WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
An investigation is underway after a woman died and a man suffered life-threatening injuries in a head-on crash in North Vancouver last night. The two-car collision, which police believe involved a drunk driver, happened just before midnight Tuesday (March 2) at Low Level Road, west of the Neptune Cargill Overpass. Sgt. Peter DeVries, spokesman for North Vancouver RCMP, said officers received a call just after 11 p.m. from BC Emergency Health Services alerting them to the crash. He said RCMP officers arrived to what appeared to be a head-on collision and District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services were on scene extinguishing a fire that had started up in one of the vehicles. A woman and a man were travelling together eastbound in one vehicle when a westbound vehicle, an Audi, driven by a man, appears to have crossed the centre line, according to DeVries. He said the details of how the crash occurred were still being determined. “Unfortunately, the female died as a result of the collision and she was initially brought to a local hospital [Lions Gate Hospital], but she was soon after pronounced dead,” he said. “The male occupant in the same vehicle was brought to VGH for serious injuries and remains in critical condition. We're not sure at this point whether or not the person will survive.” DeVries said the male who was driving the Audi was taken to LGH with serious but non-life threatening injuries. He said the driver of the Audi is now being investigated for dangerous driving and refusal to provide a breath sample. “It looks like this is going to be an impaired driving investigation,” DeVries said. “We do believe alcohol was involved, but we're still in the very early stages of the investigation. "As the investigation continues, officers will work to uncover all available evidence pointing to the cause of this collision." DeVries said it had been "a very sad morning." "We know that this woman’s family and friends are grieving today, that in the coming days and weeks, they will be faced with the difficult task of coping with a tragic loss," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them." Low Level Road was closed this morning (March 3) between East 3rd Street and St. Andrews Avenue due to the police investigation, but has since reopened. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Most of us are familiar with the three Rs associated with limiting our waste: reduce, reuse and recycle. As it turns out, there’s a fourth R: renew the recycling licence. During the Feb. 22 regular council meeting for the Town of Pincher Creek, Coun. Scott Korbett formally announced the town would not be renewing its recycling contract with KJ Cameron Service Industries. Come June 30, only empty beverage containers will be accepted at the bottle depot. “The Town of Pincher Creek intends to continue to offer a recycling program,” the town’s official statement reads. “We are currently working with our regional partners to have a smooth transition to a new program by the end of June.” While understanding the town is obligated to make economic decisions when it comes to contracts, Weston Whitfield, owner and manager of KJ Cameron, worries consolidating services on a regional basis might result in an inefficient service to taxpayers. The process of gathering, transporting, then re-sorting material, Mr. Whitfield adds, might decrease the price recycling facilities are willing to pay. “My concern is in the past, places that have done collaborations like that end up with a little bit of contamination and it can affect the resale of the product,” he says. Although no official details have been released, the plan for future recycling appears to involve the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill Association. Discussion recorded in the minutes of the Jan. 20, 2021, regular meeting of the landfill association includes “Recycling Update” as an agenda item. The minutes describe proposals being sent to each of the municipalities and note that, despite no reply being received, each of the municipal representatives — Coun. Dean Ward from Crowsnest Pass, Coun. Brian McGillivray from Pincher Creek and Reeve Brian Hammond from the MD of Pincher Creek — indicated their respective councils are still considering or interested in the landfill’s recycling proposal. Recycling was also a topic during last week’s council meetings for both the MD of Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. During the MD of Pincher Creek’s Feb. 23 council meeting, chief administrative officer Troy MacCulloch updated council on plans to move collection bins from outside the MD office to a site off Bighorn Avenue and Highway 507, near the Co-op lumberyard. The site will cover recycling needs for residents from both the MD and town. “This will be a site that the MD will build,” said CAO MacCulloch. “We will cost-share it with the town, and then going forward it would be operated and manned by the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill.” Plans for the new recycling site are still tentative as the MD is working with the current landowner to develop a lease that would permit the property to be used as a transfer station for garbage and recyclables. The garbage bins by the MD office, he added, could also be removed. This will allow for further development and easier access of the standpipe, which will remain at the location. Meetings with Pincher Creek administration have discussed the possibility of the MD taking over the composting facility, which would be included on the site. Crowsnest Pass council also voted Feb. 23 to direct administration to find a location for their own recycling bin. Ease of access, along with being sheltered from the weather and from travellers’ field of vision, were identified as main priorities. Administration was asked to present a location at the March 16 council meeting with hopes that users could begin dropping off recycling by the end of the month. The goal is to eventually have three sites in the municipality to gather recycling. Beginning with one, said CAO Patrick Thomas, was a good place to “at least start and see what the challenges are,” especially to “see how [building] the fencing and screening goes.” The Town of Pincher Creek’s full official statement regarding the recycling licence can be found online at http://bit.ly/PC-Recycle. More information on Pincher Creek Bottle Depot and Recycling can be found at www.facebook.com/pcbottledepot. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is a thrill like few others on earth. The ocean is full of life here with a diversity that is unlike any other place of earth. The underwater volcanic structures and unique combination of ocean currents support a rich abundance of life. Sharks thrive here and scuba divers are thrilled to see them during their underwater adventures. But these scuba divers were not so thrilled when they finished exploring and underwater cave and they headed back to the open ocean. They found a group of sharks had entered the cave and were resting just inside the opening. White tip sharks are not likely to attack humans, unless provoked, but the divers were not able to pass through the narrow chamber without coming into direct contact with the 9-10 foot beasts. This would definitely be inviting trouble and the divers would be unable to easily turn and retreat back inside the caverns. The moment provided an excellent opportunity to gets some spectacular footage of the unusual scenario with the sharks backlit in an eerie fashion. The scuba divers had planned their dive well and they had plenty of reserve air at this point in the dive. They calmly waited and watched the sharks and eventually all of them swam out into the open water, leaving the exit clear. But for a few minutes, the large sharks in the exit were an intimidating sight indeed! People who venture beneath the waves are wise to remember that they are the visitors, or even intruders in this mysterious domain. Incorrect behaviour here can have immediate and disastrous consequences. The ability to stay calm during unexpected challenges is crucial to survival in a world where your air supply is limited.
Vancouver’s favourite celebrity couple have made a very generous donation toward supporting the mentorship of Indigenous post-secondary students across Canada. Actors and philanthropists Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $250,000 this week to the Influence Mentoring Society to help kick start its new mentorship initiative. The Influence Mentoring program is aimed at building capacity, talent, and career opportunities for eligible Indigenous students, who are committed to achieving their career goals. Once launched, the new online program will allow for any Indigenous post-secondary student to participate from anywhere in Canada. The program matches protégés to the most suitable mentor, who has a shared field of work to the student’s program of studies, to help them learn and grow. Reynolds and Lively said they were “so happy to support the Influence Mentoring program that will help Indigenous youth in Canada, who are trying to successfully complete their post-secondary pursuits and enter the job market for the first time." "All too often, diverse groups are left behind in the things we take for granted,” they added in a release. “This program aims to rectify that imbalance.” Colby Delorme, Influence Mentoring Society chairperson, said traditionally, mentorship has played an important role in the Indigenous community, adding that culture, traditions, spirituality, teachings and stories have all been shared and best understood through the Elder and protégé relationship. He said the program’s mission is also guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action to help eliminate educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. "This project exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation whereby Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who believe that providing mentoring opportunities for post-secondary, Indigenous youth, adapt a two-way mentoring model, and in doing so work together to build stronger relationships while improving cross-cultural understanding and appreciation,” he stated in a release. Delorme added that eliminating these gaps and ultimately increasing Indigenous representation in the private sector, including in management and executive positions, should be a shared journey. "We are incredibly grateful to Ryan and Blake for their generous donation of $250,000,” he said. “This speaks not only to having the resources available to support Indigenous youth, but also is a signal of true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians." As part of the launch of Influence Mentoring, the society is actively recruiting mentors, protégés, and additional funders and will be seeking partnerships with post-secondary institutions to host the inaugural mentorship pilot project. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
There was no appetite at the West Nipissing council meeting Tuesday to support Parry Sound’s call for improved dialogue with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Council had given Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the district, near-unanimous support at its last meeting and it didn’t waver despite mounting opposition to lockdowns. “This is not the time to make this a political issue,” Councillor Chris Fisher, who noted that Chirico is taking “a lot of flak” already from various elected officials, groups and individuals. Parry Sound’s resolution asked for a “more proactive approach to community outreach and communication” with both political and health leaders prior to making decisions. There have also been several open letters from West Nipissing residents urging council to take a stand against the decisions Dr. Chirico and the province have been making. Dave Lewington, for example, asked with no luck for the Health Unit to disclose its official order that closed down the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and toboggan hills, a move that was above and beyond the provincial framework for restrictions. “Taxpayers deserve accountability,” Lewington, a member of the Northern Ontario Libertarian Caucus stated in correspondence to West Nipissing council dated March 2, which was too late for the meeting’s agenda. “We are counting on you as our elected officials to stand up for the taxpayers in our region.” The Health Unit advised the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and hills could be used again last week. Rejean Venne has published several open letters calling on West Nipissing council to get more involved in putting pressure on Dr. Chirico to base his decisions on the data at hand instead of projections and fears of spread. Venne noted in his most recent piece that the North Bay Parry Sound District has fewer active cases per capita than other areas that have seen re-openings. “Although being permitted to enter the “Grey Zone” on March 8th would be better than nothing, I think our council needs to request a full transition to the actual framework as well as requesting to be consulted on any future deviations from this framework,” Venne wrote. Councillor Dan Roveda, West Nipissing’s representative on the Health Unit’s board of directors, said the issue should not even be discussed at this table. “Dr. Chirico has been as open as he can be,” Roveda said. Councillor Denis Senecal said the decisions being made by the Health Unit “follow science this far … Dr. Chirico has steered us straight so far, this is not the time to waver.” Mayor Joanne Savage said she understand that business owners and individuals are anxious to hear what the update this Friday will be on the provincial “stay at home” orders for different areas. “They don’t know how long they can continue to stay in lockdown,” she said, adding that said even West Nipissing’s emergency management team would prefer to have early information on what decisions are being made. Earlier in the meeting, council discussed the limited financial options it could consider to help the municipalities business owners and residents. “There’s not much we can do financially,” Savage said, prior to discussing a motion to consider a motion to grant deferral periods for payment of interim property tax bills. Council agreed to give a 120-day deferral on the interim tax bills that would have required payments at the end of the month. And those who are already in arrears will be able to discuss their individual situations with staff to see what can be done on a case-by-case basis. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will not allow his players to travel to international matches this month if they have to quarantine on their return. Under current coronavirus guidelines, arrivals from countries that Britain regards as high risk are subject to 10 days of hotel confinement. Portugal and all of South America are on the so-called “red list” so it would apply to Liverpool’s Brazil internationals — Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho — and Portugal forward Diogo Jota. FIFA has given clubs dispensation during the pandemic to prevent players who may be affected by the regulations from joining up with their countries, and Klopp intends to do so. “I think all the clubs agree that with the same problems, we cannot just let the boys go and then sort the situation when they come back by placing our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel. It is just not possible,” Klopp said. “I understand the needs of the different FAs but this is a time where we cannot make everyone happy and we have to admit the players are paid by the clubs so it means we have to be first priority.” Klopp said Liverpool will “wait until the last second” to make a decision. “We just deal with what other people decided so we got kind of used to it,” he said, “but I think everyone agrees we cannot let the players go and play for their country and come back and quarantine for 10 days in a hotel. That is not how we can do it.” Brazil is in first place in South American qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after winning its opening four games, and is scheduled to play against Colombia on March 26 and at home to Argentina four days later Portugal has a home game against Azerbaijan and away matches against Serbia and Luxembourg. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 The Associated Press
The iconic Kingbridge Centre is evolving, after providing unique services over the last two decades. Founded in 2001 by John Abele, cofounder of Boston Scientific and a global leader in the field of less invasive medicine, the centre’s vision encompassed a passion for technological inventions, concepts and ideas made to benefit communities and society as a whole. Abele’s involvement in these areas influenced him to envision a living learning place that supports innovation where groups of people could come together to collaboratively solve problems. This year, Abele made the decision to retire, entrusting the ownership of the Kingbridge Centre to the Pathak Family Trust and its affiliated entity Ekagrata Inc. The Kingbridge Centre will continue to deliver world-class residential convening, leadership development, corporate training, conferencing and retreat services while being committed to engaging with local community. The Pathak Family Trust is committed to upholding the standard of innovation, discovery, and excellence long represented by the Kingbridge Centre, and to continue the strong partnerships with local community, government and academia. Kingbridge’s new Chairman, Prashant Pathak, has been involved in Abele’s vision and mission alongside the Kingbridge team for over 15 years and is excited to carry on the legacy of collective learning, problem solving, leadership development and innovation. Abele will continue to advise Pathak and the rest of the Kingbridge team as chairman emeritus. General Manager of the Kingbridge Centre, Lisa Gilbert, who shares a similar passion for creating learning and collaborative problem solving infrastructures, will continue to work with clients, oversee business operations and evolve the vision with Pathak and the Kingbridge team. King Mayor Steve Pellegrini and King-Vaughan MPP and Education Minister Stephen Lecce toured the facility last week. “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Abele for his service to the King community and his vision for The Kingbridge Centre, providing a living learning space for community to come together,” said Lecce. “I am thrilled that Kingbridge Centre will continue to be a centre of excellence for innovation and entrepreneurship in the heart of our community under the leadership of Mr. Pathak. I am committed to supporting jobs and growth in King as we look to drive Ontario’s economic recovery.” Pathak has begun to expand The Kingbridge vision by engaging with key stakeholder partners to harness the infrastructure of the Kingbridge Centre to drive economic prosperity by accelerating ground breaking innovations that drive community transformation, and scale up environmental initiatives which make a positive impact in the world. Food, agriculture, energy, and water are four of the key focus areas of the Kingbridge Centre aligned with economic priorities of King Township and York Region. Programming will be developed and offered to support these objectives, help foster the leaders and convene people who are interested to explore new ideas and collaboratively solve problems from a higher level of thinking, creativity and skills and shared purpose. “We are excited that Mr. Pathak is committed to growing the strong tradition of innovation at the Kingbridge Centre,” said Mayor Steve Pelligrini. “King Township is a very special place, with a rich inheritance of protecting the environment and growing fresh produce to feed the world. Having a place that fosters citizen-led innovations contributing to enhancing those legacies is a wonderful opportunity for our community to imagine and realize the next chapter of King Township.” The Kingbridge Centre is currently serving as a Temporary Transitional Shelter for York Residents in need, through a partnership with The Regional Municipality of York and Salvation Army. “On behalf of York Regional Council, I commend Kingbridge Centre for their ongoing commitment to collaboration and innovation,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Kingbridge Centre has been an exceptional community partner in helping keep our residents safe during the pandemic; opening their doors to some of our most vulnerable residents and offering temporary transitional shelter to self-isolate during COVID-19. York Region welcomes future opportunities to partner and support our community together.” Looking beyond the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kingbridge Centre team is looking forward to being a partner in supporting economic recovery efforts, and growing innovative businesses. Pathak’s extensive global network, experience with risk capital investing and building businesses will support those efforts. Plans will be announced later this spring. In the meantime, Kingbridge Centre will continue to be a strong community partner. Mr. Abele, Mr. Pathak and Lisa Gilbert warmly welcome you to the Kingbridge Centre and look forward to many years of learning, collaboration and innovation. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee easily approved President Joe Biden's pick to be America's top trade negotiator. The panel on Wednesday confirmed Katherine Tai to be U.S. trade representative on a voice vote. Her nomination, which has received strong bipartisan support, will now go to the full Senate for approval. Tai has promised to make sure that U.S. trade policy benefits America's workers, not just corporations, and to work more closely with U.S. allies to counter an increasingly assertive China. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai spent several years as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's head of China enforcement. She last worked as the top trade staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee, where she handled negotiations with the Trump administration over a revamped North American trade deal. Under pressure from congressional Democrats, Trump’s trade team agreed to strengthen the pact to make it easier for Mexican workers to form independent unions and demand better pay and benefits — decreasing the incentives for U.S. firms to move south of the border to take advantage of cheap and compliant labour. She and Biden have said little about how they will handle specific trade issues such as whether to keep President Donald Trump's import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum and on $360 billion worth of Chinese products. Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 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
A man who plowed a rented van into dozens of people in Toronto in 2018 is guilty of murdering 10 people and attempting to murder 16, a judge ruled on Wednesday, dismissing a defense argument that a mental disorder left the driver unaware of how horrific his actions were. Alek Minassian, 28, told police he was motivated by a desire to punish society for his perceived status as an "incel" - short for involuntary celibate - because he believed women would not have sex with him. Minassian had pleaded that he was not criminally responsible.
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter ENGLEHART – The times are changing and it was a time for change for the Englehart Dental Office. Owned and operated by Dr. Julie Williams, the business has a new home as it recently opened the newly constructed office building at 35 Third Street. It’s located just down the street from its original office space at 39 Third Street. The Dental Office held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with its staff in front of the new location on February 24 to celebrate the move. “I was just ready to have my own space, something I designed myself,” explained Williams in an interview at the new office building. “It just felt like the next step in the career.” Williams said she put plans into motion for the construction of the new building in January of 2020 but the process really began that March. The old pizza place building that used to occupy the land of the new office then was demolished in July, she noted. “Once it finally got going, it got going,” said Williams with a smile. “I just had the design (of the new building), I made it myself. None of the designers liked it but I just wanted my own space. I didn’t want anything too big, just my size.” Once she purchased the lot from the town, Williams said she was able to design the building size-wise on it. She noted that she originally planned to have a basement in the new building but ran into sewer and water line issues as well as encountering poor soil conditions. “So it’s just on a (concrete) slab now and that changed plans a little bit, but it worked out OK, we still have some storage around. It changed the chemical room slightly, so it changed in the planning as well. That delayed us a good month, month-and-a-half with the redesigning.” Williams said that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected how she was able to carry out her construction plans. “It definitely made material sourcing and everything very difficult,” she said. “The flooring took eight weeks when it should have been like two weeks, that delayed everything. Thank goodness I ordered all the dental equipment like nine months before needed because that didn’t come in until November and it would have been bananas if it didn’t come in.” Williams said the pandemic also “put a little bit of a damper” with how everything surrounding the dental office’s operations flowed while the new building was being constructed, but it wasn’t too much to overcome. “We were able to get open for dentistry before ground broke, after the delays. We had to close to dentistry until the end of May (in 2020) and I was really worried about continuing but we got to open again,” she noted. COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Williams noted that the dental office has been open for three weeks and so far the reception from its patients and the community has been positive. “It’s been fantastic, they’re loving the new space,” she said. “A lot of them are saying ‘Thank you for investing in the community’ and it’s true, I didn’t really think of that effect, but it’s true. It was just always my game plan to stay (in Englehart) so now at least we have our own space to stay.” Williams said her goals for the future are just to enjoy the new office space and provide her patients with a lot more enhanced services. “We have digital x-rays, more computers and everything, we’re finally up to the 21st century” she noted. “Long-term I just want to practice for the next 20 years, really, in comfort and in my own space. This was just the next step, I was ready.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — A psychologist who treated Lionel Desmond less than a year before he killed three family members and himself told an inquiry today that the former soldier made little progress during an intensive 11-week program. Isabelle Gagnon, who in 2016 worked at Ste. Anne's Hospital in Montreal, says the former corporal from Nova Scotia had persistent problems managing his PTSD symptoms, trusting others and regulating his emotions — especially anger. The clinical psychologist says about 10 people were involved in his care, which involved a stabilization phase followed by an in-patient residential phase that included group therapy with other veterans. Gagnon was also concerned that the former infantryman, who served in Afghanistan, may have had cognitive issues because he had trouble integrating information, staying focused and initiating actions. The psychologist confirmed Desmond often avoided talking about traumatic events in Afghanistan and instead focused on his troubled relationship with his wife and young daughter. On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond bought a rifle and killed his 31-year-old wife, Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before turning the gun on himself inside the family's home in rural Nova Scotia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — The political crisis in Slovakia deepened on Wednesday after a member of the ruling coalition demanded a reconstruction of the Cabinet. The crisis was triggered by a secret deal to acquire Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine orchestrated by the country’s prime minister despite disagreement among his coalition partners. Richard Sulik, head of the Freedom and Solidarity party, said the situation in the coalition is so serious that “we can hardly continue this way.” “It’s evident we haven’t succeeded in the fight against the pandemic,” Sulik said. His party said unspecified changes in the government are needed for the coalition to continue. Sulik has often clashed with Prime Minister Igor Matovic over how to tackle the pandemic but the current crisis is the most serious problem the coalition has faced. Matovic has defended the deal to acquire 2 million Sputnik V vaccines, saying it will speed up the vaccination program in one of the European Union's countries hit hardest by the pandemic. But it was condemned by Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, who was nominated to the post by Sulik’s party and who said the vaccine was a tool in Russia’s hybrid war against the West. Korcok said the purchase cast doubts on his country’s clear pro-Western orientation. Another coalition partner, the For People party, didn’t rule out an option to leave the coalition. The head of that party, Deputy Prime Minister Veronika Remisova, said any vaccine needs approval from the EU’s drug regulator. Matovic acknowledged on Wednesday that he acquired the Russian vaccine against the will of his partners but urged them not to use the conflict to destroy their coalition. “As the prime minister, I think it's my duty to do the maximum to save the lives and health of people in Slovakia,” he said in a video message. Remisova met Sulik and other leaders — including another critic of the Sputnik V deal, President Zuzana Caputova — over the crisis Wednesday. After the meeting, Sulik said his party was “by no means” in favour of early elections. Parliament speaker Boris Kollar, the leader of the fourth coalition party, We Are Family, called on his partners to put aside their disputes and negotiate a way to move forward. Kollar invited representatives of all the four coalition parties to meet later Wednesday. Pro-Western Matovic struck a deal last year to govern with the pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party; the conservative For People, a party established by former President Andrej Kiska; and We Are Family, a populist right-wing group that is allied with France’s far-right National Rally party. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
The history of the western expansion of Canada is a fascinating account of perseverance, courage and conflict. For a long time, the focus of this time period emphasized the experiences of white settlers who immigrated from Great Britain, the United States and central and northern Europe. Recent scholarship and activities like Black History Month, however, are now making an effort to ensure other historical voices are heard — and Pincher Creek is taking steps to celebrate its own unique portion of the history of black pioneers in southern Alberta. During the Feb. 22 regular council meeting, Coun. Wayne Elliott presented a motion to rename a street after “Auntie” Annie (though some sources have her first name as Amy) Saunders, a black woman who immigrated to southern Alberta in 1877. “Being it’s Black History Month, it seems kind of fitting that we honour someone to that magnitude that doesn’t seem to ever get any recognition,” Coun. Elliott said. Ms. Saunders was born in the United States and met Mary Macleod, the wife of Lt.-Col. James Macleod, the North West Mounted Police officer the town Fort Macleod is named after. In 1877, Ms. Saunders joined the Macleod family and worked as a nurse for the children on their ranch just east of Pincher Creek. She eventually operated multiple businesses in Fort Macleod (then known as the Town of Macleod) and Pincher Creek, including a restaurant and boarding house, and worked as a laundress. Understanding the historical context makes Auntie Annie’s story all the more noteworthy. Western Canada experienced a great influx of immigrants throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although the Canadian government actively promoted the area as the “Last Best West,” it also sought to exclude and dissuade specific groups of immigrants, including Chinese, Jewish and black people. As a former member of the British colonial empire, the Canadian government operated under the notion that white settlers were superior to other races and better suited to homesteading on the Prairies. Despite the prejudice, about 1,500 black Americans settled in Alberta and Saskatchewan between 1905 and 1912, most leaving Oklahoma to escape rising levels of racial violence. Rising political pressure from white constituents on the Prairies led to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier signing an order in council in the summer of 1911 banning black immigrants from settling in Canada because they were “deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.” Though the order was never enforced, aggressive marketing by Canadian agents in the United States discouraging black Americans from moving to Canada cut down the number of black settlers, as well as unfair practices at the border that made it more expensive for them to travel into Canada. The fact Ms. Saunders was one of the first black pioneers to settle in Alberta, along with making her own success despite the racism and general prejudice of that time, is remarkable. She passed away in 1898 and is buried in Pioneer Cemetery in Pincher Creek. Coun. Elliott mentioned Auntie Annie was a figure in his own family’s history. “Going back, I was talking to my mom and she said my grandpa talked about what his dad said about her, and she was a very good cook,” he related. “So that’s going back into the 1880s, 1890s, so there is some history on my side.” To honour the memory of Ms. Saunders, and her role in Pincher Creek’s history, Coun. Elliott proposed renaming a section of Veteran’s Street to Auntie Annie Saunders Way, Avenue, Street or Parkway. The proposed renamed section would span from Scott Avenue to the eastern corner of Pioneer Cemetery. While entirely supportive of naming a street after Ms. Saunders, other members of council expressed concerns with renaming an existing road. “I’m completely in favour of honouring our historical figures, but I’m not in favour of changing street names,” said Coun. Scott Korbett. “New developments is where we should be doing this as we move forward, and I also wouldn’t want to honour someone with a street that’s not open.” A better location, Coun. Lorne Jackson added, would help commemorate Ms. Saunders better than the proposed section. “Annie Saunders was an amazing person, someone of colour back in those days that became an entrepreneur and was very successful and one of the richest people in town after a time,” he said. “I think a new street somewhere in town that’s a viable and well used street, and a sign that people would see and drive by all the time, would honour her in a better way.” After discussion, Coun. Elliott agreed to amend the motion to add Ms. Saunders to the town’s prioritized list of future street names. Auntie Annie is second in line after Warren Winkler, whose name was previously selected in a motion from 2017. Mr. Winkler grew up in Pincher Creek and was selected in 2007 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to be the chief justice of Ontario. He was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2016 for his contributions to the advancement of Canadian labour law. More information on the history of black settlers immigrating to Canada can be read online in The Canadian Encyclopedia at http://bit.ly/CAN_PEDIA. Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
A list of stringent conditions are imposed on convicted impaired driver Marco Muzzo. The Parole Board of Canada granted full parole recently, with a long list of conditions. The former King resident cannot have any contact with the victims or victims’ families. He’s banned from entering both York and Brampton. Muzzo must follow his treatment plan with a focus on substance use, emotions management, victim empathy and reintegration stressors. He’s also to refrain from drinking alcohol and entering establishments that serve alcohol. The 34-year-old first-time offender was serving a nine-year, four-month sentence for four counts of impaired driving cause death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Along with the sentence, he has been banned from driving for 12 years. Muzzo was convicted in the 2015 impaired driving related deaths of four members of the Nevile-Lake family. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and given a 12-year driving ban. The collision claimed the lives of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother, Harrison, their two-year-old sister, Milly, and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured. Victim statements, including four presented during the hearing Feb. 9, revealed the families’ unrelenting grief, anger, fear and frustration. “Their anguish is palpable. Your choices and actions have left them struggling psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially ... Their voices confirmed the profound irrevocable devastation resulting from your offending,” the board report stated. The board noted they placed considerable weight on the victims’ statements with regards to Muzzo’s liberty within the community. The board pointed out that Muzzo made gains through counselling while incarcerated, and this led the board to grant day parole in April 2020. He was released and sent to a Community Residential Facility where similar conditions were enforced. There have been no known breaches to those release conditions and Muzzo adhered to all the rules. “This indicates positive progress toward reintegration.” Muzzo has opened a satellite office of the family’s contracting business, and he’s working three days per week. He remains at his apartment, visited by his family and fiancee. Muzzo has also spent time volunteering, and plans to help renovate and transform a school into a homeless shelter. The board noted Muzzo wants to return home to his residence in King, but since it’s close to a memorial site for the victims, there’s a possibility of unintended contact. The board believes Muzzo’s hope to move back to King is self-serving and doesn’t fully empathize with the victims. “... your insistence on returning to live in the community where the victims are memorialized and the surviving victims regularly frequent, is concerning.” While reintegration is the ultimate goal, the board noted he “still has work to do, particularly in the ares of victim empathy and community acceptance. It will be important for you to always be mindful that your liberty in the community is conditional, and that you remain under supervision until warrant expiry.” “The board recognizes that returning home may facilitate your reintegration. However, there is no suggestion that you cannot be rehabilitated and process through full reintegration into society if you do not live in or have access to a particular area. “Any return to the area at this time is premature, and would have a significant negative impact on the victims.” The board noted Muzzo has made gains through counselling in terms of his alcohol use, but the conditions remain in place. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says she will ask for a review of services for mental health crisis care in the province, telling reporters Wednesday she stands behind her pledge to "fix this broken system." At a news conference, Shephard directly addressed the suicide of Fredericton teen Lexi Daken last week. Lexi, a Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. Lexi took her own life less than a week later, and her parents have spoken publicly about her experience trying to get help. But it's not clear whether the public will ever know what happened during Lexi's eight-hour wait at the ER, or why she was allowed to leave without having received help. Although Shephard was asked several times whether she would call a public inquiry into the handling of suicidal youth in provincial emergency rooms, as has been urged by Green Party Leader David Coon and supported by Lexi's father, Chris Daken, she said a review is the preferred route. Shephard said she has met with New Brunswick's child and youth advocate, Norm Bossé, "to talk about a review of services for mental health crisis care." "We have the child and youth advocate and he has a legislative mandate to do this," she said. Bossé's independent review would likely be made public in a report, but would not entail calling witnesses to publicly testify, as an inquiry would. Details of Horizon's internal review, announced last week by community vice-president Jean Daigle and intended to "determine where improvements could have been made," will also not be made public. The review will be shared with Lexi's family and with Horizon's board of directors, Shephard said. Shephard also announced Wednesday that she has asked Horizon Health Network senior officials "to discuss how we can address crisis care in our ERs" and has directed them to report back to her by the end of the month. She plans to do the same with Vitalité Health Network. Review 'a first step,' Lexi's father says In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Lexi's father, Chris Daken, said he thinks a public inquiry is needed but that the review is "a good first step." Daken said his wife, Shawna Betts, had contacted Bosse's office after Lexi's death to request a review, so he was happy to hear it publicly announced Wednesday. But he said a public inquiry is still necessary. "We need answers, and the public needs answers, too," he said. "I think the province needs to see some change and the only way we're going to get it is getting to the bottom of why this happened." Daken said he will wait to see the results of the review they requested, noting "that will determine our next moves." "We're not going to change anything overnight, we know that," he said. "So we're happy with that first step. We do not think it's going to be the last step, but it's a good first step." Inquiry 'not the best approach,' former head of psychiatry says The former director of psychiatry at the Chalmers hospital said he understands why people might think an inquiry is needed, but it won't yield the answers people are hoping for. In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton, Dr. David Addleman said Lexi Daken's tragic experience is "a heartbreaking story." 'You wonder what happened, how did it happen? It's terribly upsetting." However, Addleman said, an internal review would be much more likely to answer those questions. "I understand that that will not satisfy the public," he said. "Everybody's heartbroken, upset, angry … people want answers and want something done right now. But that's not the atmosphere in which useful determinants of what happened can be arrived at." The bottom line, he said, is that the most useful information results from reviews that are done internally, "where people feel they can express their thoughts and opinions openly without feeling … blame will be placed on them." Dr. David Addleman, former head of psychiatry at Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital, said in an interview Wednesday morning that an internal review would be more constructive than an inquiry.(CBC News file photo) Missed opportunity for 'bolder' action: Austin In an interview Wednesday, People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin said he was disappointed Shephard had not made a "bolder statement" about helping the province's youth. "I was hoping the minister would come out and say that no minor seeking help during a mental health crisis will be turned away without getting the professional care they need," Austin said. Austin noted he has spoken with teachers and guidance counsellors who have told him it's "a roll of the dice" whether students will get the care they need when they are taken to emergency rooms in mental health distress. "That's just unacceptable," he said. Austin also said that while he was pleased the child and youth advocate will conduct an independent review of the province's mental health care services, he thinks an inquiry should have been called in the wake of Lexi's death. "I think Mr. Bossé will do a thorough review and I commend that," he said. "But I think he would have done that anyway, without being asked by the minister. I think a public inquiry is important here ... this is something that the public as a whole needs to have more details about, to see what the issues are."
SDG – Major road rebuilding projects remain one of the largest capital funding issues at the United Counties. While SDG’s transportation department has a robust maintenance program to extend the life of existing roads, some roads are beyond repair and need rebuilding. County councillors heard at the February 16-17 budget deliberations of several roads in need of rebuilding including a section of County Roads 8 and 18 in South Dundas, and County Road 22 in North Glengarry. The 1.1 kilometre section of CR 8 and 18 is being rebuilt in 2021, but CR 22 is a few years off. Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) proposed a solution to the long term funding woes of capital projects. “When Counties goes to the next budget, we can go to this list of roads that are not part of our roads plan but are in dire need ,” Byvelds said. “We’ve done really well in saving money for the manors, but what is a project we should look at – I consider that the now roads.” He cited the condition of roads like County Roads 5, 8, 31 and 22 which are not part of the county’s current four year roads plan. “This allows us as a county to deal with what we need to deal with and have the money set aside,” Byvelds added. His motion proposed the creation of a major roads reconstruction capital reserve, and a policy that directs any unspent money from the transportation and roads budget be collected in that reserve for capital projects. This includes any surplus or unused money from projects or where tender bids have come in below the budgeted amount. In past years, the department would find other uses for the funds towards the end of the construction season, or take on new smaller projects. Byvelds motion directed staff to create a new policy to set aside funds for the reserve, and come back to council with an inventory of what the transportation and planning department considers its “Now Roads” list. “I think Councillor Byvelds has come up with a great potential solution here,” said Councillor Carma Williams (North Glengarry). “I think the solution Councillor Byvelds has put on the table is a very creative way to stop us from having this road conversation where the ones we want to get to just go off into the abyss,” said Councillor Kristen Gardner (South Dundas). “I fully support any unused funds from roads projects being reallocated to look at the ‘Now Roads’,” Councillor Frank Landry (North Stormont) told council adding that the county’s asset management plan should be looked at to make sure that the roads on the plan are the right priorities. TPS director Ben deHaan said that if council passed Byvelds’ motion, the department would create a list independent of the current four-year roads plan with roads in need of major work. “Once we have that list, and that war chest built up, we can pick off that list,” deHaan said. Councillor Tony Fraser (North Dundas) asked for clarification if the proposed reserve would be the sole source of major road funding moving forward or would there be other sources sought. Byvelds explained that other “Now” projects were completed using federal gas tax funding received or using existing reserves. “I’m not saying we can’t dip into other reserves but right now we have no specific reserve to deal with these ‘Now Roads’,” Byvelds replied. “If we don’t start putting money aside for the roads that aren’t part of our four year plan then we’ll never get them done.” Councillor Allan Armstrong (North Dundas) spoke in support of Byvelds’ proposal. “At least it’s creating a savings account for some of these things that we don’t get to do and there is some money being dedicated towards this. It somewhat trains this council, and hopefully other councils will stay with it, to be mindful of putting away a savings account, and that’s a good start.” Council supported Byvelds’ solution, and staff will bring the policy for final approval at the upcoming March 15th meeting. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
President Joe Biden singled out a "growing rivalry with China" as a key challenge facing the United States, with his top diplomat describing the Asian country as "the biggest geopolitical test" of this century. The administration rolled out its thinking in a 24-page document outlining Biden's national security policies along with the first major foreign policy speech by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system," the national security document said of China.