Andy Behrens wraps up a unique NFL season by counting down the worst beats of an unforgettable year
Andy Behrens wraps up a unique NFL season by counting down the worst beats of an unforgettable year
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
FREDERICTON — Public Health officials in New Brunswick reported another 20 cases of COVID-19 in the province Sunday, just hours after one of the province's hardest-hit areas began a 14-day lockdown. Nine of the new cases are in the newly locked-down Edmundston region which now has 144 of the province's 334 active cases. Ten of the new cases are in the Moncton region and there is one new case in the Miramichi area. Health officials say the Edmundston lockdown is needed to curb a rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. As of now, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The order also forces non-essential businesses, schools and public spaces to close, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. Provincial officials say they will evaluate the situation in the region every seven days, and cabinet may extend the lockdown if necessary. New Brunswick has had 1,124 COVID-19 cases and 13 related deaths since the pandemic began. Five people are in hospital, including two in intensive care. "We will be more confident in our decision making, and zone restrictions are more likely to be eased, if more New Brunswickers, in all health zones, who have symptoms get tested," Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said Sunday in a statement. The Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton regions are in the red level of the province's pandemic recovery plan, with the rest of the province at the orange level. A handful of schools in the province are also poised to make the move to remote learning amid the surge in local infections. Monday will be an operational response day at Andover Elementary School, Perth-Andover Middle School and Southern Victoria High School in Perth-Andover, as well as Donald Fraser Memorial School and Tobique Valley High School in Plaster Rock. Students in those schools will learn from home starting Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
White River First Nation in Beaver Creek, Yukon, is calling for a harsher penalty against two Vancouver residents who broke COVID-19 rules and got vaccinated in the community. "We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes," Chief Angela Demit of White River First Nation (WRFN), said in a statement on Saturday. "While we understand many want to have a vaccination immediately, it is not appropriate to skirt the rules put in place and approach our community in this way. WRFN was selected for vaccines given our remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care." Last week, two people were charged under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act for failing to self-isolate after entering the territory, and for failing to follow a declaration, after they travelled to Beaver Creek and got doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The maximum fine for a violation under the act is $500 or six months in jail. 'Lenient punishment' In the statement, White River First Nation said it does not feel that the "lenient punishment" applicable is appropriate for the gravity of the accused's actions, "given the potentially lethal effects to our community." It urged the Yukon government and the RCMP to pursue a "more just punishment." White River First Nation also expressed frustration with how the Yukon government communicated about the violation. Instead of finding out about it from the Yukon government, the First Nation said it learned about the incident through the media. White River First Nation said it will seek a "formalized communication protocol" with the Yukon government so that something like this doesn't happen again. 'We regret the way White River learned about this incident' In an emailed statement, Community Services Minister John Streicker called the incident in Beaver Creek "deeply concerning for a number of reasons." "We regret the way White River learned about this incident and agree on the need for closer communication going forward," he said. "This was a rapidly developing situation. Yukon government enforcement officials acted swiftly to charge the two individuals for violating the measures in place under the Civil Emergency Measures Act." He said the RCMP was also immediately notified about the situation. Streicker said he and Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon's chief medical officer of health, met with White River First Nation's chief and members of its council on Friday to discuss the incident and improving communication protocols. The First Nation did commend Hanley for addressing concerns with the community directly, and for his work to "resolve the issue moving forward." White River First Nation said it plans to implement its own safety regulations for the second round of vaccinations in the community. It reminded residents to continue following public health guidance, and said Hanley had assured the risk for transmission in the community right now is low.
