Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
China's medical products regulator said on Thursday that it had approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for public use, raising the number of domestically produced vaccines that can be used in China to four. The two newly cleared vaccines are made by CanSino Biologics Inc (CanSinoBIO) and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech approved earlier this month, and another from Sinopharm's Beijing unit approved last year.
MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. raised its dividend as it reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago. The company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share, up from 20 cents. The increased payment to shareholders came as Quebecor says it earned net income attributable to shareholders of $159.8 million or 64 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The result compared with a profit of $145.1 million or 57 cents per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose to $1.15 billion from $1.14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The overall increase came as telecommunications revenue rose, but the company's media and sports and entertainment divisions saw revenue decline. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B) The Canadian Press
SAINT-LÉONARD-D’ASTON. Si la Santé publique le permet, les amateurs de golf de Saint-Léonard-d’Aston et des environs pourront bientôt s’adonner à leur passion à l’intérieur. Un golf virtuel initié par Alex B. Perreault, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan, Félix Guévin et Jonathan Lavoie s’ajoutera au complexe Chez Boris. «L’installation sera bientôt complétée. Il manque le turf. Les gens vont pouvoir amener leurs bâtons et leurs tees. C’est très réaliste comme expérience. C’est un système par radar qui calcule l’effet et la distance de la balle. À la base, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan avait un golf virtuel dans son garage. On a essayé ça et on a bien aimé. C’est là qu’est venue l’idée de l’ajouter à l’endroit où l’on trouve les espaces de jorkyball», explique Alex B. Perreault qui, avec ses associés, a voulu également rendre un hommage au terrain de golf développé par Richard Lebeau et Jean-Paul Provencher dans la conception du projet. «On a reproduit le parcours du golf Le Pro situé en bas de la côte à Saint-Léonard. On a pris les données avec Google Maps et les élévations avec un logiciel. Tout y sera, on verra même le tracteur à gauche du départ du trou 1», indique-t-il, enthousiaste. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
(CBC - image credit) While there's still no timeline for when in-class education will resume, following an outbreak of a coronavirus variant that put Newfoundland and Labrador in Alert Level 5 lockdown, the provincial teachers' union is hoping to get more information that will lead to stricter safety protocols in schools. Dean Ingram, head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, said Wednesday he'd received no "specific information," but has heard that around a dozen teachers, in addition to over 100 students, were infected with the B117 variant at Mount Pearl Senior High. Eastern Health did confirm that 145 students and/or staff at Mount Pearl Senior High have been infected with COVID-19. That accounts for the largest portion of the approximately 185 students and/or staff associated infected at 22 schools around the Eastern Health region, including five high schools, four junior high schools, and 13 elementary schools in the St. John's metro area. Eastern Health initially said specific information on the other schools involved wouldn't be released, citing privacy concerns. In an about-turn, however, the health authority disclosed the names of the schools Wednesday evening. It did not say how many positive cases were connected to each school. "It is important to note that numbers do not distinguish between whether a case attended school or not during his/her period of communicability," the statement said. Ingram said the NLTA wants to know more. "I want to stress that we're not seeking information just for the sake of information; respect for privacy has to be sacrosanct," Ingram said. "That being said, though, we do know that the residents of this province were informed last spring of how many cases were connected to the Caul's cluster, and I don't see how the extent of the current outbreak is any less important." That information is something he hopes will be provided by public health officials or the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District before any decisions are made about resuming in-person classes. I'm not sold on full disclosure, I'm not sure that's gonna prove anything or help anybody. - Don Coombs The NLESD said it is up to Eastern Health to make any such announcements, and when the health authority did name the 22 schools, it caught the district off guard. "It was a little surprising to us, because it has been a departure from normal practice," said Tony Stack, the district CEO, on Thursday morning. Ingram said the NLTA has long been concerned about whether guidelines around mask-wearing and physical distancing in schools go far enough. "We do believe that there's an opportunity to learn from the experience and reconsider what public health precautions for our schools should look like, but this does require full disclosure of how all our schools have been affected, including what's known about the interactions at school, but also various school-sponsored activities as a source of transmission," Ingram said. "What concerns me right now, and what's concerned the association since last July, is that our teachers, our students, their families, are subject to significantly lesser public health protocols and precautions in schools than you'll find in any other public place in this province." Ingram said the outbreak could serve as an example of what can happen if safety precautions aren't strict enough, or aren't followed. "I think the most important thing is to take what we've seen and move forward. Take what we've seen to date as to what can happen in our schools if an outbreak occurs and build plans to strengthen and reinforce the necessary measures. We need to protect our schools; protecting our schools protects our communities," Ingram said. A drive-thru COVID-19 swabbing site was set up at the Summit Centre in Mount Pearl to get more testing done during the outbreak. "When we have a position where our students can safely return to our schools, part of that assurance of safety has to be enhancing public health measures within the schools to ensure that when students return, the likelihood of a repeat of what we've seen these last two weeks is as minimal as possible." That certainly seems to be on the mind of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, who said during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing that the variant may change things. "I think right now what we're seeing, our initial investigation, at least, at Eastern Health, we're certainly seeing spread not just within the school but in social activities as well, through sporting events and through other social activities," Fitzgerald said. "This variant certainly does change the way we look at things, and we are looking at all of that right now as we look to how we move out of Level 5." 'I'm not sold on full disclosure' Don Coombs, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, said given the smaller number of infections at other schools, he's not sure releasing detailed information would be helpful. "I'm not really sold on that. I don't think it serves any purpose. The school in Mount Pearl was identified because of numbers, but … we don't want to target smaller schools in rural Newfoundland," Coombs said. "As long as we've got the protocols in place, from a federation point of view … I'm not sold on full disclosure. I'm not sure that's gonna prove anything or help anybody. I think that may be a stigma that will be in some smaller communities, and certainly we don't want that on our young students and adults. There's enough stress on the parents now and on the students with virtual learning, being at home, trying to adjust." Don Coombs is the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, which represents 254 schools in the province and as many as 60,000 parents and guardians of students at those schools. District CEO Stack agreed. "I'm not sure what it accomplishes, releasing the names of schools," Stack said, adding he is concerned about how students and staff will be affected by the announcement. When it comes to safety protocols in schools, Coombs said in the last year, measures in place have generally been effective. The outbreak is an obvious exception. "I think for the most parts it's proven to have worked. It's an unfortunate incident that's happened, that it's escalated, to involve students at a school," Coombs said. Coombs said it's best to defer to public health officials like Fitzgerald on when it will be safe to resume in-class learning, but he doesn't expect that to happen in the immediate future. "We want to take direction from Dr. Fitzgerald; she's the expert in this field … and from our point of view, as long as the federation of school councils is hearing from the parents that the want their kids back in a healthy, safe environment, that's what we want," Coombs said, adding he has "full confidence" in advice from Fitzgerald and the public health team. "Let's ensure we do things right. Let's not jump the gun." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The European Space Agency is currently recruiting astronauts from EU member states - and one country is serious about getting their candidate amongst the stars.
(Jesse Winter/Reuters - image credit) Christopher Worsley was packing up all his gear Wednesday morning in preparation to haul a load of peas down to Topeka, Kansas. The last trip down was rough, as he had to navigate through a couple of blizzards. What's been even tougher for him has been getting in to see a dentist, or a chiropractor or getting his hearing checked. "I was almost denied service at a hospital for routine tests because I was a truck driver," said Worsley, an owner-operator truck driver who lives in Swift Current and crosses the border every week. "They had to have a meeting … I was isolated, which is understandable in this COVID world, we have to be careful. But the stigma of, you know, being to a different country is a little too much when we know as truck drivers just how safe we have to be, because it's our health and our family's health that we're looking at as well." Christopher Worsley is a long haul trucker who goes back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border. Worsley said there has to be certain exceptions to the international travel rule that allow people like him that have to cross the border to still be able to access health-care services. He said he's more than willing to take extra precautionary steps like being isolated in a room implementing extra sanitation processes before and after he enters a facility. Worsley said he takes far more precautions than the people he sees at the local grocery or department stores. "Whether it be in Canada or the States I always take Lysol to the fuel pumps. I wait three or five minutes for it to work effectively and I wear gloves, even after I use the Lysol," he said. "I don't go into restaurants in the States just because there's a lot more relaxed rules in the states I go to. I pack meals that I take with me every week and just eat out of a microwave for a week because it's the safest way to do it." He said the only time he goes into a truck stop is to shower and he brings a spray bottle filled with diluted bleach to spray everything down. Christopher Worsley says he sanitizes everything, including his truck, each time he returns from the U.S. Worsley's main terminal is in Calgary, so when he comes back from the U.S. he takes a rapid COVID test — about $275 each time — that he pays out of pocket for. "We get results in about 20 minutes, but it's a peace of mind thing, especially for my son who has asthma. It's worth every penny." When he gets back to Swift Current, Worsley throws all his clothes in the washer, showers, then sanitizes his truck, personal vehicle and anything else he has touched before going to pick up his three-year-old son. His girlfriend works in a long-term care facility. "So we're extra cautious when it comes with that. She had to clear dating me with her bosses and I had to talk to them concerning my sanitization processes of my truck and of myself and my home, which is completely understandable," he said. "But in this COVID-filled world, you know, romances are still going to bloom and there needs to be some onus and some responsibility on people. We don't need our hands held 24/7." Worsley said he also is using the the ArriveCan app, which lets you input mandatory travel information during and after your entry into Canada because of federal government regulations. "So they're really they're stepping up tracking us, which I'm not a huge fan of because I believe I have certain inalienable rights and freedoms, but so do you for not getting sick," he said. Susan Ewart, executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA), said truckers who are crossing the Canada-U.S. border are being encouraged to download and use the ArriveCan App. "This is not mandatory however," Ewart said in an email. "Drivers can use this app to continue to submit mandatory information when crossing the border. If drivers do not provide the information in advance using the app, carriers can verbally submit the information to a CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) official." Ewart said the app is being used to make crossing the border more efficient. She also said the STA is not aware of any drivers being denied services such as dentistry because they have crossed the border.
