The McCullough Centre, where up to 75 homeless men can receive support to recover from addictions or mental health problems, will be closed by February 2021. The 11 residents who currently live at the facility in Gunn, Alta., will transition to other community supports over the next few months, Alberta Community and Social Services said Monday in a statement. Intake had stopped at the centre in August 2019 in anticipation of the shut down. The centre's closure will save the province around $3 million a year, the statement said. The facility's 63 employees no longer have positions, but some may be able to stay on with the ministry, the province said. Heather Sweet, NDP opposition critic for mental health and addictions, called the decision disturbing. "We are seeing an increase in the homelessness population in our major centres, we are seeing an increase in mental health and addictions among many Albertans during a global pandemic," Sweet said. "The fact that the government would make a decision to halt health care and treatment programs doesn't make any sense." The closure is counter to the government's promise to create 400 additional treatment beds in the province, she said. "They have said that they're going to invest in recovery centres and addictions and mental health, and yet they're shutting down that very service?" The McCullough Centre, about 65 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, provides counselling for residents but is not a licensed addictions treatment facility, the province said. Sweet said it could easily have become one. "They could work with that facility and make sure that they are following the requirements of the current government philosophy, but instead they're just shutting it down." She worries the closure could further limit access to mental health supports outside of major urban centres. "This is a rural Alberta service that supports rural Albertans and they need access to mental health and addiction services," said Sweet.
It was another busy day Monday at the advance poll for the byelection in District 10, Charlottetown-Winsloe.A further 13 per cent of registered voters cast ballots, said Elections P.E.I., bringing the total after two days of advance polls to more than 28 per cent. Almost six per cent have voted by mail-in ballot.There is one more advance polling day on Friday, with the poll open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.Chief Electoral Officer Tim Garrity told Island Morning Tuesday the poll has been busy but steady without any serious spikes in traffic."We're not seeing any real delays or lineups," Garrity told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier."A couple of times, on the first day, on Saturday, of course we're just opening the poll for the first time, people are excited to get out to vote, so there was a little bit of a wait. By that I mean maybe just a couple of minutes of people in line."The byelection became necessary when Robert Mitchell, who represented the Liberal Party, resigned in early September.There are four candidates in the byelection. * Zack Bell, Progressive Conservative Party. * Zac Murphy, Liberal Party. * Lynne Thiele, NDP. * Chris van Ouwerkerk, Green Party.A win for the PCs would give the party 14 seats, and a majority in the legislature.Emergency votingAs part of public health protocols during the pandemic, people are being asked to not enter the polling station if they have symptoms of COVID-19, and Elections P.E.I. is working on a plan to assist voters who wake up feeling sick on election day.The voter would make a last-minute application for a mail-in ballot and an Elections P.E.I. employee would deliver it to their home."Drop it off, say, on their doorstep, back away a significant distance, allow them to complete the process and then they would just leave it back on the step," said Garrity."We would go back in and pick that up. Of course properly sanitizing everything as we went."Garrity said he expects this would be a rare event, and his office should be able to handle any requests.Election day is Monday, Nov. 2.More from CBC P.E.I.
After a recent stretch of frigid, record-setting cold temperatures, the Prairies are getting a much-needed warmup that will see temperatures jump into the teens by Friday.
Durham police are looking for a male suspect after two different Oshawa convenience stores were targeted with suspicious packages that investigators say were "incendiary devices."In the first incident on Oct.1, an employee arrived at Taunton Convenience Store on Taunton Road East in the early morning and found a package at the entrance. When she attempted to move it, it burst into flames. Police were called and the employee was not injured. Police say there were also three prior minor incidents targeting this store that were never reported.Then, on Oct. 24, another suspicious package was found, this time at Pantry Convenience on Park Road North. Once again, no one was injured, and the police bomb squad unit was able to safely dispose of the device. In both instances, a suspect was captured on security video. Police are describing him as white and male, noting that in both incidents he wore all black clothing.Though both targets were convenience stores, the police news release also notes that both also sell "adult materials." Police say they're looking to hear from any other convenience stores who may have received a suspicious package or message but not reported it, as well from anyone who might have information.
The 2020 Saskatchewan Election brought some clear winners and losers, even aside from the individual races themselves.Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe kept his seat in Rosthern-Shellbrook by a wide margin, while NDP Leader Ryan Meili's race is still too close to call.It was a tough night for the Green Party of Saskatchewan. Meanwhile the Buffalo Party beat out the NDP for second place in some areas.Here are some of the standout storylines.Wins: Sask. Party ministers and Buffalo PartyThe Sask. Party won a majority government for the fourth term in a row and Premier Scott Moe won his first general election as the leader of the party.Almost all the Sask. Party Cabinet Ministers were — or are projected to be — re-elected in their respective constituencies. Confirmed or projected winners include Gordon Wyant, Don Morgan, Donna Harpauer, Jim Reiter, Dustin Duncan, Christine Tell, Jeremy Harrison, Greg Ottenbreit, Ken Cheveldayoff, David Marit, Bronwyn Eyre, Paul Merriman, Gene Makowsky, Warren Kaeding, Joe Hargrave and Lori Carr.Tina Beaudry-Mellor, who is running for re-election in Regina University, is in a race too close to call at this time. The Buffalo Party turned some heads in its first election. The party had 17 people running and isn't projected to win any seats. However, it bumped the NDP out of second place in four ridings: * Cannington — Sask. Party's Daryl Harrison won with more than 5,500 votes. However, Wes Smith with the Buffalo Party took second place. * Cypress Hills — Sask. Party's Doug Steele won, but Buffalo Party candidate Crystal Tiringer took more than 1,350 of the riding's votes, more than half of what the NDP garnered, with mail-in ballots pending. * Estevan — Lori Carr won with more than 4,000 votes. The Buffalo Party's Michael Phillip Zajac had more than 1,650 votes, beating the NDP for second. * Kindersley — Ken Francis with the Sask. Party won with more than 3,000 votes. The Buffalo Party's Jason R. Cooper took second with more than 1,000 votes, compared to Steven Allen with the NDP who had about 300 votes Monday. Losses: NDP, replacement candidate and smaller party leadersNDP Leader Ryan Meili failed in his goal of significantly expanding the NDP seat count in the Legislature. Less than an hour after polls closed, the Sask. Party led or had been elected in 46 of 61 constituencies, according to the CBC News Decision Desk. Thirty-one seats are needed for a majority government. Meili said his volunteers and fellow candidates ran a great campaign, but that "it wasn't enough this time."A replacement candidate also didn't have the win they hoped for. In August, the NDP announced they had removed Sandra Morin as their candidate for Regina Walsh Acres. In a statement, the party said Morin was removed as a result of a confidential vetting process.Morin ran as an independent and is projected to lose by around 2,000 votes. Her NDP replacement, Kelly Hardy, is also projected to lose, trailing by about 700 votes to the Sask. Party incumbent, Derek Meyers, with 1,191 mail-in packages having been requested in the riding.None of the leaders of the smaller parties in the province were elected to the Legislature. Wade Sira, leader of the Buffalo Party, lost in Martensville-Warman. Robert Rudachyk, leader of the Sask. Liberal Party, lost tin Regina Walsh Acres. Green Party Leader Naomi Hunter was defeated in her riding of Regina Elphinstone-Centre.The Green Party did not break into second place in any ridings but is projected to take third in more than a dozen, albeit with less than 10 per cent of the total vote in each riding. The Buffalo Party had fewer candidates running than the Green Party, yet received more votes.A final loss was for the three people running as independents. Rolf Hartloff ran in Regina Elphinstone-Centre, Sandra Morin ran in Regina Walsh Acres and Nestor Mryglod ran in Regina Wascana Plains. All three were defeated. The last independent candidate to win a seat in Saskatchewan was Louis Marcien Marion in the constituency of Athabasca in 1948.
