Details with meteorologist Nadine Powell
Details with meteorologist Nadine Powell
Alimentation Couche-Tard would revive its $20 billion bid for France's Carrefour if the Canadian convenience store operator saw a change in the French government's stance on the proposed deal, its chief executive said on Monday. Couche-Tard dropped its surprise bid for the European retailer over the weekend after the plan ran into opposition from the French government. "We'd love to do the transaction .... if we got signals that the environment could change or would change from the French government or other key stakeholders," Brian Hannasch told an analyst call.
NORTH PERTH – Residents are being encouraged by Amy Gangl, interim manager of recreation, to have their say in the development of a community park which will replace Listowel Memorial Arena after its demolition this year. Municipal staff are working with consultants, SHIFT Landscape Architecture, to explore design options to help shape the future park space, and they are looking for input on two preliminary design options presented on Your Say North Perth. On the Memorial Arena Park design options project page at YoursayNorthPerth.ca, residents can review the designs and provide feedback through a survey until Jan. 18. “We’ve received some great input and quite a bit of engagement from the community which is fantastic news,” said Gangl. “That is one of the items council was hoping for and our consultants are already quite pleased with the… input regarding the concept of the designs.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
BRUCE COUNTY – Mark Paoli, land use planning manager, presented a report to the planning and development committee in December recommending changes to the current fee schedule. The changes will be phased in within one year. At the November meeting, the committee passed recommendations arising from the development fees final report by StrategyCorp that included recovery of all activity costs and appropriate overhead; four new fees (general inquiries, pre-consultations, studies over five hours, and pit/quarry Official Plan amendments); deposit for peer reviews; and resume increasing fees annually by the Consumer Price Index in 2022. The recommendations included that the matter return to the committee in December for approval. The committee approved the following amendments: • Allow for a flat fee for one or two minor variances in the same application, and add to it a separate flat fee that is 30 per cent higher for cases of three or more minor variances in the same application. • For multiple consents, reduce the price of each additional lot in the same application to 50 per cent, after the first one. • Segment fees for major county Official Plan amendment and minor county Official Plan amendment, based on whether it requires more than three technical studies or not. For major amendments, increase the new base fee by eight per cent for each additional technical study required over the threshold of three studies. Paoli’s report stated there’s more involved than greater transparency and ensuring fees fully reflect costs. Fees should “also recognize ‘bulk rate’ savings that come from economies of scale in multi-unit applications, to the benefit of the developer-user. Passing on the savings of economies of scale will accurately reflect actual costs, to the benefit of both the county and the user.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press
SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Anne-Marie Tremblay, de Chicoutimi, a trouvé sa passion. Indécise sur ce qu’elle voulait faire dans la vie, la jeune femme de 20 ans a profité de son plus récent temps libre pour se lancer dans la confection de produits pour le corps maison et véganes, ce qu’elle adore. Elle est plus motivée que jamais à faire découvrir son entreprise Banana Blue Cosmetics au plus grand nombre. Comme bien des jeunes de son âge, Anne-Marie a essayé quelques emplois. Rapidement, elle s’est mise à rêver d’être sa propre patronne. Elle avait choisi d’étudier dans le domaine de l’esthétique, au privé, et avait commencé à faire des poses de cils avant que la pandémie ne débarque et que toutes ses activités ne soient complètement arrêtées. Ce temps libre a motivé la jeune femme à mettre sur pied son propre projet. « J’avais le temps. J’ai commencé par faire des produits en tissu, mais je me suis rapidement rendu compte que ça ne faisait pas. J’avais déjà fait des bombes de bain, donc je suis retombée là dedans. J’ai fait un nouveau produit et je suis vraiment tombé en amour avec ce domaine », explique Anne-Marie Tremblay, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Elle compare la création de produits pour le corps à la cuisine, alors qu’elle doit apprendre à créer et à tester de nouvelles recettes, ce qu’elle a toujours aimé faire. Depuis la fin du mois d’octobre, on retrouve donc les produits de Blue Banana Cosmetics, qui sont véganes et naturels, en vente sur son site Internet. On compte dans l’inventaire des beurres corporels, des exfoliants à lèvres et des exfoliants pour le corps fouettés, c’est-à-dire qu’ils ont une texture plus légère et aérée. Elle a également des coffrets «découverte» disponibles pour les personnes qui souhaiteraient essayer différents produits. Pour trouver son inspiration, la jeune femme pense à ce qu’elle aimerait avoir. « Je n’avais jamais fait moi-même mes produits pour le corps, comme certains. J’ai juste essayé comme ça et j’ai vu que ça fonctionnait bien. Je suis contente de pouvoir en faire profiter aux autres », révèle-t-elle. Contre toute attente, Anne-Marie s’est rapidement créé une clientèle. « J’ai vraiment été chanceuse, parce que la boutique Atelier apothicaire m’a approché très vite, donc j’ai eu rapidement un point de vente. C’est sûr que ç’a m’a beaucoup aidé et que ça m’a donné beaucoup de visibilité au Saguenay » se réjouit-elle. Elle avait également déjà des clients pour ses produits de couture sur une autre page qui ont suivi ce nouveau projet avec attention. Elle a également connu d’autres jeunes entrepreneurs de la région via les réseaux sociaux, avec qui elle tisse des liens. Ces jeunes s’entraident beaucoup. Pour la suite Quand Anne-Marie pense à l’avenir, elle aimerait bien sûr continuer de diversifier ses produits et lancer même un jour une gamme de produits pour hommes. Elle veut aussi pour la prochaine année se concentrer à l’amélioration de son site Internet. Elle espère, à long terme, se faire davantage connaître au Québec et même ailleurs. La jeune entrepreneure invite les gens à visiter son site Internet pour découvrir tous ses produits. Elle alimente également une page Instagram où ses abonnés peuvent voir en primeur les nouveautés de son commerce. Certains de ses soins sont également disponibles à l’Atelier Apothicaire ainsi que sur le site Internet de cette boutique. Il y aura bientôt du nouveau alors que la jeune femme parle du lancement d’un nouveau produit, mais qu’elle ne veut pas encore dévoiler. Elle compte l’annoncer prochainement.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
An old roadbed in Conception Bay North is getting a new lease on life. Up until the 1970s, the road between Old Perlican and Bay de Verde was the main thoroughfare that connected the two communities. That road was phased out in the 1970s as the current road was put in. Now, decades later, the old roadbed is getting a facelift as a group of volunteers is restoring the old road into a multi-use trailway. “We thought we could go all the way through to Old Perlican,” said organizer Carl Riggs, who is from Bay de Verde. The idea for the trailway started as a conversation between friends, and it ballooned from there. Riggs decided he would take the idea to the councils of Bay de Verde and Old Perlican. They were supportive of the idea and things took off from there. “The support has been tremendous,” said Riggs. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks between work starting and the idea coming to fruition. Since work got underway on Jan. 11, between 80 and 100 people have contributed to clearing brush, rocks and other debris from the trail. There have been significant contributions from the towns of Old Perlican and Bay de Verde, who have sent various pieces of heavy equipment to help with the job. The business community has also chipped in, and there have been donations of equipment, time and money from people all over the province. “It is amazing how much work has been done in a short period of time,” said Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy. While the original motivation for the restoration of the old road was for use by all-terrain vehicles, the group believes there is ample room for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and others to use the trail. When finished, it will connect to Bay de Verde’s Lazy Rock Walking Trail. “It is a little bit of an attraction for the whole area,” said Old Perlican Mayor Clifford Morgan. “It is a very, very nice initiative.” The work being conducted this winter by the group is just the start of things for them. Riggs said they want to install gazebos, rest areas and signage along the route in the future. There are also plans to work with the CBN T’railway group to connect their projects. The CBN group is working to clear and maintain the old railbed in the region. The hope is they will be able to connect and provide all-terrain vehicle users with the chance to go from Brigus Junction to Bay de Verde. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Riggs. “Excited is not the word.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
A P.E.I. woman brought her new-found love of bread making over Christmas to the aid of an organization that helped her when she was a little girl. Rhyanne Beatty is relatively new to the art of making bread, having taken it up a little over a year ago. She told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier she was immediately caught up by the simplicity of it. "With four ingredients it's so simple, and yet creates something so wonderful," said Beatty. She made bread for Christmas presents in 2019, and the positive reactions she got prompted her to expand on the idea this year. She set up an Instagram account offering up her bread in exchange for donations to Anderson House, a Charlottetown shelter for women facing domestic violence, and Blooming House, a shelter for homeless women. "It really took off and everyone was so supportive. Everyone found me. It was a really great experience," said Beatty. Through the month of December Beatty made 75 loaves of bread for the project, and was able to leverage that into more than $2,000 for the two shelters. Half of that came from Jay's Plumbing and Heating, which answered the call when she asked for matching donations from local businesses. 'They've never left my thoughts' Beatty's choice of the shelters for the fundraiser reflects a personal connection. "I actually stayed at the Anderson House when I was a little girl and my family was going through a difficult experience," she said. "They've never left my thoughts. I think about them all the time." Danya O'Malley, executive director of P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services, said it was wonderful to receive the donation. Fundraising takes a lot of staff time, and outside initiatives not only ease that strain but introduce new supporters to the organization. O'Malley said it was a bonus to hear about Beatty's personal connection. "You often never find out how things turn out down the road," she said. "Getting this after-the-fact information about somebody who that made a positive impact for them, and now they remember that fondly and it was a helpful service, that's just terrific." Some of the staff who were at Anderson House when Beatty lived there would still be there now, O'Malley said. Islanders have rallied around Anderson House during the pandemic, O'Malley said. It has raised $92,000 in its current fundraising campaign, topping last year's $62,000, which was previously the best ever year for fundraising. More from CBC P.E.I.
Abandoned houses and properties are found everywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are houses with chipped paint, boats laid on the shore for the last time and old barns that have been beaten down by the elements. Sometimes, families just left these places and never came back. Other properties fall into disrepair because owners aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Regardless of how they were left, these objects are living history and lend themselves to the story of the people who lived there. Photographer Cory Babstock has documented many of the abandoned structures and objects in his home of Clarenville and the surrounding area. He even produced a small book made up of images of houses left behind, called "Unsettled." “It is important to me. … I’m all about preserving what I can for my kids so that they know we didn’t always live in these bungalows, clumped together in orderly fashion,” he said. That idea of preserving history is part of the reason Babstock takes such pride in photographing the buildings and objects that are left behind. The photos he takes are a historical record of the people and the places where they lived. Last fall, what was left of the Mary Ruth, a sailing vessel built in 1918, had disappeared from its usual spot in Southport. An old home in Open Hall-Red Cliffe that Babstock had photographed frequently has blown down in recent years. Someday, others will be lost to time and there won’t be any record they were ever there. “There is a whole other story, and somebody has to document them," said Babstock. “Sometimes families aren’t able to.” Joe Woods started the Abandoned and Historic Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook group in 2016. He did so to showcase the many such structures across the province to a wide audience. It allowed photographers and those interested in those buildings to interact while sharing their experiences and their work. The group has about 20,000 members and there are several posts daily. “I love finding new places to explore, and Newfoundland and Labrador is endless with them,” Woods said in a social media conversation. In the group, there are pictures of ancient graveyards, abandoned barns, empty storefronts and the skeletons of wooden boats. Often, the interactions inspire others to seek out the images they find in the group, while adding their own. When a new picture is posted, the comment section will sometimes spiral into a cross-section of a person’s connection to the object in the photo, people marvelling at the photo and others who seek to add that object to their photo bucket list. After a quick scroll through the comments, it becomes swiftly evident that these callbacks to an earlier time strike a nerve with people. “One day photographs will be all we have to remember they even stood one time,” said Woods. “It's second chances to admire the beauty and architecture.” The abandoned places Babstock walks don’t always feel like they’re supposed to. Those homes hit your senses differently as you try to picture how families lived a life that was so different from your own, he says, and stepping through their doors pulls you somewhere else. “Every one of these places has a different feel to them,” said Babstock. “Some places resonate with sadness.” He recalled an abandoned home he entered — Babstock always gets permission first — where he found a bed that was left behind. It still had some dressing and a pillow laid on top of it. The floor of another home had long collapsed when he found it. Babstock found a table in the home with dishes still set on it. The dishes appeared to have been left behind in a hurry, he said. “There is a different weight to (the place),” said Babstock. Life has kept west coast photographer Jaimie Maloney from chasing life through a camera lens recently, but that hasn’t diminished her love for photographing and exploring old buildings. When her schedule did allow her to explore the west coast, she found herself drawn to the older structures she found there. “I find it draws me in because it wants to tell me a story,” said Maloney. “I go looking at them and feel the energy and think of various people living there and what they may have done. “It's like the building is talking to you and wants you to share it and pass the information along. It’s almost like being a detective.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Norway has stressed that there was no established link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.View on euronews
Tunisia's defence ministry said Monday that army units deployed overnight and police have quelled days-long social unrest that saw violent protests by young people in various cities across the North African country. The ministry said military units were called in on Sunday night to protect public buildings and “seats of sovereignty,” and the situation was “calm” Monday. Tunisians are angry at the state of the economy and of public services. Many feel disappointed that on the 10th anniversary of the uprising that ousted the autocratic former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, little seems to have improved. There is also added frustration over coronavirus restrictions. The defence ministry said the army will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where clashes with police broke out Sunday evening for the second consecutive night. The interior ministry said authorities had made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone. According to local media the outbreak of violence spread to other parts of the northeast, in particular Nabeul and the south, including the region of Kebili where demonstrators looted shops and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings in some places. Tunisia on Thursday commemorated the 10th anniversary since the flight into exile of iron-fisted Ben Ali, after a popular revolt that foreshadowed pro-democracy uprisings, strife and civil war in the region during what became known as the Arab Spring. But a pall of disenchantment still hangs over Tunisia, marked by extremist attacks, political infighting, a troubled economy and unfulfilled promises, including development of the interior. Despite numerous democratic elections, protests break out, especially in the central and southern regions where youth joblessness reaches 30% and the poverty level is above 20%. According to the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights, more than 1,000 demonstrations took place in November alone. Months of sit-ins paralyzed production of oil and phosphate, a key resource, for months, costing billions of dollars in lost state revenues. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Associated Press
City council will discuss Monday extending a program that encourages businesses to expand or set up new operations in three areas of Calgary. By cutting red tape and reducing cost, the city hopes businesses can get moving with their plans quicker. The proposal would see more exemptions from development permits, allowing immediate applications for building permits and doing away with some permit fees. The pilot project would apply to the International Avenue business improvement area in Forest Lawn, the Montgomery business improvement area as well as two commercial streets in Sunalta. While the program would result in benefits for businesses, the city would also need fewer resources for permit processing. That's not a significant benefit as those services are paid for by permit fees. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have some questions about the program but is generally in favour. "We're taking a pilot project that we've used downtown to cut some red tape and encourage investment and development and expanding that to different parts of the city," said Nenshi. "I'm very much in favour of that as a concept." Downtown tried it first A similar project called the City Centre Enterprise Area was rolled out in 2017 as a way to make it easier for businesses to expand or try different concepts in many empty storefront spaces downtown. In 2019, council voted to extend that project until July 2021. The city acknowledges that there is greater commercial interest in the core, more employment uses and in normal times, more people in the vicinity than the three areas now being looked at for the program. However, the city says choosing the three additional areas for a small pilot project allows it to monitor change of use or renovation exemptions closely. Tough times Administration says making it easier for businesses to start up or expand their operations is critical in Calgary's pandemic-ravaged economy. The executive director of the Montgomery on the Bow business improvement area, Marion Hayes, said the city approached her organization to see if there would be interest. She said they jumped at the opportunity as businesses need ways to quickly adapt to the current environment. "If they can bring change to their business without going through a lot of red tape and also a lot of additional cost, it's a great benefit to them," said Hayes. If council approves the proposal, the pilot project in the three areas will be tried for a year and then be reviewed.
Canada's economy will hit a major roadblock during the first quarter of 2021 before gaining momentum in the next quarter, according to economists in a Reuters poll who said the country's GDP would reach its pre-pandemic growth levels within a year. Although economic activity had recovered partially from a record drop - 7.5% in Q1 and 38.1% in Q2 - in the first half of 2020, it took another hit after a resurgence in coronavirus infections led to renewed tight containment measures. The Jan. 11-18 Reuters poll of over 40 economists predicted the economy, which grew a record annualized 40.5% in the third quarter of 2020, expanded 3.8% in the fourth quarter, a third consecutive downgrade.
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole pushed back against attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics on Sunday, saying there is "no place for the far right" in the Tories while accusing the Liberals of divisive dirty tricks.In a statement Sunday, O'Toole asserted his own views on such issues as abortion, gay rights and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada while insisting that his party is not beholden to right-wing extremists and hatemongers. "The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party — as old as Confederation — that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics," O'Toole said."My singular focus is to get Canada's economy back on track as quickly as possible to create jobs and secure a strong future for all Canadians. There is no place for the far right in our party."The unusual statement follows the riot on Capitol Hill, which U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused of inciting and which has since been held up as proof of the dangers posed by right-wing extremists to Western democracy.It also comes on the heels of a Liberal Party fundraising letter sent to members last week that accused the Conservatives under O'Toole of "continuing a worrisome pattern of divisive politics and catering to the extreme right."As one example, it cited the motto used by O'Toole's leadership campaign: "Take back Canada."It also referenced a photo that has been circulating of Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen wearing a hat with Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," and a since-deleted Tory website alleging the Liberals want to rig the next election.O'Toole on Sunday condemned the Capitol Hill attack as "horrifying," and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism by touting his party's support for free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power and accountable government.To that end, he lashed out at the Liberals, referencing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to prorogue Parliament last summer as hurting accountability, before turning the tables on the governing party and accusing them of using U.S.-style politics."If the Liberals want to label me as 'far right,' they are welcome to try," O'Toole said. "Canadians are smart and they will see this as an attempt to mislead people and import some of the fear and division we have witnessed in the United States."Former Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is now chairman of Summa Strategies, believes O'Toole's team saw a "gathering storm" and felt the need to act to prevent the Liberals from painting the Conservatives as beholden to Trumpism.Such action was especially important ahead of what could be an extremely divisive week down in the U.S., where there are fears that Trump supporters and far-right actors will respond to Joe Biden's inauguration as president with violence.Powers suggested it is also the latest act in O'Toole's effort to introduce himself to Canadians and redefine the Conservatives ahead of the next federal election, both of which have been made more difficult by COVID-19.And when Conservatives in caucus make statements or otherwise act counter to his stated positions, Powers said O'Toole will need to "crush them and take them out" to prove his convictions.Shuvaloy Majumdar, who served as a policy director in Stephen Harper's government, welcomed O'Toole's statement while also speaking of the threat that events in the U.S. could pose to the Tories in Canada — particularly if the Liberals try to link them.O'Toole was accused during last year's Conservative leadership race of courting social conservatives who oppose abortion, among other issues. That raises questions about the degree to which he may anger the party's base by taking more progressive positions.But Majumdar suggested many of the populist elements left the Tories for Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada and that O'Toole is seeking to appeal to more voters by taking a broader view on social issues while sticking to the party's core economic positions.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misquoted Shuvaloy Majumdar saying many social conservatives had left for the People's Party of Canada. He actually said many of the populist elements had left.
The provincial government released its list of communities receiving charitable gaming grants for the last half of 2020. More than $1.3 million will be given to local communities from Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming for the fundraising done from July to September 2020 in communities across the province. Groups raising money through “licensed charitable gaming” like bingo, raffles, Monte Carlo events, etc. receive 25 per cent of their net proceeds back in the form of the charitable gaming grant, explained David Morris, a spokesperson with Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming. Numbers released in the Jan. 14 press release quantified the grants by areas of the province with the North Battleford and the surrounding area receiving $141,175; Humboldt and the surrounding area receiving $57,629, and Yorkton and the surrounding area receiving $56,187. While these numbers are only for the third quarter of 2020, Morris said numbers have been impacted by COVID-19 as local events and bingo halls have been shut down. “Many raffles take place in conjunction with sporting events and many sporting events have been cancelled. That’s impacted the number of raffles. If you go to a hockey game, often the team has a raffle and there are no games so there are no raffles.” Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority are proud to support local organizations that fundraise using the charitable gaming program, said Jim Reiter, the minister responsible, in the press release. “The charitable gaming grant program provides extra dollars that help these groups deliver their services in a variety of important sectors including public service, emergency services, health care and recreation.” Local organizations are eligible for the grant program following the filing of their charitable gaming reports. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The Confederation Trail has been turned over to the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association for the winter after a recent snowfall on Jan. 3. The trails are reserved for the snowmobile association in the winter, and the volunteerled group manages and maintains the snow surface for its members. Association president Dale Hickox is reminding walkers to stay off the trails while they are being maintained for snowmobile traffic. “It’s for your own safety,” he said. In recent years, there have been a number of close calls between snowmobiles and a person or an off-leash dog on the trail. The lease agreement between the province and the association stipulates that, while the association is in charge, the Confederation Trail is for snowmobiles only. The dates for the snowmobilers used to be set from Dec. 1 to March 31, but that changed in 2016. Now the lease comes into effect when there is enough snow for the association to groom the trails. Hickox understands people who use the Confederation Trail in the summer would naturally want to be on it in the winter as well. “I get that,” he said. “I want the walkers on it if we’re not there.” In seasons like this one with its late snow, summer rules remain in effect until the tip-to-tip network is snow-covered and ready for the “sleds” as enthusiasts call their snowmobiles. Now that there is enough snow to have association members out and about, Hickox reminds everyone that even though the hard-packed snow is a tempting way to explore winter, it’s not the same trail as in summertime. The speed limit in rural areas is 80 km/hr, and the snowmobiles “don’t stop in a second,” he said, adding most of the machines are a lot quieter than they used to be and can catch people unaware. “In the summer, you don’t have to worry, it’s only a bicycle coming behind you. But in the wintertime, it’s a motorized vehicle that’s coming and it’s going a lot faster than a bicycle,” he said. At the end of last season, Hickox and the association were in discussion with the province about putting up signs at road crossings to help educate trail users of the winter rules. It didn’t happen this year, but Hickox hopes if the association gets the signs in time for next year, the provincial workers could put them up when they open the gates at each road crossing in advance of the snowmobile season. Destinie Graham, a new P.E.I. resident, agreed signs would help. “I moved from out of province, so I had no idea about the snowmobile association having exclusive rights to the trail until it was mentioned by a community member. Signage would help to inform people who may not be on social media,” she said. For now, Hickox said the association is planning a radio campaign to help educate people about safety on the Confederation Trail in winter. Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer
BRUCE COUNTY – Christine MacDonald, director of human services, made a brief presentation in December on a new emergency response agreement with the Canadian Red Cross. The county has had an agreement with the Red Cross since October 2014. The most recent three-year agreement was set to expire at the end of December. MacDonald said staff have been negotiating with the Red Cross on a revised two-year agreement that will expire Dec. 31, 2022. At that time, the Red Cross anticipates modifications to their service approach due to lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the reason a two-year agreement was recommended instead of one lasting three years. The revised agreement establishes parameters that would have the Red Cross provide emergency services that may include registration, reception and information, family reunification, emergency lodging, emergency food services, emergency clothing, transportation and personal services. In addition, the Red Cross responsibilities in preparing for an emergency include recruiting and training volunteers to deliver local emergency services; stocking and maintaining supplies and logistics capacity; and participating in county-led emergency preparedness exercises, activities, and/or meetings. The annual cost of the agreement is $10,000. It is included in the 2021 budget. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s planning and development committee has approved a draft plan of subdivision in Lucknow, for Hellyn Development Inc. The plan calls for development of a 5.109-hectare parcel of land on the west side of Lucknow with 28 detached dwellings, four townhouse blocks and a stormwater management block. The number of townhouse units will be between 38 and 46, making the total number of residential units 66 to 74. New municipal streets will be constructed, with two connections to Montgomery Lane at Hamilton and Rose streets. According to the report presented to the county in December, “It is a logical infill project in the settlement area that makes efficient use of land and infrastructure. Therefore, the plan is strongly aligned with the ‘good growth’ guiding principle.” As discussed earlier in the fall by Huron-Kinloss council, the plan is good news for the Lucknow community and the wider area of both Bruce and Huron counties. The land is presently used for agriculture, but is designated primary urban communities in the Bruce County Official Plan, and residential in the township’s Official Plan. The property is within the village’s settlement area. Lands to the east and south are residential, with a mix of single-family dwellings, townhouses and vacant lots. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times