Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Health officials in Alberta have begun hunting around for specialized freezers, one of the first steps in preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines which could begin arriving within the next few months. Earlier this month, the province began the procurement process for freezers able to meet COVID-19 vaccine storage requirements. Initially, the government proposed the sole-source purchase of five freezers from Fisher Scientific, according to procurement documents, although Alberta Health said there is now an open competition between potential suppliers. Alberta is looking to purchase four ultra-low units needed for the Pfizer vaccine and two laboratory freezer units for the Moderna vaccine. The six units will have about 23 cubic feet of capacity, which would be about the same size as a large refrigerator. The storage units will be held at the provincial vaccine depot located in Fort Saskatchewan. Ultracold temperature freezers are in high demand and typically cost about $15,000. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. The ultra-low temperature storage requirements have sent some health authorities and hospitals scrambling to find special freezers. "We don't know which vaccines we're going to get so the government is really preparing for every eventuality," said Shannon MacDonald, a registered nurse and a professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health. MacDonald and her team are currently researching who should be prioritized to receive the vaccine, which is part of a COVID-19 rapid response research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and is intended to guide public health officials in how they dole out the first rounds of immunizations when they become available in Canada. Alberta expects to receive 465,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 221,000 of the Moderna vaccine for a total of 686,000 doses, earlier in the new year. Being able to receive the doses and store them properly is just one part of the process to disburse the vaccines. "The process is not linear. [The government] has to do a whole bunch of things at once," said Dr. Margaret Russell, an associate professor and researcher at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine, who specializes in public health preventive medicine. WATCH | Why infectious disease experts are encouraged, cautious about Pfizer vaccine: Health officials will have to create a distribution plan and decide who will deliver the vaccine, where it will go in the province and how it will be stored, she said. At the same time, officials have to decide how many people will be needed to help at clinics where the vaccine will be administered. "They have to think about the human resources, the training and skills set. Of course, right now, during COVID, people have to self isolate, we're hearing a lot about health-care workers having to self isolate," Dr. Russell said. Vaccine recipients will need to be monitored for any adverse effects and to ensure they receive the second dose of the vaccination. Besides the logistical considerations, a communications plan will also be key, said MacDonald, with the University of Alberta. Health officials will have to preach patience, while also providing encouragement, she said. "We need to reassure people that all the usual processes have been followed [in developing the vaccines], but much more quickly through a massive injection of funds, so that people are reassured, so that when it's their turn and they are eligible for the vaccine, they're prepared to get the vaccine," said Macdonald. Pfizer has begun "rolling submissions" for the vaccine with regulators in Europe, the United Kingdom and Canada, the company said. The vaccine is among seven that Canada has pre-ordered.
It's been said the COVID-19 pandemic has lifted the veil to reveal some of the horrors that have existed at many of Canada's long-term care facilities.Advocates for improved care and standards — and a shift away from institutional care for seniors — believe now is the time to demand change."This generation deserves way more than they're getting," said Leslie Peers, who says her mother, Marilyn Hindmarch, received substandard care during a five-week stay at a long-term care facility in Edmonton. The stay was brief but fraught with fear, anger and regret for the family.Peers has joined a new group calling itself FACE, which stands for Families Advocating for Compassionate Eldercare. The group is urging the provincial government to make a series of changes at privately run seniors homes that receive public funding, including improved staffing models with a set ratio of one health-care aide for every five residents.Peers believes the ratio at her mother's former care home was one health-care aide for every 15 residents.FACE is also calling for more accountability and enforcement for care-home operators who violate provincial standards and regulations that govern long-term care and supportive living facilities.Two days after her arrival at the publicly funded, privately run facility in March 2019, Hindmarch fell and broke three ribs. Less than two weeks later, another fall left her with a fractured pelvis. Hindmarch, who was 84, was dealing with several medical conditions including dementia when she moved into the facility and was separated from her husband of 67 years.Peers brought her mother's situation to the attention of Health Minister Tyler Shandro, who met with the family in September 2019.The matter was also raised in the legislature by the Official Opposition.The family filed a complaint with the Protection of Persons in Care, which found in a preliminary report that staff failed to properly document the injuries and notify senior staff about Hindmarch's injuries and symptoms.An X-ray was ordered for Hindmarch 26 hours after her first fall, when she suffered broken ribs, even though she said she had pain on the left side of her torso, that it hurt when she breathed. The report stated health-care aides did not report those symptoms to Hindmarch's physician and no one offered to call 911. The incident was not reported to Alberta Health as required.The preliminary investigation recommended the facility update its fall prevention strategies and post-fall policies.Twelve days later, Hindmarch fell again and fractured her pelvis. A preliminary investigation revealed staff didn't document the incident properly or relay Hindmarch's report of pain and evidence of bruising to a physician. A third investigation revealed several pressure sores on Hindmarch that were not documented, assessed or monitored.Peers says the family made the decision to move her mother out of the facility and she stayed with her mom for five days before the move to another centre was finalized because she felt her mother was not safe. They transferred her to a private facility where she was reunited with her husband. Their final stay together was brief as Hindmarch died three months later. 'I want it out there for everybody to see'Crystal McAteer says 2019 was also a year filled with anxiety, fear, anger and personal loss.As mayor of the Town of High Level, Alta., she led her community through a state of emergency when it was threatened by the Chuckegg Creek wildfire.The fire forced the evacuation of a number of areas, including a long-term care home in Manning, where her father, Henry Lawrence, was a resident. He was airlifted to an acute care facility in Fairview. McAteer says her father's condition rapidly deteriorated after he developed a bed sore that became infected. He was eventually returned to his care home in Manning, where a doctor told McAteer the infection may have been the result of lengthy exposure to soiled adult diapers, she says.Lawrence stayed in Fairview for about four weeks before he was transferred back to the long-term care home in Manning. He died five days later at the age of 88.She believes her father's death is the result of the poor care that he received. McAteer says the staff at the acute care hospital may have been overwhelmed following the arrival of seven high need patients who were transferred to the facility. An investigation by Protection of Persons in Care found in a preliminary report that Lawrence did not receive adequate nutrition or medical attention during his stay at the acute care facility, which resulted in "serious bodily injury."McAteer, as one of the founders of FACE, is imploring the government to improve seniors' care in Alberta."We want compassionate care and we want accountability," McAteer said from her home in High Level. McAteer says she has several questions, including how often her father was changed, how his bedsore was treated, how often he was bathed and how long did he have to sit in dirty adult diapers. "My dad must have laid in his Depends for over 12 hours at a time. That's just not humane," she said.Improved seniors' careIn addition to improved staffing at continuing care facilities, FACE wants to see "strengthened legislated penalties" for service providers who fail to meet care and accommodation standards. It would also like to see unannounced inspections of facilities and steep fines for operators who are found to be non-compliant, and it wants those inspection reports made public.It's also pushing for a shift away from institutional care and wants the government to fund personal care homes at the same per-resident level as long-term care facilities. It wants the government to "immediately implement innovative pilot projects through the province to move beyond the one-model system of institutional care for seniors."Personal care homesEdmonton-based ExquisiCare is an example of a privately run facility where residents receive no government funding. The company offers assisted living, long-term and palliative care in "purpose built" homes for up to 10 people in a residential setting.The company's president and CEO says the government should put the needs of seniors first by allowing continuing care subsidies to follow the person, not the facility. "Right now, unfortunately, we don't fit into the government-funded system," said Dawn Harsch."For people who want to live in a smaller, more home-like environment, they should still be supported by their government to live where they want to live," said Harsch.But at $8,000 per month, it's an expensive option.Lorie Grundy knows firsthand what it's like for her family to lose government funding for her mother, but it was a decision they took on their own after her 100-year-old mother suffered physical abuse at a publicly funded long-term care home in Edmonton. Dorothy Forbes's arms were bruised and cut from her wrists to her shoulders during an incident with a health-care aide in February. Grundy believes it happened at bed time when Forbes was being asked to get changed into her pyjamas."I wheeled mum up to the desk on the unit and asked the nurse, 'what happened?' "And she looked at them [her mother's arms] and she was quite taken aback and she said, 'I don't know,'" said Grundy.The family moved Forbes to a private facility operated by ExquisiCare nine days later. The $5,700 monthly government subsidy was discontinued and the family is now paying $7,900 per month. Grundy would like the government to make the subsidy available for everyone regardless of whether they choose publicly funded, privately run facilities or fully private personal care homes."The government subsidy should be provided to every Alberta citizen who needs long-term care," she said.FACE launched its website this month and is hoping people sign the petition that demands the government make changes to improve patient care. In an email to the CBC, a spokesperson for Alberta Health says the government is reviewing continuing care legislation "to ensure we have the framework in place to protect those in care."The spokesperson said other work includes a separate review "of the facility-based continuing care system" in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has "disproportionally impacted continuing care facilities."Leslie Peers knows her group faces a monumental challenge trying to convince the government to make changes. "I think we just said, 'we have to do this,'" she said."A lot of us are doing it in honour of our parents who have passed away.""They cared about their communities. They cared about others. And so, in my particular case, my father advocated all the time for people who needed support, needed a voice, for they didn't have it. So, in some ways, it's his legacy that I am following through on," said Peers.Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.
A Halifax dance studio hopes that temporarily closing its doors might slow the city's recent spike in COVID-19 cases, and keep it alive in the long run.Some businesses outside the food industry are changing how they operate. This follows the lead of some restaurants and bars who have closed their doors temporarily, without being asked to do so by public health.Haliente Creative Studio on Barrington Street offers salsa, bachata and other styles of classes, as well as social nights for people to practise their moves.But owner Moses Diallo said that even while wearing a mask, physical closeness and the nature of touching hands while dancing increases their risk.On Saturday evening, the day 22 exposure notices were issued by authorities, Diallo announced Haliente would close for the next two weeks.He said even though staff and clients were following public health rules, it felt like a matter of time before someone contracted the coronavirus."It's not an easy decision, but it's one that makes sense and it's better we do this than have an exposure," Diallo said Sunday."Myself, along with many people, have vulnerable individuals in their families and … the risks are just too high at this point."As of Sunday, there were 44 known active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Premier Stephen McNeil has singled out young people as driving the recent exposures. He said there are 18- to 35-year-olds going out when they feel sick, and in large groups without distancing.New restrictions also start Monday, where residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality are limited to only five people gathering in a social group without physical distancing, down from 10.Closing down 'is a sacrifice,' says business ownerWhen asked whether the government should mandate that businesses close for a short time to get a handle on COVID-19, Diallo said he's "all for it," since short-term pain is bearable if it brings a long-term gain of keeping the economy open over the next few months.Diallo said they nearly didn't survive the last shutdown, when their studio was closed for nearly five months."The two weeks is a sacrifice that we made in order not to close down forever," Diallo said. "I can't afford to close down for more than a month."The Freedom Kitchen & Closet in Lower Sackville has decided to stop clothing donations for now due to the community spread, while the Fall River Animal Hospital has returned to curbside appointments.Many restaurants and cafés in the Halifax area have either closed entirely or announced over the weekend they are now only offering takeout and delivery. People are advised to check with restaurants before visiting.Paul MacKinnon, CEO of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said Sunday he's heard a broad mix of feedback from members about how to navigate the current spike in cases.He said his organization won't weigh in on whether certain sectors should shut down again. But, MacKinnon predicted many owners will close on their own to protect staff and patrons over the next few days, just like in the spring."It's a business decision that the owner has to make. And if they think they're not going to get a lot of business anyway, in some cases, it may actually save some money," MacKinnon said.Although it's a tough situation coming into the holiday season, MacKinnon said the timing actually puts businesses at an advantage because people will be stocking up on presents and gift cards no matter how high the case numbers climb.Also, MacKinnon said most shops and eateries have active online stores or delivery models that they put in place during the first shutdown earlier this year."Hopefully it won't be as big of an impact as it was before. But of course, it's unchartered territory," MacKinnon said.He said there's some "light at the end of the tunnel" with the recent news that vaccines are close to being ready.MORE TOP STORIES
Earlier this fall, Patty Hudson walked her dogs along one of her favourite stretches of the St. John River, just below Hartland, when she was appalled to see a gravel pit just metres away from the water. A passionate environmentalist, Hudson said she couldn't believe that a gravel pit could be so close to the walking trail that follows the river."There's a big quarry here all of a sudden, and it never used to be — it was at best a very small older quarry, and never this far, never," Hudson said.The area is about five kilometres south of the world's longest covered bridge, located in Hartland.Hudson, who lives in Upper Kent about 30 minutes north of the site, said she used to walk in the area often but only walks along that stretch of the river a handful of times a year now. "This is really meditative place for me, I come down here to feel better, especially since life has pretty much ended its normalcy right now," she said. "It's just a place of extreme beauty and history."Hudson said that besides the look of gravel pits, she's bothered by the potential disruption of wildlife in the area, and the effects it could have on the river. "We don't know how many nests we destroy when we just start digging, but for sure there are animals in those trees, they're hiding and they're running."One of the gravel pits that Hudson is worried about is below the banks of Route 105. "The berms along the riverbank that stabilize the river banks are being thrashed, being dug into willy nilly," she said. Hudson's concerns were sparked when she saw a truck in the pit recently, though she admits she didn't see anyone digging at the time. One of the pits that Hudson is referring to is owned in part by the Cook family. When reached by CBC News for a comment, a spokesperson for the family said the site isn't active but occasionally equipment is in there. According to the family, they have all the required legal documents to operate there, and when taking gravel from the site, they take it from the back of the pit, which is closer to the banks of the 105, and not the St. John River.The spokesperson said the site was built by Canadian Pacific Railway when the train track was being built along the river. The track bed is now the walking trail. Other gravel pitsHudson said it doesn't matter when the site was constructed, she thinks it's time to change where gravel pits are operated. The particular gravel pit is not the only one along that stretch of the river. Several contractors operate different pits in the area that are still active. "There are many active gravel pits, if that's the regulation, time to change those kinds of regulations," Hudson said. "Obviously, we live in a society we have a need for gravel, but do they have to be everywhere?" Hudson asked. "It's hideous. Why do we accept this?"According to a statement from the province, there are guidelines for sand and gravel pit owners and operators to minimize potential impacts to the environment.The Department of Environment and Local Government does not issue approval to operate gravel pits. If someone is looking to develop a new gravel pit within 30 metres of a watercourse or wetland, a permit is required. Applications are reviewed on a case by cases basis.
The New Brunswick government isn't committing to end the secrecy around who funds municipal election campaigns. There are no limits on how much municipal election candidates can spend on their campaigns nor any requirement they disclose who donates funds.In 2017, the Liberal government pledged to end a free-for-all in campaigns and passed legislation to do so, though regulations to implement the rules weren't put in place before the Progressive Conservatives took power in 2018. The work "died with the change in government," according to a February 2019 email obtained by CBC News through a right to information request. CBC asked the province Oct. 28 whether it would implement rules, though only received a response Nov. 19."Working to address municipal campaign financing is something that the government will consider," Anne Mooers, a spokesperson for the Department of Local Government and Local Governance Reform, said in an emailed statement. "Any possible new rules or changes to financial disclosure for municipal campaigns would only apply after the May 2021 municipal elections."Daniel Allain, the minister of the department, did not provide an interview. Candidates in federal and provincial elections are required to obey detailed rules around reporting and disclosing contributions and spending.Margot Cragg, executive director of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, said the rules can't be copied from those in place for provincial and federal campaigns. Can't be a barrier for candidatesCragg said, unlike provincial or federal campaigns where candidates have party support to comply with financing rules, each of the more than 1,000 municipal candidates is running independently. "Having rules around campaign financing are great," Cragg said. "We also need to get it right so that it doesn't become a barrier."Adam Lordon, Miramichi's mayor, said he personally wants the rules put in place as a way to add fairness but recognizes there's likely not enough time to make it happen for the 2021 vote. Pierre Boudreau, a Moncton city councillor, says he's been lobbying for disclosure rules for years and said he's heard for years that rules will be considered."The provincial government's reluctance to implement this much needed legislation is irresponsible and constitutes a flagrant disregard for accountability and transparency in municipal governments in the province," Boudreau said.Boudreau said he has returned contributions when he's run and has tried to keep his own spending as low as possible.> I find it deplorable that they're just considering it. \- Green Party MLA Kevin ArseneauOpposition parties say they also don't understand the hesitation. "I find it deplorable that they're just considering it," Green Party MLA Kevin Arseneau said."It has to be done."Arseneau said if the province is concerned about the effect on races in smaller communities, rules could start as a pilot in the province's eight cities.When Kris Austin, leader of the People's Alliance previously ran for municipal office, nothing was required around campaign spending. "It just seems to be a free-for-all," Austin said. He called rules on campaign spending long overdue.Liberal MLA Keith Chiasson, the party's local government critic, said with local governance reforms planned by the PCs that could expand areas that have municipal government, rules around campaigns could become more important."Now is the time to get it done," Chiasson said.
Tears, laughter and sharing memories are some of the ways Naheed Dosani and his colleagues honour the memory of people they've cared for together.The gatherings, called grief circles, used to be held in person but have since moved online during the coronavirus pandemic, and the number of participants has been increasing."We have more grief circles than ever before, probably because there's more grief than ever before," Dosani said.In a recent interview with CBC News, the palliative care physician and health justice activist said he believes discussions about grief need to be brought to the forefront."While we're trained to be in these scenarios, many of us are seeing these scenarios at a higher frequency and more death than we ever could have imagined."More than 11,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19.An organization called the Canadian Grief Alliance has been pushing the federal government for a national strategy to help people cope with the increased loss society is facing — fearing it will have long-term mental health repercussions. Health Canada says the federal government is investing $240.5 million to support provinces and territories to develop, expand and launch virtual care tools, including supports for mental health. But the alliance says grief services specifically are falling through the cracks.'The hidden health crisis'Shelly Cory, executive director of Canadian Virtual Hospice and one of the founders of the Canadian Grief Alliance, says the pandemic's impact on Canada and the number of people who are grieving is "astounding.""We're looking at grief as the hidden health crisis in this whole pandemic," she said. "One of the reasons we need a national grief strategy is to provide a coherent response to an urgent public health crisis." The alliance is calling for a national consultation to help them understand the impact the pandemic has had on grief services, so they can assess where the needs and gaps are."We've never dealt with grief from a pandemic. We need to understand where the pressure points are and where we need to provide resources to suffering Canadians," she said.Cory says there also needs to be public awareness and education to help increase Canadians' grief literacy. The alliance is also calling for the government to invest $100 million over three years to implement the national grief strategy.Cory says grief services are reeling because their donations have declined significantly, while they're experiencing huge increases in volumes of people looking for their help and pivoting to online services.Cory notes that grief during the pandemic doesn't just involve death."People who have lost their jobs, businesses that have failed, people who have lost their financial security, relationships that have broken down during the pandemic and the loss of life as we know it," she said."All these things are huge losses for people and they're grieving."Pandemic magnifies barriers to healthy grief, therapist warns Andrea Warnick, a nurse and psychotherapist, believes Canadians are in dire need of a grief strategy."Grief is hard no matter what, no matter where you are in the world, what time in history," she said. "But trying to do grief in a healthy way during a pandemic just magnifies the barriers to a healthy grief process."Warnick says many of the families she works with aren't able to be with their loved one if they're dying, or travel to see someone who is suffering. "Not being able to gather and go to funerals and things like that — there's so may elements of these barriers that make it hard for people to grieve in healthy ways that plays out in so many ways in terms of mental health."Warnick says that her clients are struggling with not being able to hug each other."Grief is isolating as it is, but it is incredibly isolating right now," she said. "I hope as Canadians we recognize that not providing grief support really creates a mental health crisis, not just in immediate times, but down the road as well."Health Canada respondsIn a statement, Health Canada said it has received the proposal from the Canadian Grief Alliance, and officials have been engaging with the organization to discuss its proposal."We recognize the important work of the national grief alliance as Canadians work through the grief of losing a loved one," the statement reads, noting that the agency recognizes the importance of mental health services at this time.Health Canada says it funded Wellness Together Canada, a portal that provides Canadians with access to free, credible information and supports to help reinforce mental wellness and address mental health and substance use issues.Meanwhile, Dosani says he tries his best not to bring his grief home to his family, but it's difficult. He suggests that if people know a health-care worker, they should reach out."I think what's not getting discussed a lot is the emotional pain, the soul pain, that I think front-line health workers are experiencing."
During Nova Scotia's fall municipal elections, two mayoral candidates said Cape Breton Regional Municipality was either bankrupt or nearly so.That's not the case, say others."We're a bankrupt municipality. People know. This whole island knows that," mayoral candidate Archie MacKinnon said during one of the election debates.Chris Abbass said during a debate that CBRM is "on the verge of financial collapse." In another, he said the municipality is not sustainable."We're slowly going bankrupt and if we don't do something about our cost-effectiveness and our efficiency in government, we're going to become ... a ward of the province or something, but we won't be anymore."But Mark Gilbert, a retired finance expert who was with the Department of Municipal Affairs and is a retired local government professor at Dalhousie University, said CBRM's financial statements show otherwise.The municipality does have net debt of roughly $145 million, but Gilbert said if you add in non-financial assets, it is more than $300 million in the black."This doesn't look like a municipality that doesn't have the wherewithal to continue operating," he said.With that much debt, a big question is future infrastructure needs and the municipality's ability to pay for the cost of borrowing through taxes or user fees, Gilbert said.However, CBRM's debt-service ratio is just over 10 per cent and the province doesn't red flag that until it hits 15 per cent or more.Gilbert said that means the municipality could borrow if it needed to finance large projects."If they were interested in borrowing, the capacity would certainly be there," he said."The thing that most municipalities are concerned about, and I did some research in this area for Infrastructure Canada, is not so much being able to borrow, but it's being able to service the debt."Jennifer Campbell, CBRM's chief financial officer, said the municipality would only be in trouble under extraordinary circumstances."For example, all of our long-term debt would have to be called at once, resulting in an immediate financial obligation of over $80 million and … that is not going to happen," she said.CBRM has long-term debt financing through the province's Municipal Finance Corporation that spread payments out over 10 years, Campbell said."If you're going to look at our net debt through the lens of immediate pressure, that's going to overinflate that and make it look like we aren't solvent, when, in reality, that obligation is due over a long period of time and we're well positioned to meet those obligations over that term."We have not defaulted on those terms, nor are we even close to defaulting on those terms."Municipality a going concernIt would be a struggle if all the debt came due in one year, because non-financial assets can't be easily liquidated, she said.Vehicles and buildings could be sold, but some non-financial assets would be more difficult to convert into cash."How do you sell a used municipal road or used municipal sewer pipes? There's simply no market for that," Campbell said.Last year's audited financial statement shows the municipality is a going concern. CBRM ended the year with a slight surplus of $12,000.It's not yet clear what the pandemic's impact will be on this year's finances, but a current statement is due to be unveiled at Tuesday's council meeting.MORE TOP STORIES
Justin Smith has been hit with a one-two punch of bad luck. First, the Toronto man was duped by a job scam that made off with $3,000. Then his longtime bank, Tangerine, helped itself to money Smith had in his tax-free savings account to recoup what it had lost in the scam."You keep your money in the bank because you think it's safe," he said. "And they treat the money like it's theirs, and they just move it around to protect themselves. That's not fair."Tangerine is an online subsidiary of Scotiabank that offers no-fee savings and chequing accounts.Here's how the double episode of misfortune unfolded: Smith, who works as a delivery person, had applied to work from home as a data entry clerk for the grocery chain Sobeys. He was offered the job, and was excited to receive an employment contract along with a cheque from his new employer for $3,495 to purchase a laptop, phone system, headphones and various other office equipment."It all looked totally authentic and real," he said. Smith had checked out the names of the people who handled his hiring, and reviewed their profiles on LinkedIn to confirm they worked at Sobeys. So when he received an invoice from a firm called Tech Insight Services for the office equipment, and was instructed by the Sobeys hiring manager to make a $3,000 payment right away, he promptly sent an e-transfer."I only had $800 or so in my chequing account at the time, but after depositing the Sobeys cheque, I had over $4,000," he said. What Smith didn't know was that the entire process was a sophisticated scam. The website where he'd applied, the supposed hiring managers, the cheque — all were fakes. His job application hadn't been sent to Sobeys at all. He had fallen into a snare set to swindle eager job seekers. The cheque even fooled Tangerine; the bank instantly deposited it to Smith's account.Alarm bells didn't start ringing until the next day, when Smith's supposedly new employer told him he should send another $3,500 for a new desk. "At this point, I became suspicious because no one spends that kind of money on a desk," he said. "I called up Tangerine and I said 'OK, I deposited a cheque yesterday, you guys let me send the money. I'm concerned that this cheque is going to bounce.'" WATCH | Bank raids fraud victim's account:Deep in the fine printSmith learned quickly that the scammers had already accepted his e-transfer, and a Tangerine representative said that meant it was too late to cancel it. "He asked 'Do you have money in your other accounts to make up for that?' and I told him I didn't want the bank to take money from those other accounts."Because his tax-fee savings account was registered with the federal government, Smith believed the money in it was untouchable. He was wrong. Deep in the fine print of the agreements many customers receive when they open a bank account is a clause known as the "right of setoff," also sometimes referred to as the right of "offset." It states that the bank has the legal power to seize funds from a debtor or guarantor of a debt. Although that right may vary depending on the product or plan, it's in most agreements; RRSPs and registered retirement income funds are typically exempt. This means if the bank accepts a cheque or another type of deposit that doesn't go through as expected, and a customer withdraws or transfers the funds, the bank has effectively made a bad loan. It then has the right to access money in other accounts it holds for that customer, in order to recover its loss. There is no need to get authorization, or even alert the customer beforehand.Shortly after the fake Sobeys cheque bounced, Tangerine took just over $3,000 from Smith's account. Smith sent two letters of complaint to the bank, asking to be compensated, but was told each time that the bank is not liable for his loss, and that he should report the scam to police. Job scams have become common during the pandemic, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. CBC News reported on a similar scam that involved Sobeys in June. In that case, the victim's bank, the Bank of Montreal, spotted the fraud and didn't send the payment.Sobeys is aware of the fake websites bearing its name, and said it is monitoring the web 24/7 to try to have them shut down. In a statement the company said anyone "looking to join the team or confirm the legitimacy of a job posting," should check jobs.sobeyscareers.com.Some good newsAfter being contacted by CBC's Go Public team, Tangerine said it will refund the $3,000 to Smith, and also pay $250 for a credit monitoring service for him.In an email sent to Smith that was shared with CBC News, the head of the bank's client response group, Emery Sziraky, said: "We have conducted a comprehensive review of your recent experience with Tangerine and we deeply regret that we did not meet your expectations."The bank also emailed a statement to Go Public, saying it was "pleased" to have resolved the matter to Smith's satisfaction. The statement included a warning about fraud, and said Tangerine "work[s] closely with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Canadian Bankers Association, law enforcement, and counterparts at other financial institutions," to ensure clients are protected.But Doug Hoyes, an insolvency trustee in Kitchener, Ont., said all Canadians should be aware how common it is for banks to access customer accounts to recover their own losses. "It blindsides people," Hoyes said. "I've seen it happen thousands of times."Hoyes said banks typically put a hold on large cheques deposited to the accounts of new customers; they are unable to access the funds until the cheque clears. But for longstanding, trusted customers, banks will often extend a form of credit and make funds available immediately. Hoyes said that most customers appreciate the ability to access deposits right away. "In most cases what the bank did is very helpful; 'Hey, you put the money in, you can use it.' But in this case, it backfired," he said. A five- or even three-day hold on the cheque Smith had received would have stymied the scammers, but he was a longtime Tangerine client. He opened an account in the late '90s when the bank was still called ING Direct, prior to a rebranding. So he was given instant access to funds.Hoyes added that he often tells his own clients, all of whom have money problems, to set up bank accounts at two different financial institutions. "It is wise to have your assets at a different bank than your debts, if it's possible," he said. That way if a payment goes wrong in any way, the bank isn't able to dip into other accounts on file, he explained.As for Smith, he's still eager to find a new job, and is grateful that Tangerine decided to do "the right thing.""I don't want to make myself out to be a victim here," Smith said. "I'm just trying to help other people not become a victim of these scammers or, quite frankly, become the victim of their bank."
Angelique Kidjo and Skip Marley are among several global artists performing social justice anthems for an online fundraising concert celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Dec. 1 event on Facebook Live is called Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice. (Nov. 23)
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 23 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA -- Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying today for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government. The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy replaces an earlier rent-support program for businesses introduced in the spring that saw little pickup because it relied on landlords to apply for help. The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms. Federal cabinet ministers will highlight the program during a news conference this morning in which they will also open two initiatives designed to help businesses owned by Black Canadians. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small companies across the country, is welcoming the new rent program as long overdue for firms hard hit by COVID-19. However, it is criticizing the government for not opening it to businesses that would have qualified for the previous rent-relief program, but could not access federal funds because their landlords chose not to apply. --- Also this ... OTTAWA -- N-D-P MP Laurel Collins is reviving a call for the environment commissioner to be a stand-alone officer of Parliament. Collins is pushing a motion at the environment committee to pull the position out of the Office of the Auditor General and make it a separate entity. The Victoria MP says the commissioner needs its own dedicated staff to ensure it can fulfil its mandate. She says the commissioner used to perform up to five environmental audits annually but has just one underway this year and two planned for 2021. The Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chrétien created the position in 1995, but did not meet a campaign promise to make it an office independent from the auditor general. The motion from Collins is nearly identical to one passed by the same committee 13 years ago but the request was never fulfilled. --- ICYMI ... OTTAWA -- Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday, allowing the long-standing partners to trumpet a commercial triumph in the face of the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The interim deal beat the looming Dec. 31 Brexit deadline, replacing Canada's current agreement with Britain under the European Union that covers trade between the two countries. Announced amid a virtual gathering of G-20 leaders, the interim pact is a placeholder that buys Canada and Britain another year to reach a more comprehensive agreement while also warding off a no-deal scenario that would have triggered new tariffs on a range of Canadian exports on Jan. 1 But few details were released about the new agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was released. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON, D.C. — U-S President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed plenty of lawsuits in six states as he tries to upend an election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The strategy may have played well in front of TV cameras, but it’s proved a disaster in court, where judges uniformly have rejected claims of vote fraud. The latest case ended Saturday, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani presented only “speculative accusations” and no proof of rampant corruption in the vote. A law school professor says the suits threaten the future of elections because so many Americans believe the claims being made by Trump’s team. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning. If nominated and confirmed, Blinken would be a leading force in Biden’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which Trump questioned longtime alliances. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... LONDON -- AstraZeneca says late stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University were “highly effective’’ in preventing disease. The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. The drugmaker reported today that no hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in those receiving the vaccine. “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective,’’ said Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the trial. Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective. --- In entertainment ... LOS ANGELES -- Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at last night's American Music Awards. She beat out Canadians Justin Bieber and The Weeknd for the top award, while also winning favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist. Though The Weeknd lost artist of the year, he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, the pop star dominated the 2020 American Music Awards with multiple wins. The Toronto native won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless. The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout last night's three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others taped performances because of the pandemic. Bieber and fellow Canuck pop star Shawn Mendes opened the show with a performance of their new duet "Monster." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020 The Canadian Press
MANILA, Philippines — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration provided precision-guided missiles and other weapons to help the Philippines battle Islamic State group-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien represented Trump in Monday’s ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, where he announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs to the Philippine military. Trump pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said. O’Brien expressed condolences to the Philippines after back-to-back typhoons left a trail of death and devastation in the country and outlined U.S. help to the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. assistance projects normalcy in Washington’s foreign relations as Trump works to challenge the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, claiming he was a victim of fraud. Duterte had asked Filipino Americans to vote for Trump but congratulated Joe Biden, through his spokesperson, for winning the election. Asked in an online news briefing if any of the officials he met in Vietnam and the Philippines voiced concern about the post-election situation in the U.S., O’Brien said nobody did. “There will be a transition if the courts don’t rule in President Trump’s favour,” he said. O’Brien represented Trump in a recent online summit between the U.S. and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an expanded East Asia summit of heads of state attended by China and Russia that was also held by video and hosted by Vietnam. In his remarks at the turnover of the U.S. missiles in Manila, O’Brien cited the Trump administration’s role in the defeat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and last year’s killing of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in Syria, and renewed its commitment to help defeat IS-linked militants in the southern Philippines. “President Trump is standing with President Duterte as we combat ISIS here in Southeast Asia,” O’Brien said. “This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to our critical alliance.” He expressed hope for the continuance of a key security agreement that allows American forces to train in large-scale combat exercises in the Philippines. Duterte moved to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. early this year but later delayed the effectivity of his decision to next year, a move welcomed by O’Brien. He said the U.S. stands with the Philippines in its effort to protect its sovereign rights in the South China Sea. The Philippines announced last month that it would resume oil and gas explorations in or near Reed Bank, which lies off the country’s western coast and is also claimed by China. “They belong to the Philippine people. They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” O’Brien said. He repeated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement early this year that “any armed attack on Philippine forces aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger our mutual defence obligations.” The allies have a 69-year-old mutual defence treaty. In July, Pompeo escalated the Trump administration’s attacks against China by declaring that Washington regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims in the disputed waterway as illegitimate. China reacted angrily by accusing the U.S. of sowing discord between Beijing and neighbouring Asian states. Jim Gomez, The Associated Press
Colourful cockatoos, amazons, and macaws in dozens of cages line the walls in each room of a rental house in Delta. A skeleton crew of workers and volunteers tend to the birds, unencumbered by the constant cacophony of chirps, songs and screeches."It's a lot of work," said Jan Robson, a spokesperson for the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary. "We have 60 birds in there, and they have big cages — and big poop."And now, big problems. Greyhaven is among a long list of non-profits and registered charities in B.C. that are grappling with revenue losses due to COVID-19 and rethinking the traditional fundraising model.Greyhaven has been a refuge for exotic birds for decades. It runs shelters out of two homes and operates entirely on donations, fundraising, and adoption fees to find homes for countless birds, many of whom have been abandoned by past owners.This year, revenues have dropped, making it a challenge to operate on what had already been a tight budget. Marquee fundraising events like its biannual open house have been cancelled, in favour of virtual alternatives.There's been about a 15 per cent decrease in funding, Robson said. "We're trying to raise funds for six months rent for this particular facility," she added. "That's one of those things where we're like, 'How can we make this work?'""When you're caring for over 100 birds, and your money is 15 per cent down, it's a punch in the gut, for sure," she said.'These organizations touch all of our lives'There are more than a thousand non-profits and charities in B.C., a diverse sector that generates billions of dollars in GDP annually. They often fill gaps in under-served communities, providing services for the elderly, people with disabilities, and vulnerable animals.But many are feeling the squeeze. In May, a survey of more than 1,000 organizations found that 23 per cent of operators feared they wouldn't last six months."A lot of non-profits and charities have had to close their doors," said Alison Brewin, executive director of the non-profit Vantage Point."Across the board, for all organizations, they're seeing decreases in their earned incomes, their donations, and their other funding sources."A notable example is the Vancouver Aquarium, which is currently fighting bankruptcy."These organizations touch all of our lives," Brewin said. "We all connect with non-profits and charities across the province, and the vulnerability that's shown up is quite scary."Virtual events not as effective as in-person fundraisersIn the time since Vantage Point conducted the survey, Brewin said many organizations continue to rely on emergency measures, including the federal wage subsidy.Groups like Greyhaven have switched to virtual events to raise funding, but the events typically don't generate the same amount of money.It's a similar trend for larger organizations. The BC Cancer Foundation is down tens of millions of dollars in revenue this year, according to president and CEO Sarah Roth.The foundation's yeatrly headline event, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, would typically generate about $8 to 10 million. This year, the virtual event generated about $2 million.COVID-19 restrictions have also forced the foundation to stop door-to-door fundraising efforts as well, although it says its number of monthly donors has remained consistent.In all, it expects to end the year with about $40 million in revenue, compared to previous highs of around $70 million."Cancer doesn't stop, and neither can we," Roth said. "We just need to adjust, we're being very mindful of our costs."With a vaccine on the horizon, there's hope that traditional revenue streams could be restored. But mounting cases in B.C. means most groups aren't holding their breath quite yet.And with COVID-19 restrictions tightening, the sector isn't expected to rebound anytime soon.The BC Cancer Foundation is anticipating at least another year of its remote model."It's just changed," Roth said."I think there will be a huge appetite to go back to more in-person experiences for sure, and we'll get ready for that."
Two health-care workers from the labour and delivery unit at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary are now in isolation after a visitor did not disclose their COVID-19 status during the on-site screening process, AHS has confirmed. Dr. Fiona Mattatall, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the hospital, says she now has colleagues in isolation. "I just hope to God, that out of this one case, that everything is OK, and that all of the PPE worked, and that we don't have to declare an outbreak on our unit," Mattatall said. "Because I really worry about the secondary anxiety to my patients, and them worrying about coming in and having their baby." Alberta Health Services recently has had to deal with several situations where designated family or support people of patients intentionally didn't disclose their COVID-19 symptom status, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. "While the vast majority of Albertans understand that doing this puts loved ones and the teams caring for their loved ones at even greater risk of illness, the few who choose to do this are impacting us all," Hinshaw said Friday during a media availability. "Please be honest. We are dealing with a multiplier effect in Alberta. We cannot afford that in our health-care facilities." WATCH | Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, tells Albertans to be honest about their COVID-19 symptoms when visiting health-care facilities: Hinshaw warned Albertans not to attend health-care facilities if they are feeling sick, unless they themselves need care. Visitors should also answer screening questions at health-care facilities honestly and fully, Hinshaw said, disclosing all symptoms and contacts to site screeners. Should providers or members of health-care teams get sick, it would mean they are unavailable to treat patients for at least two weeks — which would impact staffing levels. "Ultimately, if this behaviour continues, Alberta Health Services will have to consider limiting designated family and support and visitation even further," Hinshaw said. "That is not something we want AHS to have to do." Larger implications on health-care In an email, a spokesperson for AHS said that to protect confidentiality, no further information about the individual involved will be disclosed. "There are no known positive patients or health-care workers on the unit and it is not on outbreak or on watch at this time," the spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, the exposure is believed to be related to a confirmed positive case in a visitor who did not disclose their COVID-19 status during the on-site screening process." When someone is not upfront with their symptoms, Mattatall said the first feeling health-care professionals experience is that of frustration. "Then the reality of the snowballing implications from that one action goes from frustration to full-out anger," she said. "And it's tough, because we don't want to be angry at people. I mean, we're all in this together with the virus that we should be angry at. "But it's frustrating when someone just isn't thinking beyond their own self to realize, because this is a team, this is teamwork that is going to get us through this." Direct and indirect impacts The implications of visitors not being truthful about their COVID-19 status is larger than people realize, Mattatall said. The immediate impacts are more obvious — in delivering health-care, workers enter inside an unsafe two-metres with a patient, meaning those carrying the virus can put health-care workers at risk. Without contact tracing being as robust as it was, health-care workers may be unaware they have been exposed, and could proceed to spread it to their families or their patients. ... the actions of a few people might ruin it for everybody. - Dr. Fiona Mattatall, obstetrician-gynecologist at the Rockyview Hospital Mattatall said an indirect impact is that if a health-care worker is isolating, their team is down a member. "Coming into the pandemic, we didn't have wiggle room in terms of extra staffing. Health-care works pretty close to the line," she said. "We don't have extra bodies at Rockyview to be able to accommodate a number of people off on isolation." But further to that, Mattatall said the health-care system has worked hard to allow support people and partners into labour and delivery rooms during the pandemic, which she said is important for the experience and safety of having a baby. "When we see behaviour like support people not disclosing their risk of having COVID or having COVID, it could have the ripple effect of public health then saying it's not worth the risk to the health-care teams and other patients," Mattatall said. "I'm very grateful that we have been able to maintain support people in labour throughout the pandemic here, but the actions of a few people might ruin it for everybody."
A Saskatoon woman who arranged a performance art piece across the globe has decided to share her story through a unique art exhibit in the city.It's called To Whom It May Concern and features a collection of photographs and letters which address the rise of domestic violence during COVID-19.The project was started by Natalie Feheregyhazi in Toronto a few years ago.Feheregyhazi dressed up in a wedding dress with a white mask covering her entire face. She would sit in various places in the city and write letters to be left where she was sitting.She was given the nickname 'Toronto's Masked Bride' as her identity remained anonymous.Feheregyhazi said the idea to do an art project about a bride had been in her mind for several years prior to the performance art piece but some experiences in 2015 and 2016 inspired the final project.She said one of the experiences happened after a brief conversation with a local artist, Daniel O'Shea, in a shop in Saskatoon."[He] showed me a painting he had done for a friend of his who had recently been murdered in a domestic violence situation," Feheregyhazi said.The woman in question was Beverly Littlecrow, a 36-year-old woman who the Crown prosecutor argued had been a victim of manslaughter at the hands of her spouse Gabriel Faucher in 2016.In 2018, Faucher was found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of Littlecrow as the judges could not rule out the possibility of Littlecrow's injuries having been accidental. The appeal of Faucher's acquittal was dismissed earlier this year."We talked about this painting and he ended up gifting it to me because he said he didn't know what to do with it," Feheregyhazi said. "He felt it was meant to go to me."I really feel like Beverly's spirit has been with this project since that moment."Leaving a dangerous relationshipFeheregyhazi said getting the painting coincided with her leaving a dangerous relationship after she had found out "all sorts of kind of terrifying things" about her partner who she had been with for eight years."It was a whole host of things that had happened kind of simultaneously and when it came to that summer and that spring, I didn't know how to process all of this," Feheregyhazi said. "And that's when all of the pieces kind of came together."She said she knew the bride in the project had to be masked, and had to be voiceless, because she didn't know how to express it otherwise.Feheregyhazi said she didn't want people to know who she was since the project involved her leaving notes around Toronto with real life stories, and she did not want the stories to be brought back to the people they involved.She described the letters she left around the city as love letters, as the experiences she was trying to express in the art piece had to do with abusers being loved by the people they abuse."That conflict, that love is really what keeps us kind of caught in these cycles and I mean it's complicated," Feheregyhazi said. "There are a lot of elements to it and sometimes it's fear and sometimes it's unfortunate conditioning but it's also love."She said she hoped that through writing in this uncensored and spontaneous manner it would bring to light the positive feelings often felt in abusive relationships which make it harder for victims to leave."One day and one moment you're remembering the beautiful anniversary you had or that time when it was snowing, like it currently is in Saskatoon, and you decided to cuddle up and watch five movies in a row and just be loving," Feheregyhazi said."Versus being assaulted, being yelled at, being sexually violated, those are the things that don't get addressed nearly often enough when we talk about domestic or intimate forms of violence."The performance art project took Feheregyhazi to many places including Europe and Africa. She said she met many people, including men and people with mental illnesses, who shared their stories with her."What strikes me is how deep our collective longing for kindness and connection and love is," She said. "Sometimes I didn't catch everything but they would come and identify with the vulnerability of the figure that was just there to kind of listen, it wasn't speaking it created the space for them to share."She said many people came up to her to share intimate and painful parts of their lived experiences with her and she just listened."There was kind of a silent agreement of trust [and] these stories are confessed and shared because no one knew who I was."Taking the mask offFeheregyhazi said the reason she now decided to take the mask off and attach her name to the project has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic."We're living in a situation where since the quarantine went into effect domestic violence has been on the rise," she said. "And this is all happening in very confined, restricted basis."People who are already isolated are even more isolated and have less easy access to help."She said the exhibit in Saskatoon, which runs until Nov. 29, touches on some young women who died in the spring and summer of this year due to alleged domestic violence.One of those women is Tina Tingley-McAleer who was killed in her home in Hillsborough, N.B., in May. Police arrested her partner, Calvin Andrew Lewis, and charged him with first-degree murder.Feheregyhazi said the exhibit also includes on Darian Hailey Henderson-Bellman, a 25-year-old woman from Brampton, Ont., who was allegedly shot to death by her boyfriend Darnell Reid in August.The last woman who is honoured in the art exhibit is Brittney Ann Meszaros. The 24-year-old Calgary woman was found dead in her home in April, and her common-law boyfriend, Alexander Moskaluk, was charged with manslaughter."I really hope [the exhibit] will bring to surface a reminder of who these people were like these aren't just statistics they're mothers, they're sisters, they're friends and they got caught in a situation that for some reason socially we still tolerate to some degree," Feheregyhazi said."I don't know why we mind our own business when we hear something going on or how we've been conditioned to kind of just accept that there's a certain level of violence that women and girls may encounter." The To Whom It May Concern art exhibit is in Saskatoon at 20th Street West at Avenue E and is free to view."I hope people will be moved to ask and demand that these kinds of violences come to an end once and for all."If you need help and are in immediate danger, call 911. To find assistance in your area, visit sheltersafe.ca or endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help. In Saskatchewan, pathssk.org has listings of available services across the province.
Lawyers for two former IWK Health Centre executives are still trying to get the most appropriate witnesses on the stand as part of an effort to obtain documents from the office of Nova Scotia's auditor general.Defence counsel for Stephen D'Arcy and Tracy Kitch questioned witnesses in Nova Scotia provincial court on Thursday and Friday but ended those days with little to show for their efforts.On Thursday, acting auditor general Terry Spicer was on the stand for several hours when it became apparent he couldn't answer any detailed questions related to the performance audit of the children's hospital his office completed in 2018. That's because Spicer, who was deputy auditor general at the time, recused himself from the work because his wife worked at the health centre.The revelation and lack of progress that day prompted Judge Elizabeth Buckle to question why Spicer was put forward as a witness in the first place. None of the lawyers were aware he'd recused himself from the work until Thursday.On Friday, Michael Pickup, the province's former auditor general, appeared for two hours via video link from British Columbia, where he now works as that province's auditor general.Although Jacqueline King, Kitch's lawyer, spent the time mainly cross-examining Pickup about the process of how and when audits are performed, how the topics are selected and record keeping for audit work, Pickup, like Spicer, had little direct involvement with the performance audit work.King and Christie Hunter, D'Arcy's lawyer, are hoping to get one or two people who were active in conducting the audit on the stand for upcoming dates in December.Kitch, the former CEO of the children's hospital, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. D'Arcy, the hospital's former chief financial officer, is charged with breach of trust, unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data.Both resigned from their posts in 2017 following an audit by Grant Thornton that showed Kitch billed about $47,000 in personal expenses to corporate accounts. She eventually repaid the money.Meanwhile, D'Arcy repaid $17,000 in expenses to the hospital just before resigning.Reporting by CBC first raised questions about Kitch's expenses and D'Arcy's involvement. At the time, both attributed the findings to unintended errors.Documents being soughtThe hospital's board then ordered the audit by Grant Thornton. The board chair at the time, Karen Hutt, then called in the auditor general and Halifax Regional Police.The application for access to records from the auditor general was made in June. It's not clear from court testimony so far what information defence lawyers are seeking, although a May 2020 letter from Crown attorney Peter Dostal to the auditor general provides possible insight."I recently received a request from defence counsel for Mr. D'Arcy to inquire for communications and meeting notes in your possession or control that relate to contact between your office and Karen Hutt and/or employees within the IWK concerning the review of the IWK CEO expenses of Tracy Kitch between 2014 and 2017 and any related involvement of Stephen D'Arcy," reads a portion of the letter, which was included as part of an affidavit by Spicer filed in court on Thursday.Part of what's at issue is whether the defence request trumps the privacy practices the office of the auditor general applies to its work. The office is not subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.Trial date could be in jeopardyWith Pickup scheduled to return to the stand on Dec. 3, and the defence still trying to secure other witnesses, there are also questions about whether the effort will affect the start of Kitch's trial.The trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4.But with only two dates remaining before then, concerns were voiced Friday that if Buckle rules in favour of disclosing documents to the defence, there might not be enough time for lawyers to get those documents and prepare before the start of the trial.The issue would be moot, however, if Buckle rules against the defence.D'Arcy's trial is scheduled to begin next June.MORE TOP STORIES
Chief Billy Morin stands just off the seventh hole tee box of what used to be the Indian Lakes Golf Course in Enoch Cree Nation, just west of Edmonton. He talks about his late father, who worked the golf course, and how golf was his medicine. In generations before, the sweetgrass, sage and muskeg tea that grew adjacent to nearby Yekau Lake were his ancestors' medicines.But in the 1940s, this land served a much different purpose: it was a practice bombing range for Allied forces during World War II.Morin estimates up to 100,000 munitions were dropped between 1942 and 1944. The land, he said, was taken by the government despite not holding a referendum for Enoch band members.On Nov. 13, the nation and the federal government reached an agreement for $91 million to cover trauma endured by people who lived nearby, future cleanup of the land, and lost income from the golf course, which closed in 2014 for safety reasons.For Morin, it's impossible to put a price on trauma endured. But as one of the lead negotiators on the claim for the past five years, he's happy to close this chapter for his nation."It is historic to settle a land claim that's just about 80 years old," Morin said."No amount of money can ever put this land back to what it was … but hopefully the nation decides some good things to happen with this land going forward."In a statement, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett said the federal government will be available to Enoch Cree Nation should they need any special help in continued cleanup of the land.Land felt unsafeMorin has heard stories from elders who lived near the range in the 1940s as young people. They'd feel their houses shake — old enough to understand there was a war raging on but too young to understand their place in it.The federal government leased the land from Enoch, but Morin said leadership donated that money right back to the war efforts, something he is proud of. "I think it goes back to what we inherently wanted when we signed a treaty," he said."It was working together for the common good. And at that time, the more common good was banding together and defending this country."After the area was decommissioned as a bombing range, the Canadian government had no other use for the land.But nation members had to deal with the fallout. There were no fish in the lake; they couldn't use the grounds for hunting anymore because it was unsafe. For the first few years after the Second World War ended, Yekau Lake was the only water source for the Cree who lived there. If they wanted to go elsewhere, they'd have to get permission from the federal government, as per the Indian Act."They felt a lot of hurt," Morin said."And it was still a wound that at this time [is] still open."Gary Morin lived near Yekau Lake in the 1950s, and he remembers people being scared to go there."Fear took a lot of their freedom away," he said. But at some point, hunger forced the hand of people on the reserve. The 71-year-old remembers hunting near Yekau Lake when he was seven years old — when he'd retrieve ducks that the older hunters shot over the lake.Occasionally, he said, he'd come across what looked like a "big lead bullet." Gary Morin later became a steward of sorts over the land, tending to cattle there. He saw first-hand the effects the bombs had — wild horses would fall into the craters left by the bombs, and the lake seemed like it was losing vegetation possibly due to pollution from the munitions.A lot of the wildlife he used to see — cougars, lynx, rabbits — haven't returned, he said.Despite the drastic change to the land, Gary Morin helped build powwow grounds near the lake to help return it to an important part of maskêkosihk, which means land of the medicines in nehiyawewin (Cree). He also was part of the leadership that built the Indian Lakes Golf Course.'Felt like betrayal'Chief Billy Morin said they began using the lands as they'd been told that only practice rounds — smoke and flash bombs — had been used, munitions that aren't as much of a threat as their more explosive counterparts.In a statement to CBC News, the Department of National Defence said its has "found no evidence that any other munitions were used at the site."It said extensive searches in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2014 found only three unexploded practice rounds which were removed. It deems the land safe for use, but wants the public to be aware of what happened on the land before using it.But an independent surveyor contracted by Enoch found evidence of live, heavy-action explosives in 2011, and deemed the whole area unsafe.It was this mixed messaging that hurt the nation's trust in the then-Conservative government."It felt like betrayal," Billy Morin said."It kind of felt like the government's always hiding something or there was another agenda or they're just not in it to do the right thing by us and this land to make it whole again, to have a good, prosperous future on it."In 2015, when the federal Liberals took office, Billy Morin went from councillor to chief. They wiped the slate clean on negotiations and came to an agreement five years later.'It's safe out here'Billy Morin is talking about the richness of the land and the medicine it had before the bombing range when he spots a deer near the lake. Some medicines have returned.He hopes to reopen the golf course his dad loved so much. He wants buffalo to roam the area again one day, and he wants to create a space for nation members to enjoy the outdoors, hunt and pick medicine. Gary Morin wants to see the buffalo roam again, too. He said he sees some "strange-looking birds" these days, a sign that the land is returning to its natural state.It's still not perfect. The Department of National Defence has said the site was assessed as having a low unexploded-device risk in 2011, but admitted the site can never be declared completely hazard-free.But Chief Billy Morin said the settlement is a good path forward. "At the end of the day, the federal government and the negotiators don't have to live here. We do. And we have to find an acceptable way forward for our nation members," he said."I believe it's safe out here for people. I believe we're taking all the right steps to make it safe, otherwise we would have never signed the deal."
The Big Land is set to see some big snowfall amounts, with parts of Labrador under weather warnings as a snowy storm system moves into the region beginning Monday in some areas.Central Labrador is under a blizzard warning, with the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area expected to see the most snow, totalling between 50 to 70 centimetres, to possibly 80 centimetres, falling between Monday to Tuesday evening.Environment Canada also expects wind gusts up to 90 kilometres an hour in the central region.The blizzard warnings extend north through to Hopedale, with those winds persisting and between 25 to 40 centimetres of snow expected, beginning Monday evening. Snowfall warnings for lesser amounts reach up to Nain as well as through to Cartwright and Black Tickle.Much of Newfoundland is under a wind warning for Tuesday, from the Avalon Peninsula, all along the south and southwest coasts, western Newfoundland and areas along the northeast coast bracing for gusts of around 80 km/hr, with stronger gusts up to 110 km/hr expected.The Wreckhouse area can expect gusts up to 140 km/hr overnight into Tuesday.That weather system has prompted Marine Atlantic to delay its Monday day crossings until the evening, but the ferry also advises its evening crossings as well as those on Tuesday could be impacted.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of additional stress — whether it's financial strain, loneliness and isolation, or concern about the future — and a mental-health expert on P.E.I. says taking care of yourself is especially important to getting through it.Tayte Willows with the Canadian Mental Health Association, P.E.I. division says she likes to describe self-care as "the things that you do to find balance in your life, to maintain a good sense of well-being.""Some of these practices that we can do that are proactive and give us the ability to take control of our our mental well-being have been really crucial for folks," she says.1\. Follow your passionsWillows says a good place to start is with what you're passionate about."If you're really into sport or into art or into reading, taking time to do those things," she says.2\. Find ways to connectPhysical connection can be difficult in the pandemic, but Willows says connecting with those around you is still important."So finding ways to connect with the people who we care about and who make us feel like we're part of a community."3\. Step back from the chaosThe pandemic means a lot of unknowns and a lot that is out of our control.Willows says it's important to make "space for mindfulness and for gratitude, to be able to take a step back from the chaos that sometimes surrounds us and really ground ourselves in the present moment."4\. Keep a routineWillows says this one is the hardest for her to stick to, but it is really important.She says it can sometimes seem daunting to complete tasks such as doing the laundry or brushing your teeth, but once you get into the habit of them, they do help you feel like you're more in control of your life."When we hit a big point of stress or when something goes sideways in our lives, knowing that those things are done helps to reduce the stress that we might be feeling," she says."So if you've had a really hard day at work, going home and knowing that whatever choice you made for supper in the morning is actually already almost ready in the crockpot can be really helpful."5\. Start smallWillows acknowledges it can be daunting to make time for self-care so she recommends starting small.> "Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations." — Tayte Willows"Sometimes it can be as much as saying, 'You know what? Three times a week I want to make sure that at lunch I go for a little walk around the block just to get some fresh air, give myself a break, some new scenery,'" she says. "Coming home at the end of the day and having a really nice warm bubble bath or having a really difficult conversation and then soothing that anxiety with a full tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream…. Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations."6\. Stick with itWillows says it takes almost of month of daily practice to form a new habit."Within, you know, the first two or three days of trying something new and practising that new habit, it can be uncomfortable fitting into those new shoes. But we start to feel the effects pretty quickly," she says.She says people often know it's benefiting them when they're better able to deal with stressful situations."They're feeling more at ease and there's less stress that they're physically carrying in their body. So they might feel more relaxed in their shoulders, their jaw and their temple area," she says."Also when something does come up — they get a stressful phone call or they have a difficult encounter with someone who they work with — they feel like they're better able to navigate that because they're already taking care of themselves."7\. Get help when you need itA long walk or a bubble bath can go only so far and Willows says there are situations where additional mental-health care is needed."When we feel like we're having more bad days than good ones, when we're feeling like things are going wrong more frequently than they are going right, that's usually a time to reach out and talk to someone," she says.Another thing to look for, Willows says, is when self-soothing behaviours start to take over. She gave the example of drugs or alcohol. She said if that's numbing out the good things as well as the bad things, it may be time to reach out for help.Willows says another sign it's time to reach out is if you're doing self-care activities and still feeling overwhelmed and stressed.Anyone needing emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving in P.E.I. can contact The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about mental-health services on P.E.I., find resources from Health PEI here, or from the Canadian Mental Health Association P.E.I. Division here.Island Morning will be drawing three names to win a $50 Canada's Food Island gift card. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our talkback line at 1-800-680-1898 and tell us what you're doing for self-care.
In 1993, Snoop Dogg released his debut solo album, “Doggystyle,” under the name Snoop Doggy Dogg. (Nov. 23)