One week before the U.S. presidential election, both candidates were amping up their campaign. Barack Obama campaigned for Joe Biden in Florida while President Donald Trump attended three rallies to try to regain support he’s lost.
One week before the U.S. presidential election, both candidates were amping up their campaign. Barack Obama campaigned for Joe Biden in Florida while President Donald Trump attended three rallies to try to regain support he’s lost.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
Russia is trying to import foreign-made drugs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic due to a shortage of products at home, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Tuesday, as authorities reported a record 569 new daily deaths from the coronavirus. Russia has several vaccines against the virus in the works and produces some drugs domestically, including Coronavir and Avifavir, both of which are based on favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and is widely used there as the basis for treatment. During a meeting with senior government officials on Tuesday, Murashko said there was a problem with the supply of favipiravir in some regions.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd may discontinue its premium Galaxy Note phone next year, sources with knowledge of the matter said, a move that would reflect the sharp drop in demand for high-end smartphones due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Galaxy Note, known for its large screen and a stylus for note-taking, is one of two Samsung premium phone series - the other being the more compact Galaxy S which draws in consumers with its state-of-the-art parts. At present, the South Korean tech giant does not have plans to develop a new version of the Galaxy Note for 2021, three sources said, declining to be identified as the plans were not public.
Is shopping in stores safe during the pandemic?There are ways to reduce risk, but health experts advise avoiding it when possible.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says holiday shopping in crowded stores is a “higher risk” activity and that people should limit any in-person shopping, including at supermarkets.Instead, the agency recommends shopping online, visiting outdoor markets or using curbside pickup, where workers bring orders to your car.If you need to enter a store, go during off hours when there will likely be fewer people. Wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others.Try to spend as little time inside the store as possible, says Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a public health expert at Cornell University.“You just want to go in and out,” he says. “Get your shopping done and move on.”Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you leave, and then wash your hands with soap and water when you get home.Retailers have been doing all kinds of things to make shoppers feel safe, but they don't eliminate the risk. Some check shoppers' temperatures at the entrance, for example, but an infected person may not have a fever and can still spread the virus.The plastic barriers between customers and cashiers also might not block all droplets from an infected person, Weisfuse says. If the air in a store feels stuffy, he says that’s a sign of poor ventilation, and you should leave.___The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.Read previous Viral Questions:What does emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine mean?Is it safe to stay in hotels during the pandemic?Is it safe yet to fly during the pandemic?The Associated Press
Most food banks in Ontario experienced a “rapid surge in demand” during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by Feed Ontario. One of the Sudbury Food Bank’s agencies reported a 150 per cent increase in the number of people accessing emergency food support each day, while Manitoulin Family Resources served 1,500 clients during their busiest month – a significant increase from their regular 300 to 330 clients. “COVID-19 has compounded the already extreme challenges that are being faced by low-income Ontarians, and it has really impacted all communities,” said Carolyn Stewart, executive director of Feed Ontario. “Particularly in terms of food bank use, we are concerned about what’s to come in the winter months.” The 2020 Hunger Report released on Monday looked at data from 130 direct member food banks and 1,100 affiliate services that was gathered between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. It also included a special feature about the impact of COVID-19 on emergency food assistance services from the onset of the pandemic on March 17 to September 2020. About 1 in 8 Ontarians – or 13 per cent of Ontario households – were considered food insecure in 2018, and 537,575 individuals accessed food bank services in the province between 2019 and 2020. More than 3.2 million visits were made to food banks in Ontario during the same period, and 33 per cent of food bank visits were from children. In the last two years, the province has seen a 7.8 per cent increase in the number of people accessing support, and an 11.8 per cent increase in the number of visits being made. “Unfortunately, food bank use continues to rise and last year was no exception. We believe this continual increase in food bank use is driven by three things: an inadequate social safety net, precarious employment, and unaffordable housing,” said Stewart. “For example, over 85 per cent of those that we serve are either rental or social housing tenants who spend over 70 per cent of their monthly income on rent. The good place to be, they say, is around 30 per cent. That’s significantly more, and it leaves little room for anything else.” More than 65 per cent of individuals who visited food banks in the last year were on social assistance, many of them receiving far less than the “national standard” of $2,000 set by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). There has also been a 44 per cent increase in the number of employed people accessing food bank services over the last four years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these pre-existing issues. From March to June, food banks saw an overall 26.5 increase in the number of first-time users. Out of 200 food bank users surveyed in September, roughly 50 per cent are worried about defaulting on a mortgage or facing eviction in the next two to six months. An additional 90 per cent are incurring a significant amount of debt just to cover their expenses. Manitoulin Family Resources, an agency that provides programming related to violence against women prevention, children’s services, and emergency food assistance to Manitoulin Island, shared its story with Feed Ontario for the purpose of the report. “While the initial days of the pandemic were very quiet for food bank requests, it caused concern that we were not even receiving requests from some of our regular visitors,” said the organization. “(Eventually), referrals began to increase, sometimes high, sometimes low, but then came a day where a worker called with 700 names of those in need. It was a turning point.” The organization decided to send prepared pallets of food for pickup instead of their regular individual baskets. The pallets were then delivered and distributed to households in the area. “For three consecutive months, our food bank provided food to over 1,000 individuals, with the highest month being over 1,500. As restrictions have eased in the province, we have seen a drop from those high numbers,” said Manitoulin Family Resources in the report. “Some have speculated that individuals have had financial stability due in large part to CERB, but as CERB evolves and COVID numbers have again started to rise at a faster rate than the earlier wave, we are attempting to prepare for what will come.” The report confirmed that according to the data, government income supports like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the moratorium on evictions and the student loan interest freeze did help relieve some of the pressure on food bank use. Community initiatives like pop-up food banks and meal programs also worked alongside government intervention to address the emergency need for food. “Food banks would like to work ourselves out of business. No food bank thinks that we are the solution to food insecurity or poverty. Rather, we are serving an emergency need in the community,” said Stewart. “The only way to address that need is good public policy. In our report, we do recommend a few key things to help move that needle forward.” These things include reinstating the CERB benefit for those who have been impacted by COVID-19 as well as rent relief for low-income tenants that are facing large rent arrears or eviction, and the overhauling of Ontario’s social assistance programs so that recipients have the means to move out of poverty. “Ontarians need access to quality employment, support services that do not perpetuate or deepen poverty, and access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing,” concluded the report. “By investing in these key solutions, the Government of Ontario will not only reduce poverty and food insecurity, but also build a more equitable and healthier province for the people and families that call it home.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
WASHINGTON — Major Biden is getting an early start in the spotlight as a presidential pet after a play date ended with his owner, President-elect Joe Biden, suffering a broken foot. As if that weren’t enough for one weekend, it was also confirmed that Major will have to share the White House with, of all things, a cat.It’ll get better, Major.In a few weeks, Major, fellow German shepherd Champ and the TBD feline are expected to make the move to the White House. Presidential pets provide their owners with a source of comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR.The arrival of the Biden pets will also mark the next chapter in a long history of pets residing at the White House after a four-year hiatus during the Trump administration.“Pets have always played an important role in the White House throughout the decades,” said Jennifer Pickens, an author who studies White House traditions. “It not only provides companionship to the president and their family, but I believe it also humanizes and softens their political image.”Having a dog or cat will give some pet-loving constituents a connection with the president, added Tom Whalen, a presidential historian at Boston University.“When a president, the leader of the country, the leader of the free world really, is seen with a dog or a cat, you know, basically there is a bond that they have with their public, whether they’re Republican or Democrat," Whalen said.President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. And President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president's bed.More recently, President George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets."When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny would arrive to provide companionship.Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon named Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll.Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony, Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa.President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." It should not be a surprise that many presidents have taken him up on that advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots."“From a presidential perspective, you know, a dog or cat or horse, they’re great because they’re nonjudgmental. They’re going to give you their unqualified love. And they’re not going to criticize what you did in Somalia or how the economy is doing," Whalen said. “The pets are always there for you. And I think presidents, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, need that kind of reassurance from time to time, given how things are."___Associated Press video journalist Mike Householder contributed to this report from Detroit.Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Georgia voters on Tuesday are choosing the short-term replacement for civil rights legend John Lewis. Former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall and former Morehouse College President Robert Franklin are contesting a runoff election. The men finished first and second, but no one won a majority in a first round of voting in September among seven candidates. The winner of the two Democrats will only fill the seat until Jan. 3, though. State senator and state Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams easily defeated Republican Angela Stanton King in November for a full two-year-term starting in January. Williams and King didn’t run in the special election. The 5th Congressional District includes most of the city of Atlanta, as well as some suburban areas of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties. Turnout could be light, after fewer than 31,000 people voted in September. Lewis died at age 80 from pancreatic cancer in July after 34 years in Congress. He was the youngest and last survivor of the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington, when Lewis led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was best known for leading protesters in the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he was beaten by state troopers. Hall and Franklin both contend they can get something accomplished during a short stay in Congress. Voting on a temporary federal budget could be the most significant act that Hall or Franklin takes, although there are still fading hopes of additional COVID-19 relief legislation. The 49-year-old Hall touts his experience on the Atlanta City Council and the Atlanta school board, saying he will make the most of his limited time to try to focus on directing money to the district’s top concerns. “People know me as someone who has gotten something done,” Hall said of his previous positions. Franklin and Hall share similar positions on issues, but Franklin, now a theology professor at Emory University, preaches a higher cause as well. “It’s about moral leadership at a time of national crisis,” said the 66-year-old Franklin, who promises to call attention to Lewis’ legacy and to further Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the “beloved community." Franklin has raised $282,000, including $65,000 he loaned his campaign, while Hall has raised $194,000. Jeff Amy, The Associated Press
Edna Lenora Perry broke stained-glass ceilings. And in doing so, she sunk a church floor — at least, that’s what attendees at Edna’s ordination ceremony whispered to one another when the wood flooring gave way at St. John’s Cathedral before she became one of the first female Anglican priests in the country. “There was some real resentment to having a woman involved,” says Sheldon Perry, Edna’s middle son, who recalls the moment catastrophe forced 300 people to evacuate the Winnipeg place of worship on March 24, 1981. It was, in fact, a combination of heavy rain, basement construction and high capacity that resulted in pews shifting on temporary floorboards sagging more than a half-metre. Edna hardly seemed fazed; she, two male deacons and their supporters simply drove to another church to complete the ceremony. The people who were close to her will say this was no outlier achievement in Edna’s 96 years. When she set her mind to something, she made it happen — sexism be damned. ● ● ● In Edna’s obituary, published shortly after she died of old age at Middlechurch Home earlier this year, her life is succinctly described as “productive.” That is an understatement. She raised three sons, John, Sheldon and Keith Perry, juggled careers as an educator and priest, and maintained an endless list of volunteer activities that earned her the honour of having a residential street in Transcona named after her: Edna Perry Way. She even made time to publish an autobiography, with help from her youngest son. As written in the introduction of A Prairie Girl’s Life: The Story of The Reverend Edna Lenora Perry, “Edna didn’t have to wait until the Dirty ’30s for life to get hard; she was born to it.” On June 30, 1923, she came into the world and met older siblings Frank, Ethel, Theo and May. Her parents, George Frank and Ethel Jenny Martens moved from The Pas to the Manitoba capital for a brief period, when Edna was born, before accepting a farmland subsidy from the province that took them to Marchand. A tight family budget meant she spent much of her childhood making up games. On the farm, she and her sister Mary would drape a large blanket over both sides of their sturdy resident plough horse and play “house” underneath the animal. Despite the early hardships, Edna looked back on those memories fondly when she reflected on her life, recalls Keith, her youngest son and the co-writer of the book about her life story. Edna and her youngest child undertook what would become an 11-year-project to compile A Prairie Girl’s Life after the love of her life, Jack Perry died in 2002. “She needed something to fill the void,” Keith says. Edna and Jack met at a dinner and dance organized for English trainees of the Royal Air Force in Carberry. She was set up with another airman, but as soon as the duo locked eyes, she knew Jack was “the one.” She promptly asked his date if they could swap seats. In 1944, Jack was recalled to the U.K. for the final big push of the Second World War. But as always, Edna was determined and found a way to England by posing as a war correspondent and hopping on a boat. A talented pianist, she played wartime songs long after the battle ended. She had married Jack in 1945 in his hometown of Devon, England, and they returned to the Prairies so Jack would have better job prospects. “One of her favourite expressions was, ‘Let’s have a party.’ She just liked getting together and playing music. She played (piano) by ear, so when she lost her sight, that didn’t affect her playing,” says eldest son John. Edna played piano during the square dance nights she organized at Transcona East End Community Centre. While raising three sons, Edna resumed her career as a schoolteacher and climbed the ranks to become a principal. Before she met Jack, she was working in a one-room schoolhouse with a limited teaching permit she received during the war. Edna was passionate about science and outdoor education, which motivated her to organize camping trips and found the Manitoba Outdoor Education Association. She also lobbied for the creation of kindergarten and eyesight clinics in the Springfield-Transcona School Division. John recalls his mother being so successful in getting students involved in science fairs that the local association of science teachers took notice. The board asked “E.L. Perry” to join the group, but rescinded the offer once they learned she was a woman. “She was truly a woman ahead of her time who didn’t let her gender define her life or ambitions,” says Shelley Hart, a family friend. Earning two degrees — in education and theology — while raising her family and taking in friends who were in need of a loving home were just some of her glass-ceiling-shattering accomplishments, Hart says. Edna was an Anglican minister at numerous cathedrals, in northeast Winnipeg and in Teulon. She was also chaplain of the Transcona Legion and the Mothers’ Union. When she suddenly lost her sight in 1989, she conducted funerals and weddings by memory. Jack read the Bible verses aloud and she taped them, so she could replay them repeatedly and write sermons from the audio. Rev. Brian Ford says Edna was always open-minded and “on the positive side” of history in the Anglican Church. She welcomed the ordination of women and gay men as priests when there was still debate about the subject, as well as allowing children to take communion without having been confirmed, Ford says. In the seven years before Edna died, Ford visited her twice every week at Middlechurch Home. He’d take a Thermos of tea and if Edna was lucky, homemade cookies from his wife. It was during these visits the friends would read together and reflect on Edna’s “productive” life — from her early days on the farm to being a war bride and beyond. Edna is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. For Keith, her youngest child, “matriarch” is the best word to describe his mother and her legacy.Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
One woman has died after a fire broke out in a seventh floor unit in a Toronto Community Housing apartment for seniors. Erica Vella has details on the investigation.
TORONTO, S.D. — Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says it is cutting the salaries of up to one quarter of its full-time staff, and extending salary reductions for senior management and executives to deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.The company that owns Toronto professional sports teams including the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Argonauts as well as sports venues, says up to 25 per cent of full-time staff will be moved to temporary inactive status.Extended management and executive salary reductions will be effective Jan. 1.Affected employees will remain on MLSE payroll at a reduced salary, retain their benefits and pension and maintain their access to all corporate communication tools to remain current on MLSE’s operations. MLSE says the length of time employees will remain inactive will be based on its ability to return to normal business operations.Professional sports has been disrupted by the pandemic with hockey games played in empty arenas, football matches cancelled altogether and NBA games having been played in Florida.“These past nine months have been the most challenging we have ever experienced, and while we had hoped to see signs of a return to a more normal business operations by now, the effects of the second wave of the pandemic have forced us to brace for further uncertainty,” stated president and CEO Michael Friisdahl.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
On Saturday the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division notified the public that a case of COVID-19 had been identified in an individual at three schools in Prince Albert. The schools were Vincent Massey Public School, Princess Margaret Public School and Ecole Vickers Public School. “The division is hoping the recovery is quick and thorough and we extend our get-well wishes to these members of our school community and offer our support to the surrounding families. We also extend our support to the staff and students in our schools who are affected by the isolation,” the release stated. As has been the case in the past, these cases were not school-acquired, but rather spread from the community and detected in individuals associated with the school. The division was informed on Saturday of the positive COVID-19 test results and communication is being shared with the classrooms/cohorts, the connected staff, as well as with the school community. The learning program will continue remotely for those students affected. All three schools will remain open for in-person classes for students who are not required to self-isolate. The division, in this case, did not announce the length of the isolation. As is the circumstance in all cases in the division due to privacy concerns, further details of the case will not be shared. The school’s COVID Response Plan contains many important measures, processes and protocols that add layers of protection for students and staff. School personnel will continue to be informed and guided by SHA as they manage this case. Staffs at schools in the division remain vigilant in ensuring proper safety measures are in place and personnel from the SHA continue to guide and inform school administration and staff. The division explained that although there has been no evidence that transmission has occurred within any Sask. Rivers schools and we all share responsibility to minimize the risk of COVID transmission. “The division deeply appreciates the support that students, parents and community members have demonstrated, especially as the number of cases in our region climbs.” The SHA’s local public health team continues to provide expert advice and strong support for our dedicated staff as we manage the pandemic in our communities. “The division is thankful to have such a cohesive team of administration and staff supported by our partners in Health.” Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
VICTORIA — British Columbia recorded 46 more deaths over the last three days, its highest number of fatalities for that time period.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication.Henry says 80 per cent of the deaths were in long-term care homes, and 441 people have now died of COVID-19 in the province.She says 2,364 new infections were diagnosed between Friday and Monday, for a total of 33,238 cases since the pandemic began.Henry says the rise in deaths reflects the challenge of dealing with the virus in communities, and the impact on seniors when it gets into care homes.There are outbreaks in 57 long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as in five in acute-care units in British Columbia."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Henry says most faith leaders are supporting her order banning religious services and understand that faith can be practised outside of buildings.The RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to a church in Langley after it held a service on the weekend."We are putting in the measures that we believe are the best we can do to protect communities, to protect our health and to protect us from transmission of this virus," Henry says.She says there's always an ethical dilemma when it comes to balancing the unintended consequences of her orders and how they affect people."How do you do just the right amount to try and keep this virus from spreading rapidly and causing so much suffering? There's no right answer to this, there's no perfect way of doing it and I will always be accused of doing too much or not enough."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
A crucial caveat expected in Monday’s fiscal statement from Ottawa failed to manifest: there is no end in sight to federal spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As Canada stares down a nearly $400-billion, record-high deficit for 2020, the Liberal government plans to spend up to $100 billion over the next three years, along with a further $25.1 billion in immediate measures to support workers and businesses affected by the novel coronavirus. That’s not all. In a long-awaited speech from the House of Commons, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland did not provide a “fiscal anchor,” or spending cap, to draw any red lines around the limit to which the feds will continue funnelling toward an economic recovery she acknowledged is still well-off the horizon. Not only is the newly announced additional spending currently unaccounted in the government’s fiscal framework, the ultimate size and timing of future investments could also vary, depending on the evolving health and economic situation. “We will invest every single necessary and helpful measure,” said Freeland, adding $8 out of every $10 spent on fighting the pandemic will continue to come from Ottawa. “We will support Canadian families and businesses in a deliberate, prudent and effective way.” Providing future tax targets and economic measures in what is essentially a mini-budget, and currently Canada’s only financial blueprint for the future, Freeland said the government’s immediate priority is to do “whatever it takes” to help Canadians stay safe and solvent. “When the economy has recovered, the time-limited stimulus will be withdrawn and Canada will resume a prudent and responsible fiscal path,” Freeland said at a news conference Monday. “We don’t have a long-term fiscal anchor for now. That will come when the economy is more stable.” Until then, she told reporters, the government will rely on “fiscal guardrails,” such as the employment rate and total hours worked. But she admitted the specific details on those “guardrails” aren’t yet available. “More information will be released on that in the coming months,” said Freeland. “And I have to say, government debt is highly affordable now because of Canada’s strong economic performance in the past and low interest rates.” To pay for it all, Canada will continue to borrow against current debt loads and will run a deficit which is the largest budget shortfall since the Second World War. For investors, commerce stakeholders and the independent parliamentary budget office, that means Monday’s announcement is a source of worry. Nine months into COVID-19, they are troubled Canada will continue spending funds at the risk of unsustainable costs in the future. “I’d say I’m surprised, but really I’m not,” said Don Drummond, an economist at C.D. Howe Institute. “This is the government’s way of squaring demands, and it’s frankly highly unmanageable if they just want to keep spending all this money without any end to it.” Drummond said the lack of a spending cap is also a problem for public accountability. “It’s not that I don’t think they should be spending funds to help people during this crisis,” he said. “The problem is that there’s no end to it when we also haven’t had a budget in a year-and-a-half.” Kevin Page, who leads the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, said the economic update also failed to deliver a message to markets and bond-rating agencies to address concerns about the growing size of the federal debt. He pointed to a recent IMF report, which showed Canada’s deficit — combining federal and provincial numbers — is the largest this year among almost all advanced economies, when measured as a percentage of GDP, with debts well below comparable countries. “But I also understand the other pressures they have had from provincial governments and business groups to keep spending, so it’s a difficult situation,” said Page. Monday’s report also forecasts $11 billion in “non-announced measures” for the next five years. That’s 10 times the amount forecast for the same period in the 2019 report. It remains unclear whether those will go towards coronavirus-related support or elsewhere. “I believe there should be a very public inquiry into this completely unclear and growing spending that will definitely cause significant harm in the future,” said Drummond. The outlook also mentioned federal debts as a percentage of GDP, before including the new stimulus. It showed those percentages will climb from 31.2 per cent from last year to 50.7 per cent this year, and 52.6 per cent next year. Following which, it will continue to decline. Those are numbers that have never been seen before, even in previous recessions. The finance minister said the risks associated with not providing enough economic support right now outweigh those involved in spending too much. Freeland said Ottawa will not repeat the “mistakes” made following the 2008 recession, when the federal government introduced austerity measures to rein in spending. “We are all tired. But we also know vaccines, and a better day, are coming. To get to that day, we must first help each other get through the winter,” she said.Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
A community fridge in Parkdale that was shut down by the city last week has a new home on private property in the west end.The fridge is now located at 269 Dunn Ave., south of Queen Street West, in front of Nice Nice wine bar and Extra Burger, its new hosts. The fridge operates on the principle: "Take what you need. Leave what you can."The Parkdale community acted fast after the city ordered the fridge removed from its previous location on the sidewalk in front of clothing store Black Diamond Vintage, at 1614 Queen St. W., according to Jalil Bokhari, organizer and founder of Community Fridges Toronto, which maintains the fridge. He said it is now fully stocked."It was really inspiring and heartwarming," Bokhari said of the fridge mobilization effort.The city alleged the fridge was abandoned, and that it posed a safety risk and sanitation issues due to the pandemic, threatening to fine the store's landlord if the fridge was not removed within 24 hours. Bokhari said, however, the fridge clearly fills a need. He said it was moved immediately after the city made its threat. One business stored the fridge before it was moved, while another helped to move it. Then, artists painted it with new designs.The city also said the fridge violated its abandoned appliances bylaw, which is in place to prevent children from getting trapped in discarded appliances outdoors. According to Community Fridges Toronto, the fridge was not abandoned and the bylaw is antiquated."The more we tried to rectify it or work around it, the more days the fridge wasn't there, the more days that people who relied on this fridge were going hungry," Bokhari said."Our priority was essentially to get it right back on the street in any other way we could and work around the bylaw."Bokhari said people want to help their neighbours during the pandemic and food insecurity is a widespread problem in Toronto.Sierra Leedham, co-owner of Black Diamond Vintage, said she is pleased that the fridge has found a new home."We were sad not to have it in front of our space anymore, just because it was a great thing to have. But we are really happy that it's here. This is really a great location. There are fruit markets on both sides. It's a really busy area. We're just happy to see the community have the fridge again," Leedham said.Coun. Gord Perks, who represents Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park, said the city has joined forces with community agencies to deal with the issue of food insecurity."I adore that people want to help. I think it's fantastic, but just trying to figure out a way to get a fridge on a sidewalk somewhere, that's not the best way to help," Perks said. "I am encouraging people who want to help this way to participate in one of the many of the programs that the city has partnered with community agencies on to make sure food that is being shared is being shared safely."Dave Shellnutt, who calls himself the Biking Lawyer, said neighbours are helping neighbours."I think the pandemic has really highlighted and underscored the ways that our current systems are failing folks," Shellnutt said."We need to have quick, rapid responses to problems that governments are just not able to solve and communities need to come together and solve those on their own quickly, because winter is coming and it's going to get cold out there for folks," he said.Pamela Chan, a Parkdale resident, agreed, saying the need is great in Parkdale."There are so many people in this community that are underserved. I have some extra. It's what you should do, right?"
Students returned to Charlottetown Rural High School on Monday morning for the first time since they found out one of their peers had tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.About 300 desks were empty — some of those students in self-isolation, while others chose not to attend. "It was not a regular day at school," said Dale McIsaac, the school's principal."As the week goes along, I think we'll see attendance increase until we get back to what we call normal."Concerns over school openingThe case, involving a 15-year-old boy, was announced by the Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) on Saturday. The student and around 70 close contacts are now in self-isolation.And although the CPHO determined it was OK to go back to the classroom, opening the doors this soon is not a decision the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation agreed with."This was a traumatic event in our community," said Aldene Smallman, the federation's president."It raises such alarm for people who are in those buildings, for the staff, students and families in that building every day."Smallman said she thinks the situation should have been handled differently. She said staff are stressed and not enough time was provided to review operational plans or give people an opportunity to have questions answered."Our concerns would be the health and mental wellness and safety of our teachers, our members, and students."> I'm not going to say we hit the ball out of the park because that wouldn't be accurate. — Norbert Carpenter, PSBThe Public Schools Branch (PSB) said because the case took place over the weekend there was time to work with the CPHO and have the school properly cleaned."If it was a weekday we may be in a different situation today where school may have been shut down," PSB acting director Norbert Carpenter told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.How the student got COVID-19 in the first place remains unknown. His hockey team is also cancelling activities for the next 14 days."That team is isolating for two weeks," said Mike Hammill, president of Hockey P.E.I."They've gone through testing — they'll go through another run of testing as per the guidelines."Room for improvementMore testing is needed but so far, none of the over 1,000 tests from the weekend have come back positive."It's unfortunate it happened to that one student," said 14-year-old Anthony Artz, who attends Charlottetown Rural High School. "But the fact it didn't happen to anyone else I think is very fortunate for us."Grade 10 student Kate Ramsay agreed."I was a little nervous but it was OK after everyone got tested," she said.And while Carpenter said he thinks the situation was handled well this time, there is always room for improvement."I appreciate the fact that the teachers federation have given feedback and have questions," he said. "This was our first case and I think overall it went well."But I'm not going to say we hit the ball out of the park because that wouldn't be accurate."More from CBC P.E.I.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):6:40 p.m.British Columbia health officials say 46 people died from COVID-19 over the weekend, the highest number they have yet reported.The figure brings the total number of deaths in B.C. to 441 and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says about 80 per cent died in long-term care facilities.She says the deaths reflect the challenges COVID-19 is creating and, as we face a “significant storm surge” in cases, she says we need to push back against the virus by continuing to reduce our contacts and stick with our households.Henry also announced a total of 2,364 new cases, including all those diagnosed between Friday and Monday and another 277 historical cases added in a data correction.\---5:45 p.m.Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Johnson & Johnson has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Health Canada's approval.It's the fourth potential vaccine sent for assessment in Canada and the first that would require one dose to confer immunity instead of two.Health Canada has been examining vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca since October, when those companies sent partial data on their drugs for what's called a "rolling review."If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets Health Canada's standards for safety and effectiveness, the Canadian government says it has a deal to buy 10 million doses and an option on up to 28 million more.\---5:45 p.m.Alberta is reporting a new record of daily COVID-19 cases.The province says there are 1,733 new infections — 13 fewer than Ontario announced today.Alberta’s previous high was 1,731 new cases on Saturday.The province says there have also been eight new deaths and 453 people are in hospital, with 96 of those in intensive care.\---3:20 p.m.Health Canada has confirmed that it should be ready to approve another vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of December.Last week, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said the emergency review of Pfizer's vaccine was the most advanced and that Canada should be ready to greenlight it when the U.S. does. That is expected to happen around Dec. 10.Today, a spokesman said other vaccines should also be approved at the same time they are given emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Moderna today applied for that U.S. approval and the FDA will meet Dec. 17 to consider it, a time frame Health Canada said Canada will also be on track to meet.\---2:10 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.Fifteen of the cases are in the central zone, which includes Halifax, and the other is a school-based case connected to the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S., that was reported on Sunday.Premier Stephen McNeil says there continues to be strong public interest in the asymptomatic pop-up rapid-testing locations around the province.Health officials say 628 tests were administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Dartmouth yesterday with six positive results.\---2:05 p.m.Manitoba health officials are reporting 342 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths. The government enacted strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, yet the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent. The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says people have to reduce the number of contacts they have if the numbers are to come down.\---1:25 p.m.The Northwest Territories has confirmed one new case of COVID-19.But the new case will not be included in the territory's tally of infections because the individual contracted the virus before arriving.Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says one close contact of the non-resident worker, who entered the territory on an exemption, has been identified and is in isolation.Kandola says all high-risk essential workers are now being tested for COVID-19 upon entry to the territory.\---1:20 p.m.Nunavut will start lifting lockdown measures on Wednesday as more people recover from COVID-19.The territory reported four new cases today, bringing the total to 181, and the chief public health officer says 73 people have recovered.Dr. Michael Patterson says only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks and travel to the community will still be restricted.The territory-wide lockdown was put in place on Nov. 18 and Patterson says restrictions will be reintroduced if another outbreak occurs.\---1:10 p.m.Yukon is offering extra help to tourism-dependent businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean says $1 million will go to tourism operators and food and beverage businesses that rely on visitors for at least 60 per cent of their revenues.McLean also announced a total of $300,000 for culture and tourism non-profit organizations.She says the two newly created programs are part of a broader funding package for the Yukon tourism industry that will roll out over three years. \---12:52 p.m. Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19 today.The woman is a close contact of a previously identified travel-related case.Another infection announced Sunday has been found to be travel-related.Newfoundland and Labrador now has 36 active cases of COVID-19, with 338 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.\---12:44 p.m.Public Heath officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19 today.There are two cases in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Bathurst region and one in the Fredericton region.The total number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 501, including 374 recoveries and seven deaths. The number of active cases is 120 with no one currently hospitalized due to the virus. \---12:12 p.m.The COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting drop in commuter traffic is prompting another refund for Manitoba drivers. The province says it plans to offer rebates of an average of $100 per policy-holder by early in the new year, subject to approval from the Public Utilities Board.Another refund worth an average of $150 was offered earlier this year. The province says a sharp drop in traffic has resulted in fewer collision claims to Crown-owned Manitoba Public Insurance.\---11:10 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.The province's Health Department says there are 693 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 more than the previous day.Ninety-four people are in intensive care, an increase of two.Officials say eight deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours, 14 others were from the last week and one occurred on an unknown date.\---10:40 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,746 new cases of COVID-19. Eight more people have died due to the virus in the province.Tougher public health restrictions under the provincial framework take effect in five regions today, with Windsor-Essex moving to the strictest level short of a lockdown.Haldimand-Norfolk is moving to the orange level, while Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern are going into the yellow level.\---10:30 a.m.A spokeswoman for the American biotech company Moderna says the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.Global deliveries, including to Canada, to begin in the first quarter of 2021.It applied to Health Canada for approval in October.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Ontario reported seven death on Monday.
The Yukon government has rescinded approval of a controversial resource road that would have opened ATAC Resources’ access to vast mineral claims in the Beaver River watershed. A spokesperson with Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources confirmed the decision Monday in an email to The Narwhal. The 65-kilometre ATAC road, which was given a conditional green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2017, would have created all-seasons access to a portion of the company’s three mineral claims that form the Rackla gold property. The new route would have connected Keno City to the Tiger gold deposit, the site of a proposed open-pit gold mine where ATAC Resources hoped to produce 268,000 ounces of gold. Those who worried the road would have opened an undisturbed watershed to scalable development welcomed the news. “I am ecstatic,” Randi Newton, conservation manager with the Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), told The Narwhal. “I’ve hoped for this outcome for many years, and it’s a relief that it’s finally here.” “What this decision does is remove a major looming threat to the environment of the Beaver River watershed and it creates the opportunity to set down a sustainable vision for that watershed,” Newton said. ATAC Resources, a Vancouver-based exploration company, is seeking legal counsel regarding the decision, according to Andrew Carne, the company’s vice-president of corporate and project development. “ATAC does not agree with many material aspects of the government’s decision,” Carne said in an email to The Narwhal. “The Tiger gold deposit remains a high-quality advanced-stage exploration asset with significant value to be unlocked.” A spokesperson with Energy, Mines and Resources said the department was unable to immediately provide comment. The proposed ATAC road would have provided an initial entrance to the company’s 185 kilometres of mineral claims and exploratory projects. During the road’s assessment and eventual approval by the Yukon government in 2018, many conservation groups and Yukoners expressed concern the road would act as an invitation to further industrial incursion in the watershed. ATAC Resources currently accesses its claims through a series of trails and by air, making exploration work costly. The prospect of a new road caused concern for the CPAWS, which noted easy access could lead to an avalanche of new development proposals, none of which were considered as part of the proposed route’s cumulative impact when it was approved. The road flamed frustrations that mineral development is allowed despite the absence of completed land use plans. In a recent public engagement process conducted by an independent review panel, participants pointed to the ATAC road as an example of Yukon’s failure to consider the cumulative impacts of mining and industrial development on the landscape. A report released by the panel found the road “was used as an example of a poor consultative process, where free entry staking was used for the purpose of creating road access to a property against the wishes of the First Nation and community.” The panel found the road’s approval led to the retroactive creation of “a sub-regional land use planning process outside of Chapter 11, with the assumption made by many that the future road would be part of the plan and the landscape.” One participant told the panel, “This is planning done entirely backwards and driven by private industry action without consideration of actual community- and Indigenous-driven processes.” The sub-regional land use plan for the Beaver River watershed was conducted by the Yukon government and the Na-cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, on whose territory the ATAC Resources’ gold claims are located. Without the ATAC road, some hope the sub-regional land use plan can be scrapped for a broader land use plan that will encompass the entire Beaver River region. “What this has done is create space to develop a land use plan that’s right for the region, that respects the long relationship that the First Nation of Na-cho Nyäk Dun has with the land, that respects the ties that Yukoners have to the Beaver River and respects the wild creatures that live there,” Newton said. Na-cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Roads can literally slice and dice the environment, affecting the habitat and ingrained migratory patterns of wildlife. The Beaver River watershed is home to moose, wolves and grizzly bears. The ATAC road would have crossed through wetlands and over rivers, potentially disrupting otherwise intact ecosystems, Newton said. She added the road would have introduced a cascade of impacts to the watershed, including opening up the region to new hunting pressure. “There’s beautiful salmon habitat in the Beaver River watershed that could have been impacted,” Newton said. “This 65-kilometre road was very likely the start of what would have been a very long road network.” CPAWS recently released a report that cautioned the assessment board against approving road projects before land use plans are completed. “Land use planning can take that broader view of how much development is allowable in an area, which areas should we keep remote and free of roads,” Malkolm Boothroyd, the report’s author and campaigns co-ordinator at the Yukon chapter of CPAWS, told The Narwhal in a previous interview. “I think we’re hoping that Yukoners will talk about it and figure out how many roads there should be in this territory and what areas we want to keep road-free,” he said. “I think what’s very special about the Yukon is that there are still areas that you can’t drive to. That’s incredible habitat for caribou and grizzly bears and that’s really rare in this day and age.”Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Climate change is often relegated to simply being an environmental issue, instead of a problem that impacts every aspect of our lives, from economies to energy systems, to what food we eat — even national security. This week, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve in his administration in a newly-minted position: climate envoy, which will be a part of the administration’s national security team. “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry said in a Twitter statement Monday. There are countless moral reasons to care about the effects of climate change and the especially devastating consequences coming first for vulnerable populations and developing nations. But if that isn’t enough of a motivator to prioritize action on climate change, there is also the argument that climate change will destabilize the world as we know it and become a national security threat to the people of North America. This isn’t a doomsday scenario from the fringes; it is the information being put forward by the U.S. and Canadian Armed Forces — and has been for two decades. In 2018, Col. Denis Boucher, then the director of capability integration for the Canadian Armed Forces, spoke at a symposium hosted by the Centre for National Security Studies. In his presentation, Boucher outlined how climate change will completely alter the security landscape going forward; everything from a more accessible Arctic as sea ice continues to melt, to projections that 40 per cent of the world will be facing water shortages by 2045. “Some oil-producing nations may become economically impoverished and could become instability hotspots,” the presentation reads. The Canadian Armed Forces declined this week to provide anyone to be interviewed on this topic. Boucher’s presentation emphasized the term most used by security officials when discussing climate change: threat multiplier. The phrase is used to demonstrate that many of the factors used to determine security threats are themselves affected by climate change — food security, poverty, not to mention extreme weather events. The idea being that magnifying these factors can have destabilizing effects. The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, was principally sparked by political and economic factors, but it is also one of the most cited recent instances where environmental factors exacerbated an already precarious situation. A drought that had begun in 2006 left the people of the country more vulnerable and more desperate as political tensions rose. In an article published by the NATO Association of Canada, the drought is identified as an often-overlooked factor in the conflict. “The drought exacerbated the already-present water crisis and food insecurity happening in the country, leaving Syria even more vulnerable. Due to the lack of proper governance and infrastructure, Syria’s government was not prepared — or perhaps not willing — to deal with the climate-related crisis and people were forced to flee,” the article states. The Syrian civil war was consequently one of the biggest factors leading to Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015 that sparked intense political standoffs across the continent and a reckoning for European leaders in how to deal with the influx of people. The World Bank has projected that within the South Asian, Latin American and sub-Saharan African regions alone, there will be 143 million people displaced by the impacts of climate change by 2050. “In terms of the ‘threat multiplier’ language, what’s implicit in that is that the thing being threatened is the United States or Canada. And what drops out of that kind of a frame — especially when the threat is something like migration — is you don’t have as much room then to humanize and empathize and understand the insecurities that those migrants are experiencing. What’s driving them to be moving in the first place,” said Will Greaves, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Victoria. Greaves researches the intersection of security studies and climate change and he isn’t terribly optimistic about a stable future as the world warms further. “So if this was just a smaller taste, and we responded by building walls and barricading people outside of our countries, and criminalizing them, and so on. I don’t see a lot of reason why we would expect a national security response to worsening climate change, and worse climate impacts, to not resemble, in general terms, what we’ve already seen,” Greaves said. North America, of course, has a different set of circumstance from Europe, with more isolation from the problems of other countries. However, Canada (and the U.S. to a lesser extent) do face another climate-sparked security concern: the threat of open waters in the Arctic. Northern parts of Canada have long been protected by an ice wall, so to speak. Sea ice is melting at unprecedented rates and completely ice-free summers could be a possibility as soon as 2035. Conventionally, if ever talked about, the possible threat on Canada’s northern border is that another country, often Russia, could encroach on sovereign waters and land. But a much more probable issue is one of being unable to address worst-case scenario situations that arise simply by nature of there being more shipping traffic in the Northwest Passage, Greaves said. “I would suggest that because of the very limited abilities that the Canadian state has to respond to a major marine disaster, or a nautical accident or something like that, that even good ships doing normal business things should be viewed as very problematic as we would not be able to effectively respond,” he said. This summer, the Royal Canadian Navy received the first of six expected ships that will be used explicitly to patrol the Canadian Arctic. The HMCS Harry DeWolf is the first step towards expanding surveillance and defence activities across the country’s northern coastline. At a conference in Ottawa in March, Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance focused more on the conventional security threats that exist as the Arctic opens. “What I am increasingly concerned about is the Arctic as an avenue of approach. The Canadian Armed Forces are mandated to deter and defeat threats to North America that would travel through the Arctic waters and airspace in the years to come,” Vance said. “This requires strengthening interagency and multinational partnerships, increasing surveillance and military capabilities, and improving our ability to base, project, and sustain forces in the North. It requires new approaches to sovereignty assurance that accounts for the very real pan-domain nature of conflict.” However, Canada’s troops are often tied up, having experienced a 1,000 per cent increase in the number of deployments to help in the case of natural disasters in just four years, according to CAF’s data. “Our force structure right now, I would say, is probably too small to be able to deal with all of the tasks,” Vance told CBC in 2019. Greaves said it is fine if Canada wants to use its military for purposes like disaster response, but that is a decision to be made, and it will mean that other priorities are left by the wayside as Canada’s military is not big enough to do all things. “I find that to be a really interesting tension,” Greaves said. “It raises these really fundamental questions about what is the purpose of the Canadian Armed Forces? What are the tasks that they’ll be assigned? And will they be able to do all of those tasks?” One thing is for certain, climate change will help shape national security discussions around the world for decades to come.Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
An individual who attended the Outdoor Kemptville Christmas Market recently tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, eight new cases were reported since the tri-county heath unit's last report of last week. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit declined to identify whether the positive case, which happened on the weekend of Nov. 21 and 22, was a vendor, a visitor or a resident. "We don't share details about individual cases unless there is a risk to the public identified,” said health unit spokeswoman Susan Healey. "We can tell you that we did send letters on Wednesday to close contacts of a positive case from the Kemptville Market." Healey went on to say that the health unit did a full assessment of the outdoor market facility and identified that all necessary precautions were in place at the event. The vendors were notified through the market manager and information was posted on the market website in case people were concerned, said Healey. Anyone who attended the market but has not received a letter from the health unit has not been identified as a high risk for contact with the positive individual. The health unit continues to encourage local residents and visitors to follow public health guidelines for mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing, and to get tested if they experience any symptoms. Meanwhile, a rash of positive results over the weekend means there are now 13 active cases of COVID-19 in the tri-county region. The latest count from the local health unit on Monday shows there were eight new cases since its last report on Friday. Since the pandemic began, 492 cases of the virus have been reported locally. A total of 426 people have since recovered while 53 have died. Of the 13 active cases, 12 are in the community at large while one is a health care worker. Two people recovered since the last report, while one person remains in hospital and on a ventilator. There are currently no outbreaks at any long-term care centres or retirement homes, and the positive case at South Branch Elementary School in Kemptville remains the only one affecting a local school. The positive case in a staff member was reported two weeks ago, but the case count remains at one and the virus did not spread. An outbreak was not declared and the school remained open. The active virus cases are now concentrated in Leeds, despite previously being focused in Lanark east and Grenville near Ottawa for weeks. The latest report shows there are six cases in West Leeds and three cases in the Leeds area that includes Brockville. Grenville has just one active case, while east Lanark has three. With files from Sabrina BedfordHeddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When Renee Latheur decided to take an old guitar into a music store in Kamloops, B.C., she didn't expect the instrument that had sat in a closet for years to be worth thousands of dollars. "It's in a ratty old guitar case. But I remember my aunt saying, 'I don't know what to do with this when I pass away.' " Sherrie Favell died in March, leaving Latheur wondering about the instrument and its connection to the woman she loved as an aunt even though they were not biologically related. It wasn't until Latheur recently walked into the music store and saw the owner's eyes sparkle at the sight of the case that she began to learn more about the guitar and its value to Favell's father, who bought it nearly 65 years ago. Mike Miltimore, who owns the store, said the worn tweed and leather case was a telltale sign that it may contain a unique instrument. When he opened the case, he saw a Gretsch from the 1950s, featuring a big brass buckle on the top and a leather studded "belt" around the outside. "It's a played instrument, you know. It's been loved. If it could talk, it would tell probably about hundreds of concerts played throughout its life," Miltimore said. He said his research from the serial number revealed the electric Gretsch, or Roundup 6130, was made in 1955 and similar to the instrument later played by country legend Chet Atkins. "It's a hollow-bodied guitar and a lot of companies were doing solid bodies at that time," Miltimore said, adding a hollow instrument was used for the country style of picking that Atkins popularized. The guitar that Latheur thought may be worth $200 is actually valued at between $12,000 and $26,000, Miltimore said, adding about 400 of the instruments were made in the 1950s. "I was blown away," Latheur said. She recently learned her aunt treasured the mahogany guitar that kept her connected to her father, Roy Favell, who played his beloved instrument in a band called McKinna Gold. "He caught his hand in a planer at a mill in Salmon Arm and he actually had to retrain to play the guitar," Latheur said. Favell lost his thumb at age 21 but still managed to perform with it. However, Favell inexplicably sold his guitar at a pawnshop. It was later rescued by Sherrie Favell and her mother, Latheur said. Sherrie bought it back again when it was hocked a second time, Latheur said, and she kept it after her father died about 20 years ago. Sherrie sometimes played the Credence Clearwater tune "Bad Moon Rising" on the guitar, but her prized possession spent much of its time hidden away, Latheur said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press