Shirley Raymond is expected to finish up her testimony Tuesday, after testifying for most of the day Monday.Matthew Raymond, 50, is standing trial for the murder of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright, and Fredericton constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello. He's admitting to shooting the four people, and firing into at least three other apartments, at 237 Brookside Dr. on Aug. 10, 2018.Despite that admission, Raymond has pleaded not guilty and his defence team is arguing he was not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.Shirley Raymond testified Monday that in the months before the shooting she begged her son to get medical help. Beginning in 2017, he became obsessed with conspiracy theories, religion, demons and faked shootings, she said. He also stockpiled food in their shared home and was convinced the world was going to end imminently. She said he never accepted he needed help and denied he was sick.She looked at her sone from time to time as she gave her testimony, but his eyes were fixed on her, occasionally wiping tears away.At the end of the day Monday, as Shirley Raymond was leaving the courtroom, Raymond yelled "bye mom" from the prisoner's box, but she did not turn around.
Jeff Pelletier is affectionately known in his North Vancouver neighbourhood as the "pumpkin guy" — and for good reason. For the past six years, he's been growing gargantuan gourds in his south-facing backyard. These aren't your everyday pumpkins — Pelletier's weigh hundreds of kilograms. This year, the competitive giant pumpkin grower produced Muriel, named after his grandmother, who weighs in at 418 kilograms (923 pounds).Since the pandemic has squashed the annual competition and weigh-in, Pelletier dragged his giant pumpkin out to his front yard so that his neighbours could enjoy the spectacle. "We thought, let's just do it in the front yard, be great for the neighbourhood and they'll get to see them," he said. Even making that short distance, however, took a crane and giant flat-bed truck.Inspired by PeanutsInspired by the Charles Schultz comic Peanuts Halloween special, Pelletier said his first year of growing a giant pumpkin happened by chance."The first year that I grew, I threw a seed in the ground and I didn't know any techniques or anything like that," he said. "I remember looking out the kitchen window in mid-September and thinking 'what the heck is that?' and it was a 300-pound pumpkin in my backyard."Since then, Pelletier has been part of the giant vegetable growers community — a group that has grown more popular during the pandemic. "We're all trading secrets and trading seeds. COVID has actually caused a huge interest in this because people are home and gardening is what they've chosen to take up," he said. There's gold in those gourdsPelletier says all you really need to get started is 55 square metres of good dirt.And if you've got the touch, there's cash to be made. When a pumpkin grower in Belgium grew a then-record breaking 1,180-kilogram (2,600-pound) specimen in 2016, he didn't just win prize money at a competition. "He pulled about a thousand seeds out of the pumpkin and was charging $700 each, and he sold out of seeds," said Pelletier.He says it's fairly normal for giant pumpkin seeds to be sold for $50 to $100 each. But behind the competition is a passionate group of growers delighting in a common hobby."I often say to people, 'I've never seen anyone go by a giant pumpkin without smiling.' "
An Alberta pediatrician will find out on November 17 if a judge thinks he sexually assaulted a nine-year old girl. Dr. Ramneek Kumar was practising in St. Albert at the time of the alleged incidents. The complainant was the daughter of a family friend and was not a patient. Kumar has been charged with sexual assault and unlawful touching of a person under the age of 16.In August 2015, the child's family and the Kumars were vacationing together in Waterton Lakes National Park. During the trial, the girl — who is now 14 — testified she was touched by Kumar several times when no one else was around.The teen testified that soon after the group of 11 arrived at the large rented cabin in Waterton, Kumar followed her to an upstairs bedroom and touched her shoulders and chest area. She said similar incidents took place in the kitchen and then again in a change room at a local pool. In the change room, the girl said Kumar touched her hair and chest area before warning her not to tell anyone because she'd be teased if people found out she couldn't change out of a bathing suit on her own. "She was a good witness," defence lawyer Alain Hepner admitted during his sentencing arguments. "She was not a shrinking violet." Her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. Kumar also took the stand in his own defence and denied any inappropriate sexual touching. "Dr. Kumar was unshaken, solid," Hepner told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vaughan Hartigan in Lethbridge court Monday afternoon. "He was a reliable, believable witness." The defence lawyer said that at the very least, he believes Kumar's testimony should raise a reasonable doubt and the judge should find him not guilty. In a written brief, Hepner suggested it strains credibility to think that a doctor would risk his profession and reputation by touching a nine-year-old girl. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta suspended Kumar's licence to practise in May 2019, but a Court of Queen's Bench judge overturned that decision just a couple of months later, allowing the doctor to resume seeing patients as long as there was a chaperone present.According to the college's website, Kumar is currently practising pediatrics at a Calgary clinic. He was present in court Monday afternoon along with his wife. An issue of credibility Both the Crown and defence said it will be up to the judge to decide whose version of events he should believe. Prosecutor Darwyn Ross suggested the judge should dismiss Kumar's version of events based on contradictory evidence given by Crown witnesses, including the girl's father. The father told the court that a few weeks after the alleged incident, his daughter told him that Kumar was a "monster", but refused to elaborate. "This is a young girl, nine years old, who took some time to figure it out, understand it," Ross told the court. "Her motivation was seeing a documentary [about abuse] that sparked some strength inside. So she was ready to tell her family." Charges were laid in 2019.Ross said the girl has since received counselling and medications. He said she's experienced wetting the bed, being distant and moody. Now, he said she's motivated to put it behind her. The girl and her family were not in court for the closing arguments.
Scott Moe led his Saskatchewan Party into rare territory Monday winning a fourth straight majority for the longest-serving government in the country. The centre-right party was elected or leading in more than 45 constituencies, comfortably more than the 31 needed to control the 61-seat legislature. There was no applause or crowds to welcome Moe, who made his victory speech after winning his first public mandate as premier. Instead, he addressed supporters who gathered virtually, because of limits in place around the COVID-19 pandemic. “This has been an election like no other in our lifetimes,” the 47-year-old said, standing next to his wife, Krista. “It was challenging for all of the candidates and the campaign volunteers who had to find new ways to reach their voters and to reach them safely," he said. “We’re humbled by the task that lies before us and we’re ready to go to work on your behalf,” he added. “We’re eager to build a strong economy, strong communities, strong families, and a strong Saskatchewan for everyone.” Moe was re-elected in his rural riding of Rosthern-Shellbrook, while NDP Leader Ryan Meili was in a fight to retain his Saskatoon Meewasin seat against Rylund Hunter of the Saskatchewan Party. Meili trailed by 83 votes by night's end, with as many as 1,600 mail-in ballots to be counted in the coming days. It's possible all of Moe's 17 cabinet ministers will hold onto their seats. Only Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor was in jeopardy. She led her Regina University seat by fewer than 200 votes with mail-in ballots to come. "I know it's nerve-racking waiting for just a few hours for those results," Moe said. "I can't imagine what it's going to be like waiting for a couple of days." Meili, a 45-year-old medical doctor, is trying to arrest a dubious trend. The last two NDP leaders, Dwain Lingenfelter in 2011 and Cam Broten in 2016, lost their seats in the general election. “It wasn’t enough this time,” said Meili in his concession speech. “My message tonight is for those who voted for change, because there are thousands upon thousands of people across Saskatchewan who voted for change today. “This is not the end. This is the beginning. Do not give up, because in Saskatchewan we can do so much better than what we’ve seen.” Moe and Meili spoke by phone about an hour after polls closed. In his victory speech, Moe said he would govern for all residents, including those who didn't vote for him. He spoke in particular to the three per cent of voters — largely in rural areas — who cast ballots for the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan, which believes people should be allowed to vote on independence from Canada. "To those voters I want to say: I hear you. And I want to say this government hears you. We share your frustrations, and we share many of your objectives. We are not happy with the federal government either," Moe said. "There is no government in Canada that has advocated more strongly against a federally imposed carbon tax than the government of Saskatchewan." It was the third provincial election held during the COVID-19 pandemic and the third to see the incumbent party triumph. Last month, Premier Blaine Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick went from a minority to a majority government. John Horgan’s NDP did the same in British Columbia on Saturday. At dissolution, the Saskatchewan Party held 46 seats to 13 for the NDP. There were two vacancies. The Saskatchewan Party has been in power since 2007 — currently the longest governing party in Canada — and is knocking on the door of historic political dominance. The last party to lead Saskatchewan to a fourth term was the NDP in 2007, although it needed coalition help in 1999 to do so. The record still resides with Tommy Douglas and the CCF, which held five majority governments in the middle of the last century. The pandemic shaped not only the central ballot question, but how people would cast their ballots. Voters were asked to wear masks at polling stations. More than 185,000 ballots were cast in five days of advance polls. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise. Earlier this month, the province halved to 15 the number of people allowed together at events in private households. The campaign centred on starkly contrasting blueprints for how to steer the province, its economy and its $2.1-billion deficit through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Meili promised millions of dollars in increased spending for classrooms and to reduce health-care wait times, along with a $15-an-hour minimum wage and $25-a-day daycare. The NDP wouldn’t promise a balanced budget in its first term and warned that the Saskatchewan Party would try to cut its way to better economic times. Moe promised to balance the books by the 2024-2025 fiscal year, while keeping the economy going and creating jobs through tax and rebate incentives. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020 -- With files from Bill Graveland. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The United Conservative Party is being accused of targeting a vulnerable population after it advised playing on seniors' negative emotions during a fundraising strategy session at its annual general meeting.The session, held virtually on Saturday, was titled Local Fundraising 101. It was hosted by vice-president of fundraising for the UCP, Sonia Kont, and party executive director Dustin van Vugt. After the session, two slides from the presentation that focused on donors who send money by mail circulated online.The first asks "Target audience?" and is accompanied by two captioned photos: "This is not your donor…" with a photo of a middle-aged man lighting a cigar on a $100 US bill, and "This is your donor!" with a photo of two smiling seniors. At the bottom, the slide reads "The average [mail-out] donor is over 70 years old."The second slide offers advice on drafting a fundraising letter, from creating urgency, using a large font — "Remember, average donor is 70+. No small font." — and using "simple language and emotion (i.e., fear, anger, greed, guilt.)"No positive emotions are listed.The median age in Alberta is 36.7, according to Statistics Canada. Trevor Byers, a family doctor who is trained to work with elderly patients, said he was concerned to see the slides single out seniors as a target."Doing geriatric practice, I've seen numerous patients over the years who have been targeted by financial scams, mail-in scams, emails … because of the population and the increased risk for cognitive impairment and medical problems that can impair judgment. I worry that there are many people who can be taken advantage of and manipulated into paying for something they would not otherwise pay for," he said. Byers said he understands parties need to fundraise, but he doesn't think focusing on negative emotions like fear is the right way to do it for any age group — but it's especially concerning for seniors. "Using your platform, messages of hope would be better," Byers said. "The rest of the slide being honest and transparent, talking about tax deductions, the length of it, the different fonts, I don't see an issue with it — that's marketing and sales."CBC News reached out to the UCP for comment but has yet to receive a response. Professor says brazenness surprising, but not the strategyDuane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, said the strategy itself was not surprising — but the brazenness was. "The bigger thing is, saying out loud what is normally said quietly," he said. "This wasn't like something that was leaked, this was something that was promoted."Bratt wonders if the fundraising push could be because the party is in a money crunch, as the NDP neared its fundraising numbers in the last quarter. The UCP raised nearly $1.2 million in fundraising in its third quarter while the NDP raised over $1.1 million, according to Elections Alberta. The UCP has raised $3.1 million this year to date and the NDP $2.7 million. "You want to go after emotion, emotion is a major driver. So if you look at the NDP appeals, a lot of it is about fear of the UCP," Bratt said."You also have to put it in the context that the whole 'fight back' strategy of the UCP is that they see enemies everywhere … those foreign-funded environmental groups, Trudeau, Notley, teachers, nurses, I mean, 'they're all evil — please send us money.'"
The Saskatchewan hockey rink that was nearly named Hockeyville has raised the money it needs to pay for facility upgrades, fundraisers announced Monday.Less than 600 people live in Pense, Sask., a town located less than 30 kilometres west of Regina. The hockey rink there needs an upgraded brine piping system, and the ground around the facility needs to be relevelled.Organizers of fundraisers for the Pense Memorial Rink announced Monday that they had surpassed their goal of $300,000 to cover the costs of the work."It's almost hard to put into words how it feels," said board member Graeme Crosbie. "When we started this about 18 months ago ... I never, ever, ever in a million years thought we'd get there in such a short order. So it's pretty incredible."After receiving the quote for the necessary upgrades, the rink's board looked at it as a potential 10-year project, said Crosbie, noting that $30,000 per year (on average) "is still quite a lot of money" to raise.Pense Memorial Rink had raised about $106,000 by the time it was nominated for Hockeyville early in the new year. By the time the winner of was announced last August, the rink had raised over $281,000, including $25,000 for finishing as a Hockeyville runner-up."We were receiving donation after donation from small companies, big companies, individuals that just wanted to help us out and saw what we had done with our campaign and thought we deserved a little bit more," said Crosbie.Prior to Hockeyville, though, the Pense Rink board had submitted a funding application for $30,000 to the Richardson Foundation, the charitable subsidiary of Winnipeg-based agricultural giant Richardson International.Late last week, the rink got a call saying its application to the Richardson Foundation was approved, officially putting its raised total past the $300,000 mark."It's a cliche, but we lost the battle to try to win the war," Crosbie said. "We didn't win the [Hockeyville] contest, but the support we received afterwards, I mean, it's almost equal to the dollar amount we would have received had we won the contest."We can't thank everybody enough for for their support."Work around the arena will start next spring or early summer after the winter hockey season ends, he said.
On the scale of problems to have, choosing who will be in your cabinet for another term of government is certainly one of the nicest. "An embarrassment of riches," is how B.C. Premier John Horgan described it on Sunday, when asked how he would choose the people to help him run the government over the next four years. No ministers were defeated in Saturday's election, and in Horgan's first term there was not a single large cabinet shuffle, which is rare in Canadian politics. Yet the decisions Horgan has to make around who makes cabinet are considerable. Seven ministers decided not to seek re-election, six of them making the decision in the weeks prior to the snap election being called.The seventh departed cabinet minister is the biggest name of the lot — Finance Minister Carole James, who announced earlier in 2020 she would be stepping down due to Parkinson's disease.Here are some of the choices and people Horgan will be talking about in the days ahead.The ex-MPsIf no seats change hands after mail-in ballots are counted, the NDP will have 21 new MLAs. But three of them aren't exactly new faces.Former MPs Nathan Cullen, Murray Rankin and Fin Donnelly all were successful in making the leap to provincial politics, and all will have high hopes of being included in cabinet. Rankin is most likely to make it. Previously the MP for Victoria, he's well regarded by all parties and has a deep background in environmental, Indigenous and security issues. Cullen faced controversy in his nomination in Stikine and was forced to apologize for a remark he made about his Liberal opponent during the campaign, but is well regarded by party leaders.And with the NDP only holding five of B.C.'s 24 seats outside of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, he will help ensure a more geographically balanced cabinet. Lower Mainland surplusThe NDP made its biggest inroads in suburban municipalities in the Lower Mainland they've rarely been competitive in, picking up three new seats in Richmond, two in Chilliwack and two in Langley. "I'm very excited about some of the young faces that are going to bring new perspectives, and new parts of British Columbia that will be at our table — some for the first time in decades," said Horgan. In Richmond, human rights lawyer Aman Singh and city councillor Kelly Greene are possibilities. In the Fraser Valley, the NDP elected two school board chairs, in Langley's Megan Dkyeman and Chilliwack's Dan Coulter. And in Vancouver, former park board chair and VanCity Credit Union director Niki Sharma is a potential addition, while current parliamentary secretaries Bowinn Ma, Ravi Kahlon and Mable Elmore will also be hoping for promotions. Outside of the 604 area code, Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne and regional director Roly Russell were elected for the first time and would bring more regional diversity to Horgan's team. That means unless the size of cabinet dramatically expands from its current 23, some people will likely be left out of the shuffle. Women in the inner circle?There's not just the question of who makes cabinet, but also where they're positioned. In his first term, Horgan's top cabinet ministers were arguably Finance Minister Carole James, House Leader and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Attorney General David Eby. James's departure means Horgan will have to find a new finance minister. But he'll also have to decide whether he wants his most prominent ministers to be all white and all male. Whether that means a promotion for someone like Housing and Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson or Labour Minister Harry Bains, or parliamentary secretaries Ma or Kahlon, remains to be seen. The only thing clear at this point is Horgan's second-term cabinet won't be like his first one.
The Calgary Board of Education is advancing its commitment to anti-racism and equity by launching its Collaboration for Anti-Racism and Equity Support Advisory Council (CARES), after it was delayed due to the complications of reopening schools this fall.But some advocates and parents worry the plan lacks specific actions and duplicates existing research and work.Chief superintendent Christopher Usih said the initiative was launched following protests and complaints in late June."We had some students and families indicating that there were issues around racism that needed to be addressed," he said. "As a result of some of those complaints that were raised, we felt it was important to establish an advisory council where we put together different individuals within the organization, including students and staff, and also provide an opportunity to listen to parents."The CBE said the initiative will engage multiple strategies to address racism, equity and inclusion in CBE schools and workplaces, including the introduction of an equity factor to the board's resource allocation method to account for variability in student needs in schools across the system.The change is meant to ensure resources are better allocated to support student success where it will have the greatest impact.Recently, as a part of CBE CARES, the board established an advisory council headed by Dr. Marie Delorme, who will lead sessions with students, families and community members in the months to come to hear about experiences with racism, inclusion and equity in CBE schools. "Dr. Delorme is well respected in leadership and organization, and her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership," Usih wrote in an Oct. 1 update to all CBE staff members.Delorme declined to be interviewed for this article. Usih said the overall mandate of the advisory council is to offer suggestions and advice on strategies to address racism and discrimination in CBE schools and workplaces. "The advisory council's work will be informed by CBE policies, programs and practices as well as research gathered on other school boards and organizations that may be helpful to address racism and equity at the CBE."Based on all the feedback, advice and recommendations gathered, Dr. Delorme will report back to Ushi with recommendations for moving forward by March 2021. "As an organization, we will then consider actions arising from the report to enhance equity, achievement and well-being for all," he said.Wunmi Idowu, mother of two CBE students, said she's torn between seeing "a glimmer of hope" in this initiative and feeling like it's "preformative."She said she hopes there are more experts, besides Dr. Delorme, who are called upon through this process. "She doesn't have any type of anti-racism or any type of discrimination training.… We need to do better to ensure that the school board is able to meet the interests of the Black population and the Indigenous populations in schools," she said."We need somebody that would be able to rationalize and bring forth real change and reform in the wake of the how the CBE deals with racism."Idowu said she looks forward to participating in the discussion forums with the advisory council. "I think it's something that would allow us to be able to voice their opinion and allow us to be able to tell experiences so they can have documentation of what has happened," she said."My daughters have been told they look like poo, that they smell funny, that their hair looks like cotton wool. It's unfair to disregard a human being because of the way they look."When Idowu has taken these issues to school leadership, she said she's been disappointed by the lack of action. "They look at me as a problematic Black woman," she said. Idowu said she has called the school, attempted to set up meetings with the principal and eventually showed up at her daughter's school to speak with the principal. "I say I'm the person who has been calling, can we speak about the situation because you're causing my daughter unrest and I'm spending money on a psychologist because of what she's going through in your school."Still, she said there was no accountability and much finger-pointing. Idowu said she hopes to see those sort of interactions change once the board hears from students and families like hers, who have felt the impacts of racism at school firsthand. "I believe having those type of stories being taught in that forum will allow more opportunities for people to be able to understand and protect the students who are in the schools better than how they were doing it in the past," she said. The CBE said it will conduct a literature review with support from the University of Calgary."To ensure that CBE is informed of current and emerging issues that are relevant to our local context," Usih explained."We believe that there's good work happening not only in our province, but across the country and in other jurisdictions as well, in terms of how we we create an equitable learning system for all students. The key driver in all of this is that we believe in these students, we believe in the success of these students every day, no exceptions."In June, the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation partnered with a Western Canada High School teacher to launch a petition asking the CBE to establish a task force to root out systemic racism in the system.But CEO Iman Bukhari said she's not all that impressed by what CBE CARES has set out to do. "It's a very reactive move rather than something that they should have really done years ago, in my opinion," she said. "Also, it's currently very broad. It's not very focused. It's just, 'we're going to have discussions and we're going to have suggestions and then we're going to have recommendations.'"Bukhari said that while that is where this kind of work generally starts, much of this kind of research and work has already been done. "I guess I'm not sure if they've done their research or have any idea of what's already out there. Our organization already did a literature review. We already did a research study with 150 Albertan teachers, many of whom were from CBE, in fact, about racism in school already, and showing that it is a problem and it is a concern and teachers don't have the resources," she said."It feels a little bit like they're just redoing some of the work that already exists rather than tackling the problems."Bukhari said the foundation and those behind the petition would have preferred to see the CBE take concrete actions. "We would have loved to see them gathering some real data within their classrooms in terms of how students are doing, in terms of their race and what kind of help they're getting, what kind of help teachers are getting, what's already out there," she said. "It seems what they're going to do now is start having these discussions. Then they're going to have the committee, who is in the end probably going to say, 'hey, we need race-based data.' But then it takes a long time to go through those discussions, to go through the suggestions or recommendations and the entire process, perhaps a year, sometimes even two, before they finally start collecting the stats."The foundation released a study in 2019 highlighting racism as a concern to Albertan teachers. It also gathered more than 72,000 signatures for a petition for the City of Calgary to create a task force.Bukhari said if the foundation is allowed, they will certainly share their knowledge and resources with the school board to address issues of racism and equity. Idowu said changes she'd like to see include hiring more diverse teachers and staff, as well as school partnerships with diverse community groups like the one she founded called Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. "I've been trying to get into the Calgary Board of Education to teach about our programming, which is called 'Africa is not a country, it's a continent,' which has to do with storytelling, music, drama and craft-making to inform students that Africa is not just a small country, is a continent with 54 countries — so they can open their mind and more students can get the information that the school is not providing to them in a curriculum," she said. "I have been trying to get into the CBE to be able to push for this type of programming for the past 12 years, and no school has ever contacted me, although I'm filling in the forms to let them know this is what we do, I'm sending them documentation. We're well known in Calgary and in Canada for what we do."Usih said he believes in the work of the council, and that the council will reflect CBE students and staff and also the voice of parents and communities."We recognize that racism exists and unfortunately there are members of our families or staff or students who experience racism. We're not going to shy away from acknowledging the fact that for some of our students and their families, this is part of a lived experience," he said. The chief superintendent said the CBE hasn't committed to any other specific actions like anti-racism training yet, but said that's one of the potential outcomes."I think it's important for us to listen. We've also engaged our Elders Advisory Council, our Indigenous elders, to seek their input in terms of this process as well," he said."What I don't want to do is speculate on what the outcome of the report is going to be in March, because I think that we recognize that what we've talked about in terms of training could very well be one of several actions that we need to take as a result of engaging in this process."
The city of Fredericton is grappling with how to make up an expected $3.1 million shortfall in next year's budget.City staff attributed $2 million to revenue losses during the pandemic and $1.1 million to rising costs. "It's a very large shortfall," said Coun. Greg Ericson, the chair of the city's finance and administration committee. "It's going to require some extraordinary budget decisions that we don't normally face in a budget."Council heard loose options from staff at Monday night's budget meeting, which could include raising the tax rate, cutting capital projects or services, or a combination of all three. A tax rate increase of four cents would make up the shortfall but most councillors said they were against a rise that high. "I cannot support, in good conscience, a tax increase," said Coun. Kate Rogers. "I'm not comfortable going to the public, because they too are struggling."Coun. Dan Keenan also said he was against raising the tax rate. He said the cuts should come from elsewhere."We could reduce services temporarily or we could reduce our capital program temporarily." Staff will come back to council with ideas on how to make up the shortfall at next week's budget meeting."We're going to look deeply into our capital budgets and our capital project priorities in order to determine ways to minimize and reduce this potential deficit down to zero without actually having to raise the burden on the community in undue ways," Ericson said.
Saskatchewan may not be reporting thousands or even hundreds of cases a day, but the province has a higher active COVID-19 case total per 100,000 people than most of Canada.Data shared by the federal government as of Sunday showed 53 people per 100,000 in Saskatchewan currently have COVID-19. Only Manitoba, Quebec and Alberta had higher totals by Sunday, at 150, 108 and 84 per 100,000 people, respectively.Ontario was reporting 7,120 active cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday — 49 people per 100,000. University of Saskatchewan's Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor of epidemiology at the college of medicine, said there are a number of factors he considers when assessing the provincial COVID numbers, per-capita totals included. They include test-positivity rates, R0, hospitalization numbers and deaths."We've been in a situation where the epidemic is growing for quite a few weeks already," Neudorf said. "We're just starting to see the impact of that on the numbers of new cases." He said days with slightly larger increases are often traced back to large events like those hosted at bars or nightclubs— or the event at the Full Gospel Outreach Centre in Prince Albert.But he said Saskatchewan is also seeing cases increase that aren't tied to specific events or incidents.Leaders say no to lockdownsAt a campaign event in Regina on Saturday, Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe was asked if he felt lockdowns would be necessary to quash the province's growing COVID-19 numbers. He said no. "People here continue to do the right thing, the vast majority of them do," Moe said. "We feel that the virus can be controlled in the weeks and the months ahead by exactly what Saskatchewan people are doing."Moe said he's confident in the province's ability to track and trace cases of COVID-19 and cited recent outbreaks and the provincial response as evidence that the system works.He said he's also confident that the province's willingness to fine those who "operate outside" of the recommendations of the chief medical health officer is an effective deterrent.Moe said to reduce case numbers people in Saskatchewan need to ensure they're using masks when necessary, washing their hands as much as possible and keeping their gathering sizes within those outlined in the provincial guidelines."We've proven before that we can control the spread of this COVID-19 virus. We need to do it again now," Moe said.In May, NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on the government to delay Phase 2 of the reopening. At the time, he said, "Business owners have more questions than answers about how to open safely,"Meili also said the idea the NDP wanted to stop the reopening plan — a criticism levied by Moe — was "preposterous.""We want to come out of COVID-19 as successfully as possible, but we want to make sure that we do that safely and wisely. We do not want to see a situation where we're back in lockdown," Meili said.Expect targeted restrictions, rather than lockdownsNeudorf said because Saskatchewan is seeing COVID-19 cases spread through a broader age range, there may be more targeted messaging or restrictions introduced in the coming weeks. Since the general lockdowns in the spring, he said there's been time for different businesses and venues to figure out how to operate safely and make adjustments. He said one factor to be considered with targeted lockdowns is whether a specific industry has shown itself to be a greater risk for exposure — or only certain businesses within that industry.Neudorf said if Saskatchewan gets to a point where hospitals are being overrun with COVID-19 cases, that's when a discussion around broader lockdowns should begin. But the province isn't there yet, he said.He said it's understandable and reasonable that people may be experiencing pandemic fatigue, but the best way for people in Saskatchewan to avoid rising COVID numbers and wide-ranging lockdowns is to obey the physical distancing recommendations. "It's not going to get back to normal for some time yet. We don't have this under control. We don't have a vaccine yet," he said. "But it doesn't have to get back to how it was at the beginning stages. We've learned a lot. We have to apply that common sense and still be vigilant."CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story with our online questionnaire.
The vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission has resigned, saying the government is prioritizing the mining industry over the environment. In his September resignation letter, commission vice-chair Art Webster said the government refused to consider a ban on mineral staking before the commission's draft land use plan was finished.Webster said the government's refusal to institute a moratorium on mineral staking undermines the commission's work."I was eager to start a regional planning process that would not be adversely affected by the speculative staking of mining claims," he wrote.Webster wrote that the commission wanted to protect the northern part of the Dawson region, however the government approved mining exploration in the area without consultation.> A significant majority of Yukon people want specific areas of our territory free of industrial activity. \- Art Webster"Sadly, as a result of recent events, my initial optimism has waned," wrote Webster in his resignation letter.He said that a letter from the commission in February argued that the government should pause land staking before beginning a land use planning exercise.He says the commission asked for a meeting between all parties, but the government declined to participate.In his letter, Webster says he is "disappointed that YG has not learned a valuable lesson from the Peel regional plan: a significant majority of Yukon people want specific areas of our territory free of industrial activity and accompanying road infrastructure. They want development prohibited and wilderness protected." 'Heading the same direction as the Peel': NDPThe commission was established to form a plan for the use and management of land, water, and resources in the Dawson area. In the legislative assembly Monday, NDP MLA Liz Hanson said the Liberals are making the same mistake as the previous Yukon Party government did with the Peel Watershed when it tried to substitute its own plan for one recommended by the planning commission.The matter ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada after years of legal wrangling. The court ruled against the Yukon government and in favour of First Nations and conservationists. "It pains me greatly to watch this one heading the same direction as the Peel did," said Hanson during question period.Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai said staking land doesn't mean the land will be developed, as the work will still require regulatory approval. He said the land use plan will have to balance competing interests, including areas with cultural importance to the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in."You have traditional areas of hunting and trapping ... and on top of that you have areas of mineralization that's some of the most valuable mineralization in the entire country and it's all in the same place," said Pillai.In 2018, the Klondike Placer Miners Association said the government rushed the process for nominating members to the Dawson commission.Pillai said the commission's work will continue. He said the government has asked the commission to suggest a replacement for Webster.
Game 5, which began on Monday, Oct. 27, was suspended in the 6th inning because of rain, and resumed Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Kingsville town council voted unanimously Monday night to pass a bylaw to prohibit and regulate odours and lighting from greenhouses growing cannabis.Council set aside $25,000 to pay for enforcement costs and $10,000 for overtime costs.Bert Mucci, the CEO of Mucci Farms, asked council to defer the decision to give Mucci Farms and other greenhouse growers time to have input on the bylaw. Mucci Farms has been proactive in installing blackout curtains in 75 per cent of its greenhouse space.But council remained firm that the greenhouses have had ample time to make changes.Coun. Larrry Patterson says residents have been frustrated with the smell and light pollution for too long."We've been hammered by our residents and we all totally support what our residents have asked of us," Patterson told council via a Zoom meeting."People have smelled Class 2 marijuana operations as a nuisance long enough in this municipality. People have waited for a few years to have dark sky compliance," he said.The bylaw comes into effect immediately, but town CEO John Norton says officers will have discretion to issue warnings.The maximum penalty for an individual breaking the bylaw is $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 for a subsequent offence. For corporations the maximum fines are $50,000 for a first offence and $100,000 for a subsequent offence.
Corner Brook is wrapping up its second season of allowing all-terrain vehicles on select downtown streets, and supporters say the new rules have brought new business to the city, with locals also availing of the new routes.Under the change, ATV riders have access to restaurants, hotels and shops before and after riding on nearby trails."My office is right on Main Street and I often see caravans of side-by-sides and quads going by. It's great to see. It means dollars for the community," said Mayor Jim Parsons on Monday."It's unique. It something that not many places as large as our city are able to do that sort of thing. It's a great opportunity for tourists and our local residents alike," he said.Big successIn May 2019, city council approved four-wheel recreational vehicles on designated routes in the west coast city between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. from June 1 to Oct. 31.The general speed limit is 40 km/h, but near multi-purpose trails — used by cyclists, pedestrians — the maximum speed someone can drive is 20 km/h.The route primarily follows the waterfront except for Main Street and Broadway, with an added expansion in 2020 to use Park Street and West Street, allowing riders access to amenities."It's been a big increase in the tourist industry that we haven't seen before. They usually bypass the city," said Greenwood Inn and Suites sales manager Chris Rumboldt.The Greenwood is located right on West Street and features underground parking, which is a big hit with ATV users he said."We've seen a real increase. Mostly from the island but when the Atlantic bubble opened up, we saw a lot from Nova Scotia," he said.Rumboldt said tourists stayed at the hotels every weekend last summer and loved the access to downtown on their trek across the back trails of the province. He already has a booking of 30 for next August.The road access has been a boon for businesses under the COVID-19 pandemic, says a Corner Brook ATV dealer."I love to see it. They are welcome in our town. Businesses really needed it, especially with what's going on right now," said Craig Borden, owner of Rugged Edge on Lundrigan Drive.Borden pushed for the city to open an ATV route so cross-island tourists and local users could access the trails on either side of Corner Brook.In the past, companies like his would ship ATVs to Deer Lake or Stephenville on a trailer but now he can offer guided tours of the city area and leave right from his store.He says he's sold a lot of side-by-sides and quads to new types of customers during the pandemic."They are visiting restaurants, they are stopping at gas stations. They are picking up supplies. Also, people are now travelling to their cabins on ATV, which they couldn't do before," he said. More expansion?The mayor said the additions to Park Street and West Street were a success this summer, with most users obeying the rules and speed limits, and said it's time to start talking about opening more roadways."We are also looking at ways to get residents access. We have a lot of residents that have snowmobiles, ATVs and side-by-sides. We owe it to our residents to get them access to our wonderful trail system," he said.Borden agreed, saying the one route gives a clear path from east to west, but if the city is willing to open more roads it could increase tourism and local traffic.AdviceOther municipalities and business owners have asked Borden how the road access has been such a success in Corner Brook, he said. His advice? Bring in proper rules and regulations."Be patient and try to work with your local municipalities and your ATV- and snowmobile-riding groups," he said.The mayor agrees."It's important to take baby steps. We started with one single route, with very easy-to-follow rules," said Parsons. As people got used to that, it became possible to expand, he said."But you can't expand too quickly and you can't have a free for all. You have to be able to enforce rules."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
More communities and organizations are requesting funding through the Department of Fisheries and Communities to support improvement initiatives built on the experiences of people during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as post-tropical storm Dorian.Officials say there's been a 25 to 30 per cent increase in the number of requests.Jamie Fox, minister of fisheries and communities, says since COVID hit, requests for funding have increased with a focus on sustainability and improving services for those in rural areas. "I think one thing that COVID did was it made us more self-sufficient in our own areas," said Fox, who said it also encouraged Islanders to get to know what's available in neighbouring towns and communities across P.E.I. "These non-profit groups are trying to make sure they're viable for the future and they're looking at ways that they can become creative and expand their services to the public." 70 projects from tip to tip Since the beginning of the pandemic, there's also been an increase in interest in projects that encourage outdoor activity."I've had a lot of different requests from harbour authorities or marinas that have seen that kind of outdoor activity increase, requests for walking trails as well," said Fox, who said he believes the pandemic has encouraged Islanders to find new ways to enjoy time together.This year, funding was also allocated to chambers of commerce in both eastern and western P.E.I. to conduct labour market studies on the needs of rural employers. According to the department, funding was also allocated to 25 Island NGOs to help them upgrade infrastructure and remain viable during the pandemic, and more than 10 rural fire stations received funding for equipment upgrades. Fox also said more towns and communities are seeking support with upgrading facilities that could function as warming centres in the event of an emergency, an uptick the department has noticed since post-tropical storm Dorian.Since the start of this fiscal year, more than $2 million has been invested in 70 projects in 50 different rural communities across P.E.I., Fox said. Funding for projects can range anywhere from $25,000-$50,000 — with a maximum of $100,000 on a single project. Groups often leverage these funds to apply for additional funding from other programs or levels of government. Right now, Fox said, staff are able to handle the increase in demand for project funding and resources but it's possible more staff — and money — will be needed down the road. "I'm confident with the money we have allotted right now, we'll be able to complete our projects in this year," said Fox."But of course, as demand comes in, [we] might have to ask for a budget increase next year."More P.E.I. news
A B.C. man who says he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest and a Catholic school teacher when he was a boy in the 1970s is the latest to file suit against church authorities in Vancouver.The alleged victim, who filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court last week under the pseudonym John Doe, says he was just six years old when he was abused by Father John Kilty and Raymond Clavin in North Vancouver.In a written statement, Doe alleges the abuse he suffered "included the full spectrum of violations from sexual touching to full blown rape." He says it has taken him more than 40 years to feel comfortable making these allegations public."I cannot find the right words to explain how the sexual abuse that I endured at age six has impacted my life," Doe said."When the most intimate moment of one's young life is simultaneously the most horrifying and disgusting, there is a suffocation of every authentic experience from that moment onward. The stain of these traumatic events has, and continues to, permeate all facets of my life experience."The statement of claim, filed Oct. 23, names the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver and the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver as defendants alongside Kilty and Clavin. Kilty is now deceased, but it's not clear whether Clavin is living or dead, according to Doe's claim.The suit alleges that the church and Catholic school system were "complicit in a culture and system of entrenched clericalism that enabled perpetrators of sexual abuse to continue to commit their grievous crimes, and wherein witnesses, complainants and whistle-blowers were silenced."None of the defendants have filed responses to the claim and the allegations have not been proven in court. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Vancouver said they are still looking into the case, while the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver did not respond to a request for comment.Priest allegedly groomed 'unsuspecting' boyAt the time of the alleged abuse in 1974 and 1975, Kilty was pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver and Clavin was a teacher at Holy Trinity Elementary. Kilty is not included in a list the archdiocese released last year of nine clergymen who have criminal convictions or lawsuits settled against them related to cases of sexual abuseIn his statement, Doe says he met Kilty when the priest invited him inside his home for a can of pop. Doe describes the atmosphere there as "vibrant with kids going in and out freely."He alleged he became dependent on Kilty's love and support, and their relationship eventually evolved to sleepovers, when Kilty would assault him."He was so kind at a time that I was in need of support and kindness. It felt amazing. It felt safe. What I did not know was that his friendly gestures were techniques used to groom an unsuspecting and wide-open little boy for sexual abuse," Doe said.He alleges that Kilty threatened to abandon him if he spoke about what happened, and Doe was terrified of losing their relationship.In contrast, Doe alleges Clavin inserted himself into Doe's family to help with after-school care."Clavin was the opportunist, controlling me with threats against me and my family should I say anything. I was terrified of him," Doe said in his statement.His claim alleges that church and school authorities should have known that children were at risk under Kilty and Clavin's supervision, but did nothing to protect them. The suit accuses the Catholic bodies of "gross negligence, willful blindness, recklessness, breach of fiduciary duty, and/or negligence."As a result, Doe alleges he suffered a range of long-lasting injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety and incapacity to commit to marriage or raising a family.'Disclosure is critical'Doe has chosen not to join a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against the archdiocese this summer by survivors of alleged abuse. In his statement, he says he supports those who have chosen that route, but he wants the institution to answer his allegations directly."It is very important to me that I know what they knew, and when they knew it, about each of Clavin and Kilty, respectively. This disclosure is critical to my own sense of peace, reconciliation, and justice," Doe said.The claim does not specify a monetary amount that Doe is seeking in damages.Earlier this year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge held the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops vicariously and directly liable for a total of $844,140 in damages, plus interest, for sexual abuse committed by a priest against a local woman in the 1970s.
Election day is over, but the results in some of the key battleground ridings in the Saskatchewan are still too close to call Tuesday morning. Saskatchewan Party and NDP candidates will be waiting for the mail ballot results, which Elections Saskatchewan will begin to count on Oct. 28, to reveal who won ridings in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.This includes NDP leader Ryan Meili, who currently trails slightly behind Saskatchewan Party candidate Rylund Hunter in the Saskatoon Meewasin riding.The Saskatchewan Party will retain a majority of the province's 61 seats regardless of the outcome of these close races, but several are still in play. ReginaNDP Leader Ryan Meili spent more time in Regina than Scott Moe during the month-long campaign. By the end of election night, the NDP had been elected in four Regina seats, one fewer than it held at the start of the campaign. Regina Coronation ParkCandidates: SP: Mark Docherty, NDP: Noor Burki, Green Party: Irene Browatzke, PC: David Coates Current leader: Docherty leads Burki by 450 votesVote by mail packages delivered: 806Incumbent: Docherty2016 Margin: 147 votesStoryline: Docherty of the Sask. Party won in 2011 and narrowly in 2016. He has been the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly since March 2018. Docherty faces Noor Burki of the NDP. Burki runs Wascana Driving School and won a contested nomination in May 2019. This riding was seen as a "safe" NDP seat until Docherty's breakthrough win in 2011. Kim Trew held the seat for the NDP from 1986 to 2011.Regina PasquaCandidates: SP: Muhammad Fiaz, NDP: Bhajan Brar, Green Party: Heather Lau, PC: Harry FrankCurrent leader: Fiaz led Brar by 501 votes with 72 of 74 polls reportingVote by mail packages delivered: 2674Incumbent: Fiaz2016 Margin: 298Storyline: Fiaz won in the new riding in 2016. The NDP challenger is Bhajan Brar. Moe kicked off his campaign outside Fiaz's campaign office. The area includes the relatively new subdivision of Harbour Landing, which according to the city's most recent census has the lowest median age at 29.9. Fiaz was one of only three Sask. Party incumbents that needed to win a contested nomination. This riding has the highest number of mail ballots requested this election.Regina UniversityCandidates: SP: Tina Beaudry-Mellor, NDP: Aleana Young, Green Party: Tanner Wallace, PC: Debbie KnillCurrent leader: Beaudry-Mellor leads Young by 178 votesVote by mail packages delivered: 1814Incumbent: Beaudry-Mellor2016 Margin: 417Storyline: This is one of several rematches from 2016. Moe and Beaudry-Mellor put up lawn signs together on day one of the campaign. Beaudry-Mellor is one of only a few recent cabinet ministers expected to be in a close race. Young is a member of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association executive and stepped down as a Regina Public School Division trustee to run. In 2016, the Liberal and Green candidates combined for 566 votes. The Liberals do not have a candidate on the ballot this year. Regina Walsh AcresElected: Derek Meyers, Saskatchewan PartyCandidates: SP: Derek Meyers, NDP: Kelly Hardy, PC: Ken Grey (leader), Independent: Sandra Morin Storyline: Derek Meyers of the Saskatchewan Party won Regina Walsh Acres with nearly 50 per cent of the vote, fending off challenges from the left. Former NDP cabinet minister Sandra Morin, who was not approved by the NDP after winning the nomination, garnered 12 per cent of the vote as an independent candidate while NDP candidate Kelly Hardy garnered 35 per cent. PC leader Ken Grey earned 4.2 per cent of the vote. SaskatoonSeveral ridings also remain up for grabs in the province's largest city, where Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe gave his victory speech Monday night. Saskatoon Churchill-WildwoodElected: Lisa Lambert, Saskatchewan PartyCandidates: SP: Lisa Lambert, NDP: David McGrane, Green Party: Gillian Walker, PC: John Lowe Storyline: While this riding combined areas that were strong for the NDP in the past, Lisa Lambert of the Saskatchewan Party took approximately 53 per cent of the vote, trailed by the NDP's Dave McGrane with 41 per cent.Saskatoon EastviewCandidates: SP: Chris Guérette, NDP: Matt Love, Green: Jan Norris Current leader: Love led Guérette by 86 votes with 51 of 52 polls reportingVote by mail packages delivered: 1555Incumbent: Vacant2016 Margin: Sask. Party 971Storyline: Guérette was helicoptered into this riding a week into the campaign after the resignation of Daryl Cooper. The seat is one of two that has been vacant for more than a year. Love will have the advantage of being selected much earlier than Guérette, who has name recognition as the head of the Saskatoon and District Home Builders' Association and former chair of the Conseil Scolaire Fransaskois. Love was a CBC Future 40 recipient and is a well-known teacher at Aden Bowman Collegiate.Saskatoon Meewasin Candidates: SP: Rylund Hunter, NDP: Ryan Meili (Leader), Green Party: Jacklin Andrews Current leader: Hunter leads Meili by 83 votesVote by mail packages delivered: 1656Incumbent: Meili2017 By-election Margin: 704 Storyline: Meili will have to wait until the mail-in ballots are counted to find out if he will be the first NDP leader in the last three elections to win his seat. Dwain Lingenfelter lost in 2011 and Cam Broten lost in 2016. Both were defeated by rookie candidates. Meili is up against Rylund Hunter of the Sask. Party, who knocked off Guérette for the nomination. Meili won a by-election in 2017, but the Sask. Party won the two previous main elections.Saskatoon RiversdaleCandidates: SP: Marv Friesen, NDP: Ashlee Hicks, Green Party: Delanie PasserCurrent leader: Hicks led Friesen by 27 votes with 46 of 49 polls reportingVote by mail packages delivered: 920Incumbent: Vacant2016 Margin: Won by NDP 259Storyline: Moe made two stops in this riding during the campaign, perhaps a sign the Sask. Party thought it could gain this traditional NDP seat. Aside from 1982-86, the NDP has held this riding since 1967. It has been previously held by NDP Premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. Danielle Chartier, who held the seat since 2009 for the NDP, is not running again. Friesen lost to Chartier in 2016 and is running again.Moose JawMoose Jaw WakamowElected: Greg Lawrence, Saskatchewan PartyCandidates: SP: Greg Lawrence, NDP: Melissa Patterson, Green Party: Abby Firlotte, PC: Darcy JensenStoryline: Once an NDP stronghold and the former seat of Lorne Calvert, Lawrence turned the tables in 2011 and has maintained his hold on the riding this year. Both parties spent time in Moose Jaw during the campaign. Moe made an announcement there increasing the veterans' grant program alongside Lawrence, who was the government's military liaison.Prince AlbertPrince Albert NorthcoteCandidates: SP: Alana Ross, NDP: Nicole Rancourt, Green Party: Sarah Kraynick, PC: Jaret Nikolaisen Current leader: Ross leads Rancourt by 222 votesVote by mail packages delivered: 568Incumbent: Rancourt2016 Margin: 261Storyline: Like Moose Jaw, Prince Albert was a location of frequent campaign trips from Moe and Meili. The seat has flip-flopped in the last two elections, but had previously been held by the NDP from 1991to 2011. Issues like a new bridge and expansion of the Victoria Hospital are hot-button issues in the city.
A bush pilot with more than 35 years of experience ferrying wildlife researchers over the N.W.T. barrenlands says a plan to kill wolves by air is "an utter waste of time, money and professional careers." Dave Olesen made the comment in a nine-page letter to the Wek'èezhìı Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) on Friday, the last day for the public to submit comments on the N.W.T. and Tłı̨chǫ governments' joint wolf management plan. The plan calls for killing 60 to 80 per cent of wolves that prey on the Bathurst and Bluenose East caribou herds every year for the next four years. On-the-ground harvesters will be given the first chance to take out the wolves, followed by marksmen in a helicopter in late March if on-the-ground kills aren't sufficient. "I have real concerns about the wisdom, the efficiency and what I predict will ultimately be the fruitless outcome of this program," Olesen wrote. Pilot project resultsThe Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) has said killing wolves, which can kill and eat 23 to 29 caribou per year, is necessary to address a dire situation. Populations of both caribou herds have plummeted to the point where N.W.T. harvesters were banned from hunting any Bathurst caribou in 2016, and harvesters are only allowed 173 bulls from the Bluenose East herd per year. Similar restrictions are in place in Nunavut, where the animals migrate each summer. A pilot project that ran this past April and May gave a taste of how successful an aerial wolf cull might be.In 10 days during those two months, a total of 36 wolves were shot by marksmen in helicopters, according to a draft report posted to the WRRB public registry. Olesen compared the effort to starting in Wekweeti, flying around the entire planet at the 64th parallel, and arriving back in Wekweeti having killed 36 wolves. He condemned the project as "difficult and dangerous" as well as "incredibly expensive." He also raised the possibility that there are fewer wolves on the barrenlands than the department believes. ENR estimated there were 49 wolves in the Bathurst caribou range and 121 in the Bluenose East range. Olesen said he flew over the area in 2018, 2019 and February and March of this year, and didn't see any wolf or kill site, which he says are unmistakable in wintertime. "The absence of wolves on the Bathurst caribou range has, since about 2012, been nothing short of astounding," he wrote.COVID-19 disruptionThe draft report on this year's hunt notes that bad weather and COVID-19 were both factors in the low kill rate. The pandemic meant that aircraft had to be based in Yellowknife rather than other communities, which meant time was wasted ferrying to starting points. The pandemic also meant that lab tests to determine whether the kills were humane had to be postponed. In an emailed statement to CBC, an ENR spokesperson said, "We have heard loud and clear from our communities and co-management partners that more needs to be done to manage predators to support declining caribou herds."One other letter submitted to the Wek'èezhìı Renewable Resources Board acknowledged that the desire for a cull is real, but said that's not a good reason to do it. "The easiest purported solutions, in this case a cull, are often done to appease people by offering some solution without knowing that it is the best solution," wrote Garth L. Wallbridge, who identified himself as an environmentalist and Indigenous person who hunts. The board will begin reviewing the materials it's received next week, and will issue its decision on Jan. 8.
The City of Saint John has identified six busy intersections as candidates for roundabouts. While the municipality currently has a couple of traffic calming circles in residential areas, a true roundabout at a high-traffic intersection would be entirely new for the city."We want to identify several locations, including focusing on one, maybe two simple roundabouts first," said traffic engineer Tim O'Reilly. "We want to give the opportunity for the community to use a simple, single-lane roundabout, get used to it as an educational tool before we jump into a few of the more complicated ones."That strategy would effectively push back construction of the roundabout proposed for the sometimes terrifying Simms Corner intersection in west Saint John.There, a heavy flow of truck traffic and a railway crossing are part of the mix, along with intersecting roads that do not connect at right angles.O'Reilly told city councillors that the most recent estimate to build a Simms Corner roundabout came in at $8 million to $10 million.Roundabout designs have been considered and rejected for the intersection several times going back to the 1950s or early 60s.Other intersections under consideration are Ashburn Road at Rothesay Road, Woodward Avenue at Boars Head Road, Manawagonish Road at Gault Road, Sandy Point Road at Foster Thurston Road and Millidge Avenue at Somerset Street.A roundabout strategy is part of a larger, 25-year transportation plan that is now in development. It includes such things as transit, trucking and bicycle routes. After wrestling at length with a financial crisis that followed several years of low assessment growth, city councillors were quick to point out there will be no money for intersection reconstruction, at least in the short term."The expectations have got to be managed because people are going to think that Saint John is moving toward these things tomorrow," said Coun. John MacKenzie. "They are a big ticket item and it's going to take a while."In his presentation O'Reilly said the traffic circles drastically reduce the number and severity of accidents.Saint John's roundabout discussion comes years after neighbours in Fredericton, Moncton and even Hampton installed roundabouts at key intersections to control traffic.