It was a quiet New Year for most Toronto residents as Ontario remains in lockdown. But as Brittany Rosen reports, despite pandemic restrictions imposed, there were still some gatherings taking place in the city Thursday night.
It was a quiet New Year for most Toronto residents as Ontario remains in lockdown. But as Brittany Rosen reports, despite pandemic restrictions imposed, there were still some gatherings taking place in the city Thursday night.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The announcement Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests U.S. authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home. The threat assessment is being co-ordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will confront the problem with resources and policies but also “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.” Asked whether new methods were needed, she said, “More needs to be done. That's why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “critical” that the Biden administration appeared to be prioritizing the threat of domestic extremism. “In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,” Schiff said. The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump's second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for decades has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in America is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism. It's an issue that has flared repeatedly over the years, with different attacks — including a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue — periodically caused renewed debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed. It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections. FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the police and stormed into the Capitol. Scores of people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as people identified in court papers as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups. ___ Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Even during the pandemic, the Okanagan continues to become a hotspot for film projects with bigger stars and films expected on the horizon according to the head of the Okanagan Film Commission. Chair of the film commission, Jon Summerland, told the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) board at their Jan. 21 meeting that movie producers created around $48 million in economic impact in the region last year. The non-profit film commission, funded in part by local regional governments, led the way in health and safety protocols while shooting in 2020, according to Summerland. “One month into the pandemic, we were already quarantining crews in hotels and shooting Hallmark movies. So we were the first in Canada to have film and we’ve been steady since. We were instrumental in creating the protocol for COVID with WorkSafe BC, they were on our sets every day in the beginning,” Summerland said. Health and safety officers became full-time crew members, now there are three on each set in the Okanagan. There were a total of 25 productions filmed in the Okanagan in 2020, including “Dangerous,” from Mind’s Eye Entertainment starring Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious) with an approximate $11 million in economic impact for the region. Much of the economic boon from the year could be attributed to around 10 Hallmark and Lifetime movies shot mostly in Summerland, Peachland and Kelowna. With more productions in the Okanagan and the word getting back to Hollywood, the film commission is opening the door to bigger projects and features. The film commission advertised the landscapes of the Okanagan in the magazine Hollywood Monthly, and having some big-name producers and directors living in the region doesn’t hurt either. “So all of them have been great tools in my tool belt to talk to Netflix, who I spoke with yesterday, to talk to bigger feature films, who are now already calling us because all these little shows that nobody watches, Hollywood watches. Hollywood goes ‘where are these being done?’ So now we’re on the radar,” Summerland said. He added he was working on a package for a film with a budget of $180 million. While Summerland said it is unlikely the commission will land the film, it could be a preview of things to come. “We are growing as a film community.” Combined, regional districts in the Okanagan contributed $255,244 to the film commission in 2020, with $45,000 coming from the RDOS and $130,000 from the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
Curious onlookers may be forgiven for thinking the Stettler area is quickly becoming the fibre board capital of Canada, as a second company has announced they’re building a major plant here. Alberta BioBord Corp. contacted the ECA Review newspaper last week after a story was printed about Great Plains MDF’s plans to develop a fibre board mill in the region south and east of Stettler. Now, Alberta BioBord, unrelated to Great Plains MDF, stated they plan to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant adjacent the Town of Stettler. Alberta BioBord is headed up by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) George Clark, who was formerly a spokesperson for Great Plains, and Clark, along with directors Randy Kerr and Lorne Murfitt, joined the ECA Review for a teleconference interview Jan. 19. Murfitt stated during the Great Plains effort a lot of time and effort was spent meeting the public and touring rural Alberta looking for a place to build an MDF facility and Stettler was selected at that time for a variety of reasons, including its excellent road system, proximity to rail lines and population. Murfitt added that even after several people joined Alberta BioBord, they still focused on Stettler. Clark stated that when looking for a great place to build an MDF plant, which uses wheat straw to make fibre board, Stettler kept coming to the top of the list. While Clark said the mill rates are not necessarily the lowest in this region “the logistics were absolutely the best.” Clark stated that Alberta BioBord hopes to continue with the site named last summer, a parcel of land across the road from the Stettler airport, which he said has easy rail access and good connector roads nearby. He stated Alberta BioBoard won’t be causing any traffic troubles as the existing truck routes will suffice, and also pointed out no Alberta BioBord traffic will be using Main Street. Clark also pointed out trucks supplying Alberta BioBord's facility will be coming from all directions surrounding Stettler, not just one. Additionally, Alberta BioBord is proposing straw depots around the area where material can be stored and trucked when needed, plus the use of train cars. The CEO stated Alberta BioBord’s project is valued at between $650 and $750 million, but noted the project will first begin as a fuel pellet plant. Murfitt and Kerr explained straws can be used to make fuel pellets, a heating fuel in big demand. This phase is estimated at between $35 and $40 million. After the fuel pellet plant is up and running, the MDF plant could move forward. It’s estimated the fuel pellet