When Taylor Hanson talked to Yahoo Entertainment back in 2018, he had hopes of reuiniting with his supergroup, Tinted Windows, alongside Adam Schlesinger, who passed away from Covid complications on April 1, 2020.
When Taylor Hanson talked to Yahoo Entertainment back in 2018, he had hopes of reuiniting with his supergroup, Tinted Windows, alongside Adam Schlesinger, who passed away from Covid complications on April 1, 2020.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his post-presidential life in Florida. Refusing to abide by tradition and participate in the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump will instead hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight aboard Air Force One. Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he's received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, colour guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. Trump will become only the fourth president in history to boycott his successor's inauguration. And while he has said he is now committed to a peaceful transition of power — after months of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory with baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and spurring on his supporters who stormed the Capitol — he has made clear he has no interest in making a show of it. He has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional bread-breaking, nor has he spoken with Biden by phone. Vice-President Mike Pence has spoken with his successor, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, calling her on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance, according to two people familiar with the call. Pence will be attending Biden's inauguration, a move Biden has welcomed. While Trump spends the final days of his presidency ensconced in the White House, more isolated than ever as he confronts the fallout from the Capitol riot, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already departed, including those who resigned after the attack, while others have been busy packing up their offices and moving out personal belongings — souvenirs and taxidermy included. On Thursday, chief of staff Mark Meadows’ wife was caught on camera leaving with a dead, stuffed bird. And trade adviser Peter Navarro, who defended the president's effort to overturn the election, was photographed carrying out a giant photo of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Staff are allowed to purchase the photographs, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.) Also spotted departing the West Wing: a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Stewart D. McLaurin, the president of the White House Historical Association, said he had reached out to the White House chief usher, who manages the building's artifacts with the White House curator, because of questions raised by the images. “Be reminded that staff have items of their own that they brought to the White House and can take those items home as they wish. Some items are on loan to staff and offices from other collections and will be returned to those collections,” he said in a statement. Earlier this week, reporters covering the president's departure from the South Lawn spotted staff taking boxes into the residence for packing up the first family's belongings. And on Friday the packing continued, with moving crates and boxes dotting the floor of the office suite where senior press aides work steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing. Walls in the hallways outside that once featured a rotating gallery of enlarged photographs of the president and first lady framed in gold suddenly were bare, with only the hooks that held the picture frames left hanging. Moving trucks pulled in and out of the driveway outside. While some people have been asked to stick around by the incoming administration, the White House has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with more scheduled to depart on Friday. That includes White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Come Monday, the press staff will be down to two. Trump will leave Washington with his future deeply uncertain, two weeks after his supporters sent lawmakers and congressional staffers scrambling for safety as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power. While Trump was once expected to leave office as the most powerful voice in the Republican Party and the leading contender for its 2024 nomination, he has been shunned by much of the party over his response to the violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump is expected to be joined in Florida by a handful of aides as he mulls his future. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
When Ontario declared a second state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order Jan. 12, it also implemented new health and safety measures for schools. When Niagara students return to the classroom Jan. 25, they will be greeted by those new measures. The new rules will require students in Grades 1 through 3 to wear a mask. Also, there will be masking requirements when students and staff are outdoors and physical distancing cannot be maintained, school boards will be required to implement enhanced screening protocols, and the province will expand targeted testing. A government release indicated “these new public health measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing concerning levels of mobility as the province continues its vaccine rollout and ramps up to mass vaccination when the federal government is able to provide the necessary supply to do so.” Camillo Cipriano, education director for the Niagara Catholic District School Board, said Niagara Catholic has complied with Ministry of Education requirements throughout the pandemic. “Students in Grades 1 to 3 will now be required to wear masks in class, and students will be required to wear masks outdoors when schools reopen if physical distancing is not possible,” said Cipriano. “Staff will continue to reinforce the importance of students staying two metres from each other, even while outside.” He said, “Niagara Catholic will await further details from the ministry regarding enhanced screening protocols and will explore options on how to best proceed.” Niagara Catholic will also consult with Niagara Region Public Health for guidance on best practices. Targeted testing is a new concept in Niagara, he said. “We will await further information from the province and consult with Niagara Region Public Health in implementing any targeted testing required.” On Nov. 26, the province launched voluntary targeted COVID-19 testing — voluntary for asymptomatic students and staff — in Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York regions. The province has yet to release details about the expanded targeted testing. A lack of information flowing from the province, though, has left school boards in the dark. District School Board of Niagara spokesperson Kim Sweeney said, “while we wait for further information from the province to learn more about what these new measures will entail, we will be discussing the next steps at our upcoming meeting with Niagara Region Public Health, which are meetings we have weekly. “As we keep our attention on supporting our students and families with online learning, we are also prioritizing our plans for the return to in-person learning and the new measures that will be added to the existing ones we’ve had in place since September 2020,” she said. “I can assure you that all families and staff will receive detailed information from their school principals before the first day back to in-person learning.” She added, “since the beginning of the school year, we’ve had masks available for every student at the DSBN, and we will continue to provide masks for anyone who needs one. If targeted testing does become available to schools in Niagara, we would welcome that.” Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Some Oakville residents have been told to seek shelter in their basements amid what police are calling an "active situation" with at least two people barricaded inside a home. According to tweets from Halton police issued Friday afternoon, Lakeshore Road West is closed from 4th Line to Birch Hill Lane for an ongoing investigation. Police say they first received a call just before 1:20 p.m. reporting possible gunfire in the area. On Twitter, investigators said the ongoing situation is contained to a residence on Lakeshore Road West, and originally involved "at least two" people barricaded inside. Police later said one person is now out of the home, but at least one person remains inside. Crisis negotiators have been in contact with the person inside the home and there are no reported injuries, police said. "Our crisis negotiators will be working to resolve this safely," police said on Twitter. Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with Halton Regional Police, says as of Friday evening, the situation is still ongoing. "It is our goal, our ultimate goal, to bring them out safely without anybody being injured," he said. Anderson could not say whether it was a hostage situation or if the person remaining in the home resided there or explain the relationship between the two people. Police are concerned for the safety of the individual inside, as well as those who live nearby. "We have reason to believe there may have been gas released in the home, so utilities have been cut off to the home," Anderson said. As a result, approximately nine residences have been notified and evacuated accordingly. Investigators say there is a "heavy police presence in the area," including officers, the tactical rescue unit, and police dogs. Appleby College was also in a hold and secure, but that has since been lifted. However, students boarding there will continue to remain indoors, according to the school's Twitter feed Police are asking people to avoid the area.
Richmond’s Gateway Theatre has commissioned a piece in response to a question posed by the National Arts Centre in its Transformations Project: What would it take to transform our society for the betterment of all? In the piece, local Taiwanese-Canadian artist Johnny Wu dives into themes of family, belonging, and filial piety—a central value in traditional Chinese culture that means respect and duty for one’s parents and ancestors. A regular in the theatre scene, Wu has worked with Gateway several times before, including as the Surtitle translator for China Doll. To learn more or view the piece online, click here.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A month has passed since the first round of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Canada, but Kanesatake’s turn has not yet come. While the federal government put Onkwehón:we communities among their priorities, Emergency Response Unit (ERU) spokesperson, Robert Bonspiel, said that the community hasn’t received a fixed date as to when the vaccination will begin. “We have been led to believe that the reason for the delay is because of the enviable position that Kanesatake finds itself to be in,” said Bonspiel. Bonspiel said that at the moment, the community still has zero active cases. In comparison, their neighbour’s sister community, Kahnawake, has more than 20 positive cases, where some members already received their first dose of the vaccine. “The ERU and the community, we are not reactionary, we are proactive,” said Bonspiel. “We are using a lot of common sense, things that are culturally appropriate to us. And so far, it’s working amazingly.” Julie Lemieux-Côté from the communication services of the Centre integre de sante et de services sociaux des Laurentides (CISSS), explained that the rollout of the vaccine follows priority groups, rather than the amount of cases. The groups were established by the Quebec government, putting at top of the priority list the vulnerable people living in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLD), health and social workers who have contact with COVID-19 patients, and then private seniors homes. As mentioned last week during one of Quebec’s press conferences, the province’s plan is to have 250,000 people from its priority groups vaccinated before February 8. “We are still at the first levels, then we will start the vaccination in remote communities,” said Lemieux-Côté. The CISSS is already in contact with the ERU to organize the logistics surrounding the vaccination campaign in the community. Lemieux-Côté assured that it would only be a matter of one or two weeks, depending on the delivery of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Although, health and social workers don’t have to wait for the vaccines to be delivered in the community to receive their first shot. The Quebec government sent invitations to schedule the administration at one of their two locations outside of the community, such as at Quartier Dix30 in Brossard. Yet, none of the Kanesatake Riverside Elders Home health workers, staff from the Health Centre, nor the First Nations Paramedics (FNP) received their invitation. “I’m considered a priority to the CISSS in comparison to the general population but not that high on the list,” said Riverside’s registered nurse team leader Sabrina Richard, explaining that they aren’t in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Richard believes that Kanesatake has been very lucky not to have been affected by COVID-19 like some other communities have. “Our time to get the vaccine will come and I hope that everyone considers getting it. It will not only protect you from serious complications, but it will also protect your loved ones,” said Richard. Even if the vaccine is not mandatory, Kanesatake grand chief Serge Otsi Simon hopes that community members will collaborate. For him, there’s no other alternative, saying that the community cannot keep going into lockdown. “Either you roll up your sleeve,” he said, “or you get out there and take the chance to die of this.” firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford ousted a member of his government from caucus on Friday after the politician voiced his opposition to lockdowns. In accusing legislator Roman Baber of spreading "misinformation" about the pandemic, Ford also barred him from running for the Progressive Conservatives in the 2022 election. The move came just hours after Baber, who represents a Toronto riding, issued a public letter calling on Ford to end an ongoing provincial lockdown. "The data speaks for itself - the lockdown is deadlier than COVID," Baber wrote. "Ending the lockdowns is the best thing we can do for the health of Ontarians” Baber argued that lockdowns are causing a number of other serious problems including mental health and addictions issues, and are hurting businesses. He argued they were also causing delays in vital health care such as cancer diagnoses. Ford called Baber's letter "irresponsible." "I am the first to recognize that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people," Ford said in a statement. "However, as premier, my number one priority is the health and safety of all Ontarians." Ford said he is following the advice of experts including the province's chief medical officer of health, who has recommended lockdowns to control the virus' spread. "By spreading misinformation (Baber) is undermining the tireless efforts of our frontline health-care workers at this critical time, and he is putting people at risk," Ford said. Earlier this week, Ford imposed a second state of emergency and a stay-at-home order in an effort to fight rising rates of COVID-19. Under the order, which took effect Thursday, residents are required to stay home except for essential activities such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries, or outdoor exercise. Projections released by the province earlier this week indicated Ontario’s health system will be overwhelmed unless there is a significant reduction in contacts between residents. On Friday, Health Minister Christine Elliott's office released a fact check of Baber's letter. That statement disputed claims Baber made about deaths due to COVID-19, hospital capacity, and corrected a spelling error. "Minimizing the risks and impact of COVID-19 is reckless and irresponsible," Elliott's office said in a statement. The CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Ontario division said Friday that Baber had mischaracterized the organizations' research in his letter. Camille Quenneville said their research indicates suicidal ideation has increased but that is due to the overall impact of the pandemic. "At a time when so many Ontarians are struggling, we are disappointed that the MPP has for political purposes misconstrued statistics about the sensitive subject of suicidal ideation," she said. The association supports the government's lockdown measures, she added. Baber said he made his letter public because he thinks a "fair conversation" about public health restrictions needs to take place. "The government can leech onto a typo, but it can't get away from the proposition that the lockdown is really harming folks," he said in an interview. Baber said he believes Ford and other members of the Tory government agree with him but aren't saying so publicly. "I am afraid, however, that there's more politics that's playing into the situation than actual medicine," he said. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said kicking Baber out of the government is "purely symbolic" unless Ford ensured he didn't listen to those who share Baber's views. "Ford has ordered half-measures with contradictions, loopholes and exemptions," she said in a statement. "His insiders and lobbyists clearly have his ear while he dismisses pleas from public health experts to make this lockdown count." Baber is now the fifth Tory legislator to either be ejected from the party or leave since the Ford government took office in 2018. Last June, former Tory legislator Belinda Karahalios was kicked out of caucus by Ford for voting against a sweeping law that extended pandemic emergency orders. Karahalios, who represents a Cambridge, Ont., riding, had said she opposed the measure because it gave Ford's government too much power. Ontario reported 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 100 more deaths linked to the virus. Meanwhile, the government announced Friday that it is employing 300 more case and contact tracers in the coming weeks, bringing the total provincial work force to 1,600 by Feb. 15. When combined with local public health units, the province now has approximately 5,600 case and contact tracers, the government said. The province also announced Friday that it has opened applications for a small business grant announced in December to provide pandemic support. It provides a minimum of $10,000 to eligible small businesses that have had their operations restricted because of the provincial lockdown. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada's international development minister says the world's first inoculation of a refugee with a COVID-19 vaccine this week is an important milestone in ending the pandemic everywhere. Karina Gould tells The Canadian Press that inoculating the world's most vulnerable people offers a glimmer of hope that the pandemic can be brought under control everywhere. A woman living in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid who had fled northern Iraq became the first United Nations registered refugee to receive the vaccine on Thursday. Before the pandemic Canada committed $2.1 billion in security, humanitarian and development funds to help Jordan and neighbouring Lebanon cope with the massive influx of refugees they face due to the crises in Syria and Iraq. Since the pandemic, Canada has committed more than $1 billion to international efforts to buy vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. Rema Jamous Imseis, the Canadian representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says if refugees aren't vaccinated they run the risk of infecting people in their host national populations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Herbert Kickl claimed that children would play "not the slightest role" in spreading the virus.View on euronews
Tenants in a Downtown Eastside SRO who have criticized guest restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic say they’re concerned about police actions enforcing the rules. Erica Grant and David Mendes live in the Savoy, a single-room occupancy hotel building on East Hastings Street operated by Atira Property Management, which manages several buildings in the neighbourhood. Grant was warned she could be evicted after police were called to the building on Jan. 2 to arrest her 29-year-old son, who had been banned from the Savoy at the end of December. Mendes said he was visited the next day by police officers looking for a guest of another tenant. Officers pulled him out of his apartment and went in to search for that guest, he said. “I was like, ‘What? What are you doing? Do you have a warrant? Like, why are you coming in here?’” Mendes said. “And the one popped his head back out, and he pointed at me and said, ‘Suspected COVID violation.’” Atira and most other housing operators in the Downtown Eastside have restricted guests at their buildings since pandemic restrictions started in March. Atira now allows residents to designate two guests who must be identified to building staff. Current provincial health orders state that there can be no social gatherings of any size inside people’s homes, “other than your household or core bubble.” B.C.’s public health officer strongly recommends that people wear masks in common areas of rental buildings (for instance, hallways, stairwells and shared laundry rooms). B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch published guidance for COVID-19 that said landlords have the power to “schedule or restrict the use of common shared areas” like lobbies and laundry rooms — but they don’t have the power to stop visitors from coming to someone’s apartment. The guest restrictions put in place by supportive housing operators in the Downtown Eastside are not supported by B.C.’s tenancy laws. But housing providers say the rules are necessary to protect vulnerable residents in the century-old hotels. SRO hotels often have narrow hallways, tiny 100-square foot rooms and shared bathrooms and kitchens. The people who live in them frequently have existing health conditions, and people who have contracted COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside are more likely to be hospitalized. Grant said she had been told that her partner, Grant Houle, and her adult son were both on her guest list. On the night of Jan. 2, she said police came to her door and entered her room, looking for her son. Grant said she tried to tell them they couldn’t come in and that she would send him out. Grant said she tried to keep her door shut but police officers pushed it open, and her foot and arm were painfully scraped. A female officer pulled her hair and twisted her thumb, she said. Grant said she is still in pain from the incident. The Vancouver Police Department says officers were called to the building by staff who were concerned for their safety “after a man who was known to be violent toward them entered the building and went up to a room. The man had a B.C.-wide warrant for assault.” “The officers found the door to the room ajar and tried to convince the man to come into the hallway so he could be taken into custody,” media liaison officer Steve Addison wrote to The Tyee in an email. “While speaking with him, another occupant of the room became agitated and hostile towards one of the officers, and the officer did physically control the person to avoid being assaulted.” Grant said her son was co-operating with police during the incident. The officers said they were there because he had been banned from the building, she added, and didn’t mention anything about him being violent. Grant said she wasn’t aware on Jan. 2 that her son had been banned from the building days earlier. She said she later learned that building staff had told Houle of the ban, but he hadn’t passed the information on to her. And Grant said she also later learned her son had shoved the building manager on Dec. 30 when she was trying to take away a key to the building staff had given him. The incident was overblown, Grant maintains. Her son is now homeless, Grant said. Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira, declined to comment on the incident. Two days after police came to her door, Grant received a letter from her building manager warning she could be evicted if she violates the guest policy again. The letter makes no mention of her son being violent, but says he was barred from the building after “being seen on camera letting others in the building as well as wandering in common areas, which is prohibited during the current lockdown because of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19.” The letter goes on to say that “guests may use the washrooms in a timely manner but are not to access any other common areas or visit other units to which they are not registered on the restricted guest list.” The letter states that Grant is in breach of her residential tenancy agreement with Atira “because you continue to seriously jeopardize the safety of tenants and staff by putting them at significant risk by allowing your guest… into the building after being barred for breaching the COVID-19 guest protocol and the landlord does have cause to end tenancy.” Abbott said Atira often sends tenants letters warning them they could be evicted because they are breaking the rules, and the letters rarely lead to actual evictions. Robert Patterson, a legal advocate with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, said it’s common for supportive housing landlords who house high-needs tenants to be much more directly involved in managing tenancies. That includes enforcing rules like when and how guests can visit buildings — rules that aren’t in place at other rental buildings. In some buildings, those restrictions were in place long before COVID-19 but are now stricter. “People who live in supportive housing are very usually a very volatile population anyways, and while many of these policies are very well meaning, it has resulted in cutting many of them off from supports,” Patterson said. Several supportive housing tenants in B.C. have challenged guest restrictions in court and won, Patterson said. And yet, the restrictions continue to be applied by housing providers, including Atira, who say they are needed to keep their buildings safe. Patterson said it’s also very common for tenants in supportive housing buildings to get letters like the one Grant received. He said it’s good for landlords to give tenants a warning first so they can correct the situation, “but on the flip side, a lot of times these letters are used kind of as cudgels to get people to behave better or more like the landlord wants to see.” This October, the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre hired a new legal advocate to focus solely on helping tenants who live in supportive housing, Patterson said. Tenants and staff from Vancouver Coastal Health have raised concerns that restricting guests led to more overdose deaths in the spring of 2020, although housing providers have disputed that. In early April, Grant’s son Duncan died in his room at the London, another Atira-operated SRO building in Vancouver. Grant still wonders if things would have been different if she had been allowed in the buildings to look for him when he stopped answering his phone. Savoy resident Mendes said staff at his building try to do a good job, and he said Atira has been receptive to hearing his concerns about the current guest rules. But he said it was frightening and upsetting to have police officers pound on his door, to be pulled physically out of his apartment and to be held in the hallway while police searched his home. The Vancouver Police Department says it does not have a record of the incident Mendes described. There have been several media stories about police breaking up large parties in other parts of Metro Vancouver, but Mendes believes the situation he experienced would have been handled differently outside of the Downtown Eastside. “In any other neighbourhood, they would send the bylaw officer if the neighbours complained that there are too many people. An officer would come there, ring the doorbell and ask the tenant or the homeowner if there’s somebody in there that was breaking the provincial policy,” he said. “As opposed to pulling you out and having three cops come barrelling into your place and the other one holding you outside.” Grant, who has herself experienced homelessness, said it’s very difficult to not be able to invite your loved ones inside when they’re suffering outside in the winter. “There’s a lot of parents down here, a lot of mothers, a lot of grandmothers,” she said. “They’re not going to let their kids stay out in the cold.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Alberta is easing restrictions on outdoor social gatherings, funerals and on businesses such as barbershops and tattoo studios. Starting Monday, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people but indoor gatherings are still banned. Funerals can now have 20 people in attendance, but receptions are still prohibited. Personal wellness services can reopen by appointment only. Businesses include hair and nail salons, aesthetics, reflexology, and piercing and tattoo shops. “If we continue to see case rates and hospitalizations and out ICU admissions continue to slow down and go down, we will continue to open things back up,” said Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro. “It’s that simple.” Shandro said Alberta's health authorities do not yet know when other COVID-19 measures will be lifted. However, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said more restrictions will be lifted if active cases continue dropping. "This first move is a test case," she said. "This is our opportunity to give Albertans a little bit more freedom and the ability to do a few more activities in a safe way." Hinshaw warned the easing of restrictions and shrinking number of new daily cases does not mean the crisis has been contained. Hospitalizations are still high and Alberta's health-care system is still strained, she said. "By easing some measures like outdoor gathering limits, we hope to support Albertans’ mental health, while still following other restrictions that are helping us reduce case numbers," said Hinshaw. Economic Minister Doug Schweitzer also announced that Alberta's small and medium business relaunch grant will include businesses that started between March 1 and Oct. 31. Businesses that have seen at least a 30 per cent drop in revenue because of COVID-19 could be eligible for up to $15,000. Applications open Feb. 4. email@example.com Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
GAZA, Palestinian Territory — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday decreed parliamentary and presidential elections for later this year in what would be the first vote of its kind since 2006, when the Islamic militant group Hamas won a landslide victory. Elections would pose a major risk for Abbas' Fatah party and also for Hamas, which welcomed the decree. Both have faced protests in recent years over their inability to reconcile with one another, advance Palestinian aspirations for statehood or meet the basic needs of those in the territories they govern. Fatah and Hamas have been publicly calling for elections for more than a decade but have never been able to mend their rift or agree on a process for holding them, and despite Friday's decree, it remained far from clear whether the voting would actually be held. Elections could also complicate President-elect Joe Biden's plans to restore aid to the Palestinians and to revive the peace process with Israel. The 2006 election victory by Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by Israel and Western countries, led to heavy international pressure being placed on the Palestinian Authority. Clashes between Fatah and Hamas raged for more than a year, culminating in Hamas' 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip, which it still controls despite a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade and three wars with Israel. Abbas' Palestinian Authority is confined to the occupied West Bank, where it administers major population centres according to agreements with Israel. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. The decree sets a timeline in which legislative elections would be held on May 22, followed by presidential elections on July 31 — the first since Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005. Elections for the National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents the Palestinian cause internationally, would be held Aug. 31. Abbas handed the decree to Hanna Nasir, the head of the Central Election Commission. Hamas welcomed the decree and expressed its “strong eagerness to make this obligation successful.” “We have worked in the past months to surmount all hurdles to reach this day, and we have shown a lot of flexibility,” it said in a statement. It also called for dialogue ahead of the vote. Fatah and Hamas have tried to reconcile on a number of occasions over the years, but every attempt has devolved into bickering and mutual recriminations, leaving the Palestinians divided politically and geographically, and further dashing their hopes for independence. Mkhaimar Abusada, a political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, said the decree “points to a certain seriousness by Abbas on the issue of elections, regardless of the problems they could face and the disagreements that are not yet settled.” A poll carried out in December by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that if parliamentary elections were held, Fatah would win 38% of the vote and Hamas would win 34%. Abbas would lose in a presidential election against Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, 43% to 50%, according to the survey. The pollsters interviewed 1,270 Palestinians face to face across the West Bank and Gaza, and reported a margin of error of 3%. Hamas has spent years building up its own government in Gaza, including by hiring new civil servants to to replace those loyal to Abbas. It has also refused to give up its vast arsenal of rockets and other arms, and considers Israel a sworn enemy. Abbas is opposed to violence and favours negotiations leading to a two-state solution with Israel, a position with wide international support. It would be virtually impossible for Hamas to assume responsibility over the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank, where Israel maintains overall security control. The Palestinian Authority co-ordinates with Israel on security, economic and other matters. Abbas, 85, has led the Palestinian Authority and the PLO since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 and has no clear successor. ___ Associated Press writer Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem contributed to this report. Fares Akram, The Associated Press
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss the French league game at Angers on Saturday as he self-isolates. Pochettino's assistants, Jesus Perez and Miguel D’Agostino, will take charge against Angers, PSG said on Friday. Pochettino took over this month after Thomas Tuchel was fired, and on Wednesday he won the first silverware of his career when PSG beat Marseille in the Champions Trophy. PSG had players missing for that game after testing positive for COVID-19. PSG's players hugged each other in a big group after the final whistle as they celebrated. Pochettino was not wearing a face mask when he was hugged by Neymar after he scored a late penalty, nor when joining in trophy celebrations with the players. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
“Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” - that’s the motto for the week as Ontario hits another COVID-19 milestone, reaching more than 5,000 deaths from the virus. In light of this statistic, new measures that the province has announced gives local by-law officers more authority to ensure the public complies with the new measures, as well as authority to ticket and fine those who don’t. On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the second state of emergency for the province, effective immediately, along with a mandatory stay-at-home order, commencing today (Thursday). These new restrictions require all Ontarians to stay at home unless going to grocery stores, pharmacies, or medical appointments. Further restrictions will be in place for workplaces. All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. Under the Reopening Ontario Act, both individuals and businesses that do not fall in line with these newly imposed measures could face fines and up to a year in jail, according to the Solicitor General. Uxbridge By-Law Services said Tuesday that enforcement of the measures continues to be a joint effort between municipal law enforcement officers, the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), the Region of Durham Health Department, and various government of Ontario provincial offences officers. Kristina Bergeron, manager of Uxbridge By-Law Services, said that enforcement will be conducted both proactively and complaint based. “If residents have observed a violation, they are asked to report the violation to the Durham Regional Police Service non-emergency number at 905-579-1520 or submit a complaint online at www.drps.ca under Online Services - Community Concerns. DRPS is the main point of contact for complaints, and matters deemed required to be addressed by municipal law enforcement will be dispensed to us through DRPS,” said Bergeron. On Tuesday, the province also shared new modeling data showing the infection curve set to take a steep rise in the next few weeks. With a positivity rate of more than five percent in all age groups, a survey by the government showed that only a third of the population is actually following Public Health guidelines in a manner that will help to end the pandemic. Dr. Matthew Anderson, president and CEO of Ontario Health, fears that Ontarians are not afraid as they were in the first wave of the virus. “When you’re a bit younger, you feel a bit immortal. But we’re not. And we are seeing trends where people who are younger are getting COVID, and while the mortality rate may not be as high, we can certainly see continued morbidity for those people. So there’s really no one who should consider themselves immune until they are vaccinated.” Over the past four weeks there has been a 72 per cent increase in hospitalizations and a 61 per cent increase in ICU patients. Half of the province’s hospitals have run out of capacity and can no longer take patients for emergencies such as traumas from accidents, heart attacks or emergency surgeries. This type of ICU occupancy can compromise care across the province. As of Monday evening, another eight cases of the UK variant, V117, were found in Ontario. Dr. Anderson said that if this new strain spreads through community transmission, Ontario residents can expect to see the case curve rise close to vertical by the end of January. By Tuesday evening, more than 133,000 doses of the COVID vaccine had been administered in Ontario, with over 6,000 Ontarians fully vaccinated with a second dose. “We have hope on the horizon, it’s in sight, it's in reach,” said Ford. To get ‘herd immunity’, experts say approximately 60 to 70 per cent of the population will need to be vaccinated. A group of North Durham doctors and medical administrative staff are working to get the vaccination serum into the Uxbridge community and say that once it is here, the community will be informed. Uxbridge currently has 14 active cases with only one of those being hospitalized. According to the Durham Region Public Health website, both Reachview Village and Uxbridge Cottage Hospital still have outbreak status. For more, visit durham.ca/covidcasesJustyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
The lawyer for a man who admitted to earning money by putting a teenager to work in the sex trade said lockdowns at a Toronto jail — where he’s spent most of the past year — along with harsh conditions imposed by the pandemic should make a big dent in the ultimate sentence meted out. Moses Gregory, 24, of Toronto, had earlier pleaded guilty to procuring sexual services, along with charges related to a police chase through Innisfil three years ago. During a court appearance through a video feed from the Toronto South Detention Centre, where he has been held since Jan. 19, 2020, Gregory apologized to a “naive” teenager he put to work as an escort and those he has wronged. ”I hope to contribute some way to society and I want to be a proper father to my daughter,” he told the Ontario Superior Court in Barrie. “I hope one day you could forgive me for the damage I caused.” Crown attorney Lynn Shirreffs was seeking a three-year sentence for the charge of procuring sexual services in addition to breaching a recognizance and probation, dangerous driving, and escape by flight. South Simcoe police earlier indicated its criminal investigation bureau launched an investigation in January 2018 into human trafficking involving an 18-year-old woman, resulting in the procuring charge, which is related to the control of another person to engage in sexual acts to derive financial gain. Gregory was also accused of fleeing from police the previous December when he narrowly missed running over an officer’s foot, court heard. Much of Wednesday’s sentencing hearing focused on the credit Gregory would get for the time he spent in jail waiting for his day in court. His lawyer, David Heath, argued just about all the time he’s spent in what has been described in the media as “Toronto’s worst jail,” which was also the subject of an Ontario Human Rights Commission report, should go against the ultimate sentence. Gregory told the court there have been ongoing lockdowns at the jail due to the pandemic. He said he has had trouble accessing a phone to call his lawyer, hadn’t had a shower in three days, had been unable to have family visits for months, and was in segregation over Christmas from Dec. 9 to 27 because of a COVID outbreak. “We should have the basic human contact,” he told the court. Shirreffs said Gregory exploited the young woman to provide his only source of income at the time, wanting her to perform certain sexual acts against her wishes. She said he had a business, associates and a plan that he executed. The woman is now struggling to survive and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, Shirreffs added. Heath said Gregory did make some progress in jail and tried to upgrade his education, adding that whatever the judge’s determination, he would eventually be released from jail. The lawyer said future risks could be reduced if his client could access programming. “What can we do to assist with an inevitable reintroduction to the community?” Heath said is the question that should be asked. Justice Susan Healey will deliver her sentence on Feb. 4.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
The governors of several states accused the Trump administration on Friday of deception in pledging to immediately distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from a stockpile that the U.S. health secretary has since acknowledged does not exist. Confusion over a vaccine supply windfall that was promised to governors but failed to materialize arose as scattered shortages emerged on the frontlines of the most ambitious and complex immunization campaign in U.S. history, prompting at least one large New York healthcare system to cancel a slew of inoculation appointments. Just 10.6 million Americans have received a shot since federal regulators last month granted emergency approval to two vaccines, one from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and a second from Moderna Inc, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.
The Ford government’s state of emergency declaration had Peel residents scratching their heads this week amid confusion and criticism over how the new “stay at home” order differed from restrictions imposed in November. For Peel businessowners, one thing was unmistakable: the runway to re-opening just got a lot longer. Since the start of the pandemic it was clear some areas of Brampton and Mississauga were going to face unique challenges due to a range of demographic and economic realities. The small business sector has been directly impacted, and many leaders in Peel have engaged in hand-wringing, pointing to everyone but themselves to help struggling entrepreneurs, while many criticized public health measures for doing more harm than the virus itself. Unlike the City of Boston, which set aside $15 million of municipal funds to help small businesses, Mississauga and Brampton have not pursued creative initiatives allowed under existing legislation to directly help local entrepreneurs. Efforts to curb local public health restrictions have not been matched with specific local policies to get immediate support to small businesses. On November 11, when a lockdown seemed inevitable because of unparalleled infection rates in parts of the region, Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish suggested that “if we put a little pressure on Dr. Loh (Peel’s chief medical officer)”, he could be convinced to alter restrictions around indoor dining. On November 23, the day Peel was put into lockdown, she was more brazen in her calls, saying City Council should “start pressuring” Loh to separate Brampton from Mississauga, in an effort to spare her city’s small businesses from harsher restrictions. In attempts to curb the second wave of COVID-19, the Region has been under some form of advanced public health restriction for more than seven consecutive weeks, beginning with the lockdown on November 23. Since then, rising case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the pandemic drove the premier to declare a “crisis” in the province, issuing regulations late into the evening on January 13, just five hours before the stay-at-home orders came into effect. They will remain in place until at least February 11. Non-essential retail businesses are required to limit their hours of operation between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., including those which offer curbside pickup. Restaurants serving and delivering takeout food, grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies are among the retailers that can remain open beyond that window. For John Pappas, owner of The Crooked Cue restaurant and billiards hall in Port Credit, the extra hours are unlikely to make a difference. “We’re not even doing five-percent of our regular sales with the takeout,” Pappas told The Pointer. “It’s brutal, and the government is barely helping. They say they’ve got your back and they don’t.” The second wave and current infection rates that are much higher than what was seen in the spring coincide with the thinning of financial supports from Ottawa and Queen’s Park, as both higher levels of government struggle to manage budgets already devastated by the pandemic. On January 15, the Province finally launched its latest grant program for small business owners to apply for $10,000 to $20,000 in funding, as the pandemic gets worse. There is no end in sight, and concerns are now being raised by some in medical circles around the world that a silver-bullet vaccine is unlikely. The future picture for entrepreneurs has never been so unclear. According to a December 2020 StatsCan report assessing pandemic business closures by September, Ontario registered an 8.3 percent drop in businesses compared to February, translating to a loss of about 25,600 commercial operations which was not offset by new businesses opening. The supports available to small businesses from the provincial and federal governments fell short in the second wave of the pandemic compared to the first, Pappas said, citing his experience with narrowed criteria of the emergency wage benefit, lack of mandated business loan deferrals, and restrictive eligibility for certain grant programs based on the size of a company’s payroll. “I was at Costco…there must have been 500 people in the store. Meanwhile, a retail store can’t even have five people inside,” Pappas said in an interview, prior to Thursday’s emergency order. “The big businesses are thriving. The small businesses are getting killed.” Still, Pappas does not see cities like Mississauga being able to wield “financial firepower” to help business owners. Elsewhere in Canada, some municipal officials sprung to take pay cuts at the beginning of the pandemic, including Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who voluntarily reduced his pay by 20 percent until at least July. In October, Edmonton city council members agreed to freeze their salaries for the next two years in response to the pandemic, following the recommendation of an independent oversight committee. Outgoing city manager and chief administrative officer Janice Baker told The Pointer in April that pay-related solutions were “token, and right now we’re all working harder than we’ve ever worked...so I feel like I’ve earned all the dollars I’ve been paid in the last few weeks.” “At the end of the day, are we going to solve the financial problem on the backs of all of us taking a 10 percent pay cut? No,” said Baker, who announced her retirement from Mississauga in the spring and returned to work as the new Chief Administrative Officer for the Region of Peel by the fall. Brampton’s and Mississauga’s council members have not passed any resolution to reduce their own pay, while thousands of their constituents, including many who cover their salaries, have endured a loss of income or their job. While both of the city’s mayors and councillors have pointed to higher levels of government for more funding to help local businesses, council members are not toting around an empty toolbox. “We have a number of consultations with [businesses] and we asked them what they need...and we've been advocating to other levels of government,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in response to The Pointer’s questions at her January 13 press conference. She pointed to tax deferrals, approved in both Brampton and Mississauga, on commercial and residential taxes. (About 60 percent of Mississauga’s cash flow comes from property taxes.) The cities also offer a variety of small-business resources, such as free information seminars on using digital tools and business mentorship, patio programs for restaurants in Brampton, and buy-local campaigns like Mississauga Made. Mississauga is also in talks with food delivery app Ritual to extend its partnership for commission-free local ordering. But these are not significant supports that make a difference when businesses face the prospect of closing, for good. Other courses of action were proven, in hindsight, to be desperate efforts to help businesses regain revenues when the public health landscape in Peel was becoming more precarious. In a last-ditch attempt to push for easing the lockdown in some pockets of Peel, regional councillors from Mississauga and Caledon backed a motion on December 3 urging Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh to use targeted interventions that would see certain restrictions in Mississauga drop while Brampton’s remained intact. Three weeks later – as daily cases in Peel hit records of above 600 and Mississauga hospitals looked to hire more doctors for pandemic support – the province-wide shutdown began. There are examples of more direct action by municipalities to aid local small businesses during the worst crisis they have ever faced. South of the border, some American cities are helping businesses in a range of ways. “In the very early days of the pandemic, when the federal government hadn’t put any money out yet, communities scrambled and did amazingly creative things,” said Kennedy Smith, a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Washington D.C. Last summer, she published her research into 26 strategies for local leaders to help safeguard small business during the pandemic. Smith found examples of cities that explored issuing municipal bonds, councillors giving up their salaries to put together small programs to help local businesses, or councils setting aside money that would otherwise be used for capital improvements to recreation programs. Cities like San Francisco and Jersey City passed emergency orders that limited the fees on food delivery apps. Boston has set aside $15 million (US) of municipal funds for small businesses, including a rent relief grant up to $15,000 and a grant for restaurants to retain or rehire staff. Other cities that are smaller than Peel’s, including Lexington, Kentucky and Albuquerque, New Mexico, shifted their procurement strategy to buy directly from local businesses, Smith found. Companies like Glass Commerce, an e-commerce website for verified vendors to connect with governments for a streamlined procurement process, are being used by small governments to help bolster local supply chains, she noted. Relief programs based in the community are also more efficient at getting funds to small businesses, her report found, which were in turn able to give a renewed appreciation to residents and other civic organizations for the importance of small business to the local economy. “That was a huge help there. Things like that were sort of ‘aha’ moments for a lot of community leaders,” Smith said. “We can do these other things we hadn’t really thought about that comp new money back into our community and make the environment a sturdier blanket for small businesses to survive, and then hopefully succeed.” Unlike in some U.S. jurisdictions, however, a city’s power to provide certain types of assistance to small businesses is somewhat limited due to provisions in Ontario’s Municipal Act called anti-bonusing. There are a number of exceptions in the legislation, and it does give municipalities the “power to make grants...for any purpose that council considers to be in the interests of the municipality,” although even this power is limited to certain types of grants. Nonetheless, between the exceptions in the legislation and the ability of cities to explore emergency measures during a crisis, there are certainly tools in the municipal toolbox, and they can look across the border for inspiration to help their local businesses. For example, a state-funded $7-million small business restaurant grant program offered in Baltimore County in Maryland – with a population comparable to that of Mississauga – or the City of Boston restaurant program might not be possible in Ontario because the Act considers certain grants as a financial advantage for one group over another without a “corresponding benefit” to the community. However, an April 2020 Mississauga staff report notes that, “Arrangements that benefit an entire class of businesses, across an entire municipality, while maintaining a level playing field among competitors, are less likely to be challenged for bonusing.” In an email to The Pointer, Councillor Parrish said she believes paid sick leave is the largest policy gap in COVID-19 relief programs offered by the federal and provincial government. When it comes to restaurants, for example, she said the “social services” they perform for their clients, relationships with supply markets and labourers, and years building clientele cannot easily be patched up with funding. “I don’t know how a grant would ever address all those elements, but even an inadequate grant would of course be helpful,” she said in an email. In Brampton, Councillor Jeff Bowman, co-chair of the Social Support Taskforce, said he would see value in relief programs specifically for small businesses. “We do offer grants to community groups and arts businesses, but our local businesses could certainly and deservedly use the assistance,” he said in an email. If a small business closes there are widespread impacts on the municipality, from the immediate loss of commercial property taxes, the potential of reduced neighbourhood values that could impact residential tax revenues and direct damage to local economic development efforts crucial to a city’s growth. With warnings from health experts vocal about the province bracing for a difficult February, local businesses maneuvering the next leg of the pandemic may be looking to local representatives for more than advocacy to higher levels of government. “The municipalities are very much hamstrung right now, and kind of strapped in terms of the pressures on their expenditures, the collapse of some of the revenue side,” said Neil Bradford, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Western University’s Huron College. In an October 2020 research paper published through the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School, Bradford explored historic examples of tri-level policymaking as COVID-19 underscores how cities are key partners to implement programs and services from higher levels of government. Noting that about $8 of every $10 in COVID-19 relief money comes from the federal government, the pandemic is exposing the need for what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the “Team Canada” approach, Bradford said. He believes the pandemic should be motivating leaders to think creatively and get out of the box. Bradford says Politicians and the public have “this expectation that this crisis is kind of a spur to really bold and more policy innovation and responses to these very big and complex challenges. The time is right for some experimentation.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
HALIFAX — The rugged point of land upon which sits the Peggys Cove lighthouse will be getting a much-needed facelift this summer. Plans were announced today to build a large viewing platform to improve access to the site and, at times, prevent people from venturing onto the rocks when storms roll in. The $3.1-million deck is expected to be completed by the end of June. The wood and concrete structure will include steel guardrails that look like fishing nets. The lighthouse and nearby fishing village attracted more than 700,000 visitors in 2018. Nova Scotia is contributing $1.7 million to the project and the federal government is covering the rest of the bill. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alongside Canada’s national flower, sport, symbol and bird, is a national animal that is often forgotten. Canada’s national horse, Le Cheval Canadien, is in danger of disappearing. An Uxbridge equestrian centre, however, is dedicated to the revival of this special breed. Hundreds of years ago, in about 1665, King Louis XIV of France began shipping mares and stallions, with bloodlines from the King’s Royal Stud, to Acadia and New France. These horses had great abilities to adapt to harsh climates (like Canada’s cold winters), rough terrains and were easily trained. They became known as the Canadian Horse, or Le Cheval Canadien. While the breed was well known to American colonists, it is rather rare today. After being used in the American Civil War and for breeding to diversify genetics in American stock, but its popularity in Canada waned. Despite this, however, and despite the fact that the horse was smaller in size and often thought of as the “Quebec pony,” the Canadian Horse was declared by the Parliament of Canada to be the National Horse of Canada in 1909. In 2018, Barb Malcom, owner and head coach of Churchill Chimes Equestrian Centre on Webb Rd., committed to doing her part to save the Canadian Horse. Alongside her riding school, Malcolm set up a sister company called Donalf Farms, specifically to breed the Canadian horses in an attempt to bring back the name and the breed. “I had worked as a professional for over 20 years and just happened to buy an unpapered Canadian gelding. He is one of the most darling horses I’ve ever had,” says Malcom. Very soon Malcom fell in love with the breed. “They are durable, willing, personable and versatile. I went from being a “crossbreed person” to being completely wowed by this purebred.” “It’s one thing for Canadians not to know Canada has a national horse, but for horse people not to know, it just shows how much the breed is in trouble,” says Malcom. If it weren’t for a pandemic, this year Malcom had plans to contact Heritage Canada and rally for government assistance in the fight for the Canadian Horse. “We would love to see federal support,” says Malcom. “It really is an altruistic endeavour, but they're worth it.” Malcolm dreams of one day having all the horses in her riding school be Canadian Horses. “They are so little known, but absolutely remarkable,” says Malcolm. For more information about the national horse of Canada, visit lechevalcanadien.com or find Malcom’s breeding farm at donalffarms.com Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
Advocates fear a federal designation could spell the end of catch-and-release fishing on some or all of eastern Cape Breton's rivers and streams. Ottawa is considering listing Atlantic salmon in the region as endangered under its Species at Risk Act (SARA). But even if the salmon population is listed as endangered, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it won't automatically stop recreational fishing. Bill Haley, president of the Margaree Salmon Association, said successful salmon stocking programs and hatcheries are helping conservation efforts. "The weak link in most of this is the investment in science hasn't been there where DFO are concerned for almost a few decades," Haley said. Salmon populations at risk Despite a recommendation from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2010, DFO hasn't officially labelled eastern Cape Breton salmon as endangered. COSEWIC is an independent advisory panel that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Despite a species designation, populations can only be protected by Ottawa. In 2013 and 2014, DFO conducted two reviews on the species' recovery potential. The news was not good. Although some populations in eastern Cape Breton were viewed as being closer to their conservation requirements, substantial declines were found in other populations such as those in the Grand and Clyburn rivers. In a 2020 report, the Atlantic Salmon Federation said estimated number of egg depositions in Middle, Baddeck and North rivers was below conservation requirements. But Haley feels a lot of time has passed since COSEWIC first made its recommendation. Since that time, he said the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has run a successful salmon stocking program on the Baddeck and Middle rivers. He's also concerned an SARA designation in eastern watersheds would add more pressure on the world-renowned Margaree River, which brings seasonal tourists each year to Cape Breton. "Given accurate data, we have confidence that they will make responsible decisions," said Haley. 'Part of our heritage' Nova Scotia Salmon Association executive member Mike Bardsley said salmon fishing is a part of the province's fabric. "We are all conservationists," he said. "But part of that means when we can recover the population to the point where it's thriving, we create the opportunity for recreational angling and that is a distinct part of our heritage." Bardsley said the association would like to see changes to the way SARA listings are managed. "We don't want to be the generation that closes the book on Atlantic salmon angling in Nova Scotia, and unfortunately a precedent would suggest to us, that when listed under SARA, it's very easy for a river to be closed to angling." In an emailed statement, DFO said that even if listed as endangered, decisions on fisheries closures will be made on a case-by-case basis, while options for catch-and-release fishing will be considered if they do not impact conservation efforts. In addition to listing Atlantic salmon in eastern Cape Breton as endangered, Ottawa is also considering listing salmon in the Gaspé-southern Gulf of St. Lawrence as a special concern and striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence as a special concern. DFO is now finalizing its listing advice for its own minister, along with the minister of environment and climate change, in making a recommendation to cabinet. MORE TOP STORIES