Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Wednesday, clashing with police and forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's win.
— The Associated Press
Parks Canada issued a statement Wednesday that it is willing to meet with members of the Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation community who have put up a blockade to stop construction to replace the Burleigh Falls Dam. On Jan. 13, members of the first nation community established a blockade, putting a halt to the repair work being done to the dam — which is owned by Parks Canada — because no consultation was made with the nearby community prior to the start of construction. According to Parks Canada’s statement written by David Britton, director of Ontario Waterways, the dam at Lock 28 of the Trent-Severn Waterway is one dam in a chain of dams and an integral part of the water management structure of central Ontario. “Engineering inspections in recent years have identified the declining condition of the Burleigh Falls Dam. A significant void at the base of the dam undermines the dam’s structural integrity, and is cause for concern regarding both public safety, and the protection of properties and species, including an important Walleye fishery,” Britton wrote. “Concrete strength inspections have showed deterioration beyond what is deemed acceptable. These factors indicate that the dam is at or nearing the end of its useful life, and requires a major intervention. Parks Canada is proceeding with a full replacement of the dam, following the current phase of construction that will first stabilize the existing dam.” The protesters have said they do not dispute that the dam needs to be replaced but they wanted to be consulted before the construction began. Britton said the federal government is committed to working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, collaboration and partnership. “Parks Canada has offered to meet with the Kawartha Nishnawbe on the Burleigh Falls Dam replacement project both in 2016 and more recently to understand their concerns regarding the potential impacts of the project. Parks Canada remains available to do so and hopes to connect in a meaningful way through this process,” Britton wrote. Parks Canada has met with Curve Lake First Nation and the other Williams Treaties First Nations on the first phase of the project and has arranged mitigation measures, including on-site monitors, to address their concerns, Britton added. “Parks Canada continues to meet with Curve Lake First Nation and the other Williams Treaties First Nations on the upcoming phases of work for the Burleigh Falls dam replacement project and are working together to develop fisheries monitoring and mitigation plans,” he wrote. Originally the Trent-Severn Waterway had planned to rehabilitate the dam, but could not find a contractor that could do the work, so a decision was made to replace the dam. Parks Canada plans to complete the work by 2024. Kawartha Nishnawbe members could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health is asking anyone who travelled on the Blue Puttees ferry to or from Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques between Dec. 29 and Jan. 16 to call 811 to arrange for COVID-19 testing. The request comes on the heels of a crewmember testing positive for the disease. Marine Atlantic said Wednesday it’s the first such case it has had to deal with since the pandemic began. “We have been in contact with public health officials in Nova Scotia and with Marine Atlantic occupational health and safety, and are co-ordinating a response,” Newfoundland's chief medical officer of health told reporters. “We’d like to indicate that the risk is low for these people, but we are doing this out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. Testing can also be arranged by completing the online assessment tool at covidassessment.nichi.nl.ca. Fitzgerald would give no further details about the case because of privacy concerns. However, a Marine Atlantic spokesperson said it’s clear the crewmember contracted the disease on board because he only developed symptoms after leaving his two-week shift. The incubation window for COVID-19 is 14 days. Fitzpatrick said the risk is low for passengers because there are less spaces for people to intermingle on board. “Marine Atlantic certainly has put a lot of protocols in place since the beginning of the pandemic to reduce the amount of interaction that their staff and the passengers will have,” she said. “They’ve certainly got masking protocols and all of that as well, and they’ve reduced common spaces.” When contacted, the Marine Atlantic spokesperson didn’t have specific details on the number of passengers who have travelled on the ferry during the timeframe in question, but said it would be in the hundreds. He said on one recent crossing, there were about 10 regular passengers and 50 commercial passengers, but those numbers vary day by day. The Public Health Authority in Nova Scotia has already started contact tracing of crewmembers, although Fitzgerald said any contact tracing that involves this province will be conducted by local public health officials. Crewmembers must self-isolate on the ferry after the testing. With the Blue Puttees moored indefinitely, Marine Atlantic cancelled its morning crossing from North Sydney, N.S., to Port aux Basques and Wednesday evening’s crossing from Newfoundland to Cape Breton. The company says the MV Highlanders will remain in service, and the MV Atlantic Vision is currently being prepared to enter service should it be required in the days ahead. The Atlantic Vision has been moored in North Sidney on standby, but it may take up to 48 hours to establish a crew and get it into service. Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Brooks RCMP say a fire at a grain elevator on Wednesday sent three workers to hospital. According to a release, RCMP responded at 1:34 p.m. to a fire at a grain elevator west of Brooks, near the JBS meat plant at Range Road 150 and Highway 1. The Brooks Fire Department, EMS and Fortis also responded to the incident. RCMP said three workers were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and asked the public to avoid the area. The fire department has remained on scene for fire suppression efforts. Alberta Occupational Health and Safety will be investigating the fire with Brooks RCMP.
Five of six cats abandoned in a remote area on Pigeon Lake Road at Short Drive south of Bobcaygeon have been found and brought to the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society. On Monday morning, a local farmer and Bell Canada worker named Ryan were able to round up three of the cats — one of which is pregnant — according to LAWS manager Janet Evans. To help find the other three cats, volunteers with Operation Catnip was contacted, she said. “They’re a local organization that does trap, neuter and release (of feral cats),” Evans said. On Tuesday morning, the organization was able to capture a grey cat and, in the evening, they were able to catch an orange one. They were still out looking for the sixth one on Wednesday. Four of the five cats were found in good physical condition. The fifth cat had a bit of frostbite on one of its ears, she said. “We took them to the vet this morning and as it turns out only one of them was pregnant,” Evans said. “They’re all between three months to just over a year. They all know each other because when we reunited them here at LAWS, they just kind of sniffed each other. There was no reaction.” She said she doesn’t believe the cats were strays. “Only because if you were to look at a cat that is actually a stray or a feral at this time of the year, they’ve grown really thick coats and they usually look a little worse for wear and that’s because they’re always worried about where their next meal’s coming from or who’s going to eat them,” Evans said. “So, visually there’s a difference between a cat that’s just been dumped and one that has been living out there for quite some time.” Because of the current pandemic, she said it’s been difficult for some people with pets. “If they lose their job or they get laid off due to COVID, then other things come first in some situations and that’s when decisions have to be made,” Evans said. There are a number of organizations in the Peterborough region unwanted pets can be brought to as opposed to being abandoned or sold on Kijiji, she said. “There’s the Kawartha Lakes Humane Society, ARC, which is a smaller rescue in Lakefield, there’s ourselves, LAWS, and there’s also the Peterborough Humane Society,” Evans said. “Please, please do reach out to an organization. At least this way if you contact a shelter, you’re going to be confident that they’ll get vetted and be placed in a loving home.” Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Washington– This is the verbatim executive order killing the Keystone XL pipeline, again, assigned by newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden within his first hour in the Oval Office: “Sec. 6. Revoking the March 2019 Permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. (a) On March 29, 2019, the President granted to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. a Presidential permit (the “Permit”) to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada (the “Keystone XL pipeline”), subject to express conditions and potential revocation in the President’s sole discretion. The Permit is hereby revoked in accordance with Article 1(1) of the Permit. “(b) In 2015, following an exhaustive review, the Department of State and the President determined that approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest. That analysis, in addition to concluding that the significance of the proposed pipeline for our energy security and economy is limited, stressed that the United States must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy, which will in turn create good jobs. The analysis further concluded that approval of the proposed pipeline would undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countries to take ambitious climate action. “(c) Climate change has had a growing effect on the U.S. economy, with climate-related costs increasing over the last 4 years. Extreme weather events and other climate-related effects have harmed the health, safety, and security of the American people and have increased the urgency for combatting climate change and accelerating the transition toward a clean energy economy. The world must be put on a sustainable climate pathway to protect Americans and the domestic economy from harmful climate impacts, and to create well-paying union jobs as part of the climate solution. “(d) The Keystone XL pipeline disserves the U.S. national interest. The United States and the world face a climate crisis. That crisis must be met with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the need to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory. At home, we will combat the crisis with an ambitious plan to build back better, designed to both reduce harmful emissions and create good clean-energy jobs. Our domestic efforts must go hand in hand with U.S. diplomatic engagement. Because most greenhouse gas emissions originate beyond our borders, such engagement is more necessary and urgent than ever. The United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway. Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
THULASENDRAPURAM, India — With chants of “Long live Kamala Harris,” fireworks and prayers, residents of a tiny Indian village celebrated her inauguration as U.S. vice-president. People flocked to the village and its Hindu temple in southern India, to watch Harris, who has ancestral roots in the village, take her oath of office on Wednesday in Washington. Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants watched the inauguration live as reporters broadcast the villager's celebrations to millions of Indians. The villagers chanted “Long live Kamala Harris” while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Harris becoming U.S. vice-president a “historic occasion. Looking forward to interacting with her to make India-USA relations more robust." Earlier, the villages adorned their temple with flowers, offering special prayers for Harris' success. Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 350 kilometres (215 miles) from the southern coastal city of Chennai “We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice-president of America,” said teacher Anukampa Madhavasimhan. At the prayer ceremony in Thulasendrapuram, the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by a priest. Then the village reverberated with the sound firecrackers as people held up posters of Harris and clapped their hands. Harris made history Wednesday as the first Black, South Asian and female U.S. vice-president and what made her special for the village is is her Indian heritage. Harris' grandfather was born more than 100 years ago. Many decades later, he moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state. Harris’ late mother was also born in India, before moving to the U.S. to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for “lotus flower.” In several speeches, Harris has often spoken about her roots and how she was guided by the values of her Indian-born grandfather and mother. So when Joe Biden and Harris triumphed in the U.S. election last November, Thulasendrapuram became the centre of attention in entire India. Local politicians flocked to the village and young children carrying placards with photos of Harris ran along the dusty roads. Then and now, villagers set off firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering. Posters and banners of Harris from November still adorn walls in the village and many hope she ascends to the presidency in 2024. Biden has skirted questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire. “For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president,” said G Manikandan, who has followed Harris politically and whose shop proudly displays a wall calendar with pictures of Biden and Harris. On Tuesday, an organization that promotes vegetarianism sent food packets for the village children as gifts to celebrate Harris’ success. In the capital New Delhi, there has been both excitement — and some concern — over Harris' ascent to the vice presidency. Modi had invested in President Donald Trump, who visited India in February last year. Modi’s many Hindu nationalist supporters also were upset with Harris when she expressed concern about Kashmir, the divided and disputed Muslim-majority region whose statehood India’s government revoked last year. Rishi Lekhi And Aijaz Rahi, The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — Two Florida men, including a self-described organizer for the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, were arrested Wednesday on charges of taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, authorities said. Joseph Biggs, 37, was arrested in central Florida and faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, entering a restricted on the groups of the U.S. Capitol and disorderly conduct. According to an arrest affidavit, Biggs was part of a crowd on Jan. 6 that overwhelmed Capitol Police officers who were manning a metal barrier on the steps of the Capitol. The mob entered the building as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden’s election win. Biggs appeared to be wearing a walkie-talkie during the storming of the Capitol, but he told FBI agents that he had no knowledge about the planning of the destructive riot and didn’t know who organized it, the affidavit said. Ahead of the riot, Biggs told followers of his on the social media app Parler to dress in black to resemble the far-left antifa movement, according to the affidavit. Biggs had organized a 2019 rally in Portland, Oregon, in which more than 1,000 far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators faced off. The Proud Boys are a neofascist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies. During a September presidential debate, Trump had urged them to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator. An online court docket did not indicate whether Biggs has an attorney who could comment. Jesus Rivera, 37, also was arrested Wednesday in Pensacola. He faces charges of knowingly entering a restricted building, intent to impede government business, disorderly conduct and demonstrating in the Capitol buildings. Rivera uploaded a video to Facebook showing himself in the U.S. Capitol crypt, authorities said. The five-minute video ends with Rivera starting to climb out a window at the Capitol, according to an arrest affidavit. An online court docket also did not list an attorney for Rivera. The cases are being handled by federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia. More than a half-dozen other Floridians have been charged in relation to the Capitol assault. Associated Press, The Associated Press
TORONTO — A mouth-watering matchup featuring some of hockey's most gifted players fell far short of expectations Wednesday. And that suited the Oilers just fine. Leon Draisaitl scored the winner on a third-period power play as Edmonton defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on a night where two offensive juggernauts largely cancelled each other out. "Sometime the boring games are the most solid," Draisaitl said after burying his first of the season to help snap a two-game slide. "We were very solid for 60 minutes ... that's a huge win. "That's more the way we want to play." Kailer Yamamoto was credited with the opening goal for the Oilers (2-3-0), who were coming off consecutive home losses to the Montreal Canadiens, when the Leafs fumbled the puck into their own net in the first. Mikko Koskinen made 25 saves to get the win, while Josh Archibald scored into an empty net with 1:06 left in regulation. Auston Matthews replied for Toronto (3-2-0), which got 19 stops from Frederik Andersen. Correctly billed as a battle of superstars between Matthews and Oilers captain Connor McDavid, one of the only positives from a neutral's perspective was the fact no fans paid for tickets inside an empty Scotiabank Arena because of COVID-19 protocols. "I think both teams watched the pre-scout and were just trying to key in on the top guys," Matthews said. "It was a pretty uneventful game. Not really much going on. "Not really expected, but we've got to do a much better job creating." Edmonton and Toronto will go back at it again Friday in the second of nine North Division meetings between the clubs in the NHL's 56-game abbreviated schedule. Matthews said while the Leafs mostly contained McDavid and Draisaitl — no slouch himself as the reigning Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy winner — at 5 on 5, that shouldn't mean sacrificing their own offensive identity. "Obviously we key in on those two guys," said the Leafs centre, who spent some of the off-season training with McDavid in Arizona. "They're extremely dangerous — two of the top players in the world — but we can't get away from our game. We've got to go out there and play our game and try to produce offence. We've got to play to win, not play to contain two guys. "We were just too safe." Draisaitl snapped a 1-1 tie on the man advantage at 9:12 of the final period with Jake Muzzin in the penalty box for tripping when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' initial shot hit Edmonton's Jesse Puljujarvi in front. The goal snapped an 0-for-12 streak for a power play that led the league with a success rate of 29.5 per cent in 2019-20 before the season was halted by the pandemic. "Maybe that's the bounce that we needed," Draisaitl said. "Maybe that's one we deserved." Toronto wasn't able to do much in response before Archibald fired his first into an empty net. "We're frustrated with the way we started the season," Draisaitl added. "That's a very good team over there — very skilled, very dangerous. Letting up one goal against a team like that, that's always a success." Trailing 1-0 through 40 minutes, the Leafs evened things up at 6:44 of the third when Matthews outmuscled Zack Kassian in the corner before firing shortside for his second on Koskinen. Toronto once again dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, but was left with just 10 skaters up front when Joe Thornton took a hit from Archibald and headed to the locker room with what looked like an arm or wrist injury early in the period. Head coach Sheldon Keefe said post-game it appears the 41-year-old "will definitely miss some time." The Leafs came in feeling good about themselves after consecutive victories over the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets, while the Oilers were in a different frame of mind following those losses to Montreal to close out their four-game homestand to open the season. Playing its first road contest since March 5, Edmonton grabbed a 1-0 lead at 10:42 of the first on a strange own goal. After the Leafs couldn't get out of their zone, Yamamoto fed a pass from behind