Epidemiologist Dr. Isaac Bogoch checks in with The Morning Show to answer the latest COVID-19 questions.
Epidemiologist Dr. Isaac Bogoch checks in with The Morning Show to answer the latest COVID-19 questions.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Paul Lavoie est devenu le nouveau directeur général de Tourisme Côte-Nord le 13 janvier. M. Lavoie assurait l’intérim du poste de directeur général pour l’organisation depuis le mois d’août. Cumulant une quinzaine d’années d’expérience dans le milieu du développement économique et fort d’une « passion inconditionnelle pour la Côte-Nord », M. Lavoie sera chargé d’assurer la poursuite des efforts de promotion et de développement touristique de la région, est-il mentionné dans un communiqué de presse. « Je suis extrêmement content que nous ayons nommé Paul. Ce fut un processus de longue haleine, mais nous avons trouvé le meilleur candidat pour ce poste », exprime le coprésident du conseil d’administration de Tourisme Côte-Nord et maire de l’île d’Anticosti, John Pineault. Paul Lavoie remplace Mario Cyr, qui avait quitté la tête de Tourisme Côte-Nord en août.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — No oil was spilled when a tugboat hit a docked tanker ship and gashed its hull in southcentral Alaska last week, officials said. The tugboat struck the Polar Endeavor oil tanker at the Valdez Marine Terminal Jan. 11, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the collision that injured one crew member of the tugboat named Courageous. The collision happened as the tugboat approached the Polar Endeavour, which was sationary at the dock after loading oil cargo, said Brooke Taylor of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. The tugboat was out of control and collided with the tanker, slicing it open and allowing ballast water from the tanker to spill into the water, Taylor said. “I don’t believe the tanker was in motion,” Taylor said. The tanker underwent repairs to make it seaworthy and both vessels were inspected by the Coast Guard before being returned to service, Taylor said. The 900-foot (274-meter) oil tanker was built in 2001 and is owned by ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s leading oil producer. The gash of less than 3 feet (0.91 metres) happened about 10 feet (3.05 metres) above the water line, said Crystal Smith of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The agency is gathering information and investigating with the Coast Guard to avoid another similar collision, Smith said. “It’s important to understand why this incident happened, to make sure appropriate safety measures were taken to ensure something like this doesn’t happen in the future,” Smith said. The marine terminal is about 100 miles (161 kilometres) east of Anchorage in Prince William Sound, where 11 million gallons (41,639 kilolitres) of oil spilled after the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in 1989. The terminal receives 500,000 barrels of oil produced daily on Alaska’s North Slope. The oil is transferred to tankers and transported to refineries primarily on the U.S. West Coast. The citizens' advisory council, which was created by Congress to help prevent a repeat of the Exxon Valdez spill, is seeking more information about the collision from terminal operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Alyeska contracts with Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, which owns the 140-foot (43-meter) tugboat, Taylor said. Edison Chouest did not immediately return requests for comment. The company took over oil spill prevention and response duties at the port in 2018. An Edison Chouest tugboat struck and dented a tanker that year. Two days later a second Edison Chouest tugboat touched bottom and damaged a skiff. The events prompted Coast Guard investigations. The Associated Press
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter HILLIARD TOWNSHIP – The Ontario government has announced that it is providing financial support through the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program to help Hilliard Township recover from a landslide. Heavy snowfall back on October 29, 2019, coupled with sudden snowmelt, resulted in a landslide on Veley Road. The road is a major access route for the township’s residents, farmers, and emergency service providers. The government says the township may be eligible for as much as $500,000 in provincial disaster recovery assistance funding, which could be used to help rebuild and repair the road. “It’s very crucial,” said Hilliard Reeve Laurie Bolesworth of the funding. “We have quite a few residents back there that could potentially be shut off and we wouldn’t be able to supply access just due to that landslide,” she said in a telephone interview. “So this funding is coming in a crucial time to get the road fixed.” Bolesworth said that when the landslide happened, the damage continued to grow and spread to the edge of Veley Road, with the potential to take out the entire roadway. “We were worried it was going to take out the road, the potential is there for it to collapse into the river as well,” she noted. She said in the spring of 2020 “we used up the road allowance we could to widen up the road to ensure that access was available at all times. The funding gives us a means to repair that landslide and secure it so that the future access for those people back there on that dead-end road will be available at all times.” Bolesworth said in order for the township to forge ahead with the repairs it would have to get an engineer’s report first. She was hopeful the report would be secured and the work would be able to commence “as soon as possible.” Ontario's MDRA program helps municipalities address extraordinary emergency response costs and damage to essential property or infrastructure - like bridges, roads and public buildings - as a result of a natural disaster. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that as partners with municipalities, the government “must ensure that everyone in the province has access to the necessary infrastructure and services they need to maintain their quality of life." "By accessing this funding, Hilliard will be able to make essential repairs to local infrastructure that was damaged by the landslide,” he said in a news release. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
TORONTO — Ontario's labour minister says 25 tickets were issued during a weekend inspection blitz of big-box stores that found the majority were following public health rules. Monte McNaughton says the province ticketed stores for failing to enforce physical distancing and masking rules, and also for failing to have installed some plexi-glass barriers. He says 242 stores were inspected over the weekend throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. McNaughton says a team of 50 inspectors, with the help of local bylaw officers, conducted the blitz. The team found 76 contraventions of the rules, the majority of which were dealt with by issuing orders to improve. McNaughton says the province will ramp up inspections of other workplaces in the coming weeks to ensure pandemic health measures are being followed. He said that starting today, approximately 300 inspectors will begin to visit restaurants providing take-out meals, essential service businesses like gas stations, and farming operations to ensure rules are being followed. McNaughton says overall, the inspections revealed that nearly 70 per cent of big-box stores were following the rules. But the minister said after months of life in the pandemic, the compliance rates should be higher. "This is truly disappointing," he said. "These corporations must do better. Shareholders have the responsibility to keep their workers and customers safe. I want businesses to know if they won't operate safely in this emergency, you won't operate at all." Under the provincial rules, corporations can face $1,000 fines and workers can face fines of $750 for not following public health measures. Meanwhile, York Region shared a list of retailers fined over the last week for violations of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario Act, among them major pharmacy and grocery locations. Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys and Costco locations are among those ticketed. Ontario recently ordered people to only leave their homes for groceries, medical appointments, exercise and work that can’t be completed remotely. Stores selling non-essential goods have been forced to temporarily close and operate solely through e-commerce and curbside pickups. The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said it has conducted more than 34,000 COVID-19 related workplace inspections and halted unsafe work 55 times throughout the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron wants to take further steps to reckon with France’s colonial-era wrongs in Algeria but is not considering an official apology, his office said. A report commissioned by Macron, to be published later Wednesday, submits proposals to improve the complex relationship between the two countries, from opening up war archives to holding commemorations. Macron's office said there will be “no apologies” but that Macron intends instead to make “symbolic acts” aimed at emphasizing recognition of the harsh colonial reality and helping reconciliation between the two countries. Macron will take part in three commemoration days by next year, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the eight-year war with France that resulted in the North African country gaining independence in 1962 — after 132 years of French rule. France will “pursue and broaden” the opening of its archives on the war as work is under way to allow the release of classified secret documents, Macron's office added. Amid other actions, Macron wants to honour Gisele Halimi, a French feminist who supported Algeria’s independence and denounced the use of torture by the French military during the war. He will launch the process aiming at burying her at the Pantheon monument in Paris, a resting place for some of France’s most distinguished citizens. The first French president to be born after Algerian independence, Macron promised to open a new chapter in France’s relationship with Algeria during his term, including facing the countries’ painful history. In 2018, Macron formally recognized the responsibility of the French state in the death of a dissident in Algeria in 1957, admitting for the first time the military's systematic use of torture during the war. He commissioned historian Benjamin Stora last year to assess France’s relation with the memory of Algeria’s colonization and the independence war. Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said last year that his country was awaiting an official apology for France's colonial occupation. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
The historic Eaton Hall will get a new lease on life, thanks to an agreement between King Township and Seneca College. Councillors gave their stamp of approval on the new deal, which will see the famous site revamped and repurposed. Plans are in the works for Township and Seneca staff to work together, designating Eaton Hall as a municipal capital facility. It will be exempt from taxation and the facility will be available for public use. The college initiated the request to council and they wanted to use the facility for special events such as weddings, conferences, etc. In order to do so, the building requires substantial improvements. Staff noted Eaton Hall is an important, significant heritage asset. It has a long history associated with one of Canada’s best known families, the Eatons, founders of Eaton’s department stores. There are several buildings on the 700-acre property that is home to the 35,000-square-foot mansion. It was designed to be the Eaton family country estate and was also a working farm, producing things like butter, milk and flowers for the Eaton stores. The Eatons had planned to retire in King. Lady Eaton was 60 and a grandmother when the estate was completed by 1940. Lady Eaton and her husband, Sir John Craig Eaton, acquired their first parcels of land in King Township in 1920 on recommendation from their friend Sir Henry Pellatt, who owned the nearby Mary Lake property. It took two years to assemble the entire 700 acres. Lady Eaton moved into Eaton Hall three years after demolishing her city mansion, Ardwold. Eaton Hall is adjacent to a body of water named Lake Seneca today, formerly Lake Jonda (a combination of the first three letters of her son John David Eaton’s first and middle names). Design was started in 1932 by architects from the firm of Peter Allward and George Gouinlock. Construction was completed in 1939 and was supervised by John W. Bowser of the Aurora Building Company. Bowser had just worked on the Empire State Building and his Aurora gravesite contains a marker in the shape of that New York landmark. A heritage study back in 2012 indicated the hall, and other structures “exhibit high cultural heritage value worthy of protection.” As part of the lease arrangement with the hospitality company, Seneca will offer affordable and accessible recreation and heritage event space and programs for King residents, non-profits and community groups. The college agreed to offer the ground lease to the municipality for 99 years, at $1 per year. It was challenging to calculate the actual taxes that could be levied on just a portion of the large property. Township staff hired a consultant to conduct an appraisal of the building and seven acres surrounding the facility. This was subjectively pegged at upwards of $14 million. However, the property doesn’t currently pay property taxes, so there is no loss of revenue to the Township. Council also amended the current ground lease with Seneca (made to accommodate the new recreation centre) from 60 years to 99 years. This is advantageous for the municipality for a number of reasons, including a longer-term control of a capital asset, and the ability to refurbish and extend the life cycle of such an asset. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said King is proud having both Seneca and Eaton Hall in the community. It’s important to retain the building’s history and to purpose it for public use. Councillor Debbie Schaefer agreed, noting Eaton Hall is very much part of Canada’s history. “It’s wonderful to think of this structure being brought back to life,” she said, adding King is thrilled to be working with Seneca on this. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Un volet de prêt-à-manger a vu le jour à la coopérative de solidarité Les Choix de Marguerite de Baie-Johan-Beetz pour encourager une saine alimentation et diminuer le gaspillage alimentaire. Derrière les fourneaux, on retrouve le chef cuisinier Sébastien L’Écuyer, récemment revenu habiter dans son village natal. Les plats à emporter qu’il prépare sont vendus à la coopérative depuis décembre, « mais on est encore en rodage », précise-t-il. Unique responsable – et employé – consacré à ce projet, Sébastien s’affaire à cuisiner des mets « pour améliorer la qualité de vie du village et des touristes ». « C’était important pour nous d’avoir quelque chose qui souligne la qualité des produits et des légumes qu’on a à la coop, explique-t-il. Un gros volet du projet, c’est d’utiliser des aliments qui sont très nutritifs pour essayer de faire manger plus de vitamines et de légumes [aux clients], et moins de choses transformées. » La ligne directrice pour le menu : des repas simples et accessibles pour tout le monde. « Je ne suis pas là pour réinventer la cuisine. L’important, c’est que les gens achètent des produits nutritifs et se sentent bien avec ce qu’ils mangent », poursuit Sébastien. Le prêt-à-manger se devait aussi d’avoir une composante écologique importante, fait-il valoir. Les légumes frais proviennent de la serre de la coopérative, « donc on évite le transport des aliments et ça nous permet d’éliminer le gaspillage alimentaire ». Les autres ingrédients sont pris sur les tablettes de l’épicerie. Une attention particulière a été portée au choix de l’emballage des repas, qui se vendent dans des contenants issus d’une fabrication écologique. « Les