Former Presidential and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke pounded the pavement and knocked on doors throughout San Antonio in a bid to increase Latino voter turnout. Texas has broken its own records for early voter participation in 2020 (Oct. 28)
Former Presidential and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke pounded the pavement and knocked on doors throughout San Antonio in a bid to increase Latino voter turnout. Texas has broken its own records for early voter participation in 2020 (Oct. 28)
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MILLBROOK — Cavan Monaghan Township residents from Cavan Ward were able to voice their opinions about off-road vehicles during a virtual public meeting on Monday. A total of 16 individuals signed up to speak for a maximum of three minutes, some who were for and some who were against the concept of ORVs on township roads in the Cavan Ward. Robert Winslow, the founder of 4th Line Theatre, was among the speakers. “I live at 779 Zion Line in Cavan Ward; fifth generation of my family on this property. I was born and raised on our farm which I retrofitted into a live outdoor theatre in 1992, almost 30 years ago,” he said. Winslow said that added noise from ORVs during performances will reduce the appeal of their theatre. “In a movie theatre you can ask the person who is talking in the row ahead of you or behind you to shush so you can enjoy the film properly. Our theatre patrons won’t have that option as ATVs, side-by-sides, or dirt bikes pass by the farm during our plays,” he said. In addition to the hazards of the winding, narrow, steep and shoulder components of the road, along with high speeds of cars, trucks, motorcycles and commercial industrial vehicles along the road, Winslow said, ORV traffic on his road could also be an added danger for both patrons arriving and leaving the theatre and as well as ORV operators. However, Garry Otten, a realtor at Century 21, said many people he deals with move to the region because of the recreational opportunity. “More so today with the pandemic, our ORV interest has gained popularity beyond belief,” he said. The value of many properties in the area will increase if council chooses to allow ORVs on municipal roads, Otten said. “Our location allows us the good fortune of being able to access a trail that could take us all the way to Bancroft. We could certainly use that extra business in this township and our businesses could use that extra business. I would hope our councillors recognize the benefits instead of all the fear mongering that’s taking place,” he said. Comments will be received by the township until Dec. 4. Staff will then summarize the comments and bring forward a report in early 2021 for council to make a final decision. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Last week, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his top cabinet picks, and selected Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Melanie Mark as the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. Mark holds the distinction of being the first First Nations woman to serve in the B.C. Legislature. She was elected to the riding in 2016 and previously served as the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, before being given this new assignment. Mark’s appointment was heralded by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA). “We look forward to working closely with Melanie Mark, the new Minister of Tourism, Arts Culture and Sport to tackle the significant challenges facing the industry, and ultimately moving the sector down the path to economic recovery,” said TOTA President and chief executive officer Glenn Mandziuk. Mandziuk is currently serving as the chair of the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat. The organization is a collaboration between the province’s regional destination management organizations and is giving key input on the province’s tourism recovery plan. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Indigenous communities continue to grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks across Saskatchewan, and a doctor leading the pandemic response says they have reached an "intense phase" in the fight.Research indicates that Indigenous people in Saskatchewan are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying because of complications from the virus.As of Monday evening, there had been almost 1,160 cases of COVID-19 reported across Saskatchewan's First Nations communities, including 17 active outbreaks and 531 known active cases.Dr. Ibrahim Khan, Saskatchewan's regional medical officer with Indigenous Services Canada, said the increasing numbers represent a critical juncture."We are in the very intense phase of this COVID-19 pandemic," Khan said."We are seeing quite a surge in the number of cases. So there is one big factor that we know by now: that the virus moves with us wherever we move. If we lower our guard down and we are not mindful of masking and distancing, that's what happens."The progression of the virusThe first wave of the virus was most prominent in Saskatchewan's northern First Nations communities, Khan said, but over the summer and into the fall, it began to spread."We're seeing the progression of the virus, the movement of the virus from the northern community to the central communities," Khan said. "Now we see quite intense transmission in the southern First Nations communities. So certainly, that is concerning." Travel between urban centres and rural centres is part of the issue. Khan said it's how the virus comes into Indigenous communities."We have very large family systems, in some households there are 10 to 15 people," Khan said. "It really gets hard to stop the spread in families like that, and particularly within the community."Proactive moving forwardOne southern community that has recently been impacted by COVID-19 is Cega'kin (Carry The Kettle) First Nation.Chief Brady O'Watch said the community has a larger population of vulnerable people and this led him to call a 14-day lockdown on Nov. 30 after an outbreak of eight cases."We have a lot of elders in our community, a lot of children, some people with … medical complications, so it was in our best interest to, I guess, call a lockdown," O'Watch said.Khan said half of the Indigenous people in the province have chronic medical conditions that makes COVID-19 an even greater threat for them, so there is a lot of pressure on families and communities to take quick action.Luckily, he said that Saskatchewan's First Nations are constantly communicating and collaborating with each other."Communities are working very closely together, taking every possible step you can imagine to intervene and to stop the spread and to stop the influx of the virus from urban centres to the rural," Khan said. Khan said chiefs have also been very proactive. For O'Watch, this means actively working to keep people informed within using Facebook and newspapers. He also engages with different levels of government to keep himself up to date."We're always communicating with … Dr. Khan, the province, across Canada, Justin Trudeau, when they have updates," O'Watch said. "I, myself, always make it a priority to be on these calls, to educate myself, so I can educate my membership."Combating COVID fatigueAnother factor that has led to COVID-19 gaining a foothold among Saskatchewan's Indigenous communities — like the rest of Canada — is fatigue.This experience has felt prolonged, Khan said, and as it has continued, resolve has been worn away."The overwhelming majority are observing the COVID precautions," Khan said. "But … there is a complacency, and certainly there is a time that people would want to go out and about."For the holiday season, Khan said he is working with community leaders to remind people that the risk remains extremely high."We are asking everybody to be mindful of this intense transmission, and take all steps to reduce the risk of transmission within the communities, within the households, almost every setting you can imagine — traveling, shopping, everywhere," Khan said. "If you are sick, we are asking everybody to stay home."
If you’re looking for some exercise in the great outdoors, rest assured that cross country skiing options will be available aplenty this winter. And really, how can one social distance any better than in serene nature? SPIN has prepared a list of what’s open and what’s about to open. If you’re looking to get hyped for the winter, we recommend checking out this video of Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club produced by Tourism Kamloops, it’s sure to get you stoked for the winter. Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club Located in Chase, the area is now open to the public for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. All ski trails are “packed and tracked,” with the exception of Sunflower Trail, which is closed due to a lack of snow There are some hazards to be aware of, but overall it’s good to go. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre Sun Peaks Resort LLP’s (SPR) nordic trail system is open for business. The resort asks the public to ski with caution and respect terrain closures that are in place. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. STAKE LAKE (25 km south of Kamloops) The Stake Lake Trails are accepting registration for the 2020/2021 season, but the trails are not yet open. On its website the Overlander Ski Club, which operates the 60km trail system, said they’re waiting for more snow and sustained colder temperatures. Give them a follow on Facebook (search Overlander Ski Club) for more updates. HARPER MOUNTAIN Harper Mountain has a tentative opening date of Dec. 12 for its operations. The mountain offers a three kilometre groomed trail that meanders through a forested area, and is great for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing. TELEMARK NORDIC CLUB The Telemark Nordic Club, located in West Kelowna, has an anticipated opening date of Dec. 5. The club recently delayed its opening due to a lack of snow, saying in the following: “We have a good base of snow, things are currently looking pretty white, and some people are already skiing and snowshoeing,” states the club’s website. “However, the base is too thin for us to do regular grooming of the trails without damaging them and making them unsafe. We just need one more good snowfall and we’ll be ready to open. Skiing and snowshoeing are possible right now but grooming will be limited and we will not have rentals or day passes available until Dec 5th.” They provided the following update at the start of the week: “We received two good snowfalls this week and we will be starting to pack the trails and do our final preparations for the coming winter. There is not enough snow yet to open officially but if this cool and snowy weather holds we anticipate being open and ready for member and public skiing by Saturday.” KELOWNA NORDIC This nordic skiing area got off to an early start, having opened on Nov. 11. They provided the following update on its website. “There has been a fair amount of snow over the past week and we have groomed approx 55 per cent of our trails. The ski tracker system has not been activated yet by the host so there is no live reporting. All car parks are plowed. Some of the lowest trails will not be re-groomed in order to preserve snow and avoid bringing up dirt. The upper trails are good but may be soft for skating. Watch for sticks, rocks, dirt and open water. The groomer will be on the trails in daylight hours in order to see any hazards. Watch and listen for it. Snowshoeing is good.” Sovereign Lake Sovereign Lake, located near SilverStar Resort, is open. You can see a full list of the trail that are open here. Rates for skiing can be found here. Big White Nordic Big White’s nordic trails are open for business.Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
TORONTO — North American stock markets got a boost to start December from additional signs that vaccines could spur a return to economic normalcy in 2021. The predominant driver of market activity Tuesday was Pfizer seeking regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union, after doing so in the United States, said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital. "This has extended the optimism on the vaccine front that will inevitably allow for that rapid recovery in 2021," she said in an interview.As a result, investors are largely looking past uncertainties, growing infections and some negative economic implications from new lockdowns as they anticipate a very strong revival in global growth by the end of next year.In addition, a bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal for US$900 billion in fiscal stimulus and president-elect Joe Biden's call for a package supported the market rally. However, Bangsund warned that past efforts show that these expectations can prove fleeting and short-lived.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 106.68 points to 17,296.93 after posting an intraday high of 17,471.20 that's less than three per cent off February's record high.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 185.28 points at 29,823.92. The S&P 500 index was up 40.82 points at 3,662.45, while the Nasdaq composite was up 156.37 points at 12,355.11 after both markets set new record highs in earlier trading. Markets started the day in positive territory, with Chinese factory results coming in strong.They moved up after posting a phenomenal month in which the S&P 500, for example, experienced its strongest November in decades.Bangsund expects December could also be strong, albeit not as good as November given the impact of pandemic-related restrictions."Any setback in the near-term would almost inevitably prove short-lived given that brighter outlook for 2021," she said.Bangsund added that investors are underestimating the magnitude of the eventual recovery because there's a lot of pent-up savings ready to be put to work once there's a return to some sense of normalcy."And when you combine that with a very supportive policy backdrop, it's really going to be a nice year for growth and for equity prices."The Canadian dollar traded for 77.21 cents US, its highest level of the year and compared with 77.13 cents US on Monday. The increase came as a result of weakness in the U.S. dollar. Bangsund said it wasn't helped by Canada’s economy growing by a record 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis in the third quarter, that was below expectations.The TSX was pushed higher by the strength of the materials and heavyweight financials sectors.Higher gold and copper prices pushed materials up 2.6 per cent, with shares of Torex Gold Resources Inc. and Eldorado Gold leading with gains of 12.1 and 10.5 per cent, respectively.The February gold contract was up US$38.00 at US$1,818.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 4.7 cents at more than US$3.48 a pound. Financials rose 1.3 per cent with Bank of Montreal shares rising 3.4 per cent and Scotiabank shares up 2.8 per cent after each posted strong quarterly results. The sector was also helped by higher treasury bond yields.Technology moved slightly higher as shares in BlackBerry Ltd. gained as much as 63.9 per cent in intraday trading following news of a deal with Amazon Web Services to develop and market BlackBerry's intelligent vehicle data platform, called IVY. The stock traded as high as $12.54, up from Monday's close of $7.65, before drifting lower and closing at a new 52-week high of $9.08, up 18.7 per cent. Energy inched higher even though the January crude contract was down 79 cents at US$44.55 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 0.2 of a cent at US$2.88 per mmBTU.Health care plunged 5.6 per cent with Aurora Cannabis Inc. losing 17.2 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Companies in this story: (TSX:BB, TSX:BMO, TSX:BNS, TSX:TXG, TSX:ELD, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
The Town of Drumheller reported the hundredth case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic on Thursday, November 26. The number of total cases, both active and those with an outcome, nearly doubled from 51 cases on Monday, November 16 to 101 cases on November 26. On Monday, November 23 the Town of Drumheller had the eighth highest regional rate of active cases with 700 active cases per 100,000 population, beating out all but one region in both Calgary and Edmonton. As of Monday, November 30 the rate of active cases in Drumheller has dropped to 533 active cases per 100,000. There are currently 48 active cases, with 57 recovered and two deaths. Wheatland County has 21 active cases and there are 13 active cases in Kneehill County; both counties remain on enhanced status, along with the Town of Drumheller. Starland County has four active cases.Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
TORONTO — The 2021 Juno Awards are moving to May for their 50th anniversary.Organizers behind Canada's biggest night in music say the golden celebration, set to take place in Toronto, is being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The televised show will happen on May 16, 2021, about a month and a half after its originally planned date in March.Allan Reid, head of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, says the move is intended to give artists and the local community more options to celebrate in a time when physical distancing measures are expected to still be in place."We also hope that the warmer weather will bring more opportunities for some unique outdoor programming," he said in a press conference."The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a huge effect on the city and our music community, but we will be resilient and live music will return, and we will be there to help in any way we can."The return of the Juno Awards to Toronto, for the first time in a decade, was billed as a splashy affair when it was announced last year. Thousands of fans were expected to gather inside the Scotiabank Arena, with many past honorees in attendance.How the momentous occasion might take shape in the pandemic is a work in progress, Reid said, and it's still undetermined whether any of the Juno performances will be permitted to take place indoors.The organization also stopped short of announcing details for Juno Week, a series of concerts and events leading up to the broadcast that in other years have proven to be a business boon for local bars and concert halls.Other changes will be introduced as part of the Junos anniversary, including three new looks for the award statuette.The updated designs take inspiration from designer Shirley Elford's human-shaped molten-glass award, first handed out in 2000.A gold Juno will be given to Juno Award winners, while a silver version is for recipients of a special Juno prize, and a gold and silver variation goes to Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees.There's also a notable change within the R&B categories, first announced in October. The R&B recording of the year award will now be two distinct prizes, one for contemporary R&B recording of the year and another for traditional R&B/soul recording of the year.Reid noted that artist submissions for the Junos reached a record high, though he did not offer specific figures. He said the historic interest shows the resiliency of Canadian musicians in a difficult year that saw many of their concert tours cancelled.Nominees for the Juno Awards will be announced early in 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Those who work with Anwar Alhjooj say he's always making sure everyone around him feels secure, comfortable and ready to contribute.The social worker and intercultural program co-ordinator at the Montreal City Mission is our latest Montrealer of the Month.He's a Palestinian who trained to be a lawyer in Italy and went on to work as a defence attorney in Israel. In 2012, he came to Canada so his wife could pursue her PhD at McGill University.A few years later, he started volunteering at the Montreal City Mission. At the time, the mission was working to help settle Syrian refugees who had come to Montreal to rebuild their lives.Alhjooj says he saw his role as finding ways to help the Syrian children feel valued in their new home."We try to focus on positive energy, especially when we are working with newcomers and refugees," he told CBC Montreal's Let's Go when he was reached by phone to inform him that he'd been selected as the Montrealer of the Month.Montreal City Mission director Paula Kline says Alhjooj's selfless spirit makes him a perfect candidate."He really represents the best of Montreal, I think. Diversity, energy, passion," said Kline."If somebody's in trouble, has a problem, he really leaves no stone unturned to help them."He helped create a summer camp in the West Island for about 30 children who settled there, and says it's made him happy to see them grow and come out of their shells, some even becoming camp counsellors.Speaking Arabic and Hebrew, he was able to help bring together people of different faiths and backgrounds. And he's helped organize an interfaith Iftar, or breaking of the fast.He now works full time at the mission."What I like about Anwar is when he's in a room full of people, he's always looking for somebody who's maybe not quite as involved as they could be," said Royal Orr, a board member at the mission."Anwar makes sure that he goes to that person or those people, he makes sure that they feel welcome."Valerie Shannon, the elder-in-residence at the mission, says Alhjooj is "an extraordinary man.""He brings people together from different backgrounds and he's able to help people find common ground. And that to me is very special," she said.Louise Olivier, one of Alhjooj's co-workers at the mission's legal clinic, pointed to his generosity and positive attitude."And he has great, great ideas to help the people who need it," she said.Aljhooj was humble about being selected as Montrealer of the Month — pointing instead to the Montrealers he helps."All people who come here, they really love Montreal," he said, adding that it's our obligation to "open the door" for them to show us what they're capable of."When someone asks me where I'm working, I say I'm not working — I'm having fun," he said.Listen to the full segment below:Do you know a Montrealer who is a positive force in the world? Maybe it's the recycling collector, the teacher who takes the extra time, the barista who goes the extra mile, or the teen who cut your lawn when you were not feeling your best.Let us know: send an email explaining what kind of an impact this person has had on their community to email@example.com.
Statistics from Public Health Ontario (PHO) show the opioid-related death rates in many parts of Northern Ontario are significantly higher than the numbers being reported by Toronto Public Health and some other Southern Ontario locations. For comparison purposes, statistics were compiled in quarterly segments from the end of March 2019, through to the end March of 2020, which was the one-year time period with the latest available information on Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and opioids-related deaths. In the first quarter of this year, just in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) jurisdiction, the rate of opioid deaths was listed at 41.9 per 100,000 population, an increase of 16.7 per cent from the previous year. This was based on a population of 200,424 within the jurisdiction of the Sudbury health unit, which includes the City of Greater Sudbury and several surrounding smaller communities, such as Espanola, Chapleau and on Manitoulin Island. Public Health Ontario said this accounts for 21 deaths in the first three months of this year for the PHSD service area. The Sudbury health unit's own opioid surveillance program reports that from January 2020 to June 2020, opioids have claimed 44 lives. The Sudbury health unit jurisdiction, in the first three months of this year, also had an opioid death rate more than three times higher than the national rate in Canada, which is 12.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. By comparison, for the Toronto Public Health area, the rate of opioid deaths was 11.4 per 100,000 population. It is an increase of 8.6 per cent from the previous year. This was based on a population of 3,090,377. The rate for the last three months of 2019 was 10.5 per 100,000. For the third quarter, the rate was lower at 6.1 deaths per 100,000. The second quarter of 2019 in Toronto, the death rate was 10.5 and in the first quarter the death rate was 11.2 deaths per 100,000. The lower rate was evident in other parts of Southern Ontario. In the jurisdiction of Ottawa Public Health, the rate of opioid deaths was lower at 7.7 per 100,000, the first three months of this year. This was for a population of slightly more than one million. In the Peel region, Peel Public Health reported an even lower fatality rate of 7.6 per 100,000 residents, for a population listed at more than 1.5 million. In the Windsor - Essex County Health Unit, the opioid fatality rate was 15.2 per 100,000 based on a population of roughly 420,000. In the Niagara Public Health Region, the death rate in the first three months this year was reported at 23.1 per 100,000 population for a region of more than 468,000 residents. Back to Northern Ontario, the rates were far higher in general. The Porcupine Health Unit, representing Timmins and several other smaller northern towns, also has a high rate of opioid deaths according to the PHO stats. For the first three months of this year, the death rate attributed to opioids was 32.8 per 100,000 population, three times the Toronto rate. This was for a population of 85,273. Figures for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) for the first quarter of this year revealed a mortality rate of 28.5 per 100,000 population. This was for a population of nearly 155,000 in the TBDHU jurisdiction. For the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit it was revealed that the rate of opioid deaths was 18.6 per 100,000 population. This was for a region of more than 129,000 residents. The Timiskaming Health Unit, which includes such communities as Kirkland Lake and Temiskaming Shores, the rate was 12.1 per 100,000 for a jurisdiction with a population of more than 33,000 residents. Four deaths occurred in that jurisdiction between March 2019 and March 2020. Further west in the jurisdiction of the Northwestern Health Unit, for communities such as Kenora, Red Lake and Dryden, the mortality rate for the first three months of this year was 9.8 per 100,000, a couple of points lower than Toronto. This was for a population just short of 82,000. A full report on the patterns of opioid-related deaths in Ontario during 2020 the pandemic may be causing some unintended consequences. "In June 2020, Ontario’s Chief Coroner announced a 25 per cent increase in suspected drug-related deaths between March and May 2020, compared to the monthly median reported in 2019. Similar trends have been reported elsewhere in Canada," said the report. "It is expected that this increase in drug-related deaths is being driven by a combination of numerous factors, including an increasingly toxic unregulated (‘street’) drug supply, barriers to access to harm reduction services and treatment, and physical distancing requirements leading to more people using drugs alone."Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Le bilan lavallois est désormais de 756 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela signifie que le territoire connait une hausse de 54 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. Le total de décès augmente à 726 depuis le début de la pandémie. 120 tests positifs ont été effectués dans les 24 dernières heures. Ainsi, depuis le mois de mars, 11 584 citoyens lavallois ont été affectés par le virus. Parmi les personnes touchées par la COVID-19, 23 sont présentement hospitalisées, dont 5 aux soins intensifs. 29 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Chomedey a été durement touché par la nouvelle mise à jour des données. On y compte 45 cas de plus que la veille. Il demeure le quartier le plus touché de Laval avec 337 cas confirmés et un taux d'infection de 358 cas par 100 000 habitants sur les 14 derniers jours. Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul a aussi été particulièrement affecté lors des dernières 24 heures. Ce secteur ajoute 22 cas à son total. Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose suit avec 15 nouvelles personnes touchées. De leur côté, Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides et Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac comptent 13 nouveaux cas confirmés sur leur territoire respectif. Vimont/Auteuil constate la plus petite augmentation de l'île Jésus avec huit nouvelles personnes infectées. Il est d'ailleurs le secteur lavallois qui s'en tire le mieux au cours des deux dernières semaines. 109 personnes touchées et un taux d'infection de 173 cas par 100 000 habitants y ont été dénombrés sur cette même période. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 71 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The community for SilverStar Mountain Resort is moving forward with its plan to become a resort association. The designation—not to be confused with a resort municipality designation—will provide the community of about 1,000 homeowners more of a say in how money is spent in the community, according SilverStar realtor Don Kassa. Kassa co-chairs the SilverStar Task Force, which initiated the process. He said things are moving forward, and that the next step will be to elect a board of directors. There is already an 11-member board in place. Five of the positions will be elected in the near term, with the remaining positions to be elected in two years. “The biggest benefit I would suggest is we have a cohesive body which now is mandated to negotiate with all levels of government for the betterment of the community,” he said, explaining the importance of the association. Kassa added the association will have the ability to fund and apply for funding for projects that will support the development of the resort community. It will also be used to market the resort as a year-round destination. Resort associations, such as Tourism Sun Peaks, collect a fee from property owners who use their property for rental, business or commercial purposes. The association will have access to the hotel tax as well as a fee, known as a resort management fee, paid by some homeowners in the area. Gaining association status has been a long process for the task force, which is currently made up of individual property owners, businesses, hotels and the resort operator. The Regional District of North Okanagan, which oversees the resort, had to agree to set it up, and then at least 50 per cent of the landowners within the resort association boundaries (representing 50 per cent of the property value) had to sign a petition in favour of it. Kassa said that the group is happy with the level of services provided by the regional district. “Many of the needs for services are being met very well currently,” said Kassa. There has, however, been some opposition to the plan. In an interview with CBC in March 2020, a homeowner said he worried that bookings would be centralized and homeowners would be forced to pay fees. According to Kassa, there is no plan to centralize the reservation system, but under the new framework, all homeoneers will have to pay the resort management fee, which he said would be between $400 and $800 a year per home. “The feeling of the current board was that if you are renting a property and making a substantial return on your property….then you should, in fact, be part and parcel of the cost to make that resort go forward.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La ministre de la Santé Christine Elliott a affirmé en conférence de presse, mardi, que la province de l’Ontario sera équipée de l’un des meilleurs plans de vaccination contre la COVID-19 au pays. La vice-première ministre de l’Ontario a pris la place du premier ministre Doug Ford durant la conférence de presse quotidienne, mardi, pour répondre aux questions des journalistes. Elle a notamment fait savoir qu’un bioéthicien fera partie de l’équipe tactique dirigée par l’ancien chef d’état-major des Forces armées canadiennes Rick Hillier, responsable de coordonner le plan de distribution du vaccin contre la COVID-19 en Ontario. Ce bioéthicien sera embauché pour déterminer qui en province recevra le vaccin en premier. M. Hillier a soutenu que ce seront les membres les plus vulnérables de la communauté et les travailleurs de la santé qui seront considérés comme prioritaires. Plusieurs questions règnent actuellement autour de l’arrivée des doses du vaccin au pays, mais l’ancien général Hillier a indiqué qu’il n’a « plus d’inquiétudes à propos de la distribution ». La ministre de la Santé a indiqué que son gouvernement croira « sur parole le premier ministre du Canada Justin Trudeau et que ces vaccins arriveront dès janvier ». La ministre de la Santé de l'Ontario, Christine Elliott Christine Elliott a confirmé que la province s’appuiera notamment sur les compagnies privées pour rendre plus efficace la distribution des vaccins. Le secteur privé jouera un rôle essentiel dans ce processus de vaccination, selon la ministre Elliott, qui a noté que l’Ontario s’entretient déjà avec des entreprises comme Shoppers Drug Mart et Purolator. Près de 200 patients aux soins intensifs Le plus récent bilan de la santé publique de l’Ontario, publié mardi matin, révèle que 193 Ontariens atteints de la COVID-19 sont actuellement en unités de soins intensifs. Les modélisations des experts sanitaires de l’Ontario prévoyaient que ce nombre serait de 200 d’ici le début du mois de décembre. Rappelons que le seuil où les hôpitaux doivent commencer à annuler des chirurgies est de 150 en province. Parmi les personnes aux soins intensifs lundi, 112 d’entre elles étaient sous respirateur. En tout, la même journée, 645 personnes atteintes de la COVID-19 étaient hospitalisées. Au cours des 24 dernières heures, 1 707 nouveaux cas de la COVID-19 ont été répertoriés, portant le total du nombre de cas depuis le début de la pandémie à 118 199 en Ontario. Par ailleurs, la santé publique de l’Ontario déplore sept nouveaux décès liés au virus survenus au cours de la dernière journée. En tout, 3 663 personnes ont perdu la vie en raison du coronavirus, dont 2 309 résidents de foyers de soins de longue durée et huit employés de ces établissements.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
As coronavirus cases surge in California, county officials are issuing new COVID-19 restrictions, imposing curfews and closing museums and other businesses after the state broke a record with more than 7,400 coronavirus hospitalizations. (Dec. 1)
IQALUIT, Nunavut — An investigation by the Ottawa Police Service has determined that the arrest of a Nunavut man who was knocked down by an RCMP truck door was lawful. A video posted on social media in June from Kinngait showed what appeared to be a Mountie knocking down an intoxicated man using the door of a police pickup truck. Ottawa police investigators said they interviewed 10 witnesses in the South Baffin community of about 1,400, including residents and RCMP officers. Investigators also looked at third-party video of the arrest, went to the scene and examined the police truck. The Nunavut RCMP has an agreement with the Ottawa Police Service to review actions involving police. Mounties said at the time that they were notified about 11:30 p.m. on June 1 about "an intoxicated male who was reported to be fighting with others." A video posted to Facebook by a Kinngait resident that night shows a man lying down on the side of the road. The man gets up, stumbling, before an RCMP truck flashes its lights and starts to pull up next to him. The video appears to show the officer driving the truck opening the driver’s side door, knocking the man to the ground, while the truck is still moving. Four other officers arrive on the scene. A news release Tuesday from the Ottawa Police Service said the investigation found that the officer "did not intentionally strike the community member with the vehicle door." "The vehicle came to a sliding stop on a snow- and ice-covered track, the driver’s front tire went off the track, the vehicle dipped forward, and the opened driver’s door swung forward and struck the community member." The release said investigators concluded that no criminal offence was committed "as the applied force was unintentional." "Investigators also deemed that that was no evidence of dangerous operation of a conveyance or criminal negligence and further concluded that the arrest was lawful." The man in the video, who was arrested for public intoxication, was not charged but was placed in an RCMP cell, where he was allegedly so severely beaten by his cellmate that he was flown to Iqaluit for medical treatment. The RCMP officer was removed from the community after the video surfaced and placed on administrative leave. In an email, Nunavut RCMP said the officer is still on leave while an internal investigation is done. The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is also conducting an investigation, which isn't complete yet. In a separate release, the Nunavut RCMP said it will not comment further on what happened. Benson Cowan, head of Nunavut Legal Aid, said the Ottawa police statement gives little information about a much larger story. "Police occupy a place of public trust and the public has an interest in how they go about their jobs. We're owed an explanation when something happens. What we got was a conclusion. There's no transparency and no accountability," Cowan said. "We've all seen that video and we know that the police explanation doesn't explain everything we see in that video." Cowan said even if people accept the truck door hitting the man was an accident, it is troubling to say the arrest was lawful. "On what basis was it justified that five police officers be involved in the takedown of this man?" Cowan said Ottawa police also don't explain why the RCMP acted so swiftly to arrest a man who was never charged. "Why on earth, if it was public intoxication, would you drive so close and put someone at risk?" The agreement between the Ottawa Police Service and the Nunavut government does not require the service to make its reports public. Nunavut introduced legislation in the fall that would allow it to use civilian investigative groups instead of police forces. On Monday, RCMP in Iqaluit started wearing body cameras as part of a national pilot project to promote police accountability. Since Jan. 1, there have been six serious encounters involving police in the territory, including two deaths. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — Insurance companies in British Columbia have agreed to end a pricing practice that has been identified as one of the key factors in skyrocketing property insurance premiums for condominiums. Earlier this year, the B.C. Financial Services Authority said premiums have gone up by 40 per cent on average for a number of reasons. Finance Minister Selina Robinson says an agreement to end so-called best terms pricing on Jan. 1 is a positive step. Insuring multi-unit properties in B.C. often sees many insurers submit bids. Under best terms pricing, the final premium paid by owners is usually based on the highest bid, even if most quotes were lower. Blair Morrison, CEO of the financial services authority, says the change is an important step for long-term stability in the property insurance market. Robinson was the housing minister in June when she introduced legislation to change the Strata Property Act and the Financial Institutions Act to bring more transparency to the insurance market. The Insurance Council of B.C., the regulatory body for insurance agents in the province, says it will work with the industry to address the practice. Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility. A financial authority report released in June says price pressures will continue on buildings considered to be higher risk and the insurance market for so-called strata properties was "unhealthy." It says insurers were accumulating losses mostly from minor claims, especially for water damage due to poor building maintenance and initial construction. It says new building construction, building material changes and rising replacement costs have put added strain on the industry's profitability. Insurers are also reducing the amount of insurance they offer in B.C. because of excessive exposure to earthquake risk, it says. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
Décidément, la deuxième vague de COVID-19 n’a en rien freiner les ardeurs des dirigeants de Cominar qui vont de l’avant avec la première phase d’un vaste projet de développement industriel au nord de l’autoroute 440 ouest. Dès le printemps, le fonds de placement immobilier mettra en chantier un immeuble d’une superficie locative de 200 000 pieds carrés à l’angle nord-ouest des boulevards Saint-Elzéar et Curé-Labelle, dans Chomedey. À Laval, les espaces industriels disponibles se font rares, explique Bernard Poliquin, vice-président exécutif secteur immeubles de bureaux et industriels et chef des opérations immobilières. «Le taux de disponibilité est inférieur à 2 %», dit-il. En d’autres termes, il n’y aurait rien actuellement sur le marché pour accueillir un éventuel locataire à la recherche de 50 000 pieds carrés ou plus. Son collègue Jean Laramée, vice-président exécutif Développement chez Cominar, précise pour sa part que le rythme de construction sera dicté par le marché. Les plans prévoient deux bâtiments jumeaux à 30 M$ la copie en retrait du boulevard Curé-Labelle, entre la rue Philippe Lebon et le boulevard St-Elzéar, après quoi on creusera les fondations de bâtiments de plus petits gabarits en bordure de Curé-Labelle selon la demande. Une fois complété, ce développement totalisera quelque 600 000 pieds carrés d’espaces locatifs pour un investissement avoisinant les 80 à 100 M$, soutient M. Laramée. «C’est un site extrêmement convoité», reprend M. Poliquin, qui en donne pour preuve l’intérêt manifesté autant par d’éventuels utilisateurs que des investisseurs qui auraient bien aimé en faire l’acquisition. Le terrain en question, qui couvre 1,7 million de pieds carrés, se trouve tout juste au nord du bâtiment occupé par Wolseley Canada inc., principal distributeur de plomberie et de systèmes de chauffage, ventilation, climatisation et réfrigération au pays. Incidemment, cet établissement situé au 4200, rue Louis-B.-Mayer, est le plus récent immeuble industriel appartenant à Cominar. Parmi les plus importants fonds de placement immobilier diversifiés au Canada, Cominar est un propriétaire foncier incontournable à Laval. À preuve, il détient à lui seul 42 % de la superficie locative totale des immeubles à bureaux avec plus de 1,8 million de pieds carrés répartis en 19 édifices. Toujours à Laval, Cominar possède 20 bâtiments industriels pour 1,6 million de pieds carrés, un portefeuille qui devrait s’enrichir d’une demi-douzaine d’immeubles et de 600 000 pieds carrés additionnels d’ici les prochaines années. Enfin, le plus important propriétaire et gestionnaire d'immeubles commerciaux au Québec est également un poids lourd dans l’industrie du commerce au détail de Laval comme en témoignent ses trois propriétés au cœur du centre-ville que sont le Centre Laval, le Quartier Laval et le Centropolis.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
From Halifax to Toronto to Calgary to Vancouver, there are plenty of ways to safety enjoy the simple pleasure of Christmas lights.
Tuesday marked the first snow day that wasn't in Windsor-Essex, as school transportation was cancelled but secondary students in the public school board still had to do a full day of remote learning.The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) announced the policy last week, saying that students would be expected to do a full day of remote learning for the 2020-21 school year even if transportation is cancelled."For the current school year (2020-21), in the event that student transportation is cancelled in the city and/or the county, all secondary students will participate exclusively in remote on-line learning for that day," the news release says. Shelley Armstrong, the superintendent of business and treasurer at the GECDSB, said the board felt the decision made sense given the "quadmester" remote learning system students are using this year."It's really important that we do the best that we can to support their learning in the classrooms, and it's challenging to do that if there's a missed day," she said. "We really want to make sure that we're supporting them the best that we can with their education."Schools are still open for staff and elementary school students. But elementary students who stay home are not expected to do online work.Armstrong says that the board made the decision for this year only, and she's not certain snow days for secondary students are facing extinction."I don't know necessarily that that would be the case," she said.Armstrong added that if anyone has any questions about the new policy, they can reach out to school administrators."If anyone has specific questions for it, certainly they can reach out to the board office or the school principal, and we'll do our best to help them with any questions they may have," she said.
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is extending ferry service to Campobello Island until the end of the month to help address residents' pandemic concerns.Residents of the Canadian island — which is connected by a bridge to the state of Maine — want a year-round ferry service so they don't have to enter the United States in order to get to the New Brunswick mainland.The seasonal ferry service ended Sunday after it had already been extended from September to help address concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic."We have negotiated with the private company to continue that service to the end of December," Transportation Minister Jill Green said in an interview Tuesday.She confirmed the province will subsidize the private ferry service — run by East Coast Ferries — until the end of the month but would not say how much is being spent because negotiations were ongoing. The extended service will operate four days a week, weather permitting.The extension falls short of the year-round service that residents have been seeking. "The premier promised he would set up a committee or a study to take to the federal government to help us, so the federal government could get involved," Campobello resident Ulysse Robichaud said. "The plan that he said he was going to work on for us hasn't done a thing."Premier Blaine Higgs made the commitment during a video meeting with members of the ferry committee in May."It's getting more and more frustrating, because we feel totally abandoned. Are we real Canadians? Are we fake Canadians?" Robichaud asked.Campobello Island — with a population of 900 — is a popular summer tourism destination and was the summer home of former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.The island's residents have been given an exemption to travel into Maine for gas and medical needs without having to self-isolate upon return.Robichaud said while they are exempt to travel into Maine, they are not exempt from contracting the COVID-19 virus. There have been almost 12,000 COVID-19 cases in Maine and 214 related deaths since the pandemic began."I encourage residents of Campobello Island to limit trips off the island to minimize risk,” Higgs said last week. Green said the province is open to talking with the federal government about a permanent ferry connection, but no talks are planned at this time. "The department has reached out to our federal counterparts more than once, and they have not jumped on the bandwagon to do that," she said.When asked for comment on year-round service for Campobello, a spokesperson for federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau referred questions to the ferry operator."Transport Canada does not determine when East Coast Ferries provides its services between Campobello Island and Deer Island, N.B.," press secretary Allison St-Jean. "East Coast Ferries is a privately-owned operator."Kathy Bockus, the Progressive Conservative member for the provincial riding that includes Campobello Island, said she was pleased with the extension and will continue to push for a permanent ferry for the island.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press