Lance Dugas of Sarnia was at McDonald Park Sunday trying his luck at reeling in a cold water catch. Dugas was fishing on a cut off of the Snye River west of Wallaceburg.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald
Lance Dugas of Sarnia was at McDonald Park Sunday trying his luck at reeling in a cold water catch. Dugas was fishing on a cut off of the Snye River west of Wallaceburg.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald
President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
(Submitted by Gerald McKenzie - image credit) First Nations in Saskatchewan have continued to be hit hard by COVID-19 in the first two months of 2021. According to Indigenous Services Canada, during the first seven weeks of 2021, there were 2,779 new cases in reserves in Saskatchewan — more than in any other province. By comparison, in that same time period, there were 2,290 cases on reserves in Manitoba and 2,389 in Alberta. In a Wednesday news release, Indigenous Services said it is "closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country." However, there is some good news — active case counts are declining, and there has not yet been a confirmed case of any of the new coronavirus variants of concern on reserve. Vaccine deliveries are also ramping up, and as of Feb. 23, Indigenous Services reported that more than 103,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Indigenous communities throughout Canada. In Saskatchewan, as of Feb. 14, the federal department estimates that vaccine uptake in First Nations communities was at or above 75 per cent. Indigenous Services also said it is working to support the vaccine rollout for Indigenous adults living in urban areas. "ISC is working closely with [the] National Association of Friendship Centres, as well as provinces and territories, First Nation, Inuit and Métis partners, and other urban community service organizations to support planning efforts," the department said in its news release this week. "This includes working to identify barriers, challenges and opportunities for increasing vaccine uptake and ensuring the vaccine is available in culturally safe and accessible locations." According to the department, vaccine clinics for Indigenous adults are currently being planned for Saskatoon and Regina.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced scoring attack in a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire CentreJuuso Valimaki, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames, who ended Ottawa's three-game win streak.Drake Batherson, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk replied for the last-place Senators. Ottawa (7-15-1) remain in the NHL basement with 15 points.Calgary (10-10-2) moved into a fourth-place tie with Montreal in the North Division with 22 points. The Canadiens were scheduled to play the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.The Flames opened the scoring four minutes into the game. The speedy Johnny Gaudreau zipped around a couple of Ottawa players before sending a backhand saucer pass to Valimaki for the one-timer.The Flames scored again 37 seconds later as Backlund flipped a rolling puck past a handcuffed Matt Murray.The Sens goalie stopped 27-of-33 shots on Saturday.Perhaps in an effort to spark his teammates, Austin Watson fought bruising Flames forward Milan Lucic on the ensuing faceoff. Lucic, who had a 35-pound weight advantage, won the decision.Calgary took advantage of some sloppy defensive play ahead of its third goal. Josh Norris turned the puck over deep in the zone and Lindholm snapped it in at 11:05.Batherson extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a power-play effort at 13:05. He beat David Rittich with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle.Another Senators' defensive lapse proved costly early in the second period as Chris Tierney coughed up the puck down low. Gaudreau fed it to Monahan for the power-play goal at 4:02.A Calgary shorthanded goal followed at 9:36. Mangiapane hit the post with a redirect attempt before tapping in the rebound. White responded 40 seconds later by scooping a loose puck off the faceoff and snapping it past a screened Rittich. The netminder posted 31 saves in Calgary's win.The lone goal in the third period came when Brady Tkachuk scored on the Ottawa power play at 10:00.The Senators dumped the Flames 6-1 on Thursday night. The teams will face off again Monday in the finale of Ottawa's five-game homestand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) Some restaurant owners in Griffintown, who are already struggling to stay afloat during the lockdown, are now on the hook for damages and missing items after a series of reported break-ins earlier this month. Robert Goldberg, co-owner of Mauvais Garçons, said his restaurant was broken into on Feb. 11. According to Goldberg, the suspect threw a large rock through the window of the restaurant on William Street mere minutes after the restaurant had closed up shop for the night around midnight. "I don't know if they were watching us or what," Goldberg told CBC. He said the suspect appears to have come from a side alley and entered the restaurant through the broken window. The contents of the cash register, as well as a tablet, were stolen and the suspect fled through the back, Goldberg said. This is the first time Mauvais Garçons has been broken into since it opened four years ago, but Goldberg wasn't completely shocked by the incident. Staff at Mauvais Garçons have decided to keep the rock used in the break-in as a token of the restaurant's resilience. He said several restaurants in the area, including one right next to his, had been broken into over the past two months. "We were almost kind of expecting it, so we started leaving the lights on to try and scare them away," he said. At least five restaurant owners in and around Griffintown told CBC News they were broken into this past month. "It's terrible timing. You know it's already really tough for restaurants right now just to survive," said Goldberg. "We're like scratching for every dollar we're trying to earn and then we just lose it in repairs or whatever was stolen." Goldberg estimates the restaurant will have to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 out of pocket for the repairs. The owners are also fitting the building with bars on the windows to prevent this from happening again. In an effort to stay positive, Goldberg and his staff have kept the rock used in the break-in as a token of the restaurant's resilience. "His name is Dwayne Johnson. We named him. He's a member of the family now even though he did us wrong," said Goldberg. Antonio Diaz, manager of Bird Bar, believes the break-ins might be happening because the streets are empty during curfew hours. Bird Bar, a restaurant on Notre-Dame Street, dealt with a similar incident earlier this month. According to manager Antonio Diaz, someone broke in on Valentine's Day. The person reportedly broke the glass, stepped into the restaurant and ran off with wine, liquor bottles, tablets and some of the employees' T4 slips. "It's not like we're making any money. Right now, anything that we have to put into the restaurant comes out of the owner's pockets," said Diaz. "If we're breaking even, we're lucky." Diaz estimates the damages at that restaurant to be upwards of $3,000. "It's been bad news after bad news after bad news, so we're kind of wondering when this is all going to end," he said. Both Diaz and Goldberg believe the province's curfew, which was put in place to help curb the pandemic, might be a contributing factor. "I think the curfew is a big part of it because the streets are empty," said Goldberg. He would like to see more police surveillance in the area and is calling on fellow restaurateurs to be vigilant in the coming weeks. Montreal police would not comment on the break-ins but, in a statement, said the SPVM has several officers patrolling the area during curfew hours.
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 as stricter rules take effect to stop the spread of the virus. Provincial health officials say three of the most recent cases are in the Halifax region and are close contacts of previously identified patients, while the fourth case in eastern Nova Scotia is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The latest infections bring the total number of active cases to 39 as new measures to control the virus take effect in Halifax and some neighbouring municipalities. Nova Scotia's chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang says while the number of new cases is low, he remains concerned that some recent cases do not have an obvious source of infection. He says the new restrictions will act like a "circuit breaker" to stop the potential spread of a new coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. The new measures include closing restaurants and bars by 10 p.m. as well as restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes. All sporting games, competitions, tournaments and in-person performances have been banned, though sports practices and training or arts and culture rehearsals can continue with a cap of up to 25 people without spectators. Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province, especially to and from the Halifax area. Premier Iain Rankin reiterated the need for stricter restrictions despite the low number of new cases on Saturday. "While today's case count is lower than the last two days, I am still greatly concerned about the trend we have been seeing in recent case numbers in Halifax," he said in a statement. "We must follow the public health restrictions to reverse the recent trend. No matter whether you live in Halifax or elsewhere in the province, I encourage you, even if you don't have symptoms, to book an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres or drop into a pop-up testing site." The new measures cover areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Lantz, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards. The new rules took effect at 8 a.m. Saturday and will be in place until March 26, with an extension possible. Meanwhile, the province has also changed rules for rotational workers. They will now be required to undergo three COVID-19 tests during their modified 14-day quarantine. Irving Shipbuilding, one of the largest employer's in the province, temporarily suspended production at the Halifax shipyard for the day Friday after a member of its workforce tested positive for COVID-19. The company is holding a pop-up testing site to test its employees this weekend. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Pembroke – Once again local MP Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke) has found herself in the middle of a very public controversy after a video emerged in which she accused the Liberal government of becoming “radicals” who want “all illicit drugs to be legal” and “to normalize sexual activity with children.” These and other statements made by the longtime Conservative MP are contained in a video that recorded a virtual meeting between the MP and a group of young Conservatives at Queen’s University in Kingston earlier this month. The video remained relatively obscure until Liberal MP Jennifer O’Connell, (Pickering-Uxbridge) posted it on both her Twitter and Facebook Social Media accounts. When she posted the video she accused Mrs. Gallant of spreading “disgusting and dangerous lies” and goes on to state her fearmongering is “a threat to our democracy.” Although Mrs. Gallant went on to make a number of questionable and unsubstantiated statements including that Marxists have taken over university administrations across the country in an effort to stifle free speech and to push a socialist agenda, Ms. O’Connell accuses the MP of promoting anti-Semitic rhetoric. On her YouTube page, she labels the video as “Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant spews anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” and her Twitter posting goes one step further and infers that other Conservative MPs share Mrs. Gallants beliefs when she wrote “Gallant is yet another CPC MP (to a growing list of them) who repeats anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Although several of Mrs. Gallant’s statements can be considered outlandish and offensive, she does not make any direct reference to anti-Semitism. Ms. O’Connell also compared her to supporters of former President Donald Trump and said the MP is promoting “deranged conspiracy theories.” Within the video she accuses Liberals of lacking any common sense, stating they have become “a bunch of radicals” and because of this “they want all illicit drugs to be legal. They want anything goes in every aspect of life. They want to normalize sexual activity with children.” Last Friday Mrs. Gallant provided a very brief statement in which she said “comments on the Liberals choosing to lower the age of consent were taken out of context.” She did not address any of her other comments and said she “will not be commenting further on this matter.” In the video, she goes on to complain “the liberal media have been bought and paid for” by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and are now backing Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault — whom she dubs the “censor in chief” — in his plans to make Google and Facebook pay for news content they disseminate on their platforms. She also accused the prime minister of purposely driving a wedge between Google and Facebook and the Canadian government in order for the tech giants to follow the recent Australia example and remove all news contents from their platforms in Canada. “Why do you think Trudeau would want Canadians to be unable to search or share news right as he’s planning a snap election?” she asks. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who has been attempting to put a more moderate face on his party, said the Liberals are trying to distract from their failure to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. “Canadians have other priorities and so do I,” he said in a brief statement late Friday. Similar to Mrs. Gallant, Mr. O’Toole has not made any other comments despite the video being seen by thousands of Canadians and commented on by all major news outlets and several Social Media platforms. Familiar Pattern Mr. O’Toole joins a long line of party leaders who have either disciplined or did their best to distance themselves from Mrs. Gallant in order to isolate her and not have her actions become the namesake of the federal party. What has become a familiar pattern since she was first elected as a member of the former Canadian Alliance in 2000, her controversial statements have caused embarrassment for both her party and her former leaders. In 2002, she made anti-gay remarks to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham, when during a heated exchange, she kept interrupting "Ask your boyfriend" or "How's your boyfriend?" Although she at first refused to apologize for her statements, behind the scenes, Stockwell Day, leader of the Canadian Alliance at the time, had Mrs. Gallant apologize on the floor of the House of Commons. During the 2004 election, a controversy erupted when she compared abortion to the beheading of Iraq War hostage Nick Berg. Stephen Harper had just been elected leader of the newly-formed Conservative Party and his office announced she was suffering from laryngitis, and she did not appear at some scheduled debates and was not allowed to make any statements to both local and national news outlets. In 2005 she suggested Christians were being persecuted by the Liberal Party in a flyer she sent to her constituents. Confronted with the news, Mr. Harper said "I'll let Cheryl Gallant explain those remarks herself; I haven't seen them." In February 2011, during Defence Committee hearings in St. John's before an audience which included the family and co-workers of mariners lost at sea in recent accidents on the Atlantic, Mrs. Gallant remarked, "In Ontario we have inland seas, the Great Lakes, and it would never occur to any of us, even up in the Ottawa River, to count on the Coast Guard to come and help us." Her comparison of recreational boaters in sheltered inland waters to mariners on the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of miles from land drew outrage from many who had lost family at sea. Once again Mr. Harper attempted to distance himself and the party from her and suggested reporters contact her directly for any further remarks. She initially refused to apologize saying her remarks were misinterpreted, but a few days later she said she was sorry and did not mean to minimize ocean dangers. There were other incidents including a 2016 scandal when she used the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo as a means to generate money for her campaign through an Easter ham lottery. Cpl. Cirillo was killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22, 2014. In 2017, newly-elected leader Andrew Scheer called for a “whipped vote” in support of Canada’s commitment to the Paris Accord. However, when the roll was taken, Mrs. Gallant defied the Leader’s Office and voted against the Accord. She was the only MP from all parties who voted against it, thereby denying unanimous consent and caused great embarrassment to Mr. Scheer. Neither the Conservative Party, its members or the local riding association have made any public statements on the recent controversy and calls to the MP’s office were not retu Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
MILAN — The fedora Humphrey Bogart wore in “Casablanca” may have secured Borsalino’s place in fashion and cinematic history, but it will be something like the cow-print bucket hat that will help ensure its future. The storied Italian hatmaker still makes its felt hats by hand in a Piedmont region factory, using the same artisanal techniques from when the company was founded in 1857 and some of founder Giuseppe Borsalino’s original machinery. It is updating its offerings for next fall and winter, with a focus on customization and youth-trends. The new collection displayed during Milan Fashion Week takes inspiration from the Arts & Crafts design movement in mid-19th century Britain. Hat pins with leaf and floral motifs allow women to uniquely shape the hats, to take up an oversized brim, say, or to create an elegant fold in the crown. A leopard fedora can be paired with a long chain, to wear over the shoulder when going in and out of shops, while a clochard has an optional leather corset. “You cannot change a hat so much,’’ Giacomo Santucci, Borsalino’s creative curator, said. “You can change the attitude of the hat.” Unisex styles, including baseball caps, berets and bucket hats, come in updated new materials - including a spotted cow print, black patent leather and rainproof nylon. Such genderless looks are becoming an increasingly important part of the collection, Santucci said. “The hat is no longer a tool to cover yourself, but to discover yourself,’’ he told The Associated Press. The company, which relaunched three years ago, was in the process of scaling up production from 150,000 hats a year to a goal of half a million when the pandemic hit. “To be honest, it is such a small company, in a way it is very simple to react,’’ said Santucci, who is also the current president of the Italian Chamber of Buyers. “The smaller you are, the more reactive and prompt." Beyond new styles, that means getting people talking. Santucci, who was Gucci CEO during the Tom Ford era, created a new film for this season, featuring Milanese women who chose hats to match their styles, striding through the centre of the city. Last season’s film featured dancers from Alessandria, site of the original Borsalino factory, dancing through the factory floor. "My strong belief is that fashion is becoming more and more a discussion,'' Santucci said. New social media platforms like Clubhouse are giving people the chance to create a limited and select group to discuss relevant topics, which Santucci said has been key during the isolation imposed by the pandemic. He also has pursued collaborations with ready-to-wear brands, including Borsalino X Valentino. “Brands are changing. It is getting closer to entertainment, to give people the chance to engage with the brand, to understand it better. Not only to understand what was done in the past, but to really interact and to have the chance to be part of the same community,’’ Santucci said. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
(Photo submitted by Lisa Gregoire - image credit) Community. Connection. Curling. And haven't we all been missing it. Today we celebrate Curling Day in Canada and no doubt this year, it's a little bit different. Watch and engage with CBC Sports' That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube It's almost unfathomable to consider at this time last February thousands of people across this country were taking to pebbled sheets across the land to celebrate the roaring game. There were no masks. No six-feet of separation. People were gathering together, giving each other high-fives, smiling – the good old days. Who could have ever predicted that just a week later the world would shut down and some 365 days later we'd still be in this waiting place. But today, we celebrate again. In backyards, on outdoor lakes and even on icy streets, curling fans are finding ways to take part in the game they so deeply love. Still apart. But still finding ways to connect. Because at the heart of curling, and what has always made it such a loveable game, is that connection to people and community. WATCH | That Curling Show gets you set for the final 2 days of the Scotties: All across this frozen tundra curling rinks dot the landscape – and in many of the villages, towns and cities the curling rink is the heartbeat of the community. It's a gathering place for the young and old to come together for that Tuesday Beer League or weekend bonspiel. To make shots. To miss shots. And then to head to the lounge after the game and talk about it all. This is a special sport. It's a sport that's laced with Canadian Olympic, world and national champions, who, after playing the biggest games of their careers, will join fans at the post-game party. That accessibility to the best athletes of the game is not seen in any other pro sport today. It's a game rooted in humility. It's quirky. It's quintessentially Canadian. And the people who take part in hucking chunks of granite down the ice while others clear the path with brooms, all while the rock-chucker and skip or third scream loudly, is what makes this game great. This year's Scotties has been a welcomed escape. That sweet sporting escape hundreds of thousands of people across Canada rely on this time of year – and for a while it looked like it may not happen. But inside the Calgary curling bubble the drama has once again played out. Sure, it probably hasn't been to the calibre curling fans and curlers are used to, but can you blame them? These teams hadn't been the ice for weeks and in some cases months leading to the national championship. But they're figuring it out as they go and now with just a few games left before a champion is crowned, the curling is right where we'd expect it to be. WATCH | Rachel Homan makes incredible triple raise takeout to score 2: Curling Canada is one of the few national sport organizations to take on this monumental task – to pull off an event in the midst of a pandemic. And while it wasn't a perfect process by any means in terms of selecting teams and having no playdowns, they've pulled it off without a positive case. And the curlers once again showed grace and patience and flexibility amidst this ever-changing world. The fans are the ones who have benefited from the tenacity and perseverance of Curling Canada and the top women curlers in this country. This is just the beginning too. After the Scotties it's onto the Brier. Then mixed doubles national championship. Then the men's world championship. And then two Grand Slam events. WATCH | Ben Hebert gives his predictions for the Scotties championship round: It was a long wait to get curling back. But it's been well worth the wait. The future of the sport in the country is a tad murky right now, with curling clubs having to close their doors, unsure of what might lie ahead. But the curling community always seems to find a way when it matters most. The curling community has always rallied around one another in triumph and tragedy. And there's no question the curling community will come together once again.
Si Le Bic est réputé pour son cachet et ses restaurants, l’histoire de ce village est intrinsèquement liée à la mer. C’est que rappelle le Comité du patrimoine naturel et culturel du Bic dans sa toute nouvelle publication Le Bic, une histoire maritime, un livre d’une soixantaine de pages qui couvre 500 ans d’interactions entre les humains et les flots du Saint-Laurent dans ce coin de la province. En effet, les Premières nations qui fréquentaient la région avant l’arrivée des Européens étaient déjà des marins aguerris qui s’adonnaient à la pêche ou à la chasse au phoque. Les Mi’gmaq construisaient notamment des canots d’écorce, parfois équipés d’une voile. Plus tard, au 17e siècle, le havre du Bic s’impose comme une escale pour les bateaux européens remontant l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent vers l’important poste de traite de Tadoussac, qui en profitent pour faire du troc avec les Autochtones, chaudrons contre fourrures. Quelques colons s’installent dans la seigneurie créée en 1675 pour vivre de la pêche, mais c’est surtout les navigateurs qui seront à l’origine de l’essor du Bic, dès 1730. Ces spécialistes de la dangereuse navigation laurentienne vivent dans le village et prennent en main les bateaux venus d’Europe à partir de l’île du Bic, se rendant indispensables au commerce transatlantique. La chaloupe puis la goélette sont leurs moyens de transport de prédilection pour rejoindre les navires. L’activité est périlleuse et nombre de jeunes hommes perdront la vie dans les eaux du fleuve : 133 se noient entre 1815 et 1855. Les activités de navigation finiront par disparaître au 20e siècle, et si l’on cherche encore le bord de l’eau quand on vient au Bic, c’est avant tout pour les activités de villégiature. La construction navale y est toutefois encore présente, à travers l’atelier des chaloupiers Daniel St-Pierre et Pierre-Luc Morin. Gratuit pour les Bicois Les résidents du Bic peuvent se procurer gratuitement l’un des 1500 exemplaires du livre en présentant une preuve de résidence à la bibliothèque Émile-Gagnon. Les autres personnes intéressées par cette épopée maritime peuvent l’acheter sur le site du Comité du patrimoine naturel et culturel du Bic ou à la librairie L’Alphabet de Rimouski. Il s’agit du deuxième ouvrage du comité, dix ans après le Guide des maisons traditionnelles du Bic. Le livre a demandé des années de travail et pas moins de huit personnes ont travaillé bénévolement à son élaboration, que ce soit à la recherche d’informations historiques et d’images, à la rédaction ou à la coordination. Deux ententes de développement culturel du ministère de la Culture et des Communications, la première avec la Ville de Rimouski et la seconde avec la MRC de Rimouski-Neigette, ont permis de financer ce projet. La coprésidente du Comité du patrimoine naturel et culturel du Bic, Linda Lavoie, pense que ce type d’ouvrage est un bon moyen de sensibiliser la population à l’importance du patrimoine, ici et ailleurs. Vendredi après-midi, elle allait poster un exemplaire à destination de Vancouver, signe que l’histoire du Bic, qui s’inscrit dans celle plus longue de la colonisation et du développement de ce continent, intéresse bien au-delà des frontières du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
A 17-year-old classical pianist and martial arts expert’s eyesight hangs in the balance as his mother begs for access to treatment for his rare disease retinitis pigmentosa. The teenager has a small window of opportunity: the treatment will stop or reverse a form of blindness, but only works if he has a certain amount of vision. They are fighting “like crazy” before he becomes ineligible for treatment and hoping for the government to step in soon. This is but one of the many stories shared by Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD). Feb. 28 is Rare Disease Day, and with one in 12 Canadians affected by a rare disease — two-thirds are children — Wong-Rieger talked about the burden felt by patients and families. “Rare diseases do affect a lot of people. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 rare diseases. Some will affect one in 2,000, some will affect one in a million, some are so rare that we only know maybe two people (affected) in all of Canada,” Wong-Rieger said. Some well-known rare diseases include cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease. Many rare diseases are genetic due to a misprogramming of a person’s DNA, according to Wong-Rieger. Fifty per cent of rare diseases are non-spontaneous mutation: like cancer. “There are more people that have a rare disease than all cancer combined,” Wong-Rieger added. During newborn screenings in Ontario, where babies’ heels get pricked for a blood sample, only 36 rare diseases are tested. “Most children may seem normal, and will reach certain milestones, up until a certain age. Then they don’t progress or lose function,” Wong-Rieger said. On average, Wong-Rieger said it takes up to four to seven years to get a correct diagnosis for a rare disease, with parents getting from one to 14 misdiagnosis. Sometimes, treatments will make the child worse, or the misdiagnosis delays the treatment and the disease progresses. Wong-Rieger advises parents to keep a diary of symptoms to show physicians. “The federal government has promised $1 billion in 2019 to set up a rare disease program. We’re hoping before the end of this year, we will see this program in place and get the therapies available to patients who need them,” she said. “We want to make sure government is accountable. Canada is far behind than most of the European countries when it comes to (supporting those suffering from) rare diseases,” Wong-Rieger said. For more information, visit www.raredisorders.ca. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
Thousands of flag-waving marchers demonstrated Saturday in Tunisia's capital in a show of support for the majority party in parliament. The demonstration follows political tensions between Tunisia's president and its prime minister, Hichem Mechichi. Mechichi has sought to reshuffle his Cabinet but has seen some of his proposed ministerial appointments blocked by President Kais Saied. Marchers in Tunis chanted “The people want national unity.” The demonstration was called by the Islamist Ennahdha party that holds the largest block of seats in Tunisia's parliament. Tunis,Tunisia, The Associated Press
Tay council isn't giving up on its hope for a Port McNicoll transit stop with plans to bring it back to the county during public consultations around its transportation master plan. That was the conclusion drawn at the end of a recent council session during which county representatives talked about the new LINX Transit route that will be launched in this summer. The discussion centred around the two stops studied for Port McNicoll. Dennis Childs, Simcoe County manager of transit, said the Triple Bay Road and Talbot Street stops looked at during the study would add up to 18 minutes to the Midland-Orillia route's run time. "When we look at the stop into Port McNicoll, the bus is going to go down one area stop and go out the other area," he said, in response to a question by Coun. Paul Raymond. "When you look at all the stops we've put in place, other than the end of the line, there's always one stop on the other side of the road and one on the opposite side. The reason is for efficiencies. "When you look at Port McNicoll, if we were to go down and put a bus loop, it's not going to save us any amount at all," added Childs. "The reason we had two stops on either side of Port McNicoll is for efficiencies. Anytime you're pulling into a bus loop, you're always going to need to add additional time." Raymond said, he, and other councillors, want the decision reconsidered. "I understand being a lower-tier municipality we don’t have a say," he said. "I tried to find out from the studies what the ridership estimates were per hour, per location. I could not find anything through the county’s site. Is that information available for Tay Township?" David Parks, director planning, development and transit with the County of Simcoe, said he did not have the information on hand but could share it with council later. "I know you know that the needs of the community in Port McNicoll are very important. When you do a study, do you look at the needs of a community and what they have in the community?" said Coun. Mary Warnock. "Is that part of your plan or is it just the logistics and costs?" Parks said the county looks at establishing a regional system. "Our study was limited, but our direction was from county council," he said. "That’s why we’re doing the (transportation) master plan to see if there’s more we can do. We didn’t get to that scale because it wasn’t our mandate, but I encourage you to bring that up." Raymond said he would make it a point to do so because he did not believe the micro-transit options were the answer. "(Accessibility) requirements prevent micro transit systems," he said. "So short of doing taxis, do you have any suggestion on how we could get around that economically?" Childs said there has been a huge push over the last few years for on-demand transit. "That really is the direction rural communities are going to have to go, because the ridership numbers are not high," he said. "It's an easier system to use and the vehicles you can use are smaller vehicles and compliant with current (accessibility) legislation. A lot of these new technologies use apps and make it much more user friendly." During the presentation, Childs noted that the transit link, known as Route 6, will see a soft launch in this summer with the first month being free. The delay was caused due to bus orders being delayed during the pandemic. The route has two stops in Midland and Victoria Harbour, one stop each in Waubaushene, Coldwater and Warminster and two stops in Orillia. The stops in Midland will be at No Frills and Georgian College. In Victoria Harbour, the bus will stop at Richard and Albert Streets and Oakwood Community Centre. On its way through Waubaushene, Route 6 will stop at Sturgeon Bay Road at Pine Street. In Coldwater, passengers can access the service at Coldwater Road and Michael Anne Drive. No specific stop destination was provided for Warminster, however, in Orillia, the bus will stop at Lakehead University and West Ridge Boulevard at Monarch Drive. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
CHICOUTIMI, Que. — The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's three teams in New Brunswick are set to return to the ice, while games have been postponed for a team in Nova Scotia. The QMJHL announced Saturday that the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Moncton Wildcats and the Saint John Sea Dogs will start playing again the week of March 8. The three teams have not played since late November due to provincial government restrictions. Similar restrictions in Nova Scotia have forced the Halifax Mooseheads to pause their season as COVID-19 cases climb in the province. The QMJHL says the team's games have been postponed until March 27, but the restrictions allow for practice to continue with a maximum of 25 people participating. The 18-team QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to begin play around its normal start date this season, and has regularly postponed games due to positive tests and new government restrictions. The league suspended play Dec. 1 before returning with protected environments in Quebec. The Western Hockey League opened its 24-game season on Friday. The Ontario Hockey League has delayed its season, initially planned to start on Feb. 4 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said there was only one QMJHL team in Nova Scotia.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch discusses Health Canada's approval of AstraZeneca and how it will impact vaccination efforts in this country.
Once again, the West Parry Sound Pool project is making waves in Whitestone’s online community. Following a question-and-answer document posted on the municipal website on Feb. 25, a Whitestone ratepayer named Bruce Morris shared the link with Whitestone Community Chat on Facebook where it soon drew discussion. “Even after all of the knowledge of how the majority of ratepayers are against the project and all of the data to show why it is a waste of time and money, I guess the mayor has decided to create this draft of fiction,” wrote Morris in the comments. Another ratepayer stated that the Q&A document was not impartial and should be dismissed. “The will of the majority of Whitestone ratepayers must be taken into consideration not the will of Parry Sound and some members of council,” said Sue Krusell. Whitestone’s councillor Joe Lamb was quick to comment on the Facebook post stating that he did not agree with the document being published as is. “I was asked for input on these questions and answers,” wrote Lamb. “I will post separately my input to the mayor.” The document says that it is answers to questions raised by Whitestone ratepayers regarding the proposed West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Centre project and the municipality’s participation in the project. In a separate post on the Whitestone Community Chat, Lamb posted his opposition to the Q&A document posted on the municipal website. “Mr. Mayor, in addition to my earlier comments, I have reviewed each one of the 25 questions and ‘your’ responses,” said Lamb. “I must reiterate these are just your responses, they simply cannot be ‘from council’ because they are absolutely misleading.” It is not known at this time when Whitestone will make a decision on its involvement in the West Parry Sound pool project however it has been stated that the municipality will hold another public meeting before it makes its decision. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
A Vancouver-area health authority says people at three schools in the region have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern. A news release from Fraser Health says it is working with the Surrey school district to manage COVID-19 exposures at Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School. It says the cases involving an unspecified COVID-19 variant appear to be linked to community transmissions, but the schools will remain open. The health authority also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital on Friday. It says five patients at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 after evidence of transmission in a medicine unit. It says the emergency department remains open and no other areas have been impacted. Meanwhile, an outbreak at the CareLife Fleetwood long-term care home in Surrey was declared over. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tay residents could have multiple ways to cast their ballots in next year's election. Council, at its recent meeting, was leaning toward a combination of mail-in, online and in-person methods for the 2022 municipal election. However, no decisions were made since a staff report is still pending. There is no urgency around the matter, said Cyndi Bonneville, township clerk. "The bylaw to authorize is required on or before May 1 in the year of the election," she said, adding, "staff is recommending council make a decision well in advance of the new year so staff can budget and implement the method council approves." Coun. Jeff Bumstead had questions around the problems faced by online voting systems. "Thinking back to the last election, we got our results but other municipalities that had online voting did not. Any thoughts on that?" he asked staff. Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, said the issue then was due to the supplier. "They had a third-party arrangement with a data centre hosting provider where they had purchased unlimited bandwidth and capacity, so they could have millions of people connect to their server at the same time," he said. "Unfortunately, the configuration switch at that facility had a bandwidth limit in place and there was a technical configuration error. I'm most certain that error won't happen (again), maybe different problems may happen in the future. "We do use similar providers and rely on internet technologies to do tabulation, so even with non-online voting methods, we could run into circumstances causing delays." A staff report outlines that voting by mail costs $56,238, an amount that includes vote-by-mail kits, software support and postage. Other costs, including advertising and labour, were not listed in the report. The report was also missing costs around online/telephone voting. Further to a costing request for online voting, Mayor Ted Walker said, council could consider a combination of approaches. "The results of (a recent) survey were in favour of in-person and online," he said. "We can even do a combination where we could have internet voting as our advanced vote, right up to and including election day. We could also have opportunity for people to come in and vote in-person at the polling station if they want." Coun Paul Raymond agreed with the combination approach. "I don't think we're going to have one voting method," he said. "I think we're going to have to accommodate different groups of people and what they're accustomed to. One thing the pandemic has provided is a lot more use with technology. People are a lot more comfortable with it" The report listed some pros and cons of the mail-in and telephone methods. Vote-by-mail: Pros Cons Telephone/Internet voting: Pros Cons Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
MONTREAL — Quebec's premier issued a caution about a growing number of COVID-19 cases tied to variants of concern on Saturday, but also expressed optimism that an escalating vaccination drive could offer relief from a situation that began playing out in the province exactly one year ago. In a letter posted to his Facebook page, Francois Legault said he feels great hope now that vaccinations of the general population have begun in some regions and are scheduled to start in the Montreal area on Monday. "We should receive around 175,000 doses of vaccine per week in March and therefore we will move quickly," Legault wrote. "We still have a few critical weeks ahead of us, especially because of the spring break and the new variants." New infections in the province have been stable, with another 858 confirmed cases and 13 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus being added to the overall tally on Saturday. The number of people in hospital dropped by 21 to 599, according to Health Department figures, with seven fewer patients requiring intensive care for a total of 112. As the province heads into March break week, authorities reported 984 presumptive variant cases, an increase of 110 suspected infections compared to Friday's figures. The province has 34 confirmed variant cases with 30 of them identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom. The Legault government has frequently pointed to last year's spring break as the reason the pandemic initially hit Quebec much harder than other provinces where the break occurred after preventative measures were put in place. One year later, government officials said the more transmissible variants cropping up in the province represent the most pressing concern. "At the start of the spring break, I invite all Quebecers to be extra careful," Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter. "Although the data is encouraging, the virus is still circulating and cases of variants continue to increase." It was one year ago Saturday that Quebec authorities convened an evening news conference to report that a 41-year-old woman returning from travel to Iran was the province's first presumptive COVID-19 patient. The positive test confirmed by the provincial lab was re-confirmed the next day by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. Since the pandemic was declared last March, the province has reported 287,003 confirmed infections and 10,385 deaths, with 268,645 people recovered. There are currently 7,973 active cases in the province. Quebec administered 15,902 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday for a total of 418,399, roughly 4.3 per cent of the population. Legault noted after vaccinating those 85 and older, the province hopes to quickly get to those over 70 before expanding to the entire adult population. The province expects to begin delivering second doses as of March 15. Quebec has already provided a first dose in long-term care homes and vaccinated 200,000 health care workers. Legault urged Quebecers to avoid gatherings as the province picks up the vaccination pace. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe says Matthews won't play due to a wrist injury that he's been dealing with for much of the year. Matthews has 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games for the Leafs this season. Toronto (15-4-2) will get some other key pieces back in the lineup — forward Joe Thornton returns from a lower-body injury, defenceman Jake Muzzin slots back in after missing two games with a facial fracture and goalie Jack Campbell is available after dealing with a leg injury. The Leafs currently sit atop the all-Canadian North Division, but the Oilers (14-8-0) are just four points back. Saturday's game kicks off a three-game series between Edmonton and Toronto. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press