High school students defy pandemic, discover joys of voice acting while making animated film version of 'Romeo & Juliet' after original plans to stage a traditional performance this fall were scuttled by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis (Nov. 24)
High school students defy pandemic, discover joys of voice acting while making animated film version of 'Romeo & Juliet' after original plans to stage a traditional performance this fall were scuttled by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis (Nov. 24)
Former President Donald Trump considered replacing the acting attorney general with an official willing to pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and he pushed the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the efforts in the last weeks of Trump's presidency failed because of resistance from his Justice appointees who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court. Other senior department officials later threatened to resign if Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, several people familiar with the discussions told the Journal.
An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on "The Simpsons." Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in. As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move. A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election. Combining his love for "The Simpsons" and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts. “I always loved watching 'The Simpsons,'” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.” Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner. "You can't take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that's par for the course," Dinn said of that character match. Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures. He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it's a lesson he's taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun. He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders. "Let's have a laugh with it," said Dinn. "It's a good thing. It's a bit of good fun." The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes. "The Simpsons" and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics. The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him. Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa. The relationship, however, between "The Simpsons" and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction. The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil. Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show. DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester. “Politics has always been in 'The Simpsons,' and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu. Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers. “That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said. Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of "The Simpsons." She saw the show move from animated shorts on "The Tracy Ullman Show" to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox. “Growing up as a child, I certainly watched 'The Simpsons.' I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.” Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote. She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover. “I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.” The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online. It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first. Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan. “It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use "The Simpsons" as a reference point. Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to. Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles. Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri. “I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted. DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest. In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain. “We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. "You can’t help but laugh.” The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him. Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election. “It’s all good humour,” he said. Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together. Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is. As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta. In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way. “I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
A COVID-19 scare caused Canada's planned scrimmage with the U.S. to be called off Saturday in Bradenton, Fla.The Canadian men had been scheduled to play two 70-minute soccer scrimmages against the Americans. Both teams are in camp, in separate bubbles, at the IMG Center.But four inconclusive tests from players/staff in the Canadian camp Friday caused the teams to cancel the match as a precaution. With both camps coming to an end on the weekend, there was no opportunity to reschedule."This is part of the learning we were hoping to be exposed to when we're down here, to understand how to adapt on the fly to a new COVID reality," Canada coach John Herdman said in an interview. "And again right at the core of everyone's decision are the health and safety of players. It's difficult times but we have to experience it to know how to adapt and then come out of it stronger."The inconclusive Canadian tests eventually came back negative and the Canadians played an intrasquad game instead.The match was billed as Red versus White with more veteran players at the core of the Red team. The youngsters won 1-0, however, with Vancouver Whitecaps defender Derek Cornelius knocking in a rebound."It's unfortunate the timing," Herdman said if the cancelled U.S. scrimmage. "But at the end of the day we got out of today what we hoped, which was another opportunity to assess all the players and get a sense of how our young players are tracking for the men's national team or the Olympic squad. And there were some real good learnings today."World Cup and CONCACAF Olympic qualifying are scheduled to begin in March. The Gold Cup follows in July.Herdman called the replacement intrasquad contest "an intense match.""These players when they compete against each other they tend to ramp it up another level," he said."It was a close game and a tough match for both teams," he added.The youngsters also won the first intrasquad scrimmage last Sunday, with Whitecaps forward Theo Bair scoring the lone goal after Toronto FC winger Jacob Shaffelburg was taken down by CF Montreal defender Kama Miller. Vancouver 'keeper Maxime Crepeau saved Pacific FC's Marco Bustos' penalty but Bair headed the rebound in.The Canada camp did not fall in a FIFA international window so top players like Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich). Jonathan David (Lille), Scott Arfield (Rangers), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade) and Atba Hutchinson and Cyle Larin (both Besiktas) were not called in.But Herdman likes what he saw from those on hand, knowing depth could be crucial in a busy 2021. Because of COVID, a sore throat or case of the sniffles carry different implications and consequences these days, he noted."We're going to have to take bigger squads into our environments," Herdman said. "That's going to create a lot more opportunities."And I think a lot of these young players, particularly the guys that have broken through in MLS (last) year — Tajon Buchanan (New England), Alistair Johnston (Nashville SC), Ralph Priso (Toronto FC), Derek Cornelius (Vancouver) — there was a lot of the younger core players that showed that they could potentially push into that MNT (men's national team) environment."Herdman said with the uncertainty over the start of the 2021 MLS season, he may try for another camp for the North American players in advance of March. ---Follow @NeilMDavidson on TwitterThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Du 25 au 29 janvier, le tout premier Forum national de l’action climatique réunira plus de 500 décideurs et professionnels lors de conférences et tables rondes. Ils présenteront des projets concrets mis en place dans toutes les régions du Québec pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et accroître la résilience des communautés face aux changements climatiques. Parmi les personnes qui prendront la parole, on retrouvera beaucoup de représentants des régions. « La formule virtuelle nous permet d’avoir des intervenants des quatre coins du Québec, ce qu’on aurait peut-être moins été en mesure de faire si on avait fait un événement national dans une grande ville », explique Martin Vaillancourt, directeur général du Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec (RNCREQ) qui organise l’événement. « C’est probablement le seul avantage du format virtuel! » L’Est-du-Québec viendra parler de transport collectif, un défi dans les régions peu denses. On pourra ainsi savoir grâce à Patrick Morin (CRE du Bas-Saint-Laurent) où en est le projet de mise en place d’un réseau au Bas-Saint-Laurent, tandis qu’Élyse Tremblay (CRE Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine) et Marie-Andrée Pichette (Régie intermunicipale de transport) expliqueront comment sont gérés et financés les réseaux gaspésiens et madelinots. Montrer les forces de chacun Tant les villes que les zones rurales ont leur rôle à jouer dans la lutte aux changements climatiques, mais leurs réalités sont différentes. « Souvent, les régions ont des ressources naturelles qui pourraient être mises à profit, par exemple en utilisant de la biomasse forestière pour remplacer des combustibles fossiles, illustre M. Vaillancourt. Il est également plus simple de protéger des espaces naturels dans des endroits où la pression urbaine est moins grande. » Le Plan pour une économie verte (PEV), adopté par le gouvernement Legault en novembre dernier, sera largement évoqué : la première demi-journée de discussion, lundi matin, lui sera consacrée. Plusieurs organisations écologistes ont critiqué ce plan à sa sortie, le jugeant pas assez contraignant. « C’est sûr que des tables rondes vont s’intéresser aux qualités et aux limites du PEV. Au RNCREQ, on a une approche pragmatique : on va l’utiliser comme il se présente », déclare Martin Vaillancourt, tout en précisant que « nos panélistes se rendent bien compte que la solution de remplacer tous les véhicules du Québec par des voitures électriques, c’est bancal… » Outiller le monde municipal Ce forum s’adresse principalement aux « leaders du climat » qui mènent déjà des projets à l’échelle municipale ou régionale et s’intéressent à ce qui se fait ailleurs. Mais les « leaders potentiels » qui veulent passer à l’action et cherchent à savoir comment financer des projets sont également les bienvenus. Il en est de même des citoyens engagés puisque ce sont eux qui, la plupart du temps, sensibilisent leurs élus et en font des leaders potentiels. Au fil des jours, on parlera électrification, mobilité durable, infrastructures vertes et aménagement durable du territoire. Les représentants du monde municipal seront ainsi outillés pour appréhender le défi des changements climatiques et réfléchir à des solutions à mettre en œuvre localement. Abordera-t-on des propositions disruptives comme la décroissance, dont on parle de plus en plus? « Ça fait son chemin », assure le directeur général du RNCREQ, tout en rappelant que « ce n’est pas encore le courant principal ». La réflexion sur la décarbonisation de l’économie implique « des enjeux de croissance et de modèle actuel », note-t-il toutefois. Les personnes intéressées peuvent s’inscrire sur le site du RNCREQ, ce qui leur donnera automatiquement accès aux cinq demi-journées du Forum de l’action climatique. À la fin de chaque matinée, il sera possible d’aller faire un brin de jasette avec les différents conférenciers et panélistes dans des salles virtuelles créées à cet effet.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Tay staff's suggestions around trail winter maintenance were shot down after council found out it didn't mean grooming. Late last year, council asked staff to come up with options to maintain sections of Tay Trail in the three settlement areas. The matter was brought back to the table by Mayor Ted Walker even though staff had recommended against the move. After weeks of working on the project, staff brought forward several options at a recent special council meeting, only to be shot down by concerns over a misunderstanding around what winter maintenance meant. "I'm going to put a wrench in this," said Coun. Mary Warnock. "I have been using the trail for the last couple of months with my poles and boots and it's very walkable with the snow base. As I walk, I meet a lot of people and they're loving the fact that they can walk on it and cross country ski." So, she asked, does winter maintenance mean staff will be clearing snow to the pavement? "Since people knew it was coming to council, I've had numerous emails from people asking not to salt and sand it," said Warnock. "It's very safe as it is. I'm not sure what end game we're trying to achieve here, but I'm hearing from residents that they like the snow-packed base. Maybe we need to get a clear understanding of how we're clearing." Lyell Bergstrome, manager of roads and fleet services, confirmed that would be the case. "The sidewalk machine will scrape down to bare asphalt or close to it," he said. "Once we start clearing snow, we have to provide de-icing. I think there might be some liability issues." Rick Bingham, interim general manager, operational services interim manager of engineering services, confirmed that's the case. "When we go to maintain, we have to maintain it for pedestrian use to minimize slips and falls," he said. "The risk of liability increases if we don't do that." Walker said he didn't think liability should get in the way. "We know people are using it even now, so I suspect liability would be just as great even if we were clearing it," he said, asking about grooming the trail. Bryan Anderson, manager of parks, recreation and facility services, clarified. "We do not have equipment to groom and we did not reach out to the snowmobile club, because I believe direction from comment was to keep motorized vehicles on the pathway," he said. Coun. Jeff Bumstead asked if there were different clearing options available. "We're talking about clearing the width of the trail?" he asked. It can be split, said Bingham. "The intention here is to provide one path with the sidewalk machine," he explained. "The trail is wide enough. If pedestrians wanted to walk on the maintained section, they could do that. If the snowshoers and hikers and skiers wanted, they could walk on the other section." Warnock said she also had other concerns. "I'm looking at the cost as well and the upkeep of this ($10,000), it gives me some concern," she said. Walker said it was council that gave staff direction at the last meeting and voted in favour of the move. "I guess the question is, are we going to renege on this?" he said, calling for a vote. "Or are we going to go ahead and implement the three sections of trail that staff have recommended to us?" The motion to provide winter trail maintenance for this year only was defeated by a majority vote. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
A concrete manufacturing facility in Surrey has been destroyed by a massive overnight fire. Surrey firefighters responded to the call just before 4 a.m. Saturday, and arrived on the scene at 192 Street and 54th Avenue to find a 20,000 square foot building engulfed in flames. The fire had also spread to several buildings nearby. Steve Serbic, assistant chief of operations for the Surrey Fire Service, said 36 firefighters and 15 fire trucks responded, and were forced to fight the fire from the outside, because of the explosive nature of the flames. "The fire consumed the whole building and the crews went into a defensive attack," said Serbic. Serbic said there were large propane tanks just outside the building, which the crews protected to avoid an explosion. "The challenging part of this fire was the gas, there were large propane tanks and natural gas that took some time to get shut off so the crews were battling some gas fires," he said. Serbic said there were no employees on the scene when the fire broke out, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. "It was a very cold night. There was lots of ice, lots of water, lots of aerials went up and the crews did a really good job," he said. "There were no injuries, so it was a productive outcome considering what they arrived to." Crews remained on the scene into Saturday morning, and excavators will go through the collapsed building to ensure hotspots are completely put out.
After an long-awaited inquiry into ground search and rescue was formally established earlier this month, Liberal Leader Andrew Furey says another inquiry, one looking into Innu children in care, won't start until the search and rescue inquiry is finished. The provincial government established the search and rescue inquiry in a wave of announcements on Jan. 14, the day before the election was called. The inquiry into search and rescue was promised in 2015, after 14-year-old Burton Winters perished when his snowmobile became stuck on the sea ice outside Makkovik three years prior. Winters's family has repeatedly asked for the inquiry to begin and explain why it took two days for a military aircraft to be dispatched to aid ground search and rescue. However, the search and rescue inquiry will focus on policy, instead of investigation. It will hold one hearing into the search for Burton Winters. It's not clear when inquiry commissioner and former provincial court justice James Igloliorte will begin formally gathering facts and holding hearings, but proceedings are expected to wrap up sometime in June. But, Furey says the long-awaited inquiry into Innu children in care in Newfoundland and Labrador won't happen at the same time. "They're not going to happen simultaneously, but we have had really good progress with the Innu Nation and it looks like we've secured a council and a framework to move forward," Furey said Thursday. The province said more than three years ago it would launch an inquiry into Innu children in the child-care system, but there's been little to no movement in the time since. The suicide of Innu teen Wally Rich, while he was in the care of a group home in the child protection system in May 2020, renewed calls for that inquiry to begin last year. A shortage of Supreme Court judges hindered the search for a commissioner for the inquiry, and the Innu Nation previously agreed agreed to allow a commissioner from out of the province to head the inquiry. PCs, NDP call for inquiry to start PC Leader Ches Crosbie said Saturday that he doesn't know why the inquiry into Innu children in care has taken so long. "This has been bouncing around for something like three years, I think. The point about that is that it should have been done and over with by now," he said. "I don't understand why the government is dragging its feet." Alison Coffin, leader of the New Democratic party, echoed Crosbie's comments. "I think that we need to start that inquiry sooner rather than later. I don't understand why they would think that they can't be concurrent," she said. "Those are two separate and distinct things and I think they both deserve to be addressed, [it's] something that we said we were going to do for a really long time, I'm not sure why he's put it off." The Innu Nation says it will have more to say about the inquiry and other issues next week. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A five-year-old boy from Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B., has been picked up by the big leagues. A video of Nicholas Allain riding a mini-Zamboni on his backyard rink has been shared by the NHL on its Instagram page. In the video, Nicholas is driving a battery-operated John Deere tractor made for kids that was modified to clean the backyard rink his dad, Marty, built for him. It was Marty's first time making a backyard rink. A Zamboni? He had no idea it was going to be such a hit right out of the gate. "It was pretty cool," Marty said, adding that the NHL Instagram account contacted him in advance to ask permission to share his video. The NHL's official account has 4.5-million followers. "A lot of my friends, and even people that I didn't talk to in a while, reached out and thought it was pretty cool," he said. Marty originally posted the video online in a Facebook page for people who make outdoor rinks. Things just snowballed from there before catching the attention of the NHL. He said his son may not realize how much the video has been shared because he's so young, but he said Nicholas was pretty excited to look at the post the NHL made showing him driving the Zamboni with the caption "FRESH SHEET ALERT." "He watches hockey a little bit," said Marty. He said his son's favorite team is the Vegas Golden Knights because Lukas Cormier, who plays for the team, is also from Sainte-Marie-de-Kent. Marty said he decided to make the rink this year because he was concerned that minor hockey, and access to the local arena, would be interrupted due to COVID-19, which turned out to be true. He started planning in the fall and started building the pieces in the garage. "It was a lot of time," he laughed. "I didn't count my hours but a lot of Friday nights in the garage with a few cold pops." The project turned out to be quite elaborate with rounded corners and boards painted to look like a professional rink, topped off with bright flood lights for practices at night. He's already planning to make the rink bigger next year. "I wanted to do something special for my son," he said. "I wanted to do something where he could really practise his shot." It didn't take Marty long to realize that he had the perfect opportunity to make a small Zamboni for his son to help care for the ice surface. Marty rigged the machine with studded tires, a bucket, hose and a sheet of cloth to groom the ice. "He can actually manoeuvre around and get it all done if he wants to — if a five-year-old wants to," Marty laughed. Marty said Nicholas would rather skate on the rink than clean it, even with his Zamboni.
Charlottetown Police say a 32-year-old Summerside man will face charges in connection with an impaired driving incident early Saturday morning. Police were called to a home on the Lower Malpeque Road in the area of the Royalty Road at 12:30 a.m. Upon arrival, there was a vehicle that had crashed on the front lawn of a home in the area. "It's obvious that alcohol was definitely a contributing factor in the collision," said Sgt. David Flynn. "It appeared the vehicle had left the roadway, struck a power pole, and then struck a tree on the front lawn of the private residence." The driver of the vehicle provided a breath sample at three times the legal limit. The man was arrested and spent the night in jail. Police say he was released this morning and will be charged. A traffic reconstructionist was also called in the early hours of the morning, as well Maritime Electric, which restored power to affected residents. Flynn said the homeowners were home at the time of the incident. "I would imagine they got a shock when they looked out the front window," he said. "We're fortunate enough that it was a single-vehicle collision and nobody was injured in this accident." Police said the man will have a future court date and the investigation is ongoing. More from CBC P.E.I.
KINGMAN, Ariz. — An Arizona sheriff's office was investigating a tour bus crash that killed one person and injured dozens of others, including five seriously, officials said Saturday. The Las Vegas-based bus crashed Friday and rolled over in northwestern Arizona while headed to a Grand Canyon viewpoint on the Hualapai Reservation. The wrecked bus was towed from the scene and examining it at a tow yard would be part of the investigation being conducted by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said. Cause of the crash was not immediately determined and no information was available about the vehicle's speed before the crash and other circumstances that might be related, Mortensen said. A fire official who responded to the scene said Friday that speed appeared to be factor. A photo provided by the sheriff’s office showed the bus on its side on a road that curves through Joshua trees with no snow or rain in the remote area. Kingman Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Teri Williams said 40 people were released after treatment Friday for minor injuries while three others who were seriously injured remained hospitalized Saturday and two additional seriously injured patients were transferred Friday to an unspecified Las Vegas hospital. The two transferred patients' conditions weren't known. No identities were released, and it wasn't immediately known whether the passengers were in a group or where they were from. The bus was heading to Grand Canyon West, about 2 1/2 hours from Las Vegas and outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. The tourist destination sits on the Hualapai reservation and is best known for the Skywalk, a glass bridge that juts out 70 feet (21 metres) from the canyon walls and gives visitors a view of the Colorado River 4,000 feet (1,219 metres) below. In a statement issued late Friday, the Hualapai Tribe and its businesses said they were saddened by the rollover and that safety is the highest priority for guests, employees and vendors. The Associated Press
Amber Stewart, executive director of the Battlefords Sexual Assault Centre, wanted to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to file a police report if they wanted to pursue that option. "We know that the [statistics] on reported cases are extremely low," she said. "So how do we get those barriers down? And if we can make this experience even a little bit less painful and traumatizing, then I really wanted to make that happen." So the centre, which provides counselling to people affected by sexual or gender-based violence, teamed up with the Battlefords RCMP. Together, they have created a new safe space for interviews and counselling, located in the sexual assault centre. "It's actually a counselling room that we use to see clients" at the centre's office, Stewart said. Renovations were done for soundproofing, and to make sure it met RCMP's audio and visual requirements for recording statements, she said. According to Battlefords RCMP Staff Sgt. Jason Teniuk, having a warmer, welcoming and — most importantly — truly private place for victims of sexual assault to come forward was long overdue. Previously, people who wanted to report a sexual assault had to go to the Battlefords RCMP detachment. "When you come into our area, our waiting room is a very unprivate area, and you'll meet somebody at the front desk who is behind a barrier glass," said Teniuk. The front office area is often "full of people in various capacities," he said. "So now you put somebody who's just been involved in an extremely traumatic event, and you bring them into that environment, and they're standing in front of a glass wall talking to somebody on the other side, in full earshot of everybody else. That is intimidating. "I would even hazard to say that we're revictimizing that person by bringing them into that environment — but unfortunately, that's what we were presented with." Now, the process will be significantly different, with support for victims and survivors prioritized at every step. RCMP will have a direct line to the sexual assault centre, Stewart said. When RCMP receive a report of a sexual assault, the officer who takes the call will phone the line and be met at the BASC office by staff or a volunteer, and taken to the new interview space. "From there, our role is to support the RCMP and the victims for before and after they give their statement — making sure that they're comfortable, making sure they have everything they need, letting them know that we're there to talk before or after. "Then, of course, the RCMP will do their interview the way they need to do it." Breaking down barriers Stewart hopes the sexual assault centre will now be more able to address some of the other barriers that keep people from reporting sexual assault, such as access to child care. When people come into the new space to make a report, volunteers will be available to help out. "If you have small children and you can't leave them, you can bring them in and we've got someone here," she said. "We can play video games or watch Netflix or eat snacks, whatever the case may be, so that there really is no barrier. And that's what the end goal was for us — to address the barriers." Teniuk says child care has been significant issue in the past for people with young children who wanted to make a report to the RCMP. "I can't tell you the amount of times I've been involved in a situation where there has been a sexual assault, or any other kind of violent incident, and you'll have a young person or a young mom or young dad come in and they have their kids with them," he said. "And we've got to try and sort out a way that we can get a statement from that person, while trying to keep the kids entertained." From January to September of 2020, Saskatchewan RCMP say they received 3,711 reports of intimate partner violence. With the new space at Battlefords Sexual Assault Centre, Teniuk hopes more people will feel they can safely come forward and make a report. "I hope victims will come in and just feel as though they are being supported, that they're heard, and something is going to be done," he said. "That is extremely important to me. And while it does happen when they come [to the RCMP detachment], I think support has been a big component of what we're missing."
WASHINGTON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear to President Joe Biden on Saturday that he's eager to forge a new U.S.-U.K. trade deal. The push for a new deal came in a broad-ranging call between the two leaders that touched on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the Biden administration announcing this week that the U.S. would rejoin the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, according to a statement from Downing Street. A new trade agreement between the allies is a higher priority for Johnson than it is for Biden. The U.K. regained control over its national trade policy at the start of the month following the end of a post-Brexit transition period. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration had no timeline for forging a new trade deal as Biden's attention is largely focused on getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and pressing Congress to pass the president's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. Janet Yellen, Biden's Treasury secretary nominee, also signalled during her confirmation hearing earlier this week that Biden wasn't eager to negotiate new trade deals. “President Biden has been clear that he will not sign any new free trade agreements before the U.S. makes major investments in American workers and our infrastructure,” Yellen said. Downing Street said Saturday that Biden and Johnson discussed “the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries," and Johnson “reiterated his intention to resolve existing trade issues as soon as possible." The call with Johnson was at least Biden's third call with a foreign counterpart since Friday. The president spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday evening. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
IDRE FJALL, SWEDEN. — Being patient paid off handsomely for Canadian Reece Howden on Saturday. After sitting back for most of the final, the 22-year-old from Cultus Lake, B.C., came on to capture the gold medal in a World Cup ski cross competition. It was his second World Cup win in just over a month. Howden is accustomed to leading races but said that wasn't the idea Saturday. “The plan was to not come out in front, the draft was too strong," he said on Alpine Canada's website. "I wanted to chill in the middle of the pack and give my legs a bit of a break and once I made that last turn fire up those engines and get out in front. "Today was a day of racing, not a day of leading so I was super happy with my execution and it couldn’t have gone any better.” Montreal's Chris Del Bosco of Montreal was third in the small final Saturday and seventh overall for his best finish since 2018. "It's been a while since I've been back in the small finals," said Del Bosco, who ruptured his Achilles last summer. "It felt really good to get the monkey off my back. "I made a few small mistakes in that last round, but I am heading in the right direction." Tiana Gairns, of Prince George, B.C., was a career-best fifth in the women's event. Courtney Hoffos of Invermere, B.C., and Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., were sixth and eighth, respectively. "Idre is interesting since it's such a long track with such a long straight section that you don't want to pass at the beginning," Gairns said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Exactly a year ago, Wuhan shocked the world by confining its 11 million inhabitants to their homes, beginning a 76-day lockdown. View on euronews
VANCOUVER — A burned body, believed to be of a homeless person, has been found in a forested area of North Vancouver, B.C. RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries says no foul play is suspected at this time and instead this appears to be a tragic accident. He says a resident of a nearby home called police around 5 p.m. Friday about a fire in the bushes behind the Phibbs Exchange bus loop near Orwell Street. Police found the body along with items that suggested the person had set up shelter in the area. DeVries says the cause of the fire is under investigation but the temperature has dropped significantly in North Vancouver and the person might have been trying to warm themselves up. He says the coroners service is working to identify the person and it is not currently known if the individual was a woman or a man. He says it's not clear whether anyone other than the deceased person was camping there and no one else was at the scene when police arrived. DeVries is urging everyone to do what they can to help the homeless, especially as winter weather hits Metro Vancouver. "If you see homeless people, help them out," he said. He points to a program started by a fellow North Vancouver RCMP officer, Cpl. Randy Wong, called Warming the Homeless, which delivers socks, toques, mittens and other items to people living on the streets. When the weather gets cold, police proactively go out and find people who may be homeless and help them find shelter, DeVries added. "I know that police agencies throughout the Lower Mainland do the same things. It's a sad reality of society that this is the case." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives are each fielding a full slate of 40 candidates for next month's provincial election in Newfoundland and Labrador. Saturday was the deadline for would-be candidates to submit their nomination papers. The New Democrats will have candidates in 33 districts — more than double its slate of candidates in the last election in 2019. Elections NL said there will be six members of the NL Alliance on the ballots and eight independents. The deadline marks the end of the first full week of campaigning, which saw Liberal Leader Andrew Furey make stops in Marystown and Arnold's Cove, where job losses from the oil sector have rocked the local economy. Furey announced Saturday that a Liberal government would develop programs to encourage more interaction between young and older Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. "Newfoundland and Labrador has an ever-growing population of seniors. Connecting generations benefits children and older adults alike," Furey said in a statement. He said the government would consult to develop a resource that would help organizations improve connections between seniors and youth. Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie released several planks of his platform during the week, ending with a speech on Friday vowing to hammer out a better deal with Ottawa to address the province's staggering financial problems. Chris Tibbs, the Progressive Conservative candidate for Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans, is encouraging rotational workers to make sure they vote in this election. NDP Leader Alison Coffin ended the week flying back to St. John's from Labrador, where the party won an unexpected seat in a two-vote victory in the last election. Election day is Feb. 13. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. - By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
Restrictions on in-person social activities have been a critical part of combating the COVID-19 pandemic and are likely to continue in the months ahead. But as the pandemic continues, researchers have also been exploring the impacts of loneliness and social isolation on mental health. Emilie Kossick is a knowledge manager at the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and Treatment and holds a master's degree in experimental and applied psychology from the University of Regina. She says while this year has been a dramatic example of social isolation on a large scale, the actual problem is not new. "There are groups like Arctic researchers or astronauts preparing for long-haul missions who have experienced it," she said of isolation. "Inmates or seniors living in long-term care facilities also experience social isolation." Because of this, researchers have already been studying the short and long-term effects of isolation. Kossick said she has come across a number of studies that may help explain what people are going through at this point in the pandemic. "Within three months to a year, [isolation] starts to affect your sleep patterns," she said. "It impairs your immune system and our neurocognitive functions. It's also common to see changes in personality. If you're experiencing loneliness, you can feel depressed or anxious. "And these all appear to be symptoms caused by decreases in brain volume in areas of the brain that control decision-making, social behaviour, emotion, regulation, learning and memory." In the longer term, Kossick said social isolation can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, memory decline and dementia. Kossick said many of our negative reactions to prolonged isolation stem from the fact that humans evolved as social creatures. "Even introverted people who are comfortable on their own usually have a small group of friends and family that they rely on for support and social connection," she said. "So when we're denied that support — like during a pandemic — or when it disappears as we age, it has a great effect on the way our brain works, because it's just not designed to work alone." While she recognized that many of our normal strategies for breaking isolation "just don't work in a pandemic," Kossick said there are strategies people can use to shore up their mental health and feel less lonely this year. "The things you can do … are to create as much structure and predictability as you can with the pieces of your life that you can control," she said. "So try to structure your day. Incorporate activities and hobbies that you enjoy. And embrace technology's ability to keep you in contact with friends and family." Kossick also suggested attending an art event online, whether that's a virtual gallery opening or a live-streamed concert, can help "bring us all together" while we remain at home. While the collective experience of the pandemic won't last forever, Kossick hopes some of what we've learned this year will be able to help people who were already isolated before the pandemic began. She said she hoped that translated to increased research and understanding in the public helps combat social isolation in populations that deal with it on a regular basis outside of a pandemic. "I think this has really shined a light on the causes and effects of loneliness, especially for people in long-term care, who right now are very much alone," she said. "We're trying to do that for their safety and their physical health, but obviously it's impacting their mental health."
