WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Nominations are now open for the Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia. The award recognizes and honours British Columbians who have demonstrated an outstanding achievement or excellence and distinction in a field that benefits the people of BC or elsewhere. The Order of British Columbia was first established in 1989 by Lieutenant Governor David Lam, under Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Then, as now, British Columbians are encouraged to nominate inspiring individuals who have created a lasting legacy in their field. “Every year, we have the opportunity to recognize British Columbians whose legacies improve our lives, lift our spirits and support our communities,” said Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, who is responsible for the Order of British Columbia. “I encourage you to nominate those exceptional individuals who exemplify the best of British Columbia.” All nominations are reviewed by an independent advisory council, which is chaired by the chief justice of BC. The nomination deadline this year has been extended to Apr. 9, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nominations must be received by the Honours and Awards Secretariat by the ninth to be considered for 2021. In addition to the Order of BC, citizens may nominate individuals for another of the Province’s honours, the Medal of Good Citizenship. This award recognizes exceptional long-term service and contributions to their communities without expectation of reward or remuneration. The medal reflects acts of selflessness, generosity, service and contributions to community life. Unlike the Order of BC, there is no deadline and nominations are accepted year round. “In a global pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, so many people in our province have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others," said Premier John Horgan. “Now, more than ever, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to recognize and celebrate some extraordinary contributions and achievements by British Columbians.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
NEW YORK — R&B star Jazmine Sullivan and country singer Eric Church will join forces to sing the national anthem at the next month’s Super Bowl, where Grammy-winning singer H.E.R. will perform “America the Beautiful.” The performances will take place Feb. 7 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa before the big game and halftime show starring The Weeknd. It will air on CBS. Deaf rapper and recording artist Warren “WAWA” Snipe will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” in American Sign Language. Emmy-nominated musical director Adam Blackstone will arrange and produce Church and Sullivan’s rendition of the national anthem. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company is executive producing the halftime show for a second year. Jesse Collins, who has produced the BET Awards and is working on this year’s Grammys and Oscars telecasts, will serve as an executive producer. Sullivan rose to the top of the R&B charts in 2008 with her debut single and album. She’s earned 12 Grammy nominations and written songs for Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Monica. Her new album, “Heaux Tales,” debuted at No. 4 on this week’s all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart. Church, a 10-time Grammy nominee, released his debut album in 2006 and has topped the country charts with songs like “Drink In My Hand,” “Springsteen,” “Talladega” and “Record Year.” He’s released multiple multiplatinum and platinum albums and was named entertainer of the year at last year’s Country Music Association Awards. H.E.R. won two Grammys in 2019 and has earned critical acclaim for her live performances, including her work as a guitarist. She’s won honours at the MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and Soul Train Music Awards and launched R&B hits such as “Focus,” “Best Part,” “Slide,” “Damage” and “B.S.” with Jhené Aiko. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
OTTAWA — Canada is not going to get any vaccine does from Pfizer-BioNTech next week.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the Canadian military commander co-ordinating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says Canada's shipments of the vaccine will be cut by nearly one-fifth this week and then go down to zero next week.Pfizer told Canada last week its shipments would be affected because the production facility in Belgium is being upgraded to produce more doses overall.Fortin said last week that Canada expected to get about half the total number of doses it was originally expecting over the next four weeks, but can't say today what the total impact will be beyond this week and next.Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week nothing the next week.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says this is disappointing and she spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer officials about the matter.Pfizer says multiple countries will be affected but won't say which ones. Europe is seeing its shipments cut back this week but its dose deliveries will return to normal next week.Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated his commitment to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for any Canadians who want them by the end of September.Meanwhile, Trudeau also urged Canadians who might be planning an international trip in the near future to cancel it.Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel, but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals.The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4 alone, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19.That includes four flights from London since the ban on incoming flights from the United Kingdom was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say when pressed what other measures he is considering, noting only that travellers now must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding their planes, and must still quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
As President Donald Trump entered the final year of his term last January, the U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Not to worry, Trump insisted, his administration had the virus “totally under control.” Now, in his final hours in office, after a year of presidential denials of reality and responsibility, the pandemic’s U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000. And the loss of lives is accelerating. “This is just one step on an ominous path of fatalities,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and one of many public health experts who contend the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis led to thousands of avoidable deaths. “Everything about how it’s been managed has been infused with incompetence and dishonesty, and we’re paying a heavy price,” he said. The 400,000-death toll, reported Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of New Orleans, Cleveland or Tampa, Florida. It's nearly equal to the number of American lives lost annually to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined. With more than 4,000 deaths recorded on some recent days — the most since the pandemic began — the toll by week's end will probably surpass the number of Americans killed in World War II. “We need to follow the science and the 400,000th death is shameful,” said Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, near Los Angeles. With its morgue full, the hospital has parked a refrigerated truck outside to hold the bodies of COVID-19 victims until funeral homes can retrieve them. “It’s so incredibly, unimaginably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided,” he said. The U.S. accounts for nearly 1 of every 5 virus deaths reported worldwide, far more than any other country despite its great wealth and medical resources. The coronavirus would almost certainly have posed a grave crisis for any president given its rapid spread and power to kill, experts on public health and government said. But Trump seemed to invest as much in battling public perceptions as he did in fighting the virus itself, repeatedly downplaying the threat and rejecting scientific expertise while fanning conflicts ignited by the outbreak. As president he was singularly positioned to counsel Americans. Instead, he used his pulpit to spout theories — refuted by doctors — that taking unproven medicines or even injecting household disinfectant might save people from the virus. The White House defended the administration this week. “We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic, and thanks to the president’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed has led to the development of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time, something many said would never happen,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. With deaths spiraling in the New York City area last spring, Trump declared “war” on the virus. But he was slow to invoke the Defence Production Act to secure desperately needed medical equipment. Then he sought to avoid responsibility for shortfalls, saying that the federal government was “merely a backup” for governors and legislatures. “I think it is the first time in history that a president has declared a war and we have experienced a true national crisis and then dumped responsibility for it on the states,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy think-tank . When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tried to issue guidelines for reopening in May, Trump administration officials held them up and watered them down. As the months passed, Trump claimed he was smarter than the scientists and belittled experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top authority on infectious diseases. “Why would you bench the CDC, the greatest fighting force of infectious disease in the world? Why would you call Tony Fauci a disaster?” asked Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. “It just doesn’t make sense.” As governors came under pressure to reopen state economies, Trump pushed them to move faster, asserting falsely that the virus was fading. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he tweeted in April as angry protesters gathered at the state capitol to oppose the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home restrictions. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” In Republican-led states like Arizona that allowed businesses to reopen, hospitals and morgues filled with virus victims. “It led to the tragically sharp partisan divide we’ve seen in the country on COVID, and that has fundamental implications for where we are now, because it means the Biden administration can’t start over," Altman said. “They can’t put the genie back in the bottle.” In early October, when Trump himself contracted COVID-19, he ignored safety protocols, ordering up a motorcade so he could wave to supporters outside his hospital. Once released, he appeared on the White House balcony to take off his mask for the cameras, making light of health officials' pleas for people to cover their faces. “We’re rounding the corner,” Trump said of the battle with the virus during a debate with Joe Biden in late October. “It’s going away.” It isn’t. U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 in late May, then tripled by mid-December. Experts at the University of Washington project deaths will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1. More than 120,000 patients with the virus are in the hospital in the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project, twice the number who filled wards during previous peaks. On a single day last week, the U.S. recorded more than 4,400 deaths. While vaccine research funded by the administration as part of Warp Speed has proved successful, the campaign trumpeted by the White House to rapidly distribute and administer millions of shots has fallen well short of the early goals officials set. “Young people are dying, young people who have their whole lives ahead of them,” said Mawata Kamara, a nurse at California’s San Leandro Hospital who is furious over the surging COVID-19 cases that have overwhelmed health care workers. “We could have done so much more.” Many voters considered the federal government’s response to the pandemic a key factor in their vote: 39% said it was the single most important factor, and they overwhelmingly backed Biden over Trump, according to AP VoteCast. But millions of others stood with him. “Here you have a pandemic," said Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant, "yet you have a massive per cent of the population that doesn’t believe it exists.” Adam Geller And Janie Har, The Associated Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has left municipal councils in Queens and Lunenburg counties rethinking this year’s tax sales. The majority have either deferred them or cancelled them entirely for 2021, while others, such as the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), was in the throes of deciding how to proceed last week. Municipalities auction off properties where taxes have been owing for several years as a means of recouping some of the outstanding payments. Typically, the municipalities hold the auctions within the first three months of a year, prior to their fiscal year-end. But as the pandemic continues to be a concern, this year will be different. The Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) has decided against having a tax sale for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends March 31, “due to the global health pandemic” according to a post on its web page. “I was not part of the decision. But I believe people may be feeling the repercussions of COVID-19 and perhaps people were unable to work,” explained RQM Mayor Darlene Norman. However, a tax sale has been scheduled for April 7. Heather Cook, RQM’s communications coordinator, reported that staff are preparing 60-day notices for those whose properties are scheduled for the sale. Fifty-seven properties are on RQM’s April 7 tax sale list. The value of outstanding taxes and charges is estimated at more than $170,000. All properties listed on this tax sale are in arrears of four years or more. Property owners still have time to pay off their taxes before their property is put up for sale, however. RQM normally has three tax sales per year. The dates for the next two have not been set. The Municipality of Chester (MOC) had also decided not to proceed with a tax sale during their 2020-21 fiscal year, but it has yet to commit to a timeline for an upcoming sale. According to Jennifer Webber, communications officer for MOC, council members have only discussed how they might proceed and have asked staff to investigate online bidding as a possible option. The number of eligible properties to go on the list was not available. In MODL, currently, there are 37 properties that would be included in a tax sale this fiscal year, including 16 residential properties, 17 resource properties, one commercial and three classified as forestry. Owners of 24 of the 37 properties appear not to be residents of MODL, according to a report to council on January 12 by Elana Wentzell, MODL’s director of finance. The municipality was looking to collect $123,531 in outstanding taxes. At the meeting, staff recommended that council agree to sell the properties through a tender process. However, councillors were uncertain how best to proceed. They discussed a variety of approaches including deferring the tax sale to later in the year, and taking out residential properties from the equation this year and deferring their sale until next year. Some councillors wondered about the optics of having the tax sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I realize that this time of year, and with everything going on, can be hard,” said Councillor Chasidy Veinotte. “I would like to be able to avoid reading on Facebook or seeing a headline in the local paper, ‘Municipal council proceeds with tax sale amid COVID-19 pandemic.” Councillor Kacy DeLong agreed. “It does seem particularly heartless in this moment of time. Where are people going to go?” she asked. In the end, it was agreed the council should seek the advice of the municipality’s solicitor. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis wants to make it clear he does not begrudge Maskwacis the early vaccines the four First Nations received. His concern is about the process in Alberta. Alexis said three meetings last week between chiefs and staff with health officials from both the province and federal government gave no indication that any First Nation would see early arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. They were informed that Elders 65 years and over on reserves would be the next to receive the vaccine. At this point, both long-term care facilities and front line health personnel on reserves had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. On Saturday, the third day of successive funerals on his First Nation, Alexis was told by one of his band members that Maskwacis had received the vaccine. He assured his community member that wasn’t the case, because it hadn’t been discussed at previous meetings. But it turned out that it was the case. “Everybody, whether you're Albertan or Canadian or some different part of the world, everyone is afraid. People are afraid and every leadership I know have been doing their best to keep things calm and try to eliminate the noise.” Alexis said “things like this create that noise. Experiences like this go back to examples like the residential schools, Sixties Scoop, leaving the Indigenous people out of that decision-making table.” A news release issued last night by Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson confirmed Maskwacis received a “limited number of doses” as they “are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases.” The combined population of the four First Nations—Louis Bull, Samson Cree, Montana and Ermineskin Cree—which comprise Maskwacis is 18,000. Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told the media last Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the community were COVID-19 positive. More than five per cent of the population on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has COVID-19. Then yesterday, like everyone else, Alexis heard the announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that a cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine meant a delay in vaccinating those in the next priority group, including First Nations and Métis Elders. “It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis, both about the news and not being part of the discussion before the announcement was made. Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras was surprised by Kenney’s announcement. “In terms of the decisions, how things are rolling out, whose decision was it to put a hold on vaccines distribution to First Nations? We don’t know. I really don’t know. Like everybody else, I found out (Monday) morning. The First Nations are the most vulnerable population everywhere, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Poitras. Both Poitras and Alexis reference the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and say Health Minister Tyler Shandro needs to comply with it. NACI has “adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences” included in stage one of the COVID-19 roll out. Poitras points to Alberta Health statistics to emphasize the point: 7.1 per cent of First Nations in Alberta have been hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 4.3 per cent of Albertans generally. After Kenney’s announcement, Poitras began a text conversation with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. She said Miller said he was unaware of the decision and did not know how the province had arrived at it. Poitras said she requested information from Miller on the national roll out of the vaccine. “The numbers don’t pan out. That’s the issue,” said Poitras. “If we’re not at that decision-making table, how do we know how many vaccines are being rolled out? How many are actually being distributed to who? Who are the priorities? I know they sent out a priority list, but now they’re changing that, putting First Nations on hold. Without our direct involvement how are we to know exactly what kind of decisions are being made?” Wilson said in his statement that First Nations were “particularly vulnerable.” He points out that Phase 1 will see Indigenous Elders living on reserve and Métis settlements vaccinated at 65 years of age and up while the rest of the Alberta population in that phase has to be 75 years or older. The priority list for Alberta has phase one divided into three timelines beginning in December 2020, with Phase 1B to begin in February 2021 and including First Nations and Métis Elders on reserves and settlements. Phase 2, which spans April to September, says “work to identify sequencing … is underway.” “We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations,” said Wilson. However, both Alexis and Poitras believe that First Nations have not had enough input. “We’ve been trying to keep the people calm. Trying to be supportive, trying to provide proper information. When you hear information coming from the general public and they know more than we do, as leaders being told we’re sitting at this important table. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis. “There needs to be a coordinated response where First Nations are involved and that we’re making these decisions together,” said Poitras. Alexis would like to see not only chiefs directly involved with Alberta politicians in the decision making, but also First Nations experts, such as Treaty 6 physicians James Makokis and Alika La Fontaine, weighing in. “There are experts that the chiefs would listen to their advice and support them at the same time. They would echo where our communities are at. Whether it’s this or anything else in government, our people need to be at those tables and a fair process needs to be put in place that we’re following. Right now what it does, it actually damages that conversation because (the communities) will look at their leadership that they're not doing enough,” said Alexis. He added that if that process isn’t solid and transparent, First Nations may be further ahead by operating on their own and advocating for themselves. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of Amber Dawn Wood, 38, of Bienfait, Sask. Justin Julien Englot, 29, and Jayden Marie Sanford, 25, both of Regina, have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Sanford and Englot made their first appearance in Regina provincial court Tuesday morning. Two other people, both males, are also in custody. They haven't been charged, but police say an investigation is continuing. Wood died after being severely injured Saturday morning at a home on the 700 block of Athol St., police said. Police were called to the scene following a report someone had been shot. Wood was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was the city's first homicide of 2021.
MONTREAL — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is highlighting the disconnect between the way Canadians see their role in the world and reality, according to international affairs experts. Ottawa is facing pressure to help poorer countries access COVID-19 vaccines, but it is also being pulled internally by provinces demanding their citizens be vaccinated as quickly as possible. The federal government says it will donate hundreds of millions of dollars to help developing countries vaccinate their citizens. But Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand has said Canada will do "whatever it takes'' to get more vaccine delivered to the country sooner — including, she said, by upping the price it is willing to pay. David Hornsby, professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said the pandemic has shed light on an inward-looking trend that has been developing in the country for decades. Over the past 25 to 30 years, Hornsby said in a recent interview, Canada has gone from having a “very broad and inclusive definition of national interest” to one that is “very narrow and very much focused and located on what is immediately relevant to Canadians.” Canada’s role in international organizations also declined over that period, he added. Canada is certainly not alone in wanting to help itself before it helps others. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, this week warned that the world is “on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure” as rich countries make deals to secure vaccine and drive up prices. While more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income countries, said Tedros, who goes by his first name, only one country that the WHO considers lowest income has given out any vaccine — a total of 25 doses. But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had made the right move by signing bilateral deals with drug makers — the exact sort of deals criticized by Tedros. "We took extra care to sign more contracts with more potential vaccine makers than most of our allies and indeed have secured more doses per person than any other country," Trudeau told reporters. Jason Nickerson, humanitarian affairs adviser for Doctors Without Borders, says he's worried wealthy countries such as Canada will vaccinate people who are at lower risk of developing serious cases of COVID-19 before people at high risk in poorer countries get their shots. "I think there's just a straight moral obligation to vaccinate people who are at a higher risk of developing the disease, developing severe complications and dying from it when we have a vaccine that could potentially prevent all of those things from happening," Nickerson said in a recent interview. Maxwell Smith, a medical ethicist at Western University and a member of Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said it makes sense that Canadian governments want to get vaccines as fast as they can, but Canadians, he said, also need to recognize that vaccines are a scarce global public good. "Everyone really needs it and would benefit from it,” he said in a recent interview. “That's not to say that Canada doesn't have a particular obligation to its citizens and shouldn't be trying to do what we're doing in getting as many vaccines as quickly as possible into this country. But I hope that it's being balanced against our obligations, also, to those in other countries and our obligations based in our humanity.” Federal International Development Minister Katerina Gould said she doesn't think the idea of inoculating Canadians quickly while helping other countries access vaccines is mutually exclusive. “We're going to ensure that we vaccinate our own population, but at the same time, support global multilateral efforts to vaccinate those who otherwise would not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine,” she said in an interview Monday. But Canada is facing criticism from groups that say it needs to act faster to support global efforts, especially because it has pre-purchase agreements for more doses of vaccine than any other country in the world. Anne-Catherine Bajard, a policy manager with Oxfam Canada, said Canada has made a strong commitment to COVAX, an international organization that aims to help lower-income countries access vaccines. But she'd like to see Canada start contributing to the COVAX vaccine pool immediately, rather than waiting to vaccinate all Canadians first. It's not just the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, she said in an interview Friday. There’s also an element of self-interest. “We're not going to stop the pandemic if we do it one country at a time," she said. While the federal government has “secured access” to nearly 400 million doses, Gould said most of those doses remain hypothetical. Only two of the seven vaccines that Ottawa has the right to buy have been approved by Health Canada. “We don't actually have a closet full of hidden vaccines," she said. "These doses don't yet exist." Gould, who co-chairs a COVAX governance body, said Canada is one of the top five donors to the ACT-Accelerator, the international organization that runs COVAX. In total, the federal government said it has committed $865 million in funding to the organization in addition to any donations of surplus vaccine. While the federal government did not provide a timeline for that commitment, according to data from Gavi, the ACT-Accelerator's parent organization, Canada has committed to provide $600 million in direct funding between 2021 and 2025 and to provide $246 million to COVAX this year. And while Canada might be more inward-looking today than in generations past, Hornsby noted the country remains deeply integrated into the global economy and that many Canadians have family overseas. That means Canada can’t isolate itself from the rest of the world and only focus on vaccinating people here, he said. Finding a "happy medium" is difficult, he added. "There's going to be clear winners and clear losers." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, is engaged to be married. The 27-year-old recent Georgetown law school graduate announced her good news on Instagram on Tuesday, her father's final full day in office. She shared a photograph of herself and fiance Michael Boulos posing on the West Wing colonnade at the White House. “It has been an honour to celebrate many milestones, historic occasions and create memories with my family here at the White House, none more special than my engagement to my amazing fiance Michael!” Tiffany Trump wrote. “Feeling blessed and excited for the next chapter!” Boulos, a 23-year-old business executive, also shared the photograph on his Instagram account. “Got engaged to the love of my life! Looking forward to our next chapter together,” he wrote. Tiffany Trump is the president's daughter with Marla Maples, his second ex-wife. She and Boutros have been dating for the past few years and have attended White House events together. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Division 1 and 2 students at the Swan Hills School will participate in an Earth Rangers virtual presentation on January 22, 2021. Crescent Point Energy has sponsored this presentation at no cost to the school. According to information shared by an Earth Rangers representative, the presentation will include: · Real-time broadcasting from the Earth Rangers Centre · Curriculum-linked education information appropriate for grades 1 - 6 · An integration of technology like green-screens, video segments, and multiple camera angles to create a unique and immersive virtual experience · Interactive elements like trivia and a choose-your-own-adventure format to keep students attentive and engaged · Demonstrations by our beloved Animal Ambassadors · Featured local content, including conservation work happening to restore habitat for the Western Bumblebee in Saskatchewan Earth Rangers is a conservation organization that focuses on “instilling environmental knowledge, positivity, and the confidence to take action in every child in Canada.” They offer free programming for children to participate in at school, home, and in the community. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Shelburne Council looks at street names for new subdivisionThe municipality’s Town Planner, Steve Wever presented a report to Council regarding the proposed street names in the Fieldgate Development on the eastern edge of town. Shelburne’s Street naming and Addressing Policy, #2018-14 establishes a uniform and logical street naming system for new streets in town and assists with naming streets in a way that recognizes and promotes the her-itage and identity of Shelburne, as well as emergency or safety considerations and sig-nificant contributions by organizations or individuals. The policy provides for street names in a development to be based upon a particular theme and that all names be consistent with that theme. The Fieldgate theme is natural heritage and the names are to reflect local flora and fauna found surrounding woodlots and wetlands. However, the company had one special request for a street name – Leanne Lane, which was significant to the company. The name reflects that of the late wife of the architect who designed the homes in the subdivision.The street naming policy also provides direction for names to reflect a sense of con-tinuity and belonging, long standing local area identification and/or recognition, or to celebrate local history, places, events or cul-ture, so Council directed Town staff to work with Fieldgate to create inclusive street names, acknowledging the region’s Black and Indigenous community history.Several indigenous names were offered for inclusion and as a result, Fieldgate revised their original proposal to include, Anishi-naabe Drive, Ojibway Road, Potawatomi Crescent, White Oak Avenue, Red Elm Road, Black Cherry Cresent, Hemlock Place, Leanne Lane, Trillium Court, Chippewa Ave-nue and Limestone Lane.The report noted that street names, which advertise the developer, are not allowed, but this wasn’t an issue for Fieldgate’s special request of Leanne Lane.It went on to say that no objections had been received from any of the organizations approached to review the names, including the County, Canada Post and various indigenous groups. The Town is proposing to name the park in the subdivision, now being marketed as Emerald Crossing, after William and Mary Ghant, two prominent early Black settlers to Dufferin County.Council approved the names suggested.In other news, Councillor Benotto brought up the issue of the sidewalks in Shelburne being icy and difficult to walk on, especially up near the Arena, where he walks fre-quently. He asked if Public Works was plan-ning to sand them soon and if there was a problem. Director Jim Moss responded, say-ing that during the holidays, there had been some equipment failures regarding sidewalk maintenance and that currently only one machine was operational. He added that first thing Tuesday (Jan. 19), he would send a crew up to evaluate the situation and deal with it as best as possible.Meanwhile, Council approved a motion by Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson, in his ongo-ing crusade for inclusivity and diversity within the Town, to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as per the recommen-dations of the Anti Racism Task Force. This committee would consist of eight to 10 community members plus two or three councillors and was fashioned after the similar Dufferin County Committee.The community members on the new committee would be selected, perhaps by application, and the three councillors would guide them in their deliberations, again similar to the County template.Finally, two new nominations were put forward by Deputy Mayor Anderson for the Community Excellence Awards. Mike Mackely was nominated for his many years of dedicated community ser-vice, along with Mr. Yehya Soliman for his services to the community. Theses awards along with the others will be presented vir-tually la Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Each year the third week of January is recognized as National Non-Smoking Week. Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health is reminding vape and tobacco users that quitting is never easy and not to get discouraged. While pandemic related stress may have impacted some individuals’ plans to quit, HPEPH says that perseverance will pay off, although quitting tobacco smoking or vaping may sometimes take between 7 and 30 tries. Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 impact an individual’s lungs, and quitting smoking or vaping can reduce the chances of experiencing more severe symptoms of viruses and illnesses. HPEPH explained that recent research shows that smokers who become sick with COVID-19 are more likely to have worse symptoms, be admitted to an ICU or pass away as compared to non-smokers. Smoking and vaping may also increase chances of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses since smoking requires individuals to remove their mask as well as increasing hand to mouth contact. HPEPH also said that the benefits of quitting can be experienced within 20 minutes after the last cigarette and can continue to be seen for up to 15 years. During the pandemic, HPEPH is offering limited in-person services with additional supports and services available to help residents interested in quitting smoking tobacco or vapes. Residents interested in speaking to a trained quit specialist can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or online at smokershelpline.ca. Canadian Addictions and Mental Health also offers a STOP on the Net program that provides online support as well as 4 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. More information can be found online at nicotinedependenceclinic.com. Youth-friendly support is available at breakitoff.ca, and local high school students can contact their school Public Health Nurse to discuss quit options. School nurses remain available during remote schooling, and students are advised to call their school’s guidance office for more information. Residents looking for more information about support resources are encouraged to contact HPEPH’s Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 600, or visit hpePublicHealth.ca/vaping or hpePublicHealth.ca/quit-smoking-program. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern):1:50 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting zero new COVID-19 infections today.The province is dealing with five active reported cases.One person is recovering in hospital with the disease.The province has reported a total of 396 infections and four deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.---1:40 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. With numbers decreasing in recent weeks, the government is proposing to ease several restrictions on business openings and public gatherings by the end of the week. The possible changes, subject to public consultation, include allowing non-essential stores, hair salons and barbershops to reopen with capacity limits. Another proposed change would ease the ban on social gatherings inside private homes to allow two visitors at a time.---1:30 p.m.Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault says he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier says it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he says it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.---12:45 p.m.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she has spoken to Pfizer and does not expect any more interruptions to its Canadian deliveries after mid-February.Anand says Pfizer is contractually obligated to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.Canada expects its shipments from Pfizer to be larger than previously expected from the middle of February until the end of March to make up for smaller shipments over the next month.---12:25 p.m.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says Canada will get no doses of vaccine from Pfizer at all next week.Fortin, the vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, says this week's shipment is almost one-fifth smaller than expected.That means only 171,093 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive over the next two weeks, instead of the 417,300 doses previously expected.Fortin says the deliveries over the first two weeks of February have yet to be confirmed, but Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.---11:20 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any Canadians who still have international trips planned need to cancel them.The variants of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil could change the situation rapidly and he warns that Canada could impose new restrictions on the border at any time, without warning.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting a significant drop in new COVID-19 infections today with 1,386 new cases.The province also reported 55 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 16 that occurred in the prior 24 hours.Health officials say hospitalizations rose by nine, to 1,500 and 212 people were in intensive care, a drop of five.Quebec has reported a total of 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the virus.---10:50 a.m.Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.There are now seven active reported cases in the province.P.E.I. has reported 110 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.---10:35 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 today, likely under-reported due to a technical error in Toronto.Health Minister Christine Elliott says that Toronto is reporting 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus.Over the past three days, Toronto reported 815 new cases, 1,035 new cases and 903 new cases.There were 46 more deaths linked to the virus in Ontario.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — The Premier League is looking into why West Ham apparently struck an agreement with West Bromwich Albion for Robert Snodgrass not to play in Tuesday's game as part of the winger's transfer between the two clubs. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce disclosed details of the transfer to his relegation-threatened team two weeks ago to explain the absence of Snodgrass. “That was an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play," Allardyce told broadcaster BT Sport ahead of the match in east London. "We could only get the deal done with that agreement.” West Ham is portraying it as a “gentleman's agreement” rather than a formal part of the transfer. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes will receive vaccinations by Feb. 15 despite a shortage of Pfizer vaccines. As Morganne Campbell reports, the backlog is causing a delay in the province's rollout plan.
LONDON — Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a “deeply personal” letter to her estranged father was “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy.” Meghan's latest attempt to protect her privacy laid bare more details of her fraught relationship with her estranged father, who claims he has been “vilified” as a dishonest publicity-seeker. The former Meghan Markle, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court, in what would be one of London's highest-profile civil court showdowns for years. The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favour and dismiss the newspaper’s defence case. Her lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case. “At its heart, it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he said at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions. Lawyers for the duchess say Thomas Markle, a retired television cinematographer, caused anguish for Meghan and Harry before their May 2018 wedding by giving media interviews and posing for wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency. In the end, he didn't attend the wedding ceremony after suffering a heart attack. Rushbrooke said Meghan's letter, sent in August 2018, was “a message of peace” whose aim was “to stop him talking to the press." He said the duchess took steps to ensure the five-page, 1,250-word letter wouldn't be intercepted, sending it by FedEx through her accountant to her father’s home in Mexico. The letter implored Thomas Markle to stop speaking to the media, saying: “Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces.” The last sentences, read out in court, were: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.” Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure “does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind.” He said “the sad intricacies of a family relationship … is not a matter of public interest.” Lawyers for Associated Newspapers argue that Meghan wrote the letter knowing it would eventually be published. They say it came into the public domain when friends of the duchess described it in anonymous interviews with People magazine. Thomas Markle says he allowed the Mail to publish portions of the letter to “set the record straight” after reading the People article. In a written witness statement submitted by the defence, he said the article “had given an inaccurate picture of the contents of the letter and my reply and had vilified me by making out that I was dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated.” “I had to defend myself against that attack," he said. “The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation. It was a criticism of me," Markle added. "The letter didn’t say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health. It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation." In October, judge Mark Warby agreed to Meghan’s request to postpone the trial, scheduled to begin this month, until October or November 2021. He said the reason for the delay should remain secret. Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. A year ago, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California. ___ Follow all AP developments on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at https://apnews.com/hub/prince-harry and https://apnews.com/hub/meghan-markle Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island's premier says public health orders should soon be eased across the province because of its low COVID-19 infection rate. "At a time when other jurisdictions are experiencing tightening restrictions and increased lockdowns, we are in the very fortunate and enviable situation to be looking at the days ahead to see an easing of restrictions within our borders," Dennis King told reporters Tuesday. But King said it won't be until at least mid-February before the Island re-enters the Atlantic bubble, which allows residents to travel freely between regional boundaries. "At this time, as a province, we are not comfortable moving forward with re-entering the Atlantic Bubble," King said. Health officials in Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said the new cases involved a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. She said there are now seven active reported cases on the Island. Morrison, however, said she's concerned by the situation beyond P.E.I.'s borders. "The situation in Canada remains concerning, with over 715,000 cases and 18,000 COVID-related deaths," she told reporters. "Since Jan. 1, New Brunswick reported 372 new cases, Nova Scotia 60 new cases, P.E.I. has had 12 since Jan. 1, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new infections. "Our friends and neighbours in New Brunswick are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19, reporting 89 new cases in the last three days. They currently have over 300 active cases — the most since the pandemic began," she said. P.E.I. has reported 110 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. Indoor private gatherings are limited to members of a household plus ten people, while most businesses are still required to operate at 50 per cent capacity. The restrictions are scheduled to remain until Jan. 25. Morrison said that as of Monday, 5,910 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered on P.E.I., including 1,407 second doses. "By the end of this week, everyone living and working in long-term care and community care facilities will have received their first dose of the vaccine," she said. "They will start receiving their second dose next week." Morrison said the anticipated slowdown in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will have very little impact on the Island. "The Pfizer slowdown means that we may not get a shipment of the product for one week, on Jan. 25. That shipment contains 975 doses. However, we will get two shipments of that same amount in the middle of February," she said. "Given the fact that we have been holding back the second dose of vaccine, and we expect the increased supply in February, we are confident that we have enough vaccine to continue with our original plan." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. — By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press