Mindfulness expert Mallika Chopra talks about her role as a consultant on new animated children's series "Stillwater," airing on Apple TV+. (Dec. 17)
Mindfulness expert Mallika Chopra talks about her role as a consultant on new animated children's series "Stillwater," airing on Apple TV+. (Dec. 17)
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault says critics of the provincewide curfew who say homeless people should be exempted are trying to divide Quebecers. The premier was responding to calls from all three opposition parties, the mayor of Montreal and the federal Indigenous Services Minister, who said the homeless shouldn't be included in the health order requiring people stay home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Their calls followed the death of a homeless man who was found frozen in a portable toilet Sunday morning. Legault told reporters Thursday he was saddened by the death of Raphael Andre. But, he added, Montreal police know the city's homeless population "very well" and won't give fines to that community "for fun." "I've asked the opposition and many people to give me one example of a police officer who took a bad decision and they cannot answer that, so it's working well," he said, regarding the curfew. The premier said everyone wants to help the homeless, adding that those who had criticized his government are trying to sow division in society. "I find it very unfortunate to see certain people try to divide us, trying to say that there are good guys and bad guys, that there are some who care for the homeless and some that don’t care. We all want to help the homeless, it’s complex and it’s not the time to divide us, it’s the time to work together,” he said. Legault has said the province has sufficient overnight shelter beds to accommodate the homeless during the curfew, which is scheduled to be in effect until at least Feb. 9. Quebec, however, recently announced it was adding 262 shelter beds in the Montreal area — including 150 beds in a soccer stadium for homeless people with COVID-19 who don't need to be hospitalized. The curfew is working, Legault said, citing the fact that the province's infection rate has been lower over the past ten days compared with the beginning of January, before the curfew. Legault didn't rule out extending the curfew, particularly in the Montreal area. Meanwhile, Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters nearly 100 per cent of long-term care residents in Quebec have received a first dose of vaccine. Quebec, however, is sticking to its plan to delay administering second doses up to 90 days from the first dose, he added. Public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said he's aware of reports from Israel suggesting one dose provides significantly less protection than the two doses required by vaccine manufacturers. He said he's waiting to read scientific papers on the efficacy of a single dose before the province changes course. Legault repeated his call for the federal government to ban non-essential flights to Canada. If Ottawa refuses, the premier said he'd like to see travellers forced to quarantine for two weeks in hotels — at their own expense — where they can be monitored by police. Legault said he's particularly worried that people travelling to resorts in warm destinations could catch the highly contagious COVID-19 variants and bring them back to the province. Quebec reported 1,624 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 66 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 22 that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 14, to 1,453, and the number of people in intensive care remained stable at 216. Quebec has reported a total of 248,860 cases of COVID-19 and 9,273 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
When Daniel Pereira sat down with his family to watch the MLS SuperDraft, he didn’t expect to hear his name called first by expansion Austin FC. Between doing virtual interviews with the teams at the top of the draft, the Virginia Tech star took time to look over all the other names being linked with the top selection. “I wasn’t really expecting to be number one, because of all the mock drafts and stuff,” Pereira said Thursday. “It’s an honour like I said. I’m happy, real happy. My family is crying. Just a moment I’ll never forget.” Pereira is the first-ever pick by the newest MLS franchise. Born in Venezuela, his family moved to the United States when Pereira was a teenager in the hopes of giving him better opportunities. His family settled in the Roanoke, Virginia, area, where Pereira became a star at the prep level. He was later an all-ACC freshman team selection after his first season at Virginia Tech. Pereira decided to leave college early to enter the MLS after signing a Generation Adidas contract with the league. “I never thought I’d be a pro. It was my goal, but I just always kept grinding, kept putting the work in and it’s paying off right now,” Pereira said. The 20-year-old midfielder was the headliner of the group of ACC stars that dominated the top of the draft. The top five picks and six of the first seven were from ACC schools. Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris went No. 2 to FC Cincinnati. Colorado traded with Houston to move up to No. 3 and selected Clemson’s Philip Mayaka, whom many expected to go with the top pick. D.C. United nabbed Mayaka’s teammate Kimarni Smith at No. 4, then traded with Atlanta United to take Wake Forest defender Michael DeShields at No. 5. Virginia midfielder Bret Halsey capped the run of ACC players, going No. 7 to Real Salt Lake. The only player outside the ACC to be taken in the top seven picks was Washington defender Ethan Bartlow, who went at No. 6 to Houston. Tim Booth, The Associated Press
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
OTTAWA — Oct. 2, 2017: Julie Payette is sworn in as Canada's fourth female Governor General, taking over from David Johnston. Nov. 1, 2017: Payette takes on fake news and bogus science, criticizing climate change deniers, believers in creationism and even horoscopes at a convention on science policy, rankling some critics but earning plaudits from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau January 2018: Payette appoints as her top adviser Assunta Di Lorenzo, a close friend and corporate lawyer with no prior experience in protocol or the governor general's operations. October 2018: One year into her tenure, Payette has attended 195 official events compared to more than 250 for the last two governors general, raising questions around her work ethic. She also breaks with a tradition that saw previous governors general visit all provinces and territories in their first year, as she skipped Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. July 21, 2020: CBC News reports that Payette had yelled at and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit amid a toxic work environment. July 23, 2020: The Privy Council Office says it will launch an independent review of allegations that Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall. Aug. 7, 2020: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says public office holders should be mindful of how they spend taxpayers' money following a CBC report that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on designs and renovations to Rideau Hall, some allegedly at Payette's personal request, for privacy, accessibility and security reasons. Sept. 1, 2020: The Privy Council Office announces it has hired Quintet Consulting Corp., an Ottawa-based consulting firm with a history of reviewing harassment allegations on Parliament Hill, to conduct a third-party probe into workplace culture at Rideau Hall. Sept. 2, 2020: Trudeau comes to the defence of the embattled Payette, saying Canada has an "excellent" representative for the Queen and that now is not the time to replace the former astronaut at Rideau Hall. Jan. 21, 2021: Payette resigns ahead of the expected release of the third-party investigation report, a move unprecedented in the history of Canadian governors general. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is at a "tipping point" as health officials try to control the spread of COVID-19, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said Thursday. Officials are giving time to see if present health orders are working, she said, adding that they won't hesitate to move the province into another tight lockdown if necessary. "We know that once the doubling time shortens to the point where you're doubling every day, that's exponential growth and we definitely don't want to see that," Russell said. "We definitely are at a tipping point." Russell said the number of new infections in the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton zones appear stable after officials moved those regions to the red pandemic-alert level. The Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi zones will remain at the orange level, she said, adding that her biggest concern is the Edmundston region, which shares a border with Quebec. "The situation in (Edmundston) remains gravely concerning," Russell said. "The outbreak has spread into workplaces and adult residential facilities, which is deeply worrying." Health officials reported 32 new cases Thursday, bringing the province's active reported case count to 324. Of the new cases, 19 were identified in the Edmundston area. New Brunswick's case rate is about 132 cases per 100,000 people. Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton zones could move back to the orange level sooner rather than later. "If we continue to focus on protecting each other, we could move these zones to orange in a mater of days, not weeks or months," he said. University of Toronto professor Dr. David Fisman said New Brunswick's current situation is similar to where Manitoba was last fall, right before cases rose sharply after months of relatively few infections. “I have been suggesting to people that New Brunswick is on a knife edge right now and can go either way,” Fisman said in an email Thursday. Manitoba, which once had some of the lowest infection rates in the country, quickly became a cautionary tale as cases rose by several hundred each day by mid-November. Fisman said certain factors have preceded big waves in places that previously had a low case count, including the spread of COVID-19 in schools, meat-packing facilities, long-term care homes and among highly mobile young people. Dalhousie University immunology professor David Kelvin said reducing viral transmission among the young is key to controlling the virus, because cases in youth are often asymptomatic. Kelvin said in an email Thursday that strategies such as pop-up rapid testing may help identify hot spots among young people. He added, however, that more research may be needed to see what lies behind the New Brunswick case increases in order to project where trend is headed. “It could be New Brunswick is in the early stages and will continue on the exponential increase in cases,” he said, though there is also the possibility the numbers have plateaued as social events from the holiday season have subsided, he added. Fisman said he found the province's interventions "lagging," adding that shifting between various pandemic-alert levels isn't ideal when faced with a sharp increase in cases. "I think when you are hanging on to de facto COVID-free status, it is worth pulling out the stops and having a short, hard lockdown … the whole enchilada," Fisman said. "It is significant short-term pain, but as Manitoba showed, the cost of allowing things to spiral is far more painful." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. — By Danielle Edwards in Halifax and with files from Michael Tutton. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Irving Oil has laid off 60 workers from its Saint John refinery, saying the pandemic has had an "extreme and serious" impact on its business and industry. The company says it also reduced its contractor workforce to 225 workers from its average first-quarter workforce of about 1,000 earlier this year. Irving Oil says the collapse in demand for motor fuels, jet fuel and other refined products continues to create prolonged and significant challenges. In addition, it says extreme market volatility, serious negative impacts on refining margins and high levels of uncertainty about the depth and duration of the downturn have forced the company to make operational changes. The company says it's sorry for the impact the changes have had on its team, and it's committed to supporting its employees through the difficult transition. It says the 60 laid off workers represented about seven per cent of our Saint John refinery team. Irving Oil announced the layoffs in a statement on its website Thursday attributed to president Ian Whitcomb and executive vice-president and chief brand officer Sarah Irving. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
“If I ever got a chance to speak to the Biden administration, I would plead my case,” said Nekaneet First Nation Chief Alvin Francis, president of Natural Law Energy (NLE). That “case” would be the value in continuing the United States’ portion of the 1,897-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline which travels from Hardisty, Alberta, through Saskatchewan, Montana and South Dakota, ending in Steele City, Nebraska. Yesterday, in his first day in office, new U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order rescinding his predecessor Donald Trump’s Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline border crossing. NLE, a group of three Alberta and two Saskatchewan First Nations, has been working towards a $1 billion investment in the TC Energy-owned Keystone XL pipeline. “It's a disappointment, right? It really is because it's going to affect many First Nations, even the tribes in the United States. It's going to affect them because TC Energy was almost close to actually signing up joint venture partnerships with those in the United States side,” said Francis. He says chairmen of the Nebraska tribes have told him that Biden wants to create jobs and this pipeline meets that goal. First Nations involvement was recognized by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a scathing address late Wednesday afternoon that condemned the new U.S. administration for rescinding the permit and not respecting its closest ally and trading partner. “Let me also point out that TC Energy has made tremendous progress in bringing on board First Nations on both sides of the border as potential equity partners,” said Kenney. However, not all U.S. tribes support the pipeline. The Native Organizers Alliance applauded Biden for his decision. “Farmers, tribal councils, ranchers, and Native non-profit organizations have been instrumental in raising awareness around the significant threats to the health and resources of Native peoples living in the path of the pipeline. And sovereign tribes have taken the issue to court to protect their territories and the Missouri River bioregion for all,” said NOA executive director Judith Le Blanc. Earlier Wednesday, in anticipation of President Biden’s decision, Calgary-based TC Energy shutdown its operation. Kenney said that shutdown had cost 2,000 people their jobs. Francis admits Biden’s actions were not unexpected. In fact, the too-close-to-call November U.S. election had dampened some of the activity undertaken by NLE. Late last year, NLE hired consultants Price Waterhouse Canada to round up investors for the $1 billion investment. Investors were found but nothing was finalized. “(Price Waterhouse has) done their job on that. But really it was, of course, the election. That's what they were waiting for also,” said Francis. Also of note were preliminary talks with the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. The Crown corporation created by the Alberta United Conservative Party government offers loan guarantees from $25 million to $250 million for Indigenous-led natural resource projects. “Say the project and partnership was at the point they were ready to paper the deal, we would not be in a position to offer a guarantee at this time, because there is a huge risk in respect to the way the American election may go. We don’t want to put Alberta taxpayer dollars at risk,” AIOC CEO Alicia Dubois told Windspeaker.com last October. Trump’s approval of Keystone XL came after outgoing President Barack Obama nixed the project. Biden had promised to cancel the project should he win. The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion of taxpayer money in the Keystone XL pipeline. The Biden administration is saying no to the project now, says Francis, but he is a “glass is half-full” person. He believes Biden’s decision is political as the new president is “getting away from everything Trump has put his stamp on.” “I'm not going to give up on it because, really, Keystone XL is going to be the safest, most environmentally-friendly pipeline that is. We just have to go back to the drawing table and really re-evaluate what have we got to do to make it even more environmentally friendly?” said Francis. He believes that part of that discussion with the Biden administration has to include the science around the pipeline that makes it environmentally safe and the ongoing need for oil. Francis is hopeful there is a future for Keystone because “it really is such a big project that it could mean, in every community that we have signed up, it'll make an economic difference.” In the meantime, Francis says NLE remains involved with TC Energy. “Whenever there is something, a project that is available, if they are going to approach us to see if we have interest and, of course, we're going to show interest, because any economic development or project that we can actually put our hand on to make it more green, more environmentally friendly, we want to be there to back it up,” he said. While Keystone XL pipeline is a set back for Nekaneet First Nation, it is not the only project driving the economics for that Treaty 4 Nation. “I’m always involved with the province (of Saskatchewan). I’m always talking to them in every which way,” he said. Francis said he has received band member approval to develop a section of land along a 1.5 km-stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. He says investors are committed to a gas station in that area and there are talks about a possible Tim Hortons franchise. However, since COVID-19 hit, development has stalled. NLE members also include Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan and three Alberta First Nations: Ermineskin Cree, Montana, and Louis Bull Tribe. Each member was to share equally in the benefits from the Keystone XL pipeline project. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
TORONTO — The Maple Leafs are looking for balance. And they're hoping their best player will be part of the solution. In the wake of Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton where Toronto severely limited Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at 5 on 5, but also failed to offer much of anything going the other way in a plodding, mostly uneventful affair, the Leafs are aiming for more symmetry. "Just because we're defending well doesn't mean we can't be attacking and playing well in the offensive zone," said winger Zach Hyman. "You can have both. You don't have to have one without the other." What's unclear is whether Toronto will have star centre Auston Matthews to help lead the charge in Friday's rematch at Scotiabank Arena. The 23-year-old took the ice before Thursday's practice, had a conversation with assistant coach Manny Malhotra and another chat with a trainer before departing ahead of the formal session. "He just wasn't feeling great coming off the game," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. "We'll have an update (Friday) morning." Toronto is already minus two options up front with veteran forward Joe Thornton, who suffered an upper-body injury against the Oilers, expected to miss time, and winger Nick Robertson (knee) unavailable. Keefe put his lines in a blender out of necessity Thursday, bumping Hyman into the top-6 alongside John Tavares and William Nylander, while Jimmy Vesey skated in Thornton's spot with taxi squad member Adam Brooks — a practice placeholder for Matthews — and Mitch Marner. "We'll see how it all comes together," Keefe said. "There's a lot of things happening. The health of our players in our lineup is one thing. (The) salary cap and how all those things move around affect a lot of different decisions. We'll see how it all settles." The Leafs gave up a fluke own goal, a power-play effort from Draisaitl that came off a fortunate bounce and an empty-netter in Wednesday's matchup that, despite a boatload of talent under one roof, never saw the expected fireworks materialize. "We negated the biggest offensive threats on their team," Keefe said. "It gave us a chance to win, but certainly we have to deliver on the other side of the puck as well." Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, who seems to be finding his groove after some early hiccups, had a front-row seat to the on-ice chess match — the first of nine meetings between the North Division rivals in this abbreviated season. "I saw two teams that definitely locked it down pretty good defensively," he said. "Great teams do both things well. I think we have that ability. It's something we want to set the standard to do every night. "Even though you play well, you might not get the results you want." Oilers head coach Dave Tippett made the point after his team's practice Thursday that both rosters have a say in the other's ability or inability to score at even strength. "It's almost funny to me how everybody talked all (off-season) about Toronto and Edmonton have to defend better," he said of the offensive juggernauts' past troubles keeping the puck out of their respective nets. "And then Toronto and Edmonton actually defend well, and now they think it's a bad hockey game. "It just baffles me sometimes." Leafs blue-liner Jake Muzzin said finding a balance between trying to contain elite skill and pushing forward can be tricky. "Good players, you've got to focus in on them and take away their game," he said. "But on the flip side, you've got to realize we've got to focus on us, too, and make plays. "Maybe (on Wednesday) we focused a little too much on defending." As for Toronto's new line combinations, Hyman said he's looking forward to suiting up with Tavares and Marner after playing with both separately at different points in their careers. "Excited to get at it," Hyman said. "This year more than any year, your depth is going to be tested. Fortunately for us, we have a ton of guys who can move up and down the lineup." Keefe said despite the criticism of Wednesday's performance — it was far from easy on the eye — the Oilers deserved credit for a committed defensive effort. Now the Leafs need to respond. "They clearly came in with a plan," Keefe said. "It was two teams that were trying to respect each other's strengths and nullify them. Ultimately, as much as we didn't like our game ... we gave ourselves a chance. "There's lot of encouraging signs there. We've just got to put it all together. We'll stay at it." Notes: Toronto officially placed Robertson on long-term injured reserve. ... Edmonton winger James Neal (COVID-19 protocols) practised with the Oilers and could draw into the lineup Friday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine. Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week's order to the federal government. "The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada's case," Tory said. Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday. Tory said he knows members of Pfizer's management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government. "I'm trying to help the country's efforts to try to see if we can't get more supply," the mayor said. "I can't tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else's, will have." Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city's public health unit. An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer, said everyone's frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope. "Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted," De Villa said. "But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we'll do our very best." De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error. Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city's ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is adding its voice to a chorus of protest from communities and companies impacted by a federal decision to shut down salmon farming in B.C.’s Discovery Islands. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the umbrella organization called for the immediate development of a growth plan for B.C. salmon aquaculture to provide clarity and certainty for investors. CFA says a federal department other than Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) also needs to champion the economic growth of the sector. “DFO’s mandate seems to preclude this,” the letter reads. “Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada should be a better home, but would need an expanded mandate.” The 2012 Cohen Commission inquiry into the collapse of Fraser River sockeye recommended the removal of all salmon farms in the narrow waterways of the Discovery Islands by September 2020 if they exceeded minimal risk to wild stocks. DFO risk assessments on nine pathogens last year found the impacts were below that critical threshold, but public pressure resulted in three months of consultation with area First Nations and the eventual decision of Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out the 19 farms by June 2022. During the transition farmers are prohibited from adding new fish to the pens. The industry estimates the move jeopardizes 25 per cent of farmed salmon production and 1,500 jobs. CFA accuses the government of contradicting it’s promise of making science-based decisions with transparency and thorough public consultation when it ignored its own scientists’ favourable risk assessments of salmon farming last year. “Because the farms passed this high bar of performance, the process for renewing federal licences should have been fair and taken into account this performance, the science, and community impact,” the letter read. “Unfortunately it did not. CFA’s disappointment follows a stream of letters from mayors and Conservative MPs angry that coastal communities and industry were not consulted equally as area First Nations. On Jan. 18 B.C.’s three major salmon farm operators filed for separate judicial reviews of the decision with the Federal Court. They are, in part, hoping for a reversal of the conditions barring them from transferring a final generation of young salmon from land-based hatcheries to the ocean pens for rearing and harvest. Homalco First Nation Chief Darren Blaney said this week it was disappointing to see “unanimous support” coming from city halls to fish farms, cautioning a judical review would be a direct challenge to reconciliation and Aboriginal rights. “If they (aquaculture industry) want to reinstate the farms they will have to consult with First Nations going all the way up to the end of the Fraser and every other person who gets impacted on the B.C. coast,” Blaney said The Homalco and other nations are discussing the matter with the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN). Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
Nearly 20 new seats will be available for health-care assistants at the NVIT Merritt campus via an $8.4 million investment in education and training programs for people looking to secure jobs caring for BC’s seniors. “We’re moving forward with our plan to expand the number of health-care assistants working in B.C. to strengthen the level of care for people in long-term care homes and assisted-living residences,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The Health Career Access Program is underway and is already helping train workers for some of the most important jobs in B.C.” 600 new training seats will be created at public post-secondary institutions across the province as part of the Health Career Access Program, which was announced in Sept. 2020 and is expected to help meet the growing demand for health-care assistants in long-term care and assisted living residences. Those taking part in the Health Career Access Program will be hired as health-care support workers in long-term care and assisted living facilities where they will be paid while they work and complete the necessary coursework to become health-care assistants. This includes the 18 new seats NVIT can now accommodate. In addition, student who are completing a recognized health-care assistant program who commit to a 12-month-return-of-service and who choose to take employment in the long-term care or assisted living sector will be eligible for a $5,000 recruitment incentive. “Government is investing in relevant programs to enable people impacted by COVID-19 to upskill or reskill so they can return to work or advance their careers,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This funding for health-care assistant programs supports training for highly valued and respected workers who provide important daily care for our seniors in long-term care and assisted-living facilities.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
NEW YORK — A New York judge on Thursday denied the National Rifle Association’s bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business. Judge Joel Cohen’s ruling will allow New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit to move ahead in state court in Manhattan, rather than dismissing it on technical grounds or moving it to federal court, as the NRA’s lawyers desired. James’ lawsuit, filed last August, seeks the NRA’s dissolution under state non-profit law over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for trips, no-show contracts and other expenditures. James is the state’s chief law enforcement officer and has regulatory power over non-profit organizations incorporated in the state, such as the NRA, Cohen said. “It would be inappropriate to find that the attorney couldn’t pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants wants to proceed in federal court,” Cohen said at a hearing held by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cohen also rejected the NRA’s arguments that James’ lawsuit was improperly filed in Manhattan and should’ve been filed in Albany, where the NRA’s incorporation paperwork lists an address. The NRA’s arguments for dismissing the case did not involve the merits of the case. The NRA has been incorporated in New York since 1871, though it is headquartered in Virginia and last week filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas in a bid to reincorporate in that state. The NRA, in announcing its bankruptcy filing last Friday, said it wanted to break free of a “corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York” and that it saw Texas as friendlier to its interests. The NRA’s lawyers said at a bankruptcy court hearing on Wednesday in Dallas that they wouldn’t use the Chapter 11 proceedings to halt the lawsuit. After Thursday’s ruling, they said they were ready to go ahead with the case, including a meeting with lawyers from James’ office on Friday and another hearing in March. In a letter to Cohen in advance of Thursday’s heading, NRA lawyer Sarah Rogers said the organization had no position on seeking to stay the case through bankruptcy, but that it reserved right to seek such orders from bankruptcy court in the future. Normally, a bankruptcy filing would halt all pending litigation. James’ office contends that its lawsuit is covered by an exemption involving a state’s regulatory powers and cannot be stopped by bankruptcy. Assistant New York Attorney General James Sheehan said he hoped to bring the case to trial by early 2022. In seeking to dismiss or move the state’s lawsuit to federal court, Rogers argued that many of its misspending and self-dealing allegations were also contained in pending lawsuits in federal court — a slate of cases she described as a “tangled nest of litigation.” Part of Rogers’ argument for moving the state lawsuit to federal court involved an error in the state’s original filing that she said altered the timeline of when it was filed. James’s office filed its lawsuit on Aug. 6, but later had to amend the complaint to include a part that was left. That same day, the NRA filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging James’ actions were motivated by hostility toward its political advocacy, including her comments in 2018 that the NRA is a “terrorist organization.” Rogers contended that because of the filing glitch James’ lawsuit should be considered a counterclaim to the NRA’s lawsuit and handled alongside of it in federal court. Cohen rejected that, saying Rogers was placing “far too much weight on a non-substantive error that was quickly fixed.” “The attorney general filed first,” he said. ___ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press
Resident sport-fishing licence sales soared by 30 per cent in 2020 over 2019 and Alberta Fish and Wildlife is hoping that will translate into more interest in how the province is managing its fish populations. "We are seeing more and more people fishing this year; more outdoor participating and therefore maybe more engagement in our sessions," says Kayedon Wilcox, regional fisheries manager for Alberta Environment and Parks. Every year Alberta Fish and Wildlife hosts public meetings to review sport-fishing regulations, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sessions online. While they are hoping for more participants, organizers know drawing anglers will be difficult. "We are trying to pull viewership from Netflix, Crave and have the hockey fans tune in to the evenings a little bit," Wilcox said Thursday in an interview on CBC's Edmonton AM. So far the webinars have been a success, he said. In the three of seven webinars held so far, about 1,000 participants attended. Last year, the total attendance at 14 public meetings was 1,300. That success has the province thinking about continuing online sessions once the pandemic ends. "I think I still see, and our staff appreciates, the ability of in-person discussions with stakeholders," Wilcox said. "That certainly won't go away, we also will see if there are members of the angler community who prefer the webinar method." One of the issues this year is a review of the 15-year-old walleye tag program. The program is used for certain bodies of water that cannot sustain open harvest. "In those cases, we do have a limited harvest tool where we provide a finite number of tags out and within that, a tag-owner can harvest anywhere between two or three walleye," Wilcox said. He said they have heard from people wanting improvement on the tags themselves. The province issues new fishing regulations for April 1 every year.
The Canadian government anticipates that at least 95 per cent of the Canadian population will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter of the year, between July and September.
Leeds and the Thousand Islands Fire Chief Rick Lawson is getting ready to hang up his hat and park his very large boots. The 46-year fire department veteran, who has served as Leeds and Thousand Islands fire chief since August 2018, will retire Mar. 1. "In a lot of ways it will be difficult to fill his shoes – he not only has over 45 years of experience with the Fire Service, but has lived in the community all his life. His knowledge of residents, businesses, history of the community and the fire service, knowledge of the river, islands, and waterways throughout Leeds and Thousand Islands will not easily be replaced at all," said Kym Nicholls, the fire department's administrative assistant. Lawson joined the local fire department in 1974 as a firefighter and worked his way up through the ranks, acting as station captain for 10 years at Station One in Lansdowne prior to becoming interim fire chief in 2016, and accepting the position of fire chief in 2018. "Rick Lawson brought stability and calmness to the municipality after a tumultuous time in our fire service history. It was important that our firefighters, along with staff and council, could trust the budgets and ongoing management of the department," said Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke, adding that Lawson provided the leadership the municipality needed without a doubt. "I count my achievement as coming up through the ranks and not seeing any of my brothers and sisters in the service being killed on the job," said Lawson. As a first responder Lawson has had to deal with some horrifying incidents in his time on the fire department, and admits it takes its toll, but credits his faith for seeing him through the rough patches. If there is one thing he says he'll, miss it's the brotherhood of the service and the reward of helping people. "It's a family lifestyle that you get into on the fire service; you go out together, you work together, you hurt together and celebrate together," said Lawson, "and being in a position to help people really gets into your blood, and I'll miss that, but it’s time." Lawson was station captain when amalgamation came about, and with it came all the changes of a single station to four stations under one umbrella, and an exponential increase in the distances that had to be travelled. "You have to go around Charleston Lake or Gananoque Lake to get to certain places in the township, that's why there are four stations, and we have agreements with neighbouring municipalities for places we can't get to," said Lawson. Since the early days of amalgamation Lawson has seen the department grow from 25 firefighters to almost 100. Lawson will be leaving on Mar. 1, and plans to enjoy spending more time outdoors, hunting and fishing. "This year we're at 82 firefighters and we're bringing in 25 recruits, and once those recruits go through all the training (a few will drop out) we'll be at about 100 strong,” said Lawson. Growing up in Leeds and the Thousand Islands and raising two children, Lawson has been heavily involved in the community. He was a leader with the Boy Scouts for 20 years, and served on the Community Watch program, was a member of the Recreation Committee and ran all kinds of programs over the years, he said. "Rick Lawson has a true community spirit about him. He is kind and caring to all individuals both on the fire service as well as victims he has assisted over the years as a firefighter," said Smith-Gatcke. Lawson believes he's leaving the township fire service in good shape, but says it will be important for the service to continue to keep up with the new technologies, and in keeping with his character, says he believes the focus needs to be on protecting firefighters. Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
WASHINGTON — With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that America's war on COVID-19 is under new command, promising an anxious nation progress to reduce infections and lift the siege it has endured for nearly a year. At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.” He brushed off a reporter's question on whether his goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in 100 days should be more ambitious, a point pressed by some public health experts. The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said at the White House. U.S. deaths have have surged past 400,000, and he noted projections that they could reach 500,000 in a month. But then, looking directly into the TV camera, Biden declared: "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.” The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. A key difference is that under Biden, the federal government is assuming full responsibility for the COVID response. And instead of delegating major tasks to states, he is offering to help them with technical backup and federal money. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. On Thursday a group influential with Republican office holders lent its support to Biden's strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “We support the new administration’s focus on removing roadblocks to vaccinations and reopening schools, both of which are important steps to accelerating a broad-based economic recovery for all Americans.” Biden officials have said they've been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people. The U.S. mask order for travel implemented by Biden applies to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travellers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and must quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property. Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump's administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission. Biden is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But some independent experts say his administration should strive for two or three times that number. Even with the slow pace of vaccinations, the U.S. is already closing in on 1 million shots a day. “It's a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Asked about that at the White House on Thursday, Biden told a reporter: “When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man.” The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centres, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He's ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan devised by the Trump administration. And he's launching an effort to train more people to administer shots. Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he's ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening them safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help get schools back open. Getting schools and child care going will help ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and for restaurants to find lunch-time customers. But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing. Biden is giving government agencies a green light to use the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to direct manufacturing. It allows the government to direct private industry to produce supplies needed in times of national emergency. In this case it could be anything from swabs, to masks, to certain chemicals. “We do not have nearly enough testing capacity in this country,” said White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients. “We need (more) money in order to really ramp up testing, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.” This means that efforts to boost the economy could hinge on how quickly lawmakers act on the $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden, which includes separate planks such as $1,400 in direct payments to most working people, a $15 minimum wage and aid to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers see as unnecessary for addressing the public health emergency. The Biden plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $160 billion, and he wants an additional $170 billion to aid the reopening of schools and universities. The proposal also calls for major investment in scientific research to track new variants of the virus. As part of his strategy, Biden ordered establishment of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government's response. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and disease from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine hesitancy is high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign. But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the top White House health adviser on minority communities, said she's not convinced that race is a factor in vaccination reluctance. Disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances. “It's not inherent to race,” she said. “It's from the exposures.” ___ Associated Press writers Collin Binkley and Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Chatham-Kent police have seized more than 25,000 marijuana plants worth $25.5 million after dismantling four illegal grow-ops in the region over the last few months, according to a news release. Since September, Chatham-Kent police have dismantled four illegal cannabis operations in the region, three of which were uncovered in January. "This past year, a significant amount of cannabis associated to illegal drug operations has been found in Chatham-Kent," Chatham-Kent police chief Gary Conn said in a news release. "These operations will not be tolerated here in our community as we know their actions may lead to violent behaviour, property crimes and organized crime." Since the operations are unsupervised, police said there are a number of threats to the community from unsafe electrical outlets, building code violations to the illegal use of pesticides and disposal of waste water. They said they are not targeting people who are legally growing cannabis for personal use or storefronts that have a legal permit. "These are large scale illegal production sites, who pose a negative impact on legitimate local businesses, as the money generated has been linked to funding organized crime," the news release reads. On Sept. 16, members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service's Intelligence Unit executed a search warrant at a greenhouse on Maynard Line. From this, more than 7,300 plant, valued at $7.3M, were seized. Police have issued an order for a 48-year-old London man to appear in court for growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that violated the Cannabis Act. On Jan. 8, Intelligence Unit members used another search warrant for a place on Richmond Street in Chatham, which led them to seize 9,004 plants valued at $9 million and a large amount of Canadian money. A 34-year-old Markham man and 62-year-old Stouffville man were arrested inside the building and charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that conflicts with the Cannabis Act. They were released with a court date of Feb. 11. Police also issued an order for a 58-year-old Markham man for the same offences. That same day, emergency crews responded to a fire at a building on Grand Avenue East in Chatham and discovered that the property was being used to illegally grow cannabis. Police obtained a search warrant and seized 489 plants valued at $489,000. An order was issued for a 62-year-old Kitchener woman for growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that conflict with the Cannabis Act. Days later on Jan. 15, members of the Intelligence Unit yet again searched another property on Richmond Street in Chatham and found 8,580 illegal plants valued at $8.6 million. Following this, a 46-year-old Markham man, 26-year-old Scarborough man, 24-year-old Oshawa man, 52-year-old Markham woman and 26-year-old North York man were found hiding inside the building. They were arrested and charged with growing and possessing cannabis for the purposes of selling that was against the Cannabis Act. They are expected to appear in court on Feb. 18.