The two presidential candidates are only a few years apart in age, but Trump's effort to paint Biden as a sleepy candidate is a strategy to get ahead in battleground states. (Sept. 25)
The two presidential candidates are only a few years apart in age, but Trump's effort to paint Biden as a sleepy candidate is a strategy to get ahead in battleground states. (Sept. 25)
A historic meeting between Israel's prime minister and Saudi Arabia's crown prince has sent a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that the two countries remain deeply committed to containing their common foe Iran. Last Sunday's covert meeting in the Saudi city of Neom, confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh, conveyed a coordinated message to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that Washington's main allies in the region are closing ranks. It was the first publicly confirmed visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli leader and a meeting that was unthinkable until recently as the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.
If you're venturing into the world of Black Friday sales — whether online or in-store — the owner of one e-commerce business in Port aux Basques says there are some things to be on the lookout for, as some deals aren't all they appear to be.Jay Mathur says some retailers use limited quantity or 'buy now' campaigns to keep people's shopping impulse high.Some products, such as televisions, even have specific models that are rolled out during Black Friday events, he said, but may have less functions than other models. He said most lower-end models, specifically in televisions, will be the ones on sale with dramatic price reductions. "Those TV models are actually very limited. They have a limited number of [outputs]. Maybe they'll only have one HDMI port, no ethernet port, it won't have any smart features, the processor may be very slow, it may not have a lot of memory," Mathur told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show."So the door-buster model that you're actually buying, it may actually be one of the worst TVs for sale."Mathur said looking at the fine print on products, especially in electronics, will tell shoppers everything they need to know, and people should balance that against the "non-holiday" model.Most products sold online will have a reviews section, written by happy or disappointed shoppers which should be used to help in decision making, according to Marthur.But it's important to remember that some product reviews are compensated, he said, meaning the company paid for the review. "That doesn't mean that it's fake, it just means that the retailer provided the product for free or maybe gave some additional incentive, but consider maybe the reviews you're reading may not all be 100 per cent factual," he said. American tradition comes to CanadaBlack Friday means deep price cuts for shoppers looking to save a little extra on holiday gifts for friends and family as December draws nearer. The annual savings event that has become a staple across the United States has quickly become a save-the-date for many Canadian consumers' calendars.Tom Cooper, an associate professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University, said the event became popular first within border provinces who would make the journey to the United States to save on gifts, well before the boom in online shopping. "Now it's almost become part of the culture whereby people start to prepare their Christmas shopping and start to think about, 'Is this a good time to go out, is this a good time to get the best deals of the season?'" Cooper told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show. Cooper said the event has eclipsed Boxing Day sales events, in which companies are pivoting to have their stock out ahead of Christmas rather than after. Now in the middle of a pandemic, and the current state of COVID-19 surges in pockets across Canada, Cooper said he believes most shoppers will now hold out until Cyber Monday — a similar concept to Black Friday but with a focus on online shopping. Shopping localCooper said he would like to see a local Saturday event rather than Black Friday, where people flock to their local retail stores to buy gifts. For small businesses, especially after a year in which many have closed and many more have struggled due to the pandemic, Cooper said the holiday season is going to be important for them."The benefits stay in the community, the benefits stay locally, both in terms of jobs but also in terms of making this a better place to live," he said. "Although chains are great, and I'll still continue to shop at Sportchek and all those other great chains that provide really good products that you can't necessarily get locally, if there is a choice then I think, once again, this is a great time to help local retailers," he said.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Black Friday sales on now have traditionally been the domain of big, national chains with beefed-up advertising budgets. But this year, there's a growing push to make sure that the annual bonanza of consumer spending goes as much as possible to the stores that need it most: small, local retailers.While overall sales have been recovering from spring lows when the pandemic began, retailers continue to be hit hard by COVID-19. And the threat of low sales lingers, particularly as a new round of lockdowns across much of the country have forced the closure of stores that sell anything deemed non-essential.Small mom and pop shops have always faced an uphill battle competing with the big boys who have the benefit of huge supply chains to squeeze suppliers, but initiatives across the country this year suggest the little guys are not going down without a fight.A new approachIbrahim "Obby" Khan is the co-founder of Goodlocal.ca, a Winnipeg-based web platform that he describes as being like "Amazon and Etsy meet local."As the owner of a half dozen Winnipeg restaurants, Khan knows just how hard things have been for local vendors lately. That's why he spearheaded a plan to bring together a handful businesses that were doing fine before COVID-19, but found themselves losing sales afterwards because they weren't able to pivot to online selling — or handle delivery, if they could get enough sales to make it worthwhileWATCH | Ibrahim "Obby" Khan describes how his startup, Goodlocal.ca, has grown quickly:Goodlocal has become a sort of middle man for those businesses, connecting retailers with consumers who want to shop from them even amid current COVID restrictions. It's searchable by product and growing by the day."If you want it and it's local, you can order it. We will take care of the packaging, getting it from the vendor and we will drop it off at your house," Khan said.While the initiative started slowly with a few dozen vendors, it now has wares from more than 200 — and a backlog of almost as many, looking to sign up. It's been such a success he hopes to expand across the province and maybe the country, next year.Khan said the site has grown from just 18 orders on its launch day, a few weeks ago, to hundreds everyday. On Wednesday, the site processed a record 705 orders.Goodlocal has put $91,000 worth of sales into retailers' pockets in a matter of weeks. Those are real dollars that could be the difference between staying open or shutting down forever for some of them, he said. "You could see tears in some of our vendors eyes ... they were saying: 'I've sold more in two weeks than I have sold in the last nine months since COVID started'."Best of all, he said, 95 per cent of customers end up buying something from more than one vendor, not just the one they sought out in the first place. And vendors say they are booking sales from new customers, not just their existing ones."It's really turning into this ecosystem of everything and anything local," he said.Melissa Zuker's story is similar. In 2014, she co-founded the Toronto Market Co., which works with local restaurants, retailers and artisans to create pop-up shops and markets to sell their wares to the public.Business was booming and then like everything else, COVID-19 brought things to a standstill in March of this year. As the concept of one-stop-shopping in a physical location became next to impossible to do, Zuker made the same digital pivot to try to recreate that market experience, online.Growing businessIn June, Torontomarketco.com was launched. A few dozen businesses signed up at first, but the response from customers was so encouraging that the site now works with almost 100.The site offers either delivery, for a small fee, or contactless pickup. The holiday buying season, which starts roughly on Black Friday and goes through to Christmas, is a huge time on the retail calendar, with many businesses making up to half of their annual sales in this period.Zuker's been pleased with the response from vendors and customers."Anything that we can do for anyone … that's been forced to close. I think it's really important to try to support them [because] your favourite bakery on the corner might not be there in the spring," she said."I think the concept to support local has always been there, but certainly in the last few weeks, the push to support local has been enormous." Markus Giesler, a consumer researcher and associate professor of marketing at York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto, said COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way retailers sell and consumers buy.Under normal circumstances, most consumers are very price sensitive and want the best deal, he said."And if the best deal means going outside of their community, going to the shopping mall somewhere else, then that goes at the expense of shopping local," he said in an interview.But that rule of thumb isn't quite as iron clad this year, he said.Thinking local"We're a lot more willing to help local businesses and we're trying to do this in an effort to make a difference, you know, almost as a patriotic duty, if you will."Small retailers still face a major uphill battle in their constant fight against big box sellers who can push prices lower and online behemoths like Amazon, which will always have a leg up in terms of speed and convenience. But initiatives like the ones in Toronto and Winnipeg can be a major weapon in that battle, he said."If more and more businesses come together, share logistics, share distribution, make the process easier to manage, make it more scalable, then you have a win-win situation where consumers and businesses work on the same end."While seemingly overmatched against giants like Walmart, Amazon and others, Khan, a former CFL football player with Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary, has first-hand experience of how a focused team of underdogs can rally together to beat a heavy favourite."We have a fleet of drivers a lot of them volunteering their time to come in tomorrow and help us deliver," he said, pointing to a stack of more than 700 orders."It's rocking and rolling … we just really want to keep this thing going and support local businesses and keep people safe at home."
Some property management companies in Windsor-Essex advertise rental properties by marketing them specifically to students even though the Ontario Human Rights Commission makes clear that language which shows a landlord's preference for some people over others should not be used in a rental advertisement.Danielle Gilliard spent months trying to find a place to rent, calling the search "frustrating." She found herself scrolling through multiple rental advertisements, including ones by property management companies.She says if those companies were to stop allowing student-preferential language to be posted in rental advertisements, it may influence individual landlords from doing the same — eliminating any hesitancy that non-students may have from renting out whatever home or unit they like."It discourages you because you're looking for a home for your family — and these people are looking for students."The mother of four said that on multiple occasions, she would be discouraged from applying to rent certain properties since many of them contained language like "great for students.""It makes you feel almost belittled in a way," said Gilliard, who receives government assistance. "I've been denied because I'm not a student and I'm thinking — I have a guaranteed income every month."The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that indicating a rental unit as being "great" or "perfect for students" is the wrong way of writing a rental advertisement since this wording suggests that "the landlord prefers some people over others.,"There's a bit of a grey area and the issue is more about what happens after the advertisement. Students aren't listed as a ground under the Ontario human rights code, meaning that distinguishing between students and non-students in a rental advertisement isn't directly prohibited by the code as long as no subsequent discrimination takes place.But problems can lie with the wording of the ad itself. That's according to Matthew Horner, a senior lawyer with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, who says marketing rentals to students can be deemed "contrary to the code" if a family — or other code-protected groups — can demonstrate they have been pushed out of the opportunity to rent a desired unit."If it turns out that you don't rent to families, you don't rent potentially to racialized people, you don't rent to anybody with a disability, then that would raise the concern of ... [the] seemingly-neutral rule of renting to students, in fact, having an effect on on other code-protected groups."Moreover, if a rental advertisement indicates an "intention to only rent to students," the party responsible for posting the ad runs the risk of having a claim to the human rights tribunal brought against them."[They could] argue that what you are effectively doing is excluding other groups ... and thereby discriminating against them," he said.Company pegs student-preferential language on 'transparency'CBC News reached out to three property management companies in Windsor operating websites which contain student-preferential rental advertisements. Property Hunters refused to comment and Maximum Property Solutions did not respond to email requests.Marda Management, however, did agree to speak with CBC News. When asked if she's aware that the use of student-preferential language in rental advertisements is discouraged by the human rights commission, company CEO Marla Coffin said "we welcome 100 per cent of clientele in 100 per cent of our units.""We absolutely do not discriminate and we are grateful and welcome any and all clientele across the board to all of our units, because our number one goal is to find a great home for each and every individual that looks to live within our system while simultaneously working diligently to achieve the goals of our property owners, which is to avoid vacancies," she said.Coffin pointed to "transparency" regarding the presence of ads for "student rentals" and "student rooms" on Marda Management's website, adding it's all about "being honest and open about the clientele" with whom renters may share space."We do try to be clear with people about what an ideal clientele can be," said Coffin, adding rentals that are advertised as "great for students" don't necessarily mean that they're "only for students."Coffin said she has not received feedback to suggest that non-students have been discouraged about inquiring about a house on Marda's website that's been marketed to students.She added her company would never deny housing to a non-student who could afford to rent a room or home — even if an advertisement indicated preference toward students.Gilliard says whenever she came across a home described as a "student rental," it usually meant there was no way her family would be able to occupy it. She recalled one instance when she attended a home to inquire about renting it only to find out that the bottom floor was already being occupied by students.> It discourages you because you're looking for a home for your family — and these people are looking for students." \- Danielle Gilliard Gilliard finally secured a place to rent after eight months of searching.
Tracy Cloud can still remember the eruption on social media in response to the behaviour of a high-ranking Edmundston police officer who appeared to laugh when a reporter asked him a question about the shooting death of Chantel Moore. "It was shared many times over and over within our communities," said Cloud, a member of Metepenagiag First Nation. "There was just an explosion of many comments and of course, none of them were positive."Cloud says she's puzzled as to why the officer wasn't directed to participate in a localized cultural training program in response to a complaint filed against him by TJ Burke, the lawyer who represents Chantel Moore's estate. According to Burke, Insp. Steve Robinson has been ordered by the Edmundston police chief to take the Indigenous Canada course available online through the University of Alberta.Cloud is puzzled as to why the police are not using resources closer to home. She says the nine Mi'kmaw communities of New Brunswick, under the non-profit umbrella organization Mi'gmawe'l Tplu'taqnn Inc., or MTI, do have programs that explain treaty principles and their historical context."In fact, this afternoon, we have a treaty session with about 85 people that will be happening through one of the federal government departments," said Cloud.The MTI also offers a regional variation of a teaching tool known as the blanket exercise. That's when a group of people, for example, a class of high school students, would gather in one room and stand in a space where the floor is covered with blankets that represent the land inhabited by Indigenous people that eventually became Canada.Participants read about chapters of Indigenous history, including the impact of disease, poverty, residential schools and the Indian Act. Progressively, they themselves are increasingly confined to fewer blankets and less space or rejected altogether from the circle. "We have people walking away in tears," said Cloud. "People who say, 'Had I known, I could have done better."Cloud says the cost to facilitate a program depends on factors such as preparation time, staff time and travel expenses. "The exercise is just a couple of hours long. People are able to put their feet in our moccasins for that brief moment and reflect on generations and hundreds of years of history and what Indigenous people have gone through."Cloud says MTI has been trying to get more people involved, including non-governmental agencies. "Really, anyone who's willing to have us in, we're happy to provide the discussion."Education shouldn't be discipline Lawyer Derek Simon, who works as legal counsel for MTI, says education shouldn't be used as a sanction. "I work for the Mi'kmaw chiefs in New Brunswick and they've been advocating for some time now for cultural awareness and treaty training and treaty education for all police officers in New Brunswick. They feel that's something that all officers should be receiving as a matter of course and not as discipline for bad behaviour," said Simon.In addition to completing the online course, Burke says Robinson must also meet with a Wolostoqi elder to discuss what he discovered on his journey for knowledge. Simon says it's a good idea but "sits wrong as a sanction.""It's something that should be a standardized part of the police experience," he said.Simon says the Mi'kmaw chiefs want to see Indigenous representation on the New Brunswick police commission.They also want every police department to have an elder they can turn to, who can provide guidance. "So instead of this one officer being singled out and told, 'You've done a bad thing, go speak to an elder about it,' this is something that should be provided as a cultural resource on an ongoing basis," said Simon.CBC News did ask to speak to Edmundston police Chief Alain Lang but he declined to be interviewed. A spokesperson for his office explained that Lang would not comment because under the New Brunswick Police Act (NBPA), disciplinary and corrective measures are confidential.
Donald Trump is reputed not to read much, and he certainly won't want to read about the trial of Nicolas Sarkozy, the former right-wing French president.Sarkozy's troubles after leaving office in 2012 hint at a blueprint for the outgoing U.S. president's legal future. Sarkozy is charged with corruption and influence-peddling after he left office. Like American presidents, French presidents have immunity while serving, in Sarkozy's case from 2007 to 2012.The accusation is that in 2013 he promised a position in Monaco to a French judge in return for top-secret information about one of several legal investigations into his affairs before and after he became president.Sarkozy denies it, and points out the judge never got a position in Monaco. He told an all-news station, BFMTV, in early November: "I'm not a hoodlum. I'm not rotten."Striking parallels The parallels between Sarkozy and Trump are striking, and one of them is that their electorates found their in-their-face presidential styles tiring. They were both retired after one term.In 2012, the French opted for a "normal" president. That was the term incoming president François Hollande used to describe himself. But the French quickly tired of "normality" and retired Hollande as well, after just one term.Instead, once again they opted for an activist, interventionist leader: Emmanuel Macron. Like Sarkozy, he likes fights and likes to pick them, even with foreign leaders and the foreign press. More on him later.Like Trump, Sarkozy has always loved the limelight. The French media call him a bête de scène, a political beast who craves public attention, whether good or bad. Like Trump, he was twice divorced and then remarried to a model, Carla Bruni, in his case while he was in office as president.'Allegiance or vengeance'In office, he was dubbed le président tous azimuts – the "all-out president", who dabbled in almost every policy.He appointed loyalists to most top posts, and several got into trouble for ignoring the boundaries of the law. Like Trump, he demands loyalty. As one French éditorialiste wrote in Le Monde, with Sarkozy it was either "allegiance or vengeance."And now, as an ex-president, Sarkozy finds himself waist-deep in not one, but three, legal swamps.The first swamp began in earnest on Thursday. It is the first time an ex-president has been in court facing a serious charge of influence peddling and corruption. If found guilty, he and his co-defendants face prison terms of up to 10 years.Phone taps and fake namesAnd another first: Sarkozy is the first French ex-head of state to have his phones tapped. Trump, who falsely accused the Obama administration of tapping his campaign's phones, might be sympathetic.The charge relates to moves by Sarkozy and his lawyer to persuade Gilbert Azibert, a judge on France's highest court of appeal, to give them a secret file relating to another police investigation into Sarkozy's dealings. In return, it's alleged that Sarkozy promised to use his influence to arrange a plum job for the judge in Monaco.The case became spicier when investigating magistrates discovered that Sarkozy and his lawyer and co-defendant, Thierry Herzog, realized they were being investigated. They took evasive action, hiding their discussions by using new phones and fake names. Sarkozy became "Paul Bismuth."That's when the order was given to tap their conversations.France's National Financial Prosecutor's office in 2017 described the defendants' efforts as "a pact of corruption". "Their methods were those of experienced offenders," it said.Harsh language, but equally harsh has been Sarkozy's response. In an interview with BFMTV in November, he talked of "Stasi methods," referring to the dreaded secret police in communist East Germany, and "a scandal that will sit long in the annals".Only the first of his trialsUnfortunately for Sarkozy, this is only the first of his trials. In the spring of 2021, he and several colleagues will go on trial for the so-called Bygmalion affair. The charge is that his re-election campaign in 2012 used the Bygmalion public relations firm to launder receipts, thus filling the campaign coffers with millions more than campaign finance laws allowed.The third possible trial involves tens of millions of dollars from, of all people, Moammar Gadhafi, the then-Libyan leader — money carried to France in suitcases to finance Sarkozy's winning presidential campaign in 2007.Half a dozen of Sarkozy's circle have found themselves in serious legal trouble, and at least three have been convicted of crimes. But the ex-French president has been careful to leave few written traces, preferring fake names and new phones.And, like Trump, he has used every legal avenue to drag out the process, all the while denouncing the legal establishment of France in virulent language.Trump is a businessman, and far richer than Sarkozy, a lawyer and a politician almost all his adult life. But like Sarkozy, Trump already faces investigations on several fronts, which he has dragged out by appealing against every adverse judgment.Enter MacronSarkozy's belligerence in office exhausted the French, but five years later they chose a new Lone Ranger of politics, who formed his own party and promised to rip up the old ways of doing things. There is not a hint of corruption about Emmanuel Macron, but his willingness to start fights, at home and abroad, is familiar. In the midst of the enormous COVID crisis, he lit a match that started a fire in the Muslim world. His speeches in October attacking "Islamist separatism", saying Islam is "in crisis", and defending France's right to protect caricaturists, including those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, drew the fury of Turkey's president and of the Pakistani government.Turkey's Erdogan said, "Macron needs mental treatment." France promptly recalled its ambassador to Turkey. Then Macron accused Erdogan of having "imperial inclinations", a reference to Turkey's aggressive military presence in the Mediterranean and in supporting Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia.The Pakistani minister for human rights accused France of treating French Muslims like Hitler treated the Jews before the Second World War. The French government exploded. "These despicable words are blatant lies, loaded with an ideology of hatred and violence," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.Along the way, Macron has taken on French unions, stripping them of some rights and advantages, and French journalists. To the media's fury, his government recently introduced a law making it a crime to publish images of police officers "for malicious purposes". Journalists and others demonstrated in their thousands. The law passed.Attack is the best defence; it is a line that Macron hews to with enthusiasm. This was the approach that worked brilliantly for Sarkozy and for Trump – until it didn't.
People seeking to trade urban living for an idyllic cottage on the lake are getting sticker shock as properties get snapped up within days of going up for sale — sometimes at 70 per cent above the asking price. "It's pretty crazy," said Chris Brent, who has been trying to buy a property southwest of Arnprior, Ont.He said he's been clicking on property listing sites "hourly, it seems like." Last week, Brent said he got an appointment to see a property two days after it went up for sale, only to find out it was sold before he could get there.> You just gotta be ready to go in and throw money it seems.> > \- Chris Brent, prospective buyer"The agent called me at seven o'clock [at night] the day after it was posted and told me it had sold for $100,000 over asking," said Brent.The property was listed at $369,000. Bidding wars are leading to final sales of 50 per cent or higher than the original asking price, according to Ottawa real estate agent Patrick Kelly.Last weekend, Kelly sold a three-season lakeside cottage near Perth, Ont., for about 70 per cent above asking. It was listed at $349,000, and sold for "an astounding $592,000," after 41 visits and nine offers, he said."Never have I seen that before," said Kelly, an agent with Sutton Group in Ottawa.Buyers taking risksKelly said buyers are competing against others willing to pay over asking price, and making offers without conditions that normally protect them, forgoing home and septic inspections.> People have really thrown caution to the wind which I haven't seen in my career thus far. \- Patrick Kelly, Agent at Sutton Group"People have really thrown caution to the wind which I haven't seen in my career thus far, until 2020," said Kelly.Waterfront property can include restrictions, for instance, that make the cost of replacing a septic system cost prohibitive, he warns. Title issues may not be settled, and legacy properties can sometimes include some surprises. "There can be some real scary 'grandpa-built-this-cottage' structural issues," said Kelly.He advises people do their homework as much as possible — from making sure the property isn't in a flood zone to understanding how far the nearest grocery store is.WATCH | Agent says demand shot up and properties selling far above asking price:Will values stick? Prices in cottage country across Ontario have seen a 20 to 25 per cent jump on year-over-year average prices in October, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)."Cottage country is just going ballistic," said Shaun Cathcart, the senior economist for CREA. "People maybe thinking, 'well, if I don't have to commute anymore, I can go live lakefront and work on satellite internet,'" said Cathcart. "Whatever it is, it's really, really taken off."WATCH | Economist says many people spending more time at home, leading to huge demand for real estate:While Kelly says it's not completely clear whether the homes that go for over asking price will retain their value, Cathcart is more optimistic.Cathcart said the ability to work remotely is likely going to stick around for a while, and the new circumstances mean recreational properties have been undervalued.In the meantime for buyers like Chris Brent, just getting in to see a property remains a challenge. "We went to another house that was booked for two days solid before they even accepted bids," said Brent. "So if you're against that competition, man, you just gotta be ready to go in and throw money it seems."
A mother in Deer Lake wasn't satisfied with a negative COVID-19 test when her child continued to show symptoms of the virus, and her insistence on getting retested likely saved more people from becoming infected.The woman, who CBC is not naming to protect the identity of the child, wants people to know that they handled the situation with more caution than was even necessary.Her daughter, a student at Elwood Elementary School, was a close contact of the cluster that started in Deer Lake last week. She went into isolation right away and was tested late last week. She got news on Friday that she tested negative.Despite the test result, her mother worried when she wasn't acting like herself, had a fever and was lethargic. She felt the test was performed too soon after her daughter's contact with a known case."It was definitely a false sense of security," she said of the initial test result. "It was a huge relief, but you know, with that sense of false security I'm hoping that others are doing what I did in monitoring their children."The child was tested again, and it came back positive on Monday morning.> I do want people to know that even though they may test negative, a positive unfortunately may be around the corner. \- Mother of child with COVID-19The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District shut her school down later that morning. Health officials have said more than 30 children in her class cohort went into self-isolation."As of right now, there haven't been any positives linked directly to her," her mother told Newfoundland Morning on Thursday. "Her classroom has all quarantined. So I'm hoping that, given all her close contacts are all quarantined since this weekend, I'm hoping that it will end with us."Shortly after speaking with CBC News, the provincial government announced a person under the age of 19 did test positive in the Western Health region. It was not related to the five-year-old's case, and the person has been quarantined since coming into contact with the virus.The mother doesn't want other positive cases to be treated as rule-breakers. She also doesn't want parents to take a negative result as an all-clear."I'm not out to scare anybody or anything like that, but I do want people to know that even though they may test negative, a positive unfortunately may be around the corner," she said.Elwood Elementary was closed Monday and Tuesday, and the town's other two schools saw a combined 20 students in attendance for those same days.The elementary school reopened on Wednesday.The young girl seems to have a mild case, her mother said, and she hopes to recover soon. After testing positive, her first reaction was relief that she didn't have to endure the nasal swab again."I think given her age, and she doesn't have any pre-existing conditions, she's doing quite well thankfully," her mother said.She is concerned about the reaction her child might get when she returns to school. Some families going through COVID-19 have had to deal with an online witch hunt and widespread negativity, though the mother said most people she's spoken with have been supportive.Chief Medical Officer of Health Janice Fitzgerald has repeatedly asked people to act with empathy and kindness, but not everyone has been listening."I am fearful her classmates may know she's the reason that they are out of school for two weeks," the mother said. "But her and I do have an amazing relationship and we have awesome coping skills for our own mental health. I think with the support she has from myself and her stepdad and everybody else in her circle who [loves] her, I think she'll do just fine."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 27 ...What we are watching in Canada ...Black Friday, the one-day shopping bonanza known for its big bargains and large crowds, has arrived.While rising COVID-19 cases and weeks of staggered deals have muted the usual fanfare of the shopping event, retailers are banking on today's sales to bolster their bottom line. Retail analysts say some bargain hunters are still expected to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, where possible, in the hopes of snagging a doorbuster deal.But they say the majority of this year's Black Friday purchases are expected to be made online. Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.He says given ongoing lockdowns and in-store capacity limits, online sales are expected to be strong today and remain heightened over the holiday shopping season.Indeed, big box stores, which often attract the largest lineups and crowds on Black Friday, have moved most promotions online.Yet although Black Friday's top sellers tend to be big-ticket electronics, some shoppers might be on the hunt for deals on more basic items. Lisa Hutcheson, managing partner at consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, says some shoppers may take advantage of today's sales to "stock up and hunker down for the winter."\---Also this ...REGINA — Group sports are suspended in Saskatchewan starting today and no more than 30 people are allowed to gather inside public venues as the province tries to contain its spread of COVID-19. The cap applies to bingo halls, worship services, casinos, and receptions for weddings and funerals.The Saskatchewan Party government announced added health measures on Wednesday after weeks of rising cases that have driven up hospitalizations.Although formal competition is prohibited, athletes and dancers who are 18 years old and younger can still practise in groups of eight if they stay far enough apart and wear masks — now required in all indoor fitness facilities. No more than four people can sit together at a bar or restaurant and tables must be three metres apart if they are not separated by a barrier. Large retail stores have to cut their capacity by half.The measures are to be in place until Dec. 17.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...Americans are marking the Thanksgiving holiday amid an unrelenting pandemic that has upended traditions at dinner tables all around the country. Zoom and FaceTime calls are fixtures this year, and people who have lost family members to the virus are keeping an empty seat to honour their loved ones. Far fewer volunteers will help at soup kitchens or community centres. A Utah health department has been delivering boxes of food to residents who are infected with the virus and can’t go to the store. A New York nursing home is offering drive-up visits for families of residents struggling with celebrating the holiday alone.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...SEOUL — South Korea's spy agency has told lawmakers that North Korea executed at least two people, banned fishing at sea and locked down its capital as part of frantic anti-coronavirus steps. The lawmakers cited the National Intelligence Service as saying that North Korea also ordered diplomats overseas to refrain from any acts that could provoke the United States because it is worried about president-elect Joe Biden’s expected new approach toward the North. One lawmaker cited the agency as saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is displaying excessive anger and taking irrational measures over the pandemic and its economic impact.\---On this day in 1998 ...Hells Angels kingpin Maurice (Mom) Boucher was acquitted of killing two Quebec prison guards.\---ICYMI ...A Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in Alberta remembers her encounter with the premier as less dramatic than he suggested.Carolina De La Torre says Kenney got her central feelings correct, but she said she did not break down into tears the way Kenney recalled."No crying," the 57-year-old woman said with a laugh during a phone interview Thursday.She also said it was Kenney who approached her Calgary food court booth called Arepas Ranch for lunch in October, not the other way around as the premier told it.After weeks of mounting COVID-19 cases, as more than 1,000 new cases and 16 deaths were reported on Tuesday, Kenney announced new rules that included making indoor private social events illegal.During the news conference, Kenney gave an example of how much a lockdown would hurt businesses by telling the story of a Venezuelan refugee he met."A couple of weeks ago, I was in my constituency, at a little food court thing and a new Albertan, a refugee from Venezuela socialism, came up to me," Kenney said."She had just opened a little food kiosk, she recognized me, she came up to me, and she broke down in tears in front of me saying, 'sir, I put my entire life savings as a refugee into this business, we're struggling to pay the bills, if you shut me down, I'm going to lose it all, everything, and I'll be in abject poverty.'""For some, perhaps, it is a little bit too easy to say just flick a switch. Shut them down," Kenney said."I would ask people who have the certainty of a paycheque to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses."\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020The Canadian Press
In September, scientists announced they had found a chemical signature in the clouds of Venus that they said could be associated with life. However, in a new follow-up, pre-print study, the authors announced that the level of the chemical is seven times lower than they had initially reported.In the original paper, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers claimed they had found high traces of phosphine, a toxic chemical known as PH3. On Earth, phosphine is either produced by organisms that don't require oxygen to survive, or it can be created in laboratories.In a reanalysis of the data, which has not been peer-reviewed, the study's authors now say there may be less phosphine than initially reported, but that doesn't entirely rule out a phosphine detection. They also reported that they are detecting variations of phosphine over time. So does that mean there's no chance of life in the clouds of Venus?"No, not at all," said Jane Greaves, lead author of both studies and a professor at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, in an email. "The discovery of time-variation is particularly exciting, as other things change too over time (like how much water is seen in the clouds)." WATCH | Scientists discuss their original finding of phosphine in the clouds of VenusVenus, roughly the same size as Earth, is often called our sister planet. It's believed to have had oceans billions of years ago. But today, it's considered inhospitable to life. The cloud-covered planet is the hottest in the solar system with temperatures hot enough to melt lead and a crushing carbon dioxide environment. Over the past few decades, some astronomers hypothesized that life could exist in a narrow region of the clouds, between 48 and 60 kilometres above the surface. That's where the phosphine was detected, which is why the study's findings were so exciting to some.However, there has been increasing skepticism about the September study. Several papers were published in response questioning not only the conclusions that the astronomers reached, but also the data itself.Questions aboundThe initial observations were taken by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii in 2017 and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile in 2019. The high concentrations of phosphine detected with these telescopes, the researchers said, could not be accounted for by natural sources such as volcanoes, lightning or meteors burning up in Venus's atmosphere. The only thing left on the table, they said, was biological production. The study's authors knew there was "noise" in the data obtained from ALMA, perhaps from Earth's own atmosphere, but said they had ruled it out.A follow-up look at the telescopes at ALMA revealed some calibration errors that did explain some of the noise, which led other astronomers to further question the findings. One independent study suggested that instead of phosphine, the observations might have been detecting sulphur dioxide (SO2), a gas that is abundant in the planet's atmosphere.Another study, led by Therese Encrenaz, an astronomer at l'Observatoire Paris-Site de Meudon, looked at infrared data collected in 2015, where no phosphine was detected. The authors conclude that if phosphine does exist at all, it would be found in the upper atmosphere of Venus — above both where it was detected and that narrow region where life has been hypothesized.Even with the reanalysis by Greaves, Encrenaz doesn't believe the phosphine is produced biologically."Even if phosphine was present, they had no proof at all that there is life behind it, because they have no scenario to explain how microorganisms could form," Encrenaz said. "It's just an idea because they don't know how to explain it with regular processes.… I was a bit disappointed when I read their paper, because they should not have said so."Interactive | Click, drag and zoom to see Venus in 3DHowever, in another paper published in September on the pre-print server arXiv, researchers reanalyzing data collected by the Pioneer-Venus probe from the 1970s found the "data support[s] the presence of phosphine; although, the origins of phosphine remain unknown."David Grinspoon, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said he welcomes the follow-up studies. Grinspoon was not involved in any of the studies but has been vocal in his support for the potential of life in the clouds of Venus."Whenever a new result is reported, especially one with potentially great significance, made with a difficult technique, it must be scrutinized and followed up with further observations and analysis," he said. "This is how science works."But he doesn't rule out the possibility that life could still exist in the clouds of Venus."If the phosphine goes away it certainly doesn't change my view of the possibility of life there, or really rule anything out. Why would the lack of an unlikely biosignature in an environment where it was never expected or predicted rule out life in a place? The logic does not make sense," Grinspoon said. "What we know about the clouds of Venus suggests that it is a possible habitat that should be explored further."So the jury is still out on whether or not the phosphine detection could be an indication of life, but astronomers hope that future observations — or a mission to the planet itself — could provide a better answer."We need new missions to Venus to directly probe the atmosphere with modern instruments," Grinspoon said. "No 21st century mission has ever directly studied the atmosphere of Venus."
Pierre Poilievre recently alerted the nation to what he thinks Justin Trudeau is up to.Last week, the presumptive finance minister in Erin O'Toole's "government-in-waiting" warned that "global financial elites" are attempting to "re-engineer economies and societies" in order to "empower the elites at the expense of the people." Canadians, he said, "must fight back against global elites" and "their power grab." He invited those who share his concerns to sign a petition calling on the government to "protect our freedom" and "end plans to impose the 'Great Reset'."That certainly does sound like a frightening scenario. But there are some holes in the plot.The item that so alarmed the Conservative frontbencher was a clip that circulated online last week of the prime minister speaking at a United Nations conference in September. "This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset," Justin Trudeau told the conference. "This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change."Poilievre linked Trudeau's comments to a call for a "great reset" made in June by Klaus Schwab, the executive director of the World Economic Forum, an independent organization best known for hosting a high-minded gabfest in Davos, Switzerland each year. (Trudeau has been to that summit twice — the same number of times Stephen Harper attended when he was prime minister.)Scary storiesIn doing so, the prominent Conservative MP brushed up against conspiracy theorists who imagine that powerful, shadowy figures are plotting world domination and tyranny.Poilievre emphasized the words "reset," "opportunity," "chance" and "re-imagine" in Trudeau's comments. But his petition cuts off Trudeau's second sentence before the prime minister's reference to the "global challenges of extreme poverty, inequality and climate change."Set aside the spooky stories about "global elites" and "freedom," and Trudeau's words simply point to a reality-based debate about the post-pandemic world — about which issues governments should focus on and how they should address them.Beyond questions about Poilievre's beliefs and behaviour, there are others that could usefully shape the Canadian political debate. Do Conservatives believe the Liberal government's stated priorities are not the sorts of things the federal government should worry about? Or do they simply believe the Liberals are bound to take the wrong approach to those problems? If so, what would they do instead?Crisis and opportunityJustin Trudeau is hardly the first prime minister to see a moment that calls for sweeping change. Stephen Harper, for instance, went to the World Economic Forum in 2012 and vowed that, in the wake of the Great Recession, his government would implement "major transformations to position Canada for growth over the next generation."But Poilievre wasn't the only one expressing alarm last week.Though he refrained from saying anything about "global elites," Conservative leader Erin O'Toole followed Poilievre's campaign with a video of his own. In it, he cited that same clip of Trudeau, but instead cast the prime minister's comments as insensitive and his plans as risky."It's hard to believe that anyone would look at the carnage caused by COVID-19 and see an opportunity," O'Toole lamented.A reporter asked O'Toole on Wednesday whether he believed in the "great reset" theory. "I don't follow social media," he replied — a response that's hard to square with the fact that O'Toole's own Twitter account recently promoted the creation of a separate Twitter account for his dog.Trudeau's government did leave itself open to the charge that it was, at the very least, getting ahead of itself. Back in the summer, Liberals began to talk aloud about the post-pandemic economic recovery and the "generational opportunity" that would be created by the need to rebuild. They were not alone in thinking such things, but as the second wave began to emerge, they shifted their messaging to signal that they remain focused on the immediate threat.In the midst of a global emergency, talk of "opportunity" can seem jarring. Harper was widely lampooned for saying that the stock market crash in 2008 offered some "great buying opportunities" — even though he turned out to be basically correct. But there has been widespread discussion, beyond the halls of power in Ottawa, about how countries and governments should plan to emerge from this once-in-century crisis.The pandemic will leave behind significant economic damage everywhere — damage that governments might help to repair through policy and public spending. At the same time, the pandemic has both exposed and highlighted an array of pre-existing problems, from economic, gender and racial inequalities to shortcomings in care for the elderly.And even as public and government attention is consumed by the immediate threat of COVID-19, the equally profound threat of climate change continues to bear down on the planet.In theory, when the pandemic begins to recede, all of those concerns might be addressed together — to stimulate economic growth while building a more equitable and sustainable economy. This is why the idea of "building back better" has caught on — among progressive leaders, like Trudeau and American president-elect Joe Biden, and with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a populist conservative whose example O'Toole has acknowledged studying.Trudeau's broad agenda on this front was laid out in September's throne speech — new spending on child care, further efforts to expand pharmacare, investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a cleaner economy, enhanced training for workers, measures to combat systemic racism and new standards for long-term care.In response, O'Toole warned obliquely that the Liberal government was preparing to conduct "social experiments."'Everything is not OK'At the most basic level, O'Toole and Poilievre might be trying to set up a simple conflict between risk and certainty, as opposed to a contest of different approaches to the same basic problems. But, as noted, Trudeau isn't the only leader saying that society might be improved somewhat; O'Toole himself said much the same thing in a speech three weeks ago."Everything is not OK," the Conservative leader said at an event hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto. Instead of building back "better," O'Toole said, Conservatives would aim to build back "stronger."So perhaps the next election will be about your choice of adjectives.O'Toole also worried aloud about stagnant wages and workers who lack benefits and pensions. He said Conservatives need to take inequality "seriously." He praised capitalism while arguing that "free markets alone won't solve our problems" and "we need policies that build solidarity, not just wealth."It's not hard to imagine Poilievre expressing alarm if Trudeau had said similar things about the existing economic system."We must change," O'Toole said, even though "powerful forces continue to defend the status quo." (O'Toole and Poilievre might also want to compare notes about what exactly the "global elite" is up to these days.)O'Toole didn't say much about how he would address any of these concerns. He didn't mention child care or systemic racism. He criticized what he called the Trudeau government's drive to implement "green energy" policies, but he didn't explain how he would reduce Canada's emissions.To be fair, the Liberals haven't said much yet about how exactly they plan to tackle those problems either. They have yet to explain how many of the throne speech's promises would be implemented.For now, this is a phoney war between one party that says the federal government should try to do a bunch of things (but hasn't said how) and another party that says that trying to do a bunch of things sounds scary (even as it concedes that some things do need to change).At some point, it might be nice to talk about real things.
An Ottawa-based retailer of lab equipment says global demand for ultra-cold freezers needed to store one of the COVID-19 vaccine contenders could mean Canada won't get access to the specialized equipment until well into 2021.Molly Stopford, director of sales for Canadawide Scientific, said the company has already placed hundreds of orders for the special freezers on behalf of its government and private-sector customers, but expects hundreds more if Health Canada approves the Pfizer vaccine."There is a decent supply across the country, but that would be for normal usage, so as [demand] increases there's going to be back order issues," she said.> If it were just Canada looking for them then it probably wouldn't be a problem, but we also are competing with the U.S. and Europe and Asia. \- Molly Stopford, Canadawide ScientificPfizer's RNA vaccine, which the company says may be available in the United States next month, requires temperatures as low as –70 C for proper storage. The AstraZeneca vaccine, another promising contender, can be stored between 2 C and 8 C, while the Moderna vaccine can be stored in a regular freezer for up to 30 days.The Trudeau government said Canada could begin to receive COVID-19 vaccines by January, pending approval.But as vaccine development speeds ahead, Stopford said freezer manufacturers are already warning customers to expect delays."You're pretty much past the deadline if you're looking for ... multi-unit orders [this year]," she said.Typical shipping time is 3 monthsNormally, it takes about three months to ship a container of 40 ultra-cold freezers from Asia to Canada. But with global demand, Stopford expects that wait to increase."If it were just Canada looking for them then it probably wouldn't be a problem, but we also are competing with the U.S. and Europe and Asia," she said.Governments at all levels in Canada have approached Stopford's company to either buy freezers or inquire about pricing, she said. Hundreds of orders have already been placed, including orders for smaller units that could be used in a hospital or pharmacy. Last week, a spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada said it's already ordered 26 –80 C freezers and 100 –20 C units. Overall, the federal government has secured freezer capacity for approximately 33.5 million ultra-frozen (–80 C) and frozen (–20 C) vaccines.The vaccines that require ultra-low temperatures can be shipped long distances on dry ice, said Stopford.Ontario said the province is relying on its vaccine distribution task force to make recommendations on specific storage requirements, while Ottawa Public Health said it will take cues from the province on vaccine distribution and storage, but added it believes the city is "months away" from a vaccine campaign. Typical ultra-low freezers that can store about 20,000 vaccine doses, are about the size of a large kitchen fridge and are typically sold for between $8,000 to $20,000, said Stopford.
Canada Post is promising changes at Iqaluit's post office, but Iqalummiut can forget about home mail delivery or a single, larger post office facility coming any time soon.The corporation, facing mounting pressure as wait times grow and winter sets in, says it isn't just delivering "lip service" this holiday season. And Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell — a longtime critic of Canada Post — is optimistic the community should start seeing a difference very soon.Along with the extended hours and additional staff customers expect around Christmas, the corporation's general manager of government and community affairs says, fundamentally, they're trying to find a solution to systematically change how mail is delivered in Iqaluit.In the short term, Chad Schella says Canada Post is looking at how it can make it easier for post office staff to find parcels, thereby reducing the wait times — in which customers are sometimes waiting up to an hour in line to pick up mail.> If all the things we're working on don't result in a better experience for our customers, don't result in better service, then we would have failed. - Chad Schella, Canada Post's general manager of government and community affairs"It's just doing it differently than the way we've done it and the way we do it in other communities. Because everything is flown in, we're looking at how we can pre-sort a lot of this stuff so that it then doesn't have to be resorted when it gets to Iqaluit," said Schella."He's been very good," Bell said of Schella, noting a stark difference in the level of communication between Canada Post and the city than in previous years. "He told us a bunch of things, and then things were changing. I do feel like they're trying."The situation at Iqaluit's post office — namely long lines, staff shortages and parcel backlogs — became so dire that Canada Post brought together a special team from different departments specifically dedicated to coming up with solutions for Iqaluit. The group was formed this summer and has been "meeting weekly to help solve problems in the short term," Schella said."It's like putting together a puzzle. Every change you want to make has implications on four or five other pieces of our operation," Schella said.'Nothing is off the table'In the long term, Schella says the organization is trying to redesign a system — and facility — to replace a network the city has long outgrown.Schella says Canada Post knows there aren't enough PO boxes (there are roughly 400 people on the wait list right now); it knows the demand on general delivery has "gone through the roof"; it knows going to two places to pick up mail is brutal; and it knows it doesn't have enough space and storage.The trouble is trying to find a facility, and a mail-delivery system, that not only fits today's needs, but also anticipates future growth."We don't want to move into a facility that we're going to outgrow in a year or two from now, and we're back in the exact same situation," Schella said."So we are looking at the projections for not only the growth of Iqaluit, but for our own e-commerce volume growth and what patterns and projections we have.""We understand how hard it is to find a location," Bell said, adding the city has "demanded" Canada Post operate in one location in order to improve service."We fought for and finally got our new city hall. It's not easy to have to get a new location."Home delivery 'not an easy or simple fix'While Schella says "nothing is off the table," home delivery is not an option under the current system.Although the idea has been an opportunity private businesses in the city have jumped on, Schella said Iqaluit's civic addressing system makes it impossible for Canada Post to pursue."We'd have to ensure that there was municipal addressing in place so that every building had a designated physical address as well as a mailing address. And then that would have to match up with all of our systems and address management systems and everything that goes with it," Schella said."I don't know if I'm giving it justice or not, but that would not be an easy or simple fix to this solution."Also at play is the fact Canada Post home delivery workers are represented by a different union than the workers at Iqaluit's post office. Although Schella said bringing in "parcel lockers" is also an idea being floated."I guess what I would ask for the community is for them to judge us by their experience, and that experience will hopefully improve," Schella said"Because at the end of the day, if all the things we're working on don't result in a better experience for our customers, don't result in better service, then we would have failed. There's no question about it."
WinSport is opening its season on Friday for a year unlike any other — but for now, only pass holders will be allowed to participate."No walk-up or day tickets will be available, at least for the foreseeable future," said Dale Oviatt, senior manager of communications for WinSport. "[At least] until we can get a start on things and see how our processes are working."Pass holders are required to book times online with WinSport's reservation system as the organization seeks to control the capacity on the hill.The organization is also seeking to keep numbers down in indoor spaces. When guests arrive, they are asked to put their masks and equipment on and proceed directly to the hill."If you've decided to bring your own lunch, or you just want to warm up, just pop back out to your car, and use that for your items as well," Oviatt said.WATCH | Learn how venues like WinSport's Canada Olympic Park keeps ski runs open and in tip-top shape, even during iffy weather conditions:With the new restrictions announced this week by the Alberta government, Oviatt said WinSport is not allowed to operate warming areas.The hill's food court area will be open, but will follow restaurant guidelines."So, not a lot of indoor space," Oviatt said. "That's why we want you to use your car as your day lodge."Increased security will be onsite, but Oviatt suggested guests not bring valuables to the hill. In a typical season, WinSport sees families come out to watch kids participate in lessons. That will be changed due to the pandemic."We're not allowing any foot traffic or spectators anywhere on snow," Oviatt said. "That's just to keep the physical numbers down on the hill."The organization is requesting guests review all of the hill's COVID-19 protocols before visiting.The tube park at the facility is scheduled to open Dec. 19.
A Quebec court decision that calls stacking life in prison sentences unconstitutional raises the possibility that Justin Bourque's sentence for killing three RCMP officers in Moncton could change, his former lawyer says.Bourque fatally shot constables David Ross, Fabrice Gevaudan and Douglas Larche and wounded constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois on June 4, 2014. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years after pleading guilty.The sentence used a 2011 law passed by the federal Conservative government allowing judges to impose life sentences for multiple murders consecutively instead of concurrently.Bourque would be 99 years old when he is finally eligible for parole. Quebec's Court of Appeal issued a unanimous decision Thursday on a case involving a man who killed six people in a Quebec City mosque. The court reduced Alexandre Bissonnette's life sentence to 25 years without parole while also invalidating sections of the Criminal Code allowing consecutive sentences.The Quebec decision noted the "absurdity" of handing out life sentences that only allow a prisoner to apply for parole after they are likely to have died, saying rehabilitation is a fundamental concept in Canadian criminal law.David Lutz represented Justin Bourque and told CBC he was surprised by the decision that only affects cases in Quebec."I could not just go to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick and say, reconsider this, because Quebec ruled in the manner it did," Lutz said of Bourque's sentence.Lutz said he expects the Crown will want to appeal the Quebec decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. A spokesperson for Quebec's prosecution service told CBC on Thursday it is studying the decision and would decide later whether to appeal.The supreme court only hears a select few cases each year that have national significance."I would think that this is a situation of national importance. When you're looking at constitutionality, I would assume that the supreme court has to rule on it," Lutz said.If it does, Lutz said it will likely be six months to a year before there's a decision. If that court strikes down the Criminal Code sections, then it would apply nationally and open the door to Bourque challenging his sentence."If the Supreme Court of Canada upholds the Court of Appeal of Quebec, then he would have an opportunity for an earlier parole application," Lutz said. "That does not mean that necessarily the parole board is going to look at it favourably."Lutz said he would contact his former client to tell him about the ruling.Radio-Canada reported in 2015 that Joëlle Roy, a lawyer in Quebec, was preparing to appeal Bourque's sentences. However, Roy was later appointed as a judge and no appeal was filed.The sentence by then-Court of Queen's Bench Justice David Smith was considered the most severe in Canada since the abolition of the death penalty.While Bourque pleaded guilty, avoiding the need to hold a trial, a two-day sentencing hearing included a detailed timeline of the killings."I found it the most difficult case I've done in my career," Smith said in an interview with CBC after he retired in 2019. "It was so emotional. Normally you don't get that much emotion in a case. … It was devastating listening to it."At the time of the sentencing, Lutz told reporters that Bourque was "resigned" to the prison sentence since pleading guilty.
OTTAWA — Newly released documents have shed light on the secret government talks and debate that took place ahead of a Canadian warship's passage through a sensitive waterway near China last year. Those discussions included a private meeting between the top bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence and Global Affairs Canada, weeks before HMCS Ottawa sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Defence officials were also told to keep quiet about the frigate's trip in September 2019, three months after Chinese fighter jets buzzed two other Canadian ships making the same voyage. And they were ordered to keep the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the prime minister, in the loop as the Ottawa was making its way through the waterway. The unusual level of attention from the highest levels of government laid out in the documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through access to information, underscores the sensitivities surrounding the trip. That is because while much of the world considers the 180-kilometre strait to be international waters, Beijing claims ownership of the strait separating mainland China from Taiwan. Beijing, which regards the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a rogue province, has repeatedly condemned such passages by foreign warships from the U.S., Canada and elsewhere as illegal. HMCS Ottawa ended up sailing through the Taiwan Strait twice in early September. Media reports at the time said the frigate was shadowed by the Chinese navy. The heavily redacted memo to Global Affairs deputy minister Marta Morgan dated Aug. 7, 2019 starts by saying the Defence Department was looking for a risk assessment for the Ottawa's planned transit. Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas "has also requested a meeting with you on Aug. 12 to discuss this deployment," the memo adds. While HMCS Ottawa was in the region at the time helping enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the memo noted that the frigate was due to make a port visit in Bangkok in mid-September. Defence officials have publicly stated that the decision to have the Ottawa sail through the strait was because the route was the fastest way for the frigate to reach Bangkok from its position near North Korea. The memo backs that assertion, noting that going around Taiwan would add one or two days to the trip each way. Yet it also says the navy's presence in the South China Sea, of which the Taiwan Strait is a part, "has demonstrated Canadian support for our closest partners and allies, regional security and the rules-based international order." Global Affairs ultimately agreed to the Ottawa's sailing through the strait, but called on defence officials to keep the trip quiet, in large part because of fears the trip would coincide with the federal election campaign. "Finally, GAC will ask DND to ensure that it keeps PCO informed as this naval deployment progresses," the memo adds. Former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney described the discussions leading up to the Ottawa's transit of the Taiwan Strait as "an illustration of smart and effective consultation producing the right decision." "It is tremendously important that China sees that, in addition to the United States, other serious countries like Canada will not be intimidated into surrendering the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan itself to China's complete control," he said. "The RCN, working closely with Global Affairs, is promoting the national interest and asserting our sovereignty from the far side of the world." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Executive government ministries, agencies and CIC Crown corporations in Saskatchewan are moving toward more employees working from home.A statement from the province said management teams are planning to reduce the number of employees in offices while ensuring services can still be offered to Saskatchewan residents. The statement said not all positions will be able to work from home or remotely. "As each organization has its own operational needs and service continuity plans and the numbers are changing on an ongoing basis, we don't have an estimate of what per cent of employees will be rotating or working from home," the province said.Last week, the union representing some government employees called on the province to let people work from home.Following complaints from Crown employees, Premier Scott Moe last week said he would revisit the possibility of Crown employees working from home.Barry Nowoselsky, a Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU) chairperson, said the union has been expecting the province to move toward work from home for a long time. He said he'd seen numerous news conferences where Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab recommended people work from home where possible."It's late and quite frankly … they've dropped the ball on some of these things," Nowoselsky said. "If they're going to have people start to work from home again, it's a step in the right direction."He said he felt delays from the province in both mandating mask-use and getting employees back to working from home was dangerous, caused avoidable cases of COVID-19 and was ultimately disappointing.Nowoselsky said he wasn't aware of a percentage of employees who were currently working from home, or who would be allowed to work from home with the change, but hoped those numbers would be provided by the government in the near future.
Around 2,500 Amazon workers across the country are predicted to take part in walkouts, according to the union Ver.di.View on euronews
Premier Stephen McNeil continues to refuse calls to release details about how $228 million in unbudgeted COVID-19 stimulus money is being spent. The funding is being used for a variety of infrastructure projects across the province, in part to drive employment during the pandemic.After government officials initially pledged to make the list available, a spokesperson for the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department said last month that it wouldn't happen after all. At the time, McNeil told reporters that all the information about the more than 200 projects was available by cross referencing capital plan documents with the government tender website.The premier suggested the government isn't a research department for reporters and that they do the work themselves.Several reporters at AllNovaScotia.com recently tried to do that work, but fell well short of being able to assemble a complete list using the method suggested by the premier. When that was pointed out to him Thursday, McNeil stuck to his guns about the availability of the information.'It should be available to taxpayers'"I don't know how much more transparent I can be, other than unless you want me to go down and identify every program that the money has come out of," he said Thursday following a cabinet meeting."I don't think Nova Scotians think that's the best use of the premier's time."Part of the challenge assembling the information is that some stimulus work wasn't actually tendered, but rather tacked on to projects that had previously been approved, something Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines confirmed last month.A few of the projects have yet to be announced, said McNeil, and so would not have been posted yet. AllNovaScotia's reporting showed that the projects they could locate did not appear to be disproportionately awarded to Liberal-held districts.Tory Leader Tim Houston said the public has a right to know how the government is spending its money.Houston said he was initially willing to give the premier the benefit of the doubt, but now that reporters have demonstrated just how difficult it is to account for the money, the premier should just call for a list to be produced."There's no reason to hide it," Houston told reporters. "It should be available to taxpayers."'Deliberately and willfully obtuse'NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the premier is being "deliberately and willfully obtuse in obscuring a very simple request" in a way that is consistent with his government's general approach to transparency."I can't imagine why, but it's quite plain that the obtuseness and the obscurity is deliberate on their part," Burrill told reporters."The question is as straightforward as it could possibly be."McNeil told reporters that asking for the details to be provided was a case of "people looking for something to complain about.""I don't know what more you want," he said."You're like every other Nova Scotian. [The projects] are on the website. Go look at them."MORE TOP STORIES
After spending nine months and counting doing health outreach work in his home community of Thorncliffe Park, Aamir Sukhera fears that slowing the spread of COVID-19 has become a nearly impossible task."It's a 1.5-kilometre radius of just giant towers with thousands of people," said Sekhra, who is with the local non-profit The Neighbourhood Organization."So we did anticipate having a lot of cases, we just didn't think it would be this high."Like many of Toronto's high-density, low-income neighbourhoods, COVID-19 rates in Thorncliffe Park have outpaced other areas of the city for much of the pandemic.According to data from Toronto Public Health, the area is logging 649 cases per 100,000 residents, nearly three times higher than neighbouring Leaside.Those figures are the result of a combination of deep-rooted systemic issues and a lack of support for low-income residents, according to several community health organizations across Toronto. Tackling those challenges is becoming an increasingly urgent task, they say, as the city enters another lockdown and looks to fend off the second wave of the pandemic."We don't want to be a burden for the rest of our city," Sukhera said. "But the circumstances here prevent people from doing the right thing for the greater community."He said dense high-rises, multi-generational homes and a workforce dominated by front-line essential workers have made it difficult to slow the novel coronavirus."This is the time to just get resources into the hands of those that need it the most," added Cheryl Prescod, executive director of the Black Creek Community Health Centre, where local COVID-19 cases have reached 773 per 100,000 residents.Toronto to roll out 'enhanced' supportsThe City of Toronto on Monday announced what it calls enhanced COVID-19 supports for communities in the city's northwest and northeast corners.Those enhancements include initiatives around testing, including the introduction of some mobile testing and transportation to other testing sites, as well as an education and outreach program that will lean on local agencies."We owe it to the most vulnerable to make sure that extra measures are provided, extra supports are provided in their fight against COVID-19," Mayor John Tory said.The province has also noted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities like Thorncliffe Park and Black Creek. In a COVID-19 modelling update Thursday afternoon, provincial public health officials said "long-standing structural factors" have been shown to increase risk for the disease.But despite those acknowledgements of inequity and expressions of support, community outreach workers say the authorities aren't doing enough to help residents living in the city's pandemic hot spots.Sukhera said programs to assist COVID-19 patients with rent payments and food are a must. Without them, he said people cannot be reasonably expected to strictly follow public health recommendations, since being tested or self-isolating could mean losing a paycheque."There's the right thing to do, and everyone sort of knows what that is," Sukhera said. "But in their defence, they've still got to pay rent and not get their families kicked out of their homes."Despite those obstacles, Prescod of the Black Creek Community Health Centre said her organization will continue its outreach work throughout the winter. She said she's hopeful that gains can be made, but not without more help for communities like hers."Without proper resources and sufficient funds to address some of our broken systems, we cannot hold on to that hope for very long."