Presidential historian and author Jeffrey Engel shares insight on Democrats and Republicans moving to oust U.S. President Donald Trump and what it means for the country.
Presidential historian and author Jeffrey Engel shares insight on Democrats and Republicans moving to oust U.S. President Donald Trump and what it means for the country.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Municipal leaders who sit on the Grey Bruce health board expressed their frustration with the lack of vaccine at Friday’s meeting. Medical officer of Health Dr. Arra said that we have been “the victim of our own success” in keeping COVID numbers down, because high-risk areas have been the main priority. He said a plan for using three mass vaccination hubs has been submitted. “If we don’t get a response about piloting this hub and getting enough vaccine for high-risk task force, I plan to turn to advocacy,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a matter of advocacy… but it seems there is disparity in the distribution to some degree,” he said. Brian Milne, Southgate deputy-mayor, said that it is frustrating that Grey-Bruce had received only 200 doses at that time, and many frontline staff members were left waiting to be inoculated, while in other areas the cafeteria staff at facilities had received the vaccine. Dr. Arra said he heard the frustration and shared the concern. But he added that there is a fine line that needs to be walked, so that public health is to be seen to be working with the province, at the same time as advocating for the local area. It’s important that the public perceives that there is a united approach, Dr. Arra said. And it’s not a matter of if the vaccines come, it’s when, he said. “And we will be ready whenever that happens.” On Monday, Public Health informed the public that it had received 600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and expected delivery of another 700 doses of the vaccine next week, which will be enough to complete first dose vaccine coverage for all long-term care residents in Grey Bruce. The latest international news is that shipments that were expected are not confirmed, and that has affected many areas in the province. Health board members were happier about the return to school on Monday for Grey-Bruce students. Many parents will be relieved from the burden of making home learning work, but others are still cautions, said Selwyn Hicks, deputy-mayor of Hanover. He said that the health unit had done a good job of communication, explaining that the data shows that transmission is not taking place in schools. Members praised the outreach and media releases. Dr. Arra said that when he meets weekly with the mayors, he learns about issues in the community quickly and the health unit can address them. A standing item on the Board of Health agenda is the opioid crises, and Dr. Arra reported that there have been more than 10 overdoses in the last two weeks in Grey-Bruce – “not deaths, thankfully, overdoses.” Anecdotally, there were 13 deaths in Grey-Bruce in 2020 from opioids, zero from COVID. It’s a difficult crisis to address, Dr. Arra commented, with many complex issues, social, technical, ethical. When the pandemic ends, he said that the health unit, with credibility gained during COVID, will have an opportunity to address opioid like never before. Other partners are doing good work right now, he said, and the pandemic is the public health priority. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
One of Orangeville’s premier recreation venue has changed locations recently. Far Shot Orangeville has downsized their arena but hopes the added exposure, on 400 Townline Rd., will bring in more clientele. “Our last location was at a warehouse area,” said Benn MacDonald, owner of Far Shot Orangeville. It wasn’t the best place. It was great for what we had at the time. We had an indoor archery range as well of 40 yards.” Groups of 10, once lockdown restrictions are lifted, will be available to participate. Small groups for one hour cost $25 per person and large groups for two hours cost $40 per person. They also plan to obtain their own liquor license. With COVID, nearly every booking is a private one. Just you, your family & friends and one coach. Strangers never share lanes no matter how small your group size is. They take a minimum of two people. “We’ll only do one group at a time,” said Macdonald. “Unfortunately, we can’t do walk-ins with all the restrictions going on. This has affected us quite a bit. We’re hoping once all of this opens up again, our walk-in hours can return.” Macdonald admits they did lose their archery ring because of the smaller location, but he believes it was a good trade-off for the exposure. They are also able to provide a mobile service, bringing all their axe, knife and archery equipment to your backyard. “The furthest we have gone was Niagara Falls,” said Macdonald. “We charge that travel. For anyone local, we don’t charge a fee for that.” An eight-week league is also available for $140. It begins on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Practice begins at 7 p.m. and the game starts at 8 p.m. A week 4 light dinner is on them and on week 8 is the championship with a potluck supper. “We compete with the World Axe Throwing League,” said MacDonald. “Our club actually won the championship in 2017 and I served as the head judge. I travelled all across North America officiating on major tournaments on ESPN.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Le cauchemar d’une planète artificielle n’est plus un scénario de science-fiction.
Maybe Spiderman was onto something about the power of webs after all. A Western University husband-wife research duo, Miodrag and Vojislava Grbic, are using spider mite silk to develop a new, microscopic material they say is “stronger than steel” and would be a boon for biomedical developments. “Silk produced by mites and spiders is one of the most elegant and well-designed materials in existence,” Miodrag Grbic said from his research lab in Spain. The newly developed biomaterial is twice as stiff as spider silk, 400 times thinner and has a tensile strength four times that of steel. It’s also biodegradable and non-toxic. The Grbics used the genetic DNA framework of the gorse spider mite, Tetranychus lintearius, to develop a new fibre and biofilm, based on the insect's silk, which they’ve patented. “These nanoparticles can be used in biomedicine, for example, for targeted drug delivery (in the body) because you need a carrier to deliver drugs to particular cells,” Miodrag said. Other potential applications range from vaccine delivery and regenerative medicine to food production. Miodrag said the team is working to see if the material could have applications in COVID-19 vaccines. Developing the material was a happy coincidence for the couple, born out of a “crazy side project.” The Grbics originally were sequencing the genome of spider mites in an effort to combat the pests in agriculture only to stumble upon the power of the insect’s silk. In collaboration with teams in Spain and the United States, researchers used radiation and light, and minuscule force measurements to determine the makeup of spider mite silk. The Grbics were then able to tweak that code and manufacture their new nanoparticles based entirely on the original spider mite silk. “Instead of focusing on killing this pest, which is devastating tomatoes and potatoes and greenhouse industry, we can actually learn from this particular animal and turn something negative into something positive,” Miodrag said. Outside of medicine, the nanoparticles also could be used to coat slow-release fertilizer pellets, pesticides and herbicides to create “smart agrochemicals” for use in sustainable agriculture. “Having a broader view in a particular project, especially in genome sequencing projects, are really opening gold mines for different applications,” Miodrag said. email@example.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
A prospective COVID-19 vaccine touted as a made-in-Canada response has begun human clinical trials in Toronto, and the company says it's already preparing a follow-up that will target more infectious variants. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says if all goes well, it could start manufacturing millions of doses of its first prospective vaccine by the end of the year, guaranteeing a Canadian stockpile that wouldn't be subject to global supply pressures or competition. That's if the formulation proves safe and effective, of course. Among the challenges of developing a vaccine amid a raging pandemic is the uncertainty of how more infectious variants now emerging will complicate the COVID battle. Even if successful, by the time Providence Therapeutics releases its vaccine hopeful much of the country could be in the throes of a more infectious virus that does not respond to this formulation, allowed company CEO Brad Sorenson. "We don't believe that this is going to be resolved by a single vaccine," said Sorenson, whose biotech also produces a personalized mRNA-based vaccine against cancer. It's a challenge now facing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have each said its products appear to respond well to the variant initially identified in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser degree, the variant first detected in South Africa. Moderna said earlier this week it plans to test two booster vaccines aimed at the variant associated with South Africa. Sorenson said Providence is already internally testing a vaccine candidate that targets the variants, and he hoped to begin clinical trials by the end of the year. "We believe that there's going to be a need to be in a position of readiness to be able to respond as these variants are coming up, and to be able to make sure that we have that capacity." That doesn't mean Providence is changing production runs just yet. Sorenson said the immediate focus is to establish the safety and efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed PTX-COVID19-B and designed in the early days of the pandemic last March. It uses messenger RNA technology and focuses on the spike protein located on the surface of a coronavirus that initiates infection, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna products. The trial involves 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 25 who will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected in February. The subjects are divided into four groups of 15, three of which will get three different doses. The fourth group gets a placebo. Sorenson said immediate pandemic efforts should be focused on the novel coronavirus currently devastating many parts of the country. "It's a matter of capacity. Right now these variants are there, they're concerning, and we're keeping a close eye on it, but that's not predominantly what the needs of the population are," said Sorenson. "Right now the needs of the population are still tied to the primary spike protein virus that's out there and is ravaging around the world." Sorenson said his next vaccine candidate takes a broader approach by attempting to elicit a T-cell response, thereby creating a longer-term vaccine "and cover what we believe would be a lot more variants." "We have to prove it out but we believe that if we are successful that it will allow for a much more durable immunity and a much broader immunity." The other goal is to prepare for large-scale manufacturing in Calgary, if all goes well with the trials and approval process. Sorenson said doses for the Phase 1 trial are being made in Toronto but the plan is to commercially manufacture the completed vaccine through a contract with the Calgary-based Northern RNA Inc. That won't be up and running by the end of the year, Sorenson allowed, so the short-term plan is to send raw materials made in Canada to a plant in the United States that would make the commercial product. Eventually, the whole process would be completed in Canada, he said. "We're building the entire chain within Canada so we're not going to run into a problem where this particular input into the vaccine is unavailable," he said. Much of this also depends on financial support from the federal government, Sorenson added. While the National Research Council of Canada has backed Phase 1 trials, Sorenson said he's awaiting word on further support. He'd also like Ottawa to back Providence's efforts to address the new COVID variants. "They've already recognized the importance of mRNA technology. What they don't realize is the power of mRNA technology to be responsive to these challenges that are coming up," he said. "Hopefully the politicians and the people that cut the cheques and write the policies that give direction to the bureaucrats will hear that and we'll start seeing a more concerted approach that looks at a fuller picture." Pending regulatory approval, Sorenson said a larger, international Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people, followed by an even broader Phase 3 trial. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
A warrant was issued for a Biggar man who was arrested by the North Battleford RCMP gang unit after he failed to appear in court. Matthew Greer, 34, was scheduled to enter a plea in North Battleford Provincial Court Jan. 25. Greer, along with Desiree Hinse, 24, of Biggar, Shynia Skeavington, 24, and Rae Ahenakew, 40, both of Mosquito First Nation, were arrested Sept. 2, 2020. RCMP say they observed people in parked vehicles in North Battleford “interacting” with one another. They noticed weapons in one of the vehicles and said one person was known to have an outstanding warrant. Police searched one of the vehicles and found a firearm, weapons, a Taser, quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Skeavington appeared by phone in North Battleford Provincial Court Jan. 26. A legal aid lawyer representing Skeavington said there would be a preliminary hearing requested. The matter was adjourned to Feb. 10. Hinse and Ahenakew both appear next on Feb. 1. The charges against Greer, Hinse, Skeavington, and Ahenakew haven’t been proven in court. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Another milestone for The Great One. Wayne Gretzky turned 60 Tuesday. It's a number the Hockey Hall of Famer knows well. The NHL notes that the former Edmonton Oiler, Los Angeles King, St. Louis Blue and New York Ranger scored 60 hat tricks (50 during the regular season and 10 in the playoffs) during an NHL career that stretched from 1979 to 1999. No. 99 also recorded a point in 60 consecutive regular-season games from March 13, 1983, to Jan. 27, 1984 (one day after his 23rd birthday), during which he recorded 70 goals and 111 assists for 181 points. The run began with a nine-game point streak to end the 1982-83 campaign (9-19—28) and continued with a 51-game stretch to start the 1983-84 season (61-92—153), which remains the longest point streak in NHL history. Gretzky also holds NHL records for fewest games to 60 goals in a season (49 games played in 1981-82), 60 assists in a season (32 games played in 1985-86) and 60 assists in a career (56 games played). The native of Brantford, Ont., retired with 894 goals and 1,963 assists for 2,857 points in 1,487 regular-season games. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — CN says it will reinstate its guidance for 2021 and increase the company's dividend by seven per cent after seeing improved demand for freight in the last three months of 2020. The Montreal-based railway says its net income surged 17 per cent in the fourth quarter to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share. That was up from $873 million or $1.22 per share in the prior year. Adjusted profits for the three months ended Dec. 31 were up 14 per cent to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share, from $896 million or $1.25 per share in last year's quarter. Revenue increased two per cent, or $72 million, to $3.66 billion. CN Rail was expected to report $1.41 per share in adjusted profits on $3.62 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. CN reported operating income of $1.4 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. JJ Ruest, CN's president and CEO, says that while the recovery was uneven across sectors, the company was pleased with the growth in volume demand during the fourth quarter. CN also said it planned to announce $3 billion in capital investments to stay ahead of demand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR) The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The interruption in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine justifies Nova Scotia's conservative distribution strategy, Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday. McNeil defended the province's immunization plan to hold doses back for booster shots, and he voiced concerns about the ongoing availability of vaccine. "We have serious concerns about supply," he told reporters. "We had hoped that we wouldn't be in this situation but we will not be receiving any new doses this week." The premier said vaccinations will continue at some long-term care homes because the province had put doses in reserve for booster shots. As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, with 2,708 people having received their second of two doses. McNeil acknowledged the criticism about his government's approach of holding back doses. Quebec, by contrast, decided against that strategy and instead vaccinated as many people as possible with a single dose. The premier, however, said his main concern has been around the consistency of vaccine supply. "We want to reassure all Nova Scotians that if we give you the first shot you will get the second shot," McNeil said. "Until we see a level of consistency in supply, that's the protocol we are going to continue to follow." Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia would get no vaccine this week from Pfizer and then 1,950 doses the week of Feb. 1, along with another 5,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. "Beyond that there is no certainty around the amount of vaccine, whether its Pfizer or Moderna, that we are going to get," Strang said. Strang, however, said the province remained committed to its strategy. He said Nova Scotia feels less pressure compared to other provinces to vaccinate the largest amount of people as quickly as possible. Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday and a total of 11 active reported infections. No one was in hospital with the disease. Strang said science is also solidly behind the approach of giving two doses of vaccine within the 21-to-28-day window prescribed by the manufacturers. Over the next three months, he said, the province will continue to focus on vaccinating front-line health-care workers as well as staff, residents and designated caregivers in long-term and residential care facilities. To date, Strang said, vaccinations have been completed at the Northwood long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 of the provinces 65 deaths occurred last spring. He said vaccinations are also complete at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Dartmouth and at Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney. As well, Strang said the province is targeting mid-to-late February to open its first community clinic, which he said will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, for people over 80 years of age. "These are community clinics that will help us understand what works and what doesn't work, so when we are ready to administer large quantities of vaccine we are able to do so immediately," Strang said. Meanwhile, health officials urged post-secondary students in the Halifax area to get tested for COVID-19. They said several cases of COVID-19 had been identified among Halifax's student population, and they recommended that all students be tested — even if they haven’t travelled, have no symptoms or haven't visited a location that had been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Drop-in testing began Tuesday and at Dalhousie University and pop-up rapid testing was scheduled to begin Wednesday at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and at two locations in Sydney, N.S., including Cape Breton University. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Debi Buell has always been a big fan of her father, artist Athol Buell, so naturally she wanted to share his work with others. In particular, she wanted to preserve the wartime sketches he did in the late '90s, before his death in 1999. Several years ago she approached staff at the Robertson Library at UPEI to see if they could archive his work and now that work is complete and his sketches are part of a digital archive. "He was so talented so it's very nice to be able to share with everybody what he was passionate about," she said. Passion for wartime art Athol Buell had a passion for the Second World War and enjoyed sketching everything from battlefields to planes and tanks, to the local P.E.I. soldiers who served. He also researched the personal stories to go along with his artwork. "He just kept drawing every day. He would try to make sure that he drew the people that were involved," said Debi. She said her father had the ability to capture "the essence" of people with his sketches. She said her father was well-known for his love of art, and it was a hobby he pursued whenever he had the time. "Even before he was a teenager he was always drawing, everywhere he went," she said. She said he had originally done a lot of acrylic painting but later in life when he developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease he could no longer work with paints as they bothered his lungs, so he switched to pencil art. Sketches now online Athol's sketches can now be seen by anyone with an internet connection — they are part of a digital archive called Island Lives found at Islandlives.ca. Keltie MacPhail, the digital initiatives librarian involved in the project, described his work as realistic and informative. "A lot of the drawings, especially the ones of the people he talks about, are quite lifelike," said MacPhail. "They're beautiful," she said. She said the Island Lives archive focuses on community history and artwork, like that done by Athol Buell, and it must have a substantial Prince Edward Island connection. She said the stories he wrote alongside his artwork are also valuable. "There are a number of P.E.I.-related stories sprinkled throughout some of the larger more international historic figures and events that he sketches about and it's a way of preserving some of those Island stories," she said. She said his stories and sketches tell a history that may not be available in many textbooks. Debi said her father would be thrilled that his sketch books are being preserved and shared with such a wide audience. "This is a way of protecting them and being able to share them. I guess it's going to be shared with the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
When Isak Vaillancourt first began thinking of his short documentary, a project he would create with his team and the support of the guest curator of Up Here 6, Ra’anaa Brown, the global conversation on race had never been louder. At the time, it was shouting names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “People were suddenly realizing the urgency and validity of this movement,” said Vaillancourt. “Having difficult conversations in regards to their own complicity with systematic racism and their privilege. With the short documentary, I wanted to capture this unique moment in time from the perspectives of three Black community members here in Sudbury.” In the opening shots of the film, an introduction reads: “Black communities are having conversations about race that never make it to mainstream media. The collective consciousness rarely lends itself to amplify these voices.” With his documentary, Vaillancourt wanted to add new voices to the conversation. Not his, however: he decided to amplify the voices of three Black women in Sudbury and the struggles, racism and challenges to their own identity they have faced. And he called it, Amplify. Vaillancourt, a multimedia content producer and activist, is also from the area. He grew up in Chelmsford with his twin sister and younger brother, the children of a Franco-Ontarian father and a mother who found her way to Canada after leaving Somalia in 1991 to escape the civil war. He wanted to show that despite many believing that there are no issues with racism in Sudbury, the reality is quite the contrary. “It’s important to realize that racism and discrimination exist in Sudbury, as much as we like to pretend that Canada is a nation of cultural tolerance.” To him, the medium of a short documentary was the perfect choice to showcase his message. “We decided that a short documentary would be the perfect platform to shed light on the inequalities and discrimination that affects the lives of many racialized individuals here in Sudbury,” said Vaillancourt. “This project would not have been possible without the continuous support from the amazing team at Up Here. Behind the scenes, I worked very closely with my cinematographer, Shawn Kosmerly, and my editor, Riley McEwen, to bring this project to life.” The documentary itself focuses on the lived experiences of the three Black women it features: Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe, Shana Calixte and Sonia Ekiyor-Katimi, and their thoughts in relation to the current political climate, racial inequality and social justice. It is an opportunity for them to describe the challenges they have had to overcome and to educate those that perhaps have never had to consider the prejudice, both subtle and overt, that Sudburians of colour face. It is a chance to understand that if you have not experienced something directly, rather than deny or deflect, you should defer. “We as a society need to learn how to defer to people with lived experiences when speaking on issues that affect them directly,” said Vaillancourt. But also cautions, “Keep in mind that, amplifying Black, Indigenous, and POC (people of colour) voices does not mean placing the heavy burden on marginalized communities to educate you on the ways they’ve been oppressed. It’s the act of listening, self-reflection and continuous learning. It’s a commitment.” As the film lives on, Vaillancourt hopes viewers will find ways to show this commitment by getting involved locally. He quotes Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe from the film and says “Build up the movement locally. Be there for Black children. Be there for Black girls and Black boys. Be there for the Black LGBTQ+ community and when you do have that interaction, you do see the immediate change.” He also notes the many grassroots organisations that can benefit from more community involvement. “Within the City of Greater Sudbury, there has been a growing culture of community care and mutual aid all in the face of hatred,” he said. “This has not been cultivated by city officials but rather grassroot community groups such as Black Lives Matter - Sudbury, Sudbury Pride, Myth and Mirrors, SWANS Sudbury and The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) just to name a few. I encourage viewers to take the extra step and learn more about how they can uplift these organizations and the important work they're doing.” The video is currently hosted by Up Here 6, and it is also available with French-language subtitles. For now, not only is Vaillancourt submitting this film to festivals, but he is currently working on multimedia projects that highlight “the amazing and diverse communities we have here in Sudbury.” For more of Vaillancourt’s work, you can visit his website at IsakVail.ca. You can watch the documentary below. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
MADRID — Sevilla signed Argentine attacking midfielder Alejandro “Papu” Gómez from Atalanta on Tuesday. Sevilla said the former Atalanta captain agreed a contract to June 2024. The 32-year-old Gómez had been at odds with coach Gian Piero Gasperini at the Italian club where he spent six seasons and had a key part in recent success. Gómez played more than 250 games with Atalanta, scoring 59 goals and picking up 71 assists. He broke the Serie A assist record last season, with 16. He previously played for Catania in Italy. Sevilla is fourth in the Spanish league. It hosts Valencia on Thursday in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Public health regulations in the Sudbury district could be made even more restrictive than the current lockdown and stay-at-home order if a variant of the COVID-19 virus somehow increases the number of infections. The issue was discussed in an online interview hosted by Science North on Monday with Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Public Health Sudbury and Districts. Staff scientist Katrina Pisani joined Sutcliffe for a 40-minute discussion on why the COVID-19 guidelines in Ontario keep changing. Pisani told the online audience the purpose of the discussion was to get a better understanding of why guidelines change and what the public needs to know about the current emergency regulations and the stay-at-home order currently in place. On Monday afternoon, the province decided to expand the order for an additional two weeks. Sutcliffe said despite some initial confusion, the order was simple and direct. "So the stay-at home order is exactly that for all Ontarians, to stay home unless it is really essential that you're not at home." She said it is intended to be as simple as possible notwithstanding some of the confusion about it. This is despite speculation and questions that people might have about every little excuse to somehow get around essential reasons for leaving home. Sutcliffe said essential reasons could include such things as picking up groceries, going to the pharmacy, getting health care or doing some essential work that cannot be done from home. "It's different from the lockdown, because the lockdown is one of the areas of the coded phases for management of COVID in our province. And so those that were in the gray or lockdown parts of our province meant that they had high rates of COVID-19 and there are specific requirements there, but not an overall stay-at-home order as we have now, really to protect our health and our health-care system as we have seen rates of the disease really increase across the province," said Sutcliffe. Pisani asked about the importance of one's mental health, because some people believe it is important to get out of the house for something like a walk around the block. Sutcliffe said it was an important point as the pandemic has left many people feeling isolated, not being able to engage with their friends or their families as they would normally. She added it has had an impact on people with addictions and risks associated with drug overdoses. Sutcliffe said the stay-at-home order does allow people to go outside for exercise. It allows you to spend time with members of your own household, but not to have more than five people when you are gathered outdoors and no gatherings indoors. Sutcliffe said from the public health perspective the order does recognize the importance of having time outdoors. She said it is understood the risk of the virus outdoors is lower, with fresh air and better ventilation by not being in an enclosed space, but it is still important to wear a face mask when one is close to others in the outdoors. When asked if the outdoor activities could be made more restrictive, Sutcliffe said that had more to do not necessarily with an increase in active COVID-19 cases, but more about the kind of virus that presents itself. "People will be aware that there are the variants of concern (VOC) or different variants; the UK Variant, the South African Variant, the Brazil Variant that we understand are more transmissible," Sutcliffe explained. It was revealed Monday afternoon that a variant of the COVID virus might have infected a Sudbury person who had been travelling. That person is now in isolation. "The big concern is, as those get more commonplace and spread in our communities, what additional public health measures might be needed to prevent transmission?" said Sutcliffe. "If something is so transmissible that it might require further restrictions outdoors then those decisions, based on science, will have to be made," she added. "But really I think that the kind of virus we are seeing and the transmissibility is a big factor in that. If we're finding that being outdoors people are still gathering together closely, then there might be additional measures and we know that's been the case in some parts of the province put in place." Pisani mentioned the situation of the North Bay Parry Sound district health unit, where it was decided earlier this month that snowmobiling, outdoor skating and tobogganing would be banned for the time being. Sutcliffe also acknowledged that the pandemic is indeed frustrating and people are having a difficult time with it. “I think we are tired of hearing that we are all in it together, but we are still all in it together. And that means Team Sudbury, or Team Northern Ontario or Team Ontario or Team World. You know we are all in this together and we need to support each other.” Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's public safety minister says an improved online estimator tool will help drivers see how much they'll save under changes coming to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. Mike Farnworth says the tool allows drivers to estimate their savings once a new model of delivering auto insurance comes into effect at the Crown corporation on May 1. He says most customers will save an average of 20 per cent or $400 a year and will also be eligible for a one-time refund. The new insurance model will limit the ability of those hurt in a crash to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer, squeezing legal costs out of the system and saving ICBC an estimated $1.5 billion. Attorney General David Eby called ICBC's financial situation a "dumpster fire" after the NDP took power in 2017 and the government has introduced a series of measures to douse the flames. The government is calling the new insurance model "enhanced care" and the online estimator tool can be found on ICBC's website. "For some time, we've been talking about changes at ICBC and how they're going to help make people's auto insurance premiums, and in turn their lives, more affordable," Farnworth told a news conference Tuesday. "Today, the rubber hits the road." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Six patients and one staff member at Hamilton’s Alternate Health Facility have been diagnosed with COVID-19. All cases are on the sixth floor, according to Hamilton Public Health. The outbreak at the satellite hospital on King Street, jointly operated by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences, was one of four new institutional outbreaks announced on Saturday. One staff member at Extendicare Hamilton, Good Shepherd Women’s Services and Sisters of the Precious Blood also tested positive for COVID-19, triggering outbreak declarations at those locations. Overall, public health reported 108 new cases of COVID-19 in the city on Saturday, with 46 total active outbreaks. All but five of the current outbreaks were declared on or after Jan. 1. The outbreak on the second floor of the Hamilton Health Sciences Alternate Health Facility worsened overnight, with seven new cases added to bring the total to 22. The city reported no new COVID-related deaths, leaving the total at 232. But a breakdown of the active outbreaks indicates that a sixth resident of Macassa Lodge, a city-run long-term-care home, has died. City spokesperson Jasmine Graham confirmed that the death toll at Macassa Lodge is now at six. Graham said she couldn’t comment on this individual case, but said in general case numbers and death totals “are always subject to change and fluctuations” in data reporting as death investigations continue, data is transferred between health units, and cases are linked or unlinked to outbreaks. As of Saturday morning there were 12 active cases on Six Nations of the Grand River, which raised its COVID-19 alert level and tightened restrictions on Monday in response to increasing cases. Six Nations Health Services reported 13 new cases over the past seven days. Of the 140 cases on the reserve since the pandemic began, 127 patients recovered and one died. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s COVID-19 information page is offline this weekend while staff transition to a new data reporting system. On Friday, there were 143 active cases in Haldimand-Norfolk after eight new cases were reported, along with 43 recoveries. Health unit spokesperson Matt Terry said all long-term-care and retirement residents in Haldimand-Norfolk who want to be immunized against COVID-19 have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The provincial directive to stop administering first doses outside of those priority populations means some staff members have not yet been vaccinated, Terry said. Across Ontario there were 2,359 new cases reported Saturday morning, with 52 deaths. J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is expanding its travel restrictions to require all domestic travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the province. Since last June, only people arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay in northern Ontario have been subject to the requirement. But, starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will be covered by the public-health measure to help fight the spread of COVID-19. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution to protect Manitobans," Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday. The move is needed because of the growing spread of novel coronavirus variants and because of delays in vaccine supplies, he said. There will be ongoing exceptions for people travelling for essential work and medical care, and a new exemption for residents of border communities who cross into Saskatchewan or Ontario for necessities. Pallister also called on the federal government to tighten rules governing international travellers. He said a ban on non-essential trips, as suggested by Quebec Premier Francois Legault last week, should be on the table. "We believe that a total travel ban may be something the federal government needs to consider seriously," Pallister said. "I respect that the federal government has to make this call and that's why I'm not trying to be overly prescriptive with what Manitoba wants. ... I'm simply adding my voice to those of the premiers who have said, 'Make a decision on this and doing nothing is not an option.'" Pallister also revealed that he had disciplined James Teitsma, a Progressive Conservative caucus member, who travelled with his family to British Columbia in December. The vacation did not contravene any formal public-health orders, but went against advice to avoid non-essential travel. Pallister did not say what discipline Teitsma was subjected to, and Teitsma did not return requests for comment. He sits on cabinet and Legislature committees and receives extra pay as chairman of one. A recently updated list of members of the cabinet committee on economic growth no longer includes Teitsma's name. Manitoba's COVID-19 case count continued its downward trend Tuesday. Health officials reported 92 additional cases and five deaths. Numbers have been dropping since late fall, shortly after the province brought in tight restrictions on public gatherings and store openings. Some of the measures were eased on the weekend to allow small social gatherings in private homes and non-essential store openings with limited capacity. "It's trending the right way again, but we still have a number of people in hospital ... so it still is a burden on the acute-care system," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief public health officer. Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he supports the government's expanded travel restrictions, but said the province must build up intensive care units, which are running well above pre-pandemic capacity. "Let's use this time to make the investments in our health care system so that we can withstand what's coming, potentially, as the pandemic drags on," Kinew said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Chelsea pivoted to Thomas Tuchel in a bid to turn around its sputtering season, hiring the German coach on an 18-month deal on Tuesday barely a month after he was fired by Paris Saint-Germain. Having flown to London to sign on as the 11th full-time Chelsea manager in Roman Abramovich’s 18-year reign, Tuchel went to work immediately by taking an evening practice session at the club’s training ground ahead of his first match in charge — against Wolverhampton on Wednesday. Given Chelsea’s current plight, there’s no time to waste. Frank Lampard, a club great as a player but a relative novice as a coach, was fired on Monday after a run of five losses in eight league games which plunged Chelsea to ninth place in the standings, threatening the team’s ambitions of Champions League qualification. In comes a man with far less calibre as a player — Tuchel retired at the age of 24 — but with far more experience as a coach after spells in his native Germany with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before 2 1/2 years at PSG, where he led the team to back-to-back French league titles and the Champions League final last season. His time in the French capital ended following a power struggle with the club but Chelsea targeted Tuchel after losing patience with Lampard, who oversaw the spending of nearly $300 million on new players for this season. “It is never easy to change head coach in the middle of the season but we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said. “There is still much to play for and much to achieve, this season and beyond. We welcome Thomas to the club.” An English pandemic allowance for workers flying into an elite sports environment enables Tuchel to avoid full quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. It means he can take his place in the dug-out for the match against Wolves, and allowed him to take training immediately. “We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea,” Tuchel said. “At the same time, I cannot wait to meet my new team and compete in the most exciting league in football. I am grateful to now be part of the Chelsea family — it feels amazing.” Tuchel, whose deal gives him the possibility to extend his contract beyond the initial 18 months, was fired by Dortmund after falling out with officials — just as he would do at PSG — so gaining favour with the ruthless Abramovich is as crucial as getting the club's senior players on side. Player power has been a term used to describe events at Stamford Bridge since the days of Jose Mourinho's first spell and it will no doubt have been involved in the decision to part ways with Lampard. A divisive character at times because of his penchant for being outspoken, Tuchel will be helped by the relationships he already has with Thiago Silva, from PSG, and Christian Pulisic, from Dortmund. One of Tuchel's biggest tasks will be getting the best out of two of his compatriots, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who were among the new signings bought at great expense last summer but have struggled so far at Stamford Bridge. Werner, for example, scored eight times in his first 12 games, but has scored only once in his last 14 appearances. While Chelsea look a long way off the title, despite being briefly in first place in early December, the unpredictability of this season like no other means a strong run of results could quickly see the team back in the mix. Success in the cups could be used as a springboard for Tuchel, with Chelsea still in the FA Cup and into the last 16 of the Champions League, where the opponent is Atletico Madrid. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — These suspects weren't exactly in hiding. “THIS IS ME,” one man posted on Instagram with a hand emoji pointing to himself in a picture of the violent mob descending on the U.S. Capitol. “Sooo we’ve stormed Capitol Hill lol,” one woman texted someone while inside the building. “I just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,” another wrote on Facebook about a selfie he took inside during the Jan. 6 riot. In dozens of cases, supporters of President Donald Trump downright flaunted their activity on social media on the day of the deadly insurrection. Some, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos and comments and sent them to the FBI. Their total lack of concern over getting caught and their friends' willingness to turn them in has helped authorities charge about 150 people as of Monday with federal crimes. But even with the help from the rioters themselves, investigators must still work rigorously to link the images to the vandalism and suspects to the acts on Jan. 6 in order to prove their case in court. And because so few were arrested at the scene, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service have been forced to send agents to track suspects down. “Some of you have recognized that this was such an egregious incident that you’ve turned in your own friends and family members,” Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington office, said of the tipsters Tuesday. "We know that those decisions are often painful, but you picked up the phone because it’s the right thing to do.” In the last few weeks, the FBI has received more than 200,000 photos and video tips related to the riot. Investigators have put up billboards in several states with photos of wanted rioters. Working on tips from co-workers, acquaintances and friends, agents have tracked down driver’s license photos to match their faces with those captured on camera in the building. In some cases, authorities got records from Facebook or Twitter to connect their social media accounts to their email addresses or phone numbers. In others, agents used records from license plate readers to confirm their travels. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol, although it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime. Federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing. And they must weigh manpower, cost and evidence when charging rioters. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges against the rioters, which carry up to 20 years in prison. One trio was charged with conspiracy; most have been charged with crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said prosecutors were “closely looking at evidence related to the sedition charges" and he believed “the results will bear fruit very soon.” Many rioters posted selfies inside the Capitol to their social media accounts, gave interviews to news outlets describing their experience and readily admitted when questioned by federal investigators that they were there. One man created a Facebook album titled “Who’s House? OUR HOUSE” filled with photos of himself and others on Capitol grounds, officials said. “They might have thought, like so many people that work with Trump, that if the president tells me to do it, it’s not breaking the law,” said Michael Gerhardt, an expert on impeachment and professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Others made blunders, like a Houston police officer, who denied he went into the Capitol, then agreed to let agents look at the pictures on his phone. Inside his deleted photos folder were pictures and videos, including selfies he took inside the building, authorities said. Another man was wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor after a burglary conviction that tracked his every movement inside the building. A retired firefighter from Long Island, New York, texted a video of himself in the Capitol rotunda to his girlfriend’s brother, saying he was “at the tip of the spear,” officials said. The brother happened to be a federal agent with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, who turned the video over to the FBI. A lawyer for the man, Thomas Fee, said that he “was not part of any attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol” and that “the allegation is that he merely walked through an open door into the Capitol — nothing more." Another man who was inside the Capitol was willing to rat out another rioter who stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and emailed the video to an FBI agent, even signing his own name to it. “Hello Nice FBI Lady,” he wrote, “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.” In another case, a man was on a flight leaving D.C. two days after the riot when he kept shouting “Trump 2020!” and was kicked off. An airport police officer saw the man get off the plane and the man was booked on another flight. Forty-five minutes later, the officer was watching a video on Instagram and recognized the man in a group of rioters. The man, who was wearing the same shirt as the day he stormed the Capitol, was arrested at the airport, authorities said. Even defence attorneys have acknowledged that the evidence poses a problem for them. “I’m not a magician,” said an attorney for the man seen in a photo carrying Pelosi's lectern. “We’ve got a photograph of our client in what appears to be inside a federal building or inside the Capitol with government property." Police at the Capitol planned only for a free-speech demonstration and were overwhelmed by the mob that broke through and roamed the halls of the Capitol for hours as lawmakers were sent into hiding. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Trump was impeached after the riot on a charge of “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” Opening arguments will begin the week of Feb. 8. He is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. Unlike criminal cases, impeachment trials do not have specific evidence rules so anything said and done that day can be used. And several of the people charged have said in interviews with reporters or federal agents that they were simply listening to the president when they marched to the Capitol. ___ Richer reported from Boston. Michael Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press