Canada Post temporarily suspended two of its letter carriers after they refused to deliver a free edition of the Epoch Times because of concerns about its coverage.
Canada Post temporarily suspended two of its letter carriers after they refused to deliver a free edition of the Epoch Times because of concerns about its coverage.
LONDON — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said. American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final. A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” In a 30-second clip released by CBS Wednesday night, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle says. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's been a lot that's been lost already.” The Associated Press
MERIDEN, Conn. — Jill Biden, the teacher in the White House, along with new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went back to school Wednesday in a public push to show districts that have yet to transition back to in-person learning that it can be done safely during the pandemic. “Teachers want to be back," the first lady said after she and Cardona spent about an hour visiting classrooms and other areas at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. “We want to be back. I’m a teacher. I am teaching virtually.” Biden is a veteran community college English professor who is now teaching remotely from the White House. She said her students recently told her they can’t wait to be back in the classroom. “But we just know we have to get back safely,” she said. The trip was the first order of business for Cardona, Connecticut's former education commissioner, who was sworn into his new Cabinet job only the day before. Biden and Cardona also visited a Pennsylvania middle school on Wednesday. They were joined by the heads of two big teachers unions during the trip, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers in Connecticut and Becky Pringle of the National Education Association in Pennsylvania. The visits came as the clock ticks down on President Joe Biden’s promise to have most K-8 schools open for classroom instruction by the end of his first 100 days in office, or the end April. To help nudge that along, Biden said Tuesday he is pushing states to administer at least one coronavirus vaccination to every teacher, school employee and child-care worker by the end of March. The issue of vaccinating teachers became a flashpoint in school districts around the country as many teachers held the line and refused to return to their classrooms unless they were given the shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not include vaccinating teachers in its guidelines for schools to consider when reopening after months of teaching students remotely over computers. “We must continue to reopen America’s schools for in-person learning as quickly and as safely as possible,” Cardona said. He said the president’s directive that teachers and school staff be vaccinated quickly will be “my top priority.” Later Wednesday, Biden and Cardona visited Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania, where parents told them they appreciated that the school district had sought their opinion about reopening. After shutting down in March 2020, the school with several hundred students in grades six through eight began welcoming them in-person, on a voluntary basis, starting in early September. “I love that you have this holistic approach,” Biden said. She and Cardona also visited a robotics class at the middle school and a class for students who need or want a little extra push. Supporters of former President Donald Trump waved flags bearing his name and held their thumbs upside down as Biden‘s motorcade rolled away from the school. Abortion protesters held signs that said “Protect Every Child” and “Abortion is not health care.” During the elementary school visit in Connecticut, Biden and Cardona saw kids seated some distance apart at individual desks, each one wearing a mask. See-through plastic partitions separated groups of four students who sat at half-moon-shaped tables. Hand sanitizer dispensers were available in the hallways. “I love that,” Biden said after a teacher pointed out the partitions. The teacher also said her youngsters had “no issues” wearing the masks. The school reopened in late August, Cardona said, and “it was done in a way that protected the students and their families.” The first lady and Cardona also visited a “sensory room” complete with colorful climbing walls, zip lines, monkey bars, stability balls and a mat, where special needs students can collect their emotions. Biden asked the teacher in the sensory room whether she had seen anxiety in children increasing because of the pandemic. The teacher said she had. Biden and Cardona later listened as another teacher described her transition back to in-person learning. The school visit also served as a homecoming for Cardona, who is from Meriden and was so warmly praised that Biden referred to the welcome as a “love fest.” His parents were among those on hand in the school lobby for the remarks. “Now our nation is going to have that love for you,” she said. “Educators’ favourite three words are not ‘I love you'," she joked. “It’s going to be Education Secretary Cardona.” Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union said Wednesday that Britain's “unilateral action" on trade rules will breach international law and is threatening legal action as post-Brexit tensions continue to escalate between the two sides. Commission vice-president Maroš Šefcovic said in a statement that UK's decision to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland amounts to “a violation" of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. “This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law," Šefcovic said. “This also constitutes a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed up until now." The EU's anger was sparked by the British government's decision to extend until October a grace period for checks on agri-food entering Northern Ireland that was set to expire at the end of the month. In September last year, the UK had already upset the 27-nation bloc when it considered — then backpedaled — legislation that would have given Boris Johnson's government the power to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement relating to Northern Ireland. The sensitivity of Northern Ireland’s status was underscored earlier this year when the EU threatened to ban shipments of coronavirus vaccines to Northern Ireland as part of moves to shore up the bloc’s supply. That would have drawn a hard border on the island of Ireland - exactly the scenario the Brexit deal was crafted to avoid. Šefcovic held discussions Wednesday with cabinet minister David Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator now responsible for EU relations. “Lord Frost explained that the measures announced today, following official-level notification to the Commission earlier this week, were temporary technical steps, which largely continued measures already in place, to provide more time for businesses such as supermarkets and parcel operators to adapt to and implement the new requirements in the Protocol," a UK government spokesperson said. Before their talks, Šefcovic said he would tell Frost “the European Commission will respond to these developments in accordance with the legal means established by the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement." The Associated Press
Toronto's top doctor is asking the province to lift a stay-at-home order and move the city to the strictest "grey" category of Ontario's pandemic restrictions system next week. The stay-at-home order that was imposed in January, with other measures that include the closure of non-essential retail, is set to expire Monday. Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said Wednesday that lifting the order is reasonable but precautions still must be taken. "While there are evident reasons for a change in status, there remain reasons or risks that underscore how moving back into grey status is and will be a delicate balance," she said.Moving to the grey category, which allows retailers to open at 25 per cent capacity, is better than placing the city in the second-strictest red category, which allows indoor restaurant dining and personal care services, she said.Toronto Mayor John Tory said he believes moving to the grey category is the right approach."The cautious transition is the right way to go, all things considered," he said.Tory said he hopes the approach will help ensure the city will not have to undergo another shutdown. De Villa also issued a new order for workplaces, requiring businesses to ensure mask use at all times during an outbreak, should the city be moved to the grey category.The order also requires businesses to keep a record of everyone entering the workplace during an outbreak.Tory said the city has reached out to the Ministry of Labour to help support the move with increased workplace inspections over the coming days.Meanwhile, the top doctor of neighbouring Peel Region, which is also under a stay-at-home order, recommended his area move to the grey-lockdown zone as well. The move would preserve the progress made in the fight against the virus, said Dr. Lawrence Loh.Toronto reported 290 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while Peel Region reported 164.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Wall Street slumped on Thursday and global stock markets declined after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell repeated his pledge to keep credit flowing until Americans are back to work, rebutting investors who have openly doubted he can stick to that promise once the pandemic passes. Benchmarket U.S. Treasury yields rose toward last week's highs as Powell spoke, and the dollar hit a three-month high. With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out and the government fiscal taps open "there is good reason to think we will make more progress soon" toward the Fed's goals of maximum employment and 2% sustained inflation, Powell told a Wall Street Journal forum.
As First Nations across the country begin to adopt their own child and family welfare laws, they are being reminded about liability issues and adopting statutory immunity. “It’s very much a policy or political issue for Indigenous governing bodies as to whether or not they want to follow what most provinces have done in including a statutory immunity … (which) obviously does limit recovery for children who may have suffered damages. It’s a question that may not be palatable to include in laws, but it’s there in the laws that the provinces have applied,” said Eileen Vanderburgh, lawyer with Alexander Holburn Beaudin and Lang LLP. In the case of child services, statutory immunity would require a child who is suing for damages to establish that the acts or omissions were done in bad faith, which is a higher standard than claiming a duty was not performed, said Vanderburgh. Vanderburgh spoke March 2 at the third of five virtual gatherings hosted by the Assembly of First Nations on Child and Family Services and Self-Determination. Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, came into force Jan. 1, 2020. It allows Indigenous groups to design and deliver child and family welfare services in the manner that best suits their needs. Indigenous groups would be taking over delivery of these services from the provinces. Vanderburgh addressed liability considerations for transitioning to First Nations jurisdiction over child and family services, pointing out that Indigenous governing bodies could be sued in Canadian courts for damages suffered by children whose care they have taken over. It was a sobering reminder of what could go wrong. “This is a complex area of law that is being applied to a complex web of relationships and there’s a number of legal principles guiding (this),” she said. She pointed out that claims of negligence in performance of duties were common and that these fell into two categories, direct and vicarious. “Vicarious liability can apply even if the authority itself hasn’t done anything wrong but somebody who they employed or contracted with to supply services has, and the law recognizes a vicarious liability in that relationship,” said Vanderburgh. She also noted that the Indigenous governing body could be held liable in the performance of duties that they delegated to another agency. However, the courts do make distinctions between foster homes and institutions. Vanderburgh highlighted the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2003 decision in KLB v. British Columbia, where “the relationship between governing bodies and foster parents is not sufficiently close to impose vicarious liability on governing bodies for abuse committed by foster parents.” Foster parents were described by the court as “independent contractors.” When it came to institutions, the court made the distinction that care was provided by employees and it was the employees who abused or neglected the children and “that was the distinction why vicarious liability would be imposed on the institution for the institutional care, but not on the province where the care was in a foster home,” said Vanderburgh. She added, however, that there were exceptions to the rule and there were cases where the province was held directly liable for abuse that took place in the foster home because the province failed to properly investigate a foster home, to supervise regularly or to investigate complaints made by the child. Vanderburgh also said that the Indigenous governing body could be held financially accountable in a case of joint and several liability even if they are not vicariously liable. Where a number of defendants are liable for damage caused to a child and not all defendants can pay, the court would order the defendant “with the deep pockets” to make compensation. That defendant is most likely the governing body. In turn, the governing body can collect from the other defendants. Vanderburg also pointed out that various sections of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families Act underscored that the best interests of the child were the primary consideration of the Indigenous governing body and not the child’s parents or family when it came to decisions made or actions taken to apprehend the child. “This is consistent with the case law that has developed in child welfare,” she said. The act sets out the minimum national standards of care for the child, but Indigenous governing bodies can adopt other measures in their laws and these form the basis for standard care. Development of clear and operational policies and protocols, as well as limiting liability through laws passed by the governing bodies help to manage the risks, as does hiring and training of employees, and providing supervision and support to caregivers. “Really the gold standard is get insurance…That’s the best risk management tool,” said Vanderburg. She also suggested that Indigenous governing bodies consult with the provinces to see what policies they have in place. “It will outline the scope of what certainly the province considered needed to be covered by policy and tailor that. It will become more than what we want but we can tailor it to the issues that you see or what you want to address in your own policies,” said Vanderburg. She also suggested that First Nations think hard about whether they wanted to create an internal judiciary system or use a dispute resolution system to address the issues that will arise from child and family welfare services. “They could be complicated claims and whether or not you want to take on that additional burden and if so how do you manage that in the legislation because it affects people’s rights who are affected by the decisions made by the governing body on these issues. That I think is a trickier sort of policy, political question as to whether or not that’s what you want to do,” said Vanderburg. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Although Alek Minassian was found guilty of all counts in the Yonge Street van attack, the judge has set a Canadian precedent by considering autism a “mental disorder” under the Criminal Code. Kamil Karamali reports.
One person is dead after being shot by police officers near a hotel in Calgary's Beltline district. According to a police release, officers were called to the Nuvo Hotel shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday for a complaint of a person with a gun. Police said that a "confrontation occurred" between officers and the individual. That confrontation allegedly led to the officer-involved shooting. The person died as a result of the confrontation. No officers were injured. Officers stand near the open trunk of a police vehicle near the scene of the Nuvo Hotel, where one person was shot by police on Wednesday.(Meghan Grant/CBC) The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The Nuvo Hotel is located at 827 12th Ave. S.W. No further information was immediately available.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is again being accused of discrimination in how it treats migrant farm workers. Haldimand-Norfolk is already infamous in farming circles as the only jurisdiction to put a cap on how many offshore workers can quarantine together in a bunkhouse, a controversial policy upheld after a lengthy court battle last year. Now medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai has decreed that newly arrived farm workers self-isolating in hotels cannot leave their rooms. While federal rules allow “limited and monitored outdoor time” for returning Canadian travellers staying at isolation hotels, the latest directive from the health unit confines migrant workers to their rooms for their entire 14-day quarantine. “I think any time people are treated differently than a Canadian, that’s discrimination,” said Leanne Arnal, a farm worker advocate and member of the Norfolk Seasonal Agricultural Workers Community Committee. “If we were to lock a dog in a room for 14 days — I don’t care how nice the room is — you’re going to have the police there. You’re going to have a community of upset people. So why are we keeping the farm workers in there for 14 days? Even criminals can go outside and get a fresh air break.” Nesathurai defended the new restriction as necessary to contain the more contagious variants of COVID-19. “This past summer, an outbreak among Haldimand-Norfolk’s migrant worker community led to hundreds of infected individuals, multiple hospitalizations, and a death. The Haldimand-Norfolk experience shows that some workers arrive in Canada carrying COVID-19, and this can have deadly consequences,” he said. “The risk is not theoretical. We’re trying to keep as many people safe as possible, given the resources that we have.” Nesathurai said the policy also protects other hotel guests and staff, and farm workers can take smoke breaks or get fresh air on their balcony, “if available.” Not every room has a balcony, Arnal noted, adding that all workers are tested for COVID-19 before leaving their home countries. Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp said she was “perplexed” by the new rule. “As chair of the board of health, I have consistently supported Dr. Nesathurai, even when there were rules I didn’t agree with. He’s a medical professional and I am not,” Chopp said. “However, when I see rules that now are not treating the migrant workers the same as Canadians, I do start to question that, when Canadians themselves are entitled to be able to get some fresh air while they’re in quarantine.” Kevin Daniel from Trinidad and Tobago, who works at a farm in Simcoe, said he “strongly believes” the new rule discriminates against migrant workers, who cannot protest the conditions set out by the health unit due to their precarious employment status. “What they tell us to do, we have to comply with it,” he said. Daniel will be spared another quarantine because he remained in Simcoe over the winter after being unable to fly home thanks to border restrictions. But he said he is still feeling the debilitating mental effects of spending two weeks in a hotel room after a COVID-19 outbreak at his farm last November. “It was very terrible, the experience I had being locked up those 14 days,” said Daniel, who said he continues to suffer from insomnia. “I experienced it in the quarantine, and when I came out, I would be up until 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. It’s a consistent problem that I have,” he said. Daniel said allowing workers daily outdoor exercise would not alleviate the anxiety of quarantine, but it would help. Arnal helped Daniel’s employer manage that quarantine. She proposed having workers use a dedicated stairwell to safely spend time outdoors in a secluded yard. “(Nesathurai) said ‘absolutely not,’ with no reason for it,” Arnal said. “Using the variants as an excuse right now — what was his excuse in November, when there were no variants?” Nesathurai contends the health unit does not have enough staff to monitor workers’ outdoor breaks, but Chopp said the farmers themselves would pay for supervision. According to Nesathurai, the health unit has asked Ottawa “numerous times” to take over the migrant worker self-isolation program, most recently in a March 1 letter in which he warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that federal inaction would “likely contribute to more workers becoming infected.” Arnal sees this rule as the latest in a string of questionable health unit decisions — such as issuing ID cards she considered “racial profiling” — that demonize farm workers, who she said spend most of the year in Canada and make an incalculable contribution to the national food supply and local economy. “They are not a risk, they are at risk, just like the rest of us,” she said. J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officers will soon receive a powerful new tool to assist patrols in B.C. waters for illegal fishing and infringements on marine protected areas. Sometime in April the DFO base in Campbell River will take possession of a new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance aircraft for a suite of missions up and down the coast and into the western Arctic. “The aircraft has lots of sophisticated surveillance sensors and arrays on board that captures information we can present to courts in prosecution situations, but also present it to flag states as evidence of illegal activities. The other aspect is to direct our support vessels to suspected illegal activity so they can carry out inspections,” Brent Napier, DFO’s director of enforcement policy and programs, conservation and protection said. The plane will keep within 200 nautical miles of the coast with the ability to stay aloft for eight to 10 hours, twice the flight time of DFO’s current plane, a Beechcraft King Air. This new capacity is critical to reach remote protected areas. “We’d like to spend a lot more time outside of our traditional patrol sites, because what we’re seeing really is a changing pattern in the Pacific, as large fleets look for ever-new stocks to fish," Napier said. "We want to be there to make sure we’re protecting those stocks. This [aircraft] will give us a whole new capacity that we never had before.” The new plane will be a vital enforcement tool under an ever-growing mandate of the fisheries and oceans ministry to restore ocean health and fisheries, protect southern resident killer whales and expand ocean-based economies with sustainable industries. In 2019 DFO signed a five-year, $128-million contract with PAL Aerospace in St. John’s, N.L. for a fleet of four new aerial surveillance aircraft. The other three are headed to the Atlantic provinces. B.C.’s Dash-8 will also be used in partnership with the US government agencies to patrol the western arctic as new vulnerabilities arise due to the melting ice sheets. “This aircraft will let us know what’s going on up there. There are emerging fisheries and science that’s being conducted, and we want to make sure everyone’s following the rules, that we aren’t getting foreign vessels as the ice clears," Napier said. The Dash-8 will strengthen Canada’s ability to uphold obligations with other Pacific nations to police the “scourge” of illegal fishing in international waters, particularly with B.C.-bound Pacific salmon. The plane will also serve as a scientific platform to more accurately map and monitor the migratory routes of specific salmon populations to help guide fisheries management decisions. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
THUNDER BAY — The provincial government’s decision to close two youth detention facilities in northwestern Ontario has been described as “horrific” by the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Earlier this week, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced Jack McGuire Centre and JJ Kelso Centre would no longer be operational by April 30. Several youth facilities across the province including in the northwest have been significantly underused due to a reduction of youth being admitted into custody since 2004, the ministry said. Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the decision to close the facilities and transfer the youth elsewhere will have a major impact on not only the youth but their families as well. Youth currently residing at these facilities were transferred to the remaining facilities in the northern region, the ministry said. “It means no service at all for our young people and families that need these types of supports,” Fiddler said in an interview on Wednesday, March 3. “It means that they will be even more displaced, they will be even more far away from their families and communities,” he said, adding having facilities in both Kenora and Thunder Bay gave families at least some opportunity to interact with their kids. The decision to close the facilities comes from recommendations made by the auditor general, the ministry said in an emailed statement to Tbnewswatch this week. Fiddler said the decision was sudden and abrupt. “I think everyone from my understanding was blindsided by this,” he said. “They were given one hour notice and [the youth were] shackled along with a few of their belongings and then taken to a plane and flown to a southern location. It’s just horrific.” Most of the youth have either been transferred to Sault Ste. Marie or to facilities in southern Ontario such as Ottawa and Toronto, Fiddler said. There was also no communication to the families of the youth in custody of the transfers. “I don’t know how anyone can treat a person like that to send them far away without informing families, without properly creating a transition plan to ensure support for young people and letting them know that this is happening,” Fiddler said. “It was very sudden and I can’t imagine the trauma.” A letter was sent to the Ford government on behalf of NAN Grand Council Treaty #3 expressing their concern on the closures. “They were given such a short notice that they didn’t have time to say their goodbyes," he said. Fiddler said it will be almost impossible for families to travel to see their children, most of whom are from remote fly-in communities. Dr. Ben Stride-Darnley, president of the board of volunteer directors for the William W. Creighton Youth Centre, said they are appalled and shocked at the province’s decision to close their facilities. “There was no involvement from us, no chance to negotiate, no chance to collaborate and no chance to ensure that resources are maintained locally,” Stride-Darnley said on March 3 in an interview. The president says the board has been aware of the relatively low numbers of youth in custody and had come together with community partners to put together a proposal to convert some or all of their spaces into secure treatment. “With redirection away from incarceration it then becomes inevitable that we have low numbers,” he said. “Having said that keeping youth closer to their own communities is key to transition and key to recuperation and rehabilitation.” He adds that youth in custody in the northwest are some of the most vulnerable in Ontario. “We would take youth from anywhere north of Wawa to Hudson Bay to the Manitoba border,” he said. “Sending them further afield makes visitation very difficult, even within our own catchment it is difficult because of distances to Kenora and Thunder Bay.” Youth in custody at these facilities were informed on Monday morning they would be transported to other facilities later that same afternoon, Stride-Darnley said. “At the same time were informed, we were not allowed to tell them where they were going, we were not allowed to tell their parents or their guardian that they were moving despite requests by both myself and the executive director to the ministry,” he said. Stride-Darnley explained how William W. Creighton Youth Services is known for how they build relationships for youth who are incarcerated. “We work with them to build up their well-being, their self-esteem, their mental health issues, address other health issues and make sure they are attending and achieving in school and trying to build them up so they don’t become a part of a cycle of youth criminal justice or adult justice issues,” Stride-Darnley said. “So there were tears by the youths having to be shackled and having to be transferred and not knowing where they were going and that to me is a detrimental experience and I would also argue is a racist experience. It is very similar to the Sixties Scoop and residential schools in that at nowhere at no point where their needs or concerns really addressed by the ministry,” he said. Indigenous youth account for 90 per cent of youth in incarceration systems across Ontario, according to Stride-Darnley. “It is integral to the well-being of youth especially in the justice system that they are close as possible to their home communities and being a 1,000 to 1,500 kilometres away is not conducive to rehabilitation,” he said. “None of the money being saved is being relocated to the northwest it is all going to the central coffer and there has been no redirection to other community programming at this point. That is a cost-saving, not a human-based decision which is unfortunate.” The ministry says the closure of youth facilities across the province will allow the government to re-invest nearly $40 million into other programs. “We need to look at the long term and how we can support these children into adulthood and how we need to look at the longer-term solutions rather than just shutting down facilities like we are seeing this week,” Fiddler said. He hopes the provincial government will be open to having discussions on how to support youth in custody and their families going forward. There will be 50 jobs losses in both Kenora and Thunder Bay as a result of the facilities closing. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
A national panel of vaccine experts recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to up to four months when faced with a limited supply, in order to quickly immunize as many people as possible. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued updated guidance for the administration of all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada. Extending the dose interval to four months will create opportunities to protect the entire adult population against the virus within a short timeframe, the panel said in releasing the recommendation. As many as 80 per cent of Canadians over 16 could receive a single dose by the end of June simply with the expected supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the panel said. The addition of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the country's supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that timeframe, but the federal government has not yet said how many doses of that vaccine will be delivered in the spring and how many in the summer. "The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs," the panel wrote. "Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised," it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants. The committee's recommendation came hours after Newfoundland and Labrador said it will extend the interval between the first and second doses to four months, and days after health officials in British Columbia announced they were doing so. Manitoba also said Wednesday it will delay second doses in order to focus on giving the first shot to more people more quickly. Ontario previously said it was weighing a similar move but would seek advice from the federal government. -with files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa This report was first published on March 3, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
A special avalanche warning has been issued for a widespread area of Alberta and British Columbia. Avalanche Canada says there have been several close calls already and warming temperatures will destabilize the snowpack, making natural and human-triggered avalanches much more likely. A map provided by Avalanche Canada shows the areas affected as part of a special avalanche warning issued Wednesday.(Avalanche Canada) The warning is in effect immediately and will remain as such throughout the upcoming weekend. The warning includes the following regions: North Rockies Cariboos Jasper National Park Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks Kananaskis Country South Rockies Lizard and Flathead Waterton Lakes National Park Anyone heading to the backcountry is told to check Avalanche Canada's website and have the proper gear and training.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s largest city is still struggling with water problems more than two weeks after winter storms and freezing weather ravaged the system in Jackson, knocking out water for drinking and making it impossible for many to even flush their toilets. Residents in the city of 160,000 are still being warned to boil any water that does come out of the faucets. “I pray it comes back on,” Jackson resident Nita Smith said. “I’m not sure how much more of this we can take.” Smith has had no water at home for nearly three weeks. Smith is concerned about her mother who has diabetes. Her mother and most of the other older people on her street don’t drive, so Smith has been helping them get water to clean themselves and flush their toilets. A key focus of city crews is filling the system's water tanks to an optimal level. But, public works director Charles Williams said Wednesday that fish, tree limbs and other debris have clogged screens where water moves from a reservoir into a treatment plant. That caused pressure to drop for the entire water system. “Today was not a good day for us,” Williams said. He said about a fourth of Jackson's customers remained without running water. That is more than 10,000 connections, with most serving multiple people. City officials on Wednesday continued distributing water for flushing toilets at several pick-up points. But they're giving no specific timeline for resolving problems. Workers continue to fix dozens of water main breaks and leaks. The crisis has taken a toll on businesses. Jeff Good is co-owner of three Jackson restaurants, and two of them remained closed Wednesday. In a Facebook update, Good said the businesses have insurance, but he’s concerned about his employees. “We will not be financially ruined,” Good wrote. “The spirits of our team members are my biggest concern. A true malaise and depression is setting in." Mississippi's capital city is not alone in water problems. More than two weeks have passed since the cold wave shut down the main power grid in Texas, leaving millions in freezing homes, causing about 50 deaths and disabling thousands of public water systems serving those millions. Four public water systems in Texas remained out of commission Wednesday, affecting 456 customers, and 225 systems still have 135,299 customers boiling their tap water, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Also, 208 of the state’s 254 counties are still reporting public water system issues. Bonnie Bishop, 68, and her husband, Mike, 63, have been without water at their Jackson home for 14 days. Both have health problems. She's recovering after months in the hospital with the coronavirus. She's home but still in therapy to learn how to walk again and deals with neuropathy in her hands and feet. She has not been able to soak her feet in warm water, something that usually provides relief for the neuropathy, or to help her husband gather water to boil for cooking for cleaning. Mike Bishop just had elbow surgery. The first week the couple was without water, he still had staples in his arm and was hauling 5-gallon containers from his truck, his wife said. Bonnie Bishop said she told him not to strain himself, but he wouldn’t listen. They feel they have no choice. On Monday, the couple drove 25 miles (40 kilometres) to Mike’s mother’s house to do laundry. Jackson's water system has not been able to provide a sustainable flow of water throughout the city since the mid-February storms, city officials say. The system “basically crashed like a computer and now we’re trying to rebuild it,” Williams said at a recent briefing. The city's water mains are more than a century old, and its infrastructure needs went unaddressed for decades, Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has said. “We more than likely have more than a $2 billion issue with our infrastructure,” he said. Jackson voters in 2014 approved a 1-cent local sales tax to pay for improvements to roads and water and sewer systems. On Tuesday, the city council voted to seek legislative approval for another election to double that local tax to 2 cents a dollar. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves would have to agree to letting Jackson have the tax election. “I do think it’s really important that the city of Jackson start collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money,” Reeves said Tuesday. Jackson has had problems for years with its water billing system and with the quality of water. Melanie Deaver Hanlin, who was without water for 14 days, has been flushing toilets with pool water and showering at friends’ homes. She said Jackson’s water system “needs to be fixed, not patched.” “That’s the issue now — poor maintenance for far too long," Hanlin said. "And Jackson residents are paying the price.” ___ Associated Press writer Terry Wallace contributed from Dallas. Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia. Jeff Martin, Leah Willingham And Emily Wagster Pettus, The Associated Press
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Several different noteworthy items were on the agenda at last Tuesday's St. Marys Town Council meeting. First on the agenda was a discussion with Doug LaPointe, Supervisor of Recreation Services, about a lighting upgrade at the Pyramid Recreation Center. The upgrades focus on changing fluorescent or incandescent lights to LED lights. Several lighting upgrades were made in Town facilities, including the PRC, last year as part of the approved annual Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. Lights in the arena dressing room hallway and lobby area were replaced before the budget was fully allocated. LaPointe proposed continuing the work that began in 2020 and replace more lights in the PRC through the approved 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades budget. There are approximately 200 more fixtures to be replaced at a cost of around $23,000, which is just under half of the 2021 Energy Efficiency Upgrades $50,000 budget. However, an energy reduction rebate totaling $6,000 would bring the net cost of the project down to approximately $17,000. Douglas Electric did the work in 2020 at the PRC and they would be contracted again for the 2021 work given their familiarity with what has already been done. This was unanimously approved by the Council. Town Treasurer Andre Morin then spoke with the Council members regarding a proposed agreement with the Province of Ontario for enhanced cleaning measures for the St. Marys and Area Mobility Bus. According to Morin, the Town is eligible for up to $12,223, of which Town staff expects to use almost all. The proposal was brought to Council to get approval to execute a transfer payment agreement with the Province as part of obtaining the funding, which was approved unanimously. Next on the agenda was a correspondence from the Township of Baldwin requesting that the Province reconsider closing the Ontario Fire College. Fire Chief Andy Anderson joined the meeting for his monthly emergency services report and spoke on this letter. The Ontario Fire College has been active since 1949 before its permanent closure was announced earlier this year. There are 20 regional training hubs around Ontario, including one in Oxford County, which Chief Anderson said is where local firefighters are sent. Anderson also said that while St. Marys firefighters may be sent to a regional hub for locational convenience, it is inconceivable that any Province wouldn't have a main Fire College. A resolution was unanimously approved by Council to support the Township of Baldwin's correspondence pushing the Province to reconsider the Fire College's closure. The last big subject discussed involved Jed Kelly from Public Works, who delivered a report on downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. Essentially, allowing the utilization of sidewalks and parking spaces for patios or displays increases restaurants and retail areas, and increases adherence to physical distancing measures. Additionally, such a program could help the Town's tourism sector long-term if local cafes and eateries had outdoor patios. Town staff recommended that the Council delegate the authority to Public Works to review and approve applications for street patios and that staff bring forward a policy for permitting downtown street patios and sidewalk displays. This was approved unanimously by the Council. Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent
By the end of March, Indigenous Services Canada should have received a letter from Sawridge affiliate members (SAM) requesting a new band be created for them. They “would like to split away” from the Sawridge Indian Band (SIB). Ceno Loyie-Clark, who is leading the charge, says SAM have never been allowed full membership in SIB. “I’ve been standing on the gate for 30 years,” said Loyie-Clark. “There’s 475 of us on the edge. None of us have ever lived there.” Loyie-Clark, like the others, are registered Indians affiliated with the Sawridge First Nation located in northern Alberta, but they are not included on SIB’s membership list. SIB has about 45 members. Membership in SIB became an issue back in 1985 when Bill C-31 was passed. That bill amended the Indian Act to, among other things, allow the status of Indian women, and that of their children, to be reinstated after it was lost when marrying non-Indian men. At that time, then-chief Walter Twinn had built a band-owned business empire as a result of oil and gas discovered on Sawridge land. Two trust funds were created to control the band’s income and two days before Bill C-31 was passed, Twinn locked the band’s assets in those trust funds. Court documents in 2019 estimated those funds to be in excess of $140 million. In numerous court cases since 1985, Twinn and SIB argued they were not opposed to the women and their children regaining Indian status, but that they would not be told by the government who was a member of their band. To that end, SIB used Sect. 10 of the Indian Act, which states “a band may assume control of its own membership if it establishes membership rules…” to create its membership list. It’s the same argument SIB has used to exclude people who received Indian status under Bill S-3. That amendment to the Indian Act addressed the inequities of how Indian status is passed on, or not passed on, to cousins in the same family or to children born out of wedlock to Indian women. With SIB determining its own membership criteria, Loyie-Clark says his hand was forced. Despite his mother being a first cousin to Walter Twinn, Loyie-Clark is still not a full member of the band. Although he admits, he was “never that stupid” to try and get his band membership. To become a member is a lengthy, impossible process, he says, which involves “knowing who lived in your home when you were a baby,” and includes other detailed information like employment, medical and legal histories. “The government allowed (SIB) to set up the racist band application process that goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the government has allowed this to go on for 35 years,” he said. Since SIB won’t accept the affiliate members as full members, Loyie-Clark says more than 70 SAMs will be asking ISC to utilize Sect. 17 of the Indian Act, which allows the minister to constitute new bands “from existing Band Lists, or from the Indian Register, if requested to do so by persons proposing to form the new bands.” “The minister may let us have some of the land (on Sawridge First Nation) because there’s two chunks of land that nobody’s living on, but we’re never going to get any of the money,” said Loyie-Clark. “We’re not going to ask for any of the money or for land. There’s enough land in northern Alberta.” It’s Loyie-Clark’s intention to implement an Indigenous lease transformation program that he designed “for me and my cousins” that makes use of depleted oilfield leases. Loyie-Clark says the timing is right for such a venture. Last year the federal government committed $1.7 billion to Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan for orphan well clean up and site reclamation. As far as Loyie-Clark is concerned, these sites don’t belong to any existing band as part of any traditional territory. However, Sect. 17 of the Indian Act states, “Where … a new band has been established from an existing band or any part thereof, such portion of the reserve lands and funds of the existing band as the Minister determines shall be held for the use and benefit of the new band.” “They would have to carve out space for themselves within the confines of that piece of land. That’s the only jurisdiction the federal minister has. Otherwise the province of Alberta has jurisdiction over the land outside the reserve,” said Rob Louie, who at the request of Loyie-Clark is supporting SAM’s endeavours. Louie is president of Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada (BMAAAC), a newly created organization that offers its services free of charge to band members who have concerns about alleged unethical behaviour of leadership. “The affiliate members do not need legal representation to form their own band as this is a political matter that will be resolved in the political arena,” said Louie. However, BMAAAC is supporting SAM’s efforts with legal research and Louie will be setting up Zoom calls for tripartite negotiations between SAM, the federal government, and SIB. “We are throwing our full support behind those 400-plus affiliate Sawridge members so that they, too, may form their own band and become masters in their own house. Currently, they are living in a two-tier membership system: have and have-not. And the 400-plus affiliate members of Sawridge have not seen any benefit, whereas 42 regular members have,” said Louie. Should SAM be successful in forming its own band, benefits will include core funding from Indigenous Services Canada and eligibility for grants other First Nations have access to, including money for coronavirus pandemic measures, says Louie. The best case scenario would see negotiations taking one to two years, he adds. “Because we’re not dealing with a lot of people and because the terms and conditions of the new band aren’t that onerous—basically they’re just saying we want a clean break—there’ll just be an issue about the amount of land, the quantity of the property of reserve land that would form under the new band,” said Louie. The process will only be completed once a vote is held and the majority agrees to the separation terms. That is not something current Sawridge Chief Roland Twinn anticipates happening, “because you have to give up a part of your reserve.” “I don’t know what the Indian Act says about (the vote) because there is clearly a difference between membership and affiliation and when it comes to referendums it’s the membership not the affiliation that votes on referendums, as I understand it,” said Twinn. Twinn says membership sits at around 45 and “it’s been a couple of years” since a member was accepted. In information on the five steps of forming a band, as outlined on the ISC website, it is noted “most new bands have come into being from a band division. Some have involved both status and non-status Indians, following the general rule that registered members are the majority.” Twinn told Windspeaker.com that he was unaware of SAM’s intention to approach ISC to create a new band. Louie says Twinn has not yet been officially notified. However, Loyie-Clark says he has been talking “unofficially” about his plan to people living on reserve “because they’re all my cousins.” Loyie-Clark says he is initiating this action now as a form of reconciliation and “repairing the relationship.” It’s something he would like to see be done “pleasantly.” “It’s terribly unjust what’s going on…so let’s do this peacefully. Otherwise we’re going to be fighting… At the end we may end up with absolutely nothing and we don’ have a (First Nation) …. This is supposed to be for the future generations not just us,” said Loyie-Clark. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
OTTAWA — The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 7:20 p.m. Health officials in British Columbia are pleased with a national vaccine panel's endorsement of their approach to wait four months before a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine is offered. The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health has also given its nod to the province's four-month interval between shots, up from 42 days. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say setting the booster dose at four months allows more people to access a vaccine, and the wait may even provide longer-lasting protection against COVID-19. British Columbia has recorded 524 new cases of the illness, along with seven more deaths. Two hundred people are now infected with a variant, with the vast majority of cases involving the one first identified in the United Kingdom. --- 6:20 p.m. Alberta says it will begin extending second doses of COVID-19 for up to four months as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, starting March 10. The province is reporting 402 new cases and 4,649 active ones. There are 251 people in hospital with the illness. There were 12 more deaths, bringing that total to 1,902. More than 255,000 Albertans have received one or both vaccine doses. --- 5:30 p.m. A national panel of vaccine experts is recommending extending the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to up to four months. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says that would help provinces quickly vaccinate more people when faced with a limited supply. The new guidance applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada. Several provinces, including British Columbia and Manitoba, have already indicated they would opt for a four-month interval between doses. --- 5:15 p.m. Quebec is moving more regions into the lower, “orange” pandemic-alert level, including Quebec City and the Eastern Townships, starting on March 8. Premier Francois Legault said today the greater Montreal area will remain in the highest, “red” level, because of fear of novel coronavirus variants. Residents of Quebec City, Chaudiere-Appalaches, Mauricie, Estrie and Centre-du-Quebec will be permitted to eat inside restaurants and go to the gym, and the nighttime curfew will be pushed back from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Legault is also reporting that Quebec will wait up to four months to administer a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, up from the current 90-day interval. --- 3:10 p.m. Manitoba expects to receive its first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by mid-March and plans to target people aged 50 to 64 with high-risk underlying conditions. Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead on the province's vaccine task force, says people on dialysis because of kidney failure could be one example, but details are being worked out. Reimer says she is following the advice of a national panel that's recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on people aged 65 and over. Manitoba is focusing on older people with other vaccines. --- 2:55 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 121 new cases of COVID-19. Two more residents who were 80 and older have also died. There are 153 people in hospital, with 20 in intensive care. Health officials say around 7,000 more shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived and another 7,000 doses are expected by the end of today. To date, around 81,000 vaccinations have been done across the province. --- 2:45 p.m. Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says uptake of COVID-19 vaccines has been "fantastic" as just over half the territory's residents have received their first dose. However, Silver says he's concerned about the rising numbers of variants elsewhere in Canada, even though Yukon currently has no active cases of COVID-19. Chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says vaccine hesitancy is a reality and he's urging everyone to get vaccinated at a mass clinic in Whitehorse or through mobile vans that are making their way around Yukon. Seventy-one people have recovered from COVID-19 and one person has died since the pandemic began. --- 2:30 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, and now has 30 known active infections. Health officials say two of the new cases have been identified in the Halifax area and the other in the northern zone. All are close contacts of previously reported cases. As of Tuesday, officials say 35,291 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 13,512 people having received their second dose. --- 2:25 p.m. New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. Health officials say two travel-related cases are in the Fredericton area and involve people in their 20s, while the third case is in the Miramichi region and involves a person in their 50s. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposures, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine whether there has been any further spread in the area. There are now 37 active reported cases in the province and three people are hospitalized with the disease, including two in intensive care. --- 2:20 p.m. Health Canada says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be shipped and stored for up to two weeks in standard freezer temperatures. When it was approved in December, Health Canada said the vaccine had to remain in ultra-low temperatures until just before it is thawed for use. It limited the distribution of the vaccine mainly to bigger urban areas which were equipped with the specialty freezers required. Last week, the companies asked the regulator to make the change after their own data showed their messenger RNA vaccine remained stabled stored for two weeks in -15 C to -25 C. Health Canada says the vaccine can be returned to ultra-low temperatures after being warmed up to the standard freezer temperatures. The change should make it easier for provinces to distribute the vaccine, and could open up the possibility it can go to remote communities and the territories as well. --- 2:05 p.m. Manitoba health officials say they will delay second doses of all vaccines in order to focus on getting first doses to more people more quickly. Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, says it's in response to studies that show first doses may be more effective than first thought. She says details will be worked out in accordance with a national panel's guidelines, and second-dose appointments already booked will be honoured. --- 1:45 p.m. Ontario will give the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to residents aged 60 to 64. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says the province feels the targeted use of that shot will help cut illness and death across Ontario. Jones says the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot will not be administered through mass immunization clinics but through a "different pathway," although she did not elaborate what that would be. Ontario said yesterday it plans to follow the advice of a national panel that's recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on people aged 65 and older. --- 1:35 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 50 additional COVID-19 cases and three deaths. The province is also dropping its age for vaccinations in the general public by one year. Vaccinations can now be booked for First Nations people aged 69 and up and for other people aged 89 and up. --- 1:05 p.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's optimistic the timeline to vaccinate Canadians against COVID-19 can be sped up. He says his government's plan to administer COVID-19 shots to all Canadians who want one by the end of September didn't factor in the approval of new drugs. Trudeau says that includes the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was delivered today. Canada has received its first 500,000 doses of the shot -- the third COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the country. --- 1 p.m. Quebec’s statistics agency says life expectancy in the province declined by five months for men and eight months for women between 2019 and 2020. It says the number of deaths reported in the province in 2020 was 10 per cent higher than in 2019 -- an increase of 6,750 deaths. The agency says the decline is largely due to an increase in deaths reported last year during the pandemic. --- 12:45 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials announced the new measures Wednesday, saying it will help close to 40,000 more people be vaccinated with a single dose by the end of March. Officials also reported three new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and said all are linked to previously identified cases. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the low case numbers and clear sources of infections are a good sign following the outbreak that spread rapidly through St. John’s in February. --- 11:40 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says three federal aid programs designed to blunt the fallout from COVID-19 are being extended. Trudeau says the federal wage subsidy, rent support and lockdown programs will remain in place until June. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says all three programs will keep support at the current levels. She says the trio of programs are being extended because the economy is still struggling even with encouraging signs of a recovery on the horizon. --- 11:15 a.m. Prince Edward Island will lift restrictions that closed schools and most businesses at midnight. Premier Dennis King says results from 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence that restrictions can be eased. The health orders were imposed after COVID-19 case clusters emerged in Charlottetown and Summerside. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison is reporting one new COVID-19 case today; P.E.I. has 22 active reported infections. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 729 new cases of COVID-19 today and 19 more deaths from the virus, including two within the past 24 hours. Health officials say hospitalizations dropped to 618 and the number of people in intensive care dropped to 120. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario is reporting 958 new COVID-19 cases today. The province says 17 more people have died from the virus. More than 27,000 tests were completed to compile the data. The province says 27,398 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered since the last daily update. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mariah Carey's older brother on Wednesday sued the singer over her recent best-selling memoir "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," accusing her of defamation and inflicting emotional distress. Morgan Carey is seeking unspecified damages in a complaint filed in a New York state court in Manhattan, including over book passages that he said falsely suggested he was violent. The lawsuit was filed one month after Mariah Carey's older sister Alison sued her for $1.25 million for alleged emotional distress over the memoir, which was published in September and topped The New York Times' nonfiction best-seller list in October.
Pembroke – It’s back to the drawing board for the County of Renfrew Official Plan(OP) with a few changes still needed at the committee level and then back to Renfrew County Council before more distribution to municipalities and an eventual public meeting. “I’m not prepared to have this endorsed to commenting agencies until the council of the County of Renfrew is satisfied,” said Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue last Wednesday at a virtual county council meeting after pointing out some of the changes councillors were told were made were either vague or not outlined in the document. One issue was the OP amendment councillors had received as part of their packet had undergone additional tweaking by staff. While some areas of concern were eliminated others were being studied on a case-by-case basis and Mayor Donohue said one concern was the document needed to be clearer before it was passed on to municipalities and other agencies for comment. “Agricultural land is deserving of protection or it is not,” he noted. The result is this Official Plan amendment, which is very much a living document, will not be approved very quickly. The most contentious issues appear to be the agricultural designation of some properties as well as the deer yards in Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, but many of the other areas which had created concern and angst in the community have been resolved. These include the one kilometre development buffer around urban communities and some of the mapping which is now just being used as a guide instead of triggering an automatic study. Mayor Donohue’s resolution to send it back to the Community Development committee and then return to county council was overwhelmingly endorsed by the mayors and reeves. This is despite the fact county staff, including CAO Paul Moreau, re-iterated the intent had never been to approve the document but rather to keep the commenting process ongoing. “This is a resolution that keeps the process moving forward,” the CAO said of the original resolution to send the draft amendment out to commenting groups. Director of Development and Property, Craig Kelley, had the task of outlining the changes made to the Official Plan amendment, including several which were not in the document councillors had before him. He stressed the intent by county staff was to help the county grow. “We are development friendly, but it is just a matter of working within the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS),” he said. Some of the changes he highlighted included secondary dwelling units being allowed on properties. “We’ve heard of many folks who want to bring additional family members to the area,” he said. “It does allow an additional housing unit outside the primary dwelling.” This could keep a family on the farm for example in a separate home. This will all be subject to local zoning by-laws by lower-tier municipalities, he added. The fringe development issue, where the county had recommended any development within a kilometre of urban centres be restricted to allow for the possible expansion of water/sewer services, has all but been removed. While the councillors had the information in the packet it would be narrowed down to 500 metres outside an urban limit, Mr. Kelley said staff now recommended the removal of this policy. “We talked about one kilometre or 500 metres,” he said. “We understand the tone against. At this time, we’d like to remove this proposal.” However, he said this is an issue which still needs to be considered. “When it comes to development in the fringe, we will work with the proponent and the municipality to see if it is the best fit,” he said. A growth friendly change was small housing developments on private roads which would also be for small housing groupings on private roads, he said. As well, the aggregate layer is now considered information only and does not constrain development. One issue of ongoing contention is the designation of new agricultural land in Horton Township. Mr. Kelley said staff needs direction on this. “We have to strike a balance between the PPS and what county council would like us to do,” he stressed. “We are seeing rural growth. We get it.” The planning department is receiving between two and three inquiries a day and is quite busy, he added. Warden Debbie Robinson said it is important not to focus on a confrontational environment with the Official Plan amendment. “It is not council against staff,” she said. “We are trying to work together.” Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon said residents need to recognize the county has to work within constraints set out by the province. “The County of Renfrew cannot just rip up the Provincial Policy Statement nor can they ignore the Planning Act,” he said. “We are bound by that.” He said the changes made to the plan made it “a pretty positive day. We managed to whittle down a number of contentious issues. I am a lot more hopeful today than I was six weeks ago.” Constraints on Development Horton Mayor David Bennett said while he was glad to see some things removed from the plan, like the buffer around rural areas for development, he still had major concerns about the designation of agricultural land in his township. He said his municipality has hired a consultant to study the agriculture designation. He pointed out there is no supporting documentation showing why this land was designated as prime agriculture. “It is very difficult to drive across Horton and say this is number one land,” he said. “There is no justification for a lot of that.” If the land remains designated as agriculture it will be impossible to do development there, he said. “We see this as the future for Horton,” he said. “The highway was our economic growth. When you look at the mapping, agriculture has put a rope around growth.” Understanding why some properties were designated as agriculture is baffling to him, he said. “The government flew over on a 747 and saw a piece of green land and decided it was agricultural,” he said. Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Mayor Janice Tiedje was also outspoken in her concerns. Agreeing with Mayor Bennett, she said she was happy to see some changes to the plan including the removal of the development barrier outside urban centres. “I’m very happy to hear by the stroke of a pen you removed the one kilometre buffer from the village,” she said. Her issue continues to be the map which shows most of her municipality designated as a deer yard. This covers about 80 per cent of the township, she said. “You took a little bit away,” she admitted. “But I have to show objection to that habitat in my township. I cannot justify to anybody the need for that.” North Algona Wilberforce Mayor James Brose said he also has an issue with mapping. He pointed out there were areas identified as agriculture which should not be classified as such. “My concern is it further restricts our opportunity for development in our municipality,” he said. “We are looking to create opportunities for developers. “If we restrict further it hinders our opportunity for development and to keep our taxes at a reasonable level,” he said. Council then proceeded to vote on the move by Mayor Donohue to have the document sent back to the committee level. Mayor Tiedje asked for a recorded vote. While the vast majority of council agreed to send it back, some argued for continuing the process by having the document distributed for more comments now. “This is not a perfect document,” Reeve Emon admitted, saying it was important to get the information out and then focus on the irritants. “Part of our struggle is it has been so prolonged,” he said. “I’d like to keep moving if we can because we have had some successes.” In the end, council agreed to send it back to the committee level. Warden Robinson told the Leader later there had been some widespread concern because the document shown in the packet to the councillors was not what was presented on Wednesday. “So, staff were asked to clean it up a bit and go to committee and back to county,” she said. As well, there might be the opportunity to already hear from the consultant hired by Horton looking into the agricultural lands. Warden Robinson said council wants to have a workable document. “We are taking this seriously,” she said. “Once we have a reasonable draft, we will send it out, but it has to go to the province for comments.” While the county has been given some discretion, this is not a carte blanche to do whatever it wants, she stressed. “We still have a Provincial Policy Statement we must adhere to,” she said. “We need to use working which allows some flexibility to grow. We don’t have the ultimate authority to scrap the Provincial Policy Statement.” Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
PARIS — Canadian forward Jonathan David scored two late goals as Lille beat Marseille 2-0 to stay top of the French league on Wednesday. David, from Ottawa, scored in the 90th minute and again two minutes into injury time. The northern side remains two points ahead of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which won 1-0 away to Bordeaux. Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda kept out shots from United States forward Timothy Weah and David in the second half to frustrate Lille. But the veteran France No. 2 spilled an angled shot from Jonathan Ikone in the 90th and David finished from close range. Defending champion PSG was missing Kylian Mbappe through suspension and was without the injured Neymar, while striker Moise Kean was ruled out after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier Wednesday. Winger Pablo Sarabia filled in and scored in the 20th minute when he turned in Idrissa Gueye’s cross from the left. Bordeaux winger Hatem Ben Arfa should have equalized against his former club when he ran through in the 70th, only to shoot just wide of the left post. The top three sides all won 1-0, with Lyon edging out Rennes at home to stay one point behind of PSG. Lyon is now four points clear of fourth-place Monaco after it lost 1-0 at Strasbourg for a first defeat in 13 league games. DEPAY DELIVERS Lyon forward Memphis Depay created the winning goal for substitute Houssem Aouar in the 73rd minute. Depay sprinted through down the right, but then lost his balance after shrugging off a defender just outside the penalty area. He got quickly back up and slid-tackled the ball to Aouar, who clipped the ball neatly over the goalie. Lyon had struggled to break down a well-organized Rennes side whose coach Julien Stephan resigned on Monday after a bad run of form. Tino Kadewere had a goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half, and strike partner Karl Toko Ekambi went close before Depay delivered. OTHER MATCHES Fifth-place Lens continued its good form with a 3-2 win at Saint-Etienne while sixth-place Metz slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Angers. Brest beat last-place Dijon 3-1 at home and Nice moved into midtable by downing struggling Nimes 2-1. Also, Reims beat Nantes 2-1 and Montpellier drew 1-1 with Lorient. There are 10 rounds left. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press