plant will be producing 300,000 metric tonnes of pellets per year with 40 metric tonnes of biomass fibres entering the plant every hour. Clark pointed out Alberta BioBord is also willing to buy flax straw from producers, which he stated is probably good news for producers looking to sell their flaw straw. The CEO explained the company’s first round of financing is being finalized now and expects that to be ironed out by the end of February, when things like municipal approvals can then be addressed. Clark said the company would like to see construction start this year with the fuel pellet plant in operation next fall. Where will this wheat and flax straw be coming from? Central Alberta producers. Clark noted Alberta BioBord's collection zone for straw will be at least a 250 kilometre radius of Stettler, and the company is planning an extensive public consultation process. All three men stated the company keenly wants to develop strong relationships with producers. They added that producers should watch for more information coming over the next weeks and months about Alberta BioBord’s Stettler project. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
While one Northern Ontario health unit has decided to ban some outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, skating and hill sliding, that is not currently in the plans for Sudbury's public health region. As of Thursday January 21, all OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) trails and associated sledding trails on crown land within the jurisdiction of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit were shut down by order of Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health. This takes in thousands of square kilometres from the Quebec border to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. There are roughly 1,900 kilometres of groomed trails. The order will be in effect for the duration of the provincial stay-at-home order and can be reassessed in the future, said the news release. “We have been told to stay home and we need to do this,” said Dr. Chirico in the release. “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. "The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously. “We are also seeing groups of snowmobilers congregating on trails, in parking lots and other locations not maintaining a two-metre distance and exceeding the gathering limits.” The decision sparked an outcry on social media from hundreds of avid sledders who have paid the $270 annual fee for riding OFSC trails across Ontario. Many are upset about the loss of sledding privileges and question the concept of closing down outdoor activities where many believe there is little chance of contracting the coronavirus in an outdoor setting, where most riders wear helmets and face shields. Northern Ontario trails also attract hundreds of riders from Southern Ontario owing to the greater number of long-distance trails. Some local sledders said if anything, police and trail wardens should be sending out-of-town riders back home. The snowmobiling ban came a week after another controversial call by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. On January 14, it decreed that all outdoor public ice skating rinks, tobogganing hills and skating trails on public property across the district to be closed. It too was done in accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act according to a news release. “Travelling to skating rinks and tobogganing hills can increase risk of spread of COVID-19 when individuals choose to travel with people who they do not live with,” said Dr. Chirico. “Skating rinks and tobogganing hills are locations where we have seen a lot of individuals gather without physical distancing and many times without face coverings. While enjoying these amenities COVID-19 restrictions may get forgotten and put our community at risk.” Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), which also covers large urban and rural areas, has taken a different approach. In response to an inquiry from Sudbury.com, PHSD said outdoor activities would continue and it encouraged people to observe physical distancing and to wear masks. "At this time, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is not recommending the closure of snowmobiling trails, sliding hills, or outdoor skating rinks. Public Health will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation closely to protect the health of the community," PHSD said. "There is a higher risk of COVID spread if people are congregating together. Remember to stay with people you live with or in groups of five or less outdoors while keeping at least two metres of distance. Wear a mask if there is a chance you are going to get within two metres of others. As part of the stay-at-home order, avoid non-essential travel. Everyone is required to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work," said the PHSD response. Similar to the Sudbury position, the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, has taken the softer approach. On January 19, Simcoe-Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner, held a media briefing and said it hadn't occurred to him to take the restrictive action imposed by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. "At this point in time I’m not considering doing that. I think I would have to see evidence that it is both helpful and necessary to make that kind of restriction," said Gardner in a live-streamed event. Gardner was also quoted as saying that although an argument could be made for keeping snowmobilers at home, there could be some individuals who rely on sledding as a primary means of transportation at this time of year. He said he would need more evidence before shutting down outdoor activities. Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com, covering health care in Northern Ontario. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the federal government. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
VICTORIA — British Columbia's oldest residents will be able to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting in March after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized under a provincial plan announced today. People who register for the age-based plan will get a reminder to book appointments when eligible, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says timelines for vaccination will depend on available doses. Residents in long-term care homes and health-care workers who look after them are among those who are currently being vaccinated, followed in February by more residents of Indigenous communities as well as those who are over the age of 80. Those aged 75 to 79 will be vaccinated starting in April as part of the pre-registration strategy that will also include people with underlying health conditions before those in younger age groups are immunized. Everyone who is vaccinated will get a record of their immunization and a reminder of their second dose by text, email or phone call. The aim is to administer vaccines to 4.3 million eligible residents by September using larger facilities including school gyms, arenas and mobile clinics, as well as home visits for those who are unable to attend a clinic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
JACKSON, Miss. — A leader of the Brexit movement and newly appointed government trade adviser in the United Kingdom is now the head of a conservative think-tank in the American South. Douglas Carswell, 49, started working this month as the new CEO and president of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Carswell, a libertarian and former member of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, was a member of Parliament for 12 years and a co-founder of Vote Leave, the campaign that pushed the Brexit referendum in 2016. Carswell said his home country was his primary focus as the U.K. negotiated terms of its recently finalized split from the European Union. However, he said he has had a growing interest in working in the U.S. “I think the fight for freedom in America is the most important battle for freedom in the world, because America is the exceptional country in the world,” Carswell told The Associated Press. Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who left office a year ago, has developed a work relationship with Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and Bryant attended a 2019 event for the lobbying group World4Brexit. Carswell said he has never met Bryant. Carswell clashed with more populist Farage after being the first of only two U.K. Independence Party candidates ever elected to Parliament. Farage ran unsuccessfully more than half a dozen times. Carswell's 2014 election victory gave political momentum to the party and the Brexit cause. He left the U.K. Independence Party in 2017, later stepping down from Parliament. After Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, many of the figures who led the campaign have moved on to new ventures. Farage became a radio talk-show host and Donald Trump’s main British supporter, once even attending and speaking at a 2016 Trump campaign event in Mississippi. Others have been appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It’s common for former British lawmakers of all political stripes to seek think-tank or academic posts in the U.S. — a career move that can often bring prestige back home. In an email introducing his new position in Mississippi, Carswell said he believes freedom in the U.S. is “under attack” from a “radical New Left.” “If liberty is extinguished, the United States will become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials,” he said. “That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.” Carswell said he thinks school choice can give low-income Mississippi families more opportunities. He said he will push policies to make the state more competitive in attracting new businesses and allowing existing ones to grow. “Businesses that are traditionally located in hubs like New York, or Chicago or California, quite a few of those businesses are moving away from high tax and regulation regimes to Texas, Florida or Tennessee,” he said. “Why not Mississippi?” The Mississippi Center for Public Policy lobbies for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and free-market approaches to health care. Carswell said he admires that people’s freedoms in the U.S. are defined in federal and state constitutions. “In America, if your local mayor wakes up one morning and decides to take away your fundamental freedoms, you can take the politicians to court under the Constitution, you can enforce your rights as an individual,” he said. It allows “ordinary folk to live their lives free from the arbitrary whim of government,” Carswell said. “It’s only when you don’t have that that you realize quite how precious it is,” he said. “It really is the secret of American success.” Carswell plans to live in Jackson with his family but is not leaving U.K. politics. In November, he was appointed to a three-year term as a nonexecutive director of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Liz Truss, the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade, said Carswell will work at “striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules.” ___ Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless contributed from London. ___ Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Leah Willingham, The Associated Press
ONTARIO – The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks announced members of a new working group they created to deal with the recent changes to the Conservation Act. The new members consist of people from conservation authorities, development and agriculture sectors, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and Conservation Ontario. The group’s first task will be to look at the first phase of proposed regulations that impact conservation authorities and their participating municipalities. These proposed regulations will be available for public consultation in late January 2021. Maitland Conservation general manager Phil Beard told Midwestern Newspapers “MVCA’s members will be discussing the working group and process that the Minister has announced for developing the regulations on mandatory and non-mandatory services and other topics at the Jan. 27 meeting” The working group members are: -Chair Hassaan Basit, President and Chief Executive Officer of Halton Region Conservation Authority -Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario -John MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority -Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority -Chris Darling, Chief Administrative Officer, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority -Rob Baldwin, Chief Administrative Officer, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority -Brian Tayler, Chief Administrative Officer, North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority -Samantha Lawson, Chief Administrative Officer, Grand River Conservation Authority -Cathie Brown, Senior Advisor, Association of Municipalities of Ontario -Scott McFadden, Mayor, Township of Cavan Monaghan *Jason Sheldon, Vice-President, Land Development, Remington Group *Gary Gregoris, Senior Vice-President, Land Development, Mattamy Homes *Josh Kardish, Vice-President, EQ Homes *Michelle Sergi, Director Community Development, Region of Waterloo *Leslie Rich, Policy and Planning Liaison, Conservation Ontario *Barb Veale, Director, Planning and Watershed Management, Halton Region Conservation Authority *Laurie Nelson, Director, Policy and Planning, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority *Mark Wales, Past President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture Participants marked with an *asterisk will provide further perspectives to the working group, including on the section 28 Minister’s regulation. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Sherbrooke — Agriculture Sherbrooke entreprend une véritable opération séduction afin de rapprocher les artisans de la terre et de l’assiette. Vendredi, l’organisation remettait des paniers de produits locaux à 25 restaurateurs de la ville dans l’espoir de leur faire découvrir de nouveaux favoris d’ici, tout en mettant un baume sur la difficile année qu’ils ont traversée. Des champignons, des viandes de toutes sortes, du mousseux, du miel, des carottes récoltées sous la neige, un ensemble de démarrage de pousses... ce sont trois gros colis remplis des produits de 11 producteurs qui attendaient chaque entrepreneur, vendredi, au Centre de valorisation de l’Estrie. Marie-France Audet, agente de développement agroalimentaire pour la Ville de Sherbrooke, se réjouissait devant la surprise des restaurateurs. Signe que le territoire a plus d’un tour dans son sac agroalimentaire. « Les gens sont impressionnés du volume du panier! Les restaurateurs m’ont touchée. Je les sens sincèrement reconnaissants de ces paniers. Je pense que ce sont des gens qui ont eu une année difficile en 2020, et je crois que ça les a touchés qu’on ait eu une pensée pour eux », avance-t-elle. Les restaurateurs chanceux sont les 25 premiers à s’être portés volontaires pour participer à « une activité qui a pour objectif de rapprocher les producteurs sherbrookois du milieu de la restauration » en décembre dernier. Redonner en échange Maxime Saumier Demers, copropriétaire d’O Chevreuil, taverne américaine, faisait partie des heureux élus. Le restaurateur, pour qui l’approvisionnement local est « une mission », a beaucoup apprécié ce clin d’œil tant pour son milieu que pour les producteurs d’ici. « Mais on est chanceux, on a des toits sur nos têtes et ça va relativement bien au restaurant, reconnaît-il. Il y a des gens qui ne peuvent pas se permettre d’épiceries toutes les semaines. On va produire pour goûter aux produits, mais tout ce qu’on va être capable de faire avec ça, on aimerait le donner à Moisson Estrie ou quelque chose comme ça pour faire profiter de ce beau cadeau-là à des gens dans le besoin. » Avant même d’avoir pu analyser son panier de fond en comble, celui-ci avance déjà avoir fait de belles découvertes. « C’est le fun parce qu’on ne connaît pas tous les producteurs non plus, je vois un producteur porcin que je ne connaissais pas et qui a l’air de faire des super belles pièces, on a hâte de les essayer », confie-t-il. Un tiers du territoire En tenant cette activité en janvier, la Ville a également pu démontrer qu’il est possible de s’approvisionner localement toute l’année. « L’hiver, ce n’est pas la saison qu’on qualifie de plus abondante, avance Mme Audet. C’est un défi qui m’a inquiétée au début. Mais on a osé le relever. Est-ce qu’on allait trouver des produits agricoles sherbrookois en janvier? La réponse, ça a été oui, et c’est ma deuxième plus belle surprise de l’activité, après les yeux des restaurateurs aujourd’hui. » L’initiative Agriculture Sherbrooke est née d’un mandat de la Ville attribué à Pro-Gestion Estrie dans le cadre du Plan de développement de la zone agricole en 2018. « Comparativement à toutes les autres MRC autour de Sherbrooke, on sentait qu’on avait plus d’énergie à mettre pour faire connaître notre agriculture. Les gens sont surpris de savoir que j’occupe un poste à temps plein pour ça, mais 37 % du territoire de la ville est pourtant dédié à l’agriculture. Toute l’année 2020 a été consacrée à développer des outils et à faire valoir ce qui se passe en agriculture et en foresterie à Sherbrooke », relate Mme Audet, mentionnant la page Facebook « Agriculture Sherbrooke », qui a été créée à cette fin. Les 25 restaurateurs qui ont reçu les paniers locaux sont Boefish, Café Aragon, Café L, Café Pierre Jean Jase, Célestine Café, L’Empreinte cuisine soignée, L’Entre Amis, Festin Royal, Kobo Ramen bistro japonais, Le Baluchon Santé, Liverpool, L’Omnibouffe, Loubards, Madame Gourmandine, Méchant Steak, O’Chevreuil taverne américaine, Overflow, Pain Voyageur, Pizzicato, Poivron rouge, Rôtisserie Chanteclerc, Savo, Shaker Sherbrooke, Tapageur et Vin Polisson. Selon Agriculture Sherbrooke, le territoire de la ville comptait 83 producteurs agricoles en 2020. Au dernier recensement du MAPAQ, en 2016, on n’en comptait que 66. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
WASHINGTON — Testing wristbands are in. Mask-wearing is mandatory. Desks are socially distanced. The clearest sign that there's a new boss at the White House is the deference being paid to coronavirus public health guidelines. It’s a striking contrast to Donald Trump’s White House, which was the epicenter of no less than three separate outbreaks of COVID-19, their true scale not fully known because aides refused to discuss cases publicly. While the Trump administration was known for flouting safety recommendations, the Biden team has made a point of abiding by the same strict guidelines they’re urging Americans to follow to stem the spread of the virus. It’s part of an overall effort from President Joe Biden to lead by example on the coronavirus pandemic, an ethos carried over from his campaign and transition. “One of the great tragedies of the Trump administration was a refusal to recognize that many Americans model the behaviour of our leadership," said Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary to President Barack Obama who worked on the Biden transition. “The Biden administration understands the powerful message that adhering to their own guidelines and modeling the best public health behaviour sends, and knows that that’s the best path to climbing out of this until we can get a shot in the arm of every American.” To that end, most of Biden’s White House staff is working from home, co-ordinating with colleagues by email or phone. While the White House aims to have more people working onsite next week, officials intend to operate with substantially reduced staffing for the duration of the pandemic. When hundreds of administration staffers were sworn in by Biden on Wednesday, the ceremony was virtual, with the president looking out at team members displayed in boxes on video screens. The emphasis on adhering to public safety guidelines touches matters both big and small in the White House. Jeffrey Wexler is the White House director of COVID-19 operations, overseeing the implementation of safety guidelines throughout the administration, a job he performed during the transition and campaign. During her first press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested those working in the office would receive daily testing and N95 masks would be mandatory. Indeed, Biden's new federal mask mandate executive order requires that federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings and on federal lands wear masks and adhere to social distancing requirements. The executive order allows for agency heads to make “case-by-case exceptions" — like, for instance, Psaki's. She wears one until she steps up to the podium for briefings. Officials in close contact with Biden wear wristbands to signify they have been tested that day. Every event with the president is carefully choreographed to maintain distancing, with strips of paper taped to the carpet to show the likes of Vice-President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci where to stand when Biden is delivering an address. When Biden met with his COVID team in the State Dining Room on Thursday, the five people in the room sat at individual tables placed at least six feet apart and four others joined by Zoom to keep numbers down. Plexiglass barriers have been set up at some desks that are in open areas, but nearly all staff who are already working in the building have enclosed offices. The Biden team already had a robust contact tracing program set up during the transition, which it's keeping around for any possible exposures. Staffers also were issued laptops with wallpaper displays that offer a list of COVID symptoms and a directive to “call the White House medical unit” if they have experienced any of them. The Trump White House was another story altogether. After one virus scare in May, the White House mandated mask-wearing, with a memo from chief of staff Mark Meadows requiring their use in shared workspaces and meetings. Simple surgical masks were placed at the entrance to the West Wing. But after only a few days of moderate compliance, mask-wearing fell away almost entirely, as Trump made it clear to aides he did not like the visual of people around him wearing masks — let alone wearing one himself. Trump’s White House reduced staffing capacity during the earliest days of the pandemic, but by late spring, when Trump was intent on projecting that the country was “reopening” from pandemic lockdowns — and the U.S. was at roughly 80,000 deaths — aides quickly resumed normal operations. That provided ideal conditions for the spread of an airborne virus. It was only after Trump himself tested positive that some aides began staggering their work schedules to provide enhanced distancing and contingencies in case someone tested positive. Those working for the new administration welcome the stricter guidelines now, but they do pose some potential complications as the Biden team builds out its operation. Karen Finney, who was a spokeswoman in the Clinton White House, said the first challenge may simply be creating a cohesiveness and camaraderie when some new staffers are brought on board without ever having worked in the same room. “When you sit in the same office as everyone, it’s just a different dynamic," she said. “There's a sense of, ‘We’ve got each other's backs, we're going to be working together on this.'” Finney added that most of the staff are used to working remotely at this point, so it's not necessarily a new challenge. But she allowed that the national COVID response itself could be somewhat hamstrung by the COVID requirements at the White House. “Having to co-ordinate between limited staff in the office, those working remotely, along with governors, mayors, their staff, those on the Hill — it’s a challenge,” she said. “They’ve had the time to think through how to do some of this, but look, it’s going to be a work in progress." Alexandra Jaffe And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
BROCKTON – A delegation consisting of Bob McCulloch and members of the Victoria Jubilee Hall (VJH) committee (Henry Simpson, Bill Carroll, Jim Bohnert) provided council with their annual update on Jan. 12. McCulloch said VJH came up against “the COVID brick wall” in 2020. Revenues dropped, showing a deficit of around $24,000 in December. The situation wasn’t any different from what other theatres were facing, except VJH has a fixed overhead that’s smaller than Blyth’s or Drayton’s, and VJH has income from its long-term tenants. When it became obvious the pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon, and in-person shows weren’t going to happen, the Jubilee Arts and Music committee (JAM) began looking at other ways to keep VJH in the public eye. Songs by the Gazebo on Sept. 13 attracted a large, socially distanced crowd. VJH was back! Next came the online Christmas Concert, streamed on Wightman and Facebook. The opera hall was silent, but JAM kept things going. Despite the lack of income-generating events and the trials and tribulations of COVID-19, VJH managed to accomplish a lot during 2020, in a large part thanks to grants from the Walkerton Rotary Club, Spruce the Bruce, Brockton council and individual donors. Among the continuing projects at VJH are eliminating water and dampness from the VJH basement, stopping water penetration from the east porch roof into the building and down through the upper deck, doing a full repair on the east columns (as one would repair structural bridge concrete), and providing outside security for the safety of staff, patrons and tenants. Repairs accomplished in 2020 included raising and sealing the remaining eight of 10 basement windows to keep water out of the building. The other two were done two years ago. The grade was raised to run rainwater away from the building. The east porch roof catches a lot of water, and the windowsill above the porch was raised to prevent water from running into the hall. A high-tech product called RhinoLiner was applied to the concrete porch decking. This project was paid for through a Rotary grant of $6,800. The front columns have been patched over the years, but with the help of a Spruce the Bruce grant, a bridge-style repair was completed. As for security, the installation of motion activated cameras will enhance the safety of anyone using the building. VJH was the recipient in 2020 of a prestigious Cornerstone Award, one of 11 heritage sites nationally to be so honoured. The Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards bring to national attention exemplary projects that illustrate the viability of heritage buildings for traditional or new uses. Dedicated volunteers are always busy tending gardens, painting, shoveling snow, installing new taps, sinks and hand-washing stations ($1,500 PPE grant) as well as doing the constant minor repairs and maintenance the magnificent building needs and deserves. The VJH delegation ended its presentation with words of gratitude for council’s moral and financial support, and asked that council continue to support the hall with the same amount as last year, $10,000. The money will go to general operations. Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak commented on the “20-year commitment” made by the volunteers to the building and congratulated them on their efforts. Coun. Dean Leifso made special mention of the heritage award the group received. “It was well deserved.” Mayor Chris Peabody thanked the volunteers for their “great work.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is looking at ways to strengthen the vetting process for the next governor general after his choice for the job — Julie Payette — resigned yesterday following reports she presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall. Trudeau faced multiple questions from reporters today about the vetting process he followed in appointing Payette back in 2017, and the red flags raised by former employers about her behaviour. "Obviously the vetting process that was in place was followed, but obviously we're going to also look at ways we can strengthen and improve the vetting process for high-level appointments," he said outside his home at Rideau Cottage, not far from Rideau Hall. "We are looking right now at processes that can be strengthened as we move forward and we will have more to say on that as we make decisions." WATCH | Trudeau is asked why Payette wasn't thoroughly vetted before being appointed GG In an unprecedented move, Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned Thursday after an outside workplace review of Rideau Hall probed allegations she had belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff. "Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new governor general should be appointed," the former astronaut wrote in her statement. A senior government source (speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly) said about 100 public servants took part in the outside review. The report concluded it was an overwhelmingly toxic and poisonous workplace and the two people at the very top, Payette and Di Lorenzo, were responsible for it, the source said. PM and Queen spoke today The source also said Payette received parts of the report that pertained to her on Monday and that the clerk of the Privy Council and Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc had a tense conversation with her on Tuesday. Speaking from prepared remarks, Trudeau said he spoke to the Queen Friday morning and let her know Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner will fulfil the duties of the governor general — her representative in Canada — on a temporary basis. He said a recommendation on Payette's replacement is coming. Trudeau was asked repeatedly today about his decision to not use a selection committee in 2017, something his predecessor implemented. "We will continue to the look at the best way to select people for the vice regal appointments. It is an important role for Canadians and we'll look at how we can improve it," he said. WATCH Jagmeet Singh on Payette resignation Conservative House leader Gérard Deltell said this could have been avoided if Trudeau hadn't shunned the Harper-era committee. "This is all sad, but it's so Justin Trudeau's style," he said. "He thinks that he knows better than anybody else, than the special committee created by the Conservatives. But we were right at that time. We made the right decision, he did the wrong decision and unfortunately, today we paid a price for this mess." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggested other parties be brought into the process of selecting the official 30th governor general. "The system is deeply problematic in that the federal government, whoever's in power, can choose who they want," he said Friday morning. "I think there would be a great benefit in having a better system...so that the selection is not just a government appointment, but it's something that is done in a manner that is more fair." Questions about annuity Payette will collect a six-figure annuity for the rest of her life, a tradition critics are calling into question given the report on the Rideau Hall workplace climate — a report LeBlanc said came to some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. Under the Governor General's Act, former vice-regals are entitled to a lifetime annuity — which, according to the 2020 Public Accounts, amounts to $149,484. They are also entitled to a lifetime expense program for office and travel expenses. Documents obtained by the National Post in 2018 show that each former governor general is allowed to claim up to $206,000 per year under the program, which has existed since 1979 and is based on the notion that governors general never truly retire. "This country has very clear rules and regulations and processes and procedures in place to follow in these cases of reporting expenses, or indeed on annuities for governor generals," Trudeau said Friday. "Those processes will be followed, but obviously we're always open to having discussions on changes that need to be made moving forward." A spokesperson for the NDP said that if there's a way to cancel Payette's annuity, New Democrats would support it since Payette failed to provide a harassment-free workplace for her workers. WATCH | Trudeau is asked about the annuity Julie Payette will receive after her resignation "With respect to the annuity, I think that Canadians, rightly so, are concerned that given this report and how horrible the workers were treated, that this doesn't sit well with people," said Singh. In a statement, the outspoken Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on the Liberal government to change the way former governors general are paid. "With the resignation of Julie Payette, now is the time for this government to ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for the expense accounts of former governors general," said Aaron Wudrick, the advocacy group's director. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would 'review' this program. Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." In 2018, following reports that Adrienne Clarkson had billed more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the viceregal job, Trudeau called for more transparency. "These are people who've stepped up and offered tremendous service to this country but Canadians expect a certain level of transparency and accountability, and we're going to make sure we're moving forward in a thoughtful way," he said. A spokesperson for the Privy Council said the final cost of the Quintet Consulting review was $393,367.13, nearly four times higher than the original value of the contract. The original terms of reference of the contract did say the amount could change depending on how long the review took.
WINGHAM – Maitland Conservation areas are still open for day-use according to Phil Beard, general manager. Beard told the Wingham Advance Times that if people are looking for somewhere to get fresh air and exercise, they can still go hiking on the Wingham Trail, which is owned and operated by North Huron. He said the trail is a “good place to see eagles, they are fishing along the river.” Other conservation areas have been used for walking over the last eight months, Beard said. “Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area has some great trails.” Day Use The Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area remains open for day-use throughout the year. Please note: A day-use permit is still required during the off season. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. Please pick up after your pet. Stay safe – practice physical distancing by remaining at least two metres away from other visitors. Keep moving – use the trails to move, not gather. Shared space – stay alert, walkers, skiers, snowshoers and bikers use our trails. Anyone feeling sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 shall not enter the Conservation Area. Other Conservation Areas All other Conservation Areas have reopened for limited day-use access. Please follow physical distancing recommendations – stay two metres apart. No fires, camping or social gatherings. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
« S’il n’y avait pas de poutine, on serait obligés de fermer nos portes ! » C’est ce que lance d’emblée le propriétaire du Goofy Carl Bolduc pour expliquer le succès de cette entreprise familiale au cœur du paysage almatois depuis 41 ans. Malgré la pandémie, le restaurant ne cesse d’attirer la clientèle grâce à son mythique plat. Selon Carl Bolduc, le succès du Goofy repose sur trois éléments clés. « L’entreprise repose sur une famille impliquée, tenace et déterminée à réussir. Nos employés, eux sont, les piliers de notre organisation. Et bien sûr, il y a notre précieuse clientèle », explique-t-il. Certains d’entre eux sont des réguliers de longue date, qui sont au rendez-vous depuis les touts débuts. D’autres viennent d’un peu partout au Québec. Pour ces derniers, le Goofy est un passage obligé pendant leur séjour. Adaptation Toutefois, la pandémie a forcé l’entreprise à s’adapter, comme des milliers d’autres restaurants au pays. C’est que depuis 1979, le restaurant a toujours été ouvert 24 heures sur 24, sept jours sur sept. L’horaire a toujours été le même. « En mars dernier, il n’y avait plus de clients. C’était désert sur l’avenue du Pont. On a dû fermer pendant un mois. Avant la pandémie, ce n’était jamais arrivé, même pas pendant cinq minutes ou pour des rénovations! On est toujours restés ouverts. Le temps venu, on s’est rendu compte qu’on n’avait même pas de clés pour fermer, si bien qu’il a fallu mettre un surveillant de nuit le temps que le serrurier arrive », souligne Carl Bolduc. Il ajoute : « Si on n’avait pas la poutine, probablement qu’on fermerait. Présentement, on en sert entre 150 et 200 par jour. 85 % de nos commandes sont des poutines, et il y en a au moins une par facture ». 2021, année d’espoir Cependant, la formule à emporter et les poutines ne sont que des revenus d’appoints pour le Goofy. L’absence d’une salle à manger et le confinement représentent des pertes de 75 % pour l’entreprise. « Une autre de nos grosses forces est les menus du jour. Or, avec le télétravail, les gens sont beaucoup moins en ville qu’avant. Les gens ne sont plus dans les bureaux, ils sont chez eux », ajoute-t-il. Un gros contraste avec l’année 2019, qui fut la plus rentable dans l’histoire du Goofy. Malgré tout, Carl Bolduc assure qu’il n’a eu à procéder à aucune mise à pied, réaffectant une partie du personnel à du temps partiel. Il entrevoit la nouvelle année qui débute avec une bonne dose de positivisme. La construction d’une terrasse extérieure et l’ajoute de nouveaux mets au menu sont notamment prévues. De belles leçons d’humilité Carl Bolduc n’en revenait pas lorsqu’il a reçu une mise en demeure de nul autre que la Walt Disney Company, il y a trois ans. Le restaurant, qui arborait depuis toujours comme emblème le personnage Goofy, a passé bien près de devoir changer de nom. Heureusement pour l’entreprise, une entente à l’amiable a été signée avec l’entreprise américaine afin qu’elle conserve son appellation. Toutefois, elle a dû mettre une croix sur son image de marque. Mais pourquoi donc avoir choisi comme emblème un personnage de dessin animé? Carl Bolduc explique : « À l’époque, c’était la mode d’utiliser des personnages populaires de dessins animés comme nom de restaurant. Il n’y avait pas de problème. Avec internet, Walt Disney a été mise au courant du restaurant. Ils nous ont envoyé une mise en demeure, nous ordonnant d’enlever le nom et le logo ». Bien que l’image du personnage Goofy soit soumise aux droits d’auteurs, le nom ne l’était pas. Seul le restaurant almatois avait enregistré l’appellation au Québec. « On en est venus à une entente qui stipule que nous sommes les seuls qui ont le droit d’utiliser le nom Goofy au Québec. Ça a permis d’éviter des poursuites et des batailles judiciaires », ajoute-t-il. Saga Yves Bolduc En 2012, le restaurant a fait les manchettes, mais pour les mauvaises raisons. Il fut révélé au grand jour que le ministre de la Santé de l’époque, Yves Bolduc, était actionnaire du restaurant. « Lorsque mon frère s’est lancé en politique, on s’est fait traiter de malbouffe même si on a des menus du jour. On nous reprochait d’être près des écoles… Deux filles étaient même parties sans payer et avaient publié leur facture sur Facebook en affirmant faussement qu’on était subventionnés pas l’État et qu’elles avaient le droit de la faire. Je n’étais pas content de ça. J’ai décidé d’acheter toutes les parts afin que ce genre de choses n’arrivent plus », se souvient Carl Bolduc. Rumeurs Une rumeur voulant que le Goofy soit racheté par une autre chaîne de restauration s’est récemment répandue à Alma. Carl Bolduc tient toutefois à la démentir. Pas question de vendre. Pas pour l’instant du moins. Il prévoit prendre sa retraite d’ici cinq ans, mais la relève semble déjà établie, puisque sa mère, son fils, sa fille, son cousin et sa conjointe sont toujours présents derrière le comptoir du Goofy. La famille Bolduc entend mener la barque aussi loin que possible.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
CORNWALL – COVID-19 infection numbers are continuing to slowly decline in the region as provincial lock-down and Stay-at-Home measures remain in place. Since Monday, the active case count has decreased by nearly 100 people. The province announced Wednesday that students in seven health units, including neighbouring Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will return to in-person learning on January 25th. Students in this region will continue to learn remotely for now. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said Thursday that keeping students in the region learning remotely for now was the right call. "I think it was the right call, looking at the numbers," he said adding that he thought schools could reopen soon. "Despite the fact that [the numbers] are going downwards, we're still pretty high in the Red Zone." According to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded restriction framework, the Red-Control zone is defined as a rolling seven-day average of 40 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said he was encouraged the region is going in the right direction. The seven-day average for new cases peaked on January 9th with 152.2 per 100,000 people. As of January 21st, the average was 84.1 per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said the determining factor in schools returning to in-person learning was that the region had to be clearly in the Orange-Restrict zone, or below 40 cases per 100,000 people. "If the trends continue, we can be there by the time [the province] re-evaluates," he said. The provincial Stay-at-Home order is in place until February 11th. As of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's January 21st update, there are 544 active COVID-19 infections in the region. Locally, South Dundas has four active cases, and 24 cases overall. North Dundas has 12 active cases, 51 cases overall. The City of Cornwall continues to have a highest number of active cases with 226 people infected. The city's tally of overall cases stands at 597. In all, there have been 2,297 COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region since the pandemic began. Currently there are 15 facilities listed by the EOHU as having a COVID-19 related outbreak. None of those facilities are in Dundas County. Roumeliotis said that of those 15 facilities, most have been declared as being in an outbreak due to staff contracting the virus. Only three facilities have residents who tested positive. GlenStorDun Lodge in Cornwall and a Long-Term Care Home in Lancaster are two that have residents who tested positive. At the Lancaster LTC home, at least nine people have died from COVID-19 related illness. The region's death toll has increased to 48. More people have died in the second wave of the pandemic in the EOHU region than in the first. There are 23 people hospitalized, six are in intensive care. Nearly 1,600 people have been vaccinated so far in the EOHU, but due to production cuts by Pfizer, deliveries of the vaccine will stop for a week. The health unit plans on pausing its vaccination plans once its own supply has run out, and will restart once new shipments are received. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
La pandémie et la pénurie de main-d’œuvre ont eu raison d’un autre commerce de la région. La quincaillerie Tremblay-Laroche, établie depuis plus de 25 ans à Saint-Gédéon, ne rouvrira après avoir fermé ses portes le printemps dernier, faute de personnel. Le bâtiment situé au 223, rue de Quen, a été mis en vente. Le personnel restant et l’inventaire ont été transférés à la succursale de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, qui elle aussi vit des heures difficiles en ce qui a trait au personnel. « Malheureusement, on est obligé de fermer la succursale. Deux employés sont partis pendant la première vague de COVID le printemps dernier pour d’autres magasins et on n’a pas été capable de les remplacer », explique le propriétaire, Marc Tremblay. Pénurie de main-d’œuvre Marc Tremblay s’explique mal le fait que malgré un taux de chômage élevé, il soit si difficile de combler des postes aux deux succursales. En deux ans, même les ouvertures de poste pour le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix n’ont pas pris preneurs. « On a de la misère à combler malgré le fait qu’on dise qu’il y a beaucoup de personnes qui ne travaillent pas. Je ne comprends pas grand-chose là-dedans. Avec toutes les annonces qu’on a faites, on n’est pas capable de combler les besoins. On a essayé de toutes les manières. On a fait des parutions Facebook et ici au magasin et on ne réussit pas… », déplore-t-il Année mouvementée L’été dernier, les Québécois se sont adonnés aux travaux de rénovation. L’équipe de plus en plus restreinte du groupe Tremblay-Laroche a été mise à rude épreuve. « L’équipe a dû mettre les bouchées doubles. Avec deux personnes en moins, ça paraît. On a comblé le stock de Métabetchouan avec l’inventaire du magasin de Saint-Gédéon. Ça n’a pas été une année rose », ajoute Marc Tremblay. Questionné à savoir si une lueur d’espoir régnait toujours pour le magasin de Saint-Gédéon, le propriétaire a affirmé qu’il concentrait dorénavant ses efforts sur le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix. « On ne se fait pas d’illusions. On a mis le bâtiment à vendre », souligne-t-il. En novembre 2019, le groupe Tremblay-Laroche, alors affilié à BMR, avait quitté cette bannière pour joindre le groupe Castle en raison de désaccords. « BMR nous imposait des choses qu’on ne voulait pas. On ne se sentait plus chef dans notre propre magasin. Ils nous laissent acheter et faire ce qu’on veut », avait expliqué à l’époque Marc Tremblay. Plus d’un an plus tard, il se dit « très satisfait » de ce changement.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
OTTAWA — A new third-party advocacy group is launching an ad campaign aimed at ensuring Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole never becomes prime minister.The Protecting Canada Project will start airing today its first 30-second ad, in English and French, on television and online.The ad predicts that an O'Toole government would cut funding for health care, even as the country struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic.The tag line concludes that O'Toole and the Conservatives "are hazardous to your health — at the worst possible time."Group spokesman Ian Wayne, who formerly worked for NDP leaders Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair, says Protecting Canada was formed by Canadians "with diverse political experience" and a common goal of ensuring the Conservatives don't win the next election. How an O'Toole-led Conservative government would tackle the massive national debt and deficit created by pandemic spending will be a key question for the party in the next campaign. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
It's time for Canada to consider finally appointing a First Nations person to the post of Governor General, says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned on Thursday after an external review at Rideau Hall foundthe pair presided over a toxic work environment. That leaves the position open to a new appointment. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement later that day, saying that having the federal government appoint a First Nations person as the next Governor General would send a strong message that it is sincere about its rhetoric on reconciliation, and that there is no relationship that is more important to the Prime Minister than the one with Indigenous peoples. Such an appointment would pay respect to the spirit and intent of the treaties between Canada's First Nations people and the Crown, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told CBC News. Historically, the Governor General had a significant role in developing those treaties, he said. "It would also be a testament to the collaboration of what it took to make Canada the country it is today," he said. "I think that having a First Nations person play that role would help expedite those things and encourage the conversation and acknowledgement of how it's actually the First Nations, along with the French and English, that built this country." There is no shortage of strong Indigenous candidates in Manitoba who could become the Queen's representative in Ottawa, he said. "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life who would be able to play that role in a truly respectful and meaningful way." An independent consulting firm was hired to do the review by the Privy Council Office last year after reports surfaced that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, and it offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months.
Russia said on Friday that TikTok had deleted some of what it called illegal posts promoting weekend protests aimed at securing the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. It has also opened a criminal case into Navalny's supporters. Posts promoting Navalny and protests planned for Saturday have been viewed more than 300 million times on TikTok, the Chinese-owned video sharing app, since he was jailed this week after flying back to Russia for the first time since being poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent.
France has one of western Europe's highest rates of distrust in modern-day vaccines. On Unreported Europe we take a look at why, what anti-vaxxers have to say and what can bring sceptics rounds. View on euronews