While the province reported 200 fewer new cases of COVID-19 than the day before, the number of tests completed falls short of the provincial benchmark.More than 60,000 cases »
You might think that Nissan, the first car-maker to achieve widespread success with a zero-emissions electric vehicle, cares deeply about the environment. But Clayton Brander isn't so sure. Three years ago, the Powell River, B.C., resident chose to buy a used 2013 Nissan Leaf, motivated by a keen interest in sustainability. "I love the car," he said. "Honestly, in three years and 40,000 kilometres, I've replaced a set of tires and windshield wiper fluid. Nothing breaks down. It's a fantastic little vehicle. I think electric vehicles are the way to go."But nowadays, instead of being able to drive the 120 km that 2013 Leafs could initially go on a full charge, Brander can't get much more than 80 km. He has even become hesitant about turning on the heat or window defroster, since using those features require battery power and will reduce his driving range even further. Brander always knew that batteries lose capacity over time, and he figured it wouldn't be a problem getting a new one. "The dealership where I bought the car said that in a few years, you can replace the battery for about $5,000," said Brander.But now, he can't find one. He's tried two nearby Nissan dealerships, three local repair shops and contacted Nissan Canada."Nissan hasn't been helpful. I've sent probably six emails to them," said Brander. "They keep telling me to go to the dealership. I called my local dealership and they sent emails to Nissan Canada. Six weeks later, neither of us has gotten a response."Both dealerships told him that a new battery — if he can find one — could cost him at least $15,000, which would be more than he paid for the vehicle in the first place.WATCH | Brander's struggle to replace his car's battery: His local dealership has encouraged him to solve the issue by simply purchasing a brand-new Nissan Leaf. The basic 2020 model costs $42,000 and can travel about 240 km on a full charge. That suggestion doesn't seem very sustainable to Brander. "It seems like these things are going to end up in the landfill," he said. "It makes more sense for them financially, I imagine, to sell new cars than to service the old cars."U.S. class-action lawsuit The Nissan Leaf has long been the world's best-selling electric vehicle, surpassed for the first time in 2020 by Tesla's Model S, according to Nissan and Tesla's own figures.Olivier Trescases, a professor at the University of Toronto's Electric Vehicle Research Centre, said Nissan deserves credit for being a pioneer."They were one of the first to release a compelling electric vehicle with a reasonable range and most importantly, a low price point," he said.But he added that one of the design "compromises" Nissan initially made in order to keep production costs down was to not install an advanced cooling system for its batteries. "They were using a chemistry that was particularly temperature-sensitive, and they did not use expensive liquid cooling."That means the battery's capacity is reduced more quickly. In 2012, Leaf owners in California and Arizona launched a class-action lawsuit claiming the car's driving range was lower than advertised.The company settled the suit and extended the battery capacity warranty to five years on models made from 2013 onward. Later, Nissan extended the warranty to eight years on models made after 2016. As well, a battery replacement program for first-generation Leafs was launched in the U.S. A new one cost $5,499 US, plus labour, but the program was discontinued in early 2018.Where's the loyalty? After an inquiry about Clayton Brander's situation from CBC's Go Public team, Nissan declined an interview but released a statement via email. It said Nissan Canada will conduct an inspection of Brander's vehicle and is "hopeful to find a resolution." Contacted by phone, the head of corporate communications for Nissan Canada wouldn't clarify if that means that they would find him a new battery, or at what price. The statement also pointed out the environmental impact of the Leaf, saying owners around the world have driven 4.8 billion kilometres and helped to prevent "more than 2.4 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions."Trescases believes Nissan should show more loyalty to its first customers. "Some of these early adopters helped them to get the car out on the market, get some acceptance and go from there."Nissan Canada says more than 3,300 Canadians have purchased Leafs built prior to 2015.Trescases said the challenge of replacing batteries in older electric cars shouldn't discourage buyers of newer models, explaining the latest EV batteries are incredibly efficient."Today, companies are talking about million-mile batteries," he said. "That's a big buzzword, but let's say they even get close to that — that means that the battery will actually outlive the car by a long stretch."Last year, Nissan began powering streetlights in Japan and a stadium in the Netherlands with batteries from cars no longer in use.Keeping car on the roadAt just seven years old, Brander's Leaf is newer than most cars on the road in Canada, where the average vehicle is 10 years old. (In B.C., the average is 11.)He remains determined to hang on to the vehicle, ideally with a new battery. He's happy that Nissan Canada finally got in touch with him after the inquiry from CBC News, but he's puzzled why the company says the vehicle needs to be tested. He said he already paid $130 for a battery test at a local dealership."The fact that I don't get enough driving range out of this one is all that's needed to determine that I need a new battery," he said.He'd like to see Nissan show some loyalty to its most faithful fans, by helping keep the cars on the road for as long as possible."They got all the kudos for introducing the electric vehicles to the masses, so that looks really good," he said. "But they're losing them now by not supporting these older models and just pushing new vehicle sales, instead of saying, 'Look, we can still keep these out of the landfill.'"
Thousands of children appear to have fallen off the Toronto District School Board's radar in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic — and the board's budget is taking a serious hit because of it, board staff say in a new report.A meeting of the TDSB's finance committee last week was told it will be short about $42 million in provincial government funding this school year. That's because boards are funded per pupil, and far fewer children have shown up for class this fall compared to last, the report states. TDSB chair Alexander Brown told CBC Toronto about 5,500 students who had been expected back this fall — either online or in class — are unaccounted for as of October. That number includes about 800 high school students and roughly 4,700 elementary school kids, Brown said.According to the TDSB's website, there are normally about 255,000 children enrolled, and its annual operating budget is $3.4 billion.Brown said board staff are working to find out what's become of the missing students."Hopefully, we'll know where all those kids are by mid-November to the end of November," he said. Of the missing elementary school-aged students, about 2,100 had been registered for junior or senior kindergarten classes this school year, which officially started in September. TDSB appealing to province to let it keep $42MThose youngsters do not legally need to be in school under Ontario law, he said, but any child six or older has to be enrolled in an approved learning environment, whether it's in-class or online. Parents are supposed to inform the board in writing if they plan to pull previously enrolled children out of the TDSB and homeschool them.What, if any, schooling the missing students are receiving "is a concern," he said."Obviously, we need to find out. There were a lot of kids in our system for the first couple of weeks of school that didn't have teachers, so it's been a hard year and we have to still work on it to get it right."Although board staff are in the midst of the painstaking task of tracking down the parents of all 5,500 no-shows, Brown said the TDSB probably won't know exactly how they're being schooled until December.In the meantime, he said the board has appealed to the province to allow it to keep the $42 million per-pupil funding allotment that's at risk because of the missing students.Brown said he believes some of those students are being home-schooled informally by their parents, while others have likely switched to the Toronto Catholic District School Board or private schools..Several parents contacted by CBC Toronto said they'd pulled their kids from the TDSB this school year because of health concerns brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Others said they felt the board was too disorganized in launching the 2020-2021 school year.Vince Gerrie pulled his two sons from their TDSB schools in Leaside and enrolled them in a private online school, which is costing about $1,200 a month.'Had to become teachers'"My wife and I both have very demanding careers and in March when the lockdown happened, it was a very difficult time for us. Not only were we dealing with how COVID was affecting our businesses, but we also had to become teachers," he said."And as the school year was approaching rapidly, you could anticipate that the COVID case counts were going to go up...If the kids did attend in person, is the school going to get shut down or are they going to get sick? We wanted to make a decision where we actually knew what was happening and we could control our circumstances."He said his sons, 10-year-old Jasper, and Sebastian, 13, have thrived in their new learning environment — so much so that he's considering leaving them in the online private school even after the pandemic is under control.Mom Ashley O'Rourke, of Scarborough, said safety was her motivator.Her son Max had been registered to start junior kindergarten this fall. But he recently underwent a liver transplant, and doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children advised her that the pandemic posed a serious health threat should he attend school.She instead planned to have him take part online, but quickly learned that was not a viable option."We did about two weeks and the teacher was excellent," she said. "But having a three-year-old sit in front of a computer for four-and-a-half hours a day, which is the recommended time, was just not possible for us. "He was getting distracted, and ... at minimum, I figured I could be more effective with him one-on-one for an hour than it would probably be in front of the computer."Brown said the board will present the province with an updated budget proposal in December, at which time he'll have a more exact enrolment number. Whatever that number is, though, Brown said he wants the province to assure the board that it won't cancel the $42 million that the board would be getting, if not for the missing students."We are going to push hard and advocate for that money," he said. "It's always a shell game in this province in a regular year. COVID just exacerbates this to the nth degree."
B.C.'s police watchdog is investigating after a man died and a woman was injured when RCMP tried to stop their vehicle on Highway 97A near Armstrong early this morning. Just after 3 a.m., a North Okanagan RCMP officer tried to stop an alleged stolen vehicle on Highway 97A southbound between Powerhouse and McCallan roads, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) said in a statement.The light-coloured Mazda 6 drove off the road and came to a stop in a shallow ditch near McCallan Road, according to the IIO.The driver of the vehicle, a man, died at the scene.A woman who was a passenger in the vehicle was taken to hospital with injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening.The IIO was notified and is now investigating what role, if any, the officer's involvement played in the man's death. Highway 97A remained closed Sunday evening in both directions. A detour is available via Canyon Road. The IIO is the province's independent civilian oversight agency of the police.It investigates all incidents involving police officers that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.
EDMONTON — Hospital and other health-care workers across Alberta walked off the job Monday to protest recent cuts by the United Conservative government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said in a news release that members are trying to defend jobs and protect the public health-care system. "Anger has been building among members for months,” said Smith. "The recent announcement by Health Minister Tyler Shandro of 11,000 jobs being cut in the middle of a global deadly pandemic was the last straw for them." Earlier this month, Shandro announced the government would be cutting up to 11,000 health jobs to save money during the pandemic, but he said nurses and front-line workers would not be affected. Some of the cuts are to come from further contracting out of laundry and lab services. Shandro's office declined to comment on the walkouts, noting Finance Minister Travis Toews and Alberta Health Services would provide information. Toews said in a statement later Monday that he's aware of "a number of illegal strikes taking place in hospitals and health-care settings across the province." The government's primary concern, he said, is ensuring the health and well-being of patients. "Alberta Health Services is taking immediate action with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (to) end this illegal activity," said Toews. "Those involved in this illegal action will be held accountable. “My expectation is that all unions respect the bargaining process, stop putting Albertans’ safety at risk and abide by the law.” The labour relations board confirmed a hearing will be held this afternoon. AHS, which delivers health care in the province, said in a statement it's responding quickly to the walkout. "We are doing all we can to address any interruptions to patient care caused by this illegal job action," said the statement. "Our focus is on ensuring patients continue to receive the care and treatment they need. "AHS is enacting contingency plans to redeploy non-union staff, including managers, wherever possible to cover for missing staff. AHS is monitoring the situation closely to try to mitigate patient care interruptions." The statement said some surgeries and ambulatory care clinics are being postponed due to the strike. Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the "wildcat strikes" across Alberta are deeply concerning. "Like all Albertans, our caucus believes patient safety must always be the top priority," she said in a statement. Notley added, however, that the United Conservative government's proposal to privatize the work of 11,000 workers in the middle of a pandemic will result in poorer care for Albertans. "For the sake of Alberta patients and the people who care about them, this reckless plan must stop," she said. The AUPE said nursing care and support workers decided Monday there was no other option than a walkout to address their concerns. "By constantly short-staffing public health care, this government is pushing our members to the breaking point exactly when Albertans need them most," said Smith. The union represents about 58,000 health-care workers, although it wasn't clear how many have walked off the job. There were reports of picketing outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Foothills Hospital and the South Health Campus in Calgary, as well as at dozens of other sites across the province. Smith said the workers are committed to making sure patients remain safe during any labour dispute. The Health Sciences Association of Alberta, which represents 27,000 health-care professionals, and the United Nurses of Alberta said in separate statements that their members won't do the work of other union members. "HSAA supports AUPE workers who are standing up against (Premier Jason) Kenney's health-care cuts," said Mike Parker, president of the health sciences association. "Health-care workers have been working tirelessly to keep Albertans safe and they have been rewarded with threats to their jobs by a government that is hell-bent on ripping apart our public health-care system. The blame for any disruption to patient care that may occur today needs to land squarely at the feet of Jason Kenney and the UCP." The Alberta Federation of Labour and its affiliated unions said they will also join picket lines across the province to show their support for striking health-care workers. The workers have also received support from the Alberta Teachers Association and Friends of Medicare. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020. Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Loblaw Companies Limited has been granted an injunction prohibiting striking Dominion employees from picketing at a Mount Pearl distribution centre but has also lost dozens more.Striking Dominion employees claimed victory Monday despite being hit with an injunction that prohibits them from picketing at the Loblaw distribution centre in Donovans Business Park.That's because Loblaw Companies Limited lost dozens more injunctions filed to prevent striking employees from picketing at about 50 other locations either owned by or connected to the company.Picketers shifted spaces overnight on Monday from the distribution centre to Weston Bakeries, owned by Loblaw and the Weston family. "You got to love it. It's given us an opportunity to say to the company, 'Look, come back. We want to get this done and over with,'" said Carolyn Wrice, president of Unifor Local 597, which represents 1,400 Dominion employees across 11 stores in Newfoundland and Labrador."We're going to stay here as long as we got to. We're ready to stay. I'm happy about the decision, very happy, and so are my members behind me."Wrice said members on the picket line outside Weston Bakeries are not preventing people from entering or leaving the property. 2nd injunctionWorkers have been on strike since August — after the company ended a $2-an-hour wage increase for essential workers, implemented during the pandemic — calling for more full-time jobs. The union says more than 80 per cent of Dominion workers are part time and 60 full-time jobs were converted into part-time positions last year.In August the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court granted the company an injunction that prohibited strikers from blocking entrances and exits to Dominion grocery stores.In Monday's court application, Loblaw sought to prohibit picketing at 30 Shoppers Drug Mart locations, three No Frills stores, three independent grocers, the company's wholesale club store, the distribution centre and other locations."You never know what the future holds in the next few days, where we'll pop up," said Wrice. "Of course, this was a surprise for the company, I'm sure, this morning."The company also asked the court to limit picket line numbers to four people, but the union says the judge denied that request.'We've been waiting too long'Chris MacDonald, assistant to Unifor national president Jerry Dias and lead negotiator for Dominion workers, told CBC News both sides have to get back to the bargaining table."The company is never going to resolve this issue in court. It's not going to be decided by the courts. Labour disputes are resolved at the bargaining table," he said. "They can take us to court all they want, but, frankly, that's not where this is getting resolved."MacDonald said Unifor called the conciliation officer on Monday to request both parties reconvene. He said the union's bargaining committee is coming to St. John's on Tuesday and is prepared to meet with Loblaw and work out a deal. But, MacDonald added, the company has not indicated to him that it is prepared to move on its offer. "We've been waiting too long. We've got to get back to the table. If it takes us putting forward an offer I'm going to talk to our committee tomorrow and see how that goes," he said. CBC News has asked Loblaw's Atlantic director of corporate affairs for comment.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
MP for Souris-Moose Mountain, Dr. Robert Kitchen says the Throne Speech was mainly retread from the Liberal government and there was no reason to prorogue parliament for multiple weeks for it. “It’s an hour of my time that I’ll never get back,” said Kitchen. “The question is, why did we prorogue parliament for this? When you’re talking about proroguing and you have a prime minister who says he’s going to come up with new plans on how we’re going to help this country through the pandemic and how we’re going to get their jobs back and advance this country. And ultimately you have a Throne Speech that rehashes all the old stuff that they’ve done and brings up the old announcements that they’ve made in the last couple weeks and that’s it. “There was no new vision to be seen. He could have prorogued parliament on the Monday and written this speech for us to hear on Wednesday. It’s just stunning and the question is why? The reality is the reason why they did it is because he needed to distract people from the WE scandal he created and the ethical issues related to that. This was the only way he could shut it down. He wanted to shut it down since the middle of August so people wouldn’t be discussing that issue.” The proroguing of parliament by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a Throne Speech that focused on uniting Canada while there was little communication from the Liberals with rest of the political parties is troublesome, Kitchen said. “It’s extremely concerning,” he said. “Ultimately when you look at what he talked about, he talked about Team Canada and how Team Canada needs to work together. Yet, he doesn’t discuss the issue with any of the opposition parties—he doesn’t even talk to them until the Friday before. The speech was already written at that point, it didn’t matter that other parties had talked to him. His Team Canada approach was basically his first line and that’s it—he’s not playing all four lines that need to be played, especially in a minority government. That part is very disheartening.” The lack of mention of the agriculture and resource industries in the West was once again Trudeau and the Liberals not focussing on Canada as a whole, says Kitchen. “It’s hard to see anything positive from it,” he said. “Ultimately, when you look at the speech, the word ‘farming’ was used twice in the document. That’s it. He needs to pay attention to what the farmers are doing from an environmental point of view. We’ve been saying we need to recognize the great work our farmers have been doing from a carbon sequestration point of view. And this great work they’ve been doing through this pandemic to provide the food source that we need. But he doesn’t talk about getting rid of that carbon tax that’s in the farmers lap. When that farmer has a crop and needs to contract somebody to pick up that grain and move it to the elevator, that carbon tax is on that farmer. Those are things he doesn’t discuss. “He didn’t talk about the oil and gas sector and what could be done and the great work the oil and gas sector are doing within enhanced oil recovery, the carbon sequestration storage project, etc. He doesn’t talk about these things that are great and how we need to advance that to improve things. These are great Canadian innovations and that we have in Saskatchewan. There was no mention of any of that. It’s basically the same old. There’s nothing new and nothing visionary in this document whatsoever. He’s basically left many Canadians behind.” Kitchen says the biggest negative from the Throne Speech and current situation in Canada is the spending and the debt the country has taken on since Trudeau took over. “He’s (Trudeau) added over $345 billion to the debt in this country and he’s going to continue to add debt,” he said. “In the speech he said Canadians can’t afford to take on debt so the government will take on debt and that’s just like his concept of budgets balance themselves. He’s taking on the debt? He’s not taking on the debt, Canadians are taking on the debt because any debt the government takes on is Canadian debt and he’s just adding to it for every woman, man, child, and grandchild that will have to pay off this huge debt that’s been built up here.” Overall, Kitchen says, with the lack of real substance in the Throne Speech on top of the proroguing of parliament feeds into the theory that it was a move to take the pressure off of Trudeau with the WE scandal. “I know my caucus has basically said this isn’t a Throne Speech that we can support, it’s just impossible for that to happen,” he said. “I can’t speak for other parties, but there is potential that it could be defeated. Then again, I saw last night on the news a pollster say that Trudeau wants an election and doesn’t want to take the blame for causing an election and this speech was so mundane to make it impossible for the opposition to support it in which case the blame would be put on the opposition. “He wants that election because he doesn’t want the ethical issues that have been brought up on the WE scandal. Canadians are going to see challenges over the next six months as we move forward because his only idea of dealing with Covid-19 is shutting down our economy again and that’s just no acceptable.”Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Chileans poured into the country's main squares on Sunday night after voters gave a ringing endorsement to a plan to tear up the country's Pinochet-era constitution in favour of a new charter drafted by citizens. In Santiago's Plaza Italia, the focus of the massive and often violent social protests last year which sparked the demand for a new magna carta, fireworks rose above a crowd of tens of thousands of jubilant people singing in unison as the word "rebirth" was beamed onto a tower above.
For the first time in more than half a century, England’s top division is without an unbeaten team after six rounds of games. Everton was the last side to relinquish its undefeated record in this most unpredictable of seasons, though the 2-0 loss at Southampton didn’t knock Carlo Ancelotti’s side off the top of the standings on Sunday. Lucas Digne, the adventurous left back so vital to Everton’s attacking game, is another player who will be missing for the foreseeable future after getting sent off for landing studs-first on the ankle of Southampton right back Kyle Walker-Peters midway through the second half.
Recent developments:. * Three more people with COVID-19 have died in the region. * Ontario will table a budget next week.What's the latest?Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and one more death. OPH has also declared an outbreak at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, where one person has tested positive. Two more people with COVID-19 have died in western Quebec.Ontario will table a budget next Thursday, Nov. 5. A plan to release a full budget in late March was scrapped as the pandemic took hold.A coalition of Quebec gyms, yoga studios and other recreational activity centres are threatening to reopen at the end of the week, even if the province extends the 28-day partial lockdown in Montreal and Quebec City.How many cases are there?As of Monday's update from OPH, 6,636 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19.There are 713 known active cases, 5,606 resolved cases and 317 deaths.Public health officials have reported More than 10,100 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 8,500 of them resolved.Seventy-two people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 40 in western Quebec. What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with or one other home if people live alone to slow the spread of the coronavirus.In Ottawa — which has been rolled back to a modified Stage 2 — and Gatineau, Que., health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential. New restrictions are now in effect in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit east of Ottawa, including limits on indoor dining and gym class sizes.Indoor dining at restaurants has been prohibited, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.Dr. Vera Etches, the national capital's medical officer of health, said earlier this month the city's health-care system is on the verge of collapse.WATCH | Serious, repeat violations at city-run nursing home:OPH and some eastern Ontario health units are urging people not to have a Halloween party with other households or go trick-or-treating.The province's chief medical officer of health says Ontarians should listen to local officials, but as a rule of thumb, if trick-or-treating is allowed, people should stick to their neighbourhood and do it outside with their household only.The health unit in the Belleville, Ont., area is both asking people not to trick-or-treat and telling them if they feel they must, how it can be done more safely.Gatineau and parts of the Outaouais are on red alert, which means restaurants and bars can't serve people indoors, organized sports are suspended and theatres must close.Quebecers are also urged not to travel to Ontario or between regions at different levels on its scale except for essential reasons.Even though most of the region has been declared a red zone, Premier François Legault said kids can trick-or-treat as long as they don't go with friends and precautions are taken when giving out candy.What about schools?There have been more than 180 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.As of mid-October, a small fraction of Ottawa students and staff had tested positive.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and are recommended outdoors when people can't distance from others.WATCH | Pandemic creating new anxieties, say young adults:Anyone with symptoms or who's ordered to do so by their local public health unit should self-isolate. The duration is subject to a range stipulated by health officials in both Ontario and Quebec.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.Testing numbers have been lower than the groups running it would like and they want people to know there are often same-day appointments available.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has five permanent test sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other test site is in Napanee. Both are open seven days a week.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.WATCH | Update on Ontario and Quebec's status:First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. It expects to bring back its mobile site in the spring.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Its council asks people who do trick-or-treat to do so from 3 to 7 p.m., not go far from their homes and follow the usual distancing and sanitizing recommendations.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
Wellesley Township — Waterloo Regional Police, Regional Paramedics and the Floradale Fire Department responded to a serious collision on Listowel Road in Wellesley township on Friday. At about 10:30 p.m., a white Kia was travelling South on Listowel Road. It crossed the centre line and struck a black Hyundai Santa Fe that was travelling North. The driver and passenger of the Hyundai Santa Fe were taken to hospital with non-life threatening, but serious injuries. The male driver of the white Kia was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. The investigation closed Listowel Road for several hours. Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Traffic Services Unit at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
Two federal byelections are being held in Toronto on Monday and residents will head to the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic to choose two new MPs.Voters are expected to wear masks, keep two metres' distance from other voters and poll workers and use disposable pencils provided by Elections Canada to mark their ballots.Safety concerns around election day, pandemic challenges and the political newness of candidates have characterized the races. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the byelections for Toronto Centre and York Centre last month. Toronto Centre was held by former finance minister Bill Morneau until he resigned in August. York Centre was left empty after Liberal MP Michael Levitt resigned to take a job with a Jewish human rights organization for the end of October.These are the first federal elections in the country since the pandemic began, and candidates are trying to break the Liberal hold over both ridings.Trudeau has stated the elections must go ahead because there's concern the danger could grow for voters if the federal government waits and the pandemic worsens. He has also said he is bound by the law, which requires the seats be filled by the end of February.WATCH | Trudeau questioned on safety of byelections:Elections Canada has said the process is as safe as possible for voters and poll workers. Voting can only be delayed in exceptional circumstances that make an election "impracticable" to hold, Elections Canada has said.Byelections a temperature check on governmentCandidates for Toronto Centre include Marci Ien for the Liberal Party, Annamie Paul for the Green Party, Brian Chang for the NDP, Benjamin Gauri Sharma for the Conservative Party and Baljit Bawa for the People's Party of Canada. Paul is the Green Party leader.Candidates for York Centre are Ya'ara Saks for the Liberals, Julius Tiangson for the Conservatives, Andrea Vásquez Jiménez for the NDP, Sasha Zavarella for the Greens and Maxime Bernier for the People's Party.Pundits say byelections can typically be viewed as a temperature check on how voters feel about the current government. The Toronto Centre riding, which covers the heart of the downtown core, includes the neighbourhoods of Church and Wellesley, St. James Town, Cabbagetown, Ryerson University and Regent Park. The riding is bounded by Sherbourne Street North to Rosedale Valley Road in the north, Mill Street to Parliament Street in the south, Bay Street in the west and the Don River in the east. The riding has voted Liberal in every election for the past 27 years. Morneau vacated his seat following the WE charity affair this summer.The CBC's Éric Grenier points out that Morneau won 57 per cent of the vote in the 2019 federal election and 58 per cent in 2015.Greens, NDP seek to end Liberal hold in Toronto CentreNotably, all candidates running in the Toronto Centre riding are people of colour. Vying for the seat for the Liberals is broadcaster Marci Ien, a Black woman who took a leave from her role at CTV to try her hand at politics. Ien told CBC News that her interest in running came from a desire to take action on social issues, including diversity and inclusivity, that she has covered during her career as a journalist. "When the riding that I was born in was available, I thought maybe it's time to stop talking about these issues every day and try to put some action with those words," she said. Ien said she believes in how the Liberal government has handled the COVID-19 crisis, including the wage subsidies for individuals and businesses. "I am proud to campaign on everything the government has done during this time and continues to do," she said.Ien said affordable housing and tackling homelessness, particularly during the pandemic, are issues she's looking to address if elected.While Ien looks to maintain the Liberals' seat, the Greens' Annamie Paul, who is the first Black permanent leader of a major federal party in Canada, has been clear she has deep roots in the riding, as she was also born there. Paul told reporters last Tuesday that she is appalled the byelections are being held during the pandemic. "This is why people in this riding need real representation, because they have not received it for decades," she said.Paul said she believes the main concerns of voters include the pandemic, how it impacts their everyday lives and affordable housing.Outgoing Green Party leader Elizabeth May asked the NDP to stand down for the Toronto Centre race to allow Paul a better chance at being elected. May says she did not run a candidate in Jagmeet Singh's riding of Burnaby South as a courtesy, and the same should be extended to the Greens in this case. WATCH | Annamie Paul chosen new Green Party leader:Toronto Centre NDP candidate Brian Chang told CBC News the riding is where he lives with his partner and that the people who live there deserve better representation because it's a unique and diverse ward."There's been nobody in Ottawa standing up for people in Toronto Centre," he said.Food insecurity and housing insecurity are both issues, he said. The New Democrats do not have a seat in Toronto currently and Chang said residents need to have candidates outside of the Liberal Party to fight for them. He added that the NDP has fought for further wage benefits and paid sick leave during the pandemic. Chang said he's pleased to see people of colour, and specifically two Black women, in the race because it shows the need for diversity in politics.The team for Conservative candidate Benjamin Gauri Sharma told CBC News this week that he was too busy for an interview.Income equality an issue in York CentreThe York Centre riding contains the neighbourhoods of York University Heights and Downsview, which have been harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The riding is bounded by the northern city limit, and by a line drawn south from the city limit along Yonge Street, west along the hydroelectric transmission line north of Finch Avenue West and south along Bathurst Street. It has also seen mostly Liberal victories, though not as consistently as Toronto Centre.The previous Liberal candidate, Levitt, won the riding with 50 per cent of the vote last year. In 2015, the race was tight, with Levitt only taking the riding with a three-point lead, CBC's Grenier notes.The seat went blue in 2011, which was the first time a Liberal candidate hadn't won the riding since 1963. Ya'ara Saks, the Liberal candidate there, identifies as an Israeli-Canadian and told CBC News she understands the needs of the riding and its diverse demographic. "It's also a riding anchored in small businesses," she said.Saks said she is a small business owner herself. Ensuring those businesses have enough support during the pandemic is important to her, she said. Other candidates in the riding include Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People's Party, who lost his seat during the federal election last year. Some candidates have gotten creative with their campaign methods, especially during the pandemic.Andrea Vásquez Jiménez, the NDP candidate, has been publishing TikTok videos on her platform. Her videos include NDP promises such as tackling income inequality and taxing wealthy people who utilize overseas tax havens to skirt paying their share. It's reminiscent of Jagmeet Singh's TikTok campaign videos during his election campaign last year.Sasha Zavarella, the Green Party candidate in the riding, said his campaign focus has been on the need for more social supports for everyday people. He said he has faced many of the challenges the electorate has, including food insecurity.He's been campaigning through digital events and Zoom calls in the last weeks, he said. "Everything found in the Green Party platform is a direct answer to lived experiences I've had," he said. "The social safety net has been crumbling," he told CBC News this week, adding that current governments are not doing enough to address the needs of voters. It's time for residents to have different options rather than just a red or blue seat, he said.Conservative candidate Julius Tiangson declined an interview with CBC News this week.
A man has died after a shooting in the Danforth Village neighbourhood in Toronto, police said on Sunday night. Officers were called to the area of Victoria Park and Danforth avenues around 5:40 p.m. after several callers reported multiple gunshots heard in the area.Police found a man who had been shot and his injuries are serious, said Toronto Police. Emergency services rushed the man to the hospital where he died shortly after. Two suspects — one male and one female — initially fled the scene and drove a silver Honda eastbound on Danforth Avenue, police said. In an update, police said they have located three suspects and they are now in custody.The Toronto police's homicide unit is currently investigating. As a result of the incident, the eastbound lanes of Danforth Avenue are closed at Victoria Park Avenue.
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territory — An 18-year-old Palestinian died early Sunday after being chased by Israeli troops in the West Bank, but the circumstances of his death remain in dispute. Relatives of Amer Snobar said that Israeli troops had beaten him to death, while the Israeli army said the man fell and hit his head while troops were chasing him. The army said it tried to arrest Snobar after receiving reports that Palestinians were throwing stones at vehicles on a West Bank highway near a village north of Ramallah. When troops arrived, the army said Snobar and a second suspect tried to flee. It said Snobar tripped and injured himself, while the second suspect got away. It said troops did not beat him and they unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him. Snobar's relatives said they believe he was killed by the troops after they spoke to a witness at the scene. However, they declined to identify the witness or allow the witness to speak to The Associated Press, fearing the witness would be arrested. Snobar's body was taken to Ramallah Hospital, where doctors performed an autopsy. The hospital's director, Dr. Ahmed Bitawi, said there were signs of trauma to Snobar's back and head, but also signs on his chest of the resuscitation efforts. "The family told us he was beaten but as doctors we need to figure it out through forensics,” he said. Dr. Rayyan al-Ali, who conducted the autopsy on Sunday, said it could take a week to figure out the cause of death. The Associated Press
A new study is urging blanket hepatitis B vaccinations for Ontario newborns and better screening for pregnant women who may unknowingly spread the virus.Children in Ontario and several other provinces don't get their hep B shot until Grade 7, but research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests earlier vaccinations could help avoid the spread of hundreds of infections.Analysis of provincial data between 2003 and 2013 found 139 Canadian-born children under the age of 12 with the virus. Researchers suspect the number is actually higher because most kids are never tested, and few display symptoms.Meanwhile, study co-author Mia Biondi says separate data shows 62 per cent of pregnant women who test positive are not further tested to see if antivirals could prevent transmission to their baby. "We're clearly missing these intervention points," says Biondi, a researcher at the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease and a nurse practitioner in the community."Hopefully this will initiate a conversation with the province about possibly changing our vaccine strategy."How transmission happens between mother and child is not well understood but likely occurs in the third trimester, during labour and delivery, or in the first few months of life, says Biondi.She says mathematical modelling suggests about 450 women over a five-year period might have needed antivirals during pregnancy but didn't get it, although researchers don't know it those women actually passed hepatitis B to their children. Biondi says the findings make a strong case for hep B vaccination at birth, or that it be integrated with the vaccinations routinely given to babies at the two-month mark.Hepatitis B is highly infectious, especially for children younger than five. Biondi says more than 90 per cent of young children who contract it go on to suffer chronic infection, putting them at high risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.However, only five to 10 per cent of adolescents who contract hep B develop chronic conditions because of their more developed immune systems, says Biondi."So this idea that we're immunizing adolescents at a time where they're even less likely to go on to become chronic anyways, whereas children are very likely to go on to become chronic, might be a little bit backwards," says Biondi.It's important to make sure children receive the vaccine before they become sexually active because the virus spreads through infected bodily fluids, says Biondi, but another issue is that uptake at adolescence can be low.The study notes that average vaccination coverage among 12-year-olds was 70 per cent from 2013 to 2018, with some public health units reporting rates as low as 50-to-60 per cent in 2017–2018.The World Health Organization recommends vaccination against hep B at birth, however only New Brunswick, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do this in Canada. Several provinces start vaccinating at two months, including British Columbia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon.Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador also don't offer the hep B vaccine until grades 6 and 7.Alberta used to wait until Grade 6, but since March 2018 has offered shots to infants at two months old.Biondi says vaccinating at birth is particularly important because of Canada's relatively high number of immigrants from regions where hep B is endemic. She says this would protect infants if maternal screening is missed, but also protect them from other contacts who may not know they are infected.The CMAJ study was published Monday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is seeking information from Iran on reports that a British Australian academic who was convicted of espionage has been moved to a mystery location, the foreign minister said on Monday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was arrested in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018. She was moved in August to Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran, but the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists reported she was moved to an unknown location on Saturday. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australian Ambassador to Iran Lyndall Sachs had a consular visit with Moore-Gilbert at Qarchak “a short time ago" and Australian officials “are seeking further information” on the reports she had been moved. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade describes securing Moore-Gilbert’s release as an “absolute priority.” Iranian state media and officials have not acknowledged Moore-Gilbert was moved. She is among a number of Westerners and dual nationals held by Iran that activists and U.N. investigators believe is a systematic effort to leverage their imprisonments in negotiations with the West. Moore-Gilbert has gone on hunger strikes and pleaded for the Australian government to do more to free her. Those pleas include writing to the prime minister that she had been subjected to “grievous violations” of her rights, including psychological torture and solitary confinement. Jessie Moritz, a friend of Moore-Gilbert, said the certainty was stressful. “It is very concerning not to know where she is,” Moritz told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We are probably not going to know for another couple of days which is going to be a stressful period of just waiting and hoping,” Moritz added. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
If you need a hint as to where the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP thought election races were close, you just had to follow the campaigns.Both parties used the majority of their time over the last month in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.Neither party spent much time or leader resources more than 2 hours from the province's two largest centres.The NDP is expected to hold its two northern seats.In the southern and central parts of the province, the Saskatchewan Party painted the map green in 2011 and 2016.In 2016, the Saskatchewan Party got at least 60 per cent of the votes in 30 of the seats it won outside Regina and Saskatoon. In the two cities, they won six by at least that margin.Thirty-one seats are needed for a majority.Here are 10 races to watch on election night:ReginaNDP Leader Ryan Meili spent more time in Regina than Scott Moe during the month-long campaign. The NDP holds 5 of the city's 12 seats and has targeted at least three of those 12 for potential gains.Regina Coronation ParkCandidates: SP: Mark Docherty, NDP: Noor Burki, Green Party: Irene Browatzke, PC: David Coates Incumbent: Docherty2016 Margin: 147 votesStoryline: Docherty of the Sask. Party won in 2011 and narrowly in 2016. He has been the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly since March 2018. Docherty faces Noor Burki of the NDP. Burki runs Wascana Driving School and won a contested nomination in May 2019. This riding was seen as a "safe" NDP seat until Docherty's breakthrough win in 2011. Kim Trew held the seat for the NDP from 1986 to 2011.Regina PasquaCandidates: SP: Muhammad Fiaz, NDP: Bhajan Brar, Green Party: Heather Lau, PC: Harry FrankIncumbent: Fiaz2016 Margin: 298Storyline: Fiaz won in the new riding in 2016. The NDP challenger is Bhajan Brar. Moe kicked off his campaign outside Fiaz's campaign office. The area includes the relatively new subdivision of Harbour Landing, which according to the city's most recent census has the lowest median age at 29.9. Fiaz was one of only three Sask. Party incumbents that needed to win a contested nomination.Regina UniversityCandidates: SP: Tina Beaudry-Mellor, NDP: Aleana Young, Green Party: Tanner Wallace, PC: Debbie KnillIncumbent: Beaudry-Mellor2016 Margin: 417Storyline: This is one of several rematches from 2016. Moe and Beaudry-Mellor put up lawn signs together on day one of the campaign. Beaudry-Mellor is one of only a few recent cabinet ministers expected to be in a close race. Young is a member of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association executive and stepped down as a Regina Public School Division trustee to run. In 2016, the Liberal and Green candidates combined for 566 votes. The Liberals do not have a candidate on the ballot this year. Regina Walsh AcresCandidates: SP: Derek Meyers, NDP: Kelly Hardy, PC: Ken Grey (leader), Independent: Sandra Morin Incumbent: Vacant (previously held by SP)2016 Margin: 599Storyline: The race here is wide open after former NDP cabinet minister Sandra Morin was not approved by the NDP after winning the nomination. Morin decided to run as an independent. There could be a vote split on both the left and right, as PC Leader Ken Grey is also running in this riding.SaskatoonOn paper, Saskatoon looks more like a battleground than Regina. Perhaps that is why Moe seemed to make a few more trips to the province's largest city. In 2016, the NDP won just three of 14 seats there. It has since won two by-elections, giving it five seats at dissolution. The NDP is running new candidates in three of those five ridings because the incumbents did not seek re-election. Saskatoon Churchill-WildwoodCandidates: SP: Lisa Lambert SP, NDP: David McGrane, Gillian Walker (Green), John Lowe (PC)Incumbent: Lambert2016 Margin: 934Storyline: First contested in 2016, this riding combined areas that were strong for the NDP in the past. McGrane was named president of the Saskatchewan NDP in 2016 and is a political studies professor in Saskatoon. For the NDP to make a breakthrough in Saskatoon, it will need this seat.Saskatoon EastviewCandidates: SP: Chris Guérette, NDP: Matt Love, Green: Jan Norris Incumbent: Vacant2016 Margin: Sask. Party 971Storyline: Guérette was helicoptered into this riding a week into the campaign after the resignation of Daryl Cooper. The seat is one of two that has been vacant for more than a year. Love will have the advantage of being selected much earlier than Guérette, who has name recognition as the head of the Saskatoon and District Home Builders' Association and former chair of the Conseil Scolaire Fransaskois. Love was a CBC Future 40 recipient and is a well-known teacher at Aden Bowman Collegiate.Saskatoon Meewasin Candidates: SP: Rylund Hunter, NDP: Ryan Meili (Leader), Green: Jacklin Andrews Incumbent: Meili2017 By-election Margin: 704 Storyline: Meili will attempt to be the first NDP Leader in the last three elections to win his seat. Dwain Lingenfelter lost in 2011 and Cam Broten lost in 2016. Both were defeated by rookie candidates. Meili is up against Rylund Hunter of the Sask. Party, who knocked off Guérette for the nomination. Meili won a by-election in 2017, but the Sask. Party won the two previous main elections.Saskatoon RiversdaleCandidates: SP: Marv Friesen, NDP: Ashlee Hicks, Green: Delanie PasserIncumbent: Vacant2016 Margin: Won by NDP 259Storyline: Moe has made two stops in this riding, perhaps a sign the Sask. Party thinks it can gain this traditional NDP seat. Aside from 1982-86, the NDP has held this riding since 1967. It has been previously held by NDP Premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. Danielle Chartier, who held the seat since 2009 for the NDP, is not running again. Friesen lost to Chartier in 2016 and is running again.Moose JawMoose Jaw WakamowCandidates: SP: Greg Lawrence, NDP: Melissa Patterson, Green: Abby Firlotte, PC: Darcy JensenIncumbent: Lawrence2016 Margin: 695Storyline: Once an NDP stronghold and the former seat of Lorne Calvert, Lawrence turned the tables in 2011. Both parties spent time in Moose Jaw during the campaign. Moe made an announcement there increasing the veterans' grant program alongside Lawrence, who was the government's military liaison.Prince AlbertPrince Albert NorthcoteCandidates: SP: Alana Ross, NDP: Nicole Rancourt, Green: Sarah Kraynick, PC: Jaret Nikolaisen Incumbent: Rancourt2016 Margin: 261Storyline: Like Moose Jaw, Prince Albert was a location of frequent campaign trips from Moe and Meili. The seat has flip-flopped in the last two elections, but had previously been held by the NDP from 1991to 2011. Issues like a new bridge and expansion of the Victoria Hospital are hot-button issues in the city.
WATERLOO REGION — Two males have been arrested in connection to an investigation of arson at three Walmart store locations. Waterloo Regional Police have arrested a 21-year-old man from Paris, Ont. and another young person. They have been charged with several offences including arson with disregard for human life and falsely setting off a fire alarm. Police are not looking for any further suspects, a release from the police said on Sunday. The fires were set in the paper towel and toilet paper sections at the stores in the Sunrise Shopping Centre, Stanley Park, and Bridgeport Plaza locations last week. Police said further investigations revealed that fire alarms were discharged at a Cambridge store, as well as stores outside the Region of Waterloo.Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said on Monday it intercepted and destroyed an explosives-laden drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards Saudi Arabia, Saudi state news agency reported. The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.
The last time Cenovus Energy swung for the fences with a bold move to vastly expand, the mega-deal was a major flop.It was more than three years ago when the Calgary company snatched up the majority of ConocoPhillips' Canadian assets for $17.7 billion.Investors balked at the acquisition, the price tag, and the sheer amount of debt Cenovus took on to make the purchase. Soon Cenovus' CEO announced he was heading out the door and the company's share price had plunged almost 50 per cent since the deal was announced.Now, Cenovus is again trying to pull off a home run with a $3.8 billion merger with Husky Energy.After struggling to pull off the last deal, the big question is whether Cenovus can make this ambitious play work as it takes over assets stretching from offshore Newfoundland and Labrador to the waters near China and Indonesia.While there are parallels to the deal three years ago, this move is also quite different.This time the players, environment and the acquisition itself are all distinct.Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix will remain as chief executive of the merged company. He took over from Brian Ferguson after the fallout from the ConocoPhillips deal. New energy landscapeInstead of buying Husky, it's a merger. Both companies are carrying a relatively hefty amount of debt and that's why joining forces made financial sense. While the oilpatch has struggled for many years, this deal is happening in a remarkably unique time in the industry, with many companies bleeding money with historically low oil prices that even turned negative this year.So far in 2020, Cenovus and Husky shares have lost 63 per cent and 70 per cent of their value, respectively."It will allow us to make better returns in a tougher environment, so that's always always something we need to be looking to do," said Husky CEO Rob Peabody in an interview, adding it will also be easier to attract investment as a bigger company.Workforce changesWith any ownership change, there will no doubt be concerned employees at both companies wondering whether they will still have a job when the dust settles. Cenovus expects to find savings of $1.2 billion.The merger also comes during a recent wave of layoffs in the industry and will likely lead to further job losses."The downside to that is a lot of the time synergies and efficiencies and cost containment usually means fewer jobs," said Rory Johnston, managing director and market economist at Price Street in Toronto, who described the deal as "massive announcement" in the sector.With head offices in the same city, executives already say that's one area of overlap.The makeup of the Canadian oilpatch is slated to change yet again, after other major deals in recent years such as CNRL's blockbuster move for the majority of Shell's Alberta assets in 2017.After the Husky deal, Cenovus will be the third largest producer in the country. The merger will also continue the recent trend of Canadian companies buying up a bigger share of the oilsands, which is a repatriation, of sorts.Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is the largest shareholder of Husky at about 70 per cent, of which 40 per cent is held by his investment company, Hutchison Whampoa, and 29 per cent personally. He will control a little over a quarter of the combined company, if and when the merger goes through.While the ConocoPhillips deal changed the makeup of Cenovus with the assets it acquired, the addition of Husky could present a more complex makeover.Cenovus was generally regarded as a pure-play Alberta oil company that rode the roller-coaster of commodity prices. Now, it's adding much more refining capacity, in addition to branching out into owning gas stations, offshore terminals on the east coast and as far away as the Asia Pacific region."It wasn't hard to convince me that this was an incredibly compelling opportunity," said Cenovus' Pourbaix in an interview, pointing to the reduced exposure to heavy oil prices in Alberta and the reduced volatility overall of the new company.The big riskSome Cenovus investors will appreciate the change to a more integrated, stable company, while others will have preferred a more focused firm, according to Rafi Tahmazian with Calgary-based Canoe Financial.Regardless of their stance, the big question is whether Cenovus can make the merger work. That's the big risk to investors, employees, and the overall stability of Alberta's oil and gas sector.To this point, Cenovus is experienced in the oilsands and conventional oil and gas production, in addition to owning a 50 per cent stake in a pair of U.S. refineries. However, it has no retail or offshore involvement, let alone experience operating in the Asian market. "They need to demonstrate their awareness of an area that is uncharted for them," said Tahmazian. "They're going to have to emphasize the asset they bring from Husky [which is] the people that can help them manage that asset."It's not just managing the combination of the two firms, but also making decisions about what areas of business to prioritize and whether to divest any properties or facilities."There are a lot of moving parts in this one to watch ... because we've never seen it all combined and working together right," said Tahmazian.One pressing issue is the fate of the White Rose expansion project near Newfoundland and Labrador, which Husky indefinitely halted as part of a wider review last month of its future in the area. The facility was first sanctioned three years ago and was originally supposed to begin producing oil in 2022. Next year's construction season is already cancelled.When the merger officially closes next year, the combined company will be worth $23.6 billion, including debt, according to the firms.After Cenovus' last big-time deal, the negative reaction from investors was swift and harsh. This time, the response will likely take more time and focus on whether the combined company is capable of pulling so many different properties together and achieve the cost savings being promised.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As coronavirus infections reached new heights in Iran this month, overwhelming its hospitals and driving up its death toll, the country’s health minister gave a rare speech criticizing his own government’s refusal to enforce basic health measures. “We asked for fines to be collected from anyone who doesn’t wear a mask,” Saeed Namaki said last week, referring to the government’s new mandate for Tehran, the capital. “But go and find out how many people were fined. We said close roads, and yet how many did they close?” Namaki’s speech, lamenting the country’s “great suffering” and “hospitals full of patients,” clearly laid the blame for the virus’ resurgence at the government’s door — a stark contrast to the usual speeches from officials who point the finger at the public’s defiance of restrictions. But one day later, the minister had a vastly different message. “We should not cause panic for people in vain,” Namaki said in a speech carried by the semi-official ISNA news agency. “We should never announce that we don’t have empty (hospital) beds. We do have empty beds.” The rhetorical about-face is typical of Iranian leaders’ inconsistent response to the pandemic that many see as helping to fuel the virus’ spread. Experts say the mixed messages reflect the fact that the leadership has little room to impose severe restrictions that would damage an already fragile economy — and thus stoke public anger. “The country is already under such pressure, and Iranians are already policed,” said Sanam Vakil, a researcher on Iran at Chatham House, a London-based policy institute. “If they can’t provide economic resources to help people, to then be overly authoritarian and enforce health measures would undermine their legitimacy even further.” More than 32,000 people reportedly have died in what is the Middle East’s worst outbreak — and a top health official stressed recently that the true number is likely 2 1/2 times higher. And it shows no signs of abating. In the last week, Iran shattered its single-day death toll record twice and reported daily infection highs three times. In a sign that tensions over the government’s haphazard response are coming to a head, even the country’s supreme leader took aim at authorities on Saturday. He demanded for the first time they prioritize public health over “the security and economic aspects” of the pandemic, without elaborating. “When the Health Ministry determines restrictions, all agencies must observe and enforce them without taking into account other considerations,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared. For months, even as officials have issued increasingly grim warnings, the government has resisted a nationwide lockdown that would undermine an economy reeling from severe U.S. sanctions, re-imposed in 2018 after the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Despite appeals from the United Nations and rights groups that sanctions be eased during the pandemic, America slapped new ones on Iranian banks this month. The rial plunged to new lows against the dollar, erasing people’s life savings. Millions of workers in informal sectors face the choice between staying home to avoid the virus or feeding their families. And Iranian authorities have given them no clear guidance. When the virus first struck in February, international experts accused Iran of covering up the crisis. The government, desperately seeking to defuse public anger and boost its legitimacy after its crackdown on nationwide economic protests and the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane over Tehran, urged people to turn out for a parliamentary vote and to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Only in late March — with infections skyrocketing — did Iran impose a two-week shutdown of offices and nonessential businesses. Yet even then, during Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the country’s biggest holiday, Iranians defied travel bans to visit family or head to the coast. A widely watched video on Instagram at the time showed angry drivers attacking and yelling insults at police officers who tried to close the roads in northern Iran. In response, the police retreated and let them go. When the country reopened in April, infections surged again. As the nation's death toll soared this month, authorities scrambled to impose a raft of public health measures: shutdowns of recently reopened universities and schools in Tehran, travel bans to and from five major cities, a compulsory mask rule in the capital, home to 10 million people. The deputy health minister last week promised that police would finally “start dealing more seriously with fines” for those who disobey the rules. But the risk is that if impoverished citizens are fined for failing to wear masks, or middle-class Tehranis are barred from escaping to vacation spots on the northern Caspian coast, public outrage over Iran’s other grievances, including economic distress and international isolation, could boil over. Angry street demonstrations already have challenged the government this year. Hard-line lawmakers have demanded that President Hassan Rouhani resign, with one of them, Mojtaba Zolnouri, who heads parliament’s influential committee for national security and foreign policy, even publicly calling for his “hanging a thousand times until people’s hearts are satisfied.” Rouhani is facing pressure from all sides. While medical officials on state TV clamour for a prolonged and centralized shutdown, powerful clerics have called for mass gatherings to mark Shiite holidays, such as Ashoura, saying those who get sick pay the price to keep the holiday “alive.” “Rouhani’s hands are tied domestically,” said Vakil, adding that Iran’s leadership, aware that escaping U.S. sanctions is the only way to rescue its economy, is closely watching the U.S. presidential election next month. In the meantime, authorities are at a loss for how to respond to the pandemic, according to the country’s own health minister. “I saw on the street three or four days ago that 40% of passengers on a bus didn’t wear masks,” said Namaki in his first speech last week. “People gather and make lines for free food and no one comes to disperse them. ... How can infections be controlled in this way?” Twenty-four hours later, he was on state TV insisting that things were, in fact, under control. ___ Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report. Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
As polls open for Saskatchewan's 29th provincial election today, here's what you need to know before you vote. When can I vote today?Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. CSTHow do I know where to vote, and what my constituency is?Each voter is assigned a specific polling station in their constituency. You can find yours on your voter information card or search by your address here. Am I eligible to vote?To vote in the 2020 provincial election, you must: * Be a Canadian citizen. * Be at least 18 years old. * Have lived in Saskatchewan for at least 6 months before the day the election is called. * Ordinarily be a resident of Saskatchewan.You can also vote if: * You meet the residency requirements stated above. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so in person at the polls on election day. What identification do I need?You will need to prove your identity and your current address. You have three options for doing so: * With a valid driver's license or other government-issued ID that has your name, photo and current address. * Another voter can vouch for you. An eligible voter who knows you and is assigned to the same voting location can vouch for one other voter. What else do I need to bring?Elections Saskatchewan has strongly recommended all voters wear a mask at the polls. At some polling locations, per the facility management, masks are mandatory.What COVID-19 safety precautions are being taken at the polls?Along with voters being encouraged to wear masks, they will also be asked to stay two metres apart at all times while at the polls. Hand sanitizer will be available, single-use pencils will be provided and surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day. What are the registered political parties?There are six registered political parties in Saskatchewan: * Buffalo Party. * New Democratic Party (NDP). * PC Party of Saskatchewan. * Saskatchewan Green Party. * Saskatchewan Liberal Party. * Saskatchewan Party.How many seats does a party need to win?In Saskatchewan, a party needs 31 seats to win a majority government. A party that wins the most seats, but fewer than 31, would form a minority government.
The Houston Food Bank gave out as much as 1 million pounds of food daily at the height of the pandemic as people suddenly found themselves unemployed and reluctantly accepting bags and boxes of free food for the first time in their lives. (Oct. 26)