WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
"If I want to forget our province's history, am I racist?The question, written in white block lettering on a large black poster at a Metro Vancouver transit stop, is one of a few currently printed on billboards across the province as part of a public awareness campaign launched this month by B.C.'s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (BCOHRC).The first wave of the campaign rolled out Nov. 16 with signs that simply ask, "Am I racist?" and are part of the office's first major campaign following the 17-year absence of a provincial human rights commissioner.On Nov. 30, the campaign was updated to ask more specific questions about what constitutes racism, such as "If I don't see skin colour, am I racist?" and "If I assume you're not from here, am I racist?"The new signs also direct viewers to an interactive educational experience on BCOHRC's website designed to help British Columbians look deeper at the issue and their own biases.B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender told CBC's The Early Edition Monday the campaign is a direct response to a rise in hate and racism in B.C. that she said was simmering before COVID-19 was linked to a spike in anti-Asian racism."This is a call to self interrogate," she said. "It's a call to look inside and identify the racist stereotypes that we all hold."Vancouver police say they opened 29 investigations into hate crimes that occurred in the months of March, April and May, an almost eight-fold increase compared to the same period last year.According to the BCOHRC, reported hate crimes in B.C. rose by over one third (34 per cent) between 2015 and 2018."Vancouver is particularly bad," said Govender, who also said B.C. appears to be worse when compared to elsewhere in the country.She hopes the campaign will cause people to think about their own value systems, how they were raised, what stereotypes the believe and how they can educate themselves.To begin that education process, people can visit bchumanrights.ca/BeAntiRacist for resources.The campaign runs until Dec. 11.To hear the complete interview with Kasari Govender on The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:
Hamilton may be eligible for a new program to support patients on the wait list for long-term care and their caregivers, the province announced Friday. The community paramedicine program launched by the Ministry of Long-Term Care last month involves paramedics working outside their traditional roles to help seniors on long-term care wait lists stay at home longer. They can provide assessments and referrals, wellness clinics, home visits and remote monitoring. “Paramedics can mobilize very quickly ... you have this skilled profession that can provide the services that people need especially on the medical side,” said Russell King, chief of paramedic services for Brantford-Brant, one of the first five communities to participate in the program when it launched. On Oct. 30, the province announced up to $5 million to expand existing community paramedicine programs to provide at-home care to patients on long-term care wait lists. On Nov. 27, the province named 29 additional communities that could be eligible, including Hamilton, Halton Region, Norfolk County and Niagara Region. Brantford-Brant is in the process of launching the program. Glen Cunnane, community paramedic supervisor, said the program will also support patients and families who decide not to pursue long-term care due to the spread of COVID-19 in facilities. “There may be a little bit of hesitation there that may lead to more people staying at home,” he said, adding the program is expected to reduce emergency room visits by offering 24-7 access to care. The program is fully funded by the province and will also offer home visits, ongoing monitoring, and referrals to home care and community resources. To be eligible, the City of Hamilton must express interest to the ministry and meet other criteria. That includes the ability for the city’s existing community paramedic program to expand “quickly” to support its target population, having enough advanced care paramedics without compromising emergency services and the support of the LHIN. “The long-term setting right now, there just quite simply is not enough beds for the demand,” said Cunnane. “That demand for admission into long-term care is going to continue to grow at a rate quicker than they’re going to be able to build capacity into the system.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
The Northwest Territories and federal governments have announced $1 million in new funding aimed at curbing substance abuse.The funding, allocated to the territorial government will be spent over five years on engagement sessions to develop public awareness campaigns in collaboration with Indigenous governments and NGOs."There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing substance abuse," reads a quote attributed to N.W.T. Health Minister Julie Green in a release sent Monday morning."It is only by working with Indigenous governments and communities on a coordinated approach to take action on alcohol and substance misuse that we will be able to see progress on addressing this serious public health issue."The release highlights the findings of the 2018 N.W.T. addictions survey, which showed that nearly half of men in the territory and four in 10 women reported heavy drinking in the past month, significantly higher than elsewhere in the country.In 2017, the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse and Addictions estimated the per person cost of addiction in the N.W.T. to be more than $2,300 per year. And last year, the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that youth in the N.W.T. were more likely to be hospitalized due to substance abuse than anywhere else in the country. The new funding comes from the Northern Wellness Agreement, which provides additional health funding to territorial governments on an annual basis.The work of the engagement sessions will be led by the Territorial Committee on Problematic Substance Use, which includes representatives from the territorial government, the NWT Association of Communities and members of the public.
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
B.C politicians and local farmers with roots in India's Punjab and Haryana states are asking for calm between farmers there and the Indian government over new rules that could change the amounts producers are paid for their crops."Everybody has the right for peaceful protest and scenes that I'm seeing ... that right to protest is being muffled," said Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh.Farmers in India have been protesting since September when new laws were enacted that may result in the government not buying grain at guaranteed prices.The Indian government is trying to reform agriculture in the country by giving farmers the freedom to market their produce and boost production through private investment.Some farmers are worried they may earn less and be exploited by corporations.Protests in the Punjab and Haryana states by farmers have turned at times into clashes between the farmers and police, who have used tear gas, water cannons and baton charges to push them back.'Strong emotions'The unrest is being closely watched by many people in B.C. who come from the area and still own property there."Their ancestry is from that region.My ancestry is from that region," said Singh. "And most of my constituents, they belong to that sector, the agricultural sector. They come from rural India, rural Punjab and they have strong ties and strong emotions."Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal called out the Indian government on social media this week to say that he was disturbed by the treatment of Punjabi farmers in India."Canada has a long record of speaking out in support of human rights across the globe," he said. "And that is why many caucus members are concerned ... and that's why we are calling for peaceful negotiations and based on ... dialogue."'We have to support them from here'People across B.C. are also adding their voices to those speaking out against the Indian government and its treament of farmers from their home states."We have to support them from here," said Parminder Wander, who farms vegetables and blueberries in Surrey, but has family in the Punjab and owns land there."Farms have general demands but the government of India, they don't want to give them their own benefits."In India, agriculture supports more than half of the country's 1.3 billion people.Rachna Singh says the farming community there needs more respect."They comprise [the] major population of India and Punjab. Being the hub of agriculture, they feed most of India. They bring food on a lot of peoples' tables," she said.
Santa Claus began a series of drive-by tours of Charlottetown Monday night, accompanied by bright lights and sirens. The convoy wound its way through Sherwood-Parkdale east of St. Peters Road, and down to the 500 Lots area south of Euston. The redesigned version of a Christmas parade came about as city staff sought to reduce any possible spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Large gatherings have been discouraged for the last eight months.The "Santa Claus Comes to Town" procession started at 5:30 p.m. Monday, with the city warning drivers they might face minor delays if they found themselves behind Santa's convoy. "The public's co-operation is requested in not parking on the street in their neighbourhood on the evening the Santa Tour is scheduled to pass by," adds a news release from the city.The city has route maps available for the processions over the course of the next five nights, wrapping up Friday, Dec. 4. The other routes are: * Tuesday: Sherwood-Parkdale (between Mount Edward and Brackley Point roads) and the City Centre (north of Euston Street, east of Spring Park Road, and south of Kirkwood Drive-Allen Street). * Wednesday: City Centre (north of Brighton Road-Euston Street, west of University Avenue, and south of Capital Drive). * Thursday: East Royalty, Hillsborough Park, and Sherwood-Parkdale (between Brackley Point and St. Peters roads). * Friday: Winsloe and West Royalty.People are encouraged to watch the parade from their own windows or property. If it doesn't pass your house, you can take your family to a parking lot that is on the route, but people are encouraged to watch from inside their vehicles or gather with only close family members if outside.More from CBC P.E.I.:
Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts. Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle Corp, meaning it must bear costs for free users. "We expect gross margins to be consistent with Q3 into the next fiscal year before starting to improve towards our long-term target margin," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said.
VANCOUVER — A legal battle over a missing diamond-encrusted eagle statue valued at nearly $1 million will continue, more than four years after the artwork was stolen during a robbery in Delta, B.C.In a unanimous ruling issued Monday, the B.C. Court of Appeal has sided with Lloyd's Underwriters and agreed that a default judgment against the insurer should be set aside.Ron Shore, president of a company called Forgotten Treasures International, won the judgment in 2018 requiring Lloyd's to pay a claim for the loss of the sparkling statue.Court documents show Lloyd's denied Shore's claim, arguing he violated conditions of the insurance policy, including that the statue be constantly safeguarded by two people.The eight-kilogram gold creation studded with 763 diamonds and appraised at $930,000 was going to be the final prize in an international cancer fundraiser.Justice Peter Voith agreed with a B.C. Supreme Court decision that set aside the default judgment, saying the insurer appears to have solid evidence to oppose the claim.On its website, the Supreme Court says default judgments can be filed against defendants if they fail to respond to the notice of a civil lawsuit, do not comply with the rules or a response to a civil claim is withdrawn.With the default judgment set aside, the matter may return to Shore's civil claim filed in May 2018, alleging breach of contract and failure to investigate the insurance claim in a timely manner, among other things.The statue remains missing after Shore reported it was taken in May 2016 by what the court describes as "unknown assailants'' as he placed a knapsack carrying the statue in the trunk of his car.Shore made an emotional plea for the return of the statue at a news conference shortly after it was taken, saying two men ambushed him, hit him over the head with a large flashlight and stole the eagle, plus a less-valuable decoy.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
A forensic psychiatrist testified in court Monday about whether Alek Minassian's autism could be a reason to find him not criminally responsible for the deaths of 10 people in the Toronto van attack, a potential finding the autism community is concerned could stigmatize their members.
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business. COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defence policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office. The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package that's a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others. McConnell is focusing on confirming Trump's remaining judicial nominations, including a vote Monday on a district judge in Mississippi and at least one additional appeals court vacancy. Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol's emerging status as a COVID-19 hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule, and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It'll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what's possible, but those haven't transpired yet. Top items for December's lame-duck session: ___ KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OPEN At a bare minimum, lawmakers need to keep the government running by passing a stopgap spending bill known as a continuing resolution, which would punt $1.4 trillion worth of unfinished agency spending into next year. That's a typical way to deal with a handoff to a new administration, but McConnell and Pelosi are two veterans of the Capitol's appropriations culture and are pressing hard for a catchall spending package. A battle over using budget sleight of hand to add a 2 percentage point, $12 billion increase to domestic programs to accommodate rapidly growing veterans health care spending is an issue, as are Trump's demands for U.S-Mexico border wall funding. Getting Trump to sign the measure is another challenge. Two years ago he sparked a lengthy partial government shutdown over the border wall, but both sides would like to clear away the pile of unfinished legislation to give the Biden administration a fresh start. The changeover in administrations probably wouldn't affect an omnibus deal very much. At issue are the 12 annual spending bills comprising the portion of the government's budget that passes through Congress each year on a bipartisan basis. Whatever approach passes, it’s likely to contain a batch of unfinished leftovers such as extending expiring health care policies and continuing the authorization for the government’s flood insurance program. ___ COVID-19 RELIEF Democrats have battled with Republicans and the White House for months over a fresh installment of COVID-19 relief that all sides say they want. But a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to embark on compromises that might lead either side out of their political comfort zones have helped keep another rescue package on ice. The aid remains out of reach despite a fragile economy and out-of-control increases in coronavirus cases, especially in Midwest GOP strongholds. McConnell has supplanted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the most important Republican force in the negotiations, but he hasn't shown much openness for politically difficult compromises required for a COVID-19 deal that might anger conservatives. Neither have McConnell's warnings of a wave of COVID-related lawsuits against businesses, schools and nonprofits open during the pandemic come to pass, undercutting his demand for blanket protections against such suits. Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position, but she is holding firm on another round of aid to state and local governments. Before the election, Trump seemed to be focused on a provision that would send another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans. He hasn't shown a lot of interest in the topic since, apart from stray tweets. But the chief obstacles now appear to be Pelosi's demand for state and local government aid and McConnell's demand for a liability shield for businesses reopening during the pandemic. At stake is funding for vaccines and testing, reopening schools, various economic “stimulus" ideas like another round of “paycheque protection” subsidies for businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic. Failure to pass a measure now would vault the topic to the top of Biden's legislative agenda next year. ___ Defence POLICY A spat over military bases named for Confederate officers is threatening the annual passage of a defence policy measure that has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis. The measure is critical in the defence policy world, guiding Pentagon policy and cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals. Both the House and Senate measures would require the Pentagon to rename bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood, but Trump opposes the idea and has threatened a veto over it. The battle erupted this summer amid widespread racial protests, and Trump used the debate to appeal to white Southern voters nostalgic about the Confederacy. It's a live issue in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber during the first two years of Biden’s tenure. Democrats are insisting on changing the names and it's not obvious how it'll all end up. Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
A retired Kemptville College teacher of sewing and fashion design has made more than 50 parkas from recycled wool blankets since the pandemic started in March. “Creativity is a strength, it gives you value. I like making something out of nothing,” Janet Stark said. A coat maker and a trained tailor, Stark explained that she wanted to keep busy, to “keep out of trouble” during the lockdown. When her husband started working from home in March, Stark started sewing in her workshop as well, and showed her creations to her husband at the end of the day. “I didn’t realize how many pieces I had done (until I looked) at the racks and they were full. It’s almost like the project was given to me. It didn’t seem hard. They just came out of my hands one after another,” she said. Using blankets, scarves, shawls and afghans, Stark sources her materials from thrift shops and gives them new life by adding embroidery, appliqué, fur, leather and fancy buttons and trims to make each piece unique. She laughed when she said her collection seems to be growing “and having babies.” Stark has been using a Linda MacPhee pattern for her parkas, one that she has used since 1984. An intricately appliqued, hand-stitched adult parka takes her up to 15 hours to make, while a child’s coat takes about four to five hours. Her parkas sell from $100 up to $500. “I really think that if people are spending that kind of money, they need to feel them, try them on and see them,” she said. Stark will be selling and displaying her parkas at the Brockville Christmas Market held at 125 Stewart Boulevard in Brockville on Dec. 5 from 12 to 5 p.m. She’s already looking forward to making more coats, as she has already started collecting blankets and shawls from Scotland, Ireland and Canada. “I have 12 kits ready to go again. Sewing is a great stress relief,” Stark said. For more information, call 613-258-3323 or visit www.facebook.com/JanetsArtisanCoats This story is part of a series, COVID-19 Hobbies, featuring hobbies and unique projects people have taken on locally during the pandemic.Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
Saskatchewan now has the third-highest rate of cases in Canada, behind the two other prairie provinces Manitoba and Alberta. Saskatchewan reported 325 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases of COVID-19 in the province was 307 per 100,000 population as of Sunday. The province reported two more deaths due to COVID-19.The two residents who died after testing positive for COVID-19 lived in the south central and south east zones. Both individuals were in the 80 and up age category. A total of 47 deaths have been reported in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.Of the 8,564 total reported cases in Saskatchewan, 3,879 are considered active. A total of 4,638 people have recovered to date, with 49 recovered on Monday. Saskatoon is the hot spot with 125 new cases announced Monday. Of the other new cases, nine are located in the far north west, 14 in the far north east, 23 in the north west, 27 in the north central, nine in the north east, one in the central west, 10 in the central east, 62 in Regina 22 in the south west eight in the south central and 13 in the south east zones.Two of the new cases have pending locations.There are currently 123 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 100 of whom are receiving general impatient care. One patient is in the far north west, eight are in the north west, eight are in the north central, three are in the north east, 33 are in Saskatoon, one is in the central east, 26 are in Regina, one is in the south west, one is in the south central and 18 are in the south east zones.Twenty-three people are in intensive care, with three in the north central, 14 in Saskatoon and six in Regina.Cut down on contactsThe province is asking Saskatchewan residents to keep their contacts low. Based on the current confirmed cases, public health estimates that there are more than 6,600 reported contacts requiring follow-up in the province. According to the province, a close contact is anyone that you have spent 15 minutes or more with, within the two metres of physical distancing. The province also notes: * You should be able to count your close contacts on one hand. * Your close contacts should be the members of your immediate household who you eat with, hug and see without requiring a mask. * Although not close contacts, the province asks residents to consider all their weekly contacts whether in the classroom or at the workplace.
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is to start lifting a two-week lockdown on Wednesday as more people infected with COVID-19 recover. The lockdown that shuttered all schools and non-essential businesses was put in place on Nov. 18 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that first appeared in the territory early this month.Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer, said Monday that 73 people had recovered from COVID-19 and 108 cases remained active. There were also four new cases, bringing Nunavut's total to 181.No one who contracted COVID-19 in Nunavut has been hospitalized. Patterson said that's partly because more than half of the infections have been in residents under the age of 40.Only Arviat, which had 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks, said Paterson. Travel to the community will still be restricted."Until we can be absolutely certain that there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in Arviat, restrictions will remain in effect for that community," Patterson told a news conference. Arviat is experiencing "an infectious disease outbreak in crowded housing," so cases might continue to rise for a bit longer, he added."There is a chance that it will continue to spread for a little bit even within the houses that we've identified." There were still eight active cases in Rankin Inlet and 14 in Whale Cove, but Patterson said there has been no community transmission in either community, so restrictions can be eased. "We've identified all the houses that have cases of COVID-19 and all recent transmission in those two communities has been related to the people living in those houses," he said. "The risk of it spreading elsewhere is small and less than the harms associated with the very strict measures that are in place."Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove are all coastal communities in the Kivalliq region on the western edge of Hudson Bay and have borne the brunt of the outbreak.Schools will be allowed to open in both Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, but elementary school students will attend three days a week and high school students will attend two days weekly on staggered schedules. Government offices and all businesses will be allowed to open, but physical distancing will have to be maintained.Travel to and from Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet will also be allowed starting Wednesday, but Patterson said his office still strongly advises against non-essential travel.Outdoor gatherings in the two communities will be restricted to 50 people, while gatherings in homes will have to stick to household members plus 10 others. Arenas have to remain closed, as well as hair salons and barber shops. Restaurants can only be open for takeout. Gyms will only be able to offer space for solo workouts.In communities with no COVID-19 cases, students will attend school two to three days a week on staggered schedules.Restaurants will be allowed to open at half capacity. Businesses will be able to operate as long as people maintain physical distancing. Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 50 people and gatherings in homes will be limited to the household plus 15 people. Arenas and personal services will also be able to resume.Patterson warned that if another outbreak were to occur, restrictions would be reintroduced. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials are reporting more COVID-19 deaths among younger patients and ongoing high case numbers, more than two weeks after strict measures were enacted on public gatherings and businesses. A man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s were among the 11 deaths announced Monday. The death of the youngest person to date — a boy under 10 — was announced Saturday. "We continue to announce many deaths every day," said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer. "I think we all know we can't continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down. We can't keep losing this many Manitobans." Roussin did not reveal details about the boy who died or his age. Roussin did say the child had underlying health conditions and the case was not acquired in a school. So far, 312 people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba. About 80 per cent of deaths recorded up to Nov. 21 have involved people 65 and over, provincial data charts indicate. Roussin has previously said that while severe outcomes occur predominantly among older people, the novel coronavirus can affect people of any age. The province reported 342 new COVID-19 cases Monday. It said 44 people with COVID-19 were in intensive care and there were only five beds available. Health officials were looking at opening up a new 14-bed intensive care unit in a Winnipeg hospital. "Our health system is at risk of being overwhelmed if we can't reduce these daily case counts," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health. In an effort to turn the tide, the government forced many non-essential retail outlets to close and banned public gatherings of more than five people on Nov. 12. That has prevented the daily number of new COVID-19 cases count from rising higher, Roussin said, citing projections of up to 1,000 cases a day by early December. But the number has remained steady rather than dropping. The percentage of people testing positive has also remained very high at 13 per cent. "We need to decrease the number of contacts we have, and that's just a given," Roussin said. "We have a fairly consistent secondary attack rate … about 14 per cent of contacts will develop COVID. And so if we decrease the amount of total contacts, we're going to decrease the amount of cases." The ban on gatherings has faced challenges from a couple of churches. One in a rural area outside of Steinbach was fined for hosting a service earlier in the month. RCMP were stationed at the church's parking lot entrance on Sunday to turn away people arriving by car. A church in Winnipeg hosted four drive-in services on the weekend and asked people to remain in their cars while a pastor spoke from a stage. Drive-in services were allowed during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring, but have been banned during the recent spike in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. "The more people you have coming together at the same time, the more likely you're going to have some sort of gathering, some sort of transmission go on there," Roussin said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.”In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines, and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence.Powell's remarks were prepared for a joint appearance he will make on Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee. The hearing is part of the panel's oversight responsibilities required under the multi-trillion economic support legislation Congress passed in the spring..Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Nova Scotia Power customers will shell out $172 million in 2021 to pay for the Maritime Link, the transmission system built to bring electricity from the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador across the Cabot Strait into Nova Scotia.Regulators approved the charge Monday, but in an unusual move asked NSP's parent company, Emera, to reduce shareholder returns because benefits from the Maritime Link have been "grossly overestimated."The cost recovery approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will not raise customer bills because it has been factored into rates.The $1.5-billion link was completed in 2017 but has not carried a single kilowatt of electricity from Muskrat Falls into the province because of delays and overruns at the hydro dam site in Labrador and a receiving station in Newfoundland.Nova Scotia ratepayers, however, have been paying for the Maritime Link since it became operational in 2018.The link is owned by a subsidiary of Emera, Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link. The company had assured the utility and review board the project would be a net benefit for ratepayers in Nova Scotia since the link can carry electricity the other way into Newfoundland.Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link estimated those benefits at $120 million per year. In reality, the line has made just $5 million a year."Customers have gotten considerably less than they bargained for," said Bill Mahody, consumer advocate representing NSP's 444,000 residential customers.Mahody and lawyers representing NSP's industrial customers asked the review board to reduce the rate of return Emera earns on its investment in the link from nine per cent to 8.75 percent."I appreciate the Maritime Link offers a long-term benefit for customers. There's no question about that. And once the Nova Scotia block is flowing, we'll be in a much better position. But until that flows, it would be appropriate for this utility to consider taking less of an equity return for a period of time," Mahody said."It is somewhat unique, but it is a fair balance, I would suggest, between the risks that ratepayers have been burying now for several years."The company objected, and on Monday the regulator said it did not have evidence before it to unilaterally cut the return, costing shareholders $1.4 million in 2021. But it asked the company to voluntarily lower its rate of return."NSPML and NS Power grossly overestimated the value the Maritime Link would provide, even absent the Nova Scotia Block," the board wrote."Given the gross overestimation of the benefits of the Maritime Link versus the actual benefits as noted above, and given the costs of the further delays caused by COVID-19, which are being entirely borne by ratepayers, the Board believes it very reasonable to ask NSPML to reconsider its position."On Monday, the review board approved a cost to be recovered in 2021 from NSP ratepayers, pending a response in one week to its request that the company voluntarily reduce its rate of return.The company did not provide a response to CBC News for this story.MORE TOP STORIES
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Film history fans will get a meal out of David Fincher’s “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who is masterfully played by Gary Oldman. Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Mank” transports you into the depression era studio system, Upton Sinclair’s bid for governor, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies’s elegant parties and to that bungalow in Victorville where the first draft of the classic Orson Welles film was composed. Available on Netflix on Friday, “Mank” is one of the year’s very best films and both a tribute to and searing critique of Hollywood’s golden age. Amanda Seyfried, as Davies, is one of the great performances of the year. — Another film full of excellent performances is “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed as a punk metal drummer who experiences sudden severe hearing loss. The film, which is captioned in English, dives into the world of the deaf community with Ruben (Ahmed) in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. It’s the directorial debut of Darius Marder (a writer on “The Place Beyond the Pines”), who assembled an crack team of sound mixers and editors to create a unique auditory experience to simulate what Ruben is going through as he loses his hearing entirely. — If $30 was a little steep for your tastes to rent the new live-action “Mulan,” it’ll finally be free for Disney+ subscribers Friday. From director Niki Caro, this adaptation of the Chinese folk tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army, is breathtakingly beautiful, from the stunning landscapes to the colorful costumes. Although it may fall short on the kind of intoxicating story magic that the Disney label signifies, it is worth a watch and may just inspire some curious young viewers to delve into more Asian cinema classics. Also, if you find yourself missing the songs and Eddie Murphy, the animated 1998 version is also available on the service. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr MUSIC — A house is not a home during the holiday season if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not blasting – daily! During a normal, non-pandemic year, Carey and her Christmas craziness would be on a holiday tour, bringing joy to fans and lambs in-person. Because live shows aren’t really a thing in 2020, she’s launching a holiday TV special on Apple TV+ on Friday. “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” will includes a mix of musical performances and dancing with amination. Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland and Carey’s 9-year-old twins, son Moroccan and daughter Monroe, will make special appearances. — Shawn Mendes released his debut album in 2015 and he’s dropping his fourth effort Friday. “Wonder” continues to showcase Mendes’ growth as a singer, songwriter and performer. The album features the singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot chart this week. Along with the album is the Netflix documentary called “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” which is available for streaming and follows Mendes’ rise and journey over the last few years. — Christmas came early when Carrie Underwood released her first holiday album in September, and on Thursday she’ll debut a musical TV special to accompany the album. On HBO Max’s “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood” — conducted by award-winning musical director Rickey Minor — the country superstar is backed by a live orchestra, choir and her band. John Legend makes a special appearance and viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah, recording his vocals for their version of “Little Drummer Boy.” — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — “Selena: The Series” is described by Netflix as a coming-of-age drama that follows Selena Quintanilla from talented youngster to musical phenom, aided by her family. A breakthrough star in male-dominated Tejano music, the singer was just shy of her 24th birthday in 1995 when she was fatally shot by a former business associate. The two-part series debuts Friday with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) as Selena and Gabriel Chavarria (“East Los Angeles’) and Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) among the cast members. — The 11th and final season of the Showtime dramady “Shameless” debuts 9 p.m. EST Sunday, weaving the pandemic, urban gentrification and personal pressures into the lives of the Gallaghers of Chicago’s South Side. Aging patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) is facing the toll of longtime alcohol and drug abuse, while and Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) struggle as newlyweds. Deb (Emma Kenney) stands ready to give her all to single motherhood and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) feels the same about his nascent law enforcement career. — Two respected veterans are behind “A Suitable Boy,” a limited series directed by filmmaker Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”) and written by Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “House of Cards”). An adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1,300-plus page novel of the same name, the 1950s, India-set drama revolves around a university student who’s shaping his identity as his newly independent country does the same. The all-Indian lead cast includes Tabu (“The Namesake,” “Life of Pi”) and Tanya Maniktala. The series debuts Dec. 7, on Acorn TV. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
Madi Muggridge was 13 when she first reached out to a suicide hotline. After searching online for somewhere to turn, she found a chat-based crisis service and sent a note asking for help. Several hours passed with no response. “I sat there for three hours with the (screen) in front of me, and no one ever got on,” Muggridge said. “It really disappointed me, and I felt more alone than when I even started trying to contact them.” Muggridge’s sense of helplessness quickly grew. She wrote a suicide note the next day for her parents and left the house. It was only after a loved one reached out in time that she turned back home. “My family was able to get me help, but I know not everyone has that support system,” she said. Six years later, Muggridge, now 19 and living in London, Ont., is working towards ensuring every Canadian has support to turn to when they need it. Inspired by a U.S. decision in July to create a three-digit national suicide hotline, Muggridge quickly launched a Change.org campaign asking Canadian lawmakers to do the same. But she is also calling on politicians to take it a step further and implement a national dispatch service for people experiencing a mental health crisis that is separate from police and 911 services, citing incidents where people were harmed or killed by police during wellness checks. Now, members of the federal Conservative Party are listening, and have called on the prime minister to implement a 988 hotline in Canada. But the political will towards making the line a reality does not include the emergency dispatch service Muggridge hopes for — at least not yet. Todd Doherty, the MP for Cariboo-Prince George and the special adviser on mental health and wellness to Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, began the conversation in the House of Commons by tabling a motion in October calling for the creation of a 988 line. He said it would be similar to the 10-digit line currently run by Crisis Services Canada, but it would be a streamlined, three-digit line that would be easier for people in crisis to remember. Muggridge, however, sees that as only a start, and hopes the line will evolve to also offer dispatch services separate from police to those in crisis. “If some day they were able to make it a number that is more of an emergency line for mental health, where people can come to you, that would be the best overall outcome,” she said. Muggridge’s petition, which launched in July and has garnered almost 30,000 signatures, said a three-digit number separate from 911 ensures “individuals will instead be met with the people who are most adequately trained to help them,” like medical and mental health professionals. The petition also mentions people in crisis have been “killed or harmed after police are called for a mental health emergency,” and that risk is especially high for those who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour. “I feel 911 is overwhelmed with so many mental health emergencies, and I also feel like they’re not always the most equipped to deal with them,” Muggridge told the Star. Police forces in Canada, such as the Toronto Police Service and the York Regional Police Service, have Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams that include social workers and nurses to assist officers during a mental health crisis call. Toronto police’s team responded to more than 6,400 calls in 2019, according to police. But calls persist in Toronto and elsewhere to implement mental health crisis services that are entirely separate from police, particularly following the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, an Afro-Indigenous Toronto woman who died in May after police were called to her apartment for a mental health issue. Currently, the U.S. line, which was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act for a 2022 rollout, does not include dispatch services. It will also not replace the national, 10-digit suicide hotline and will instead work alongside it. The American line will cost around $570 million (U.S.) in its first year, according to a report by the FCC. Almost half of that amount will be a one-time fee to replace the phone infrastructure necessary to implement the line across the United States. In an interview with the Star, Doherty lauded the U.S. decision as a game-changer and one that should be followed swiftly and harmoniously in Canada. “We want to try to remove every barrier possible for those that are seeking help,” Doherty said, adding it’s especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where calls to national suicide hotlines in Canada increased over 200 per cent. “This is a non-partisan issue,” Doherty said, adding it is about saving lives. Since tabling his motion, Doherty has contacted Muggridge and shared her petition online to signal growing support for a 988 line. He has also brought up the idea several times in the House of Commons while his motion awaits debate, asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to commit to implementing the line. John Barlow, the Conservative MP for Foothills, on Thursday also called on the government to set up the 988 system in Canada, citing a growing suicide and opioid overdose crisis in Alberta. Hajdu responded on the floor and said she is “very interested” in the idea of a hotline, though she called on Barlow to encourage Alberta to reverse its decision of closing a safe consumption site in the province, “which is making it harder for people who use opioids to stay alive.” Absent from any discourse on the political floor, however, is Muggridge’s call to develop a nationwide dispatch line for those in a mental health crisis. Doherty said he had no problem with the idea of implementing a dispatch line separate from police. But the focus at the moment, he added, is to implement a national suicide prevention hotline that is easily accessible. “We know an abundance of calls for RCMP or police or fire and paramedics are in response to mental health crisis calls, and sometimes they’re not the ones that are the most equipped,” Doherty said. But what the final iteration of the three-digit line will look like, he added, is to be determined by others, including government and national mental associations. “I think the critical first step right now is getting the minister to agree that we need to bring that simple three-digit number,” he said. Muggridge, who is currently focused on following her passion of becoming an animal protection officer, said she is thankful there is political will behind implementing a more easily accessible national crisis line after her disappointing experience of reaching out for help. Though she reiterated that a three-digit crisis line is only the first step, and she hopes her calls to implement a mental health emergency dispatch line separate from police will not be drowned out. “I’m hoping it starts with the crisis line,” Muggridge said, a step that she said may force politicians to reimagine what responses to mental health crises could look like in the future. If you are thinking of suicide or know someone who is, there is help. Resources are available online at crisisservicescanada.ca or you can connect to the national suicide prevention helpline at 1-833-456-4566, or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star