(John Robertson/CBC - image credit) Atlantic Canada's largest Mi'kmaw community is preparing to launch a moderate livelihood fishery that will focus first on lobster. Fish harvesters met this week in Eskasoni First Nation to discuss the development of a plan, with fishing to begin later this spring. "Our first concentration is going to be in the lobster industry, which is deemed to kick off probably in May," said fishing captain Jibby Paul. "From there on, we will continue on with appendices to be inserted into our moderate livelihood plan." Last fall, fishermen from Eskasoni joined members of the Potlotek First Nation in carrying out one of the province's first self-regulated Indigenous fisheries. Paul said Eskasoni's moderate livelihood fishery will be far-reaching. "We expect to be fishing all of Atlantic Canada because we are the biggest First Nations band here," he said. Council to develop long-term plan Fish harvesters in the community are expected to provide advice to Eskasoni's chief and council in developing its own fishery guidelines. Paul said two moderate livelihood co-ordinators will be appointed over the coming weeks to help guide the process. He said there is no time limit on when the plan will be completed. "Time-frame factors are not a concern to us," Paul said. "It's not an overnight issue — it's a long-term plan." Mi’kmaw harvesters from Potlotek First Nation took to the water on St. Peters Bay to launch a moderate livelihood fishery on Oct. 1, 2020. The community is expected to work in co-operation with the federal government to ensure that catch is landed responsibly. "We'll work among ourselves to develop this plan that we modify and restructure, so the government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be very satisfied with the plan that we have set forth," said Paul. "And this is all based on the conservation and science, so we work with that department." Due to gathering limits, Paul said fishers will be able to provide input into the plan's development without having to attend meetings. Still waiting for 'moderate livelihood' to be defined The Supreme Court of Canada's landmark 1999 decision in the Donald Marshall Jr. case affirmed a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. But after waiting more than two decades for "moderate livelihood" to be defined, the Mi'kmaq are moving ahead on their own. On Wednesday, Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton said his community is in the planning stages of developing its own livelihood lobster fishery, and will be seeking feedback from the community in the coming months. Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation says the community is making plans for its own self-regulated fishery. Sipekne'katik First Nation was the first to launch a moderate livelihood fishery on Nova Scotia's southwest coast in St. Marys Bay last September. That fishery faced tense and sometimes violent opposition by non-Indigenous fishermen, many of whom argued the fishery would hurt lobster stocks. Sipekne'katik First Nation and Potlotek First Nation have launched separate lawsuits against the Nova Scotia government over the right to sell seafood harvested through a moderate livelihood fishery. MORE TOP STORIES
The explosive growth of Clubhouse, an audio-based social network buoyed by appearances from tech celebrities like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, has drawn scrutiny over how the app will handle problematic content, from hate speech to harassment and misinformation. Moderating real-time discussion is a challenge for a crop of platforms using live voice chat, from video game-centric services like Discord to Twitter Inc's new live-audio feature Spaces. Facebook is also reportedly dabbling with an offering.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The advocate general for European Union's highest court on Thursday urged the court to rule that Hungary violated the bloc's laws on asylum when it passed legislation narrowing the possibilities for asylum-seekers to receive international protection. The non-binding opinion from the European Court of Justice's Advocate General, Athanasios Rantos, states that the 2018 amendments to Hungary's asylum laws — which prohibited asylum-seekers who passed through safe countries en route to Hungary from receiving international protection — violated EU law. “By introducing that ground for inadmissibility, Hungary has failed to fulfil its obligations under the Procedures Directive,” Rantos wrote, referring to the EU's asylum protocols. Opinions by advocates general are often but not always followed by the European Court of Justice, which will make a final ruling on the case at a later date. The European Commission, the bloc's executive branch, brought the case before the court as part of an infringement procedure it launched against Hungary in 2018 over its non-compliance with asylum law. Rantos also advised the court to rule that a Hungarian law that cracks down on organizations and individuals that provide legal assistance to asylum-seekers violates EU law. The legislation, known as the “Stop Soros” law, was an amendment to Hungary’s criminal code that threatened aid workers and human rights advocates working with asylum-seekers with up to a year in prison. It was approved by the Hungarian parliament in 2018. The law was named after Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a pro-democracy advocate who has long been a target of the Hungarian government. Hungary's right-wing government has been a staunch opponent of immigration, and its treatment of migrants have brought it into frequent conflict with the rest of the 27-nation EU. Last year, the country closed its transit zones — enclosed areas along the southern border with Serbia used to hold asylum-seekers while their asylum requests were being decided — after the European court ruled they amounted to detention and thus violated EU law. Last month, the EU’s border control agency, Frontex, suspended operations in Hungary after the government in Budapest did not comply with a December ruling by the European court that ordered Hungary to grant protection to asylum-seekers as required by law and to stop returning them to Serbia. The country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, claims he is seeking to protect Hungary's conservative Christian identity and to defend Europe from immigration from the Mideast and Africa. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Starboard, which owns a 7.7% stake in ACI, had urged the company to hire advisers and consider a sale in December, two months after calling it an "attractive" takeover candidate. M&A activity in the payments sector has accelerated over the last few years as companies need scale against the backdrop of increasing complexity and technology requirements for e-commerce.
BERLIN — A German man has been charged with espionage for allegedly passing information on properties used by the German parliament to Russian military intelligence, prosecutors said Thursday. The suspect, identified only as Jens F. in line with German privacy rules, worked for a company that had been repeatedly contracted to check portable electrical appliances by the Bundestag, or the lower house of parliament, federal prosecutors said in a statement. As a result of that, he had access to PDF files with floor plans of the properties involved. The Bundestag is based in the Reichstag building, a Berlin landmark, but also uses several other sites. Prosecutors said, at some point before early September 2017, the suspect “decided of his own accord” to give information on the properties to Russian intelligence. They said he sent the PDF files to an employee of the Russian Embassy in Berlin who was an officer with Russia's GRU military intelligence agency. They didn't specify how his activities came to light. The charges against the suspect, who is not in custody, were filed at a Berlin court on Feb. 12. The court will have to decide whether to go ahead with a trial. Relations between Germany and Russia have been buffeted by a growing list of issues in recent years. In October, the European Union imposed sanctions on two Russian officials and part of the GRU agency over a cyberattack against the German parliament in 2015. In addition, a Russian man accused of killing a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin on Moscow’s orders in 2019 is on trial in Berlin. And last year's poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was flown to Germany for treatment and then arrested immediately after he returned to Russia, has added another layer of tensions. The Associated Press
(Design Plus Architecture/Submitted - image credit) Moncton's planning advisory committee has given the go-ahead for a 12-storey downtown apartment building, which would be among the city's tallest buildings. Frederic Properties Corp. is proposing the building with 148 rental units at the corner of Botsford and Victoria streets, north of St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church. "This is the type of development that we want to see," Sarah Anderson, Moncton's senior planner with development planning, told the committee Wednesday evening. The company's plans involve 170 underground parking spaces, walk-up townhouse units taking up the first and second floors, with the building core then set back. Two-storey penthouse units are planned for the top of the building. City staff had recommended the committee approve seven variances Anderson called "minor" from city planning bylaws. They include allowing the building to be taller than 19 metres, not providing a set-back on the Wellesley Street side of the building, and reducing the size of balconies. Valdo Grandmaison, owner of Frederic Properties Corp., told the planning committee the company hopes to be able to begin construction later this year. The committee approved the variances, which don't require city council approval. Designs indicate the building named St. Bernard Square would rise 38 metres. A city staff report notes it would be taller than the eight storey 55 Queen building a block away, and the 10-storey Delta Beausejour Hotel, but not as high as the 20-storey Assomption Place tower. "It is a big building, next to a big building, around the corner from 55 Queen," Frederic Properties Corp. owner Valdo Grandmaison told the committee. "Moncton is getting bigger." The proposed 12-storey building would be constructed on a vacant property at the corner of Botsford and Victoria streets in downtown Moncton. Grandmaison said the aim is to start construction by late September or October and would take two and a half years. Grandmaison said the timeline relies on the city carrying out previously planned upgrades to old clay water and sewer lines on Victoria and Wellesley streets. That work is already included in the city's 2021 capital budget, though would require a further council vote to approve the construction contract. There is likely to be at least one council vote related to the building. Grandmaison indicated the company is working with the city on a financial partnership. Moncton has a development incentive program that provides grants for building projects estimated to be worth more than $10 million. The building's architect previously told CBC that construction costs are in the range of $35 million. The building was at times described as "luxury," though no rental rates were mentioned during the meeting. It would replace vacant lots on the site. The plans for St. Bernard Square call for a private roadway between the church and apartment building, with parking garage entrances off Wesley Street. No members of the public opposed the plans during the meeting. Anderson indicated that city planning staff heard from a person on Wednesday, who she didn't name, who was concerned about public consultation about the building plans and that it would dwarf the church south of the proposed building. Anderson also said the person said "there was no need for more luxury in the downtown." Brian Corbett told the committee he owns a Victorian home near the proposed building and that he's pro-development in the downtown area. "I'm pretty excited about this project," Corbett said. Church supportive, developer says The building would be separated from the adjacent church by a new private street. Grandmaison said that was to ensure the construction doesn't affect the stability of the stone church and to give access for emergency services. He said he was in communication with the church and diocese as building plans were developed. "They're very supportive of this project so I see no issues dealing with the church," Grandmaison said. No one from the church spoke at the meeting. Committee members Dale Briggs and Daniel St Louis declared conflicts and didn't take part in the discussion and vote. The committee also approved plans for a six storey residential building off Highfield Street with a parking garage. Ashford Living, which proposed the building, told the committee it hopes to begin construction this year.
(Natalia Goodwin/CBC - image credit) Thursday evening public health officials announced a cluster of three new cases of COVID-19, and asked all residents of Summerside to be on the lookout for symptoms. Also Thursday, Dr. Heather Morrison said enforcement is now involved with two new cases announced Wednesday and a link to one public exposure site, the Toys R Us in Charlottetown. Some changes the pandemic has made to the economy are permanent, says Premier Dennis King, and the province will support businesses through those changes. The University of Prince Edward Island announced it is planning a return to a "more normal" academic experience in the fall of 2021, and Thursday COVID-weary students expressed relief. The Chief Public Health Office says a public exposure at Toys R Us in Charlottetown Tuesday morning is now being investigated by enforcement. A report from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council shows potential vulnerabilities for P.E.I.'s economic recovery. It will likely be another six to eight weeks before the Atlantic bubble reopens, Dr. Heather Morrison said in her regular weekly COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. Prince Edward Island now has six active cases of COVID-19, and has diagnosed a total of 120 cases since the pandemic hit P.E.I. almost a year ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. On Thursday, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 10 new cases of COVID-19. The province now has 335 active cases. Nova Scotia reported eight new cases, with the total of active cases at 27. New Brunswick reported one new case with 49 active cases. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
The Golden Globes kicks off a pandemic-era Hollywood awards season on Sunday after a year that upended the entertainment industry and saw celebrities on red carpets replaced with webcams on sofas. Sunday's ceremony, to be broadcast live on NBC television, will take place for the first time on two coasts, with comedians Tina Fey hosting from New York and Amy Poehler hosting from Beverly Hills, California. Tom O'Neill, founder of awards prediction website Goldderby.com, said Fey and Poehler were the perfect hosts for unusual times.
(Submitted by Helcim - image credit) Tech companies in Alberta are enjoying a bumper year in spite of the pandemic, but they say measures are needed from the province to stay competitive with other jurisdictions. Tech CEOs and conglomerates say retraining programs for workers, providing fiscal incentives to keep companies in Alberta and adjusting tax measures are major areas where the provincial government could make a huge difference for the industry. They're hoping to see some of those steps in Thursday's budget. "The government needs to re-establish investor incentives that promote interest in investing with Alberta-based tech companies. Alberta needs to be a competitive place to invest because, at the moment, other provinces are doing a better job to support their tech industries and investor interest," said Vince O'Gorman, the CEO of Vog App Developers. One of the biggest problems facing tech growth in Alberta is talent "brain drain" to other places, like the United States. O'Gorman says those tax and investor incentives would enable companies to attract and retain the skilled workers needed to expand the industry here. Helcim, a Calgary-based company, wants to see an emphasis on training — and retraining — Albertans to work in tech. "I hope to see the government continue to find new ways to support working with our post-secondary institutions on creating fast-track training for not just developers but data scientists, quality assurance specialists, financial analysts and more," said Nicolas Beique, CEO of the online payment company. His CFO echoed that priority. "We believe the Alberta government needs to create a clear financial path for more mature individuals to access retraining programs while supporting startups to hire more inexperienced talent. Investing in training junior talent brings a huge productive output to our tech industry in Alberta, but that output is delayed during the onboarding and training of new recruits," Marjorie Junio-Read said. Success needs a boost The tech sector has been an outlier during the pandemic, with many companies seeing growth in revenues and staffing. Calgary and Edmonton both broke records for venture capital investments in 2020. "Alberta is coming to play in the tech and innovation space," Minister Doug Schweitzer said shortly after being appointed to the jobs, economy and innovation file. The tech sector has been a personal focus of his in the months since. However, companies have warned policymakers that the success is precarious and won't be sustainable without the support of effective policy. The Council of Canadian Innovators has asked the province to consider four key pillars when developing tech sector measures for this budget: Securing access to capital, markets, talent and building a strong framework to retain promising companies in Alberta. "Any sort of investment or funding really needs to have metrics attached to it and really make sure that any investments are really getting value for the province," said Benjamin Bergen, the executive director of the council. "That's something that a lot of governments have struggled to do in the past, not just in Alberta, but nationally." The council has asked the government to use the budget to provide strategic funding to specific companies with proven concepts, along with investing in retraining and upskilling workers. Companies in Alberta have stated that incubator and accelerator programs, which have traditionally been used, often don't result in cash getting to smaller enterprises. While each expressed gratitude for the increased spotlight from the government on their industry, the companies said the dollars could be used more efficiently. Accidental damage to the private sector Sometimes the provincial government's efforts actually cause damage, according to the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories. The council says private labs in Alberta are losing $10 million a year in business to a provincial program called InnoTech — run as a subsidiary of the government's Alberta Innovates program. "They use their tax favoured position to undercut private sector businesses and basically provide testing that is cheaper than the private sector is right now. So it's basically a case of waste and duplication as well as unfair competition," said Tony Araujo, president of the council. The council is calling on the government to privatize InnoTech in this budget. Araujo says the 90 labs he represents in Alberta don't want tax cuts or investor incentives, they just want the government to stop competing against them for contracts. "The fact that InnoTech Alberta is there in the way is actually discouraging innovation from private sector companies." A 2018 Conference Board of Canada report ranked Alberta as 19 out of 26 in a jurisdictional comparison of innovation. The Opposition has proposed its own plan for tech growth ahead of the provincial budget, saying an NDP government would create a $200-million venture capital fund for Alberta tech companies. All of the companies and organizations are keeping a wary eye on talent and innovation slowly draining from Alberta into other provinces and the U.S. They say that will be the biggest consequence of not having adequate incentives and programs introduced soon.
Alphabet Inc's Google will change procedures before July for reviewing its scientists' work, according to a town hall recording heard by Reuters, part of an effort to quell internal tumult over the integrity of its artificial intelligence (AI) research. In remarks at a staff meeting last Friday, Google Research executives said they were working to regain trust after the company ousted two prominent women and rejected their work, according to an hour-long recording, the content of which was confirmed by two sources. Teams are already trialing a questionnaire that will assess projects for risk and help scientists navigate reviews, research unit Chief Operating Officer Maggie Johnson said in the meeting.
TORONTO — The magazine long known as the Ryerson Review of Journalism is temporarily removing "Ryerson" from its name. The biannual magazine published by the Ryerson School of Journalism will place brackets in front of its name, going by the ( ) Review of Journalism, the Review, or the ( ) RJ until the end of the winter semester.The move comes after the school of journalism announced in December it would review the names of its two student publications -- the Review and the Ryersonian -- given their namesake's legacy. Egerton Ryerson was an architect of Canada's residential school system, which sought to convert and assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian culture and saw them suffer widespread physical and sexual abuse.Ryerson University is also examining its relationship with its namesake, with the school's head creating a task force that will "recommend actions to reconcile the legacy of Egerton Ryerson."The 15 final-year undergraduate and graduate students currently running the Review say that while they don't have the power to permanently change the magazine's name, they want this year's publication to reflect the processes that are currently underway. "The Review's mission is to probe the quality of journalism in Canada. One of the central tenets of our mission is to 'foster critical thinking about, and accountability within, the industry,'" the masthead said in a written statement. "This means we must also foster critical thinking and accountability within our own publication."They also pointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, which includes a call to better educate Canadian journalism students on the history of Indigenous Peoples. Questions surrounding the university's relationship to its namesake are far from new. In 2010, the school published a statement saying that while Ryerson did not implement or oversee residential schools, his beliefs "influenced, in part, the establishment of what became the Indian Residential School system."Eight years later, the school added a plaque beside a statue of Ryerson that's displayed prominently on campus. It reads, in part, "As Chief Superintendent of Education, Ryerson's recommendations were instrumental in the design and implementation of the Indian Residential School System." The issue came back to the fore over the summer when the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis prompted anti-racism protests all over the world. In July, the school's statue of Ryerson and a monument to John A. Macdonald at the provincial legislature were both splashed with pink paint. There have also been calls to rename Dundas Street -- which happens to be the southern border of Ryerson University's campus -- because its namesake, Henry Dundas, delayed the abolition of slavery in Britain by 15 years. The City of Toronto is currently reviewing those calls. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Après avoir omis d’appliquer sa propre Loi sur les espèces en péril (LEP) dans le dossier du chevalier cuivré en 2012, le gouvernement fédéral a corrigé la situation la semaine dernière. Mais parallèlement, Ottawa serait tout de même sur le point de donner son aval au projet d’agrandissement du terminal à conteneurs du Port de Montréal dans sa forme actuelle, et ce, malgré les risques que ce dernier pose pour la survie du poisson en danger d’extinction. Ciblé par une action légale intentée par des organismes voués à la protection de l’environnement, dont la Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada (SNAP), Ottawa a publié vendredi un projet d’arrêté ministériel afin d’officialiser l’obligation de conserver intact l’habitat essentiel du chevalier cuivré. Ce dernier se limite à une portion du fleuve Saint-Laurent et de la rivière Richelieu. En vertu de la LEP, Ottawa aurait dû poser ce geste dans les 180 jours suivant le dépôt du texte définitif du programme de rétablissement du chevalier cuivré dans le registre public des espèces en péril, dépôt qui a eu lieu le 20 juin 2012. Une action concrète aurait donc dû être posée avant le 17 décembre 2012, mais pour une raison toujours inexpliquée, cette démarche n’a pas eu lieu plus tôt. Quoique tardive, une telle décision devrait, selon toute logique, avoir des conséquences sur l’agrandissement du terminal à conteneurs du Port de Montréal à Contrecœur. Or, les représentants fédéraux ont également annoncé « qu’on ne s’attend pas à ce qu’un promoteur de projet ait à supporter une charge administrative accrue à la suite d’un arrêté du conseil sur l’habitat essentiel », une remarque qui a de quoi laisser perplexe les électeurs préoccupés par la protection de l’environnement et la transparence de leurs représentants. Le gouvernement libéral a par ailleurs réitéré que le décret ne devrait pas avoir de répercussions considérables sur l’examen du projet présenté par l’Administration du Port de Montréal (APM) pour son terminal de Contrecœur. Rappelons que ce projet de plus de 750 millions de dollars a reçu l’appui du gouvernement fédéral via un investissement de 300 millions de dollars de la Banque de l’infrastructure du Canada. On peut donc se demander à ce stade comment l’administration Trudeau parviendra à respecter son engagement environnemental et sa promesse faite aux administrateurs du port. « Ça semble arrangé à l’avance avec le gars des vues », a affirmé Alain Branchaud, directeur général de la Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP) lors d’un entretien accordé à La Presse. Le décret couvre tout l’habitat essentiel. C’est solide, ça correspond à ce qu’on s’attend. Mais en même temps le gouvernement dit à l’avance qu’il va autoriser le projet de Contrecœur avant même qu’on lui ait fait la demande! » Le biologiste met par ailleurs en doute la validité du plan proposé afin de compenser la perte d’habitat du chevalier cuivré. « On dit qu’on va compenser, mais on n’a aucune expertise scientifique pour le chevalier cuivré, a poursuivi M. Branchaud. Ce n’est pas sérieux! On est dans une crise de biodiversité et on fait encore des niaiseries comme ça, ça n’a pas de bon sens. » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
