The results of a water pipe bursting last night at my apartment in Dallas during the snow. The icicles on the fan had melted significantly over the last hour. Credit: James Curran @CurranWrites (Twitter)
The results of a water pipe bursting last night at my apartment in Dallas during the snow. The icicles on the fan had melted significantly over the last hour. Credit: James Curran @CurranWrites (Twitter)
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The federal government says the door is open to help producers affected by the closure of a central Alberta pork plant where an outbreak of COVID-19 has infected hundreds of workers and resulted in three deaths. Olymel temporarily closed its plant in Red Deer more than two weeks ago. The company is moving its own pigs that would normally be slaughtered at the plant to its operations in the United States to free up capacity for independent producers in Canada. It estimates there's a backlog of 80,000 to 90,000 animals that should be cleared within four to five weeks once the plant reopens. Cabinet minister Jim Carr held a virtual news conference from his home in Winnipeg on Tuesday to provide an update on an emergency fund for meat-processing companies and to address the situation at Olymel. "Last spring, when outbreaks caused plants to slow down or close, we moved quickly to help livestock producers manage the growing backlog of animals on their farms," said Carr, who is the government's special representative to the Prairies. "Our government stands ready to help producers affected by the temporary closure of the Olymel plant in Red Deer, Alberta. If needed, federal funding will be there to assist pork producers with extraordinary herd management costs such as additional feed costs." Carr was vague when asked for details on what the assistance would look like. "We'll have to see what the needs are moving forward. The point we wanted to make is that the door is open for assistance if required." The federal government set up a $77.5 million emergency fund in September to help food processors deal with COVID-19 by adapting new safety protocols, including acquiring more protective equipment for workers. Another $10 million has been added since. The fund is also supposed to help upgrade and reopen meat facilities shuttered due to outbreaks of the novel coronavirus. Carr said the program has provided more than $7.8 million to 24 meat-processing companies across the Prairies, but is no longer taking applications. "We were out of the gate quickly. We adjusted as we learned what elements of programs were working and what elements were working less well," he said. "The same thing is true now as we move forward into the next phase of the pandemic." The meat-packing sector has been hard hit by the health crisis. Cargill temporarily shut down plants in High River, Alta., and Chambly, Que., last year after COVID-19 outbreaks. Olymel shut down its hog slaughter and processing plant in Yamachiche, Que., and the JBS beef plant in Brooks, Alta., temporarily went down to one shift daily from two. Cargill and JBS operations in Alberta account for 70 per cent of Canada's beef production. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
SURREY, B.C. — RCMP say a third suspect has surrendered to police after a youth was assaulted with a weapon Monday in an attack outside a school in Surrey, B.C. Two other youths were taken into custody shortly after the assault outside Panorama Ridge Secondary School. Police say the third suspect surrendered later on Monday and all three youths remained in custody overnight. The suspects were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and investigators say none of them are known to police. The victim was taken to hospital in stable condition Monday and police have not released further details about what led to the assault. A statement issued Tuesday by RCMP says the attack is believed to be related to an ongoing dispute among the teens and is not linked to gang activity, and there's no indication of any continuing risk to safety at the school. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says the province won't administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors. Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations. Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use. She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months. Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Creative City Network of Canada identifies arts and culture as powerful tools contributing to positive change within any community. Activities help create dialogue between community members and a safe space for leadership and activism to be taught and learned. The Vancouver-based organization is made up of municipalities and corporations across the country that want to support cultural development in their communities through different forms of art. The City of Brampton has suffered on this front for years. It’s last arts-related organization, the Brampton Arts Council (BAC) was dismantled in 2015 after the City changed the way it was funding community organizations, following years of wide scale mismanagement under the leadership of former mayor Susan Fennnell, who divided and politicized the arts community. BAC was founded in 1978 and received most of its funding from the City in the 13 years before it ceased operations. The group had obvious problems of its own. Sharon Vandrish, co-chair of the Brampton Arts Coalition Committee (BACC), told The Pointer there was no regular communication between the BAC and the leaders of different arts groups they were to assist, making their agenda unclear. Despite the problems, funding still flowed, but once the BAC was disbanded, Brampton’s local arts community was left without any support. To change this, the BACC, made up of local artists and industry professionals, has been advocating for some sort of revival for the past three years. In a February 2019 presentation to council, the group illustrated just how bad things were in the city. At the time, using a conservative population estimate of 594,000 residents, the city was putting less than a dollar per person toward the arts, the lowest among Canada’s big cities. Brampton had no city staff or board members dedicated toward an arts council. Mississauga was putting $2.76 toward the arts for each resident, and had 4 staff members and 17 arts directors at the time. Changes were desperately needed. Vandrish and other local artists received some hope at a council meeting a little over a year ago. In January 2019, council approved the creation of the Arts, Culture and Creative Industry Development Agency (the Agency for short) to help revive Brampton’s creative industries. These industries are a key focus of the city’s future planning, as summarized in Brampton’s 2040 Vision, a detailed document outlining Brampton’s long-term growth model. The creation of the Agency was a talking point in the City’s first Cultural Master Plan. Approved in 2018, it helped highlight why Brampton’s art scene was struggling and proposed a body devoted to arts and cultural development, which would help the city implement programs under one organized structure. “The lack of such a [master] plan has led to an uncoordinated and reactive approach to issues as they emerge. Without a guiding strategy to provide course and direction, there has been confusion and some frustration amongst those active in the arts and cultural community,” the Master Plan states. Nuvi Sidhu was hired last month as the chair of the panel that will incorporate the Agency. Sidhu, a project management consultant who has worked with local artists, will be responsible for hiring the rest of the panel. It’s unclear how the hiring for the position was handled. The Pointer sent the City questions about the process and the project’s future but did not receive a response. Vandrish said she was “pleased” with the announcement of the new hiring. While the original goal was to have the hiring done in the fall, given ongoing challenges due to the pandemic, she’s glad the hiring was even done. While it’s a step in the right direction, there are still concerns around the project. Besides the chair, the seven-member panel will include program lead Michael Vickers who was hired alongside Sidhu, one member of council, a local artist, and one creative entrepreneur, among others. While Vandrish said she understands the importance of having panel members who specialize in finance, legal, and project management, to help run a successful organization, artists are the ones who know their craft and associated challenges because they face them every day. She doesn’t believe having only one artist on the panel is a good model to follow because there isn’t going to be enough input from the community. “Who knows better what's going on and how to make things work in the arts groups than the arts leaders themselves,” Vandrish questioned. “In my opinion, it's still potentially flawed in having fair and equal balance for the arts leaders that are here, that are local.” Having more than one artist on the panel could help address the problem of silos, as outlined in the Cultural Master Plan. This happens when the city’s arts communities don’t work together given many residents don’t see themselves represented in traditional cultural mediums, such as theatre (or a particular theatre) even if inclusivity is emphasized. The concern is that in such a diverse city, cultural and artistic expression needs to be supported in an incredibly broad, inclusive way that doesn’t leave groups and communities on the sidelines. It’s a problem Vandrish has faced. She’s having trouble getting members of the South Asian-Canadian community, who make up a majority of Brampton’s residents, to come out and see a musical, or go to another arts event and celebrate culture as a group. Similarly, the team behind Vibrant Brampton, a South Asian festival, says an issue they have is attracting members outside of the South Asian community, Vandrish said. In such a plural community, programming for all the unique and diverse cultural interests can be impossible. In the past, Brampton, and its small number of arts groups, did a poor job of reflecting the demographics of the city. But efforts have been made at City Hall to ensure municipal venues like the Rose Theatre focus on arts and cultural offerings that appeal to a broader range of Brampton’s residents. It remains hard to bring everyone together, Vandrish said. There are other concerns around the timing of the project. The goal for the Agency is to become a self-funding organization that does not need taxpayer support. The plan, presented by staff in January 2020, states this won’t happen until 2024. “We can’t wait three more years,” Vandrish said. Between 2020 and 2024, the City will put more than $3.3 million toward the project. It’s not clear if the pandemic will have an impact on the timeline or the project’s final cost. The staff report states $576,000 will go toward the plan this year, but a funding source is not included. The 2021 budget does not specifically mention the project. Maintaining independence and being separated from politics is important, Vandrish said, as doing so will remove the “backroom conversations” from the mix. She says some arts groups believe the only way to get interest around their initiatives is to speak with a member of council privately and develop a connection with them, eventually gaining funding that may not be offered to other groups. It’s a reality when properly formulated processes do not exist. Fennell came under fire for her relationship with arts groups, which were drawn into her broader network of political supporters, in exchange for her help. It was a fraught period highlighted by an acrimonious end to the once venerated Brampton Symphony Orchestra, considered one of Canada’s best community symphonies. It folded shortly after 2013, when the City, under Fennell’s watch, banned it from performing in municipal venues such as the Rose, its previous home, following a feud with Fennell over funding irregularities by the former mayor’s private arts gala. These types of political entanglements are something many artists want to avoid. “I believe that the council should designate an amount of funds that the City will provide, and that the council is independent of political influence…[artists] shouldn’t be at the mercy of who they know,” Vandrish said. According to the staff report, the city councillor named to the panel will be the last member designated. While staying independent from the City is the goal, having a council representative in such groups is standard. The new hiring is bittersweet news for an industry that has struggled to survive throughout the pandemic, a dark drama Vandrish has had a front seat for as the president of the Brampton Music Theatre. The group was forced to move out from its previous home over the summer because of a lack of funds. Three other groups at the facility met the same fate, and one has since gone under, Vandrish said. “We’ve all just been focused in the last year on trying to stay alive,” she said. “Performing arts in general has been destroyed by the pandemic.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @nida_zafar Tel: 416 890-7643 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Nida Zafar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
When Carolyn Court’s husband landed a job in Simcoe County, they packed up their Milton home and moved to Thornton in a heartbeat. That was 11 years ago and the now 40-something couple haven’t looked back. “There was more land up here and everyone’s fleeing the city and coming up here for the cheaper prices,” Court said while walking her dog along Thornton Avenue. “I think we broke even when we bought up here, but the prices have risen a lot since then.” The Courts are among hundreds of couples who saw the prices rise south of Essa and the lots shrink. According to a Statistics Canada 2016 census, more well-heeled families are making their way north. The median total household income in Essa Township was $87,243 in 2015 (latest figures available) with about 15 per cent of the population earning that income, compared to the provincial average of 11 per cent. In contrast, Barrie’s median household wage sat around $77,900 at that time and Simcoe County's median was $76,489. Essa’s inhabitants are younger, too. While the average age of residents in Oro-Medonte is 43.7 years and a little less in Springwater at 43.4, Essa’s average resident is 37 years old. Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall rhymes off Essa’s attributes: it’s near the Blue Mountains and Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski hills, it’s not far from the Toronto or Lake Simcoe Regional airports, and it’s accessible to both Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. “It’s not too far from Toronto and a lot of new people came up just because of the price of the houses,” Dowdall said. “They’re 30 years old, they’ve saved their down payment, and they just can’t buy down in Toronto, even if you want to, so they come up here. And, it has a really good tax rate. Tax rates in Essa are phenomenal in comparison to a lot of the other municipalities; we’re very attractive to people.” The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) determines municipal taxes by multiplying a home’s current value by the total tax rate and then dividing by property class. Essa’s residential property tax is calculated at 0.678, whereas Springwater is rated at .0768 and Oro-Medonte is 0.856. Once families move to Essa, Dowdall said, they invite their friends and families to visit and they see Essa’s possibilities. “Essa now has a lot of amenities; you know, the grocery stores, more restaurants that are coming, the high school was a huge, huge addition that completed the community,” he said of Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School that opened in 2011. “We have the opportunity for people to buy and stay and watch their kids go through their whole schooling. That made quite a difference in the area.” If there is any downside, both Dowdall and Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald agree it’s the dearth of homes for the boomer generation. Looking 10 years down the road, Macdonald can see which amenities communities will need to keep older residents satisfied. Also on the mayor’s wish list would be more industrial businesses taking up residence. Currently, Essa has a “huge commuting” population heading south for the better-paying jobs, she said. However, there are still good jobs to be had at Honda, Baxter and many residents work at Canadian Forces Base Borden. “Industrial (businesses) are a much higher paying tax (base) and it balances taxes. Housing does not pay for itself,” Macdonald said. Maintaining parkland and opening trails will become more vital than ever, she said. “Just look at having the COVID-19, this pandemic, at least we have green space where people can get out and walk,” she said. “We need to go the way we’re going now, increase our trails, increase our green spaces, and if this is a way of life for at least a few years of social distancing, at least they can get out and (know) that it’s safe to go." Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
France's banking industry body wants a new European Union law that would force non-EU banks to shift swathes of euro derivatives clearing from the City of London to Frankfurt, people familiar with the matter said. Since Britain fully left the European Union in December the City of London finance industry has lost access to its biggest market and trading in euro shares and swaps have moved to the EU. Sources told Reuters that the French Banking Federation (FBF) does not believe it would work if non-EU banks were asked voluntarily to move trillions of euros in interest rate swaps positions from the London Stock Exchange's LCH clearing arm to the bloc.
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
An all-candidates forum took place virtually via Zoom on Feb. 23, 2021 for the Coast Mountains School District trustee by-election to fill the Terrace seat vacated when Art Erasmus moved away last year. All seven candidates participated via Zoom, and the forum was streamed live on the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Sarah Zimmerman, executive director of communications for Coast Mountains College served as the moderator for the event. Dave Crawley, Ed Harrison, Peter Lambright, Roger Leclerc, Lynn Parker, Diana Penner and Kate Spangl are all vying for the Terrace seat. The forum lasted two hours, and there were some disruptions with the online format as some candidates found themselves muted occasionally and had to start their answer over. Two candidates were given one minute to respond to a question, and other candidates could use one of two rebuttals to respond to a question that they were not asked. All candidates were given an opportunity to share what they would most like to accomplish should they be elected. Here are their responses in the order that candidates answered. Peter Lambright: “If I am successful for the next couple years while I sit on the board, I strongly believe we should be lobbying and hitting up the provincial government fast and hard so that we can start updating our failing infrastructure. As Terrace is growing, and it is the hub of the north, we have a lot of young people moving here for work and jobs, and once again if we did this together as Terrace, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Haisla and Nisga’a, with their support and our support and our working forward for the greater future of our school district, we can start to get a lot of the different benefits if we started doing it all as one, and as someone who’s been in Aboriginal relations and is related to pretty much everybody around here, and as a former chief I know most of the leaders and I know they would step forwards for the greater good of their kids.” Ed Harrison: “I think the five-year plan is actually the critical component of the district’s thrust in terms of the new curriculum because it truly asks the district to seriously look at and analyze what parents, students, guardians are saying about the school system and gives it a basis to build on over the next five years, and it also does seriously hold people accountable for what it is they are saying they want to do, so I would see that as the critical component.” Lynn Parker: “From my platform it is accountability, it is to ensure, and it will go along with what I said before about the five-year plan, if we are to work on more ways to support a student in reading, writing, math or science to excel in their education and acknowledge employees needing to feel value for their work efforts, if we are to help get this five year off the ground by ensuring each child has their say in class about what supports they need, I think we need to hear from the students and hear from the staff, so we need that somehow, so I think our biggest pressure is to ensure that they are heard.” Kate Spangl: “I think for me the biggest priority is what I said in my opening, is communication, is open, flowing, timely, respectful communication that we are seeking from our community, from our parents, from our students. I echo what Lynn and Ed said about our five-year plan, we have to have that communication from all of our partners in order for that five-year plan to be solid and to be meaningful. I think opening up more lines of direct communication is what I would really like to achieve in the next year and a half.” Dave Crawley: “I think for me, first of all would be to help guide the schools through the pandemic to get us past the COVID-19 and onto a better way and then the five-year plan is very important so I believe that having a direction, having goals and then checking along the way to see that we are on track and that we are moving in the right direction is essential to the success of the schools and to the learning of the students, all of them.” Roger Leclerc: “I think exiting out of COVID-19 is going to take a while and its going to really affect the delivery of programs and services at the school district, and I agree with the district’s plan, that we need to get this done but along with that we need to have an implementation strategy, that we take that plan and implement it in the district, just the plan itself needs to have that next step to go with it, so those are my priorities.” Diana Penner: “I think over and above the biggest thing for me is teamwork, I think we’ve discovered more and more that every time when something falls off the radar screen the quickest way that we fall off with it is that we’re not all on the same page, so for me it’s always been teamwork. It’s about our 4,000 students, hearing their voices heard, the 770 staff, hearing their voices heard, it’s about all of our 19 schools being on the same page, all of us wanting the same thing for one another and working with one another. So having said that technology I think right now is the place where we are falling off the quickest so I think that for me, staying abreast with what’s going on with technology and this is a prime example with our mics and all that sort of stuff, it’s a hard track to stay on.” The entire all candidates forum can be viewed on the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. General voting day is March 6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room. There is also an advance voting day and that is March 3 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Nootka Sound RCMP and Work Safe BC are investigating the fatal accident of a Western Forest Products contract employee at Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 19 near Gold River on Monday morning. Cpl. Kim Rutherford said that the RCMP responded to a report of a workplace fatality at a wood lot located south of Gold River at 9:40 a.m. on March 1. BC Coroner Service is also investigating the incident, said Rutherford. In an email statement, WFP spokesperson Babita Khunkhun said that harvesting operations were immediately suspended and that they are working with the contractor and authorities as appropriate. “We are saddened to hear of a fatal incident that occurred this morning involving an employee of one of our contractors working in Tree Farm Licence 19 near Gold River, B.C. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues impacted by this tragedy. On behalf of all employees at Western, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the worker’s family,” said Don Demens, President and CEO, WFP. Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
With its support in polls dropping, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party is considering changes to electoral laws which could rescue its prospects in elections due to be held by 2023, three AK Party officials say. Polls show combined support for the AK Party and its MHP ally has fallen to just 45%. For the first time, pollsters say, disenchanted supporters who drifted away from the AK Party appear unlikely to be won back.
A P.E.I. man will spend more than a year in jail after he pleaded guilty in Summerside provincial court recently to several charges, including drug trafficking. Jeremy Gordon Irving Milligan, 36, of no fixed address, was pulled over by the Prince District Joint Forces Operation Drug Unit in Linkletter on July 28. He was driving a red 2007 Yamaha motorcycle. Police found 224 methamphetamine tablets on him, even though he was on probation for methamphetamine trafficking at the time. Milligan was charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking as well as resisting arrest. He forfeited a cell phone and the pills, as well as his motorcycle and helmet to police. Then in Richmond on Sept. 25, Milligan was charged for violating a release order; he wasn’t wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet. Judge Krista MacKay sentenced Milligan to 730 days in jail for trafficking meth. He got another 15 days for resisting arrest and another 10 for not wearing the ankle bracelet, to be served concurrently. Afterwards, he’ll be on probation for 24 months. Milligan was given 283 days’ credit for time served. Milligan must submit a DNA sample to the National DNA Databank, and he will be under a lifetime weapons ban. Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer
A coalition of Indigenous and environmental organizations is calling on the Canadian and Ontario governments to impose an “immediate moratorium” on all mineral exploration or impact assessment work related to the Ring of Fire region. A dozen organizations, including the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Omushkegowuk Women's Water Council (OWWC), have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and provincial leaders asking for the pause. Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines believes the Ring of Fire region in the province’s north has valuable deposits of several minerals, including chromite, which can be used to make stainless steel. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has labelled it a “multibillion-dollar opportunity.” Yet there have been persistent questions over its true potential and concerns over the risk that a rush into a mining boom will end up trampling Indigenous rights and damaging the sensitive local environment. Ancient peatlands, or muskeg, in the region cover over 325,000 square kilometres, representing roughly 26 gigatons of carbon. Environment and Climate Change Canada has said the wetlands in the region “include extensive, globally significant peatlands.” The department has acknowledged that activities linked to construction “could have negative effects on wetlands.” “The muskeg itself currently is a carbon sink,” explained Kerrie Blaise, northern services legal counsel with CELA, in an interview Monday. “But once it’s disturbed, its storage capabilities are removed and so then it becomes a carbon emitter. So it’s a very sensitive type of ecosystem.” The groups also said assessments of mining activity should not proceed until “access to clean water, housing, and health services have been secured for all upstream and downstream communities from the proposed Ring of Fire.” “Mining interests cannot continue to be prioritized over the health, lands, and natural laws of Indigenous communities,” reads the letter, dated Feb. 24. “Living up to the promise of reconciliation means action is required now to prevent further violations of Indigenous rights.” Wilkinson has received the letter and is currently reviewing the request, press secretary Moira Kelly told Canada’s National Observer on Monday. Two federal impact assessments on access roads to Ring of Fire mining sites are currently ongoing: one on a 107-kilometre all-season supply road linking with Webequie First Nation and another on a 190- to 230-kilometre multi-use road connecting with Marten Falls. Canada’s federal Impact Assessment Act does not explicitly allow Wilkinson to declare a "moratorium" on assessments, and it offers a relatively narrow range of options for assessments to be ended. Essentially, either the proponent has to tell the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada or the minister in writing that the project won’t be carried out or otherwise fail to provide information within certain time limits. Last year, however, Wilkinson also ordered a regional assessment in the Ring of Fire area, based on the potential for mining development to “cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction,” as he put it in letters to the requesters — including those that contribute to climate change, or impact fish and fish habitat, migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Convention Act and wildlife under the Species at Risk Act. That regional assessment is still in the planning stages. The assessment agency also said in January it would continue to accept public input on how it should go about planning the assessment. Blaise said Wilkinson should take the opportunity and put the brakes on all activity. “Hypothetically, the federal government could say, ‘Great, we’re going to pause the (regional) impact assessment. We’re going to make sure communities know that this is going on — we’re going to make sure communities have awareness — we’re going to make sure communities have information in front of them,” she said. In addition to OWWC and CELA, the letter was written by East Coast Environmental Law, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, MiningWatch Canada, Northwatch, Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, West Coast Environmental Law, Wildlands League and World Wildlife Fund Canada. Blaise said the letter was meant to amplify another call made in January by the Mushkegowuk Council Chiefs, representing seven Cree First Nations including Attawapiskat, for a moratorium on development until a “proper protection plan” is implemented. The chiefs said it was “irresponsible” to continue planning for industrial development during the COVID-19 pandemic and “while we are still fighting to secure clean water for our community.” Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Farallon Capital Management on Tuesday accused Toshiba Corp on Tuesday of "backpedaling" over its investment strategy, a charge the Japanese firm has dismissed. Farallon, Toshiba's second largest shareholder, has called for an extraordinary meeting to seek shareholders' approval over what the fund had said is the Japanese firm's shift towards large-scale mergers and acquisitions. Toshiba said last month it had made no change in its policy on investment and shareholder returns.
Manitobans can now choose to designate one other household to form a pandemic bubble and all businesses — except indoor theatres, concert halls, casinos and bingo halls — can reopen when new public health orders come into effect Friday. Indoor recreation facilities such as gyms, pools and fitness centres can operate at 25 per cent capacity with physical distancing measures in place for spectators, locker rooms and common areas. The province had considered eliminating rules requiring masks for people in recreation facilities while exercising, but decided to keep it in place for this round of the health orders, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said. The new orders, which Roussin unveiled during a news conference on Tuesday, will remain in effect until March 25. To read a breakdown of the new rules on the Manitoba government website, click here. "We shouldn't interpret these reopenings as a reduction in our risk," Roussin said, stressing the need to keep case numbers down, as more easily transmissible variants of the virus poses a threat to the health system. Under the rules for household bubbles, all members of both households must agree to only visit each other. Manitobans can either choose the household bubble option, or can instead continue to designate up to two people to come to their home. Among the other changes, the limit on outdoor gathering sizes has doubled to 10 people. Restaurants can operate at 50 per cent capacity, but the rule limiting seating to household members only remains in place. If restaurants were allowed to seat more than one household together, there would be no way for them to avoid seating multiple households together, Roussin said. "We know that Manitobans want to get out with other people at these restaurants. We just can't have people from different households, multiple households sitting at the same table for prolonged periods of time." WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin on reason for sticking to single-household seating in restaurants: Other businesses can also operate at 50 per cent capacity, up to a maximum of 250 people. Places of worship can reopen at 25 per cent capacity, up to a maximum of 100 people. Arcades, go-kart tracks, day camps for children and children's facilities can also open at 25 per cent capacity. Dance, theatre and music facilities can open for individual instruction and group classes at 25 a maximum per cent capacity. Professional theatre, dance, symphony and opera companies can resume rehearsals, as long as they are not open to the public. The changes come after the Manitoba government announced last week that it was considering a broad swath of relaxed COVID-19 rules. Members of the public were invited to offer their feedback on the proposed changes. Officials began loosening some restrictions to allow for a "slow reopening" of some businesses on Jan. 23 after Manitobans spent months in near lockdown. At first, the changes applied to all areas but the north. On Feb. 12, restrictions were relaxed further, this time with northern Manitoba included. Despite those relaxed rules, daily COVID-19 case counts have continued to fall across the province. On Monday, Manitoba posted its lowest daily case count since Oct. 7. WATCH | Province announces new COVID-19 orders:
NEW YORK — One of the most intriguing parts of the costumes at the Broadway play “A Soldier's Story” was something the audience likely never saw. Each of the 12 actors wore uniforms carefully reflecting the attire of real soldiers in 1944. Their boots, too, were faithful replications. But around their necks were dog tags carefully etched with each character's name, age and religious affiliation. The dog tags — usually tucked under the costumes and out of sight — gave the actors something they could physically hold as they got into character. They became touchstones for their roles. It was the brainchild of Dede Ayite, who has earned two 2021 Tony Award costume design nominations. Even if few sitting in the audience knew about the dog tags or what they said, it was her gift to the actors, her attempt to deepen the experience. “Stuff like that brings me joy. I don’t need the audience to know that," said Ayite. "It’s building up of those layers that adds even more texture to a piece.” Showing her versatility, Ayite also is nominated for designing the costumes for “Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’ bracing work about an antebellum fantasy therapy workshop. If “A Soldier's Play” was regimented and historically accurate, “Slave Play” is fantasy and fetishism. “I love the way clothes make me feel. I love the stories you can tell through clothing,” said Ayite, who noted that on this interview day her red sweater had shifted her demeanour. “That’s the power and the beauty of what clothes can do. I want to be able to tap into that.” For “A Soldier's Play,” which explores racism within a Black U.S. Army unit, Ayite created special padding in the elbows and knees for actor David Alan Grier, who was frequently pummeled onstage. The soldiers' boots had to look broken in so she handed them out at the beginning of rehearsals. For “Slave Play,” Ayite put a leather dominatrix outfit under a hoop skirt for one character and mixed contemporary items — like Calvin Klein underwear — with Civil War-era pieces to make the viewer question what they were seeing. “There is a sort of home-grown quality to it. The characters have sort of like put their own spin on each of these costumes,” said “Slave Play” director Robert O’Hara. “I think that people watching the show will say, ‘Wait a minute. That looks out of time with the time period.’ So there are winks in the costumes throughout.” Ayite said she's always been curious about what makes humans tick, and she had one of the more astounding double majors of anyone on Broadway — theatre and behavioural neuroscience. She excelled at both, but at some point had to pick career paths. “I needed to choose the thing that brought me the most joy and the thing that sort of kept my heart intact and my spirit intact. And that was art,” she said. “I just kept saying yes to the thing that spoke to my heart. And it’s brought me here today. And for that I’m grateful.” She has a master’s in design from the Yale School of Drama and teaches at Harvard University. Ayite said she likes the collaborative nature of theatre, and her art is a “soul calling.” “There’s nothing like watching an audience experience the world you helped to create and to see them moved,” she said. "I don’t need to run up there and say, ‘Hey, look at me,’ because I see that, I see the effect.” Her other Broadway credits include “American Son” and “Children of a Lesser God.” Her work has been seen at Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory, Baltimore Center Stage, Arena Stage and Cleveland Playhouse. Ayite learned she had earned two Tony nominations last fall while at the dentist, who was encouraging. “He said, ‘You know what? I feel good about this. I think it’s going to be a good day’” she said he told her. She was still processing the first text message of a nomination when a second arrived with more good news. “It is it is a huge honour to think that people who see theatre and people who appreciate theatre are seeing my work and they’re recognizing the effort that goes into it,” she said. The pandemic put on hold two plays she also worked on — revivals of “How I Learned to Drive” and ”American Buffalo." Both sets of costumes are in storage, awaiting the return of live theatre. But when it does, Ayite is ready to tweak and enhance. “I definitely would like to look at the costumes again, acknowledge what we’ve done so far, but then also think of them through the lens of what we’ve all gone through in the last year and a half,” she said. “We’re all different today.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a key case that could make it harder to challenge a raft of other voting measures Republicans have proposed following last year's elections. All six conservative justices, appointed by Republican presidents, suggested they would throw out an appellate ruling that struck down the restrictions as racially discriminatory under the landmark Voting Rights Act. The three liberal members of the courts, appointed by Democrats, were more sympathetic to the challengers. Less clear is what standard the court might set for how to prove discrimination under the law, first enacted in 1965. The outcome could make it harder, if not impossible, to use the Voting Rights Act to sue over measures making their way through dozens of Republican-controlled state legislatures that would make it more difficult to vote. Civil rights group and Democrats, argue that the proposed restrictions would disproportionately affect minority voters, important Democratic constituencies. Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, have proposed national legislation that would remove obstacles to voting erected in the name of election security. Mark Sherman, The Associated Press