BC health officials confirmed the first case of the new, more infectious variant in the province. The Vancouver Island resident had recently returned from the UK. Grace Ke has more on this, and the growing number of cases in Canada.
BC health officials confirmed the first case of the new, more infectious variant in the province. The Vancouver Island resident had recently returned from the UK. Grace Ke has more on this, and the growing number of cases in Canada.
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
After a lengthy career as a drug and alcohol counsellor, followed by a stint as a shuttle driver at a diamond mine, you might expect Allyn Rohatyn to go gently into retirement. Not this 77-year-old. Rohatyn decided it was time to go back to his sewing roots and open a business. Last October, he opened Allyn Rohatyn Upholstery in Hay River's Caribou Centre. Rohatyn does all kinds of work, from fixing furniture to repairing skidoo seats. He got his start as a sewer when he was five years old, growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, creating little things like tea towels on his mom's old pedal-powered sewing machine. One of his first creations was a pair of pants he made for his sister out of flour bags. They were a little short for her, with the hem landing about 15 centimetres below the knee. "She said, 'you didn't make the legs long enough.' And I said, 'well I made them for you when you ride your bike so you don't get your pant legs caught in them, they're called pedal pushers.' She had a good laugh about that." Unconventional career path Rohatyn had his first upholstery shop in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, from 1965 to 1975. Around 1980, after "alcohol got a grip on my life and everything fell apart," he went to rehab. Afterwards he got a degree in social work, majoring in alcohol and drug studies at the University of Regina, which led to a career as a drug and alcohol counsellor. In 2006, he came North, taking another job as a counsellor. The job took him all over the North, to places like Fort Simpson, Wrigley and Fort Providence. But he never lost his passion for sewing and sewing machines. After he retired, he said that he needed something to do with his time. "I know some fellas that talk about retiring when they're 65 and I keep insisting to them that, you better have something in your mind that you want to do to keep yourself occupied, because you'll be going downhill quick," he says. But Rohatyn didn't get back into the sewing business quite yet. He fulfilled a long-time dream of working at a mine in the territories when he got a job as a shuttle driver at the Ekati mine. In 2016, however, he suffered a major heart attack. Uses same machine he learned on as a boy He says it was one of the things that inspired him to get back in the upholstery business and open his own shop. Customers can see about four different sewing machines in his shop but he owns 17 of them. He keeps the others at home. He collects them, restores them and then either uses them or gives them away. One of the sewing machines he uses is the same machine he learned on as a boy. He was 12 when his first boss' wife gave him the machine after her husband had died. That machine is more than 80 years old now. "Yep, that's the machine, the one that I use everyday. I have a couple other ones that are industrial machines, I just like to use the one that I learned to sew with." Rohatyn says with a little bit of care and maintenance, the machine still works great to this day, and it's his main work horse in the shop. Never know where business will come from He says his most notable creation so far has been for a dairy farmer whose cows would have their udders so full of milk, they were almost dragging on the ground. "He came in one day to my little shop and he asked me if I could make him a bra for his dairy cows. I thought he was trying to pull my leg. "We went out to his dairy farm, and I measured them all up, and I went back to my shop and I made up this bag with a bra-like feature to it, and a belt that went over top of the cow. Went back out and we put it on the cow, and uh, I think even the cow was happy. "Later on, he asked me if I could make about 20 more of them!"
A large trailer sits in a parking lot behind the Mount Royal Metro station. It's bright and colourful, adding life to a parking lot that is otherwise washed out with snow and construction. Large letters are written on its side: "Wapikoni: First Nations travelling audiovisual and creation studio." Wapikoni is a not-for-profit based in Montreal. They once used the trailer to hold audiovisual workshops for Indigenous youth, but during the pandemic it serves a different purpose. Sheri Pranteau and her team of support workers use it as a home base for the Indigenous Support Workers Project. Watch | Learn more about the project on Our Montreal: The project was founded in 2018 to help people who are Indigenous and homeless in Montreal. At the time, at least 12 per cent of Montreal's homeless population identified as Indigenous, according to a survey conducted by I Count MTL. Since then, the project has expanded to include three more team members. Pranteau was the first support worker to be hired. Her job was to search the streets for people who are homeless and Indigenous, and offer her support. She would brave the cold with nothing more than her coat and what she could carry on her back. But now, Pranteau uses the Wapikoni trailer to collect donations, store equipment and serve hot beverages to people who ask for it. Julia Dubé is a project co-ordinator at Wapikoni. She explained that, due to pandemic restrictions, the organization reduced their programming and stopped providing in-person workshops in the trailer. "Because we weren't using our equipment for our regular activities, the trailer was just kind of sitting there," she said. "So the idea here was to offer some support in terms of equipment." With the addition of the trailer, Pranteau says she and her team can better support people on the street. "[The team] is small but mighty," she said. Every day they do the rounds, walking as far as Place des Arts to meet people, provide support and listen to what they need. If ever they don't have something on hand, they head back to the trailer to get it. But beyond the physical needs, Pranteau also explains the importance of connection. "A lot of them just need acknowledgement," she said. "That's all it takes sometimes, to be acknowledged and to be told, 'you matter.'" She explained that her personal background helps in this regard. She identifies as Cree Anishinaabe, and has had her own experiences that help her empathize with the people she's helping. "I went down a lot of dark roads," she said. "And I paid dearly for those." She credits her community and her elders for helping her get back on her feet. Now she's focused on paying it forward, helping people on the street stay connected to their culture. "Food is one of our things that brings healing, it brings us together," she said. This is why she regularly bakes bannock and brings it with her on her outings. "I just want to help, and see our people rise up and not continue to die and freeze to death," Pranteau said. "I can't save everyone, but I wouldn't want to do anything else."
