The Weather Networks Marta Czurylowicz has more on the winter storm that hit Ontario.
The Weather Networks Marta Czurylowicz has more on the winter storm that hit Ontario.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
It was promoted as a way help residents “reconnect” with their food and, in some ways, get back to nature. But a motion which would have looked into the feasibility of Aurora adopting a backyard hen program pilot project, one which would have allowed property owners to raise chickens and collect their own eggs, was scrambled on arrival last week. On a vote of 4 – 3, lawmakers defeated a motion from Councillor Rachel Gilliland which would have tasked staff to report back to Council by the end of next month on the feasibility of such an initiative and the implications any programs might have on the community. “It has been proven to work in other municipalities such as Toronto, Newmarket and Georgina,” said Councillor Gilliland, kicking off the debate. “Let’s find out why this worked. I was skeptical too at first, so I decided to do a little digging and came across this quote from Toronto City Staff [on their pilot] which said, ‘None of the predicted blights have materialized. The predicted chorus of neighbours [with] complaints, not a peep. There aren’t any complaints about noise or unsanitary conditions in any of these locations with registered hens. We have made a couple of educational visits about coop sizes, but everything seems to be going smoothly.” Making her pitch to colleagues, Councillor Gilliland said that hens are great for keeping pests such as mosquitos, ticks and fleas under control, help homeowners keep down unwanted vegetation and, of course, are organic fertilizers. “This is what led me to believe that raising chickens [for eggs] is something people can do in a healthy and safe way,” she said. “These urban backyard hens will produce sustainable, organic, non-GMO foods, offer an educational and therapeutic value for both kids and adults. It is not about raising roosters or chickens for meat.” Prior to the discussion itself, the motion received a boost from residents at large who submitted written delegations to Council supporting the initiative, including from Marc Mantha, a former resident of Newmarket, who said he saw the benefits of backyard hens firsthand. “It is wonderful how we’re reconnecting with food and healthy lifestyles,” he said. “People are gardening in record numbers and backyard hens enrich a progressive community. Pilot projects are the best path to due diligence and being able to observe and report firsthand a very manageable sampling. A pilot project also provides everyone the opportunity to learn and better understand backyard hens. It was a wonderful experience.” Aurora resident Miriam Klein Leiher expressed similar sentiments, adding that within online community discussion forums the interest level is high. “Many of us have done our research and feel Aurora would greatly benefit from hen coops in private backyards,” she said. “Many of our neighbouring towns and cities have successfully launched pilot projects in their backyards with great success. Myself and my family are not keen on factory farms. Urban hens are a more ecological answer to how we get our food to the table. Hens in the community bring citizens and families together as well. This year has been challenging and this will help my family start a wonderful life-changing project. We all want to do it. Plus, they make great little companions.” The Councillor’s motion received support from Councillors John Gallo and Wendy Gaertner who said it was worth exploring some of the positives. “I think it is a great idea,” said Councillor Gallo. “I am actually quite excited about it. The benefits to us are far and wide, especially for children and how much they can learn. There are many, many good reasons to do this.” Added Councillor Gaertner: “It doesn’t sound like [a feasibility] report would be onerous or a huge amount of time for staff to put together. I would like it to be on a public report what the findings are and then vote on it as a Council.” Others, however, disagreed and nixed the feasibility report before it was able to get off the ground. Councillor Harold Kim, for instance, said he did not question the merits of backyard hens, dubbing it a “noble cause” but he said he believed “the vast population of our Town are not ready and do not want chickens at this time.” “People are just not ready to live next to a house where their backyard has chickens running around,” he said. “Perhaps within a few years of public education and marketing and communication we will get people’s buy-in.” In Toronto, Newmarket and other communities that have put a similar program in place, the feasibility studies are already out there, he argued, and there is enough information to make a decision. “I don’t want to waste more time on studies. They are available. We either do this or we don’t,” he concluded. In stating his opposition, Councillor Michael Thompson said there are already pockets of the community, primarily in more rural areas, that are currently zoned for backyard hens, but he too said the feedback he had received since a hen program was first floated at Council this winter by resident Darryl Moore has been largely negative. “The conversations I have had with residents, I have simply said to them, ‘How would you feel if your neighbour put up a coop?’ The vast majority of the people I have spoken to don’t want it next to them,” he said. “Many of our [residents] don’t want to see it in their neighbourhood. I am cognizant of that. I am also concerned with the health risk. I have seen a number of different reports and studies with regards to health risks. The most relevant one I found for myself was put out by Public Health Ontario [which] talks about health risks associated with backyard chickens… we are living in the midst of a pandemic and even though everyone takes as much precaution as they can, there is still a risk associated with it. Based on all that I have read and looked at, I don’t see a report changing my mind.” Also opposed, but for a very different reason, was Councillor Sandra Humfryes who said that specific lot sizes would be required for backyard hens and, with that in mind, such a program would not be “inclusive” for the whole community. “They all said it is a great idea, but not beside my house,” she said, instead stating that emphasizing garden boxes and other means to grow food would be a better fit for Aurora. Similarly, in stating his opposition, Mayor Tom Mrakas cited the complaints the Town generally receives from abutting properties when community gardens are proposed. “I agree that a lot of people think it is a great idea, but not beside them. I think we will run into those issues,” she said. “Also, with the issues as far as how big of a yard you need, it wouldn’t be inclusive to everybody in our Town. The program wouldn’t be available to everyone. I think as Councillor Thompson mentioned, as we do have areas that do allow for hens…in a chicken coop, that we continue to look at those areas. Maybe we have staff report back to us on any findings from the areas that are allowed currently in our Town and if there is anything in those areas that can show us how things are happening, if there are chicken coops right now being utilized in those areas, and you can see the information that comes from that… I don’t think that there is anything that would come back in a report that would change my mind, so I won’t be in favour of asking staff to move forward in working on this and bringing us back a report.” Although it was clear by the end of the discussion the matter wouldn’t move forward, Councillor Gilliland said it was important for a report to look at “what is good for Aurora.” “The point is allowing people to [have] that option,” she said. “I don’t know who this vast majority is because I haven’t seen the vast majority [of communications cited by the rest of Council]. Part of the process in each municipality is for public consultation and I don’t take that lightly. If the public says, ‘That’s not what I want,’ I would like to listen to what the public has to say.” Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
The Town of Magrath is the newest partner to team up with the recently created Ridge Utilities as a marketing associate. “Council wanted to explore innovative ways to support the long term financial sustainability of recreation in our community,” said Magrath CAO James Suffredine in a recent media release. Ridge Utilities and the village of Stirling have made a number of presentations to councils in the region about their new venture and plan to improve community sustainability in Southern Alberta. Magrath council is excited to join in this initiative, and Suffredine shares that “a partnership with Ridge Utilities allows us to create a new and incremental revenue stream beyond property taxes and user fees” (https://www.ridgeutilities.net/townofmagrath.html). Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
One of Canada's top public health officials sought to reassure Canadians today that a recommendation from a federal vaccine advisory committee to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses is a sound one. Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months due to limited supplies. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the advice is based on real-world data that shows doing so would lead to more people being protected from COVID-19 in a shorter time period. "This recommendation is based on clinical trial reports and emerging real-world evidence from around the world. Data shows that several weeks after being administered, first doses of vaccines provide highly effective protection against symptomatic disease, hospitalization and death," Njoo told a technical briefing today. Confusion over conflicting advice Njoo's comments appeared to be addressing the confusion created by the fact that NACI's recommendation conflicts with those issued by Health Canada when it granted regulatory approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Regulatory documents provided by Health Canada upon approval of each vaccine state that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech should be taken three weeks after the first, the second Moderna shot should come four weeks after the first, and the second AstraZeneca dose should be delivered between four and 12 weeks after the first. All of those recommendations are in line with the product monograph provided by the manufacturers. Adding to the confusion, NACI recommended on Monday against giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people 65 and older, although Health Canada has authorized it for use in adults of all ages. But Njoo said the discrepancies can be explained by the fact that Health Canada is a regulator and NACI is an advisory body made up of medical experts. "You have likely noticed that NACI's recommendations are sometimes different, possibly broader or narrower than the conditions of vaccine use that Health Canada has authorized. As the regulator, Health Canada authorizes each vaccine for use in Canada according to factors based on clinical trial evidence, whereas NACI bases its guidance on the available and evolving evidence in a real-world context, including the availability of other vaccines," Njoo said. "What we expect is that NACI recommendations will complement — not mirror — those of Health Canada." WATCH: Njoo comments on NACI recommendation to delay second COVID-19 vaccine doses The issue burst into the open on Monday when B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Some medical experts questioned that decision. Canada's chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, said doing so without proper clinical trials amounts to a "population level experiment." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., told the Washington Post that the science doesn't support delaying a second dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. He said there isn't enough evidence to determine how much protection is provided by one dose of those vaccines, and how long it lasts. Despite those warnings, several provinces followed Henry's lead and even more have indicated they intend to stretch the dosage interval. While it appeared to some at the time that Henry was moving faster than the science, Njoo said that NACI's experts briefed provincial medical officers of health over the weekend on the results of their analysis before releasing their recommendations publicly. NACI concluded that stretching the dosing interval to four months would allow up to 80 per cent of Canadians over the age of 16 to receive a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, without compromising vaccine effectiveness. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Njoo said it is safe and that evidence shows it provides protection against very serious disease and death in people of all ages. He said Health Canada has a rigorous scientific review process and only approves vaccines that meet high standards for safety, efficacy and quality. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said expert advice will continue to change as more data becomes available from ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, and she urged provinces and territories to consider recommendations and evidence from both bodies when making decisions about their vaccine strategies. "The messaging would be simpler if we had one set of data and we had one message and it never changed, but that's not what science does," said Sharma. Decision on Johnson and Johnson imminent At today's briefing, health officials also indicated that a regulatory decision on whether to approve Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is expected soon. "The review of the Johnson & Johnson submission is going very well, it's progressing, and we're expecting to have that completed and a decision in the next few days. I would say in the next seven days or so," said Sharma. The company has said its vaccine is 66 per cent effective at preventing moderate to severe illness in a global clinical trial, and much more effective — 85 per cent — against the most serious symptoms. Canada has agreed to purchase up to 38 million doses if it is approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in that country last Saturday. The approval of a fourth vaccine would give a significant boost to Canada's vaccine rollout. Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is widely seen as one of the easiest to administer because it requires only one dose and can be stored for long periods of time at regular refrigerator temperatures. Njoo said additional vaccines, coupled with the NACI recommendation on dosage intervals, could allow Canada to meet the goal of inoculating all adults who want a vaccine "several weeks" before the current target date of the end of September. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading Canada's COVID-19 vaccine logistics, said that while more vaccines would be good news, the current target remains the end of September.
LONDON — Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind a campaign to turn a former prison in the English town of Reading into an arts venue, a town spokesman said on Thursday, after the street artist confirmed that artwork that appeared on a red brick wall of the prison was of his making. The elusive artist confirmed the picture was his when he posted a video of him creating it on his Instagram account. The monochrome picture shows a man escaping using a rope made of paper from a typewriter. It appeared Monday outside Reading Prison, famous as the location where writer Oscar Wilde served two years for “gross indecency” in the 1890s. The prison closed in 2013, and campaigners want it turned into an arts venue. Britain’s Ministry of Justice, which owns the building, is due to decide mid-March on its future. In his Instagram video, Banksy is shown stealthily stenciling and spraying paint to create the artwork, titled “Create Escape.” The footage is juxtaposed with an episode of a traditional art instruction video called “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.” The campaign to turn the former prison into an arts venue has won the backing of actors including Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Kenneth Branagh. A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said it was “thrilled that Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind the council’s desire to transform the vacant Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage and culture with this piece of artwork he has aptly called ‘Create Escape’.” “The Council is pushing the Ministry of Justice, who own the site, to make suitable arrangements to protect the image,” the authority said. The Associated Press
La Chine, qui a enregistré une croissance positive en 2020, mobilise un certain nombre d’atouts pour tenter d’atteindre le statut de première économie mondiale.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has found the combination of a pilot with limited experience, and deteriorating weather conditions, were the cause of an airplane crash in November 2019 that claimed the lives of seven people. The Piper PA-32-260 crashed into a field between Highway 401 and Creekford Road, in the west end of Kingston, shortly after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 while attempting an temporary stopover at Kingston airport due to weather conditions. According to the release from the TSB, the incident highlights some of the risks of flying at night under visual flight rules (VFR), particularly when weather conditions are poor and over areas with little lighting. Visual flight rules refers to flying an aircraft without the use of electronic instrumentation, as opposed to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), which is typically used to fly at night or in inclement weather and requires additional pilot training and certification. "While the aircraft departed during daylight hours, the majority of the flight was to take place during the hours of darkness," the TSB stated in the release. "As the weather deteriorated throughout the flight and the aircraft neared the Kingston Airport, Ontario, the pilot contacted the Kingston flight service station and stated his intention to land there. Shortly after, the aircraft struck terrain approximately 3.5 nautical miles north of Kingston Airport. All seven occupants were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed." The crash took the lives of a family of five from Texas, and a Toronto area couple. The investigation found that the pilot departed Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport when the weather conditions for the intended flight were below the limits required for a night VFR flight. The TSB said that the flight was planned over some areas that had very little cultural lighting, leading to the pilot having little or no visual reference to the surface during portions of the flight. "Cultural lighting is concentrated lighting around areas such as towns and cities," they said. "Given the pilot’s limited flying experience, it is likely that he did not recognize the hazards associated with a night VFR flight into poor weather conditions," TSB continued. "While approaching the Kingston Airport, the pilot likely lost visual reference to the surface, became spatially disoriented, and lost control of the aircraft." Read the full report here. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Vancouver's parks board is taking action to control the increasing numbers of messy and aggressive Canada geese. A statement from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says it is developing a management plan to reduce the number of geese in city parks, beaches and on the seawall. The board is particularly concerned about humans feeding the birds, saying it brings flocks of geese to high-traffic areas such as Stanley Park and the beaches of English Bay and Sunset Beach. A key part of the management plan asks residents to identify Canada goose nests on private property so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled, and left in the nest so adults continue to brood, rather than lay again. The board estimates Vancouver's population of more than 3,500 Canada geese grows every year because the habitat is ideal and the birds have no natural predators. Several Okanagan cities are asking permission to cull growing flocks of Canada geese that foul area beaches and parks, but Vancouver's board says egg addling, a measure supported by the SPCA, is its only control measure. In addition to calling for public help in identifying nests, which can be on roofs, balconies or in tall, topped trees, the park board is urging people not to feed Canada geese. “Supplemental feeding by humans can also contribute to geese being able to lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season; meaning that if one clutch does not hatch, they can replace it," the statement says. "In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn’t happen." Canada geese have inefficient digestive systems and the parks board says the birds produce more excrement for their size than most other species. The park board says it hopes to step up egg addling, saying wildlife specialists believe the practice must be tripled in order to cut Vancouver's goose populations. A web page has been created on the City of Vancouver website to report the location of nests so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today. Three of the cases are in the Edmundston region, while the Moncton and Miramichi regions each have one new case. There are now 36 active cases in the province and three patients are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. A recently reported presumptive case of a variant in the Miramichi region has been confirmed by Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory to be the B.1.1.7 variant that originated in the United Kingdom. Mass testing clinics have been set up in the Miramichi area to determine if there has been any further spread of the virus. Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 1,443 confirmed cases in New Brunswick and 28 COVID-19-related deaths, This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tl’etinqox First Nation burst with excitement following the grand opening Wednesday, March 3, of its newly built, $4.5-million gas bar — Chilcotin River Trading. “We don’t do ribbons,” Tl'etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said prior to Tl’etinqox elder Melanie Bobby cutting a string made of deer hide and dream catchers in recognition of the opening. “We do hide—it’s the Indigenous way.” Alphonse said had they not had to keep the grand opening small due to the pandemic, they would have invited all of Tl’etinqox and surrounding communities to celebrate. The project’s completion west of Williams Lake had been years in the making. “We had hoped we would get it up and running in 2017, and then the fires hit, and it seemed like we had to start all over again, but it’s here,” Alphonse said. Coun. and manager of Chilcotin River Trading, Alana Bobby told Black Press Media she was excited about the “bigger, better building,” which has a kitchen and allows for more product, including Spirit Bear Coffee and Mr. Bannock. She had been promoted to manager after starting as a gas jockey at the nearby Tl’etinqox Trading many years ago. Tl’etinqox Trading, which Bobby said was in need of extensive upgrades, will remain open until the remaining inventory is sold. “Everyone is excited for the new store,” she said. Alphonse praised gas bar staff for their hard work and dedication, noting they are always trying to bring on new employees. He also thanked Tl'etinqox Government staff, including finance manager Dawn Bursey, for ensuring the completion of Chilcotin River Trading. “For the first time in Canada Esso delivered fuel to Tl’etinqox tax-free,” he added. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
ANKARA, Turkey — An army helicopter crashed in eastern Turkey on Thursday, killing 11 military personnel on board and injuring two others, the Defence Ministry said. News reports said a high-ranking officer was among the victims. The Cougar type helicopter crashed near the village of Cekmece, close to the town of Tatvan, in the predominantly Kurdish-populated Bitlis province. It was on its way to Tatvan from the nearby province of Bingol when authorities lost contact with it at 2:25 pm (1125 GMT), the ministry said. The victims included Lt. Gen. Osman Erbas, an army corps commander, said Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey's main nationalist party, on Twitter. Pro-government Daily Sabah also reported that Erbas was killed. Nine of the victims died at the crash site, while two died of their injuries in hospital, officials said. The ministry described the crash as an accident, but it wasn't immediately known what caused it. HaberTurk television said the chopper is believed to have crashed in adverse weather conditions, including snow and fog. Cekmece resident Davut Bikec was one of the first people to reach the site. “One of (the injured personnel) was slightly beneath the helicopter but there wasn't a lot of pressure on him. I cleaned the snow from his mouth so he could breathe," Bikec told the state-run Anadolu Agency. “I asked him if he was okay and after he had recovered a little, he said: ‘I am fine.’” “I began digging into the snow; My hands got wounds and bruises. I dug, dug, dug and removed the wounded soldier,” he said. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar departed for Tatvan together with the country's chief of military staff and the land forces' commander to inspect the area, the ministry said. The location of the crash is in an area where Turkish troops have been combating militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. The PKK is considered to be a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. In 1997, PKK militants attacked a Turkish Cougar helicopter in northern Iraq, killing 11 Turkish soldiers. More recently, 13 military personnel were killed in 2017, when a Cougar helicopter crashed into power lines shortly after take-off from a base near Turkey's border with Iraq. __ Robert Badendieck contributed from Istanbul. Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
YELLOWKNIFE — Residents of the Northwest Territories who are from Norman Wells and Fort Simpson can now self-isolate at home if they leave the territory. A previous public-health order required anyone who left N.W.T. to isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River or Inuvik. The territory's chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, says the order was changed because Norman Wells and Fort Simpson both have a wastewater surveillance program to test for COVID-19. The two communities also have adequate medical resources to support new infections. Kandola says only residents of Normal Wells and Fort Simpson will be allowed to self-isolate there. They must also submit a self-isolation plan to the territory's public-health office. There are currently two active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The Canadian Press
LONDON — British police said Thursday that they will not launch a criminal investigation into the journalist Martin Bashir over his 1995 interview with Princess Diana. The Metropolitan Police force said “no further action will be taken” over allegations Bashir used illegal subterfuge to get the interview. Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has alleged that Bashir used false documents, including fake bank statements, and other dishonest tactics to convince Diana to agree to the interview. Police Commander Alex Murray said detectives had “carefully assessed” the allegations and sought advice from lawyers. “Following this detailed assessment and in view of the advice we received, we have determined that it is not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation into these allegations,” he said. “No further action will be taken. “In this matter, as in any other, should any significant new evidence come to light we will assess it," he added. The BBC has begun its own investigation, led by a retired judge, into the circumstances surrounding the program. The interview, in which Diana famously said “there were three of us in this marriage” — referring to Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles — was watched by millions of people and sent shockwaves through the monarchy. Diana divorced from Charles in 1996 and died in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was pursued by paparazzi. Charles married Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005. The Associated Press
Ontario’s police watchdog has found that a Peel Regional police officer acted lawfully in the November 2019 shooting of a teen police say was in the process of robbing a Mississauga bank. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ruled that there is no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence when he shot the armed 16-year-old in the lower back. According to the SIU, the teen had demanded cash from staff at an HSBC location on Dundas Street East, and the officer confronted him while he was masked, armed with a firearm and carrying a backpack full of cash. “I am unable to reasonably conclude that the (subject officer’s) resort to lethal force fell outside the limits of legal justification,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote. The suspect suffered significant internal injuries in the incident. According to the SIU account, the officer and three other officers were in the area shortly before 4 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, when a motorist alerted them to the robbery nearby inside the Chinese Centre. The SIU states the teenager, donning a hooded-jacket over his head and his face covered with a black t-shirt had walked into the bank brandishing a semi-automatic pistol. A bank employee offered up some cash and coins to the teen, who took the money and demanded more, states the SIU’s report. The officers entered the bank with their firearms drawn, prompting the teen to run toward the west wall of the bank. The subject officer fired a single shot striking the teen in the lower mid-back. Still standing after being shot, the teen dropped his firearm, then was taken to the floor and handcuffed. Police later discovered that the weapon was not loaded, “which is of no consequence,” Martino wrote. “It was an actual firearm which the subject officer would have had every reason to believe was loaded and ready to be fired in the hands of the (teenager).” Martino made special note of the fact that although the gunshot wound to the teen’s back could suggest he was facing away from the officers, he had ignored police commands to remain still and posed an immediate risk to people in the bank. The subject officer declined to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes, as is his legal right. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
This column is an opinion from Max Fawcett, a freelance writer and the former editor of Alberta Oil magazine. (CBC) Desperate times may call for desperate measures, but apparently they're not desperate enough yet in Alberta for our political leaders to seriously consider a sales tax. Never mind that the United Conservative Party's government's latest budget contained a nearly $20-billion deficit, one that will add to a rapidly growing pile of provincial debt that's expected to hit $115 billion by the end of the next fiscal year. No, rather than taking the advice of virtually every economist and fiscal expert in the province — including the Business Council of Alberta, which isn't exactly a pro-tax organization — and prepare Albertans to finally pay for the services they receive, Premier Jason Kenney doubled down on the status quo. "The last thing Albertans need in this time of economic uncertainty is new taxes," he tweeted. But, of course, Albertans haven't embraced new taxes during times of relative economic certainty, either. And therein lies the rub: Albertans have grown accustomed to running up a tab that was paid off using their province's oil and gas royalty revenues. Hard choices But those revenues started drying up years ago, back when Stephen Harper was prime minister and Jim Prentice was premier. As the BCA's recent report suggests, it's time for all of us to look in the collective mirror and make some hard choices. "A well-run, high-tax, high-spend government can function well and generate economic growth and prosperity," it says. "The same is true of a low-tax, low-spend government. We cannot, however, sustainably run a high-spend, low-tax government in the province. This option was available for a period of time when resource revenues were high, but it would be inadvisable — to say nothing of fiscally imprudent — to count on such an approach succeeding in the future." In fairness to Kenney, it's not like the official opposition is saying anything different when it comes to the idea of a sales tax. Indeed, NDP Leader Rachel Notley even said she agreed with the premier that now wasn't the time to introduce a provincial sales tax. The irony here is that while they may share the same opposition to a PST in public, in private they almost certainly share a belief that new revenue measures of some sort are necessary. Jason Kenny was a Canadian Alliance Party MP when this photo was taken in 2001, the same year he spoke in favour of studying the merits of proportional representation systems.(Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press) So how can they build a bridge between those two positions before the bond markets come calling for Alberta the way they did in the 1990s for the federal government? The best way might be with something that's nearly as unpopular as a sales tax in Alberta: electoral reform. That's an idea that both Kenney and Notley have endorsed, albeit at points in their career where it would have more obviously aided their partisan interests. Back in 2001, Kenney — then a Canadian Alliance MP — spoke in favour of an NDP motion for a special all-party committee to study the merits of proportional systems, noting that "in the last two elections respectively, the Liberal Party earned 38 per cent and 41 per cent of the popular vote, which was far short of majority. Yet, with roughly 60 per cent of Canadians opposing its program, it managed to completely monopolize political power in the country." Notley's NDP, meanwhile, had proportional representation as a policy plank in its platform in the 2012 election, only to remove it in early 2015 when it became clear the governing Tories might actually lose. Once in power, the Notley NDP showed no real interest in changing the electoral system that helped give them a majority of the seats with a minority of the votes. As ever, if there's one thing that's universally true in Canadian politics, it's that a party's fondness for electoral reform is inversely correlated to its proximity to power. But while proportional representation may be poison to most governments hoping to wield power, Alberta's situation may be uniquely suited to it. After all, it might allow the province to finally cut the Gordian knot that Ralph Klein helped tie around the government's hands a generation ago when it comes to fiscal policy. Beneficial outcomes No party wants to be seen campaigning for a sales tax, and it seems vanishingly unlikely that one could form a government by doing so. But if, in the near future, an election was conducted under a system of proportional representation, it stands to reason that an explicitly (and perhaps exclusively) pro-PST party could attract somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of the vote. That would have two beneficial outcomes, as far as the province's fiscal framework is concerned. First, it would force the major parties to take the issue more seriously. And second, if the election produced a legislature without a party holding more than 50 per cent of the seats, as proportional systems tend to (and as the 2015 election would have), it could give the PST Party the ability to play kingmaker — for a very specific price. That, in turn, would give their potential governing partner, whoever it might be, the political cover they need to do what needs doing. First things first, though. In order to conduct an election using a proportional system, you need a government that's willing to implement it in the first place. When Brian Mason led the NDP in the 2012 election, proportional representation was part of the party platform. When it became clear the party might win in 2015 under Rachel Notley, it was removed.(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) It's highly unlikely that Kenney would do that as premier, given that it would risk fragmenting the coalition that he came back to Alberta in order to build. But while Alberta's NDP shied away from proportional representation when it became clear it had a chance to win in 2015, perhaps this time could be different. It's an idea that aligns with the party's own values and beliefs, and its implementation could help break the hammer-lock that conservatives tend to have on Alberta politics by helping the NDP attract votes in the one place it needs them most: Calgary. In order to form a government in 2023, the Notley NDP needs to do at least as well in Calgary as it did in 2015, if not better. And what better way to appeal to former Progressive Conservative voters in the city than with the prospect of being able to vote for Progressive Conservative candidates in the future? A legacy to match Lougheed's Under a system of proportional representation, PCs could theoretically reconstitute a more moderate conservative party, one that wouldn't face the obstacles that stand in its way under a first-past-the-post system. For those who oppose the choices the UCP has made but remain wary of the ones the NDP might make themselves, the promise of electoral reform could be just what they need to take the leap. And while endorsing and implementing electoral reform might mean the Alberta NDP never forms another majority government again, it could allow Notley to leave a legacy that matches Peter Lougheed's — one that's much bigger than just a sales tax: the creation of a political system that's more responsive to Alberta's needs, more attuned to its preferences, and more able to represent the diversity of ideas and people that the province contains. That's an Alberta advantage worth bragging about. This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ. More great reads from the Road Ahead:
Premier Blaine Higgs raised the possibility of a faster rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations and a quicker reopening of provincial borders on Thursday. The premier said with a new federal recommendation that second doses can be delayed by up to four months, New Brunswick could get everyone their first shot by the end of June. He also raised the possibility during a news conference with fellow premiers of re-establishing the Atlantic bubble and even getting borders to the rest of Canada "opened up" and "getting ourselves back to normal this spring." But speaking to New Brunswick journalists later, Higgs qualified that statement, saying it would depend on vaccination levels and other factors. He said talks with other Atlantic premiers on reopening borders within the bubble will probably happen in April. Factors that will determine reopening Higgs said it could be a reality "for this summer, but I'd like to get beyond that, and that'll depend on how many vaccines we have access to" as well as whether vulnerable groups and people who cross the borders regularly are vaccinated. "The move to the rest of Canada will be very dependent on the condition in the rest of Canada, in the big major centres, and what the vulnerability is for our province and the Atlantic region. That won't change unless we see a substantial change in those regions." The National Advisory Committee on Immunization told provinces this week that second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines can all be delayed by four months. Several provinces have said they'll take that advice. Higgs says the all-party COVID-19 committee will discuss soon whether to delay second vaccination doses by four months.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) Higgs said New Brunswick's all-party COVID-19 committee will make a decision on it next Tuesday, "but I would suggest we will be moving in that direction as well." That would allow the province to stretch its expected vaccine deliveries enough to provide more people their first dose sooner, possibly reaching everyone by the end of June, Higgs said. "That's what I'm focused on," he said. Given one dose reduces the risk of transmission significantly, Higgs said, that could see New Brunswick get "back to normal" by the end of June rather than the end of September, the target Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set for immunization of all willing Canadians. "The potential of moving that forward is real," Higgs said. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island both said Thursday they believe everyone who wants to be vaccinated can get a first dose by the end of June. There are currently 36 active cases in New Brunswick.(CBC News) 5 new cases in three zones Public Health reported five new cases in three zones on Thursday and said a presumptive case of a variant has been confirmed as the B117 variant strain. That previously reported case, which had been sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory for sequencing, was in the Miramichi region, Zone 7. The new cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, one case: an individual 20 to 29 years old. The case is travel-related. Edmundston region, Zone 4, three cases: two people 20 to 29 an individual 70 to 79 Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case: an individual 20 to 29. The case is under investigation. All of these people are self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,443, and there are now 36 active cases. Since Wednesday, six people have recovered for a total of 1,378 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths. Three patients are in hospital, and two are in intensive care. A total of 231,307 tests have been conducted, including 767 since Wednesday's report. Two days of mass testing are underway at Miramichi's Dr. Losier Middle School. The clinics, for asymptomatic residents, continue Friday.(Horizon Health Network/Twitter) Mass testing underway in Zone 7 Mass testing clinics have been set up to help determine if there has been any further spread in the Miramichi region following several new cases and the confirmation of the variant's presence this week. The tests are available on a walk-in basis — no appointment necessary — for people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Testing is being held Thursday until 7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St. No time to let up precautions, epidemiologist says More people are being vaccinated each day and the number of COVID-19 cases has been dwindling for the most part, but there is still a chance Canada could face a third wave of the disease, an epidemiologist says. "We have learned from the past just as quickly as they go in the right direction they can go in the wrong direction," Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist in Winnipeg, told Information Morning Fredericton on Thursday. A third wave of COVID-19 in Canada is still hard to predict, she said. Germany and the Czech Republic are already experiencing third waves of the respiratory virus. Carr said a third wave of COVID-19 in Canada would mean something has changed, including the virus itself. It would also mean an increase in cases, although with vaccine rollouts underway, the virus could be milder. A combination of personal vigilance and Public Health measures is still needed. "The virus cannot spread and thrive if we don't give it a chance to pass from one person to another." Public exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flight: Air Canada flight 8906 on Feb. 20, from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:10 p.m. Anyone who took this flight should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight. people who develop COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or call 811 to get tested. On Wednesday, Public Health issued a list of potential public exposures to the virus at the following locations in Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments. The department does not have the exact times these people were in the businesses on the list, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates." Sobeys, 273 Pleasant St., Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 Atlantic Superstore, 408 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 Shoppers Drug Mart, 397 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 Dollarama, 100 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 20 Winners, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 Giant Tiger, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 24 Walmart, 200 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 24 Bulk Barn, 100-99 Douglastown Blvd. on Feb. 27 NB Liquor, 221 Pleasant St., Feb. 27. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Two out of three opposition parties with seats in the New Brunswick legislature say they want the province to hold off on selling Cannabis NB. In 2019 the province asked for offers to buy the Crown corporation tasked with selling cannabis in the province. This came after the corporation sustained losses over multiple quarters. But Cannabis NB has rebounded in the past year, earning $8.3 million in net profit so far this fiscal year. In this week's political panel, Liberal MLA Rob McKee said the increased revenue isn't the only reason the province should hold off on selling the Crown corporation. "There are shut down costs that will happen with the winding down of Cannabis NB," said McKee. "We believe that it should continue with government running the sale and distribution of cannabis." Green MLA Kevin Arseneau said the Crown corporation should not be sold.(Radio-Canada) Green MLA Kevin Arseneau agreed with McKee that the Crown corporation should not be sold. "I think there's also public health reasons with the reinvesting some of the profits into public health measures and campaigns," said Arseneau. "There's also the fact that these are unionized jobs. So good paying jobs in different communities is always a great thing." Not all the opposition parties are in agreement though. People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says the province should never have been in the cannabis business in the first place. "[It] boggles my mind that government has any business in retail, especially when you talk about marijuana and alcohol," said Austin. "I think government has a role to play in regulating it, ensuring that there's fair taxation on the sold product. But as far as retailing it, I mean, it's just absurd that government has gotten to this point where it's involved in any type of retail of any sort" People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin says the province should never have been in the cannabis business in the first place.(Ed Hunter/CBC) While Austin agrees with the Progressive Conservative's push to get the government out of the weed business, he doesn't agree with going from a public monopoly to a private one. "I don't see that having any effect on the black market," said Austin. "I just think it should be open to people that want to start a business and go with it as long as, again, its properly regulated fair taxation" Liberal MLA Rob McKee said he believes the government’s move to sell Cannabis NB is ideological.(CBC) McKee said he believes the government's move to sell Cannabis NB is ideological, given the corporation was started under a Liberal government and Premier Blaine Higgs had criticized the idea before he came into office "His stubbornness probably means that they will continue down the road of selling off the rights to selling cannabis," said McKee. No one from government was made available for the political panel.