Andersen's net that Toronto winger Jimmy Vesey intercepted before accidentally firing a clearing attempt in off Muzzin for Yamamoto's second of the campaign. The Leafs held the Oilers to just three shots in the period, but Andersen had to be sharp with a pad save on Alex Chiasson late to keep the deficit at one. Edmonton's power play — which went 0 for 10 and gave up two short-handed goals in those losses to Montreal — got two chances in the second, but continued to struggle with former Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie quarterbacking the first unit in place of the injured Oskar Klefbom. Toronto blue-liner T.J. Brodie then blasted a one-timer late in the period that hit Koskinen, struck William Nylander in front and dribbled just wide. The Leafs got their second man advantage off that sequence when McDavid, who scored a highlight-reel goal that even brought Wayne Gretzky out of his seat to put a bow on Edmonton's 6-4 victory in Toronto last January, was whistled for hooking. Wayne Simmonds fired a shot looking for a tip from Mitch Marner that hit the post before Matthews flubbed one attempt and saw Koskinen snag another with his glove inside the empty rink. "It was a strange game," Keefe said. "It was the first game that felt like a game with no fans. "Being on the bench, it just felt like one of those nights where you try and get something going. We didn't feel like we ever really got there." Notes: Puljujarvi's assist on the winner was his first NHL point since Jan. 19, 2019, after spending all of last season in Finland. ... The Oilers head to Winnipeg for two following Friday's game before hosting the Leafs on Jan. 28 and 30. ... Toronto opens a four-game Alberta road trip Sunday and Tuesday in Calgary. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Two international aquaculture companies are heading to court to try to quash a recent federal decision to phase out controversial fish farms in the Discovery Islands. Mowi Canada West and Cermaq Canada want the Federal Court to set aside federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s decision — in whole or in part — to phase out salmon farming operations in the region by the end of June 2022. But First Nations supporting Jordan’s decision say any reversals of the plan by the court would come at the cost of the inherent rights of Indigenous people. The two fish farm companies are seeking costs and an injunction to suspend the decision, or parts of it, from going ahead until the court hears their applications On Dec. 17, Jordan announced licences for 19 operations in the waters near Campbell River on Vancouver Island were being renewed for the last time and no new fish could be transferred to the salmon farms during the 18-month period. The fisheries minister said her decision was largely the result of overwhelming opposition to the farms expressed by the region’s seven First Nations during government-to-government consultations. Mowi and Cermaq stated in the court application that the fisheries minister gave no advance warning of the decision, and did not allow the companies to provide input on its negative impacts. The minister’s announcement followed heated public debate around the fate of the fish farms and the risks they might pose to wild salmon stocks. The farms are on key migration routes for wild juvenile salmon, and eliminating operations in the Discovery Islands was a recommendation made by the 2012 Cohen Commission investigating the decline of Fraser River sockeye. However, the recommendation depended on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) finding the fish farms posed a danger to wild sockeye. At the end of September, DFO concluded the farm operations posed minimal risk to Fraser River sockeye after studying nine different fish farm diseases. Both Mowi and Cermaq argue in their applications that Jordan’s decision was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally unfair. Cermaq said DFO’s decision not to allow any new fish into its three Discovery Islands farms will force the cull of millions of juvenile fish scheduled for transfer to the region, the loss of 20 per cent of its production volume, and the potential closure of a hatchery. The company also said 21 direct jobs are endangered, in addition to others employed in supporting positions, with total annual wages in the millions of dollars. Mowi stated their affected farms represent 30 per cent of the company’s operations and 645 direct jobs, many held by First Nation employees. The largest operator in the region, Mowi owns 13 of the salmon farms impacted — nine of which were empty of fish when the decision was announced, according to DFO. Both companies said the millions of fish slated for transfer take approximately five years to rear — starting with the selection of brood stock, the spawning of fish, hatching eggs, and finally raising fish until the smolts are ready to grow out in ocean pens. DFO departed from past practice in failing to provide advance warning before making decisions that will materially affect, severely impair and end operations without providing operators a chance to provide input into the decision, the companies said. Jordan also relied solely on input from her consultations with area First Nations, and failed to take social, economic and scientific considerations into account, the companies said. Bob Chamberlin, a former vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and a longtime advocate for wild salmon, said he wasn’t surprised to hear the aquaculture companies want to challenge DFO’s decision. Jordan’s announcement was the result of consulting with the Homalco, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwiakah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations about whether to renew licences for the fish farms operating in their traditional territories, he said. But more than 100 First Nations dependent on wild salmon elsewhere on the coast and along the Fraser River also support the removal of the salmon farms, Chamberlin said. Aquaculture companies regularly express concern about how closing the region’s fish farms will negatively affect First Nations employees, communities, and partners, Chamberlin said. Yet the same companies are willing to challenge a decision by the ministry that is respectful of the inherent Indigenous rights of First Nations, both within the region and across the province. “They only respect us until they disagree with something,” Chamberlin said. “So, really, it’s a conditional acceptance of our human rights.” Homalco Chief Darren Blaney said DFO has had conflicting roles as both a promoter of fish farms and a regulator tasked with protecting wild salmon. Aquaculture companies haven’t faced many decisions contrary to their interests before DFO’s recent decision, he said. “They’ve gotten comfortable, and they didn’t bother to address the issues they were creating with sea lice and diseases,” Blaney said. “They never looked into closed containment or fish farming on land because they’ve had a (free ride) in the ocean.” Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver said the phasing out of the fish farms might impact jobs and revenue, but protecting depleted wild salmon is a question of food security for Indigenous people. “Those who are benefiting from the fish farms are few, (and) at a great expense to the environment and to wild salmon, and many First Nations,” said Silver, who is also fisheries representative for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. The two aquaculture companies may be frustrated by a lack of consultation, but that’s a situation First Nations have a lot of experience with, Silver observed. “The non-consultation argument is something we’ve had for a long, long time,” Silver said. “No one talked to us about certain things that had great effect on our way of life, and are still affecting us.” Chamberlin said he had trouble believing aquaculture companies were entirely surprised by Jordan’s decision, given the Cohen Commission recommended the closure of the farms in December 2020 if DFO determined they posed a minimal risk to wild salmon. Plus, the fisheries minister is developing a plan that is due in 2025 to transition away from open-net pen salmon farms in B.C. waters, Chamberlin added. “The writing was certainly on the wall. It seems to me, (the companies) weren’t proactive,” Chamberlin said. “Their lack of business planning shouldn’t be a legal starting point to overturn a decision made in consultation with First Nations.” First Nations rights will be the collateral damage if the court decides in favour of the agriculture industry, Chamberlin added. “This could result in a message that Crown process with a company is more important, or trumps respect for Aboriginal rights — whether that is the intention or not,” he said. Jordan's office said Wednesday the minister is aware certain companies have asked for a judicial review of her decision regarding aquaculture licences in the Discovery Islands. "As the matter is now before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time,"the ministry said. Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda. In an executive order signed in his first day in office, Biden disband Donald Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released Monday. Trump established the group in September to rally support from white voters and as a response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the lasting consequences of slavery in America. In its report, which Trump hoped would be used in classrooms across the nation, the commission glorifies the country’s founders, plays down America’s role in slavery, condemns the rise of progressive politics and argues that the civil rights movement ran afoul of the “lofty ideals” espoused by the Founding Fathers. The panel, which included no professional historians of the United States, complained of “false and fashionable ideologies” that depict the country’s story as one of “oppression and victimhood.” Instead, it called for renewed efforts to foster “a brave and honest love for our country.” Historians widely panned the report, saying it offers a false and outdated version of American history that ignores decades of research. “It's an insult to the whole enterprise of education. Education is supposed to help young people learn to think critically,” said David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University. “That report is a piece of right-wing propaganda.” Trump officials heralded the report as “a definitive chronicle of the American founding,” but scholars say it disregards the most basic rules of scholarship. It offers no citations, for example, or a list of its source materials. It also includes several passages copied directly from other writings by members of the panel, as one professor found after running the report through software that's used to detect plagiarism. Matthew Spalding, the panel’s executive director and a vice-president at the conservative Hillsdale College, denied any wrongdoing, saying the panel's members “contributed our own work and writing, under our own names, to the 1776 Report, which was an advisory report to the president.” Spalding and other commission leaders did not immediately respond to other criticism levelled against the report. In his order dissolving the panel, Biden said it “sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice.” The American Historical Association condemned the document, saying it glorifies the founders while ignoring the histories and contributions of enslaved people, Indigenous communities and women. In a statement also signed by 13 other academic groups, the organization says the report seeks “government indoctrination of American students.” The sharpest criticism of the report was directed at its presentation of slavery and race. The report attempts to undermine allegations of hypocrisy against Founding Fathers who owned slaves even as they espoused equality. It also attempts to soften America's role in slavery and explain it as a product of the times. “Many Americans labour under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil,” the panel wrote in the 20-page report. “The unfortunate fact is that the institution of slavery has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.” Blight, at Yale, compared it to “a sixth or seventh grade kind of approach to history — to make the children feel good.” He added: “But it's worse than that, because it comes out of an agenda of political propaganda.” The authors argue that the civil rights movement was distorted to advance programs promoting inequality and “group privilege.” It complains, for example, about affirmative action and other forms of “preferential treatment." Ibram X. Kendi, a scholar and historian of racism at Boston University, called the report “the last great lie from a Trump administration of great lies.” “If we have commonly been given preferential treatment, then why do Black people remain on the lower and dying end of nearly every racial disparity?” Kendi said on Twitter. “Whenever they answer this question, they express racist ideas of Black inferiority while claiming they are ‘not racist.’” Other scholars underscored what was left out. The report includes nothing of Native American history, and its only reference to Indigenous people is a racial slur quoted from the Declaration of Independence. In one passage jeered by historians, the authors draw a comparison between the progressive movement in America and fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said the report is intended to discredit contemporary public policies rooted in America’s progressive reform movement. He worries that, even after Biden dissolved the commission, its report could end up in some classrooms. “Historians need to be paying attention to curriculum conversations in localities and at the state level,” Grossman said. “The nonsense that’s in this report will be used to legitimate similar nonsense.” In a public meeting of the commission this month, some members held out hope that Biden would keep the commission alive. But others said they needed to push the report to state and local education officials. “It’s really going to be up to governors and state legislators and school board members and parents and higher education commissioners even students to take this charge and carry this work forward,” said Doug Hoelscher, a White House assistant under Trump. The report ultimately demands a shift in teaching at schools and at U.S. universities, which the panel describes as “hotbeds of anti-Americanism.” It denounces any teaching that breeds contempt for American ideals, blaming that kind of “destructive scholarship” for the nation’s divisions and for “so much of the violence in our cities.” “To restore our society,” the report says, “academics must return to their vocation of relentlessly pursuing the truth and engaging in honest scholarship that seeks to understand the world and America’s place in it.” Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