Bulgaria will ease some coronavirus restrictions from February 4 though restaurants will remain closed for now due to concerns about the new coronavirus variant, officials said on Saturday. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said secondary school students will be allowed to attend classes under a special regime as of next month and will also be able to attend extracurricular sport and dance activities. Bulgaria reopened primary schools and kindergartens in early January - a move that has not led to a spike in infections.
Top-seeded tennis stars under strict lockdown at Melbourne's Grand Hotel are smashing balls against the closed curtains of their rooms to maintain their form for the upcoming Australian Open. Players and support staff whose chartered flight landed in Australia last week immediately began two weeks of quarantine to limit the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the year's first Grand Slam tournament, which runs Feb. 8-21. Some are allowed to leave their hotel for limited training, but 72 players are facing stricter quarantine measures after six people on those chartered flights tested positive for COVID-19. Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski, ranked 10th in the world in women's doubles, is in Melbourne. She spoke to CBC's Ottawa Morning. The conversation has been edited for length. What type of quarantine are you under? Unfortunately, I was deemed a close contact as three people tested positive on my flight, so I'm in full isolation where I am not permitted to leave my room for 14 days. On flights where there were no positive cases, players and their teams are allowed to train for about four hours a day, plus one hour of allotted time for nutrition at the venue. So a total of five hours. How did you get the news, and how did you react to it? I got the news via email. For about five minutes I had a full-on mental breakdown, but after talking to my parents and my doubles partner and a couple friends, I calmed down and put things in perspective. The first day was definitely a challenge. I was trying to figure out how to train in the room, and what Tennis Australia and the government would allow us to have in our rooms to help, equipment-wise. It was a whirlwind that first day. We've seen video of the American Coco Gauff slamming tennis balls against curtains in her hotel room to practise. To what extent are you practising? I don't really want to do that. I'm still in a hotel, it's not my property, I'm not going to risk breaking anything. I'm not really sure exactly how much hitting the ball against a mattress or a window can really help you, but sometimes it's just believing something will help, like a placebo effect. I had a stationary bike, but it was a little bit broken and I couldn't fix it, so I'm going to get another bike. They've graciously given us some weights. I've got a kettlebell and some dumbbells to keep up with strength training. You mentioned that players on unaffected flights are allowed to leave their rooms for several hours a day to practise on the tournament grounds. Do you feel that gives them an unfair advantage? Of course they have an advantage, but at the same time, I would not subject anyone else to this. I know it's been extremely tough for Australians because they've been through a very, very tough lockdown for many months. Now things are open and COVID is pretty much non-existent here. I fully respect how they've handled the pandemic. I just hope that everybody can come out of it injury-free, and I'm sure there'll be some adjustments made for us to have priority physio and court time once we get out of it. Since discovering that you were a close contact on the charter flight, have you had another COVID test? Yes. Every day. And every day, the results have been negative. Some of the players have likened the conditions of their hotel quarantine as being like jail, but with Wi-Fi. Australians have been very critical of that reaction. What do you think? I have a huge amount of respect for what Australians have gone through to be living COVID-free right now. So on one hand, I agree with them, and making a comment like that seems quite insensitive. On the flip side, we've technically been working since age seven and eight, dedicating our entire lives to our craft. We were invited to come here. Yes, there were exceptions made for us, but I think most people can agree that the Australian Open and tennis tournaments in general are a huge benefit to the local, national and international tennis community. I won't be making any comments about the conditions, because while they are difficult, there are absolutely worse things that are going on in the world. Have you been vaccinated yet for COVID-19? No. Do you think that athletes should be fast-tracked for vaccinations? That's a hard question. I feel like there are other people that should get vaccinated ahead of us, but if more vaccines were available, then that could be something that's looked at. I've had a couple of people tell me that maybe I should hold off on getting vaccinated even if it is available, just to see how people react. What is your strategy for the next 14 days of quarantine? I'm catching up on some shows and some books that I didn't have time to get to during my preparations before heading over here. I've also got some school courses that I've just started. We've got a bunch of player calls to keep us occupied. There's no real reason to be bored. Dabrowski will team up with Croatia's Mate Pavic in mixed doubles and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in women's doubles.
WASHINGTON — The heads of three federally funded international broadcasters were abruptly fired late Friday as the Biden administration completed a house-cleaning of Donald Trump-appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Two officials familiar with the changes said the acting chief of the USAGM summarily dismissed the directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks just a month after they had been named to the posts. The changes came a day after the director of the Voice of America and his deputy were removed and the chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting stepped down. The firings follow the forced resignation of former President Donald Trump’s handpicked choice to lead USAGM only two hours after Joe Biden took office on Wednesday. Trump’s USAGM chief Michael Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn VOA and its sister networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Pack had appointed all of those who were fired on Thursday and Friday to their posts only in December. The two officials said the acting CEO of USAGM, Kelu Chao, had fired Middle East Broadcasting Network director Victoria Coates, Radio Free Asia chief Stephen Yates and Radio Free Europe head Ted Lipien in a swift series of moves late Friday. It was not immediately clear if any of those removed would try to contest their dismissals. The White House appointed Chao, a three-decade VOA veteran journalist, to be the agency’s interim chief executive on Wednesday shortly after demanding Pack’s resignation. Chao did not respond to phone calls seeking comment about her actions. The two officials familiar with the dismissals were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. Coates, Yates and Lipien, along with former VOA director Robert Reilly and former Cuba broadcasting chief Jeffrey Shapiro were all prominent conservatives chosen by Pack to shake up what Trump and other Republicans believed was biased leadership in taxpayer-funded media outlets. Reilly and his deputy Elizabeth Robbins were removed just a week after coming under harsh criticism for demoting a VOA White House correspondent who had tried to ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question after a town hall event. Pack had created a furor when he took over USAGM last year and fired the boards of all the outlets under his control along with the leadership of the individual broadcast networks. The actions were criticized as threatening the broadcasters’ prized editorial independence and raised fears that Pack, a conservative filmmaker and former associate of Trump’s onetime political strategist Steve Bannon, intended to turn venerable U.S. media outlets into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Biden had been expected to make major changes to the agency’s structure and management, and Pack’s immediate dismissal on inauguration day signalled that those would be coming sooner rather than later. Pack had not been required to submit his resignation as his three-year position was created by Congress and not limited by the length of a particular administration. VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
As a passionate ice fisherman, there isn't much that can keep Ron Estey from his favourite hobby — except maybe this year's ice conditions. "I'm almost 40 years old and I've never seen the ice like this," he said. "It's just been a terrible year for ice production." While some bodies of water "in the back country" may have four to six inches of ice, most waterways still aren't safe, says Estey. "I would definitely use extreme caution anywhere in the southern part of the province right now." Estey is the moderator of the New Brunswick Ice Fishing page on Facebook and has travelled the province and beyond for ice fishing. While he has managed to do some ice fishing already, including last week at Killarney Lake in Fredericton, most of his favourite spots are far from ready. Glancing out his work window aboard the Belleisle Bay ferry, he said many waterways froze for the first time this week. "We haven't had a freeze up in the bay until just this week," said Estey, adding that he could still see open areas on the bay from his vantage point. "The river system is definitely not safe," he said. Estey, who lives in Hammondvale near Sussex, said his threshold for ice fishing is a minimum of four inches (10 cm) of ice. He's been keeping a pretty close eye on the two-week weather forecast and he's hopeful that continuing cold temperatures will mean the ice will be thick enough in a few days. Snowmobilers are also being warned about unsafe conditions. Ross Antworth, the general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, says the responsibility lies with individual operators to ensure the ice is safe before they venture out. "Snowmobilers are responsible to check ice crossings themselves," he said Friday. "This has always been the case, and with a late start to winter and unseasonably warm temperatures, we would caution anybody, before they put themselves, or their snowmobile, on any ice." With such a late start to the ice season, this isn't exactly a great year to launch a new ice fishing business. But that's exactly what Brett O'Neill has done. O'Neill owns The Shacks, which rents out fishing huts at the Renforth ice fishing village in Rothesay — or it would if there was enough ice. He has three huts that come with everything one would need to give ice fishing a try — holes, poles, bait, and wood for the stove. O'Neill, who operates the business with his girlfriend, Maya Dempsey, is disappointed that the start of his first season is delayed, but he's hopeful that with a few more days of cold temperatures, they will still have two solid months of operations. "I don't know if anybody's out there yet right now. It wouldn't surprise me if people were out there tomorrow or the day after. That wouldn't surprise me one bit … Somebody has to be the tester." Ecological impact The late freezing of waterways could also have an effect on the ecosystem, explained Tommi Linnansaari, a fish ecologist and associate professor at the University of New Brunswick. The normal accumulation of ice and snow provides a more predictable environment for the aquatic world beneath, explained Linnansaari. With a solid ice surface and a decent layer of snow, temperatures are stable and the amount of light is reduced. Linnansaari said aquatic creatures "have evolved through eons of time with conditions where ice cover is the norm." They assume those conditions will continue and they prepare for winter accordingly, often slowing their metabolism and food intake. Warmer temperatures and more light lead them to be more active, thereby expending more energy, he explained. "So there might be repercussions to the energy balance of the fish." Linnansaari likens it to battery life. He said fish have a finite wintertime battery life. "Some may basically run out of battery, so they'll die. That would be the extreme outcome." He said some fish species are more at risk than others, particularly the ones that are "completely inactive" in the winter — species like yellow perch and minnow-type fish. Warmer winter temperatures may also have further implications on the food chain, said Linnansaari. Warmer water temperatures could trigger certain invertebrates to hatch earlier, creating a "temporal mismatch," which means that they may not be available as a food source for species that count on them at critical stages of their development — salmon hatchlings in June, for example. "These are the sorts of things that we don't know yet if they'll manifest, but it's conceivable that that is what is going to happen," he said.
A naked Florida man stole what news footage showed to be a marked police vehicle and crashed it in a wooded area, officials said. Joshua Shenker, 22, was arrested after Thursday's crash on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of communication or protection and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report. Officers responded to reports of a naked man running along Interstate 10 in western Jacksonville shortly before noon Thursday. Shenker was lying in the the roadway when an officer stopped on the opposite side of the route, the report said. Shenker then ran across the highway lanes toward the officer, officials said. The redacted report didn't say how Shenker stole the vehicle. Authorities confirmed only that a vehicle belonging to the City of Jacksonville was stolen. First Coast News footage of the scene showed the crashed vehicle to be a marked patrol car. According to the police report, about $10,000 worth of damage was done to the vehicle. Officers noticed Shenker had road rash after the crash and he was taken to a hospital to be checked out, authorities said. Shenker was being held on $4,011 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney for him. The Associated Press
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine. Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It's said to contain honey and nutmeg. Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the town of Kegalle, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it. The maker of the syrup said he got the formula through his divine powers. In local media, he claimed the Hindu goddess Kaali appeared to him in a dream and gave the recipe to save humanity from the coronavirus. Sri Lankans are used to taking both the regular medicine and indigenous alternative drugs to cure ailments. Meanwhile on Saturday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka will receive the first stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Jan. 27. He said India is giving this stock free of charge and his government is making arrangements to purchase more vaccines from India, China and Russia. On Friday, Sri Lanka approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. The vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use in Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry says the inoculation will begin by mid-February. Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease in October when two clusters — one centred on a garment factory and the other on the main fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs. Sri Lanka has reported 52,964 cases with 278 fatalities. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the town where people lined up for the syrup was Kegalle. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Canadian food policy analyst and writer Wayne Roberts died on Jan. 20 at the age of 76 after battling leukemia, leaving behind his wife and children, but also a legacy of advocacy rooted in food security. Roberts was highly respected for his work in food policy and his role as manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council from 2000 to 2010 where the Toronto Food Charter was developed under his leadership. But Roberts was not only known and well-respected for his work in food advocacy and sustainability — he was a friend to many. Anan Lololi, executive director of Afri-Can FoodBasket, considered Wayne Roberts a partner in advocating for food security, as well as a dear friend. Lololi says he was encouraged by Roberts' work in food policy and sustainability within his own work in fighting for food justice and food sovereignty. "He is the godfather of good food policy for Canada for the things that he contributed to food policy in Toronto and Canada at large," Lololi said. Roberts worked as a leading member of the City of Toronto's environmental task force and helped develop a number of plans, including the Environmental Plan and Food Charter, which was adopted by city council in the early 2000s. He was also a regular columnist for NOW Magazine focusing on issues of food insecurity, social justice and public health. The magazine named Roberts one of Toronto's leading visionaries of the past 20 years. Roberts was an author of a number of books including Get A Life!, Real Food For A Change, and The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food. Lololi says he remembers Roberts bringing humour and wit to every conversation, casual or professional. He described him as a people person who looked out for low-income folks and diverse communities within Toronto. The pair last got to work together with the Black Creek community of Jane and Finch where they looked into food as medicine, but his legacy will live on for years to come both locally and nationally. "As a person that's so highly respected in food policy development, it was an honour for me to work with him within this community," Lololi said. "He's that type of person who really wants to get to the bottom of what the issue is so he can work with that particular community." Roberts received the Canadian Environment Award for his contributions to sustainable living in 2002 and went on to receive the Canadian Eco-Hero Award in 2008. Tammara Soma, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University says although she was not related to Roberts, his death hit her "very, very hard." Soma says Roberts was a "superhero" of hers. Originally from Indonesia, when Soma first came to Canada as an undergraduate student, she distinctly remembers meeting Roberts for the first time. He was dressed in a carrot costume handing out carrots at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. From that moment on, Soma says, Roberts offered his help and mentorship — something he would commonly do for anyone who wanted to take part in the food movement. Soma, one of the founding members of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, says Roberts' efforts in helping give a voice to the youth in particular has made him a hero to many, not only her. "He's a pollinator...he's like this beautiful dandelion, it just spreads everywhere, his positivity, his passion, his power," she said. "I will always be fully indebted to him because of that." Joe Mihevc, former Toronto city councillor, says one of his fondest memories of Roberts was his involvement in Toronto's re-integration of chickens in the city. Mihevc said during the last meeting of the Toronto Urban Hen project, he pulled a prank on Roberts by giving him two chickens. "The joy of that story is just the look on his face and I think it's the only egg that has ever been laid at city hall," he said. Mike Schreiner, Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader, said Roberts' influence on Toronto's local food scene was paramount. "When someone in Toronto goes to a farmers' market or they harvest from a community garden or they see that their local grocery store has more local food in it — Wayne played a vital role in making that happen," he said. Former Green Party leader Jim Harris said Roberts taught him a special lesson in life. "As he was dying, he and I would laugh a lot as we always did — and he and I coined the term 'radical happiest'," Harris said. "Living with joy I think is the greatest lesson that I've learned from Wayne."
OTTAWA — A Senate committee should examine the hurdles that make it difficult to use secret intelligence in Canada's courts, says the government representative in the upper chamber. Sen. Marc Gold says "a fresh look" at the vexing issue would help highlight possible solutions that could make terrorism and espionage cases unfold more smoothly. "This is not an issue that's going to go away," Gold said in an interview. "There are reasons we are where we are." A former high-ranking U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation official recently spoke out about how the challenges caused delay and frustration in putting handcuffs on Jeffrey Delisle, a Canadian navy officer who was selling secrets to the Russians. Frank Figliuzzi, who was the FBI's head of counter-intelligence, said it fell to him to tell the RCMP about Delisle's betrayal even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been monitoring the sub-lieutenant. CSIS, acting on legal advice, opted to keep its investigation sealed for fear of exposing sources and methods of the intelligence trade in open court. The Liberal government has acknowledged that federal agencies face challenges when attempting to use intelligence in a form that is admissible as evidence. Shortly before being appointed government representative in the Senate, Gold, a constitutional law expert, proposed that a committee delve into the subject. "The fear that sensitive information may ultimately be disclosed may lead our intelligence agencies to decide not to share it with law enforcement, with a corresponding and very real risk to public safety," he told the Senate. "And lest you think this is merely a hypothetical example, you may remember that CSIS chose not to share with the RCMP information it had in the period leading up to the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, which killed 329 people aboard." This "dilemma or conundrum" has led to "very complicated provisions" governing disclosure of evidence, including parallel proceedings in which designated judges of the Federal Court wrestle with the issues while a trial takes place in a different court, Gold noted. It can also mean the use of closed hearings where the affected party — often someone facing criminal charges — is not privy to the intelligence information, as well as the use of amicus curiae, or friends of the court, in certain legal proceedings or security-cleared special advocates in other cases, he said. "These mechanisms have their proponents and their critics, but all stakeholders tend to agree that the intelligence-to-evidence issue has potentially serious impacts on criminal prosecutions for terrorism, administrative proceedings regarding immigration, and on national security and public safety itself." Gold's motion evaporated when Parliament was prorogued last year, but he said in the interview he remains hopeful the Senate national security and defence committee will do a study. "I continue to believe that the issue is one that should be looked at in a serious and comprehensive and non-partisan way." A committee examination would also cast a light on a shadowy topic many know little about, which could help build public support for police and security agencies — something that is critical if they are going to protect Canadians and "the values that define us," Gold said. CSIS, the RCMP and the Department of Justice are working to improve their collaborative approach, Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said recently. Briefing materials prepared for Blair in late 2019 said work on the question had found that the legal framework was largely sound and that a drastic legislative overhaul to mandates or machinery was not needed. The way forward, instead, consisted of "significant operational reform" at key agencies, complemented by targeted policy and legislative measures. The changes could also involve "significant budgetary considerations," including money for new personnel and advanced information-technology systems, the notes said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
As thousands of new migrant workers begin to arrive in Windsor-Essex, some local leaders fear a looming crisis lies ahead. Last year, hundreds of migrant workers in the region contracted COVID-19 and two died after falling sick with the disease. As of Friday, 12 farms in Leamington and Kingsville are in outbreak. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also reported that 57 agri-farm worker cases are active and 104 more are in isolation. As cases begin to ramp up while new workers arrive — with the County of Essex estimating that between 600 and 700 new workers have already landed in the region — local officials worry that last summer will repeat itself. Despite all levels of government implementing new strategies and providing extra funding, the question remains as to whether lessons were actually learned from 2020 and whether workers will be kept safe the second time around. Up to 2,000 workers are expected in coming weeks, with 10,000 arriving by June. Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said that some of the new workers have already shown up and tested positive for COVID-19, though CBC News could not confirm that. He said he's concerned with how these workers are being integrated into the workforce and inspections on how they're being quarantined upon arrival. Those inspections, he said, are done virtually and the government doesn't follow up in person, which leads him to question the integrity of the quarantine. He added that they don't know where each worker is supposed to be quarantining and, as such, town officials cannot respond to those who might be breaking the rules. "If we're being asked to enforce it, we can't, we don't have the information that's been required," Santos said. "The [Ontario Provincial Police] have told us their hands are tied, because they don't have the data." Santos and Essex County Warden Gary McNamara said they put their concerns in a letter to the federal and provincial governments in the hopes that they will provide more guidance. "We're asking the governments and the powers that be to utilize their requirements, strengthen them based on the experience that we've already gone through and bring that oversight," Santos said. "[They've] allowed this program to continue with certain restrictions and guidelines ... and we're asking them to police it and bring forward the boots on the ground, the enforcement that they've approved." 'I don't believe we're in that same position' But Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), says he doesn't believe that they're "in that same position" as last year. "There are so many eyes on this that I find it strange that people think that that isn't happening. I don't get it," he told CBC News. "I don't think we're looking at the same situation that we saw in March and April of last year." He said OGVG has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to develop tools and supports for farmers. As for the quarantine process, Sbrocchi said it's straightforward: workers arrive and tell Canadian Border Services where they are headed, that information is passed to local law enforcement that will check in. Yet he couldn't say whether inspections or check-ins on the workers were happening in-person or virtually. He added that he's not aware of any new workers showing up and testing positive. "If the question is do I think that people are acting inappropriately, I do not and I certainly wouldn't be supportive of it," he said. "Farms will do everything possible to be cooperative ... it's in their interest in every way possible ... We are doing everything possible to take care of this as best we can." The province responded to Santos' letter and said they are closely working with federal and local authorities to "ensure there is a coordinated response when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 on farms." In November, the province announced 35 actions to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on farms. The actions required participation from farmers, workers, the government and the industry. Short-term solutions referred to the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing practices, widespread adoption of screening practices and limiting the number of workers moving between farms. A key long-term solution was better housing standards. In an emailed statement to CBC News, the federal government said it has invested nearly $85 million to cover the cost of worker quarantines and that it has extended funding for Windsor's Isolation Recovery Centre until March 31.
A Sudbury startup will receive $500,000 from the federal government to help commercialize an innovative medical device and create local jobs. Flosonics Medical will use the funds to hire a team of software developers and industry experts to develop the IT infrastructure needed to roll out its FDA-cleared FloPatch medical device. The IT infrastructure will ensure that the device can be fully integrated with various medical records systems in hospitals and clinics in Canada and the United States. “This device right here is the world’s first wireless wearable ultrasound system,” said Flosonics Medical COO and co-founder Andrew Eibl. “What we’ve done is turned a complex technology into a wearable that is push-button simple that allows nurses and clinicians to get the data they need to care for their patients when they are critically ill and when important decisions need to be made.” The technology allows for real-time hemodynamic monitoring for patients that need cardiopulmonary and fluid resuscitation. When a patient is critically ill and experiencing major trauma, they are often pumped full of fluids to increase blood flow. This process must be monitored closely, especially in patients with weaker hearts. It’s usually done via traditional ultrasound, which can be a slow, inefficient two-person job. The FloPatch is a peel-and-stick Doppler blood flow monitor that can assess patient response to fluid intake. Any paramedic, nurse or physician can use it, and it can also be used to monitor patients remotely. “The project that we’re announcing today is ultimately to enable the deployment and interoperability of this technology in a hospital throughout different departments,” said Eibl. “The system that we’re developing, through hiring at least five new software developers, is going to enable us to roll out communications across North America, as well as leverage that information to further drive the business-use case around the quality metrics that are important to healthcare systems as well as patient outcomes.” The funding will help the company develop IT systems in its early pilot sites and, eventually, roll them out in Canada and the U.S. as the company continues to grow. “It will help doctors make better informed decisions that impact quality of care, and hopefully get patients out of the hospital sooner, avoid complications, and reduce the cost of the overall healthcare delivery system,” said Eibl. FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program is providing the funding. “Supporting Sudbury’s innovators and job creators is a key priority of our government,” said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre during the funding announcement on Friday. “I’m excited that this investment in Flosonics Medical will help launch a promising new medical device that has the potential to significantly improve patient care in Sudbury and around the world.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
An arts organization in Chatham-Kent is looking for contributions for a unique community project to mark Black History Month. The theme of the project is "celebrating Black lives" and the Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace are seeking submissions from the public for original works of art on the theme. The art can be any media, including painting, drawing and writing. The public submissions will be combined and set up in a pandemic-friendly public display. "What we're having people do is produce a piece of work and then photograph it and then send it to us and we will print it out and then assemble it in the form of a quilt," Phil Vanderwall, curator of the Thames Art Gallery, said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Friday. The completed work will be displayed in the window of the ARTspace gallery on King Street in downtown Chatham. "So it's a nice public space," he said. The 'quilt' format of the project allows for community participation while preventing close contact. Both ARTspace and the Thames Art Gallery are closed due to COVID-19. Vanderwall said quilt-making is currently undergoing a bit of a revival. "This seemed like a good opportunity to explore that," he said. Submissions are already coming in and the deadline is Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m. The quilt will be unveiled Feb. 5 and will remain on display until Feb 26.
Less gas, more green. That is the motto behind the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a federal program that recently awarded $800,000 toward green energy projects in Inuvik — one of the biggest consumers of diesel in the north. The money was awarded to Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd., a Gwich'in development corporation. Sullivan said he is hopeful to put the money to use this summer. "The Gwich'in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich'in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities," Gwich'in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said. Two solar projects slated The new funding is set aside to pursue solar projects in the Beaufort Delta region, according to the federal press release. The projects include a 2021 solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, with funds to help with implementation and training, and planning for a grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik, slated to start in 2021 and be completed by 2022. Nihtat Energy Ltd. has a history of green initiatives and collaborations in the north. Last year, the company teamed up with The North West Company to install 640 solar energy panels on the roof of the Inuvik Northern store, saving approximately $60,000 in electricity expenses annually. The announcement comes four months after the federal government also pledged $8 million for eight clean energy projects in the territories.
Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan's air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan's air force deployed missiles to "monitor" the incursion, the island's defence ministry said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months.
An Edmonton man who admitted stabbing his stepfather with scissors at a Christmas Day family gathering three years ago has been acquitted of second-degree murder. Stephan Kody was found not guilty this week in the Dec. 25, 2017 death of Eddie Melenka at a home near 73rd Avenue and 77th Street. In his decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain said the Crown "has not negated Mr. Kody's plea of self-defence" so the homicide "will have to remain a non-culpable homicide." The Crown had argued that Kody should have been convicted of "at least" manslaughter, Germain said. But he said he didn't need to consider a manslaughter finding because he concluded that Kody "is entitled to the benefit of the doubt about self-defence." The stabbing occurred on Christmas Day. A family gathering fuelled by alcohol, drugs and karaoke had started the night before. Kody, who was 22 at the time, and Melenka, 48, had been drinking alcohol "all day" and snorting cocaine. The cocaine belonged to Melenka, who was sharing it with Kody in the master bedroom. Kody admitted that he did at least three or four lines of cocaine and that a dispute arose over whether he could count on his stepfather to leave him another line. According to Germain's decision, the two men got into a fight. Melenka pushed Kody over a couch. Kody grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and ran back to the bedroom. Kody said Melenka followed him into the room and attacked him. Kody fought back with the scissors. "One of the wounds entered Mr. Melenka between his top second and third rib and proceeded downward into his heart which led to bleeding into the chest cavity and despite prompt, competent and aggressive medical intervention, Mr. Melenka succumbed to his wounds," Germain said. The Crown had argued for Kody to be convicted of at least manslaughter because the stabbing stemmed from Kody's anger that his stepfather had stopped him from continuing to use his cocaine. The Crown had also said that picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing someone near the heart reflects an intention to kill, and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Kody was not in full control of his faculties at the time. The defence lawyer argued that his client's evidence should be believed as being "reasonable, logical, and consistent with all of the background facts," Germain said. The judge noted that Kody gave evidence indicating that he was afraid of being beaten by Melenka, a larger man who was a more capable and experienced fighter. Photos taken of Kody following his arrest revealed that he had been subject to a beating. The stabbing was not witnessed by the other five people who were in the house. "Given the amount of alcohol and cocaine consumed that night and the circumstances of this homicide, I could not, under any basis, conclude that the requirements for second-degree murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Germain said. "Therefore, if I am wrong about the Crown's failure to prove that self-defence did not apply, Mr. Kody would've been convicted only of manslaughter. "In the event of successful appellate review by the Crown which does not result in a retrial, arrangements to sentence Mr. Kody on the basis of manslaughter should be considered."
What began as a side project for Canadian journalist Daniel Dale soon ballooned into a full-time job, as he fact-checked U.S. President Donald Trump — often in real time — and Trump's near-daily spreading of misinformation. Now, with Trump's four-year term over, Dale reflects on some of Trump's most damaging and befuddling lies. Dale went to Washington to cover analytical and human interest stories for the Toronto Star, where he was the paper's bureau chief for four years. He began fact-checking Trump as a side project. The president, he soon found, provided ample material to work with. "It turned out that the president lied so frequently that it could be a full-time thing," said Dale, speaking with CBC's Leigh Anne Power. "And that's what it became for me." Dale, who moved to CNN in 2019, was often sought out for what was true — and more often what wasn't — in Trump's tweets, speeches, remarks and news conferences. Dale now has more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter. The volume and frequency of Trump's tweets created a demanding schedule, said Dale, and fact-checking the president soon became a kind of lifestyle. "He would lie from sometimes 6 a.m. when he would get on Twitter, to just about midnight where he would stop tweeting," said Dale. "You could be watching a game, or watching a movie, or out at a park or something and just have to jump because the president had said something wildly untrue and your editor is calling." 'Ridiculous' and 'unique' Like other social media companies, Twitter suspended Trump's account indefinitely over his role in this month's violent riot at the Capitol. Through the months, Trump's tweets often veered from the potentially violent to the outright bizarre. While Dale says that all politicians lie or bend the truth in order to win elections or play-up their personal accomplishments, Trump would often claim outlandish and easily verifiable facts about himself. "He claimed that he was once named 'Michigan Man of The Year', even though he never lived in Michigan," Dale said. "There's no reason he would've gotten this award, he did not get this award, but he kept saying it." Another of Trump's lies which stood out was a claim that he had been called by the leader of the Boy Scouts of America, and was told that he had given the greatest ever speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree event. The Boy Scouts of America confirmed to Dale that had never happened. "He made that up, the White House later admitted it," said Dale. "So a president who lies about the Boy Scouts is a pretty unique president." Dangerous tweeting Though Trump's time in office yielded many remarkable claims and fabrications, the more serious of his lies, said Dale, were the ones which put American institutions and lives at risk. "The lies that he won the election, that it was rife with fraud, Joe Biden stole it, or it was rigged— all that. I think we've seen the serious damage to democracy," he told CBC's Newfoundland Morning. In addition to allegations of election fraud, Dale said that the most damaging day-to-day implications of Trump's lying were the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to Newfoundland Morning's interview with Daniel Dale, beginning at 9:30: "[Saying] things were under control and it wasn't that bad, and it was just like the flu," Dale said, "that kind of family of lies I think very likely resulted in a lot of Americans dying, because people didn't change their behaviour in a way they would have if the president had been more honest with them." While some fact-checking might have been as simple as a Google search, others required him to track down obscure characters, and dig into archives or statistical databases. As for what it takes to be a good fact-checker, Dale pointed to a willingness to wade into the weeds to find the truth is imperative. "I would say you have to have stamina. You have to take a breath and second guess yourself, make sure that you are not misunderstanding what's said, and you're not tweeting prematurely before you've listened to all the facts," said Dale. "I think you have to be willing to go the extra mile in pursuing the truth." And while the Trump era has ended, Dale's zeal for checking the facts has not. On Friday, he reported on a false claim by President Joe Biden. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
LONDON — A major British doctors' group is says the U.K. government should “urgently review” it's decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press