Wheelchair-bound Robert Morrison, 69, died from pneumonia six days after he was brutally attacked in his home by Ian Knowles and Ismaila Mohamed, both 20, who battered the five-stone pensioner and stole his bank cards. (SWNS/West Mids Police)
Wheelchair-bound Robert Morrison, 69, died from pneumonia six days after he was brutally attacked in his home by Ian Knowles and Ismaila Mohamed, both 20, who battered the five-stone pensioner and stole his bank cards. (SWNS/West Mids Police)
WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
La campagne de sociofinancement pour les rénovations du Bar à Pitons bat son plein. En moins d’un mois, plus de 8000 $ ont été amassés, sur un objectif de 30 000 $, afin de permettre l’agrandissement de ce lieu culturel et d’ainsi assurer sa survie. Avec ces rénovations, l’établissement pourra revoir sa capacité d’accueil à la hausse et bonifier son offre d’activités. C’est la Coopérative de Solidarité V.E.R.T.E qui est responsable du bar et qui a mis en place la campagne de sociofinancement appelée Pour l’amour du Bar à Pitons. Selon Christine Rivest-Hénault, coordonnatrice générale de la coopérative, le Bar à Pitons est devenu, au fil des années, un endroit unique pour la scène émergente artistique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. « La signature du Bar à Pitons, c’est que tout le monde peut être une vedette. Ils peuvent tous venir chanter ou lire leurs textes. On accueille aussi beaucoup de groupes émergents. On a une offre qui, je pense, est importante pour la région culturellement », explique-t-elle, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Alors que les gestionnaires avaient pris la décision, en février 2020, de concentrer leurs activités sur le Bar à Pitons et de fermer l’auberge, ils ont été frappés de plein fouet par la pandémie. Le bar a dû fermer ses portes tout l’hiver, avant de rouvrir quelques mois à l’été. La terrasse extérieure a permis la tenue de certaines activités. Cet automne, la coopérative a dû faire face à la réalité. Les normes sanitaires ne permettent pas au bar d’ouvrir ses portes à l’hiver. Les gestionnaires devaient donc décider de le laisser fermé tout l’hiver ou d’amorcer des rénovations qui permettraient au lieu d’être adapté aux règles sanitaires. « Ça faisait déjà deux ans que nous pensions à ces rénovations et, comme tout le monde, nous ne savons pas combien de temps nous serons dans cette pandémie. Nous nous sommes donc lancés. Nous savons qu’il y a plein de gens qui nous aiment, qui tiennent au Bar à Pitons. Nous avons décidé de prendre le pari que tous ces gens-là, qui voient que notre mission est importante, allaient nous aider », se réjouit-elle. Déjà, les rénovations sont amorcées. La coordonnatrice est fière du montant amassé jusqu’à maintenant et reconnaît que son objectif est ambitieux. L’important pour elle est d’amasser le plus de sous possible, pour que la relance de l’établissement soit le plus facile possible, à la réouverture. Jadis un lieu touristique Le Bar à Pitons a bien changé avec les années. Lorsque la coopérative a acheté la Maison Price, où se trouve le Bar à Pitons, le but était de transformer cette maison en auberge. Au sous-sol, une salle de réunion avait été aménagée, surtout pour les visiteurs. « C’est comme ça qu’est né le Bar à Pitons, une toute petite salle principalement pour les utilisateurs de l’auberge. Rapidement, les gens qui habitent autour se sont approprié le lieu », souligne la coordonnatrice générale. C’est cet engouement qui a motivé les gestionnaires à faire des rénovations en 2015 et à mettre sur pied le Bar à Pitons. Le bar a eu le droit à un léger agrandissement, mais plusieurs espaces étaient toujours réservés à l’auberge. En 2018, l’auberge a commencé à perdre de la clientèle, tandis que le Bar à Pitons lui, en gagnait. C’est ce qui a amené les gestionnaires à fermer l’auberge, en février 2020, pour de bon et se concentrer sur le lieu culturel. « C’était rendu le Bar à Pitons qui faisait vivre l’entreprise. Notre programmation culturelle était de plus en plus riche, aimée et fréquentée, donc nous avons concentré nos activités là-dessus puisque c’est ce qui fonctionne et ce qui attire les gens », continue Mme Rivest-Hénault. La mission de l’établissement alors touristique a officiellement changé pour devenir plus culturelle. Tous les intéressés à participer à la campagne peuvent se rendre sur le site de la coopérative pour faire un don. Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Facebook Inc ended a one-week blackout of Australian news on its popular social media site on Friday and announced preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers. The moves reflected easing tensions between the U.S. company and the Australian government, a day after the country's parliament passed a law forcing it and Alphabet Inc's Google to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms. The new law makes Australia the first nation where a government arbitrator can set the price Facebook and Google pay domestic media to show their content if private negotiations fail.
