WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared 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 Tuesday 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
WINNIPEG — Manitobans will likely have to deal with strict COVID-19 measures into the winter, Premier Brian Pallister warned Tuesday.With daily case counts remaining high and intensive care capacity close to the limit, Pallister said some restrictions on public gatherings and business openings will have to continue beyond Friday of next week, when the current orders are to expire."My gut feeling is that as we get into winter, it's going to be critical that we continue with a high level of restrictions for some time," Pallister said."COVID doesn't give up, and we're seeing that all across the country."Manitoba was leading all other provinces in the per-capita rate of new infections until recently, when Alberta surged ahead.To try to bend the curve, the province enacted some of the strictest rules in the country: non-essential businesses have closed, public gatherings have been limited to five people and, with some exceptions for things like medical services, people are not allowed to have visitors in their home.In-person religious services have also been banned — an order that has been met with a small measure of defiance and protests.A church in Winnipeg held four drive-in services last weekend, where people remained in their vehicles while a pastor spoke on a stage. Outside of Steinbach in southeast Manitoba, a church has held in-person services, prompting police to block the parking lot last Sunday.The rules have worked, Manitoba's chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Tuesday.The number of new infections has plateaued and even dropped slightly in recent days — there were 282 new cases Tuesday — and people now testing positive are reporting fewer contacts with others.That effect has yet to trickle through to the health-care system, however. A record 16 deaths were reported Tuesday and intensive care units remained close to full."Our health-care system can't sustain daily counts like this," Roussin said.The government is already working on what restrictions might continue beyond next week, Roussin added, although he did not divulge details.Manitoba has backed up its public health orders with added personnel, including a private security firm, to hand out fines.The two churches that held services last weekend are being fined $5,000, Pallister said, and several individuals involved can expect fines of $1,296 each."It's critical right now that we do not gather with people outside of our households," Pallister said."And we need the full participation of all Manitobans in order for these strict public health measures to work."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Volunteers with the Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) gave a virtual presentation of projects they completed while working alongside the Flood Mitigation Office on Thursday, November 26. Longtime Drumheller resident Stan Solberg played a key role in bringing the program, and the volunteers, to the Drumheller Valley. Chief Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Officer Darwin Durnie told the Mail, “Stan pulled together this entire program with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, allowing them to get here.” Mr. Solberg also garnered the participation of the Flood Mitigation Office, and also Mayor Heather Colberg and Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Drohomerski. The presentation showcased three projects the volunteers worked on throughout their time with the Flood Mitigation Office, with the main focus of each project being on conservation. While conservation was the main focus of the projects, the findings will provide the Flood Mitigation Office with invaluable information. “The Flood Mitigation Office was pleased with the work that the CCC volunteers performed,” Durnie said. “The activities, research, and energy they created will surely continue in the coming years.” Patrick Crowchild Jr. presented Conservation Through Art, a series of paintings inspired by the landscape and his time in the Drumheller Valley. Crowchild’s artwork is part of an art installation at the Flood Mitigation Office and challenges the definition of conservation while showcasing its many facets. Crowchild also completed sketches and drawings of local, native plants, though these were not included in the presentation. CCC volunteers, Megan Davies, Victoria Choi, and Kelsey White journeyed down the Red Deer River with Andy Neuman, former executive director of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. They discovered several river islands along the Red Deer River, which are Crown Land, are already being used as camping areas. The group surveyed the river and adjacent riparian areas, using GPS and geographic information systems (GIS) to map areas on these river islands which could be sustainably used for both day-use and overnight camping. They also proposed semi-permanent structures to help educate campers to “Leave no trace” after discovering litter, including discarded diapers, beer cans, and fish hooks in the areas. These proposed sites could target tourism from canoers and kayakers in otherwise undevelopable areas, while also promoting conservation of these areas, without compromising structural developments in the floodplains. The final project by Heather Blanchette and Ryan Wilkes, Birding in the Badlands, showcased the wildlife, particularly avians, found naturally within the Drumheller Valley. Volunteers undertook six road trips to survey wildlife from Orkney Viewpoint to Dorothy and Oyen. They discovered Orkney Viewpoint offers a unique vantage where bird watchers can look down upon raptors, such as hawks and eagles, as they soar above the valley. Mr. Solberg said, “There are more and more people coming to Drumheller, very wildlife conscious.” While some of the expeditions were not suited for casual bird and wildlife watchers, Mr. Solberg added, “Always be camera-ready when you come to Drumheller.”Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
Premier Blaine Higgs says he likes the idea of using daylight time year-round and will adopt it if the other Maritime provinces go along. Higgs was responding to Liberal Opposition Leader Roger Melanson, who suggested the idea in a news release Tuesday morning.Ontario has passed legislation to make the change if Quebec and New York State agree to do it."I think it's a golden opportunity for us to do the same thing," Higgs said in an interview. "There are pros and cons of course, but I think stability in this — going to one time zone, a daylight savings time area — would be appropriate."Higgs said he wouldn't proceed until Ontario and Quebec do, and even then it would be contingent on the two other Maritime provinces also going along with it."It would be part of a redefined Atlantic bubble," the premier joked. Higgs said legislation could come in the current session of the legislature."It is something worth considering and worth moving on, actually," he said. "I see no reason not to." Melanson said the idea is catching on quickly, and "we've got to make a decision if we want to be early on with this trend or on the tail end of this trend." Under Melanson's proposal, New Brunswickers would move their clocks ahead by an hour next March and then leave them there, rather than moving them back again next fall.He said there's ample evidence the current twice-a-year change, particularly the "loss" of an hour in the fall, can affect people's health. "When you have to drink an extra coffee when the time changes, it means there's something happening to people's minds and certainly bodies," he says. Strong support in N.B.A recent poll by Halifax-based Narrative Research and the Logit Group found 91 per cent of New Brunswick respondents would support the change, the highest of any province in Canada. But at least one Fredericton parent says the change would be a bad idea that would force young children to walk to school or catch the bus in the dark for a good part of the school year.Rob Hoadley said the city's location in the western part of the Atlantic time zone would see the sun rising around 9 a.m. in the depth of winter.Hoadley has two elementary-school-age children and a third who will soon be school age."We would see almost pitch darkness at this time of year, at that time, when the kids are showing up" at school.Whether they walk to school or catch the bus, he said, "I think that has safety concerns for the kids."The gain of an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day in winter isn't enough to outweigh that, Hoadley said."Having it set at 6 p.m. doesn't really accomplish anything for me." Asked about more kids walking to school in the dark for a longer part of the winter, Melanson said, "we need to look at the benefits of this and see if it outweighs the inconvenience."There'll be an adjustment, but there'll be an adjustment once. Now we have to have an adjustment twice a year."Melanson said he'd like to see the other Maritime provinces sign on "so we could hopefully do this in a synchronized fashion," but said New Brunswick's decision shouldn't be contingent on a regional agreement.
Holiday shoppers are receiving their own gift from the City of Charlottetown this December: free parking downtown. The city approved the free parking at downtown meters at a special council meeting Monday. Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown said letting shoppers park for free fits in with the Love Local P.E.I. campaign currently on. "It sends out a signal that, you know, we're in this bubble, but let's stick to our local merchants," said Brown. "They're going to need the help, just like we're going to need the help as we get through this pandemic."> We're in this bubble, but let's stick to our local merchants. They're going to need the help. \- Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown The idea for the free parking came from the P.E.I. government, which offered $15,000 to replace some of the lost revenue. Brown said the City of Charlottetown will cover the rest of that loss, another $45,000. City officials have had to cancel some holiday activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Brown said some of the money that would have been used for those activities will help cover the revenue lost from parking meters. "This is a small effort, but I think it'll go a long way," he said. Brown added that he's not worried about people who work downtown taking advantage of the free spots.More from CBC P.E.I.
WASHINGTON — The civilian official overseeing the Pentagon's campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in the Middle East was forced to resign in the latest jolt to Pentagon leadership in the waning weeks of the Trump administration. The Pentagon said in a written statement that the acting defence secretary, Christopher Miller, on Monday accepted the resignation of Christopher Maier, who had provided policy oversight of the military's counter-IS effort since March 2017. A defence official familiar with the matter said Maier was told Monday that since President Donald Trump had long ago declared the IS militant group defeated, his office was being disbanded and he was abruptly “terminated.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal personnel matter. Maier, a career counterterrorism official, was director of the Defeat-ISIS Task Force, whose responsibilities are to be absorbed by counterterrorism staffs headed by appointees who President Donald Trump placed in senior Pentagon positions in a shakeup that included his firing of Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Nov. 9. Maier's departure was first reported by CNN. The New York Times was first to report that Maier had been forced out. In its statement, the Pentagon gave no reason for Maier's departure but said the decision to disband the task force he led was a recognition of the “success of the military fight to destroy” the Islamic State's grip on territory in Iraq and Syria. Critics say that while the militant group has lost its physical empire, it remains a threat and has been biding its time in search of ways to regroup and re-emerge. “The Department of Defence will continue to engage with our partners and allies to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS and encourage the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters for prosecution,” the Pentagon said. Nearly 900 U.S. troops are still in Syria to work with local groups aiming to prevent an IS resurgence. The U.S. also has about 3,000 troops in neighbouring Iraq working with local security forces toward the same goal. The counter-IS campaign began during the Obama administration and in some respects was accelerated by Trump. Robert Burns, The Associated Press
British Columbia has seen more COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks than the preceding two months because the virus has found its way back into nursing homes. And with long-term care workers exhausted and families frustrated, it's not clear what can be done.
The Kawartha Land Trust has raised enough funds to purchase and protect a property just south of Burleigh Falls. In just seven weeks, the KLT raised more $750,000 to acquire an “environmentally important parcel of land” on Stoney Lake, the organization announced Monday. John Kintare, executive director of the KLT, said for years, the local community has been working to protect the property. When the opportunity ensued to purchase it, the community asked for the KLT’s help in organizing a campaign. The KLT works to protect natural spaces that might otherwise be sold for development, usually through donation. This was the first time the organization has bought land. “This was truly a community initiative that was supported by KLT,” Kintare said in a statement. “KLT has led very successful campaigns to support the stewardship needs of specific properties such as Big Island in Pigeon Lake in 2015, but never a campaign to support a purchase.” Referred to as the Clear Lake North Wetland, the 137-acre property will officially be named after the late Christie Bentham in recognition of a financial gift she left to the KLT. Bentham, who died in 2015, was very well known on Stoney Lake, the organization stated. Her daughter, Margaret, a volunteer with the KLT who is also on the KLT’s development committee, said she’s sure her mother is watching from above and is tickled pink, humbled and so happy to be a part of preserving the piece of the lake. Margaret said Bentham spent all of her summers on the Stoney Lake. Bentham’s grandfather, Richard Russell, had purchased a T-shaped island toward the north side of the lake in 1910. Bentham’s father, Keith, later inherited the property, called Spree Island. While Bentham spent the remainder of the year in Toronto, Stoney Lake was her home, Margaret said. Bentham spent her summers at the lake swimming, canoeing and sailing, with cousins and friends. When she grew up and married, a condition of the marriage was that her future husband Will must love Stoney Lake and Spree Island as much as she did, she said. Fortunately, he did and the couple went on to marry, adopt six children and raised their children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren teaching them to swim, canoe, sail and bail on the lake, Margaret said. For more information visit https://kawarthalandtrust.org/. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
A man is dead and a woman is in life-threatening condition after a shooting in the west end on Tuesday afternoon, Toronto police say.The shooting happened near Dufferin Street and Glencairn Avenue. Emergency crews were called to the scene at about 3:30 p.m.Const. Laura Brabant, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said it appears that the two victims were in a vehicle at the time..When police and paramedics arrived, they found the man and woman in life-threatening condition.The man died on the scene, while the woman was rushed to a trauma centre on an emergency run, according to Steve Henderson, deputy commander of Toronto Paramedic Services.Police said the homicide unit will take over the investigation. Officers have taped off the area as they investigate.No age range of the victims was available.Officers are seeking a suspect described as a Black male, wearing a grey sweat suit with a hood. He reportedly left in a grey hatchback.Duty Insp. Michael Williams told reporters at the scene that police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.They urging anyone with dashboard camera footage that may shed light on what happened to call police.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said Tuesday efforts to resolve Cyprus’ ethnic division should start fresh and aim to achieve a two-state deal, because decades of negotiations for a federation-based agreement have got nowhere. Tatar said a regional “new state of affairs” that takes into account the discovery of significant gas deposits off Cyprus creates the need for a two-state accord, under which equally sovereign Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live “side by side.” The Greek Cypriots reject the two-state idea. Tatar spoke after meeting United Nations envoy Jane Holl Lute, who arrived on the island nation to scope out chances of resuming peace talks that have remained dormant since 2017. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he’s willing to host an informal conference bringing together the two sides as well as Cyprus’ “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and former colonial ruler Britain — in hopes of resuscitating peace talks. The approach by Tatar, a right-wing hardliner who defeated a leftist incumbent in Turkish Cypriot leadership elections in October, threatens to upend a 1977 agreement for the two sides to negotiate a federation. Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece. The island’s internationally recognized government is seated in the Greek Cypriot south. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the north. The majority Greek Cypriots reject a two-state deal or any other arrangement legally sanctioning the country’s division by lending recognition to a breakaway entity. Lute met late Tuesday with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades who expressed his willingness to take part in the conference in hopes of resuming peace talks where they left off in 2017, according to government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos. Lute will travel to Greece on Wednesday and to Turkey later this month for more talks. The Associated Press
TORONTO — North American stock markets got a boost to start December from additional signs that vaccines could spur a return to economic normalcy in 2021. The predominant driver of market activity Tuesday was Pfizer seeking regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union, after doing so in the United States, said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital. "This has extended the optimism on the vaccine front that will inevitably allow for that rapid recovery in 2021," she said in an interview.As a result, investors are largely looking past uncertainties, growing infections and some negative economic implications from new lockdowns as they anticipate a very strong revival in global growth by the end of next year.In addition, a bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal for US$900 billion in fiscal stimulus and president-elect Joe Biden's call for a package supported the market rally. However, Bangsund warned that past efforts show that these expectations can prove fleeting and short-lived.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 106.68 points to 17,296.93 after posting an intraday high of 17,471.20 that's less than three per cent off February's record high.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 185.28 points at 29,823.92. The S&P 500 index was up 40.82 points at 3,662.45, while the Nasdaq composite was up 156.37 points at 12,355.11 after both markets set new record highs in earlier trading. Markets started the day in positive territory, with Chinese factory results coming in strong.They moved up after posting a phenomenal month in which the S&P 500, for example, experienced its strongest November in decades.Bangsund expects December could also be strong, albeit not as good as November given the impact of pandemic-related restrictions."Any setback in the near-term would almost inevitably prove short-lived given that brighter outlook for 2021," she said.Bangsund added that investors are underestimating the magnitude of the eventual recovery because there's a lot of pent-up savings ready to be put to work once there's a return to some sense of normalcy."And when you combine that with a very supportive policy backdrop, it's really going to be a nice year for growth and for equity prices."The Canadian dollar traded for 77.21 cents US, its highest level of the year and compared with 77.13 cents US on Monday. The increase came as a result of weakness in the U.S. dollar. Bangsund said it wasn't helped by Canada’s economy growing by a record 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis in the third quarter, that was below expectations.The TSX was pushed higher by the strength of the materials and heavyweight financials sectors.Higher gold and copper prices pushed materials up 2.6 per cent, with shares of Torex Gold Resources Inc. and Eldorado Gold leading with gains of 12.1 and 10.5 per cent, respectively.The February gold contract was up US$38.00 at US$1,818.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 4.7 cents at more than US$3.48 a pound. Financials rose 1.3 per cent with Bank of Montreal shares rising 3.4 per cent and Scotiabank shares up 2.8 per cent after each posted strong quarterly results. The sector was also helped by higher treasury bond yields.Technology moved slightly higher as shares in BlackBerry Ltd. gained as much as 63.9 per cent in intraday trading following news of a deal with Amazon Web Services to develop and market BlackBerry's intelligent vehicle data platform, called IVY. The stock traded as high as $12.54, up from Monday's close of $7.65, before drifting lower and closing at a new 52-week high of $9.08, up 18.7 per cent. Energy inched higher even though the January crude contract was down 79 cents at US$44.55 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 0.2 of a cent at US$2.88 per mmBTU.Health care plunged 5.6 per cent with Aurora Cannabis Inc. losing 17.2 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Companies in this story: (TSX:BB, TSX:BMO, TSX:BNS, TSX:TXG, TSX:ELD, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Oscar-nominated Canadian star of the film "Juno" has come out as transgender.The Halifax-raised Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, made the announcement in a powerful post on social media.The star of the Toronto-shot Netflix series "The Umbrella Academy" says his preferred pronouns are he/they.Page's letter thanks those who have supported him along the journey, and addresses the trauma trans people face from discrimination, hateful acts, and a lack of rights.He says it feels remarkable "to finally love" who he is enough to pursue his "authentic self."And he's been "endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community.""Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society," Page said in Tuesday's post."I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence." Page said he's not trying to "dampen a moment that is joyous" but wants to address the full picture. "The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences," Page wrote."In 2020 alone it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women. To the political leaders who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist and to all of those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community: you have blood on your hands."Page concluded the post by saying he loves that he is trans and queer."And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive."Page got an Oscar nomination for playing a pregnant teen in 2007's "Juno," and two Emmy nominations for his reality series "Gaycation," which explores LGBTQ experiences around the world.Page often uses his platform to speak out against injustices and amplify underrepresented voices.In his documentary "There's Something in the Water," which hit Netflix in March, he shines a light on marginalized groups in Nova Scotia affected by what's known as environmental racism.Netflix said Tuesday it was in the process of updating all of the titles the performer and producer is involved with on its service to credit Elliot Page.The LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD praised Page for delivering "fantastic characters on-screen" and being "an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people.""Elliot will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. We celebrate him. All trans people deserve to be accepted," said a tweet from GLAAD, which also issued a tip sheet for journalists covering Page's story, to help them write it in a respectful and accurate way. Alphonso David, president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, thanked Page for sharing his truth and "shining a bright light on the challenges too many in our community face.""We are proud of you, and we love you. And we will never stop fighting alongside you for change," David posted on Twitter.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
An Indigenous woman wakes up in a hospital far from her rural community in 2018 and again in 2019, dry heaving after both of her surgeries. She thinks she could be allergic to the sedative, but the nurse assumes she is going through withdrawal, despite the fact she hadn’t been drinking before either surgery. “You people drink too much,” the nurse says, and moves the woman to a bed where she doesn’t get further care for three days. A health-care worker witnesses an Indigenous patient go untreated for days against medical advice. The patient eventually had a stroke that could have been prevented. An Elder described how her teeth were forcibly and improperly removed when she was at a residential school. Her mother was held for nearly two decades in the Nanaimo Indian Hospital. The woman now avoids the hospital and the dentist out of fear, and is assumed to be drug-seeking when she seeks care for lifelong tooth infections. “We don’t give drugs,” the staff say. And she describes how, while still a teen, a urologist performed a rough examination, and said “Come on, you know you native women like it rough,” when she cried out in pain. A first-of-its-kind report into anti-Indigenous racism in B.C. health care has found these and hundreds more horrific stories of racism against Indigenous peoples seeking care. Racism is “widespread and insidious” in every corner of the health system, according to the report, titled “In Plain Sight.” After surveying and interviewing almost 9,000 patients and health-care workers about decades and generations of their experiences, the investigation found that 84 per cent of Indigenous patients had experienced racism in health care. More than 50 per cent of Indigenous health care workers reported experiencing racism on the job, mostly from their own colleagues. The disturbing findings led investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to call today for drastic changes in the beliefs, behaviours and structures of health care in the province and new accountability measures. A startling 13 per cent of surveyed health-care workers of all races also made racist comments in their responses to the survey itself. Turpel-Lafond said that showed the degree of racism in the system and health-care workers’ comfort in expressing it. The report noted racist acts not only harm a patient’s dignity but also reduce the quality of care of Indigenous patients and increase their likelihood of chronic illness, poor health outcomes and self-harm. “At the point of care, there is direct prejudice and racism touching all points of care and impact Indigenous people in B.C.,” said the former provincial representative for children and youth, who is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. “Any Indigenous person could face it because it is pervasive and entrenched in the system.” The independent probe was commissioned by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June after allegations of racist games in emergency rooms, alleging health-care workers were guessing the blood alcohol contents of Indigenous patients in the style of “The Price Is Right.” Turpel-Lafond said her investigation “found no evidence of an organized game as originally depicted,” but its results were much more alarming. Harmful stereotypes that Indigenous people drink alcohol in excess, are drug-seeking, less worthy, poor parents, get things for free, or that Indigenous women are sexually promiscuous or involved in the sex trade permeated the comments from patients and health-care workers alike. Those surveyed reported experiencing and witnessing everything from outright denial of care to physical or emotional abuse to medical mistakes because concerns were not heard or respected. “Often these kinds of stereotypes lead to poor care and services,” said Turpel-Lafond. “These actions begin a cycle of poorer outcomes.” The investigation’s analysis of patient data on 185,000 Indigenous people found they go to emergency rooms at nearly twice the rate of non-Indigenous peoples, due to poor access to primary care services or because they avoid care due to past traumatic experiences. Hospitalization rates are three times higher for Indigenous peoples with preventable conditions and Indigenous women are 11 times more likely to leave the hospital against medical advice than non-Indigenous patients due to mistreatment and concerns for their safety. Sexism and misogyny directed at Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people means they are more severely impacted by racism in health care and half as likely to feel safe in health-care settings as Indigenous men. They are more likely to be in poor health, the report found. The impacts of the current pandemic and overdose crises in B.C. disproportionately harm Indigenous women, Turpel-Lafond said. Turpel-Lafond said the rampant problems stem from a lack of accountability and respect and protection for patients and health-care workers who blow the whistle on racism. She wants to see commitments to improving access to care and increasing Indigenous-led services that include cultural healing and traditional practices. And the responsibility to bring change must rest on the health-care sector and government, not Indigenous peoples. “Racism isn’t an Indigenous person’s problem,” said Turpel-Lafond. In her 24 recommendations, Turpel-Lafond says changing systems, beliefs and behaviours is required to address these problems. She wants to see whistleblower protection legislation extended to health-care workers, and new senior positions in government working specifically on anti-racism in health care. Anti-racism policies should be required in all colleges, regulatory bodies and post-secondary training institutions for health-care providers and leaders, she said. Dix offered an apology to all Indigenous people who experienced racism when seeking care and vowed to formulate a cross-government plan to implement the recommendations rooted “in anti-racism and cultural humility.” “My apology today is an acknowledgement of the pain that Indigenous people have borne from racism,” he said today. “Racism will have no place here.” The province has already directed each health authority to hire five new Indigenous health liaisons and has seconded Dawn Thomas, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and a vice-president of Island Health, to serve as associate deputy minister of Indigenous health in Dix’s portfolio. Turpel-Lafond thanked the people who came forward to tell their stories and urged Indigenous peoples to seek care for themselves and support one another in light of the disturbing report. “It’s up to Indigenous people whether they can accept that apology today,” she said. “And today is a very important beginning, so I do feel comfort in that.”Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
The daughter of Jennifer Hillier-Penney, the St. Anthony woman who disappeared without a trace four years ago, isn't giving up her fight for justice even as time passes with little closure or a breakthrough in the RCMP investigation. Hillier-Penney was last seen Nov. 30, 2016, at her estranged husband's home, where she spent the night to look after the younger of the couple's two daughters. That teenager woke the next morning to find her mother gone, but personal items like her coat, keys and passport all left behind.On Monday, the fourth anniversary of her mother's disappearance, the couple's eldest daughter, Marina Penney, posted a scathing message on Facebook, writing openly of her and her family's hurt and lashing out at police as well as a person Penney doesn't name but who she believes killed her mother."I'm angry and I'm tired. I'm tired, and we are just full of rage," Penney told CBC News in an interview Monday"Nobody thought this would go on this long."RCMP labelled Hillier-Penney's disappearance as suspicious early on in the case. Documents show police believe she was kidnapped and killed, but no suspects have ever been named.Frustration with policePenney won't put a name to her suspicions of who may have killed her mother, fearing legal repercussions, and says she and her family have kept quiet in efforts to co-operate with the police. "There's a lot of stuff that we do know, that we have been silent about, because ultimately we know that we gotta put a lot of pressure on police to ensure they're doing everything that they can," she said.> I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. \- Marina PenneyBut co-operation has turned to frustration, and Penney said she has in the past dropped out of contact with police. She and her family did meet with officers in August, she said, and was told there would be more legwork done in St. Anthony that she says never happened.Penney says her family is approaching a breaking point."How long do they expect us to be silent when we don't see progress?" she said."There's going to come a time when we are going to tell the world everything we know, without fear of being sued. Because this is what's happening, we're being pushed to our breaking points, and I'm not prepared to go longer without these answers."One family member is not included in these sentiments. Penney said it has been 2½ years since she last spoke to her father, Dean Penney. Hillier-Penney took her estranged husband off her life insurance policy two weeks before she vanished, and friends of hers told CBC's The Fifth Estate in 2018 she feared him.Reluctance to come forwardIn a statement, RCMP said the Hillier-Penney case remains "an active investigation and a priority," although it wouldn't elaborate further in order to protect "the integrity of the investigation."Police also reiterated to CBC News what it has said in the past — that the RCMP "continues to feel there are people who may have information relevant to the investigate who have not come forward."That doesn't come as a surprise to Hillier-Penney's daughter."The people in the town who might know things, aside from the guilty, are living in fear because they know now how easy it is for someone to get away with murder," Penney said.From the beginning, Penney said, police didn't take the case seriously or link it to a possible homicide soon enough."It was neglect. There were mistakes made," she said.In her Facebook post, Penney wrote blisteringly about the person she thinks killed her mom: "I hope one day you're capable of feeling an ounce of guilt and remorse, and I hope that ounce grows. I hope it grows so big it eats you alive."Penney said she realizes that as strong as her feelings may be, they may be futile — but continues to hope the police investigation, entering its fifth year, may finally yield some answers."I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. But I need the cops to do something. They need to do something," she said.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — The cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies like Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year, experts said Tuesday.Ottawa said in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years.Sometimes labelled a "Netflix tax," the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications. The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it's only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef said it's likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals."Right now, the way in which they're delivering their services, they're not responsible for the collection," Micallef said."And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices."A regular monthly subscription for a streaming service that delivers video or music would be a simple calculation, with the tax rate applied to the purchase price.But Micallef said it is be more difficult to estimate how much additional tax individual consumers, or businesses, will pay for other types of digital purchases, he said.Something like gaming software might cost little or nothing itself, but offer the option for subsequent charges to add features that make the experience better."How many times? How many transactions? It adds up," Micallef said.Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price. "I mean, this is really not a very substantial amount, when we're talking about corporate finances," said Winseck, who is a professor of journalism and communication.He said that the term "Netflix tax" has become highly politicized and is often used as "code" for levelling the playing field between U.S.-based digital media companies and traditional Canadian broadcasters."And if the idea is to create a level playing field between those two services, then that by all means that makes great sense," Winseck said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.David Paddon, The Canadian Press
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania's highest court questioned Tuesday whether Bill Cosby's alleged history of intoxicating and sexually assaulting young women amounted to a signature crime pattern, given studies that show as many as half of all sexual assaults involve drugs or alcohol. Cosby, 83, hopes to overturn his 2018 sex assault conviction because the judge let prosecutors call five other accusers who said Cosby mistreated them the same way he did his victim, Andrea Constand. The defence said their testimony prejudiced the jury against the actor and should not have been allowed.“That conduct you describe — the steps, the young women — there’s literature that says that’s common to 50% of these assaults — thousands of assaults — nationwide,” Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor asked a prosecutor during oral arguments in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. “So how can that be a common scheme?”The prosecutor, in response, offered more precise details about the relationships, saying Cosby used his fame and fortune to mentor the women and then took advantage of it. And he sometimes befriended their mothers or families.“There was a built-in level of trust because of his status in the entertainment industry and because he held himself out as a public moralist,” said Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe, of suburban Philadelphia's Montgomery County, where Constand says she was assaulted at Cosby's estate in 2004.“The signature was isolating and intoxicating young women for the purpose of sexually assaulting them," Jappe said.Cosby has served more than two years of his three- to 10-year prison sentence for drugging and molesting Constand, whom he met through the basketball program at his alma mater, Temple University.Courts have long wrestled with decisions about when other accusers should be allowed to testify in criminal cases. It's generally not allowed, but state law permits a few exceptions, including to show a signature crime pattern or to prove someone's identity. The state's high court appears eager to address the issue, and in doing so took on the first celebrity criminal case of the MeToo era. The court typically takes several months to issue its opinion.Judge Steven T. O'Neill had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby's first trial in 2017, when the jury could not reach a verdict. The MeToo movement took hold months later with media reports about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other men accused of sexual misconduct.O'Neill then let five other accusers testify at Cosby's retrial in 2018, when the jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand.Cosby's appellate lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said prosecutors exploited “all of this vague testimony” about his prior behaviour and his acknowledgement that he had given women alcohol or quaaludes before sexual encounters.“They put Mr. Cosby in a position where he had no shot. The presumption of innocence just didn't exist for him,” Bonjean said in the arguments Tuesday, which were held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Constand went to police in 2005, about a year after the night at his home. The other women knew Cosby in the 1980s through the entertainment industry, and they did not go to police.The defence also challenged the trial judge's decision to let the jury hear damaging testimony Cosby gave in a lawsuit Constand filed against him in 2005, after then-prosecutor Bruce Castor declined to arrest Cosby.The testimony was sealed for nearly a decade until The Associated Press asked a federal judge to release documents from the case as more Cosby accusers came forward. The judge agreed, and Castor's successor reopened the case in 2015, just months before the statute of limitations to arrest him would have expired.Cosby, a once-beloved comedian and actor known as “America’s Dad,” has said he will serve his entire 10-year term rather than admit wrongdoing to the parole board.Criminal law professor Laurie Levenson believes it's important for the court to scrutinize Cosby's conviction given the publicity the case attracted, the legal questions it raised and the potential influence of the MeToo movement.However, she was less sure there's data to show that intoxication was as prevalent in sex assault cases in the 1980s through 2004 as it is today.“We have heard a lot more about doping types of sexual assaults (recently), but I'm not sure how common it was at the time of this offence,” said Levenson, of Loyola Law School. “I think the court’s doing the right thing, which is asking, ‘Did he get convicted on legitimate evidence?'"The AP does not typically identify sexual assault victims without their permission, which Constand has granted.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale.Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Zorhan Bassong wants to be part of building something new with the Montreal Impact. And it doesn't hurt that joining the club will bring the young Canadian defender back home. Bassong said he had several offers and discussed the options with his family before signing a two-year contract with the Impact on Tuesday. The deal includes two additional option years. “As soon as I spoke with (Impact sporting director) Olivier Renard, I felt convinced about this project. I felt like he was ready to build a new project where young players will play," said the 21-year-old Montreal-raised fullback."This is what convinced me to come here. I just wanted to be part of this new project. And at the same time, I will be close to my family, close to my friends, close to my homeland.”Bassong was 14 when he left home to train in Europe. He returns to Canada after playing for Cercle Brugge in Belgium's Jupiler Pro League, and previously played 31 games for Lille's reserve team in France.The five-foot-nine defender made his debut for the Canadian national team in January, and was later named to the U-23 national team roster for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. Work on bringing him to Montreal has been underway for some time, Renard said in a release."We preferred to wait to make the announcement to avoid destabilizing the players in his position, and achieve our 2020 goals," he said. Veteran Montreal defenders Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala and Jorge Corrales all have contracts that expire at the end of 2020. While Renard described Bassong as a versatile player who can fit in anywhere along the backline, the young defender said his preferred position is left back.“I like to do the runs back and forth," he said. "When I play left back, I like to attack. I like to participate offensively, to help the team score goals, to get some assists.”Bassong won't be available to join the Impact for the team's upcoming CONCACAF Champions League fixture. Though he has returned to Montreal, he's currently in quarantine with his family.The Champions League tournament will see the Impact face Honduran club CD Olimpia on Dec. 15 in Orlando. The matchup is the second leg of the quarterfinal, coming after Olimpia beat the Impact 2-1 when the teams played the first leg at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in March. The tournament was then postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner of the series will face either New York City FC or Mexico's Tigres UANL in the semifinals on Dec. 19. The tournament's finale will be played on Dec. 22. The rest of the Champions League games will be played without fans.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
From Halifax to Toronto to Calgary to Vancouver, there are plenty of ways to safety enjoy the simple pleasure of Christmas lights.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court seemed concerned Tuesday about the impact of siding with food giants Nestle and Cargill and ending a lawsuit that claims they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labour.The court was hearing arguments in the case by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic. If the court were to accept Nestle and Cargill's arguments, that could further limit the ability of victims of human rights abuses abroad to use U.S. courts to sue. But both liberal and conservative justices asked questions that were skeptical of arguments made by the companies' attorney.“Many of your arguments lead to results that are pretty hard to take,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito told attorney Neal Katyal, who was arguing on behalf of Nestle and Cargill. The court's three liberal justices were particularly critical of Katyal's position, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at one point saying it “boggles my mind.”The case before the justices has been going on for more than 15 years. It involves six adult citizens of Mali, referred to only as John Does, who say that as children they were taken from their country and forced to work on cocoa farms in neighbouring Ivory Coast. They say they worked 12 to 14 hours a day, were given little food and were beaten if their work was seen as slow.The group says that Minneapolis-based Cargill and the American arm of Switzerland-based Nestle “aided and abetted” their slavery by, among other things, buying cocoa beans from farms that used child labour. The group is seeking to bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and what they say are thousands of other former child slaves.Both Nestle and Cargill say they have taken steps to combat child slavery and have denied any wrongdoing.The case involves a law enacted by the very first Congress in 1789, the Alien Tort Statute, which permits foreign citizens to sue in U.S. courts for human rights abuses. The justices are being asked to rule on whether it permits lawsuits against American companies.Justice Brett Kavanaugh was among the justices with tough questions for Nestle and Cargill's attorney. “The Alien Tort Statute was once an engine of international human rights protection,” Kavanaugh said before quoting a brief that argued that the companies' position would “gut the statute.” “So why should we do that?” he asked.Alito, for his part, was also skeptical about this particular case against Nestle and Cargill. “You don't even allege that they actually knew about forced child labour,” Alito told attorney Paul Hoffman.“We do contend that these defendants knew exactly what they were doing in that supply chain,” Hoffman responded.The case had previously been dismissed twice at an early stage, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived it. The Trump administration is backing Nestle and Cargill.The high court in recent years has limited the use of the Alien Tort Statute. Most recently, in 2018, the court ruled that foreign businesses cannot be sued under the law. In that case, the court rejected an attempt by Israeli victims of attacks in the West Bank and Gaza to use U.S. courts to sue Jordan-based Arab Bank, which they said helped finance the attacks. Cargill and Nestle are asking the court to take another step and rule out suits against U.S. companies.A decision is expected by the end of June.Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
A fourth route for the Town of Orangeville’s transit system will be delayed thanks to a decision to nix the transfer hub plans on Broadway. The route was set to be established in order to serve an area of town that currently does not have transit service. “(It’s) so frustrating,” Coun. Todd Taylor told the Orangeville Banner. “We are losing precious time to serve all of our community.” He added that Veteran’s Way and the west end of town are two examples. “We currently have entire neighbourhoods not served by transit,” said Taylor. The fourth route would allow the transit service to operate on a four-quad system. Each quad would serve a different area of the town and meet with the rest at a central location, allowing riders to transfer to reach their destination. Council reversed their decision on the Broadway hub in a 4-3 vote on Nov. 23, after hearing numerous concerns from businesses in the downtown core and the BIA. Taylor, along with Councillors Lisa Post and Grant Peters, felt that sufficient work had been completed to prove the safety and benefits of a Broadway transfer point, which would have been located between First and John Street. Instead, several members of council would like to see staff investigate the possibility of using the Edelbrock Centre, an idea which was favoured until more recently. “I am disappointed in the decision,” said Taylor. “The Edelbrock site will cost over $300k to implement, while downtown was minimal.” Until council settles on a location, any work on the transit project, which includes the fourth route, has been put on hold. Taylor added that part of the reasoning behind a centralized station is to improve challenges deterring ridership, such as reliability and access to certain parts of town. “Our buses are underutilized today; this is a fact,” said Taylor. “Why would anyone want to ride a bus that is frequently late and does not get you close to a desired location?” Council is scheduled to vote on a motion to revisit the idea of using the Edelbrock Centre at its Dec. 14 meeting.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner