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
As opposition critics and some premiers accuse his government of falling behind on a vaccine distribution plan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today sought to reassure the country that his government will be ready to deploy shots soon after they receive the necessary Health Canada approvals.Trudeau said the independent scientists reviewing the clinical trial data submitted by the drugmakers behind four promising vaccine candidates are working hard to ensure the safety of these products before Ottawa starts shipments.With recent polls showing that a sizeable number of Canadians will refuse a vaccine altogether, or will wait some time before lining up for a shot, Trudeau said he wants Canadians to be assured that the science will not be rushed and Canada's regulators will only approve a product that works."In this COVID-19 pandemic, keeping Canadians safe means getting a vaccine as quickly as possible, but it also means making sure that the vaccine is safe for Canadians," Trudeau said.Trudeau said once the regulator gives the green light to one of those vaccines, Canada will mobilize its public health infrastructure to deploy it to the provinces and territories.WATCH: Trudeau is asked about how vaccines will be deliveredThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to meet on Dec. 10 to review the Pfizer product. Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, has said regulators here are expected to make decisions on timelines similar to those followed by the U.S.Speaking to reporters at a COVID-19 briefing, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today the government is planning for vaccines to arrive in the first three months of 2021.Based on her conversations with the drugmakers, she said, she's hoping a vaccine will be available to Canadians well before the end of March."As soon as Health Canada has provided its approval, we are well-placed to begin deliveries to Canadians as soon as possible. We will kick into the delivery process ASAP. That's why we have the refrigerators procured. That's why we have the needles, syringes and gauze procured," she said.The U.S. has publicly released a robust distribution plan — 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December alone. Canadian officials have been largely quiet about how the deployment will be conducted here, beyond offering assurances that the provinces and territories will be ready to go.Anand said she wanted to clear up what she called "misinformation" that has been circulating in recent days.Anand confirmed that Canada already has received 34 of the freezers needed to store vaccines that must be kept at temperatures well below zero, with another 92 freezers soon to follow. The Pfizer product, for example, needs to be kept at approximately -80 degrees Celsius to remain stable.All told, between the newly procured cold storage and existing federal capacity, 33.5 million doses of frozen and ultra-frozen vaccines can be stored here at this point, Anand said.WATCH | Anand: Vaccine delivery dates are being negotiated nowBeyond storage, the shots also need to be transported by qualified shippers. Anand said more details on end-to-end logistics will be revealed in the coming days.Anand said Canada was among the first countries to sign agreements with pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna for their vaccines, which use groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA. These vaccines essentially direct cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.While some have suggested Canada is at the "back of the line" on vaccine availability, Moderna's co-founder confirmed to CBC News on Sunday that Canada will be among the first countries in the world to get access to doses.On Monday, the Massachusetts-based company applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) of this vaccine in the American marketplace.The company's final clinical trial data is encouraging, demonstrating the vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.'Amazing data'In July, Moderna began administering its vaccine and a placebo to 30,000 clinical trial participants in the U.S.Of the 15,000 people who received the vaccine, only 11 developed COVID-19. None of those 11 people became severely ill. Among the 15,000 people who received the placebo — a shot of saline that does nothing — 185 developed the novel coronavirus. Thirty of those 185 patients reported severe illness and one died."This is striking," Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA's vaccine advisory committee, told CNN Monday. "These are amazing data."Moderna's chief medical officer said he became emotional when he saw the data Saturday night. "It was the first time I allowed myself to cry," Dr. Tal Zaks said. "We have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic."The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses if necessary.First in lineMarginalized groups, such as seniors in long-term care homes, and front line health care workers are expected to be among the first to be inoculated, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public officer. She added that other essential workers, such as grocery store clerks, could also be ahead of other Canadians.The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which provides independent advice to the Public Health Agency of Canada, has provided some guidelines on which "key populations" should be among the first to be vaccinated.Ultimately, it will be up to the provinces and territories to identify who gets a shot first. But Trudeau said Tuesday that the premiers agree that these plans should be largely harmonized nationwide.While some provinces and territories have voiced serious concerns about a lack of detail on how and when vaccines will be available, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said those jurisdictions are well-placed to administer these vaccines when they do arrive because they lead mass inoculation campaigns each year during flu season.WATCH: Hajdu says vaccine distribution a 'very delicate dance'"They already have systems in place, they already have capacity in place, they already have processes in place to lead sophisticated immunization programs," she said."I say to Canadians: hang on. We can get through this winter together and relief is on the way."The government has frequently pointed to its massive order for 414 million vaccine doses from seven different companies — the most of any country per capita — but Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said that procurement push means little if millions of Canadians are kept waiting longer than citizens in other Western countries."A robust portfolio in 2023 doesn't help us as we enter 2021," O'Toole said Monday in his response to the government's fall economic statement."This government is not providing a plan, they're not providing clarity and it's clear, having been late on rapid tests, on the border, there's no clarity or competence."In question period Tuesday, O'Toole again pushed the government to offer a firmer date for access to a vaccine. Trudeau said again they'd be available shortly after Health Canada signs off.O'Toole also slammed the government for partnering with a CanSino, a Chinese-run pharmaceutical firm, early in the pandemic to jointly develop a vaccine.WATCH: Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand talks about freezer capacityThat deal was abandoned after the regime in Beijing blocked shipments of vaccine samples meant to be used in clinical trials in Canada, which prompted the government to turn to U.S. firms for supply. O'Toole said Canada should have never trusted the Chinese in the first place.The Conservative opposition is now pushing for a parliamentary probe into the CanSino deal at the Commons industry, science and technology committee.
With Stay on Your Feet classes back in full swing, seniors in the East Parry Sound Community Support Services area are once again benefiting from staying active. The classes in Callander, South River, Sundridge, Burk's Falls and Port Loring came to a full stop when the province went into lockdown mode in mid-March because of the coronavirus. Classes returned as lockdown restrictions began to ease up mid summer, but not indoors. Program co-ordinator Leslie Price says the decision was to first hold the classes outdoors to see how the participants would react. The outdoor settings made it easier to maintain social distancing plus the seniors didn't come into contact with any objects, such as handling doorknobs when heading into a building. “We weren't sure how the outdoor classes were going to fly, but the attendance was quite good,” says Price, adding the classes later moved indoors as the weather cooled. And that's where the seniors now meet once a week in the five communities. The seniors in each participating community meet once a week for the free classes, and Price says their numbers vary from 10 to 25 at each location. The program has several benefits, not the least of which is helping seniors remain active and being in a social environment, she says. However, the program has a larger and more important objective. “The big picture is to prevent falls and prevent people from ending up in the hospital,” Price explains. “If they fall and break a hip, they may end up in long-term care after that because they can't go back home.” Price says it costs little to run the Stay on Your Feet program and she believes it helps save health-care dollars in the long run. If seniors have good balance, which the program helps them achieve, they're less likely to fall and less likely to be hospitalized by an injury, Price explains. “It can cost money to be in a hospital,” she says. “Afterwards, if you go back home, you'll probably need a personal support worker while recovering from a fall. “But if there's a way to be proactive and prevent a fall in the first place and if part of that is these classes, that's great.” Some historic figures support Price's belief. In 2009, Canadians involved in a fall that required hospitalization accounted for about $2 billion in health-care dollars, says Taylor Matson, the community health promoter at the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Nearly half of the people involved in falls were older adults. “It's important for older adults to stay active in order to maintain their ability to live independently in the community,” Matson says. “We focus on maintaining that physical activity so they can improve flexibility, balance and muscle strength. “We also promote staying social, so building those relationships and improving the individual's mental health helps.” Price agrees the classes help with relationship building among the seniors. The Stay on Your Feet program takes little money to operate. Price says the classes take place at the various locations thanks to the generosity of several groups, such as legion branches, that donate their hall once a week or a municipality that can make a centre available for the seniors. The only money that's paid out, she says, buys props such as yoga mats, hand weights and exercise bands, which are not being used at this time because of COVID-19. There also is a small amount paid to instructors who, in this instance, are yoga teachers. But Price emphasizes that Stay on Your Feet has nothing to do with yoga. “The instructors need to have a lot of anatomy knowledge,” she explains. “A big part of yoga is knowing how muscles, bones and balance work.” Price says the yoga instructors are able to guide the seniors in how to move and adds “the instructor can also modify (moves) for each person.” Price says the program's results can be astonishing. She has scores of testimonials from participants and says in one case an individual had to lean against a wall for decades to put on their pants because of poor balance. But after joining the classes, “they don't have to do that anymore.” Another individual regained flexibility in their neck, making it easier to drive. This same person says their leg cramps have decreased as a result of taking the Stay on Your Feet classes, and plans to keep taking them. The testimonials go on, with participants praising the instructors, adding they are happy the classes are being offered and hope they continue for a long time to come. Although the testimonials are from seniors who experienced one problem or another, Price says she doesn't want potential participants to decide against taking the classes thinking they're designed only for frail seniors. She encourages young and older seniors to think about taking the classes because the goal is to improve your balance and prevent falls. A goal for Price in the near future is to introduce the classes in Powassan. She almost had them started earlier this year, but the onset of COVID-19 nixed the plan. However, she's confident it's just a matter of time before older Powassan residents can be part of the Stay on Your Feet program. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
VICTORIA — Insurance companies in British Columbia have agreed to end a pricing practice that has been identified as one of the key factors in skyrocketing property insurance premiums for condominiums. Earlier this year, the B.C. Financial Services Authority said premiums have gone up by 40 per cent on average for a number of reasons. Finance Minister Selina Robinson says an agreement to end so-called best terms pricing on Jan. 1 is a positive step. Insuring multi-unit properties in B.C. often sees many insurers submit bids. Under best terms pricing, the final premium paid by owners is usually based on the highest bid, even if most quotes were lower. Blair Morrison, CEO of the financial services authority, says the change is an important step for long-term stability in the property insurance market. Robinson was the housing minister in June when she introduced legislation to change the Strata Property Act and the Financial Institutions Act to bring more transparency to the insurance market. The Insurance Council of B.C., the regulatory body for insurance agents in the province, says it will work with the industry to address the practice. Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility. A financial authority report released in June says price pressures will continue on buildings considered to be higher risk and the insurance market for so-called strata properties was "unhealthy." It says insurers were accumulating losses mostly from minor claims, especially for water damage due to poor building maintenance and initial construction. It says new building construction, building material changes and rising replacement costs have put added strain on the industry's profitability. Insurers are also reducing the amount of insurance they offer in B.C. because of excessive exposure to earthquake risk, it says. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
As communities grow and expand, the needs of those they serve continue to evolve. Orangeville, and by extension Dufferin County, continues to become more diversified, resulting in a need for greater understanding and development of inclusive policies, activities, and actions. Following the Town of Orangeville’s commitment to building that kind of inclusive committee, they have developed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. The committee will consist of one representative from town council, Coun. Lisa Post, and a number of volunteers from the community. “I’m excited that we are moving forward towards inclusion in our community,” Post told the Banner. “The involvement of our citizens is so crucial to effectively do this.” Along with providing recommendations and advice to council, the EDI Committee will also be mandated to work with town staff and the community, focusing on liaising with groups who have historically experienced discrimination. On Nov. 26, the Town announced they are now seeking volunteers to serve on the committee. These volunteers will represent the diversity of Orangeville’s community across national origins, ethnicity, language, race, colour, sexual orientation, gender identity and age. It is expected the committee will work actively during its first year to move critical work ahead, meeting formally at least three times per year or at the call of the committee chair. Initial areas of focus may include: · Identification of issues and matters related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in Orangeville. · Identifying best practices · Raising awareness in the community about EDI · Identifying systemic and institutional barriers in Town processes, services, programs, and/or facilities. · Identifying barriers that impact the social, health, and/or economic well-being of members of the community, then proposing solutions. · Providing advice on programs, services, and processes from an equity, diversity, and inclusion perspective. “I hope anyone who has knowledge or experience to lend will consider applying to share that with us,” said Post. Application forms are available on the Town’s website and must be received by the Clerk’s office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2021.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
MADISON, Wis. — President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Wisconsin seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state's two most Democratic counties, a longshot attempt to overturn Joe Biden's win in a battleground state he lost by nearly 20,700 votes. Trump filed the day after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission certified Biden as the winner of the state's 10 Electoral College votes. Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, rather than have it start in a lower court, and order Evers to withdraw the certification. The Wisconsin Supreme Court gave Evers until 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to respond to the lawsuit, an unusually tight deadline that speaks to how quickly the court is likely to decide the case. The state's highest court, controlled 4-3 by conservatives, also is considering whether to hear two other lawsuits filed by conservatives seeking to invalidate ballots cast during the presidential election. Separately, two Wisconsin Republicans filed a new federal lawsuit Tuesday that mirrors some of Trump's claims and asks a judge to declare him the winner in Wisconsin. Trump's lawsuit repeats many claims he made during a recount of votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties that large swaths of absentee votes were illegally cast. Local officials rejected his claims during the recount, and Trump is challenging procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal. Trump is not challenging any ballots cast in conservative counties he won. Biden campaign spokesman Nate Evans called the lawsuit “completely baseless and not rooted in facts on the ground." Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said it was “without merit.” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, noted that the lawsuit doesn't allege that anyone was ineligible to vote, but instead seeks to create a two-tiered election system where voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties are disenfranchised “under much stricter rules than citizens in the rest of the state.” Trump's Wisconsin attorney, Jim Troupis, said in a statement that voters "deserve election processes with uniform enforcement of the law, plain and simple.” Similar Trump campaign lawsuits have failed in other battleground states. In Phoenix, a judge has scheduled a Thursday trial in Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s lawsuit that seeks to annul Biden’s victory in the state. A judge is letting Ward’s lawyers and experts compare the signatures on 100 mail-in ballot envelopes with signatures on file to determine whether there were any irregularities. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office, which certified Arizona’s election results on Monday, said there was no factual basis for conducting such a review. Trump is running out of time to have his legal cases heard. The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 and Congress is to count the votes on Jan. 6. Trump's Wisconsin lawsuit seeks to discard 170,140 absentee ballots where there was not a written application on file and all absentee ballots cast in person during the two weeks before Election Day. People who vote in person early fill out a certification envelope for their ballot that serves as the written record. But the vast majority of absentee requests these days are made online, with a voter’s name entered into an electronic log with no paper record. Trump wants to toss 5,517 ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted. The practice has been in place for at least the past 11 elections, and the state elections commission told clerks it was OK. Trump also challenges 28,395 absentee ballots where a voter declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined” under the law. Such a declaration exempts voters from having to show photo identification to cast a ballot. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in March ruled that it is up to individual voters to determine whether they are indefinitely confined, a designation used by nearly four times as many voters this year than in 2016 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also alleges that Madison opened illegal voting sites when the city held events at parks where election workers accepted 17,271 completed absentee ballots from voters looking to avoid crowds and mail delays. City officials said the poll workers at the 220 parks served the same purpose as ballot drop boxes. The federal lawsuit came from Bill Feehan, the La Crosse County Republican Party chairman, and Derrick Van Orden, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress this year in western Wisconsin. Sidney Powell, a firebrand conservative attorney who was removed from Trump's legal team, is among the lawyers. Van Orden said after the lawsuit was filed that he had spoken with someone in Powell's office about the case but had not given permission to be named as a litigant. Van Orden said he tried calling Powell to ask that his name be removed but could not get through. Powell did not immediately respond to an Associated Press email seeking comment. “Why they would want me on there, I'm not quite sure,” Van Orden said. The same lawsuit asks for 48 hours of security footage from the “TCF Center,” which is in Detroit, not in Wisconsin. Also Tuesday, Republicans on the Wisconsin Elections Commission asked the Democratic chairwoman to resign after she finalized election results on Monday. They argued the commission should have been involved with that process, while the chair, who refused to resign, said she was following state law and precedent. Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
Horizon Health Authority's CEO says around 80 of its staff have been in self-isolation because of potential exposure to COVID-19, while four or five employees have tested positive for the respiratory illness.A total of 79 Horizon employees were in isolation as of Monday night. Of those, 44 are in the Saint John region, 20 in the Moncton area, 11 in the Fredericton area and four in the Miramichi area.Karen McGrath told reporters Tuesday that the figure had been around 100 employees as of last week and said the total shifts as some are removed from the list and others added.No details were provided about the locations of the four or five employees who tested positive, nor was a timeline offered for when those people became ill. McGrath said she believes most of those in self-isolation were exposed outside of their workplace, but some may be tied to workplace exposure. 'Domino effect' on staffingThat's led to "pressures" in emergency rooms, dialysis clinics and other positions. "All of those need to continue to operate," she said. "So if those people are off, then we have to backfill by using other people within the system. So it's a domino effect."Existing issues in the province around a lack of staff, beds and other resources are "more magnified" because of the challenges created by the pandemic, McGrath said. McGrath provided an example of a nurse practitioner or physician exposed to COVID-19. That person, who would typically see 12 to 15 patients per day, would then have to self-isolate for 14 days. That would lead to dozens of cancelled appointments leaving patients with few options but potentially going to the emergency room. "This is frustrating, no doubt, for our patients and also for our health care staff, who want to provide safe and quality care to every person but only have so many beds in a unit and so many hours in a shift," McGrath said.The CEO said about 50 other staff have been "redeployed" from community health centres or administrative roles to other roles, such as working at COVID-19 assessment centres. As well, Horizon staff are helping with outbreaks such as the one at the Shannex Parkland nursing home in Saint John. "There have been significant impacts on Horizon," McGrath said of that outbreak. She said an infection control team has been sent to assist at the home. That team helps make sure people at the home are properly wearing and using personal protective equipment. CBC News requested figures from Vitalité Health Network about how many of its staff are in isolation but has not received those numbers. McGrath also said it would likely only take eight or nine people hospitalized in one hospital, especially if several are in intensive care, to be too much to deal with. "It wouldn't take very much for us to be overwhelmed," McGrath said. None of the 116 people sick with COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Tuesday were in hospital.
Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president Rakesh Naidu and members of Windsor's aviation community on Tuesday morning called on the federal government to intervene and have Navigation Canada (NAV Canada) remove Windsor International Airport from a list of six airports being studied for possible removal of air traffic controllers."The Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau, must provide a clear and definitive answer that the future of Windsor's Airport is secure and that air traffic control services will be maintained," said Masse.Masse said he will have a petition to the federal government online that reads, "Remove NAV Canada's decision to consider closure, or reduction of services of the air traffic control tower at the Windsor Airport or explicitly express opposition to any decision or recommendation of this nature.""The minister can simply intervene and he should do that," said Masse in a news conference in front of the airport terminal and control tower.Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmiercyzk recently told CBC News that Garneau did not have the power to tell NAV Canada what to do, and that he and anyone else opposed to losing air traffic controllers here will have their say when NAV Canada consults with stakeholders.But Masse said there should have been clear signals from the government to NAV Canada before this study, adding that he doesn't believe any of the other airports, including in Whitehorse and Regina, should lose air traffic control either."So even if he says [Garneau] technically can't take them off the list at this point in time, he can still go out and publicly say that he's actually against closing the towers and he's not going to approve them," said Masse. "In fact, if NAV Canada actually does eventually recommend closure or reduction of services, the minister then has to do another study and the study then actually comes back again. So we're into the cycle of study after study after study when it is completely unnecessary," he said.Dilkens also said Garneau can certainly have a conversation with NAV Canada officials.The airport has seen a 300 per cent increase in traffic since 2009 and was serving 383,000 passengers in 2019. Dilkens said losing the air traffic controllers jeopardizes future growth and threatens the continuation of commercial air traffic the airport has now."Moving bodies out of a control tower causes issues for the future prosperity of Windsor airport. It will cut this success story off at the knees," said Dilkens, adding he has not heard back from Garneau, to whom he sent a letter asking that the air traffic controllers remain.Commercial pilots also added their voices of concern for safety, considering the high volume of air traffic in and around Detroit.Corporate pilot Dante Albano likened air traffic control to traffic lights, and when they go out the intersection turns into a four-way stop."In a busy air space like this with Detroit so close it gets kinda of crazy up there sometimes," said Albano.Richard Bradwell, manager of the Windsor Flying Club, said loss of air traffic control is the "first step toward" to closing the airport entirely."Our business has been growing. We've been surviving through COVID. This is absolutely the last thing that we need is to see NAV Canada considering closing the tower and doing this sort of damage to our airport," said Bradwell.Essex MP Chris Lewis has also issued a statement calling on Garneau to remove Windsor airport from the study.Masse's petition is expected to go up on his Facebook page and website Wednesday afternoon.
Au moment de prendre sa retraite en 2008, Marien Landry, qui travaillait dans le domaine de la métallurgie, songeait à faire du bénévolat dans un pays en voie de développement. Jamais ce Verchèrois n’aurait pu imaginer à quel point son projet allait prendre une telle importance dans sa vie. « J’avais toujours pensé que l’aide humanitaire, c’était pour les docteurs, les infirmières, admet le fondateur de Projet Guatemala qui a gardé, de sa jeunesse, le chaleureux accent des Îles de la Madeleine. J’ai commencé par travailler sur une école au Guatemala. Je croyais qu’une fois construite, ce serait terminé. Finalement, ç’a continué et, à ce jour, nous en avons construit vingt! » Loin de vouloir mettre un frein à ses activités qui le retiennent d’ordinaire en Amérique centrale durant la moitié de l’année, Marien s’est attaqué à d’autres projets humanitaires lors de ses derniers voyages, incluant la construction d'une clinique médicale. « Je pense que j’ai trop de projets pour mon âge, s’amuse le retraité. Je suis vraiment tombé en amour avec les gens du Guatemala, avec les enfants. Plusieurs d’entre eux ont la trisomie 21. Je me suis attaché à eux, et eux se sont attachés à moi. C’est comme ma seconde famille. » S’il croyait retourner au Guatemala en janvier, la pandémie a, comme on peut s’y attendre, mis du sable dans l’engrenage. Si bien qu’il doit aujourd’hui suivre les travaux à distance et amasser des fonds pour financer le projet, sans savoir à quel moment il pourra y remettre les pieds. « Je suis fébrile d’y retourner, avoue Marien Landry. Avant de quitter en mars, j’ai estimé qu’il fallait 9 000 $ pour terminer les travaux. Et puis, je suis aussi parrain là-bas d’une association qui aide les enfants handicapés. C’est quelque chose qui me tient à cœur. On a depuis quelques années des médecins qui viennent gratuitement pour les soigner, redresser leurs pieds. Un physiothérapeute aussi. » C’est d’ailleurs afin de permettre à d’autres médecins de venir s’occuper des enfants que fut mis en branle le projet de clinique qui occupe actuellement les pensées du Montérégien. En attendant son retour dans son pays d’adoption, Marien continue d’amasser des biens qu’il peut envoyer par conteneur en Amérique latine. Une première cargaison a pris la route au cours des dernières semaines et une seconde pourrait bientôt suivre. Mais au-delà des marchandises, sa plus importante quête demeure la collecte de fonds qui pourrait lui permettre de terminer l’important projet qu’il a entrepris. « C’est la raison pour laquelle je travaille ici, sans salaire. J’amasse des heures et, plutôt que de me payer, ceux qui m'emploient remettent de l’argent à l’organisme. » Si M. Landry admet qu’il est difficile de laisser ses parents, toujours vivants, derrière lui quand il part pour de longs séjours, le sentiment de venir en aide à ces enfants lui rappelle pourquoi il s’est engagé. « Quand je quitte le Guatemala, j’ai les larmes aux yeux, admet-il. Ma philosophie, c’est que l’éducation est la base de tout. Ce qui est triste au Guatemala, c’est qu’il n’y a pas d’ouvrage et ceux qui travaillent ont des salaires de crève-faim. Si tu ne veux pas travailler pour 10 $ par jour, il y a une file de personnes qui attendent pour te remplacer. Ils se font exploiter. S’ils ont une instruction, peut-être qu’ils vont décider un jour de faire rentrer un syndicat. J’ai espoir qu’ils s’en sortent, mais ça n’est pas évident. » Pour obtenir plus d’information ou faire un don, visite le site marienlandry.com Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Pandemic times—and specifically the months-long shutdown we experienced earlier this year—led many to take up or double down on hobbies. There was a run on yeast, skateboarding blew up, and people spent all sorts of time making inane Tik Tok videos. For amateur photographer Tim Fitzgerald, COVID-19 has caused him to focus more on photographing his own surroundings. Earlier this month, he shared some of his recent shots of SilverStar Mountain Resort with the community’s Facebook page. “The mountain and of course the village was completely deserted,” he said, in the caption of his photos. “Glad to see things starting to come around again.” Fitzgerald told Sun Peaks News this year he will likely be spending a lot of time up at the hill taking photos. He’s currently awaiting a knee surgery, so he can’t ski. Overall, he said that the pandemic has forced him to focus his photography close to home. “Normally, we would travel somewhere,” said Fitzgerald, who works as an electrician. “This year, we made a point of going out and camping, and seeing things that we haven’t seen before. It’s been really eye opening.” He’s done trips to Wells Gray Provincial Park, Rosebery Provincial Park, and he recently returned from a trip to the town of Princeton, where he shot a section of the Kettle Valley Railway. “We went down there a couple weeks ago and got some great shots,” he said. “There’s some really really, rugged and beautiful terrain there.” You can see more of his photos here.Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Canada's decision to block American imports of certain prescription drugs from north of the border is getting stony silence from the Trump administration — a sign, one expert says, that the U.S. proposal is "dead in the water."The measure, first floated by Donald Trump a year ago as a strategy to help reduce America's staggering drug costs, took effect Monday after the president signed a pre-election executive order in September. On Saturday, however, Health Minister Patty Hajdu parried the effort with just days to spare, prohibiting bulk drug exports if they pose a risk of creating or worsening drug shortages in the Canadian market. The White House referred questions about the new limits to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has yet to respond to repeated media queries about where Canada's move leaves Trump's plan.That plan was "a desperate act by desperate people at a desperate time," said Dr. Allen Zagoren, a policy administration professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Canada represents only two per cent of global drug sales, and gets 68 per cent of its drugs from outside the country, Health Canada said in a news release announcing the export prohibitions. The U.S. market, on the other hand, comprises 44 per cent of pharmaceutical sales around the world. Buying drugs in Canada "was never realistic, ever," Zagoren said. "Even if Canada said, 'Sure,' there's no way — Canada doesn't have enough drugs. But it allowed them to make a promise. And then they could argue, 'Well, Canada won't let us. So it's them, not us.'"Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said the two countries have been discussing the issue of drug imports for more than a year. In those meetings, Canada has made it clear that given the relatively tiny size of the Canadian market, bulk imports from north of the border simply wouldn’t have the desired effect."We've been saying to them all along: one, we sympathize with your policy concern; two, buying bulk drugs from Canada isn't the solution to your policy concern; and three, above all else, we will always protect the supply of drugs to Canadians," Hillman said.Canada's response is not a blanket export ban, but a "narrow and tailored" measure that applies only to those drugs meant for domestic consumption that are already in short supply or at risk at becoming scarce, she added. Zagoren, who called Trump's proposal "dead in the water," said its failure could prove useful for president-elect Joe Biden's own efforts to address drug costs once he takes over the White House in January. Biden has promised to reduce drug costs, including through imports, and to give the U.S. government insurance program known as Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices — a plan that has the blessing of congressional Democrats. The fact that Trump's proposed solution has failed could provide Biden with helpful leverage in discussions with the all-powerful pharmaceutical industry, which has spent aggressively in its lobbying efforts to head off pricing reforms. "I think it helps the Biden administration, because it sets the stage. The Canadian argument signals to the Biden administration, 'Don't come here for this.' But Biden being the internationalist he is, and a very good friend of Canada, that's not going to happen in the Biden administration anyway." Biden has also promised to expand health insurance coverage to include more Americans, a move that has the potential to broaden the existing U.S. drug market. Much will depend on the outcome of a pair of Senate run-off elections next month in Georgia, where Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are seeking to unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Should they both succeed, the 100-seat Senate will find itself in an even 50-50 split, giving the tiebreaking vote to Biden's vice-president, Kamala Harris. "It really hinges on the Georgia election as to how far the U.S. government will go with regard to drug prices, and especially on Medicare," Zagoren said. "There'll be a lot of negotiation in the backrooms with regard to pharmaceutical prices going forward. I do think there's going to be an attempt to bring them down, but I don't think it will be on the backs of the Canadians."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Originally scheduled to be completed in December, further construction of Gabriola Island’s Village Way Path is now on hold until spring 2021. Asphalt surfacing meant to go in through the Village Core section of the 1.5 km long, two-metre wide path has been delayed “due to weather conditions and paving material availability,” according to Yann Gagnon, the Regional District of Nanaimo’s manager of parks services. “The path will be in a usable condition over the winter, much like a widened gravel road shoulder,” he said. The RDN confirmed delay of completion of the Village Way will not delay the start of the construction of the Huxley Park skatepark in 2021. Work completed so far on the Village Way includes survey layout, tree assessment and removals, retaining wall construction, clearing and path base construction on sections between the Gabriola Professional Centre and Church Road. In the fall, staff determined fewer trees needed to be removed than planned. Using a hydro-excavator, crews exposed the root systems of trees in close proximity to the work site to assess if they would be damaged by further excavation work required to install the path. “This exploratory digging consequently allowed more trees to be retained as opposed to removing trees based on the assumption that the construction of the new path will damage their root system beyond their ability to recover,” Gagnon explained. As a result, trees have been saved in front of the Madrona Marketplace. Adaptations have also been made to parts of the path that will run in front of Gabriola Elementary School. Staff decided to reorient the path to “meander around live trees.” The adjustment will see dead trees or ones identified as declining removed instead. The construction method has also been adapted so that the gravel is “floating” overtop of the existing soil and root masses “as opposed to using a traditional path building method which includes excavation to sub-grade, which considerably damages healthy root systems,” Gagnon said. The completed path will run along the north side of the road from the junction of North and South roads to the 707 Community Park entrance at Tin Can Alley. The RDN has been working with the Ministry of Transportation since 2014 to make the path a reality. In July, the RDN board awarded the $971,349 construction contract to Windley Contracting. The project is entirely funded by the Electoral Area B Community Works Fund.Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder
Le bilan lavallois est désormais de 756 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela signifie que le territoire connait une hausse de 54 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. Le total de décès augmente à 726 depuis le début de la pandémie. 120 tests positifs ont été effectués dans les 24 dernières heures. Ainsi, depuis le mois de mars, 11 584 citoyens lavallois ont été affectés par le virus. Parmi les personnes touchées par la COVID-19, 23 sont présentement hospitalisées, dont 5 aux soins intensifs. 29 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Chomedey a été durement touché par la nouvelle mise à jour des données. On y compte 45 cas de plus que la veille. Il demeure le quartier le plus touché de Laval avec 337 cas confirmés et un taux d'infection de 358 cas par 100 000 habitants sur les 14 derniers jours. Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul a aussi été particulièrement affecté lors des dernières 24 heures. Ce secteur ajoute 22 cas à son total. Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose suit avec 15 nouvelles personnes touchées. De leur côté, Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides et Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac comptent 13 nouveaux cas confirmés sur leur territoire respectif. Vimont/Auteuil constate la plus petite augmentation de l'île Jésus avec huit nouvelles personnes infectées. Il est d'ailleurs le secteur lavallois qui s'en tire le mieux au cours des deux dernières semaines. 109 personnes touchées et un taux d'infection de 173 cas par 100 000 habitants y ont été dénombrés sur cette même période. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 71 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
WATERLOO, Ont. — Shares in BlackBerry Ltd. gained as much as 63.9 per cent in intraday trading on Tuesday 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.The companies said they had settled on a multi-year, global agreement to develop and market IVY, a scalable, cloud-connected software platform that will give automakers a new way to read vehicle sensor data.They said automakers will be able to use that information to create responsive in-vehicle services that enhance driver and passenger experiences.“Data and connectivity are opening new avenues for innovation in the automotive industry and BlackBerry and AWS share a common vision to provide automakers and developers with better insights so that they can deliver new services to consumers,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a joint news release.“AWS and BlackBerry are making it possible for any automaker to continuously reinvent the customer experience and transform vehicles from fixed pieces of technology into systems that can grow and adapt with a user’s needs and preferences,” added Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available. Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of internet giant Amazon.com Inc. that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms.Modern cars and trucks are built with thousands of parts from many different suppliers and those components produce data in unique and specialized formats, the companies said in their news release.BlackBerry IVY is expected to solve those challenges by applying machine learning to the data to generate predictive insights and inferences.BlackBerry IVY will run inside a vehicle’s embedded systems, but will be managed and configured remotely from the cloud, they said.As an example, BlackBerry IVY could leverage vehicle data to recognize driver behaviour and hazardous conditions such as icy roads or heavy traffic and then recommend that a driver enable relevant vehicle safety features such as traction control, lane-keeping assist or adaptive cruise control, they said.IVY could then provide automakers with feedback on how and when those safety features are used, allowing them to make targeted investments to improve vehicle performance. They added drivers of electric vehicles could choose to share their car’s battery information with third-party charging networks to proactively reserve a charging connector.The companies say they will build upon capabilities of BlackBerry QNX, a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, for surfacing and normalizing data from automobiles and AWS’s broad portfolio of services, including capabilities for internet of things and machine learning.In September, BlackBerry reported a second-quarter loss of US$23 million on revenue of US$259 million, versus a loss of US$44 million on $244 million a year earlier.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BB)The Canadian Press
In a part of B.C. with a long history of gold mining, a revival of the industry is stirring up conflicting opinions. Dave Jorgenson and his wife Cheryl own two guesthouses and a gift shop in the central Interior community of Wells, B.C., where gold was king until the 1930s.Over the past two decades, the Jorgensons have been working hard to maintain the small town as a tourist destination, but they fear an underground gold mine a Montreal-based company proposes to build near Wells will put an end to that.Wells is seven kilometres from the National Historic Site of Barkerville which preserves the streetscapes of the gold-rush town that boomed in the 1860s making it one of North America's largest living museums.Technological changes later made underground mining the area's key industry.Now, Osisko Gold Royalties, which owns the Barkerville Gold Mines (BGM) based in Wells, plans to launch the Cariboo Gold Project which is still going through the provincial government's environmental assessment process.Part of the plan is to construct a 16-hectare ore-processing concentrator complex — with a 12-storey waste rock treatment tower — near a visitor information centre in western Wells.Big eyesore to townJorgenson says the building will be a big eyesore and will scare many travellers away along with noise from mineral carrying trucks."That [tower] will dominate the landscape as you drive into town," he told Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North.BGM has been doing mine exploration for the Cariboo Gold Project over the past four years. Jorgenson says the company and its contractors have already bought up 80 per cent of the hotel rooms in Wells and neighbouring Barkerville and turned them into staff housing, but workers don't stay in town long-term and accommodations are often left empty for most of the year."The result is that people [tourists] don't come to our stores to shop or eat … don't have the opportunity to extend their stay," he said. "All tourism dollars have stopped flowing in our community."COVID proves tourism unsustainable in WellsIan Douglas, a gold prospector who has lived in Wells for seven years, agrees that BGM shouldn't be under-using the hotel rooms it's purchased but says it doesn't really matter right now. The pandemic has already dealt a severe blow to local tourism, an industry he once worked in."Tourism isn't going to be able to sustain Wells as it used to," Douglas told Matt Allen, guest host of CBC's Daybreak North. "The [Cariboo Gold Project] mine in its current planning position will help subsidize our existence." Douglas says he is eagerly awaiting the job opportunities at BGM."I would love to use it as a foot in the door to the rest of the industry," he said. "[Training] at BGM and working there for a few years could get you a job anywhere else in the industry."Jorgenson has suggested BGM build the gold mine 600 metres away from Wells, but he says the company is resisting the idea."They've chosen the place that's the most economical for Osisko shareholders in other parts of the world, but I don't believe that they've chosen the best place for the stakeholders that are the people in our community," he said.Douglas says relocating the mine somewhere else may not be feasible."I … don't think that there is any other place to put such a complex, readily available nearby, that wouldn't take more time or energy to construct," he said.In a written statement to CBC News, Barkerville Gold Mines says it has been listening to Wells residents and has made adjustments to the Cariboo Gold Project.Tap the link below to listen to Dave Jorgenson's interview on Daybreak North:Tap the link below to listen to Ian Douglas' interview on Daybreak North:Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Outgoing North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker on Tuesday announced his bid to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr in 2022, a path the Republican indicated a year ago he'd pursue after his House district shifted to the left during an unscheduled redistricting. The quick entry of Walker, mere days after almost all North Carolina 2020 election results were finalized, may signal an attempt to make other big-name conservatives think hard before entering the race. Those include Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law and a North Carolina native. Burr announced years ago that his third six-year term would be his last. “I’m running for the United States Senate because serving others is my life, and I have the experience to fight and to win in Washington," Walker, 51, said in a campaign kickoff video on his website. A favourite of the Republican base, Walker is a Baptist minister who was first elected to Congress in 2014. He rose through the ranks and chaired the conservative Republican Study Committee. He made inroads working with African American lawmakers by working on efforts to promote historically Black colleges and universities. Black residents are featured prominently in his fast-paced four-minute video, recorded in downtown Greensboro. Walker had considered challenging Sen. Thom Tillis in the 2020 Republican primary, particularly after GOP activists aligned with Donald Trump questioned Tillis' allegiance to the president. But Walker declined, and two weeks later Trump endorsed Tillis for reelection. Walker said he had spoken to Trump about challenging Tillis, and that he would focus on winning another term in central North Carolina's 6th Congressional District. That calculus changed in late 2019 when the state legislature redrew all 13 U.S. House districts after judges ruled it was likely the previous map was tainted with extreme partisan bias favouring the GOP. The reworked 6th District made it likely that a Democrat would win the seat and Walker announced last December he wouldn't run for anything in 2020. Walker said in a phone interview Tuesday that Trump had told him previously he would back him in a 2022 Senate run, affirming what a Walker spokesperson said last year. Such an endorsement, if Trump gives it, could winnow the Republican field in North Carolina, where Trump twice earned the state’s electoral votes. His 2020 victory over Joe Biden by 1.3 percentage points, however, was less than half of his victory margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. But any such commitment to Walker could be threatened if a family member of the president enters the race. A person close to Lara Trump, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss her thinking publicly, told The Associated Press that the president’s daughter-in-law has expressed interest in Burr’s seat in 2022 and is exploring a run. Lara Trump, 38, grew up in Wilmington and went to N.C. State University. She currently lives in New York with husband Eric Trump and their two children. She made frequent North Carolina campaign appearances for her father-in-law in both 2016 and 2020, connecting her to the state's GOP culture. Asked about the possibility of Lara Trump's candidacy, Walker told the AP “it’s not illegal for somebody to move to a state and establish a residence and run.” As for the president's endorsement, Walker said, “ultimately, that’s his call. But we would certainly appreciate the fact that if he was able to stay with that support, it certainly would mean a lot to us." His campaign website shows a photo of Walker with President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence in the Oval Office. Walker's video didn't mention Donald Trump by name but mentioned that his time in Congress included “taking on the swamp.” Walker's goal, he said, was “to be a conservative warrior and a bridge builder for all of our communities. And that’s exactly what we did.” Other Republicans who've said they'd consider Senate bids include former Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. George Holding of Raleigh, who also didn't seek reelection this year due to redistricting. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Erica Smith, who lost to Cal Cunningham in the 2020 primary for the seat held by Tillis, is already running in 2022. Other names in the mix include state Attorney General Josh Stein and Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor and U.S. transportation secretary. Official candidate filing for the March 2022 primaries begins in December 2021, but clearly candidates will have to gas up their campaign fundraising machines well before. Burr’s retirement will make the first open Senate seat in North Carolina since Democrat John Edwards didn’t run for reelection in 2004, when he instead was the vice-presidential nominee. Gary D. Robertson, 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
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald Despite more COVID-19 crackdowns in the past week, local vendors were still able to showcase their wares Friday and Saturday at the Lethbridge Exhibition Pavilion. And this year’s Big Christmas Farmers’ Market was for the little guy as local businesses did their part to keep the local economy pumping despite a year hindered by the pandemic. “It’s tremendous to be out here today,” said Dylan Lowry of Beyond Hot, a local business that gave shoppers an impressive array of hot sauces. “It’s very important because what gives Lethbridge a lot of uniqueness is the small mom-and-pop shops. We don’t have a lot of big-box, corporate stores. They don’t really care about local, they care about the bottom line. When you look around here, everybody is an independent vendor and we count on those smaller sales to get our families through those months. So for us it’s very important and we look forward to being social with the people out here. It gives them something to shop for and just to talk and be friendly.” Lowry noted the importance of getting out, but still being safe and following all protocols strictly set out for vendors and shoppers alike for the two-day market. “Everybody is cautious because of COVID,” said Lowry. “We’re going to have the attitude of don’t be a hermit, don’t stay at home, be protective, be cautious, but still enjoy your life. So I’m glad the market was still able to be held. Obviously, all of us are going to have lower sales and lower numbers, but that’s OK. It still gives us something to do. A lot of us are local, so we do count on this to pay some bills.” Over the course of the weekend, all attendees, families and cohorts were required to fill out a COVID-19 screening form within 24 hours prior to attending the event. Those who couldn’t complete the form online prior to arrival were required to complete a screening form before entering the venue. “We have approximately 180 local businesses, artisans and entrepreneurs that are showcasing their goods here at Exhibition Park,” said Mike Warkentin, chief operating officer at the Lethbridge and District Exhibition. “They’re from all over southern Alberta. It’s kind of a unique mix and we’re happy to support them here.” Warkentin said their farmers’ markets — both at the Exhibition Pavilion and downtown — are Alberta Agriculture and Forestry approved. “The other caveat is that we are at the maximum of 25 per cent of our posted Alberta fire code and we are well below that because we are maintaining an occupancy of 500 guests between all of our pavilions,” he said. “So 500 is the occupancy we are allowing in at any given time. Beyond that, people are being screened as they drive into the parking lot and are being temperature checked and screened as they come into the building. We are maintaining social distancing and, lastly, (have) masks or face shields for people who can’t necessarily wear masks.” Lowry said sales have actually been better this year. “Because everybody is forced to be at home and spend more family time at home, I think they’ve taken more notice to what the family enjoys. For us being a hot sauce retailer, a lot of people have started to explore that option. Could sales be better? One hundred per cent they could be better. But I’m just thankful for what we have and thankful to be a part of it.” Like each vendor, Beyond Hot came equipped to operate under COVID rules. “We have our masks and we also have face shields depending on the different clientele,” said Lowry. “We have hand sanitizer that anybody can use and we also have Lysol wipes. We have a display we’ve had to change. Usually, we have bottles and samples and everything else. Unfortunately, that is no longer. So clients, if they touch a bottle, that’s the one they buy. If not, I grab one from behind the table. It’s just some precautionary items.” The market followed a smaller Christmas Market Nov. 13-14. “A couple of weeks ago we did the pre-event in conjunction with the other market that was going on here,” said Warkentin. “This weekend, the attendance is actually up. People are coming out and we obviously didn’t know what to expect with last week’s (provincial) announcement. But the consumer confidence we’ve seen is still very strong and supportive of local businesses. “Obviously, it’s been a tough year for everybody. Small businesses in particular. When everything happened on Tuesday we wanted to make sure we were following all the guidelines and could prove that and, secondly, that we could still provide this opportunity. So many of our vendors depend on our markets to be able to showcase their products and actually sell their goods.” Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
Crown and defence lawyers summed up their cases on Tuesday at the second-degree murder trial of Justin David Breau, who is charged in fatal shooting of Mark Shatford, 42, last year in Saint John.On some things, the lawyers agreed. Both sides say Breau was a regular drug user who set up a drug deal via Facebook in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019, with Shatford and his fiancée Melissa Daley.But defence lawyer Brian Munro, in his closing arguments to the jury, said the couple had no intention of selling Breau anything that night. Their goal was to lure him — and his drug money — to their place on Saint John's west side and take the money as part of a $700 drug debt he owed them. When Breau offered the money for the deal, Shatford hit him in the head with a three-foot socket wrench, said Munro. Breau responded by running out of the apartment, afraid for his life. Munro said Breau found a shotgun in the backseat of a car he had borrowed, and shot Shatford with it. Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur told the court that the shooting was the result of "a drug ripoff gone badly wrong." He said Breau went to 321 Duke St. West with two other men to rob a drug dealer. Wilbur told the jury that Shatford fought back and chased Breau from the apartment and was then shot in the street. "Mark Shatford died a slow, painful, miserable death, almost a month later," he told the jury. During eight days of testimony, the jury heard from 22 witnesses, including the accused, who was the only witness called by the defence. Wilbur said Breau appeared very differently in a police interview than he did on the stand. The prosecutor said the "true measure of the man" was the one in the video, not the one who testified last week.He said the accused "would have you believe" that he was a family man who cooked for his mother and young daughter, and made popcorn for family movie night earlier in the evening of the shooting. Wilbur reminded jurors of Breau's own testimony — he was out in the middle of the night trying to score drugs at a crack shack right before he went to Shatford's place. He also pointed out several inconsistencies in Breau's story to police two days after the shooting. Breau made no mention of Shatford hitting him, when Const. Chris McCutcheon asked him about a lump on his head. Instead, he said he got the injury while running through the woods and playing with his kids. He said he couldn't remember the last time he was at 321 Duke St. West. "A lie," said Wilbur. He also said he couldn't remember the last time he had handled a gun. "Another lie," Wilbur told the jury. He also said that he hadn't been in a fight with Shatford, and said he didn't know what happened to him. "Another lie." Wilbur said Breau spoke authoritatively on the stand about pure and "cut" cocaine, and drug prices, yet claimed to have never heard of a "drug ripoff."Wilbur said Breau has had a year to come up with a story. During the trial, jurors heard there were five people inside the apartment when the incident occurred — Shatford, Daley, three of Daley's four children, and the boyfriend of Daley's then-17-year-old daughter. Daley and the three teenagers testified that they were all in bed when three masked men entered the apartment. Daley noticed them first when she saw shadows under the bedroom door. She went to investigate, and in the kitchen she encountered two masked men, who said they had "the wrong house" before heading to the door. She told the jury that she called out to Shatford, and that's when a third man appeared from the bathroom. As Shatford wrestled with that person, Daley said, she pulled down his mask and recognized him as Breau, someone who owed her $700.Daley, 38, told the court that Shatford grabbed a large wrench on the way out. The two men continued to wrestle as they went down the stairs.She said as she and Daley stopped short of the vehicle, Breau went to the driver's side and grabbed a shotgun from the vehicle and fired it at Shatford, who stumbled back and fell to the ground. Under cross-examination, the jury heard about a drug deal that was being set up between Breau and someone using Daley's Facebook account. Daley said the messages must have been sent by Shatford. She insisted they weren't from her. When Breau took the stand, he said he and Daley had been corresponding through Messenger for more than a year and he never believed any of the messages had been from Shatford. The exchange began at 3:07 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2019, when a hand-wave emoji was sent to Breau from Daley's account. Breau said he was at a "crack shack" on Peters Street when the message arrived. Testifying last Friday, Breau said the drug house had run out of product, and he and several others had been waiting for replenishments to arrive. Breau said he texted back asking if they had any "raw" — slang for pure cocaine. According to a printout of the exchange that was entered as evidence, Daley responded by saying she only had "cut," which Breau described as a weaker form of cocaine.The two texted back and forth and eventually settled on two grams of "cut" in exchange for 15 zopiclone pills and $70 cash. Breau said he was on his way and Daley said the door was open. He told the jury he was a regular customer at 321 Duke St. West and had been there 30 or 40 times since the summer of 2018.Breau said he arrived at 4:20 a.m., made his way through the apartment as usual and knocked on the door of the master bedroom. Breau said he heard the chain lock being slid across and when the door opened, Shatford was standing there with Daley a few feet behind him. He said Shatford grabbed his $100 bill, reminded him of the money owed and said Breau wasn't going to get anything that night. Breau testified that when he tried to grab the money back, Shatford hit him in the head with a long, shiny metal object. He said he fled the apartment with Shatford in pursuit. When he got to the vehicle he had borrowed from a friend, he reached into the backseat and grabbed a shotgun that he said he hadn't known was there until he opened the door. Emergency personnel responded to a 911 call made at 4:25 a.m., and found Shatford lying in the street, bleeding from numerous pellet holes in his abdomen. Despite several surgeries, Shatford died on Dec. 18. Under cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Joanne Park portrayed the incident as a "drug rip-off." She suggested that Breau and his two buddies made a fake deal, then tried to rob Shatford, and he was just trying to get him out of his house. Breau denied knowing what a "drug rip-off" is and said Park was trying to put words in his mouth.Mr. Justice Thomas Christie is expected to finish giving the jurors final instructions on the law on Wednesday morning before they begin their deliberations.