WASHINGTON — Monday seemed like the end of President Donald Trump's relentless challenges to the election, after the federal government acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden was the “apparent winner” and Trump cleared the way for co-operation on a transition of power.But his baseless claims have a way of coming back. And back. And back.On Thursday, after a Thanksgiving evening conversation from the White House with troops stationed overseas, Trump abruptly pivoted to angrily alleging — still without any evidence — that “massive fraud” was behind his defeat.Speaking to news crews gathered to watch the traditional holiday conversation with the military, Trump denounced officials in battleground states he'd lost as “communists” and “enemies of the state.” Trump also announced he'd be travelling to Georgia to meet with what he said would be tens of thousands of supporters on Dec. 5, ahead of two runoffs there that will likely determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate.The 2020 presidential race is turning into the zombie election that Trump just won’t let die. Despite dozens of legal and procedural setbacks, his campaign keeps filing new challenges that have little hope of succeeding and making fresh, unfounded claims of fraud.But that’s the point. Trump’s strategy, his allies concede in private, wasn’t to change the outcome, but to create a host of phantom claims about the 2020 presidential race that would infect the nation with doubt and keep his base loyal, even though the winner — Biden — was clear and there has been no evidence of mass voter fraud.“Zombies are dead people walking among the living — this litigation is the same thing,” said Franita Tolson, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. “In terms of litigation that could change the election, all these cases are basically dead men walking.”It's a strategy tolerated by many Republicans, most notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who are clinging to Trump as they face a test of retaining their own power in the form of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.“This really is our version of a polite coup d’etat,” said Thomas Mann, senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. “It could end quickly if the Republican Party acknowledged what was going on. But they cower in the face of Trump’s connection with the base.”A day after Trump said his administration should begin working with Biden's team, three more lawsuits were filed by allies attempting to stop the certification in two more battleground states. In Minnesota, a judge did not rule on the suit and the state certified the results for Biden. Another was filed in Wisconsin, which doesn't certify until Tuesday. Arizona Republicans filed a complaint over ballot inspection; the state certification is due Monday.And the campaign legal team said state lawmakers in Arizona and Michigan would hold meetings on the election “to provide confidence that all of the legal votes have been counted and the illegal votes have not been counted in the November 3rd election.”In Pennsylvania, where state Republican lawmakers met at Gettysburg on Wednesday to air grievances about the election, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani attended in person and Trump dialed in from the Oval Office.“We have all the evidence," Trump asserted. “All we need is to have some judge listen to it properly without having a political opinion.”But the strongest legal rebuke yet came from a conservative Republican judge in federal court in Pennsylvania, who on Saturday dismissed the Trump team's lawsuit seeking to throw out the results of the election. The judge admonished the Trump campaign in a scathing ruling about its lack of evidence. The campaign has appealed.Trump's allies have privately acknowledged their plan would never actually overturn the results, but rather might provide Trump an off-ramp for a loss he wasn't owning up to and an avenue to keep his base loyal for whatever he does next.“And then our governing and politics will be hellish, because he will continue doing what he’s doing from his private own perch,” Mann predicted.Emily Murphy, the top official at the General Services Administration, declared Biden the “apparent winner” Monday, a procedural yet critical step that allowed for the transition to begin in earnest. She made the determination after Trump's efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states. She cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”Michigan certified Biden’s 154,000-count victory Monday, despite calls by Trump to the GOP members to block the vote to allow for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump claimed he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.“The board’s duty today is very clear,” said Aaron Van Langevelde, the Republican vice chair. “We have a duty to certify this election based on these returns.”Still, the Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would fight on.Trump and his allies have brought at least four cases in Michigan that sought — unsuccessfully — to block certification of election results in part or all of the state.In Pennsylvania, after Gov. Tom Wolf certified Biden as the winner, an appeals court judge ordered state officials to halt any further steps toward certifying election results. The state has appealed to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.In Arizona, just as lawyers for a woman in the Phoenix area dropped a case alleging that equipment was unable to record her ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen, Trump’s campaign filed its own lawsuit echoing some of the same complaints. As that suit was about to be dismissed, lawyers for the woman filed a new case reviving the claims and demanding that she be allowed to recast her ballot. All three of the cases have now been dismissed.“The legal process seems to be unfolding the way it’s supposed to, but the Trump campaign has made clear its desire to throw wrenches in the system wherever it can,” said Lisa Marshall Manheim, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law.___Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to this report.Colleen Long, Alanna Durkin Richer And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The Federal Court has punted consideration of airfare refunds, which customers say they are owed following hundreds of thousands of cancelled flights, to provincial courts.Justice Michael Manson says in a decision today that a proposed class-action lawsuit seeking certification is outside the Federal Court's jurisdiction, even though air travel is a federal area of responsibility.Plaintiff Janet Donaldson launched a proposed class action against Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet Airlines and its Swoop subsidiary after the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March and triggered a global travel industry collapse.The British Columbia resident says WestJet cancelled her flight but initially gave her no reimbursement options, offering travel vouchers instead.Manson's ruling strikes her claim on jurisdictional grounds, but avoids weighing in on the merits of the refund issue itself.A handful of proposed class-action suits are ongoing in provincial courts, including in B.C. and Quebec, as frustrated customers seek refunds for trips they paid for but never took.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.The Canadian Press
Halifax-area businesses ordered closed in an effort to curb the city's rising number of COVID-19 cases are getting another round of financial support from the province.Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday that the province would offer a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to small, independently owned bars, dine-in restaurants and fitness and leisure centres.The businesses are among those that are now closed for at least the next two weeks under health measures that took effect Thursday.MacLellan said it's the third round for a grant which is part of a larger $50-million relief fund for business."Those who received this in the past will be fast-tracked," he told reporters following a cabinet meeting. "If there are any that didn't apply . . . they still will be eligible."Businesses can use the grant money for any operational expenses, such as wages and supplies. To be eligible, businesses must have been operating since March 15. There is no cap on annual revenues."It's not going to solve everyone's problem. We always wish we could do more," MacLellan said.Under the new restrictions, retail stores can remain open, but they have to limit the number of shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of their legal capacity.MacLellan said while retailers aren't part of the targeted relief package, his department will monitor the impact on their business over what is hoped will be only a two-week period before the measures can be lifted.The province reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including 12 in the Halifax area, one in the northern health zone and one in the western zone.It said 856 tests were administered at the rapid-testing site in downtown Halifax on Wednesday, and there were five positive results. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test."We've seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons," Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health said in a news release."People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid-testing locations. This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus."Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has reported 167 COVID-19 cases, and it has had 1,257 cases and 65 deaths since the pandemic began.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.Keith Doucette, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said companies had to have between $25,000 and $300,000 in annual sales to be eligible.
Federal officials sought to reassure Canadians today that Ottawa has a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, as the government's critics argue that Canada seems to be falling behind other developed countries in planning for a mass vaccination campaign.Health Canada regulators are reviewing clinical trial data, the government has signed purchase agreements for promising vaccine candidates and public health officials have procured needles and syringes for a future deployment, officials said. But top civil servants still don't know how and when Canadians will be vaccinated due to a number of uncertainties.Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said the country will grapple with "some logistical challenges" in the months to come as it prepares to inoculate Canadians. He said the federal government will leverage the Canadian Armed Forces and an existing influenza vaccine distribution network to help with deployment.Njoo warned that vaccine supply will be quite limited at first and will be reserved for "high priority groups" only — seniors in long-term care homes, people at risk of severe illness and death, first responders and health care workers and some Indigenous communities, among others.A larger rollout, he said, will happen once supply chains stabilize and regulators approve more vaccine candidates for use in Canada.If all goes well, and if U.S. pharmaceutical giants are able to meet delivery timelines, Njoo said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of 2021. Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer's vaccine.He cautioned, however, that it's an "optimistic projection" and the details are far from certain right now.Njoo said the federally run National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS), which has storage sites across the country, already has procured the needles and syringes needed for vaccinations, which will be shared with the provinces and territories.The federal government also has purchased cold storage for the promising Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, should they be approved for use here in Canada. Those two vaccines are based on groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA, which essentially directs cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.WATCH: Health officials explain how COVID-19 vaccines will be approvedThe government has been criticized by the opposition, provincial leaders and some public health experts for providing few details about its plans to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light.While the U.S. has publicly released a robust distribution plan — 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December alone — Canadian officials have been largely quiet about how the deployment here will be structured. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak with the premiers tonight to offer more specifics.Njoo said there's been a "great deal of preparation behind the scenes" and the government will provide more information about logistics, distribution and allocation at a later date.Njoo did not offer a precise timeline, beyond a commitment to getting some Canadians vaccinated "early" next year.Arianne Reza, an assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said she expects vaccines will be available in the "first quarter of 2021."She said Canada has so far finalized purchasing agreements with five different pharmaceutical companies — AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Medicago, Pfizer and Moderna — while agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are being finalized now.Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. "Canada does have firm agreements," Reza said. "We work every day with the vaccine manufacturers to firm up the delivery schedule."Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said her department has been reviewing clinical trial data on a rolling basis since October 9. The rolling review process — a policy shift implemented because of the urgency of this pandemic — allows drug makers to bypass the lengthy timelines they normally face when launching a new vaccine.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to make its final decision on the Pfizer product on Dec. 10 — the company has reported a 95 per cent effectiveness rate — and Sharma said Health Canada is expecting to give approval for that product "around the same time. We're on track to make decisions on similar timelines.""We don't want to set up expectations that we might not be able meet. We're working flat out," Sharma said.Reza said she doesn't know when that product might hit our shores, but she's hopeful for a fast turnaround."The minute regulatory approval comes through, they will be ready to go quite quickly with supply and initial shipments," she said.Sharma said drug companies could send vaccines to Canada for "pre-positioning" — stockpiling in advance of regulatory approval — but no vaccines have yet been shipped to our country.Health minister should apologize to families of dead Canadians: ToryConservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, the party's health critic, said delays in vaccine deployment will lead to more COVID-19-related deaths. She said Health Minister Patty Hajdu should be prepared to apologize to Canadian families who lose loved ones to the virus."I know that sounds stark," Rempel told a press conference. "But Canada's inability to be clear on the details, to have a clear plan — when countries around the world have treated this with military efficiency and the severity that's needed — will result in death.""Countries around the world will have the ability to vaccinate against COVID-19 but, in Canada, we will likely face 2,000 deaths per month because we don't have the same ability," she said, citing federal public health projections about the number of Canadians that could die each month if the virus continues to spread.WATCH | COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan outlined:She said the government is perpetuating "mass chaos" and "mass confusion" by failing to release a clear distribution plan only weeks before an expected rollout.She pointed to comments from Ontario's health minister, Christine Elliott, who said Thursday she still wasn't sure just how much her province will receive as part of the government's coordinated vaccine bulk-buying program."I don't even have words for how concerning this is ... the provinces haven't been brought to the table in a meaningful way. There's a disconnect," Rempel Garner said. "At the 11th hour, provincial governments shouldn't be asking these questions."In question period, Hajdu said Canada has more vaccines on order per capita than any other country and Ottawa is working with provinces and territories to develop a distribution strategy.She accused the Conservatives of trying to "sow division" through their criticisms and chided some Tory MPs for sharing unspecified "fake and dangerous news" on social media."The virus thrives when we're working at opposite ends," Hajdu said.
More than two-thirds of the world’s fields, ranches and orchards are owned by one per cent of its farmers, according to a report released Tuesday. Land inequality — the concentrated ownership of land — is skyrocketing globally, including in Canada and the U.S. It’s a trend driven by large-scale industrial farming and export-oriented agricultural policies with wide-ranging impacts on everything from food security to climate change. Those investments aren’t always obvious. Historically, land ownership analyses have excluded key pieces of information, such as the value of land and the degree of control a person or organization has over it, according to the report’s authors. For instance, many farms operate under contract to agri-food corporations, giving them control over production methods and market access without explicitly owning the farm. Investors are also purchasing farmland at increasingly high rates, pushing land prices beyond the value of the crops they can produce and exacerbating farmland consolidation. An analysis of these control mechanisms was included by the coalition of organizations behind the report — a novel technique, said Ward Anseeuw, co-author of the report and co-ordinator of the initiative. The additional data revealed that worldwide, land inequality is 41 per cent higher than previously reported through national agricultural censuses. “These findings radically alter our understanding of the extent and far-reaching consequences land inequality has, proving that not only is it a bigger problem than we thought, but it’s undermining the stability and development of sustainable societies,” he said in a statement. Concentrated land ownership is associated with a suite of problems, including deforestation, political and economic inequality and the degradation of rural food security, the report notes. And while land inequality is an old problem — it was a key part of many colonial governments’ policies — the authors note that since the 1980s, the problem has gotten worse. That’s when national and international trade policies were implemented that made it easier for financial institutions and global agri-businesses to purchase vast tracts of farmland for conversion into industrialized crop production. This land was generally purchased from small- to mid-sized family farms growing a diversity of crops for local or regional consumption. Replacing them were larger industrialized farms owned by vertically integrated companies invested from seed to sale in international commodity markets. It’s a trend that accelerated after the 2008 financial crash, said Devlin Kuyek, senior researcher at GRAIN, an international non-profit supporting small farmers and social movements. Those investors, including several Canadian pension funds, started purchasing farmland worldwide. And with deeper pockets than most farmers, they didn’t struggle to find the land, despite policies in certain jurisdictions — including some Canadian provinces — that limit foreign farmland ownership. It’s a practice that drives land consolidation, he explained. Meanwhile, smaller-scale farmers producing food for regional and local consumption often struggle to make ends meet because of high farmland prices and competition from global commodity markets. It’s a pattern that is seen worldwide — including in B.C., explained Mullinix. The province has a proliferation of small, diversified farms serving local markets, many of which struggle to afford farmland (farmland prices in the province are also driven by real estate speculation, not only agri-businesses and investments from financial institutions). There are also several large ranches and orchards producing food for Canada-wide and international markets — and not much in between. Still, Kuyek said that Canadians have more leverage than they might think. Canadian pension funds are some of the world’s largest farmland investors and sustained pressure from the people whose money they are managing can help change their practices. “We have an interest in understanding what’s going on with our money. If the money is being used to expand industrial agriculture, kick communities off their lands, destroying the future of the planet, it’s not really a good investment that way,” he said. “But this is a new area for the pension funds, so putting pressure on them now, making them aware of the risks … it can sort of push them to hold back from stepping into that area of investment.” Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Une récente enquête conduite auprès de 1000 entreprises du secteur de la chimie met en lumière les freins et les leviers présents dans les initiatives d’économie circulaire.
Prince George, B.C., resident Judy Howard recently shelled out $50 for a six-pack of soy sauce after a family Facebook bidding war, and she feels like she got a pretty sweet deal — or salty, to be more accurate.A single bottle of Canadian-made China Lily Soya Sauce usually runs about $3 and is a staple in many kitchens in northern B.C., primarily in Indigenous households where it is often used liberally in traditional dishes and everyday dinner prep.Currently, it is incredibly hard to come by, and that's causing a bit of a panic among regular purchasers.The sauce is crafted by Lee Foods in Toronto. False rumours the factory is closing could be behind why grocery stores in B.C.'s north have been cleaned out, Amazon has nothing to offer, and prices on eBay keep climbing.Prince Rupert, B.C., resident Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North, caught the concerned chatter of locals on social media and contacted Lee Foods to find out why people were fearful their favourite brand was on the brink. A woman at Lee Foods who took de Ryk's call said there are no plans to shut down the family-run business.Her explanation for the shortage was simple: "China Lily Soya Sauce is the next toilet paper in the COVID-19 pandemic."While hearing the company is still open may be a relief for some, the current situation remains dire for die-hard fans. So much so that Tahltan President Chad Day released a tongue-in cheek-warning on Facebook that soy sauce bootlegging would not be tolerated. Annita Macphee, who is Tahltan and lives in Vancouver, said she remembers rice with China Lily being a component of many childhood meals. She told de Ryk its popularity in many Indigenous kitchens could be because so many Indigenous and Chinese people worked together at one time in coastal canneries."I've heard of people buying 16 bottles," she said, adding she currently has a line on some bottles that surfaced in Powell River, B.C., so she should be supplied for the time being.Howard, meanwhile, is likely being hailed as a hero by her immediate family for the six-pack she scored after her nephew, Sheldon Howard, Jr., a Prince George resident originally from the Gitxsan community of Gitsegukla in northwestern B.C., auctioned it off."I don't think it was extortion," said Howard, who uses the sauce to flavour much of her cooking, especially salmon and herring roe dishes.This year, said Howard, a bottle or two from Santa would be a coveted Christmas gift for many in Gitsegukla.To really dive down into the cultural significance of China Lily, De Ryk also spoke with Jeremy Pahl, also known as Saltwater Hank, a Tsimshian First Nation member and Prince Rupert resident.He was plum out at the start of the week but, while it was weighing heavy, he said he was staying strong."We are going to get through it, and future generations are going to look back and say my ancestors survived the great China Lily shortage of 2020," Pahl said with a chuckle.Pahl later got lucky when some employees at Coast Mountain College called up de Ryk to let her know they had a bottle and it was Pahl's if he wanted it. You can bet he did.But if you're not one of the lucky Howards, don't know about a stash out of town, and no kindly neighbour has tracked you down via the national broadcaster to offer you a spare bottle, don't despair — Lee Foods is still in full swing.In a statement, company president Christopher Wong said while there have been some supply, shipping and staffing hiccups due to the pandemic, customers can expect to see China Lily Soya Sauce back on the shelves within the coming weeks.To hear Judy Howard talk about her Facebook auction score on CBC's Daybreak North, tap the link below:
A company in Chester, N.S., says it is turning trash into treasure and someday it hopes to mine community landfills around the world.Sustane Technologies Inc. is housed in an unassuming warehouse — right next to the community's landfill. The two approaches to managing the growing problem of household waste could not be more stark.The landfill grows and grows, and some of its contents will remain there intact for centuries. But Sustane Technologies claims it can transform that waste into biomass pellets and diesel fuel, and then recycle much of what is left over.The company said it can divert 90 per cent of waste from landfills into better options."We can reduce the cost of living with landfills and we can eliminate the environmental liability of landfills," said CEO Peter Vinall.Vinall has 35 years of experience working in the pulp and paper industry. He partnered with Spanish inventor Javier De La Fuente and local businessman Robert Richardson to pioneer a more sustainable solution to solid waste management.The processFirst, the facility shreds bags of household waste. Then it's put through 15 stages of separation and cleaning, including a series of magnets that remove all the metals that can be recycled. Finally, it uses a process called pyrolysis, which heats whatever is leftover to separate the material without burning it."That's the difference. This is a process that has no combustion," said Vinall. "When you burn plastic, you get reactions that create pollutants that are bad. We make clean products with very limited impact on the environment and a tremendous benefit."Pyrolysis is not new, but Sustane has a patented proprietary process for its combination of cleaning and cooking technology. That lets it turn the plastics back into diesel oil, which is then used to create all of the energy required to run the plant.The biomass is turned into pellets that are sold as an industrial heat source. Vinall said the process takes about two-and-a-half hours."In Canada, somewhere between 30 and 50 per cent of everything that comes out of the household is recycled. We can take the other 50 to 70 per cent and turn it into valuable, clean products, with very limited impact on the environment and a tremendous benefit," said Vinall.The debateEarlier this year, Ottawa announced it will ban six single-use plastics by the end of 2021, including grocery checkout bags, straws, and plastic cutlery. Nova Scotia has already banned plastic bags.Marla Macleod works at Halifax's Ecology Action Centre. She said we need to reduce our use of plastic in the first place, rather than focus on finding ways to get rid of it after we use it."We need to start thinking more systematically about the problems we're creating as a society. So this (Sustane Technologies' facility) is a way to fix plastics we've already produced. It is a Band-Aid over that," she said."I would be worried that we would be creating infrastructure that perpetuates our consumption and our throwaway culture."Vinall and the staff at Sustane Technologies agree with much of what she said. "I have sympathy for that view, because I would argue that there is too much plastic in society. I think there's a role for regulation to improve that," he said."But you just can't turn that faucet off right away. We're going to turn it into a product that gets another life and has an opportunity to replace fossil fuels in the ground, because that's the right thing to do."The demandSome estimates put the amount of garbage produced by Canadians at 30 million tonnes a year, much of which ends up in methane-oozing landfills. Sustane Technologies argues that trash is a source of energy that is ripe for the taking. The company claims one of its facilities can process 70,000 tonnes of garbage a year, which would lead to an annual reduction in greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 40,000 cars from the roads.In 2016, Sustane Technologies signed an agreement with the District of the Municipality of Chester to use their garbage supply. Its Chester plant, the only one in Nova Scotia, is running at about 70 per cent capacity. It has received funding from government agencies, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and employs a couple dozen people.The company is developing similar projects in other parts of the world. It wants to build, own, and operate the facilities in exchange for the municipality's stream of garbage.'We think there's a model in the future where we can go to communities and say, we'll take your waste. And we'll also start to take away that liability of the landfill by mining it and pulling it back out and making valuable products," Vinall said.It's also looking at what it calls "chemical recycling." It's working with multinational companies to recycle the diesel fuel, turning it back into plastic."I think that's the future," said Vinall. "That's the lowest cost, most efficient way to dramatically improve recycling of plastics."MORE TOP STORIES
Qui n’a jamais entendu parler des « Malheurs de Sophie » ? Au-delà d’aventures du quotidien, ce classique souvent réédité nous raconte comment on éduquait les petites filles et les petits garçons…
Wellington County OPP say that thanks to witnesses, they were able to apprehend a suspected impaired driver in Erin this week. On Nov. 25, OPP received reports of someone demonstrating signs of impairment entering a red passenger vehicle and driving out of a parking lot on Main Street. The vehicle was located by police, who placed the driver under arrest after it was determined their ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol. The driver was transported to a local OPP Operation Centre for further testing. A 57-year-old driver from Erin was charged with impaired operation, impaired operation - 80 Plus (mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood), and driving while suspended, a Highway Safety Act offence. The vehicle has been impounded for seven days, and the driver had their licence suspended for 90 days. Police are reminding people that if they suspect someone’s ability to drive is impaired by either drugs or alcohol they report it by calling 911.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
An Ottawa-based watchdog group is asking a judge to rule that Premier Blaine Higgs's provincial election call in August was illegal because it violated fixed-date legislation.Democracy Watch isn't looking to overturn the results of the Sept. 14 election but is asking the Court of Queen's Bench to declare that it was against the law.Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher said changes to the Legislative Assembly Act in 2007 took away the power of premiers to ask the lieutenant-governor to dissolve the legislature whenever they want to."To pass a bill and say 'This is changing all the rules,' and then say 13 years later, 'No, none of the rules changed,' is completely contradictory and goes totally against what's on the public record," he said.But a leading expert on Canada's parliamentary system and its unwritten conventions said Conacher is wrong and the legal action will go nowhere.Philippe Lagassé said Conacher's organization attempted the same thing in 2008 when former prime minister Stephen Harper called a snap election despite his own government's passage of a fixed-date election law.And they lost."The precedents are well set," Lagassé said. "There's already a federal case that the provincial judges can look to. So it's a fruitless exercise." Higgs himself agrees."The premier is confident that he had the legal authority to call an election," said spokesperson Nicolle Carlin. "As the matter is now before the courts, we have no further comment."A seeming caveat to New Brunswick's fixed-date requirement is in the law itself. The statute says elections must be called every four years but acknowledges that "nothing in this section" takes away from the lieutenant-governor's power and discretion under the Constitution to dissolve the legislature.Conacher said the lieutenant-governor's discretion is already restricted by unwritten constitutional conventions that she can only do that on the advice of the premier.And he said the premier, unlike the lieutenant-governor, can be reined in by the law. "What we're challenging is the premier's advice to the lieutenant-governor to dissolve the legislature and to call an election and set an election date," he said. "The legislature of New Brunswick prohibited those things back in 2007."The lieutenant-governor can only exercise that discretion to dissolve the legislature when advised by the premier and the cabinet, and the premier and cabinet [at the time] said, 'We're putting this measure in to say we're not allowed to advise you to do that except for every four years.'" > For three elections in a row, premiers followed the fixed elected date and so did the lieutenant-governor, so that creates a convention. \- Duff Conacher, Democracy WatchHe said there's another key difference between the New Brunswick situation and what the Federal Court ruled on in 2009.In the federal case, Harper was calling an early election without ever having followed his own fixed-date law, less than two years after it was passed.In New Brunswick, three different premiers — Shawn Graham, David Alward and Brian Gallant — have all heeded the law in calling elections four years after the previous ones. "For three elections in a row, premiers followed the fixed elected date and so did the lieutenant-governor, so that creates a convention," he said.But the 2009 Federal Court ruling also said that because conventions are unwritten rules that lack the force of law, the courts have no role in enforcing them. Early election for 'stability'Higgs called this year's election because he said he needed "stability" that his minority government lacked to keep fighting COVID-19 and working on economic recovery.In August he asked the three other parties in the legislature to sign an agreement committing to keep him in power until the scheduled election date in October 2022, in return for greater input into government policy.Even though a deal with just the Greens and the People's Alliance would have given him that stability, Higgs called an election after the Liberals balked at the idea of an agreement.He went on to win a majority government with 27 out of 49 seats.Conacher said the main argument for having fixed-date election laws is they prevent, or should prevent, an incumbent government from controlling the timing of a campaign to its advantage."Snap elections very much favour the ruling party, and they're very unfair to everybody else," he says.But Lagassé said that because the constitutional powers of a governor-general or lieutenant-governor can't be rewritten, the laws amount to a gimmick."Why do they exist? Because it looks good. But it doesn't do much."
Members of a Six Nations land reclamation camp have appealed two court injunctions ordering them to vacate a housing development in Caledonia, Ont.Skyler Williams, a spokesperson for the group and defendant in the case, said Thursday that he filed an appeal in Ontario Superior Court to fight the injunctions."We chose to engage in a process, a process that is not our own, to try and move it forward," said Williams during a media update Thursday. "For us the issue of the land here is still before the courts and certainly needs to come to a nation-to-nation discussion."The occupation of the McKenzie Meadows development, dubbed 1492 Land Back Lane by demonstrators, has stretched on for months, and has included blockades across area roads, court orders to remove people staying there, and dozens of arrests.Last month, Justice John Harper ruled that the activists had to vacate the land where Foxgate Developments planned a housing complex. The Six Nations group says the property is unceded Indigenous land and has been occupying it for 131 days. Harper ordered the Six Nations members to vacate on Oct. 22.Williams said Thursday that he's retained lawyers Barry Yellin and Wade Poziomka from the Hamilton firm Ross & McBride LLP. If the appeal is successful, he said, Foxgate Developments and Haldimand County will have to restart the permanent injunction proceedings."The filing by Ross & McBride LLP focuses on the failure of the court to distinguish between contempt and abuse of process, a procedural issue," the 1492 Land Back Lane group said in a media release. "The issue is that Williams's pleadings and evidence were thrown out by Justice Harper in error contrary to the law, procedural fairness, and the rules of civil procedure. If successful in the appeal, the matter would be returned to superior court before a different judge, and all of Williams's pleadings would be reinstated in his defence."The appeal, Williams said, is "an honest effort to engage in the legal system at a time that I was unrepresented in the court process."Harper said last month that Williams has shown "contempt" for the court by refusing to obey previous, temporary injunctions, and by insisting the Cayuga, Ont., courtroom was part of the "colonial" court system.Harper said the court must acknowledge the "abuses that have been put upon the Aboriginal community," but "claims and grievances in our society … must be done respectfully, must be done in compliance with the orders."The Six Nations Elected Council signed a deal in 2019 with the developers for $352,000 and 17 hectares of land in exchange for support of the two housing projects. Williams said Thursday that the elected council has expressed "tentative" support for 1492 Land Back Lane. Six Nations' traditional government, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council of Chiefs, supports the reclamation camp.The group has been calling on the federal and provincial governments to step in and work with their representatives toward a peaceful resolution.Despite a pledge from the office of Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, that government officials "look forward to meeting with the community at the earliest opportunity" and are "committed" to addressing longstanding land claim issues, Williams said negotiations have yet to begin."They've said over and over again that they want to be at the table, that they're working on it … and here we are. This is three-and-a-half months later," said Williams. "Apparently it takes a long time to get here from Ottawa."
Sedley village council voted to take steps to seize four properties under property tax provisions of The Municipalities Act during its Nov. 18 meeting. Taxes of $6,298.29 are owing for the property on the 300 block of Broadway Street according to chief administrative officer Samantha Gillies, who recommended council seize the title for the land as the deadline for payments had expired. ‘Basically, what that means is we proceed to take title, send them a form and wait six months,” Gillies said. Other properties on Broadway Ave, with the legal addresses of 116 Broadway Ave., 106 Broadway Ave. and 104 Broadway Ave. are also subject to tax enforcement, but were not subject to the six-month waiting period, after a council resolution before the property is officially seized. “Once you make the resolution, I’m going to apply to take title and it’s ours,” Gillies said. “Because the assessment is low enough, I’m authorized to do that.” Council then approved the necessary motion for Gillies to proceed with the tax enforcement of those properties as well. Discussion of the landfill environmental assessment also took place. While the Sedley landfill did receive a permit to operate, the permit was only renewed for one year instead of the normal five-year period. Council was also informed a landfill operations plan, a landfill emergency response plan, a preliminary landfill closure plan will need to be adopted, as well as an environmental assessment plan. To date, Sedley’s administration has met the required report filing deadlines, Gillies said. Some of the planning work, as previously reported in this paper, was funded by the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program. Some hazardous-waste slip tanks and numerous barrels, known to contain used oil but also potentially containing some unknown materials, will have to be removed. Some of the barrels have bullet holes, meaning it is likely some of the soil around those barrels is now contaminated. “We should get out in front of it so that’s done before we submit our environmental assessment report,” Gillies said. “Then we can tell them we took care of it.” Recycle West offered a quote of $300 to empty the slip tank, and up to 20 drums. In addition, a disposal fee will apply on a per-drum basis, and the contaminated soil will need to be addressed, with drum delivery of $65 per drum, and soil removal costs of $100 per drum. Gillies said an engineer told the administration four centimetres of soil will need to be removed, placed in to drums and hauled away, a job Recycle West is qualified to handle. Mayor Alan Currie noted the Sedley landfill is the only one serving the entire RM of Francis. “It’s something we definitely want to take care of and retain,” Currie said. It is not legal to take oil to the landfill now for disposal. The oil there now was dumped prior to those regulations taking effect, and had been left there for years, virtually forgotten. Council did not make a decision on that quote, as it was felt cheaper options may be available. As part of the regular administration of a new term, council appointed Gerard Parent as deputy mayor.Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum
Team Halo is hoping to answer questions from those sceptical or hesitant about COVID vaccines. View on euronews
PARIS — France is resuming collection of a special tax on Big Tech companies like Amazon and Facebook despite the threat of U.S. retaliatory tariffs on French Champagne, cheese, handbags and other goods.The tax brought about 400 million euros to the French budget last year, but the government agreed to suspend it in 2020, in exchange for an American promise to drop the tariff threat pending talks on an international deal on taxing online companies.France was hoping that such an accord could be reached by the end of this year, rendering the French tax moot. But the Trump administration pulled out of the negotiations, led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and no such deal is ready yet.So French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday that France will again levy the tax. Speaking on a visit to Italy, he said: "We naturally hope that the Italian presidency of the G20 will provide the impetus to reach an agreement within the OECD, which could be supported by all European countries, concerning a fair tax on tech giants.”A Finance Ministry official said the French Treasury sent the 2020 tax bills to Amazon, Google and other companies affected by the measure last week, and they have to pay by the end of the year. The ministry expects the tax revenue to total a bit more than last year because big tech companies have had a good year amid the pandemic.France's trade minister told The Associated Press earlier this month that he hopes President-elect Joe Biden's administration rejoins discussions at the OECD for a global deal.Other European countries have imposed similar measures, which are aimed at forcing online giants to pay full taxes in the countries where they do business instead of in tax havens. U.S. officials have argued that the taxes unfairly target successful American companies, though France says its tax is aimed at all big tech companies that make money online.The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — Thanksgiving just got a little bit better for the Maine lobster industry.The European Union parliament on Thursday approved a mini trade deal with the United States, which includes the elimination of customs duties on U.S. lobster imports. The passage with 638 votes for, 45 against and 11 abstentions was the last major political step for the deal to come into effect.As a result, the 27-nation EU will drop its 8% tariff on U.S. lobsters for the next five years and work to make the move permanent.U.S. lobster imports to the EU came to about $111 million in 2017 before falling off in the face of rising tensions between the trading partners, and an EU trade agreement with Canada that allowed its lobsters to enter the bloc tariff-free.Because of it, said EU legislator Bernd Lange, “we have seen a drop in demand by 50% in Maine, which is obviously quite serious. So now we are making an offer to allow American lobster to come tariff-free into the EU."For its part, the U.S. agreed to cut in half tariffs on EU imports worth about $160 million a year, including some prepared meals, crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. The tariff cuts will be retroactive to Aug. 1.The deal approved on Thursday covers only a tiny portion of trans-Atlantic trade with the U.S., but the EU hopes it will have some symbolic value. And for the lobster industry, already hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, every piece of good news is welcome.For the EU, which has had acrimonious relations with the Trump administration, a sign of goodwill will never hurt.“We have more in common than divides us," said Lange. “This piece of legislation is an offer: it’s not about lobster for all. It’s about co-operation instead of confrontation.”Raf Casert, The Associated Press
COVID-19. À l’occasion de sa conférence de presse du 26 novembre, François Legault a confirmé que les vaccins, quand ils seront disponibles, seront administrés en premier lieu aux résidents de CHSLD, aux travailleurs de la santé et aux personnes âgées. «L’espoir est là avec les vaccins qui s’en viennent. Mais entre temps, on doit continuer d’être prudents, surtout d'ici Noël. La bataille n'est pas finie», souligne le premier ministre du Québec. Tout en attendant des précisions sur le nombre de doses disponibles par le gouvernement fédéral, le gouvernement du Québec a désigné Jérôme Gagnon et Richard Massé, des spécialistes, pour mettre branle la campagne de vaccination qui pourrait s’amorcer dès janvier. Pour ce qui est rassemblement, François Legault invite les Québécois à la prudence en rappelant que l’idéal est de se confiner une semaine avant Noël. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Un tiers des habitants de la région qui font régulièrement des achats à l’étranger déclarent que le premier confinement les a réorientés vers une consommation plus locale.
A Calgary bus driver had to be extracted from the wreckage after a southeast crash involving a tractor-trailer Thursday morning. Five people were sent to hospital with multiple injuries.The accident happened at 52nd Street and 90th Avenue S.E., where police were called to the scene just after 11 a.m.The collision caused the city bus to smash into a nearby street light, according Stuart Brideaux of Calgary EMS. The Calgary Transit driver received the worst of the injuries, said Brideaux, adding he had to be extracted, which was difficult and took some time.The man was taken to hospital with multiple serious injuries. Two female bus passengers were also taken to hospital in stable condition. One male adult bus passenger was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition.Police were directing traffic in the area while eastbound 90th Avenue was closed. Southbound 52nd Street was also closed. The Calgary Police Service's traffic section is investigating.
VANCOUVER — Councillors in Vancouver have voted unanimously to ask the federal government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs.Mayor Kennedy Stewart put forward the motion earlier this month saying it is time to develop a "health-focused" approach to substance use and end the stigma against drug users.In a statement issued late Wednesday after the vote, Stewart thanked groups such as the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, which he says have pursued decriminalization for years.In the same process used to create its first supervised injection clinic almost two decades ago, city staff will now write to federal officials, including the ministers of health and justice, seeking an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.If approved, Stewart said the city will work with the police department, Vancouver Coastal Health, community groups and people who have lived experience with drug use to determine how decriminalization should be approved.The city's support for decriminalization came on the same day the BC Coroners Service issued a report documenting 162 illicit drug deaths across the province in October, amounting to five every day, including one daily in Vancouver.Stewart said Vancouver is ready to again lead the way on drug policy in order to save lives.“With more than 1,500 deaths in Vancouver since a provincial overdose emergency was declared in April 2016, and an estimated 329 overdose deaths in the city of Vancouver so far this year, 2020 is on track to be the worst year yet for overdoses and this new approach is urgently needed," he said in the statement.Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, has said decriminalization alone won't solve the drug crisis, but will complement expanded harm reduction and treatment services, including the province's safe supply program.The elimination of criminal consequences for possessing drugs for personal use also has the support of Premier John Horgan, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Vancouver Police Department.There's no indication how long the federal government might take to review Vancouver's plan once it is submitted, but Stewart has said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu is a champion of harm reduction and has the authority to move quickly.Hajdu said in a statement the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the opioid crisis and Ottawa must redouble its efforts to save lives.She said federal officials have been working with Stewart and the B.C. government on options that respond to local and regional needs, guided in part by the recommendations of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which also endorsed decriminalization of personal possession earlier this year. "We will review this request to address criminal penalties for simple possession of small amounts of controlled substances and will continue our work to get Canadians who use substances the support they need," Hajdu said in the statement.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.The Canadian Press