LANSING, Mich. — President Donald Trump did not ask Michigan Republican lawmakers to “break the law” or “interfere” with the election during a meeting at the White House, a legislative leader said Sunday, a day before canvassers plan to meet about whether to certify Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the battleground state.House Speaker Lee Chatfield was among seven GOP legislators who met with Trump for about an hour on Friday, amid his longshot efforts to block Biden's win.“There was this outrage that the president was going to ask us to break the law, he was going to ask us to interfere, and that just simply didn't happen,” he told Fox News of the highly unusual meeting. He did not elaborate on what was discussed, except to say the delegation asked for additional federal aid to help Michigan's coronavirus response.Michigan’s elections agency has recommended that the Nov. 3 results — including Biden's 2.8-percentage point victory — be certified by the Board of State Canvassers, which has two Democrats and two Republicans. The Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party want the board to adjourn for 14 days to investigate alleged irregularities in Wayne County, the state's largest and home to Detroit.Staff for the state elections bureau said that claimed irregularities, even if verified, would not significantly affect the outcome. The Michigan Democratic Party said the total number of Detroit votes implicated by imbalanced precincts — where the number of ballots does not equal the number of names on the pollbook — is at most 450, or “0.029% of the margin” separating Biden from Trump.“The certification process must not be manipulated to serve as some sort of retroactive referendum on the expressed will of the voters. That is simply not how democracy works,” chairwoman Lavora Barnes wrote to the board on Sunday.If the board does not confirm the results and the Michigan Supreme Court does not subsequently order it to do so, Chatfield said “now we have a constitutional crisis." He and other Republicans, however, have indicated that they would not undermine the voters' will.“Michigan election law clearly requires that the state’s electors must be those nominated by the party that received the most votes — not the Legislature,” says a stock email House Republicans are sending in response to people who contact their offices.Experts on Michigan election law have said the state board's authority is limited in scope and that it must certify the results now that all 83 counties have reported theirs to the state. There is concern, though, because Trump personally called the two Republicans on Wayne County's board last week and they said a day later that they were rescinding their previous vote — following an earlier deadlock — but it was too late.Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican who met with Trump, suggested in a Sunday tweet that the state canvassers might “take the full time allowed by law to perform their duties" instead of voting Monday and said “it's inappropriate for anyone to exert pressure on them."The deadline is Dec. 13, but that is five days after the federal “safe harbour” date — when Congress cannot challenge any electors named by that date in accordance with state law.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election.Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan's current longest-serving member of Congress, told CNN on Sunday that “the voters spoke" and the state had no razor-thin presidential race.“No one has come up with any evidence of fraud or abuse,” he said. He called the request to delay the certification “out of bounds.”The trip to the White House has come under heavy scrutiny. The lawmakers stayed at the luxury Trump International Hotel, and two of them were photographed with expensive drinks at the hotel bar after the meeting.Spokespeople for Shirkey and Chatfield said the legislators covered their expenses and that no taxpayer money was used. However, they did not say if the men paid for the trip themselves or if it was paid for in some other way such as by them tapping into their non-profit “administrative” accounts that can accept contributions from corporate or other donors.Finding out about who runs such lawmaker-connected organizations, who donates to them and what the money is spent on can be extremely difficult, according to a 2016 joint investigation by MLive and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Such accounts can be used to reimburse legislators for travel.___Follow David Eggert: https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00David Eggert, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A hearing continues today in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at the Vancouver airport in 2018 at the request of American officials.B.C. Supreme Court heard last week the border officer who led Meng's immigration exam before her arrest doesn't believe RCMP asked him to collect the passcodes to her phones.Sowmith Katragadda told an evidence-gathering hearing he couldn't recall where the idea came from. The court has heard the passcodes were collected as part of the border exam process and shared with the Mounties by mistake, along with Meng's electronic devices.Meng is wanted in the United States on fraud charges based on allegations related to American sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny.Her lawyers are collecting information they hope will support their allegation that Canadian officers improperly gathered evidence under the guise of a routine border exam.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A member of Jason Kenney's cabinet is backtracking on a comment that seemed to suggest Alberta was waiting for hospitals to reach their limit before tightening COVID-19 restrictions. The move comes amid mounting calls for the premier to impose tougher public health measures. Jason Luan, the associate minister of mental health and addictions, says he was wrong to suggest that anyone is waiting until the system reaches capacity. In an online town hall on Friday, he said that the province was waiting to see where hospital capacity and intensive care units "will be pushed to our limit, and then gradually reduce more activities that way."In a social media post on Sunday, he said the government is "making evidence-based decisions" based on expert advice from the top doctor "to avoid getting to that point."COVID-19 cases have been rising at an alarming rate for weeks in Alberta, but it still has no mandatory mask directive and bars and restaurants remain open for in-person service.Luan said Sunday that he is not a spokesperson or involved in any decision making around introducing new restrictions or increasing hospital capacity."I truly regret any confusion my statement has caused. My responsibility during this pandemic has been to ensure that mental health and addiction services are available for all Albertans," Luan wrote."I encourage all Albertans to follow the public health restrictions. Wear a mask. Avoid unnecessary contacts. Together, we can get through this."NDP Opposition Health Critic David Shepherd responded that if Luan's remarks on Friday weren't true, Kenney needs to say what the real thresholds for action are.Shepherd also rejected Luan's claim that he is not a spokesperson.“This is an unforgivable attempt to duck responsibility by a cabinet minister,” Shepherd said. “As the associate minister of health, Luan is absolutely a spokesperson and a decision maker and he gave Albertans false information about the government’s response to COVID-19.”Another member of Kenney's United Conservative caucus was also criticized in recent days for a flyer that was mailed to constituents last week claiming the worst of the pandemic was over.Alberta reported 1,584 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the fourth straight day the province announced a record-breaking number of new cases, and more than 12,000 cases were active.In a statement on her Facebook page on Saturday, Miranda Rosin said the newsletter was sent to print in early fall when Alberta's active cases were still below 2,000.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press
More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that students at Dawson College not be forced to do in-person exams at the end of term.Most of the school's end-of-term tests will be done online, but a handful of science programs have decided to schedule on-site exams.The student union has come out in opposition to the plan, saying it puts students at risk, especially as COVID-19 cases in Montreal continue to rise."It is in a red zone, we cannot possibly go in school in the centre of this pandemic," said Kevin Contant-Holowatyj, chair of the Dawson Student Union.The union released a statement saying that student health should come first."Finals are already a stressful time for students, and we believe that having to be in a room with other students can augment the stress to many of the student population. While we understand that some students and faculty may be concerned with academic integrity, this cannot outweigh in any way the risk of contracting the virus," reads the statement.The petition, which has a goal of 2,500, had more than 2,100 virtual signatures as of Sunday evening.Dawson students also circulated a petition asking for online exams in the summer term, which only garnered 500 signatures.For its part, Dawson said the decision to hold some exams in-person was made to protect academic integrity, and was done in consultation with public health experts.It said the decision could be revisited if new health concerns come to light.
A COVID-19 lockdown begins Monday for Toronto and Peel Region, and it will last at least 28 days.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tim Melia stopped all three of San Jose's shootout attempts and Sporting Kansas City converted all of its tries to beat the Earthquakes on Sunday after they finished overtime tied at 3 in the Western Conference semifinals.Top-seeded Sporting advanced to face play No. 4 Minnesota or No. 5 Colorado.Gianluca Busio scored in the first minute of stoppage time to give Sporting Kansas City a 3-2 lead, but Chris Wondolowski scored about six minutes later, heading home a high cross to the far post by Cristian Espinoza to force extra time. It was just the second career playoff goal for Wondolowski, who has an MLS-record 166 goals in the regular season.In the shootout, Johnny Russell opened the tiebreaker with a goal, Melia stopped Oswaldo Alanís, and Ilie Sánchez connected for Sporting. Jackson Yueill was stopped, Khiry Shelton scored, and Melia stopped Espinoza to end it.Melia is 6-0 in shootouts. The 34-year old goalkeeper went into the match allowing goals on just 54% (14 of 26) of the penalty kicks he’s faced, the lowest percentage in MLS history.Kansas City's Roger Espinoza opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Carlos Fierro answered in the 22nd, and Shea Salinas scored in the 34th minute to give the Earthquakes a 2-1 lead.Sánchez put away a corner kick by Busio in the 47th minute. It was the 10th goal off a corner kick by Sporting Kansas City this season, most in MLS.The Associated Press
CALGARY — The Alberta Liberal Party says its leader, David Khan, is stepping down.A news release from the party on Sunday evening says Khan is accepting a new job in law.It says the party's board of directors will meet shortly to decide on its next steps.Khan failed to win a seat in Calgary Mountain-View in the April 2019 vote, an election in which the Liberals failed to win any seats.A lawyer specializing in Indigenous rights and land-claims litigation, Khan won the party's leadership in 2017.The Liberals were once the province's official Opposition, but after a high of 32 seats in 1993, the party suffered from ups and downs until it fell to third-party status in the legislature in 2012 and elected only one member in 2015.“During my time as Alberta Liberal Leader, we were powerful advocates on significant issues including regulating Political Action Committees, remediating orphan wells, eliminating school segregation rooms, and addressing the 'red alerts' crisis with EMS," Khan said in the news release."We pushed the provincial government to take action on these matters of concern to Albertans. We also raised awareness and grew support for Universal Basic Income, and the necessity of a sales tax. I was proud to advance these forward-thinking ideas to improve the lives of Albertans."The party thanked Khan, noting in the news release he "developed bold new policies, modernized party operations and recruited a new generation of young Albertans to the Alberta Liberal Party."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Dukling, a traditional Chinese junk boat frequently spotted around Hong Kong's picturesque Victoria Harbour, has readjusted its tour routes to survive the coronavirus pandemic, now mainly catering to locals. Its 12 staff serve mainly foreign tourists looking to see Hong Kong's glitzy skyline from a different angle. "This disease has had a massive impact on the entire planet and Hong Kong is really dependent on trade and tourism,” said Li, seated in the wooden boat.
Alberta's associate minister of mental health and addictions said he misrepresented government policy in a town hall when he said the province was waiting for hospital capacity to be pushed to the limit before announcing further restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19."Our criteria is measured against our hospital capacity to handle ICUs and hospitalizations. So we're waiting to see where that threshold will be pushed to our limit and then gradually reduce more activities that way," Jason Luan said during the virtual town hall for his Calgary-Foothills constituency, in a video posted to social media. However, Luan said in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday that his comments were inaccurate."Yes, hospital capacity is a critical consideration in any COVID-19 response … but I was incorrect in suggesting anyone is waiting until we are pushed to the limit," he wrote.Luan said the government is making evidence-based decisions, based on recommendations of public health officials, to avoid getting to that point. He said he regrets any confusion his statement caused and said he is not involved in making decisions around new restrictions or hospital capacity.Luan's comments come as Alberta hits new record high COVID-19 case numbers, with some of the fewest restrictions but highest infection rates in the country. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, had said Friday that the impact of the province's most recently introduced restrictions — put into place last Friday — would start to be seen this weekend. Instead, cases have continued to rise dramatically.On Sunday, the province saw 1,584 more people test positive, for a total of 12,195 active cases (both new records).That's more new cases than were reported in Ontario on Sunday, which has more than three times Alberta's population. Toronto and Peel region will introduce further restrictions Monday, including limiting retail to curbside pickup or delivering, closing indoor and outdoor dining, and prohibiting indoor gatherings. Alberta saw record hospitalizations as well with 319 people in hospital, 60 in intensive care (the province has 70 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients). A total of 471 Albertans have died.Opposition to seek emergency debateThe spiking cases and lack of new restrictions prompted a trending Twitter hashtag — WhereIsKenney — drawing attention to the fact Premier Jason Kenney, who is self isolating, hasn't made a public appearance by phone or video call in days. CBC News reached out to both the premier's office and health minister's office for comment Sunday, and did not receive a response. Alberta Health said Dr. Hinshaw would next be available to answer questions from media on Monday afternoon.Kenney had posted on social media Saturday asking Albertans to do their part and stay home if sick, wash their hands and wear a mask."As Dr. Hinshaw says, COVID-19 is deadly serious. Albertans, we can slow the spread and protect one another, but only if all of us together do the right things," he wrote. The Opposition said in an emailed release Sunday that it would be seeking an emergency debate Monday to call for action to slow the coronavirus' spread. "This is the greatest public health threat we have faced in our lives," said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley in the release. "We have seen premiers across the country address the public in recent days and provide modelling and other information that makes it clear just how big of a threat COVID-19 is. In Alberta, we've seen nothing of the sort."Opposition Health Critic David Shepherd said that if Luan's remarks on Friday weren't true, Kenney needs to say what the real thresholds for action are.Shepherd also rejected Luan's claim that he is not a spokesperson."This is an unforgivable attempt to duck responsibility by a cabinet minister," Shepherd said. "As the associate minister of health, Luan is absolutely a spokesperson and a decision maker and he gave Albertans false information about the government's response to COVID-19."
JANESVILLE, Wis. — U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a statement from the Republican lawmaker, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.The congressman said he began experiencing mild symptoms over the weekend and contacted his health care provider while at home in Janesville, Wisconsin.Steil said he spent all of last week working in Washington, D.C.“Following CDC guidelines, I am immediately quarantining and will continue serving the people of Southeast Wisconsin from my home in Janesville,” he said.Steil was first elected in 2018 and held on to his seat in November for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, which includes Kenosha and Racine counties and portions of Milwaukee, Rock, Walworth and Waukesha counties.The Associated Press
BAIE-COMEAU, Que. — Brandon Frattaroli scored twice while Nathael Roy scored the shootout-winning goal as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar vanquished the Val-d'Or Foreurs 3-2 in Baie-Comeau on Sunday afternoon.Frattaroli scored his first of the game in the second period, before scoring the game-tying goal with 10:01 to play in the third. Jacob Gaucher and Marshall Lessard scored for the Foreurs.Roy and Julien Hebert scored in the shootout for Baie-Comeau. Justin Ducharme scored in the shootout for Val-d'Or.Olivier Ciarlo turned aside 31 shots for Baie-Comeau. William Blackburn saved 16 shots for Val-d'Or. Val-d'Or outshot Baie-Comeau 33-18. The Drakkar (4-8-0) went 1-for-2 on the power play. The Foreurs (7-1-4) went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.ARMADA 4 VOLTIGEURS 1BOISBRIAND -- The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 4-1 in Blainville-Boisbriand on Sunday evening. Luke Henman, Alexis Gendron, Yaroslav Likhachev and Zachary Roy also scored for the Armada.HUSKIES 3 OCÉANIC 2RIMOUSKI -- The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the Rimouski Océanic 3-2 in Rimouski on Sunday afternoon. Xavier Bouchard scored the game winning goal for the Huskies at 13:26 of the third period.OLYMPIQUES 3 SAGUENÉENS 2 (OT)CHICOUTIMI -- The Gatineau Olympiques beat the Chicoutimi Saguenéens 3-2 in overtime in Chicoutimi on Sunday afternoon. Samuel Savoie scored the game winning goal for the Olympiques at 2:44 of overtime.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press
PHILADELPHIA — As they frantically searched for ways to salvage President Donald Trump's failed reelection bid, his campaign pursued a dizzying game of legal hopscotch across six states that centred on the biggest prize of all: Pennsylvania.The strategy may have played well in front of television cameras and on talk radio to Trump's supporters. But it has proved a disaster in court, where judges uniformly rejected their claims of vote fraud and found the campaign's legal work amateurish.In a scathing ruling late Saturday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann — a Republican and Federalist Society member in central Pennsylvania — compared the campaign's legal arguments to “Frankenstein's Monster,” concluding that Trump's team offered only “speculative accusations," not proof of rampant corruption.The campaign on Sunday filed notice it would appeal the decision to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a day before the state's 67 counties are set to certify their results and send them to state officials. And they asked Sunday night for an expedited hearing Wednesday as they seek to amend the Pennsylvania lawsuit that Brann dismissed.Trump's efforts in Pennsylvania show how far he is willing to push baseless theories of widespread voter fraud, even as the legal doors close on his attempts to have courts do what voters would not do on Election Day and deliver him a second term.The effort is being led by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, who descended on the state the Saturday after the Nov. 3 election as the count dragged on and the president played golf. Summoning reporters to a scruffy, far-flung corner of Philadelphia on Nov. 7, he held forth at a site that would soon become legendary: Four Seasons Total Landscaping.The 11:30 a.m. news conference was doomed from the start.Only minutes earlier, news outlets had started calling the presidential contest for Democrat Joe Biden. The race was over.Just heating up was Trump’s plan to subvert the election through litigation and howls of fraud — the same tactic he had used to stave off losses in the business world. And it would soon spread far beyond Pennsylvania.“Some of the ballots looked suspicious,” Giuliani, 76, said of the vote count in Philadelphia as he stood behind a chain link fence, next to a sex shop. He maligned the city as being run by a “decrepit Democratic machine.”“Those mail-in ballots could have been written the day before, by the Democratic Party hacks that were all over the convention centre,” Giuliani said. He promised to file a new round of lawsuits. He rambled.“This is a very, very strong case,” he asserted.Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who specializes in election law, called the Trump lawsuits dangerous.“It is a sideshow, but it’s a harmful sideshow," Levitt said. “It’s a toxic sideshow. The continuing baseless, evidence-free claims of alternative facts are actually having an effect on a substantial number of Americans. They are creating the conditions for elections not to work in the future.”___Not a single court has found merit in the core legal claims, but that did not stop Trump's team from firing off nearly two dozen legal challenges to Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, including an early morning suit on Election Day filed by a once-imprisoned lawyer.The president's lawyers fought the three-day grace period for mail-in ballots to arrive. They complained they weren't being let in to observe the vote count. They said Democratic counties unfairly let voters fix mistakes on their ballot envelopes. Everywhere they turned, they said, they sniffed fraud.“I felt insidious fraud going on,” Philadelphia poll watcher Lisette Tarragano said when Giuliani called her to the microphone at the landscaping company.In fact, a Republican runs the city's election board, and has said his office got death threats as Trump’s rants about the election intensified. No judges ever found any evidence of election fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state where the campaign sued — not in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada or Georgia.Instead, Trump lawyers found themselves backpedaling when pressed in court for admissible evidence, or dropping out when they were accused of helping derail the democratic process.“I am asking you as a member of the bar of this court, are people representing the Donald J. Trump for president (campaign) … in that room?” U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond asked at an after-hours hearing on Nov. 5, when Republicans asked him to stop the vote count in Philadelphia over their alleged banishment.“There’s a nonzero number of people in the room,” lawyer Jerome Marcus replied.The count continued in Philadelphia. The Trump losses kept coming. By Friday, Nov. 6, when a state appeals court rejected a Republican complaint over provisional ballots and a Philadelphia judge refused to throw out 8,300 mail-in ballots they challenged, Biden was up by about 27,000 votes.Nationally, the race had not yet been called. But it was becoming clear that a Biden win in Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, was imminent.When it came, Trump quickly pivoted to litigation. It did not go well.A U.S. appeals court found Pennsylvania's three-day extension for mail-in ballots laudatory, given the disruption and mail delays cause by the pandemic. Judges in Michigan and Arizona, finding no evidence of fraud, refused to block the certification of county vote tallies. Law firms representing the campaign started to come under fire and withdrew.That left Giuliani, who had not argued a case in court for three decades, in charge of the effort to overturn the election.“You can say a lot at a driveway (news conference). ... When you go to court, you can't,” said lawyer Mark Aronchick, who represented election officials in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and elsewhere in several of the Pennsylvania suits. “I don’t really pay attention to the chatter until I see a legal brief.”___On Tuesday, Giuliani stepped into the courtroom. He was a late addition to the docket after election lawyers from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur had bowed out over the previous weekend. He had an entourage in tow, a show of force that had everything but a compelling legal argument.Giuliani asked Brann to hold up the certification of the state’s 6.8 million ballots over two Republican voters whose mail-in ballots were tossed over technical errors.“I sat dumbfounded listening,” said Aronchick, a seasoned trial lawyer.“We were ready to argue the one count. Instead, he treated us to an even more expanded version of his Total Landscaping press conference,” Aronchick said. “It didn’t bear any relationship to the actual case.”Giuliani, admired by some for his tough talk as Manhattan’s top prosecutor and his leadership as New York City’s mayor during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, struggled to answer even basic legal questions.But he waxed on about a supposed conspiracy to rig the state election.“The best description of this situation is widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” Giuliani argued. Under questioning, though, he acknowledged their complaint no longer included a fraud claim.And then, just as it had at Four Seasons, reality came crashing down on him, when news broke in the courtroom that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had rejected the campaign's appeal over observer access in Philadelphia. It was one of the campaign's last remaining claims.Even the dissent was crushing.“The notion that presumptively valid ballots cast by the Pennsylvania electorate would be disregarded based on isolated procedural irregularities that have been redressed ... is misguided,” Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor wrote for the minority in the 5-2 decision.Brann, who sits in Williamsport, let the federal court hearing drag on past the dinner hour, and gave both sides time to file additional motions. The campaign filings were replete with typos, spelling mistakes and even an errant reference to a “Second Amendment Complaint” instead of a second amended complaint.The campaign took the opportunity to answer one of the more puzzling questions that its election challenge raised: It only wanted the presidential election results set aside, not votes on the same ballots for other offices. The briefs were filed by Giuliani and co-counsel Marc Scaringi, a local conservative talk radio host who, before he was hired, had questioned the point of the Trump litigation, saying “it will not reverse this election.”Aronchick balked at the campaign's core premise that local election workers — perhaps working for the Mafia, as Giuliani suggested — had plotted to spoil Trump's win.“You’re going to suggest part of them are in a conspiracy? How does that work?” Aronchick asked. “Who? Where? When? How?”Brann, in his ruling, said he expected the campaign to present formidable evidence of rampant corruption as it sought to nullify millions of votes. Instead, he said, the campaign presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”The 3rd Circuit, based in Philadelphia, may have already tipped its hand. In its Nov. 13 ruling, the appeals court called it "indisputable in our democratic process: that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.”Biden's lead in the state has expanded to more than 80,000 votes.“Our system depends on the possibility that you might lose a fair contest. If that possibility doesn't exist, you don't have a democracy,” said Levitt, the law school professor. “There are countries that run like that. It just doesn't describe America.”___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — At the beginning of 2020, decommissioning Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil installations seemed a distant concern.But after a crash in oil prices amid a global pandemic, Husky Energy, which owns and operates the White Rose oilfield about 350 kilometres east of St. John's, announced in September it was reviewing its operations in the province.“All options are on the table, and accelerating abandonment remains a possibility," Kim Guttormson, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an emailed statement last month.The cost of decommissioning, and how much of it will be borne by taxpayers, is not public information, however. Thomas Schneider, an associate accounting professor at Ryerson University in Toronto and a member of the United Nations Expert Group on Resource Management, says it should be."That’s important public information, because there’s a high probability that those liabilities are going to fall on the public, on the Canadian taxpayer and the Newfoundland taxpayer," Schneider said in a recent interview. "(But) the name of the game is to keep it as secret as possible, and I don’t understand that."Schneider says oil companies like Husky list massive, multi-billion-dollar lump sums on their books for decommissioning costs, but those costs aren't broken into projects or timelines. And they're not often backed up with actual capital, he said.Last month, Schneider co-authored a paper for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland looking at the decommissioning accounting practices of resource-industry companies. The paper calls on governments and those setting accounting standards to demand more transparency from companies in their reporting of decommissioning costs, plans and timelines.Scotland is one of several countries coming face to face with the costs and complications of decommissioning offshore oil installations in the North Sea. In Canada, Alberta is grappling with thousands of abandoned wells that will take billions in public money to clean up. Among other issues, both the North Sea and Alberta are seeing infrastructure sold to smaller companies with smaller budgets that can't pay for decommissioning once the oil runs dry, Schneider said.Spokeswomen for Husky and Exxon, the majority owner in the Hebron and Hibernia fields in the Newfoundland offshore, said decommissioning costs are not public information.Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal would not provide an estimate and said it was “premature” to ask. Suncor operates the Terra Nova oilfield off Newfoundland, but it's not currently producing. The massive Terra Nova production vessel is docked “until an economically viable solution for a safe and reliable return to operations . . . can be determined,” Seetal said in an email last month.The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Board confirmed it does not have up-to-date decommissioning estimates from the operators. When operators are ready to abandon their projects, they submit an application with a detailed plan and cost breakdown, which is approved by the provincial government.That approval process “minimizes underestimates” by oil companies, provincial Energy Minister Andrew Parsons said in an emailed statement. He said the province does not have current decommissioning costs or plans from companies. Newfoundland and Labrador lets oil companies claim decommissioning cost overruns against past royalties they have paid. That means if costs are higher than expected, the government could owe companies a royalty refund.When asked if he expects the Newfoundland and Labrador public to wind up covering some of those costs, Parsons said, any estimate would be “premature, given the current status of our offshore projects.”Russell Williams, a political scientist at Memorial University in St. John’s, disagrees. “If we’re to believe what Husky has said about White Rose, they’re talking openly about no longer operating,” he said.Timing aside, there’s a larger issue at play, Williams said: Ignoring the costs of future liabilities so they become another government’s problem is a “common psychological pitfall” for resource-dependent governments.“But as citizens, we can’t afford to think like that, because we’re going to pay this bill, whoever the minister responsible for it is," he said in an interview. "And therefore we deserve a better level of public accountability and public oversight of what exactly the plans are for these facilities.”Like Schneider, he points to Alberta as an example of what goes wrong when these costs are ignored. He also points to Newfoundland and Labrador's own legacy of abandoned, contaminated industrial sites, such as the former AbitibiBowater Inc. pulp mill in Grand Falls-Windsor."There are public liabilities here that simply aren’t being adequately captured or calculated in our assessment about whether these are good investments or good projects," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
According to numbers from the public school board, Frank W. Begley Public School currently has the dubious honours of the largest school outbreak in Ontario.The school's 26 cases, according to the Greater Essex County District School Board, is significantly larger than the largest outbreak listed on the provincial school outbreak website: it says Pickering High School, in Ajax, has 18 confirmed cases.It is not clear when those numbers were last updated. The site lists Frank W. Begley with just 2 staff cases.More than 400 students and staff from Frank W. Begley are currently in isolation after the health unit dismissed students and staff on Nov. 17.Sharon Pyke, superintendent of education for the school board, said she was notified Saturday morning by the public health unit that "we had an additional three adults and an additional 20 students that were confirmed with COVID" at the school.She says the board has made sure that all students in the school are well equipped for online learning which starts Monday."Online learning is not to be confused with the online learning school. We are trying to make sure that our students remain on the timetable that's familiar," she said. "They will be going to school the regular time that they would have gone to school, except they're doing it online, they'll be still having the same teachers ... and still having the same schedule."Deep clean the schoolAlso happening on Monday is a scheduled cleaning of the entire building, Pyke said."So people can be rest assured that in addition to the regular cleaning that they've done and the enhanced cleaning that they've been doing due to COVID, that we are doing a full deep cleaning of the buildings so that when students come back, they can be reassured that everything has been cleaned."She said the school board will meet Monday to take a look at infection numbers and patterns of spread to discuss next steps when it comes to outbreak and what that looks like in area schools.Frank W. Begley is one of two schools in the region that have fully closed due to COVID-19 outbreak.Students and staff at WJ Langlois Catholic Elementary School were dismissed Friday by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). The school will remain closed for 14 days.New cases reportedThe health unit reported 42 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday.There are 352 active cases in the region. Of these, 12 are in the hospital and 216 are self-isolating.Four long-term care and retirement homes are in outbreak, including: * Riverside Place in Windsor with one resident case. * Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with one staff case. * Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 17 resident cases and one staff case. A community outbreak at a University of Windsor residence is still active. As well, one agriculture workplace in Leamington remains in outbreak.Windsor-Essex has now had 3,290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 77 deaths. The Windsor-Essex region has been moved into the province's orange COVID-19 category, with new restrictions coming into effect Monday.
Saskatchewan announced 236 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 2,683.Of the new cases, 82 are in Saskatoon, 52 in Regina and 24 in the north central region of the province.17 of the cases are in the north west zone of the province, with 13 in the south west. The central west, south central and north east zones of the province all have nine cases.The far north west reported eight new cases, the south east reported six while the far north east and the central east both reported two new cases. The far north central part of the province reported one new case of COVID-19.Two cases are pending residence information.Hospitalizations are now at a record high with 99 people receiving care. 80 people in in-paitent care and 19 people in the ICU.Ninety more people have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recovered people to 3,757There are now 6,473 total reported cases of COVID-19 in the province.The province said the seven-day average of daily cases increased to 211, with 17.4 new cases per 100,000 population.It said that daily cases numbers are expected to fluctuate as a result of factors such as weather-related and logistical delays in lab specimens reaching the testing centre.
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald His trip to his first Canadian junior selection camp was delayed by a few days, but Ridly Greig hopes to be in Red Deer by the end of the week. The Lethbridge product tested positive for COVID-19 Nov. 8 – according to his agent, Kevin Epp – and has been at home and asymptomatic since then. But Greig, a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings, plans to join the Team Canada hopefuls at camp around Sunday when his 14-day quarantine is up to compete for a spot on Team Canada for the 2021 World Junior Championships in Edmonton. “For symptoms, I really don’t have any. I’m maybe a little bit tired,” said Greig, who thinks he tested positive from an on-ice session in Brandon earlier this month. “But mentally I definitely want to get out and do something and see some friends.” Greig will join Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Dylan Cozens and former Lethbridge Val Matteotti bantam AAA Golden Hawk and current Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram at the camp. Both players were on last year’s gold medal-winning Team Canada squad. Lethbridge native and Giants head coach Mike Dyck is one of Team Canada’s assistant coaches. As he gears up to head north, Greig has spent the last two weeks laying low. “I’ve been trying to Facetime people and talk, playing some video games and watching Nexflix. There’s not much else you can really do,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do as much as I can to stay in shape, obviously I have to prepare myself for camp.” It’s been a whirlwind past couple of months for the five-foot-11, 162-pound forward who turned 18 in August. After scoring 26 goals and 60 points in 56 games in his second season in Brandon in 2019-20, Greig was selected in the first round and 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL entry draft in early-October. Team Canada’s selection camp started Monday. “Obviously it kind of sucks, but there’s nothing I can really do,” said Greig of missing the first few days. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing and practising with those guys.” That also means a chance to pull on a Canadian jersey with Team Canada slated to kick off this year’s tournament Dec. 26 against Germany. “It’s really exciting and I’m honoured,” said Greig. “Any time you get the chance to put on the Maple Leaf it feels good. To be able to go and try out for the World Juniors all the players and teams I’ve watched in the past during Christmas, it’s definitely exciting.” Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s World Junior Championship will be played in a bubble in Edmonton. “It’s going to be pretty cool,” said Greig. “Obviously the World Juniors is going to be unique. To be a part of it going to be pretty special and I’m looking forward to getting out there.” NOTES: Cozens and Kirby Dach sat out Canada’s practice Thursday morning that was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug via twitter, Cozens and Dach were on the bench by the 11:30 a.m. start time, but Team Canada head coach André Tourigny had already started the group. The coach chatted with both players and fist bumped them both, but had them leave as Cozens and Dach watched from the stands. Rishaug said Tourigny later clarified the two had treatment and that’s why they were behind, but stressed there needs to be communication about these things. The coach also reiterated Cozens and Dach made the choice to “take the hit” and leave, rather than allow the rules to be loosened for them. Cozens and Dach were the first players on the ice for Thursday night’s practice. Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
FRASERVILLE — A Fraserville resident has made it to the quarter-finals of a global baking contest. Michelle Laroche was nominated by a friend for The Greatest Baker competition, which was established and is hosted by Jen Barney, a two-time Food Network baking champion and the owner of Meringue Bakery and Cafe. From a field of 324 bakers, only 16 could advance to the quarter-finals and Laroche was one of the 16 to do so on Friday. Laroche said her mom knew she advanced to the quarter-finals before she did. “My mom is over the moon. She called me this morning and she said, ‘You did it, you did it, you did it,’” Laroche said. She said there’s the option of one daily free vote, or the option of unlimited paid votes, and there were people she didn’t know who bought votes for her. “It was so insane to see. As a contestant, every time a vote was purchased you could see. So, I was blown away by some of the amounts of money people were spending on me,” she said. The competition is based solely on work that contestants have already done. In the nearly 50 photos Laroche displays on her profile, they exemplify cake work she’s done throughout her career as a baker, ranging from a cake shaped like a Doritos bag, to a cake with an Eiffel Tower on it. Laroche, who owns From Scratch With Love, said she never thought she would make it this far in the competition. “I went through some of the profiles on there and …. wow. So, I’m pretty excited. There’s some amazing competition out there,” she said. Laroche said she’s received so much support from the community, along with friends and family. The contest’s grand prize for the first-place winner is $10,000, a year’s supply of Stuffed Puffs and the chance to be featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine. “I plan to put a deposit on our own home so we can stop renting. I have four children and if I got that, that would be a house,” she said. To keep up with the contest, visit greatestbaker.com.Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Leslie Labobe said he had a "bit of a cough" a couple weeks ago, so he was relieved Saturday when he called the Lennox Island Health Centre and received his COVID-19 test result — negative.The centre held a one-day testing clinic on Friday. On it's Facebook page, it said there are no known cases of COVID-19 on Lennox Island, but encouraged residents to get tested out of precaution."It's a reassurance," Labobe said. He said he went "just for security reasons" because of the "devastation that's happening across the country" and around the world.77 active cases in N.B.New Brunswick reported 23 new cases on Saturday and six more on Sunday, bringing its active total to 77. Nova Scotia reported eight Saturday and now has 33 active cases.P.E.I. has one known active case.CBC P.E.I. reached out to the Lennox Island Health Centre to find out how many people were tested on Friday and whether there were any positive results, but have not yet heard back.Labobe said there was a lineup when he got tested.He said people in the community have been diligent about wearing masks and following other health measures requested by P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office.Concerned about mental healthHe said he is concerned, however, about the effect the pandemic has on mental health, especially with Christmas approaching and people not able to socialize as they normally would."I have a lot of friends that are going through a lot of mental health issues with anxiety and depression," he said. "And …we're social people and being isolated, especially if you live alone, you don't get that interaction with friends or family or the public."More from CBC P.E.I.
When Lake Babine Nation member Wyonna Batoche was being bounced around B.C.'s foster care system, she had no place to turn to find a warm welcome that reflected her culture.Now the 26-year-old works at a new youth services in downtown Prince George that provides 24/7 support to at-risk Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from ages eight to 29 — something that she could only dream of as a girl."I had lumps in my throat. I had a hard time trying not to cry," Batoche told CBC reporter Betsy Trumpener about the grand opening of Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre on Friday, Canada's National Child Day.Meaning "children of chiefs" in the Carrier language, Sk'ai Zeh Yah is operated by Carrier Sekani Family Services — affiliated with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council — since early November. It offers after-school programs, Elder mentorship, employment counselling and activities that help Indigenous youth to reconnect with their cultural roots. After being removed from her parents at the age of nine, Batoche moved between different foster homes and group homes making it difficult to find a sense of belonging.Batoche says young people who may not have a safe place to stay can now find refuge in Sk'ai Zeh Yah."When they're eight years old, their dream is not to be on the streets," Batoche said. "We want to show them that you are valued, there are people who care about you, and we want to walk on your journey with you."The youth centre provides hot meals, warm showers and fresh clothing.Flint Keil, Sk'ai Zeh Yah's high-risk youth services manager, remembers a young man who came to the centre last week trembling from the cold, without a jacket and wearing wet socks."He sat there for a while, and we basically outfitted him with brand new socks. One of our staff members went to our clothing closet, grabbed a bunch of hoodies for him," Keil said.The man teared up after receiving the clothes. "The hoodie that was brought out just by coincidence had a logo on it, and the logo was the killer whale, which is…his grandfather's clan."Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre is funded mostly by Indigenous Services Canada. It currently doesn't have any rooms for young people to stay long-term, but is considering building housing units in the future. Tap the link below to listen to CBC reporter Betsy Trumpener's conversation with Wyonna Batoche and Flint Keil:Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20 richest nations on Sunday in a promise to work together to keep trade flowing, fight climate change and provide COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries.The promises are contained in a final communique issued by G20 leaders at the end of two days of largely closed-door virtual discussions ostensibly focused on co-ordinating an international response to the pandemic.Despite the pledges, however, experts say the summit represented a missed opportunity for addressing the biggest issues facing the world today — in part because most of the commitments are not new.The promises also do not come with any new money, including for vaccines in Africa and elsewhere, while the communique made no mention of human rights — despite the summit having been hosted by Saudi Arabia.Trudeau did raise human rights with his counterparts throughout the virtual summit, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. He also pushed leaders on climate change, free trade and equal access to vaccines and other COVID-19 support for all people.“Only together can we tackle the greatest challenges of today and tomorrow, and create a more resilient world that works for everyone,” Trudeau said in a statement after the meeting.“The G20 virtual leaders’ summit was an opportunity to expand global efforts to fight COVID-19, restore economic growth, and combat climate change.”Yet if the meeting was supposed to mark the start of a new era of international partnership, more than a decade after the group first came together in earnest to address the 2008 financial crisis, experts say it did anything but.“Often with these events and communiques, you can point to five or six things on which there was some progress that was notable,” said retired Canadian diplomat Thomas Bernes, now a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.“Unfortunately, on this occasion it's a missed opportunity for the world.”Trudeau went into the G20 leaders’ summit looking for strong commitments on the provision of vaccines and other medical support to poor countries struggling with COVID-19. He also planned to push the fights against protectionism and climate change.While Canada has committed $440 million to a global program designed to ensure equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready, observers had hoped that G20 countries would pony up another US$4.5 billion to address a funding shortfall.That didn’t happen, said John Kirton, co-director of the University of Toronto’s G20 Research Group. “The G20, which has spent, as they proudly declare, $15 trillion to counter COVID just this year, couldn't even agree to write down that they would come up with $4.5 billion to get those vaccines delivered around the world,” Kirton said.A similar lack of details and concrete commitments was found when it came to many other issues, with leaders largely committing to a steady-as-she-goes approach to the pandemic as well as climate change, infrastructure spending and international trade.That is despite Canada and many other countries now scrambling to respond to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, which is causing untold health and economic damage as well as triggering massive amounts of government spending.Trudeau has framed that spending as an opportunity to address many of the inequities and root problems in the international economic system, including weaning the world off dirty energy and creating more sustainable infrastructure.Such ideas were reflected in the communique, but without specifics or new timetables. Rather, it included numerous caveats giving countries plenty of wiggle room.There was also no mention of restrictions on foreign companies bidding for infrastructure contracts. That is emerging as a source of concern for Canadian companies hoping to take advantage of such work in the U.S., in particular.Kirton and Bernes attributed the lack of ambition and progress during the summit and in the communique to the fact the meeting was held virtually, which eliminated much of the energy, side conversations and spontaneity that typically mark such summits.The fact it was held by Saudi Arabia, which is not accustomed to hosting such gatherings, and included what Bernes described as a “lame duck” U.S. president in Donald Trump, also contributed to the summit being what he called a “non-event.”While Kirton described Trump’s participation, the arrival of Joe Biden as U.S. president next year and Italy taking over as president of the G20 as reason for optimism that the grouping is still relevant, Bernes said its failure on Sunday is a blow to global co-operation.“The communique certainly identifies the challenges, but has made no substantive, significant progress in addressing COVID, climate change, the debt situation in many developing countries,” Bernes said.“... It further erodes confidence in a multilateral system and makes the challenges therefore just much more difficult as we go forward.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press