Huit ans, un mois et 13 jours. C’est le temps qui a passé depuis que Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock a été arraché brutalement aux siens. Sa mère, Katia Rock de Pessamit sait qu’elle ne se sortira jamais de cette peine immense. Endeuillée, comme pratiquement au premier jour, Katia Rock a décidé qu’il était venu le temps de tout raconter dans les moindres détails pour ne jamais oublier son fils, pour partager l’événement le plus difficile de sa vie et aussi pour qu’elle puisse faire son deuil, si possible. Sa porte d’entrée pour exprimer cette indescriptible souffrance: les réseaux sociaux. « J’aimerais vous prévenir que le contenu de mon partage sera difficile à lire, mais les gens doivent connaître les circonstances du décès de mon garçon. Mon seul et unique », lance-t-elle d’emblée en entrevue téléphonique avec macotenord.com. C’est donc avec une voix tremblotante et chargée d’émotion qu’elle se lance. « Chaque année, un peu avant Noël, je revis ce pénible scénario. » Son fils de 22 ans a été sauvagement assassiné par Darryl Neeposh, un individu « dérangé » qui a agi comme un sanguinaire. Un meurtre crapuleux et d’une extrême violence. Lors de l’autopsie, la famille de la victime a eu de la difficulté à l’identifier tellement il était méconnaissable. « Une scène digne d’un film d’horreur. Il était défiguré. Son œil gauche crevé et enfoncé par le doigt de son assassin. Il a été battu à mort », livre Mme Rock, les trémolos dans la voix. Un témoignage à glacer le sang raconté une première fois lors du procès, alors que Mme Rock avait pu s’adresser au meurtrier de son fils, Darryl Neeposh. L’homme, qui avait 31 ans au moment de commettre son acte irréparable, était demeuré insensible dans le box des accusés. 4 ans de pénitencier Malgré une preuve accablante de ce sordide meurtre, Darryl Neeposh avait été accusé et reconnu coupable de meurtre au deuxième degré. Une peine d’emprisonnement de 4 ans. Aujourd’hui, il est libre. Les émotions se transforment en colère pour la mère lorsque nous abordons le nom de cet homme: Darryl Neeposh. « Injustice » est le premier mot qui a été prononcé par Katia Rock qui déplore le manque d’humanité de notre système de justice. « Il vit aujourd’hui en liberté, sans aucune conséquence. Il s’est même remarié. Mon fils, lui, ne reviendra jamais. Il est parti si jeune, alors qu’il avait toute la vie devant lui. Injustice », a martelé la femme de 48 ans. « Sa peine ne sera jamais assez suffisante pour tout le traumatisme que j’ai vécu et dont j’en garde encore aujourd’hui des séquelles psychologiques, et ce, à cause de lui », ajoute-t-elle avec la rage au cœur. Katia Rock était persuadée que la solide preuve dévoilée lors du procès aurait mené à une accusation de meurtre prémédité où aucune libération conditionnelle n’est possible avant 25 ans. Or, il a été démontré que Jason-Billy avait tenté de fuir son assassin à plusieurs reprises durant cette macabre soirée. En effet, des traces de sang retrouvées sur la neige près de la galerie de la résidence du meurtrier ont confirmé que la victime avait essayé de s’enfuir. Le jeune homme a rencontré son futur meurtrier vers 2h du matin alors qu’il était en chemin pour retourner chez ses grands-parents après avoir passé la soirée avec une copine dans la communauté autochtone de Mistissini, située à quelque 90 km au nord de Chibougamau, dans le Nord-du-Québec. Invité par le résident de la rue Minschiweek à le suivre à son domicile, Jason-Billy a accepté, ce qui lui aura coûté la vie. Vers 6h, un témoin a mentionné avoir vu les deux hommes prendre un taxi. À 7h30, la voisine du duplex dit avoir entendu Jason-Billy crier « Ekuen ma shash! (Arrête! ) » plus d’une fois. Ensuite, il y a eu un long silence. Vers 10h, la conjointe du tueur, qui avait dans le passé signalé aux policiers sa peur face à son copain violent, s’est rendue au domicile afin de récupérer des effets personnels pour elle et ses enfants. De retour chez sa mère, elle est persuadée qu’il s’est passé quelque chose de grave, précisant avoir vu un jeune homme inanimé et allongé par terre dans une mare de sang. Elle contactera les policiers. Rapidement, les policiers autochtones demanderont assistance à leurs collègues de la Sûreté du Québec. L’enquête a aussitôt été confiée aux policiers de l’unité des crimes contre la personne. Darryl Neeposh est retrouvé sur les lieux, allongé face contre le sol. Réveillé et amené au poste pour interrogatoire, il sera ensuite accusé du meurtre de Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock. Au procès, il sera mentionné que Jason-Billy était étendu par terre, ne voyant que le bout de ses pieds avec une botte manquante, un matelas simple sur son corps meurtri. Quand les policiers ont soulevé le matelas, ils ont vu un jeune homme portant un masque Spiderman sur son visage. En retirant le masque, c’est la terrible découverte d’un visage »massacré ». Le thanatologue ira même a fortement recommander à la famille de ne pas ouvrir le cercueil lors des funérailles. « Je tenais à ce qu’il soit exposé pour que les gens puissent lui faire un dernier au revoir et pour que je puisse le voir et prendre conscience de sa mort. Même avec des heures de travail et malgré les efforts mis sur la reconstruction du visage, il était encore méconnaissable. » Mourant, il continue de le frapper Toujours devant le Tribunal, il a été démontré que le meurtrier s’était acharné sur sa victime jusqu’à son dernier souffle. « Il a reçu tellement de coups de la part de celui qui s’est permis de lui enlever la vie. Je ne peux croire qu’une personne puisse faire autant de mal à une personne de façon gratuite. Il est mort seul dans des conditions épouvantables. Je suis bouleversée en pensant à ça, moi qui par mon métier d’infirmière accompagne les gens en fin de vie. Je sais comment c’est difficile de mourir seul, loin de ses proches. » Katia Rock souligne qu’elle savait depuis longtemps qu’elle devait extérioriser sa peine, mais elle n’avait pas la force ni le courage d’exprimer ce qui la hante, jour après jour, depuis huit ans. Aujourd’hui, elle espère qu’avec cette sortie publique, elle pourra tourner la page et accepter l’absence de son fils, celui qui était sa raison de vivre.Stéphane Tremblay, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Royal Bank of Canada reported a small rise in quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday, driven by strength in its capital markets unit and reduced provisions to cover potential loan-losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.Canada's largest lender by market capitalization set aside $427 million in the fourth quarter, as economic disruptions from the pandemic raised the possibility of defaults. The amount was far lower than analysts' expectation of $798.75 million, and down 14 per cent from a year earlier.Net income from personal and commercial banking — RBC's biggest source of income — fell 7 per cent to $1.5 billion, largely reflecting the impact of lower interest rates.The country's banks have faced margin pressure this year from surging deposits and slower lending growth across retail and business segments.RBC's capital markets division, which includes trading, investment banking and advisory, however, saw net income soar 44 per cent to $840 million, helped by increased volatility in markets due to the health crisis.Overall profit was upTotal net income rose to $3.25 billion ($2.51 billion) for the quarter ended Oct. 31, or $2.23 per share, from $3.21 billion, or $2.19 per share, a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, the bank earned $2.27 per share, higher than analysts' average estimate of $2.05 per share, according to Refinitiv data.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo. Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party. In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs." The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9. Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards. Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism. Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.” In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.” “Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads. Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism. The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy. The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Ringette players in Ottawa say they've gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to ice time at one of the city's outdoor rinks.The Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink in Canterbury Park, southeast of downtown, opened for the season last week, with ice time divided between public skating, pickup hockey and pickup ringette.While hockey was allotted 21 two-hour time slots each week — with two of those specifically for women — ringette was given a single slot between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesdays."How hard do we have to fight to get more ice time for the girls who want to try out the sport, who want to play the sport, who just want to be outside and play some shinny ringette?" said Phyllis Bergmans, president of the City of Ottawa Ringette Association (CORA).She calls the ice allotment "disappointing" and while she understands there's no comparison between ringette's popularity and hockey's, ringette still attracts around 3,000 players across the city.She said CORA does have enough indoor rink time for practices, but the two hours a week is the only chance kids have to play on a city rink with their friends and family."This is ringette for fun," she said. "There isn't a kid in Canada who doesn't want to play some sort of outdoor pickup games in the middle of wintertime."Allocation based on popularityCamdyn Wilson, 17, has been playing ringette since she was four and is now a coach.She said she wishes the female-dominated ringette was given equal consideration with male-dominated hockey."I think it's very significant and quite sad because so many young girls play ringette and aspire to get better," she said. "Why are boys superior to girls and they get more time and focus?"Different sports are allocated specific drop-in sessions each week, the city's general manager for recreation, cultural, and facility services wrote in an email to CBC."The frequency of each type of session is based on community demand in the prior season, with yearly adjustments to reflect demand," wrote Dan Chenier, adding that staff can adjust the schedule as they go.The city runs the rink in partnership with the Canterbury Community Association.COVID-19 restrictions limit playersCOVID-19 has added another layer to the struggle for ice time as each activity at the rink is limited to 20 people on the ice at any one time, according to the city, with a maximum 30 minutes for each person during busy periods.Some parents worry how players could be expected to abide by those restrictions under such tight time constraints while also letting everyone have a chance to play."We need to have more time slots so it's not as crowded and they can play a proper game of shinny," said Matthew Inniss, whose 12-year-old daughter was on the rink Tuesday.
Clasine van Adrichem had been enjoying her time with friends knitting mini-scarves for the plush toys of Mr. PG, the mascot of Prince George, B.C., which were to be given away during the World Women's Curling Championship in the city in March.But when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, so were her weekly gatherings with her pals. As the province reopened in the summer, van Adrichem came up with a bigger project to reconnect with her friends: to make a gigantic scarf for the eight metre-tall Mr. PG statue itself.Van Adrichem and nine other women — ranging in age from 67 to 92 — congregated weekly in Prince George's Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park to weave the 13-metre long accessory for the city's landmark, which celebrated its 60th birthday in May.On Monday, Mr. PG finally got to put it on. Each member of the team knitted two to three squares, with a total of 25 making up the final scarf. The squares are different colours that represent local organizations and sports teams."Each square probably took close to 10 hours," van Adrichem told Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North. The weekly knitting sessions in the park were a lifesaver for Sally McLean, who felt isolated at home and didn't get much social support for the first three months of the pandemic."We talked about the weather, and we talked about each other's families and how everybody was doing," McLean said. "We just supported one another in that way as we continued to knit."The women normally make mittens, toques, scarves and sweaters for families in need and give much of their time to support local charities. Van Adrichem hopes Mr. PG's scarf will serve as a reminder to Prince George residents about the importance of giving."There are so many here in the city who need support," she said. "We hope that people will be generous and provide people with something they really need, whether it be food or clothing, at this time of year."Members of the public now have a chance to own a human-size replica of Mr. PG's scarf hand-knitted by van Adrichem, McLean and their teammates. To be in the running, the City of Prince George is encouraging people to comment on its social media channels, stating which nonprofit organizations they've donated to, by Dec. 21.Tap the link below to listen to Clasine van Adrichem and Sally McLean's interview on Daybreak North:Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
THUNDER BAY — A 26-year-old man facing a murder charge has been sentenced for his role in an unrelated, unprovoked attack of another inmate at the Thunder Bay District jail more than a year ago. Darren Steven Oombash, 26, appeared in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom on Monday, Nov. 30, and pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault for his part in an assault of another inmate. Ontario Judge Chantal M. Brochu accepted a joint submission for Oombash of two years less a day minus pre-sentence custody. Crown counsel Katrina van Kessel read out facts relating to the Sept. 21, 2019 assault at the district jail involving Oombash and five others where they attacked another inmate who suffers from schizophrenia and mild intellectual impairments, court heard on Monday. “This was brutal, unprovoked six-on-one attack on a vulnerable person,” van Kessel, said, adding the victim still suffers from long term damage to his vision as a result of the attack. Court heard the complainant suffered several injuries after he was dragged out of his cell by Oombash’s co-accused, Jonathan Yellowhead into a corridor area of the jail where he was beaten by six other individuals to the point where he lost consciousness. The entire incident was captured on surveillance video at the jail. Some of his injuries included a concussion, a fractured and displaced orbital bone with hemorrhaging in his sinus which required surgery, a dislocated jaw, swelling, bruising and abrasions to his face. His left eye was also swollen shut. “At the time of his discharge from hospital on Sept. 27, 2019, swelling to his face was still so significant that the injury to his eye could not be assessed,” van Kessel said, adding the complainant has no memory of the attack. Court heard a few mitigating factors laid out by lawyers including Oombash’s limited criminal record which includes two convictions, one for mischief and one for resisting police. His guilty plea was also considered mitigating as it showed a sign of remorse. Defence counsel Mary Bird gave the court a brief background of Oombash's upbringing. He moved to Thunder Bay from Cat Lake First Nation to attend high school. “Unfortunately like many young people who end up in the city, they often end up without employment, without a place to stay and unfortunately he got himself into a little bit of trouble,” Bird said. The lawyer also highlighted Oombash’s parents and both sets of grandparents attended residential schools. Bird also said her client started drinking at the age of 13. “It has become part of his lifestyle unfortunately and certainly led him to be in custody and obviously he wasn’t intoxicated this day, but it has been an issue for him,” she said. Some of the others involved in the attack have already been sentenced according to court documents. Lennox Oren Atlookan was given a three-year jail sentence on July 23 and Brolin Ian Donald Ooshag was sentenced in June to a total of 540 days in custody. Both men received weapon prohibitions orders. Travis Jacob Loon, John Thomas O’Keese and Johnathon Joseph Yellowhead will appear in court next on these charges on Dec. 18. Oombash was also given a 10-year weapons prohibition order and is not to communicate with the victim. He was given credit at an enhanced rate for the time he spent in pre-sentence custody of 653 days which leaves 76 days left to serve. Oombash remains in custody for other outstanding matters including a charge of murder where he is co-accused with Marlene Lou Kwandibens and Terry Nicole Irene Michon. All three are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2018 death of Ashley McKay. All three co-accused have had their murder charge committed to stand trial in Superior Court and will appear in court next on Dec. 14 for a pre-trial, according to court documents. There is a publication ban on these matters.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
A large number of Victoria residents looking to become patients at a new primary care clinic were disappointed Monday when the clinic's website crashed, preventing them from applying. Health Care on Yates opened in late September and is one of a handful of new clinics in the province staffed by nurse practitioners. The clinic has been slowly enrolling new patients in batches, taking applications online, in person and over the phone on the first Tuesday of every month."I was on the website at 8 a.m., and then at 8:01, everything went '503 Error-Service Unavailable,'" said Amber Marie Goss.Goss has fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes pain and fatigue. She's been looking for a primary health-care provider for three years and was excited at the potential of applying to the Yates clinic, but her hopes were quickly dashed."It crashed so quickly," she said. "Maybe they should get a ticketing company to do it for them because a clinic website isn't built for this kind of traffic."The next intake day isn't until Jan. 5. Even then, there won't be a guarantee patients get accepted.First-come, first-served doesn't work, says patientVem Stevens is another resident who was unable to apply because of the website crash. They are a non-binary transgender person and said finding health care that is safe is a challenge."It's definitely a danger for me to just walk into a walk-in clinic ... The way in which people treat non-binary people, it's very difficult to just go talk to a stranger about it," Stevens told CBC.Stevens said they're disappointed with the first-come, first-served application process at Health Care on Yates, and the clinic should consider screening applications based on need.In a written statement, officials from the Ministry of Health said the clinic was not prepared for the large demand for its services and will be rethinking how it takes on new patients in the future.In a post on its website, Health Care on Yates apologized for the crash and said it managed to enrol nearly 100 new patients who showed up in person.
Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom. British media reports suggest vaccinations for medical workers could start as early as next week.
Shawn Mendes, “Wonder” (Island) On his 14-track fourth album, Shawn Mendes is airy, grand, intense and rapturous. It is the sound of a man totally and hopelessly in love. Adoration is baked into “Wonder,” from the almost religious-sounding title track as Mendes sings “I wonder what it’s like to be loved by you," to the last song, where, with a voice shaking with emotion, he sings over acoustic guitar: ”I can’t imagine what a world would be without you." The album's cover captures Mendes ecstatic, floating in waves. Though she is mentioned only once — in the liner notes, thanked right after his family — it's not hard to find the source of this ardour: Mendes’ longtime romantic and quarantine partner, singer Camila Cabello. Whatever happens to this couple in the future, she has inspired a hopelessly romantic set. “Teach Me How to Love” flirts with ’80s disco (with Anderson .Paak on drums) and “305” (the area code to Cabello's Miami) is a candy-colored piece of '60s doo-wop in which Mendes sings to his lover, “If there’s a door to heaven, baby you’re the key.” The lovers are finding a new home to share in “24 Hours” — “It’s a little soon but I wanna come home to you,” he sings. Mendes' falsetto soars with pure glee atop a pillow of strings on the standout “Look Up at the Stars” (where Mendes sings “the universe is ours” in a Coldplay “Yellow” way) and “Always Been You” is both soaring and triumphant. This is music you’d hear in a mall in heaven. The only tune that veers out of the love zone is Mendes’ duet with Justin Bieber, “Monster,” an outstanding moody banger about how early fame messes with you, sung by a rising heartthrob singer-songwriter and an established one. In-demand producer Kid Harpoon, who took Harry Stiles to new heights on “Fine Line,” is all over this gooey album. There's little of the urgency Mendes has shown before — no “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” or ”In My Blood" — and “Wonder” is sometimes hard to take during extended plays — especially its pointless intro — but to find fault with it is to find fault with love itself. ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller. Keep that in mind, along with the format of Rosenberg's podcast “The Oath,” now that NBC announced Wednesday that the former special counsel who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election has given an extensive interview that debuts next week. Mueller, the ex-FBI director, rarely speaks publicly and has been virtually silent about his special counsel experience since testifying before Congress in July 2019. In two separate podcast episodes, each nearly an hour, Mueller doesn't talk about his work as special counsel. He isn't even asked. “There are some questions that you simply don't have to ask,” said Rosenberg, who worked for Mueller as an FBI counsel. “I knew he wouldn't talk about it and I had really no intention of asking about it.” He took Mueller at his word that he wouldn't talk about his work as counsel after his testimony. Mueller made an exception in September, pushing back after one of his former prosecutors suggested in a book that the counsel's team wasn't aggressive enough. Rosenberg's stance is consistent with the format of “The Oath,” in which present and former government officials who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution are interviewed about their lives and careers, while steering clear of current events and political controversies. Rosenberg, also a former federal prosecutor, has taken the oath nine times. He's been an analyst and podcast host for NBC News since quitting as acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2017, after President Donald Trump suggested to law enforcement officers that they “don't be too nice” to suspects in custody. Even in an era of suspicion about the “deep state,” or perhaps because of it, there has clearly been a public taste for “The Oath.” The Mueller interview leads its fourth season. The show has been in the Top 200 of the Apple Podcasts charts for more than a year, said Andy Bowers, co-founder of the podcast hosting company Megaphone. Rosenberg's extensive experience helps with access, so his guest list is consistently interesting, said Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog. He's also unapologetically earnest, as are many of his guests, at a time of cynicism. “That's the winning formula on ‘The Oath,’ a serious person talking to serious people about public service at a time when people really want to remember what public service is supposed to be," Wittes said. The Mueller interview is a bookend to Rosenberg's two-parter with Mueller's successor as FBI director, James Comey, in the podcast's first season. The voluble Comey is a contrast to Mueller, who's quite comfortable with short answers. “I did OK,” Mueller said when Rosenberg was trying to draw him out about commendations he received during training with the Marines. Did you like law school? “Not particularly,” Mueller said. “Jim is a natural storyteller, so in some ways it is easier (to interview him),” Rosenberg said. “Bob also has a lot of stories to tell, you just have to let him tell them in his own way. I found that compelling — two very different styles, as our listeners will notice, but I think two men of substance.” Although there was talk after his congressional testimony that Mueller, now 76, had lost some sharpness with age, Rosenberg said “he seemed fine to me.” When coaxed, Mueller is most interesting in the first podcast talking about his experience in Vietnam. He volunteered for the Marines after a teammate on his Princeton lacrosse team was killed there, and commanded a unit that was — he found out later — essentially used as bait to draw out the North Vietnamese army. The experience inspired a lifetime of public service, primarily because Mueller was grateful to have survived. It's the type of service that's hard for the cynical to fathom. In another episode this season, Rosenberg speaks to Heather “Lucky” Penney, a former fighter pilot given the assignment on Sept. 11, 2001 of stopping United Airlines Flight 93 as it was bound for the U.S. Capitol. Since there was no time to arm the jet, her only choice was to ram the airliner; she was effectively sent on a suicide mission. Instead, the plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers. In the Mueller interview, Rosenberg said he relished the opportunity to get to know someone he knew only as a boss. “There's a bit of a Marine Corps officer outer shell,” he said. “He can be a little bit intimidating. But underneath all of that, he is a remarkably kind and humble and civil man. Coming up in the ranks of the Department of Justice, Bob Mueller is an icon. Everybody that I worked with knew of him and admired him, but often from a distance.” David Bauder, The Associated Press
For months in British Columbia, it has been a tale of two pandemics: cases steadily rising in the Lower Mainland, but no serious outbreaks in the Vancouver Island, Interior or Northern health regions. No longer.In the past three weeks COVID-19 cases have stayed steady in Vancouver Coastal Health and doubled in Fraser Health areas — but they've gone up by nearly 500 per cent in the rest of B.C.There are 247 cases in Island Health, 535 cases in Interior Health, and 250 cases in Northern Health.Just as concerning, the positivity rates in tests for Interior and Northern health are at six and eight per cent each, and have grown steadily for weeks. In contrast, the Lower Mainland's positivity rate is around seven per cent, and has been decreasing over the past week. "It's here. It's legit," said Revelstoke Coun. Cody Younker, whose community is at the centre of the biggest hotspot outside the Lower Mainland at the moment. "I don't want to say that people were maybe naive, but I think there was a little bit of complacency that was coming into effect here because we had a pretty good summer … but now it's not good."Revelstoke outbreakThere was a time in June when there were zero active COVID-19 cases for all of British Columbia outside the Lower Mainland — but even after cases increased slowly, Revelstoke had zero outbreaks between July and September. Now, an outbreak in the community has infected at least 46 people, or more than one in 200 residents of the town of 8,000 people. A public notification was only made once 22 cases were declared. "I do believe we should have known sooner," said Younker, repeating a common criticism of the B.C. government, which only reveals the geographic location of cases once a month. "I think that would have given us the opportunity to get out ahead, get our bylaw officers enforcing, really letting the community know that we have to hunker down." Revelstoke isn't one of the six communities in Interior Health with dedicated COVID-19 beds, and Younker is worried about what will happen if cases surge further. Outbreaks at natural resource projects?While the exact location of the active cases in Northern and Interior Health outside Revelstoke aren't known, the biggest increase last week came in the health region for Prince George, Quesnel, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof and Mackenzie. There have also been recent cases at the LNG Canada construction site in Kitimat (52 recent cases, eight remain active) and the Site C dam, where 27 workers are now in self-isolation. David Bowering, the former chief medical health officer for Northern Health, has long called for tighter restrictions on those natural resource projects because of the risk of spreading the virus. "As much as these large companies would like to isolate themselves and have protocols that protect everyone involved, including their workers, there is inevitably a fair amount of back and forth between local communities," he said. "I think the government turned a blind eye because of their economic bias. They want to see all these jobs continuing, the political points continuing. But I don't think that's realistic or even fair or appropriate."'Exacerbating the things that were already in place'Ashleigh Weeden, a University of Guelph PhD candidate working with the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation on how the pandemic is affecting rural Canada, says these outbreaks can be very concerning when they reach smaller communities. "It's not exposing new issues in rural-urban dynamics. It's exacerbating the things that were already in place. We know that rural communities have far more limited health-care capacity and often health outcomes," she said. Weeden said clear communication of guidelines is important, along with understanding that isolation and limited travel become bigger challenges when the community is more remote. But she emphasized that the chances of getting COVID have less to do with where somebody lives, and more to do with a host of underlying factors. "This is something that maybe rural communities thought that because of their lower density and maybe higher distances between [communities] might have been more protected," she said."But as we found out very early in the pandemic and we're finding out again now, it has very little to do with density and more to do with inequity and inequality."
HAMILTON — Police say a Hamilton man has been arrested and charged after he allegedly hit a child with a pickup truck, critically injuring him. Hamilton police say the 11-year-old boy was crossing the street at a marked crosswalk Tuesday afternoon when he was hit. The driver allegedly hit the boy after failing to stop for a traffic light and a crossing guard. Police say the child was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The 28-year-old driver will appear in court today on a charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Police are still investigating but say they have ruled out driver impairment and other contributing factors. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
Following the province’s daily COVID Measures update on Dec 1, 2020, Big Lakes County has been upgraded to Enhanced Status. As the Towns of Swan Hills and High Prairie are within Big Lakes County; both communities have also been upgraded to Enhanced Status. This means, effective immediately and until at least December 15th, the following protocols must be followed along with all previous COVID social distancing measures. The following measures went into effect across Alberta on Nov 24, 2020: • No indoor social gatherings in any setting • Outdoor gatherings have a maximum attendance of 10 • Weddings and funeral services have a maximum attendance of 10, with no receptions permitted • No festivals or events • Working from home should be considered, where possible • Grades 7-12 will be doing at-home learning between November 30, 2020 to January 11, 2021 • ECS-Grade 6 at-home learning after break until January 11, 2021 The following measures for Enhanced Status regions now also apply to Swan Hills: • Places of worship must operate at one-third capacity with mandatory masking in place • Restricted access to some businesses and facilities Swan Hills currently has one active case of COVID-19. Detailed information about the restrictions to some businesses and facilities can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
HALIFAX – Boylston residents won’t be rocking Netflix around-the-clock anytime soon, but they and about 1,000 other rural residents of Antigonish and Guysborough counties are set for unexpected upgrades to high-speed Internet by 2023 – adding to communities announced by Develop Nova Scotia in September. “They’re getting new coverage as a result of scope expansions,” Braedon Clark, a Develop Nova Scotia official, told the The Journal in an email last week. “The number of homes and businesses to be connected is 1,342.” The upgrades now include: Southside Antigonish Harbour, Monks Head, Kenzieville (Keppoch Mountain, Addington Forks, Ohio, Hillcrest, Ashdale, Pinevale, South Salt Springs, Beech Hill), Fairmont, Pleasant Valley, Caledonia Mills (Lower Springfield, Roman Valley), Brierly Brook (James River), Mulgrave (Aulds Cove, Pirate Harbour, Middle Melford, Hadleyville), and Guysborough (Boylston, North Riverside, Manchester, Glenkeen). Other rural communities scheduled for scope expansion along the Eastern Shore include: Musquodoboit Harbour (Lower West Jeddore, Quinlan Dr., Ostrea Lake Rd., Anderson Rd., Innis Cove, West Petpeswick), Lake Charlotte (Clam Bay, Upper Lakeville, Ship Harbour, DeBaies Cove, Southwest Cove, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Clam Bay), Goffs (Old Guysborough Rd., Devon), and Chezzetcook (Lawrencetown, Leslie Rd.). The new $24-million initiative through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (with an additional $9 million from other levels of government and the private sector) will connect 6,700 homes and businesses across the province with high-speed Internet at speeds higher than Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) targets by late 2023. “These scope expansions will reduce the number of remaining unserved or underserved homes and businesses by over half,” said a Develop Nova Scotia press release on Nov. 23. “Preparatory and engineering work will begin immediately on the contract extensions.” It’s not clear whether the scope expansions are part of a planned connection program or an ad hoc response to areas overlooked during the second round of high-speed rural Internet enhancements in the fall. “They (the communities) were identified as still needing connection after our Round 2 announcement in September,” Clark said. According to Develop Nova Scotia, since the first round began in February, more than 21,000 of a targeted 81,500 homes and businesses now have networks in place to provide new or improved high-speed Internet. It also says projects are being completed about 50 per cent faster than industry standards. So far, the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, other levels of government and the private sector have invested about $263 million the initiative with a goal of hooking up 97 per cent of rural communities in the province with high-speed Internet by summer 2022.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Calgarians with roots in India — and in some cases, land there, too — are supporting tens of thousands of farmers in that country involved in mass protests outside Delhi, fighting new laws that will change their industry and impact their livelihoods.The farmers have travelled to the Indian capital from rural regions like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, with many making the journey in tractors and on farm equipment.Watching from thousands of kilometres away, Calgarians with strong ties to Punjab and other parts of India are finding ways to support the farmers. That includes taking part in social media campaigns and a car rally, which attracted hundreds in northeast Calgary this past weekend. "These three new laws are against the farmers," said Sam Brar, who lives in Saddle Ridge."They're trying to bring in big corporations and kill all the smaller scale farming. The government won't even listen to them."In Delhi, there have been clashes with authorities, who turned water cannons and tear gas on protestors trying to enter the city.The new laws were introduced in September and change the rules around the sale, pricing and storage of produce.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the laws will let farmers set their own prices and allow them to sell crops to private businesses, ultimately giving them more freedom.But farmers are worried it will leave them open to being exploited by corporations and devastate them financially. Until now, farmers relied on selling crops direct to the government at guaranteed prices. They're also angry the changes are being made in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.To put the issue into context, more than half of India's 1.3 billion population is connected to agriculture and farming, so it's a huge issue for the country and involves a significant voter block.Modi says he hopes what he calls transformative changes will attract more private investment to the industry, but farmers and their unions say it will make life much tougher."Farmers don't want any dealings with these big corporates. They marched toward Delhi in huge numbers and now the government have used force to stop them," said Brar. "Some have been beaten like animals."Brar was one of many who attended at a socially distanced car rally that travelled in a convoy from the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary into downtown on Sunday, waving flags and blasting horns."We want to raise our voice and add some pressure from here," he said."It felt really good. We thought 100 cars might come but it was more than 500 or 600 cars that gathered."Some families in Calgary still own land in rural India and the change in laws has direct implications for them."The majority of people from Punjab, their background would be farming, and some people still have farming lands back home. They're worried in the future the corporations would take over the land and they would lose their land," said Harvinder Gill.Gill says the car rally and support being shown on social media in Calgary are an opportunity to pressure local politicians to raise awareness of the issue."They can talk to the Indian government," he said. "Help put pressure on them."On Facebook, many Indians in Calgary have changed their profiles in support of the protests and added the popular standwithfarmerschallenge hashtag to their social media accounts.The Indian government has denounced comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in support of the farmers on Monday.Trudeau called the Indian government response to the protests "concerning." Trudeau's comments were labelled as "ill-informed" by a foreign ministry spokesperson.
UNALASKA, Alaska — An Alaska city that is home to one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports has included wastewater testing among the mitigation efforts that could help maintain a low number of coronavirus infections. Unalaska began testing its wastewater in July for traces of COVID-19, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Monday. The island community of about 4,500 year-round residents located on Dutch Harbor, 800 miles (1,287 kilometres) from Anchorage, has recorded 107 coronavirus cases, including 85 from a single factory trawler. Despite the island’s first case of community spread two weeks ago, any virus in Unalaska’s waste remains below the detection level. “If somebody has COVID-19, they’re shedding this virus in fragments,” said Karie Holtermann, lab manager at Unalaska’s wastewater treatment plant. “It’s in their GI tract, they’re shedding it into their feces, into their urine. And so we’re trying to pick that up in our testing here.” The plant processes about 350,000 gallons (1,325 kilolitres) of waste and greywater daily, equating to about 70 gallons (265 litres) per Unalaska resident per day. Sewage testing has been successfully used as an early detection method for other diseases such as polio, Holtermann said. A Netherlands-based study concluded wastewater serves as an early warning system for coronavirus spread by detecting the virus in people who have not been tested or who have mild or no symptoms, Holtermann said. “What they’ve all seen is that wastewater monitoring can predict an outbreak a week before showing up at the clinic,” Holtermann said. “And once it is shown that COVID-19 is in a community, it’s able to show the beginning, the tapering and the resurgence of an outbreak.” If the virus levels increase with an influx of winter fishing season workers, the wastewater tests could pinpoint the part of town where the cases are focused, she said. Holtermann takes two to three wastewater samples during peak flow times, dipping a bucket hanging from a rope at some of the 10 lift stations on the island. “We go all around the clock,” she said. “So, at midnight, three o’clock in the morning — it’s a very interesting view of Unalaska.” For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
BURNABY, B.C. — The death of a teenager in Burnaby, B.C., is now being investigated as a homicide. A statement from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says the 18-year-old woman was found in a Burnaby home on Sunday. She was suffering from critical injuries and died in hospital. Sgt. Frank Jang with the homicide team says one man was arrested at the scene but has been released without charges as the investigation continues. Jang says the woman knew her attacker, the case is considered isolated and there is no risk to the public. He urges anyone with information to contact investigators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
Albertans feeling cooped up by COVID-19, can take solace in some winter sunbathing. A high-pressure system hovering over Western Canada means the forecast across the province for the week ahead is downright balmy. By the weekend, most Alberta communities will hit double-digit highs. And the unseasonably mild temperatures will be accompanied by sunny, cloud-free skies, perfect for working on your tuque tan. A high of 10 C is expected in Edmonton on Sunday. Calgary will be even milder with a high of 17 C expected by Monday afternoon. Even northern communities like Fort McMurray will get a taste with a long-term forecast free of any icy wind chill. "This is almost tropical in a way," said Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "It's clearly an atmospheric gift. You don't expect weather like this." The temperatures started to thaw over the weekend, melting mountainous snow banks, turning roads into skating rinks and giving sun-loving Albertans a welcome reprieve from winter temperatures. The province is being temporarily shielded from the cold by a massive flow of pressurized, sinking air, Phillips said. "It's like putting a dome over the Prairies and it doesn't allow any kind of weather to get in. "You're squeezing in all those air molecules; they're jiggling and jaggling and creating all kinds of heat. And this is what makes it so, so unseasonably mild. "And it doesn't matter where you are. It's not just that Edmonton's getting all the good weather. The entire region is getting this gorgeous kind of weather." 'Sweater weather' The temperatures expected are about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than average for this time of year, Phillips said. He said some temperature records could be broken but the most notable thing about this mild stint of weather is its duration. The balmy temperatures are expected to stick around for more than a week. "One- or two-day wonders are usually in the offing, but not a whole week or even longer with wall-to-wall sunshine, no weather to get in the way," Phillips said. "I mean, it's going to be well, not muscle shirts and tank tops, but hey, you'll be changing. "It'll be going to sweater weather rather than leather weather." After a frigid fall marked by the stress of the pandemic, the balmy forecast is likely a welcome weather anomaly. Phillips said temperatures will begin to cool off next week but the current forecast could be a tiding of things to come. "I mean, we've never cancelled winter in Alberta and we're not going to this year, but we certainly think that December looks milder than normal. "And you know, when you can claim that winter is maybe only three months long instead of five months long, you're already ahead of the game."
The chief of the Shawanaga First Nation northwest of Parry Sound says two new businesses in his community will help spur economic growth and secure a better future for his people. Chief Wayne Pamajewon says a new service centre is set to open in the spring and the territory’s long-awaited cannabis store could possibly open later this month. The cannabis store is set to open behind the community’s existing gas bar. “Over the years, one of the shortfalls that we’ve always encountered is the shortage of revenues to be able to do the things that we want to do. We’ve always had to wait with our hands open. I think we’re going to change all of that now by building in the economic development for our community,” the chief said. The territory learned back in July 2019 that the Ontario Gaming Commission awarded it a licence to operate a cannabis retail store. It is one of eight First Nations in the province to receive a licence. Chief Pamajewon said that a lot of work has already taken place in order to get the store open. “We’ve hired a manager so we have a person that’s putting it together right now. The policies to govern this will have to be worked out,” said the chief. “The supply, we don’t know what that is yet, but I’m sure the individual that we have working for us will be working with his staff to put that together. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen.” Chief Pamajewon said that at this point, he sees no reason why people who don’t live on the territory wouldn’t be able to shop at the store, despite COVID, as long as all the necessary precautions are taken. He said he expects the service centre to open in mid-May of next year. The foundation is laid, he said, and the fuel tanks are in the ground. He added they are working with a couple of companies to see which one will operate the service centre. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
LOS ANGELES — Native American tribes and advocates are condemning “Big Sky,” a Montana-set ABC drama, for ignoring the history of violence inflicted on Indigenous women and instead making whites the crime victims.They also have assailed the network and the show's producers for failing to respond to their complaints, which they first made known in a Nov. 17 letter. On Tuesday, the makers of “Big Sky” broke their silence.“After meaningful conversations with representatives of the Indigenous community, our eyes have been opened to the outsized number of Native American and Indigenous women who go missing and are murdered each year, a sad and shocking fact," the executive producers said in a statement to The Associated Press.“We are grateful for this education and are working with Indigenous groups to help bring attention to this important issue,” according to the statement. The producers include David E. Kelley ("Big Little Lies," “The Undoing”) and novelist C.J. Box, whose 2013 book “The Highway” was adapted for the series.Created by Kelley, “Big Sky” stars Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury as private detectives searching for two white sisters on a road trip who go missing and turn out to be part of a pattern of abductions.With a disproportionate number of American Indians among Montana’s missing and murdered girls and women, the fictional approach represents “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation,” said the signers, including the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council that represents all of Montana’s tribal nations.“I’m not at all surprised that they’re doing this because Hollywood’s been appropriating our trauma and our lived experience for years and years and years,” said Georgina Lightning, an actor and longtime activist. “And we’ve always cried about it. We’ve always called it out. But nobody ever cared. Nobody ever listened and nobody cared.”In the November letter, ABC was asked to consider adding an on-screen message steering viewers to information about the entrenched peril facing Indigenous women in North America. They cited “Somebody's Daughter,” a documentary detailing the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls crisis, as it's known to those fighting the scourge.“This is such an easy fix for ABC to make,” the film's director, Rain, said in a statement. “Indigenous leaders are reaching out to ally and inform, to open a dialogue. They’re not asking for ‘Big Sky’ to be taken off the air,” he said, but instead be used to inform.When no response was forthcoming, the coalition took its effort public and enlisted support from other tribal organizations, including Canada’s Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association.“Two-thirds of this country doesn’t even know that Native Americans still exist," said Tom Rodgers, president of the Global Indigenous Council and a co-signer of the letter to ABC. “We thought, what a teachable moment.”In response to the producers' statement, a skeptical Rodgers said Tuesday he hadn't heard from anyone connected with the show and called for further details, including which Indigenous partners were being consulted.While more than 5,000 Indigenous women were reported missing in 2016 in the U.S., reporting by The Associated Press has shown the number is difficult to determine because some cases go unreported, others aren’t well-documented, and a comprehensive government database to track the cases is lacking.Advocates, including some lawmakers representing Native Americans, also link the long-standing problem to inadequate resources, indifference and a jurisdictional maze. The rise of the MeToo movement helped give the issue political heft, but Hollywood has lagged in paying heed.While Lightning said she was “a little bit shocked” when she saw a Native American tragedy mirrored in a story but without Native American characters, her years working in Los Angeles meant she wasn’t surprised. Now living in Alberta, she’s in the Canadian miniseries “Trickster,” about a dysfunctional Native family.“There's such resistance” to change in Hollywood, she said. "When you’re used to being one of the good old boys... there's no way they think they’re going to have to conform to the rest of society. It’s such an arrogance.”Native Americans are used to being routinely ignored by American popular culture, registering barely a blip on TV as they're usually seen on only one or two shows, such as Paramount Network's “Yellowstone.” A University of California, Los Angeles, study released this year found that Indigenous actors were cast in six of 1,816 broadcast and cable series roles for the 2018-19 season.But being slighted on the crucial issue raised by “Big Sky” is too bitter a pill to accept, said Rodgers, a Blackfeet Nation member whose Global Indigenous Council, an advocacy group for Indigenous peoples worldwide, helped organize the outreach to ABC.“The one thing we won’t be anymore is ignored. We’re not going to be made invisible, we will not be erased," he said.____Lynn Elber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.___This story has been corrected to use the accurate pronoun for filmmaker Rain.Lynn Elber, The Associated Press