Treatment program opening new locations; CEO says wage debts are being 'dealt with'
Treatment program opening new locations; CEO says wage debts are being 'dealt with'
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
Canada Post is commemorating Amber Valley, a forgotten community of all-Black settlers in northern Alberta, with a stamp for Black History Month. The community, 170 kilometres north of Edmonton, was settled by hundreds of African-Americans escaping racial violence and segregation in the United States in the 1900s. Myrna Wisdom, a historian and descendant of Amber Valley settlers, said she wasn't too surprised when Canada Post reached out to her a couple years ago to consult on the stamp. "I just think it's about time," Wisdom said. "What took you so long, I guess, is one of the questions before they started profiling these people, you know, because we've been here for the past 100 years." The yellow-toned stamp features a scene of a caravan rolling through the Prairies with photographs of the earliest members who helped settle the community. The image is set against a backdrop of Amber Valley on the Alberta map. The settlers include Henry Sneed, Jordan W. Murphy, with great-granddaughter Bernice Bowen and granddaughter Vivian (Murphy) Harris and Amy Broady, a midwife. Wisdom said Broady provided an essential service. "She rode horseback, because there were no good roads, but she delivered babies. And it didn't matter what colour you were, she helped everybody out." She said it was appropriate to have Murphy on the stamp as before the land was called Amber Valley, it was referred to as Murphy's Land. She added that Bowen was also the first graduate of Toles School, the local school in Amber Valley. She went on to study teaching at the University of Alberta and is still alive today. "She's in her 80s, late 80s, but she will be able to see the stamp. That's what I think is nice about it," Wisdom said. Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post, said the postal operator has been celebrating Black History Month for the past 13 years, especially by telling the stories of the early communities, heroes and cultures. "We are honoured and pleased to be able to tell this story and to create some lasting artwork and kind of open a discussion about this community across Canada and among Canadians who may not know about it," he said. The stamps will be available Friday in post offices across Canada. But Phillips encourages people to buy them online due to the pandemic. He said Canada Post prints a finite number of stamps and normally they would last a year unless they get sold out. "We've had a lot of interest in these stamps … people just seem to want to resonate with the story," he said. "I would suggest if anybody really wants them, that they don't wait that long because I think they'll be gone in a couple of months." Five families at first Amber Valley was settled by five families in 1910. Some 300 people started arriving from Alabama and Oklahoma, braving hostile conditions at the border and undergoing rigorous medical exams before boarding the train for Edmonton. After that, they followed a dusty wagon road to Amber Valley. By 1911, about 1,000 settlers had settled in the community. Wisdom said she still wonders why they came all the way north, instead of stopping at some place like Vancouver. Before the original families settled, a trio had scouted the area and decided it was a good place despite the bush. Today, only a few barns and homes remain of the once-thriving settlement. Wisdom said her grandfather's house burned down last week. "I grew up seeing that house, you know, walking by there," she said. "It was just a landmark that's been there."
The Nova Scotia Police Review Board is looking into claims from convicted murderer Christopher Garnier's family that accuse Cape Breton Regional Police officers of conducting an illegal arrest and seizure of evidence in 2017. Garnier was taken into custody for breaching bail conditions after failing to present himself to the municipal force at his mother's basement door in Millville, N.S. during a compliance check His mother, Kim Edmunds, said she does not believe police were at her home as they have stated. "I honestly don't think they were," Edmunds told members of the board's three-person panel. "When somebody knocks on the door, it wakes me up." Alleged breach In February 2017, while awaiting trial for murder, Garnier took a trip to Cape Breton, where his mother lives. He was allowed to live at his father's house in Bedford or at his mother's residence in Millville as part of his bail conditions. Garnier was to submit to regular compliance checks from either members of the CBRP and Halifax Regional Police. Before his trip, Garnier called a Halifax police answering service to advise he was going to stay at his mom's place, although he did not leave his cell phone number with the service at that time. A CBRP officer testified under oath at a bail revocation hearing that he went to the Millville home in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2017, but Garnier did not present himself at the door. A Supreme Court judge later ruled Garnier did not intentionally breach his conditions, as he was likely asleep. That same year, Garnier was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell. Complaint launched Christopher Garnier's father, Vincent Garnier, is representing himself as a complainant at the police hearing into the actions of four officers. The men accused of misconduct are Const. Steve Campbell, Const. Gary Fraser, Const. Dennis McQueen and Const. Troy Walker. Each officer is represented by a lawyer, while a member of Cape Breton Regional Municipality's legal team is acting on behalf of the police organization. "We'll dig deep into the practices of the [CBRP] which I believe violate the constitution, violate the charter and violate aspects of the criminal code. Those are the informations I would like to bring forth over the next two weeks," Vincent Garnier said during a break in the proceedings. "The police, without a warrant, and without any consent of the property owners, accessed private property, walked into a private residence and placed a person under arrest." The board heard that photographs of the property were taken without the knowledge of the homeowner. Hearing continues Vincent Garnier said his family incurred more than $35,000 in legal fees as a result alleged breach. After his son's arrest, he filed a complaint with CBRP. An internal investigation found that if a breach had occurred, it was only minor. Members of the police review board, Hon. Simon J. MacDonald, Stephen Johnson and chair Jean McKenna are hearing arguments on both sides of the case at a Sydney hotel. Police will have a chance to explain their actions on the weekend in question once Vincent Garnier finishes calling witnesses. In total, 14 people are expected to testify at the hearing that is slated to run over two weeks. So far, the board has heard from Christopher Garnier's mother and stepmother, his uncle, and his former common-law partner. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Ottawa is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19.Miller says that there is a need to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Indigenous people living both on reserves and in urban centres. He says the government is focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care facilities and essential workers but other vulnerable Indigenous groups will get the COVID-19 vaccine next.In a news release Wednesday, Indigenous Services Canada said there have been 89 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths in long-term care homes in Indigenous communities on reserves.The number of COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities reached a new all-time high this week with 5,571 reported cases as of Tuesday.The department said COVID-19 vaccine rollouts have already started in 169 Indigenous communities in all provinces and territories except Nova Scotia and P.E.I.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Increasingly uncomfortable with a shrinking timeline, the world governing body of skiing halted Calgary's pursuit of the world freestyle and snowboard championships next month. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard were working feverishly on plans to host the event Feb. 24 to March 14 at Canada Olympic Park, with the first of roughly 500 athletes due to arrive Feb. 15. Calgary would have been stand-in host city. China was the original site of the 2021 championships doubling as test events for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The logistics of holding an international, multi-disciplinary snow-sport championship amid the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately caused China to give up on it. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard were in fruitful discussions with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, but the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) could no longer tolerate the uncertainty with the clock ticking down, said Freestyle Canada chief executive officer Peter Judge. "There was a just an increasing discomfort from the FIS side around the duration it was taking and the uncertainty of what it might look like on the other side," he told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "We had a good plan, but in this day and age, there's just no certainty. FIS was looking for that certainty." FIS had tentatively scheduled Calgary as world championship host with a "to be confirmed." Athletes would have quarantined upon arrival with regular testing before being able to train in cohorts. "This isn't on the province. It's not their fault," Judge said. "Alberta Health and the authorities are doing their job. Just because we're having an event, there's bigger things in play. "It's disappointing. We thought we could make it all work and get it in and make our international partners comfortable, but at the end of the day, there wasn't that comfort or confidence level." The championship would have included men's and women's freestyle and snowboard big air, halfpipe and slopestyle plus freestyle's moguls and aerials. Ski and snowboard cross and alpine snowboard weren't in the proposal because there isn't enough terrain at COP to include those events. FIS announced earlier this week that the ski and snowboard cross world championships will be held Feb. 11-13 in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, where the Canadian ski cross team is racing World Cups this week. Pandemic postponements and cancellations created an ever-changing international snow sport calendar this winter. World championships in the other freestyle and snowboard disciplines may also be broken up and held at various sites that have been able to host World Cups this season. WinSport's Canada Olympic Park still has an important role to play as a training mecca for Canada's 2022 Olympic team. Athletes who haven't been able to travel and compete elsewhere are using it as a long-term training base. Canadian snowboarders and the freestyle halfpipe and slopestyle teams were there this month before departing for the X Games in Aspen, Colo., going ahead Jan 29-31. The moguls team arrives in Calgary on Thursday before heading to Deer Valley, Utah, in February. The aerials team will eventually end up in Calgary too, Judge said. "Right now, it's about getting as many training days in as we can in February, March, April and getting that mileage in," he said. Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard will now try to bring a series of World Cup events to Calgary in December as part of Canadian athletes' preparation for the Winter Olympics. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
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
The Beaverlodge and Sexsmith chambers of commerce are waiving membership fees for businesses this year. Both organizations are making the change to support local enterprise in 2021. “Many business owners are feeling the crunch with reduced services or closures,” said Callie Balderston, Beaverlodge and District Chamber of Commerce president. Balderston said the chamber board made the decision during its meeting last week to waive the fee for 2021. The Beaverlodge chamber has approximately 75 members and it will also be free for other businesses to join this year, she said. The fee was $100 annually, but the chamber has kept on budget in past years and is in a sound enough position to offer the waiver, she said. Balderston said the chamber may consider whether certain expenses can be cut later in the year, while trying to continue supporting members. The Beaverlodge chamber is doing well, with a growth of approximately two to three businesses per year, Balderston said. The group was stable in 2020 but she noted events like the Christmas Craze had to be scaled back. “It wasn’t our traditional Christmas Craze,” Balderston said. Jennifer Caseley, Sexsmith and District Chamber of Commerce president, also informed members their fees are waived for 2021 via an email last week. Membership fees varied. Businesses with under four employees paid $50 per year, while members with four to five paid $75, Caseley said. The fee for businesses with more than five employees was $100. The waiver will likely cost the chamber between $4- and $5,000, but Caseley said the chamber will cope by drawing on its accounts and savings from fewer activities in 2020. The chamber would typically hold in-person mixers with food, as well as rent space for meetings, she noted. “The fee is a small thing for some companies … but for smaller organizations, that $50 is sometimes a make-or-break for whether they renew or not,” Caseley said. “It was the right thing to do.” Caseley said the Sexsmith chamber doesn’t have any financial difficulties, but it was a challenge to remain operational. The chamber is a volunteer group and it was difficult to keep positions filled as entrepreneurs have to keep their own businesses going, she said. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Women have been more affected by job loss than men on average since the COVID-19 pandemic was called last March, according to Statistics Canada. Ginette Marcoux, executive director at Jasper Employment and Education Centre, indicated this isn’t good news for locals, considering there’s a general high unemployment rate in Jasper and more people are unemployed this year than last. “The pandemic experience has been especially challenging for already vulnerable groups, including racialized women, Indigenous women, single mothers, low-income women, newcomers and women with disabilities,” Marcoux said. “We’re seeing women are being disproportionately affected. In Jasper, women, youth ages 18 to 24 and immigrants are in lower-paid categories and they’ve seen high unemployment since March. Even in this short term, we’ve seen a significant number of women who have lost their employment and have been unable to find comparable positions.” From February to October, Canadian women accounted for about 64 per cent of the increase in the number of people who are not in the labour force, which includes people who have lost their jobs, are not temporarily laid off and are not looking for work. When men lost their jobs, the majority looked for employment, meaning that they were considered “unemployed.” A sizable portion of women chose not to, and they were considered “out of the labour force.” “Many of the jobs they’ve proposed right now (in the Alberta Economic Recovery Plan) are male-dominated jobs, such as construction,” Marcoux said. “It's not to say females don’t work in these occupations, but traditionally they are male dominated.” Marcoux said there’s concern some industries are not rebounding as quickly, such as the retail and hospitality sectors, which employ more women than men. Women are also moving out of the labour force due to more responsibilities on the domestic front. “Restrictions on schools and paid child care facilities have shifted additional hours of unpaid family care onto parents, and this work has largely been taken up by mothers,” Marcoux said. Across the country, improvements are termed a “K-shaped recovery.” “We’re seeing a gender divergence,” Marcoux said. “The top recovery is males signified by the upstroke. It demonstrates an increase in male-dominated jobs. The downstroke is females, indicating jobs are more tenuous, that there is less full time employment. And most often, short term employment does not provide benefits.” Marcoux doesn’t see this scenario changing anytime soon. “My sense is, and I think what we’re going to see this year, is that smaller businesses will hire less employees and do more themselves in the hope of recouping losses from 2020,” she said. These trends have taken a toll, Marcoux said, as women's participation in the labour market is key to economic recovery and future prosperity. “We risk turning back the clock on decades of progress if we do not take a hard look at the challenges facing women and plan for recovery with women at the table to address accessible and affordable childcare, workforce development initiatives, entrepreneurship and flexible work arrangements,” she added. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
One of Vancouver's independent movie houses is reclassifying itself as a sports bar in an attempted workaround of provincial health orders that forced cinemas to close. The Rio Theatre says that as of Saturday it will operate as a bar that shows sporting events on the big screen, part of a business pivot is says would comply with British Columbia's COVID-19 guidelines. Operators of the Rio have protested B.C.'s pandemic guidelines after being told in November they could no longer stay open. Over the Christmas holiday, the theatre used its marquee to question the decision to close theatres while malls could operate. Movie theatres in most parts of the country have been forced to close under local guidelines. Some indie theatres have continued to operate concession stands to stay in business, while the owners of Ottawa's ByTowne Cinema chose to permanently close in December. The Rio says it will take a different road. "Screw the arts. We're a sports bar now," read a marquee outside the theatre posted Tuesday on Rio's social media channels. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
MANCHESTER, England — Bernardo Silva finally broke Aston Villa’s resistance by scoring off Manchester City’s 36th effort at goal before Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty sealed a 2-0 victory on Wednesday that extended the winning run of the Premier League’s form team to six matches. An end-to-end match in which City lost Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker to injuries looked to be heading for a draw, despite the home team’s dominance, when Silva received a pass from Rodri and smashed home a shot from the edge of the area in the 79th minute. The goal was contentious because Rodri was returning from an offside position when he dispossessed Villa defender Tyrone Mings before releasing Silva. No offside was given, though, with the officials seemingly feeling a new phase of play had started when Mings controlled the ball on his chest before being picked off by Rodri. Villa manager Dean Smith was sent off for protesting against the awarding of a goal he described as “farcical” and “pathetic.” “I said to the fourth official, David Coote, ‘Did you get juggling balls for Christmas?’" Smith said, explaining when he was shown a red card by referee Jonathan Moss. “I don’t think any other manager would get sent off for that.” Gundogan wrapped up the win in the 90th minute by converting a spot kick after Matty Cash raised his hand to block a goalbound header from Gabriel Jesus. City moved above Leicester to the top of the league, although Manchester United can reclaim first place by beating Fulham later Wednesday. It was Villa’s first league match since Jan. 1, after which there was a coronavirus outbreak in the squad that led to the training ground being closed. Villa reported that nine players contracted COVID-19 in that period but Smith was able to field a full-strength lineup against City, with the squad only back in training since Sunday. Villa, however, was on the back foot for the entire match, which was played in driving rain, only holding on thanks to a series of last-ditch blocks and some fine goalkeeping from Emi Martinez. City is in its best form of the season, having won nine straight games in all competitions. Pep Guardiola's team in unbeaten in 15. “No one else has won five, six in a row but it’s still the first leg of the season," Guardiola said. "A lot of games to do but the important thing is that the feeling is good.” Walker was substituted with an apparent leg muscle injury in the 27th minute, while De Bruyne hobbled off in the 59th shortly after being fouled by Jack Grealish. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Conservative MPs today voted to expel Derek Sloan from caucus after the eastern Ontario MP accepted a donation from a notorious white nationalist. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole initiated the ouster earlier this week after news emerged that Paul Fromm — whose ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi causes have long been documented — had contributed $131 to Sloan's leadership campaign. Sloan fought against the vote, saying he was unaware of the source of the donation because Fromm used his full name, Frederick P. Fromm. Conservatives voted by secret ballot today, with the majority of MPs voting to remove Sloan from their benches. In a statement issued this afternoon, O'Toole called the donation the "last straw." "The Conservative caucus voted to remove Derek Sloan not because of one specific event, but because of a pattern of destructive behaviour involving multiple incidents and disrespect towards the Conservative team for over a year," he said. "These actions have been a consistent distraction from our efforts to grow the party and focus on the work we need to do. Events of the past week were simply the last straw and led to our caucus making the decision it did today." News of Fromm's contribution was first reported by PressProgress, a non-profit news website funded by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute. Sloan, who was elected in 2019 to represent the riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, argued his team couldn't vet every donation to his leadership campaign last year. He also accused O'Toole of hypocrisy, pointing out that Fromm was accepted as a member of the party and voted in its 2020 leadership election without raising any red flags with party officials. In a statement to CBC News earlier this week, Conservative Party director of communications Cory Hann said it was Sloan's campaign that sold the party membership to Fromm. He said the party would be revoking Fromm's membership and returning the funds. Controversial player in party Sloan pushed back on that argument, saying new members who signed up for memberships through a leadership campaign website like his were directed to the party's main website. Fromm, who founded the Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform, has appeared at far-right protests, has spoken regularly on the white nationalist radio show Stormfront and is the subject of a Hamilton police investigation into claims that he shared the New Zealand mosque shooter's manifesto on his organization's website. Sloan has been a polarizing figure in Canadian politics, generating controversy with his socially conservative views on LGBTQ rights. He alarmed members of his own party in April when he posted a message and video on Facebook and Twitter claiming Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam had "failed Canadians" during the pandemic and asking if she works "for Canada or for China." Today's move marks a shift in position for O'Toole. During the leadership race, he took out a Facebook ad to defend Sloan's place in the party. But in recent days, O'Toole has said he wants to build a more inclusive Conservative Party. Just hours before the donation news broke, he released a lengthy statement saying there is "no place for the far right" in the party and pushing back at Liberal attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics. In a Facebook post this afternoon, Sloan — who will now sit in the house as an independent — urged his supporters to keep their party memberships and delegation spots ahead of the Conservative policy convention planned for March. "The CPC belongs to you, the grassroots of the party. I encourage you to use your voice, to stand up, and represent true conservative values with this convention," he wrote. 'They will regret this' In a subsequent Facebook video, Sloan used even more forceful language and took aim at O'Toole and the Conservative Party. He compared his situation to that of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott — two former Liberal cabinet ministers who were removed from that caucus after breaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin affair. "It shows an absolute cowardice, an absolute failure to address the real issues that animates much of our base," Sloan said. "This was the worst mistake they ever made and they will regret this. I'm positive of it." O'Toole stressed in his own statement that he did not vote to expel Sloan because he's a social conservative. "We have members of Parliament of deep compassion and unmatched character, who like many Canadians, draw strength from their faith," he said. "The Conservative Party is a big tent that is reflective of all Canadians. People of all backgrounds have a place in our party."
In the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak that has already killed four residents, a family member of a resident at Amberwood Suites said staff there did everything they possibly could have to protect residents’ lives. Linda Vlach is the daughter of 94-year-old Amberwood resident Gertrude Phillips, who is doing well right now after coming through her own bout with the virus and having to isolate herself. Vlach said she credits her mom's survival with the intense level of care at the home. "I felt really that Amberwood did everything they possibly could,” she said. “Once it was found out there were positive cases in the building, they just flat out ordered in all the PPE (personal protective equipment) they would need.” Vlach said rolling PPE carts were set up outside each suite so that staff and care givers could get fresh equipment every time they went into a room. Vlach said she is not worried for her mom's safety. She said Amberwood has been especially careful about the virus right from the beginning, and that with so many people being asymptomatic, it was the kind of thing that could have happened anywhere. Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) revealed earlier this month that an outbreak was discovered at the home Jan. 5. As several days passed, PHSD revealed that five staff members and 33 residents of the home were also infected. Several of those who tested positive were transferred to Health Sciences North. Several others were put into self-isolation in their suites. On Jan. 15, PHSD reported one resident had died. On Jan. 18, PHSD reported two more residents had died. Then on Jan. 19, PHSD reported a fourth Amberwood resident had died. Vlach said her mother was one of the residents who had tested positive and was put into isolation. It was an uncertain time for her family, but her mother seemed to adjust well, she said. "Well she is very much a social creature. She is one of the gals that likes to be out for everything, the exercises, or the bingos or anything that was going on. She was always there early, with bells on," Vlach said. "It was almost bizarre for my mom to hear she had tested positive. So we all braced ourselves and expected the worst, maybe. Then for her to have no symptoms; you know she is just baffled by it. At her age, she is diabetic. She has a heart condition. She just managed to be asymptomatic and come through it all." Vlach said as much as residents had to endure complete isolation, she said it has also been difficult for the staff at Amberwood. "I think it has been very hard on the staff,” she said. “I think for them it has been devastating. I think it is very hard really on the staff not just to have lost people they probably feel were friends, I think it is very hard on them going to work everyday to have to worry about COVID itself.” She said that the lockdown has changed the entire atmosphere at the home, but it is something that is so necessary. "It has changed dramatically the way the building functions, you know, as far as people not being able to get together, to people not being able to leave or to go out to things they would normally go out to," Vlach said. She added that she is the only family caregiver that was approved for her mother, as per provincial rules. She had to undergo in-house training and COVID-19 testing for that role. Although there are five siblings in her family, Vlach is the only child allowed to actually go and see her mother on a daily basis. "Yes, they have closed off any visitation in the suites themselves. For family members to go in they were able to visit on the outside patio as long as the weather allowed, or the inside private dining room. And those spaces were sanitized and controlled as far as how many people were allowed in," she explained. That is no longer allowed, but Vlach said her mom is still able to use the phone to stay in contact with family members. "She has plenty of activities in her suite. She has always kept herself busy and with lots to do. She has DVDs and music and digital photo screens, and reading. Once she realized the building was in lockdown and isolation in the suites, she just settled in and made herself comfortable. We have a big family too so we all keep in touch with her, with lots of phone calls and things that perk her day up." In the meantime, the lockdown continues, said Vlach. She said staff and management at the home are doing all they can to make things comfortable, but there's no mistaking the seriousness of the situation. A screener is posted at the main door. Masking is mandatory. Things have even changed at meal time, said Vlach. No one sits four to a table. People sit alone and eat by themselves. "Yes, it's hard, but they felt it was important, and it certainly increased the workload on the staff," said Vlach. "I don't have any concerns. It is certainly so unfortunate that this happened in the building, this outbreak. People lost their lives. That's so tragic. This is devastating for the families," said Vlach. "But today if you ask my mom, she will say, I couldn't be in a better place. I feel safe here." Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
OTTAWA — The economy will go in reverse for the first quarter of 2021, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday as it kept its key interest rate on hold, warning the hardest-hit workers will be hammered again on a path to a recovery that rests on the rollout of vaccines.Workers in high-contact service industries will carry the burden of a new round of lockdowns, which the central bank warned will exacerbate the pandemic’s uneven effects on the labour market.The longer restrictions remain in place, the more difficult it may be for these workers to find new jobs since the majority move to a new job but in the same industry. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said in his opening remarks at a late-morning news conference that the first-quarter decline could be worse than expected if restrictions are tightened or extended.The central bank kept its key rate on hold at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday, citing near-term weakness and the "protracted nature of the recovery" in its reasoning.The short-term pain is expected to give way to a brighter outlook for the medium-term with vaccines rolling out sooner than the central bank expected.Still, the bank said in its updated economic outlook, a full recovery from COVID-19 will take some time. Nor does the Bank of Canada see inflation returning to its two per cent target until 2023, one year longer than previously forecast, and the bank's key rate is likely to stay low until then.Overall, there is reason to be more optimistic about the economy in the medium-term, but it will still need extraordinary help from governments and the central bank to get there, Macklem said.The bank’s latest monetary policy report, which lays out its expectations for economic growth and inflation, forecast that COVID-19 caused the economy to contract by 5.5 per cent last year.Despite an upswing over the summer and fall that may have spared the country from a worst-case economic scenario, the drive to a recovery will hit a pothole over the first three months of 2021.The bank forecasts real gross domestic product to contract at an annual pace of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, before improving thereafter if severe restrictions start easing in February.The bank expects growth of four per cent overall for 2021, then 4.8 per cent next year, and 2.5 per cent in 2023.Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, was more dour on lockdowns, saying the group doesn't expect them to ease until well into March."During this period, we need to provide the right kind of support to individual Canadians and to businesses to get them through the lockdowns, recognizing that neither group is in the same financial position as it was in March 2020," he said in a statement.For the central bank, that help could come through ramping up its bond-buying to force down interest rates, or a small cut to its key policy rate among options Macklem mentioned Wednesday.Keeping the door open to such a "micro" rate change is a shift in tone, as Macklem has previously said the current 0.25 rate is as low as it would go.The bank said the path for the economy will be like riding a roller-coaster as resurgence in COVID-19, or new, more virulent strains, weigh down a recovery in one quarter before leading to strong upswing in the next.Inflation may be equally rocky.Gasoline prices, which have weighed down the consumer price index during the pandemic, will by March be “well above their lows of a year earlier,” the bank’s report said. That should significantly bump inflation, the report said, possibly to two per cent in the second quarter.The bump will even out over the rest of the year. The bank forecasts inflation for 2021 at 1.6 per cent, then 1.7 per cent in 2022 and 2.1 per cent in 2023.Statistics Canada reported Wednesday the annual pace of inflation cooled in December to 0.7 per cent compared with 1.0 per cent in November. The agency also reported that the average last month of Canada's three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures and closely tracked by the Bank of Canada, was 1.57 per cent.The central bank’s lookahead rests on efforts to vaccinate Canadians by the end of the year without any hiccups in that timeline, which would mean broad immunity six months sooner than the bank previously assumed."It's going to be very important that Canada get the vaccines, we get them distributed to Canadians and that Canadians take the vaccine," Macklem said.A shorter timeline for vaccinations should mean less scarring overall for the economy in the form of fewer bankruptcies and fewer workers out of jobs for long stretches, which makes it more difficult for them to get back into the labour force.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the first quarter decline in real gross domestic product was 2.9 per cent.
European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.View on euronews
Overnight, St. Albert had six new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the city. On Tuesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing active cases in the city dropping from 173 on Monday to 157 on Tuesday, representing a drop of 16 active cases. Newly diagnosed cases climbed by six, from 1,824 to 1,830 on Tuesday. Recoveries jumped from 1,623 on Monday to 1,645 on Tuesday, representing an increase of 22 cases recovered. In Sturgeon County, active cases sit at 33, while 521 people have recovered from the virus since the pandemic began. Morinville has 22 active cases with 318 people having recovered from COVID-19. Across Alberta, there were 456 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed with 8,200 tests run. The positivity rate sits at 5.6 per cent, which Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said is still a high rate compared to the one- to three-per-cent seen in Alberta in the summer and fall. Hinshaw said the province isn't sure why so few people are getting tested but said it could be because fewer people are feeling ill. Hinshaw encouraged anyone who is feeling symptoms to get tested for COVID-19. There are current 154 active alerts in schools across the province with outbreaks in two schools, representing a total of six per cent of schools. There are 212 total cases linked to schools in the province. Hinshaw said hospitalizations remain high in Alberta with 740 people currently in the hospital and 119 of them in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). "Our health system is still under severe strain,” Hinshaw said. In the past 24 hours, another 17 deaths were reported to Alberta Health. As of Jan. 18, the province has given out 92,315 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) is a not-for-proft organization that focusses on the proper recycling of electronic products to ensure health and safety is not compromised when dealing with these items. EPRA operates regulated recycling programs across Canada to ensure that end-of-life electronics are handled in a safe, secure, and environmentally-sound manner. Electronic devices cannot be recycled in the same manner as other items, nor can they be thrown in the garbage, due to what is inside electronic items. These devices are filled with resources that can be reused and recycled. Through the EPRA/Recycle My Electronics network of over 2,500 drop-off locations throughout Canada, the program ensures that the resources in electronic devices are safely recovered for reuse, helping to preserve the environment. Drop-off at EPRA/Recycle My Electronics locations is free of charge. EPRA keeps 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics out of landfills each year with end-of-life electronics being dropped off at authorized collection sites and has diverted approximately 100 million devices from landfills and illegal exports since the program began. Products dropped off at EPRA locations are then sent to audited and approved specialized cyclers for processing. New technology is used to break down old technology and harvest the raw materials that went into them, including glass, plastics, and precious metals like gold and copper. EPRA wants to ensure the substances inside electronic devices are handled responsibility to protect both the environment and the health and safety of the workers handling them. Recovered materials are then put back into the manufacturing supply chain and used to make new products. The Olympic and Paralympic games have been using an increasing amount of metal recovered from end-of-life electronics in their medals. Beginning in Vancouver with 1.5 per cent and then 30 per cent in Rio. The medals for the next games in Tokyo will be made with 100 per cent received metals from end-of-life electronics. When the resources are recycled correctly from electronic devices they can be reused over and over again without losing their properties, in turn helping to reduce the carbon footprint and lessening the dependence on traditional mining for new resources. EPRA/Recycle My Electronics only works with recyclers who have been verified under the national Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS), which was designed by the electronics industry to ensure that end-of-life electronics are managed in a safe and environmentally sound manner. These processors must meet over 150 safety protocols to ensure the safety of their employees and the environment. This means that all EPRA/Recycle My Electronics recyclers are prohibited from exporting electronics or substances of concern to non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations. Bring old end-of-life electronics to EPRA-authorized locations helps to: Keep old electronics out of landfills. Prevent them from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible recyclers. Recover and recycle valuable resources that can be put back into the manufacturing supply chain. Ensure the safe and secure destruction of personal data stored on hardware. Protect health and safety of workers and handlers. With the importance of electronic devices in everyday life, EPRA was to ensure there isn’t piles of these dangerous electronics sitting in landfills and harming the environment. EPRA believes using and enjoying electronics today, also means responsibly recycling them for a cleaner tomorrow. Electronic devices that can be recycled at EPRA drop-off locations: Display devices (televisions, monitors, flat panels, etc). Non-cellular telephones. Home audio/video systems. Desktop computers, portable computers, and computer peripherals. Desktop printers/multi-function devices. Personal/portable audio/video systems. Home theatre in-a-box systems. Vehicle audio/video systems. Countertop microwave ovens. Vide gaming systems and peripherals. Floor-standing photocopiers/multi-function devices. Personal portable GPS and vehicle GPS. External storage drivers and modems. E-book readers. Desktop and portable scanners. EPRA Program Director Gayleen Creelman emphasizes how important it it to take electronic devices to drop-off locations rather than putting them in the blue bin or garage because of the harmful resources that are inside them. “These types of electronics cannot be recycled in the blue bin like regular recyclable products,” said Creelman. “What’s on the inside of electronics can have lasting impacts on the environment if not dealt with in the correct manner. “Instead of having electronics in a landfill negatively effecting the earth, our programs handle them in an environmentally friendly way and can use those resources that are inside them. Not only are we correctly handling and disposing of electronic devices for the environment and keeping them out of landfills, but we’re getting those valuable resources out of them. “If electronics are just thrown into the garbage it becomes a safety risk,” she said. “The glass can break and cause damage, the resources on the inside can cause damage, and it’s waisting important products that can and should be recycled. The resources inside electronic devices like lead can be very dangerous and should be dealt with carefully. Throwing these products in with the regular garbage will likely end up breaking them and having their contents leak which is obviously a major concern.” There are drop-off locations all over Canada, including eight within an 100 kilometre radius of Moosomin. Creelman says there’s an easy to use location finder on their website for anybody in need of dropping off electronics. “On our website (recyclemyelectronics.ca), you can find a list of all the EPRA-authorized drop-off locations near you,” she said. “Also on EPRA.ca there’s a thorough explanations as to who we are and what we do, why the proper recycling of electronic devices is important, there’s a learning hub and activities for children, a list of all the electronic devices that can be recycled through us, FAQs, a step by step explanation of how to wipe your devices before recycling them, and plenty of interactive options like seeing the journey of an end-of-life electronic.” Creelman knows people often forget about old electronics as they pile up in their homes, but EPRA’s program allows for a quick, easy, and free option to get rid of electronic devices and their accompanying electronic equipment. “Everybody has that drawer in their house filled with old junk,” she said. “I’m guilty of it too. Those drawers filled with old electronic devices like cellphones or cords—we recycle the paraphernalia for electronic devices like chargers, headphones, cables, etc.—people let those gather dust in their homes because they don’t know what to do with them. If you take them to our EPRA drop-off locations, we deal with them safely and then they’re not taking up space in your house. Nobody wants to have old monitors sitting around that they have no need for anymore.” Electronic devices can be detrimental to the health of the planet says Creelman, but with today’s technology, the proper recycling of them ensures there are less environmental concerns and that the resources from them can continue to benefit the industry as they’re reused. “When electronics end up in landfills they emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and other harmful toxins. Safely and securely recycling electronics ensures the recovery of reusable resources and reduces our carbon footprint by preventing greenhouse gas emissions, but also prevents illegal export and handling by irresponsible recyclers.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
TORONTO — Canadians tuned in Wednesday with a mixture of relief and optimism to watch the swearing in of Joe Biden as U.S. president amid concerns about potential violence south of the border and the omnipresent threat of COVID-19.Given the pandemic, most in-person viewing gatherings of the pageantry gave way to virtual events, with some expressing joy at the lifting of what they saw as the dark cloud of Donald Trump's presidency."Watching as I always do, but this one seems more significant," said Nicole Caron, a former provincial civil servant in Ottawa. "It returns to America the values that hold true for many democracies, with a focus on inclusivity and that everyone has a hand in moving forward, together."While Biden was the main attraction on stage in a heavily patrolled Washington, D.C., many Canadians focused on his newly minted second-in-command, Kamala Harris.At home with her daughter in Montreal, Wanda Kagan watched Harris, her best friend from high school, get sworn in as vice-president. Harris lived briefly in Montreal before graduating in 1981. Kagan, who met Harris at Westmount High School, called the inauguration a special moment, despite the disappointment of not being able to go to Washington.“It’s not the way you’d like to watch it when you were invited to the most historic day of your friend's life," Kagan said. “Anyone can make history but only a great woman can write history and that’s what she’s going to do."Calgary mother Gabriela Gonzalez grew teary watching the inauguration. It was exciting, she said, that young people everywhere, especially girls like her almost three-year-old daughter and children of colour, could see Harris and realize they, too, can achieve big things."I'm excited for my daughter to see that it's important for women and young girls to be involved in the political process," Gonzalez said. "They do have a role to play and they can have a seat at the table."The pandemic placed limits on the size of the mask-wearing crowd that would typically gather in the U.S. capital for the grand inauguration ceremony. So did the lingering threat of violence after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a futile bid to stop the transition of power, egged on by the former president himself.Thousands of National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the event, further stoking anxiety among Americans and concerned observers. Acknowledging the fractures in his inaugural speech, Biden called for unity and urged his country to "start afresh."Rael Wienburg, a photographer and videographer in London, Ont., who said he was watching a "huge moment," called Biden's speech classy."Finally, a speech by a president with a vision to help bring a divided nation together," Wienburg said. "I'm feeling very positive and emotional after a tumultuous year of horrific and unfortunate times."For Jane and David Schlosberg in Dartmouth, N.S., the inauguration was a moment of cautious optimism.“You try not to be cynical and look forward to a better time,” Jane Schlosberg said as she watched the ceremony.In Owen Sound, Ont., Sergei Lozowski listened to the ceremony via radio."I want to hear official word that the leadership of our closest ally is not a deranged reality TV personality," he said.Others across Canada watched with roommates and in workplaces as they observed pandemic guidelines.Mary-Ellen Unan called it more significant than ever that citizens of North America watched the U.S. handover of power. "In a world where we are all affected by the policies of the American government, too many people still feel disenfranchised," Unan said from Toronto. "The swearing in to the highest office in the world is ceremonial, but it also marks a major change for the future."-With files from Danielle Edwards in Halifax; Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal; Fakiha Baig in Edmonton.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Lundi, l’Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) a lancé une campagne afin de contrer l’intimidation dont sont victimes les élus. Le maire de Matane, Jérôme Landry, a profité de l’occasion pour révéler qu’il a reçu plusieurs lettres anonymes contenant des menaces d’agression physique. L’UMQ constate une « dégradation du climat politique dans de nombreuses municipalités ». Les réseaux sociaux sont notamment pointés du doigt par sa présidente Suzanne Roy comme vecteurs d’intimidation. Il n’est en effet pas nécessaire de chercher bien longtemps sur Facebook pour trouver des messages consternants dans lesquels se mêlent méchanceté gratuite, fausses accusations et insultes à l’endroit des maires et conseillers municipaux. Certains élus ont toutefois remarqué que cette campagne ne faisait pas le tour de la question. C’est le cas de Virginie Proulx, conseillère municipale de Rimouski représentant le district du Bic. « C’est important de valoriser le respect. Les attaques personnelles, ça n’a sa place nulle part, en politique comme ailleurs. Mais j’ai l’impression qu’il manque une partie dans leur campagne de sensibilisation, c’est celle qui touche les élus entre eux », note-t-elle. Par le passé, Mme Proulx a évoqué à plusieurs reprises l’intimidation dont elle aurait été victime lors de séances de travail du conseil municipal, tenues à huis clos, « où il n’y a aucun témoin, il n’y a pas de procès-verbaux, personne n’est filmé, il n’y a même pas d’ordre du jour public. Dans ces séances-là, il y a de l’intimidation qui se fait partout au Québec. » Elle a finalement été exclue de ces rencontres en mai dernier suite à un échange de courriels avec un citoyen Dans les derniers mois, la mairesse de Sainte-Luce Maïté Blanchette Vézina et l’ex-maire de Saint-Paul-de-la-Croix Simon Périard ont également affirmé que les réunions derrière les portes closes menaient parfois à de l’intimidation entre élus municipaux. « Tu comprends pas » Quelle forme prend cette intimidation? Personne ne le dira clairement, car si un élu victime d’intimidation rapporte des propos insultants ou menaçants qui lui ont été adressés par un de ses collègues, il brise la confidentialité des échanges et s’expose à des poursuites! À Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Annette Rousseau a été suspendue pendant 10 jours de ses fonctions de conseillère municipale. La raison? Elle a répondu à une question d’un citoyen concernant les projets d’aréna dans la ville, alors que le conseil municipal voulait que ses intentions (discutées dans des rencontres à huis clos) restent inconnues de la population. Suite au référendum qui a finalement réglé cette question en novembre dernier, Mme Rousseau a démissionné. Sonnée par la défaite (elle défendait le non), elle ne supportait plus non plus l’ambiance autour de la table du conseil municipal, où elle se faisait régulièrement narguer et où elle constatait un manque de respect envers la population de son quartier, Notre-Dame-du-Lac. « Je me faisais dire des choses comme "Bon, elle s’en souvient plus…" ou "Non Annette, tu comprends pas" », se souvient-elle. Ces petites remarques ont fini par lui pourrir la vie. « C’était rendu qu’à partir du jeudi, je pensais aux réunions du lundi soir et je dormais mal. C’est quoi que je n’ai pas compris? Pourquoi je suis tout le temps une deux de pique? C’est parce que j’étais contre eux autres! » Tendre la main aux citoyens? Sans excuser les dérapages des citoyens fâchés, Virginie Proulx aimerait que les élus fassent un effort pour comprendre pourquoi la population est parfois frustrée. La pandémie et ses contraintes plombent assurément l’ambiance, mais ce n’est pas tout selon la conseillère du Bic : « Je suis convaincue que le manque de transparence peut choquer les citoyens. On le voit, la CAQ se fait attaquer là-dessus en ce moment. Les gens ont maintenant accès à tellement d’informations, vraies ou non, qu’on ne peut plus juste leur dire "Voici la vérité, avalez-la". Ils veulent avoir un peu plus accès à ce qui se passe. » D’autres élus arguent plutôt que si les débats du conseil municipal avaient lieu en public, cela nourrirait encore plus la machine à sortir les propos de leur contexte que sont les réseaux sociaux – le conseiller de Sacré-Cœur Sébastien Bolduc a notamment défendu cette position. Il existe également des craintes que des personnes se retournent contre un conseiller qui aurait voté contre leurs intérêts. Virginie Proulx n’est pas en désaccord. « Effectivement, dans certains cas, on peut avoir peur de représailles, par exemple d’un promoteur dont le projet a été rejeté. Ça peut alors être justifié de proposer un huis clos. » « Le problème, c’est que la totalité est à huis clos, poursuit-elle. Ça laisse une image d’opacité qui fait en sorte que les citoyens ont l’impression que quand ils apprennent la nouvelle, il est trop tard pour donner son avis. » À plus long terme, cela n’incite pas ces mêmes citoyens à se lancer en politique municipale, pense-t-elle également. En mettant l’accès sur les messages que les citoyens envoient aux élus, la campagne de l’UMQ ne risque pas de mener à un débat en profondeur. Elle élude également un autre aspect de l’intimidation : celle que des élus font parfois subir aux citoyens sous la forme de menaces de poursuites. Par exemple, à Saint-Vianney, le maire a déjà envoyé une mise en demeure à un groupe de résidents du village qui a créé une page Facebook pour surveiller les activités du conseil municipal.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
OTTAWA — A new study links the fitness level of Canadian children to that of their parents. The StatCan analysis suggests a child's aerobic fitness, muscular strength and flexibility all correlate to that of their parent. But there were differences when it came to the sex of each parent and child involved. Boys whose parent had "excellent" cardiorespiratory fitness had better cardiorespiratory fitness than boys whose parent had a "poor" cardiorespiratory fitness level. Girls whose parent had "excellent" flexibility had higher flexibility than girls whose parent had "poor" flexibility. But the correlation in cardiorespiratory fitness was only seen significantly in mother-and-son pairs; while a significant flexibility correlation was only seen in mother-son and father-son pairings. Grip strength was associated in all duos except father-son pairings. The study was based on data from the ongoing Canadian Health Measures Survey, and draws from a sample representative of children aged 6 to 11 years and their biological parents. Previous research also found associations between parents and children in obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. StatCan notes the results should be interpreted with some caution since the aerobic test used by the study is only meant for adults. Researchers allow that it's possible the sample represents "a slightly healthier" subset of children. Researchers also note that analysis was limited to data where a birth parent also responded to the survey. These adults were more likely to be younger, have a bachelor's degree or higher education, come from a smaller household size, and have a household income of more than $100,000 than respondents to the ongoing survey who were not the birth parent. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
ATHENS, Greece — Lawmakers in Greece Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to extend the country's territorial waters along its western coastline from six to 12 nautical miles. In the 284-0 vote, representatives of four opposition parties backed the centre-right government, while members of the Greek Communist Party abstained. Although the move does not directly affect an ongoing maritime boundary dispute with Turkey to the east, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament that Greece was adopting a more assertive foreign policy. “It's a clear message to those who are trying to deprive our country of this right,” Mitsotakis said. Greece’s western coastline faces Italy and borders Albania at its northern tip. But the expansion is aimed at underscoring the country’s right to implement the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which set the 12-mile limit in 1982. Greece and Turkey, neighbours and NATO allies, are at odds over sea boundaries and mineral rights in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean in a dispute that caused a tense military standoff last year. Under pressure from western allies, Turkey and Greece will resume talks aimed at reducing tensions on Jan. 25, restarting a process that was suspended five years ago. Turkey says an extension of Greece’s territorial waters eastward would be considered an act of war, arguing that Greek islands would effectively block its access to the Aegean. The longstanding dispute between the two countries has been fueled by the discovery of large offshore gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years. Greece has signed recent agreements with Italy and Egypt for the delineation of maritime exploration rights and is in talks with Albania to take a maritime boundary dispute to an international court. The Associated Press