A family-owned grocer in Calgary is giving back to support neighbouring businesses hurting from the pandemic. Darren Hollman, owner of the European Deli and Produce Market, says because his business is essential, he hasn't faced the same struggles a restaurant or retailer might. "We're an essential business and people have to eat, [so] we haven't been affected nearly as bad as some of the other places have been. We've been operating at 15 per cent [capacity] but we feel we can give back so that's why we're doing it," he said. This weekend, the store is offering some staples like apples, potatoes and carrots at "pay-what-you-can" prices — customers decide what the want to pay, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go toward supporting Platoon Fitness, Crolux Tailoring and Marco's Kitchen, all businesses impacted by public health restrictions. "The customers have been very receptive to it and have done a lot to help — like giving over and above which is nice to see," he said. Shopper Elena Khomiak said she was picking up apples, even though she doesn't need any, as a chance to support local. "We'll pay, I don't know, $50 or $100, the most expensive apples I've ever had," she said with a laugh. The fundraiser will run until 6 p.m. Sunday.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
A church north of Waterloo, Ont., opened for Sunday service in defiance of a Superior Court of Justice order. The order, obtained by the Attorney General, tells Trinity Bible Chapel to follow the requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. If they opened for in-person services, church officials could be held in contempt of court. A statement by senior pastor Jacob Reaume was posted to the church's website on Friday informing people the church would be open for in-person services on Sunday. The statement argued the church is providing an essential service to its members and community. Under the Reopening Ontario Act, just 10 people are permitted inside a building for a religious ceremony or service. Church officials were issued tickets on two separate occasions for in-person services held Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 for exceeding gathering limits. These tickets were issued after the province implemented a provincewide lockdown on Dec. 26. The church held a drive-in service on Jan. 10, which is permitted under provincial rules. On Sunday, independent MPP Randy Hillier, who has likened COVID-19 to a bad flu in the past, tweeted he was at the church for one of two services. The Waterloo Regional Police Service tweeted that officers are working with regional bylaw and public health officials "to ensure appropriate action is taken." "We ask for your patience, as these are complex issues that require proper engagement of the judicial process. We urge members of the public to abide by public health guidelines and the current Stay-At-Home order," the service tweeted. The Region of Waterloo said in a statement on Sunday that bylaw officers were "on location to observe activities and we continue to work closely with and support our provincial enforcement partners." There was no mention from the region on whether the church will be issued any additional tickets, although the region noted there is a "minimum fine of $10,000 and a maximum fine of $100,000 (individual) / $10 million (corporation) upon a conviction for hosting or organizing an in person gathering that exceeds the 10-person limit and prescribes a maximum fine of $100,000 if convicted for attending such a gathering." The region did "thank the many places of worship that continue to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. These actions help protect our community's health."
VANCOUVER — Many residents of British Columbia's south coast woke up to rain on Sunday after expecting an overnight snow dump, but Environment Canada warns snow is still in the forecast. The federal weather agency updated its snowfall warnings for the region early Sunday morning, saying that between two to 15 centimetres are expected by Monday morning. It says communities near the water such as Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo and lower elevations of Metro Vancouver could see up to five centimetres of snow, while rain or wet snow is also possible in these areas with no accumulations. Higher elevations and inland sections of Metro Vancouver, the western Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast are expected to see greater accumulations. Environment Canada says precipitation is expected to ease Sunday afternoon and then return in the evening, with snowfall at night and on Monday mainly accumulating over higher elevations. The agency is asking residents to be prepared to adjust their driving with changing road conditions, as rapidly falling snow could make travel difficult in some locations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Spain's top military chief has resigned after it was revealed he and other senior officers jumped the queue for a coronavirus vaccine.View on euronews
VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed they won't be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. B.C. rolled out its vaccination plan on Friday, revealing that after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized, shots will be given out according to age, with the oldest residents first in line. That means many people who have not been able to work from home during the pandemic, including grocery store workers, police officers and bus drivers, will have to wait to get the vaccine along with others in their age group. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan strongly urging him to include dentists in stage two of the vaccination plan, alongside family doctors and medical specialists. The B.C. Teachers' Federation says it's disappointed there is no prioritization for frontline workers who have kept schools open, but it acknowledges the vaccine supply is beyond its control and those who are most vulnerable must be immunized first. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that scientific evidence supports an age-based approach because older populations are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old man who was found injured in a residence in the Athlone neighbourhood. Patrol officers arrived at a residence near 128 Avenue and 129 Street at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, responding to a trouble not known call, according to an Edmonton Police Service news release. The officers found an unconscious man inside the home, and began performing CPR on him until EMS arrived. He was taken to hospital, but died of his injuries at about 4:20 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning, but in the meantime detectives are treating the death as suspicious.
Officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some of whom pushed for a smaller plan targeting vaccine distribution. "It seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope," said Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was on the call with Brian Deese, director of the White House's National Economic Council, and other top Biden aides.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s groundbreaking abortion law went into force Sunday under the watchful eyes of women’s groups and government officials, who hope to ensure its full implementation despite opposition from some conservative and church groups. Argentina became the largest nation in Latin America to legalize elective abortion after its Senate on Dec. 30 passed a law guaranteeing the procedure up to the 14th week of pregnancy and beyond that in cases of rape or when a woman’s health is at risk. The vote was hailed as a triumph for the South American country’s feminist movement that could pave the way for similar actions across the socially conservative, heavily Roman Catholic region. But Pope Francis had issued a last-minute appeal before the vote and church leaders have criticized the decision. Supporters of the law say they expect lawsuits from anti-abortion groups in Argentina’s conservative provinces and some private health clinics might refuse to carry out the procedure. “Another huge task lies ahead of us,” said Argentina’s minister of women, gender and diversity, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, who has acknowledged there will be obstacles to the law’s full implementation across the country. Gómez Alcorta said a telephone line will be set up “for those who cannot access abortion to communicate.” The Argentine Catholic Church has repudiated the law and conservative doctors' and lawyers' groups have urged resistance. Doctors and health professionals can claim conscientious objection to performing abortions, but cannot invoke the right if a pregnant woman’s life or health is in danger. A statement signed by the Consortium of Catholic Doctors, the Catholic Lawyers Corporation and other groups called on doctors and lawyers to “resist with nobility, firmness and courage the norm that legalizes the abominable crime of abortion." The anti-abortion group Unidad Provida also urged doctors, nurses and technicians to fight for their “freedom of conscience” and promised to "accompany them in all the trials that are necessary.” Under the law, private health centres that do not have doctors willing to carry out abortions must refer women seeking abortions to clinics that will. Any public official or health authority who unjustifiably delays an abortion will be punished with imprisonment from three months to one year. The National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, an umbrella group for organizations that for years fought for legal abortion, often wearing green scarves at protests, vowed to “continue monitoring compliance with the law.” “We trust the feminist networks that we have built over decades,” said Laura Salomé, one of the movement’s members. A previous abortion bill was voted down by Argentine lawmakers in 2018 by a narrow margin. But in the December vote it was backed by the centre-left government, boosted by the so-called “piba” revolution, from the Argentine slang for “girls,” and opinion polls showing opposition had softened. The law’s supporters expect backlash in Argentina’s conservative provinces. In the northern province of Salta, a federal judge this week rejected a measure filed by a former legislator calling for the law to be suspended because the legislative branch had exceeded its powers. Opponents of abortion cite international treaties signed by Argentina pledging to protect life from conception. Gómez Alcorta said criminal charges currently pending against more than 1,500 women and doctors who performed abortions should be lifted. She said the number of women and doctors detained “was not that many,” but didn’t provide a number. “The Ministry of Women is going to carry out its leadership” to end these cases, she said. Tamara Grinberg, 32, who had a clandestine abortion in 2012, celebrated that from now on “a girl can go to a hospital to say ‘I want to have an abortion.'” She said when she had her abortion, very few people helped her. “Today there are many more support networks ... and the decision is respected. When I did it, no one respected my decision." While abortion is already allowed in some other parts of Latin America — such as in Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico City — its legalization in Argentina is expected to reverberate across the region, where dangerous clandestine procedures remain the norm a half century after a woman’s right to choose was guaranteed in the U.S. ___ AP journalists Víctor Caivano and Yésica Brumec contributed to this report. Almudena Calatrava, The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Midfielder Andrés Perea was among 16 young players added Sunday to the United States roster for the Jan. 31 exhibition against Trinidad and Tobago at Orlando, Florida, after he was approved for a switch of affiliation from Colombia by FIFA. Perea had played for Colombia’s under-17 and under-20 teams. The added players had been training with U.S. under-23 coach Jason Kreis ahead of the delayed Olympic qualifiers for the North and Central American and Caribbean region, which will be played from March 18-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Added to the roster along with Perea were goalkeepers Matt Freese and JT Marcinkowski; defenders Julian Araujo, George Bello, Kyle Duncan, Aaron Herrera, Mauricio Pineda, Miles Robinson and Sam Vines; midfielders Benji Michel, Tanner Tessmann and Jackson Yueill; and forwards Daryl Dike, Jesús Ferreira and Jonathan Lewis. Ten players could make their senior national team debuts, including all three goalkeepers, a group that includes Matt Turner. Other possible debuts include Bello, Herrera, Pineda, Michel, Tessmann and Dike, plus Perea. Fifty-seven players have debuted since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago that prevented the Americans from playing in the 2018 World Cup, including 34 since Gregg Berhalter became coach ahead of 2019. From the original group that started training in Bradenton on Jan. 9, goalkeeper Sean Johnson left because of a knee strain and forward Jordan Morris departed when he went on loan from Seattle of Major League Soccer to Swansea of England’s League Championship. Los Angeles defender Tristan Blackmon suffered a concussion during training Saturday and was to return to California on Sunday. Jozy Altidore, a 31-year-old forward, could make his first international appearance since the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. At 115 international appearances, Altidore is the senior player on a youthful roster that averages 10 appearances and will average 23 years, 302 days on the day of the game. The full roster is expected to be available for a pair of March exhibitions and the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal against Honduras in June, followed by a game against Mexico or Costa Rico in either the championship or third-place match. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup is scheduled to start in September. The roster: Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose), Matt Turner (New England) Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Aaron Herrera (Salt Lake), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Sam Vines (Colorado), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville) Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Benji Michel (Orlando), Andrés Perea (Orlando), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Tanner Tessmann (Dallas), Jackson Yueill (San Jose) Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto), Paul Arriola (D.C.), Daryl Dike (Orlando), Jesús Ferreira (Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado), Chris Mueller (Orlando City) ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Police in Gatineau, Que., say no charges will be laid in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found in the city's Buckingham sector Saturday morning. The death was initially deemed suspicious after police received a 911 call about an unconscious woman at 190 rue Pigeon. Officers were unable to resuscitate the woman upon their arrival, and a man in his 60s was arrested. After police met with witnesses and investigated the scene, however, they determined no criminal act had been committed, according to a press release Sunday. The death is no longer considered suspicious, police said.
This year, Canada’s correctional investigator announced his office is launching a series of in-depth investigations looking at Indigenous programming in Canada’s prisons — specifically around access to culture and community support. “We want to hear from Indigenous inmates to learn from their experiences,” Dr. Ivan Zinger writes in his 2019-2020 annual report. “We intend to look at program participation criteria and compare results and outcomes for those who are enrolled in Indigenous-specific interventions.” An earlier investigation from Zinger revealed that the number of Indigenous inmates in Canadian prisons has reached historic highs, surpassing 30 per cent in recent years and on a trajectory to keep growing. In B.C.’s Fraser Valley, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) operates an Indigenous-focused minimum security institution — one of four “healing lodges” that exist across the country. At Kwìkwèxwelhp in Harrison Mills, about 50 inmates work with Elders, tend to a healing garden, and have access to a longhouse. Boyd Peters Xoyet-thet of the neighbouring Sts’ailes Nation was involved in the transition when Kwìkwèxwelhp was turned into a healing lodge in 2001. “Here in Sts’ailes, we have the benefit of having the cultural history and teachings and knowing how much the land is healing for us,” says Peters, who is also a director with the BC First Nations Justice Council. “In our culture, we know that we need to take care of ourselves in a good way, in a balanced way, so we take care of the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the emotional. The mental is the education part.” Sts’ailes Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC around Kwìkwèxwelhp, which means “a place to gather medicine.” It was previously called Elbow Lake Institution. Inmates — referred to as Kwikw te Alex (meaning “Elbow Lake brothers”) — are given opportunities to upgrade their education on a high school, university or vocational level. One program through Kwantlen Polytechnic University called ‘Inside-Out’ involves pairing up to 13 Kwikw te Alex with the same number of criminology students. Another initiative involves inmates being part of archeological work at Sts’ailes ancient village sites — a skill they can take to their home communities after being released. “We have the guys come down and they clear out the sites for us and they make it really beautiful,” Peters says. “So you can see how beneficial that is and it gives them the incentive to further their education.” Though Kwìkwèxwelhp offers several educational programs, current statistics show that more needs to be done on a national level. Aside from addressing the massive overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in prisons, the current offerings of education in most institutions is falling short, Zinger says. In fact, three-quarters of federally sentenced individuals have some need for education or employment, according to Zinger’s 2019-2020 annual report. “The need for learning opportunities behind bars is considerable,” he writes. “A high percentage of inmates have had negative experiences in formal educational systems; many have dropped out, and most have had difficulty finding legitimate employment or have never held a steady job.” Zinger has asked Canada’s public safety minister to form an independent working group to implement current and past recommendations on education and job training. His office has been asking for improvements in this area for at least a decade, saying inmates’ access to information and technology is “backwards and obsolete,” often still reliant on technology from the early 2000s. Though CSC statistics say that 68 per cent of inmates upgraded their education and 60.8 per cent completed vocational training before release in 2018-2019 — Zinger says that might not mean much. “These indicators do not necessarily mean that they earned a high school diploma or hours toward an apprenticeship,” he writes. “It may only indicate the completion of a single education course or credit or the completion of a vocational program.” Vocational programs include short courses such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), the Basics of Fall Protection, Work Safely with Power Tools, Food Safety or Occupational Health and Safety. Further, less than three per cent of CSC’s overall budget — $64 million — is allocated towards learning. “For a population with such need, these financial resources appear insufficient,” Zinger’s report says. According to CSC, their Indigenous Continuum of Care model, soon to be under review, is Elder-driven and based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel spoken about by Peters — caring for the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. Despite the many cracks in the system, Peters says involving Elders as teachers can make a difference for Indigenous inmates. His mother is an Elder at Kwìkwèxwelhp, and worked with a man who was looking to be transferred to the healing lodge from another institution. “He had strong mental health issues because he was in segregation for years so he had no trust in people and he had huge anxiety,” he explains. “The Elders helped him to see the sacredness of the things that we have. So he went to the water, he went to the longhouse, he talked to the Elders and he learned that he has gifts that he never did utilize.” Today, that man is a professional seamstress, Peters says. “He can make anything out of cloth, just these beautiful things,” he says. “That’s what can happen when some of the guys get to learn some of the teachings and they open themselves up and they learn to trust. That’s what the medicines of the land will do.” Catherine Lafferty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The federal government has approved an Ottawa company's made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, Health Canada confirmed Saturday as the nation's top doctor warned the virus's impact on the health-care system showed no signs of abating. The test developed by Spartan Bioscience is performed by a health-care professional and provides on-site results within an hour, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said. Spartan bills the test as the first "truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market.""The Spartan system will be able to provide quality results to remote communities, industries and settings with limited lab access, helping relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities," the company said in a news release Saturday. The company originally unveiled a rapid test for COVID-19 last spring but had to voluntarily recall it and perform additional studies after Health Canada expressed some reservations.At the time, Spartan said Health Canada was concerned about the "efficacy of the proprietary swab" for the testing product.The new version uses "any nasopharyngeal swab" rather than one of the company's own design, Health Canada said, and meets the agency's requirements for both safety and effectiveness. The Spartan COVID-19 System was developed through clinical evaluation completed in Canada and the U.S., with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as one of the testing locations. The company said it has already started production on the rapid tests. The news comes as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, warned that COVID-19 continues to strain the health-care system even as daily case counts decline in several long-standing hot spots. "As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come," she said in a written statement. Surging new infection rates continued to show signs of easing in multiple provinces, though one jurisdiction was poised to impose new restrictions in a bid to stem the ongoing spread.Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases across the province, 10 of which were in the Edmundston region, which was set to go into a lockdown first thing Sunday morning.Starting at midnight, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited.Saskatchewan, meanwhile, logged 274 new cases of the virus and three new deaths, while Manitoba counted three more deaths and 216 new diagnoses. Alberta logged 573 new cases and 13 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, while both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new infections on Saturday. Both Quebec and Ontario reported fewer cases Saturday — 1,685 and 2,359 respectively.But officials in Ontario expressed concern about a highly contagious U.K. variant of the virus that was detected at a long-term care facility north of Toronto.Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the variant was behind the outbreak at Roberta Place Retirement Lodge in Barrie, Ont., where 32 residents have died of COVID-19 and dozens of others have tested positive."Stringent and consistent efforts are needed to sustain a downward trend in case counts and strongly suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada," Tam said. "This will not only prevent more tragic outcomes, but will help to ensure that new virus variants of concern do not have the opportunity to spread."Fears of variants that can circulate quickly come as the federal government considers a mandatory quarantine in hotels for travellers returning to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version erroneously quoted Health Canada as saying the test needs to be administered by a doctor. In fact, the swab must be performed by a health-care professional.
CORNER BROOK, N.L. — A 24-year-old man from Fort McMurray, Alta., is facing numerous charges including failing to self-isolate, following a traffic stop early this morning in Corner Brook, N.L. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says they stopped a vehicle shortly before 4 a.m. and the driver fled on foot. In a release, they say the driver was quickly apprehended and now faces charges of impaired operation of a motor vehicle, refusal, and obstructing a peace officer. He is also charged with failing to self-isolate after arriving in the province on Jan. 22. He has been ordered to appear in court on on February 9. Police say the driver was also given a 90 day driving suspension and the vehicle was impounded. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is reporting a decrease in cases with 77 new cases and no additional deaths in the region on Sunday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,739 COVID-19 cases recorded in Windsor-Essex and 290 deaths, according to WECHU. Right now, there are 1,567 known active cases in the region. Among today's cases, 24 are outbreak-related, three are close contacts of confirmed cases, two are community acquired and 48 are still being investigated. There are 101 people in hospital in the region, with 14 in the ICU. There are 46 active outbreaks spread across all sectors. Six are at hospitals. There were four outbreaks active at Windsor Regional Hospital and two at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Two outbreaks are in community settings, both in Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations. Outbreaks ware active at 25 workplaces: Seven in Leamington's agricultural sector. Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector. Six in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector. One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in a retail setting in Windsor. One in a retail setting in Essex. One in a retail setting in Lakeshore. One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor. There are 19 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities: Heron Terrace in Windsor with one resident case and one staff case. Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with two resident cases and one staff case. Regency Park in Windsor with seven resident cases and seven staff cases. Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case. Harrowood Senior Community Living in Harrow, with six resident cases and two staff cases. Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and six staff cases. Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases. Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 38 resident cases and seven staff cases. Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 64 resident and 18 staff cases. Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 15 resident cases and eight staff cases. Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 47 resident cases and 25 staff cases. Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 13 staff cases. Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 64 staff cases. The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 34 resident cases and 16 staff cases. Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 57 staff cases. Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 99 resident and 61 staff cases. The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 163 resident cases and 136 staff cases. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 64 resident cases and 32 staff cases.