Weather Network meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the National forecast.
Weather Network meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the National forecast.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Inaya Mirza’s bully, another student in her Grade 4 classroom, is a lot quieter online. “When she was at school every day, she would be talking about this girl,” said her older sister, Maryam Mirza. “She was doing poor academically because she was so stressed.” The bullying — name-calling, rumour-spreading and gossiping — stopped when classrooms were shuttered. “Now, she’s happy,” said Maryam, 23, an early-childhood educator. “She kind of misses her friends, but, at the same time, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the bully.” Nearly 60 per cent of public school students surveyed reported being bullied pre-COVID, according to a new report on bullying released Friday by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Amid the pandemic, that number dropped to about 40 per cent. The report was initiated by the board after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. Kristine Bolton, a parent to two students in the public board, said her eldest daughter, a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill, suffers from anxiety. “She didn’t feel safe all the time there with what happened with Devan,” she said. “She’s been scared.” Bolton said the 15-year-old puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform academically. “She blacks out during tests,” her mother said. “So being in the comfort of home, she’s not going through that and her marks have been really good so far.” Bolton said her kids have excelled with remote learning — each for a different reason. “Our youngest one, she’s always had a lot of struggles, unfortunately, in school,” Bolton said. Her daughter, a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, had been at a Grade 3 or 4 level for a couple of years, her mother said. Now, she is doing math between a Grade 6 and 7 level. “When the remote started last year after March break, I was able to give her that one-on-one support,” she said. “Her grades have improved.” Jennifer McTaggart, a clinical psychologist with the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, said success with remote learning “is going to vary based on the kid.” “I think there are some children who are thriving in remote learning,” she said. Self-directed learners and students who are easily distracted by may prefer to learn in a more independent environment. Remote learning might be a welcome break for students who are shy, have an anxiety disorder or suffer from bullying. But, she said, it’s “a double-edged sword.” “Getting out of the situation really does reinforce the anxiety, so our kids aren’t learning how to deal in these social situations,” she said. “There’s a temporary relief, but I also worry our children aren’t getting the benefit of learning how to work through those situations, which is important to our social development.” Sixteen-year-old Elena Kowalchuk, a Grade 11 student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is “kind of made for online learning,” her mother says. “She’s highly motivated, she’s got an excellent work ethic, she’s got really good work habits,” said Michelle Castellani, who is a high school teacher. But, despite her daughter’s success with remote learning, Castellani said she will “100 per cent” be going back to the classroom once schools reopen for in-person learning. “It’s not so much for the academics that I would send her back, it is for that little bit of a social piece,” she said. “It’s important for kids to get out of the house.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Danny Huston’s first dog was an Airedale Terrier named Sam after Humphrey Bogart’s “Maltese Falcon” character, Sam Spade. His father John Huston’s debut may have been over 20 years old by the time Danny was born, but the film that helped define the noir genre and launch both his and Bogart’s careers still factored heavily in his life from an early age. Growing up in Ireland, one of his favourite memories was when his father would bring out the projector and they’d gather around to watch his films. “The Maltese Falcon” was always a highlight. “It’s like a good book,” Huston said. “You find new things when you revisit it.” Now the film that no one believed in is celebrating its 80th anniversary. It’s returning to theatres through Fathom Events for a limited engagement on Wednesday. “It’s an important film to see if you love films and I think it stands the test of time. It’s gripping in its speed but it’s not reckless. And the lines! It had such memorable lines,” Huston said. “The dialogue in ‘Maltese Falcon’ is action, pure action.” Huston loves talking about his father, who gave him advice and unforgettable experiences along the way. When he was a teenager, his father brought him along to Morocco for the shoot of “The Man Who Would Be King” with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. And when Huston himself was thinking about directing, his father told him to treat every scene as if it’s the most important and to never feel bashful about asking family for help. John Huston reminded him that he’d even called on his own father for “The Maltese Falcon.” Walter Huston famously appears in a cameo role as the man who delivers the falcon. The film’s legend has only grown and the prop itself has become one of the most valuable pieces of movie memorabilia. “I have a falcon but it’s not real,” Huston laughed. Danny Huston never got to meet Bogart, who died a few years before he was born, but he knew that it was a great loss for his father. “They were great friends and larked about a lot, much to Katharine Hepburn’s horror. But they loved each other deeply,” he said. “The camera sees things that the naked eye doesn’t and with Bogart, the camera found an incredible nobility.” Danny Huston said that his father got to enjoy his own legacy during his long life — he died in 1987 at age 81 — but that he likely wouldn’t have believed that 80 years later the film would still be a topic of discussion. But, Huston laughed, “He would certainly be delighted.” And he has yet to name another pet after a character in his father's films, but he thinks he might start again. Next up: Wilmer. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A former executive with British Columbia's lottery corporation became emotional Tuesday after two days of testimony at a public inquiry into money laundering.Robert Kroeker took several moments to compose himself but his voice still cracked with emotion when he was asked to describe his experience as a focal point in B.C.'s probe into money laundering.Kroeker, who was fired as vice-president of corporate compliance in 2019, spent much of his testimony explaining what the Crown corporation knew about illegal cash circulating at casinos and what was being done to prevent it."You are not a floor manager. You are not on the business side of casinos. You are not wining and dining high rollers," said Marie Henein, Kroeker's lawyer. "That's not what you do. You've spent your life in compliance and trying to deal with money laundering and making casinos secure places in B.C."Kroeker's voice cracked as he tried to describe the impact of allegations that the lottery corporation did not act on large amounts of illegal cash at casinos."It's been devastating, not being able to respond, particularly when I was at the corporation, and especially for my team," said the former RCMP officer. "They're professionals and to see them continually attacked and maligned, it's really unfair."Former gaming investigator Larry Vander Graaf, who is also a former Mountie, told the commission last November that the B.C. Lottery Corp. did not move quickly enough to protect the integrity of gaming from organized crime more than a decade ago.Vander Graaf, the former executive director of the province's gaming policy branch, testified that large amounts of suspicious cash started to appear at B.C. casinos in 2007 and by 2010, loan sharks were circulating nearby parking lots with bags of money believed to be from proceeds of crime.Kroeker testified Tuesday he received a high-level briefing about suspicious cash activities at provincial casinos with possible links to organized crime on his first day on the job at the lottery corporation in 2015.He said he reviewed a document that concluded lottery officials appeared unwilling to address police concerns about suspicious cash and its potential connections to organized crime. The document also included the lottery corporation's concerns over the potential fallout if the information became public, he added."Certainly by this point BCLC knew there was a concern around the cash being brought into casinos being proceeds of crime," B.C. government lawyer Jacqueline Hughes asked Kroeker."Yes, for sure," said Kroeker.On Monday, Kroeker testified that Attorney General David Eby appeared uninterested in the lottery corporation's anti-money laundering efforts during a meeting in 2017 shortly after the New Democrats took power.The Ministry of Attorney General said in a statement on Monday that Eby would not comment on evidence or proceedings while the commission is underway.But in a statement on Tuesday, the ministry said "this government's actions to tackle financial crime in B.C. speaks for itself."Kroeker testified Tuesday that the money laundering issue in B.C. had become "politically charged" and was used by the two main political parties to criticize each other.The province appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected the province's real estate, luxury vehicles and gaming sectors.— By Dirk Meissner in VictoriaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
AT&T Inc was sued on Tuesday for at least $1.35 billion by a Seattle company that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its patented "twinning" technology, which lets smart devices such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a single phone number. Network Apps LLC said AT&T abandoned joint development and licensing agreements for its technology in 2014 after realizing it would owe a "fortune" in royalties because the market for smart devices was exploding, only to then incorporate the technology a year later in its own product, NumberSync. According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, NumberSync uses the "same concept and architecture" with only "cosmetic changes," and its purported "inventors" were the same AT&T personnel who had worked with the plaintiffs.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons and acknowledge the central role government has played in implementing discriminatory housing policies. In remarks before signing the orders, Biden said the U.S. government needs to change “its whole approach” on the issue of racial equity. He added that the nation is less prosperous and secure because of the scourge of systemic racism. “We must change now,” the president said. “I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well." Biden rose to the presidency during a year of intense reckoning on institutional racism in the U.S. The moves announced Tuesday reflect his efforts to follow through with campaign pledges to combat racial injustice. Beyond calling on the Justice Department to curb the use of private prisons and address housing discrimination, the new orders will recommit the federal government to respect tribal sovereignty and disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic. Biden directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development in a memorandum to take steps to promote equitable housing policy. The memorandum calls for HUD to examine the effects of Trump regulatory actions that may have undermined fair housing policies and laws. Months before the November election, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era rule that required communities that wanted to receive HUD funding to document and report patterns of racial bias. The order to end the reliance on privately-run prisons directs the attorney general not to renew Justice Department contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. The move will effectively revert the Justice Department to the same posture it held at the end of the Obama administration. “This is a first step to stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration,” Biden said. The more than 14,000 federal inmates housed at privately-managed facilities represent a fraction of the nearly 152,000 federal inmates currently incarcerated. The federal Bureau of Prisons had already opted not to renew some private prison contracts in recent months as the number of inmates dwindled and thousands were released to home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic. GEO Group, a private company that operates federal prisons, called the Biden order “a solution in search of a problem. ” “Given the steps the BOP had already announced, today’s Executive Order merely represents a political statement, which could carry serious negative unintended consequences, including the loss of hundreds of jobs and negative economic impact for the communities where our facilities are located, which are already struggling economically due to the COVID pandemic," a GEO Group spokesperson said in a statement. David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, noted that the order does not end the federal government’s reliance on privately-run immigration detention centres. “The order signed today is an important first step toward acknowledging the harm that has been caused and taking actions to repair it, but President Biden has an obligation to do more, especially given his history and promises,” Fathi said. Rashad Robinson, president of the national racial justice organization Color of Change, expressed disappointment that policing was not addressed in the executive action. “President Biden’s executive orders to not renew contracts with for-profit prisons and to investigate housing discrimination wrought by Trump administration policies provide important steps forward, but do not go far enough,” said Robinson, who noted that he had hoped Biden would have moved to reinstate an Obama-era policy barring the transfer of military equipment to local police departments. The memorandum highlighting xenophobia against Asian Americans is in large part a reaction to what White House officials say was offensive and dangerous rhetoric from the Trump administration. Trump, throughout the pandemic, repeatedly used xenophobic language in public comments when referring to the coronavirus. This memorandum will direct Health and Human Services officials to consider issuing guidance describing best practices to advance cultural competency and sensitivity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the federal government’s COVID-19 response. It also directs the Department of Justice to partner with AAPI communities to prevent hate crimes and harassment. The latest executive actions come after Biden signed an order Monday reversing a Trump-era Pentagon policy that largely barred transgender people from serving in the military. Last week, he signed an order reversing Trump's ban on travellers from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. Biden last week also directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Trump, including some connected to white supremacist groups, stormed the U.S. Capitol. White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice said Biden sees addressing equity issues as also good for the nation's bottom line. She cited a Citigroup study from last year that U.S. gross domestic product lost $16 trillion over the last 20 years as a result of discriminatory practices in a range of areas, including in education and access to business loans. The same study finds the U.S. economy would be boosted by $5 trillion over the next five years if it addressed issues of discrimination in areas such as education and access to business loans. “Building a more equitable economy is essential if Americans are going to compete and thrive in the 21st century," Rice added. Biden’s victory over Trump in several battleground states, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, was fueled by strong Black voter turnout. Throughout his campaign and transition, Biden promised that his administration would keep issues of equity — as well as climate change, another issue he views as an existential crisis — in the shaping of all policy considerations. Biden, who followed through on early promise to pick a woman to serve as vice-president, has also sought to spotlight the diversity of his Cabinet selections. On Monday, the Senate confirmed Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, who is the first woman to lead the department. Last week, the Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as the nation’s first Black defence secretary. ___ Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo and Aaron Morrison contributed to this report. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Mental health and wellness supports are in place at Jasper schools, and just being at school can be a great mood booster itself. Kelly Harding, assistant superintendent with Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD), described in an email the excitement over the recent return from an extended winter break. “The division has heard from many parents their appreciation for the province's decision to return to in-school learning, noting that their children are happier and more excited about their learning when they are with their teachers and their peers at school,” Harding said in an email. GYPSD includes Jasper Elementary School and Jasper Junior/Senior High School. “The best mental health a school can offer to students is to be open,” added Marie-Claude Faucher, principal of Ecole Desrochers, via email. “Just by being at school, with friends and teachers, it makes an enormous difference!” Harding said the division has had positive feedback from parents who are accessing the division's learn-at-home option this year, because it affords those families an extra level of safety if they are not comfortable returning to in-school learning at this time. “In addition to great teaching and learning opportunities,” Harding said, “the division has extensive mental health and wellness supports - including 10 family school liaison counsellors, three BEST (Bringing Empowered Students Together) coaches and a division psychologist. Parents can access any of these supports through their principals, as well as a number of resources and links on the GYPSD website.” Faucher said there are programs at the school to combine with the positive attitudes there. “Added to the fact that they are now back at school, with big smiles, we also have programs to teach students about Growth Mindset, to help them develop resilience and perseverance,” she said. “We also teach them to be attentive and take care of each other.” Faucher noted if the school has serious concerns about a student, they reach to Alberta Health Services and/or Jasper Outreach Services. “They are really helpful,” she said. Dealing with the pandemic is done by balancing COVID protocols with the social side of life, Harding said. “While no one is excited about having to wear a mask indoors or not being able to share a hug or high-five, the measures put in place by the government are there to keep our staff, students and communities safe,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative to our staff and to our students and families for their commitment to the protocols. Teachers miss seeing their students' smiles! We look forward to when COVID is gone and we can return to normal.” Faucher added, “Causes of mental health issues are when students are cut off from relationships, when they confront the challenges associated with virtual school, when they are playing video games alone. It's not COVID measures that challenge mental health, we are all used to it now, it is part of a routine. Schools are a safe and happy place to be. “As long as we can have all the students here, the atmosphere is focused on learning, and learning is fun!” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,505 new vaccinations administered for a total of 868,454 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,291.479 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.37 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,102 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,622 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.909 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 4,164 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.281 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 9,707 new vaccinations administered for a total of 295,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,618 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,369 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.781 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 727 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.902 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.674 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 2,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.844 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,397 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 105.365 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 7,578 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 265 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,723 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 121.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 39.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
“There's not enough words in the English language to share how much this will impact First Nations; how much every time the land is destroyed, how much that that tears apart who we are as Niitsitapi,” said Latasha Calf Robe. The member of the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) and founder of the Niitsitapi Water Protectors spoke at a town hall Jan. 21 focused on the changes to the provincial coal policy brought in by Alberta’s current UCP government. A Coal Development Policy for Alberta, known also as the 1976 Coal Policy, was rescinded effective June 1, 2020 by the government. The policy protected large portions of land, like the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from strip mining. After intense public backlash to a December 2020 coal mining auction, the UCP government, through the office of Minister for Energy Sonya Savage, cancelled 11 pending leases for coal mining. In a statement issued by the ministry Jan. 18, Savage said the “pause will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.” But participants at the town hall made it clear that they do not believe the government is looking out for their interests, and the best-case scenario is to have the coal policy reinstated completely. One of the main concerns is the potential for toxic amounts of selenium to enter the headwaters of the Old Man River, contaminating the drinking water of more than 200,000 Albertans, including the Blood Tribe. The town hall was organized by NDP Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips, the former minister of Environment and Parks and minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. She said at least 10 per cent of her constituents are members of Blackfoot Nations and will be affected by the government’s coal policy changes. In addition to concerns about selenium entering the drinking water, Phillips said the significant change in land use sets a dangerous precedent for the possibility of backroom deals on water licensing that would impact the availability of water for the Kainai Nation. She said the Grassy Mountain Mine is getting access to water in large volumes in order to operate, alleging this would only be possible by some sort of skirting of the rules when it comes to water licensing. “We are already in a very water-stressed area made only worse by the effects of climate change,” Phillips said. “Already, we see communities all across this corridor struggling with (lack of water) or even their water infrastructure… because climate change changes when you have more water and the volumes and, you know, extreme weather events and so on.” The mounting criticism over the lack of consultation with First Nations, as well as concerns over the potential environmental impacts, have resulted in stakeholders from across the province coming together to file a judicial review of the rescission of the coal policy. That is set to begin today, Jan. 26 in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The review argues for the policy to be restored. “These kinds of projects have zero legitimacy from seven generations beyond me, beyond us,” said Diandra Bruised Head, a member of the Blood Tribe council, at the town hall. The mayor of Lethbridge, Chris Spearman, and the former premier of Alberta, now Leader of the Opposition, Rachel Notley, both spoke out against the rescission of the coal policy. “Albertans have overwhelmingly said that the eastern slope should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation tourism, and just, of course, that the land itself should be respected for the way it has interacted with original peoples for so many years before anybody else was here,” said Notley. Mayor Spearman talked about the potential dangers to commercial and drinking water for the residents of Lethbridge and the surrounding areas. “To have this go forward and have the headwaters potentially contaminated is a huge betrayal of trust,” said Spearman. CJWE By Tsering Asha, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE
Grace Villa’s operator responded Tuesday to horrific reports of understaffing, deplorable sanitation and neglect inside the home’s recent COVID outbreak, while critics joined calls to revoke the company’s licence. The Spectator reported on tragic conditions exposed by workers in correspondence to Hamilton MPP Monique Taylor. The letters, which Taylor released Monday, describe in graphic detail the disturbing conditions inside the city’s biggest and deadliest outbreak. In an email late Tuesday, APANS Health Services addressed the allegations for the first time. “The safety of our residents, staff and family members is paramount and these statements are deeply concerning,” said CEO Mary Raithby. “We are continually reviewing our response throughout the outbreak. We will continue to listen to the best advice in our sector to determine where we can make enhancements to further protect our residents and staff.” She said, “Our utmost concern is for those in our home.” “Everyone at Grace Villa is continuing to pour their hearts and energy into their work each day,” Raithby continued. “We are humbled by their dedication and are saddened that some may have felt they did not have the resources or support as needed to do their jobs.” She added, “Our leadership team is working tirelessly to ensure everyone has the knowledge, training and resources to safely care for our residents now and in the future.” More than a quarter of the home’s 156 residents died in less than two months. Grace Villa had 234 cases — including 144 resident, 88 staff and two visitor cases — and 44 deaths from Nov. 25 to Jan. 20. Though the outbreak ended last Wednesday, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) still holds management powers at the east Mountain home through a provincial order. Taylor, who represents Hamilton Mountain, said the letters came from workers worried what would happen when HHS leaves the facility. The letters described “chaos, confusion and outright neglect” while workers “begged and cried for help.” “It was heartbreaking, traumatizing and it was criminal,” one read. The letters were anonymized to protect workers from reprisal and because they weren’t authorized to speak with media. “Every single room was trashed,” a worker wrote, describing cardboard boxes “overflowing” with “dirty PPE, soiled briefs and food trays, many of them untouched.” A McMaster University professor supported Taylor and SEIU Healthcare’s calls for APANS Health Services’ licence to be revoked, calling it “appalling neglect.” “It’s absolutely abhorrent to read of the conditions at Grace Villa,” said Amit Arya, assistant professor in palliative care. “It’s unimaginable suffering and grief.” On Sunday, Conservative MPP Donna Skelly, who represents Flamborough-Glanbrook, announced new provincial funding for local seniors’ homes, including Grace Villa, to cover “eligible expenses” for proper screening, staffing, equipment and supplies, and infection control. Grace Villa was allotted $124,000, bringing its total “prevention and containment support” to more than $1 million. In an email Tuesday, Skelly called the allegations at Grace Villa “disturbing,” adding they were “being looked into” by the Ministry of Long-Term Care. An emailed statement from the ministry said the province worked with the city and health organizations to address the outbreak at the Lockton Crescent home. “We take the safety of long-term-care residents very seriously,” said press secretary Krystle Caputo, noting the province invested $1.38 billion to support homes, including through orders that allow hospitals and infection control teams to manage outbreaks. Caputo added the ministry has worked directly with local public health, the LHIN and HHS “throughout the pandemic.” “In addition to improving the home’s infection prevention and control measures and educating staff on the proper use of PPE, the hospital is providing staffing for the home,” Caputo said. “The home has an adequate supply of PPE, and N95 masks are available when needed.” “We remain committed to doing everything we can, along with our partners, to help stabilize the home and have it return to normal operations.” On Monday, Hamilton’s medical officer of health said the city called for support at Grace Villa, connected the facility with HHS to improve staffing and carried out inspections. “Our job is to look at the infection control and disease control aspects,” said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson. “The care of the residents in the home is the responsibility of the home and ... the Ministry of Long-Term Care.” “Our hearts go out to all of those who have family in long-term care and especially those who have experienced the challenges of a bad outbreak such as that,” she said. “It’s a circumstance that none of us would want our loved ones to experience and none of us would want to go through.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Peel police are seeking help from the public in identifying a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl last week in a Mississauga park. In a news release on Tuesday, police said the girl and her younger sibling were in a park near apartment buildings at Bodmin Drive and Truscott Drive at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. For a brief of period of time, a man sat on a park bench near the girl before he sexually assaulted her, police said. The man fled the area on foot and headed towards a plaza nearby. "The victim did not sustain any physical injuries as a result of the assault," police said in the release. Police described the suspect as a white male, of average height and a stocky build. He is said to have uncut brown hair that is long on top, with brown eyes, no facial hair and thick eyebrows. He was wearing a black hooded sweater with a pocket in front, brown track pants, black face mask and black running shoes. Peel police are urging anyone with information to call their special victims unit at (905) 453-2121 ext. 3460, or to anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
NEW YORK — Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. is deepening its partnership with Target Corp. by launching its first-ever home collection at the discount chain. Levi's limited time only 100-item collection of denim-inspired tableware, quilts, pillows and other items will be launched on Target's website and most Target stores on Feb. 28. Target started selling low-price brand Denizen from Levi's in 2011 and then began carrying its premium Red Tab brand in 2019. It will be expanding the Red Tab brand to 500 stores by fall of this year. The move is yet another blow to department stores, which have been struggling even more during the pandemic. Target CEO Brian Cornell and Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told The Associated Press they believe the Levi products, which also include some clothing, will be collectors' items. For Target, it's the latest strategic partnership with a major brand and comes as Target extends its strong sales streak through the pandemic. The Minneapolis-based discounter signed a deal late last year with beauty chain Ulta to open more than 100 beauty shops by middle of this year. In 2019, it forged a partnership with Disney & Co to open Disney-branded shops at its stores. Cornell said that strategic partnerships “have been key to Target’s success" and has set it apart from rivals. For San Francisco-based Levi, the collaboration reflects how the company has been diversifying its label away from department stores and focusing on retailers that drive customer traffic. Bergh said that the expansion with Target has helped the brand reach a broader customer base, but he cautions that the jeans maker has no intention of going into the home business in a permanent way. “This is unexpected Levi’s stuff that they are going to find inside Target, and it’s going to surprise and delight them," Bergh said. _______ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
The Prince Albert Outreach Program recently distributed items to local schools thanks to a Share The Warmth Grant from SaskEnergy. Items were distributed to Vincent Massey Public School, Riverside Public School and Queen Mary Public School in Prince Albert. “One of the Outreach workers applied for a grant from SaskEnergy and PA Outreach received a $1,000 grant for Share the Warmth,” Touni Vardeh Esakian, a team leader with Prince Albert Outreach, said. “With the SaskEnergy grant PA Outreach purchased gloves, toques and snack food, which were distributed to the schools.” The program thanked SaskEnergy for their grant. PA Outreach explained that serving youth looked different this winter. The grant helped them purchase an abundance of food items and warm clothing for youth and their families. The items were distributed in early this month. “Without the heartwarming generosity of SaskEnergy, we would not have been able to help as many youth stay warm and less hungry,” PA Outreach said in a media release. “Thank you SaskEnergy.” Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
What started out as a bad day for a Calgary family turned into a reminder of the strength of community and the kindness of complete strangers. Last Thursday, Stephanie McLeod's car was stolen from in front of her house. "On Friday morning, police found the car just a few blocks away, but everything that could be ripped out including pieces of the car and all of our stuff was taken," she said. Among the stolen items was a backpack full of equipment for disc golf — a sport McLeod plays with her eight-year-old daughter, Tessa. "She was such a champ she didn't cry through the whole car being stolen and all of that stress. She only cried when she found out her favourite disc was gone! And I was like, 'OK, we're not having this. We're going to get you something.'" McLeod wrote about the ordeal on Facebook, asking if anyone had a spare disc or two they wouldn't mind parting with. Bryan Ferrari, an avid disc golfer, saw the post on the Calgary Disc Golf Club page and shared it. And then the disc golf community came through — big time. "That doesn't really surprise me about the disc golf community. They're just really giving. Everyone has extra discs that they've grown out of," he said. "All I did was make one comment … and then it blew up from there," he said. "The community took care of the rest." Watch McLeod's reaction to the surprise donation in the video above Ferrari's friend Jon Pease, who helped collect the donated items as they came in, said the call was answered by the disc golf community from Calgary and beyond. He says several groups and businesses helped out, including Don's Hobby Shop, the Calgary Disc Golf Club, the River Dogs and even groups in Red Deer and as far away as the Okanagan. "It wasn't surprising at all. Everyone in this community is top level," said Pease. "It was a community effort. It really makes you feel good." McLeod says she lost about 14 discs and a backpack. "What we got back was a proper disc golf bag and already, like, 25 discs," she said. She says she's feeling overwhelmed by the generous response. "I hoped that we would get enough to be able to get out and play, but what we got, like … this is three times probably what was taken," she said. "It was kind of just what we needed to restore our faith in humanity."
The current public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced Tuesday. At a press conference, Premier Scott Moe explained that numbers are moving in the right direction but measures should continue. “The restrictions that we have are working but we need to leave them in place for a while longer,” Moe said. Measures remaining in place for another three weeks include limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households with some exceptions for people living alone and caregivers and private outdoor gatherings remaining at a limit of 10 as long as physical distancing can be maintained. On the business side, most retail and personal services are still reduced to 50 per cent capacity and large retail locations are reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Restaurants remain limited to four customers per table and three meters between tables for in-person dining. As well, places of worship, concert venues and theatres are limited to a maximum of 30 people “I ask everyone to continue following the public health orders and the guidelines to keep yourself and those around you safe. These measures are working when we follow them as the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and businesses are doing,” Moe said. Chief Medical Health Officer Saqib Shahab explained later that public health measures are either seen as too much or too little depending on whom you are talking to. “You know they do try to strike a fine balance between minizing cases as long as the guidelines are followed and letting people work and enjoy other amenities as possible. According to Shahab these measures have to be balanced with economic mental, health and social costs of stricter measures. Obviously it does impact some people more than others in terms of what their interests are,” Shahab said. “The downward trend shows that if all of us abide by public health principles it has a significant impact on our case numbers. Making measures more stringent would always be an option, unfortunately, if our case numbers ramped up,” Shahab said. Moe explained that the gradual decline in case numbers can be seen in 232 cases reported Thursday and a seven-day average of 254, down from 321 on Jan. 12. He added that active cases are down to 2,665 which are the lowest since late November and down from the peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7. The province also began issuing tickets to establishments that fail to abide by public health orders. Tickets of $14,000 each were issued Tuesday morning to Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina. “There have been a small number of mainly bars and restaurants who may not have been following (orders), putting their staff, putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk.,” Moe said. Moe said that he had asked for an increase in enforcement and that was one reason the tickets were issued. “There have been three tickets with significant fines that have been issued to bars in Saskatoon and Regina. Some other investigations are ongoing and they may result in additional fines,” Moe said. According to both Moe and Shahab, issuing fines and penalties are a last resort but have become necessary. “What we really desire is compliance, for everyone to follow all of the public health orders and the guidelines that are in place. That is how we will continue to reduce our case numbers so that hopefully in three weeks from now we can start to maybe look at easing some of the restrictions that are in place,” Moe said. Shahab reminded people to familiarize themselves with guidelines and comply as citizens and business owners. “It’s not just up to the business owner. As a customer in a retail location or restaurant or bar, it is up to us to comply. I think when we don’t comply we put our friends, family, the business, the community at risk,” Shahab said. When asked by why these businesses had their names and fines released Moe said that they should be released. “It’s our hope that we wouldn’t have to release any more as compliance is always the effort. I have said over the course of the last few weeks that we are going to be and I was encouraging all of those involved to increase the enforcement,” Moe said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
A Saskatchewan woman says she is scared for her life after she was brutally arrested by three RCMP officers after a trip to the local emergency room to get her two-year-old son’s arm examined at the end of December. Emily Kammermayer, a member of Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is facing multiple criminal charges including assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer, in what RCMP called a physical altercation between officers during her arrest at the La Ronge Health Centre on Dec. 29. The 20-year-old woman said the RCMP officers tackled her to the ground, punched her repeatedly in the head and face and that one officer placed a knee on the back of her neck. Ms. Kammermayer said the officers then hog-tied her, carried her to a police vehicle and drove her to the detachment. While in custody, she said, officers continued to violate her as she lay on the ground, still bound by her wrists and ankles behind her, telling her to hop like a bunny into the cell and laughing. “I felt as if my limbs and neck were being torn apart,” she said. “It was worse than childbirth or surgery.” She said she was eventually untied and allowed to speak to legal aid. Complaining of a headache and blurry vision, Ms. Kammermayer, who is also epileptic and being investigated for possible multiple sclerosis, was given Advil by paramedics. When she was released that evening, Ms. Kammermayer said she travelled to a Prince Albert hospital more than 200 kilometres away where she was examined for a concussion and possible broken vertebrae. RCMP said they responded to a complaint of an assault between an adult woman and physician at the La Ronge Health Centre around 1 p.m. on Dec. 29. A communications officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority confirmed in a statement that staff members called RCMP regarding an incident on Dec. 29, citing there is zero tolerance for violence against patients, staff and physicians. Ms. Kammermayer said she took her son Holden to the emergency department for an X-ray on the advice of her mother, a nurse. She said a doctor’s refusal to do an X-ray frustrated her and she yelled at him and slammed the door of the examination room. The door is alleged to have hit the physician, which she says led to the assault with a weapon charge against her. Ms. Kammermayer said as she was gathering their belongings, she lunged to catch her son who was running and that’s when she was tackled by the RCMP officers. Kim Beaudin, the national vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which represents non-status and off-reserve status Indigenous and Métis groups, said what happened to Ms. Kammermayer is a case of systemic racism in health care and unprofessional conduct and police brutality. “All because a mother, an Indigenous woman, was trying to get medical attention for her son,” Mr. Beaudin said. “It’s a classic move by the RCMP to overcharge and underprotect Indigenous peoples.” Ms. Kammermayer said she filed an online public complaint with the RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission against the three constables on Dec. 31. The RCMP confirmed its Professional Responsibility Unit is investigating the complaint and that the North District Management Team is also reviewing the incident. NDP public safety critic Jack Harris said the report involving Ms. Kammermayer is “unfortunately consistent” with concerns that have been raised over the past six months during a study on systemic racism in policing. He called on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to follow up with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on the incident. Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Mr. Blair, said the allegations made by Ms. Kammermayer are deeply concerning. Ms. Power said the government has confidence in processes under way at the RCMP and in the courts to bring clarity to this situation and to advise whether any corrective action should be taken based on facts and evidence. Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond, the director of the University of British Columbia’s Residential School History and Dialogue Centre who reported on racism against Indigenous people in B.C.’s health care system in November, said that while she does not know the circumstances of the Saskatchewan case, it shows many of the attributes that she examined in hundreds of B.C. cases. She noted the cases involved hospital security, emergency services and police interacting with Indigenous peoples in a disturbing way that often reflected “racism, prejudice, bias and profiling.” Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Métis lawyer who has studied systemic racism in health, also said that the allegations brought forward by Ms. Kammermayer do not surprise her. When Joyce Echaquan died in a Quebec hospital in September after live-streaming abuse she endured, the senator said there were hundreds of others Indigenous women who had endured similar experiences. “Emily is one of those hundreds,” she said. “I hope that by coming forward there will be some more focus on eradicating systemic racism within the health care system.” With reports from Kristy Kirkup and Patrick White Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
The Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) says it will be taking the government to court over a ministerial order signed last month that they say gives teachers less control over their pensions. The ATA said on Tuesday its provincial executive council had voted unanimously to initiate legal action, and that association lawyers are in the process of drafting a court application which will be filed once complete. On Dec. 23, 2020, Finance Minister Travis Toews signed a ministerial order allowing the government-owned Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) to reject any changes proposed by the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund (ATRF). That order went into effect on Jan. 1. Teachers have repeatedly expressed concerns following the passing of Bill 22, which transfers their pension investments under AIMCo's management. The pension fund lost billions last year, and some union leaders had expressed concerns the manager was making decisions to prop up oil companies. "We were never consulted on that, that move was never anything that was campaigned on … teachers are very happy with ATRF," ATA president Jason Schilling said in an interview with CBC. "So to have this moved over without consultation and then subsequently to have a ministerial order put in place, that basically gives AIMCo veto power … infuriated teachers." Toews has previously reassured teachers that the ATRF board would remain in control of pension decisions — a promise Schilling argues the recent ministerial order negates. "Teachers were betrayed by their MLAs, the minister and the premier when this imposed [investment management agreement] failed to live up to their promises made to respect the ATRF's ability to direct the investment of teacher pension dollars," says Schilling. "We will fight the order in court, but there still needs to be political accountability for the broken promises." Charlotte Taillon, press secretary for the minister, said while they're unable to comment on pending legal action, the ministerial order was necessary as a temporary measure as ATRF and AIMCo had not reached an agreement. She said the ATRF itself has said the ministerial order does not impact pension benefits, and that the government remains confident the parties will be able to reach an agreement — at which point the ministerial order will no longer be in effect. The ATRF board has made the case that under AIMCo management, the $18.9 billion pension fund would have been worth $17.5 billion — $1.3 billion less — by the end of 2019. The ATRF indicated mid-last year that its data showed it has outperformed AIMCo yearly from 2013 through 2019. AIMCo manages several provincial government funds, including the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and the pension funds of more than 375,000 Alberta public sector workers. A deal has yet to be reached between AIMCo and ATRF. About 83,000 current and retired teachers are affected by the management, which is expected to be complete this year.
The mittens worn by American Senator Bernie Sanders to the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden have garnered considerable attention online, and generated humorous images that place a hunched-against-the-cold Sanders everywhere from a scene in Forrest Gump to downtown Saint John. They also caught the attention of a New Brunswick foundation which has been making mittens for charity for the past 15 years. Katie Tower, executive director of the Pedvac Foundation in Port Elgin, said when they saw Sanders’ mittens all over the internet, they thought, “Hey those look like Pedvac mittens!” The organization decided to point out the similarity on their Facebook for anyone trying to create their own Bernie look, Tower said. The post was shared many times and retailers who carry their mittens have started calling asking for more, she said. "The great thing about our mitts is it is a social enterprise," said Tower, “We pay people in our community of Port Elgin to make them.” They aren’t, however, copying the Bernie mittens pattern. “We came up with our own pattern many years ago," Tower said. "We have revised it a bit, but the pattern in the Bernie mittens just happens to be similar enough to ours.” The teacher who originally made the mittens as a gift for Sanders spoke about using recycled or donated wool, and Pedvac mittens are also made from wool that is "second hand or donated too,” said Darcie Kingswell, coordinator of Pedvac's "Wools to Wishes". “We use a variety of different wool, different fleece,” said Kingswell, adding that it could come from a sweater or another knitted item. Buying Pedvac mittens “goes to support our programs including mental health workshops, food programs in school or free income tax preparation programs,” said Tower. Pedvac’s mittens are currently available at Starving Artist Gallery in Moncton, Wheaton's locations in the Maritimes, Happenstance in Antigonish, Threadwork in Almonte, Ont. and at the Pedvac boutique in Port Elgin, although that location is closed while Zone 1 is in red, said Kingswell. The most common similarity between these New Brunswick-made mitts and Bernie Sanders’ mitts is a lot simpler. “It looked like Bernie Sanders was just trying to stay warm," Tower said. "Ours help you do that too.” Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Manitoba’s first rapid testing site had no shortage of available appointments for school staffers during its inaugural week of operations. Yet, same-day tests remain out of reach for teachers who want them in the province’s COVID-19 hotspot. Between Jan. 18-24, the province took 111 nasal swab samples — an average of 16 each day — at the rapid testing site at 1066 Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg. The province set an initial goal of completing 20-40 tests daily, with an aim to ramp up to 160/day in the coming months, when it unveiled details about the “Fast Pass” pilot project earlier this month. The number of tests administered during the first week reflect the number of appointments that have been made, a provincial spokesperson said Monday, adding there have been no processing nor administrative issues at the site. Ruth MacKenzie was among the educators who booked an appointment for Monday morning, after she woke up with a sore throat. The educational assistant said she was offered numerous times when she called the booking line (1-855-268-4318) at 7:30 a.m. She picked a 10:30 a.m. slot so she could travel to Winnipeg. MacKenzie said she was pleasantly surprised by how easy the appointment was to set up, the test itself — which took under seven minutes, and that she was told to expect a result within hours. “It’s nice to know there’s a place you can go and get tested and get back to work as soon as possible,” she said. “I love my job. I enjoy it very much. I’m very thankful that I’m working.” The Monday experience was a stark contrast to her first COVID-19 test in the summertime. MacKenzie waited an hour-and-a-half before she was able to get her nasal cavity swabbed, and two days to receive a result in early August. For a positive result at the rapid site, it takes four to eight hours before the notice is posted online. Negative results take longer because they are to be verified at a lab. The province retests the latter because, according to a provincial spokesperson, the Songbird Hyris bCUBE rapid test is new to Manitoba, and many rapid-test types have been shown to have a higher volume of false negatives. The spokesperson said the turnaround for official negative results are “aligned” with those for the general testing stream; the current response time for a test processed at community sites, including the adjacent drive-thru site on Nairn Avenue, is 1-2 days. The Fast Pass site was originally open only to school staff, including teachers, educational assistants, custodians, bus drivers and workers in school-based early learning and child care facilities in Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, River East Transcona, Seine River and Hanover divisions. Over the weekend, the province broadened eligibility criteria to give all school employees in Manitoba access to quick turnaround tests, citing its ability to increase the number of daily appointments. Such an expansion was anticipated to take place in February. The president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society said Monday he is pleased the pilot has been expanded on behalf of teachers in the metro region and those who live nearby, but noted educators work all over the province. There are concerns about test accessibility in rural and northern regions, said James Bedford, who represents 16,000 public school teachers. The province has hinted Winkler and Brandon could be home to future rapid test facilities. “We need to recognize that we can’t ignore the northern part of the province,” Bedford said. To date, 27 students have graduated from Red River College with a micro-credential in how to administer rapid COVID-19 tests. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press