An Ontario doctor who caught the coronavirus variant is no longer on the medical team at two nursing homes east of Toronto, after it was revealed this week that she's been charged with obstruction for allegedly misleading health officials about her contacts. Dr. Martina Weir was an attending physician at Fairview Lodge in Whitby, Ont., and Hillsdale Terraces in Oshawa, Ont., long-term care homes run by the Durham Region municipal government. A spokesperson confirmed by email on Saturday that Weir "is no longer working as an attending physician at any of Durham Region's long-term care homes." Weir's status at the homes was suspended earlier this week and her contract was put under review, after CBC News revealed she has been charged with three provincial offences alleging she hindered COVID-19 contact-tracing efforts. Two of the charges under Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act against Weir allege she provided inaccurate information about her contacts both before and after it was discovered, by fluke, that she and her husband had caught the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in the United Kingdom. The third charge alleges she committed obstruction by giving false information to Durham Region's associate medical officer of health. Her husband, Brian Weir, who works in administration for Toronto Paramedic Services as a senior scheduler, has also been charged with three similar counts. The non-criminal charges, which carry a maximum penalty of $5,000 each, have not been tested in court. Weir and her husband said through their respective lawyers earlier this week that they are not guilty and will "vigorously defend" themselves. Their case first came to public attention on Boxing Day when Ontario's Ministry of Health put out a statement that a then-unnamed Durham Region couple had tested positive for the coronavirus variant first reported in the U.K. The Health Ministry said at the time that they had "no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts." But a day later, the ministry issued a second statement alleging the couple had withheld information. "Additional investigation and follow-up case and contact management has revealed that the couple had, indeed, been in contact with a recent traveller from the U.K., which is new information not provided in earlier interviews," the ministry said on Dec. 27. CBC News has learned that a close family member who lives in Britain flew to Canada in mid-December to spend time over the holidays at the Weirs' home. 'Protocols were followed' The two nursing homes where Weir worked have made it clear that "there are no concerns about risk to residents related to this matter," because Weir wasn't on site after Dec. 11 — well before she is believed to have tested positive for COVID-19. Weir also has staff privileges at three hospitals in Durham Region. Lakeridge Health, which operates the hospitals, said on Thursday that Weir didn't enter any hospital facilities, work or care for patients during the month of December. "All COVID-19 prevention protocols were followed to ensure the safety of our team and our patients," Lakeridge Health said in a statement. CBC News also has no information that Weir's husband went to work and put anyone at risk at his workplace.
BIRMINGHAM, England — Aston Villa returned to winning ways and climbed into the top 10 of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory against Newcastle on Saturday. Club-record signing Ollie Watkins scored for the first time in 10 matches to set Villa on its way to all three points with a 13th-minute strike, before Bertrand Traore doubled the lead shortly before halftime. Villa boss Dean Smith watched from the stands as he served a one-match touchline ban after he was charged by the FA for using abusive and/or insulting language towards referee Jon Moss during the defeat at Manchester City. He will have been pleased with what he saw as Villa moved up to eighth in the table. For Newcastle, the downward spiral continued and Steve Bruce’s team has dropped to 16th spot after a sixth defeat in a eight-match winless run in the league. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Police in Gatineau, Que., have arrested a man after a woman's body was found in the city's Buckingham sector Saturday morning. Officers were called to 190 rue Pigeon at around 7:30 a.m. after receiving a 911 call about an unconscious woman, the Gatineau Police Service said in a media release. Police said when they arrived on scene, it was obvious the woman could not be resuscitated. A man in his 60s was arrested at the scene, police said, but as of late Saturday afternoon had not been charged. The woman was in her 70s, police said. Her name has not been released. Police continue to investigate the suspicious death.