Snowmobiles: still dangerous waterways in Mauricie

The start of the snowmobile season is imminent in Mauricie, which has prompted various stakeholders to warn snowmobilers since many waterways are still dangerous.

Although a significant amount of snow fell last Saturday, above normal temperatures are making several stretches of rivers unsafe.

This is particularly the case on the Saint-Maurice between Saint-Jean-des-Piles and Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac. The manager of the rental company Maximum Aventure posted aerial photos on social media that illustrate the risks well. Jean-François Houle hopes to encourage snowmobilers to be cautious since some have ventured onto the stream in the last few days.

“There are reckless people who don’t know the area. Now is not the time to wander off the marked trails. It’s extremely dangerous right now, ”he commented.

Same story at the Champlain County Snowmobile Club. According to President Normand Drolet, the majority of rivers on his territory are not yet safe, which will not prevent the majority of trails from being opened this Friday.

“The snow was hit by the volunteers and our machinery is on the ground day and night. It will be conditions at the start of the season, even though we are in mid-January, ”said Mr. Drolet.

Makeshift shelters

The industry has had to adapt this year as restaurant dining rooms are closed due to the pandemic. Several clubs in the region have rented construction trailers so that users can warm up.

These will not be monitored. Normand Drolet relies on the goodwill of snowmobilers to respect health instructions and physical distancing indoors.

At the Marineau Mattawin hotel in Trois-Rives, management and the snowmobile club have opted for the installation of a marquee which will be heated, while the establishment’s restaurant will serve take-out meals.

According to the director of the hotel chain, Donald Desrochers, this option will allow better control of the distance between snowmobilers. A staff member will be dedicated to ensure compliance with the rules, he said.


A Quebec pharmaceutical pays a German laboratory

A Quebec pharmaceutical which tests and analyzes twenty vaccines against COVID-19 is getting its hands on a German laboratory to become the world number one in the field, has learned The newspaper.

“We have gone from 55 employees in 2015 to 360 today. Our revenues have exploded from US $ 8 million at the time to over US $ 100 million this year. We are buying the German laboratory of 80 brains to consolidate our position, “explains Benoit Bouche, President and CEO of Nexelis.

Founded in Laval in 2015, the company joined forces with the Ampersand Capital Partners fund three years later and made a series of acquisitions, including Pacific Biomarkers, PAIRimmune, ImmunXperts, Gosselies and AIT Bioscience.

World number 1

Today, Laval pharma purchases a new team of 80 researchers from Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) in Marburg, Germany.

“We are becoming the largest company in the world in the development of methods in laboratory testing for vaccines in development”, continues Benoit Bouche.

Vaccine research

In its field, Nexelis now has some 250 researchers working full time on vaccine testing around the world.

“There are 42 vaccines in clinical development worldwide and more than 20 of them are being worked on,” said Benoit Bouche, whose work was recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

When asked why Quebec is worthy of interest, Mr. Bouche does not take four paths: Quebec brains are worth gold.

“There is an interesting employment pool here. There is an attractive cost of living compared to Boston and San Francisco as well. We are also discussing with the government to double the size of our facilities in Laval within three years, “he concludes.


A Magog company wants to recover masks

A supplier of medical equipment in Magog able to recover the now mandatory medical masks in schools, rather than sending them to the trash, deplores being shunned by the government.

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MedSup Canada, a medical equipment retailer that supplies Masks in particular to Costco, estimates that it can recycle them almost entirely.

The company deplores the lack of listening to the Ministry of Education. She claims to have approached her officials to offer them an integrated solution, guaranteeing the supply and recycling of masks in schools.

The retailer also noted having received calls from staff members from different schools worried because the masks provided to them are not ASTM F2100 level 1 certified as recommended by the CNESST.

The Sherbrooke school service center expects to need 2 million masks by the end of the year and is preparing to go to tender to find a supplier for their upgrading.


One month in prison for false returns of returnable water jugs

A former cashier at an IGA in Center-du-Québec will have to serve a 30-day prison sentence in addition to repaying the $ 25,000 she extracted from her employer by defrauding him.

Audrey Gagné, 21, made a significant number of fraudulent returns of large, returnable plastic water jugs at $ 10 each, for nearly two years, at the Princeville grocery store where she worked. She called “a youthful mistake” the criminal acts she began to commit at 18, we learned at the courthouse in Victoriaville, when receiving her sentence on Tuesday.

The crate “swayed”, but not the number of jugs.

When confronted with the nature of her actions by investigators on the case, she admitted the facts with an incriminating statement. In addition, she pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud over $ 5,000.

According to her lawyer Guy Boisvert, Audrey Gagné did this “to pay for trafficking to her friends in order to be accepted by her group”.

The young woman appeared in court on Tuesday, claiming to have taken out a personal loan of $ 25,000 to repay the Princeville IGA. This initiative was retained by the court.

Given the number of fraudulent acts, the breach of trust in the employer and the motivation of the offender, which the judge of the Court of Quebec, Dominique Slater, identified as the lure of profit, Audrey Gagné will be required to serve 30 days in jail on weekends, with one year probation.


No vaccination next week in Bas-Saint-Laurent

Vaccination will be suspended next week in Bas-Saint-Laurent since no vaccine dose is expected. Although the next arrivals have not yet been planned, public health is hopeful to restart vaccination at the beginning of next month.

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Since Canada will not finally receive any deliveries from the Pfizer company next week, the Bas-Saint-Laurent will be deprived of the 975 doses that were intended for it for the week of January 25.

“This week, we reviewed all our planning given the decrease in the arrival of our vaccines,” said the person in charge of vaccination in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Murielle Therrien. We are currently planning vaccination in some of our intermediate residences (IR) in the coming days. ”

Some 93% of CHSLD residents in the region have received a first dose so far. Vaccination of the second priority group, targeting workers in the health and social services network in contact with users, is underway.

As for the Moderna vaccine, no arrivals are planned in Bas-Saint-Laurent for the moment. Supplies for the coming weeks are not yet confirmed, but public health is showing positive.

“For the moment, we are hopeful of receiving new doses at the beginning of February,” said the director of public health for Bas-Saint-Laurent, Dr. Sylvain Leduc.

If the break does not continue, public health will be able to maintain its strategy of vaccinating as many people as possible before administering the second dose.

About 1,000 more people will be vaccinated over the next few days. As of January 25, some 5,000 Lower Laurentians will have received a first dose.

Situation “under control”

After an increase in cases at the end of December, the epidemiological situation improved again in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

“The situation has improved week by week. Transmission of the virus is less […]. Our situation is described as “under control” “, specified Dr Leduc.

The daily reports for the past few days have all remained below the 10-case mark. As of Wednesday, six new COVID-19 infections were recorded in the territory.


Derek Sloan expelled from Conservative caucus

The controversial MP Derek Sloan was excluded from the Conservative caucus on Wednesday after a vote by Erin O’Toole’s troops.

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More details will follow.


Swearing-in of the 46th President of the United States: Justin Trudeau congratulates Joe Biden again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again congratulated new US President Joe Biden on his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday and said he looked forward to working with him.

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“We will work together to advance climate action and clean economic growth. In addition, we will work together to promote inclusion and diversity as well as create good middle class jobs and opportunities for our people, ”Trudeau said in a statement.

The Canadian Prime Minister relayed his congratulations within minutes of the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

“I look forward to working with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress to seek to make our countries safer, more prosperous and more resilient,” Trudeau added.

His statement made no mention of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project that Mr Biden is preparing to block by presidential decree.

The Canadian prime minister was the first foreign leader to pick up the handset to congratulate Mr Biden in person, in the days following the November 3 election which saw incumbent President Donald Trump bite the dust.

The Leader of the Official Opposition in Ottawa, Conservative Erin O’Toole, also congratulated Biden on Wednesday, as did New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh.


Vaccine: angry ambulance workers in Quebec after the cancellation of their appointments

Quebec ambulance attendants who were to be vaccinated on Wednesday saw their appointments massively canceled at the last minute, possibly victims of the decreases announced in vaccine deliveries.

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The ambulance attendants of the Cooperative des technicians ambulance du Québec (CTAQ) had a very bad surprise when they woke up on Wednesday morning. While they had been confirmed the day before that they would indeed be vaccinated, their appointments were canceled by the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.

“Just two hours before my appointment, I got the email notification that it was canceled. And it’s the same for my colleagues “, confides a paramedic who preferred to remain anonymous, but who said he was” frustrated “with the treatment reserved for his profession.


The president of the CTAQ employee union was also angry on Wednesday morning. He deplores the “improvisation” of the authorities in the vaccination file, believing that the paramedics who already had an appointment should have at least received their dose.

“We understand that there are changes in the supply and that there are fewer doses, but they were not even able to tell us who they were going to prioritize before us”, indignant Frédéric Maheux, insisting on the risk run by its members and the patients they transport on a daily basis.

“It shows a certain jeer at the paramedics. We enter people who could be infected, we move between institutions and we also transport vulnerable patients, at risk. We are at risk of infecting people if we are not protected, ”adds Mr. Maheux.

No ministry details

According to explanations offered to paramedics, recent changes in Pfizer’s vaccine supply have resulted in revised prioritization orders.

Asked about this, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale referred us to the Ministry of Health, responsible for the rules surrounding vaccination. We indicate that the rules decided by Quebec are being applied in this case, nothing more.

The newspaper is still waiting for the Ministry of Health to recall it in order to learn more about these possible changes in the prioritization orders and the consequences they could have for paramedics or other categories of professionals.

More details to come …

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COVID-19: new records of cases and deaths in Portugal, where the British variant is progressing

Portugal recorded new daily records of COVID-19 deaths and contamination on Wednesday, the latter jumping by nearly 50%, health authorities said, as the British variant progresses in the country.

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The number of new cases in 24 hours stood at 14,647, up from 10,455 the day before, the Directorate General of Health said in its daily report.

After crossing the threshold of 200 daily deaths on Tuesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the country also set a new record on Wednesday, with 219 deaths.

The British variant currently accounts for “nearly 13%” of infections, or “some 18,000 cases,” said Secretary of State for Health Antonio Lacerda Sales.

“It is significant,” he worried over the microphone of public television RTP.

The British variant, much more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, is of growing concern as it continues to spread around the world. It is now identified in 60 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.

With 70,000 new cases in the last seven days, Portugal currently ranks first in the world as a country with the highest number of contagions relative to its population, surpassed only by the British enclave of Gibraltar, according to data collected by AFP to national authorities.

After easing health restrictions over Christmas weekend, the socialist government had to impose a second general lockdown last Friday, without going so far as to close schools as it did last spring.

But faced with the spread of the virus, more and more epidemiologists are calling for an urgent tightening of measures, starting with the closure of schools.

“We have to listen to the scientists,” pleaded the president of the National Association of Principals, Filinto Lima. “In schools, there is a climate of fear that sets in,” he told AFP.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa had explained during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday that he was keen to keep schools open to limit the “huge social cost that their closure would entail”, but he acknowledged that this might be necessary .

“If the British variant becomes dominant in our country, then yes, it is likely that we will close schools,” he warned, announcing that a campaign of antigenic tests would be launched in schools on Wednesday.

Portugal is preparing to vote on Sunday, at the height of the pandemic, to elect a possible successor to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who is running for a second term.

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Smoking fines of nearly $ 2.4 million for tobacco smugglers

Ten people convicted of contraband tobacco offenses have received fines totaling nearly $ 2.4 million, Revenu Québec announced on Wednesday.

The offenders were recently ordered by the Court of Quebec to pay fines totaling $ 2,372,552.70 and two of them also received jail terms.

The smugglers, nine men and one woman aged 28 to 79, were accused of “having sold, delivered, or had in their possession tobacco intended for retail sale in Quebec and the package of which was not identified in accordance ”, to have“ transported tobacco intended for sale of which the package was not properly identified ”and not to have had the permits required by law to carry on commercial activities related to tobacco products.

Daniel Hélie, of Victoriaville, was single handedly fined just over $ 1.1 million and eight months in jail. Authorities have been able to establish that the 68-year-old has consumed more than 1.4 million cigarettes through his illegal activities.

According to Revenu Québec, Daniel Hélie is a repeat offender in tobacco contraband. It was also his fifth conviction for similar offenses.

For his part, Henri Fortin, a 72-year-old man from Saguenay, was fined $ 41,313, in addition to a six-month jail term. On May 11, 2019, the police seized nearly 50,000 illegal cigarettes from his home. In addition to his jail term and fines, Fortin had his driver’s license suspended for six months.