You'll never be as excited for anything in your life as this kid is for an Aquaman toy. Awesome! Credit/Instagram: @coreytaylorphotography
You'll never be as excited for anything in your life as this kid is for an Aquaman toy. Awesome! Credit/Instagram: @coreytaylorphotography
SANTÉ. Par une triste coïncidence, c’est au moment où l’on apprenait un autre cas de maltraitance d’enfants à Granby où la DPJ s’est fait pointer du doigt pour son inaction que le CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS a présenté son Rapport annuel de gestion 2019-2020. Bien que l’on y mentionne «les services de protection de l’enfance, une priorité absolue», Marie-France Thibeault, chef de service relations publiques et partenariats au Service des communications n’a pas cru bon acheminer les questions du GranbyExpress au président-directeur général, Stéphane Tremblay. «En lien avec la fillette de Granby et le cas révélé aujourd’hui (26 novembre), est-ce que des sanctions ont été imposées à des employés sous la responsabilité du CIUSSS de l’Estrie? Si oui, lesquelles? Si non, pourquoi?» Bien que l’on ait sollicité ses questions tant par courriel que lors du Facebook Live du 26 novembre dernier, l’organisation n’a pas répondu à nos demandes. «La séance d’information annuelle du conseil d’administration de ce soir n’est pas un point de presse. Nous pouvons parler des services jeunesse en général ou du plan d’action à venir, mais nous ne commenterons pas une situation particulière. Merci», a fait savoir Marie-France Thibeault, chef de service relations publiques et partenariats au Service des communications du CIUSSS de l’Estrie. Rappelons que le 13 novembre dernier, une mère de famille de Granby a été condamnée à une incarcération de huit ans pour des sévices effroyables qu’elle a fait subir à son fils de 17 ans. «À l’instar de deux pédiatres qui ont pris soin de X, le Tribunal considère que le présent dossier demeure un des pires cas de maltraitance à lui avoir été soumis», indique le juge de la Cour du Québec Conrad Chapdelaine dans son jugement. «S’acharner de cette façon sur un enfant blessé, défiguré, sans défense, devant se déplacer à quatre pattes pour se mouvoir ou s’occuper de ses deux jeunes frères, isolé socialement, sans aucun filet de protection, comme l’école par exemple, dépendant à tous points de vue de son seul parent, l’accusée, constitue un comportement d’une cruauté extrême», ajoute-t-il. Dans son jugement, Conrad Chapdelaine a également dénoncé la DPJ de l’Estrie. En effet, une dizaine de signalements concernant cette famille n’ont pas mené au retrait de l’enfant qui avait de nombreuses plaies, des os brisés et une maigreur effroyable qui s’apparentait aux victimes des camps de concentration selon Francis Livernoche, un des pédiatres qui l’a traité, a rapporté le journal La Presse. C’est l’appel aux policiers d’un huissier, Louis Martin, qui a découvert son état lamentable le 14 février 2019 lors de l’exécution d’une ordonnance d’éviction de la Régie du logement qui a mené à l’arrestation de la mère. Cet autre cas de maltraitance à Granby a trouvé écho en ouverture de la conférence de presse du premier ministre du Québec du 26 novembre. François Legault a qualifié la situation de «terrible» et «gênante». Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
AL-QAYYARAH, IRAQ (Reuters) - Tuqqa Abdullah and her Iraqi family have wandered from one displaced people's camp to the next in the past three years, buying time and hoping they will one day be able to go home. Just 14 when her father took the family to the then Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Mosul, she has inherited a legacy that might take generations to overcome. When Iraqi forces captured Mosul in the dying days of the three-year-old IS caliphate in 2017, Abdullah's father and older sons were killed.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska has returned to work after recovering from COVID-19, his office said. Young's staff said the veteran Republican lawmaker was back at work in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. The 87-year-old announced Nov. 12 he had tested positive for the coronavirus. In March, Young referred to the coronavirus as the “beer virus” before an audience that included older Alaskans and said the media had contributed to hysteria over COVID-19. His campaign manager told the Anchorage Daily News at the time that the virus’ impact is real and that Young was trying to urge calm. After contracting the virus, Young said he had not grasped the severity of the illness. “Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers,” Young said following his release from an Anchorage hospital Nov. 16. Young is now “preparing to fight harder than ever” for Alaskans, spokesman Zack Brown said. Voters last month reelected Young, Alaska’s lone U.S. representative, to serve his 25th term in office. Young has held his seat since 1973 and is the longest-serving Republican in congressional history. For most people, the new 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 number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The Associated Press
Three public schools in Windsor-Essex have reported new cases of COVID-19.The Greater Essex County District School Board website says a coronavirus case has been identified at East Mersea Public School, Leamington District Secondary School and Walkerville Collegiate Institute.Memos have been posted to each school's website informing of a "high-risk exposure" case of COVID-19 in the school community.The schools say they are working with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) to provide lists of close contacts."If you have not been contacted, you or your child(ren) have not been identified as close contacts. The WECHU is contacting any individuals (students and staff) who have an identified high-risk exposure with the confirmed case, and will give directions to follow," the memos state.Parents are being told to monitor their children daily for symptoms of the virus.To date, there have been 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the GECDSB, 74 of which are still active. Frank W. Begley Public school, where 49 cases have been diagnosed among students and staff, has been closed for two weeks.Within the Catholic school board, there are 18 active cases and outbreaks have been declared at two schools. One of the schools, W.J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School, has been closed for two weeks.
OTTAWA — A quick look at Canada's November employment (numbers from the previous month in brackets):Unemployment rate: 8.5 per cent (8.9)Employment rate: 59.5 per cent (59.4)Participation rate: 65.1 per cent (65.2)Number unemployed: 1,735,200 (1,816,800)Number working: 18,615,600 (18,553,500)Youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate: 17.4 per cent (18.8)Men (25 plus) unemployment rate: 7.4 per cent (7.8)Women (25 plus) unemployment rate: 6.8 per cent (6.8)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020 and was generated automatically.The Canadian Press
Les habitants des treize municipalités ainsi que des territoires non organisés de la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay peuvent désormais être rejoints via un nouveau système d’alerte et de notifications de masse en cas de sinistre. Le préfet de la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Gérald Savard, en a fait l’annonce, jeudi matin, quelques heures avant la tenue d’un test général. Selon les explications fournies par voie de communiqué, le nouveau système permettra aux services responsables de la gestion des urgences d’expédier gratuitement des messages par téléphone, messages textes ou courriels en cas d’urgence. Des avis d’intérêt public comme des avis d’ébullition, fermetures de rues, bris de ponceaux, évacuations, inondations, incendies de forêt ou autres situations d’urgence figurent dans la panoplie de messages possibles. Le nouveau système a été mis en place afin de répondre au règlement du ministère de la Sécurité publique portant sur les procédures d’alerte et de mobilisation en cas de sinistre. Pour bénéficier du service, les citoyens doivent cependant être inscrits via le lien sur la page d’accueil du site Internet de chaque municipalité. Jeudi après-midi, un premier test a été effectué auprès de l’ensemble des citoyens des municipalités et territoires. Ceux qui ne l’ont pas reçu sont priés de procéder à leur inscription.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The common-law spouse of the man responsible for killing 22 people in April's mass shooting in Nova Scotia has been charged with providing the gunman with ammunition he used during the rampage, but police say she and two relatives who are also charged did not know how it would be used. Lisa Diana Banfield, 52, of Dartmouth is alleged to have unlawfully transferred .223-calibre Remington cartridges and .40-calibre Smith & Wesson cartridges between March 17 and April 18, 2020. James Blair Banfield, 64, of Beaver Bank, N.S., and Brian Brewster, 60, of Lucasville, N.S., are also facing the same charge under Section 101 of the Criminal Code.RCMP would not comment on the relationship between Lisa Banfield and the two men. CBC News has learned the men are the older brother and brother-in-law of Lisa Banfield. RCMP said in a news release Friday that the three had "no prior knowledge of the gunman's actions on April 18 and 19." That weekend, Gabriel Wortman killed 22 neighbours, acquaintances and strangers in several communities in rural Nova Scotia while masquerading as an RCMP officer.He torched his own cottage and garage, and three other homes over a 13-hour period before being shot dead by police at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., after a lengthy search.RCMP say the ammunition was purchased in Nova Scotia.On Friday, Lisa Banfield's lawyer declined to comment on the charge. History of domestic violenceBanfield is suing Wortman's estate, which was initially valued at more than $1.2 million. In her statement of claim, which was filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, she said she was the victim of an assault and battery, and she suffered physical, emotional and psychological injuries and trauma. In June, she also renounced her right to be the executor of his will. There is a separate proposed class-action lawsuit against the gunman's estate that alleges it is liable to the families of the victims who lost their lives or those who were injured due to his actions.Several people told investigators that the gunman had a history of violence and was abusive, according to search warrant documents. A woman who used to live in Portapique said in 2013 she reported to RCMP that the denturist had illegal weapons and had tried to strangle Banfield.Brenda Forbes said she's never heard what happened to her complaint. But she said RCMP officers told her at the time that since she didn't have photos of the weapons and Banfield had not lodged a complaint, they were limited in what they could do. The day the rampage started, Wortman and Banfield were celebrating their anniversary, according to the court documents. The couple worked together and lived above Wortman's denture clinic on Portland Street in Dartmouth and spent time at the cottage they shared in Portapique. Banfield has never spoken publicly about what happened in April.RCMP have said the violence started when the gunman attacked and restrained her. She escaped and later told investigators she initially hid in a truck before spending hours in a wooded area in Portapique before knocking on a neighbour's door around 6 a.m., according to a summary of interviews she gave RCMP.All three accused are scheduled to be arraigned in Dartmouth provincial court on Jan. 27.Illegal weapons usedInvestigators have previously said they don't believe the gunman had a firearms licence.Police have never released the exact type of weapons Wortman used in the rampage, but they've said he obtained pistols and rifles illegally. Three came from the U.S. and one came from the estate of someone he knew in Canada.Through an access-to-information request, The National Post learned Wortman used two semi-automatic rifles and two pistols in the rampage. The details were revealed in briefing notes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Wortman also took the service pistol belonging to Const. Heidi Stevenson, who he killed in Shubenacadie.On Friday, RCMP declined to answer questions about the charges, the first laid in relation to the mass shootings."To ensure a fair trial for those who have been charged and with the public inquiry now ongoing, the most appropriate and unbiased opportunity to provide any additional information is to do so with our full participation in the inquiry," said Supt. Darren Campbell in a statement. The final report from a public inquiry is expected in November 2022. Charges a 'relief' for familiesLawyer Robert Pineo, who is representing the families of the victims, said they are "relieved" about the charges."They've felt throughout that this was a major piece of the puzzle that was missing. Through circumstantial evidence and some information from the community, [they] have felt there was some involvement beyond the killer himself," said Pineo. "So this information has helped put their minds at ease, to a point."His clients are involved in two class-action lawsuits: one against the killer's estate, and one against the province and the RCMP for the police response during the tragedy.Pineo said his clients feel like the RCMP haven't been "open at all" throughout their investigation."There has been sporadic communication with the families, but usually nothing of substance, as far as who's being investigated, what avenues are being investigated — even information about their own deceased family members has been lacking," he said. "So the more information that comes forward, the more relief they feel."Michael Arntfield, a criminologist at Western University in London, Ont., agreed there has been little information provided throughout the investigation."That's their prerogative, but [the new charges] provides some reassurance that investigation now has been confirmed to have been underway behind the scenes, and that people who aided and abetted Mr. Wortman will have to answer to that," he said.Arntfield suspects more charges could be laid. He said there are still many unanswered questions about things like the gunman's mocked-up police vehicle and how he was able to obtain his illegal weapons."These latest charges show that Wortman was not a one-man operation and he relied on accessories," Arntfield said. "There's just too many moving parts for him to have pulled this off unassisted."He said the decision to charge the gunman's common-law spouse is "going to be fraught with problems."On one hand, he said it's clear that Banfield had knowledge of Wortman's weapons and police regalia, but on the other, "you have a documented victim of domestic violence who, obviously, wouldn't feel safe necessarily disclosing this to the police.""Her role as a stakeholder was identified by the police as only a victim, and now it seems there's been an about-face on that," said Arntfield. "So, what we're missing is the pieces in between that would confirm why that change was deemed necessary."
Had the ATAC mining access road in the Beaver River watershed been built, it would have constituted a “breach of the honour of the Crown” and betrayed First Nations people, according to a decision document released by the Yukon government after inquiries by The Narwhal. The document provides insight into the territorial government’s Nov. 27 decision to reject the proposed all-access road by Vancouver-based ATAC Resources, a mining exploration company with gold and copper claims in the region. The document also sheds light on concerns raised by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, on whose territory the claims are located. The rejected road was given a conditional green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2017 but was awaiting a final decision from the Yukon government. The new route would have opened access to a 65-kilometre portion of the company’s three mineral claims that form the Rackla gold property and connected Keno City to the Tiger gold deposit, the site of a planned ATAC Resources’ open-pit gold mine. The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun was “strongly opposed” to the project going ahead, the decision document reveals. The document contains a list of concerns raised by the nation, including fears the road would have caused “significant adverse impacts” on treaty rights such as hunting, fishing and trapping in traditional territory. That list also noted concerns the road would have prevented Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens from adequately exercising treaty rights in “one of the few remaining wilderness areas in its traditional territory.” The road would have “fundamentally alter[ed] an untouched portion of” the nation’s territory and would have “alienated” citizens from their lands. “Approving the application would permanently impair the process of reconciliation that the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, the Yukon government and Canada have been engaged in for more than 30 years,” the document states. Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn did not return a request for comment. Andrew Carne, ATAC Resources’ vice-president of corporate and project development, told The Narwhal this week that the company is seeking legal counsel on the Yukon government’s decision and that, as a result, there’s little else he can state at this time. “ATAC does not agree with many material aspects of the government’s decision,” Carne said in an email to The Narwhal. In an ATAC Resources’ press release, president and CEO Graham Downs said the road’s cancellation suggests Yukon isn’t open for business. “We are extremely disappointed with and surprised by this decision,” he wrote. The Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has warned that roads such as the one ATAC Resources’ proposed can fragment wildlife habitat, interrupt migratory patterns and lead to an increase in mining activity and hunting pressure. The Beaver River watershed, northeast of Mayo, is a vast expanse of relatively intact wilderness that’s home to moose, grizzly bears and wolves. According to the Yukon government’s decision document, ATAC Resources’ plan for the road didn’t adequately consider cumulative effects on the region’s ecosystem — particularly on wildlife. Todd Powell, director of mineral resources at the Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, told The Narwhal the company did not review wildlife impacts “in a meaningful way.” “The bigger the project, the bigger the effects are. In this case, a road into an area like that was going to have fairly significant effects.” The company’s plan to mitigate effects on wildlife “simply didn’t go far enough,” he said. According to ATAC Resources’ draft management plan, mitigation efforts included building the road in the Rankin Creek valley, where fewer wildlife are present, reducing or suspending traffic during calving and rutting and making the route private to prevent hunting. The company also said it would conduct road patrols to further deter hunting. The decision document notes there were baseline data “deficiencies” that would have affected environmental monitoring efforts. In its draft management plan, ATAC noted Lebarge Environmental Services conducted eight aerial and three ground surveys of wildlife between 2010 and 2013 that noted the project area is home to species that are considered of “special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada including woodland caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine, collared pika, horned grebe, rusty blackbird, peregrine falcon and dolly varden. Threatened species that are found in the project area, according to ATAC, include the common nighthawk and the olive-sided flycatcher. Without adequate monitoring, Powell said there was little hope potential impacts could be mitigated in the future, which contributed to the Yukon government pulling the plug on the project. The Beaver River watershed is largely roadless and the ATAC road would have set a new “precedent” for mineral exploration in the territory, the document states. No roads longer than 50 kilometres have been built for operations that, like ATAC Resources’, are purely exploratory over the past decade, the document notes. “Far more typically, existing access routes and new access routes have only been upgraded or constructed once mine development and production has been authorized.” ATAC Resources is not currently operating any mines in the region and is not permitted to. The company is only permitted to conduct exploratory work until 2024, which raised questions about the need for the access road and concerns the company wouldn’t have long enough to successfully build and decommission the road as proposed. “The nearness of the expiration date doesn’t suggest that they would have a reasonable timeframe to get all of that work done,” Powell said. A sub-regional land use plan for the Beaver River watershed was recently launched by the Yukon government and the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation. Work on the plan is set to continue, regardless of the ATAC road cancellation, Powell said. “Everybody recognizes that this is a highly mineralized area with lots of potential,” he said. “The commitment remains in place to finalize [the land use plan] as soon as we can.” Randi Newton, conservation manager with CPAWS Yukon, recently told The Narwhal she hopes that the sub-regional land use plan will be replaced with a much broader plan that encapsulates the entire Beaver River watershed. CPAWS recently released a report that cautioned the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board against approving road projects before land use plans are completed. “Land use planning can take that broader view of how much development is allowable in an area, which areas should we keep remote and free of roads,” Malkolm Boothroyd, the report’s author and campaigns co-ordinator at the Yukon chapter of CPAWS, told The Narwhal in a previous interview. Powell said that while the sub-regional land use plan won’t be scrapped, it could help inform a region-wide plan in the future, so the intention now is to finish what has already been started. Lewis Rifkind, mining analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, told The Narwhal his organization has been highlighting concerns associated with the ATAC road since its inception. While he questions why it took the Yukon government so long to cancel the project, he’s hopeful environmental protection is coming to the region through land use planning. “It does give us a chance to protect or manage a pretty large-scale landscape,” he said. “Now we can do the planning without having the road dictate certain land uses.”Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
NEW YORK — A year after a series of concerts in Puerto Rico that ended up being his last because of the pandemic, Daddy Yankee is bringing those performances to YouTube as a Christmas gift to his fans around the globe.“DY2K20,” the digital version of his show “Con Calma Pal’ Choli,” will be released in three parts on Yankee's YouTube channel, with the first installment out Friday. The others will drop on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, respectively.“I wanted to give a Christmas present to all my fans during the pandemic, bring the party to their homes free of charge, bring them joy in such difficult times,” the reggaeton star told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Miami.Yankee, who has stayed mostly out of the spotlight in 2020, said that while the pandemic has hit many very hard, it has also allowed him to do something he hadn't done in three decades: Focus on his health and rest.It's something he had to gradually learn after gaining 40 pounds (almost 20 kilos) during the first months of quarantine.“Maybe because of the anxiety... I started eating and eating and eating and I put on the pounds like never before. I got to weigh 230 pounds (105 kilos) ... But I recovered my normal weight from 10 years ago. That was my focus,” said the “Despacito” and “Gasolina” singer, adding he achieved his goal by watching what he ate and exercising, a lot.“I devoted myself to my health and to something that was unknown to me, which was rest,” he said. “I started to learn how to live with calmness and to appreciate it... And I feel different, I feel in a new phase completely.”Now that he gained some balance in his life, he feels ready to reactivate his career. In addition to “DY2K20,” he has another surprise for his fans: A new music collaboration he will release in the coming days, although he wouldn't provide details yet.For now, he said he was blessed to finally share with the world the footage of a show staged at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, which involved over 80 people who worked with “great passion, great creativity.” It was well-received, going from two scheduled dates to a full residence, with 12 sold-out shows, or 170,000 tickets.What many don't know is that a technical problem on opening night resulted in a new business opportunity: Massive concerts in the daylight hours, something never seen before on the island.After getting stuck on a platform over the stage, Yankee announced to the audience that he would give them an extra show for free, and it was a matinee. He adjusted the content to make it family friendly, and ended up doing one more that way.Another unique aspect of “Con Calma Pal’ Choli,” which featured artists like Ozuna, Wisin & Yandel and Nicky Jam, was the use of holograms to replace those who weren't there to perform live.“I wanted the artists to be gigantic, on people's faces, so the audience could feel that they were in front of them and we achieved that,” Yankee said. “It was a concert that became a residence, like if Las Vegas had moved to Puerto Rico.”___Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.Sigal Ratner-Arias, The Associated Press
While Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, Premier Andrew Furey says a vaccine logistics team is now in place. All of the new cases announced Friday are in the Eastern Health region: a man between 40 and 49, a man between 30 and 39 and a woman between 30 and 39.The first case is travel-related — a worker returning home from Alberta — while exposure source for the latter two cases is under investigation. All of these cases are self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.For Friday's travel-related case, the health department is asking passengers, out of an abundance of caution, who travelled on WestJet Flight 3428 from Halifax to St. John's arriving Thursday, Nov. 26 to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing.There have been five recoveries since Thursday's update, lowering the province's active caseload to 27. The total number of recoveries since March is now 312.Newfoundland and Labrador's total number of cases rises to 343, with 63,839 people having been tested, including 312 in the last day.Furey said Newfoundland and Labrador's COVID-19 vaccine team will include Health Minister John Haggie, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Cmdr. David Botting of the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster and Municipalities Minister Derek Bennett.The premier said the vaccination will be "highly suggested" but not mandatory."It's a free and democratic society and people have choices and sometimes people don't make the right choices," he said. "Everyone should avail of it when it's available to them."Watch the full Dec. 4 update:Fitzgerald said the province has administered more than 200,000 influenza vaccinations as of Friday, about 40 per cent of the population. But, she said, the focus now on working with the federal government for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the new year. "There is a wide array of logistics for us to determine, as this is anticipated to be the most complex and ambitious vaccine distribution ever delivered to Canada," she said. "We will provide updates as we learn more." The country is now in preparation mode, with 14 distribution points ready to receive the Pfizer vaccine starting on Dec. 14.Fitzgerald said Newfoundland and Labrador is likely to receive a combination of vaccines, including the Pfizer product in the first run and the Moderna vaccine later. She said both are expected in the first quarter of 2021. Also on Thursday the Department of Health advised rotational workers about an identified COVID-19 outbreak at the Suncor MacKay River oil sands site in Alberta. The department said it was notified about the outbreak by the Public Health Agency of Canada as workers from this province work on the site.These workers, who have returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in the last 14 days, must self-isolate, physically distance away from household members and call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing. They must also complete the full 14-day self-isolation period, regardless of test result.Haggie repeats apologyIt's been an interesting week when it comes to COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador. There were zero new cases on Thursday, the first day the province didn't have at least one new positive since Nov. 16. This week also saw Haggie face intense scrutiny for his decision to host a fundraising event at at Bally Haly, a golf and country club in the east end of St. John's.The two-hour, $250-per-person reception at Bally Haly came just hours after Haggie spoke at Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, warning that people considering attending New Year's Eve gatherings were putting themselves "in harm's way."He initially defended the event, but later in the day, changed his tune. However, his apology seemingly centred around the stir it caused, and not for having the event in the first place. "I think hindsight is always 20/20.… For the fuss it caused, it probably wasn't worth it," he told reporters Thursday afternoon. On Friday, Haggie apologized again."I think it's very clear that that decision was unwise," Haggie said. "My concern now is that public confidence in the public health measures and guidelines advanced by the chief medical officer of health may have in some way been shaken or weakened, and that certainly is not, and can not, be justified."Haggie, who said public health guidelines were followed and that 23 people attended in a space that can hold 200 — had the support of Premier Andrew Furey, who said he was OK with it. Others didn't share that opinion. The story prompted hundreds of comments online, with the majority condemning the event. "There was no reason for this fundraiser at this time. I have always been Liberal but I will not condone behaviour such as this exhibited by ministers Haggie and Dempster or any other MHA who is fundraising at such a critical time," Ivy Anthony wrote on twitter. Some defended the health minister. "OMG, people, it was 23 people in a space that can accommodate 250. [Have] none of these complainers been to McDonald's, Costco, Walmart lately?" wrote Karen Saunders Greene on Facebook. Haggie said he read some of those messages and comments."These I've taken to heart. There are lessons that I've learned from this and I've taken those to heart, too," he said. "So one again I want to take this opportunity to repeat that apology."Throughout the pandemic Fitzgerald has preached kindness, compassion and support, specifically in the light of new COVID-19 cases and families of rotational workers. But, she said, the same applies to Haggie's situation. "We're in an enviable position really, when compared to other jurisdictions, and I would like to say that I think the minister is a big part of that," she said. "His willingness to listen to evidence and let the public health science lead the way is an important part of our situation, where we are, where we find ourselves right now."Back in or staying out? Atlantic bubble update next week This week also saw a reopening, of sorts, for the Town of Deer Lake. The town hall and the Hodder Memorial Recreation Centre were shut down as the cases related to a cluster in the town rose. Some businesses ceased operations, too. With an update on the Atlantic bubble expected Monday, Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball was asked whether he agreed with rejoining the bubble for travel among the four Atlantic provinces, on the heels of a cluster in the town. He said there isn't an easy answer to that. "As a mayor of a small town in western Newfoundland and an airport community, I certainly don't want to see the bubble go away. But we have taken some drastic measures ourselves to stop this dreadful virus. We need to do that," he told CBC News. "Whatever decision they make is not going to be easy for us to take, especially as an airport community. That's our lifeline. It's a hard decision" N.L. announced Nov. 23 it was pulling out of the bubble that allowed travel to and from the Atlantic provinces, with no self-isolation required. Furey noted things had changed, including fast-rising case counts in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Now, people coming from the Atlantic provinces are required to self-isolate for 14 days, but they do not need an exemption form. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Sipekne'katik First Nation called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday to intercede in its fight to secure a moderate livelihood fishery as part of Mi'kmaw self-government.The call came in a news release criticizing a draft agreement for a moderate livelihood fishery that it received one week ago from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans."Although we had tempered our response of this first draft as a potentially ground-breaking and historical undertaking, Sipekne'katik remains very disappointed in the draft document's intent and content," Chief Mike Sack said in the release.Details remain hiddenNeither the band nor DFO has released the draft memorandum of understanding.Sack was not specific about his objections. He said: "Sipekne'katik will never renegotiate or limit the rights that our ancestors protected through the Treaties centuries ago."The band launched its self-declared moderate livelihood fishery in September without DFO oversight or approval.It said it was exercising a Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish for a moderate living recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada 21 years ago.The moderate fishery was never defined.Successive federal governments instead focused on integrating Maritime First Nations into the commercial fishery, spending over half a billion dollars on training and buying up and distributing commercial fishing licences.The Supreme Court also ruled that the federal government, not the Mi'kmaq, had the right to regulate any moderate livelihood that fishery for conservation purposes.Blames bureaucrats for impasseOn Friday, Sack lashed out against DFO bureaucrats, accusing them of "continuing to use colonial approaches in colonial language," and blaming them for the impasse."The problem we are currently facing is the disconnect between the department's bureaucrats' understanding and the evolving nation-to-nation relationship," he said.Sack said his discussions with Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan are "for the most part on the same wavelength.""This is a testament to her respectfulness and character."Still, he went over Jordan's head in his appeal to Trudeau to "facilitate a constitutionally protected self-government agreement for the Sipekne'katik Treaty Implementation Fishery Management Plan that is acceptable and parallel to Canada's Fisheries Act."Jordan's office responded with a statement Friday saying that reaching a deal is "an essential part of our government's larger promise to support First Nations on their path to greater self-determination.""We are working closely with Sipekne'katik First Nation to ensure negotiations are respectful, constructive, and able to evolve. Where challenges have arisen, we have addressed them, nation-to-nation. We will continue to do so, and we will continue to work collaboratively toward an agreement," the statement said.MORE TOP STORIES
The Canadian Armed Forces are holding simulations tests of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a “series of exercise and run-throughs,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday outside Rideau Cottage. He added that freezers for the future vaccines have been purchased, and dry ice contracts are being negotiated.
Three Windsor-Essex hospitals have issued a strong warning over the current surge in COVID-19 cases — and what could happen if the trend continues.In a joint statement, they pleaded with the public to continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus."The scenario that our Windsor-Essex region residents have seen on TV taking place in other jurisdictions around the world, where hospital resources are stretched beyond capacity, is showing signs of occurring in our area of the province," chief executives from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores Healthcare said Friday.Recent COVID-19 outbreaks at Hôtel-Dieu Grace and Windsor Regional risk "significant reductions" in bed capacity, while use of beds is already above 100 per cent, they said."As hospital bed capacity deteriorates, clinical teams will have no option other than to cancel scheduled surgeries and other procedures to ensure we have bed space available for emergency and other urgent cases," they stated.There are currently 27 people in hospital with COVID-19 and seven in ICU, according to the Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit (WECHU). "There is definitely a lot of pressure on the health-care system in the region and also across Southwestern Ontario, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said Friday.The health unit announced 65 new cases on Friday, bringing the active case total to 424.21 outbreaks in Windsor-EssexDr. Ahmed said there's also record number of outbreaks in the region — 21 across workplaces, long-term care homes and other institutions."We have never had that many outbreaks, clearly indicating that we need to do more," Dr. Ahmed said.As of the most recent data, which Dr. Ahmed presented on Friday, Windsor's seven-day average test positivity rate is 4.3 per cent -- the fourth highest in the province behind Toronto, Peel and York regions.Analysis of the presence of the virus wastewater suggests rates of infection exceed the number of known cases, Ahmed said.Not moving to lockdown Despite the rising cases, the province did not announce a lockdown for Windsor-Essex on Friday, meaning the region remains in the red "control" zone of COVID-19 restrictions in place since Monday.Dr. Ahmed said earlier on Friday that he didn't anticipate a lockdown would be announced, though earlier in the week he said the region is at risk of heightened restrictions."We would like to see the results of us in the red zone first before we move on to any criteria at this time," he said.Snapshot of the pandemic in Windsor-EssexSince the pandemic started, 3,864 cases have been diagnosed in Windsor-Essex, 3,358 of which have been resolved.Eighty-two people have lost their lives to COVID-19, including 56 death in longterm care and retirement homes.Of the 65 cases announced across the region Friday , five are close contacts of a confirmed case, two were community acquired, 58 are still under investigation. Twenty-seven people are in hospital, with seven in the intensive care unit.There are 21 outbreaks in the community, including eight at workplaces. * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. * One in Kingsville's manufacturing sectorTwo community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. There are three school outbreaks: Corpus Christi Catholic Middle School - Central Park Athletics Campus, Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School. The latter two schools have been closed for two weeks. Officials are working on a reopening plan for both schools.There are outbreaks at six long-term care and retirement homes: * Chartwell St. Clair Beach in Tecumseh with one resident case. * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with two staff cases. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with two staff cases. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
The Congress of Aboriginals Peoples (CAP) is calling on the resignation of Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Christine Tell. More than 100 inmates at Saskatoon Correctional Centre have tested positive for COVID-19. “Minister Tell has fumbled the ball in her role as minster responsible to Saskatchewan correctional facilities,” said National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin Dec. 3. “This requires leadership with a level of foresight and compassion that is lacking in her public response to COVID-19.” The CAP is also calling on the federal government to intervene in Saskatchewan’s provincial jail system. They want all non-violent inmates to be released immediately. They also want testing of all inmates and staff and measures to ensure infected inmates are given separate living quarters from other inmates. "Our people are now facing a death sentence in Saskatoon Correctional Centre due to Covid-19,” said Beaudin. "These are lives being intentionally put at risk, and is nothing short of a genocidal, colonialist policy.” Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety department was contacted for comment on the situation at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre but have not responded. Earlier this week protesters – concerned for their loved ones inside - picketed in front of the Saskatoon Correctional Centre. A group of Saskatchewan lawyers sent a letter Tuesday to Tell calling for the release of non-violent, low-risk inmates who are elderly and have compromised immune systems. CUPE 1949, the union that represents 130 lawyers and legal staff at Legal Aid Saskatchewan, says the outbreak at Saskatoon Correctional Centre shows the volatility of the situation. “Our jails are overcrowded with vulnerable people who have virtually no means of protecting themselves,” said Julia Quigley, President of CUPE 1949. “Once the virus gets in, our clients are at an incredible risk.” Quigley said the majority of inmates in Saskatchewan are on remand, meaning they haven’t been convicted of any crime. “In essence, these inmates have a bull’s eye on their backs, and yet they are legally innocent,” said Quigley. She said that Saskatchewan remands people at twice the national average and the majority of inmates in Saskatchewan prisons are Indigenous and medically vulnerable to COVID-19. “This virus doesn’t discriminate, but the criminal justice system does. Our Indigenous clients will bear the brunt of the Saskatoon outbreak, and any other outbreaks if we don’t contain it.” “We cleared the jails effectively in the first wave, without any discernible risk to the public. We need to do it again, now,” added Quigley. Noel Busse, director of communications for Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice/Corrections and Policing, however, told the News-Optimist in July that no prisoners were released early from Saskatchewan jails during the COVID-19 pandemic. “No sentenced offenders have been released early as a result of COVID-19,” Busse said about the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic that hit the province. In March, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections and Policing put in measures to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread. They used existing infrastructure and program space in correctional facilities to create additional separation between offenders and staff. They also restricted the movement and placement of offenders within a facility, and provided personal protective equipment to corrections staff and offenders. COVID-19 also prompted the province’s Crown prosecutors to rethink remanding some defendants who were charged but not yet convicted. Some non-violent inmates held on remand in Saskatchewan’s jails were released while waiting for trial. Saskatoon Correctional Centre is a provincial jail run by the province of Saskatchewan. As of Dec. 4 there are no COVID-19 positive cases in the federal penitentiaries in the province, such as the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, and Willow Cree Healing Lodge. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Niagara is now home to one of the best young spellers in Canada. Leena Jalees, 14, of St. Catharines took home the gold at this year’s Spelling Bee of Canada national championship, beating out 25 other competitors in the intermediate division (ages 12-14) across the country. Jalees, who has entered the regional competitions on two previous occasions, said this was her first time reaching the national level, after winning Niagara’s competition earlier in November. Jalees said she had always been a good speller, particularly when it came to everyday words, and thought entering a spelling bee would help her expand her spelling abilities when it came to new and unfamiliar words. “I thought it would be fun to learn new words, and become a better speller, and know the tactics of how to break down the words and be able to spell words I have never heard of before. So I decided to do a spelling bee, just to see how well I could do.” Jalees did more than okay. In her first appearance on the national stage, she was crowned the winner in the intermediate division of the Spelling Bee of Canada after correctly spelling the word “taxonomist”. For Jalees, the word was a no-brainier. “When I found out that was the word, I was so relieved because I was already familiar with that word. I already knew how to spell it, so I didn’t have to think about it.” So how does one study for a spelling bee? The competitors were given a manual of 400 words two and a half weeks prior to the competition, but that doesn’t include tiebreaker words, which are entirely new, and come down to the participants' ability to break down the word itself. Jalees said her strategy involves looking at the words as multiple units, and understanding the origin of the word itself. “One of the words was polemicist. I thought it was a medical word, but then when I knew it had to do with politics, then I decided to change the way I spelled it to ending in 'cist'. So I was very grateful I didn’t start spelling it the way I was initially going to.” Jalees, who hopes to one day be an OB/GYN said she hopes to defend her title at next year’s competition, as it may be her last year of eligibility. “I am going to try again next year, and see how well I can do again.” Also representing Niagara at the national championship were Jimmy Zhou, of Niagara Falls, who competed in the junior division (ages 9-11) and Shirley Chen, of St. Catharines, who competed in the primary division (ages 6-8).Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Thousands of Indian farmers angered by farm laws that they say threaten their livelihoods have intensified their protests by blocking highways and camping out on the outskirts of the capital Delhi. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of protesting farmers' unions have held several rounds of talks but have not made any progress in breaking the deadlock over the set of laws passed by parliament in September. Although various farmer unions have supported the protest, the agitation is largely led by the growers of relatively well-off states of Punjab and Haryana in India's north.
Après une longue saga, voilà que les communautés innues de Uashat mak Mani-utenam et Matimekush-Lac John ont signé une entente de réconciliation et de collaboration avec la Compagnie minière IOC. Depuis 2010, de nombreuses négociations ont eu lieu entre la minière et les deux communautés. Une poursuite judiciaire avait même été entamée contre IOC. Au cœur du litige se trouvait l’exploitation du Nitassinan (territoire ancestral traditionnel des Innus) qui a été exploité sans le consentement des Innus. L'entente qui a été ratifiée aujourd'hui prévoit notamment que l'entreprise minière fournira des paiements financiers, des avantages en matière d’emploi et des opportunités d’affaires aux communautés innues ainsi qu’une meilleure collaboration sur le plan environnemental. L’entente prévoit également que IOC présente des excuses. Les deux communautés se sont engagées à retirer les poursuites judiciaires qui avaient été intentées contre la compagnie. Cet accord a été baptisé « Ussiniun », ce qui signifie « renouveau » en langue innue. « Cette entente marque le début d’une nouvelle relation avec IOC, basée sur le respect et le partenariat. Les compensations et les retombées pour nos membres nous permettront de prendre encore plus en main le développement de notre communauté. Le respect démontré par IOC nous permettra de tourner la page sur un historique de conflits et de regarder l’avenir avec optimisme », a affirmé le Chef de Uashat mak Mani-utenam. De son côté, le président et chef de la direction de IOC, Clayton Walker, a déclaré : « Cette entente à long terme est une étape importante qui nous permet d'avancer ensemble et de construire des relations solides basées sur le respect, la confiance et les avantages mutuels. Nous nous engageons à travailler en collaboration avec les communautés de Uashat mak Mani-utenam et de Matimekush-Lac John afin de concrétiser les nombreux avantages de cette entente pour toutes les parties concernées. » L'entente qui a été acceptée en août par les deux communautés innues a par la suite été présentée aux membres de chacune des communautés. Un référendum a été effectué dans la communauté de Matimekush-Lac John pour approuver l'entente et l'option du oui l'a emportée à 83%.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
PARIS — France plans to launch a government-monitored online tool in January that is designed to identify and root out discrimination by police, President Emmanuel Macron said Friday. Macron called it “unbearable” that people of colour are more likely to be stopped by law enforcement officers than white people. “We are going to set up a large survey on an internet platform where people can say where they are discriminated against and in what way," he said in an interview with Brut media on Friday. Police misconduct has received additional attention as a cause in France after footage emerged last month of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry. Macron said the “widespread” use of police body cameras would help bring wrongful actions to light. The government confirmed in September that all police officers in France will wear body cameras by July 2021. France has been experimenting with the use of body-worn cameras since at least 2013, but tensions exist over balancing security needs and public rights. Macron’s government is pushing a security bill that makes it illegal to publish images of police officers with intent to cause them harm. Critics fear the proposed could weaken press freedoms and make it more difficult for all citizens to expose episodes of police brutality. The Associated Press
Ontario’s justice system will continue to push forward and modernize beyond the rapid transformations forced by the pandemic, Attorney General Doug Downey told the Empire Club of Canada on Thursday. During the lunchtime virtual meeting, Downey talked about some of the advancements made in the province's justice system since emergency measures were enforced in March to ensure it could operate safely. “It wasn’t long before capacity was expanded to conduct 100 per cent of proceedings involving a person in custody” and advancing to remote hearings, said Downey, who is also the local MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “Behind the scenes, we were making targeted investments to update technology in a sector where fax machines were still an acceptable way of doing business.” The initiatives included remote court access, the new use of digital signatures and service by email, all of which are now becoming permanent staples of the system. As a result, he said, the system has become stronger by becoming more accessible and more resilient. “We really did rely on fax machines, millions of pages of paper, and technology that was just slightly better than Morse code to share information,” he said, adding that just two days ago the word 'telegram' was replaced by 'email' in a civil rule. Within months, the old paper-based system has been modernized to allow for online filing of more than 450 different documents. As a result, 95 per cent of civil proceedings are filed online and more than 70 per cent of family matters. Information about court cases are now available online, meaning people don’t have to line up at the courthouse to gain access. And a platform to power online and in-person hearings was also adopted. Last June, the changes allowed 20,000 people to log into an online Superior Court hearing to witness a judge deliver a sentence in a high-profile case. In September, the Superior Court reported 50,000 hearings had been conducted virtually. The lesson, Downey said, was to not just address yesterday’s issues, but to look at solutions for tomorrow’s sustainability and resilience and to not be afraid of change. He also suggested adopting a design for a courthouse implementing some of the customer service elements available in an airport. Or creating an app that allows the user to schedule a court appearance from a cellphone. “The pandemic showed us, in stark terms, how far behind Ontario’s justice system had fallen,” he said. “Now we know better, and we’ll do better. In this new approach, justice accelerated means justice delivered.” During a question period, he pointed to Ontario’s tribunals, which were largely shut down after the COVID-19 crisis and prevented normal interaction. Downey said he’s struck a deal with British Columbia’s attorney general to adopt its four-year-old online tribunal system for $1, provided Ontario takes care of the updates.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the inaugural meeting of a global council on artificial intelligence by warning of the danger of unbridled digital technology, despite its potential to change the world for the better. The virtual summit marks the latest step in the slow march toward international co-operation on digital governance amid growing concerns over data privacy, built-in bias and deployment in war. Canada first set out on that path two years ago, unveiling plans with France for a standing AI forum during a meeting of G7 countries in Quebec. Since then, 13 other states have signed on to the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to guide policy development with an eye to human rights, establishing expert panels and involving government, industry and academia. Speaking ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, Trudeau said AI has the potential to combat diseases and climate change, but also to "create new challenges if left unchecked." Last month, the Liberal government tabled legislation to give Canadians more control over their information in the digital age, with potentially stiff fines for companies that flout the rules. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. The Canadian Press