In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Despite the current provincewide stay-at-home order, Community Care Peterborough programs are still continuing. “We have been deemed an essential service. Our health care and seniors support programs are necessary to keep the most vulnerable safe in their own homes,” executive director Danielle Belair stated. “In particular, our food support services for seniors including meal and grocery delivery are particularly important at this time.” Hot Meals on Wheels that cost $8 to $10 each are available in Peterborough city on weekdays and in Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Frozen Meals on Wheels — with entrées for $5.25 each, soups for $2.50 each and desserts for $2.50 each — are also available in Peterborough, Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock, as well as in Buckhorn, Apsley, Bridgenorth, Ennismore, Keene and Millbrook areas. “We have great menu options available, and I encourage residents to try these meal deliveries, delivered right to your door and can be conveniently heated when you need them,” Belair stated. For those who’d prefer to prepare their own meals, grocery shopping and delivery services are also available, according to the organization. “If you are interested in grocery shopping services, please call the Community Care office closest to you to make arrangements to purchase a grocery card which will be used by your volunteer shopper to purchase your groceries,” stated Catherine Pink, Community Care Peterborough’s director of support services. “If you have preordered your groceries and need someone to pick them up and deliver to your home, we just need to know what store and time and date for pick up.” To limit the spread of COVID-19, the organization has cancelled blood pressure clinics, foot clinics, in-person (indoor) falls prevention and exercise classes and has also closed the New to You thrift stores. “All other programs like Meals on Wheels, transportation, home help and maintenance, home at last, etcetera, will remain in operation, all adapted to comply with safety protocols,” Belair stated. “Our exercise and wellness supervisor co-ordinator also has an exciting catalogue of free fitness classes geared to older adults, available by Zoom, for those who are looking for active activities.” Belair said Community Care remains focused on supporting Peterborough city and county residents. “We appreciate all those who are staying home and allowing our staff and volunteers to remain focused on providing programs that are supporting our clients and area residents to remain safely in their homes,” Belair stated. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Barricades that blocked the Highway 6 bypass around Caledonia for the past three months came down this week, but traffic is not flowing just yet. Land defenders from Six Nations carted away construction debris and moved a large dirt pile off the road. But a trench dug just south of Argyle Street needs to be repaired before the bypass can reopen. Skyler Williams, spokesperson for the land defenders, told The Spectator that Ministry of Transportation inspectors were out assessing the state of the bypass. “The MTO and OPP have full access,” Williams said. “So it’s just a matter of them fixing the road.” The bypass has been blocked three times since the dispute over a planned subdivision on McKenzie Road started in mid-July, when land defenders occupied the 25-acre site — which they claim as unceded Haudenosaunee territory — and named it 1492 Land Back Lane. The most recent barricades started to go up Oct. 22, prompted by a skirmish with police hours after a Superior Court judge made permanent a pair of injunctions barring land defenders from occupying the McKenzie land or blocking roadways in Haldimand County. Williams said trenches were dug across the bypass, Argyle Street and McKenzie Road that night “to protect our camp from police violence.” On Monday, the Land Back group announced it would move off the bypass and shrink the occupied zone on Argyle Street in hopes of persuading the federal government to engage in nation-to-nation negotiations. “In August, barricades were removed in good faith because (federal ministers) Carolyn Bennett and Marc Miller said they would meet with our community, but that hasn’t happened,” Williams said. “We’re just trying to push the feds and the province to come here with a mandate to make some real changes.” Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt reacted with tempered enthusiasm to the news. “This is a step in the right direction, but we’re not breaking out the champagne at this point,” he said. “We stand behind the process we took with the developer and Six Nations in getting to the point where this particular development was to proceed. We believe there’s still a long way to go for us to get to where we feel we belong.” Reopening the bypass should relieve pressure on detour routes that have been clogged with transport trucks and plagued by collisions. But access in and out of Caledonia will still be limited. Land defenders still control roughly one kilometre of Argyle Street south of the town, from the south end of the Caledonia Baptist Church property to just north of a Hydro One transfer station the utility company took offline as a security precaution in October. Williams said his group moved the school bus that had been blocking access to the church parking lot as a gesture of good faith. Trenches ring the construction site on McKenzie Road, while the mangled rail line that runs through the community remains out of service. The barricades serve a tactical purpose, making it harder for the OPP to reach the Land Back camp. Land defenders also hoped to raise public awareness of what they consider an unjust development and put pressure on the government to act. But Hewitt said talks can’t proceed against a backdrop of blockaded roads and occupied land. “It all has to start with roads and infrastructure being opened up,” the mayor said. “So if this is the sign of those steps moving forward, then I’m encouraged, and I encourage that to continue.” The federal ministers have said they are waiting to be invited to a meeting at which Six Nations Elected Council and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council can speak with one voice. Getting to that point involves overcoming a century of political division on the reserve that Williams said was created by the federal government instituting the band council system to supplant traditional leadership. “The government and the police, and the Brits before Canada, have tried really hard to divide not just our community, but every (Indigenous) community,” he said. “So for them to take advantage of that century-old divide in our community and say you need to get over the division of the last 100 years, that reconciliation has to come with some trust-building.” Hewitt said it only makes sense for Ottawa to want a lasting solution “that’s embraced by all.” “We can’t continue to have a conversation today with one faction (on Six Nations) and then find out tomorrow that that faction is no longer valid,” he said, calling it “unfortunate” that Caledonia residents and McKenzie homebuyers are stuck in the middle. “We’re looking forward to not only this road, but every road being open, and a strategy that Haldimand and Six Nations can embrace with respect to land development and opportunities that can benefit both communities,” Hewitt said. Williams cautioned that the barricades could go up again if the land defenders and their allies feel they are in danger of being forcibly removed by police while political negotiations proceed. “We know our community supports us and believes in our right to our land,” he said. “We know that if police escalate this situation again, that community will show up for us.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China battles its worst outbreak of the disease since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans amid new curbs. Mainland China reported a slight decline in new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday - 103 from 144 infections a day earlier. Of the new cases, 94 were local transmissions, Heilongjiang province in the northeast reported 47 new cases, while Shanghai reported six new cases and the capital, Beijing, reported three new cases.
VICTORIA — The B.C. government says a review of legal options has made it clear it cannot prevent people from travelling to the province from elsewhere in Canada. Premier John Horgan says in a statement that much of the travel that is happening between provinces is work-related and can't be restricted. The province had asked for a review of legal options related to restricting interprovincial travel last week in response to concerns that visitors have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. Horgan says the province also asked for "a better understanding of the impact of travel on transmission" of the illness. He says B.C. can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of residents. If transmission increases due to interprovincial travel, the premier says B.C. would impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers, though he did not offer details on potential measures in Thursday's statement. Horgan said he spoke with premiers in other provinces Thursday and asked them to share messages that now is not the time for non-essential travel. "We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely," he said. Public health officials indicate it's most important that everyone obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules, said Horgan. While announcing the legal review on Jan. 14, Horgan said he wanted to put the matter of interprovincial travel restrictions "either to rest, so British Columbians understand we cannot do that" or find if there's a way to do it. Horgan added that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exploring further restrictions on international travel and “B.C. stands ready to assist.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network's audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural. The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump's swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said. On the flip side, Fox News Channel's audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said. A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden's inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn't have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes. CNN, with 10 million viewers, easily beat ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and Fox during Biden's big moment, Nielsen said. That's 196% more than watched Trump four years ago. CNN, which has been on a hot streak in the ratings since Biden's victory, also topped all the others for its coverage of the primetime inaugural celebration. MSNBC, meanwhile, said it recorded the highest daytime ratings of the network's nearly 25-year history on Wednesday. ABC had 7.66 million viewers for the oath-taking (up 10% from 2017), NBC had 6.89 million (down 12%) and CBS had 6.07 million (down 13%), Nielsen said. David Bauder, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete, fuelling the frustration of openness advocates. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government proponents, who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly managed. "Putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea," said Ken Rubin, a researcher and longtime user of the access law. The Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records, he said. Cara Zwibel, director of the fundamental-freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said she is frustrated by the review because many of the issues have already been studied by bodies including the federal information commissioner and the House of Commons committee on information, privacy and ethics. The timetable likely means that any change to the law or how it works is at least 18 months to two years away, and even that would assume the Liberals were still governing and had the same priorities, she said. "I am disappointed that we remain in a holding pattern when it comes to advancing in this area." Conservative MP Luc Berthold, the party's Treasury Board critic, called it another example of the government failing to take transparency seriously. "It’s irresponsible for the Trudeau Liberals to wait another year to fix the issues in Canada’s information system," he said. "The time to act is now.” The terms of reference say the review will focus on the legislative framework, opportunities to improve proactive publication to make information openly available and assessing processes to improve service and reduce delays. "The review will seek to broaden understanding of the Access to Information Act, its important role in our democracy and the values and principles it balances." Details about consultations and procedures for making written submissions will be posted on the review's website. The government says the resulting report, to be tabled in Parliament, will include a summary of feedback received during the review and provide recommendations to improve access to information for Canadians. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer's Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada's deliveries over four weeks in half. In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021. Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February. Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn't know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada's doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned. Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses. Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn't blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes ... I'd be on that phone call every single day. I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," he said of Pfizer's executives. Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday. Trudeau didn't suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected. Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays. Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn't say which ones. Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment. Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks. Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March. Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
The New Democratic Party has pledged changes to medical transportation in Labrador, which the party says will ease the burden on patients traveling to St. John's for procedures — but can't say exactly how an NDP government would manage any additional costs to the health care system. NDP Leader Alison Coffin unveiled the campaign policy Thursday, telling CBC News the change would remove the onus from patients to pay for flights and wait for reimbursement. "We believe that cost should be covered up front, and individuals will have far less to worry about — they can concentrate on getting better," Coffin said. "No one who needs any medical care ought to have to worry about being able to afford to make it to that appointment." Under the present rules, the Medical Transportation Assistance Program pays for airfare, taxis, private vehicle usage, hotels, meals, buses and ferries for those who require special medical services that aren't available nearby. Residents requesting financial assistance must apply to the program and sometimes pay a deductible. The Department of Health says on its website that patients may be eligible for partial pre-payment of economy airfare, and encourages applicants to apply two months in advance of their medical appointment. 'Massive issue' Coffin said the loss of all Air Canada routes to and from Labrador airports has increased the risk of a higher financial burden on patients. "I think that we need to look at exactly what the costs are going to be and then adjust that cap accordingly," she said. Ideally, she said, a government clerk would book a ticket for the patient, who would simply need to show up at the airport and board the plane. Coffin did not detail how government might account for missed flights, for instance, but said her government would "take a gradual approach to ensure that we can afford" changes to the reimbursement policy. "I think we need to have a good look at the public accounts, and I know that the auditor general's report has not been out on that yet, but what we do know is that people need help right now." Labrador West candidate Jordan Brown, the incumbent MHA for the region elected in 2019, called medical transport affordability a "massive issue." "We have people here in this town who are fundraising for patients to try to get them up to their appointments," Brown said Thursday. "The problem is some people, especially seniors and people on fixed income, they don't have two grand sometimes to buy this ticket for themselves." Brown also said some people aren't reimbursed the full cost of a last-minute ticket, leaving them on the hook for hundreds of dollars. The Liberal Party has also promised changes to health care in Newfoundland and Labrador, with leader Andrew Furey vowing Wednesday to overhaul sexual and mental health curricula and supply schools with free pads and tampons. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Oil prices fell to end the week little changed and the dollar index posted its largest weekly drop in five weeks. Technology stocks weighed the most on the S&P 500, with IBM and Intel posting 10% and 9% declines, respectively, after underwhelming earnings. Energy stocks also fell on Wall Street, alongside the price of crude.
Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for the right to use their content. Google's threat escalates a battle with publishers such as News Corp that is being closely watched around the world. Australia is on course to pass laws that would make tech giants negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds.
Peterborough County residents may be paying 2.23 per cent more on the county portion of their property tax bills this year compared to last year. County councillors received the draft budget for 2021 from county staff during a special virtual meeting on Thursday. The county plans to raise an additional $1.5 million from tax dollars compared to last year, according to the draft budget, which recommends spending $48,052,395 to run the county in 2021. Increases for salaries and benefits are impacting this year’s budget by about $403,250 and the budget levy by 0.86 per cent. This is as a result of wage increases under collective agreements, non-union wage increases, a decrease in PCCP workplace safety and insurance program NEER charges, annualization of salaries and benefits for new positions or changed positions approved in the 2020 budget — which include purchasing supervisor and IT administrative support — and an additional summer student for the human resources department. Shared services with the city, including housing, child care, social services and the Provincial Offences Act office, are impacting the budget by $132,323 and budget levy by 0.28 per cent. The increase is due to an expected reduction of $139,207 in court fines, offset by Safe Restart funding, a social assistance decrease of $241,000, a child care increase of $81,839 and social housing increase of $50,725. The increase child-case costs for 2021 are primarily related to changes within provincial funding models announced in early 2019, according to county staff. Increases within social housing are due to reserve transfer increases required to fund future capital. Net reserve contributions are impacting the budget by $5,839,959 and budget levy by 12.55 per cent. Outside agencies including Fairhaven, Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development have not requested increases that would affect the levy, said Trena Debruijn, the county’s director of finance and treasurer, but it’s not clear if these agencies can continue to operate without increases in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on county operations, the one-time funding the county received from provincial and federal governments to address the COVID-19 crisis has helped mitigate most of the impact, Debruijn said. The extent of the changes may have a long-lasting effect on county operations and it is unknown whether or not funding will continue in future years, she added. The county will hold a public meeting on Feb. 3 to review the proposed budget and provide answers to any questions or inquiries residents may have. The budget presentation can be accessed on the county’s website. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
A man in his 30s has died after an industrial accident at a Mississauga construction site Thursday afternoon, police say. Peel police say they were called to an underground tunnel in the area of Cawthra Road and Hyancinthe Boulevard at approximately 5:42 p.m. The man was pulled from the tunnel and pronounced dead on the scene, police said in a tweet. Three others were able to get out the tunnel with no injuries. Roads in the area were closed for the investigation but have since opened.
A trade organization representing Canada's movie theatres is calling on British Columbia health officials to explain why cinemas in the province can only open if they're operating as restaurants or bars.Nuria Bronfman, executive director of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada, says COVID-19 guidelines that allow theatres to project sporting events on the big screen, but not movies, "highlights the kind of absurdity of what's happening" in the province.The frustration comes as B.C. leaders have allowed gyms, restaurants and bars to stay open, but forced movie theatres to close last November.Vancouver's Rio Theatre is moving forward with plans to reopen on Saturday by pivoting its business to operate as a bar. The city's Hollywood Theatre made a similar move in December.Those sorts of creative rebrandings were applauded by the province's Health Ministry in a statement on Wednesday that recognized those in "the arts and culture sector who have worked hard to find new ways to reinvent themselves during the pandemic."Bronfman says the trade group takes issue with suggestions that movie theatres should be embracing "ingenuity in order to survive.""Most movie theatres don't have liquor licences, and they are on the verge of shutting their doors forever," she says."All we're asking is to be looked at as an industry, as a sector that has a very low risk of any kind of transmission of the disease."Theatres across Canada have been shuttered for a large part of the pandemic over concerns they are a spreading ground for the virus. But representatives for the industry have argued there's no data that points to cinemas as being a point of transmission.Bronfman says if concerns about airflow are part of the issue, it's unclear why health authorities would deem it safe for people to sit across from each other at a bar, but not inside a theatre with high ceilings.It's equally confusing why showing a Sunday night football game would be allowed, but not a screening of sports favourites "Rudy" or "Friday Night Lights," which are shorter and would provide less theoretical exposure to the virus."We're not getting the answers as to why we can't open," she says."There's a level of frustration and quite frankly desperation."Before they were closed, cinemas across the country had introduced various safety protocols that limited the size of crowds and kept them distanced with assigned seating.However, there were critics of the reopening of movie theatres who questioned whether proper enforcement was in place at multiplexes to prevent people from sitting in groups.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
The number of COVID-19 cases at a sprawling Mississauga Canada Post plant is rising. The corporation confirms 149 workers now have tested positive at its Dixie Road facility. As Sean O’Shea reports, some employees say the drive for productivity and an abundance of extra shifts means the plant is extremely busy.
TORONTO — Canadian record producer Bob Rock is joining a chorus of musicians selling off rights to their past work, reaching a deal with a U.K. investment firm for more than 40 songs from Michael Buble and Metallica. The agreement between Rock and Hipgnosis Songs Fund, announced Thursday, will give the London-based operation Rock's full producer rights to a raft of prominent tracks. Among them is Rock's stake in Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, often called "The Black Album," which includes the metal band's hits "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." He's also sold his rights to Buble's album "To Be Loved" in its entirety and his work on "Call Me Irresponsible," "Crazy Love" and "Christmas." Rock, who was born in Winnipeg, is one of Canada's most prolific rock music producers, having worked with the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. The Hipgnosis deal, which encompasses 43 songs, comes as the fund moves quickly to build its library of rights holdings. Last week, Hipgnosis picked up the publisher and songwriter rights to Shakira's entire catalogue of 145 songs, and earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in Neil Young's catalogue of 1,180 songs. Rights deals have become a hot commodity in the pandemic as artists look to monetize their assets while the touring industry remains at a standstill and listening moves increasingly to streaming platforms over record sales. Each transaction can be slightly different than the next, depending on what rights the creator is selling. Rock is selling off his royalty percentage of sound recording copyrights, or "points" as they're called in music industry. That covers his share in revenues for his contribution to studio recordings, such as mixing or production. His points share could vary by each track, but would ultimately determine how much money funnels back to him — from album sales and streaming, to licensing for commercials and TV shows. Those rights are now owned by Hipgnosis. Other artists have recently sold their publishing rights, which cover anything earned for the musical work that's committed to paper. Typically that means a slice of revenues from live performances as well as licensing fees from covers recorded by other artists. Bob Dylan recently sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for estimates that were priced between $300 million and half a billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. — Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter has issued a public apology after admitting that an EMS managerial staff member travelled outside of the country during the Christmas holidays. In a statement to CBC News, Krauter apologized for the "error in judgement" from himself and the staff member and urged the public to follow COVID-19 rules. "The decision to travel out-of-country was regrettable, considering public health recommendations advising against non-essential travel," Krauter's statement reads. "The leadership team at Essex-Windsor EMS understands the importance of leading by example, especially in this time of crisis and recognizes this incident is inconsistent with public health messaging." Krauter said the staff member has not had contact with patients or paramedics and quarantined after returning to Canada. He added that the travel is unrelated to a COVID-19 outbreak that was declared last week at an Essex-Windsor EMS facility. At the time, the organization said that 10 paramedics tested positive, two of which were connected to the outbreak. Krauter ended his statement by telling the public to not be discouraged from following public health advice due to this incident and said everyone must continue to do everything they can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
BERLIN — World leaders breathed an audible sigh of relief that the United States under President Joe Biden is rejoining the global effort to curb climate change, a cause that his predecessor had shunned over the past four years. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those welcoming Biden's decision to rejoin the the Paris climate accord, reversing a key Trump policy in the first hours of his presidency Wednesday. “Rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news,” tweeted Johnson, whose country is hosting this year's U.N. climate summit. Macron said that with Biden, “we will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet.” The Paris accord, forged in the French capital in 2015, commits countries to put forward plans for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels. As president, Donald Trump questioned the scientific warnings about man-made global warming, at times accusing other countries of using the Paris accord as a club to hurt Washington. The U.S. formally left the pact in November. “The United States departure from it has definitely diminished our capacities to change things, concretely to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “Now we are dealing with an administration that is conscious of what is at stake and that is very committed to use the voice of the United States, a voice that is very powerful on the international level,” she said. Biden put the fight against climate change at the centre of his presidential campaign and on Wednesday immediately launched a series of climate-friendly efforts to bring Washington back in step with the rest of the world on the issue. “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.” Experts say any international efforts to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5C (2.7F), as agreed in the Paris accord would struggle without the contribution of U.S., which is the world's second biggest carbon emitter. Scientists say time is running out to reach that goal because the world has already warmed 1.2 C (2.2 F) since pre-industrial times. Of particular importance is deforestation in the vast Amazon rainforest. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism from global leaders, including Biden before his election victory, and non-profit organizations for rising deforestation. Bolsonaro has been dismissive of international efforts to steer Brazil’s management of the huge rainforest, saying its resources must be harnessed to support growth and economic development. Still, he sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday urging that the two countries continue their “partnership in favour of sustainable development and protection of the environment, especially of the Amazon.” “I stress that Brazil has shown its commitment with the Paris Accord after the introduction of its new national goals,” Bolsonaro added in the letter, which he published on his social media channels. Italy said the U.S. return to the Paris accord would help other countries reach their own climate commitments. “Italy looks forward to working with the U.S. to build a sustainable planet and ensure a better future for the next generations,” Premier Giuseppe Conte tweeted. The Vatican, too, was clearly pleased given the decision aligns with Pope Francis’ environmental agenda and belief in multilateral diplomacy. In a front-page editorial in Wednesday’s L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican deputy editorial director Alessandro Gisotti noted that Biden’s decision to rejoin Paris “converges with Pope Francis’ commitment in favour of the custody of our common home.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel was more muted in her reaction, noting on Thursday that her government would “probably have a more similar opinion” with Biden on issues such as the Paris climate accord, migration and the World Health Organization. Youth activists who have been at the forefront of demanding leaders take the threat of global warming seriously said they now want to see concrete action from Washington. “Many countries signed the Paris Agreement and they are still part of the Paris Agreement, but they make very free interpretations of what that implies," said Juan Aguilera, one of the organizers of the Fridays for Future movement in Spain. “In many cases, signing it has become a show, because at the end of the day the concrete measures that are being taken, at least in the short term, are not satisfactory.” Biden has appointed a large team to tackle climate change both on the domestic and international front. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, named as the president's special climate envoy, on Thursday took part in a virtual event with Italian industry at which he touted the ‘green economy’ as an engine for jobs and said the U.S. planned to make up for time lost over the past four years. Organizers of a meeting Monday on adapting to climate change said they hoped Kerry would take part, too, and Biden himself has talked about inviting world leaders to a summit on the issue within his first 100 days in office. Over the coming months the U.S. allies and rivals will closely watch to see by how much the administration offers to cut its emissions in the coming decade. A firm number is expected to be announced before the U.N. climate summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. Veterans of such gatherings noted the formidable diplomatic clout that the U.S. has managed to bring to them in the past. Farhana Yamin, a British lawyer who served as adviser to the Marshall Islands in the Paris negotiations, said she left the climate talks in 2018 feeling “disillusioned” not only by the U.S. withdrawal but also by how other countries, including her own, were failing to live up to the agreed goals. “I wish there were more progress here in the UK,” she said, adding she hoped that the change in the White House would mean others would increase their ambition on climate, too. “The U.S. always has massive influence on its allies.” ___ Associated Press writer Karl Ritter and Nicole Winfield in Rome, Oleg Cetinic in Paris, Aritz Parra in Madrid and David Biller in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate Frank Jordans, The Associated Press
Area families of residents in long-term-care are raising concerns about transparency as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the sector continue to rise across the province. At a virtual town hall held by a group called Voices of LTC Thursday, family members from Hamilton and St. Catharines shared their stories and called for change. Hamilton resident Lainie Tessier spoke about her mother, a former resident of Shalom Village in Westdale, who became sick with COVID-19 and died in December. She previously told The Spectator the home didn’t wear PPE right away, despite warnings about her mother’s symptoms. Shalom Village is the city’s largest current outbreak. The outbreak at Grace Villa on east Mountain was declared over as of Jan. 19. Shalom has had 214 cases since Dec. 9 in its long-term-care and assisted-living units combined. Of those, 112 are resident cases and 97 are staff cases. The home reported Jan. 20 that there are nine active resident and 11 active staff cases. Twenty people have died with COVID-19 at Shalom, while Grace Villa had 44 deaths in less than two months. That doesn’t include people who died without COVID-19. Experts have previously warned about deaths from other outbreak-related conditions, such as not being attended to due to staffing shortages. Neither Grace Villa or Shalom Village have released those numbers, citing privacy. Tessier says it shows an absence of transparency. “They don’t want it to look as catastrophic as it is,” she said in the town hall. Public health says a total of 156 people have died with COVID-19 in long-term-care and retirement home outbreaks in Hamilton so far. Asked for the total number including those who died without COVID-19, spokesperson Jacqueline Durlov said public health does not have that information. “Each home holds this information and regulations about releasing it,” she said in an email. No new deaths were reported in Hamilton seniors’ homes Thursday. However, half of the four new outbreaks in the city were in seniors’ homes. Ridgeview Long Term Care Home in Stoney Creek and Amica Dundas are both in outbreak with one case each. Several ongoing outbreaks also saw new cases. Maxwell’s Retirement Home reported 13 new cases, for a total of 15. Macassa Lodge has 34 cases, including three new ones. That includes 20 resident and 14 staff cases. There was also a new case at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre, which now has 11 cases. The Meadows Long-Term Care Home reported a new death Jan. 20, its sixth so far. On Thursday, public health said all 27 long-term-care homes in the city have received COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the mobile clinic was set to complete its final round to 12 retirement homes — up from the previous 10 — by the end of Jan. 21. Durlov said the mobile clinic administered about 4,594 doses of the vaccine by the end of Jan. 20, including mostly seniors’ home residents, along with “a handful” of staff and “possibly” essential caregivers. The city’s goal was to vaccinate 4,900 residents in seniors’ homes with the mobile clinic this week. Seniors’ mental health has also been a topic of concern during the pandemic, including in long-term-care homes. On Thursday, the province announced support for seniors’ mental health, including 46 mental health beds for 16 hospitals across the province. Four of the beds will go to Niagara Health System and two to Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington. No Hamilton hospitals were included. Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Sask Polytech and three partner institutions have received a funding boost from the Lawson Foundation for a project that will help in their efforts to advance outdoor early learning and teaching across Canada. The collaborative project by Bow Valley College, New Brunswick Community College, Okanagan College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic is called Outdoor Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education: From Colleges to Communities and has been awarded a grant of a grant of $750,000. Project lead Dr. Beverlie Dietze, director of learning and applied research at Okanagan College, explained that outdoor education is vital for children because of health benefits, physical literacy and connecting with nature. “Those are core components in children’s development as well as we look at it from a social development, peer play and experiences that support children in preparing for later academic skills. Much of the foundations, for example, of science and math are started as children engage in outdoor experiences,” Dietze said. She explained that outdoor education is vital as part of health and wellness and supports students in returning to the outdoors as a place where they participate in daily lives. “This is how we build environmental stewardship and how children are going to become further connected with their environment and care for their environment,” she explained Nancy Holden, Sask Polytech School of Human Services academic chair agreed. She added that children could be educated in various curriculum through outdoor learning. “They are doing it without realizing what they are doing. So there is science when they try to put two sticks together and wonder if they are going to hold each other up or they are going to do math when they are playing in the rocks and they want everyone to have the same number. All parts of their being and growth — whether it is creatively, cognitively — all of those pieces can be tapped into when they are playing outdoors,” Holden said. According to Dietze, there is social learning and physical learning in outdoor learning including strengthening body structures as a physical aspect. “The whole notion of what we call self-regulation or knowing how far they can push and pull with their friends — that happens when they are outdoors in a rough and tumble experience. And when we look at it emotionally it’s a very important place for children to again gain that sense of calmness and ability to deal with some of their stressors and to really be able to refocus,” Dietze said. She explained that it is important from a health and educational perspective. “When we look at young children and preparing them for later academic skills it very much is connected to those earlier experiences. When we look at the increase in children with diabetes, when we look at the children having visual difficulties, those are all related to them requiring action and activity in the outdoor environment. We can actually contribute a great deal to reducing our heath care costs when we have children engaged in regular outdoor experiences.” The goal of the three-year project is to demonstrate a model of outdoor pedagogy practices, teaching, learning and mentoring that will create a shift in curriculum in post-secondary Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs and in community early learning and child care programs. According to a press release, in 2018 only five out of 100 college ECE programs had explicit outdoor pedagogy courses and no practicum experiences for students had outdoor play requirements. In addition, a Canadian survey of 896 ELCC educators who enrolled in an online outdoor play training course found that 89 per cent of respondents had never received any training in outdoor pedagogy, and 72 per cent indicated that they lacked the training and experience to implement outdoor pedagogy in their work. “Pedagogy means a combination of experiences and knowledge creates learning. So when we look at it from an outdoor perspective, we use the term outdoor pedagogy because it’s going to be the experiences, the play, the connections to land that will contribute to children building on their learning and their knowledge foundations,” Dietze said. Through the collaboration, the group aims to support college instructors, their students, and early childhood educators, in implementing high quality outdoor experiences and play opportunities to and with children. Dietze explained that the project’s purpose is to support ECE students to work on understanding the impact of outdoor play and experiences with children. “So that is the intent that we will increase the amount of education that those educators see. And then when they are working with children they will see the outdoor environment as a very important part of the experiences that children require,” Dietze said. Holden explained that the learning occurs naturally. “It is adults who put labels on things. Children don’t sit around and say okay I am going to engage in a cognitive activity now and I am going to sit down and do some science, but yet, that is what they are doing,” Holden said. Children playing in nature can learn through the labels and language that already exist. “So it is a great opportunity and when you think about. We often ask our students to think about one childhood memory that brings you joy and it’s interesting because 98 per cent of the students will reflect on an outdoor activity,” she added. Dietze explained that land-based learning is part of the package for children. She said that it supports children in looking at the place they are and utilizing, preserving and getting to what is in the land. “It’s all interconnected. Whether we utilize the term land-based or outdoor pedagogy the principles are the same. We are wanting children to connect to their environment and to use that as a lab for their play,” Dietze said. According to Dietze. Saskatchewan is a large part of adding to the knowledge base of the project because of experiences in the land. That will be part of the research as it spreads internationally. “Your communities are very important to this project as we learn and create that new awareness of how land-based and outdoor pedagogy can be implemented in communities such as yours,” Dietze said. “Further from the college perspective how it makes a difference in their graduates in being prepared when they graduate to bring this new knowledge base to the children and the families of your communities.” Holden explained that one goal would be ideally to develop an outdoor demonstration center similar to one that currently exists for ECE programming. “We may be able to develop a demonstration center in outdoor play where we have an opportunity for children to come and they live outdoors for the entire time that they are in there,” she said. “When you say to someone that they are going to send a three-year-old outside at minus 20 degree weather most people would cringe. There are ways around that and this will be part of the project that we will be able to prove to people that there are safe ways to allow children to be outdoors during those times,” she explained. Holden explained that the different institutions bring different experiences with four partners each bringing their own perspective. “Saskatchewan plays a really key part in a lot of different ways. Definitely in our harsh winters comparative to places like British Columbia or New Brunswick. But also our level of Indigenous and how can we incorporate Indigenous ways of doing that are very much ties to the outdoors and nature and what can we offer there.” Sask Polytech is happy to be part of the partnership as it grows. “Really we see it as a Canada-wide opportunity to really make a difference in the future for our communities and for our society,” Holden said. “When children get these opportunities to be outdoors and to learn through nature and improve their health it is nothing but a win-win and I think this is just the beginning of what is to come.” Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald