Increasing infrastructure failures have TTC staff recommending 2023 be the end of the line for the Scarborough RT. Shallima Maharaj reports.
Increasing infrastructure failures have TTC staff recommending 2023 be the end of the line for the Scarborough RT. Shallima Maharaj reports.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Josh Norris scored the shootout winner to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Tim Stutzle also beat Montreal goalie Carey Price in the shootout. Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk opened with a miss and Senators netminder Matt Murray stopped Corey Perry and Jonathan Drouin. It capped a wild and entertaining game between the two rivals. Both teams had excellent chances in the overtime session. Stutzle had two glorious opportunities but couldn't convert and Montreal's Tyler Toffoli was stoned on a breakaway with about a minute to go. It looked like Montreal's Brendan Gallagher had scored the winner with 2.1 seconds left in regulation but the goal was waved off after a review due to goaltender interference. Tkachuk scored twice for Ottawa with Drake Batherson and Erik Brannstrom adding singles. Shea Weber had two goals for Montreal. Drouin and Toffoli had a goal apiece. After a slow start, the last-place Senators have picked up their play of late. Ottawa (6-14-1) entered with three wins over its last five games, including a 3-2 overtime victory over the Habs last Sunday. The 9-5-4 Canadiens, meanwhile, were 5-1-2 last month but entered with just one win in their last five games to drop them into fourth place in the North Division. The Senators needed just 96 seconds to open the scoring. Derek Stepan delivered a low saucer pass to Batherson, who extended his goal streak to three games by beating Price with a high backhand. Ottawa was rewarded for its steady power-play pressure at 9:57. Tkachuk flipped the puck under Price's arm on a shot the veteran goalie would no doubt like to have back. With Tkachuk and Montreal's Ben Chiarot off for fighting, the Canadiens caught a break to halve the lead at 16:03. Weber fired the puck toward the net from the boards and it deflected off Nikita Zaitsev's skate and past Murray. Tkachuk was in on the action again early in the second period, catching a high stick to the face that resulted in Weber being sent off on a double-minor. Ottawa restored its two-goal cushion as Brannstrom's low shot from the high slot went through a maze of players and between Price's legs at 3:41. It was his first career NHL goal. The Canadiens quickly answered as Thomas Chabot mishandled the puck and Drouin swooped in to collect it before beating Murray at 4:52. Weber then tied it at 10:06 with a trademark rocket from the point. Toffoli gave Montreal its first lead of the game at 8:06 of the third period. He fooled Brannstrom on his way in before snapping the puck past Murray on the short side. Tkachuk pulled Ottawa even with a softie goal less than two minutes later. He steered the puck towards the net and it fooled Price at 10:11. Chabot returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Brett Kulak drew into the Montreal lineup with Victor Mete sitting out as a healthy scratch. Ottawa will continue its five-game homestand on Thursday against Calgary. It will be the first of three straight games against the Flames. Montreal visits Winnipeg on Thursday. The Jets will also host the Canadiens on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
CHICAGO — A woman whose brother was fatally shot during last summer's unrest in suburban Chicago filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that two paramedics allowed a photo to be taken of the dying man, and that a retired fire department lieutenant posted it on Facebook along with a disparaging caption. In the lawsuit, Adriana Cazares contends that her brother, Victor Cazares Jr., was shot by an unknown gunman on June 1 after going to a grocery store in the town of Cicero. She said he went there to “discourage any criminal conduct” amid widespread unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The lawsuit contends that two paramedics, Justin Zheng and Gene Lazcano either took the photograph or allowed someone else to take it within minutes of their arrival at the scene of the shooting. It allegedly showed the 27-year-old Cazares on a stretcher, his head wrapped in what appears to be blood-drenched gauze, and was sent to Frank R. Rand, a retired Cicero Fire Department lieutenant. Rand, according to the lawsuit, quickly posted it to a Facebook group of 8,000 people who grew up in Cicero, along with a caption that read, “Come to Cicero to loot and break s(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)! Get a free body bag! Nice head shot!” “Defendants Zheng, Lazcano and Rand, through their actions in conspiring and in taking and publishing the photograph, including falsely depicting Victor Cazares as a looter...” the lawsuit alleges. Further, the lawsuit contends that after the photograph and caption were published, Cazares' family was "subjected to offensive comments and taunts, as were others associated with them.” The photograph does not appear in Rand's Facebook page. An attorney for Adriana Cazares, Michael Kanovitz, said he believes Rand took it down shortly after he posted it. But Kanovitz provided it to The Associated Press. In a statement, Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said the police department and the city's internal affairs office have been investigating the incident. He said that the two paramedics are not Cicero employees but work for a private company. And he said because Rand is retired, Cicero has no influence over his social media posts, adding, "We have publicly admonished his conduct in the past." Hanania said that Cicero's investigators haven't determined who took the photograph but believe it was taken from inside the ambulance. Don Babwin, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Rod O'Connell - image credit) Two retired foresters from the Bathurst area have identified the largest known specimens in the province of two different kinds of trees, in an area they've nominated for provincial protection. Rod O'Connell and Karl Branch found a yellow birch tree measuring 145 centimetres in diameter and a black ash tree measuring 69 cm in diameter while walking along one of the three Portage Lakes, about 60 kilometres south of Campbellton. They first noticed the big trees about 10 years ago, O'Connell recalled. At the time, the men were taking part in an annual Christmas bird count in the Upsalquitch Valley along Route 180, also known as the Road to Resources. But it wasn't until O'Connell's daughter gave him a copy of the second edition of David Palmer's Great Trees of New Brunswick as a Christmas present that he decided they deserved further investigation. "I looked in the book and I said, 'Oh, my! Our trees up there might be bigger,'" said O'Connell. "So, this December we took a measuring tape and an instrument to measure the height. … And sure enough, they were bigger." Karl Branch stands next to a yellow birch tree at Portage Lakes that is estimated to be over 400 years old. The yellow birch at Portage Lakes is not quite the tallest known. O'Connell measured it at 20 metres. And the book lists one at Ayers Lake that's 28.5 metres. But its trunk is almost 50 per cent wider than the next largest birch Palmer has documented. There are three in the book that are each 1 metre in diameter. "It's just absolutely amazing and exciting," said the author, who may soon have enough material for a third edition. "I keep getting calls and emails from people saying, 'Oh, I've got a tree bigger than any in your book. You should come and look at this horse chestnut. It was planted back in 1902 by so-and-so. And did you know about this white spruce? It just keeps on going." O'Connell said he may know of a balsam fir that beats the record, too. It's located on the Nepisiguit Mi'gmaq Trail. He plans to measure it this spring. Palmer estimated the yellow birch tree at Portage Lakes may be five centuries old. "It's obviously been there for a while. Yellow birch is not a fast growing tree. It puts on a few millimetres of growth a year." "I wouldn't hesitate to say it's maybe four or five hundred years old." Palmer said it looks to be in good condition and might even live another 200 years. Yellow birch are "one of the iconic trees of the Acadian forest," said Palmer. "In mature stands," he said, you can usually find "a good sprinkling" of them. They're the longest lived of the three birch species in the province. White birch are old at about 100 years, he said. And gray birch typically only lasts 30 to 40 years. Karl Branch stands next to the large black ash tree found near Portage Lakes O'Connell estimates the black ash at Portage Lakes is about 150 years old. He measured it to be 20.75 metres tall. Palmer's book has one in Exmoor, north of Metepenagiag, that's 24 metres tall, but it's only 55 cm in diameter. The one O'Connell and Branch found is 14 cm wider. "These are two exceptional trees for sure," said Branch. "Just thinking that this birch tree was growing on that site probably before permanent European settlement in North America is difficult to envisage. The odds of a tree surviving all those seasons along with the wind storms, droughts, insect epidemics, fungal attacks, forest fires and more recently logging, are astonishing." Besides their size, he's also surprised by how close they are to each other. "They're only 20 feet apart," said Branch, "— practically twins." Branch didn't want to reveal the exact location of the trees because he's concerned it might put them at risk. "There's always a danger when you bring too much attention to the trees then people want to go see them and destroy what you're trying to protect in the first place." They've been able to survive there for so long, he said, because of "a combination of excellently adapted genes and lots of luck." For one thing, the land is "part of a wetland complex," so the trees are not easily accessible for harvesting and "it wouldn't have been easy ground to work on." This black ash tree near Portage Lakes is thought to be about 150 years old. For another, the forest make-up in the area is primarily hardwood, while softwood was traditionally sought for logging. "It's really only the last 20 to 30 years we've been actively harvesting hardwoods," said Branch. "So, it's been kind of ignored, basically." Palmer noted that yellow birch does have commercial use in high-end furniture and flooring. He described the wood as "beautiful" with a "rich, yellowish brown" colour. But over the long span of these trees' lives there would have been greater threats than forestry, said Branch. "Logging is relatively recent compared to the age of these trees," he said. "They really survived there because they're partially sheltered in the valley bottom. And they're growing obviously on a rich site. So that all contributed. And being a wetland complex there's a lower fire risk of fire. That would have been a much higher risk to them in the long term. They're sheltered from the wind storms … These trees lucked out and just germinated in a great spot, obviously." Owl surveys are done in the Portage Lakes area each spring, said O'Connell. This barred owl was photographed in December about 50 metres away from the site of the two large trees. O'Connell and Branch have submitted a proposal to protect the land that the trees are on. The trees themselves are worth protecting, said Branch, but he also sees them as part of a bigger picture. "It's the whole idea of allowing for older habitat to develop," he said. "It shows us what potentially the forest could look like." Big trees are becoming rarer in New Brunswick forests, said Branch, due to "more intensive forest management activities." "Short" harvesting cycles of 50 to 60 years don't allow most trees to "attain their full ecological potential," he said. Barred owls like large old trees for habitat. O'Connell said the Portage Lakes area has good habitat for barred owls. He participates in owl surveys there from April to mid-May. "It's sort of a protected spot along the lakes," said O'Connell. "Therefore we have a tendency to find more mature-forest-type birds like the black-backed woodpecker, which is fairly rare." Branch said other birds of prey use the large branches of "veteran" trees for perching and nesting. A few types of ducks and owls use their cavities for breeding. And mammals such as pine martens and fishers make dens in them to birth and raise their young. Unlike other ducks, wood ducks prefer to nest in cavities of old trees. "Clearly it's a very rich site and should be protected," said Palmer. The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development acknowledged the Portage Lakes area is of "known interest for conservation." Part of the area is already protected. The department said O'Connell and Branch's nomination is one of 111 that have been submitted for the latest round of possible "nature legacy" protection. It said each site will be considered by a team of biologists, foresters and geologists. Candidate areas for protection as shown on an interactive map on the Natural Resources and Energy Development website. Those who submitted nominations prior to the most recent Jan. 31 deadline can expect a status update by "this spring," said department spokesperson Nick Brown. After the initial screening, said Brown, proposed new protected areas will be released for review by First Nations, industry rights holders and the public before the government makes any final decisions. Since November, DNRED has opened comments on possible protection of more than 150,000 hectares, said Brown. He said two more batches of sites should be released in April and June.
Sun Peaks may not be able to celebrate Pride Week like in years past, but Tourism Sun Peaks is still hoping to make this week special for the community’s LGBTQ+ guests and residents. Pride Week starts Wednesday, Feb. 24 and carries on until Wednesday, March 3. And while the Peak Pride Festival is unable to come up to the resort and organize events as it has in years past, Tourism Sun Peaks is asking local businesses to create welcome window displays if it is feasible, which may be highlighted on social media channels throughout the week. The organization has also teamed up with Sun Peaks Resort and GK Sound to light up the Clocktower in pride colours for the week. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has agreed with the Senate that Canadians suffering solely from grievous and irremediable mental illnesses should be entitled to receive medical assistance in dying — but not for another two years. The two-year interlude is six months longer than what was proposed by senators. It is one of a number of changes to Bill C-7 proposed by the government in response to amendments approved last week by the Senate. The government has rejected another Senate amendment that would have allowed people who fear being diagnosed with dementia or other cognitive-impairing conditions to make advance requests for an assisted death. It has also rejected one other amendment and modified two others in a motion that was debated Tuesday in the House of Commons. Justice Minister David Lametti told the Commons he believes the response to the Senate amendments is "fair and realistic." The Bloc Québécois announced it will support the minority Liberal government's response, assuring it will pass. Once approved by the Commons, the bill will go back to the Senate, where senators will have to decide whether to accept the verdict of the elected chamber or dig in their heels. Bill C-7 would expand access to assisted dying to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the natural end of their lives, bringing the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling. As originally drafted, the bill would have imposed a blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses. A majority of senators argued that the exclusion was unconstitutional, violating the right to equal treatment under the law, regardless of physical or mental disability. They voted to impose an 18-month time limit on the exclusion, which the government now wants to extend to two years. Lametti told the Commons he still believes the exclusion is constitutional and he "does not believe we are entirely ready" to safely provide assisted dying for people with mental illnesses. Nevertheless, he said the government has heard the concerns of Canadians who fear the exclusion may never be lifted and will, therefore, support a two-year sunset clause. "We think 24 months is still an ambitious timeline to implement such an important change in Canada's MAID (medical assistance in dying) policy, but it still provides a fixed timeline in the relatively near future," Lametti said. During the two-year interlude, the government is also proposing to have an expert panel conduct an independent review of the issue and, within one year, recommend the "protocols, guidance and safeguards" that should apply to requests for assisted dying from people with a mental illness. Sen. Stan Kutcher, a psychiatrist and member of the Independent Senators Group who proposed the 18-month sunset clause, said he can accept that an additional six months may be needed. He also welcomed the creation of an expert panel to develop safeguards. The Canadian Mental Health Association, however, was "deeply disappointed" by the government's response. "Until the health-care system adequately responds to the mental health needs of Canadians, assisted dying should not be an option — not now and not two years from now," the association said in a statement. If the two-year sunset clause is approved, the association said the government must commit to "a substantial increase" in funding for mental health care to help alleviate suffering. In rejecting advance requests, the government motion argues that the Senate amendment on that issue "goes beyond the scope of the bill" and requires "significant consultation and study," including a "careful examination of safeguards." Sen. Pamela Wallin, a member of the Canadian Senators Group who proposed the advance request amendment, said its outright rejection by the government "only serves to perpetuate the catch-22 that punishes those with cognitive impairment or dementia and all those who simply want some choices knowing that a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is inevitable." Lametti said he knows many Canadians will be disappointed. But he said the issue of advance requests should be examined during the legally required five-year parliamentary review of the assisted-dying law, which was supposed to have begun last June but has yet to materialize. The government has agreed to a modified version of a Senate amendment to finally get that review underway within 30 days of Bill C-7 receiving royal assent. It is proposing to create a joint Commons-Senate committee to review the assisted-dying regime, including issues related to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities. The committee would be required to report back, with any recommended changes, within one year. The government has also agreed to a modified version of another Senate amendment to require the collection of race-based data on who is requesting and receiving medical assistance in dying. It is proposing to expand that to include data on people with disabilities and to specify that the information be used to determine if there is "the presence of any inequality — including systemic inequality — or disadvantage based on race, Indigenous identity, disability or other characteristics." That's in response to the strenuous opposition to Bill C-7 from disability rights advocates who maintain the bill sends the message that life with a disability is a fate worse than death. They've also argued that Black, racialized and Indigenous people with disabilities, already marginalized and facing systemic discrimination in the health system, could be induced to end their lives prematurely due to poverty and a lack of support services. Some critics have also raised concerns about unequal access to assisted dying for marginalized people, rural Canadians and Indigenous people in remote communities. The government's response did not satisfy either the Conservatives, who largely opposed the original bill, or the New Democrats, who object in principle to the unelected Senate making substantive changes to legislation passed by the Commons. NDP MP Charlie Angus criticized the "unelected and unaccountable Senate" for expanding assisted dying to "people who are depressed." Conservative MP Michael Barrett moved an amendment to the government motion that would delete the proposed sunset clause on the mental illness exclusion. He further slammed the government for ignoring the concerns of disability rights advocates and signalled that his party will not go along with the government's "fevered rush" to pass what he called a "deeply flawed" bill. The government offered late Tuesday afternoon to extend the debate until midnight, but the Conservatives denied the necessary unanimous consent — despite having called for additional time to thoroughly debate the government's response to the Senate amendments. It was unclear when debate will resume. The government had hoped the bill could be passed by both parliamentary chambers by Friday to meet the thrice-extended court-imposed deadline for bringing the law into compliance with the 2019 ruling. But it is also poised to ask the court on Thursday to give it one more month — until March 26. Lametti admitted he's concerned the Conservatives, who dragged out debate on the original bill last December, are intent on blocking it altogether. He appealed to Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole to show leadership and allow a vote on the government motion. "This is not the time to relitigate old battles, not with the Quebec Superior Court deadline looming, not with Canadians suffering while they wait for medical assistance in dying," he told a news conference later Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
BUCHAREST, Romania — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside. Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside. Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain. The second leg will be on March 17 in London. In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy. It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011. Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm. It had been a lacklustre match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks. Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area and ended kicking it backward in a ball dispute with Mason Mount. Giroud reached up high with his left foot send the ball toward the corner of Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards. Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defence, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation. The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014. It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
SURREY, B.C. — Teachers marched today outside an elementary school in Surrey, B.C., where a confirmed case of a COVID-19 variant has been reported to demand more safety measures. Members of the Surrey Teachers Association dressed in red and also marched with their colleagues outside Woodward Hill Elementary in a physically distanced protest before classes began. Matt Westphal, the president of the Surrey Teachers Association, says the biggest concern is that students in elementary schools are not required to wear masks inside their classrooms. Earlier this month, the province changed safety protocols to require students in middle and secondary school, along with staff working in kindergarten through Grade 12, to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas of their schools, including while in their learning groups. Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said Monday there are no plans to make any changes to provincial guidelines on masks in schools. Seven schools in the Fraser Health region reported cases involving a COVID-19 variant of concern, with all of them linked to the strain first detected in the United Kingdom. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says the United States will work together with Canada to secure the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from China. Biden says human beings are not bartering chips, and that the two countries won't rest until Spavor and Kovrig are home. The pair were swept up two years ago after Canada's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who faces U.S. charges of violating sanctions against Iran. Biden's words were likely one of Trudeau's top demands when the two leaders sat down today for the president's first bilateral meeting since his election. They also vowed to move in "lockstep" in their collective fight against climate change, and to work together to defeat COVID-19. Today's meeting had to take place virtually, with Biden in Washington and Trudeau in Ottawa, due to the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
A new study of Kamloops restaurant owners provided a glimpse at the new (and challenging) business climate they have been forced to navigate due to COVID-19. The report found that local restaurants are having to spend more money on everything from personal protective equipment to cleaning products and plastic barriers, while simultaneously making less money. On top of that, their indoor seating capacities have been dramatically cut. Around 30 businesses took part in the survey. Overall they reported their revenues were down nearly 65 per cent, on average, from March to May 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. The study was spearheaded by Thompson Rivers University (TRU) business student Josh Parker. Having worked for years in the restaurant industry in Calgary prior to university, Parker decided to carry out the research project when his co-op fell through. “I just wanted to do anything that I could [for the industry], to work with my school and the chamber in any way to see if we can help them out,” he explained. Parker worked on the report with his faculty advisor, Terry Lake, and Jamie Noakes, his co-op advisor. The team also partnered with The Chamber of Commerce and Mitacs BSI (Business Strategy Internship). The study found considerable differences between how independent business and chains addressed layoffs. On average, chain restaurants laid off more than 70 per cent of their staff during a 2.5 month period between March and May. In comparison, local restaurants laid off just under 50 per cent of their staff over this period. Parker added smaller restaurants were better placed to pivot to takeout when the pandemic hit. “They could figure out what they wanted to do, pivot operations and utilize their staff quicker,” said Parker. Chain restaurants were, however, able to get back to full employment rates quicker. “They’re able to kind of use their corporate entity to get all the requirements they needed to open up safely,” he said. Overall, employees at independent restaurants rated their employer’s response to the crisis higher, giving it a 4.1 out of 5, compared to 3.5 out of 5 for chain restaurants. The team also surveyed 160 customers who had ordered take-out in recent months. The survey found that the most common negative experience was the cost of take-out, with many expecting the cost to be lower given that they weren’t dining inside an establishment. At the same time, an overwhelming majority of customers said they would support local restaurants if prices had to be increased by up to 15 per cent to cover costs related to COVID-19 safety protocols. “It was kind of something we put out there that we noticed people were kind of contradicting themselves about,” said Parker. He added that it puts restaurants in a difficult position, as a meal costs roughly the same to make, whether it’s consumed in a restaurant or at home. Going forward, Parker said the public should accept that restaurants will have to marginally increase prices to maintain profitability in this difficult period. The survey also found some interesting findings on tipping culture, with just over half of participants stating they would tip both the delivery driver and the restaurant when they make an order. The survey stated the pandemic can create an added challenge for business owners to retain their employees, as servers are no longer receiving their normal tips, which effectively subsidize their salaries. As part of the survey, Parker asked customers whether they would support a no tipping policy—or more specifically, a scenario where tips were included in the final price of an order. About 32 per cent of participants said they would support this, with 44 per cent saying no and 24 per cent unsure. Another issue that restaurants brought up with Parker was the issue of online ordering services, such as SkipThe Dishes and DoorDash. Such organizations traditionally ask small business owners to hand over 20 to 30 per cent of total sales on top of partner fees. In December, the province temporarily capped the fees delivery companies can charge restaurants at 15 per cent. The rule will be in place until three months after B.C.’s state of emergency order is lifted. Skip the Dishes soon responded with a 99-cent “B.C. fee.” Parker said he found it curious to watch expensive 2021 Super Bowl ads for such companies during a time when so many small restaurants are struggling. “Without restaurants no one would need a delivery service, so I think they need to kind of work with local restaurants a little more closely,” he said. The report concluded with thoughts on how restaurants are faring overall, and calls for a more robust government response help it out. “We are in a completely unprecedented situation which has caused the government to take extraordinary measures,” it stated. “These measures have been put in place for the good of all Canadians, but they seem to impede certain businesses more, such as restaurants. “The government has forced closures and maintained 50 per cent capacity restrictions for over nine months, and local, small restaurants are in a fragile state…Many owners are unhappy with how the government has helped small businesses through the pandemic and rightfully so. There have been rent subsidies and other financial support to help these businesses, but it isn’t enough when their livelihoods are essentially put on hold.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. He was confirmed Tuesday on a 92-7 vote. “We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” Vilsack said after the vote. “I am optimistic about the future and believe our brightest days are ahead.” In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins" on climate change. He proposed “building a rural economy based on biomanufacturing” and “turning agricultural waste into a variety of products.” Vilsack also pledged to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to “spur the industry” on biofuels. With systemic racial inequity now a nationwide talking point, Vilsack also envisioned creating an “equity task force” inside the department. Its job, he said, would be to identify what he called “intentional or unintentional barriers" that prevent or discourage farmers of colour from properly accessing federal assistance programs. Vilsack also heavily backed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, or SNAP — as a key instrument in helping the country's most vulnerable families survive and recover from the pandemic era. His Trump-era predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had sought to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the SNAP-recipient lists. Vilsack received minimal pushback or criticism during confirmation hearings. One of the “no” votes came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders later said that Vilsack would “be fine” but he would have liked “somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.” Vilsack's approval was hailed by the Food Research and Action Center, which focuses on food security and equity. The organization said Vilsack's department faces a looming challenge to “protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs to help address our nation’s hunger crisis that has been deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Crown prosecutors are asking that a Manitoba man who rammed a gate at Rideau Hall before arming himself and heading on foot toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s home last summer be sentenced to six years in prison, minus time served. The request came during sentencing arguments on Tuesday in the case of Corey Hurren, the 46-year-old sausage-maker and Canadian Ranger who pleaded guilty this month to eight charges in relation to the incident at Rideau Hall last July. Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham told an Ottawa courtroom that Hurren’s actions "were far from benign," and posed a serious threat to public safety while setting up a potentially dangerous situation. “The RCMP officers involved were able to de-escalate the situation and eventually arrest Mr. Hurren without any shots being fired,” Cunningham told the court. “But that doesn't change the fact that Mr. Hurren’s deliberate actions on July 2 were incredibly dangerous. They created a risk of harm or death to anyone that might have been caught up in what he had planned.” Cunningham also asked that the court order a DNA sample be taken and that Hurren be banned from owning any weapons for life. During his own submission, defence lawyer Michael Davies said he was seeking a sentence of three years less time served. He argued that while his client made a series of bad decisions, “ultimately, he made one correct decision: the decision to put those guns down.” “I'm not here to say you should be congratulated on that decision,” Davies said. “But if he's to be held accountable for his decisions, and he should be, your honour also has to take into consideration that ultimately, at the end of the day, he put the guns down.” Justice Robert Wadden is expected to deliver his sentence on March 10. In asking for a lesser sentence, Davies described his client as a hardworking member of society who enjoyed his work as a Ranger and was involved in his community’s Lions Club before financial challenges started to crop up in late 2019. Those challenges were exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davies said, and led Hurren into a state of depression. “COVID has dealt many of us blows, some more than others,” Davies said. “In his particular case, it took away his remaining livelihood. … And so now Mr. Hurren is getting into this downward spiral of no money coming in but money still has to go out.” Davies added that Hurren is already facing fallout from his actions besides the prospect of several years in jail, including the start of divorce proceedings by his wife and the military’s move to permanently discharge him from the Rangers. Cunningham, however, said that Hurren had not expressed any remorse for his actions or an "appreciation of the gravity of his conduct.” She added that his actions were not impulsive, but that Hurren had planned and thought about them for at least several days. “Corey Hurren was prepared to die for his cause. He believed his message was that important,” Cunningham told the court. “The motive behind his actions was not suicide. He wasn't doing this in order to die. He simply recognized that being killed might be an unavoidable consequence of his actions. … Mr. Hurren’s motive is clear: It was to send a political message.” Hurren drove a truck onto the grounds of the Governor General’s official residence on July 2 last year and rammed through the gate, which caused the vehicle to stall and its airbags to deploy. He then set out on foot toward Rideau Cottage, where Trudeau and his family are living due to unresolved questions about costly repairs needed at the prime minister’s traditional official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. Trudeau was not home at the time. Police were able to talk Hurren down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes. He was initially accused of uttering a threat to “cause death or bodily harm” to Trudeau. But in an agreed statement of facts read in an Ottawa courtroom on Feb. 5, Hurren told police he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, and that he wanted to arrest Trudeau to make a statement about the government’s COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms. He said he had hoped to make the arrest during Trudeau’s daily pandemic briefing outside Rideau Cottage. Hurren, who told police he hadn’t qualified for emergency aid benefits, was angry about losing his business and his guns. He believed Canada was turning into a communist state. Hurren also told police at the scene that he wanted to show Trudeau “how angry everyone was about the gun ban and the COVID-19 restrictions” and said the prime minister “is a communist who is above the law and corrupt.” During a police interview after his arrest, Hurren said “he’s not a bad guy for doing this and he did not want to hurt anyone.” Asked what his plan was, he replied: “I don’t think there was one.” Asked if he had any regrets, Hurren, who’d spent two days driving from Manitoba to Ottawa, said he wished he'd stopped to see the Terry Fox statue near Parliament Hill. Data retrieved from his cellphone, Facebook and Instagram posts included exchanges with friends about “conspiracy theories related to the Canadian government,” as well as a “sacrifice theory” related to the date of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last April and suggestions that COVID-19 is a hoax. Police seized five firearms from Hurren at Rideau Hall, including a restricted revolver, a prohibited pistol, a prohibited rifle, two shotguns and a prohibited high-capacity magazine. Eleven more long guns were seized from his Manitoba residence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening.
(Kate Dubinski/CBC - image credit) Mary Lou Onyskevitch is like many other seniors in Saskatchewan: she is waiting for her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The 71-year-old is hoping to receive a call from the Saskatchewan Health Authority about her vaccination, but for the last couple of months, she's also been inquiring about a shot for her 93-year-old neighbour, Gertie Lennox. Under the first phase of the province's vaccine rollout, all residents age 70 and over are eligible to be vaccinated. Last month, when Onyskevitch heard vaccinations would be available near her home in Christopher Lake, about 170 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, she phoned to try to get herself, her 71-year-old husband and Lennox on the list. She said she received an automated message that the available appointment slots were already full. Recent government of Saskatchewan news releases have said those eligible for a vaccine in the first phase should not contact the health authority or government, but should wait to be contacted. Onyskevitch said people in her community are being contacted and asked if they are 70 or older. She thought the government would use information in its database to contact people based on age. "It would have been extremely easy for them to pull that information and call people in order of their age. That, to me, would be far more efficient than having some volunteer make a list of people over 70 in their area." She'd like to get vaccinated so she can spend time with her neighbour, who she said has lived "without much company" during the pandemic. Onyskevitch said Lennox's son regularly visits, but she is not able to see her neighbour because current health orders prevent it. "I also do Gertie's foot care now that I can't take her in for pedicures anymore. So I'm anxious to also get the vaccine so I can get over and visit my neighbour." Let people book appointments Onyskevitch was relieved to learn Lennox received a call Monday to get her first vaccine dose in early March. She said she knows people around her age in her community who have already received the full two doses. The vaccination clinic in Christopher Lake was scheduled for Jan. 20. Onyskevitch was planning to go to see if she and her husband could receive a shot if someone who had booked decided not to attend. "Then they changed the date to the 19th and apparently they were phoning people. However, I wasn't told if you could be there in 20 minutes, you could get a vaccine because they had several no-shows," she said. "I think the whole thing has not been well planned or thought out at all." Onyskevitch said if the province is not going to call people based on age, it should let those over 70 put themselves on a list. "If they want people to sign up for vaccines, put out a phone number and make it widely available and have people that want vaccines … be able to call in." SHA advertises clinic in north central The first public vaccination clinics in Phase 1 were advertised on Jan. 13, with the health authority offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to seniors living independently in Wakaw, Cudworth and Rosthern. On Jan. 14, the SHA advertised vaccination clinics in eight communities in the north central region, including Christopher Lake, Birch Hills and Shellbrook. "The COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) is immediately available to Saskatchewan seniors over the age of 70 living in the north central area," the health authority said. "Anyone meeting this general criterion is urged to call the below number(s) in to book a vaccination appointment immediately." Six hours after announcing the north central region clinics, the health authority sent out a news release saying they were booked full. On Jan. 18, the SHA sent out a news release announcing vaccination clinics for those over 70 in Prince Albert. The authority has not sent a public news release soliciting people to book an appointment for a vaccination clinic since then. Saskatchewan's most recent vaccination totals by region. More than 200,000 people will be part of the province's Phase 1 vaccine plan, which includes long-term care residents and staff, select health-care workers and people over 70. Premier Scott Moe and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab were asked at a news conference Tuesday about the vaccine plan for those over 70. Moe directed specific questions to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The SHA was not included on the COVID-19 media conference call Tuesday. Moe said he was not aware of specific instances where a vaccination clinic did operate as planned. CBC has reached out to the health authority for comment on its Phase 1 vaccination plan. Determining where vaccines go Last month, Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said the limited availability of vaccines and the logistics of handling the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which needs to be refrigerated at extremely low temperatures — play a role in determining where the vaccines will go. But so do transmission rates in an area, Livingstone said. "One of the other big factors in the distribution is the attack rates or the current caseload in those areas of the province, which also have a high likelihood for us to be successful in … dealing with the most vulnerable," Livingstone said. The Ministry of Health added that locations are prioritized based on "a combination of risk criteria," including an area's outbreak rate. The decisions of two key groups determine where vaccines will go, according to the ministry. "While priority sequencing is determined by the COVID-19 Immunization Planning Oversight Committee, specific locations and facilities are determined by local Integrated Health Incident Command Centres," the ministry said. The ministries of Health and Government Relations are represented on the oversight committee, as are the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and Indigenous Services Canada.