plats sont compostables, biodégradables ou recyclables. On encourage les gens à les réutiliser les plats plus résistants comme n’importe quel contenant style Tupperware. » Les mets qu’il prépare dans la cuisine de la salle communautaire Phidélem-Harvey vont des dîners rapides (sandwichs, soupes, salades) aux pièces de viande, selon une fourchette de prix allant de 5 $ à 16 $ par plat. En plus de pains au levain cuits quotidiennement, Sébastien estime cuisiner une dizaine de mets différents par semaine, ce qui représente environ 150 plats à emporter. Il aimerait doubler, voire tripler sa production d’ici un an pour atteindre entre 400 et 500 repas par semaine, mais à condition que d’autres personnes se joignent à lui en cuisine. « Le manque de personnel, c’est difficile partout. Si c’est difficile pour Le Goût du Large [de Natashquan] depuis cinq ans, ça risque d’être difficile pour nous aussi. » Un projet qui a mijoté Sébastien L’Écuyer le dit ouvertement : il cherchait à revenir résider à Baie-Johan-Beetz depuis longtemps, mais l’absence de restaurant dans le village posait problème. Cuisinier de formation, il a vogué ces dernières années entre la Minganie, de la pourvoirie La Corneille près de son patelin natal au café-bistro L’Échouerie de Natashquan, les Miels d’Anicet à Ferme-Neuve et Montréal. Puis, la pandémie a frappé : « Je ne voyais plus d’avenir à Montréal. » Le projet de mets à emporter à l’épicerie coopérative germe dans son esprit, mais il a fallu plusieurs mois avant qu’il ne se réalise. Finalement, grâce à la subvention de la municipalité régionale de comté (MRC de Minganie) de 53 486 $, au soutien financier et organisationnel de Les Choix de Marguerite et au coup de pouce du conseil municipal de Baie-Johan-Beetz, qui leur offre la location de la cuisine de la salle communautaire, l’initiative « est sur une belle lancée », considère Sébastien.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
The Municipality of Magnetawan is set to get better internet connectivity sooner rather than later. According to a Facebook post by the municipality, Magnetawan had applied for grant from CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks and was approved on Jan. 18 for three internet tower projects in the Ahmic Harbour and Lake regions. What internet service provider is involved with the project? Spectrum Telecom was selected to provide a broadband solution for Ahmic Harbour and Lake area. How does the funding work? This project is a part of CENGN’s Northern Ontario Residential Broadband program. Supported by the program's funding, Spectrum Telecom will build three self-supporting towers which will use licensed and unlicensed fixed wireless access technology to bring a range of internet access to residents in the area. What type of internet speeds will residents be able to use once the project is completed? The fixed wireless access will allow for internet service up to 50 mbps download and 10 mbps upload speeds. What is a self-supporting internet tower? A self-supporting tower is ideal for areas with limited space and it allows for towers to be built on narrow, unused road allowances. What are some benefits of the project? The multi-tower placement, on both sides of the lake, will ensure a wider coverage area for residents. The release also states that residents could see up to 50 per cent in cost savings over other options. When will this be operational? The project is aiming for a fast network deployment time frame and the release states it will be operational by the end of 2021. According to Magnetawan’s mayor, Sam Dunnett, the broadband initiative will help foster economic growth and retention of the population base within the municipality. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Donald Trump left the White House for the final time as the 45th United States president Wednesday morning, travelling to Florida instead of attending his successor Joe Biden's inauguration. Trump, along with his wife, Melania, walked to the White House lawn and boarded the Marine One helicopter that took off just after 8:15 a.m. ET for Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland. "It's been a great honour, the honour of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world," Trump told reporters before heading to Marine One, rotors whirring, on the South Lawn. "We accomplished a lot." Members of Trump's family gathered for the send-off at Andrews along with the president's loyalists, who chanted "We love you!" "Thank you, Trump" and "U.S.A." Four Army cannons fired a 21-gun salute. The couple will land in Florida and make their way by motorcade to their Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach. His arrival at Mar-a-Lago is being timed to get him behind the wall of the resort before Trump's term as president expires at noon. Trump is the first outgoing president to skip the inauguration ceremony for his successor since Andrew Johnson more than a century and a half ago. Trump refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Joe and Jill Biden to the White House for a get-to-know-you visit. He did follow at least one tradition: The White House said Trump left behind a note for Biden. A Trump spokesman, Judd Deere, declined to say what Trump wrote or characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents. Still popular within his party Trump will settle in Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now than just two weeks ago. Before the Capitol riot on Jan.6, Trump had been expected to remain his party's de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term. WATCH | Presidential historian Thomas Balcerski on Trump's legacy: But although Trump has left the White House, he retains his grip on the Republican base, with the support of millions of loyal voters, along with allies still helming the Republican National Committee and many state party organizations. He also potentially faces a host of other legal troubles unrelated to the presidency. While in Washington, Trump rarely left the confines of the White House, except to visit his own hotel, where foreign dignitaries often stayed, hoping to gain access to administration aide. He and his wife never once ate dinner at any other local restaurant, and never ventured out to shop in its stores or see the sights. When he did leave, it was almost always to one of his properties. In addition to his Florida properties, that included golf courses in Virginia and New Jersey. White House cleaning crews worked overnight Wednesday and were still going as the sun rose to get the building cleaned and ready for its new occupants. In what will be the office of incoming press secretary Jen Psaki, a computer keyboard and mouse on her desk were encased in plastic. A black moving truck had backed up to the door of the West Wing entrance, where the presence of a lone Marine guard usually signals that the president is in the Oval Office. Most walls were stripped down to the hooks that once held photographs, and offices were devoid of the clutter and trinkets that gave them life. The face of at least one junior aide was streaked with tears as she left the building one last time.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Blizzard-like conditions are expected to descend on parts of eastern Newfoundland on Thursday as the provincial election campaign nears the end of its first week. Environment Canada says up to 30 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas, starting Thursday afternoon. Even more snow could cover the easternmost sections of the Avalon, which includes St. John's. And with maximum wind gusts expected to reach up to 100 kilometres per hour, outdoor campaigning will likely come to a halt. It was just over a year ago that one of the worst storms in the province's history dumped more than 90 centimetres of snow on St. John's, paralyzing the city for days. Winds gusting at 134 km/h created snowdrifts up to 15-feet high, and there was a minor avalanche in one neighbourhood near the harbour. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada's parliamentary budget officer says reforms to a federal support program for provinces will nearly triple the cost to Ottawa next year, with the price tag projected to be about $4.5 billion. Yves Giroux says the government's fiscal stabilization program, which transfers cash to provinces that experience steep year-over-year revenue drops, will increase by $2.9 billion in fiscal 2021-22. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a major change to the program in the government's fall economic update. The revenue-insurance plan, which has been around since 1967, will now index the cap on provincial payments to Canada’s rate of GDP growth per person, a ceiling that was previously fixed at $60 per person in 1987. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said the overhaul does not go far enough, calling it a "slap in the face," since even major declines in resource revenue might not trigger the fiscal stabilization, while a five per cent drop in non-resource revenue will. The beefed-up federal support comes as provinces wobble under the strain of record deficits and revenue shortfalls amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
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A Jan. 11 budget presentation made by Corporate Services Director Kale Brown to Aylmer council detailed the financial outline for 2021 and provided a five-year project plan. Mr. Brown first outlined matters that were carried forward into 2021 from the previous year, and how the panemic was affecting certain projects. There are ongoing payroll adjustments for town staff. As a result of the provincial shutdown, some EECC staff will be transferred to other Aylmer departments, such as parks. Mr. Brown said that a tender for the Clarence Street reconstruction project was currently being prepared for this year. While the project was estimated to cost $1.2-million in 2020, the project is now estimated to cost about $1.5-million. The Clarence Street reconstruction was originally scheduled for 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. “The consequence of that is it puts projects starting to stack up on one another,” said Mr. Brown. “So department heads are having to review things that didn’t get completed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and making sure the 10-year plan is adjusted to accommodate all of them again.” “We’re basically doing 10 years’ worth of projects in 9 years.” The development charges, water, and sewer rates study will move forward in 2021. This will allow staff to prepare capital plans, which will assist with the asset management plan and future capital planning for the water and sewer assets. The application for federal-provincial funding for 25 Centre Street renovations has been submitted. The renovations will cost between $200,000 and $250,000 and combine Aylmer town hall with the attached building on Centre Street. This will allow enough space for distanced in person council meetings. The town received $553,810 in 2019 from the province in the form of a modernization grant. Mr. Brown discussed five projects using this funding scheduled to take place this year. $90,000 will go to a records management system. Mr. Brown said this will allow staff to move more digitally in terms of file retention and file tracking. “Once it is established, it actually alters the way you process information, the way you track files, and the way it’s actually searchable and retrievable files as well.” $10,000 of the grant money will be spent on a Human Resources Information System. The add-on module will track staff training, sign offs, and pandemic-related information, such as daily health screenings. A bar code will be applied to tax bills. This will require a redesign that will cost an estimated $3,700. “If you were coming to pay your taxes at town hall, you would put your tax bill stub underneath the bar code scanner and immediately it would pull up information relating to your tax roll.” A parks and recreation master plan will cost $60,000, an item that has been discussed and put forward for several years. It will provide council with direction on available options in that department. $100,000 of this grant will go towards the 25 Centre Street renovation. There are other scheduled projects using this grant money for 2022 and 2023, leaving an unallocated balance left of $27,110. The town benefit renewal in April is projected to cost the town $31,000 more than last year. There is a 1.86% increase in the assessment roll, which represents “growth and expansion that has happened, which is coming online and being taxed for the first time.” This growth should help council address other increased costs, said Mr. Brown. He reiterated the uncertainty regarding the operating conditions in 2021. “We do not have a crystal ball as to how the year will progress. Operating environments can still change and they will be volatile, at least for the first half of 2021.” Councillor Tom Charlton asked for more details about the $60,000 parks and recreation master plan. Mr. Brown clarified that the master plan is a study. It would include input from the public as to what they would like to see from the parks and recreation department. This long-range document would also lay out operations and programming options available to council. The presentation also highlighted a financial sustainability analysis from 2015 to 2019 for the town of Aylmer. The sustainability indicators are prepared by the province, using information from financial information returns, which are submitted by each municipality. Aylmer ranked “low” level of risk in every category throughout 2019 when compared to other south region lower tier municipalities. Some of the indicators include debt servicing cost as a percent of total revenues, annual surplus (deficit) as a percent of own source revenues, and total reserves and discretionary reserve funds as a percent of municipal expenses. There was one “moderate” risk ranking in the debt servicing section in 2017. “That is pretty quickly explained – that was the final retirement of the debt relating to the EECC’s construction,” said Mr. Brown. “The moral of the story is that the financial sustainability in the current financial state of the town of Aylmer has been incredibly conservative and in good financial health for a number of years.” Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
The Muskoka Lakes Snow Trail Association is looking to raise $10,000 to pay for the right equipment to fix their tricky snow trails for sledders this season. Steven Elliott, vice president of the association, said volunteers spend hundreds of hours every year grooming and maintaining trails in Port Carling, Bala, Moonbridge and Bass Lake. He said they pay a lot for special equipment to groom and maintain trails in the swampy lands of Muskoka Lakes. “If we, as volunteers, want to put together the best product that we can for our riders, then we need this equipment,” Elliott said. According to Elliott, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), the non-profit organization financing their club and 230 others in the province, will not cover the expenses of this equipment. The federation declined a request for an interview or comment. The first week of January, the club began a fundraiser to purchase a Skandic Wide Track Utility Snowmobile and a small drag to be pulled behind the machine. The retail price of this Ski-Doo snowmobile begins at $10,099. As of Monday afternoon, Jan. 18, they’ve raised $1,800 via their GoFundMe page. “This is one of the first times we’ve really reached out … or done anything like this,” he said. “The reality is that the permit money people pay doesn’t go far enough to fund some of these types of equipment expenses.” People pay for a snowmobile permit, or season pass, to utilize the trails in the winter. A regular season pass currently costs $270. That money goes toward the grooming and preparation of the trails, including the purchase, fuelling and operation of purpose-built industrial groomers. However, Elliott said the funding doesn’t pay for utility snowmobiles, small drags or brushing equipment. Elliott said the club doesn’t have statistics on how many riders use their trails, but said OFSC's District 7, from Georgian Bay to Algonquin Park, sells 5,000 to 6,000 permits annually. Elliott said the club hopes they’ll receive support from the thousands who use trails like theirs for snowmobiling in Muskoka. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
WASHINGTON — His term at an end, President Donald Trump said farewell to Washington on Wednesday but also hinted about a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years. “So just a goodbye. We love you," Trump told supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he walked across a red carpet and boarded Air Force One to head to Florida. "We will be back in some form.” Trump departed office as the only president ever impeached twice, and with millions more out of work than when he was sworn in and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Under his watch, Republicans lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for inciting an insurrection, two weeks before Democrat Joe Biden moved into the White House, at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation. It was on Trump's on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, that he had painted a dire picture of “American carnage." The first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration, Trump is still stewing about his loss and maintains that election won by Biden was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments. Trump refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Joe and Jill Biden to the White House for a get-to-know-you visit. He did follow at least one tradition: The White House said Trump left behind a note for Biden. A Trump spokesman, Judd Deere, declined to say what Trump wrote or characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents. Members of Trump’s family gathered for the send-off on the military base along with the president’s loyalists, who chanted “We love you!” “Thank you, Trump” and “U.S.A.” Four Army cannons fired a 21-gun salute. Speaking without notes, Trump said his presidency was an “incredible four years.” He told the crowd that he and first lady Melania Trump loved them and praised his family for its hard work, saying they could have chosen to have an easier life. “It’s been something very special. We’ve accomplished a lot,” Trump said, citing the installation of conservative judges, creation of the space force, development of coronavirus vaccines and management of a robust pre-pandemic economy. “I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do, I told you so,” he said of the incoming Biden administration. He acknowledged that his was not a “regular administration” and told his backers that he would be returning in some form. He said the Trump campaign had worked so hard: “We’ve left it all on the field," he said. Without mention's Biden's name, Trump wished the new administration great luck and success, which he said would made easier because he had laid “a foundation.” “I will always fight for you," he told the crowd. “I will be watching. I will be listening.” Before arriving at the airport, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that being president had been the honour of his lifetime. “We love the American people, and again, it has been something very special," he said over the sound of the Marine One helicopter. "And I just want to say goodbye but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.” If the schedule holds, by the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He will face an uncertain future. Aides had urged Trump to spend his final days in office trying to salvage his legacy by highlighting his administration’s achievements — tax cuts, scaled-back federal regulations, normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, taking a single trip to the Texas border and releasing a video in which he pledged to his supporters that “the movement we started is only just beginning.” In his final hours, Trump issued pardons for more than 140 people, including his former strategist, rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of him and his family. Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now from just two weeks ago. Before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Trump had been expected to remain his party’s de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term. For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who have spoken with him say he continues to believe he won in November. He has lashed out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the coming years backing primary challenges against those he feel betrayed him. Some expect him to eventually turn completely on the Republican Party, perhaps by flirting with a run as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge. For all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his term as he began it: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally appeared to have had enough after Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol, hunting for lawmakers who refused to go along with Trump’s unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of a democratic election. White House cleaning crews worked overnight Wednesday and were still going as the sun rose to get the building cleaned and ready for its new occupants. Most walls were stripped down to the hooks that once held photographs, and offices were devoid of the clutter and trinkets that gave them life. While Trump has left the White House, he retains his grip on the Republican base, with the support of millions of loyal voters, along with allies still helming the Republican National Committee and many state party organizations. The city he leaves will not miss him. Trump rarely left the confines of the White House, except to visit his own hotel. He and his wife never once ate dinner at any other local restaurant and never ventured out to shop in its stores or see the sites. When he did leave, it was almost always to one of his properties: his golf course in Virginia, his golf course in New Jersey, his private club and nearby golf course in Palm Beach, Florida. The city overwhelmingly supported Biden, with 93% of the vote. Trump received just 5.4% of the vote — or fewer than 18,600 ballots — not enough to fill the Washington Capitals hockey arena. ___ Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and stronger foreign demand is brightening the outlook for the Canadian economy in the medium term, the Bank of Canada said on Wednesday, as it held its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%. But the central bank warned the economy would contract in the first quarter of 2021 amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and lockdowns, with inflation not expected to return sustainably to target until 2023, keeping interest rates at record lows.
Canada’s three Prairie provinces are particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis, and now their governments are helping make climate data more accessible, according to the head of a new non-profit. Jane Hilderman is executive director of ClimateWest, an organization that launched Tuesday aiming to make data on climate change accessible to municipal planners, land use planners, and other institutional-level groups in the Prairies. Hilderman said all three provinces helped with the startup, as well as the federal government and other organizations. “I know climate can be a divisive topic,” she said in an interview. “There is a strong consensus on the need to do this work. Hopefully, if we do it well, by investing today, you are going to save both hardship and public dollars down the road.” ClimateWest will be part of a network of climate change information hubs across the country, such as Ouranos in Quebec and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in British Columbia. The organization is receiving $2.86 million in total, spread out over three years, as initial startup funding. The government of Alberta has committed $400,000, while the government of Manitoba has committed $510,000, and the federal government is contributing $1.95 million, said Hilderman. In addition, the governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are making in-kind contributions, she said. The organization plans to offer training, as well as a public help desk of sorts to answer questions about climate information. To do so, it will be drawing on experts from the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative at the University of Regina, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg. “I call it the constituency office: Bring us a problem, and hopefully we can help you move things along for your organization in terms of its use of climate information,” said Hilderman. The Prairies have had the “strongest warming to date” across southern Canada, in particular during the winter, according to a report from Natural Resources Canada. Canada’s three Prairie provinces are particularly vulnerable to the #climate crisis, and now their governments are helping make climate data more accessible, according to the head of a new non-profit. One reason is because the Prairies experience large seasonal swings in weather, and will often depart from regular conditions, for example, experiencing droughts or floods. These swings will get more dramatic. Scientists expect the Prairie provinces to be much warmer and wetter in winters and springs, with higher highs and more intense rains. Such impacts may “exacerbate existing societal inequities,” the departmental report noted, “especially among Indigenous peoples, women, people of low socio-economic status, youth and the elderly.” The Prairies have already been the site of the most expensive natural disasters in Canadian history, with 13 of the 20 most costly events since 1983, and six of the 10 most costly events since 2010. These include the $3.9-billion Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016, the $1.7-billion southern Alberta flood in 2013, and a Calgary hailstorm last year that caused $1.2 billion in damage. One area where Hilderman said she anticipates some demand is in the private sector, as more and more businesses look for the climate-related risks facing their assets or operations. While the conversation around climate-risk disclosure has so far happened largely at the level of the Bank of Canada, as well as with large pension funds and investment funds, that is now changing. The supplementary mandate letter issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos on Jan. 15, for example, orders him to “apply a climate lens to all government decision-making.” “It’s going to continue to percolate through the economy as climate becomes a benchmark, or lens, through which decisions get made,” said Hilderman. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer