CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton breaks down why Canada is better prepared for the election outcome than it was in 2016 and what issues will be of particular focus following the election.
CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton breaks down why Canada is better prepared for the election outcome than it was in 2016 and what issues will be of particular focus following the election.
Hanover Deputy Mayor Selwyn Hicks has been elected as Grey County's warden for 2021. “I believe that my credentials speak for themselves. I'm an early riser with a strong work ethic and I have the capacity to build relationships that promote progress,” Hicks said while addressing county councillors during the virtual inauguration session held Tuesday afternoon. The position of warden is voted on by fellow county council members and holds a one-year term. Hicks was nominated for the position by Southgate Deputy Mayor Brian Milne and seconded by Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus. Hicks was born in South American country of Guyana and moved to Toronto when he was nine. He moved to Hanover in 2003 and he entered politics in 2006, serving as a councillor from 2006 to 2014 and then as deputy-mayor since 2015. Hicks served as warden of Grey County in 2019. He is a lawyer by trade with offices in Hanover and Walkerton, which he operates with his wife of 24 years, Barbara. They have four children: Selwyn IV, Rylee, Connor, and Chloe. At Tuesday’s meeting, Hicks defeated current Grey County Warden Paul McQueen, who is the mayor of Grey Highlands. In the coming months, Hicks says he plans to meet with each lower-tier council representative to build relationships and seek out priorities. “I will also immediately reach out to our provincial and federal representatives to schedule a minimum of one formal meeting each quarter to build relationships and plan how we can work together to address important priorities for the people of Grey County,” he said. “I'm also now a member of the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus," Hicks added. "I have strong relationships from my first year as warden and I plan to continue to build those relationships.” For the coming year, Hicks said he would like to focus on affordable housing, rural broadband programs, and regional transportation. “We've got a number of things on the go. We're still in a COVID environment and we have to figure out how we pull out of this thing together, how to keep people safe, keep our good track record in public health, and take care of our seniors,” he added.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
LOS ANGELES — People magazine has named George Clooney, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Selena Gomez and Regina King as the “2020 People of the Year.” The magazine revealed its list Wednesday morning as part of a year-end double issue with four covers. The four will be celebrated for their positive impact in the world during a challenging 2020. Clooney, Fauci, Gomez and King will be separately featured on the magazine covers of the issue, which is out Friday. Clooney has received some Oscar buzz for his upcoming film “The Midnight Sky,” but the actor was also in spotlight for his advocacy work. He donated $500,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative in wake of George Floyd’s death and $1 million for COVID-19 relief efforts in Italy, London and Los Angeles. As the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Fauci provided steady guidance during the turbulent pandemic. As the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he has been one of the nation's leading sources of information about the fight against COVID-19. Gomez released her chart-topping album “Rare” and hosted the cooking show “Selena + Chef” on HBO Max. But the pop superstar also spread her message of inclusion through her makeup brand Rare Beauty, which set the goal of raising $100 million in 10 years to help give people access to mental health initiatives. King, who won an Emmy in September, used her voice to encourage people to vote. The actor also called for support of marginalized communities during the pandemic and end police brutality of unarmed Black people. Her directorial debut, “One Night in Miami,” has also been talked about as a possible Oscar contender. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
A P.E.I.-born chef has launched a seafood canning business that is helping keep workers at an Island lobster-processing plant employed past the traditional season. Charlotte Langley lives and works in Toronto now, but she was born and raised in Summerside.She told Laura Chapin of CBC's Island Morning that the lightbulb that led to the business was illuminated a few years back after she couldn't find any canned chicken haddie. That is a blend of whitefish used for chowder and fishcakes, which she calls "comfort food from home." Babineau Fisheries told her they don't produce it anymore, leading her to try to make some herself."So I started experimenting with the art and history and heritage of canned food."Experienced already in the preparation and sale of seafood, Langley eventually co-founded the business Scout Canning, which launched in September. Change of focus due to pandemicThe original plan was to market the products direct to food services: restaurants, cafés, oyster bars looking to branch out into other types of seafood dishes, or "people who have seacuterie already." > Canned seafood has become more popular since the pandemic started. — Charlotte LangleyBut COVID-19 meant a pivot in focus, to the direct-to-consumer market. "Canned seafood has become more popular since the pandemic started," she said. "We've been actually quite overwhelmed with the support."P.E.I. mussels, Ontario rainbow trout and lobster are being canned for Scout at Acadian Supreme in Abram-Village, P.E.I. Langley said they were looking for a small company that "has the ability to grow with us." That means 30 workers who are usually laid off after the spring and fall lobster processing season are getting extra weeks of work. "Yeah, they're busy!" Products now on back orderDemand has been so high for Scout products they're currently on back order, but Langley told Island Morning that a shipment from P.E.I. is expected by the end of this week. "Everyone will have their products for Christmas, so that's really reassuring." They also have Pacific seafood processed by a B.C. plant to cut down on the distance West Coast seafood has to be transported before processing."It sort of is a nice little environmental touch." There aren't any Island locations selling Scout seafood at the moment, but Langley said she's working to change that. "I do think it's completely silly that it's not there," she said with a laugh, speculating that Atlantic-born people have more access to fresh product and may not be as open to a high-end canned alternative. More from CBC P.E.I.
Newer SUVs and trucks with key fobs top the list of the most often stolen vehicles in Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Wednesday.The group that represents insurance companies across the country said theft from your own driveway using widely available electronic tools is on the rise across the country, as thieves respond to demand from high-end buyers overseas and street racers here at home.The four-door 2018 Honda CRV with all-wheel drive holds the ignominious title of being the most stolen vehicle in Canada this year, with 350 thefts reported by insurers across the country — nearly one per day. When the 2017 and 2019 models are included in the tally, there were 758 stolen — that's more than two per day.Here's the rest of the list:There is wide variety across the country, too. In Alberta, all of the most-stolen vehicles are versions of pickup trucks: F150s and F350s from Ford, and Dodge Rams."These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province," the IBC said.In Ontario, however, the list is mostly high-end SUVs from Toyota, Honda and Lexus. Some of those get sold abroad, but many are chopped up for parts, the IBC said. Atlantic Canada had a mix of both, with popular sedans such as the Honda Accord and Chevrolet Cruz mixed in. The most stolen vehicle in Atlantic Canada was the Chevrolet Silverado, which is typically targeted for export by criminal groups.Drivers often worry about something like their window being smashed and their car being stolen that way. But cheap and plentiful tech tools make it far easier to steal a car today. Bryan Gast, national director of investigative services at IBC, said in an interview with CBC News that the biggest trend he's seeing this year is what's known as a "relay attack.""That means they're acquiring your signal from your key fob, cloning your key fob and [then] have the ability to start your vehicle without ever having the original key fob," he said."It's as simple as walking to your front door, seeing if they're able to capture a signal of a key fob that might be inside. They don't go anywhere in your house. They're capturing it from the outside. And they have the ability to technologically clone the device and have the ability to start your car and drive off."New tech 'makes it easy for the criminal'The best tool to fight electronic theft, Gast says, is to not do what most people do — come into their house and leave their keys in a bowl or some other exposed place, just behind the front door. He recommends instead getting a metallic box for the car keys, one that blocks radio frequencies."If you put it in a box, it doesn't emit the radio frequency. Basically, it is in a protective box or a pouch and [criminals] don't have the ability to capture that key fob signal."Cars manufactured since 2008 have mandated some sort of car-immobilizing technology built into them that makes the car not start unless you have the right technologically equipped key, and that has changed the trends in car theft ever since, Gast says. "A lot of the time, as people leave the key fobs in their vehicle, that's where they keep it. They make it easy to hop in, push the button to start and off they go. But it also makes it easy for the criminal, too."There's another built-in vulnerability in something many drivers do as a precaution: when in a parking lot, they double-check their car is locked by hitting the key fob.But a thief in the area with the right technology can clone the fob from that."You're emitting that frequency, which can also be captured," Gast said.A lot of the most-stolen vehicles are higher-end, expensive and large cars that can be hard to acquire outside North America, which is why Gast says a big motivator for theft isn't a criminal looking for a joy ride or to sell it locally. The thief often has a specific request for a specific vehicle and then sets about finding it.Convenient technology is just making it easier, such that currently, a car is stolen somewhere in Canada every six minutes.Theft on the rise in COVIDWhile COVID-19 has led to more cars being parked due to people working from home, it has also led to an increase in one type of car theft, Gast says. Namely, people looking for specific parts and vehicles to be used in street racing events and other reckless driving behaviour."The problem is stealing parts for some of these modified vehicles in the vehicles themselves," he said. "Law enforcement definitely has their hands full."
Big data is playing a prominent role in life insurance this year.Interest in coverage has surged during the pandemic, but for many people, social distancing mandates took the life insurance medical exam off the table. As consumers look for quick, noninvasive ways to buy policies, insurers have turned to accelerated underwriting, a process that uses algorithms instead of exams to evaluate applicants.While accelerated underwriting isn’t new, more than a third of life insurers have expanded it due to the pandemic, according to a study by the Society of Actuaries. And no-exam life insurance appeals to many people. “They want it to be fast and easy,” says Gina Birchall, chief operating officer for the life insurance trade group LIMRA.Accelerated underwriting can help you get life insurance quickly online, but there are caveats. What you gain in speed, you may lose in flexibility and price.HOW BIG DATA HAS CHANGED LIFE INSURANCETraditionally, buying life insurance was a lengthy process involving bloodwork, urine samples and long waits for approval. “It was probably the hardest or most difficult product to buy left in the modern economy,” says Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance.This changed as the world became steeped in big data. Insurers now typically check your prescription drug history and data from the MIB Group, an information-sharing service for insurers. Companies may also consider non-medical data, such as your credit history, driving record and shopping habits. Algorithms then combine these data points to quickly determine eligibility and cost of coverage.This data can be tricky to dissect, but industry experts expect the trend to grow.“The more information we have, the deeper the data that we have, the more capable we are of making sound decisions,” says Jackie Morales, chief insurance officer for Bestow, an insurer that uses accelerated underwriting.HOW ACCELERATED UNDERWRITING WORKSCompanies typically use accelerated underwriting techniques in two ways:1\. TO FAST-TRACK HEALTHY PEOPLE’S APPLICATIONS. Many major carriers approve low-risk applicants based on big data and then require medical exams for everyone else, says Jeremy Hallett, CEO of Quotacy, a life insurance broker. On average, it takes nine days for an insurer to reach a final decision using accelerated underwriting instead of the traditional 27, according to LIMRA. These policies are considered fully underwritten, even if you don’t take an exam.2\. TO PROVIDE INSTANT ANSWERS. Insurers like Bestow use information from your application and big data algorithms to assess risk, and never require a medical exam. Coverage is not guaranteed, but the application process is fast and you often get an answer within minutes.Accelerated underwriting is not to be confused with “simplified issue” life insurance, which considers the answers on your application but doesn’t tap into big data. These policies typically cost more and offer less coverage than standard policies because they rely on limited information.WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A POLICYWhen you shop for life insurance, be sure to ask how the policy is priced. Both instant-answer and fully underwritten policies have pros and cons, and your specific needs will dictate what is right for you.Before you apply, ask yourself these questions:HOW FAST DO YOU WANT COVERAGE?If speed is paramount, consider instant-answer policies that solely use big data and never require an exam. You will get an answer quickly, although the answer may be no.“What big data is providing people is speed,” says Bestow’s Morales. Nearly 85% of people who apply for a Bestow policy do so on a mobile device, she says.HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO PAY?A policy with full medical underwriting is likely to be the cheapest option. If the insurer chooses to use accelerated underwriting to fast-track your application, you are not penalized; your price and product will likely be the same as if you had taken the exam, Hallett says.Instant-answer policies may not offer rates in the cheapest brackets since the insurer doesn’t have the option of a medical exam to get more information. But Morales says, “Some people will trade off that ability to get a fast decision at a reasonable price.”DO YOU WANT FLEXIBILITY?Fully underwritten life insurance may offer more options, such as the ability to convert from term to permanent coverage. This is not always true of policies that rely solely on your application information and big data.“When you at least have that medical exam as a possibility,” Hallett says, “you get a more robust product.”___________________________________This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Georgia Rose is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.comRelated Links:NerdWallet: Options for No Medical Exam Life Insurance https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-medical-life-insuranceMIB Group: Request a copy of your report https://www.mib.com/request_your_record.htmlGeorgia Rose Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Clasine van Adrichem had been enjoying her time with friends knitting mini-scarves for the plush toys of Mr. PG, the mascot of Prince George, B.C., which were to be given away during the World Women's Curling Championship in the city in March.But when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, so were her weekly gatherings with her pals. As the province reopened in the summer, van Adrichem came up with a bigger project to reconnect with her friends: to make a gigantic scarf for the eight metre-tall Mr. PG statue itself.Van Adrichem and nine other women — ranging in age from 67 to 92 — congregated weekly in Prince George's Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park to weave the 13-metre long accessory for the city's landmark, which celebrated its 60th birthday in May.On Monday, Mr. PG finally got to put it on. Each member of the team knitted two to three squares, with a total of 25 making up the final scarf. The squares are different colours that represent local organizations and sports teams."Each square probably took close to 10 hours," van Adrichem told Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North. The weekly knitting sessions in the park were a lifesaver for Sally McLean, who felt isolated at home and didn't get much social support for the first three months of the pandemic."We talked about the weather, and we talked about each other's families and how everybody was doing," McLean said. "We just supported one another in that way as we continued to knit."The women normally make mittens, toques, scarves and sweaters for families in need and give much of their time to support local charities. Van Adrichem hopes Mr. PG's scarf will serve as a reminder to Prince George residents about the importance of giving."There are so many here in the city who need support," she said. "We hope that people will be generous and provide people with something they really need, whether it be food or clothing, at this time of year."Members of the public now have a chance to own a human-size replica of Mr. PG's scarf hand-knitted by van Adrichem, McLean and their teammates. To be in the running, the City of Prince George is encouraging people to comment on its social media channels, stating which nonprofit organizations they've donated to, by Dec. 21.Tap the link below to listen to Clasine van Adrichem and Sally McLean's interview on Daybreak North:Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The images of Mississauga in years to come are stunning. The city’s waterfront has been opened up to the public and painted with modern architecture, while the wasteland of parking lots around Square One has spawned gleaming glass towers that rise to the sky. Hurontario Street boasts a sleek and modern LRT, while Dundas Street has its own rapid transit corridor shuttling residents from east to west and back again. The air is clean and Mississauga has become a destination for everyone. Those renderings of Mississauga in the next ten to twenty years are exhilerating, inspiring and creative, but they’re relatively easy to conjure. A talented graphic designer and an urban planner with half an imagination can easily create the beautiful mockups, specifically designed to draw pre-construction down payments and other investments into the projects. In the short term, there is a huge obstacle to this vision. Years of underinvestment in rapidly aging infrastructure have taken their toll and the city faces a laundry list of urgent problems it must tackle before it can really embrace its future. Nowhere is this neglect more apparent than the fire service. At $122 million, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) makes up 22 percent of the City’s net 2021 operating budget. The service is proposing a modest increase of two percent in its operating budget, driven largely by labour adjustments in its union contracts, which are already set. Despite its status as the single greatest expense Mississauga taxpayers bear, the service is woefully below its required response times and has buildings in a desperate state of repair. Difficulties as a result of COVID-19 mean education and enforcement plans designed to reduce call outs and offset terrible response times have also been delayed. Figures included in the 2021 budget refer to 2019, the last year for which a complete dataset is available. In 2019, the number of fires the City responded to grew, after falling slightly in 2018. Last year, there were 167 residential fires and 384 in buildings of all kinds. According to staff, a comparison of data from 2018 and 2019 shows a significant increase of 19 percent in unintentional fires related to mechanical or electrical failures. The risk of hard-to-fight fires will only increase in the years to come. Already, the city is home to 340 buildings exceeding a height of 18 metres, a point at which they are deemed “high risk” by firefighters. With massive high-rise projects on the planning horizon, such as Oxford Property’s 37-tower Square One development, that number is going to go up with every passing year. A risk assessment completed by MFES found industrial fires were another key worry for the city. Only 1.9 percent of property in Mississauga is industrial, yet 12 percent of fire loss takes place in these settings. “This is significantly higher than the provincial average and higher than expected given the actual number of industrial occupancies,” the budget says. Even with the increase in fires, the number of calls attended by the service was down in 2019. An unlabeled chart in the budget document shows calls significantly below 2018 levels, after years of consistent increases. Mississauga Fire’s central and well-documented failing is its response time. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets a target for the first vehicle to arrive at a fire within 384 seconds of a call coming in 90 percent of the time. To achieve this, the standard target is 240 seconds (four minutes) for travel time. For years, Mississauga has failed to hit this target. In 2019, the department admitted defeat and asked council to lower its target to 240 seconds 75 percent of the time instead of 90. On its internal metrics, MFES does better, but on both fronts 2019 saw travel times barely improved from the previous year and concerningly far from their targets. Mississauga’s plan to close the gap is two-fold. The first pillar is a capital program to add six stations over 12 years. The first of these was opened in 2019, with strategic locations identified to attempt to reduce callout times by targeting underserved areas and reducing how long trucks spend in traffic. The service’s 10-year capital plan includes $7.9 million to construct Fire Station 123 by 2023 and a further $14.9 million to build Station 124 by the same deadline. Further funds after 2023 will be set aside for Fire Stations 125, 126, 127 and 128. The Public Safety Reserve levy, designed to raise funds to buy land and build these new stations, was collected in 2020. For 2021, the City has put it on hold “to assist in managing the 2021 tax impact,” but says it will not have an effect on construction. A delay in acquiring land for Station 124 means the costs will fall into the 2022 budget instead. As The Pointer has previously reported in a three part investigation, the City’s problems go beyond its need for new infrastructure. Fourteen of Mississauga’s 21 fire stations are more than 20 years old and some are in desperate condition. Three cannot be upgraded to meet standards and will need to be rebuilt from scratch, while City documents also show at least nine stations have asbestos in them. The internal audit that informed The Pointer’s reporting estimated $31.4 million to get the 14 stations up to standard, excluding the cost of rebuilding the three unfixable stations. No money has been put into the 2021 budget for these projects, with promises to get to them eventually. The 10-year capital plan suggests funds will be put aside to renovate Fire Station 102, 108 and 115. However, Fire Station 108 is the only building included in the City’s damning audit slated for repair from 2022 onwards. Chief Nancy Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer a plan to repair the other stations featured in the audit would be presented to council in January 2021. The move means funds can’t be set aside until at least 2022, when the City is already predicting a significant tax hike. “The plan is to return to Council in January on this topic,” Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer by email. “The Fire Building Condition Audit study was completed in 2019, and with the disruption of COVID-19 in 2020, it was difficult to integrate the study’s recommendations into the capital plan in time for the budget presentation. This is still a work in progress.” The Pointer's Forgotten Fire Series: The second part of Mississauga Fire and Emergency’s plan is to increase targeted enforcement and education. The service hopes improved public awareness and safety can reduce the number of callouts, freeing up trucks and reducing response times as a result. This need for education and inspections is glaringly obvious. Data from the past four years show 62 percent of all fire calls are to locations that do not have a working fire alarm, despite it being a legal requirement to own one. Two elements are slated to make this change: a proactive fire inspection program and a public education program. The education program proposes 2 full time staff members for the 2022 budget, but does not draw on the 2021 finances. The proactive inspection element is set to hire seven staff in 2022 and have 13 in 2023. The Interim Chief says, while budget savings are a welcome bonus, the pandemic means the two programs would be difficult to deliver even if funds were flowing more freely. “COVID-19 closures and precautions did not allow for a normal public education program nor for the full implementation of proactive inspections,” she said. “Public education traditionally involves attending and hosting public events, meetings etc. Proactive inspections were difficult to conduct when businesses were closed or in the interest of limiting exposure between inspectors and the public. So this program would have been deferred or greatly reduced due to COVID19 anyway; the hiring deferral did help the City with its deficit situation, but the delays made sense from a program standpoint as well.” As strong as the pandemic justification may be, it doesn’t avoid the reality of the situation facing Mississauga fire. Response times remain well below their targets, fire stations are in desperate need of repair and inspections can’t yet take place. The plan? Wait until next year. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 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.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Le Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum annonce un partenariat avec le duo humoristique Nouveaux pères, afin de mieux faire connaître ses services et inciter davantage d’hommes dans la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean à demander l’aide dont ils ont besoin. Optimum espère avec ce nouveau partenariat fera rayonner davantage ses différents services offerts dans la région. Rappelons que l’on compte parmi ceux-ci le service Trajectoires, qui offre de l’entraide psychosociale, Maison Oxygène, qui propose de l’hébergement avec ou sans enfants pour les hommes, ainsi que Cran d’arrêt, qui aide les hommes à mettre un terme à leurs comportements violents ou impulsifs. Le duo d’humoristes de Dolbeau-Mistassini a été choisi puisqu’il rejoint un nombre important de parents dans la région. Samuel Tremblay et Maxime Pearson partagent sur les réseaux sociaux les anecdotes de leur quotidien depuis quelques années déjà pour valoriser le rôle des pères de la nouvelle génération. « Malheureusement, encore en 2020, trop peu d’hommes souffrant de détresse psychologique se tournent vers les services professionnels dont ils ont besoin. Nous croyons que les gars de Nouveaux pères — par leur approche humoristique et positive — contribuent à faire tomber les barrières. Nous sommes très fiers de pouvoir désormais les compter dans notre équipe », souligne Sébastien Ouellet, directeur général du Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum, par voie de communiqué de presse. Samuel Tremblay et Maxime Pearson considèrent les services offerts par le Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum comme essentiels, mais également méconnus et souhaitent les faire rayonner davantage. « Encore aujourd’hui, la demande d’aide chez les hommes représente un défi important. Avec ce partenariat, nous espérons convaincre davantage d’hommes à entrer en contact avec l’organisme. Les gars, ne traversez pas seuls les moments difficiles. Appelez ! », soutiennent les cofondateurs, dans un courriel envoyé au Quotidien. Les pères admettent que dès leur première discussion avec le directeur général de l’organisme, ils ont été témoins de l’importance que le Centre de ressources a dans la région. Ils sont fiers d’offrir un coup de main à cet organisme, et du même coup, avoir un impact positif sur leur communauté. Plusieurs actions de communication seront déployées, au cours des prochains mois, afin de faire la promotion des différents services reliés par Optimum. Une campagne de financement pour les différents services de l’organisme sera aussi organisée dès janvier.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Season 4 of The Crown on Netflix is turning out to be much more controversial than previous seasons, as historians and royal watchers decry the unflattering portrayal of Prince Charles and his marriage to the late Princess Diana.It wouldn't be an understatement to say that he comes out looking like "the villain" in his marriage to Diana. And the reaction from viewers has been so intensely negative that it's compelled Prince Charles and wife, Camilla, to turn off comments on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.But how much of it is true, and how much is a work of fiction, is creating a grey area that didn't exist before Season 4. The show launched its fourth season on Netflix on Nov. 15 and takes place more than 40 years hence it began in its first season.Hugo Vickers, a Royal historian, writer and broadcaster, says the series is painting an unfair portrait of Charles."It is [and] it's also painting an unfair picture of most of the royal family," Vickers told the Calgary Eyeopener."The only one who comes out of it well is Diana. And I understand, of course, that when people are doing a thing like this, they will go to various different sources, but they've entirely taken Diana's side and they've painted Prince Charles as a sort of wimp, but this time they've made him even worse. They've turned him into a kind of evil and murderous wimp, which is pretty unpleasant, frankly."Vickers, the author of the book The Crown Dissected and the e-book The Crown: Truth & Fiction: An Expert Analysis of Netflix Series, The Crown, says Prince Charles is far different from his on-screen persona."First of all, of course, in The Crown, he never does anything at all constructive. He never does any work," Vickers said."He doesn't set up the Prince's Trust. He doesn't do any engagements. He doesn't do anything except whinge and whine about his marriage and how much he would prefer to be with another woman. And so that's the way they've played him."Vickers says the real Prince Charles is dedicated to his role as Prince of Wales, and long ago made his peace with not being king. Complicated marriages"He's already 72 years old, still hasn't become king, so I think he sees the role of king when it eventually comes as the semi-retired position. But as Prince of Wales, he's free to go around stirring things up and getting people interested in his various causes. And he's done an awful lot of good," Vickers said."The marriages, I would accept, have been complicated and to some extent have been the problem in his life."Vickers said the basic facts have been exaggerated to paint Diana as a saint, and that Charles did not carry on an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles throughout his entire marriage."He didn't carry on an affair the whole time. Taking him at his word and returning to the official biography by Jonathan Dimbleby — who had access to all the papers — the affair was resumed in 1986 once he realized that his marriage was irretrievably broken down," Vickers said. "I don't say that that's a perfect situation for him to be in either. I think you may find that it is very complicated this, because there are contradictions that probably it was the Princess of Wales who started having affairs before he did. But listen, I wasn't there, I wasn't in the room. I cannot confirm that to be absolutely true."Vickers said the early years of Charles and Diana's marriage were happier, even though Charles had clearly carried a torch for Camilla for many years.The series portrays Charles as resenting his wife's growing popularity as she took to her role in the spotlight."I think he gradually felt that he was upstaged by her, because the media took a great deal more interest in what she was wearing than in what he was talking about," Vickers said. "So if they were on the platform together, that definitely did become an issue later on."Vickers said the Netflix series also took many liberties in the telling of events."Where they're very unfair in The Crown is that, for example, you know, they get engaged and then that night he goes down to Highgrove to see Camilla. No, he didn't. They had dinner with the Queen Mother, obviously, the happy couple. He did not leave for Australia the following day. Lots of things like that which they twist," he said. Vickers also said the episode portraying the relationship of Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth is not only untrue in its telling of historical events, but harmful."I think even all over the world, you know, I think it's having a very damaging effect," Vickers said. "What Peter Morgan does, which is particularly dangerous, I think, is that he starts off sometimes with a story which is more or less true. Let's take the example of Mrs. Thatcher, for example."The plot line in question suggests that the Queen leaks a story about her disagreement with Thatcher, to the media. This was based on a real article, published in the Sunday Times in 1986, but Vickers said it did not accurately portray the sequence of events or the rift between the women."Suddenly [Thatcher] announces she's going to see the Queen, and ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament and call a general election in order to save her role as prime minister," Vickers said. "Well, that absolutely didn't happen, but because some of the early part did, you can get swept along with it. And it is also, you know, very well filmed. It's lavishly produced. It's very convincing. You can't … dismiss it entirely as tabloid rubbish."At the end of the day, Vickers said he finds Season 4 to be the least accurate season of the series."I think it's unfair to put real living people into semi-real situations and then play around with their motives and twist the facts to fit a story which is absolutely not true," he said. "And I think that's vicious. Really, really awful." With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Royal Bank of Canada reported a small rise in quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday, driven by strength in its capital markets unit and reduced provisions to cover potential loan-losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.Canada's largest lender by market capitalization set aside $427 million in the fourth quarter, as economic disruptions from the pandemic raised the possibility of defaults. The amount was far lower than analysts' expectation of $798.75 million, and down 14 per cent from a year earlier.Net income from personal and commercial banking — RBC's biggest source of income — fell 7 per cent to $1.5 billion, largely reflecting the impact of lower interest rates.The country's banks have faced margin pressure this year from surging deposits and slower lending growth across retail and business segments.RBC's capital markets division, which includes trading, investment banking and advisory, however, saw net income soar 44 per cent to $840 million, helped by increased volatility in markets due to the health crisis.Overall profit was upTotal net income rose to $3.25 billion ($2.51 billion) for the quarter ended Oct. 31, or $2.23 per share, from $3.21 billion, or $2.19 per share, a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, the bank earned $2.27 per share, higher than analysts' average estimate of $2.05 per share, according to Refinitiv data.
OHSWEKEN, Ont. — Provincial police are assisting Six Nations Police Service with a homicide investigation on Six Nations territory just east of Brantford. Six Nations police say the shooting on a driveway in front of a home was reported Tuesday evening. A 27-year-old man died of a gunshot wound. Provincial police say two suspects who were known to the victim left before police arrived, and Six Nations police say there is no apparent danger to the public. An autopsy has been ordered and will be conducted in Toronto. Investigators ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact them. This report by The Canadian Press was first reported Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller.Keep that in mind, along with the format of Rosenberg's podcast “The Oath,” now that NBC announced Wednesday that the former special counsel who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election has given an extensive interview that debuts next week.Mueller, the ex-FBI director, rarely speaks publicly and has been virtually silent about his special counsel experience since testifying before Congress in July 2019.In two separate podcast episodes, each nearly an hour, Mueller doesn't talk about his work as special counsel. He isn't even asked.“There are some questions that you simply don't have to ask,” said Rosenberg, who worked for Mueller as an FBI counsel. “I knew he wouldn't talk about it and I had really no intention of asking about it.”He took Mueller at his word that he wouldn't talk about his work as counsel after his testimony. Mueller made an exception in September, pushing back after one of his former prosecutors suggested in a book that the counsel's team wasn't aggressive enough.Rosenberg's stance is consistent with the format of “The Oath,” in which present and former government officials who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution are interviewed about their lives and careers, while steering clear of current events and political controversies.Rosenberg, also a former federal prosecutor, has taken the oath nine times. He's been an analyst and podcast host for NBC News since quitting as acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2017, after President Donald Trump suggested to law enforcement officers that they “don't be too nice” to suspects in custody.Even in an era of suspicion about the “deep state,” or perhaps because of it, there has clearly been a public taste for “The Oath.” The Mueller interview leads its fourth season.The show has been in the Top 200 of the Apple Podcasts charts for more than a year, said Andy Bowers, co-founder of the podcast hosting company Megaphone.Rosenberg's extensive experience helps with access, so his guest list is consistently interesting, said Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog. He's also unapologetically earnest, as are many of his guests, at a time of cynicism.“That's the winning formula on ‘The Oath,’ a serious person talking to serious people about public service at a time when people really want to remember what public service is supposed to be," Wittes said.The Mueller interview is a bookend to Rosenberg's two-parter with Mueller's successor as FBI director, James Comey, in the podcast's first season.The voluble Comey is a contrast to Mueller, who's quite comfortable with short answers. “I did OK,” Mueller said when Rosenberg was trying to draw him out about commendations he received during training with the Marines.Did you like law school? “Not particularly,” Mueller said.“Jim is a natural storyteller, so in some ways it is easier (to interview him),” Rosenberg said. “Bob also has a lot of stories to tell, you just have to let him tell them in his own way. I found that compelling — two very different styles, as our listeners will notice, but I think two men of substance.”Although there was talk after his congressional testimony that Mueller, now 76, had lost some sharpness with age, Rosenberg said “he seemed fine to me.”When coaxed, Mueller is most interesting in the first podcast talking about his experience in Vietnam. He volunteered for the Marines after a teammate on his Princeton lacrosse team was killed there, and commanded a unit that was — he found out later — essentially used as bait to draw out the North Vietnamese army.The experience inspired a lifetime of public service, primarily because Mueller was grateful to have survived.It's the type of service that's hard for the cynical to fathom. In another episode this season, Rosenberg speaks to Heather “Lucky” Penney, a former fighter pilot given the assignment on Sept. 11, 2001 of stopping United Airlines Flight 93 as it was bound for the U.S. Capitol. Since there was no time to arm the jet, her only choice was to ram the airliner; she was effectively sent on a suicide mission. Instead, the plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers.In the Mueller interview, Rosenberg said he relished the opportunity to get to know someone he knew only as a boss.“There's a bit of a Marine Corps officer outer shell,” he said. “He can be a little bit intimidating. But underneath all of that, he is a remarkably kind and humble and civil man. Coming up in the ranks of the Department of Justice, Bob Mueller is an icon. Everybody that I worked with knew of him and admired him, but often from a distance.”David Bauder, The Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend.This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has seen rising hunger during the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments. Each regards the other as illegal in a power struggle that has been months in the making.For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running desperately low for millions of people. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin Wednesday.“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it,” he said. The U.N. and partners are committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict" to ensure that aid to Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is “strictly based on needs."Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment.For weeks, aid-laden trucks have been blocked at Tigray’s borders, and the U.N. and other humanitarian groups were increasingly anxious to reach Tigray as hunger grows and hospitals run out of basic supplies like gloves and body bags.“We literally have staff reaching out to us to say they have no food for their children,” one humanitarian worker told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.“We have been urging, waiting, begging for access,” another aid official, Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, told the AP. “We're ready to go tomorrow. ... It has been heartbreaking to be forced to wait."More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighbouring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.Communications and transport links remain almost completely severed to Tigray, and the fugitive leader of the defiant regional government this week told the AP that fighting continues despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's declaration of victory.It remains almost impossible to verify either side’s claims as the conflict threatens to destabilize both the country and the entire Horn of Africa.“It is critically important to get objective information as to what is going on,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, told the BBC. “The active military phase is basically over. I’m not saying the fighting is over. So at this point, the humanitarian phase is the most important one.”Nagy added that “now the danger is this evolving into a long-term insurgency." He also disagreed with Ethiopia's description of the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to arrest the Tigray leaders, saying that “it was obviously a military operation.” The fighting between two heavily armed forces has seen airstrikes, rocket attacks and tanks.For weeks, the U.N. and others have been increasingly insistent on the need to reach some 600,000 people in Tigray who already were dependent on food aid even before the conflict.Now those needs have exploded, but Abiy has resisted international pressure for dialogue and de-escalation, saying his government will not “negotiate our sovereignty.” His government regards the Tigray regional government, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for more than a quarter-century, as illegitimate after months of growing friction as he sought to centralize power.Amid the warring sides’ claims and counter-claims, one thing is clear: Civilians have suffered.The U.N. says food has run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea whose camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea have been in the line of fire as the fighting swept through. Reports that some refugees have been killed or abducted, if true, “would be major violations of international norms,” the U.N. refugee chief said over the weekend in an urgent appeal to Abiy.These are “extremely vulnerable people” who fled persecution in Eritrea, Egeland said. “It’s been extremely frustrating to lose access and communication.”With infrastructure there and elsewhere in Tigray damaged, the U.N. has said some people are now drinking untreated water, increasing the risk of diseases.In the largest hospital in the Tigray capital, Mekele, staff had to suspend other activities to focus on treating the large number of wounded from the conflict, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.The ICRC, the rare organization to travel inside the Tigray region and its borderlands, has reported coming across abandoned communities and camps of displaced people.No one knows the true toll of the fighting. Human rights and humanitarian groups have reported several hundred people killed, including civilians, but many more are feared.Inside Tigray, and among the majority ethnic Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, people are exhausted.“The world hasn’t seen anything like this year. I have never seen anything like this,” said one refugee who gave his name as Danyo, standing on the edge of a river that people on Tuesday were crossing to seek safety.“When Dr. Abiy came, we saw him as a good thing,” he said. “Our hopes were fulfilled, because his talk in the beginning was as sweet as honey, but now the honey has gone sour.”___Fay Abuelgasim in Hamdayet, Sudan, contributed.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom. British media reports suggest vaccinations for medical workers could start as early as next week.
Shawn Mendes, “Wonder” (Island) On his 14-track fourth album, Shawn Mendes is airy, grand, intense and rapturous. It is the sound of a man totally and hopelessly in love. Adoration is baked into “Wonder,” from the almost religious-sounding title track as Mendes sings “I wonder what it’s like to be loved by you," to the last song, where, with a voice shaking with emotion, he sings over acoustic guitar: ”I can’t imagine what a world would be without you." The album's cover captures Mendes ecstatic, floating in waves. Though she is mentioned only once — in the liner notes, thanked right after his family — it's not hard to find the source of this ardour: Mendes’ longtime romantic and quarantine partner, singer Camila Cabello. Whatever happens to this couple in the future, she has inspired a hopelessly romantic set. “Teach Me How to Love” flirts with ’80s disco (with Anderson .Paak on drums) and “305” (the area code to Cabello's Miami) is a candy-colored piece of '60s doo-wop in which Mendes sings to his lover, “If there’s a door to heaven, baby you’re the key.” The lovers are finding a new home to share in “24 Hours” — “It’s a little soon but I wanna come home to you,” he sings. Mendes' falsetto soars with pure glee atop a pillow of strings on the standout “Look Up at the Stars” (where Mendes sings “the universe is ours” in a Coldplay “Yellow” way) and “Always Been You” is both soaring and triumphant. This is music you’d hear in a mall in heaven. The only tune that veers out of the love zone is Mendes’ duet with Justin Bieber, “Monster,” an outstanding moody banger about how early fame messes with you, sung by a rising heartthrob singer-songwriter and an established one. In-demand producer Kid Harpoon, who took Harry Stiles to new heights on “Fine Line,” is all over this gooey album. There's little of the urgency Mendes has shown before — no “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” or ”In My Blood" — and “Wonder” is sometimes hard to take during extended plays — especially its pointless intro — but to find fault with it is to find fault with love itself. ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
HALIFAX – Boylston residents won’t be rocking Netflix around-the-clock anytime soon, but they and about 1,000 other rural residents of Antigonish and Guysborough counties are set for unexpected upgrades to high-speed Internet by 2023 – adding to communities announced by Develop Nova Scotia in September. “They’re getting new coverage as a result of scope expansions,” Braedon Clark, a Develop Nova Scotia official, told the The Journal in an email last week. “The number of homes and businesses to be connected is 1,342.” The upgrades now include: Southside Antigonish Harbour, Monks Head, Kenzieville (Keppoch Mountain, Addington Forks, Ohio, Hillcrest, Ashdale, Pinevale, South Salt Springs, Beech Hill), Fairmont, Pleasant Valley, Caledonia Mills (Lower Springfield, Roman Valley), Brierly Brook (James River), Mulgrave (Aulds Cove, Pirate Harbour, Middle Melford, Hadleyville), and Guysborough (Boylston, North Riverside, Manchester, Glenkeen). Other rural communities scheduled for scope expansion along the Eastern Shore include: Musquodoboit Harbour (Lower West Jeddore, Quinlan Dr., Ostrea Lake Rd., Anderson Rd., Innis Cove, West Petpeswick), Lake Charlotte (Clam Bay, Upper Lakeville, Ship Harbour, DeBaies Cove, Southwest Cove, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Clam Bay), Goffs (Old Guysborough Rd., Devon), and Chezzetcook (Lawrencetown, Leslie Rd.). The new $24-million initiative through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (with an additional $9 million from other levels of government and the private sector) will connect 6,700 homes and businesses across the province with high-speed Internet at speeds higher than Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) targets by late 2023. “These scope expansions will reduce the number of remaining unserved or underserved homes and businesses by over half,” said a Develop Nova Scotia press release on Nov. 23. “Preparatory and engineering work will begin immediately on the contract extensions.” It’s not clear whether the scope expansions are part of a planned connection program or an ad hoc response to areas overlooked during the second round of high-speed rural Internet enhancements in the fall. “They (the communities) were identified as still needing connection after our Round 2 announcement in September,” Clark said. According to Develop Nova Scotia, since the first round began in February, more than 21,000 of a targeted 81,500 homes and businesses now have networks in place to provide new or improved high-speed Internet. It also says projects are being completed about 50 per cent faster than industry standards. So far, the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, other levels of government and the private sector have invested about $263 million the initiative with a goal of hooking up 97 per cent of rural communities in the province with high-speed Internet by summer 2022.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Peel Regional Police say one of their officers has been charged criminally for allegedly mishandling firearms. Const. Michael Konwerski was charged Tuesday on multiple firearm-related offences after a 14-month investigation. The police force says its professional standards bureau received a complaint last year that the officer left three loaded, prohibited firearm magazines in the trunk of a police car he had been using. None of the items were issued by the police service. Konwerski has a Brampton court date set for January. The force says a Police Services Act investigation will follow after criminal court proceedings wrap up. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
A Halifax-area bank executive has been awarded more than $765,000 for post-operative advice that ultimately cost him the lower part of his left leg.David Robbins, 59, had what should have been a fairly routine hip replacement surgery on Jan. 26, 2012. The surgery itself went well, but Robbins started experiencing pain days after the procedure when he was back at home and performing the rehabilitation exercises he'd been instructed to do.Robbins tried to reach the doctor who'd performed the surgery, Dr. Michael Gross, but he wasn't available. Instead, Robbins was directed to the on-call orthopedic resident, Dr. Arpun Bajwa.The contents of their phone conversation on Feb. 6, 2012 was the subject of some dispute at the trial, which was conducted in September and October of this year.Robbins described Bajwa as being very abrupt on the phone and acting as though he was interrupting her. He said her advice to him was: "It doesn't sound like anything serious, stay home, do your exercises and everything should be fine".Robbins testified he was relieved when he heard this and didn't feel he had to go to the hospital or follow up with calls to other doctors.Leg needed to be amputatedDr. Bajwa claimed that she told Robbins to call his family doctor or go to a hospital emergency room but he disputed that version of the call. Bajwa said she didn't take notes during her phone conversation but said she had a clear recollection of what was said.Days later, when senior staff questioned her about the Robbins case, Bajwa drafted a letter which began with the line: "This letter is written for my lawyer in the event legal action is pursued against me with respect to patient Robbins, David."Robbins's pain persisted and on Feb. 9, 2012, he called the orthopedic clinic at the hospital. The nurse who returned the call told his wife, Natalie Robbins, to pinch her husband's toes. They were white and the colour did not return to them. The nurse instructed Robbins to bring her husband to the hospital.When Robbins arrived at the hospital, he was referred to a vascular surgeon. It was determined he had developed clots in arteries in both legs.He had surgery the next day, Feb. 10, but it was too late. The condition of his left leg had deteriorated to the point where it was amputated below the knee on Feb. 18, 2012.Robbins 'reliable and credible'Many of the facts in this case are not in dispute. Justice James Chipman had to assess the credibility of the key players."In assessing the witnesses in this case, I found Mr. Robbins to be both reliable and credible," Justice Chipman wrote in his decision.As for Bajwa, the judge focused part of his assessment on the letter she drafted for senior hospital staff when questioned about this case. "I am dubious about her denial that it was, in fact, written 'for my lawyer in the event legal action is pursued against me'", Chipman said. "I would add that I am similarly sceptical that she wrote this letter at a time when she says she cannot recall knowing whether or not Mr. Robbins' left leg had been amputated."Robbins had also named the surgeon, Dr. Michael Gross, as a respondent in his lawsuit. But the judge found Gross was not negligent in his conduct.Robbins's lawyer, Ray Wagner said medical malpractice suits like this one are difficult to win in Nova Scotia."It's a very difficult road to climb, we worked very hard," Wagner said Tuesday. "Our team here worked very hard on this case as did Mr. Robbins and so we're happy to have a positive result."Incident had a 'great impact'After finding the doctor liable, Chipman then had to assess damages.Prior to losing his leg, Robbins was an avid golfer and hiker. The court heard he has had to reduce both activities. While he used to look after his own yard maintenance and snow removal, he has had to hire companies to perform that work for him."It has a great impact on an extremely active individual who enjoyed a lot of outdoors activities, getting out and about, keeping fit and now that has been compromised so this is a recognition of how that has been compromised," Wagner said.Robbins was off work for some time while he recovered from both surgeries and did rehabilitation, but court heard he has been able to resume a full work schedule.The award includes $210,000 for general damages and more than $417,000 for future care. That figure includes the purchase of new and improved prosthetic devices.MORE TOP STORIES
Calgarians with roots in India — and in some cases, land there, too — are supporting tens of thousands of farmers in that country involved in mass protests outside Delhi, fighting new laws that will change their industry and impact their livelihoods.The farmers have travelled to the Indian capital from rural regions like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, with many making the journey in tractors and on farm equipment.Watching from thousands of kilometres away, Calgarians with strong ties to Punjab and other parts of India are finding ways to support the farmers. That includes taking part in social media campaigns and a car rally, which attracted hundreds in northeast Calgary this past weekend. "These three new laws are against the farmers," said Sam Brar, who lives in Saddle Ridge."They're trying to bring in big corporations and kill all the smaller scale farming. The government won't even listen to them."In Delhi, there have been clashes with authorities, who turned water cannons and tear gas on protestors trying to enter the city.The new laws were introduced in September and change the rules around the sale, pricing and storage of produce.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the laws will let farmers set their own prices and allow them to sell crops to private businesses, ultimately giving them more freedom.But farmers are worried it will leave them open to being exploited by corporations and devastate them financially. Until now, farmers relied on selling crops direct to the government at guaranteed prices. They're also angry the changes are being made in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.To put the issue into context, more than half of India's 1.3 billion population is connected to agriculture and farming, so it's a huge issue for the country and involves a significant voter block.Modi says he hopes what he calls transformative changes will attract more private investment to the industry, but farmers and their unions say it will make life much tougher."Farmers don't want any dealings with these big corporates. They marched toward Delhi in huge numbers and now the government have used force to stop them," said Brar. "Some have been beaten like animals."Brar was one of many who attended at a socially distanced car rally that travelled in a convoy from the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary into downtown on Sunday, waving flags and blasting horns."We want to raise our voice and add some pressure from here," he said."It felt really good. We thought 100 cars might come but it was more than 500 or 600 cars that gathered."Some families in Calgary still own land in rural India and the change in laws has direct implications for them."The majority of people from Punjab, their background would be farming, and some people still have farming lands back home. They're worried in the future the corporations would take over the land and they would lose their land," said Harvinder Gill.Gill says the car rally and support being shown on social media in Calgary are an opportunity to pressure local politicians to raise awareness of the issue."They can talk to the Indian government," he said. "Help put pressure on them."On Facebook, many Indians in Calgary have changed their profiles in support of the protests and added the popular standwithfarmerschallenge hashtag to their social media accounts.The Indian government has denounced comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in support of the farmers on Monday.Trudeau called the Indian government response to the protests "concerning." Trudeau's comments were labelled as "ill-informed" by a foreign ministry spokesperson.
Ontario reported another 1,723 cases of COVID-19 and 35 more deaths linked to the illness Wednesday.Five public health units recorded 100 or more new cases: * Peel Region: 500 * Toronto: 410 * York Region: 196 * Durham Region: 124 * Waterloo Region: 103Other areas that saw double-digit increases were: * Hamilton: 74 * Windsor-Essex: 60 * Ottawa: 46 * Halton Region: 45 * Simcoe Muskoka: 45 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 20 * Niagara Region: 18 * Chatham-Kent: 15 * Southwestern: 12 * Thunder Bay: 10(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)At the province's daily news conference Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Ontario has "plateaued at a very high level." She also said case numbers went up after lockdowns were enacted in certain regions "largely because of some of the events in certain communities."The province should be seeing the results of lockdown period reflected in its case numbers in the next week or so, Elliott said."That's what we all want to see," she said.The health minister also said that the province's chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, is now talking with medical officials in communities that are seeing spikes in cases to see if they should be moved into different zones of the province's COVID-19 restriction plan.Also included in today's new cases are 166 that are school-related: 140 students and 26 staff members. Some 742 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools, or about 15.4 per cent, currently have at least one case of COVID-19, while six schools are currently closed because of the illness.The new infections drive the seven-day average to a record high of 1,720.There are currently about 14,526 confirmed, active cases of the COVID-19 throughout the province, also a new high. They come as Ontario's network of labs processed 44,226 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a provincewide positivity rate of 4.7 per cent. Another 49,574 tests were added to the queue to be completed.The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased to 656, while the province reported 183 people are being treated in intensive care. Of those, 106 are on ventilators. Elliott acknowledged that some hospitals are feeling the strain of the virus."There's no question that many Ontario hospitals are under stress right now, particularly in the lockdown areas," she said.But, she added, "To say that they are in crisis is not the case."The 35 additional deaths push the official toll to 3,698. Twenty-two of the 35 deaths in today's update were residents of long-term care.Premier Doug Ford returned to the press conference after missing Tuesday's briefing. Ford said he had "zapped" his back, but is now feeling better.Ford was asked why he isn't forcing big box stores, which are allowed to stay open in Ontario while small businesses in some areas are forced to close, to cordon off non-essential goods, as is being done in other jurisdictions."What the health table is trying to do is limit the amount of visits when you're out there," Ford said. "I know it's not fair, but it limits people from going out and [making stops] on the way home."