Kronos is an Australian Cattle Dog adopted from Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. He is half deaf (unilaterally deaf), loves learning tricks, going for nature walks, swimming, digging on the beach, and Starbucks puppachinos! @tiffanysdiamonddogs
Kronos is an Australian Cattle Dog adopted from Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. He is half deaf (unilaterally deaf), loves learning tricks, going for nature walks, swimming, digging on the beach, and Starbucks puppachinos! @tiffanysdiamonddogs
Second in a two-part series While agriculture in Labrador may be a daunting task, there is also a lot of opportunity. With only one per cent of food consumed in Labrador grown in the region, there is a market for locally produced food, be it vegetables or other crops or food products. From a beef farm to a cold storage facility, to a research farm, there are some new and exciting things happening in agriculture in Labrador. Darren Dinsmore of Aldercroft Farm has agriculture in his blood. He grew up on a farm in Ontario and said when he moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, he saw potential. Dinsmore, who is also the pastor at the local Baptist church in town, said he saw a need for local beef and decided to give it a go. “We recognize that food insecurity is an issue in Labrador and there’s a need for us as Labradorians to grow local meat, whether that’s beef or pork or whatever else,” he said. “So when a farm close to our church property became available, we jumped on that.” Dinsmore brought Highland cattle to the region and has been growing his herd for the last few years. He said there have been a lot of challenges, but he thinks compared to what farmers faced 100 years ago, they aren’t so bad. “I feel we have an advantage because there are things like equipment and government programs available that are a huge help to us,” he said. "If you’re not afraid of work and you want to see local food produced here, then I think it’s a really good thing to get into. I always encourage young people to consider it, there’s a demand for it.” Producers could never keep up with the demand for local food, he said, so it’s literally a growth industry. There has been a huge amount of interest in the beef from local people, Dinsmore said, and he hopes to be able to scale up his business over time into a larger commercial operation. Right now, the farm is focused on growing the herd and producing hay because they aren’t allowed to sell beef yet. There is no licensed abattoir in Labrador and Dinsmore said they’ve petitioned the government and is hopeful there will be one soon. He said there was discussion of building one this summer, as part of a partnership with the province, and he’s hopeful it will move forward next year. “An abattoir is next on our priority list; without it we can’t produce our own beef here locally. Hopefully next summer we can produce our own beef, which would be amazing.” The provincial government did recognize the need for an abattoir in Labrador in the work sector plan for agriculture that was part of The Way Forward document, which had 2018-2019 listed as an ideal completion date. Dinsmore said he does know of other people who would get into the industry but are waiting for an abattoir to be built. There is a deficit in agriculture infrastructure in the region, he said, and that does inhibit the growth of the industry. Nevertheless, he's looking on the bright side. “If it takes longer than next year, that’s all right. I’ll just keep feeding our cows and getting them nice and fat and growing our herd, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Tom Angiers of Spruce Meadow Farm has been farming in the Lake Melville region for a long time and said he’s fully aware of all the barriers producers continue to face in terms of government policy and infrastructure. Taking on agriculture in Labrador takes a certain kind of person, he said, one who is willing to put in the time and the work needed. He produces vegetables and eggs at his farm along the North West River Highway, selling them locally and hopefully soon, on the Labrador north coast. Angiers and his farm were recently awarded federal and provincial funding to construct a regional cold storage and packaging facility for Labrador, the first of its kind. Use of the facility will be available to members of a co-operative, he said, which currently includes three farms. “So far we’ve only been able to grow and try to handle a little bit for a little while, but we’ve never really been able to make a living at it because we haven’t been able to store enough to supply enough months of the year,” he said. “You can’t support your family on a few months of vegetables.” A cold storage facility would give them the opportunity to store and sell their crops in Labrador year-round for the first time, he said, which could allow them to greatly grow their businesses. The co-operative has been approved to be a part of Nutrition North Canada, a federal government program with the goal of making nutritious food assessable in the north, including the Labrador north coast. Angiers said this gives the farms and the people of the coast a great opportunity since the program will cover 80 per cent of the cost to ship the freight up the coast. “This way they can get fresh Labrador vegetables at a reasonable cost,” he said. “It’ll be higher quality and lower prices, there’s no drawback to them. It’s a win-win.” Last year, Memorial University took over what had been known as the Grand River Farm in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, run by Frank and Joyce Pye, and turned it into the university’s first experimental and community farm. Ashlee Cunsolo is dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies and the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems at the Labrador Institute of Memorial University. She said Frank Pye approached the school before he died with the dream of turning the farm into a hub for northern food security research, and a seed was planted. The university went through two years of consultation before taking over the farm, and Cunsolo said they heard nothing but support. The 80-acre farm will be used for a number of purposes and they spent last year and this year planning and preparing. Next year they’ll be welcoming in the public, researchers, and community groups, which Cunsolo said will be more of an official opening. They will be offering a variety of services, equipment, and resources for those interested, including giving people access to plots to try their hand at farming or to try out new crops. It will be the first experimental farm in Labrador, she said, and can hopefully help the industry grow. “With the provincial plan to double food self-sufficiency, Labrador is poised to really contribute to that,” Cunsolo said. “There is huge untapped potential and we’re hoping, as a university and as a hub for research and education, to be able to support that growth and development in a rapid way so we can provide training and research opportunities.” For research to be approved on the farm, Cunsolo said, it has to be requested by a local farmer or shown to be a direct need for local farming. They want it to be a place where people try new things, and where new entrants into the industry are encouraged. “What’s cool about doing it through a university is we can pilot these things with no risk,” she said. “If they don’t work, they don’t work, and we know it and that contributed to what we understand.” Cunsolo said in Labrador there are so many farmers who don’t have enough land and have to use every piece they have, so this will help remove that risk. They aren’t competing with commercial farmers, she said, adding she feels people see them as an asset to the region. “We see ourselves as a way to support the work that’s already being done and to help people grow in the way that they want,” she said. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Two not-for-profit organizations in Labrador West got a big boost recently from the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). IOC donated $36,000 to Indoor Play Labrador and the Labrador West Association for Community Living to help them keep helping others. Cindy Humphries, director of the Labrador West Association for Community Living, said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time. The group, which supports people with intellectual challenges, had to cancel the annual Ken Gage Memorial Bowling Tournament this year due to the pandemic. The tournament normally raises $12,000 to $15,000 range for the group and is the only big fundraiser they do. They received $15,000 from IOC, which Humphries said will be used for things like tablets, wheelchairs, ceiling lifts and other equipment for families. “It was a huge help,” she said. “They approached us and asked what we needed, and after some paperwork we had to fill out and whatever they had to do on their end, it came through." Humphries said they can have up to 100 teams in the tourney some years and it can last for weeks. That simply wasn’t viable with the pandemic health protocols in place, Humphries said, and if things don’t change, they may not have one next year. “It’s just too much to try and control or monitor that many people,” she said. “You never know, come the new year things could be a lot different but if things are the same, I can’t see it going ahead.” The other not-for-profit that received funding was Indoor Play Labrador, the organization that manages the Kids Club in town, the only indoor playground in the region. The building was only opened in March and had to shut its doors 16 days later and suspend membership fees due to COVID-19 restrictions. Jenny Sullivan, president of Indoor Play Labrador, said the $21,000 from IOC came at a great time. “We were only open for 16 days and had to close, but still had rent and bills coming in, and those bills didn’t stop even though we weren’t bringing in any money as we expected. There was a period of uncertainty, so having that money come in to help with a lot of those expenses now that we’re back up and running has been amazing.” Sullivan said they had only been able to open initially because of community donations — having raised over $200,000 — and she is always impressed by the support in the community. IOC president and chief executive officer Clayton Walker said in a statement that not-for-profit organizations are an important part of Labrador City’s social fabric, particularly in a time of crisis. “Without the unique contributions of Indoor Play Labrador and the Labrador West Association for Community Living, our community would not be as safe, inclusive and fun,” he said. “We are happy to help them promote the health, safety and wellness of our families.” Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
With millions dining at home for safety and a swing to the spicier side in the U.S. in recent years, Cholula, the hot sauce with the distinctive wooden cap and a cult following, has become a very valuable brand.McCormick & Co., the spice maker that dominates U.S. grocery shelves, said Tuesday that it was buying Cholula for $800 million from L Catteron, a private equity firm.McCormick made a notable tilt toward the hot sauce shelf three years ago when it acquired Frank’s RedHot, the preferred fuel in Buffalo wing recipes, as part of its $4.2 billion acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food business.“The sauce with the little wooden cap is, like Frank’s RedHot, well-known to ‘chilli-heads’ around the globe but its appeal is much wider,” said Dean Best, food editor of Global Data.The acquisition arrives with the pandemic warping how America and the rest of the world eats, meaning largely at home. There was evidence of that trend in recent regulatory filings from McCormick, a company in Hunt Valley, Maryland with a valuation of close to $25 billion.McCormick said in September that revenue surged 8% during the third quarter as people replaced the contents of outdated spice racks, or started one for the first time.And hot sauce is increasingly part of the pantry mix.The volume of hot sauce produced for North America has risen in each of the past five years by an average of 4.7%, to more than 127,000 tons in 2020, according to the data service Euromonitor. That production is expected to rise by 16% within the next five years, according to the group.“Hot sauce is an attractive, high-growth category and, as an iconic premium brand, Cholula is outpacing category growth," said McCormick Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius in prepared remarks Tuesday.Cholula has made its own adaptations during the pandemic to get the sauce to its cult followers.Earlier this month the company teamed up with simplehuman to create a touch-free Cholula dispenser for restaurants or other places that serve the hot sauce, allowing those eating out to bring the heat in relative safety.Shares of McCormick, which have hit an all time high this year, rose more than 2% Tuesday.Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Any way you look at it, 2020 has been a challenging year all around, but it has impacted some families harder than others. With many businesses having been forced to close their doors and shut down for extended periods this year due to public health restrictions, affected business owners and the people that they employ have been among the hardest hit. Some people have seen their wages rolled back so that their employers can remain in business. There have been layoffs across the province as companies have had to reduce their operations. And too many businesses have had to close down entirely. While our economy has picked up from where we were in the spring, jobs still are not as plentiful as they were. The Swan Hills Food Bank has certainly seen an increase in requests this year compared to past years. Christmas is often a time when many of us look for ways to give back to our community, to try to offer a helping hand to those around us who may be having a hard time of things. This year there is an increased need for helping hands. The Food Bank and Santa’s Elves are doing things a little differently this year in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the number of items being directly handled by multiple people, Santa’s Elves is only able to accept monetary donations this year. Monetary donations can be made at the Alberta Treasury Branch downtown (4914 Plaza Ave). A food donation bin will be available at Super A, as there has been in previous years, but there will not be a toy donation bin for Santa’s Elves this year. Instead of delivering food hampers and toys this year, the families receiving support will be given gift cards to local businesses. This will reduce the chance for the transmission of COVID-19 by cutting down on the need for items to be directly handled by multiple people. This step will also allow the families receiving support to choose which groceries and gifts would benefit them the most. Please contact the Swan Hills Food Bank and Santa’s Elves at (780) 333-3442 if you have any questions.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
Homeowners in Swan Hills began to receive telephone calls from the town last week regarding their water meters. The electronic water meter heads installed on the water meters in many of our homes have reached the end of their "shelf life" and need to be replaced. The electronic heads are able to read the water meters through a pre-programmed algorithm that detects the magnetic signatures of the mechanical water meter. The electronic heads can then connect to a receiver to transmit the data from the water meter. This setup allows a meter reader to take water meter readings without having to enter the home. The person taking the readings drives up and down the streets of Swan Hills with a receiver in their vehicle, picking up the readings as they go. According to the town office, many of the electronic water meter heads were installed roughly 8 – 10 years ago and are now starting to have performance issues. The town will be contacting the affected homeowners on an individual basis to arrange the replacement of the water meter heads. This whole process may take some time as these service calls will depend on coordinating with the homeowners' schedules, and the town has a limited number of technicians to perform these replacements. Please do not be alarmed if you receive a call from the town regarding your water meter in the near future. This is merely routine maintenance to keep our present system running smoothly.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Did you know that November 28th is National French Toast Day? While this is entirely new information to me, I have to say that I absolutely approve. In fact, I find myself wondering how in the heck have I made it for 45 years on this earth without a day entirely dedicated to French toast? Well, maybe that’s pushing things a little bit… One of the things that I love about French toast is that it is easy to make and extremely versatile. You can change it up with the simple addition of a pinch of nutmeg or brighten it up with the zest of your favorite flavor of citrus. It can be sweet or even downright savory. Using different types of bread can completely redefine your recipe. One of my favorite renditions of French toast was served at a hotel in Victoria, made with a light and delicate banana bread. National French Toast Day is, unsurprisingly, celebrated by making French toast. I mean, who saw that one coming? Well, that works out great because this year, November 28th is on a Saturday. French toast for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee on a quiet Saturday morning sounds pretty darn good to me! Apparently, another way to celebrate is to share your favorite recipes for French toast, so I am going to share my recipe for Stuffed French Toast. Oddly enough, I came up with my Stuffed French Toast recipe because of an IHOP commercial. They were advertising… well, Stuffed French Toast, but the catch was that this was before IHOP had made their way into Canada. So, there I was with this American TV commercial taunting me with descriptions of French toast Nirvana, but with no way to sample it for myself short of taking quite the road trip. I love breakfast as much as the next guy, but I’m not about to hop the border to go searching for the next new flavor. What to do? Luckily, I happen to know my way around the kitchen. After contemplating what this commercial had described, I played around with my favorite French toast recipe until I had come up with something that tasted the way that I imagined that this mythical Stuffed French Toast would, or should, taste. As an aside, my wife and I were able to sample IHOP’s Stuffed French Toast several years later, after they had opened their Calgary location. Theirs was good… but let’s just say that we’ll be more than happy to stick with my recipe. Stuffed French Toast 1 Loaf of Bread (Sandwich Bread, Raisin Bread, French Bread, etc.) French Toast Batter: 2 Cups milk 2 Eggs 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar 1 tsp Cinnamon ½ tsp Nutmeg 1 tsp Vanilla Filling: 8 oz Cream Cheese (250 g pkg) 1 Cup Icing Sugar ½ tsp Salt Directions: Beat together the milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla until smooth to make your French toast batter. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, and salt until smooth to make the filling. Spray a frying pan with a light coat of nonstick cooking spray, and then heat the frying pan on medium. Take two pieces of bread and make a sandwich with a layer of the filling in the middle. Dip the sandwich into the French toast batter mixture and then fry it in the heated frying pan until it is golden brown on both sides. Repeat these steps until you have used up all the bread, French toast batter, and filling. Serve hot with maple syrup.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health will be providing a more detailed breakdown of COVID cases by community starting in December. This means case count will be shown in each municipality rather than just an overall number in Wellington County. WDG public health had previously said they would not release this data due to concerns over privacy and giving some communities a false sense of security. Danny Williamson, communications specialist with WDG Public Health, said by email that they have been reviewing how they release information and ways to make it more detailed. “Local level data has been a frequent request and public health has worked to validate a process that could deliver this information efficiently and protect individual privacy,” Williamson said. “We have continued to work on adding data to our public dashboard since the start of the pandemic and will seek to continue to add to and improve the dashboard.” Williamson said a breakdown by municipality will be added daily starting Dec. 1 and they hope to add additional information in the future. Minto mayor George Bridge said in a Monday Facebook video update that public health had given the town data they had formally requested in a letter sent from their council. They sent this letter as a response to a recommendation from their economic development committee. Some business owners were concerned about an assumption in their community that rising cases were predominantly in the southern parts of Wellington County. Williamson clarified that the Town of Minto did ask for this information but the decision to give a breakdown by municipality isn’t a result of that request. A news release from Minto shows, as of Nov. 23, they have six active cases and have had 20 in total, including the current cases. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
NEW YORK — Best Buy Co. reported fiscal third-quarter results that blew through analysts' expectations as the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer enjoyed surging demand for items like home theatre and appliances that help people learn, cook, work and connect in their homes during the pandemic.The Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer, said that third-quarter profits rose 33% while sales were up 21%. Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 23%, while online sales in the U.S. surged 174%.Still, shares fell 5% in Tuesday morning trading as Best Buy warned that sales could slow down during the current quarter as the number of virus cases surge.“As we start the fourth quarter, the demand for the products and services we sell remains at elevated levels, but similar to last quarter, it continues to be difficult for us to predict how sustainable these trends will be," Matthew Bilunas, Best Buy's chief financial officer, told analysts during the call. “In fact, we are seeing COVID cases surge throughout the U.S. and Canada at a time of significant holiday volume through our stores, online and supply chain. “Bilunas also noted other factors such as potential government stimulus, the risk of continued high employment and the availability of inventory like computers to match customer demand.Best Buy joins big box stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe's in reporting strong fiscal results. Unlike mall-based stores and other businesses that sell non-essentials, big box retailers were allowed to stay open during the lockdown in the spring and have all seen their dominance increase as consumers focus on necessities and home-related activities.Before the pandemic, Best Buy had expanded its services to such options as at-home consulting and same-day delivery. It also sped up its online shipping. But the pandemic has forced Best Buy to adjust its operations and launch new shopping experiences that provide more convenience and safety for customers.Early fall, Best Buy began using 250 of its stores as fast-shipping hubs for online orders. It's now adding 90 more locations during the holiday period. It says its goal is to have all 340 stores ship more than 70% of its ship-from-store units during the holiday quarter. It's also testing new store formats as it transforms locations to fulfilment hubs.For example, in four Minneapolis locations, Best Buy reduced its square footage for shopping to 15,000 square feet from an average of 27,000. The product assortment on the sales floor will still include the primary categories these locations featured before the remodel, but instead the focus will be on the most popular items, the retailer said. The remodels will result in increased space for staging product for in-store pickup and to help ship-from-store transactions, as well as provide the ability to stage inventory for items that may not be on the sales floor.Best Buy reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $391 million, or $1.48 per share, compared with $293 million, or $1.10 per share, in the year-ago period. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs and amortization costs, were $2.06 per share.The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.76 per share.The consumer electronics retailer posted revenue of $11.85 billion in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $11.02 billion.Shares fell $6.69 to $1150 in late morning trading. Shares have increased 39% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index has increased 11%. The stock has increased 69% in the last 12 months.____Elements of this story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on BBY at https://www.zacks.com/ap/BBYAnne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Twelve things worth noting about Tuesday's nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, from snubbed singers to posthumous nominees to famous folks competing for awards.___SNUBBED SINGERSThe Weeknd sings about being a “star boy" but the Grammys' response to his latest album? Bye boy.The pop star was severely snubbed this year despite having one of the year's biggest albums with “After Hours" and topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Blinding Lights" and “Heartless."Luke Combs also walked away without a single nomination though he was country music's most successful musician this year. Morgan Wallen also had a great year in country music, but didn't earn any nods. And the Chicks' first album in 14 years was not recognized.A group of young R&B female acts moving the needle also missed out on nominations, including Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor and Kehlani. Late rapper Juice WRLD, Brandy and Chris Brown were also snubbed.Though they received nominations in their genre categories, acts such as Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple and Harry Styles didn't pick up bids for album, song or record of the year.K-POP KINGSFor years BTS have said their dream is to be Grammy-nominated. And they've finally achieved it.The K-pop band is nominated for best pop duo/group performance with “Dynamite," their first song to hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Others who scored their first-ever nominations include Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, the Strokes, Jay Electronica, Michael Kiwanuka and Mickey Guyton.DR. LUKE aka TYSON TRAXDr. Luke marked a major comeback this year, producing hits for Saweetie, Juice WRLD and Doja Cat, who is signed to his record label. And it earned him his first Grammy nomination in six years.The hit “Say So" marked a breakthrough for Doja Cat and Dr. Luke, who last launched a No. 1 smash with Katy Perry's “Dark Horse" in 2014, the same year his former collaborator Kesha accused him of sexual assault during their yearslong partnership. Dr. Luke has vigorously denied the allegations.“Say So" is nominated for record of the year, an award given to the song's artist and producer, helping Dr. Luke earn a nomination. But instead of using his known name on the credits for the song, he's listed as Tyson Traxe.Other monikers Dr. Luke has used are Loctor Duke and MADE IN CHINA.BLACK LIVES MATTERReflecting the current times, Black artists released songs this year about the Black Lives Matter movement and the international protests that took place following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others.And those songs are nominated for Grammys.Beyoncé's “Black Parade," released on Juneteenth, is up for four awards including record and song of the year. The protest song “I Can't Breathe" by H.E.R. is nominated for song of the year and best R&B song, while Lil Baby's “The Bigger Picture" — which reached the No. 3 spot on the pop charts — is up for best rap song and best rap performance. And Anderson .Paak's “Lockdown," about police brutality and racial injustice, is up for best melodic rap performance and best music video.Country singer Mickey Guyton wrote “Black Like Me" a year before Floyd's death, but rushed to release the song because she said the time was right. The poignant track earned a nomination for best country solo performance.LONG LIVE THE DEADJohn Prine died of complications of the coronavirus in April, but his spirit is all over the Grammy Awards.The icon earned two posthumous nominations, including best American Roots performance and best American Roots song for “I Remember Everything."Breakthrough rapper Pop Smoke died this year but his hit song “Dior," a double platinum success, is nominated for best rap performance. Nipsey Hussle, who died last year and won two posthumous Grammys earlier this year, scored a nomination for best rap performance for his guest appearance on Big Sean's “Deep Reverence."Leonard Cohen has earned multiple posthumous nominations since his death in 2016 and is nominated for best folk album with “Thanks for the Dance," his fifteenth and final studio album.And songwriter LaShawn Daniels, who died last year and won a Grammy for co-writing Destiny's Child's “Say My Name," is competing for best gospel performance/song with “Come Together" by his close friend Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Daniels and Jerkins started writing the song about the world coming together 17 years ago but Jerkins released it this year during the pandemic to offer healing and hope to listeners.A-LIST ACTSOscar winners Meryl Streep and Renée Zellweger are vying for Grammy gold.Streep is nominated for best spoken world album for “Charlotte’s Web," pitting her against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, journalist Ronan Farrow and “Jeopardy!” record-holder Ken Jennings, who is nominated for reading “Alex Trebex — The Answer Is...”Zellweger won her second Academy Award for “Judy" and her performance on the soundtrack earned her a nomination for best traditional pop vocal album.Cynthia Erivo, a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner, scored a nomination for best written song for visual media with “Stand Up" from “Harriet." The song, which she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell, also earned an Oscar nomination earlier this year.And the best comedy album award is stacked with famous folks, including Tiffany Haddish, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr.WOMEN WHO ROCKFemale acts dominate in the best rock song and best rock performance categories, with performers like Fiona Apple, Brittany Howard, HAIM, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers and Big Thief — led by Adrianne Lenker — in contention.And while country radio is overloaded with male artists, the Grammys' best country album category is packed with women, including Miranda Lambert, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde and Ingrid Andress.IT'S BRITTANY B(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)!Brittany Howard has already won four Grammys with her talented band Alabama Shakes, but her first solo album is getting tons of Grammy love.“Jaime" was released last year and is one of those rare albums competing for multiple genres at the Grammys. The album is nominated for best alternative music album, her song “Stay High" is up for best rock song and best rock performance, the track “Goat Head" is nominated for best R&B performance, and “Short and Sweet" is competing for best American Roots performance.JAY-Z, THE SONGWRITERS, SHINESHappy wife, happy life: Jay-Z has lent his songwriting hand to his wife Beyoncé and he's earned Grammy nominations for it.Jay-Z co-wrote Beyoncé's “Black Parade" and “Savage" with Megan Thee Stallion, and now he's nominated for song of the year, best R&B song and best rap song — categories reserved for songwriters.Jay-Z and Beyoncé have won five Grammys together.HIP-HOP IS DEADDespite rap music being today's most popular genre, no rap albums are nominated for the top prize, album of the year.Expected nominees included Roddy Ricch's “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial," Lil Baby’s “My Turn" and DaBaby's “Blame It on Baby" or “Kirk."But those albums didn't even score nomination in the best rap album category. Instead, nominees were focused on rap purists and respected lyricists instead of the young performers dominating the pop charts.Nominees for best rap album include Nas' “King’s Disease," Jay Electronica’s “A Written Testimony,” Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist's “Alfredo," “The Allegory" by Royce Da 5’9” and D Smoke's “Black Habits."PAUL McCARTNEY, THE ART DIRECTORPaul McCartney scored his 79th Grammy nominations this year — as an art director.The former Beatle is nominated for best boxed or special limited edition package for the collector's edition of his 10th solo album, “Flaming Pie." He's listed as one of the art directors on the project, and shares his nomination with Linn Wie Andersen, Simon Earith and James Musgrave.McCartney is the owner of 18 Grammys.PAIN OF THE PANDEMICBecause of the coronavirus pandemic, the Best Immersive Audio Album Craft Committee was unable to meet to decide winners for the best immersive audio album Grammy. The judging of the entries has been postponed, and the nominees will be announced next year. The winners for the 2021 award will be announced at the 2022 show.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
The executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario can’t understand why organizations that actually work with the city’s marginalized downtown population would be excluded from the downtown task team set up to address the issue facing Sudbury’s core, since so many of those issues have to do with homelessness. On Oct. 20, Cory Roslyn, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario (EFSNEO) and a key member of the city’s Homelessness Network, found out that Mayor Bigger had formed and held a meeting for a task team to help in the downtown, a place where the EFSNEO and the Homelessness Network does a great deal of their outreach work and have for many years. She found out about it from a Sudbury.com article, the day after the meeting. That didn’t sit right with Roslyn, she said in an interview. Why would organizations that actually work with the downtown population not know about such a meeting, she wondered. So, she wrote a detailed letter and emailed it to Mayor Brian Bigger’s office. “Our intentions were to secure a seat at the table in hopes that the mayor would reconsider the approach of the task team from that of enforcement and criminalization, to an approach that considers real solutions to the social issues contributing to the problems downtown,” Roslyn said. She received no reply. The EFSNEO is one of many frontline, charitable, social service organizations whose mandate it is to provide services to the populations at the centre of the task team’s focus: the marginalized and homeless men and women, many of whom suffer from addiction and mental illness, and who are often criminalized rather than treated. “We know these individuals by name, we hear their stories, we witness their suffering and we are their resource for support when they need it. Our successes come from never forgetting the humanity in each person who walks through our doors,” said Roslyn. She notes that the majority of those individuals and groups asked by the mayor to sit on the downtown task team do not have regular, direct contact with those who are at the centre of the issues. “As individuals in leadership roles, no matter what organization or business we represent, it is important we recognize the privilege we hold, that creates our worldview, allows us to ‘other’ those whom we don’t understand and restricts our capacity for empathy and compassion,” Roslyn said. And this is why, in her opinion, the downtown task team is focussed in one direction, instead of looking at the issues downtown more holistically. “When you have 22 seats at a virtual table, and nine of those are taken by high-level employees of the City of Greater Sudbury, three by police, three from the (Downtown Sudbury) BIA, two from NOSM, and only two voices from frontline service organizations, it is not surprising that the outcome of the meeting does not adequately consider the social issues,” she said. When the downtown task team gathered on Oct. 30, it made some decisions as to first steps. Those steps included a plan to add LED street-lighting to downtown as a security measure. “Lighting may add a layer of perceived safety, but does very little — if nothing — to assist the homeless population,” said Roslyn. “Our organization sees little value for dollars spent in LED lighting and enforcement-based police approaches; lighting dark corners and policing those struggling with mental illness and addictions serves to displace already marginalized populations out of the public view. These tools only hide the problem; they do not address the root causes, or provide meaningful solutions.” When asked whether there were organizations that requested a place on the downtown task team that were denied, Bigger acknowledged that there were requests that he was forced to turn down, but defended the decision. “It is, admittedly, tough drawing a line,” he said. “But you know, many of these organizations are all interrelated.” As for Roslyn’s criticism that the team isn’t addressing the root problem, the mayor agreed there are certain aspects of the planning that address only symptoms, not causes. “What we've done is we have stepped up and increased the amount of garbage collection, we're in the process of cleaning up graffiti,” he said. “We've added some additional security in the downtown. We've enhanced the lighting in downtown and there's more work to be done to further enhance the lighting. “But all of that is addressing what you would call more symptomatic elements of the challenges that people are feeling and seeing in the downtown.” Despite the lack of representation from groups that actually work with the homeless, Bigger said he feels “we have representation from the core groups.” With so many community organizations in the city, he said the task team could find ways for the groups to communicate better. Bigger, however, also said the task team’s goals aren't solely related to the issues faced by the homeless and marginalized people in the downtown core, but also the needs of downtown business owners, residents who journey downtown to work, shop and for appointments, and visitors to the city. “The challenges we're dealing with, from the businesses, from the people living downtown, the people working downtown and the general public, who might be going downtown for different services, a lot of people were talking about the amount of garbage on the streets, the graffiti, (and) the gatherings of people in the downtown and the general sense and feeling of insecurity by people who are going downtown for very various reasons. “And so, that's one element that we've tried to address, and (we) know many of those issues can be dealt with fairly (and) fairly quickly.” Bigger also defended his decision not to have a representative agency from the Homelessness Network take part in the Oct. 30 task team meeting, saying it was a question of numbers and logistics. “I think the last meeting we had (Oct. 30) we had 30 people on one Zoom call. And so it gets challenging when you start getting into large numbers.” Roslyn doesn’t buy it. She said rather than using the limits of Zoom meetings as an excuse to exclude certain community groups, she said the mayor should make more thoughtful choices about who to invite. “There are at least a dozen organizations who are actively involved with the populations downtown who would have valuable input and contributions to make,” she said. It isn’t about Elizabeth Fry or another Homelessness Network member being invited, she added, but about “including the voices of the organizations who work with the population involved.” And despite the mayor’s argument that the task team’s focus has to be broader than simply the issues facing homeless or nearly homeless people downtown, Roslyn said the lack of social services, addiction services and mental health services available to marginalized people is the crux of the issue in the city’s core. “Ultimately the issues boil down to a lack of safe, affordable housing, and the lack of free, accessible addiction and mental health care. Punitive approaches have done nothing to solve their problems, and in fact, have furthered the cycle of addiction, incarceration and homelessness.” Curious who participated in the latest task team meeting? Sudbury.com was able to secure the list. City of Greater Sudbury: Mayor Brian Bigger; Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier; Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland: Ward 12 Coun. Landry-Altmann: Melissa Zanette, Chief of Staff: Ed Archer CAO: Steve Jacques, General Manager; Brendan Adair, Manager of Security & By-Law Services; Tony Cecutti, General Manager of Infrastructure Services. Greater Sudbury Police Services: Chief Paul Pedersen; Inspector Sara Cunningham; Deputy Chief Sheilah Weber. Healthcare organizations: Dr. Penny Sutcliffe and Sandra Laclé, Director Health Promotion from Public Health Sudbury and Districts; Angela Recollet, Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre; Patty MacDonald, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association; Dr. David Marsh, Associate Dean of Research, and Dr. Mike Franklyn, Faculty, both from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine; Maureen McLelland, Regional Vice-President, Cancer Care and Vice-President, Social Accountability at Health Sciences North. Downtown BIA: Maureen Luoma, Executive Director; Kendra MacIsaac, Co-chair; Brian McCullach, Co-chair.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
The University of British Columbia has launched an investigation after more than 100 entry-level math students were accused of cheating on their midterm exam several days ago.The investigation became public after an ominous note from the students' professor was posted online late Monday. It was also circulated to students directly."I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating," said the note, a screenshot of which was posted to the UBC Reddit thread."If confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC."The note is signed "Mike." The CBC has not been able to verify the UBC professor's identity. However, the university has said it's investigating allegations of widespread cheating in one section of the math department involving entry-level math students.There are more than 1,500 students currently enrolled in Math 100 at UBC, split up into classes of about 250. The class is being held entirely online this semester, due to the pandemic. Midterms are run online as well.Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, confirmed the university is investigating allegations of widespread cheating. He said it is too early to be able to provide details on how the students might have been cheating or how they were caught."Those details, I'm sure, will come clear in the investigative process," he said by phone on Tuesday.Ramsay said the professor's note was first sent to students, then posted online.Test monitoring toolsMany schools across the country, including UBC, have been using online software extensions to help detect and discourage cheating since classes went virtual. One test-proctoring tool, called Proctorio, monitors students for suspicious behaviour while they're writing a virtual exam.UBC faculty can offer an alternative, like a final project, to replace exams if they are overly concerned about cheating, but exams can't always be replaced."In some instances, it is necessary to use ... software like Proctorio to ensure academic integrity," Ramsey said. "Incidents of academic misconduct themselves are very uncommon, very rare at the university," added Ramsey, who has been with the school since 2014. "I have not seen allegations of this nature in my time at UBC but, again, they are, at this point, allegations."Investigations into academic misconduct begin with a professor reporting their concerns to the dean's office. That office can either dismiss complaints, give students a warning or pass the case along to the President's Advisory Committee on Student Discipline for potential punishment. Penalties can range from a formal warning to being expelled from the university.Since investigations are complex and take time, Ramsey said, it's too soon to gauge whether there has been an overall increase in cheating since classes and exams began moving fully online in the spring."If the students are disciplined, we will get a sense as to those numbers in the coming months. At this point, it's just too early to say," he said.
TORONTO — Anxiety-ridden and overworked health-care workers say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19, a new small-scale study suggests.Interviews with nurses, personal support workers and others in hospitals and long-term care homes suggest chronic stress and burnout are common, but fear of reprisals is stopping them from speaking out."The knowledge that they are at increased risk of infection due to lack of protection has resulted in anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications," the paper states.The study, in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, was done by James Brophy and Margaret Keith, academic researchers affiliated with the University of Windsor and noted occupational hygienists.Health-care workers in Canada have contracted the novel coronavirus in far higher numbers relative to the general public, comprising almost one-in-five confirmed cases, according to a previous study. To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16.Only 10 workers — nurses, personal support workers and other staff — agreed to be interviewed for the qualitative study. Others refused to take part for fear of being disciplined or fired, they said.Despite the handful of interview subjects, the authors said their peer-reviewed findings reflect other larger-scale research and surveys, and its findings are valid.Those interviewed said they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks of contracting COVID or spreading it — risks apparent from the early days of the pandemic. Some said they were warned by supervisors not to wear N95 protection, even if they had their own, Keith said.Others spoke of the constant grief and trauma they endure when patients or residents die, a situation only getting worse as new cases soar."Words on the page cannot convey the level of emotion we heard in the voices of the health-care workers we interviewed," Brophy said. "We did not expect to hear the degree of anger and desperation that came out."The vast majority of the front-line health-care workers are women, many racialized, Keith said. Many are part-time and vulnerable to job loss."Health-care workers are desperately in need of protection from COVID and from their often back-breaking and soul-crushing working conditions," Keith said. "But the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of health-care work contributes to (their) risks and adverse mental-health impacts."Despite the issues, the workers said the provincial government had let them down by failing to take action to deal with their health or labour concerns. Chronic understaffing and failing to keep them safe, the authors said, means the workers can't do their jobs effectively, putting everyone at risk."Health-care workers health and well-being are being sacrificed," Keith said. "We all need to pay attention to their pleas."There was no immediate response to the qualitative study from the provincial government, but Health Minister Christine Elliott praised the "tireless efforts" of front-line health-care workers during an announcement on Tuesday about the roll-out of rapid tests.Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said front-line staff in close contact with COVID-infected people still have no ready access to proper respirators. The Ministry of Labour has also rejected all 253 work refusals as valid. "This explains why people feel sacrificed and why they feel exploited and violated," Hurley said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 124 nouveaux cas, pour un nombre total de personnes infectées de 134 330. Elles font également état de 45 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 6 887. De ces 45 décès, 9 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 34 sont survenus entre le 17 et le 22 novembre et 2 sont survenus avant le 17 novembre. Le nombre d'hospitalisations a augmenté de 21 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 655. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 2, et s'élève maintenant à 96. Les prélèvements réalisés le 22 novembre s'élèvent à 20 400, pour un total de 3 726 800. Tableau synthèse de l'évolution des données Date Cas DécèsHospitalisationsHospitalisations aux soins intensifsPrélèvements réalisés17 novembre1 17925652 (+14)10031 93518 novembre1 20735651 (-1)101 (+1)34 70319 novembre1 25926624 (-27)96 (-5)31 09920 novembre1 18918646 (+22)99 (+3)34 21721 novembre 1 15422642 (-4)103 (+4)20 01722 novembre1 16425634 (-8)98 (-5)20 40023 novembre1 1249655 (+21)96 (-2)ND Nombre de cas par région Régions sociosanitaires22 novembre 202023 novembre 2020Total des cas 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent211072802 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean1611044 36603 - Capitale-Nationale10615310 95204 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec53786 45605 - Estrie62404 19306 - Montréal29428449 02907 - Outaouais48643 39908 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue0025809 - Côte-Nord3120010 - Nord-du-Québec005211 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine301 31612 - Chaudière-Appalaches40344 99913 - Laval637010 90714 - Lanaudière14210310 59615 - Laurentides41377 68316 - Montérégie12514519 06717 - Nunavik002918 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James0016Hors Québec2181Région à déterminer003Total1 1641 124134 330 Nombre de décès par région 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent1602 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean10303 - Capitale-Nationale41604 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec25405 - Estrie5506 - Montréal3 59607 - Outaouais7608 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue409 - Côte-Nord210 - Nord-du-Québec011 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine3812 - Chaudière-Appalaches12013 - Laval72314 - Lanaudière30815 - Laurentides33216 - Montérégie84317 - Nunavik018 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James1Hors Québec0Région à déterminer0Total6 887 NoneStéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
NEW YORK — A concert film featuring Taylor Swift performing songs from her new album is coming to Disney+. The singer announced Tuesday that “folklore: the long pond studio sessions” will premiere on the streaming platform on Wednesday. The concert film will include guest appearances from Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver — acts who all appear on Swift's “folklore" album. In the film, Swift will reveal stories and secrets behind the 17 songs on the album, which topped the Billboard 200 albums chart this year. Swift filmed “folklore: the long pond studio sessions” in upstate New York in September. The singer also directed the concert film. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
An Ottawa city councillor has apologized for "inadvertently" texting while driving Tuesday, a lapse in judgment that was livestreamed via YouTube during a virtual meeting of the city's audit committee.Osgoode councillor and deputy mayor George Darouze initially joined the 9:30 a.m. meeting from what looked like his kitchen, and even asked a detailed question about the accounting procedures surrounding the city's public-private partnership at Lansdowne Park, one of the audits tabled Tuesday.Around 11:30 a.m., the livestream showed Darouze getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. He put on his seatbelt, as well as headphones, presumably to keep listening to the meeting. His device appears to be sitting in the passenger seat, the camera facing him.He began to drive — the passing scenery clearly visible through the driver side window — and pulled out a cell phone. He then began to text with his thumbs, taking his eyes off the road several times. At one point, Darouze fumbled around with his right hand to find his glasses, then put them on.Eventually, Darouze looked toward the second wireless device in the passenger seat and turned off the camera. The councillor didn't respond to a request for comment, but posted the following brief apology on Facebook:"This morning, I inadvertently texted while I was driving. I apologize for this and commit to my family and residents that this won't happen again."Later Tuesday afternoon, Darouze replaced that post with another statement, this time admitting his behaviour was a "stupid thing to do." "I should not have done this. I commit to my family and residents that this won't happen again," reads the public post.Ottawa police aware of videoA number of people on social media are calling for police to charge the councillor for distracted driving, and for Mayor Jim Watson to weigh in. A statement from the mayor's office said he "trusts that this will not happen again."Ottawa police said in an emailed statement that they're aware of a video of "a driver with a handheld device," without naming Darouze. Police said the driver appears to be violating the Highway Traffic Act, and said they will investigate if they receive a public complaint.
People who encounter a Peel Regional Police officer at Pearson Airport could notice a new addition to the officers’ tool kit: they’re now equipped with body cameras. Nine officers at the airport started testing the devices Monday before they’re set to be rolled out to the rest of the region’s roughly 1,200 front-line officers starting early 2021, Peel police said in a news release. Peel police and local politicians have touted the cameras as a way to keep front-line staff honest and accountable, although some members of the region’s Black community have said the devices fall short of real police reform. In a recent interview with the Star, Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said body-worn cameras aren’t a panacea, but “another tool that should be in the mix” of initiatives aimed at improving public safety and officer accountability. He said the final rules for the devices’ use will be built on guidance from the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and public consultation, “so that the community has confidence that it’s not going to be manipulated.” The cameras’ deployment has been welcomed at the airport. “We’re pleased that Peel Regional Police has chosen Toronto Pearson as the first location for the testing of body-worn cameras,” said Dwayne MacIntosh, director, corporate safety and security at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. Peel Dept. Chief Anthony Odoardi said police are also considering how to use body-worn cameras to help medical professionals assist officers responding to people in crisis. Odoardi said these opportunities include “utilizing embedded medical professionals in our real-time operations centre to assist front-line members in safely supporting persons in crisis. We also look to provide social supports in real-time that would otherwise not be achieved through traditional response models.” The cameras are expected to cost an estimated $9 million through a five-year contract with American firm Axon Enterprises. “I know there is distrust in policing and that’s why we’re trying to build up public confidence through transparency initiatives like this,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said in August, when the Peel police board unanimously approved the deal with Axon. Brown, who is on the region’s seven-member police board, added that $1.8 million a year is a “worthwhile investment” for a system he thinks can provide an unbiased record of interactions between officers and civilians.Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star