along the shores of the Albany River next to James Bay, raised their family in Aroland and Nakina. An active couple, they spent summers working as hunting and fishing guides or building cabins for local tourist outfitters. Clara and Lloyd had 10 children and spoke Cree and Ojibway at home, where Madeline and her siblings also learned to speak Ojibway fluently. In 1957, when Madeline was five years old, she was sent to residential school more than 800 kilometres away in the Kenora, Ont., area. She would spend the next several years in the residential school system, returning home to her family for the summers. “It’s not a happy place where I went,” she says about her experience in the government and church-run schools she attended. “I lost a lot of my language and culture.” Madeline says she would have learned the careful craftmanship of handmade items such as moccasins and miniature snowshoes from her mother if she had stayed home. Instead, she says, such teachings “just all went away.” As a teenager, Madeline returned home to her family in Nakina and had Alley, the first of three children. She let her parents raise Alley, a customary practice among Anishinaabe families in the north. Madeline says her son had a good upbringing with her parents, picking up the Ojibway language and syllabics. “I was very happy that he learned a lot of culture from my mother,” she says. Her mother continued to bead until she could no longer see because of cataracts. Clara passed away in 2001 at age 83. Alley says he spent a lot of time by his grandmother’s side, learning and observing. Eventually, like his mother, Alley was also sent away to school. In Grade 9, he moved to Sioux Lookout, where he lived with a non-Indigenous family who didn’t understand the Ojibway language. “You lose that connection,” he says. Armed with his grandmother’s traditional sewing and beading skills (“It’s all in my head – a lot of memory in there,” he says), Alley got into the “moccasin game” about 15 years ago while living in Winnipeg, sewing moccasins part-time for an Indigenous company while continuing his own beadwork and sewing on the side. He moved back to Thunder Bay more than three years ago, shortly after his aunt died of cancer, wanting to ensure his mother wasn’t alone without any family. Visiting his mother at least once a week, Alley would often bring his sewing and beadwork with him and encouraged his mother to give it a try. She started off with small items, beading poppies and Christmas pins. When Alley was hired by an organization to teach a moccasin-making workshop for residential school survivors, Madeline joined in and made her first pair of moccasins. “She’s a really quick learner,” Alley says. Sharing his mother’s work on his Facebook page, Madeline started to get requests for her items, and hasn’t stopped taking orders – or learning – since. One of the duo’s latest projects was a matching pair of beaded gauntlet mittens for Madeline and her partner – a first for Madeline, who noted it was a challenging project, particularly fashioning the mitts’ thumb. It took Madeline and Alley about two weeks to complete both pairs. At times, the handiwork can be a delicate, tedious process of stitching tiny seed beads onto leather or other material, using one or two threaded needles. “Sometimes it’s frustrating what you bead – your thread doesn’t go right, [so] I put it away and relax,” Madeline says with a laugh. Crafting together has become a way for mother and son to stay close, particularly after the death of Alley’s youngest sister last summer. As a single person, he’s thankful he can still visit his mom in her home, where she lives with her partner, under the current pandemic restrictions. Madeline works on custom orders from her living room, sitting in her recliner with a tray of beads in her lap and her dog Jasper, a small Shih Tzu-cross, close by. Alley sits on the couch, where he works on mukluks featuring a more intricate (and contemporary) design – Baby Yoda. When asked how it makes her feel that people want to buy her work, Madeline lights up. “Oh my God, my heart just bursts,” she says. She’s even received a custom order from as far away as New York – appropriately enough, it was for a matching set of moccasins for a mother and child. Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Fans of the Voyageur Days Festival will not gather where the rivers meet in Mattawa again this summer. Council agreed during their meeting Monday night to postpone the 2021 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic without much discussion. The recommendation came from the recreation committee and the only amendment was the removal of the year it was being postponed until, with 2022 scratched from the motion as well. See: No Voyageur Days in 2020 'heartbreaking' A media release was issued Tuesday by Renee Paquette, recreation and facilities services manager: “Over the last few weeks, we have been monitoring the situation closely and have determined that, along with government mandates in Ontario, it is no longer safe to move forward with our festival in July of 2021,” the release stated. “The well-being of our fans, artists, staff, vendors, partners, and the surrounding community is our number one priority. We have, therefore, decided to hold off on having the festival this year. “These are without doubt unprecedented times but as a town and community, we will all get through this together. We will overcome this and grow from it, but now is the time to be safe and look out for one another by protecting everyone else who supports us. Stay safe and rock on.” Council decided in April 2020 to pull the plug on the festival as the first wave of the pandemic was in full force with Mayor Dean Backer saying the “risks are way too high.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
VICTORIA — Health officials say more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and a ski resort in British Columbia's Interior. The Interior Health authority says in a news release that 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. A total of 314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the region since New Year's Day and the health authority says most transmission occurred at recent social events and gatherings. Interior Health also says an additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total cluster of cases to 225. It says 21 cases there are active and three of those who recently tested positive live or work at the resort. "Everyone is reminded that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. Please do not invite friends or extended family to your residence for a visit or gathering," Interior Health says in the statement. Provincial health officials say the number of daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and repeated calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
A 34-year-old Windsor man has been arrested and charged following a sexual assault investigation that involved victims under the age of 18, Windsor police said in a news release. The offender, according to police, was "in a position of trust and authority within the community" at the time of the incidents. The suspect was arrested on Jan. 25 and charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual interference. The suspect was initially arrested on Sept. 21, 2020, after police received a sexual assault report and investigated. Police say the investigation remained active and they received information that more victims were likely involved. The investigation led to further charges being laid. The Special Victims Unit continues to investigate as officers believe there is more victims, police said.
Grace Villa’s operator responded Tuesday to horrific reports of understaffing, deplorable sanitation and neglect inside the home’s recent COVID outbreak, while critics joined calls to revoke the company’s licence. The Spectator reported on tragic conditions exposed by workers in correspondence to Hamilton MPP Monique Taylor. The letters, which Taylor released Monday, describe in graphic detail the disturbing conditions inside the city’s biggest and deadliest outbreak. In an email late Tuesday, APANS Health Services addressed the allegations for the first time. “The safety of our residents, staff and family members is paramount and these statements are deeply concerning,” said CEO Mary Raithby. “We are continually reviewing our response throughout the outbreak. We will continue to listen to the best advice in our sector to determine where we can make enhancements to further protect our residents and staff.” She said, “Our utmost concern is for those in our home.” “Everyone at Grace Villa is continuing to pour their hearts and energy into their work each day,” Raithby continued. “We are humbled by their dedication and are saddened that some may have felt they did not have the resources or support as needed to do their jobs.” She added, “Our leadership team is working tirelessly to ensure everyone has the knowledge, training and resources to safely care for our residents now and in the future.” More than a quarter of the home’s 156 residents died in less than two months. Grace Villa had 234 cases — including 144 resident, 88 staff and two visitor cases — and 44 deaths from Nov. 25 to Jan. 20. Though the outbreak ended last Wednesday, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) still holds management powers at the east Mountain home through a provincial order. Taylor, who represents Hamilton Mountain, said the letters came from workers worried what would happen when HHS leaves the facility. The letters described “chaos, confusion and outright neglect” while workers “begged and cried for help.” “It was heartbreaking, traumatizing and it was criminal,” one read. The letters were anonymized to protect workers from reprisal and because they weren’t authorized to speak with media. “Every single room was trashed,” a worker wrote, describing cardboard boxes “overflowing” with “dirty PPE, soiled briefs and food trays, many of them untouched.” A McMaster University professor supported Taylor and SEIU Healthcare’s calls for APANS Health Services’ licence to be revoked, calling it “appalling neglect.” “It’s absolutely abhorrent to read of the conditions at Grace Villa,” said Amit Arya, assistant professor in palliative care. “It’s unimaginable suffering and grief.” On Sunday, Conservative MPP Donna Skelly, who represents Flamborough-Glanbrook, announced new provincial funding for local seniors’ homes, including Grace Villa, to cover “eligible expenses” for proper screening, staffing, equipment and supplies, and infection control. Grace Villa was allotted $124,000, bringing its total “prevention and containment support” to more than $1 million. In an email Tuesday, Skelly called the allegations at Grace Villa “disturbing,” adding they were “being looked into” by the Ministry of Long-Term Care. An emailed statement from the ministry said the province worked with the city and health organizations to address the outbreak at the Lockton Crescent home. “We take the safety of long-term-care residents very seriously,” said press secretary Krystle Caputo, noting the province invested $1.38 billion to support homes, including through orders that allow hospitals and infection control teams to manage outbreaks. Caputo added the ministry has worked directly with local public health, the LHIN and HHS “throughout the pandemic.” “In addition to improving the home’s infection prevention and control measures and educating staff on the proper use of PPE, the hospital is providing staffing for the home,” Caputo said. “The home has an adequate supply of PPE, and N95 masks are available when needed.” “We remain committed to doing everything we can, along with our partners, to help stabilize the home and have it return to normal operations.” On Monday, Hamilton’s medical officer of health said the city called for support at Grace Villa, connected the facility with HHS to improve staffing and carried out inspections. “Our job is to look at the infection control and disease control aspects,” said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson. “The care of the residents in the home is the responsibility of the home and ... the Ministry of Long-Term Care.” “Our hearts go out to all of those who have family in long-term care and especially those who have experienced the challenges of a bad outbreak such as that,” she said. “It’s a circumstance that none of us would want our loved ones to experience and none of us would want to go through.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
A weekly book club promoting early literacy is launching tomorrow on Family Literacy Day. The three EarlyON centres in Timmins have partnered to offer a free virtual storytime session for children and their families and caregivers. The book club will take place every Wednesday, starting Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Three different stories — in English, in French, and about Indigenous culture — will be read by a representative from each of the centre via Zoom. The three EarlyON centres are the Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Timmins NEOFACS and Timmins YMCA. “This way, we’ll help families engage in literacy with their children and read books,” said Julie Nowlan, Timmins YMCA's early years co-ordinator. “Sometimes, they may not know which books to read or they may not have books at home either, so at least having the program every week, they have three books read to them.” All of the books can be counted toward the Timmins 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (B4K) program. It is an early literacy program that encourages families and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their children before they go to kindergarten. “If you read three books a day for three years, you can get to 1,000 books before your child reaches kindergarten,” Nowlan said. "Literacy is always a big component in all our of our centres, so it’s nice to be able to offer that.” For each hit milestone, such as reading 100, 250, 500 and 750 books, children will receive a certificate and a prize. Once they read 1,000 books, they get a bigger prize and can start the program again. The program was launched last year in partnership with the Timmins Public Library. So far, there are 326 children registered for the Timmins 1,000 B4K program. “We had people hit their milestones of reaching 1,000 books,” said Gabriella Desmarais, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) program manager for EarlyON Child and Family Centre Quality Assurance. Once someone registers for the 1,000 Books B4K program, they will receive a literacy kit that contains a reading log, a book and all the information needed for the program. “We’re definitely going to continue it for sure,” Nowlan said about the virtual book club. “I assume it will continue until virtual programming is no longer. And if not, it will continue in our centre, so we’ll definitely read books when they come in and visit us.” The Zoom link for Jan. 27 book club meeting can be found here. Registration is not required to join the event. For more information about the Timmins 1000 Books B4K program, click here. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
Ant, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is in talks with a number of potential buyers in the United States, the FT report said, citing sources. The company planned to secure a sale in the first half of this year, the FT added.