Canadian Olympic sprinter Aaron Brown says he's willing to follow all the rules and guidelines set out by the International Olympic Committee in order to create a safe environment and have the opportunity to compete in a global event.
Canadian Olympic sprinter Aaron Brown says he's willing to follow all the rules and guidelines set out by the International Olympic Committee in order to create a safe environment and have the opportunity to compete in a global event.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina senators Tuesday added a firing squad to the electric chair as alternatives if the state can't execute condemned inmates by way of lethal injection. The Senate then approved the bill on a key 32-11 vote with several Democrats joining Republicans in the proposal which would allow South Carolina to restart executions after nearly 10 years. The state can't put anyone to death now because its supply of lethal injection drugs expired and it has not been able to buy any more. Currently, inmates can choose between the electric chair and lethal injection and since the drugs are not available, they pick the method that can't be done. The Senate bill keeps lethal injection if the state has the drugs, but requires prison officials to use the electric chair if it does not. An inmate could choose a firing squad if they prefer. The House is considering a similar bill without the firing squad option, but it could also consider the Senate version after a procedural vote by senators finalizes the bill later this week. South Carolina still uses the electric chair first powered up in 1912 after taking over the death penalty from counties, which usually used hanging. It is just one of nine states that maintains an electric chair. It would become just the fourth state to allow a firing squad with Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster asked for lawmakers to give him any way to restart executions since a few inmates have exhausted their appeals but their death sentences can’t be carried out. A Republican and a Democrat, both former prosecutors, proposed adding the firing squad. The Democratic former prosecutor said it is evident in a Republican dominated state like South Carolina where the GOP gained extra seats in November that the death penalty can't be abolished like Virginia did last month. “The death penalty is going to stay the law here for a while. If it is going to remain, it ought to be humane," said state Sen. Dick Harpootlian, who said hanging is brutal and often leads to decapitation and in electrocution, the condemned “are burned to death.” Since the last execution was carried out in May 2011, South Carolina’s death row has dropped from about 60 inmates to 37 as of now because of natural deaths and prisoners winning appeals and being resentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors have sent just three new inmates to death row in the past decade. The Republican former prosecutor, Sen. Greg Hembree, said Tuesday was not the time to debate whether the death penalty was right or wrong. But several Democrats said the moral aspect of putting someone to death could not be removed from discussions over the method. They also asked senators how they could justify having a debate over putting people to death this week when last month they passed a bill outlawing most abortions in South Carolina, which is now tied up in court. Democratic Sen. Kevin Johnson brought up George Stinney, the youngest person executed in the U.S. in the 20th century. He was 14 when he was sent to South Carolina's electric chair after a one-day trial in 1944 for killing two white girls. A judge threw out the Black teen’s conviction in 2014 . Newspaper stories reported that witnesses said the straps to keep him in the electric chair didn’t fit around his small frame. Johnson drives by a memorial to Stinney each time he comes to Columbia from Manning. “You think it was bad to abort a baby? Think how much worse it is to kill a person who when all is said and done is innocent," Johnson said. Only one senator in the chamber has seen an execution. Hembree, the co-sponsor of the firing squad proposal, tried nearly a dozen death penalty cases as a prosecutor and watched one of the men he condemned to death die by lethal injection. “There’s nothing pleasant about any of those forms. They are gruesome, they are sad and tragic in a way," Hembree said. “Justice is not always a happy place. But it is justice.” ___ Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP. Jeffrey Collins, The Associated Press
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence combined with real-world data from the province’s immunization campaign that began in late December.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Former Congressman Steve Watkins of Kansas has entered a diversion program to avoid trial over allegations that he voted illegally in a 2019 municipal election. Watkins, a Republican from Topeka who served only one term in the U.S. House, was facing three felony charges. He was accused of listing a postal box at a UPS store as his home on a state registration form when he was living temporarily at his parents' home. He was also charged with lying to a detective who investigated the case. The Shawnee County district attorney filed the charges just weeks before the August 2020 primary, and Watkins lost to now-Rep. Jake LaTurner. “I regret the error in my voter registration paperwork that led to these charges. I fully co-operated from the beginning and had no intent to deceive any one, at any time. I am glad to resolve the ordeal,” Watkins said in a statement Tuesday. Watkins acknowledged he lied to the detective when he said he did not vote in the Topeka City Council election, The Kansas City Star reported. Under the diversion agreement entered into Monday, Watkins' prosecution will be deferred for six months. If he meets the terms of the agreement, the case will be dropped by September. The Associated Press
The province believes it’s “nearly impossible” to come up with one-size-fits-all public-health orders for all types of businesses. But the idea of lumped categories for pandemic restrictions is causing frustration for many business owners across Manitoba — not just for their struggling storefronts, but also hundreds of customers and clients who depend on their services for medical or health reasons. It’s a “debilitating” problem that the operators of Winnipeg-based therapy facility FLOAT.Calm are particularly aware of. After watching their business seesaw with forced closures amid COVID-19, co-owners Brad Dauk and Leah Dawn are “disgusted” by discrepancies within current restrictions that are causing oversights for float centres such as theirs. “We spent months being shut down and called a non-essential service despite being a mental health treatment,” said Dauk. “Then, to finally open and be told we can only have one person at a time is just absolute nonsense. It doesn’t make any practical sense, or has any scientific backing.” Under the current orders, “personal services” is a grouped category that includes nail salons, spas, barbershops, tanning facilities, tattoo stores and “therapeutic treatments,” such as reflexology, Reiki and pedorthy or massage services. Every business within the category has been asked to limit the number of customers at 25 per cent of their “usual capacity” for the premises or one person, “whichever is higher.” Per those capacity limitations, FLOAT.Calm isn’t allowed to have more than one client at a time — even though they have five very large, sound-proof rooms with concrete walls in between and separate ventilation for each. In fact, customers don’t even directly interact with a worker while they’re using the float machine within each room. And they wear masks in any common areas, with the operators setting up staggered appointments to make sure there is time for a complete disinfection between each client’s usage of the isolation tank. None of that mattered, however, when provincial orders for new restrictions came into effect on Feb. 12, which allowed FLOAT.Calm to finally open. A lengthy email exchange between public health officials and the owners show the province did not provide any leeway or understanding on this matter. Instead, they threatened enforcement action. “Thanks for taking the time to explain your processes to me. Upon review of your re-opening strategy I can confirm that there is no leeway on the 25 (per cent) capacity of the premises,” reads one email addressed to Dauk and Dawn from Cristina Bueti, a public health inspector. “Various enforcement agencies are attending personal service facilities in Winnipeg to ensure compliance with the public health orders. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action.” In a statement to the Free Press Monday, a provincial spokesperson reiterated: “We must take a slow, measured approach and avoid reopening everything right away so our case numbers don’t increase in the weeks ahead. This includes limitations on things that cause risk – for example, close-contact settings. We continue to encourage people not to leave their homes for non-essential reasons. And, as has been mentioned a number of times in briefings, it is nearly impossible to account for every type of business, situation or activity when writing public health orders; however, the priority of the orders remains to protect Manitobans.” But FLOAT.Calm — which would normally have at least 500 regular customers per month — isn’t the only such facility that’s facing this problem. Owners from three others in the city said much the same. In Brandon, however, Kori Gordon who runs Natural Elements said she hasn’t been asked to limit capacity from any of the regional health inspectors. That’s why her four-room facility is allowing four customers at a time, despite the rules being different for FLOAT.Calm and others in Winnipeg. “It’s safe, socially-distanced and completely OK, from the interpretation I’ve been offered with the orders,” she said. “And frankly, I’ve learned a long time ago to not question these kind of things when they happen with pandemic protocols — there are way too many glaring discrepancies.” For Phyillis Ash-Harmon, it’s been hard not to access the float treatment at FLOAT.Calm for her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “To me it doesn’t matter what the politics of these things are,” she said Monday. “I just would like to get better, and it’s hard to understand a reason for these things when it’s a pandemic and you’re told you can’t access something which is supposed to help your health. That just boggles my mind.” Mike Zueff, another regular client agreed. “I mean this is the kind of thing that’s almost designed to be safe for COVID-19,” he said. “The rooms are alone, they’re specially ventilated and it’s called an isolation tank, for god’s sake.” “I know the government’s busy and I know they’ve got a lot on their hands,” said Lori Cohen, who also uses FLOAT.Calm for her mental health. “I’m sure they’re doing the best that they can, and they’ve got a lot of complaints already to deal with. “But this is an actual health crisis and you’re limiting active health. For that reason, I say: You can do better.” Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee is unanimously urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to promise he won't call a federal election while the COVID-19 pandemic rages across Canada.In a report by the procedure and House affairs committee, even Liberal members supported a recommendation calling for a commitment that there will be no election during the pandemic, unless Trudeau's minority Liberal government is defeated on a confidence vote.The committee makes no similar call for opposition parties to promise not to trigger an election during the pandemic by voting non-confidence in the government.However, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has vowed his party won't vote to bring the government down as long as the country is in the grip of COVID-19.That should be enough to ensure the survival of the minority Liberal government for the foreseeable future, unless Trudeau decides to trigger an election himself.Trudeau has repeatedly insisted he has no interest in forcing an election but opposition parties remain suspicious."Unfortunately, the Liberal government has already indicated their desire to recklessly send Canadians to the polls at whatever time they deem to be the most advantageous for the prime minister," the Conservatives say in a supplementary report to the committee's report.Indeed, the Conservatives assert, without explanation, that Trudeau has already tried to orchestrate his government's defeat.They thank Liberal committee members for taking "a stand against the whims of the prime minister, who has been eagerly pressing towards an election for the last few months."At the same time, Conservatives appear to be pursuing a strategy that could give Trudeau justification for calling an election: Liberals accuse the Tories of systematically blocking the government's legislative agenda, including repeatedly delaying a bill authorizing billions in pandemic-related aid.They've also blocked debate on a bill that would give Elections Canada special powers to conduct an election safely, if need be, during the pandemic.Bill C-19 is the government's response to chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault, who has said special measures are urgent given that a minority government is inherently unstable and could theoretically fall at any time. However, some opposition MPs view the legislation as proof that the Liberals are planning to trigger an election.In their own supplementary report, New Democrats argue that an election in the midst of the pandemic "has the potential to undermine the health of our democracy." They point to the current delay in Newfoundland and Labrador's election due to a COVID outbreak as an example of the "delays, confusion and unforeseen barriers in voting" that could undermine Canadians' confidence in the outcome of a federal election."This raises the spectre of a government whose political legitimacy is openly challenged," the NDP committee members say, adding that could lead to the kind of crisis that provoked a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former president Donald Trump.The Capitol riot, sparked by Trump's unfounded claims that mail-in ballots were fraudulent, appears to have been on the minds of opposition committee members when it comes to other recommendations for how to safely conduct an election, if necessary, during the pandemic.Anticipating a massive increase in mail-in ballots, the chief electoral officer has, among other things, suggested that mail-in ballots received one day after the close of in-person polls should still be counted.The Conservatives say the procedure and House affairs committee should have rejected that proposal, arguing that "the election should end on Election Day and Canadians deserve to know the results without delay."Bloc Quebecois committee members, in their supplementary report, similarly argue that extending the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots "would delay the election results, which would fuel voter suspicion and undermine confidence in the electoral system, which is obviously undesirable."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the U.S. government’s pandemic response, has donated his personal 3D model of the COVID-19 virus to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The museum on Tuesday honoured Fauci with its Great Americans Medal. “Dr. Fauci has helped save millions of lives and advanced the treatment and our understanding of infectious and immunologic diseases across more than five decades of public service,” said Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s director. “His humanitarianism and dedication truly exemplify what it means to be a Great American." The museum asked Fauci to contribute a personal artifact to mark the pandemic, and he chose the lumpy blue and orange ball that he used to explain the complexities of the virus in dozens of interviews. The model was made with a 3D printer and shows what the Smithsonian’s announcement calls “the various components of the SARS-CoV-2 virion (the complete, infectious form of the virus), including the spike protein.” Fauci showed off his new medal in a video call Tuesday night, calling it “an extraordinary and humbling” honour. “This has been a terrible year in so many respects,” he said. “Decades from now, people will be talking about the experience that we went through.” Fauci, 80, is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After serving as the beleaguered and frequently sidelined face of the Trump administration's COVID response, Fauci was retained as a senior adviser to President Joe Biden. The Great Americans Medal was founded in 2016. Previous honorees include former secretaries of state Madeleine K. Albright and Gen. Colin L. Powell, tennis star Billie Jean King and musician Paul Simon. Fauci received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, in 2008 from then-President George W. Bush for his decades of work, dating back to the earliest days of the AIDS crisis. Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
At the press conference today March 2, 2021 Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab shared that over 80,000 doses of vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan and that 100% of long-term care homes have now been able to vaccinate all the residents who chose to be vaccinated. Fifty-three per cent of those residents have been given both doses of the vaccine. Approximately nine per cent of residents in long-term care facilities did not receive the vaccination due to a change in health status, not being available at the time of the vaccinations, or declined to receive it to name but a few of the various circumstances which led to not receiving the vaccination. As for personal care homes, ninety per cent have been given their first vaccine and forty-three per cent have received both. Premier Moe stated that with the increased numbers of the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna and now the vaccine from AstraZeneca, Saskatchewan should see over 115,000 doses of vaccine arrive in the province this month. Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shahab, stated that the province is considering following the lead of Quebec and British Columbia and extending the time between the delivery of the first and second doses of the vaccines. Current protocol for the Pfizer vaccine is 28 days but an extension up to 42 days was declared as acceptable back in January. The Moderna vaccine comes with the prescribed booster shot required in 21 days. The AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one of the three which manufacturers say has a strong efficacy for up to four months before a booster is needed. Dr. Shahab stated that his colleagues in the United Kingdom have been administering all vaccines at the same interval as the AstraZeneca and report that they have not seen any reduction in efficacy of the vaccines by doing so. Dr. Shahab will continue to review the available data before a decision is made, but if the province proceeds it will rapidly accelerate the time frame for everyone in the province who wishes to be vaccinated to receive the first dose. “Giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June and then completing the second dose … will help us prevent a potentially devastating variant-fuelled third wave,” Dr. Shahab said. The province is working closely with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and is waiting for their recommendation which he thinks will support the delay of the second dose. “If we are able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older potentially getting the first dose by June,” said Shahab. NACI currently is not recommending the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in individuals aged 65 years and older “due to the insufficiency of evidence of efficacy in this age group at this time.” Health Canada evaluated the data available from AstraZeneca’s clinical trials and determined that this vaccine is safe to be administered in people over 65 years of age and older, the agency said in a statement on Monday. With the current state of vaccine deliveries, the Premier and Dr. Shahab felt that most likely all residents in the 65 years and older age group would be receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines since these will be the most prevalent in the province for the upcoming weeks. Also of note in the press conference was the hint that restrictions on household gatherings could be easing as early as next week. Dr. Shahab noted that when it comes to relaxing restrictions there are three key things he considers: the trend of case numbers, testing rates and contact tracing, and the hospitalizations. All three of those areas are trending in the correct direction according to Shahab. Case numbers in the province are trending downwards, testing rates are staying stable (but it would be even better if they were increasing while the test positivity rate dropped) and the hospitalization rates are trending downward. With that the Premier asked everyone to “hang tight for just a few more days.” He said that he has frequent discussions about lifting restrictions with Dr. Shahab, adding, “We should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We’ll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March 19th.” Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
HALIFAX — The Canadian military says aircraft and ships are responding to an emergency aboard a Canadian fishing vessel that has been damaged by fire off of the coast of Nova Scotia. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says the FV Atlantic Destiny is a scallop factory ship with 32 people on board and there are no reports of injuries. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 120 nautical miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens says a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has started removing some of the crew members from the ship. Owens says a small number of the crew will remain on board. He says the fire is out but the ship was taking on water. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Texas on Tuesday became the biggest state to lift its mask rule, joining a rapidly growing movement by governors and other leaders across the U.S. to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials not to let their guard down yet. The Lone Star State will also do away with limits on the number of diners who can be served indoors, said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who made the announcement at a restaurant in Lubbock. The governors of Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana likewise eased up on bars, restaurants and other businesses Tuesday, as did the mayor of San Francisco. “Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” said Abbott, speaking from a crowded dining room where many of those surrounding him were not wearing masks. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed." A year into the crisis, politicians and ordinary Americans alike have grown tired of rules meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over a half-million people in the United States. Some places are lifting infection control measures; in other places, people are ignoring them. Top health officials, including the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have responded by begging people repeatedly not to risk another deadly wave of contagion just when the nation is making progress in vaccinating people and victory over the outbreak is in sight. U.S. cases have plunged more than 70% over the past two months from an average of nearly 250,000 new infections a day, while average deaths per day have plummeted about 40% since mid-January. But the two curves have levelled off abruptly in the past several days and have even risen slightly, and the numbers are still running at alarmingly high levels, with an average of about 2,000 deaths and 68,000 cases per day. Health officials are increasingly worried about virus mutations. “We stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned on Monday. Even so, many Americans are sick of the shutdowns that have damaged their livelihoods and are eager to socialize again. An Indianapolis-area bar was filled with maskless patrons over the weekend. In Southern California, people waited in lines that snaked through a parking lot on a recent weekday afternoon for the chance to shop and eat at Downtown Disney, part of Disneyland. (The theme park's rides remain closed.) And Florida is getting ready to welcome students on spring break. “People want to stay safe, but at the same time, the fatigue has hit,” said Ryan Luke, who is organizing a weekend rally in Eagle, Idaho, to encourage people to patronize businesses that don’t require masks. "We just want to live a quasi-normal life.” Michael Junge argued against a mask mandate when officials in the Missouri tourist town of Branson passed one and said he hasn’t enforced it in his Lost Boys Barber Company. He said he is sick of it. “I think the whole thing is a joke honestly,” he said. “They originally said that this was going to go for a month and they have pushed it out to indefinitely. ... It should have been done a long time ago.” In San Francisco, an upbeat Mayor London Breed announced that California gave the green light to indoor dining and the reopening of movie theatres and gyms. “You can enjoy your city, right here, right now,” she said from Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. She added: “We are not where we need to be yet, but we’re getting there, San Francisco.” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he is getting rid of most mask mandates and lifting most other restrictions, including limits on seating in restaurants, starting Wednesday. “The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” the Republican said. Florida, which is getting ready for spring break travellers to flock to its sunny beaches, is considered to be in an “active outbreak,” along with Texas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and South Carolina, according to the data-tracking website CovidActNow. Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis made it clear during his annual State of the State address Tuesday that he welcomes more visitors to Florida in his drive to keep the state’s economy thriving. Florida municipalities can impose their own mask rules and curfews, restrict beach access and place some limits on bars and restaurants, but some have virtually no such measures in place. Miami Beach will require masks indoors and out and restrict the number of people allowed on the beach as well as in bars and restaurants. “If you want to party without restrictions, then go somewhere else. Go to Vegas,” Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila said during a recent virtual meeting. “We will be taking a zero-tolerance attitude towards that behaviour.” In Michigan, a group called All Business Is Essential has resisted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s virus policies, and many people are ignoring mask requirements and other measures, said group leader Erik Kiilunen. “At some point you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Do I want a zero-risk life?’” he said. “It’s become a farce, really. People have quit living for a year, at what price?” “I think everybody wants things to get back the way they were,” said Aubrey D. Jenkins, the fire chief in Columbia, South Carolina, whose department issues dozens of $100 citations every weekend to bar-goers who refuse to wear masks or keep their distance. “But we still have to be real cautious.” ___ Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Tallahasee, Florida; Anila Yoganathan in Tucker, Georgia; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; John Flesher in Traverse City, Michigan; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Janie Har in San Francisco; and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this story. Paul J. Weber And Tammy Webber, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Channing Phillips, a Justice Department official during the Obama administration, will return as acting U.S. attorney in the nation’s capital, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Phillips will assume the role Wednesday leading the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country, which has been historically responsible for some of the most significant and politically sensitive cases the Justice Department brings in the U.S. In recent weeks, prosecutors in the office have brought nearly 300 federal cases following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Hundreds of other people are still being sought by investigators. The office was involved in some of the most tumultuous and controversial decisions made by the Justice Department under President Donald Trump, including a decision by then-Attorney General William Barr to reverse the sentencing recommendation by career prosecutors in the case against Trump ally Roger Stone. The outgoing acting U.S. attorney, Michael Sherwin, will remain in Washington for a “brief period” to help ensure a smooth transition overseeing the riot investigation and the prosecutions, the Justice Department official said. Sherwin, who for years worked as a career federal prosecutor on drug trafficking, white-collar and top national security cases, will later return to the U.S. attorney’s office in southern Florida, the official said. The official could not publicly discuss the personnel matter and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Phillips served as U.S. attorney in Washington beginning in October 2015 and was a longtime Justice Department official, having been a senior counsellor to the attorney general and deputy associate attorney general. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MEMBERTOU — Elders in Membertou First Nation began streaming through the doors of the Membertou Entertainment Centre Tuesday morning, physically distanced of course, to receive their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Senator Dan Christmas was the first to roll up his sleeves for the injection as part of the community's vaccine rollout. He says some people think the vaccine is for themselves but really, it's for others. "If you become infected and then begin to transmit the virus, you hurt not just yourself, but your family and your community, and the elders, so I tell people, get the vaccine." The federal government has identified Indigenous communities among groups that are particularly vulnerable to the virus, and has prioritized those communities as part of the Canadian immunization efforts. According to the most recent data, more than 100,000 doses have been administered in First Nations communities at a rate six times higher than the rest of the country. Madelaine O'Reilly says just over 180 on-reserve community members aged 55 and older will be immunized over two days. She is a registered nurse and the co-ordinator of the Membertou Wellness Home. She says it will be a relief to have the elders vaccinated. "They are our language keepers and our knowledge keepers, so we need to protect them." O'Reilly and the rest of the health-care workers at the wellness home received both doses of the vaccine early in the new year in order to give them to the rest of the community. She says staff were trained to handle and administer the Pfizer vaccine over the last few weeks. The medication is kept frozen and must be thawed for at least 30 minutes before it's used, and can sit for up to seven hours at room temperature. Appointments for the shots were made weeks ago to ensure that there would be enough doses for everyone that wanted one. O'Reilly says that by the end of this month, after the second doses are administered, the majority of elders in Membertou will be immune to the virus. Chief Terry Paul was second in line for the day's appointments and sat enthusiastically for his shot. He says the community has not had any cases of COVID-19 and he wants to keep it that way. "I just want to hand it to the community for following the rules and the guidelines ... I think everyone should take (the vaccine) and we should all work together in defeating this (pandemic)." Paul says he doesn't know yet when the immunizations will be available to the rest of the community, but he says he's hoping everyone that wants a shot will be vaccinated by early summer. Wagmatcook First Nation is also immunizing people aged 55 and older this week and Eskasoni First Nation is taking appointments now for its vaccine clinic starting on March 8. Ardelle Reynolds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Yes, Michelle Obama's co-stars are a pair of puppets.
Alberta says it will continue to fund injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT) for current patients under a two-year grant. It comes as the government faces a lawsuit brought by 11 patients who say Alberta's move to end funding for the life-saving program is a violation of their Charter rights. Staff were told about the grant in a conference call on Tuesday morning, two AHS employees with knowledge of the iOAT program told CBC News. CBC is not naming the two AHS employees because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the grant. With the $6-million, two-year grant, iOAT clients are expected to receive the same level of care when they are transferred to opioid dependency programs, the employees said. "The name iOAT is disappearing at the end of March, the program and services continue with no change," an AHS employee said. There are 88 patients in the iOAT program, 44 in Edmonton and 44 in Calgary, according to AHS. But no new patients will be accepted, spokesperson Kerry Williamson confirmed. Scott Monette, one of the plaintiffs, said he was relieved to learn about the funding decision. "Today is a very good day and I feel like a lot has been accomplished," he said. "It's been a nightmare not knowing whether or not it's going to close or open," he said. "We're talking about the difference between life and death here." Injectable hydromorphone is considered a last-resort treatment option for people with severe opioid addictions when oral-based options offered at opioid dependency programs, such as methadone, prove ineffective. Patients started to disengage from the program after the government announced last March it would end the program, according to an affidavit from Dr. Krishna Balachandra filed in the lawsuit. One patient died after being discharged, he said. After the lawsuit was filed, government lawyers announced the province would continue to offer existing iOAT clients with hydromorphone. But despite the name, injectable treatment is just one aspect of iOAT — and questions remained about the continued availability of other wraparound services. "It's been a nightmare not knowing whether or not it's going to close or open." - Scott Monette, iOAT client and lawsuit plaintiff The judge found some primary care treatment would not be available to clients transferred to the opioid dependency program clinic, with referrals offered instead. Court documents show some clients feared it could limit care for lung and blood disorders and HIV, among other conditions. The judge also said the level of psychosocial support, from trauma therapy to housing services, would be reduced at opioid dependency clinics But in dismissing the plaintiffs' injunction application last Thursday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Grant Dunlop said the impacts would be "minor". No job losses, AHS says Avnish Nanda, the clients' lawyer, filed an appeal yesterday. But he said Tuesday's announcement helped to end a year of government-generated uncertainty. "If there's one thing that the government takes away from this, it's that the lives of people who use drugs, people who live with opioid use disorder matter," he said. "And that other Albertans will fight and organize to ensure that they receive the type of treatment, the type of care that they need to continue to live." In a statement, the press secretary for Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Kassandra Kitz said the government "always said that these individuals in iOAT would not be cut off from programming." "In fact, the Government committed to support these clients before the court case, during the court case, and after it was completed," she said. The government revealed its plan to provide existing iOAT patients with hydromorphone through its lawyer after the lawsuit was filed — six months after it announced iOAT was set to close. The opioid dependency program in Edmonton will move into the current iOAT clinic, AHS said. While iOAT services in Calgary will continue to be offered at the Sheldon Chumir Centre. Williamson, AHS spokesperson, said no clients have been transferred yet, as timing and planning is underway. There will be no job losses due to the transition. The iOAT program was first launched as a two-year, $14-million pilot by the NDP government in 2018. The Alberta government announced last March it would extend funding for a year to provide time for patients to be transferred into other programs. Last year marked the most deadly year for overdoses in Alberta on record, with data up to the end of November showing 997 people had died.
CALGARY — A Calgary man has admitted to slitting his girlfriend's throat and, days later, stabbing to death his mother and stepfather. Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said Tuesday that Dustin Duthie, 27, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murders of Taylor Toller and Shawn Boshuk and the first-degree murder of Alan Pennylegion. An agreed statement of facts said Toller, Duthie's girlfriend of five years, was last seen on video footage from outside her condo unit about 4 a.m. on July 26, 2018. Duthie was captured on video leaving the condo alone about an hour later. Police found Toller, 24, five days later with her throat slit and "tucked into her bed as if she was asleep." The agreed statement of facts mentions a torn-up note in which Duthie explains why he killed Toller, but the document does not detail the note's contents. On the same day Toller was found, Duthie stabbed Boshuk, his mother, six times in their home and covered her with a plastic sheet, the statement said. Boshuk had messaged Toller's grandmother a day earlier, concerned about how her son would react to police contacting him about Toller's disappearance. The statement said Pennylegion witnessed Duthie cleaning his mother's blood in the kitchen and Duthie attacked his stepfather, stabbing him eight times. Duthie and his stepfather had a tense relationship at the time and Duthie had threatened violence against Pennylegion over the years, the statement said. One of Duthie's pit bulls was stabbed but survived with surgery. Pennylegion's pet dog, Odie, found with his owner in the main floor bathroom, was also stabbed and died. The statement said Duthie shaved his head, showered, and changed his clothes after killing his mother and stepfather. About 10:50 a.m. on July 31, he called 911 and confessed to the killings. The document said he was "contemplating 'suicide-by-cop.'" A sentencing date has not yet been set. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 The Canadian Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump endorsed U.S. Sen. Tim Scott's 2022 reelection bid Tuesday, continuing to make clear his intent to remain a dominant force in Republican Party politics. Trump issued a statement through his Save America PAC, saying Scott had his “Complete and Total Endorsement” and complimenting Scott's work on behalf of the military, law enforcement and veterans. The only Black Republican in the Senate and one of its three Black members, Scott previously served one term in the U.S. House and has been in the Senate since then-Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him in late 2012 to succeed Jim DeMint. Elected to his first full term in 2016, Scott has said that the 2022 Senate race would be his last. Scott has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, and his name appeared in the results of a straw poll conducted at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference. In the Senate, Scott often aligned with Trump, voting with him nearly 91% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. Trump is fresh off his weekend appearance at CPAC, where he was hailed as a returning hero. In his speech, Trump called for GOP unity, even as he exacerbated intraparty divisions by attacking fellow Republicans and continuing to repeat false claims about winning the election. “Do you miss me yet?” Trump said after taking the stage to music from his old campaign rally soundtrack and cheers from the supportive crowd. Leading up to the the normally mundane congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, Scott was among the Senate Republicans who spoke out against Trump's statements that the Senate could have legally undone that process, saying he found “no constitutionally viable means” to do so. Hours after the deadly U.S. Capitol assault that halted those certification proceedings, Scott proposed a commission aimed at studying the 2020 election, suggesting that some pandemic-related election changes resulted in “missteps - intentional or not” meriting further examination. Of the proposal, Scott's fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's closest congressional allies, called it a “uniquely bad idea to delay this election,” affirming that Biden is the “legitimate president of the United States.” On Twitter, Graham said Tuesday he appreciated Trump “coming out early and strong in support of my good friend,” calling Scott “one of the most talented people I have ever known.” Scott, however, took a more muted approach, not commenting directly, but rather through his campaign. It issued a statement pointing to areas of policy where Scott and the former president align. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
Elder Ben Campbell was among the first people in Musqueam First Nation to get his COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday. He said it's been a challenging year and he was feeling good about having his first dose of vaccine. "There was really nothing to it; just a little sting," he said. Protecting elders has been a priority among First Nations during the pandemic. Tuesday's clinic in Musqueam was a welcome step in continuing that work. But vaccine rollout hasn't been without its hiccups. For urban First Nations like Musqueam, which is adjacent to Vancouver, there's been frustration and confusion around access and what kind of vaccine allocation they can expect. "Originally in the plan we were supposed to get our whole community done," said Chief Wayne Sparrow. Instead, the First Nation learned last week it would be getting only enough doses for elders and people with underlying health conditions for its first vaccine clinic. Even in the 24 hours leading up to the vaccinations it still wasn't clear exactly how many doses would be arriving in the community. Richard Jock, CEO of B.C.'s First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), which is responsible for health services for First Nations in B.C., said the approach to vaccinations in First Nations communities has been one that takes a "whole of community" approach. Elder Joan Peters, who got her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Musqueam on Tuesday says, 'Everyone should get it done, I'd say.'(Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC ) That approach includes for example the spouses of band members, essential workers who come in and out of the community and off-reserve community members who live nearby. "We have a lot of community members that live five, 10 minutes off the reserve and a lot of them come home to the community," said Sparrow. For Musqueam, Sparrow said they seem to be back on the right track as they're expecting to get another allocation of vaccines for the rest of the community next week. Other communities, like Tsleil-Waututh also in the Vancouver area, still don't have clarity on when they'll get enough doses for the whole community. Questions on distribution Tsleil-Waututh will be getting its first access to vaccines on Thursday. Chief Leah George-Wilson said they've heard they'll only be getting enough doses for elders and those with underlying health conditions to start. "Our issue has been some communities that have received whole community immunization," she said. "We don't begrudge them that. Great, they're able to get it. But how are you valuing their 18-year-olds compared to our 91-year-olds that couldn't get vaccinated until we pressed the province for it." First Nations leadership says there is still confusion about how decisions are being made on vaccine allocation, even as they're in regular contact with the provincial health ministry, First Nations Health Authority and the local regional health authorities. Last week First Nations leaders in B.C. said the province's updated COVID-19 immunization plan had deviated from national guidelines that priority should be given to all Indigenous adults within the first two stages of vaccine rollout. It remains unclear to leadership how direction from the province is flowing through the different bodies involved in distribution. "We'd like to understand better what the rollout has been. And we have said that to FNHA. We met with them yesterday and said to them, we'd like to understand what your methodology was," said George-Wilson. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said during the Tuesday COVID-19 briefing he's aware of the concerns among some First Nations and acknowledged that some communities have received vaccines for the whole community, while others have not. "Now that we've freed up some access to vaccine we'll be able to continue on with more of a 'whole of community' approach and you'll be seeing that in the coming weeks," he said. As First Nations await more clarity, there's still a sense of relief as the most vulnerable are getting access to vaccines. "We're trying to get everyone protected as best we can," said Sparrow.
CANBERRA, Australia — Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said Wednesday he was accountable for the mining giant destroying sacred Indigenous sites in Australia to access iron ore and he will not seek reelection as a board director next year. Thompson’s announcement came after former chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques announced his resignation last September over the destruction in May of two rock shelters in Juukan George in Western Australia state that had been inhabited for 46,000 years. The company’s successes in 2020 were “overshadowed by the destruction of the Juukan Gorge shelters ... and, as chairman, I am ultimately accountable for the failings that led to this tragic event,” Thompson said in a statement. “The tragic events at Juukan Gorge are a source of personal sadness and deep regret, as well as being a clear breach of our values as a company,” he added. Jamie Lowe, chief executive of the National Native Title Council, which represents Australia’s traditional owners of the land, described Thompson's departure as a necessary step that Indigenous people had been demanding since the rock shelters were blasted. “We think the cultural shift within Rio Tinto needed to happen immediately and it’s too bad its taken some eight months to be actually able to see that come to fruition,” Lowe said. Jacques was replaced as chief executive in January by Jakob Stausholm. Executives Chris Salisbury and Simone Niven also left the company last year due to shareholder anger at the destruction that outraged traditional owners of the gorge, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people. Rio Tinto announced on Wednesday that director Michael L’Estrange would retire from the board at the conclusion of the April annual general meetings in Britain and Australia. L’Estrange led a widely criticized internal review of how the rock shelters came to be blasted against traditional owners’ wishes. The review concluded in August that there was “no single root cause or error that directly resulted in the destruction of the rock shelters.” But internal documents revealed in September that Rio Tinto had engaged a law firm in case the traditional owners applied for a court injunction to save the rock shelters. The Western Australian government has promised to update Indigenous heritage laws that allowed Rio Tinto to legally destroy the sacred sites. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press