Portland Thorns captain Christine Sinclair leads the list of 10 Canadians allocated to the NWSL in 2021. Allocated players have their salaries paid by Canada Soccer or the U.S. Soccer Federation. There are a total of 32 allocated players this year with the other 22 coming from the U.S. Chicago Red Stars defender Bianca St. Georges gets allocated status for the first time. Orlando Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod and OL Reign midfielder Quinn, who goes by one name, return to allocation status for the first time since 2015 and 2018, respectively. Canadian defender Shelina Zadorsky, now with England's Tottenham, is no longer allocated. The 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup will kick off the league’s ninth season on April 9. The NWSL’s 10 teams start their 24-game regular season beginning May 15. Canada's 2021 NWSL Allocated Players List Chicago Red Stars: Bianca St. Georges. Houston Dash: Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince, Sophie Schmidt. Kansas City: Desiree Scott, Diana Matheson. Orlando Pride: Erin McLeod. OL Reign: Quinn. Portland Thorns FC: Christine Sinclair. Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb, 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
Ce jeudi, les résultats d’une consultation sur l’autonomie alimentaire menée auprès des citoyens de la Haute-Gaspésie ont été dévoilés par le LAB Nourrir notre monde. Ils donnent une bonne idée des volontés de la population, et des infrastructures concrètes qui pourraient voir le jour dans cette MRC. Le LAB Nourrir notre monde est un projet d’innovation sociale et de revalorisation des savoirs d’antan qui vise à mettre en place des infrastructures bioalimentaires collectives en Haute-Gaspésie. Celles-ci permettront de produire, transformer et conserver des aliments locaux, et in fine d’améliorer la résilience de la population face aux changements climatiques. Pas moins de 275 personnes ont répondu à la consultation, qui a débuté en novembre : 113 l’ont fait en ligne, et 162 par le biais de cartes postales imprimées à cet effet et distribuées dans les commerces d’alimentation locaux. Agente de mobilisation pour le LAB Nourrir notre monde, Mireille Jalbert y voit la preuve d’« un engouement, un besoin et un désir de se mobiliser pour les projets du LAB ». Un participant sur deux s’est d’ailleurs dit intéressé à s’impliquer dans la suite du processus. Sur les cartes postales et le formulaire en ligne, plusieurs suggestions d’infrastructures collectives étaient données. Six d’entre elles ont été plébiscitées par la population, recevant plus de 90 votes chacune : pépinière, biodigesteur pour faire du compostage, poulailler communautaire, caveau pour conserver les légumes, serre solaire passive et fumoir à poisson. Les participants à la consultation y sont également allés de leurs idées personnelles, allant du rucher communautaire jusqu’à la cuisine collective de transformation et la bibliothèque de semences, en passant par des idées très originales comme l’achat de chaloupes collectives afin de pouvoir partir à la pêche au large. Une entrée dans le vif du sujet dès mars Au courant du mois de mars, l’équipe du LAB Nourrir notre monde va effectuer une tournée virtuelle des différentes localités de la Haute-Gaspésie. Dans chacune d’entre elles, la population sera informée des résultats de la consultation au niveau local. C’est à partir de ce moment-là que les choses sérieuses commenceront : les projets seront choisis puis mis en place en collaboration avec les citoyens. Ces derniers pourront s’impliquer à deux niveaux : soit dans les comités citoyens qui piloteront les projets de A à Z, soit plus ponctuellement lors de corvées. Selon la co-coordonnatrice du LAB Marie-Ève Paquette, « le comité citoyen qu’on va mettre en place après nos rencontres locales va être central pour aller fouiller : est-ce qu’on a un terrain ciblé pour le projet qu’on aimerait voir naître dans notre municipalité? Combien ça pourrait coûter? Est-ce qu’il y a des gens qui ont des connaissances sur notre territoire pour nous aider à construire cette infrastructure? Tranquillement, il y a des projets qui vont nous sembler de plus en plus viables. » Il faudra également s’assurer que toutes les règlementations municipales sont respectées. Le budget sera ensuite distribué entre les différents projets selon les besoins, donc pas nécessairement en parts égales partout sur le territoire. D’après Mme Paquette, des infrastructures pourraient être construites dès cet été. Lancé en octobre, le LAB bénéficie d’un budget de 800 000 $ pour trois ans, financé majoritairement par le ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, dans le cadre du programme Climat municipalités-Phase 2. Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
WINNIPEG — Manitoba New Democrats will meet this weekend and may debate everything from hiking the minimum wage to stopping pipelines to running nicer election ads. The official Opposition party is to hear from delegates online at a policy convention Saturday. Among the resolutions being put forward by local constituency groups is one that calls for increasing the minimum wage to a level that could exceed $15 an hour. Another resolution calls on the party to push the federal and provincial governments to oppose any new pipelines, fracking or extraction projects. And another calls on the party to avoid negative personal attacks in election campaigns. In the 2019 election, the NDP ran ads with actors who appeared to call Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister an "ass," although the ending of the word was drowned out by traffic noise. "The Manitoba NDP will not engage in personally denigrating messaging during election campaigns," reads the resolution from the party's Interlake-Gimli constituency association. It says negative messaging must be avoided because it hurts the party's integrity, detracts from the party's platform and "because NDP election campaigns should not have to feel shame for the party's messaging." It's not clear how many resolutions will be debated this weekend. Because of time limits at each convention, only a small amount of the dozens of resolutions get discussed before time runs out. Even resolutions that get approved are not guaranteed to be adopted by the party if it forms government. Former NDP Premier Gary Doer never enacted convention resolutions that called for a ban on replacement workers during labour disputes, for example. On the minimum wage, a resolution put forward this year on behalf of some two-dozen constituency associations calls for a living wage that "may exceed $15 an hour when the NDP forms government." On energy projects, a resolution calls for an end to new pipelines, fracking and extraction projects in order to respect Indigenous land and to move Canada away from fossil fuels. Some resolutions call for aid during the COVID-19 pandemic — more health-care staff, more supports for small businesses and a ban on tenant evictions. Others call for expanded social programs — a cap on post-secondary tuition tied to inflation, no-fare transit in Winnipeg and wider medicare coverage for things like dental work and eye care. The weekend meeting is the second part of a NDP convention that started last month, when delegates gave Wab Kinew 93 per cent support in a leadership review. Recent opinion polls have suggested the party has grown in popularity. One survey in December from Probe Research Inc. suggested NDP support had surpassed that of the governing Tories for the first time in more than four years. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb 25, 2021. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project is looking toward the next phase targeting funding broadband projects in lower-density areas. SWIFT is a non-profit that aims to subsidize broadband projects in rural southwestern Ontario areas that have poor or no connectivity. George Bridge, Minto mayor and SWIFT board member, and Barry Field, SWIFT executive director, gave an update on the project to Wellington County council at Thursday’s meeting. In the presentation Bridge noted some highlights from the first phase of the project, called SWIFT 1.0. He explained they are exceeding their target of 50,000 premises served by a few thousand and are very close to reaching their kilometre of fibre laid goal. He was also happy to report that despite earlier concerns from smaller companies about SWIFT becoming a “Bell and Rogers show,” projects from small internet service providers (ISPs) accounted for about half of the funding given through SWIFT’s first phase. The small ISPs will become more important for SWIFT 2.0, the next phase of the project where SWIFT intends to focus on projects in lower density areas. “The bigger ones, Bell and Rogers, they go after so many people per km but your small ISP, for example they’ve gone down as low 3.1 density per km or three houses on a km,” Bridge said. “Our next round we’ll get into, some of the low hanging fruit has been done, now we need to get out to that last mile.” The funding is a big question for the next phase as there has been no commitment on what the province and federal governments will give, if anything at all. A third of SWIFT is funded by the province and a third from the federal government, with the private sector filling in another third and municipal governments providing some capital contributions. Coun. David Anderson asked if there’s anything they could do to give projects a better chance at a successful grant application. Field said municipal financial support or just letter of support for a grant application — which Field noted applies for other funding beyond SWIFT — can go a long way. He also said it might be helpful to encourage local ISPs to apply for funding if they haven’t done so. Wellington North mayor Andy Lennox questioned how to ensure funding gets distributed more equitably so lower density projects aren’t missed again. Field said by the time SWIFT 2.0 comes around those will be most of the projects left and to lower the number of premises per kilometre required, which in the first phase is at around 17 premises per km on average. “There are things we can do in the (request for proposals), the procurement itself, to not only encourage but ensure that we’re not getting at that easiest of the remaining premises,” Field said, noting this was a valid criticism of SWIFT 1.0. “We did have a very high premises count target we had to achieve and that kind of led to policies we had to encourage more premises passed.” Coun. Jeff Duncan asked if a possible federal election this year could delay or impact the next phase. Field said he wasn’t sure but did stress there is no commitment from upper levels of government to fund SWIFT 2.0. Bridge said they’ve been advocating through the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to all political parties and there is no question from any of them that this is needed. The presentation was accepted as information from council. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
(Aqua Maof Group/Submitted - image credit) A Norwegian company's proposal to open a salmon farm and hatchery in Placentia Bay, N.L., got a major boost Thursday from Canada's OceanSupercluster, a federal innovation funding organization. The organization announced that Grieg Seafood, an on-again, off-again salmon facility planned for Marystown, will be used to develop ocean sensors that allow open-net pens to be monitored and managed remotely from shore. The Ocean Supercluster will contribute $12 million with industry partners putting in $14.8 million. The project will use communication towers installed around Placentia Bay to receive data gathered by sensors in the water. The information will be transmitted to control centres on shore. Grieg NL is an aquaculture company in Marystown. Some of this technology is already in use at fish farms operated by Cooke Aquaculture, a Grieg competitor, elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. But Tim Stone of Halifax-based InnovaSea, a partner in the project, said the systems planned for the Grieg operation represent a leap forward. Its sensors are installed in more than 300 fish farms around the world. "We're not talking about making incremental improvements to technology," Stone told reporters Thursday. "We're talking about actually changing the way people do things." They can tell when a fish is hungry, or full High-definition cameras, sensors and machine learning will come together in Placentia Bay to measure the size of the fish, the amount of feed eaten and wasted along with real-time ocean conditions. For example, video will reveal when fish are hungry, or full. When satiated, salmon stop feeding on pellets and let them go through the water. Operators will be able to instantly stop the feeding process. Tim Stone is the general manager and vice-president of product development at Halifax-based InnovaSea Systems. "Those technologies, although individually they may exist in some parts of the world, no one has ever brought them together to provide multi-factor feeding in aquaculture-industry sensing technologies," he said. One of five partners InnovaSea is one of five partners, led by Grieg Seafood Newfoundland. The other partners are SubC Imaging, AKVA Group and High-Tech Communications. It is a two-year project with work beginning later this year. For Grieg, Thursday's announcement is a step forward after a major setback last fall when it shut down construction of its hatchery in Marystown, citing poor salmon prices caused by the pandemic. Grieg halted a post-smolt unit that houses hatched salmon before being transferred to ocean cages. Perry Power of Grieg NL calls the development a 'win-win.' The company said at the time work would continue on the other elements of the project. Grieg spokesperson Perry Power said Thursday the installation of the communication towers will be a boon for the Placentia Bay area, where wireless communications are limited. "This is a win-win for everyone," he said. "It's going to create not just for us but for mariners and pleasure craft operators out in the bay … a level of enhanced safety of connectivity," he said. OceanSupercluster CEO Kendra MacDonald said the project puts Atlantic Canadian companies in a position to export their wares. "We see this is a really exciting project from the perspective that it is building on existing technology," MacDonald said. "It's developing expanding technology solutions and these technologies can be taken to the rest of the world to really help with the journey to transform the aquaculture sector. So we do see that this is transformational." MORE TOP STORIES
(CBC - image credit) Ontario Parks said it's seeing a sudden surge of people looking for campsites, with bookings nearly doubling in the first few weeks of this year. The provincial parks service said bookings jumped from 29,504 in the first few weeks of 2020 to 58,475 for the same period this year, a potential sign that after weeks of lockdown and a delayed March break, people are yearning for some type of getaway to relieve a collective cabin fever. "We really like camping, and, obviously, with COVID, nothing is going to open up," said Gary Cunliffe, a London, Ont., man who has been trying to snag a campsite in July for his family for weeks. Campsites at Ontario parks can be booked up to five months in advance. The parks service starts taking online bookings each day at 7 a.m. ET. Cunliffe and his wife have spent every morning on their respective devices, fingers hovering over the "reserve now" button. The problem is, they aren't alone. "You hope that you're the one that's going to be chosen," he said. "For the past week and a half, we have been met with, 'Sorry that site has already been booked.' "It's been frustrating, but I kind of get what's happening out there." Ontario Parks offers tips on beating the crowds It's the latest chapter in a pandemic that can be partly told through the shortages. From early days of grocery store shelves devoid of toilet paper to scant supplies of trampolines and pools in the summer and fitness equipment in the fall. And the Ontario numbers — provincial park officials say there is an almost 100 per cent increase in reservations over the same time last year — are mirrored in much of the country. Many of Quebec's provincial campgrounds have been largely booked as well, especially those closer to urban areas. Alberta is opening its online reservation system next week and B.C. the following week. Bookings for Ontario campsites jumped from 29,504 in the first few weeks of 2020 to 58,475 for the same period this year, a trend seen in other provinces, too, as people look forward to being out of COVID-19 lockdowns. Demand is so strong, Ontario Parks even published a list of tips to help people who are having no luck beating the crowds. "With double the number of customers attempting to make reservations during the months of July and August compared to last year, it is more competitive when trying to obtain a site," the parks service website said. "In many instances, there can be hundreds of customers vying for the same site for the same arrival date." Among the tips are avoiding Algonquin, Killbear, Pinery, Sandbanks and Bon Echo provincial parks and choosing less-popular parks. It also recommends camping in spring or fall and, where possible, booking early. If booking early fails, it recommends leaving booking to the last minute. "Our parks get thousands of cancellations every year, many at the last minute. Savvy campers keep a close eye on the reservation system, ready to snatch up newly available sites," the website says. For Cunliffe, two weeks of getting up early and trying to book on multiple devices finally paid off. He said his family managed to find a site at one of their favourite campgrounds in Pinery Provincial Park. "We just got a site in late July for two weeks this morning," he said Thursday.
A left turn lane will be installed on southbound Westmount Road at its intersection with Highway 1. The change is expected to improve safety and reduce congestion at Westridge Road by preventing traffic backing up along Westmount Road from the intersection, explained Ethan Wilson, Town of Strathmore’s infrastructure manager. Alberta Transportation has already performed repairs at the intersection, at no costs to the town. These included upgrades, including camera position and signal timing changes, to improve safety. But while these changes have improved the wait times at the intersection, it is still a busy intersection with limited space for vehicles to wait, said Wilson. The cost for the project is estimated to be $30,000, of which $7,000 is for design and about $23,000 for construction. These sums include provisional items that may not be required once the design is completed, said Wilson. Once the design is completed, Alberta Transportation will need to grant approval to the project. The government department has already been consulted and has given some support to the project, but they still need to assess how the project would affect east and westbound traffic on the highway, before giving sign off. “There is a risk of spending some money without getting approval,” said Wilson, adding he is confident the project engineer will be able to provide a solution allowing the project to proceed. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
CAMEROON, Cameroon — Linda Thomas-Greenfield presented her credentials as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, officially taking on one of the most challenging jobs for the Biden administration of helping to restore the United States as a top multilateral player on the global stage after former President Donald Trump’s unilateral “America First” policy. The longtime American career diplomat thanked Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, who swore her in on Wednesday, for choosing her for the “distinguished position.” “That was made all the more wonderful because I knew you were here,” she told Guterres who served as the U.N.’s refugee chief before his election to the U.N. post. “I worked with you in the past on refugee issues so I’m looking forward very anxiously to getting to work and working on many of the key issues that we know are before the United Nations and we know that people around the globe are looking to us for.” Guterres warmly welcomed Thomas-Greenfield, calling her a “distinguished global citizen" with great compassion for refugees. Thomas-Greenfield and Guterres then moved to his private office on the 38th floor of U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River for private talks. She will be jumping right into her new job, tackling global peace and security issues with Russia, China and a dozen other countries because the United States takes over the rotating presidency of the powerful U.N. Security Council on Monday. And she might even decide to attend a council meeting on Friday. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told a group of reporters Wednesday that “the red carpet” will be rolled out for Thomas-Greenfield and Moscow is ready to work with President Joe Biden’s administration -- but “it takes two to tango.” “We are looking forward to interactions with her,” he told a group of reporters Wednesday. “You can count on our most favourable attitudes and positive emotions towards her as a member of our Security Council family.” Noting Thomas-Greenfield's decades as a U.S. diplomat, he said “it's always easier to interact with professionals." But he said America’s view that Russia is “an enemy” and a “threat” hasn’t changed under Biden, so “it’s very difficult to imagine how the interaction with us might change with such starting points of the positions of the new administration.” Nonetheless, Polyansky said, “there are a lot of things Russia and the United States can do together” and “we will judge the new administration by what it does.” “We’re in favour of co-operation,” he said. But “it takes two to tango, and really we’re ready to dance, but we need a good and reliable partner who knows all the moves and who respects us” as a country with certain positions, “doesn’t view us as a threat” and sees “our obvious national interests in many issues.” Thomas-Greenfield, a retired 35-year veteran of the U.S. foreign service who rose to be assistant secretary of state for Africa, resigned during the Trump administration. She will be the third African-American, and the second African-American woman, to hold the U.N. post. Her confirmation on Tuesday was hailed by Democrats and advocates of the United Nations who had lamented former President Donald Trump’s “America First” unilateral approach to international affairs and rejoiced at President Joe Biden’s return to multilateralism. At the Senate hearing on her nomination, Thomas-Greenfield called China “a strategic adversary” that threatens the world, and called a speech she gave in 2019 that praised China’s initiatives in Africa but made no mention of its human rights abuses a mistake. The Senate voted 78-20 to confirm her with Republican opponents saying she was soft on China and would not stand up for U.S. principles at the U.N. Thomas-Greenfield said at the hearing that Washington will be working not only with allies “but to see where we can find common ground with the Russians and the Chinese to put more pressure on the Iranians to push them back into strict compliance” with the 2015 agreement to rein in their nuclear program. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018 and Biden has indicated the U.S. will rejoin it, though how that might happen remains a major question. Polyansky said Russia welcomes the “positive developments” on the Iran nuclear deal and the U.S. agreement to extend the START nuclear agreement, adding that Moscow is ready for serious and meaningful discussions “first and foremost in the area of strategic stability.” Thomas-Greenfield stressed at the hearing that the U.S. will be reengaging internationally and promoting American values -- “support for democracy, respect for universal human rights, and the promotion of peace and security.” Louis Charbonneau, United Nations director for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press that Thomas-Greenfield should promote human rights as “a top priority.” “She should abandon the Trump administration’s selective approach to human rights – enthusiastically condemning its enemies’ abuses while ignoring rights violations of allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “But there’s room for continuity on China and Syria," Charbonneau said. “She should make expanding the coalition of nations willing to speak out against Beijing’s human rights abuses one of her chief goals at the U.N., above trying to bring African, Asian, and Latin American states into the fold. And she should continue to push for expanded humanitarian access to all parts of Syria.” Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The number of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases reported at the military service academies dropped in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 school year, the Pentagon said Thursday. The report, which is required by law annually, comes as Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that reducing sexual assault is one of his top priorities. He was recently briefed on the military service's programs to counter the problem. “We have been working at this for a long time in earnest, but we haven’t gotten it right,” Austin said last week at his first Pentagon news conference. He promised stronger efforts. “You can look for us to take additional steps in looking in detail at ourselves and what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what measures we need to take going forward to ensure that we provide for a safe and secure and productive environment for our teammates,” he said. “Any other approach is, in my view, irresponsible.” Thursday's Pentagon report said the number of reported sexual assault cases at the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy fell to 129 from 149 in the previous academic year. Sexual harassment reports dropped to 12 from 17. The report said the reason for the declines is unclear, but it noted that in-person classes at the military academies were suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials altered most academy activities, including holding graduations virtually and postponing commissioning ceremonies. Thus, it said, the academies offered only about three-quarters of normal levels of interaction. Separately, an in-person survey of military academy students that is normally conducted to give the Pentagon a better understanding of the sexual assault problem and its prevalence was cancelled because of the pandemic. Robert Burns, The Associated Press
MILAN — Miuccia Prada has adapted to the digital runway and isn’t ready to give up its lessons when the pandemic is over. Prada showed her first fall-winter collaboration with Raf Simons on Thursday, the camera following models as they traverse architectural spaces of marble floors and walls clad with faux fur. It was not the usual parade of looks seen from a fixed position, but the camera allowed an intimacy with the collection and a closer look at details, suggesting repetitions to consider and new angles that might have gone unnoticed in a packed show room. While a runway show fades with the lights on the last look, the digital presentation requires another step: Picking the details that “create an atmosphere,” Prada said in a streamed conversation after the digital show. “Of course, we can go back to reality,” she said, referring to the post-pandemic world. “But ... this shouldn’t be lost. It was much more effort but much more interesting. Probably we will have to do both.” Digital shows have become hard to ignore even for media accustomed to the runway bustle. Collections coming out during this second pandemic year, projecting hopes of renewed normality into the next cold weather season, by and large are as ambitious as during the pre-pandemic era, demanding attention. The Prada-Simons collection was a layered affair, with graphic prints on body-hugging separates, faux fur wraps, sequined dresses and naïve patterned knits as inserts on dresses and jackets. Beyond the obvious suit, the straightforward jacket, there was a surprise, a rich geometric pattern peeking out or warming, furry linings. The women’s collection continued the body-hugging comfort layer of long johns from menswear, as well as leather gloves fitted with zipped pouches. Giorgio Armani has scaled back the number of offerings, a move he discussed last April in a letter to Women’s Wear Daily, where he outlined how he thought the industry needs to slow down and rescale so customers “perceive its true importance and value.” Armani staged a combined men’s and women’s show for Emporio Armani, which was filmed in his show room with models traversing a curved runway of upbeat colours that were splashed in the collection as accents of optimism against neutrals. The Emporio collection projects beyond the current regime of virus restrictions to a time when one can hope to be more regularly out and about, but with softness. To ease men back in, Emporio’s wool suits mimicked knitwear but never gave in to full leisure wear. Women will have cozy knitwear tucked into trousers or with shorts for day, and satiny dresses with ribboning detail for a return to evenings out. Evening wear was full-on sparkle, both for him and for her. Armani insisted on real shoes -- no more sneakers -- with boots for men and low-heeled shoes or stocking boots for women. Moschino’s Jeremy Scott maintained his usual playfulness, casting top models, actresses and a burlesque star that might have been front-row guests in another period to populate his Moschino digital show. Scott directed the Moschino society woman on a mashup tour from the countryside to a 5th Avenue shopping spree and a night out at the opera. Hailey Bieber appeared in a double-breasted pinstripe suit with shorts and a tiny hat, carrying a Moschino Market newspaper. Amber Valletta was caught on a shopping safari in a faux golden crocodile suit, replete with lizard tail. Miranda Kerr frolicked in a bucolic cinched-waist dress with a blue sky print over a full skirt featuring cows at pasture. Dita Von Teese finished as the queen of hearts, a heart cutout on the back of the dress baring her behind, beneath an old movie-style title: The End. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Canada's Auditor General Karen Hogan on Thursday delivered her 2021 report, including five performance audit reports to the House of Commons. Hogan's report found that Canada's ship building strategy was slow to deliver combat and non-combat ships.
TORONTO — Ontario had no updated plan for dealing with a pandemic when COVID-19 began cutting a deadly swath through the province last spring, a public commission was told. In testimony before the panel released on Thursday, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, denied responsibility for the shortcoming. The province had developed a pandemic response plan in 2006 that was updated in 2013, but the process stalled after work started on a "Ready and Resilient" blueprint in 2016. "Do you have any knowledge about the "Ready and Resilient" plan and why it wasn't completed in four years before COVID?" commission co-counsel John Callaghan asked. "The process was in place, and they were doing reviews on it," Williams answered. "Why was it not done?" "Because it was not completed." The commission is delving into the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Ontario's long-term care homes. To date, coronavirus disease has killed 3,753 residents and 11 staff members. Williams said pandemic preparation drifted down the priority list because things had been relatively quiet for several years. Historically, he said, planning focused on influenza A, a situation that hadn't changed as late as 2019 when the World Health Organization said the world is not ready for a pandemic. "For seven years, you never felt the need to increase your pandemic plan, your influenza pandemic plan?" Callaghan asked. "We did quality work back in 2006," Williams said. "You are saying, in your opinion, it was your decision not to upgrade the 2013 plan?" "No, I was not asked to update the plan." Williams said he "took flak" over pushing more robust preparation for a major infectious disease outbreak because others saw the exercise as wasting time and resources for something that would never occur. "It is hard to keep that prevention thing always at the front table because the tyranny of the urgent always pushes things aside," Williams said. "It was to me disappointing to find the lack of depth and breadth of infection prevention and control expertise that was available out there." Williams said he was shocked to discover the poor situation at long-term care homes when it came to masks and other personal protective equipment. The purpose of the provincial stockpile, he said, was to equip front-line doctors and their offices, not long-term care facilities. Nursing homes, he said, were supposed to have their own supplies able to last between four and seven weeks. However, when the pandemic hit in earnest, he learned most of the protective equipment was made in China and global demand had outstripped supply. "That was startling and shocking to me that that had happened in there because it is something that I thought we had in-house; anyways in North America at least," he said. Constant staff turnover of key personnel in nursing homes hampered efforts to ensure adequate infection prevention controls were in place, he said. "The changeover was at times disconcerting," he said. Callaghan called it "vexing" the commission had received 217,000 pages of documents from Williams only in the week before he testified. The co-counsel also noted Williams had provided 2,000 pages of his redacted notes. New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath said Williams' testimony made it "astoundingly clear" the government was trying to hide its response to COVID-19 in nursing homes. “The Ford government and Dr. Williams are taking great pains to hide, bury and cover up how they dealt with COVID-19 in long-term care homes,” Horwath said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Trois-Rivières - Afin de souligner la semaine de relâche et pour encourager les enfants à être actifs en profitant des sports d’hiver, Cogeco Connexion et NousTV ont remis une cinquantaine de luges à la maison d’entraide pour familles et centre de pédiatrie sociale Coude à Coude du secteur Grand-Mère. «Quelle belle façon d’égayer les journées hivernales des enfants! Avec la situation actuelle, les possibilités d’activités sont restreintes et ces luges offrent une belle occasion à toute la famille d’aller prendre une bonne bouffée d’air et de se changer les idées. Merci à Cogeco de se mobiliser à nos côtés pour le bien-être de nos tout-petits comme de nos jeunes et de faire autant d’heureux», souligne Lysiane Legault, directrice générale de Coude à Coude. «Chez Cogeco et NousTV, nous encourageons l’activité physique et les saines habitudes de vie. Avec cette initiative, nous voulions inviter les familles et les jeunes à bouger tout en s’amusant. À la veille de la relâche, nous espérons que les enfants en profiteront pour jouer dehors et pour aller glisser. Ils pourront ensuite utiliser les luges tout au long de la saison hivernale», explique Jessica Lalonde, gestionnaire de la programmation chez NousTV Mauricie. Mentionnons que ce sont 750 luges que Cogeco Connexion a offertes à des organismes à but non lucratif des quatre coins du Québec avec la complicité de ses 15 stations NousTV. «Depuis plusieurs années, nous nous sommes donné pour mission de nous impliquer auprès de nos communautés. Comme nous l’avons constaté au cours des derniers mois, les enfants subissent aussi les répercussions du confinement. L’activité physique aide grandement à réduire le stress et l’anxiété. Nous souhaitions donc leur offrir un peu de gaieté et une belle dose d’énergie pour la relâche», précise Johanne Hinse, directrice générale Québec et vice-présidente, Programmation et Relations avec les communautés chez Cogeco Connexion. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
OTTAWA — The federal government has been granted one more month to expand access to medical assistance in dying. Quebec Superior Court Justice Martin Sheehan has agreed to give the government a fourth extension — until March 26 — to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 court ruling. The decision comes just one day before the previous deadline was to expire. The 2019 ruling struck down a provision in the law that allows assisted dying only for those whose natural deaths are "reasonably foreseeable." The government has introduced Bill C-7 to expand assisted dying to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the end of their lives. It is currently stalled in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives are refusing to facilitate debate on the government's response to amendments made by the Senate. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Le bilan lavallois pointe désormais à 781 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une hausse de 57 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. On décompte aussi 113 nouveaux cas confirmés en date du 25 février. Ils s'ajoutent au total lavallois de 24 367 cas confirmés depuis le début de la pandémie. Le nombre de décès augmente à 868 (+1). Parmi les personnes porteuses du virus, 31 sont hospitalisées, dont 10 aux soins intensifs. Le CISSS de Laval confirme que 15 employés de son réseau sont présentement absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Seulement deux secteurs lavallois ont connu une baisse de cas actifs en date du 25 février, soit Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides (-13) et Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (-9). Ce dernier est d'ailleurs le secteur lavallois le moins affecté du territoire, que ce soit en chiffres absolus (86 cas actifs) ou en taux d'infection (124 cas par 100 000 habitants. À l'inverse, Chomedey (+9) est toujours le quartier qui compte le plus de cas actifs à Laval avec 185 personnes porteuses du virus. Vimont/Auteuil (+15) constate quant à lui la hausse de cas actifs la plus importante du jour. De leur côté, Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul et Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose présentent huit et cinq cas actifs de plus sur leur territoire respectif. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 50 cas jusqu’ici, dont 6 actifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is looking at easing many of its COVID-19 restrictions as early as March 5. The proposed changes include raising capacity limits at stores and personal service operations to 50 per cent from the current 25 per cent. Restaurant capacity would also increase to 50 per cent capacity from 25 per cent, but tables would continue to be limited to members of the same household. Indoor religious services would be allowed at 25 per cent, up from 10 per cent and outdoor public gatherings would be capped at 10 people instead of the current five. Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says Manitoba's COVID-19 statistics are heading in the right direction. He says the public is encouraged to provide feedback in the coming days before a decision is made. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Two men found guilty of the so-called "Surrey Six" killings must be allowed a hearing to argue their rights were violated by police regardless of the "horrific" nature of their crimes, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has ruled. The Appeal Court released its reasons on Thursday for a ruling last month that quashed the first-degree murder convictions of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston in the 2007 slayings of six people inside a highrise in Surrey, B.C. The ruling affirmed the guilty verdicts of the two men and denied their request for a new trial. However, the panel of three Appeal Court judges found the men must be allowed a hearing to argue the case should be tossed out due to an abuse of process. "Regardless of the nature of the offences being investigated, the police have a duty to conduct themselves in accordance with the law and in a manner that gives the public confidence in their methods," the panel wrote. "It is in precisely this sort of high-profile case where the police may be tempted to act contrary to their duties on the basis that 'the ends justify the means.' This is contrary to the rule of law on which our system of government is founded." The Appeal Court released a brief statement announcing the decision in January, saying lawyers on both sides needed time to redact the reasons for judgment to remove confidential information. Those edited reasons were released Thursday. The Crown said at the murder trial that the killings began as a hit on rival drug trafficker Corey Lal. Five others, including Lal's neighbour Christopher Mohan and fireplace repairman Ed Schellenberg, who were innocent bystanders, were also killed to eliminate potential witnesses, the trial heard. Haevischer and Johnston were found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in October 2014, but their convictions were not immediately entered because they filed an application for a stay of proceedings based on an abuse of process. The Crown argued that the offences of the two men were too serious for an abuse-of-process application to be heard. The B.C. Supreme Court trial judge agreed and their convictions were entered in November 2014. The appeal ruling returns the case back to where it was in October 2014: The men are guilty, but not convicted, and a hearing will now determine whether the case should be thrown out due to alleged wrongdoing by police and correctional officers. "The court must always retain the ability to dissociate itself from disreputable state conduct by staying the proceedings, no matter how serious the offence," the panel wrote. Lawyers for Haevischer and Johnston alleged that senior police officers involved in the investigation had exploitative sexual relationships with two female protected witnesses, mishandled sensitive evidence and influenced witness accounts. The lawyers also argued that the men were subjected to "harsh and inhumane" conditions contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they were housed in solitary confinement for 14 months while awaiting trial. The Appeal Court said the allegations are "very serious" and include improper co-operation between the RCMP and Correctional Services Canada to keep the two men in "horrific pre-trial conditions to attempt to weaken their state of mind and get them to 'crack.'" However, the court said it is not ordering a new trial because the judge did not err when she excluded Haevischer and Johnston from a pre-trial hearing to determine the scope of evidence to be allowed from confidential witnesses. The men and their lawyers were not allowed to attend the hearing in order to protect the identities of the witnesses, but the judge appointed amici curiae, or special counsel, to represent the interests of the accused. The amici also reported back to Haevischer and Johnston all the information unfolding in the hearing that did not identify the witnesses, the Appeal Court noted. While protecting the privilege of confidential informants, the court has broad discretion to take measures to safeguard the interests of the accused, the panel of judges wrote. "We are satisfied that (the trial judge) could not have taken any other meaningful steps without jeopardizing the privilege." The panel also found that the judge did not err when she accepted evidence from two "unsavoury witnesses" with gang ties. Lawyers for Haevischer and Johnston had argued that there was no confirmatory evidence to support the accounts of the two witnesses, and that the judge also erred when she concluded they had no motive to lie and did not embellish their testimony. The Appeal Court panel wrote that there was evidence, including cellphone records and surveillance video, to support the testimony of the two people. The ruling can still be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The BC Prosecution Service and lawyers for Haevischer and Johnston all said they are reviewing the Appeal Court ruling before deciding next steps. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press