Yassin Dabeh, 19, who worked as a cleaner at a long-term care home in Ontario, died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Middlesex-London Health Unit said the teen is the youngest person in the region diagnosed with the virus to die.
Yassin Dabeh, 19, who worked as a cleaner at a long-term care home in Ontario, died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Middlesex-London Health Unit said the teen is the youngest person in the region diagnosed with the virus to die.
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Les recherches montrent que de nombreux partisans des caméras portatives minimisent la complexité de ces programmes et en exagèrent les avantages potentiels.
A house fire on Tuesday afternoon was caused by an accidental grease fire in the kitchen, according to Windsor's fire department. One person was treated for a minor burn at the home on Lauzon Road, the fire department said in a series of tweets Tuesday. Two people are displaced as a result of the fire, and damage is estimated at $100,000. At about 5:30 p.m., the fire department tweeted that the flames had been extinguished. More from CBC Windsor
The Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) wants to hear from people who have experienced racism and discrimination. The survey is gathering feedback to understand what racism and racial discrimination look like in Timmins. According to the TEDC, the goal is to "help foster a welcoming and inclusive community." “Cultural diversity plays a key role in economic growth and development,” TEDC’s chair Fred Gibbons said in a statement. “Communities that are open to different cultures and ethnicities benefit from an increased range of skills and experiences, creativity, and innovation.” The TEDC is conducting the survey as part of the Timmins Diversity Awareness Project. It is one of 85 projects across Canada funded through the Anti-Racism Action Program. According to the announcement, the project will include a public awareness campaign and a workplace-focused initiative, aimed to create and promote more inclusive communities and workplaces. Advisory group members include local residents, the City of Timmins, Timmins and District Multicultural Centre, Newcomers Encouraging Self-Empowerment in Timmins, Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services, Reseau du Nord, Université de Hearst, Collège Boreal, Northern College, Timmins Chamber of Commerce, and members of the Indigenous Advisory Committee. The 17-question survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. To access the survey, click here. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
Chris Murray, a University of Washington disease expert whose projections on COVID-19 infections and deaths are closely followed worldwide, is changing his assumptions about the course of the pandemic. Murray had until recently been hopeful that the discovery of several effective vaccines could help countries achieve herd immunity, or nearly eliminate transmission through a combination of inoculation and previous infection.
OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns. Ontario MP David Sweet says the pandemic-related restrictions are causing huge psychological and economic damage.He says the public health measures should focus on vulnerable communities, not healthy individuals.Sweet took part in non-essential travel earlier this year and was then removed from his post as chair of a House of Commons committee. He isn't seeking re-election.He's not the only Conservative MP who has expressed frustration with the existing level of COVID-19 restrictions. Several have also spoken out against the new hotel quarantine and testing regime for incoming travellers to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
The volunteers and artists at the Victoria Park Gallery and Gift Shop welcome the opportunity to open its doors once again. With the move into the green zone of the provincial reopening framework, the gallery will now be operating on winter hours, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 3 p.m. Gallery co-president Mary Faubert says visitors will notice a fresh, updated look to the gallery, since it was painted during the last lockdown. Volunteers have also been busy cleaning every nook and cranny as construction has been going on next door. Because of the pandemic, the gallery has deferred having a guest artist of the month to a later date, and instead has created a spring-themed display in the front room. “I am really pleased with the way all the gallery members have come together to deal with COVID,” said Faubert. “We are a co-op and in these trying times, everyone is cooperating.” Faubert says the gallery will adhere to all the protocols set by the province and public health, to keep both volunteers and guests safe. Signage has been placed on the doors asking anyone who is experiencing symptoms not to enter, masks are required by staff and guests, sanitizer is available and the cleaning of often-touched surfaces is constant. The gallery is also asking guests to leave their name and phone number, should contact tracing be required. “We welcome everyone to return to the gallery,” said Faubert. “We look forward to seeing old friends and welcoming new ones.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Shawinigan – La Ville de Shawinigan poursuit ses discussions avec l'entreprise Allen, chargée d'effectuer les travaux de réfection du réseau d'aqueduc et des égouts dans le secteur Lac-à-la-Tortue. La Ville, qui a déjà récupéré 9,3 M$ pour le redistribuer aux fournisseurs, entend continuer à discuter tant qu'il y aura de l'ouverture en ce sens de la part de la compagnie. «On a des choses à faire valoir des deux côtés. Il y a beaucoup de directives de changement sur lesquelles on doit s'entendre. Avant d'aller vers le juridique, on veut continuer à discuter tant que ce sera possible. Jusqu'à présent, on ne s'entend pas sur tout, mais ça se passe bien», confie le maire Michel Angers. La Ville a également adopté, mardi soir en séance du conseil municipal, sa politique de disposition d'immeubles lui appartenant. Cette politique s’applique à une demande déposée à la Ville pour l’acquisition d’un immeuble lui appartenant, à l’exclusion d’un immeuble situé dans un parc industriel et d’une parcelle de terrain étant la rive ou le littoral de la rivière Saint-Maurice. Cette politique ne s’applique pas à une demande déposée par toutes instances gouvernementales, sociétés d’État ou toutes autres entreprises ou sociétés de services publics. «Quand on aura à disposer d'un immeuble, on va d'abord faire un appel public pour voir qui est intéressé par l'immeuble en question. Ça permettra une meilleure transparence et une meilleure égalité pour tous ceux qui seront intéressés», a souligné le maire. Sur ce point, ce ne sera pas nécessairement le plus haut soumissionnaire qui l'emportera, comme on peut le voir habituellement avec des appels d'offres. La politique exclue également les terrains industriels, notamment. Engagée pour l'environnement La Ville a aussi révélé avoir signé une entente avec Shawinigan Aluminium inc. pour la réduction de consommation en eau. La Ville souhaite ainsi encourager les industries qui ont une consommation en eau hors de l'ordinaire à développer des méthodes de production qui réduisent «de façon considérable» leur consommation en eau, ce sur quoi l'entreprise a accepté de travailler. «Nous sommes très fiers de cette entente. Ils ont cru en nous et nous, en eux», a souligné Michel Angers. Toujours en ce qui a trait à l'environnement, le maire a été interrogé par un citoyen mardi soir à savoir où la Ville en était par rapport à l'adoption du bac brun, une démarche qui se fait attendre, selon lui. «C'est un dossier qui me passionne particulièrement. Quand je suis arrivé à la tête de la Régie de gestion des matières résiduelles il y a trois ans et demi, je me suis engagé pour la récolte des matières organiques. Il fallait d'abord obtenir l'acceptabilité sociale des gens de Saint-Étienne-des-Grès où se situe le site d'enfouissement», a-t-il d'abord argué. «On s'enlignait vers cette méthode jusqu'à ce que le gouvernement du Québec demande à Énergir d'injecter 5% de gaz naturel renouvelable dans les tuyaux d'Énergie pour diminuer les gaz à effet de serre. Suite à ça, les prix du biogaz traité ont augmenté sensiblement», ajoute le premier magistrat. «On s'est entendu avec une entreprise française pour construire une usine de raffinage du biogaz, ce qui constitue un premier pas vers la collecte des matières organiques», un projet qui pourrait amener des centaines de milliers de dollars à la Ville, voir près du million annuellement. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Some students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) have created a smartphone app to improve access to Naloxone, the drug that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The idea is to add a level of privacy for those who wish to get a Naloxone kit either for themselves or for individuals they know, who might be at risk for an opioid overdose. The new app has been developed by Jordan Law, MacKenzie Ludgate and Owen Montpellier; all fourth-year students who developed the application as a free and confidential service that can have a Naloxone kit delivered to your front door. NOSM said with the opioid death rate continuing to rise in Northern Ontario, medical students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) saw a way to improve access to Naloxone. Ludgate, a medical student and pharmacist, said the pandemic has made the crisis worse. “Opioid-related death rates in many parts of Northern Ontario are higher during this pandemic and significantly higher than the numbers being reported elsewhere in Ontario,” he said. Montpellier, who also worked on the app, said the privacy aspect is one that might allow for more people to consider obtaining one of the life-saving kits, where in other circumstances they might not have one. “This app offers privacy and access to people who want to have a Naloxone kit on-hand, but who are uncomfortable facing the stigma or fear associated with asking for one in person at a pharmacy or clinic,” he said. Law, who is also a pharmacist and fourth-year student, said the new app could be a welcome thing for Northerners living in isolated areas. “The Naloxone North app also provides improved access for those living in remote, isolated or rural communities in Northern Ontario,” said Law. “As long as you have an Ontario Health card, you can order the kit through the app and request that it be shipped to your preferred location.” The NOSM news release said the students followed the guidelines of the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Naloxone Program to meet the applicable policy requirements for safe Naloxone administration, education and distribution. "Advocacy-focused projects — like Naloxone North — were incorporated into NOSM’s fourth-year MD curriculum as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, NOSM faculty worked quickly to introduce a new curriculum that focused on building advocacy leadership skills at a time when students were not able to work on the frontlines," said the school. Dr. Marion Maar, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and faculty advisor on the project, commented that aside from the obvious life-saving benefit, the initiative should also provide valuable research. “The app provides a simultaneous opportunity to conduct research that will determine whether it is an effective way to support opioid recovery in Northern Ontario. I’m proud of the innovative ideas that NOSM students have implemented to address some of the longstanding issues in our region. During a difficult time of change, they embraced a new curriculum and are indeed making an impact." said Marr. Statistics from Public Health Ontario (PHO) show the opioid-related death rates in many parts of Northern Ontario are significantly higher than the numbers being reported in other parts of Ontario, said the school. A NOSM research team received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study recovery in the opioid crisis in Northern Ontario. They will leverage their work to support ongoing development of the Naloxone North app and study its uptake in rural, Francophone and Indigenous communities. The research is being conducted in collaboration with First Nations and led by Drs. Marion Maar, Darrel Manitowabi, Lorrilee McGregor, and Diana Urajnik, in partnership with the medical students. The medical students would like to thank Dr. Nicholas Fortino, emergency physician at Health Sciences North, for his guidance with the app, which is currently available for free for both Android and iPhone. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota House on Wednesday left the impeachment of the state's attorney general in doubt as lawmakers moved to delay evaluating whether he should be impeached until the conclusion of the criminal case against him for hitting and killing a man with his car. The House State Affairs Committee amended a resolution to impeach Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, striking the articles of impeachment and replacing them with language that said he could potentially be impeached. The resolution, which will next head to the full House, holds no requirement that lawmakers take up the issue once the criminal case has concluded. The lawmakers' move was a step back from impeaching the state’s top law enforcement agent. Just a week ago, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and some lawmakers had pressured him from every conceivable angle to resign. But Ravnsborg defied those calls, even as the articles of impeachment were filed. Ravnsborg is facing three misdemeanour charges for striking and killing Joseph Boever, 55, who was walking on the shoulder of a highway late on Sept. 12. Dates have not been set in Ravnsborg's criminal case. House Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican, had argued that a delay was necessary after a judge last week ordered Noem and government officials to stop releasing evidence in the investigation. He said that a “fair and transparent” hearing on impeachment was not possible while lawmakers are under a gag order. Rep. Will Mortenson, the Republican who filed the articles of impeachment, continued to push for Ravnsborg’s removal from office, saying he had lost the trust needed for the job. But he conceded that a delay was necessary. However, Nick Nemec, Boever's cousin who has been outspoken against the attorney general since shortly after the crash, confronted lawmakers with his frustrations. He brought a jade plant that Boever had propagated, setting it beside him as he told lawmakers how he felt Ravnsborg should have faced more serious charges. He also said his family has dealt with attacks from “internet trolls who have been busy blaming Joe with false accusations." “Lost in the shuffle and made out to be someone he wasn't is Joe Boever,” Nemec said. “Joe was just an average Joe.” After Nemec's statement, the House committee unanimously passed the resolution without discussion. Stephen Groves, The Associated Press
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Wednesday shrugged off new Western sanctions over the poisoning and arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as unfounded and pointless — but warned that Moscow will retaliate. U.S. President Joe Biden's administration sanctioned seven Russian officials on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen government entities, over the nerve-agent attack on Navalny and his subsequent jailing. It co-ordinated the move with the European Union, which expanded its own sanctions Tuesday. Commenting on the U.S. and the EU decisions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sanctions against top Russian officials that include a freeze on their bank accounts duplicate Russia's own law that bans them from having financial and other assets abroad. “These people don't make foreign trips anyway and they don't have the right to open accounts in foreign banks or have any other foreign assets,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. At the same time, he added that the U.S. and EU restrictions “represent meddling in Russia's internal affairs” and are “absolutely unacceptable, inflicting significant damage to the already poor ties." Peskov warned that Russia will now choose a “response that would best serve our own interests,” adding that the relevant state agencies would draft their proposals and submit them to the Kremlin. “The principle of reciprocity in relations between states can't be abandoned,” he said. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning. His arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his sentence to a prison outside Moscow, despite the European Court of Human Rights' demand for his release which cited concerns for his safety. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is a thrill like few others on earth. The ocean is full of life here with a diversity that is unlike any other place of earth. The underwater volcanic structures and unique combination of ocean currents support a rich abundance of life. Sharks thrive here and scuba divers are thrilled to see them during their underwater adventures. But these scuba divers were not so thrilled when they finished exploring and underwater cave and they headed back to the open ocean. They found a group of sharks had entered the cave and were resting just inside the opening. White tip sharks are not likely to attack humans, unless provoked, but the divers were not able to pass through the narrow chamber without coming into direct contact with the 9-10 foot beasts. This would definitely be inviting trouble and the divers would be unable to easily turn and retreat back inside the caverns. The moment provided an excellent opportunity to gets some spectacular footage of the unusual scenario with the sharks backlit in an eerie fashion. The scuba divers had planned their dive well and they had plenty of reserve air at this point in the dive. They calmly waited and watched the sharks and eventually all of them swam out into the open water, leaving the exit clear. But for a few minutes, the large sharks in the exit were an intimidating sight indeed! People who venture beneath the waves are wise to remember that they are the visitors, or even intruders in this mysterious domain. Incorrect behaviour here can have immediate and disastrous consequences. The ability to stay calm during unexpected challenges is crucial to survival in a world where your air supply is limited.
TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich has started production on a feature documentary on the late Montreal-raised jazz legend Oscar Peterson. A news release from Avrich's Melbar Entertainment Group says Kelly Peterson, the widow of the virtuoso pianist, will act as consulting producer on "Oscar Peterson: Black and White." The film is billed as a "docu-concert" and will include archival concert footage as well as interviews with family members and musicians who played with the Grammy winner, who died in 2007 at the age of 82 in Mississauga, Ont. It will also feature new performances from artists playing Peterson's music, including Dave Young, Larnell Lewis, Jackie Richardson, Robi Botos, and Measha Brueggergosman. Melbar says the doc will explore Peterson's life and acclaimed career, from his artistic influence and mentorship of other artists, to the racism that he endured and his legacy as "an uncompromising musician with a sense of racial pride." The film is set for a release in the fall and comes on the heels of the release of Historica Canada's Heritage Minute on Peterson. "It is a privilege and career highlight for me to tell Oscar's inspiring story and further immortalize his relentless yet iconic music in this film," said Avrich, a Canadian Screen Award-winning producer and director behind scores of live TV specials and documentaries, including last year's "The Howie Mandel Project." Peterson dazzled audiences with his piano playing around the world and worked with a jazz giants including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. His 1962 composition "Hymn to Freedom" became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, while his 1964 recording “The Canadiana Suite” was in honour of his home country. Avrich and Mark Selby will produce the doc. Avrich will also executive produce, alongside Jeffrey Latimer and Randy Lennox. Other musicians who will perform in the film include Joe Sealy, Stu Harrison, Denzal Sinclaire, and Daniel Clarke Bouchard. “It is gratifying that Oscar’s legacy continues to resonate and inspire music lovers and musicians everywhere," said Kelly Peterson. "I am delighted that this documentary will capture his story, his journey and his place in music history now, and forever." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Late last week reports began circulating on social media alleging a group of hunters from Quebec had travelled to southern Labrador to hunt caribou, believed to be the threatened Joir River herd, a small group of the Mealy Mountain herd that is the most southeasterly caribou of their range. SaltWire Network contacted the Department of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture, which confirmed the department is aware of a group of people who travelled to Labrador from Quebec. “Resource enforcement officers located these individuals when they initially arrived and advised the group that any harvesting of caribou in the Labrador region is illegal,” the department said in a statement. “There are now in excess of 30 snowmobiles in the area. Officers have made patrols to the area and have observed illegally harvested caribou.” The statement said evidence has been collected and enforcement action will be taken as the investigation continues. Hunting caribou is illegal in Labrador, and over the years a handful of hunters from Quebec have been charged and convicted with illegal hunting of the herds. Most recently, three Pakua Shipi Innu men were convicted in January of violating the Wildlife Act and obstruction related to illegal caribou hunting in 2015. The Pakua Shipi Innu hunt in the area annually and have said in the past they dispute the official numbers of the herd and the impact of hunting. Hollis Yetman with the Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association posted about the hunt on Friday, saying the hunters had left Quebec a few days before and spent a night at a hotel near the Quebec-Labrador border before heading into the country. SaltWire spoke with Yetman, who said the hunt happens this time every year like clockwork, and he understands the challenges wildlife officers face when trying to enforce the hunting ban. The remoteness of the area where they hunt, different provincial jurisdictions, the time it takes to mobilize enough officers to respond, and the challenge of confronting a large group of armed men are just some factors, he said. Yetman said consultations need to happen within the communities, and within the Indigenous governments, the provinces and the federal government, “with everybody at the table and find out what the real issues are.” “You have to get at the table and hash out what the real issues and solutions are and deal with it at the table. You can’t deal with it in the country. It’s already too late then.” Yetman said with the caribou numbers as low as they are, the time for enforcement has passed and it’s up to the different governments to find a solution. Everyone he’s spoken to with the federal, provincial and Indigenous governments has been upset about the hunt that happens in the area every year, but it keeps happening, he said. “It makes me believe that everybody, except the Innu in this situation, is powerless,” Yetman said. “They must be, because they can’t stop it. I would say the federal and provincial government is weak. When the hunting happens it’s already too late. I challenge them all to get up and deal with it, behind the scenes, do something and start talks to keep these caribou alive.” The Nunatukavut Community Council (NCC), which represents the Southern Inuit of Labrador, released a statement on Sunday about the illegal hunting, saying they are concerned and disappointed to hear of the hunt. NCC President Todd Russell said they are closely monitoring the situation and are working with provincial authorities to share information. He said in their view, there are no legitimate grounds for taking these animals at this time and NunatuKavut Inuit “have always had a fundamentally important relationship with caribou and our approach has been one of respect." “We have a responsibility as Inuit, as do other Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, to do all we can to protect the caribou and their habitat," Russell said. "This is necessary so that future generations can know about caribou, and to always have it be part of our culture.” Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
“You never count your money,” sang Kenny Rogers, “when you’re sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin,’ when the dealin’s done.” As it turns out, council for the MD of Pincher Creek was able to deal out some much-needed help to local organizations after gathering restrictions affected normal operations last year. The provincial and federal governments helped provide funding to municipalities through the Municipal Operating Support Transfer, which saw the MD receive $305,233. Under half of that amount will be used by the MD to make up for lost tax revenue in 2020; $50,000 of that portion was used to cover additional work-from-home expenses for MD staff, which included upgrading the IT system to improve software speed. Ironically, the MD’s system provider has been slow in making the upgrade to faster software and cannot guarantee the change will occur before March 31, which is when all of the MOST funding must be spent. Upgrading the system, said director of finance Meghan Dobie, remains a priority despite the hiccup. “It is something administration still wants to do to help improve the speed at which our IT software is working.” Rather than gambling on missing the deadline, council followed the finance department’s advice and approved using $6,700 from the tax rate stabilization reserve during its Feb. 23 regular meeting. Council also approved distribution of the remaining MOST funds — a total of $171,390.72 — to community organizations that experienced financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Twenty-six groups petitioned the MD for financial assistance, which totalled $431,000 in requested funds. While unable to meet the requested amount, the MD was able to deal out donations to 19 of those groups. Some of the more significant contributions include $10,000 to Chinook Lanes, $20,000 to the Family Resource Centre, $11,400 to the Livingstone Ski Academy Society and $21,434.50 to the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce. A full list of organizations approved for MOST funding can be found on the MD’s website at https://bit.ly/MD_MOST. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
For more than a year, the PC government’s plan to build a sprawling GTA West transportation corridor flew under the radar. When Doug Ford and his colleagues moved to restart the highway’s environmental assessment (EA) in 2019, reversing the previous Liberal government’s decision to scrap it, few noticed. Subsequent advancements of the project also received little attention, despite sustained opposition by advocacy groups such as Environmental Defence. As 2021 dawned, something started to shift. While the PCs at Queen’s Park approved the highway’s route in August and then quietly moved to speed up the environmental assessment process to get the project started even faster (perhaps to get shovels in the ground before the next election) opposition to their actions mounted. First, Halton Region and the Town of Halton Hills took an aggressive stand against the plan late last year. Then early in the new year the NDP came out against the project, confirming they would scrap it if the party wins election in 2022, and the Liberals followed a few weeks later with the same pledge. Pleas from environmental groups and local residents who will be directly impacted by the massive stretch of six-lane highway grew louder. Early in February, Environmental Defence teamed up with an environmental law-group, Ecojustice, and sent a request to Ottawa. Take over the EA process being rushed through by Queen’s Park, they asked. The request, originally something of a hail mary that relied on a generous interpretation of federal legislation, has already borne fruit. In a series of unexpected votes, Peel’s lower-tier municipalities finally woke up. Caledon and Brampton had endorsed the highway’s progress for years, while Mississauga had chosen not to get involved. Suddenly, Mississauga passed a motion actively opposing the highway, while Caledon and Brampton both backed calls for the federal government to take over the environmental assessment process, meaning it could scrap the entire project, if it decides to get involved. On Tuesday, in another surprise move, the City of Vaughan, where the 400-series highway would run, voted to revoke its support for the project, passing a motion rejecting the plan, instead of simply debating how the assessment should proceed, which was the original plan for the council meeting. Clearly, politicians have been shocked into action by the mounting anger over the PC government’s decision to unilaterally ram through a project that will have devastating consequences on climate change, GTA watersheds, local ecosystems and the environment in general. The world’s largest protected green space, Ontario’s Greenbelt, would see the giant asphalt corridor run right along its southern edge and, in some places, right through the sensitive natural environment covered by provincial legislation. Sustaining the GTA’s watershed, which prevents flooding while ensuring clean water and healthy ecosystems is critical to the health of Ontario’s most populous region. Building a highway across these valuable lands goes against everything the Province has done over the last two decades to protect the environment. But with the blessing of the development industry, Ford ignored all the past work and the decision in 2018 to scrap the project. The tone deaf move at a time when the planet faces unparalleled challenges, is finally being reconsidered. Shaken by the swelling opposition, even the Province has softened its position, with the PCs stating this week in the legislature that the highway might not happen. Hanging over the process is the potential for the federal government to wrestle control of the EA from Queen’s Park and complete its own assessment. The Liberal government has made climate change a key pillar of its mandate, and a massive 400-series highway would only make it more difficult for Canada to meet its obligations under the Paris Accord. In 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the document officially at a United Nations ceremony in New York, he said, "Today, with my signature, I give you our word that Canada's efforts will not cease. Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge." His government now has a clear opportunity to make good on the pledge. If a federal EA is conducted and concludes the highway’s impact to the environment or Canada’s emissions targets would be too great, it could end the project once and for all. Under the Impact Assessment Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has 90 days from the initiation of a request to decide whether or not to designate the project and take control. A spokesperson for the federal government confirmed to The Pointer a decision by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada would be made by May 4 “The agency is currently soliciting the views of the public, Indigenous groups and stakeholders to inform its analysis and prepare a recommendation for the minister,” the spokesperson said. “The agency’s recommendation will also be informed by science, input from the proponent, federal authorities, and other jurisdictions.” There are several concerns around the planned GTA West Corridor. Environmental groups and members of the public were alarmed when the PCs announced in the summer that the EA would be streamlined to get the project started faster. Critics said a shortened assessment would fall short of the rigorous scientific standards required to safely build highway infrastructure on or around protected lands. The issue of whether “the potential adverse effects can be adequately managed through other existing legislative or regulatory mechanisms” is one of the questions Ottawa will now consider in its deliberations. The federal government will also consider if the potential greenhouse gas emissions from the project “may hinder the Government of Canada’s ability to meet its commitments with respect to climate change”. This factor, something a new highway would clearly contribute to, suggests Ottawa could be motivated to intervene. The same legislation applied in the decision on the GTA West Highway is being challenged in Alberta. Court documents submitted by the Government of Alberta call the Impact Assessment Act a “trojan horse” and ask the province’s top court to rule it unconstitutional. "This overreach of federal jurisdiction threatens to eviscerate provincial authority over resource development and must be rejected by this court,” the Alberta government states in the court documents. It follows a theme of similar struggles, particularly in Alberta and Ontario, where Conservative governments have found their policies at odds with aggressive national climate change commitments. Ontario Premier Doug Ford believes large-scale construction projects such as the GTA West Corridor will help reignite the economy when COVID-19 eventually retreats. But the federal Liberals have doubled down on their climate change commitments by significantly increasing the national carbon tax. The spokesperson explained the decision-making process to determine if Ottawa will take over the EA for the highway. “The recommendation will consider whether the carrying out of the project may cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction or adverse direct or incidental effects, and public concerns related to such effects. It will also consider the potential impacts of the project on the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada.” The Fording River Extension in British Columbia, formerly known as the Castle Project, serves as an example. The project was a result of a proposal by Teck Coal Limited to extend the life of its metallurgical coal mine north of Elkford. Between May 12 and July 17, eight separate requests for the Federal government to step in were submitted. They came from different parties, including Indigenous communities and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. On August 19, 99 days after the initial request, the federal government agreed to take over the project’s assessment. So far, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s website only lists one request for the GTA West Corridor to be designated as a federal project, linking to the original February letter from EcoJustice on behalf of its client, Environmental Defence. Other requests in the form of council motions have since been sent, including resolutions passed in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. More than 50 comments have also been submitted by members of the public. A final decision will be publicly rendered by May 4. You can visit the federal government's newly created GTA West Highway impact assessment webpage here. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 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. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
The global semiconductor chip shortage led General Motors Co on Wednesday to extend production cuts at three North American plants and add a fourth to the list of factories hit, and Stellantis to warn the pain could linger far into the year. The extended cuts do not change GM's forecast last month that the shortage could shave up to $2 billion from this year's earnings. GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson subsequently said chip supplies should return to normal rates by the second half of the year and he was confident the profit hit would not worsen.
LONDON — Prince Philip is “slightly improving” and the royal family is keeping its fingers crossed for the hospitalized duke's recovery, his daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said Wednesday. Philip, 99, has been hospitalized since being admitted Feb. 16 to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday, he was transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew’s, to undergo further treatment alongside testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition. Camilla said during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination centre in London that Philip is “slightly improving,” but he “hurts at moments.” “We keep our fingers crossed,” said the duchess, who is married to Prince Charles, eldest son of Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. The comments were reported by broadcasters covering the visit. Buckingham Palace said Monday that Philip was “comfortable and is responding to treatment but is expected to remain in hospital until at least the end of the week.’” The two-week stay is already Philip’s longest-ever stint in hospital. Philip, who retired from royal duties in 2017, rarely appears in public. During England’s current coronavirus lockdown, Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The Associated Press
An Ottawa city council committee approved spending an additional $15 million on lawyers and technical experts to fight Rideau Transit Group (RTG) after a behind-closed-doors update on the ongoing legal battles with the contractors that built the Confederation Line. A late-night finance and economic development meeting began Tuesday with a 90-minute in camera session where councillors heard the city requires "ongoing legal and subject matter technical expertise support." The city is withholding tens of millions of dollars in payments to RTG and its maintenance arm, including $59 million from the final payment in 2019, due to the 456-day delay in handing the LRT system over to the city. Since the Confederation Line launched in September 2019, the city has only paid RTG part of what the consortium — led by SNC-Lavalin and ACS Infrastructure — has billed due to poor or missed service. The legal battle over the money appears not to be over and it's not known how much the city has spent so far. Although there is still $9.4 million remaining in the city's contingency fund for Stage 1, "these project contingency funds have been fully expended due to the nature of [the] City's claims disputes with RTG," according to the motion to add that additional $15 million. Although the money will come out of the transit capital reserve fund, the motion states the city plans to "attempt to recover these costs in the dispute resolution process against RTG."
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kincardine and District Dancing with the Stars fundraiser has been rescheduled to Aug. 19 and this year, will be held as a virtual event. The event welcomes local dance teams, composed of a local celebrity and a seasoned dancer, to compete against each other on the dance floor and raise money for BBBS. It was originally scheduled for April of 2021. The 2020 event was cancelled because of COVID restrictions. “Although we were hoping to be able to bring our community together for another exciting evening of in-person entertainment this year, we have made the decision for the health and safety of our volunteers, supporters and dancers to move to a virtual event,” said Yolanda Ritsema, executive director of BBBSKD. The first Dancing with the Stars event debuted in 2019, and was a huge success. Bill Pike and Jennifer White topped the podium, and the event raised $12,600. BBBSKD, along with many other not-for-profit groups, have felt the fundraising pinch since the beginning of the pandemic, when many events were cancelled because of stay-at-home and gathering restrictions. The groups have had to pivot and develop new means to raise much-needed funds. “The funds from Dancing with the Stars go to support our programs and services,” said Ritsema. “We serve 50 young people in Kincardine and area. Our mission is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships that ignite the power and potential of young people. We serve young people who face adversity and are in need of an additional supportive developmental relationship.” “With monies raised from our main fundraising programs, like Dancing with the Stars, we are able ignite the power and potential of young people by intentionally recruiting volunteers based on the needs of our community's young people; by matching young people with a professionally screened volunteer mentor; by monitoring and supporting that match with a professional caseworker; by training and supporting the mentor, the mentee and the family; and by building a Developmental Relationship between the mentor and the mentee that Expresses Care, Challenges Growth, Provides Support, Shares Power and Expands Possibilities.” Ritsema says that having a big brother or sister has a long term effect on their littles. Mentored youth are two times more likely to give back to their community and 81 per cent of mentored youth report having stronger financial literacy. Forty three per cent are less likely to conduct problems at school and 98 per cent believe they make better life choices. For every $1 invested in Big Brothers Big Sisters, $23 is returned to society. Ritsema says the volunteer team responsible for organizing the event has been hard at work creating a virtual experience everyone will enjoy. Besides the dance competition, the event will feature an online auction and an “early bird” raffle for Mother’s Day, featuring a pair of Canadian diamond earrings, donated by Gemini Jewellers in Kincardine. The dancing pairs, Alana Rozon and Murray Needham, Braden Prasad and Patty Coulter, Gord Dunbar and Sally Ballard, Sarah and Keith Foster and John Binnendyk and Karen Maliseni, will each perform two routines, which will be judged by Michael Rencheck, Jessica Brown and Taylor Pollard. John Low will serve as the master of ceremonies. “We have five wonderful dance couples who have been working so hard for several months to bring you an incredible night of performances,” said Linda Johnson, Dancing with the Stars team captain. “This event will still sparkle and thrill our audience as they watch from the comfort of their homes.” Updates and tickets for the event will go on sale in the coming months. More information can be found by visiting www.kincardine.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca and checking the social media page. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent