Catherine McDonald speaks to the mother of Tyran Martelly who has just learned about the disturbing connection.
Catherine McDonald speaks to the mother of Tyran Martelly who has just learned about the disturbing connection.
The Sûreté du Québec have arrested three Montreal men in connection with a data breach that affected thousands of teachers across the province.Frédéric Lapointe, 41, Rath Pak, 41, and Jimmy Saintelien, 39, are each facing charges of fraud, identity theft, possession of counterfeit documents, unauthorized use of credit card data, and unauthorized use of a computer.The provincial Treasury Board announced on Feb. 19 of this year that hackers had accessed the personal records of as many as 360,000 active and retired teachers.The data was contained in a provincial government database, which appears to have been accessed using a stolen user ID and password.The trio's alleged crimes date to the spring of 2018, and occurred "in several regions of Quebec," provincial police said in a statement.The investigation was carried out jointly by the SQ's financial crimes unit and the Quebec Education Ministry.Julie Deslauriers, a kindergarten teacher in Montreal, was one of thousands who received a notice from the government last summer indicating her personal data may have been stolen."I'm more prudent now than I was, more careful about everything," she told CBC News. "I change my passwords more often."Deslaurier said it's a relief that arrests have been made, but said she hopes police have tracked down everyone involved.A union representing 7,500 English-language teachers in Quebec said the incident will leave a lasting impression."You end up having mistrust with the government," said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. "You would suspect that your data would be in good hands, and that's not the case."The hard feelings have been exacerbated by the fact that delivery of the notices warning teachers of potential identity theft were delayed by as long as five months.The government has attributed the delays to the COVID-19 pandemic.The province is paying for five years' worth of credit protection for the teachers whose data may have been accessed.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A lab in Alaska failed to report over 1,600 positive coronavirus tests to the state health department in the past month, according to a state official.Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, said Friday that Beechtree Labs did not report 1,636 positive test results out of 13,169 tests conducted, most of which were done in the last two weeks. Beechtree is a new commercial lab based out of Anchorage.The announcement is a sign that climbing daily case counts reported by the state reflect only a part of total cases, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Castrodale said that understaffing at clinics, labs and the state’s Department of Health and Social Services have also caused backlogs that have affected the entire coronavirus data system.“It’s fair to say that the system is stretched,” Castrodale said.Coleman Cutchins, a clinical pharmacist who leads the state health department's testing effort, said that patients and providers still received their test results from Beechtree within two days.The results not reported to the state include 357 positive cases in Anchorage and 880 positive cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.The state's health department reported its second-highest single day tally of virus cases on Friday with 735 new confirmed cases.The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Whether it's the fresh baked scent, the gooey glaze or the warm insides — doughnuts, those addictive deep fried balls of sugar and carbohydrates — have become a favourite comfort food in the wake of COVID-19.In Metro Vancouver, doughnut makers say the satisfying indulgence has become more popular — and more important than ever before."I think we're an essential service for the head and the heart," said Carol Kaesbauer, the operations manager at Lee's Donuts.The Granville Island institution has been handmaking doughnuts for 40 years. They closed for a renovation in February and were set to reopen in mid-March. But like so many other businesses, the pandemic kept them shuttered.Lee's and other Granville Island merchants worried whether business might have all but dried up since cruise ships — and the tourists that came with them — were banned from entering Vancouver's port.Kaesbauer says they made just a few small batches and nervously reopened at the beginning of April — with no idea lineups would stretch hundreds of metres down the block."It just kind of caught us by surprise. The craziness, the madness," she said.At the Boca Grande Donut Shop in Delta, owner Jeremy Morris says doughnut fans have been coming from North Vancouver, Abbotsford and even Vancouver Island to sample the 20 different varieties on offer. Morris and his wife Crystal scratch-make the doughnuts and say they can't make enough in a day to keep up with demand. A favourite, the very hefty Hot Chocolate Donut is made with toasted marshmallows on top, chocolate mousse in the centre and a white glaze and chocolate drizzle to finish it off. The shop went from being opened five days a week to just three. Total sales, however, have remained about the same, Morris says.His personal favourite is called the Netflix and Chill "which is a butter glaze with salted buttered popcorn and a caramel drizzle."The couple will make 400-500 doughnuts a day on weekends.So wrong, yet so right"It's comfort food," said Daniel Krauss who was enjoying a doughnut on Granville Island recently. "Everyone is pretty fed up right now and it's something cheap and cheery," he said.Will Parker says doughnuts haven't been a go-to snack for him in the past — but he's taken a shine to them since the pandemic."It's a sweet treat like nothing else. You wanna enjoy something in life and doughnuts are that," he said.Not all doughnut makers are experiencing increased sales, however. Despite being a voter favourite, winning first place in the best doughnut category in a Vancouver publication, Cartems Donuts, with its three locations has seen a 70 per cent loss in revenue since the pandemic.Jordan Cash, Cartems founder and CEO says he's thankful to still be up and running when so many other businesses haven't been able to stay afloat. Despite the financial hardship, Cash says the company's goal has always been to brighten someone's day with its handmade confections. "Some sweetness amidst everything" he said. "If we can help people have a better day, that's all that matters."
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
Each time advocates Linda and Lou Van de Vorst speak against impaired driving, they remember the night they lost so much to a drunk driver. “It hurts,” Linda said. “Any kind of presentation we do brings us back to (the early morning of) Jan. 3, 2016.” “Every single presentation brings us back to that time when that phone rings and the police officer is coming into our house to tell us the news.” Their son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren died in the collision. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognized the work that awful experience inspired on Friday. Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Don Morgan and Highways Minister Joe Hargrave presented the Van de Vorsts with the first Robert M. Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy for their advocacy against impaired driving. Presented outside Morgan’s Saskatoon constituency office, the award is named after University of Western Ontario law professor Robert Soloman, who has served as an impaired driving advocate and MADD Canada’s national director of legal policy for 21 years. Hargrave said the Van de Vorsts “worked tirelessly” and made themselves readily available to share their experiences and speak out against impaired driving. This year, SGI reported impaired driving fatalities have declined. In 2019, there were 21 deaths related to impaired driving, compared to 42 the year before. The average yearly number of deaths between 2009 and 2018 is 54, with more recent years trending downward, according to SGI. While 2019 had the lowest number on record, “21 is still 21,” Lou said. “We’ll work to reduce that number further.” The couple also credited the decline in fatalities to changes like the province’s move to tighten impaired driving rules in 2016, and programs to report impaired drivers. In their own work, they’ve spoken to schools and have been active volunteers with MADD. Lou compared stopping impaired driving to past efforts convincing drivers to wear seat belts or asking restaurant guests to smoke outdoors. He encourages people not to lose sight of the dangers of impaired driving during the holidays. Reducing fatalities and injuries will come from a combination of creating and enforcing impaired driving laws, educating the public and taking social responsibility, he added. As the holidays approach, it’s everyone’s responsibility to plan safe ways home. “I do not want to see something happening a week before Christmas, to some poor family where they lose a daughter, or a father and mother, or anybody.”Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Hatter Joe Miller has had just about every obstacle thrown at him by life, but no matter what, he always pushed through. His book, “Who Am I: A Little Book of Hope,” gives the reader an in-depth look at where he came from and everything he persevered through. Miller was born in India about 85 years ago and was an orphan. He was born to an upper-class Indian teenager who was roughly 15, and his father was a European soldier who was fighting there at the time. His mother could not take care of him, so he was given to a friend of hers who had other children. He was then given to a convent on Aug. 15, 1935, the day he acknowledges as his birthday. “My dad doesn’t know exactly how old he is or even who his parents are. He doesn’t know what his real name is,” said Mark Miller, Joe’s son. Though he had been through so much at such a young age, Joe’s journey was just beginning. He was adopted out to a woman named Ms. Miller, who used him for labour and physically abused him. “He was basically a slave,” said Mark. “She beat him unconscious. One day he woke up and just ran away.” Joe travelled 9,000 miles on foot over the next five years of his life, a trek he started at maybe five years old. “He stole food to stay alive – he did what he had to do to wake up the next day,” said Mark. “He ended up in a British Air Force camp where he befriended a man named Nelson Taylor. “He was adopted by the Taylors, and on Boxing Day of 1945 he arrived in England.” With the Taylors, Joe was finally able to learn essential skills like reading and writing. Joe’s first job was as with the London Electricity Board, and he eventually met his wife Beryl while in England. The couple are happily married to this day and live together in Medicine Hat. They have two kids and four grandchildren. “Through so much, Dad was always able to pick himself up and keep on going through so much adversity,” said Mark. “He’s done so much over the years and we’re so proud of him.” The book is the first half of Joe’s story and takes the reader up to the point where he and Beryl have their first child. The second part is in the works and does not have a set release date. The cover features a photo of Joe when he was seven or eight years old, and the black handwriting over the photo is his, written at a young age. Joe started writing in 1957 and has worked on the book sporadically over the years. The Miller family met a writer recently who connected with the story and has worked on it with the family since. Joe’s book was released Friday and the Miller family is waiting for the listing to appear on Amazon. People can buy physical copies there, and it will also be available on Kindle E-Reader. To stay up to date with the book and its sequel, search for ‘Who Am I’ on Facebook and look for book’s cover.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
LONDON — The British government said Saturday that it had struck an agreement with France to double the number of French police patrolling beaches in the country's north in an attempt to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats. Britain’s Home Office said Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had agreed on the measure as part of efforts to make the route “unviable” for people-smugglers. The agreement also will boost surveillance using “drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras,” the U.K. said. It said the two countries had agreed to spend 31.4 million euros ($41 million) on the measures. Migrants have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain — usually in trucks or on ferries —and the issue has long strained relations between the two countries. Many migrants appear to have turned to small boats organized by smugglers during the coronavirus pandemic because virus restrictions have reduced traffic between France and Britain. More than 8,000 people have made the dangerous journey so far this year, up from about 1,800 in all of 2019. Last month, a family from Iran, including two parents and their children aged 6 and 9, died when their boat capsized in the Channel. Their 15-month-old son is missing and presumed drowned. Aid and human rights groups say the best way to stop the journeys is to provide safe routes for people to seek asylum in Britain. The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a man who recently returned to the province from the United States. Health officials say the man in his 50s in the Eastern Health region travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s on Nov. 25.The province is asking anyone who travelled on the same flight to call 811 to arrange a COVID-19 test.Meanwhile, officials say the second confirmed case is a female in the Eastern Health region in her 60s.She is a member of the same household of a previously known case, which was connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank. Newfoundland and Labrador has 32 active cases of COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 as case numbers continue to mount in Atlantic Canada. Health officials say all four of the cases announced Saturday are in the Fredericton region, with three of those infected between the ages of 20 and 29 and one under the age of 19. All four of the latest patients are self-isolating, and health officials are investigating how they contracted the novel coronavirus. The most recent cases bring the total number of active diagnoses in New Brunswick to 111. The province pulled out of the Atlantic bubble on Friday amid rising COVID-19 cases across the region. All visitors to New Brunswick – including from the Atlantic region – now must register before entering the province and isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the number of active cases in New Brunswick totaled 118. In fact, the number is 111.
York Regional Police has launched its annual holiday RIDE program in the hopes of convincing people not to drink and drive."We consider a suspected impaired driver a crime in progress and you should never hesitate to call 911," Cecile Hammond, deputy chief of the force, said on Friday night at a news conference in Markham.The program, which began on Friday, runs until New Year's Eve. Police have laid more than 1,600 impaired driving-related charges in York Region this year. More than 4,400 calls have been made to police from citizens reporting impaired drivers in 2020. Police have investigated two fatal crashes this year in which alcohol or drug impaired driving is believed to be a factor.The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the police service to change its RIDE program somewhat and the community should expect to see RIDE spot checks in places this year where they may not have been previously. Those places include back roads and residential neighbourhoods, which police said impaired drivers are using to avoid police."We know that the locations where people often consume alcohol have changed as bars, clubs and restaurants have been either closed or have reduced capacity," Hammond said."If you still feel that drinking, or using drugs, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is worth the risk, despite the high probability of being caught, the criminal charges, the criminal record, the legal fees, insurance costs and the embarrassment that will follow, what about the possibility of killing innocent people?" Hammond asked.Hammond said drivers need to make the right choice.'Just don't get behind the wheel,' says woman who lost dadNirusha Mahendram, a woman who lost her father to impaired driving, also spoke at the news conference. Her father, Mahendram Sellathurai, 68, was killed on Dec. 31, 2019 at about 7:20 p.m. His death came the day before her 30th birthday.Stanley Choy, 40, was travelling nearly 200 km/h with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he struck Sellathurai's car. Choy was sentenced to seven years in prison, Hammond said. "The trauma doesn't end. The suffering does not end," Mahendram told reporters in front of a check spot in Markham. Four months earlier, she had lost her mother."That night had just practically changed my entire life for me. My goals, my future, any life plans that I had had been shattered in a moment," Mahendram said."The only word I can hang onto is the word hope, hope for change, the hope that the police officers here, and those of you who are watching, help to make sure that everyone gets home safe," she added.For anyone who is considering driving even the slightest bit impaired, she said: "Don't. Just don't get behind the wheel."She said her father was a "kind, loving" man who was hard working and a "go-getter who would not let an opportunity slide by." He was always smiling and would never argue, she said.Her father had been out getting groceries and had stopped to grab dinner for the family before he was killed.Mahendram shared her story just metres away from where her father was killed and where police set up its first stop check of the RIDE campaign.Jennifer Neville-Lake, who lost her three children and father to a impaired driving crash in 2015, was also at the news conference to lend her support for the campaign.
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A;) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week. “You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home case services. All the result of one transmission.” The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved. “He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.” One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A; Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared. “At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.” Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19. “One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.” Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise. “Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added. Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca. “The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
BOSTON — They might have gotten there faster by walking, but at any rate, these endangered turtles had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Bad weather, a damaged propeller and an unscheduled stop in Tennessee complicated the rescue of 30 critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that were among hundreds recently found on the beaches of Cape Cod, stunned and almost killed by falling ocean temperatures. Volunteers and conservation experts initially took the turtles to the New England Aquarium in Boston and the National Marine Life Center on Buzzards Bay, where they began the long rehabilitation process before being moved to wildlife centres along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. A batch of 30 New Orleans-bound turtles had a harder trip than most. Their plane left Wednesday but had to change course and refuel twice because of storms and strong winds. A rock kicked up during takeoff after the second refuelling , in Chattanooga, damaged the propeller and grounded the plane. Staff members of the Tennessee Aquarium collected the animals and cared for them overnight. On Thanksgiving, the turtles were loaded onto a shuttle bus borrowed from the airport and driven the rest of the way to New Orleans, arriving on Thanksgiving Day. “When we learned the plane could not reach its final destination, a flurry of calls went out, and within an hour, we had safe, warm overnight housing secured for these turtles," said Connie Merigo, manager of the New England Aquarium's marine animal rescue department. The turtles appear to be in good condition at their new home, operated by the Audubon Nature Institute’s Coastal Wildlife Network, but they will require significant care before they can be released back into the wild, according to the New England Aquarium. Kemp's ridley turtles are the smallest sea turtles in the world, growing to a little over 2 feet. They are found in the Atlantic as far north as Nova Scotia but are seen most often in the Gulf of Mexico. The Associated Press
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
Despite new provincial restrictions introduced this week, large crowds descended on Chinook Centre during Black Friday sales — and Calgary police say a couple of instances quickly got out of control. Multiple fights broke out Friday evening, police confirmed, and officers escorted a "whole bunch" of unruly patrons out of the facility. No charges were laid. At this point, Calgary police Staff Sgt. Mike Calhoun said the emphasis remains on education rather than enforcement — but that could change. "We're starting on giving warnings," Calhoun said. "If we're starting to see [people] not complying, we'll move to enforcement." Cadillac Fairview, which owns the mall, said a group of youth "impeded traffic flow and caused disturbances" throughout the mall, which resulted in numerous police officers attending the site to escort them from the facility. "We will continue to work closely with CPS, who will have a presence again on site today and support our efforts to ensure customers' shopping experience and safety is not hindered," Cadillac Fairview said in a statement. The company said it was actively monitoring capacity levels throughout the holiday shopping season to fall in line with the province's new restrictions. The facility has also implemented additional measures like enhanced cleaning protocols, signage, directional arrows and installation of barriers where required. 'It makes me feel awful' Taylor Tuffnell, who works in the mall, said she saw multiple "huge gatherings" of shoppers moving through the hallways. "All of a sudden, another huge wave started happening," Tuffnell said. "So I was like, this is awful! So I'm going to do something [about] this, because this shouldn't be happening right now." In a recording shared to social media, Tuffnell captured the busy hallways within the facility, a scene that wouldn't look out of place in a regular year. "It is Black Friday, so we were expecting the mall to be pretty busy," she said. "[But we had] people hanging out, talking in the hallways, blocking entrances and lineups. That's basically what [the posts were] showcasing, just how many people were chilling at the mall." Tuffnell said it's hard to say how this year might compare to Black Fridays of years past, but said it "felt like so much more" because many were chatting and hanging out instead of shopping. "It made me feel awful. I love my store, I love my job, I love going to work every day," she said. "But I am also filled with this overwhelming anxiety when I see these situations, because I have family too. "To see people taking it lightly and hanging out in malls, instead of going out for essentials for Christmas shopping, holiday shopping, it's so disheartening." Tuffnell said she hoped that people attending malls would follow implemented safety protocols. "[If not], I would just say, guys, stay home," she said. "If you're not going to buy things in the mall, just stay home." New provincial restrictions New mandatory restrictions announced by the province this week require businesses that can remain open to limit their capacity to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy. Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Friday that about 700 peace officers in Alberta would be given the authority to enforce the province's health orders. Madu said the province is ready to enforce the new rules, but added that Alberta is not asking officers to "harass responsible Albertans going about their everyday lives." "My expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable," Madu said at the news conference. "I think you are going to see a heightened level of enforcement in those cases where there are individuals who are blatantly not compliant with the health measures." WATCH | Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces new COVID-19 restrictions for Alberta Speaking earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney said his government will re-evaluate the new restrictions on Dec. 15 and impose stricter measures should case numbers continue to rise at the current rate. "We will continue to assess it, but we're not going to let political pressure or ideological approaches to cause indiscriminate damage to people's lives and livelihoods," Kenney said. "We're going to protect the health-care system using targeted measures. We'll have to be more restrictive if they don't work."
Malyah Jackson wants everyone to know how hurtful racism is and her presentation to the F.J. McElligott Secondary School student body this week offered personal experience. It came after schools in the Near North District School Board spent a big part of the month participating in an anti-bullying campaign featuring videos and guest speakers promoting inclusiveness. One of films impacted Jackson and prompted her to speak out. “I've been going to this school for three years now,” the Grade 11 student said. “I come from a black family, but with a white mother that loves us for who we are. She doesn't see our colour. She sees us as people.” Jackson, whose skin isn’t as dark as her father’s skin, said she tried to pass for being white because of what people said about black people. “I used to never tell people that I was black because I was really ashamed of my colour. I would deny that I was black,” she said, describing what it was like to be living in the confusing space between two races. “I was so torn about it, I didn't feel like I should be myself. I felt like I wasn't good enough.” Jackson, who turns 16 years old on Sunday, said her outlook changed as she learned more about what was going on with racism around the world. “One day, I eventually realized that light-skinned or beautiful black people are beautiful. My colour is just as beautiful as every other black person,” she said. For a long time, she wouldn’t fight the racism. “I let people say racial slurs against black people towards me. I let them call me the N-word. I let them say every racial slur in the book,” she said, explaining they would even seek her permission. “They would ask me if I cared if they say this … I would always respond with no, because at the moment I did not care.” An incident in class, where a movie about racism was being shown, led to the presentation. Jackson described how she was triggered by a scene where a black actor was shot by a police officer while reaching to grab his comb. Jackson blamed the teacher for not understanding how that scene would affect a black student but realized she was just trying to educate the other students about racism. After speaking to her guidance counsellor and the North Bay Multiculturalism Centre, she arranged to speak at her school. “It was more than just a movie to me,” she said about how all the real police killings and the Black Lives Matter protests this year brought everything into the light for her. “Being racist, saying racial slurs and jokes are not funny,” she said, adding she was encouraged to speak about it as one of the only black girls in the school. “Racism, it's not a joke. It will never be funny and it has never been funny to me,” she told the students, teaches and staff in the gymnasium on Wednesday. “So, I stand here asking each and every one of you how many black people need to die before you guys realize that our colour is not a weapon you should fear. “And how much of my self-esteem needs to die before you realize it's not funny?” she asked. “In the honour of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I stand here and say that Black Lives Matter.” Jackson left the audience members with a few more things to think about. “Now, I do have some questions for you guys, but I don't want your answer. I just want you to reflect on it yourself and ask yourselves these questions personally: “Have you ever been profiled? Have you ever met someone who made assumptions about who you are because of your appearance? How does it feel?” she asked. “We go through that every day because of our colour,” Jackson said, posing another question: “When you're a racist to someone and you get in trouble for it, do you say you're sorry because you have to or you say you're sorry because you know what you did hurt them?” Jackson then told them to imagine if they are a police officer and how they’d feel if they saw a white person reach for a potential weapon compared to how they would feel if it was a black person. She said people of colour don’t know if the police officer is one of the good ones or not. “Ever since the George Floyd incident, we ask ourselves every day, are we next?” Jackson boiled it all down to one thing and shared her thoughts on the issue. “Being racist is a decision, not a choice.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca