President-elect Joe Biden says that more coronavirus deaths will be the consequence of the Trump administration refusing to share its vaccine distribution plans with his own incoming administration. (Nov. 16)
President-elect Joe Biden says that more coronavirus deaths will be the consequence of the Trump administration refusing to share its vaccine distribution plans with his own incoming administration. (Nov. 16)
Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil regulator says it expects the “best available science” will be followed when determining the environmental impact of drilling in a fragile Atlantic marine refuge. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) made the comments in response to questions about its decision to accept a bid from BP Canada to explore part of a marine refuge called the Northeast Newfoundland Slope for drilling. WWF-Canada has criticized the move, saying it puts biodiversity in the area at risk, given that the marine refuge contains corals and sponges that other marine life use as spawning grounds and that are easily damaged. The group has called for oil and gas exploration and drilling in marine refuges to be banned. The regulator said in a statement that it was operating under federal government policy. The federal Liberal government has allowed marine refuges to remain open to exploratory drilling, on a case-by-case basis, while declaring in 2019 that another, separate conservation category called “marine protected areas” would be off-limits to fossil fuel activity. For refuges, oil and gas exploration “can continue,” confirmed a spokesperson for the C-NLOPB, provided that the fisheries minister “is satisfied that risks to conservation objectives of those areas will be effectively avoided or mitigated.” Any proposed oil and gas activity in the refuge would still be scrutinized through the government’s various environmental review processes, the regulator argued, as well as under the Fisheries Act. “It is expected these review processes will provide effective means to thoroughly assess, avoid and mitigate any impacts based on the best available science,” the regulator said. Exploratory drilling is done when an energy company needs more data to determine the worthiness of setting up a more permanent drilling operation. It often involves examining rock samples in the area. BP Canada has said it is too early to discuss plans for its slice of the marine refuge. But if it does move forward, it won’t have to go through a separate environmental assessment to carry out exploratory drilling. That’s because Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson created a new regulation earlier this year that exempts exploratory drilling in the Atlantic east of Newfoundland from federal impact assessments. The controversial exemption was made based on the fact that a large, “regional assessment” of exploratory drilling had already been done. Environmental law charity Ecojustice, on behalf of WWF-Canada, Ecology Action Centre and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, has said that assessment was “flawed” and launched a legal challenge. The exemption only applies to exploratory drilling — permanent offshore oil and gas projects “will continue to be subject to project-specific assessments,” the government said. It also said any exploratory drilling must “conform to the rigorous environmental and consultation conditions” outlined in the minister's new regulations. That includes conducting an investigation of the seabed to see if there are any corals or sponges or “any other environmentally sensitive features” around each of the proposed sites for underwater oil wells. If corals and sponges are there, the company must take measures to avoid them; things such as “moving the anchors or wells on the seafloor” or “redirecting the discharge of drill cuttings.” Since the drilling area is in a refuge, the regulations say the company must also hand over another plan to the department and the regulator that outlines the effects of drilling on conservation objectives. That plan should also include any planned mitigation measures, how those measures will be monitored to make sure they're working and a strategy to keep everyone in the loop as new information comes in. “Exploratory drilling programs are short-term projects and the environmental effects of these programs are well understood,” the C-NLOPB said. Ecology Action Centre senior marine co-ordinator Jordy Thomson said the rules surrounding drilling in a marine refuge also serve to highlight a quirk in the Liberal government’s conservation plans. The government has made conservation a priority, protecting 13.81 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas and promising to boost this to 25 per cent by 2025. That protected territory includes both marine protected areas, where oil and gas is off-limits, as well as marine refuges, where it is allowed. Even if drilling permits are handed out to energy firms, the marine refuges are still counted toward the conservation target, up until the point at which “oil and gas extraction begins.” “Under this approach, marine refuges become these ever-receding jigsaw puzzles with questionable conservation value,” Thomson said. “The federal government and the C-NLOPB need to put a halt to oil and gas development in all protected marine areas.” Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National ObserverCarl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Unlimited internet packages will be available to residents in seven northern communities starting Dec. 1, after the CRTC gave the North's telecommunications giant the green light on Tuesday.Northwestel applied for unlimited internet packages for a handful of communities across the North in October with hopes of offering them to residents by early November. However, the CRTC delayed approval, saying it needed more time to consider the company's application.On Tuesday, a post on the CRTC's website showed the commission had approved Northwestel's proposal on an interim basis."The Commission considers it appropriate to approve the application on an interim basis prior to reviewing the whole record, in order to address customers' increased Internet data needs and alleviate their increased Internet usage costs in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic," the website says."The Commission will address its final determination regarding the unlimited Internet data packages and rates that are under consideration in the application, and any related issues if necessary, in a subsequent order that will be based on the complete record."The seven northern communities are: * Whitehorse. * Carcross, Yukon. * Yellowknife. * Hay River, N.W.T. * Fort Smith, N.W.T. * Norman Wells, N.W.T. * Fort Nelson, B.C.Northwestel said in a news release it will start taking orders from customers wanting to upgrade their internet packages on Dec. 1, when they become available."It's great to be able to bring new unlimited options to many customers in time for a holiday season, especially with so many of us sticking close to home," said Tammy April, Northwestel's vice-president of consumer markets, in a statement.
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Twenty-three B.C. mayors are calling on Premier John Horgan to establish policies that give resource-based communities a key role in the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. In an open letter to Horgan Nov. 19, the mayors of both rural and urban municipalities praised previous foundation investments in natural resource development, as well as associated construction and transportation needs, and asked for inclusion in future policy discussions. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, BC’s resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.” In September the province announced a $1.5 billion pandemic economic recovery plan, in addition to previous commitments, targeting primarily tourism, food security, climate action, technology and innovation. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the group of mayors found no disagreements with the strategy, and issued the letter primarily as a show of support. “This was just to let the premier know that we are ready and willing to engage,” Ackerman said. “Our resource industries need to be front of mind when we’re looking at creating the future of British Columbia. We’ve got businesses that need to get working. With a new cabinet coming into place we needed to send the premier our congratulations and hope that we can work on this together.” The mayors asked Horgan to enshrine five core pillars for economic recovery into the Mandate Letters of incoming cabinet ministers. Those pillars are: quickly enable shovel-ready projects to proceed; ensure international investors know B.C.’s industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions; recognize the unique advantage of globally carbon-competitive exports; put workers and communities first when delivering on campaign commitments; and ensure any new regulations affecting delivery on the first four pillars are considered carefully. Going forward, the mayors also offered their support on all aspects of pandemic recovery and ongoing efforts with climate change and First Nations reconciliation. The letter was written by Ackerman and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, and supported by: Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River Mayor Linda McGuire, Granisle Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat Mayor Dennis Dugas, Port Hardy Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
Any way you look at it, 2020 has been a challenging year all around, but it has impacted some families harder than others. With many businesses having been forced to close their doors and shut down for extended periods this year due to public health restrictions, affected business owners and the people that they employ have been among the hardest hit. Some people have seen their wages rolled back so that their employers can remain in business. There have been layoffs across the province as companies have had to reduce their operations. And too many businesses have had to close down entirely. While our economy has picked up from where we were in the spring, jobs still are not as plentiful as they were. The Swan Hills Food Bank has certainly seen an increase in requests this year compared to past years. Christmas is often a time when many of us look for ways to give back to our community, to try to offer a helping hand to those around us who may be having a hard time of things. This year there is an increased need for helping hands. The Food Bank and Santa’s Elves are doing things a little differently this year in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the number of items being directly handled by multiple people, Santa’s Elves is only able to accept monetary donations this year. Monetary donations can be made at the Alberta Treasury Branch downtown (4914 Plaza Ave). A food donation bin will be available at Super A, as there has been in previous years, but there will not be a toy donation bin for Santa’s Elves this year. Instead of delivering food hampers and toys this year, the families receiving support will be given gift cards to local businesses. This will reduce the chance for the transmission of COVID-19 by cutting down on the need for items to be directly handled by multiple people. This step will also allow the families receiving support to choose which groceries and gifts would benefit them the most. Please contact the Swan Hills Food Bank and Santa’s Elves at (780) 333-3442 if you have any questions.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Nunavut reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday putting the territory's total active cases at 142.Nine of those cases were confirmed in Arviat for a total of 107 positive cases in the community, according to a news release from the territorial government Tuesday morning. There was also a new case reported in Rankin Inlet, putting that community's total at 19 positive cases.Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in a statement that it's important for Nunavummiut to strictly follow public health measures as daily totals of COVID-19 rise across Canada."As we head into our second week of increased restrictions in the territory, every single one of us needs to stay committed and dedicated to slowing and stopping the spread of this virus in our communities," Patterson said.There's still no evidence of community transmission in Rankin Inlet or Whale Cove, the territory says.Everyone still actively infected with COVID-19 is "regularly monitored in isolation and continue to do well, with mild to moderate symptoms," the release says.There have been 158 tests completed in Rankin Inlet as of Monday with negative results, the territory says. Testing in Arviat has yielded 375 negative tests while testing in Whale Cove has yielded 52 negative tests.The government is continuing to monitor Sanikiluaq.The territory says anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the virus should call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET.People can alternatively notify their community health centre and immediately isolate at home for 14 days. People are asked to not go to the health centre in person.The territory says it will provide an update at a news conference on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET.
With millions dining at home for safety and a swing to the spicier side in the U.S. in recent years, Cholula, the hot sauce with the distinctive wooden cap and a cult following, has become a very valuable brand.McCormick & Co., the spice maker that dominates U.S. grocery shelves, said Tuesday that it was buying Cholula for $800 million from L Catteron, a private equity firm.McCormick made a notable tilt toward the hot sauce shelf three years ago when it acquired Frank’s RedHot, the preferred fuel in Buffalo wing recipes, as part of its $4.2 billion acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food business.“The sauce with the little wooden cap is, like Frank’s RedHot, well-known to ‘chilli-heads’ around the globe but its appeal is much wider,” said Dean Best, food editor of Global Data.The acquisition arrives with the pandemic warping how America and the rest of the world eats, meaning largely at home. There was evidence of that trend in recent regulatory filings from McCormick, a company in Hunt Valley, Maryland with a valuation of close to $25 billion.McCormick said in September that revenue surged 8% during the third quarter as people replaced the contents of outdated spice racks, or started one for the first time.And hot sauce is increasingly part of the pantry mix.The volume of hot sauce produced for North America has risen in each of the past five years by an average of 4.7%, to more than 127,000 tons in 2020, according to the data service Euromonitor. That production is expected to rise by 16% within the next five years, according to the group.“Hot sauce is an attractive, high-growth category and, as an iconic premium brand, Cholula is outpacing category growth," said McCormick Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius in prepared remarks Tuesday.Cholula has made its own adaptations during the pandemic to get the sauce to its cult followers.Earlier this month the company teamed up with simplehuman to create a touch-free Cholula dispenser for restaurants or other places that serve the hot sauce, allowing those eating out to bring the heat in relative safety.Shares of McCormick, which have hit an all time high this year, rose more than 2% Tuesday.Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
LONDON — A book that looks at The Beatles from a playful kaleidoscope of angles won Britain’s leading nonfiction literary award on Tuesday.Craig Brown’s “One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time” was named winner of the 50,000-pound ($66,000) Baillie Gifford Prize at a virtual ceremony in London.Brown’s “composite biography” juxtaposes the stories of John, Paul, George and Ringo with relatives, partners, artists, imitators, hangers-on and others drawn into their orbit.Broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel, said Brown’s “joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration” of the Fab Four was “a shaft of light piercing the deep gloom of 2020.”“Who would have thought that a book about The Beatles could seem so fresh?” she said.The award recognizes English-language books in current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.Brown beat a shortlist that included Sudhir Hazareesingh’s Haitian revolution history “Black Spartacus,” Matthew Cobb’s “The Idea of the Brain” and Christina Lamb’s book about women and war “Our Bodies, Their Battlefield.”The other finalists were Amy Stanley’s “Stranger in the Shogun’s City,” about a woman’s life in 19th-century Japan, and “The Haunting of Alma Fielding” by Kate Summerscale, a fact-based story of apparently supernatural events.The Associated Press
A Halifax councillor says three houses that a car dealership recently bought on May Street cannot be replaced with a parking lot."When I went back and talked to [HRM] staff, we realized that was one of things that was changed under the new Centre Plan," said Coun. Lindell Smith. "So they can still demolish them if they want, but it would be great if they didn't."In 2016, the Steele Auto Group tore down 17 properties to expand the Colonial Honda car dealership along Robie Street. The move sparked a protest called Homes not Hondas.Since then, new development rules have been adopted under the Centre Plan Package A that limit what can be done along May Street. Pages 50 and 51 lay out the rules: "Most car-oriented land uses that are not compatible with the intent of this plan to create a safe and human scale pedestrian-oriented environment in the centres shall not be permitted in the CEN zones, such as auto repair uses and dealerships.""It says within the regulations that dealership uses are not allowed," said Smith. "So they couldn't put a service centre, a reception area or a parking lot."In an email sent to CBC last Friday, the Steele Auto Group said it had "plans to take down the building and expand the parking lot." The company also said that "this part of Robie Street is home to several auto dealerships, service and repair centres."Smith said while the expansion of the car dealership is not permitted, the houses could be replaced with another commercial business that is allowed, such as a hair salon. He added that because the rules are fairly new, the company may not have realized there were changes.CBC has contacted the Steele Auto Group for a new comment but has not yet had a response.MORE TOP STORIES
A big-box pet store has plans to jump into Liverpool, eyeing opportunity in a county that has been without a pet shop for the past eight years. Pet Valu has confirmed it’s going to open a retail outlet in the town. “Pet Valu is really excited to be opening a store in Liverpool in mid-2021,” Katherine Clark, a spokesperson for the pet store chain, said in an email. Liverpool’s last pet store, Kameko’s Cove & Aquatics, closed in February, 2012 after five years in business. The store sold tropical fish, reptiles and other small pets, along with pet supplies. Pet Valu’s Liverpool plans include the construction of a new 4,000 square-foot building, which will be located beside the Dollarama Store on Queens Place Drive. One of Canada’s largest pet specialty retail chains with 1,200 stores in North America, Pet Valu Canada Inc. started in Toronto in 1976. It currently has 11 stores in Nova Scotia.Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Supreme Court made Joe Biden’s win in the state official on Tuesday, approving the state's final canvass of the Nov. 3 election.The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak results that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden.The court action drew extra scrutiny amid legal efforts by the state GOP and Trump campaign to prevent sending vote-by-mail ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters and then to stop the counting of the 1.4 million votes that were cast.Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 in the state capital of Carson City.Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, according to results approved by elected officials in Nevada’s 17 counties — including Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno.Biden got 50.06% of the vote and Trump 47.67%.Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who has avoided the public eye in recent weeks, presented the results to the court.She noted the first-ever use of all-mail balloting statewide in a general election, same-day voter registration and early voting.“The result was more of a hybrid model where voters had a choice of how to participate,” she said, adding that a record number of voters participated.Certification of the vote does not stop several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts.They include bids by two Republican congressional candidates and a state Senate challenger to obtain re-votes in those races, an open-records case by the state GOP, and a U.S. District Court action alleging that thousands of ineligible people voted.A federal judge in that case declined a bid for an immediate injunction that would have stopped the use of a signature verification scanner during the vote count.Jesse Binnall, an attorney for the Trump campaign who is handling an election challenge pending before a state court judge, said Tuesday he intends to prove that so many fraudulent votes were cast statewide that Trump won Nevada.Turnout among the state’s more than 1.8 million active registered voters was almost 77.3%, including mail, early voting and Election Day ballots cast amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to secretary of state data.That was up from a turnout of 76.8% during the presidential election in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Nevada by a little under 2.5% over Trump.Nevada was one of several states due to certify the election on Tuesday.Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
PARIS — Restorers at Paris’ fire-damaged Notre Dame cathedral have completed key preliminary work by successfully removing all the perilous roof scaffolding, officials said Tuesday.The removal of the 200 tons of scaffolding was considered dangerous, with some experts fearing that it could cause more of the Gothic monument to fall down. It was thought that the scaffolding might have melded to the cathedral in the blaze, and be keeping it in place.When the Notre Dame fire broke out on April 15 last year destroying the spire, the cathedral was already under restoration.The scaffolding previously installed resisted collapse, “but was deformed by the heat of the fire” Notre Dame restoration officials said in a communique.The Associated Press
The region's second drive-thru Santa Claus parade is happening Saturday in Amherstburg and organizers are hoping for a smoother event this time around.The so-called "reverse" parade — attendees drive by floats and performers that stay in place — is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the grounds of the Libro Centre Arena in Amherstburg.Maggie Durocher of the Windsor Parade Corporation is urging patience as she's expecting a very large turnout — similar to the event in Kingsville last weekend."I would encourage families to enjoy the time that they have together, celebrate what they do have, not what they don't have," she said. "Use the time waiting to access the parade route to enjoy the holiday season together."The event will feature multiple entertainers including fire jugglers and horse units as well as giant inflatables."It'll be a great outing for families," she said. "They can turn to 90.7 on the radio, listen to Santa talk to them as they go along … the parade route."They are also looking to broadcast the event on Facebook Live.The Windsor Parade Corporation, a non-profit, is behind Saturday's event as well as the one last weekend in Kingsville and the upcoming Windsor parade on Dec. 5.Kingsville apologizes for parade issuesThe Town of Kingsville issued an apology after its parade, which saw spectators face long waits to see the performers and "traffic rerouting concerns" due to the overwhelming attendance. The town said some of the concerns stemmed from "miscommunication" on its part. "We apologize to anyone who had a poor experience, and we thank them for their feedback and patience," the Town of Amherstburg said in a statement Sunday.The reverse parade format was implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns around social distancing."Although we expected a crowd, the ultimate response was incredible yet staggering," the town said.Work is being done around the clock to mitigate the challenges experienced in Kingsville, Durocher said. Parade organizers were set to meet with Amherstburg officials Tuesday.But Durocher also acknowledged that, given the high volume of traffic expected, there's only so much they can do.Part of the strategy this time around is to narrow down the routes people are taking to the site, she said. And unlike the Kingsville event, the Amherstburg parade is on a closed circuit. While this year's parades are taking a different form due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Durocher said the intention is to make the events as safe as possible. "We were working hard to make sure that this … was not a year without a Santa Claus," she said.
Lanark Highlands fire Chief Gene Richardson’s first mandate when he was hired in April 2019 was to pursue a master fire plan. The 288-page fire plan has been met with a fiery response, mostly from White Lake residents, who are concerned about the “fire hall closing, increased taxes and reduced services.” "They sent a letter around, which has a lot of falsehoods in it, just to rile people up and get them nervous,” Reeve Peter McLaren said, talking about flyers distributed by the Lanark Highlands Committee for Concerned Citizens. "Read the plan; it’s not set in stone, and as we hit each step in that direction, we will decide what we’re going to do,” he added. Chief administrative officer Ryan Morton echoed the reeve’s comments when he said, “what’s important for people to understand is that council passed the bylaw to adopt a plan. The plan does not give outright authority to the fire chief to execute all of those items. It’s a guide.” Morton also addressed the tax increase: “The 10 per cent quote — that’s to keep five stations open. The numbers that are presented are life cycle costing; it has a different impact, a generality,” Morton said. “Council is going to need more information. Just like when you buy a new fire truck — the type of fire truck you need, the specifications — you can spend a million dollars, or a half a million. It’s no different than building a new fire hall, all those things need a ‘deeper dive’,” Morton said. THREE OPTIONS Council is looking at three options. The first is to continue to operate all five stations. The plan states that this will be the most expensive option, as there will be significant building repairs and maintenance. Reeve McLaren said that “we’re trying to put some numbers together for the three scenarios. If we stay with five halls, you’re talking a significant tax increase to maintain the trucks.” The second option is to eliminate White Lake fire hall and amalgamate with Tatlock. “The (White Lake) hall is non-compliant because there’s not enough volunteers. There’s rules and regulations we have to go by. The truck that’s there is also non-compliant, and the hall isn’t big enough,” the reeve said. Dan White, who was a volunteer firefighter at White Lake for 15 years, has this to say to the fire chief: “I challenge him, where are the social media posts you are referring to? There was no campaign to recruit firefighters. What they didn’t tell us was that there are no positions to volunteer to." “How can that be interpreted as anything but obstructionist in our fight to keep our fire hall open? Now we only have four (firefighters) — why do you think they left? They saw the writing on the wall, that this is a done deal,” White said. Part of the challenge with the White Lake fire hall is its location. “In the event of a fire call, even if you have 10 firefighters, a firefighter has to drive from their house, down a dead end, six-kilometre road, turn around with the truck. That’s 12 kilometres total. There is no other access to it,” Richardson said. The reeve insists that White Lake residents are covered even if the fire hall were to close. “We have an agreement with both McNab/Braeside and Mississippi Mills in Pakenham. They’re quite covered because of that. It’s not as bad as they’re letting on.” White thinks that the proposed closure of the hall was predetermined. “Councillors and fire staff at township have not done due diligence in studying what the master plan suggested. They are putting White Lake residents’ lives at risk,” White said. He said that White Lake is a part of Lanark Highlands Township that has a high population growth, “and yet they’re decreasing service in the area. It makes no sense,” White said. “People are viewing it as losing a service. It’s not that we are insensitive to that notion; we support the community, we totally understand. When it comes down to dollars and cents, and number of calls, availability of firefighters, that’s where we have to engage the experts to come in and help us figure out the right thing to do,” Morton explained. The third option is to amalgamate three fire halls and build a new central location, to be determined at a later date. We travelled with the fire chief to see first-hand the deficiencies pointed out in the fire master plan. McDonalds Corners fire hall is too small for one of the newer fire trucks. A plywood floor covers the cistern (big tank of water on the floor of the firehall). “Put yourself in the boots of a firefighter. When they back the truck up, they have to park the truck perfectly. If they go another two or three inches back, the truck will sink into the cistern,” Morton said. “A lot of the reasoning and the justification, it is in the report. We didn’t buy a truck that can’t fit in the fire hall, we bought a truck that meets today’s standards. And today’s standards, those trucks don’t fit a 65-year-old firehall,” Morton added. The fire hall is also located at the bottom of a blind hill. “It is a safety hazard,” Richardson said. In Tatlock, the hall is not suitable for today’s fire hall standards, with no shower rooms, maintenance, training room or a washroom for both men and women. Middleville fire hall, built in 1965, is undersized, in need of washrooms for both men and women, has no training room, washing machine, cleaning room for washing fire gear, and also has a wooden floor over the cistern. “These halls were great in 1985; it is not great now,” Richardson said. STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The Township of Lanark Highlands adopted a new fire plan, and we wanted to find out the reasons behind some of the recommendations cited in the plan. Next, we will talk to some White Lake residents about their concerns with the proposed fire hall closure.Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald With the winter months closing in, a pair of groups were at Galt Gardens to raise awareness for the homeless situation in Lethbridge on Saturday afternoon. Members of Kindness To Others and Community Giving Back To Community were at Galt Gardens handing out sandwiches to the homeless and raising awareness for a drop-in centre for those in need. “Today we are with some members of the community,” said Alvin Mills, a peer support worker with Bringing Home The Spirit in Standoff. “We want to feed the at-risk and vulnerable who struggle here in the city. We also want to bring to light what they go through and what they are going to be going through when the weather gets cold. I do see a real need for a drop-in facility here in the city. During the day they have nowhere to go and a lot of them are getting sick being out in the elements. “Then with the opioid crisis it enhances things. With the outreach service we started with Bringing Home The Spirit, we have been able to work in partnership with Alpha House, Alberta Health Services, Streets Alive and the Watch Program.” Mills said Saturday’s initiative was a street-level approach to reaching those who need help. “This is just the first step and sometimes they’ll follow through. Sometimes you just have to show that you care and you have to have that feeling of empathy regardless of the choices that they make. They should still be afforded that same dignity.” Mills said a shelter has been opened in Standoff. “They’ve stepped up in a big way opening up that shelter. So that’s another way of how we can get the ones struggling here in Lethbridge back out there.” In July, the Province of Alberta announced a capital investment to support the construction of two recovery communities in southern Alberta, one of them a 75-bed recovery community on the Blood Reserve in Standoff. “We have to fill those beds, especially with the weather getting colder,” said Mills. “This is the first step in recovery and we have to start filling up those beds.” On the Blood Reserve, Kainai Wellness manager Roger Prairie Chicken noted some concerning numbers. “What is happening within the reserve is basically the opiate process is still creating a lot of problems and deaths within the families on the reserve,” he said. “We are averaging about 12 DOAs a month and I would say 70 or 80 per cent of that is drug-related deaths and the age process is roughly 30 years and up. If you go back in time when this started, I would say, in 2018 and 2019, I believe we’ve had 46 or 47 each year, average DOAs. In 2019 and 2020 we went up to 118 deaths. That was when opioids really peaked out. “Now we are at a stage where we have had 99 deaths in the last fiscal year, but again the numbers are still really high. I would say almost 85 per cent of that is alcohol- and prescription-related DOAs.” Prairie Chicken said the numbers need to be shared by the public. “It has to start from the grassroots in the family situations, educating them and moving them forward,” he said. “You can’t resolve it with Band-Aid solutions and Band-Ad processes. These people are humans and they need help with their addictions. It’s an illness and it must be understood that way.” Over the weekend, Blood Tribe Police Service issued a warning about of a highly concentrated batch of drugs. BTPS and Blood Tribe EMS responded to an alarming amount of overdoses over 24 hours. Since noon Friday there were 15 overdoses that police and EMS have attended. There was been one death that is not considered suspicious, an autopsy will determine cause of death. On Saturday afternoon Prairie Chicken commended Mills for his work with the street people. “These are our people from the Blood Tribe and different areas and our hearts and our prayers go out to the families.” Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
Second in a two-part series While agriculture in Labrador may be a daunting task, there is also a lot of opportunity. With only one per cent of food consumed in Labrador grown in the region, there is a market for locally produced food, be it vegetables or other crops or food products. From a beef farm to a cold storage facility, to a research farm, there are some new and exciting things happening in agriculture in Labrador. Darren Dinsmore of Aldercroft Farm has agriculture in his blood. He grew up on a farm in Ontario and said when he moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, he saw potential. Dinsmore, who is also the pastor at the local Baptist church in town, said he saw a need for local beef and decided to give it a go. “We recognize that food insecurity is an issue in Labrador and there’s a need for us as Labradorians to grow local meat, whether that’s beef or pork or whatever else,” he said. “So when a farm close to our church property became available, we jumped on that.” Dinsmore brought Highland cattle to the region and has been growing his herd for the last few years. He said there have been a lot of challenges, but he thinks compared to what farmers faced 100 years ago, they aren’t so bad. “I feel we have an advantage because there are things like equipment and government programs available that are a huge help to us,” he said. "If you’re not afraid of work and you want to see local food produced here, then I think it’s a really good thing to get into. I always encourage young people to consider it, there’s a demand for it.” Producers could never keep up with the demand for local food, he said, so it’s literally a growth industry. There has been a huge amount of interest in the beef from local people, Dinsmore said, and he hopes to be able to scale up his business over time into a larger commercial operation. Right now, the farm is focused on growing the herd and producing hay because they aren’t allowed to sell beef yet. There is no licensed abattoir in Labrador and Dinsmore said they’ve petitioned the government and is hopeful there will be one soon. He said there was discussion of building one this summer, as part of a partnership with the province, and he’s hopeful it will move forward next year. “An abattoir is next on our priority list; without it we can’t produce our own beef here locally. Hopefully next summer we can produce our own beef, which would be amazing.” The provincial government did recognize the need for an abattoir in Labrador in the work sector plan for agriculture that was part of The Way Forward document, which had 2018-2019 listed as an ideal completion date. Dinsmore said he does know of other people who would get into the industry but are waiting for an abattoir to be built. There is a deficit in agriculture infrastructure in the region, he said, and that does inhibit the growth of the industry. Nevertheless, he's looking on the bright side. “If it takes longer than next year, that’s all right. I’ll just keep feeding our cows and getting them nice and fat and growing our herd, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Tom Angiers of Spruce Meadow Farm has been farming in the Lake Melville region for a long time and said he’s fully aware of all the barriers producers continue to face in terms of government policy and infrastructure. Taking on agriculture in Labrador takes a certain kind of person, he said, one who is willing to put in the time and the work needed. He produces vegetables and eggs at his farm along the North West River Highway, selling them locally and hopefully soon, on the Labrador north coast. Angiers and his farm were recently awarded federal and provincial funding to construct a regional cold storage and packaging facility for Labrador, the first of its kind. Use of the facility will be available to members of a co-operative, he said, which currently includes three farms. “So far we’ve only been able to grow and try to handle a little bit for a little while, but we’ve never really been able to make a living at it because we haven’t been able to store enough to supply enough months of the year,” he said. “You can’t support your family on a few months of vegetables.” A cold storage facility would give them the opportunity to store and sell their crops in Labrador year-round for the first time, he said, which could allow them to greatly grow their businesses. The co-operative has been approved to be a part of Nutrition North Canada, a federal government program with the goal of making nutritious food assessable in the north, including the Labrador north coast. Angiers said this gives the farms and the people of the coast a great opportunity since the program will cover 80 per cent of the cost to ship the freight up the coast. “This way they can get fresh Labrador vegetables at a reasonable cost,” he said. “It’ll be higher quality and lower prices, there’s no drawback to them. It’s a win-win.” Last year, Memorial University took over what had been known as the Grand River Farm in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, run by Frank and Joyce Pye, and turned it into the university’s first experimental and community farm. Ashlee Cunsolo is dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies and the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems at the Labrador Institute of Memorial University. She said Frank Pye approached the school before he died with the dream of turning the farm into a hub for northern food security research, and a seed was planted. The university went through two years of consultation before taking over the farm, and Cunsolo said they heard nothing but support. The 80-acre farm will be used for a number of purposes and they spent last year and this year planning and preparing. Next year they’ll be welcoming in the public, researchers, and community groups, which Cunsolo said will be more of an official opening. They will be offering a variety of services, equipment, and resources for those interested, including giving people access to plots to try their hand at farming or to try out new crops. It will be the first experimental farm in Labrador, she said, and can hopefully help the industry grow. “With the provincial plan to double food self-sufficiency, Labrador is poised to really contribute to that,” Cunsolo said. “There is huge untapped potential and we’re hoping, as a university and as a hub for research and education, to be able to support that growth and development in a rapid way so we can provide training and research opportunities.” For research to be approved on the farm, Cunsolo said, it has to be requested by a local farmer or shown to be a direct need for local farming. They want it to be a place where people try new things, and where new entrants into the industry are encouraged. “What’s cool about doing it through a university is we can pilot these things with no risk,” she said. “If they don’t work, they don’t work, and we know it and that contributed to what we understand.” Cunsolo said in Labrador there are so many farmers who don’t have enough land and have to use every piece they have, so this will help remove that risk. They aren’t competing with commercial farmers, she said, adding she feels people see them as an asset to the region. “We see ourselves as a way to support the work that’s already being done and to help people grow in the way that they want,” she said. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
An Ottawa city councillor has apologized for "inadvertently" texting while driving Tuesday, a lapse in judgment that was livestreamed via YouTube during a virtual meeting of the city's audit committee.Osgoode councillor and deputy mayor George Darouze initially joined the 9:30 a.m. meeting from what looked like his kitchen, and even asked a detailed question about the accounting procedures surrounding the city's public-private partnership at Lansdowne Park, one of the audits tabled Tuesday.Around 11:30 a.m., the livestream showed Darouze getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. He put on his seatbelt, as well as headphones, presumably to keep listening to the meeting. His device appears to be sitting in the passenger seat, the camera facing him.He began to drive — the passing scenery clearly visible through the driver side window — and pulled out a cell phone. He then began to text with his thumbs, taking his eyes off the road several times. At one point, Darouze fumbled around with his right hand to find his glasses, then put them on.Eventually, Darouze looked toward the second wireless device in the passenger seat and turned off the camera. The councillor didn't respond to a request for comment, but posted the following brief apology on Facebook:"This morning, I inadvertently texted while I was driving. I apologize for this and commit to my family and residents that this won't happen again."Later Tuesday afternoon, Darouze replaced that post with another statement, this time admitting his behaviour was a "stupid thing to do." "I should not have done this. I commit to my family and residents that this won't happen again," reads the public post.Ottawa police aware of videoA number of people on social media are calling for police to charge the councillor for distracted driving, and for Mayor Jim Watson to weigh in. A statement from the mayor's office said he "trusts that this will not happen again."Ottawa police said in an emailed statement that they're aware of a video of "a driver with a handheld device," without naming Darouze. Police said the driver appears to be violating the Highway Traffic Act, and said they will investigate if they receive a public complaint.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s government is considering an electoral law amendment that would make it harder for opposition parties to pursue their unity strategy against the powerful ruling party in future elections.After a 2012 overhaul by the ruling Fidesz party and its leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary’s two-ballot election system has allowed parties to field individual candidates in the country’s 106 single-member voting districts and to present voters with a national party list.Currently, election law requires that parties must run candidates in a minimum of 27 voting districts in at least nine counties and the capital Budapest in order to present a national list. The new proposal, approved 8-4 on Tuesday by parliamentary committee, would significantly increase this minimum requirement.The government argues the changes are necessary to prevent fake parties from abusing state funding they receive for election campaigns.If approved by the ruling party’s parliamentary supermajority, the amendment would force opposition parties to join in running a single national list against Fidesz. This could widen ideological fault lines within the tenuous coalition and make it more difficult to unseat Orban’s government.For months, the opposition has negotiated the details of a unity strategy against Orban in forthcoming 2022 elections, vowing to co-ordinate candidates in individual districts in an effort to prevent splitting opposition votes, and to adopt a common political platform and single candidate for prime minister.This strategy brought substantial gains to the opposition in municipal elections last year, where opposition candidates took the majority of Hungary’s cities including Budapest.The Associated Press
When Fred Paisnel lived on the James Bay coast more than 60 years ago, he captured footage to show people back home what life was like in the northern First Nation communities. Today, those videos are finding a new audience and offering a glimpse into the past after his son, Neil, shared them on YouTube. Paisnel is originally from Jersey, the Channel Islands, which is located between England and France. In the mid-1950s, he worked as a stand-in manager for the Hudson’s Bay Company in several communities including Moose Factory, Pagwa River, Temagami, Attawapiskat and Moosonee. Paisnel had just turned 20 when he travelled to Canada by SS Australia ship with his friend Bob Troy. “From what dad tells me, he did not want to go into farming,” Neil explained. While he was up north, Paisnel took videos of people working and interacting with each other. There is also footage of the landscape such as ice flowing down the river or a helicopter flying over. The helicopter is from the Mid Canada Line, one of three lines of radar stations in Canada that acted as an early-detection system during the Cold War. Neil copied the videos from cine film to digital a few years ago with the intention of editing them. Last week he decided to add them to YouTube. “I just uploaded them raw as they were, no changes to file names, just a few basic notes to see if anyone was interested in them,” he said. Last week Neil posted in a Facebook group looking to track down people shown in the videos. Since then, he said some people have recognized their relatives or other people. In Moosonee, those were the happy times, Paisnel recalled. “I was lucky in that the people who were there in my time were always nice people," he said. "We all got on well and had lots of fun and the occasional alcoholic drink. In our house, the staff house, the food was cooked by a lady who was called ‘Ma.’” After leaving Moosonee, Paisnel took over a store in Pagwa River, then stayed in Moose Factory and was later transferred to Attawapiskat. After three months there, he decided to quit his job. He returned to Moosonee, took the train to Cochrane and went to Timmins where his aunt and uncle lived before heading back overseas. Before Paisnel worked on the James Bay coast, he worked in Quebec in Manawan and Obedjiwan. He recalled the first two or three days on the ship on the way to Canada were very rough and many people got seasick, but he and his friend Troy “didn’t miss a meal.” The ship sailed up the St. Lawrence river and made a brief stop at Québec City. Then, they sailed to Montreal where they stayed at a hotel for a night. The next day, Troy and Paisnel interviewed with the Hudson's Bay Company. Troy was sent to Labrador and a few other places on the coast and they didn't see each other again while they were in Canada. As for Paisnel, he took a night train to Saint-Jovite that flew him into Manawan. “It was just after a break-up, so it was really the first floatplane in,” he said. “I was met at the dock, which was a little wooden platform which extended into the lake, by the manager of the Hudson Bay store at Manawan, Eric Leach.” Leach and his family housed Paisnel for 22 months. “The whole house was comfortable, warm, well-built,” Paisnel said. “My bedroom was quite a large room and contained the two-way radio which we used every morning to contact a place called Senneterre to tell them we were all alive and kicking, to report which furs we had bought the previous day, the prices we paid, and that was then relayed to the headquarters in Montreal.” At the time, all the furs and prices had a code name, said Paisnel. They used a codebook to read and send their messages. The store sold a variety of products: canned foods, flour, sugar, salt and dried goods. There were also clothes like including parkas, ski pants, work clothes and warm underwear. The store also had fishing rods and 12-gauge shotguns in stock. The main furs that were bought were beaver and mink. Sometimes, they did ermine or muskrat. There were also a few foxes, pine martens and lynxes, which they exchanged for food, Paisnel recalled. “We also stored our furs that we bought up there and a contraption for packing them. We laid them down one on top of the other, pressing them down into a very tight bundle, which we then covered with Hessian sacking (burlap) and sewed up tightly for shipping,” he said. In Manawa, the reserve was located across the lake and community members visited the store every day, according to Paisnel. “Who, despite the fact they had very little, always seemed to be happy and always had a big smile and I can only treasure the memories of those people,” he said. “When one thinks of today’s materialistic society, these people had nothing or very little and yet they enjoyed life. Always smiling and happy … It was something that I will never forget.” Paisnel is now 85, living in Jersey with his wife Elaine. You can watch all of Paisnel's videos here.Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com