(CBC - image credit) The P.E.I. Legislature opens Thursday for its spring sitting, the first since Premier Dennis King shuffled his cabinet earlier this month. Full details of the government's priorities will be revealed during the speech from the throne, but in advance, here are five things to watch for during this sitting. 1. Mental health top priority Mental health access for Islanders will likely continue to dominate the spring session, as it did during the fall. During his state of the province address earlier this week, King talked about access to mental health and addictions services on P.E.I. In particular, King spoke about a new P.E.I. Centre for Mental Wellbeing, an organization that would be dedicated to helping Islanders access services. The details about the new centre are scant at this point, but King said it will not be a brick-and-mortar building but more of an entity offering a collaborative approach to mental health care on P.E.I. "Having listened to many, many Islanders who are struggling to get into the system and to be treated adequately and properly in a timely manner, we really thought it was important to bring all of our partners together to have a body that has a little bit more authority to give direction to how we deliver mental health and addiction services," King told Kerry Campbell on Mainstreet P.E.I. Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker says his party will be 'holding government to account in a more robust manner than perhaps we have in the past.' Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker said in theory, the idea for this centre sounds good, but raised one issue. "Unless [the premier's words] are attached to a significant funding increase in the services that Islanders need, then we're still not going to be dealing with the mental health crisis that is ongoing here," he said. Both the Greens and the Liberal Party said mental health services are also a priority for them heading into the spring session. 2. Focus on P.E.I.'s post-pandemic economic recovery All three parties in the legislature said helping P.E.I. bounce back economically from the COVID-19 pandemic will be a focus this spring. In his state of the province address, King spoke about the possibility of a vaccine passport for future travellers to P.E.I., though he confirmed there have been very few discussions so far about the idea. "It's important for us to sort of be as open and honest as we can be, particularly with those in the tourism sector, so they can try to plan the best they can for some type of tourism season," he said. Bevan-Baker echoed that sentiment. "How are we going to continue to support [the tourism] industry to make sure that they are still there, post-COVID?" he said. Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant says the tone in the legislature has 'changed greatly' in the last two years, but his party will still ask important questions. Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant also said he'll be watching for how small businesses are doing. "Small businesses and tourism, you know, are really going to need some help if the tourism sector doesn't pick up," Gallant said. 3. Opposition wants poverty and housing kept on the agenda Bevan-Baker said beyond mental health and economic recovery, poverty reduction and the housing crisis are big priorities for the Official Opposition. "We've seen … a distinct lack of decisive action when it comes to some of the most serious problems that are afflicting islanders that were here before the pandemic, and that will outlast the pandemic," he said. "The housing crisis … is ongoing despite the fact that the vacancy rate has increased a little bit." One of the bills the Greens plan to introduce during this session is a bill on the elimination of poverty. 4. Access to rural internet will continue to be an issue With many Islanders still working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Gallant and Bevan-Baker would like to keep access to rural internet on the government's agenda. "Broadband is pretty essential across the province with most people trying to study from home or work from home," said Gallant. "We have an opportunity here, to create, with good internet services in rural areas, an economy that is incredibly diverse, that is incredibly robust," said Bevan-Baker. 5. Recruiting more doctors to P.E.I. Physician recruitment was a top issue during the last sitting and one Islanders can expect to see raised again by both the Liberals and the Greens. Right now, there are more than 15,000 Islanders on P.E.I.'s patient registry list waiting for a family doctor. "You should never take your foot off the gas looking for doctors. We know it's difficult, but it's something that you have to work at," said Gallant. The province, in partnership with the Medical Society of P.E.I., recently hired its first physician recruiter. In his state of the province address, King announced the province will launch a new health-care model in three Island communities, called "medical homes." More from CBC P.E.I.
(Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit) John Janisse knows Windsorites can't visit Plymouth, Mich., this year for the annual Ice Sculpting festival, and Quebec's famous ice hotels are far away, so he decided to give his patrons at the River's Edge Tap and Table on Riverdale Avenue the next best thing. "I just thought it would be kind of a fun, cool idea to create our own ice bar right here in the most southern part of Canada," Janisse said. So he ordered up 220 blocks of ice from a Chatham firm last week and on Friday, he assembled the bar on the patio overlooking Little River. "It was pretty cold putting it together," he said. But the effort paid off as he says clients have been coming in droves to have a drink and take selfies with friends at the bar. He even installed multi-coloured track lighting in the blocks to add a bit of a glow at night. The blocks change colours such as blue and orange. WATCH: Tap the player below to see the ice bar in action. "It's been received very, very well," he said. "I think it's a unique, phenomenal idea," said customer and friend Ron Friest. "And it's just great to be outside and enjoying something unique and special with great friends." With temperatures expected well above freezing for several days, the ice bar may not stay frozen for long but Janisse is hoping to keep it up until next week. "At night we pack it with snow to keep it protected," he said. If weather permits, Janisse will build another ice bar this season, and likely next year. A shot of the River's Edge Tap and Table ice bar at night. One of the many colours made by special lighting in the ice bar.