TORONTO — Making paid sick days and relief for businesses kick in when regions are placed in certain tiers of Ontario's pandemic restrictions system could help mitigate a third wave, the top doctor for a COVID-19 hot spot said Tuesday. Dr. Lawrence Loh, the chief medical officer of health for Peel Region, said resistance to strict public health measures often stems from lack of relief, and that could be addressed in policy. The province should consider looking at how supports could be part of its restrictions system, he said, suggesting that could help residents better follow pandemic rules. "If the issue is that you don't want to do (paid sick leave) on a permanent policy basis, then maybe within a certain zone or within a certain colour, then you actually put that in there. That's one thing that could be looked at," Loh said at a discussion hosted by the Ontario Medical Association. He noted that "a lot of the disquiet among businesses" that have suffered during shutdowns comes from lack of relief, suggesting that could be brought into the framework on a sliding scale based on the level of restrictions for a community. A spokesman for the Health Ministry said residents could apply for funds available through a federal sick leave policy, and that provincial grants were available to businesses seeking relief. David Jensen also noted that local medical officers of health can introduce orders to target specific issues in their regions. The Ontario Medical Association has called on the province to maintain, and in some cases tighten, COVID-19 restrictions in light of more infectious variants spreading in the province. Association president Dr. Samantha Hill reiterated the group's concerns about the variants on Tuesday, saying the more contagious strains need to be considered in the province's pandemic response. "The government framework developed last fall was for the original strain. It does not reflect the new variants which ... are more infectious, and that's a concern," Hill said. The group representing physicians has recommended banning indoor restaurant dining and other non-masked indoor activities for regions in the red tier of the province's pandemic system. Loh and his counterpart in Toronto sought to extend strict shutdown measures and a stay-at-home order for their regions last week, arguing the spread of variants and recent reopening of schools made it too risky to ease restrictions. The province granted their request, extending the strictest measures for those two regions, as well as North Bay, Ont., until March 8. The COVID-19 hot spot of York Region, however, saw restrictions ease as it was moved to the red, or second-strictest, tier of the province's pandemic response system. York's top doctor had sought the loosening of measures, saying his region was not seeing “explosive growth" of variants that were first detected in December. Dr. Karim Kurji said last week that there was a "reasonable handle" on variant cases, and argued that strong measures needed to be balanced with economic and mental wellbeing. The province's economic reopening began earlier this month. The government has said, however, that it has created an "emergency brake" measure that allows it to swiftly move regions into lockdown if cases spike. On Tuesday, the Opposition called for the Progressive Conservative government to clearly define what would trigger the use of that brake measure. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government loosened public health restrictions too soon, without a clearly defined plan. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca and Green party Leader Mike Schreiner also expressed confusion over the parameters of the measure. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the measure considers a public health unit’s increase in case numbers, variants of concern and health system capacity. She argued the brake was used when the province decided last week to keep Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay under the stay-at-home order for two more weeks. Horwath called that explanation "troubling." "It sounds like they're just making it up as they go along," she told reporters. "All they're relying on is this emergency brake, but they can't describe what that is and when it will be utilized. That's really, really troubling." Ontario reported 975 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 12 more deaths from the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
The review of Grimsby's council structure continues. Grimsby council recently narrowed down the options on the table, voting in favour of considering three to eight wards, seven to nine councillors and keeping an election by ward voting system. Grimsby council heard this report at the committee of the whole meeting on Feb 16. Among other conclusions, a report from StrategyCorp suggested that current ward boundary structures in Grimsby no longer accurately represent the population, given the already unequal spread of residents across the town. The report further suggested that this problem is likely to worsen in the future as the population is expected to grow, specifically in Ward 4. Another question that arose was the possibility of minimizing or increasing the number of councillors and number of wards. The conclusion, per the report, said “the current structure is not obviously broken in a way that would require a change. At the same time, a reduction in the size of council to seven, or even five, is preferred by many as a means of improving decision-making.” John Matheson of StrategyCorp, who was presenting the report to council, said a decision didn’t need to be made right away, and various scenarios would be explored and shared in a later report, likely presented in June. As for election systems, the report suggested that the town’s current election by ward system should suffice for the time being, as opposed to an at large election system. Per the report, this is primarily because of “risk that the loss of wards could lead to the loss of local representation,” and there is “no obvious problem” with the current system. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Sept-Rivières trône au sommet des MRC du Québec, pour l’augmentation du prix de vente de ses maisons, avec une hausse de 142% de la valeur de mise en vente sur une décennie. La Ville de Port-Cartier est celle où les ventes de maisons ont obtenu la plus grande fluctuation avec une augmentation de 181% du prix des ventes en 10 ans, pour des maisons unifamiliales, avec une moyenne de vente aux environs de 149 000$. Celle de Sept-Îles est tout de même à une élévation de 142%, avec un prix moyen de 205 500$. Malgré la pandémie, les ventes de maisons n’ont pas diminué en 2020. Le prix de vente a continué à progresser, avec une augmentation du coût moyen de 25%. Selon l’étude publiée par JLR, Solutions foncières, ce sont 392 propriétés qui ont été vendues à Port-Cartier, Sept-Îles et Fermont en 2020, une augmentation minime de 1%, comparativement à l’année antérieure. Les taux d’intérêt relativement bas sur les prêts hypothécaires auraient eu un impact sur les ventes de maison, ainsi que les besoins familiaux qui ont été revus en temps de pandémie. Ceci pourrait avoir fait augmenter les prix de vente, face à une grande demande. L’étude avance que ce chiffre de 25% pourrait être explicable par une vente de plusieurs maisons à valeur élevée. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
MONTREAL — Police are still seeking a suspect in the slaying of a Montreal-area woman on Sunday who had told authorities days prior about being the victim of alleged death threats. Provincial police said there have been no arrests in the killing of Marly Edouard, 32, known in Haiti's music scene as a former manager, producer and radio host. A command post was set up near her home in the Montreal suburb of Laval on Monday; a police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no new information to provide. Djimy Ducasse, who lives in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and co-owned a music agency with Edouard, said in an interview Tuesday the community to which Edouard was closely tied is taking her death hard. Edouard came to Canada in 2016 and, two years later, set up Symbiose509, a Laval-based promotion, marketing and events agency with Ducasse, which operated in Haiti. Ducasse said he met Edouard in 2013 when she was managing rap stars in Haiti and he was hosting a radio show. It was a friendship that would continue with the pair becoming business partners. “We became good friends, we spoke all the time, we spoke about business, we spoke about everything and nothing,” said Ducasse, who last spoke to her on Friday — the same day she reported alleged threats to local police. Ducasse said they spoke about some tasks she wanted him to do and some recent health problems she'd encountered, but she never mentioned anything about threats on her life. He said he had tried calling her Sunday but Edouard never responded, which he said was unlike her. On Monday, Ducasse was alerted to Montreal media reports that Edouard had been killed. Quebec provincial police have classified Edouard's death as a homicide and have said her body bore marks of violence when it was found Sunday in the parking lot of her condominium building. Meanwhile, Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the Laval police's response to the alleged threats Edouard reported last Friday. The Bureau des enquetes independantes said Edouard had called 911 to ask for help from Laval police on Feb. 19. The call was placed about 12:40 p.m. to police; officers met with her and left, according to the watchdog agency. Less than 48 hours later, Edouard was found dead. Edouard was described by Ducasse as kind and driven. She had been involved in the music scene in Haiti at a very young age and had worked with many artists in the country. Some artists took to social media to pay their respects to her. “Marly isn’t someone that went unnoticed,” Ducasse said. “Everyone who was part of the rap scene in Haiti, it was nearly impossible to not have worked on at least one project with Marly Edouard. It’s why her death hits hard for a lot of people in Haiti." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Public School Branch (PSB) needs to keep the wheels on its buses going round and round – especially considering it's running low on bus drivers. To help recruit more, it started its own driver training program last year, which was partly put in place as a result of COVID-19. Many bus drivers would speak to how rewarding it is ensuring P.E.I. students arrive at school safely, transportation supervisor Mike Franklin said. "They treat the kids like they were their own." Dave Gillis, the PSB's transportation director, said the program has already seen its first few graduates. During a virtual board of directors meeting on Feb. 10. he noted P.E.I. has about 250 drivers, many of whom are reaching retirement age. Up until now, the PSB had relied on JVI Driver Training to train drivers and provide the licence necessary to operate a bus, but the pandemic forced JVI's courses to temporarily shut down. As a result, the PSB had a six- to eight-month period without any new drivers coming in. "Our pipeline was completely dry," Gillis said. "(And) we foresee a strong retirement of drivers in the future." Franklin was brought in to help develop and run the program – he has taught similar courses before and can grant the licence. He noted that they're still working with JVI, but that JVI has other groups it's committed to helping, such as the French Language School Board or the P.E.I. Regiment. "We're just trying to help them out," he said. By training bus drivers itself, the PSB can ensure the gaps being left by retiring drivers are filled and that there are enough substitute drivers on hand if regular drivers need time off. "We're willing to put the money up to train them," Franklin said, noting the PSB will waive the program's cost of about $3,000 as long as applicants agree to work for at least 10 months after they are trained. That’s because a bus driver’s licence also allows drivers to operate other vehicles, such as dump trucks, meaning many drivers could end up looking to other industries for work. The course has two elements – in-class that focuses on the technical elements of driving a bus and in-the-field that focuses on the practical elements of actually driving it. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian