Democrat Joe Biden got all five votes for President when the town of Dixville Notch voted just after midnight on election day. President Donald Trump won the midnight voting in second town, Millsfield, 16-5. (Nov. 3)
Democrat Joe Biden got all five votes for President when the town of Dixville Notch voted just after midnight on election day. President Donald Trump won the midnight voting in second town, Millsfield, 16-5. (Nov. 3)
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
While outdoor rinks will continue to open across Saskatoon this year, hockey games will not be allowed on them.At Saskatoon city council's monthly meeting on Monday night, councillors asked administration about reports that hockey nets were being removed from outdoor rinks. Lynne Lacroix, the city's general manager of community development said that hockey games are not allowed under provincial COVID-19 rules."If you leave the nets out randomly, the chance of scrimmages happening or games picking up will probably be high," said Lacroix. "So they're trying to minimize that as public skating is permitted, games are not permitted under the new regulations."Last week, the province suspended all team and group sports in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under-18 hockey players are still allowed to practise, but only in groups of eight players.Outdoor rinks operated by community associations will still allow up to 30 skaters on the ice at any given time.Andrew Roberts, director of recreation and community development with City of Saskatoon, said the new rules on hockey nets are in effect because the province is only allowing practices for under-18 players."So based on that, we're requiring that nets not be outside on our outdoor rink during public skating time," Andrews said."We are recommending to our community associations — we're not mandating, we're just recommending — that the nets be removed when there's unsupervised time just to mitigate the risk of hockey being played with groups bigger than eight."The policy is in effect until Dec. 17, when the province will be providing updates to the recommendations.Andrews said community associations can still rent out rinks for hockey practices under the new restrictions, and would be able to use hockey nets in those circumstances.The city has received plenty of feedback from citizens and community associations, mostly looking for clarification, he said. "We're providing the requirements and the documentation to our community association so that they can share them among the community as well."Indoor rinks aren't really affected, Andrews said, because nets aren't on the ice during public skating and all rental times are supervised."The difference is everyone must wear a mask indoors — it is just recommended to wear masks at outdoor rinks," he said.Kelly Boes, executive director of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association, said the new city guidelines don't really affect organized minor hockey.Boes said their practices, for the most part, are indoors and they are allowed to have nets."I really think this is designed around the kids that are, you know, hanging around and just want to go and have some fun and start playing, and a shinny game breaks out," he said."I think that's why they're doing it, to try to stop that from happening."Coun. Randy Donauer (Ward 5) worried there might be confusion between indoor and outdoor venues."I don't know if it's sending the right message to say we're going to have hockey facilities inside for practices, but you can't even have a net out for kids to shoot on in the neighborhood," he said. Brad Holler, who was out Tuesday shooting pucks at the Sutherland rinks, thinks removing the nets is going too far."It sucks for kids," he said. "This is Saskatchewan. Hockey's a huge part of our culture, it's how kids stay active."I realize there's a pandemic at hand. But when you look at some of the other regulations that are in place right now, like you can go eat at a restaurant, five people per table and take off [your] masks … to take away hockey nets, I think it's a little ridiculous."Roman Todos, president of the Caswell Hill Community Association, said they are still getting the rink prepared, so it isn't open yet.How big a deal the no-net policy will be depends on how long the restriction stays in place, he said."We should be close to getting our rink up and running and then we'll have to follow the guidelines as much as possible," said Todos, adding they'll need some more people to help to put up signage up and co-ordinate the new policy. Meanwhile, Lacroix said other winter activities, like Optimist Hill, are expected to open soon, as is the Meewasin outdoor rink near the Bessborough Hotel.During the city council meeting, Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city's director of emergency planning, continued to ask people in Saskatoon to stay at home and limit the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the city.On Monday, there were 1,318 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatoon, almost double the number from Regina."Our ICUs are currently operating over capacity and our resources are stretched," she said. "We need all residents to return to following the guidelines of [Chief Medical Health Officer] Dr. [Saqib] Shahab as closely as possible."
In B.C.'s biggest cities, 'tis the season for financial debate.Vancouver and Surrey have begun moving forward on their 2021 budgets this week, which consist of both a yearly operating budget and a long-term capital budget for future infrastructure projects.Surrey's finance committee passed its budget on Monday, while Vancouver council is set to hear from hundreds of speakers on its proposed budget Tuesday. If things go according to plan, both will have a final vote on the budgets at meetings next week. The majority of B.C. municipalities typically wait until 2021 to pass their budgets (the fiscal year beginning for most in April), but the province's two biggest cities traditionally vote in December because of the complexities of their operations.Vancouver has $1.6 billion in annual revenues, while Surrey has approximately $576 million. McCallum: Surrey has 'best budget I've ever seen' The City of Surrey's finance committee — which includes every member of council — moved forward the 2021 budget on a 5-4 vote, with Mayor Doug McCallum and the four members of his Safe Surrey Coalition in support. "I've seen a lot of budgets … and for the times, this is the best budget I've ever seen, put together by anybody," said McCallum. The budget includes a 2.9 per cent property tax increase next year, but triples the city's capital parcel tax from $100 to $300. It applies to every property in the city.McCallum said it would fund a number of needed projects in the city while taking on less debt, including a community centre in Newton and upgrades to Bear Creek Park Athletics Centre. "We're the envy all across Canada right now. And I see it and I hear it every single day."But not every councillor was convinced."I don't think this is the time," said Coun. Brenda Locke. "When you actually crunch the numbers, on a modest income some people are going to pay upwards of 12 per cent [more in property tax] or maybe more."The City of Surrey estimates an average increase of $260 for the average single-family home next year — $60 from property taxes, and $200 from the parcel tax. A final vote is scheduled to take place next Monday. Vancouver looking at 5% increaseMeanwhile, the City of Vancouver is looking at a five per cent property tax increase next year, but has no parcel tax levy — meaning the owner of an average single-family home assessed at $1.57 million would see a $146 increase next year. "This is going to be a tough year for decisions around the budget," said Coun. Adriane Carr.Council agreed early in 2020 to limit tax increases in this year's budget to five per cent, but lower revenues due to COVID-19 mean staff have recommended reducing spending on a number of areas to meet that target. "There's no way that it can't be anything but a compromise budget," said Carr.Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said that while a lot of the increase was unavoidable due to fixed costs stemming from collective agreements, she would be looking at ways to maintain what she characterized as core priorities for the city, like street cleaning and sanitation. "We have to have an increase …. for meeting those collective wage agreements and commitments. Having said that, it's hard to justify much above that when people are struggling." In the City of Vancouver's public engagement for the budget, about 30 per cent of respondents said they wanted the police budget reduced. The city's proposal is to have it go up from $341 million to $343 million.
Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra has been rebranded "Diem" in a renewed effort to gain regulatory approval by stressing the project's independence. Plans for Libra, first floated by Facebook last year, were slimmed-down in April after regulators and central banks raised concerns it could upend financial stability, erode control over monetary policy and threaten privacy. Tuesday's name switch is part of a move to emphasise a simpler, revamped structure, Stuart Levey, CEO of the Geneva-based Diem Association behind the planned digital coin, said.
While COVID-19 numbers in the Prairie Mountain Health region remain at a plateau, as with the rest of the province, two deaths were reported Monday linked to the Fairview Personal Care Home. That brings the region’s pandemic-related death toll to 16. A spokesperson with Prairie Mountain Health reported that there are 26 residents who have tested COVID positive at Fairview, as well as 12 staff. Six deaths are now associated with the Fairview outbreak. As well, two schools in the Brandon School Division announced over the weekend there are cases of COVID-19 — Vincent Massey High School and J.R. Reid School. The public letter related to J.R. Reid School does not contain the usual line, "The infection was not believed to be acquired at school." Nevertheless, the province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, continues to maintain there isn’t "much transmission in schools." Because Roussin has never divulged statistics, The Brandon Sun followed up with a question to Manitoba Health. We asked for those numbers, but they were not available by deadline. Meanwhile, Roussin is telling Manitobans to obey public health orders to bring fatality numbers down. Saturday’s daily provincial bulletin announced the death of a child under the age of 10, and Monday saw two deaths also unrelated to the elderly — a man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s, both from the Winnipeg health region. "We continue to announce many deaths every day. Today, again into the double digits. I think we all know that we can’t continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down," Roussin said. Roussin acknowledged the restrictions the province has instituted are hard. "We’ve heard from a number of Manitobans that they want these restrictions lifted. Again, it’s not a matter of wanting these restrictions. I don’t think anyone wants these restrictions in place," he said. "It’s what the consequences of lifting them ... the consequence of lifting these restrictions right now is a much longer page of Manitobans that we lose with this virus, overwhelming of our health-care system, more strain on our health-care workers." He said while all Manitobans don’t want the restrictions, none want the consequences. Manitoba numbers appear to have reached a plateau, with daily numbers lingering between 300 to 400 for days. These numbers indicate the worst-case scenario — with no restrictions and no buy-in by Manitobans – won’t come to pass. Modelling predicted the province could reach a peak of 1,000 COVID-positive cases per day by Dec. 6. So far, it seems that model won’t become reality, but Roussin said it’s not enough to plateau. The numbers still need to come down. Contacts still need to be kept to only essential contacts.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
Ontario is investing more money into the idea of using community paramedics to provide health care to senior citizens in their own homes. The Ontario government announced Friday it will invest up to $15 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for a longer period of time, said a news release. The program is not currently available in all communities. As a first step, the government is inviting communities to express their interest in expanding their existing provincially funded community paramedicine programs to include long-term care, said the news release. Communities that meet the eligibility requirements will be invited to submit an implementation plan and proposed budget, outlining how they will administer a larger Community Paramedicine program this fiscal year, said the Ministry of Long-Term Care. "The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve." The program was initially announced in October 2020 in partnership with five communities. This included Brant County, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, the City of Ottawa, Renfrew County, and York Region. Among the services provided in the program are: Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports; Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures; Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents; Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports. The ministry said the community paramedicine program is a way the province is collaborating with health system partners to provide innovative services and work toward ending hallway health care in hospitals, improve the long-term care system, and respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors and their families.Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
SANTÉ. Il est déjà connu que la pandémie, tout comme les autres types de catastrophes, engendre des séquelles psychologiques importantes dans la population. La docteure Mélissa Généreux, professeure-chercheuse à la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé de l’Université de Sherbrooke, termine une deuxième phase de l’étude québécoise sur les impacts psychosociaux de la pandémie. Elle est maintenant en mesure de comparer les résultats observés avec ceux de septembre dernier. La conclusion : il faut agir, dès maintenant ! «Les jeunes de 18 à 24 ans forment, comme il y a deux mois, le groupe le plus susceptible de présenter des symptômes significatifs d’anxiété ou de dépression majeure (46 %). Les travailleurs de la santé ont toujours eux aussi une prévalence élevée d’anxiété ou de dépression probable (31 %). Les personnes en télétravail s’ajoutent maintenant au lot des personnes affectées psychologiquement par la pandémie dans une proportion de 27 %», précise Mélissa Généreux qui est également médecin-conseil à la Direction de santé publique de l’Estrie. Réalisée auprès de 8 500 adultes, l’enquête s’est déroulée du 6 au 18 novembre dernier dans toutes les régions du Québec. On y apprend que : · Un adulte sur 4 (un jeune adulte sur 2) rapporte des symptômes compatibles avec un trouble d’anxiété généralisée ou une dépression majeure. Ce phénomène est en hausse, surtout chez les hommes et les jeunes. · Les idées suicidaires sérieuses sont 2 fois plus fréquentes qu’avant. · Les troubles psychologiques sont nettement plus présents à Montréal. · Les travailleurs essentiels et les télétravailleurs sont davantage touchés. · Tant la pandémie que l’infodémie influencent la santé psychologique. · Le sentiment de cohérence demeure un facteur protecteur très important. · La consommation abusive d’alcool est en hausse chez les 35 ans et plus. · Seuls 6 adultes sur 10 seraient prêts à recevoir un vaccin (en baisse). · Les consignes sont perçues comme étant exagérées et peu claires par plus du quart de la population. «Alors que l’homologation de vaccins approche, le désir de se faire vacciner diminue. Elle ne se traduit pas par un refus, mais plutôt par une plus forte hésitation à se faire vacciner. Nous attribuons une partie de ce phénomène au faible sentiment de cohérence et aux attitudes négatives face aux consignes gouvernementales : selon l’étude de novembre, ces consignes sont perçues comme étant exagérées et peu claires par plus du quart de la population», explique la professeure-chercheuse en santé publique. Malgré des résultats somme toute inquiétants, Mélissa Généreux est toutefois confiante. «Plus nous en connaissons sur la nature, l’ampleur, la distribution et l’évolution des impacts psychosociaux de la pandémie et les facteurs de risque ou de protection associés, plus nous pouvons éclairer les décisions prises par les autorités. Je suis vraiment fière que nos dernières recommandations permettent aujourd’hui des collaborations pour assurer une prise en charge concrète et immédiate de la situation». En effet, le ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, par l’entremise du ministre Lionel Carmant, annonçait des investissements de 100 M$ en santé mentale le 2 novembre dernier. Pour instaurer des solutions concrètes à court terme, le ministère s’est adjoint les services de la docteure Mélissa Généreux qui a coordonné avec la communauté de Lac-Mégantic des projets contribuant à renforcer la résilience des individus et des collectivités. Elle agira comme conseillère sur le déploiement de l’organisation pour tout le Québec, d’équipe d’éclaireurs en santé mentale. «L’expertise a été et est encore développée en Estrie, et toutes les instances impliquées collaborent de façon coordonnée. Le tout, bien sûr, dans le but de faire profiter des meilleurs soins et des meilleures pratiques à notre communauté, mais aussi à la population du Québec», conclut Mélissa Généreux. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office still doesn't know how a high school student diagnosed with COVID-19 on the weekend caught the disease.Extensive testing has been done on the contacts of the Charlottetown Rural student but no source has been found, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.At her regular weekly briefing Tuesday morning, Morrison said she believes the student was likely in direct contact with someone who had travelled off P.E.I."I would encourage all teachers and students in P.E.I. schools with smartphones to download the free national COVID Alert app," she said.The student was one of two cases announced on the weekend. The other person had travelled off-Island.There are now a total of 102 people in self-isolation on P.E.I. who have been connected to recent cases.Sharp decrease in travelSince the Atlantic bubble was suspended last Tuesday, personal vehicle traffic has dropped by about 80 per cent, said Morrison.During the first weeks of November an average of 1,120 personal vehicles crossed Confederation Bridge every day. Since the bubble was suspended last week that fell to 220 a day.It is still possible for Islanders to travel to the mainland under some circumstances and not self-isolate when they return.If the travel is for medical, child custody, airport dropoff or student pickup purposes, Islanders can be exempt from self-isolation. They are not allowed to stay overnight and interactions while travelling should be brief, physically distant, and be kept to a minimum. No stops in public places or visits with family or friends are allowed as part of the trip.P.E.I. has had 72 cases of COVID-19, with four currently considered active. There have been no deaths and no hospitalizations.More from CBC P.E.I.
A nine-month-old baby is among the victims, police said, adding that the suspect did not appear to have a 'political or religious motive'.View on euronews
Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in late October to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing that the move would deter legitimate humanitarian trade and hurt the allies’ common interests, diplomatic correspondence shows. Germany’s Bundesbank also kept a multi-billion-euro deposit facility open for Iranian banks, including two that faced fresh U.S. sanctions, giving Tehran a much-needed banking lifeline at a time its access to the global financial system was largely cut off, according to central bank data and interviews with bankers, Western diplomats and officials. The behind-the-scenes pushback to Washington and the extent of Germany’s support to Iranian trade in the face of U.S. sanctions have not been previously reported, and shed new light on the divergent approaches to Iran taken by President Donald Trump and the U.S. allies.
When Nikita Toms hears a knock on the front door of her King’s Point home, there are a couple of things it could mean. The first is that it could be the courier dropping off a Christmas gift. The second thing it could be is another courier delivering a piece of her four-year-old daughter Peyton’s Make-A-Wish bedroom makeover. Sometimes, the courier shows up with a mixture of both. When that happens, Nikita is always sure to separate gifts from makeover items. Either way, they’re both equally welcomed by the youngest Toms. “It’s exciting to her,” said Nikita. Pieces for the bedroom renovation have been coming for the past month. The makeover includes a new bedroom set, the repainting of walls with a giant rainbow — Peyton’s aunt and uncle are painting her room — and a host of other upgrades to reflect her love of unicorns and rainbows. Make-A-Wish Canada breaks wishes down into three categories. There are travel wishes, celebrity wishes and item wishes. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the travel and celebrity wish categories became impossible to fulfill. Some of the children making those wishes chose to wait until they could travel again to make them happen, while others switched their wishes to item wishes. “Some of the wishes have been reimagined,” said Dave Walsh, development co-ordinator with Make-A-Wish Canada in St. John’s. The pandemic meant a shift in the way Make-A-Wish Canada does things. Normally, the foundation would have a team that would assemble and makeover a gift like Peyton’s. However, for safety reasons, the foundation has been sending the items to the family and having them assemble it themselves. “We’ve been forced to do things at a distance,” said Walsh. Make-A-Wish Canada is fulfilling three other wishes in addition to Peyton’s in the province. The other three are all video game-related. All are currently receiving pieces of their gifts. “It’s kind of nice, too,” said Walsh. “They feel like Christmas wishes.” Peyton was one of those who decided to reimagine her wish. A big Disney fan, she had originally wished to visit Disneyland, but that wasn’t possible under current conditions. With travel a no-go, the young girl gave it some thought and decided she wanted a bedroom makeover with an emphasis on two things in particular. “She wanted anything to do with rainbows and unicorns,” said Nikita. Peyton finished two years of chemotherapy to shrink a benign tumour on her jaw that was the size of a baseball in February 2018. Then, her parents Nikita and Jake, marvelled at her strength as she did three chemo sessions a month and 72 treatments over the two years. “She was a lot stronger than we were,” said Nikita. Seeing the bedroom slowly come together with the help of the family has been great for her parents. And, obviously, for Peyton. As pieces of the room continue to trickle in, the family hopes to have everything assembled in the next couple of weeks. “(Peyton) well deserves it,” said Nikita. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Social determinants of health – such as discrimination, proper housing and occupation – are critical factors for public health officials when considering how to target resources at those whose risk of contracting the novel coronavirus is highest. As health interventions aim to address these social liabilities in the short-term, the pandemic is also exposing how environmental determinants of health are often overlooked. Air pollution, for example, produces worse health outcomes and occurs more intensely in areas with poorer social and economic conditions, according to research cited in a study published earlier this month by health data non-profit ICES and the University of Toronto. The paper notes that previous studies “have also implicated environmental pollution as having a biological relationship to the risk and severity of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.” Environmental factors affecting local public health may emerge as a larger discussion in the coming weeks, as Mississauga’s climate plans resurface during budget committee presentations which resumed Monday. Estimated to cost more than $460 million in the next decade, or about $46 million per year, the City is slow to commit funding in its first year of budgeting for a greener future in Mississauga. In June 2019, following the lead of several other Canadian cities, Mississauga’s Council passed a motion to declare a climate change emergency and approved an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan six months later. In the summer, as the 2021 budget document was being considered by City staff, The Pointer asked Mayor Bonnie Crombie about the ambitious goals she championed in the Climate Action Plan just prior to the pandemic, including some $160 million that would be needed in the short term for hybrid and electric buses. "Certainly, the greening of our economy is the right direction to move and I think we all agree with that," she said at the time. "We are very hopeful that the impact of COVID will be contained to the next three-year horizon and that we will still move forward with our Climate Action Plan. It is very dependent on the ICIP money (Ottawa's Invest In Canada Plan for infrastructure) – money coming from the provincial and federal government – to assist us to green our fleet and implement many of the recommendations that you found in that report." Now, implementing the climate plan is a highlight of the City’s 2021 budget. The two-pronged climate change solution universally advocated by scientists – mitigation and adaptation – is reflected in the City’s strategy to promote green energy, and retrofit or build resilient infrastructure. The plan sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next ten years and by 80 percent ahead of 2050, with the long-term goal of reaching zero emissions. The second pillar is to “build resilience” against the effects of climate change, including severe weather damage to City infrastructure. Next year’s ‘pandemic’ budget, has leaned out capital project funding to help weather the City’s major revenue losses in transit and recreation due to the ongoing public health emergency. Parks, Forestry and Environment staff are proposing a net $37.5 million operating budget, or a $1 million increase from last year, to maintain service levels, support higher fleet costs and kick-off climate protection goals. “Now, having a bold plan is very different than action. This is where the City now has to try and follow through on that, and I don't see that in this year's budget yet,” said Marc Johnson, Director of the Centre for Urban Environments at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He cited urbanization data that shows 82 percent of Canadians live in cities, with significant greenhouse-gas emissions and resource extraction linked to oil, lumber and other materials that support urban development. Though projects including infrastructure lifecycle maintenance, tree planting, stormwater drainage, trail upkeep, parks construction and pedestrian bridge replacement may relate to climate change, the budget does not directly connect these developments to the City’s climate strategy. “I want to see earmarked in [the budget] which of these investments in staff, in green technology, and infrastructure refurbishment are aligned with their Climate Action Plan,” he said. Perhaps the clearest funding link to execute the Climate Change Action Plan is the addition of another full-time staffer, a climate change specialist, in next year’s operating budget, with a salary of $92,000, and $121,000 forecast in 2022. No funding has been allocated until 2023 for the Climate Change Plan Implementation in corporate buildings, with budget documents recommending about $216,000 be set aside. In budget presentation documents, staff acknowledged the City requires resources to fulfill its climate plan and parkland growth expansion. However, parkland growth is not funded until 2022, with a recommended $291,000 budget. Capital projects in the Parks, Forestry and Environment departmental budget will also face deferrals, with an overall budget of about $32.3 million for 2021, forecast to more than double in 2022 to $66 million, and drop slightly to $51 million the following year. There is also a modest budget for parkland acquisition in 2021, at $120,000, compared to $26 million forecast for 2022. Corporate building retrofits as part of the climate plan are also being set aside, not being requested in the budget until 2023, with staff forecasting $216,000. More than 40 percent of parks and related infrastructure will need capital funding for replacements and maintenance over the next decade. Funding in other service sectors will affect Mississauga’s climate change goals, most prominently in transit, which accounts for about 70 percent of the City’s emissions. MiWay Director Geoff Marinoff said, during Tuesday’s transit presentation to the committee, that 40 percent of the fleet would be turned over to hybrid energy buses in the next four years. MiWay is proposing $440.6 million to replace 409 buses over the next 10 years. However, staff are proposing only a small fraction of the annual investment needed if 40 percent of a new hybrid fleet is to be acquired in the next four years. The bus replacement budget for 2021 is just $2 million, even though MiWay reaffirmed its commitment to “no longer purchase any conventional diesel buses, and will be required to purchase hybrid-electric and zero emission vehicles.” The budget does not specify if the bus replacement budget will be solely for hybrid-electric vehicles. (The City currently has 36, and the remaining 475 buses run on ultra-refined diesel.) The federal government, as Crombie highlighted in the summer, could provide a significant contribution, as clean energy infrastructure is one of the priorities in its infrastructure investment policy and Ottawa has already approved large sums to municipalities and provinces for clean transportation since the plan was adopted under the Liberals in 2015. The budget also notes the City’s training program for fleet operation will be amended to train drivers in reducing idling and fuel consumption to align with climate goals. Initiatives linked to fighting climate change can also be found in the increased stormwater tax. Mississauga has seen its share of extreme weather in the past decade, with heavy rain and flash floods last spring and fall. Human activity connected to climate change is leading to more extreme rainfalls in North America, according to a study published this June. A stormwater tax raise, which will range from $2.20 to $3.68 per year, is slated to help generate $43.5 million toward the City’s stormwater reserve funds for unpredictable weather caused by changing environmental conditions. Natural disasters and severe weather events demand crucial consideration when making urgent local policy shifts, said Lauren Latour, a coordinator at Climate Action Network Canada. “A lot of the time when we talk about climate policy, we're talking about federal level policy, but the effects are going to have to be dealt with by municipal governments,” Latour said. “They become those frontline protectors for their communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia's top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world's longest-serving director of a major art museum.As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.She also was very active in promoting the museum's treasures to the public.Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”Antonova will be buried in Moscow's Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.The Associated Press
Le Dr Richard Fachehoun de la Santé publique et le président-directeur général par intérim du CISSS Côte-Nord, Claude Lévesque, ont de nouveau martelé leur message de respect des consignes sanitaires lors de leur point de presse du lundi 30 novembre. Depuis le début du mois de novembre, 38 nouveaux cas de COVID-19 ont été détectés, dont 22 dans la MRC de Manicouagan et 12 dans la MRC Sept-Rivières. Le Dr Fachehoun est notamment préoccupé par l’arrivée du temps des Fêtes. Il indique que cette période est plus propice à des rassemblements, ce qui augmente le risque de transmission. Il affirme qu’au « début du mois de janvier, on risque d’avoir une augmentation du nombre de cas. Il est donc important pour l’instant de réduire nos contacts pour stabiliser la situation ». Il invite d’ailleurs les Nord-Côtiers à passer le temps des Fêtes dans la région. CHSLD de Sept-Îles L’autre sujet qui a retenu l’attention lors du point de presse fut la situation au CHSLD de Sept-Îles. Rappelons que dimanche, le CISSS annonçait une éclosion de COVID-19 de moins de cinq cas parmi les travailleurs. Le CISSS affirme surveiller la situation de très près et avoir mis en place toutes les mesures nécessaires. Ainsi, tous les travailleurs et résidents ont subi un test de dépistage. Les familles des résidents ont été contactées. Une désinfection des lieux communs a été faite. De plus, de la sensibilisation est faite auprès des travailleurs de la résidence. Pour l’instant, il y a des restrictions pour les visites, mais il est possible pour les proches aidants de s’y rendre. « Nous sommes mobilisés pour protéger les usagers et le personnel », affirme Dr Richard Fachehoun. L’enquête épidémiologique concernant l’éclosion au CHSLD de Sept-Îles se poursuit. Questionné sur le fait d’employer des travailleurs provenant d’autres régions, le CISSS explique qu’il faut recourir à ces travailleurs pour pouvoir garantir l’accès aux services des usagers. Il assure du même coup avoir mis en place les mesures nécessaires pour tester les employés et ainsi protéger les usagers.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
In the midst of a deadly year on ATV trails across Newfoundland and Labrador, the RCMP has launched a bigger push to curb what it's calling reckless behaviour, a move being met with acclaim from some ATV riders in the province.Fifteen people have died while operating ATVs and snowmobiles in areas policed by the RCMP across the province since Jan. 1. There were 12 ATV-related deaths in 2019 and 10 in 2018.In 11 of the deaths this year, safety equipment, such as helmets and seatbelts, were either not worn or improperly used. Alcohol use was a suspected factor in 10 of the deaths, according to an RCMP media release. "I find these numbers personally alarming," Assistant Commissioner Ches Parsons, commanding officer of the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador, told reporters on Monday. He also called the casualty rate "extreme."Dean Layman of Avalon ATV said it's about one in 10 riders who don't follow the rules, and with his group the rules are plain and simple: no helmet, no ride. "Enforcement is good if they get the, I call them idiots, off the road," Layman said Monday evening, shortly after the RCMP launched its enforcement and social media campaign in response to the high number ATV-related deaths across the province this year."People who go out and plan to destroy stuff and hurt people, and don't care ... that's the issue I have."Laymen said he often rides with RCMP and RNC officers, and there's never an issue when they're on the trail. Covert surveillanceThe RCMP's campaign, launched Monday, plans to increase enforcement of existing ATV laws. Officers will target speeding, use of safety equipment, under-aged drivers and alcohol use.The RCMP plant to use special tactics, including plainclothes officers and vehicles that are hard to identify as police, to allow covert surveillance and to gather evidence, in collaboration with its varying detachments, to support any charges laid. "The undeniable fact of death and tragedy is there. In my personal experience I've had ATVs flee from me, and in many cases the operator saw it as a joke," said RCMP Sgt. Matthew Christie, the commander of the force's traffic services east unit."I can assure you when I knock on a door and tell someone their loved one has been killed, it's no joke."WATCH | Find out why the RCMP in N.L. are aiming for the heart in a new safety campaign: On top of those efforts, the RCMP is also launching a social media campaign called ATV Safety Can Save More Than One Life.The campaign will run for three months. It's designed to make an emotional impact by focusing on the devastation to the loved ones left behind in the wake of ATV deaths, as well as the causes of those deaths, according to the RCMP.The campaign will use visuals and simple messages in an effort to get more people talking about safe recreational vehicle use.But as he heads out riding with his group, Layman said he wants to see officers on the trails themselves, and stricter fines for those caught breaking the law. "The [RCMP] or the RNC need to get on the trails and just get out and take a look," he said."Put a bigger fine out. No helmet, take a picture, then you got proof. Then give them a fine, take his bike from him for 24 to 48 hours ... and you can't get it back until you pay the fine."Under the Motorized Snow Vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles Act: * It is illegal to operate an ATV on a highway except to cross from one side of the road to another, and in that case the operator must have a valid drivers licence, insurance and registration to do so and 100 yards of visibility. * All occupants of an ATV must be wearing an approved helmet. * It is illegal to operate an ATV while under the influence or alcohol or narcotics. * A person must be 16 years old to operate an adult-sized ATV of over 90 cubic centimetres (cc). * A person who is 14-15 years old can operate an ATV under 90 cc but only when being supervised by a person who is 19 years old or older. * A person under 14 years old is not permitted to operate an ATV of any size. * A person who permits an under aged child to operate an ATV without supervision can be charged for doing so.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Ten fishermen out of Shippagan, N.B., were testing ropeless trap technology during the spring crab fishery that is designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.A recent report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts found that fishing gear entanglements were the leading cause of right whale deaths from 2010 to 2015. There are only about 360 right whales remaining in the world.The report recommended ropeless gear as a solution. Standard gear connects traps on the bottom to a buoy on the surface. With ropeless gear, the ropes lie on the bottom until they are released by an acoustic signal from the fisherman, then float to the surface so the traps can be hauled.Robert Hache, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said previous experiments with ropeless gear did not go well."The main issue was the reliability and user-friendly aspect of the acoustic release mechanism," said Hache.This most recent technology is working better, he said, but there are still issues. In particular, the system relies on cellular networks for locating the underwater traps, and the signals are not that strong out on the fishing grounds.Eventually, a system would also need to be set up so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can keep track of all the traps in the water."Fishermen that have been involved with the testing and have used these devices have found it sufficiently interesting to do further experimentation," said Hache.Fishermen investedInterest in the devices is growing, Hache said.Five of the 10 fishermen this year invested their own money to buy the devices."That was a very good sign for us, because when you get these people interested in an equipment, that are willing to invest, then it means they are looking at this issue seriously," said Hache.New methods need to be found. Currently, conservation means just shutting down the fishery when whales are spotted.Ropeless traps can stay in the water, because they pose no danger to the whales.More from CBC P.E.I.
New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is warning residents to pay close attention to Tuesday's rainfall warnings.Environment Canada has marked the first day of December by issuing a rainfall warning for more than half the province.Central and southwestern parts of New Brunswick can expect between 40 and 120 millimetres of rain Tuesday into Wednesday morning.However, some regions in southwestern New Brunswick could see up to 180 millimetres. "No one should be caught off guard at this point, so stay informed through trusted sources and make sure you are prepared to react if needed," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick EMO.Downey said people should also check their storm drains and rain gutters and have an emergency kit ready.Special weather statements issuedThe national weather agency has also issued a special weather statement for eastern New Brunswick, where up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected. Those areas include: * The Acadian Peninsula. * Bathurst and Chaleur region. * Kent County. * Kouchibouguac National Park. * Miramichi area. * The Moncton area.Environment Canada said similar rainfall events in the past have caused road washouts and localized flooding in low-lying areas."Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," the agency said in a statement."Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Don't approach washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts."Environment Canada says the storm is similar to one that caused severe flooding in December 2010.This year, however, the ground is not frozen so it should be able to absorb a lot more rain."We've been running a water deficiency throughout the province for pretty much all of 2020," said Jill Mapea, a meteorologist with Environment Canada."The ground is not very saturated at all."After a bit of a lull Tuesday morning, Mapea said the heaviest rain was expected Tuesday afternoon and evening."Fingers crossed it doesn't come down too hard," she said, "but I think a lot of people with wells are welcoming this rain." However, Mapea wasn't ruling out the possibility of flooding."You never know. Sometimes a big downpour can raise those levels really quick."Populated areas might expect some street flooding, she said if storm drains are overwhelmed.
The Alberta government is hiring an outside contractor to review the reasons for an increase in the number of people receiving benefits from disability programs such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.The $75,000 review will look at AISH, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) and Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD). According to the document provided to potential bidders, work was set to start Nov. 30 and wrap up by Dec. 23, though the timeline could be extended by three weeks if required. "The caseloads of programs that serve disabled Albertans are increasing," the document said. "The project will enhance understanding of the external and internal factors that are related to these increases and how government can better align policy, program design and delivery with these factors."The findings of the project will be considered as part of the ongoing requirement to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs and will support the province's planning and decision making process."The contractor is expected to suggest "practical and feasible recommendations to improve the financial sustainability of the programs."Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney was not made available for an interview. In a statement to CBC News, her press secretary Jerry Bellikka said the contract is part of the government's commitment "to review the efficiency and efficacy of all government programs" and "will support the province's planning and decision-making process."He said the successful bidder will be named and a timeline set once the contract is finalized. Marie Renaud, the NDP critic for community and social services, said she was alarmed by the narrow scope of the review, the lack of consultation and the short timeline, particularly in light of comments made by Premier Jason Kenney and his staff in September.After Kenney mused about needing to look at growing case numbers, Matt Wolf, his executive director of issues management, followed up with tweets suggesting thousands of AISH recipients might not meet the definition of being "severely handicapped" because they have anxiety or ADHD. Renaud said she thinks the government is using a tactic it has tried before to justify changes to eligibility requirements. "The evidence we've seen with this government is that a lot of these panels and reviews are really a way to give themselves cover for the next steps that they're going to take," she said.According to the bidding document, the successful proponent will look at internal government data, socio-economic information and past reviews. There is no indication they are expected to hold consultations with people who use the program or their families. Renaud said the programs in question are old and could use a review, but not in the way the government is attempting. She thinks the contractor's findings will be used to justify cuts in the February provincial budget.