International students who are on a co-op work term don't have to wait for their permit to begin their job placements, according to a new policy released earlier this week by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Students can start working while their applications for their co-op work permit are being processed. This is a special permit that allows international students to complete all work components related to their academic degree, including co-op terms, internships, and practicum. It is a separate permit that students have to apply for, in addition to their study permit, with which students are authorized to complete non-academic-related work. Amy Braye, the manager of the International Education Centre at Mount Saint Vincent University, said students are now allowed to use the regular work hours allocation from their study permit for their co-op experience while they wait for approval for the special work permit. "Basically the regular work and the co-op work were always separate. And the government has said, listen, we're going to allow that students can use their regular work allotment for their co-op experience, if they want to, and if they can," said Braye. The new policy applies to students who are studying remotely in their home country as well. "In the past, if a student didn't have their co-op work permit, and they said, 'I'm living in China, but Nova Scotia Power wants to hire me, they are OK if I telecommute. Is that acceptable?' We would have advised that no, it's not acceptable," Braye said. But with the new policy, the answer is yes, she said. However, according to IRCC's website, it requires approval from both the institution and the employer. "Ultimately both the employer and the co-op program must be in agreement that the specific opportunity is suitable for remote work from outside of Canada and that the employer can support the student in their learning appropriately," said Janet Bryson, associate director of media relations and issues management at Dalhousie University. A standard study permit only grants students 20 hours per week of off-campus work experience. Students may work full-time off campus during an academic break. "It's still good for students. It means that they can work right towards their co-op, whereas before, they were just barred from working towards their co-op," Braye said. "It doesn't solve all of the problems, because they have to meet the co-op hours that they need." Lu Xu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
TAMPA, Fla. — Kendrick Nunn poured in 28 points and the short-handed Miami Heat beat Toronto 111-102 to end the Raptors' three-game winning streak on Wednesday. Fred VanVleet had 24 points and nine assists to top the Raptors (5-9), while Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby had 18 points apiece. Terence Davis scored 16 points off the bench. Canadian Kelly Olynyk had 15 points for the Heat (6-7), who were missing Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley do to health and safety protocols around COVID-19. The Raptors were coming off a 116-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, their best performance this season and a hopeful sign they'd turned a corner on their early troubles. But on Wednesday, they trailed the Heat by 11 in the first half of a back-and-forth game that saw 11 lead changes through the first three quarters. The Heat led 88-83 to start the fourth. Chris Boucher's cutting layup cut the difference to three points early in the quarter, but Miami replied with an 8-0 run capped by a fadeaway bucket from Bam Adebayo that had the Heat back up by 11 with 6:58 to play. Siakam's jumper with 5:17 to play ended an almost six-minute stretch without a basket for the Raptors. VanVleet's three less than a minute later slashed the difference to nine points. But the Raptors couldn't maintain any momentum, and back-to-back three-pointers by Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala had Miami back up by 15 points. Davis, who connected on all four of his three-point attempts, scored from distance with 1:27 to play to make it a 10-point game, but the Raptors never threatened over the dying seconds. Toronto's sluggish finish has been a worrisome trend this season for a team that was once one of the league's best teams down the stretch. Kyle Lowry scored Toronto's first seven points, but an Iguodala three-pointer and dunk punctuated an 18-6 Heat run late in the quarter, and Miami led 29-23 to start the second. The Raptors picked up the pace in the second, and Anunoby's pair of threes were part of a 9-0 Raptors run that sliced Miami's lead to two points. Toronto went into the halftime break up 58-56. The Raptors host Miami again on Friday, then play back-to-back games at Indiana. The NBA's two-game series model is a way to limit travel and exposure to COVID-19 this season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2020. The Canadian Press
Everyone wants a PET scanner, but not everyone knows what they do. In a nutshell, they pinpoint problem spots in a patient's body so a specialist can consider treatment options. While they are used for heart or neurological anomalies, they are most commonly used in seeking out cancerous tumours. Unlike a CT (computerized tomography) scanner, which uses X-rays to produce a 3-D image of the body, a PET (positron emission tomography) scanner detects tiny “particles” of light, or protons, that are emitted by a radioactive substance injected into the body. The substance used for PET scans emits positrons, which are no bigger than electrons. The amount of radiation is very low and safe. In fact, when they combine with electrons in the body, they are destroyed and give off the tiny specks of light that the machine picks up. The positrons injected are often attached to molecules of sugar called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). Why sugar? Because cancer cells are more aggressive and grow at a faster rate, consuming sugar in the process. The radioactive sugar tends to accumulate around these cells. The result is an eerie glow that shows up on the screen, and the intensity of that glow can even indicate how aggressive the cancer is. Often, a PET scan is done in conjunction with a CT scan and the two merged through computer software. This gives a better framework to pinpoint the glowing tumour. Similar to a PET scanner is a SPECT scanner (ingle-photon emission computerized tomography), except the isotopes used in this case emit gamma rays. Their purpose is to show how a patient's organs are working. They can show how blood flows to the heart and which areas of the brain are more active or less active. Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
The historic inauguration ceremony for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was held in an eerie quiet in a city known for excessive celebrations when a new president is sworn in. But even with many streets empty due to COVID-19 restrictions and a massive security presence, some Americans crossed the country to be there for the big day.
JUNEAU, Alaska — President Joe Biden's administration announced plans Wednesday for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Indigenous Gwich'in. The plans, along with other executive actions, came on Biden's first day in office. Issuing leases had been a priority of the Trump administration following a 2017 law calling for lease sales, said Lesli Ellis-Wouters, a spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Alaska. The agency held the first lease sale for the refuge's coastal plain on Jan. 6. Eight days later, Ellis-Wouters said, it signed leases for nine tracts totalling nearly 685 square miles (1,770 square kilometres). The issuance of leases was not announced publicly until Tuesday, President Donald Trump's last full day in office. Ellis-Wouters said by email Wednesday that she has not “received anything on executive orders that pertain to the ANWR lease sales.” E. Colleen Bryan, a spokesperson for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, said the state corporation, which was issued seven leases and was the main bidder in the lease sale, “can’t speculate what may happen with the new administration.” Biden has opposed drilling in the region, and drilling opponents hope the executive action is a step toward providing permanent protections, which Biden called for during the presidential campaign. His order cites “alleged legal deficiencies" underpinning the oil and gas lease program in calling on the Interior secretary to, “as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, place a temporary moratorium on all activities of the Federal Government” related to implementing the program. The order also calls on the secretary to review the program and potentially conduct a “new, comprehensive" environmental review. Pending lawsuits challenge the adequacy of the environmental review process undertaken by the Trump administration. The fight to open the coastal plain to drilling goes back decades, with the state’s Republican congressional delegation hailing the issuance of leases as “significant and meaningful for Alaska's future.” They criticized on Wednesday the planned moratorium. U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said in a statement that Americans did not give Biden “a mandate to kill good-paying jobs and curry favour with coastal elites.” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said “significant progress” has been made in the past month, with the lease sale and issuance of leases. “The Biden administration must faithfully implement the law and allow for that good progress to continue,” she said in a statement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, said the state “does responsible oil and gas development in the Arctic better than anyone, and yet our economic future is at risk should this line of attack on our sovereignty and well-being continue.” Oil has long been the economic lifeblood of Alaska, and drilling supporters have viewed development as a way to boost oil production that is a fraction of what it was in the late 1980s, and to generate revenue and create or sustain jobs. Drilling critics have said the area off the Beaufort Sea provides habitat for wildlife including caribou, polar bears, wolves and birds — and should be off limits to drilling. The Gwich'in have raised concerns about impacts on a caribou herd on which they have relied for subsistence. "It is so important that our young people see that we are heard, and that the president acknowledges our voices, our human rights and our identity," Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, said in a statement. Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press
As the COVID-19 vaccine program rolls out across the province and country, polls indicate most Canadians intend to get immunized. For the minority who remain uncertain – safety and effectiveness are cited as primary concerns – we gathered the most common questions and turned to scientists, experts, and reputable sources for answers. Do vaccines work? Yes. Every year, vaccines prevent people around the world from contracting dozens of infectious diseases and their variants, including, polio, hepatitis, measles, tetanus, tuberculosis and others. According to the World Health Organization, over the past century, billions of vaccinations have been administered globally, preventing 2 to 3 million deaths annually. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both about 95 per cent effective at preventing symptoms, serious illness, and the development of COVID-19. Seasonal influenza vaccines typically have between a 40 to 60 per cent effectiveness. “When someone receives a vaccine, it stimulates our own body's immune system to produce antibodies to that antigen, that protein,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. The vaccine was developed so fast, is it safe? “The global community of scientists have collaborated in ways we never experienced before, with a single purpose in mind to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the world,” Henry said. “The greatest brains around the world were put to this process and to this task.” Each vaccine manufacturer had to demonstrate clear and substantial scientific and clinical evidence that the vaccines are safe, effective, and manufactured to the highest quality, she said. COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Dec. 10 indicated similar safety levels to other commonly administered virus vaccines. “Health Canada, and other regulators around the world, set the bar high to ensure that any vaccines that came out of this process met those standards, that they were safe, that they worked, and that they were quality vaccine,” Henry said. How long will I be immune after I get vaccinated? Immunity varies for different vaccines. Some provide immunity for years, some for a lifetime, and others, like influenza, for months. So far, the immunity levels have held steady for people who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines beginning with clinical trials last fall. “It's at least three to four months, which is good news,” said Henry. We won’t know the full length of immunity until more time passes. Can I still spread the virus after getting vaccinated? It’s not yet known whether people can shed virus after being immunized. Vaccines are effective tools against the spread of communicable disease. The COVID-19 vaccine will slow the spread of the virus by reducing the number of people who contract the disease and suffer severe illness, but it won’t eliminate the virus. “This disease appeared a year ago, and we've made so much progress in terms of knowledge about this disease in a year it is incredible,” said Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, a pediatric infectious disease physician who holds the Canadian Research Chair in Infection Prevention at the University of Montreal and is also Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). “So yes, there are things we don't know, and I think it is important to acknowledge we don't know. But I don't think that that should stop people from getting vaccinated.” Will I still have to wear a mask after I’ve been immunized? Yes. While the vaccine is about 95 per cent effective at preventing the development of COVID-19, it’s not yet known if a vaccinated person can, subsequently, be an asymptomatic spreader of the virus, just as it’s unknown whether a person can be reinfected after contracting COVID-19 naturally. “That's why, it's still really important that everybody continues to wear masks, to clean their hands regularly, to take those measures that we know prevent transmission to droplets between people,” said Henry. COVID-19 isn’t as serious as public health is saying – why don’t we just let the disease die out naturally? “The risk of complication and death is just too high to let it run its course,” said Quach-Thanh. In Canada, as of Jan. 20, more than 725,000 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 18,462 Canadians had died from the disease (including 1,004 people in B.C.) over the duration of the pandemic. Worldwide, more than 2 million people had died and more than 97 million had been diagnosed with COVID-19. By that date in the U.S., 24.4 million Americans had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 405,000 people had died of it. Virginia Commonwealth University researchers called the COVID-19 mortality rate in the U.S. ‘calamitous,’ comparing it to having 15 Airbus jetliners carrying 150 people crash every day. Will the government make vaccinations mandatory? Neither Federal, nor British Columbian government officials have suggested mandating vaccinations. According to a recent Ipsos poll for Global News, however, 64 per cent of Canadians support mandatory vaccination, while 72 per cent said they would get vaccinated as soon as they could, including 88 per cent of British Columbians polled. Are the vaccine side effects worse than the disease? In Canada, side effects so far have been similar to mild flu symptoms, sometimes intensifying after the second dose, Quach-Thanh said. Common side effects include pain at the site of injection, body chills, fatigue or feeling feverish. These indicate a healthy immune system response and tend to occur within one to three days of inoculation, resolving within hours or a few weeks, according to Health Canada. As of Jan. 20, almost 700,000 COVID-19 shots had been administered in Canada, including almost 98,125 in B.C. By the same date, more than 55 million COVID-19 vaccine shots had been administered worldwide, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. “If something happens, we will hear about it, because the company has to report it to Canada,” said Quach-Thanh. Pregnant women, people with severe autoimmune conditions such as cancer patients, and people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines should consult a health practitioner before getting vaccinated. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? “There is absolutely no way you can get COVID-19 from the vaccine. It is not possible,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at University of California Davis Children’s Hospital in the school’s health bulletin. “None of the vaccines being developed use the live virus. There is nothing in the vaccine that could cause COVID-19.” Should I get vaccinated? “I think that if we are able to stop this pandemic, it will be due to the vaccine, otherwise, it will strain our lives like this for many, many, many years to come,” said Quach-Thanh. “The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are very effective at preventing symptoms, especially severe symptoms, and preventing people from hospitalization and dying from COVID,” said Henry. For more information, visit: BCCDC.ca or Canada.ca Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanor Fran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
A group of high schoolers from Prince George, B.C., are showing support for a teen from Mission who was attacked by two girls last week. On Wednesday, students of Duchess Park Secondary School in the northern city sent cards and letters addressed to the 14-year-old transgender student from the Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver. The student was beaten by two female Grade 8 students at École Heritage Park Middle School on Jan. 11 in an incident captured on video. "I just want to commend you on your strength and resilience for going through such a terrible thing," wrote Daisy Scheifley, Grade 11 student at Duchess Park. "Don't let others' judgment change you or scare you. Never apologize for being yourself." Scheifley was one of the students who watched the video in teacher Tanja Gattrell's class on Tuesday. "Every student felt moved by what happened," Gattrell told Sarah Penton, host of CBC's Radio West. "Lots of disbelief, anger and sadness and confusion on how people could just stand by and not do anything … in this day and age." On Sunday, hundreds of vehicles festooned with pink balloons, rainbow signs and anti-bullying messages drove slowly through a riverfront area of Mission to offer support to the bullied teen. In the past, Gattrell and her students wrote letters to seniors in care homes and decorated school windows with paper hearts to show solidarity with front-line workers. Having communicated with the principal of École Heritage Park last Friday, Gattrell suggested the whole class write to the Mission student after watching the video. "It was very emotional just watching them engage in this [letter and card writing] and doing it so wholeheartedly and lovingly," said Gattrell. Scheifley was encouraged by fellow classmates who shared her desire to show support. "I honestly find it very uplifting that so many kids in our class were so open and supportive and wanted to make a change," she said. "We need to start standing up for others, and it's OK to be different." Two girls have been arrested in connection with a violent incident in École Heritage Park Middle School, which is still under RCMP's investigation. After a separate assault on Jan. 13 at Mission Secondary School, a 14-year-old girl was arrested last Friday. Tap the link below to hear Tanja Gattrell and Daisy Scheifley's interview on Radio West: