WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press Writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The Yukon Chamber of Mines says the territorial government needs to speed up implementation of the Resource Gateway program announced more than three years ago.The program announcement was the highlight of Justin Trudeau's first visit to Yukon as prime minister.Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and Trudeau jointly pledged just over $360 million in funding to build and upgrade mining roads. Mining companies promised another $108 million.The main targets of the money were connecting Newmont's Coffee gold project to roads in the goldfields south of Dawson City, Casino's copper-gold mining project west of Carmacks to the Freegold Road and Selwyn Chihong's zinc-lead property north of Watson Lake, accessed by the Nahanni Range Road.The Chamber of Mines is worried that funding might dry up if it's not used soon, said executive-director Samson Hartland."We continue to be deeply disappointed that none of the projects are moving forward in any manner," said Hartland, "and even more concerned that if government doesn't move quickly to allocate the funds and commence the projects, that federal funding might be reallocated elsewhere," he said.Hartland said one of the biggest challenges facing resource exploration is a lack of transportation infrastructure."I don't think you can overstate, you know, a half billion dollar commitment to infrastructure development in the territory that has some of the best infrastructure and the best geology in the world," he said.Yukon Highways and Public Works minister Richard Mostyn said the government is moving ahead with the program.It announced last week that it has an agreement with the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation to upgrade three bridges on the Freegold Road. The government previously announced a bypass to keep mining related traffic out of Carmacks.Mostyn said the government also has an agreement with the Liard First Nation to improve bridges on the Nahanni Range Road and improve the Robert Campbell Highway.He said there's also an agreement with the Ross River Dena Council to improve the North Canol Road and the roads between Faro and Ross River. These were not part of the original Resource Gateway program.Work on roads in the goldfields south of Dawson City has not begun, Mostyn said, because the government is still negotiating an agreement with the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation."It's the signing of that agreement with affected First Nations that allows us to start the planning and tendering and execution of those construction projects," Mostyn said.
When Nikita Toms hears a knock on the front door of her King’s Point home, there are a couple of things it could mean. The first is that it could be the courier dropping off a Christmas gift. The second thing it could be is another courier delivering a piece of her four-year-old daughter Peyton’s Make-A-Wish bedroom makeover. Sometimes, the courier shows up with a mixture of both. When that happens, Nikita is always sure to separate gifts from makeover items. Either way, they’re both equally welcomed by the youngest Toms. “It’s exciting to her,” said Nikita. Pieces for the bedroom renovation have been coming for the past month. The makeover includes a new bedroom set, the repainting of walls with a giant rainbow — Peyton’s aunt and uncle are painting her room — and a host of other upgrades to reflect her love of unicorns and rainbows. Make-A-Wish Canada breaks wishes down into three categories. There are travel wishes, celebrity wishes and item wishes. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the travel and celebrity wish categories became impossible to fulfill. Some of the children making those wishes chose to wait until they could travel again to make them happen, while others switched their wishes to item wishes. “Some of the wishes have been reimagined,” said Dave Walsh, development co-ordinator with Make-A-Wish Canada in St. John’s. The pandemic meant a shift in the way Make-A-Wish Canada does things. Normally, the foundation would have a team that would assemble and makeover a gift like Peyton’s. However, for safety reasons, the foundation has been sending the items to the family and having them assemble it themselves. “We’ve been forced to do things at a distance,” said Walsh. Make-A-Wish Canada is fulfilling three other wishes in addition to Peyton’s in the province. The other three are all video game-related. All are currently receiving pieces of their gifts. “It’s kind of nice, too,” said Walsh. “They feel like Christmas wishes.” Peyton was one of those who decided to reimagine her wish. A big Disney fan, she had originally wished to visit Disneyland, but that wasn’t possible under current conditions. With travel a no-go, the young girl gave it some thought and decided she wanted a bedroom makeover with an emphasis on two things in particular. “She wanted anything to do with rainbows and unicorns,” said Nikita. Peyton finished two years of chemotherapy to shrink a benign tumour on her jaw that was the size of a baseball in February 2018. Then, her parents Nikita and Jake, marvelled at her strength as she did three chemo sessions a month and 72 treatments over the two years. “She was a lot stronger than we were,” said Nikita. Seeing the bedroom slowly come together with the help of the family has been great for her parents. And, obviously, for Peyton. As pieces of the room continue to trickle in, the family hopes to have everything assembled in the next couple of weeks. “(Peyton) well deserves it,” said Nikita. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
MADRID — Emergency services in Spain's Canary Islands say 68 people from North Africa have been the first migrants to arrive in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago since authorities dismantled a squalid makeshift camp that had brought criticism and shame to the government. One boat with 34 men was rescued by Spain's Maritime Rescue Service, while another boat with 33 adults and one teenager, all men, docked in Maspalomas beach on Gran Canaria Island, the 112 emergency service tweeted Tuesday. The migrants were taken to the Arguineguín dock on the same island, which closed as a processing centre Monday after three months of criticism for holding thousands of Africans in squalor, some times for weeks, while they were identified and tested for the coronavirus. Spain's ombudsman had ordered the makeshift camp’s closure, where potential asylum-seekers had difficulty accessing legal counselling. A minimal structure has been left to deal with new arrivals before the migrants and asylum-seekers are distributed between military barracks — where they can be only held for up to 72 hours — empty hotels or other facilities. More than 20,000 people seeking a better life have arrived so far this year in the Spanish archipelago across from the northwest African coast, up from 1,500 in the same period of 2019. At least 500 people have died in their attempt to reach Europe through the Canary Islands. The Associated Press
Reporters sans frontières editor Pauline Adès-Mével says the controversial Article 24 could allow police to stop journalists reporting live from the scene of an incident.View on euronews
A Monday night explosion at American Iron and Metal of Saint John forced the metal recycler to temporarily shut down, says Saint John Mayor Don Darling, who wants the province to do something about AIM's disruptions to the quality of life on the west side."The city should never be in this situation again," Darling said during an interview Tuesday with Information Morning Saint John.Darling said the Department of Environment temporarily closed the plant on the Saint John waterfront because the noise exceeded the targeted 104-decibel limit.This was the second explosion at AIM in less than a week.On Thursday, a fire caused explosions that also exceeded the decibel limit, rattled windows and shook homes.Environment Minister Gary Crossman said he's concerned about the repeated explosions at the AIM yard."The Department of Environment and Climate Change is closely monitoring compliance with the approval to operate," he said in a statement Monday.He said an inspector was on site Monday and will be there again Tuesday.Crossman said government officials have had a number of conversations with Darling about the AIM site."If the department identifies that standards within the approval to operate are not being followed, I can and will exercise the appropriate authoritative measures."In a statement posted on social media, Michael Cormier, general manager for AIM Atlantic, said the company has been trying to reduce the number of explosions at the business. A quality control inspector produces daily inspection reports and imposes financial penalties when hazardous materials are found in a client's load, Cormier said."This is a work in progress," he said.Cormier said the number of explosion dropped from 53 in 2018, to 32 in 2019 and to 28 this year. Five explosions this year exceeded the decibel limit.He said he hopes to continue working with the city and have the mayor and councillors at a town hall by Jan. 14, 2021.City expresses frustrationDarling doesn't believe the approval should be renewed if problems persist."Until these items and issues are resolved in a balanced and satisfactory way ... I don't think they should get a new approval to operate," he told council Monday night.Darling read a letter he's sending to the province, expressing frustration and concern."This is a great example of the need to think long term," he said.Darling asked provincial and federal governments to step in."Of particular concern is the severity and frequency of recent explosion events," the letter said.Blasts at the plant have disturbed residents for years, causing the province to issue multiple stop-work ordersDarling said it's not acceptable to normalize explosions close to residential areas. He said the "balance" between industry and community doesn't exist with AIM."Saint Johners deserve better," he said.The recycling facility is on federal land leased by Port Saint John, and the license to operate is given by the province, Darling said.And when Darling receives multiple calls from residents after a blast, there's not much he can do except raise the alarm."I think that that should never be the case again in the future," he said. "I get hundreds of messages from citizens about … this facility, but I don't have any authority."'Disregard for authority'At the meeting Coun. David Hickey, John MacKenzie and Donna Reardon spoke in support of the letter being sent to other levels of government."We can't sit by and allow this kind of attitude and this kind of complete disregard for the authority of this council of our provincial government and of our federal government," Hickey said. "I'm tired of having to come back to the same conversation about people breaking the rules and then in turn, not having the provincial authorities and the federal authorities be able to have our backs."MacKenzie said even if the province successfully regulates how many decibels the explosions register, the harbour front is still not the right place for the facility."It's just misplaced," he said.The company has previously said the explosions are caused by propane and gasoline tanks in crushed vehicles going through the shredder.
Indonesia may still pursue a plan to tax technology companies on the income they generate from the country even if G20 nations and the OECD cannot reach a deal on digital taxes, its finance minister said on Tuesday. Talks to rewrite rules for cross-border taxation, including digital taxes, led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, stalled this year, with a new deadline for an agreement extended to 2021. Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, has begun collecting a 10% value-added tax (VAT) since mid-2020 on digital products and services from internet-based firms, but officials had previously said it would charge a tax on income only after a global consensus was reached.
New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is warning residents to pay close attention to Tuesday's rainfall warnings.Environment Canada has marked the first day of December by issuing a rainfall warning for more than half the province.Central and southwestern parts of New Brunswick can expect between 40 and 120 millimetres of rain Tuesday into Wednesday morning.However, some regions in southwestern New Brunswick could see up to 180 millimetres. "No one should be caught off guard at this point, so stay informed through trusted sources and make sure you are prepared to react if needed," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick EMO.Downey said people should also check their storm drains and rain gutters and have an emergency kit ready.Special weather statements issuedThe national weather agency has also issued a special weather statement for eastern New Brunswick, where up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected. Those areas include: * The Acadian Peninsula. * Bathurst and Chaleur region. * Kent County. * Kouchibouguac National Park. * Miramichi area. * The Moncton area.Environment Canada said similar rainfall events in the past have caused road washouts and localized flooding in low-lying areas."Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," the agency said in a statement."Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Don't approach washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts."Environment Canada says the storm is similar to one that caused severe flooding in December 2010.This year, however, the ground is not frozen so it should be able to absorb a lot more rain."We've been running a water deficiency throughout the province for pretty much all of 2020," said Jill Mapea, a meteorologist with Environment Canada."The ground is not very saturated at all."After a bit of a lull Tuesday morning, Mapea said the heaviest rain was expected Tuesday afternoon and evening."Fingers crossed it doesn't come down too hard," she said, "but I think a lot of people with wells are welcoming this rain." However, Mapea wasn't ruling out the possibility of flooding."You never know. Sometimes a big downpour can raise those levels really quick."Populated areas might expect some street flooding, she said if storm drains are overwhelmed.
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are in a tight race to launch their COVID-19 vaccines in Europe after both applied for emergency EU approval on Tuesday, though there was uncertainty over whether a rollout could begin this year. The applications to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) came a day after Moderna sought emergency use for its shot in the United States and more than a week after Pfizer and BioNTech did the same. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German development partner BioNTech said their vaccine could be launched in the European Union as early as this month.
The pandemic might be pummelling the economy across Canada, but a new report says that it's actually helping to bolster part of Saskatchewan's real estate market.The average price of cabins and lake houses in the province have increased after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report says.As a result, there's been an increase in demand for vacation properties sought by locals who are hoping to get away while staying close to home.The Canadian real estate company, which annually tracks and reports price variations of winter vacation homes across Canada, measured a 31.64 per cent price increase for single-family properties near Saskatchewan's Emma Lake and Christopher Lake.The prices jumped from an average price of $296,250 in 2019 to $390,000 in 2020 so far.Meanwhile, waterfront property at the two lakes also saw a 6.34 per cent bump — average prices were up from $489,000 in 2019 to $520,000 in 2020."Saskatchewan's recreational market is driven by its affordability," Lou Doderai, a broker with Royal LePage Icon Realty, was quoted as saying in the press release that accompanied the report."Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to one-and-a-half hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week."Albertans buying lakeside, Royal LePage saysSaskatchewan's western neighbours might also be contributing to increased demand, the report said.According to Royal LePage, Albertans who are now working from home are snagging lakefront property in Saskatchewan — and working from there instead."With the increasing ability to work remotely, Saskatchewan's lakeside communities are becoming more popular with Albertans who don't mind the drive," Doderai said.For the time being, the trend might continue.Royal LePage projects that the price of a recreational home in the prairies will increase by an additional four per cent next year.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says there is a chance you'll be able to gather with more people during the holidays.Restrictions put in place last week and in effect until Dec. 17 limit the number of people allowed in a household to five.But Moe said if the new restrictions start to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases in the province, they might loosen the restrictions over the holidays."Maybe at some point between now and Christmas have a conversation around maybe some of those restrictions relaxing slightly to allow us to come together in a little larger numbers as we enter the holiday season," Moe said, adding they will rely on the advice of health officials to make that decision as Christmas nears. Currently Saskatchewan has the third-highest rate of cases per capita in Canada, behind only Manitoba and Alberta. On Monday Saskatchewan reported 325 new cases, and the rate of active cases of COVID-19 was 307 per 100,000 population as of Sunday. Moe said they will have three choices as Dec. 17 nears, and it will depend on which one Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab recommends."He will be recommending that we keep the status quo. He'll be recommending that we actually add to those [restrictions]," Moe said."Or he'll be recommending that potentially, for example, around the numbers that we have in household gatherings are five right now. Maybe able to creep up just a little bit so that we could have a few people in our home for Christmas and for the holiday season for a couple of days."Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says there is nothing in the current projections to suggest the number of COVID-19 cases are coming down by Christmas. "The virus doesn't care whether it's a holiday or not," Meili said. "The only thing that matters is whether those numbers have come down. We aren't seeing that now. We'll see what happens in the weeks ahead.""But really, if the premier had been serious at all, making sure people could enjoy their holidays, we shouldn't be toying with the idea of just having a break in people taking public health measures."Mieli said Moe missed his opportunity to take the measures to prevent the spread. "[Moe] should have taken action right away to get things under control instead of where we are today, where when we look at the model, there's nothing suggesting that the numbers are coming down by Christmas. He's feeding people a line," Meili said.Moe said provinces like Quebec are putting forward policies of allowing more people to gather around Christmas."It's too early for us to say which of those three options would occur. I think, in fairness, it's too early for Dr. Shahab to say as well. We need a little bit of time. "We've had three or four days since these restrictions have come. These additional restrictions and measures have come into place. And we need to have a few days to see if they are actually going to make any impact on the numbers that we have." Minister of Health Paul Merriman said they are looking at all options.He said they must consider the health care system and health workers."On top of that, what is going to be good for everybody's mental health and the economy? These all have to be balanced, not necessarily on a two-week basis, but on a daily basis. So we'll be making that determination in the near future of what it's going to look like over the Christmas season."Merriman said the five people per household will remain until they see the number of cases in a couple of weeks."But I'm hopeful that they will be either stabilizing or going down. And if they are, that will make a decision at that point."
A lawyer for Bill Cosby on Tuesday told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the judge at the entertainer's 2018 sexual assault trial should have barred five prosecution witnesses who testified that Cosby had also drugged and raped them. Two years ago the once-popular comedian and actor was found guilty of drugging and raping a one-time friend, Andrea Constand, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. The hearing on Tuesday took place about a year after a lower appellate court rejected a petition by Cosby, now 83, to have his conviction overturned.
Gambler First Nation first came to The Brandon Sun’s attention in May. An off-reserve member, Darlene Gerula, sent the Sun an email describing a variety of issues with leadership she believed placed on-reserve members’ lives at risk. Among these concerns was the use of Akwaton multipurpose wipes, the product of a company the leadership at Gambler was hoping to purchase. Health Canada recalled the wipes in late June because the product both expired in 2015 and contained polyhexamethylene guanidine hydrochloride, an ingredient not approved for use in Canada. In the months since Gerula’s email, the Sun has met and spoken numerous times with several Gambler members and heard their stories. This is part two of a three-part series. GAMBLER FIRST NATION — The drive into Gambler First Nation, which is along the Assiniboine River valley approximately two hours northwest of Brandon, unveils a visually idyllic location. Vern Kalmakoff — an off-reserve member and longtime Brandon businessperson — drove this Sun reporter to the reserve. As he approached the heart of one area on the reserve with houses, he pointed out Chief David Ledoux’s "compound," as some Gambler members call it. The large well-kept lot includes two impeccable-looking houses, a shed that looks better than the surrounding homes of Gambler members, and many, many vehicles — several all-terrain vehicles, a motorhome, a pontoon boat and assorted other vehicles — while two horses hang out at the rear. Surrounding the compound are other members’ houses which, upon entry, are practically unliveable. The Sun visited several. Some were unfinished, though clearly older and not new builds. This year was the first since at least 2012 that a new house had been built, according to former Chief Gordon Ledoux and several other Gambler members. In one, the plumbing was in such disrepair, pipes were held up with a laundry detergent bottle. One had zero plumbing, and has not had water for two years. Our first stop was to visit Sean Ledoux, David Ledoux’s brother, where Sean, frail and frightened, showed a video he had taken in February. Sean maintains he is terrorized by his brother. On Aug. 20, Sean received a communication from the income assistance administrator, Tara Tanner. "I am writing this letter to remind you that the house you are living in is not safe and was deemed condemned. You have gotten letters and notices stating this as well. I am asking you to please find another dwelling that is considered safe for you to live in," she wrote. But Sean has nowhere to go. The Gambler First Nation reserve is the only home he knows. "You have been multiple letters from Housing Department, Sims and Company as well as verbal notices from Social," wrote housing manager Dana Tanner on Oct. 28. Sean and his other siblings, the now-deceased former chief Gordon and Roxanne Brass, suggested David wants the house condemned because there are problems with the electrical wiring, which he allegedly installed himself. Sean, as well as several other members, say that duplex was gutted and rebuilt roughly 10 years ago before Sean moved in. General problems appear to be mostly cosmetic — broken windows and the remains of a small fire when Sean was assaulted. The Sun has a January 2017 letter from Manitoba Justice stating: "Please note that we have also advised Gambler First Nation that you should not be responsible for the damage that was done to your home during the criminal incident and that they should be recovering the money from the offender that caused the damage to your property." To this day, the damage to Sean’s home has not been repaired. In the video Sean made, he walks out his front door at Gambler First Nation and pauses at his duplex unit’s neighbouring door. The video records the sound of rushing water behind the padlocked door. Sean trudges, in -40 C weather, to the back of the duplex, demonstrating how he must turn off the water from its source at the water tank, or the water will run out. He trudges back to the front of the duplex, and pauses at the door, padlocked by the band leadership. Silence. He re-enters his own home and turns on his taps. No water. He trudges back to the rear of the duplex, turns on the water supply, trudges back to the front, pausing at the neighbouring door, again. Again, the sound of rushing water. He re-enters his unit and, now, he has water. But he can’t leave the water valve on the tank open because the water for the two units will run out. That’s reason for concern because if the water runs out, there’s no telling when the tank will be refilled. Many houses on the reserve require a water truck to fill water tanks. Sean recorded the whole process a second time. This was the only way, he thought, that he could prove the remarkable and frightening treatment his own brother David visits upon him. And that’s just one story of several. The week of Nov. 16, after two weeks without water delivery, Sean was admitted to hospital for terrible stomach pain. It’s not the first time he has gone without water for long periods of time or the first time he has been admitted to hospital. His former neighbour — his and David’s niece, Lisa Marie Ledoux — has her own story to tell. An off-reserve member of Gambler, Lisa Marie accepted an invitation from David and his wife Rose to work in the community in 2016. She took on the role of National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program worker. She was also offered the duplex unit neighbouring Sean’s. Lisa Marie told the Sun of a toxic work environment, similar to Darlene Gerula’s account. "They were constantly calling me in and reprimanding me and calling me out at meetings and putting me down. They were really horrible with the staff, and I didn’t like it," she said. Lisa Marie said she also didn’t like how the trio — which includes Coun. Kellie Ledoux, David’s daughter — treated members, and what they were doing as leaders in the community. She reported them to Canadian Accreditation Council. She said there was an investigation, but no followup. "That made them retaliate even more," she said. "They started putting restrictions on my programs until I couldn’t run them. When I finally left, if I ran a program, they had to be there overseeing, and nobody wanted to be around them. So nobody would come. They weren’t letting us spend our program dollars on the programs. They cut all the programs. I don’t know what they were doing with the money if they’re not spending it on the programs." The Sun sent questions to the accreditation council to learn whether a former Gambler staff member made reports about alleged issues related to programming and programming dollars. We asked if the Canadian Accreditation Council received such reports, and whether an investigation was carried out and, if yes, what was the outcome. We also asked if an accreditation staff member named Nadine Lafferty heard the chief’s wife, Rose Ledoux, state outright that she moved money out of Jordan’s Principle funds and used those funds in unrelated areas. "In following with CAC’s processes, we were satisfied that Gambler First Nation Health Centre was meeting the requirements of the standards and was following what was in the purview of CAC’s accreditation during their accreditation," stated chief operations officer Amanda Ellis. "As per our agreement with Gambler First Nation Health Centre, we are bound by confidentiality for any other matter and therefore cannot speak to anything other than their current accreditation status. They are currently in the process of accreditation." Asked whether there is an on-site visit related to use of funds, board member Cheryl Whiskeyjack stated by email: "There is an onsite. We don’t assess the use of funds however." Lisa Marie quit her position in May 2018, and collected employment insurance until finding a job in Brandon. Meanwhile, at home, she and her uncle Sean would go a week at a time without water. Being without water was the last straw for Lisa Marie. "I can’t live like this. I need water. I need to use the bathroom. I need to wash my dishes. I need to clean my house and shower. It just got to be too much," she said. During her absence from the reserve, the leadership padlocked her door with its own lock, while her belongings were still on the premises. A new housing agreement states that if a member is going off reserve for more than five days, they must notify the band. Lisa Marie saw Sean’s video, which he posted to Facebook, and thought her place was flooding because of a broken pipe. She had friends and family help her break the padlock. "I didn’t want to go there alone. I knew that they (David, Rose and Kellie) would give me trouble. All the taps are on and they were running, and that’s why he (Sean) kept running out of water and it sounded like it was flooding." Kalmakoff said two RCMP cars, with two officers in each, were there in a flash, within 20 minutes. "With sirens going," said Brass. RCMP charged Sean with breaking and entering — one of several acts he believes are intended to intimidate him to leave his unit, he said. An Oct. 21 court date was cancelled due to weather, but he said he has been pressured by RCMP multiple times to admit his guilt. He also said he was told he had to attend a meeting at a church to "take responsibility for his actions." Lisa Marie said she called the RCMP Feb. 26, the day after her uncle was charged, to tell them she was entirely responsible. "I did it," she said. "It was my place." She left that message with one officer at the Russell detachment. She was told she would get a call back. She never did. She tried calling several more times, but the officer she needed to speak with was never in. The RCMP have a different perspective. "Russell RCMP has fully investigated the matter to which you refer. In no way do RCMP officers try to influence the outcome of an investigation. It is our job to gather evidence and follow where that leads. When we have gathered enough evidence to determine what happened, we provide our findings to the Crown," stated Manitoba RCMP media relations officer Tara Seel by email on Nov. 26. "You have been provided a lot of information that we, as law enforcement, cannot speak to directly for several reasons: the Privacy Act, the case is before the courts, investigative process, to name a few. However, we do feel the need to provide some clarity on a few points that you mentioned. We cannot provide names of complainants or those involved in an investigation who are not charged with an Information sworn before a court of law." Seel stated RCMP received a complaint on Feb. 25 from the band’s bylaw officer, who personally witnessed the event in progress. "Several witnesses from the community also contacted investigators and corroborated this information, having also seen the event personally. Names of those seen committing the act were provided to investigators. We cannot provide you with names of everyone we spoke to concerning this matter, but we can confirm many people were spoken to throughout this investigation," Seel stated. Darlene Gerula and her husband, Greg Wakin — a retired Winnipeg Police Service officer — dispute the RCMP statement. They say Gambler does not have a bylaw officer. Gerula said Harlene Swain, who was the housing manager at the time, witnessed the event. "You refer to a restorative justice meeting that was scheduled and did not take place. I can confirm that is the case," Seel further stated. "However, for several reasons, including COVID-19, that meeting was cancelled. Restorative justice often needs people to come face-to-face as part of the process, and this is just not the time for those types of gatherings. I will add that since then, no other restorative justice meetings with the Russell RCMP have taken place for any investigation." Wakin said he spoke with Michelle Funk, a restorative justice facilitator with the John Howard Society, after Sean asked Wakin to represent him. "She said, I’ve been trying to get information on this case and I can’t get anything. There’s something fishy going on. And I told her that Sean’s in the dark, the RCMP have been harassing him, telling him they’re going to pick him up and telling him to say that you’re sorry, you did this, and you are guilty of it," Wakin said. Wakin told her Sean was not guilty of anything, but police keep coming to his door and harassing him. According to Wakin, Funk told him she would look into it. "We talked after that and she said that she was going to cancel everything, because I said, number one, Sean doesn’t want to go to this. He’s not going to plead guilty, and he didn’t commit this offence. So he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t want to be harassed anymore." Wakin said he told Funk he hoped the RCMP were not going to go to Sean’s door in future. According to Wakin, Funk said she would make sure that didn’t happen anymore. "And she did everything. She did all that and that was the end of it. It wasn’t cancelled because it COVID. It was cancelled because of the way the RCMP handled it," Wakin said. When The Sun reached Funk by phone, she denied knowledge of the matter, including the people involved. "I do not know what you’re referring to," she said. "I cannot confirm or deny anything, she added when asked if she had spoken to Wakin. "I am unable to talk about my work in this capacity." Wakin maintains Harlene Swain, Gambler’s housing manager at the time, stirred up the issue. "She saw people in front of the house, but there was no offence. The homeowner was there trying to get into her own suite, to get her property and get access to her suite. So, whatever you saw, wasn’t a break and enter. It was the owner of the suite trying to get access to it. It’s just so ridiculous. It’s gone so far for nothing. There was no offence. There was no criminal intent," Wakin said. Lisa Marie has also tried to remove her name from the address at the reserve with Manitoba Hydro, to no avail. To this day, she receives Hydro bills for her side of the duplex unit. The Sun has a photo of the October bill. The relationship between the RCMP and the First Nation is unclear, as is the relationship between the band and Manitoba Hydro. When the Sun was asking questions of the RCMP in October related to Gambler, as well as David and his close family, we received a call from the policing organization. On that call, concern was expressed that the Sun was targeting David, who sits on the Prairie Mountain RCMP’s Safer Communities Committee. The RCMP did confirm, however, that a report was made to them concerning allegations related to sexual and physical abuse at Gambler. The question posed involved the Ledoux family members — David, Rose and Kellie. "However, for privacy reasons, we will not confirm who made the report or who these allegations are related to as these allegations are still being investigated and remain allegations at this point," stated Seel. Ronnie Ducharme, who hasn’t had water at his house for two years, also has Manitoba Hydro issues. While he was away at Brandon University, the leadership tried to take his house, he said. Roxanne Brass, David’s sister, was present when Ducharme spoke with the Sun. She said this allegation is truthful, but that the members of Gambler who were offered the house declined the offer to take over the home. "They (band members) won’t do it because they won’t do that to him (Ronnie)," Brass said. This report of attempts of a house being seized is supported by other similar reports, based on interviews with the Sun. "I had no control over my electrical, my power, and they racked it up. I was a student, and they didn’t pay the bill. I had no control over my hydro bill because they were in charge of it. They sent me the bill afterwards. But they paid that off now, they cleared that up — after I argued over it," Ducharme said. During that time, however, the housing manager sent him a letter dated Dec. 31, 2019. "The band will be removing the transformer from the pole, therefore there will be no Hydro at this location. I will inform you of when this will be taking place and you will have 7 days to remove your personal belongings from the property," Gambler’s then housing manager Harlene Swain stated. The Sun sought clarification via email from Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro stated, "as this appears to be a matter between the band and one of its members. Manitoba Hydro is not in a position to comment." A further question about which entity the transformers belong to has gone unanswered. Questions about Lisa Marie’s billing situation also went unanswered. Part three of this series on Gambler First Nation will appear in the Sun later this week.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
When Johnny Beach was just six years old, something caught his eye."On YouTube, I found a 14-year-old boy playing the Orange Blossom Special and it just moved me and I really wanted to do it," he said.His mother, Jamie O'Donnell, said it was love at first sight."He was captivated by it. He begged us for six months to get him a fiddle, so we got him a fiddle and he took right to it," she said.Now eight, the Riverview boy is passionate about fiddling, takes lessons and practises at least 30 minutes a day.Johnny joined some young fiddle players called the Plucky Pizzicatos, who perform for seniors and take part in some fundraising benefits.JohnnyBut when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that all stopped. Johnny decided to keep on playing."He was just practising in front of our house and as people were walking by on the street they were cheering for him and we even had a few people that ran up and gave him a little tip, so he got this idea to street perform," O'Donnell said. ""It was just a way that he could share his gift with others."And Johnny made a decision about what to do with the money."I just want to help people that need the money, and I don't really need it for anything, so I just like to give it to people that need it," he said.Johnny's first donation was $300 to Riverview P.R.O. Kids, which provides financial assistance to help kids take part in sports, and artistic and recreational activities. The organization has helped Johnny qith his fiddle lessons.O'Donnell said Johnny's next donation was to an organization near and dear to the whole family's heart: Friends of the Moncton Hospital.Johnny received life-saving surgery at the Moncton Hospital at the age of three.Johnny has made two donations of $200.Now with the holidays approaching, he's turned his attention to the Albert County Food Bank."He knows that turkey dinner is something everybody likes to enjoy at Christmastime," O'Donnell said. "Not every family has that opportunity, so he knows that the Albert County Food Bank gives Christmas boxes and turkey dinners to families, so that's his focus right now … to see how much money he can raise for them in time for their Christmas boxes."Donations are also coming in online.With the weather turning colder, O'Donnell hopes they can find some place indoors where Johnny can continue playing and raising money."With COVID, it's really difficult because businesses — there's a lot of guidelines and a lot of restrictions and businesses definitely don't want to be doing anything that could potentially draw any kind of a crowd, and he tends to draw a little bit of a crowd wherever he is."So it's been really hard to find somewhere indoors."But that was far from Johnny's mind as he chose a tune from his songbook and picked up his fiddle. He played with joy, tapping his foot along to the beat.Johnny said he'll keep raising money. And he hopes to become a professional fiddler someday.His mother gets emotional watching him play."I have those happy cries, like, a few times a week. Just the amazing things that people say and seeing that's my little boy — that's just motivating and inspiring people and bringing so much joy everywhere he goes. Proud would be an understatement."
South Korea's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to allow globally recognised K-pop artists such as BTS to postpone their mandatory military service to age 30. All able-bodied South Korean men aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for about two years as part of the country's efforts to guard against North Korea.
A city councillor is hopeful Calgary could soon join the ranks of cities with bylaws against harassing women in public places.Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell said the City of Calgary has a responsibility to support the well-being and safety of all people in public spaces.So, she'd like to see the city engage with Calgarians on the issue of street harassment and draw up a bylaw to help control it.She said street harassment includes unwelcome comments, gestures and actions forced primarily upon women by people who aren't known to them. Typically, they are sexually charged comments which are disrespectful, alarming or insulting."It's most frequently an attack, a verbal attack on women but it's also against many LGBTQ people," said Farrell."We certainly see that harassment happening in Calgary."Widespread problemShe cites a Statistics Canada report that found one-in-three girls and women were victims of unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous 12 months.Farrell has a motion which will be discussed at council's priorities and finance committee on Tuesday.As per council's screening process, if the motion is properly drafted, it will go on to be discussed at a city council meeting later this month."With all of our bylaws, we look at education first and then establish a social norm. It's not OK to harass strangers on the street," said Farrell.Her motion states that other Canadian cities including Edmonton, Vancouver and London have already passed bylaws to regulate street harassment.> Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference. \- Andrea Silverstone, SagesseThe executive director of the Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society, Andrea Silverstone, said a bylaw is a step toward increasing public safety."Everyone can relate to an experience of feeling harassed or an experience of doing something different to try and experience greater safety on the street because they don't believe that it might exist because of their gender or their sexual identity," said Silverstone.She said street harassment is an example of coercive control which can erode a person's feeling of safety, even if they haven't been hit or threatened.That kind of harassment can make women or targeted people rethink the choices they make about where they go for dinner or where they choose to work because they may feel unsafe. "I think that you can't underestimate just how pervasive a lack of a sense of personal safety is on the streets and how it can actually relate to all aspects of one's life," said Silverstone.From her vantage point, it's important that government realizes it can play a role in helping all citizens feel safer and welcome in public places — a bylaw can be a piece of that puzzle."Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference."Farrell's motion calls on the city to assess Calgary's jurisdiction to draw up a defensible bylaw to address street harassment.If council approves it, there would be a report back to council by administration by the first quarter of 2022.
Bright Lights Windsor is back on — but like many events during the pandemic, it's going to look different this year.The "reimagined" event is now going to take place citywide. Signature displays, which Windsorites would normally view at Jackson Park, are now placed in different pockets of the city.The announcement comes about a month after the City of Windsor decided to pull the plug on this year's festival because of COVID-19.The city also announced on Monday that it gave $20,000 to each of the nine business improvement associations (BIAs) which "will be used to purchase holiday lights and displays to further light up our neighbourhoods and support local small business," — a boost that some local business owners, including Filip Rocca, the owner of Mezzo Ristorante & Lounge and president of the Erie Street BIA, say they need."It was a great move by the city to offer the buyers a little bit of funding to spruce up their areas. We've been wanting to do that on every street for a couple of years now. So this gave us the opportunity to pull the trigger this year and help with obviously paying for it. So we're really happy about it," Rocca said."Not only cosmetically it does look nicer, especially at night, but obviously, you know, a little safer for the area as well."He said he looks forward to seeing the trees along Erie Street lit up in the coming days and hopes it drives up more customers to local businesses.Mohammed Al Khaleel, the owner of Brothers Barber Shop on Ottawa Street, hopes this to be case for his business as well."It makes me feel good when people walk around the business and when people around the street," he said.Kathy Molenaar, the owner of Victoria's Flowers and Gifts on Erie Street, said her business won't be benefiting from the light displays as the bulk of her business operates the in morning and early afternoons, but she hopes the light displays across the city "brings a lot of cheer and a lot of businesses to prosper in good ways."Locations of light displays include: * Charles Clark Square * Chimczuk Museum * City Hall * Jackson Park * Mackenzie Hall * Ouellette Overpass * Transit Centre * WFCU Centre * Willistead Manor * Windsor International Aquatic and Training CentreTake a look at some of the holiday lights draped across the city:
Newfoundland and Labrador's information and privacy commissioner says the provincial Department of Justice's refusal to share documents with him is preventing him from doing his job. In his submission Monday to the review of the province's access-to-information legislation, Michael Harvey says he can't do his job properly without records that the department says are exempted from release."Over the past year, the Department of Justice has appealed our recommendations to court in an effort to prevent our review of documents over which public bodies are claiming solicitor-client privilege," he told CBC News on Monday.The information and privacy commissioner's job is to make sure government bodies are following the rules and ensure citizens are not being wrongly denied access to information"We are only asking that we be allowed to do our job and provide that oversight," said Harvey.> My strongest appeal for this review of ATIPPA is to simply allow me to do my job. Don't go back to Bill 29. \- Michael HarveyIn his submission to the review of the Access To Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Harvey argued the importance of the privacy commissioner's oversight function needs to be reinforced.Harvey's submission noted that was also recommended by a committee that reviewed the former PC government's Bill 29, which in 2012 brought in measures that weakened the powers of the legislative transparency watchdog — including stripping the commissioner's power to review solicitor-client privilege documents."That role had been taken away through the infamous Bill 29. The 2014 Wells committee spoke clearly about the importance of the commissioner's ability to review these records to confirm that public bodies were following the law, as did the government of the day in the House of Assembly when ATIPPA 2015 was being debated," said Harvey in the submission."Unfortunately, in the past year, the Department of Justice and Public Safety has begun an effort to chip away at that clear legislative direction and is now refusing to provide the records, or indeed, any evidence to the commissioner, in support of its claims of solicitor-client privilege. My strongest appeal for this review of ATIPPA is to simply allow me to do my job. Don't go back to Bill 29."Harvey says access-to-information legislation should be changed to underscore the importance of oversight, by allowing the commissioner to review solicitor-client privilege documents."To give, you know, just really greater clarity, we're proposing a simple amendment so that we can really nail this down and put this issue to bed once and for all," he saidIn response, the Justice Department sent CBC a statement Monday saying the provincial government "is committed to openness and transparency." The final report of retired chief justice David B. Orsborn's review is expected by April, while the dispute between the information commissioner and the Department of Justice is going to court. Harvey said a court date has not yet been set.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Calgary Board of Education says Hub online students will still have the option to return to in-person learning at their schools starting on Feb. 1, but students currently doing in-person learning will not be allowed to move online. In an update sent to CBE families on Monday, the district says that they will not be accommodating new requests for Hub online learning in the new year. That's "in order to ensure continuity of learning and minimize disruption to in-person classes that may arise from the movement of staff from in person to online," reads the update from chief superintendent Christopher Usih.Kayla Martinez, who is the mother of a boy in Grade 1, says she began the process to switch her son out of in-person learning to Hub a few weeks ago. "Basically, [the pandemic] is just getting worse. [At] the schools there is outbreak after outbreak after outbreak," she said."I just don't want to put my one-year-old daughter at risk as she has low immunity."Martinez said she's been grateful that the process hasn't been difficult. "They sent me paperwork, which I'm already getting filled out and I have to take a paper for his old school to sign release and there has been no issues at all," she said. Martinez said she feels that other parents and guardians should have the same choice to do what they feel is safest and most appropriate for their children."You can't say no other families are allowed to register online. They don't know everybody's home life. They don't know the reasons why people may be choosing to pull their children and put them in online schooling," she said. "We were basically assuming as a province that things were going to get better and it's just getting worse. The numbers keep rising, so don't take the choice from people."The district says any Hub families wishing to transition their child back to the classroom must inform the school of their decision before Jan. 8.
The federal government is extending financial protection to workers whose employer goes bankrupt in a foreign country as a direct result of problems experienced two years ago by call centre workers in Sydney, N.S.In 2018, about 600 employees of ServiCom were thrown out of work three weeks before Christmas after the call centre's American owner, JNET Communications, filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. court.That meant the workers had no way to recover the pay they were owed and would otherwise receive under the federal Wage Earner Protection Program.The employees faced a bleak holiday season, owed about $1 million in pay and bonuses with little hope of recovery.By the new year, another U.S. call centre company — MCI Canada — bought ServiCom's assets and restarted the Sydney operation.Employees said they hunkered down and made it through Christmas with the help of friends and family.Three months later, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour tried something it had never done before.The province filed a court action on behalf of the employees. It sought a declaration of bankruptcy in Canada to allow the workers to access the wage protection program.That was granted and, in June 2019, the workers started getting back pay.According to a regulatory impact analysis published in the Canada Gazette, Ottawa is changing the regulations as a direct result of the ServiCom decision to protect Canadian workers by including them under the program, even if their employer is based in another country.The wage protection program allows workers to access up to $2,000 in back pay and gives employees "super-priority" status, which means wages and vacation pay rank ahead of secured creditors in a bankruptcy case.Going to court to help workers access the program was "complicated and time consuming," the analysis said, and changing the regulations is expected to result in only a small number of additional claims and little extra cost.The new regulations are expected to take effect this spring.MORE TOP STORIES