The winter storm will impact much of western Canada through Tuesday. Kyle Brittain has the details.
The winter storm will impact much of western Canada through Tuesday. Kyle Brittain has the details.
THE LATEST: B.C. recorded 407 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths on Tuesday. There are currently 4,260 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 313 people are in hospital, with 71 in the ICU. B.C. has detected six cases of the variant from the U.K. and three cases from South Africa. The province will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines next week. Second doses of the vaccine will now be administered 42 days after the first, instead of 35, in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible. 122,359 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,105 of which are second doses. B.C. health officials announced 407 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 more deaths on Tuesday. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 313 people, 71 of whom are in intensive care. A total of 1,168 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are currently 4,260 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 6,450 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 58,352 people who tested positive have recovered. So far, 122,359 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,105 of which are second doses. Henry said that over the weekend the province received further updates on future shipments of vaccinations — and that B.C. will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the next two weeks. As a result of the shortage, second doses of the vaccine will be delayed to Day 42, rather than 35 in order to provide protection to a greater number of people. "We know the federal government is doing as much as possible to obtain vaccine ... We have little vaccine, and we need to target it where it will do the most good," she said. Variants 'very concerning' In a Friday press release, health authorities quietly updated the number of variant cases of coronavirus detected in the province, confirming six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant from South Africa. Henry said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel. "I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that if those variants start to spread, it's just going to make our job that much more difficult," said Henry. Long-term care report On Monday the province released a report on the impact of COVID-19 on B.C.'s long term care homes, which called for greater government oversight of a sector that contains both privately run businesses and homes operated by health authorities. The firm Ernst & Young was hired to put the report together in the summer of 2020. The report found that policy directives could be "confusing, inconsistent, or lacking in detail" and that a "lack of clarity on oversight and access to supplies in unique circumstances" left private operators scrambling to find the personal protective equipment that was in low supply at the start if the pandemic. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday that the report was not released earlier because people working in the area of expertise are "working their guts out." He said he only learned about the report 10 days ago, but took responsibility for the delayed release. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 10 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 757,448 cases of COVID-19, and 19,238 total deaths. A total of 62,447 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Organizers of a food bank for Black Edmontonians say there will be many families left behind if the service ends in March. Each week, dozens of families of African and Caribbean descent ranging from two to 10 members collect hampers packed with culturally relevant food. Despite demand, organizers had to cap the program at 90 families so staff and volunteers could keep up with collection, packing and distribution. The service was launched in May thanks to the collaboration of multiple Black-led Alberta organizations under the banner of African Diaspora COVID-19 Relief. But the funding and food from donors such as the Edmonton Community Foundation, Islamic Relief Canada, The Ghana Friendship Society and Loblaws, as well as personal donations, will soon run out. "It is a need that needs to be filled," said Emmanuel Onah, youth program manager at the Africa Centre, where the program is coordinated, clients pick up hampers and donations are being accepted. "It's a gaping hole in all of the resources that are currently available." The Liberia Friendship Society of Canada, the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta and the Black Students Association University of Alberta are also among more than a dozen groups involved that will meet Sunday to determine next steps. Nii Koney, executive director of the Nile Valley Foundation, who rallied the coalition to action, said the program emerged from weekly meetings among Black organizations looking for ways to best respond to the pandemic. Initially they were surprised by all the middle-class community members who needed help. "People are bringing nice cars, they will come and park in the front, they will come with their wife and husband, they will sometimes come, the whole family," Koney said. "So now I know that if we didn't provide these services, it would be a great disservice to the community." Onah said a large part of the appeal comes from offering culturally relevant food tailor-made for each family whether it's injera, an Ethiopian fermented flatbread, or turtle beans, popular in the Caribbean. "The peace of mind you get when you're eating something that you're familiar with or you grew up with and is inline with your culture and your background — that all contributes to overall wellness. That all contributes to mental wellness, especially in the time where we're in a pandemic," said Onah. The initiative also supports local businesses largely by sourcing food from community stores on 118th Avenue and Stony Plain Road.
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, Timon Wientziak probably wouldn’t be buying a car while living in downtown Toronto. He’s looking into purchasing his first vehicle after the pandemic pushed him into carpentry work outside of the city, instead of his usual work as a composer and sound designer. But the purchase isn’t just based on his job: Wientziak said it’s easy to feel stifled in the city during COVID, and having the freedom to get out of town is a plus. “Toronto is such a concrete place,” said Wientziak, a first-time buyer who’s in the market for an affordable, older used car. “Even though it’s called a city within a park, we would love to get out more, and doing it with the GO train is just not as enticing.” Data from auto industry analysts shows there are many people like Wientziak who’ve been nudged towards buying a car during the pandemic. And prospective buyers should be aware that higher demand usually means higher prices. According to research by online marketplace autotrader.ca, the pandemic has caused a surge in demand as people avoid public transport and ride-hailing services. A survey released by the company in December showed 46 per cent of people who were interested in buying a new car listed the pandemic as a direct reason for their purchase. The website also saw a nearly 28 per cent increase in traffic from May to December. But the demand was underpinned by supply shortages in both new and used car markets, since some manufacturers stopped production at the start of the pandemic and continue to deal with supply chain issues. Baris Akyurek, Director of Marketing Intelligence at autotrader.ca, said a lower number of new car sales at the start of the pandemic translated to fewer vehicles being traded in, leading to tighter supply in both markets before an increase in demand. As a result, the average listing price of a vehicle on the marketplace in December was 5.2 per cent higher than the previous year, now sitting at $19,888. Akyurek said used cars are a particularly hot commodity because they’re an economical option at a time of financial uncertainty, and depreciation isn’t as much of a concern. “Moreover, with certified pre-owned programs, you are eligible for extended warranties on used vehicles,” said Akyurek, which protects consumers from the risk associated with used cars. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says it’s optimistic about the growth of new car sales, which have benefited from low interest rates and greater demand as more people move further away from city centres in search of larger homes as a result of the pandemic. The industry saw an unprecedented 20 per cent drop in sales this year, which CADA Chief Economist Oumar Dicko says was much higher than the 11 per cent drop in auto sales during the 2008 global financial crisis. Even though sales have rebounded and the pandemic has created strong demand, Dicko said manufacturers are still vulnerable to COVID-19. “The auto forecast is very closely dependent on the trajectory of the virus in the months to come and the ability to broadly roll out the vaccine,” said Dicko. “We’re also very concerned about the impact of COVID outbreaks even if they’re very localized, on the global supply chain. This could create labour shortages and there’s a concern right now about the shortage of semiconductor microchips that are used in the production of vehicles.” Dicko said the current shortage of microchips will already affect inventory in 2021. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on the auto industry, both Akyurek and Dicko expect it to have a lasting and positive effect on auto sales. “Given the current circumstances of COVID-19, the restrictions and overall fear of contracting the virus by Canadians, this is a better than expected performance by the industry,” said Dicko. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
POLITIQUE. À l’issue d’une rencontre avec des acteurs des milieux économiques, la députée de Shefford, Andréanne Larouche et son collègue d’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire, par ailleurs vice-président du Comité permanent de l’industrie, des sciences et de la technologie, proposent un fonds propre aux régions. «Je voulais ouvrir un espace de dialogue avec des dirigeants d’organismes économiques, d’entreprises et de municipalités pour échanger sur nos propositions pour la relance», a expliqué Andréanne Larouche au sujet de sa tournée de consultations économiques. Elle a reçu de nombreux témoignages d’entrepreneurs en difficulté selon les bureaux de circonscription des deux élus. «La pénurie de main-d’œuvre est aussi un enjeu qui freine le développement économique de nos régions et qui comporte de nombreuses ramifications. Je pense à la complexité et aux délais en matière d’immigration en lien avec les travailleurs étrangers et aux problématiques de logements qui limitent grandement les possibilités d’attraction de travailleurs», analyse le député d’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire. Sa collègue de Shefford et lui saluent les contributions des centres d’aide aux entreprises (CAE), mais ils préconisent qu’on leur donne «plus de moyens afin qu’ils assurent un soutien de proximité aux entrepreneurs.» En effet, plus de 200 000 PME, soit 20 % des emplois du secteur privé, envisagent sérieusement de mettre la clé sous la porte selon la dernière mise à jour de l’analyse de la fédération canadienne de l’entreprise indépendante. Un fonds de développement par et pour les régions Sébastien Lemire estime que les questions du développement territorial nécessitent des « solutions flexibles adaptées aux régions » et non des approches globales développées à Ottawa. En parlant d’Internet, le bloquiste annonce que le comité de l’industrie a dans ses cartons un rapport sur cet «enjeu fondamental» pour lequel sa circonscription, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, a pris 20 ans de retard. «Il faut s’assurer de démocratiser son accès pour tous, même dans les zones moins densément peuplées… il faut sortir de la logique de rentabilité », dit-il en conférence de presse dans un plaidoyer énergique sur l’accès au développement régional. Les deux élus soutiennent «la mise en place d’un fonds de développement par et pour les régions», qui devra être déployé en fonction des besoins spécifiques de celles-ci. Ils déplorent «des improvisations d’Ottawa» même s’ils reconnaissent que les programmes s’ajustent progressivement. Ils prônent «les enjeux identifiés par les régions», comme les incubateurs d’entreprises ou l’innovation territoriale plutôt que «des programmes mur à mur mal adaptés» conçus à partir des mégalopoles uniformes. En cette veille de rentrée parlementaire et en prélude au budget fédéral, Andréanne Larouche envisage de poursuivre ses consultations «afin que les programmes soient les mieux adaptés aux besoins des entrepreneurs.»Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — People arrested during three nights of rioting sparked by the Netherlands' new coronavirus curfew will face swift prosecution, the Dutch justice minister said Tuesday as the nation faced its worst civil unrest in years. Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said rioters would be quickly brought before the courts by public prosecutors and will face possible prison terms if convicted. “They won't get away with it,” he told reporters in The Hague. The rioting, initially triggered by anger over the country's tough coronavirus lockdown, has been increasingly fueled by calls for rioting swirling on social media. The violence has stretched the police and led at times to the deployment of military police. Grapperhaus spoke after a third night of rioting hit towns and cities in the Netherlands, with the most serious clashes and looting of stores in the port city of Rotterdam and the southern cathedral city of Den Bosch. “If you rob people who are struggling, with the help of the government, to keep their head above water, it's totally scandalous,” Grapperhaus told reporters. He stressed that the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew is a necessary measure in the fight against the coronavirus. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb posted a video message on Twitter, asking rioters: “Does it feel good to wake up with a bag full of stolen stuff next to you?” He also appealed to parents of the young rioters, asking: “Did you miss your son yesterday? Did you ask yourself where he was?” The municipality in Den Bosch designated large parts of the city as risk areas for Tuesday night, fearing a repeat of the violence. Residents in Den Bosch took to the streets Tuesday to help with the cleanup as the city’s mayor said he would investigate authorities’ response to the rioting. A total of 184 people were arrested in Monday night's unrest and police ticketed more than 1,700 for breaching the curfew, a fine of 95 euros ($115). Officers around the country also detained dozens suspected of inciting rioting through social media. Police said rioters threw stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers. “This criminal violence must stop,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted. “The riots have nothing to do with protesting or struggling for freedom,” he added. “We must win the battle against the virus together, because that's the only way of getting back our freedom.” The unrest began Saturday night — the first night of the curfew — when youths in the fishing village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing centre. It escalated significantly with violence in the southern city of Eindhoven and the capital, Amsterdam. Gerrit van der Burg, the most senior Dutch public prosecutor, said authorities are “committed to tracking down and prosecuting people who committed crimes. Count on it that they will be dealt with harshly.” The rate of new infections in Netherlands has been decreasing in recent weeks, but the government is keeping up the tough lockdown, citing the slow pace of the decline and fears of new, more transmissible virus variants. The country has registered more than 13,650 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic,https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Mike Corder, The Associated Press
It was a tough year here on Earth, but 2020 was a bright spot for space exploration. SpaceX sent its futuristic Starship to new heights, three countries launched Mars missions, and robots grabbed debris from the moon and an asteroid. Next year promises more, including a planned launch of the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor. Perhaps it's no surprise then that space themes are having a moment in home decor. When so many of us Earthlings are stuck at home because of the pandemic, space imagery can add a sense of adventure or whimsy to rooms, walls and ceilings. “I’ve done outer space, and starry skies," says New York interior designer Patrice Hoban. "My clients love using stars as a backdrop in nurseries. I’ve also worked with glow-paint to add an extra pop to kids rooms and home theatres.” She sticks tiny glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling; the light can last for hours. “It’s the closest thing I’ve found to being in a planetarium,” she says. Rachel Magana, senior visual designer at the sustainable furniture-rental company Fernish, picked up some cosmological decorating ideas from a colleague’s recent nursery project. “Base your colour palette around deep blue tones, then splash in bits of colour like yellow, white or red,” she says. “Or create your own galaxy wall,” she says. “Paint a blue wall, then use some watered-down white paint to splatter it with fine droplets. You may just create some new constellations.” She suggests adding fun, space-agey lamps, and vintage NASA posters. Outer space has inspired designers for decades. In the 1960s, the “space race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, along with the development of space age-y, synthetic materials, led to a surge in futuristic furniture like moulded plastic chairs and Sputnik-shaped lighting. These days, you can download artwork directly from NASA: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/, or find it at retailers like Red Bubble, Etsy and Zazzle. Magana also suggests making a letter board with a space-themed quote like Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man” phrase. Much of the astronomy-themed art in the marketplace would be striking in any room. There are lunar graphics on canvas at Target. Tempaper’s got constellation wallpapers, but if you can’t do wallpaper, consider Kenna Sato Designs’ constellation decals for walls or ceilings. Galaxy Lamps has a sphere that looks like a planetoid. Charge it up with the included USB and cycle through 16 colours with three lighting modes. There’s a moon version, too. And at Beautiful Halo, find a collection of rocket-ship ceiling fixtures. German designer Jan Kath has created a rug collection called Spacecrafted inspired by imagery of gas clouds and asteroid nebulae from the Hubble telescope. Studio Greytak, in Missoula, Montana, has designed a Jupiter lamp out of the mineral aragonite, depicting the whirling, turbulent gases of the planet. And there’s the Impact table, where a chunk of desert rose crystals is embedded with cast glass, as though a piece of asteroid had plunged into a pool. Zodiac wall decals and a Milky Way throw rug can be found at Project Nursery. There are hanging mobiles of the planets and of stars and clouds, at both Crate & Kids and Pottery Barn Kids. A glow-in-the-dark duvet cover printed with the solar system is also at PBK, but if you’re ready to really head to the stars, check out Snurk Living’s duvet set. The studio, owned by Dutch designers Peggy van Neer and Erik van Loo, has designed the set photoprinted with a life-size astronaut suit. Creating a night sky on the ceiling of a home theatre seems to be popular; Houzz has hundreds of examples for inspiration. Maydan Architects in Palo Alto, California, designed one for a recent project. “Our client’s grandfather was the owner of multiple movie theatres,” says Mary Maydan. “One of them had a retractable ceiling that enabled guests to experience the starry sky at night. When our client decided to build their home theatre, this installation was actually fulfilling a lifelong dream." The ceiling isn’t retractable, but has an eight-paneled fixture depicting the Milky Way and a shooting star. “It provides very soft light and was intended to be kept on during the screening of the movie and create a magical experience,” says Maydan. ___ Kim Cook writes AP's Right at Home column, which looks at themes in home decor and home products. Follow her at: www.kimcookhome.com Kim Cook, The Associated Press
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations would like to see Canada's next governor general come from a First Nation. On Jan. 21, former Governor General Julie Payette stepped down from her position after a workplace review found she presided over a toxic work environment. As the search for a new Queen's representative continues, the FSIN executive is asking the country to appoint the country's first ever First Nations governor general. "When the newcomers came to these lands all those years ago, the first relationship the Queen's subjects formed was with First Nations," wrote FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a press release. "As the representative of the Crown, it is important that we use this opportunity to honour the history of that relationship." If this happens, it would be the first time a First Nations person held the title. Since many First Nations across the country signed treaties with the Crown, the Queen has held a special status with some Indigenous people. "We want to reinvigorate the role of the Governor General and the Crown relationship with our Inherent and Treaty Rights holders," said Cameron. "This is a priority for the FSIN." The FSIN isn't the only group asking for a First Nations governor general. Last week, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also asked for the honour, stating that it would help advance reconciliation. Currently, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner is fulfilling duties as the governor general until a replacement for Payette can be found.
Yellowknife city council met on Monday to consider an expansion project that would see 102 new housing units built for seniors. The proposed AVENS pavilion is intended to fill gaps in affordable senior housing by providing a wider range of independent and supportive housing options. Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, according to the government of the Northwest Territories and increasingly, seniors are wanting to remain in the Northwest Territories, but find limited options available to them. AVENS CEO Darryl Dolynny told city council meeting the proposed expansion of its campus would diminish long waiting lists for seniors' housing and fill a gap in housing options. The city administration says it supports the project because it would allow seniors to live independently for as long as they'd like to, while remaining in the North. In October, Avens received $33.7 million from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to support the AVENS Pavilion project. In a press release, Ahmed Hussen, the Minister Minister of Families, Children and Social Development said that "today's announcement is one of the largest single investments in affordable housing in the Northwest Territories under the National Housing Strategy." Concerns about road access The senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett said that the project was "much needed. I don't think anyone can argue with that." She added that there remained concerns from neighbours in the area about how the pavilion would be accessed by road. A few letters have been sent to the city detailing concerns about how traffic may become congested and pose safety risks. One of the proposed road access points would be the Matonabee alleyway, which is intended to be used by residents of the pavilion. However, Hermina Joldersma, who lives nearby, says the alleyway is far too narrow to maintain additional traffic, especially for service vehicles, like fire trucks. In a council meeting, she said that the street only has room for one vehicle at a time, which could create bottlenecks and unsafe driving situations. The alleyway feeds into Franklin Avenue, right where the speed limit increases from 30 km/h to 45 km/h. Joldersma added that in addition to it being a busy intersection, it's also difficult to see traffic and pedestrians. Bassi-Kellet said she's confident a viable solution can be found. She said "productive" discussions looking at different options about the road access by development officers, other departments with the city, and with AVENS. City council will decide whether or not to approve the project on Feb. 8. Mayor Rebecca Alty said that the proposal was still in draft form, so the first step is to gain council approval to use the building as a special care facility, then they would work through in greater detail issues that are outstanding, related to parking and road access, for example.
Saint Andrews passed the first reading of its short-term rental bylaw at a special council meeting on Monday. The bylaw was created, said Coun. Andrew Harrison, to develop a permit system to regulate short-term rentals in the town. Short-term rental residential units are full dwelling units (or parts of it) used as accommodation for travellers for no more than 30 days at a time, he said. "The purpose of this bylaw is to help limit negative impacts to long-term rentals and housing affordability, ensure the accommodations meet safety requirements and compliance, neighbour compatibility, support the tourism economy and support equity among all short-term rental accommodation providers," Harrison said. Town clerk Paul Nopper said AirBnBs have "very limited to no regulations at this point." Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson said it's to make sure that when people are visiting Saint Andrews, it's safe. The bylaw mostly covers permit requirements, inspections, responsibilities of the owner and operator, prohibitions and penalties. Saint Andrews resident Joanne Carney said she would like to see a compromise on the bylaw and aims to bring her concerns forward to council. Carney operates a short-term rental space within her home and has also purchased a property for her employees and for short-term rental space. She said if the bylaw is passed, it would make it so that certain zones require a primary resident on the property that houses the short-term rental space. She said she's not so sure that "penalizing" short-term rentals will make these spaces revert to long-term rental spaces or increase the vacancy rate. She said there needs to be a balance between long-term and short-term rentals "I know the councillors, they're open to changes and discussion. They'll definitely hear from people who are threatened to be shut down at the moment." In addition, she said limiting the short-term rental permits (if the primary resident lives there most of the time), doesn't make sense. In some cases, she said owning and operating short-term rentals, helps make living more affordable in Saint Andrews. The councillors discussed having a three-permit limit per individual for short-term rentals with a potential grandfather clause, or an increasing permit fee for individuals; instead of a 50-permit limit for the whole town. CAO Chris Spear said all existing short-term rentals would be included in this 50-permit total. Nopper said the 50-permit limit was based on the town's pre-existing short-term rental numbers and took into consideration council's aim to protect the long-term rentals by limiting the number of short-term rentals. "It limits that so that we don't have AirBnB Inc. coming in and buying up a bunch of short-term rentals," said Coun. Guy Groulx. Coun. Kurt Gumushel was against limiting the number of short-term rentals. Nopper said he would take the discussions and feedback and put it into the second draft of the document. There were also some discussions and clarifications at the meeting between the councillors concerning limiting of guests and permit qualifications. The full bylaw is posted on the town's website, so the public can view it before it goes onto further readings and a public hearing. Nopper said the bylaw could be passed by April 2021 but Mayor Doug Naish said it's subject to change. "It will be done right," said Naish. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Des sculptures de glace dignes des expositions d’hiver les plus impressionnantes sont présentement exhibées devant l’entrée de la bibliothèque du Pôle culturel de Chambly, pour le plus grand plaisir des visiteurs. Suivant l’exposition des toiles d’Angélique Ricard, qu’il est aussi possible d’admirer, il s’agit de la deuxième exposition tenue au Pôle culturel depuis le début de la nouvelle année. De la magie entre les doigts La Ville de Chambly décrit l’œuvre du sculpteur de glace professionnel, Nicolas Godon, comme étant le « résultat d’un travail minutieux alliant la technique et la beauté de la nature », et elle n’a pas tort. Les quatre sculptures ont été façonnées par Nicolas Godon, des Entreprises Godon, basées à Mont-Tremblant, sous la thématique de l’hiver. Il s’est notamment servi de scies, mécanique et électrique, puis de couteaux pour sculpter dans 16 blocs de glace cristalline, de 300 lb chacun, afin de modeler les formes d’envergure qu’il a imaginées : des patins et des flocons tombants, un ours polaire et un pingouin taillés un peu à l’image des figurines en cristal de la marque Swarovski, mais en format géant. Le travail aurait pris une huitaine d’heures. « C’est un peu comme travailler le bois, mais en termes de finition, c’est un peu plus spécifique de la glace. » Une lignée de sculpteurs aguerris Diplômé en charpenterie et en menuiserie, Nicolas n’était pas particulièrement prédestiné à être sculpteur professionnel comme son père, Laurent Godon, un sculpteur de renommée internationale. C’est en travaillant avec lui pour l’aider au sein de l’entreprise familiale qu’il s’est découvert une véritable passion pour la sculpture sur glace, au point de s’y consacrer professionnellement. Parmi les événements notoires auxquels père et fils ont participé, on compte la Fête des neiges de Montréal, le Mondial des cidres de glace, Montréal en lumière et beaucoup d’autres. « Les Entreprises Godon, c’est une vocation qui se transmet de père en fils. C’est mon père qui m’a appris à sculpter. Je fais de la sculpture depuis quinze ans, mais cela fait cinq ans que j’ai pris les rênes de la compagnie », raconte Nicolas. « C’est par le bouche à oreille que nous avons obtenu ce contrat avec la Ville de Chambly. Nous faisons de la sculpture un peu partout au Québec. Ça marche assez bien, cette année, surtout parce qu’avec la pandémie, les options sont plus limitées en termes de format d’exposition. Une exposition à l’extérieur est de circonstance. » Quant à la présente exposition, elle témoigne d’un style bien particulier. « Depuis les trois dernières années, environ, je fais des animaux en sortant un peu de l’ordinaire, comme de l’origami. C’est un peu moins conventionnel et ça fait changement de la sculpture traditionnelle. J’ai toujours mon idée de base, mais c’est en sculptant que ça se dévoile dans ma tête. » Il sera possible d’admirer les œuvres aussi longtemps que la température les conservera.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
HELSINKI — A new two-party coalition government was sworn in Tuesday in Estonia, led by the first woman prime minister since the Baltic nation regained independence in 1991. The 15-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas took office after lawmakers in Estonia's parliament approved the government appointed by President Kersti Kaljulaid. Kallas, 43, is a lawyer and former European Parliament member. The centre-right Reform Party that she chairs and and the left-leaning Center Party, which are Estonia’s two biggest political parties, reached a deal on Sunday to form a government. The previous Cabinet, with Center leader Juri Ratas as prime minister, collapsed this month due to a corruption scandal. The two parties each have seven ministers in the Cabinet in addition to Kallas serving as prime minister. The government controls a comfortable majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu. Kallas stressed gender balance in forming the new Cabinet, placing several women in key positions, including naming the Reform Party's Keit Pentus-Rosimannus as finance minister and Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, as the foreign minister. Kallas' Cabinet has a little over two years to leave its mark in this European Union and NATO member before the next general election set for March 2023. One of the government's immediate priorities is to tackle Estonia’s worsening coronavirus situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. The Reform Party, a pro-business party espousing liberal economic policies, emerged as the winner of Estonia's 2019 general election under Kallas' lead. However, she was outmanoeuvred by Ratas' Center Party, which formed a three-party coalition with the populist right-wing EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party. But Ratas’ government, which took office in April 2019, was shaky from the start due to strong rhetoric from the nationalist EKRE, the nation’s third-largest party which runs on an anti-immigration and anti-EU agenda. The EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin, brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice. However, Ratas' government was eventually brought down on Jan. 13 by a corruption scandal involving an official suspected of accepting a private donation for the Center Party in exchange for a political favour on a real estate development at the harbour district of the capital, Tallinn. Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, is now one of the few countries where both the head of state and the head of government are women. However, that may not necessarily last long as Estonian lawmakers will convene by September to elect a new president. Kaljulaid, who assumed her post in October 2016, hasn't announced whether she will seek reelection to another five year term. Jari Tanner, The Associated Press
Manque de stationnement et congestion routière, deux problématiques bien connues des citoyens de Tadoussac en saison touristique. Afin de remédier à la situation, la municipalité veut aménager un stationnement écoresponsable au bout de la rue des Jésuites, projet de 1 106 424 $ qui a été présenté aux citoyens le 19 janvier. L’équipe municipale travaille activement sur le projet depuis plus de deux ans afin qu’il n’en coûte rien pour les contribuables tadoussaciens. La municipalité a d’ailleurs obtenu une subvention du ministère de l’Environnement, via le programme Climat municipalités – phase 2, d’un montant de 577 140 $. D’autres aides financières ont été demandées, mais les réponses ne sont pas confirmées pour le moment. Si toutes les subventions sont accordées, la municipalité ne devrait dépenser que 247 659 $ pour la réalisation du stationnement. « Le plan A prévoit le remboursement du montant de 247 659 $ sur 20 ans, à raison de 15 889 $ par année. En ajoutant les frais d’acquisition du terrain (13 816 $) et les coûts d’opération et d’entretien (25 000 $), le total des dépenses annuelles se chiffre à 54 705 $. Cette somme serait remboursée grâce aux revenus du stationnement, évalués à 88 000 $ si on se fie à celui de la cale sèche. Un profit de 33 295 $ serait enregistré », a expliqué la directrice Marie-Claude Guérin, lors de la consultation. Quant au plan B, la contribution municipale s’élève à 529 284 $ et est remboursée sur 20 ans, soit 33 932 $ annuellement. En ajoutant les autres dépenses mentionnées dans le plan A, un montant de 72 748 $ devrait être remis chaque année. Comme les revenus sont estimés à 88 000 $, un profit de 15 252 $ demeure tout de même. « Le plan B est moins confortable, mais il permet d’éviter de taxer les citoyens pour le remboursement de l’emprunt relié au stationnement. Pour le moment, ce sont des prévisions en ce qui concerne les revenus, mais on en gère deux stationnements. Celui de la cale sèche est de dimension comparable et il nous rapporte 88 000 $ », a déclaré le maire Charles Breton. De plus, la municipalité s’engage à mettre en place une politique des déplacements, inclut dans les coûts du projet, afin de garantir l’utilisation du nouveau stationnement. « Ça veut dire que des emplacements seront réservés aux citoyens devant l’épicerie, par exemple, grâce à un système de vignette ou que les stationnements seront interdits dans certaines rues », précise M. Breton. Objectifs Le premier objectif, et le plus important, selon le maire, est la qualité de vie des citoyens de Tadoussac. « Dans les sondages que nous avons faits, les problématiques du manque de stationnement et de la congestion routière reviennent incessamment, a rappelé Charles Breton. Les gens ne se sentent plus chez eux lors de la saison touristique. » Le projet permettra aussi de limiter les émissions de gaz à effet de serre « évitables ». « On dit évitables parce que les touristes qui font trois fois le tour du village pour trouver un stationnement pourront éviter de le faire en se dirigeant immédiatement dans le nouveau stationnement, précise l’élu. Par le fait même, l’expérience des visiteurs n’en sera qu’améliorer, un autre objectif du projet. » Aménagement En termes d’aménagement, le stationnement pourra accueillir 85 voitures et 3 autocars ou 50 voitures et 11 autocars à la fois, selon le choix effectué par le conseil municipal. Il sera muni d’un pavillon sanitaire comprenant deux salles de bain ainsi que d’un sentier le reliant au parc de nos Ancêtres. Une ressource humaine y sera affectée pour les deux premières années (2021-2022) ainsi qu’un chargé de projet. Le respect de l’environnement est très important pour la municipalité. « Des matériaux naturels seront utilisés le plus possible. Il sera notamment en gravier au lieu d’en asphalte. L’éclairage ne sera pas éblouissant et des aménagements verts y seront installés », a fait valoir Charles Breton. À la séance municipale de décembre, les élus de Tadoussac ont adopté le projet de règlement entourant le projet. Une séance extraordinaire est prévue dans les prochains jours afin d’adopter de façon finale le règlement. Par la suite, il sera envoyé au ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH). « Les travaux devraient débuter au début juin, selon la période dégel. On espère que le tout sera terminé au début juillet afin qu’on soit prêt à commencer la saison touristique avec le nouveau service pour éviter les problématiques vécues l’an dernier », de conclure Mme Guérin, précisant qu’une documentation sera envoyée aux citoyens qui ne pouvaient assister à la consultation publique virtuelle.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
MINTO – The Town of Minto will be contemplating future flood mitigation plans as a lengthy study makes its way to council. The report by Triton Engineering has shortlisted some suggested actions and projects to do over a period of 20-years to mitigate issues from flooding. Minto Mayor George Bridge said the urban area of Harriston can be prone to flooding because Harriston is settled at one of the lowest points in the watershed. “There’s a 300 foot drop from where the water starts 20 km up north of us … we’re in the bottom end at Harriston,” Bridge said. “It’s like the bottom end of a tub, everything's gonna come at you.” The report noted there have been 15 documented floods since it was first settled over 100 years ago. Bridge said he can somewhat recall the damage flooding from Hurricane Hazel caused in Harriston when he was a young boy but a more recent event on June 23, 2017, made clear further action was necessary. On that day, a 170 mm rainfall caused a storm sewer surcharge and river flooding that damaged over 160 properties, closed roads and damaged infrastructure. This was referred to as a 100-year storm–meaning a storm that has a one per cent chance of occurring in any given year. “That particular event was unbelievable, it basically was a thunderstorm that just sat over us for four or five hours it never moved,” Bridge said. “It just kept dropping rain on us.” The study was prepared as a result of the historic flooding in Harriston with some recommendations to reduce the number of properties that could be affected by flooding. Actions include removing vegetation, spoils, regrading the floodplain, improvements to the river channel and eventually a new watercourse connecting upstream Maitland River flow to Dredge Creek. that effectively diverts the river around Harriston’s urban area. This would remove nearly all properties from the floodplain. Bridge noted these would be implemented slowly, likely over the course of 20 years, with each step slowly working away at the number of affected properties. Some steps won’t help too much for major events that are the scale of the 100-year storm but Bridge said they can ease the effects of smaller more common flooding. A cost breakdown estimates this work to cost upwards of $38 million, but again this would be over a long period of time. Bridge said federal and provincial funding will be necessary for this. The federal government does provide some flood protection insurance for homeowners in flood prone areas but Bridge said he thinks the feds should look into flood mitigation to save money in the long run. “They’ll do some marginal stuff for you, like, you lose a furnace … but that costs us millions and millions of dollars,” Bridge said. “We’re getting more (major storms) every year now, they’re not taking 100 years. The federal government might want to get out of the business of just putting the patch on.” Minto council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss this report. “There’s been a lot of background work to get to this point,” Bridge said. “Now we have to take all this information and try to get an engineer to put actual final costs.” Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
Quebec's Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs opted out of the NFL season to work in a long-term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic. He talks to Matt Galloway of CBC Radio's The Current about what he learned.
Two people have died and two others are injured after a crash on the QEW near Burlington this morning that closed the westbound lanes of the highway. At 5:53 a.m., Burlington OPP say, officers were called to a crash involving three vehicles on the QEW at Brant Street. Const. Kevin Westhead says two female occupants of one of the vehicles were pronounced dead on scene. They appeared to be the only ones in the vehicle, Westhead says, and investigators believe one was ejected. Two people were transported to the hospital, but their condition is unknown. Police have closed the Toronto-bound Brant Street ramp, as well as the westbound lanes, Westhead says. He estimates they will be closed for six to eight hours.
NEW YORK — Canadian author Souvankham Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife" is among this year's fiction finalists for the U.S.-based National Book Critics Circle prizes. The critics circle announced five nominees in each of six competitive categories Sunday, and seven finalists for an award for best first book. This year's nominees are the first under new leadership at the NBCC after many of its board members departed in 2020 amid a dispute over how to respond to the summer's Black Lives Matters protests. Among those stepping down was NBCC president Laurie Hertzel, senior books editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was replaced by David Varno, Publishers Weekly's fiction reviews editor. In the NBCC's fiction award category, Martin Amis was nominated for his autobiographical novel “Inside Story” and Randall Kenan, who died in 2020, for the story collection “If I Had Two Wings.” The other finalists were Maggie O’Farrell's “Hamnet,” Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife,” which won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Bryan Washington's “Memorial.” The Feminist Press, whose founder Florence Howe died last year, will receive a lifetime achievement award and has a nominee for criticism: Cristina Rivera Garza's, “Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country.” New Republic critic Jo Livingston received a citation for Excellence in Reviewing. Winners will be announced March 25. Isabel Wilkerson's “Caste,” her widely read exploration of American racism; was a nonfiction finalist. The others were Walter Johnson's “The Broken Heart of America: St, Louis and the Violent History of the United States,” James Shapiro's “Shakespeare in a Divided America,” Sarah Smarsh's “She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs” and Tom Zoellner's “Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire.” Biography nominees included “The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X," co-written by Tamara Payne and her father, the late journalist Les Payne, and winner last fall of the National Book Award. The other finalists were Amy Stanley's “Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World,” Zachary D. Carter's “The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes," Heather Clark's “Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath” and Maggie Doherty's “The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s.” In poetry, the nominees were Victoria Chang's “Obit,” Francine J. Harris' “Here Is The Sweet Hand,” Amaud Jamaul Johnson's “Imperial Liquor,” Chris Nealon's “The Shore” and Danez Smith's “Homie.” The autobiography finalists were Cathy Park Hong's “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning,” Shayla Lawson's “This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope,” Riva Lehrer's “Golem Girl,” Wayétu Moore's “The Dragons, The Giant, The Women” and Alia Volz's “Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco.” Beside's Garza's “Grieving,” criticism nominees were Vivian Gornick's “Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader,” Nicole Fleetwood's “Marking Time." Namwali Serpell's “Stranger Faces” and Wendy A. Woloson's “Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America.” Three of last year's most talked about first novels, Raven Leilani's “Lustre,” Megha Majumdar's “A Burning” and Douglas Stuart's “Shuggie Bain," are nominees for the John Leonard Prize for best first book, fiction or nonfiction. The other finalists are Kerri Arsenault's “Mill Town,” Karla Cornejo Villavicencio's “The Undocumented Americans,” Brandon Taylor's “Real Life” and “C Pam Zhang's ”How Much of These Hills Is Gold." The Leonard award is named for the late literary critic, who helped found the NBCC in 1974. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Joe Biden could return to the path blazed by Barack Obama on Cuba, when two years of bilateral negotiations helped undo more than five decades of hostility.
There’s a small shop that sells healthy lotions, potions and pills on Mill Street. Tucked inside, behind the till and a thick sheet of Plexiglas, sits Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald. She talks fast and has handy notes about the pandemic and how it will cost each household worth $500,000 another $6.87 per month ($82.64 annually) on their municipal taxes this year. Feeling the pinch of a $680,000 shortfall, Macdonald said staff and council had little choice but to approve a three per cent tax increase on the 2021 budget. “When you take a budget and start off that far behind, it is a challenge,” Macdonald said, from her Naturally For You shop, where she’s down two staff members due to the pandemic. “We tried to take a proactive approach to control our budget expenditures.” Macdonald says the shortfall consists of three things: $180,000 due to lost parks and recreation revenue from lack of rentals; another $250,000 in lost revenue in the planning and economic development office due to shortfalls blamed largely on COVID-19; and another $180,000 lost on bank interest on the town’s investment savings, when interest rates dropped from around seven per cent to a much lower rate. In the 2021 budget, cuts were made to the library’s renovations and staff’s hours, as well as the spraying of calcium only once during the summer to keep dust down on work sites. Simcoe County and neighbouring Springwater Township have announced zero increases on their 2021 budgets. Essa Township — where Statistics Canada says the average household income is $87,543 — will hardly feel the pinch. Yet with the costs of heat, hydro and insurance increasing for not just homes, but the township as well, Macdonald said this isn’t the time to take on loans to cover the cost of the shortfall and possibly rob from next year’s budget. “It’s a needs not wants budget,” agreed Essa CAO Colleen Healey-Dowdall. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
If supplies of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to Manitoba don’t resume, appointments at the Brandon vaccination supersite may need to be postponed. That’s according to Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s vaccination task force, who joined Dr. Brent Roussin for the daily COVID-19 update on Monday. "As you already know, last week, we were informed about a third reduction in our Pfizer vaccine shipments. Manitoba has been responsible in managing our vaccine supply, but we continue to see the effects of the supply reductions," said Reimer. The planned Feb. 1 supply dropped from 5,850 to 2,340 doses. "We had to stop making appointments for the supersites, both in Winnipeg and in Brandon. So far, we’ve been able to weather the supply disruptions better than most other jurisdictions based on the strategic approach that Manitoba has taken. However, we’re now in a position where we’re still concerned about ongoing supply and may have to postpone some of our appointments if the supplies don’t resume. Reimer said the province will receive an update from the federal government — which is responsible for vaccine deployment to provinces and territories — on Friday. The postponement decision will depend on what the province receives from the federal government on Feb. 8. "We will update Manitobans as soon as possible, most likely on Friday, to let them know if we are expecting that shipment to come in and what the implications are for people who have appointments coming up beginning next week," said Reimer. "We are going to be contacting everybody who has an appointment coming up to let them know about this unknown, as well. So, for now, we’re asking people to plan to keep their appointments for next week and the week after, but to keep your eye on the bulletins and on the website." As for the Northern health region, which has seen half of Manitoba’s new case counts, vaccines are headed up. Reimer said the phone line opened Monday morning to book appointments for the supersite in Thompson. Immunizers will begin putting needles in arms beginning Feb. 1. "This is a slight adjustment from our original plan because instead of using Pfizer, we’re using Moderna temporarily in Thompson," said Reimer. "Also building on feedback from the Northern health region, we will be scheduling appointments for eligible workers in The Pas and Flin Flon for the week of Feb. 8." Vaccination teams are on track to complete first doses at personal care homes by the end of this week — a week ahead of schedule — with enough doses to deliver a second round beginning the following week. The province also plans to release a priority list of all Manitobans Wednesday, with a tentative schedule for the entire vaccine rollout, which will depend on vaccine supply. "The dates that will be attached to that list will have to remain quite fluid because we still don’t know exactly when to expect the Pfizer numbers to change. But we will come up with at least the sequence for Manitobans," said Reimer. Reimer said, so far, there is a 70 to 80 per cent uptake in eligible health-care workers. She said there are various reasons some are taking the vaccine, including having health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. That made them ineligible until the enhanced process was put in place. "Some people may have other health conditions or allergies that made them concerned and want to seek some opinion from their health-care provider before booking an appointment. Those folks may be in the process right now of discussing with their health-care provider whether or not the vaccine is the right decision," said Reimer. "We’ve also heard of health-care providers who wanted to let other people go first. They felt that their exposure or their own health status was such that they didn’t want to take up an appointment, when there’s other people who might be at higher risk because of their own health, their age." Reimer added 70 to 80 per cent is a high uptake rate for an immunization campaign. In personal care homes so far, the uptake is more than 90 per cent. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
SAINT JOHN • Nearly one quarter of Anglophone South students were absent on the first day of the red phase in Zone 2, according to district superintendent Zoë Watson. Wednesday saw 23 per cent of students absent, up from 14 per cent on Tuesday, following Public Health returning the region to the red phase of COVID-19 recovery. Saint John father Mike Stephen said he plans to keep his son Kohen McKenna home for the rest of the week. McKenna is in Grade 9 at Simonds High School. "(Masks) definitely cut down transmission, but it's not a silver bullet. You can still get (COVID)," he said. "And I just think that we need to do more to try to shrink our bubbles, before something ends up bursting, and we end up in a lockdown like Quebec or Ontario." Up until this week, a switch to the red phase of recovery meant a switch to online learning from home for public school students. That's not the case any more, with the province recently announcing a change in protocol. Stephen called it a sharp change for parents. He said he doesn't understand why high schools can't be doing fully online learning or why students can't decide whether to learn from home or not, since many are already alternating days. Even if protocols are tight in schools, he said being together in schools gives kids the temptation to mingle without six feet of distance and without masks outside the school walls. "The best in-class protections in the world doesn't help when kids walk off the property. And at the end of the day, kids that age think that they're invincible." Kristina MacRae, a Nerepis mother who is immunocompromised, pulled all six of her kids out of school on Wednesday. "How are we supposed to be feeling safe to send our kids if [the provincial government] doesn't even know what they're doing?" she said. "They're just winging it is how I feel." In a letter released to families on Tuesday, Watson said that attending school helps facilitate learning, and students will be under strict health and safety protocols in a supervised environment. "Their social needs can be met, while physical distancing is maintained, masks are used, and proper hygiene is encouraged," the letter states. In the event a parent chooses not to send a child to school, the parent is responsible for the child's education, according to a government directive document issued Wednesday. Teachers are not required to support learning in those cases, the document states, but support to the families would be encouraged. For those attending school, under the red phase of recovery, school personnel will be screened every day. Students and personnel can't enter the building if they have one COVID symptom or more, according to the document. If there is a positive case at a school, then the school is closed for three days, including weekends, and personnel are offered COVID-19 tests. All students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, are required to wear masks while on buses and while at school. However, there are a few exceptions to mask wearing: Kindergarten to Grade 8 students can take off their masks when working silently or eating, and Grade 9 to 12 students can take their mask off when eating. School personnel can take off their masks when eating or when in a closed office or classroom by themselves. All after-school clubs and sports have been cancelled. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal