Electric Autonomy Canada president Nino Di Cara talks about the future of electric vehicles in Canada and how close we might be to phasing out gasoline-powered engines.
Electric Autonomy Canada president Nino Di Cara talks about the future of electric vehicles in Canada and how close we might be to phasing out gasoline-powered engines.
A historic meeting between Israel's prime minister and Saudi Arabia's crown prince has sent a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that the two countries remain deeply committed to containing their common foe Iran. Last Sunday's covert meeting in the Saudi city of Neom, confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh, conveyed a coordinated message to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that Washington's main allies in the region are closing ranks. It was the first publicly confirmed visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli leader and a meeting that was unthinkable until recently as the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Hats for Hides, an Ontario program that encourages hunters to donate deer and moose hides to Indigenous craftspeople, appears to be on its last legs thanks to a combination of COVID-19 and shifting global economics.The initiative, which dates back to the early 1970s, was originally set up by the Ministry of Natural Resources to prevent hides from being wasted and get them into the hands of Indigenous craftspeople. In exchange, hunters would receive a bright orange hat and crest proclaiming a successful hunt.> It's going to mean that a lot of hunters are throwing their hides in the bush. \- Cheryle Brant-Maracle, former Hats for Hides depot operatorBut a combination of factors has rendered the Hats for Hides program virtually defunct. There are now just 11 depots accepting donated hides, down from 35 last year and 50 not long ago. The remaining depots are spread unevenly across the province, making it inconvenient for many hunters to drop off hides.The private company that administers the program, BRT Provisioners of Peterborough, Ont., warned hunters that Hats for Hides would be extremely limited in 2020."Unfortunately, COVID has affected all markets and deer hides are no exception," the company said in a letter to hunters.Now, instead of receiving a free hat, hunters who donate a deer hide may purchase a crest. A moose hide will earn you a free crest. "The only reason we're doing crests is that they were all pre-ordered before COVID hit," said Barb Thompson, the Hats for Hides program coordinator at BRT Provisioners."It's just a trophy, but for the avid hunter it's very important," said Cheryle Brant-Maracle, a former depot operator in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. "It's going to mean that a lot of hunters are throwing their hides in the bush.""It's what they hang above the fireplace on the wall," said Steve Lantz, a depot operator in Durham, Ont., who refused to charge hunters for the 2020 crests, instead paying for them out of pocket. "If we don't do that, we'd never get enough hides." According to BRT Provisioners, "deer hides have little to no value in this current COVID market," because the pandemic has sidelined the community gatherings where tanned leather is bought and sold. Virtually all powwows were cancelled in 2020 as organizers complied with public health directives."I travel from powwow to powwow selling leather and fur. I haven't been able to travel all year, and that's how I make my money," said Brant-Maracle.Rodney St. Denis, an Algonquin artisan and cultural practitioner from the Kibaowek First Nation, now living in North Bay, Ont., would also sell his crafts at local powwows. He makes miniature teepees, canoes and tikinagans (baby cradle boards) using leather as embellishments.But COVID-19 has closed that avenue off. "I didn't have the means to go out into public gatherings as I normally would," St. Denis said."With no powwows, we're sitting on leather and hide that we haven't moved since last year," said Greg Mance of White Tanning Co. in Rockwood, Ont. Ultimately, it's what caused depot operators such Brant-Maracle to reluctantly bow out. "I know a gentleman that has every single crest … for as long as they've been given out. So to not get a 2020 crest from me is a little disappointing for him," she said.Not just COVID-19But COVID-19 is only part of the picture, according to Steve Lantz, a depot operator in Durham, Ont. He blames cheap leather imports.Lantz said a tanner in Guelph told him they're able to source leather from China "cheaper than they can by a rawhide from an abattoir here.... This one you can't blame on COVID." Offshore competition pushed Barrett Hides Inc. of Barrie, Ont., out of business in 2019. It had been picking up hides across much of southern Ontario. When it went bust, Hats for Hides depot operators had to truck their own hides, driving more of them out of the business, according to Lantz.Ultimately, cheap leather may be the death knell for the Hats for Hides program. "You can't even get [a hide] for free, put salt on it … and get it to a tannery and come out with any money," said Thompson.In May 2019, on the heels of the Barrett Hides Inc. closure, the Ontario government stepped in to save Hats for Hides with a one-time injection of $100,000 for BRT Provisioners to help buy and distribute hats and crests.When contacted by CBC, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said in a statement it "has not received any request for support or funding for 2020," nor is it "aware of how COVID-19 has impacted the supply, collection and sale of hides.""I don't want their money. It comes with way too many strings attached," said Thompson. "They don't do it to help the program. They do it for political votes."
Aaliyah Edwards wears her mindset on her hair.The Canadian freshman on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has rocked purple and gold braids since Grade 8.It's a constant reminder of the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant's 'Mamba Mentality.'"My brother and I, we're very big fans of his and just love the Lakers team also. So growing up, I would watch so many videos of him trying to do the same moves as him, do the fadeaway jump shot, biting my jersey, all that stuff," Edwards said.Edwards, 19, is a forward entering her first year at UConn. The Kingston, Ont., native was recruited by famed head coach Geno Auriemma out of Crestwood Preparatory College and arrived in Storrs, Conn., in late July.Edwards' collegiate career, already delayed due to the pandemic, was postponed another two weeks Tuesday after a member of the UConn program tested positive for coronavirus. The earliest the Huskies can now play, if medically cleared, is Dec. 15 against Butler.But if Edwards is anything like Kobe, she'll stay ready for whenever the moment is that she can make her debut."I just love his Mamba Mentality because there's so much focus on the game and grinding in the gym. But what's most important, I've learned over the years, is the significance of your mental competitiveness, because you can get so distracted and it will turn your whole game off for the next three quarters. It's that capability of saying, 'Oh, I missed the layup.' But that bounce back to next-play mentality is really what's important," Edwards said."I just love watching videos of [Bryant] just speaking and sharing his knowledge and everything. So it really just came from my brother, his love, and he gave it to me and now rocking the braids."Not only does Edwards credit brothers Jermaine and Jahmal for introducing her to Bryant, but she says they paved the way for her basketball career altogether. They were the first to put a ball in her hands and have her dribble around the house."The first time I did competitive basketball was in Grade 6 when my brother [Jermaine] and my mom were my coaches. And you can just imagine how stressful that is, having someone you call mom push that from coach to mom and [for] my brother to coach and kind of that frustration that you can get with the game."Still, Edwards credits that extra push for making her the high-motor, highly competitive player she is today.In Grade 6, Edwards would have been roughly 12. Three years later, she made her Canadian national team debut at the 2017 FIBA U16 Americas tournament. Edwards says that was the stepping stone she needed to pursue the sport full-time.She played that tournament just four months after Jermaine died at 27 years old. His cause of death was not made public."Jermaine and Aaliyah were very close and I think always will be," mother Jackie Edwards told the Kingston Whig Standard just after that FIBA tournament.In terms of basketball style, that sentiment still holds true."Jermaine brought an intensity to the team that we have really missed," said Jermaine's college head coach, Barry Smith, just after his passing. "There was a reason that he averaged the number of minutes a game that he did. He was not a scorer, but made up for his lack of scoring by his own personal drive and by pushing his teammates."Canadian women's national team head coach Lisa Thomaidis had similar praise for Aaliyah."I think the biggest thing with her is she competes, you know, she really competes hard. She's got a great motor."Auriemma said those traits remind him of UConn great and 2019 WNBA rookie of the year and all-star Napheesa Collier."She plays hard like 'Pheesa does, she has a lot of energy like 'Pheesa did. She has a motor like 'Pheesa had. She goes, at both ends, offensively and defensively, rebounding the ball, getting to the basket," he told the Hartford Courant.Edwards is part of a group of six freshmen at UConn, a young team for the storied program. That should give her plenty of playing time to shine, and perhaps make an even greater push toward the Canadian Olympic roster in 2021.Thomaidis says she's looking for Edwards to continue developing overall consistency, specifically on the defensive end, in her first season with the Huskies."The sky's the limit for her. She's certainly going to have a long career with senior national team as long as she continues to grow and improve and has a love for the game and competes hard. There's so much that I think she can accomplish with us," Thomaidis said.WATCH | Is this the golden era for Canadian basketball?:Already, the coach envisions Edwards playing a versatile role. At 6-foot-3, she has the skillset to become the positionless player that's become en vogue in recent years — someone who can play inside out on offence and guard virtually every position on defence.On the court, rebounding, ball handling and shooting range are traits Thomaidis and Auriemma agreed are strengths of Edwards.Off the court, it's that professional mindset."My dream has always been to be a part of the Olympic team. ... But in terms of just my college career, I'm just looking to develop my game both physically and mentally, so that when I leave college, I'll be at that level where I can either go pro in the WNBA or overseas or both," Edwards said.It was 2015 when a 19-year-old Kia Nurse, Edwards' Canadian UConn predecessor, led Canada to its first Pan Am gold medal in women's basketball and emerged as the country's next hoops star.Edwards, who will turn 20 just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, is looking to follow in Nurse's footsteps.
Premier Stephen McNeil continues to refuse calls to release details about how $228 million in unbudgeted COVID-19 stimulus money is being spent. The funding is being used for a variety of infrastructure projects across the province, in part to drive employment during the pandemic.After government officials initially pledged to make the list available, a spokesperson for the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department said last month that it wouldn't happen after all. At the time, McNeil told reporters that all the information about the more than 200 projects was available by cross referencing capital plan documents with the government tender website.The premier suggested the government isn't a research department for reporters and that they do the work themselves.Several reporters at AllNovaScotia.com recently tried to do that work, but fell well short of being able to assemble a complete list using the method suggested by the premier. When that was pointed out to him Thursday, McNeil stuck to his guns about the availability of the information.'It should be available to taxpayers'"I don't know how much more transparent I can be, other than unless you want me to go down and identify every program that the money has come out of," he said Thursday following a cabinet meeting."I don't think Nova Scotians think that's the best use of the premier's time."Part of the challenge assembling the information is that some stimulus work wasn't actually tendered, but rather tacked on to projects that had previously been approved, something Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines confirmed last month.A few of the projects have yet to be announced, said McNeil, and so would not have been posted yet. AllNovaScotia's reporting showed that the projects they could locate did not appear to be disproportionately awarded to Liberal-held districts.Tory Leader Tim Houston said the public has a right to know how the government is spending its money.Houston said he was initially willing to give the premier the benefit of the doubt, but now that reporters have demonstrated just how difficult it is to account for the money, the premier should just call for a list to be produced."There's no reason to hide it," Houston told reporters. "It should be available to taxpayers."'Deliberately and willfully obtuse'NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the premier is being "deliberately and willfully obtuse in obscuring a very simple request" in a way that is consistent with his government's general approach to transparency."I can't imagine why, but it's quite plain that the obtuseness and the obscurity is deliberate on their part," Burrill told reporters."The question is as straightforward as it could possibly be."McNeil told reporters that asking for the details to be provided was a case of "people looking for something to complain about.""I don't know what more you want," he said."You're like every other Nova Scotian. [The projects] are on the website. Go look at them."MORE TOP STORIES
Tracy Cloud can still remember the eruption on social media in response to the behaviour of a high-ranking Edmundston police officer who appeared to laugh when a reporter asked him a question about the shooting death of Chantel Moore. "It was shared many times over and over within our communities," said Cloud, a member of Metepenagiag First Nation. "There was just an explosion of many comments and of course, none of them were positive."Cloud says she's puzzled as to why the officer wasn't directed to participate in a localized cultural training program in response to a complaint filed against him by TJ Burke, the lawyer who represents Chantel Moore's estate. According to Burke, Insp. Steve Robinson has been ordered by the Edmundston police chief to take the Indigenous Canada course available online through the University of Alberta.Cloud is puzzled as to why the police are not using resources closer to home. She says the nine Mi'kmaw communities of New Brunswick, under the non-profit umbrella organization Mi'gmawe'l Tplu'taqnn Inc., or MTI, do have programs that explain treaty principles and their historical context."In fact, this afternoon, we have a treaty session with about 85 people that will be happening through one of the federal government departments," said Cloud.The MTI also offers a regional variation of a teaching tool known as the blanket exercise. That's when a group of people, for example, a class of high school students, would gather in one room and stand in a space where the floor is covered with blankets that represent the land inhabited by Indigenous people that eventually became Canada.Participants read about chapters of Indigenous history, including the impact of disease, poverty, residential schools and the Indian Act. Progressively, they themselves are increasingly confined to fewer blankets and less space or rejected altogether from the circle. "We have people walking away in tears," said Cloud. "People who say, 'Had I known, I could have done better."Cloud says the cost to facilitate a program depends on factors such as preparation time, staff time and travel expenses. "The exercise is just a couple of hours long. People are able to put their feet in our moccasins for that brief moment and reflect on generations and hundreds of years of history and what Indigenous people have gone through."Cloud says MTI has been trying to get more people involved, including non-governmental agencies. "Really, anyone who's willing to have us in, we're happy to provide the discussion."Education shouldn't be discipline Lawyer Derek Simon, who works as legal counsel for MTI, says education shouldn't be used as a sanction. "I work for the Mi'kmaw chiefs in New Brunswick and they've been advocating for some time now for cultural awareness and treaty training and treaty education for all police officers in New Brunswick. They feel that's something that all officers should be receiving as a matter of course and not as discipline for bad behaviour," said Simon.In addition to completing the online course, Burke says Robinson must also meet with a Wolostoqi elder to discuss what he discovered on his journey for knowledge. Simon says it's a good idea but "sits wrong as a sanction.""It's something that should be a standardized part of the police experience," he said.Simon says the Mi'kmaw chiefs want to see Indigenous representation on the New Brunswick police commission.They also want every police department to have an elder they can turn to, who can provide guidance. "So instead of this one officer being singled out and told, 'You've done a bad thing, go speak to an elder about it,' this is something that should be provided as a cultural resource on an ongoing basis," said Simon.CBC News did ask to speak to Edmundston police Chief Alain Lang but he declined to be interviewed. A spokesperson for his office explained that Lang would not comment because under the New Brunswick Police Act (NBPA), disciplinary and corrective measures are confidential.
An Iranian diplomat and three other Iranians went on trial in Belgium on Friday accused of planning to bomb a meeting of an exiled opposition group in France in 2018, the first time an EU country has put an Iranian official on trial for terrorism. Belgian prosecutors charged Vienna-based diplomat Assadolah Assadi and the three others with plotting an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The rally's keynote address was given by U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Ontario resident Madelyn MacNeill considered herself healthy and didn't expect to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery while visiting her parents in Nova Scotia this past summer.Nor did she expect the almost $13,000 bill for ground and air ambulance transportation that arrived weeks after she returned to Ontario."When I opened up the bill and saw it was $12,800, my jaw dropped. I was in quite a bit of shock," the 27-year-old said. "I can't afford to pay that amount of money all upfront. It boggles my mind."MacNeill has been offered an interest-free payment plan of $50 a month. She figures it will take her 21 years to pay off the bill.Back in June, MacNeill, who lives in Toronto, was working from home and hadn't seen her family for a while. She figured she'd drive home to Nova Scotia, self-isolate for 14 days and continue to work out there, while also enjoying some family time.However, on the last day of isolation, MacNeill experienced back problems. Days later, an ambulance was required to take her to the hospital in New Glasgow.Once there, it was determined she had herniated two discs and needed emergency surgery in Halifax, about 150 kilometres away. MacNeill was told there were no ground ambulances available, so she was transported by air and underwent surgery right away. Although she expected a bill for the ground ambulance, she said, "at no time was I told I would be footing the bill for the air ambulance or any sort of cost associated with the inter-hospital transfer."It's a cautionary tale for anyone travelling between provinces, especially during COVID-19. MacNeill said she has Ontario provincial health coverage as well as insurance through her work, and never imagined she would need travel health insurance while in another part of Canada."Every time I travel out of the country, I always purchase traveller's insurance, but I honestly never thought that I would need travel insurance for inter-provincial travel. I always thought in Canada we had universal health care," she said.Out-of-province visitors pay moreAmbulance travel within a province can be pricey and cause financial hardship, a situation highlighted by CBC's Marketplace in 2015.Fees for ground ambulance for provincial residents vary from a low of $45 in Ontario to a high of $385 in Alberta. Manitoba, which in 2015 had the highest ground ambulance fees in the country, has lowered its fee to no more than $250. Some provinces, such as Alberta, provide free ground ambulance service for seniors.All provinces charge non-residents more for ambulance services, though not all provinces post the fees online. Despite numerous requests, some did not provide CBC News with this information.Of those that did, Nova Scotia had the highest fee: $732.95 for ground ambulance for people from other provinces. (The fee for residents is $146.55.)Air ambulance fees are even costlier for out-of-province residents. Of those provinces that post fees or provided information, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia do not charge residents for air ambulance service, but people from other provinces who require it are billed $12,000. Both provinces, along with Newfoundland and Labrador, say the fees cover the cost of providing the service.Health-care consultant Mary Jane Hampton said ambulances are not part of the Canada Health Act, the federal legislation that sets out what is universally covered. "It's a complicated business, but when the Canada Health Act was written, the only things that were covered in that legislation that would be insured were things that happened inside a hospital and services that are performed by a doctor," Hampton said.She notes that ambulances in Nova Scotia used to be based at funeral homes and were used for basic transportation in a medical emergency. Today, they are staffed by highly qualified paramedics. "I'm not suggesting that it's an easy issue to fix, but from a public point of view and from a patient point of view, it would make a great deal of sense to me for us to figure out how to get the [ambulance] user fees off the table and come up with a different funding model altogether," Hampton said.She urged people to contact their member of Parliament about rewriting legislation to make ambulances an essential service.Chris Hood, the former president of the Paramedics Association of Canada, agrees. Back in 2015, he told CBC's Marketplace, "You don't pay for a police officer to come to your house when you've got somebody breaking into it. You don't pay for the fire department to come and put your fire out. Why is paramedic service or ambulance service any different? It's the same thing." In an interview last week, Hood said that question remains valid today.Are fees a deterrent to use?Michael Nickerson, president of the union that represents Nova Scotia paramedics, said he hopes fees don't deter anyone from calling an ambulance if they need one."Anecdotally, we've heard from paramedics and patients alike that have concerns around the cost of an ambulance, and that some people have waited and not called at all or drove themselves to the hospital while experiencing a medical emergency," Nickerson said.He worries someone driving to hospital while having a heart attack, for example, could have an accident, injuring themselves further and perhaps others on the road — or worse."There's a danger of losing your life if you're having a heart attack and you're not being treated promptly," Nickerson said. He noted Nova Scotia paramedics are highly trained and the province is one of the few jurisdictions that allows paramedics to administer a medication specifically for heart attacks.The Nova Scotia government said in 2018 there were 1,649 ambulance bills, for a total of about $1.2 million. It said 44 bills were written off, for a total amount of $31,554.80.In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the province said the government has no immediate plans to review the fees.Will McAleer, executive director of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, said travel health insurance is easy to purchase and affordable, but many people don't realize they need it until they have an out-of-province emergency and are facing a big bill. "When you're looking at an interprovincial or within-Canada policy, you can purchase that for a dollar, maybe two dollars, a day," McAleer said. He emphasized the importance of discussing your needs with the insurance provider and identifying any pre-existing conditions prior to buying insurance to ensure you get the coverage you need. Payment options availableAs for MacNeill and her $12,800 ambulance bill, a small portion of it is covered by her work insurance.Most provinces offer an appeal process for those who feel they are unable to pay their ambulance bills, but it varies from province to province. According to government information online, the Nova Scotia Ambulance Fee Assistance Program will use your net household income as the primary eligibility test to determine whether you qualify to have the debt written off. MacNeill said she's been told the appeal criteria in Nova Scotia are very limited and that fees would only be waived if there's a paramedic error. In this case, there was not."The paramedics were very kind and helpful," MacNeill said.
A mother in Deer Lake wasn't satisfied with a negative COVID-19 test when her child continued to show symptoms of the virus, and her insistence on getting retested likely saved more people from becoming infected.The woman, who CBC is not naming to protect the identity of the child, wants people to know that they handled the situation with more caution than was even necessary.Her daughter, a student at Elwood Elementary School, was a close contact of the cluster that started in Deer Lake last week. She went into isolation right away and was tested late last week. She got news on Friday that she tested negative.Despite the test result, her mother worried when she wasn't acting like herself, had a fever and was lethargic. She felt the test was performed too soon after her daughter's contact with a known case."It was definitely a false sense of security," she said of the initial test result. "It was a huge relief, but you know, with that sense of false security I'm hoping that others are doing what I did in monitoring their children."The child was tested again, and it came back positive on Monday morning.> I do want people to know that even though they may test negative, a positive unfortunately may be around the corner. \- Mother of child with COVID-19The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District shut her school down later that morning. Health officials have said more than 30 children in her class cohort went into self-isolation."As of right now, there haven't been any positives linked directly to her," her mother told Newfoundland Morning on Thursday. "Her classroom has all quarantined. So I'm hoping that, given all her close contacts are all quarantined since this weekend, I'm hoping that it will end with us."Shortly after speaking with CBC News, the provincial government announced a person under the age of 19 did test positive in the Western Health region. It was not related to the five-year-old's case, and the person has been quarantined since coming into contact with the virus.The mother doesn't want other positive cases to be treated as rule-breakers. She also doesn't want parents to take a negative result as an all-clear."I'm not out to scare anybody or anything like that, but I do want people to know that even though they may test negative, a positive unfortunately may be around the corner," she said.Elwood Elementary was closed Monday and Tuesday, and the town's other two schools saw a combined 20 students in attendance for those same days.The elementary school reopened on Wednesday.The young girl seems to have a mild case, her mother said, and she hopes to recover soon. After testing positive, her first reaction was relief that she didn't have to endure the nasal swab again."I think given her age, and she doesn't have any pre-existing conditions, she's doing quite well thankfully," her mother said.She is concerned about the reaction her child might get when she returns to school. Some families going through COVID-19 have had to deal with an online witch hunt and widespread negativity, though the mother said most people she's spoken with have been supportive.Chief Medical Officer of Health Janice Fitzgerald has repeatedly asked people to act with empathy and kindness, but not everyone has been listening."I am fearful her classmates may know she's the reason that they are out of school for two weeks," the mother said. "But her and I do have an amazing relationship and we have awesome coping skills for our own mental health. I think with the support she has from myself and her stepdad and everybody else in her circle who [loves] her, I think she'll do just fine."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
It's traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but with the closure of non-essential shops, consumer surveys suggest shoppers are much less likely to go bargain-hunting.View on euronews
A Quebec court decision that calls stacking life in prison sentences unconstitutional raises the possibility that Justin Bourque's sentence for killing three RCMP officers in Moncton could change, his former lawyer says.Bourque fatally shot constables David Ross, Fabrice Gevaudan and Douglas Larche and wounded constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois on June 4, 2014. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years after pleading guilty.The sentence used a 2011 law passed by the federal Conservative government allowing judges to impose life sentences for multiple murders consecutively instead of concurrently.Bourque would be 99 years old when he is finally eligible for parole. Quebec's Court of Appeal issued a unanimous decision Thursday on a case involving a man who killed six people in a Quebec City mosque. The court reduced Alexandre Bissonnette's life sentence to 25 years without parole while also invalidating sections of the Criminal Code allowing consecutive sentences.The Quebec decision noted the "absurdity" of handing out life sentences that only allow a prisoner to apply for parole after they are likely to have died, saying rehabilitation is a fundamental concept in Canadian criminal law.David Lutz represented Justin Bourque and told CBC he was surprised by the decision that only affects cases in Quebec."I could not just go to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick and say, reconsider this, because Quebec ruled in the manner it did," Lutz said of Bourque's sentence.Lutz said he expects the Crown will want to appeal the Quebec decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. A spokesperson for Quebec's prosecution service told CBC on Thursday it is studying the decision and would decide later whether to appeal.The supreme court only hears a select few cases each year that have national significance."I would think that this is a situation of national importance. When you're looking at constitutionality, I would assume that the supreme court has to rule on it," Lutz said.If it does, Lutz said it will likely be six months to a year before there's a decision. If that court strikes down the Criminal Code sections, then it would apply nationally and open the door to Bourque challenging his sentence."If the Supreme Court of Canada upholds the Court of Appeal of Quebec, then he would have an opportunity for an earlier parole application," Lutz said. "That does not mean that necessarily the parole board is going to look at it favourably."Lutz said he would contact his former client to tell him about the ruling.Radio-Canada reported in 2015 that Joëlle Roy, a lawyer in Quebec, was preparing to appeal Bourque's sentences. However, Roy was later appointed as a judge and no appeal was filed.The sentence by then-Court of Queen's Bench Justice David Smith was considered the most severe in Canada since the abolition of the death penalty.While Bourque pleaded guilty, avoiding the need to hold a trial, a two-day sentencing hearing included a detailed timeline of the killings."I found it the most difficult case I've done in my career," Smith said in an interview with CBC after he retired in 2019. "It was so emotional. Normally you don't get that much emotion in a case. … It was devastating listening to it."At the time of the sentencing, Lutz told reporters that Bourque was "resigned" to the prison sentence since pleading guilty.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police have moved a female transgender Instagram celebrity, Millen Cyrus, to a special cell following public outrage over her initial placement in a male detention cell after she was arrested as a suspect in a drug case.“As for her status on her ID, she is a male, and we do not have a transgender status here. So to avoid something we do not want, we placed her in a special cell by herself. That is our policy on it,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said Friday.Cyrus, 21, whose birth name is Muhammad Millendaru Prakasa, has more than 1 million followers on Instagram. Her account of her experiences as a transgender woman on YouTube has been viewed more than 6 million times.She was arrested on Sunday in a police raid on a hotel room in which 0.36 grams of crystal methamphetamine was found. Police announced then that she had been placed in the men’s detention cell at Tanjung Priok Port Police Station, following her identity on her ID card.That triggered criticism from rights groups and on social media in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.Yunus said police are still determining whether she was a drug user or dealer.The group Human Rights Watch said moving Cyrus to a special cell was a good decision by police.“Most trans women are imprisoned in male prisons, so they experience sexual harassment there,” said Andreas Harsono, the group's senior researcher in Indonesia.“The simplest one is verbal abuse. Some physical abuse happens too. It is not in the cell at the prison but in closed areas,” Harsono said.He said more than 2,000 LGBT people have been arrested in Indonesia because of their sexual orientation since 2014.LGBT communities have recently come under siege, although homosexuality is not illegal, except in conservative Aceh province.In February, some members of the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would define homosexuality as deviant and require lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to report to authorities for rehabilitation.Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Newly released documents have shed light on the secret government talks and debate that took place ahead of a Canadian warship's passage through a sensitive waterway near China last year. Those discussions included a private meeting between the top bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence and Global Affairs Canada, weeks before HMCS Ottawa sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Defence officials were also told to keep quiet about the frigate's trip in September 2019, three months after Chinese fighter jets buzzed two other Canadian ships making the same voyage. And they were ordered to keep the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the prime minister, in the loop as the Ottawa was making its way through the waterway. The unusual level of attention from the highest levels of government laid out in the documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through access to information, underscores the sensitivities surrounding the trip. That is because while much of the world considers the 180-kilometre strait to be international waters, Beijing claims ownership of the strait separating mainland China from Taiwan. Beijing, which regards the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a rogue province, has repeatedly condemned such passages by foreign warships from the U.S., Canada and elsewhere as illegal. HMCS Ottawa ended up sailing through the Taiwan Strait twice in early September. Media reports at the time said the frigate was shadowed by the Chinese navy. The heavily redacted memo to Global Affairs deputy minister Marta Morgan dated Aug. 7, 2019 starts by saying the Defence Department was looking for a risk assessment for the Ottawa's planned transit. Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas "has also requested a meeting with you on Aug. 12 to discuss this deployment," the memo adds. While HMCS Ottawa was in the region at the time helping enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the memo noted that the frigate was due to make a port visit in Bangkok in mid-September. Defence officials have publicly stated that the decision to have the Ottawa sail through the strait was because the route was the fastest way for the frigate to reach Bangkok from its position near North Korea. The memo backs that assertion, noting that going around Taiwan would add one or two days to the trip each way. Yet it also says the navy's presence in the South China Sea, of which the Taiwan Strait is a part, "has demonstrated Canadian support for our closest partners and allies, regional security and the rules-based international order." Global Affairs ultimately agreed to the Ottawa's sailing through the strait, but called on defence officials to keep the trip quiet, in large part because of fears the trip would coincide with the federal election campaign. "Finally, GAC will ask DND to ensure that it keeps PCO informed as this naval deployment progresses," the memo adds. Former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney described the discussions leading up to the Ottawa's transit of the Taiwan Strait as "an illustration of smart and effective consultation producing the right decision." "It is tremendously important that China sees that, in addition to the United States, other serious countries like Canada will not be intimidated into surrendering the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan itself to China's complete control," he said. "The RCN, working closely with Global Affairs, is promoting the national interest and asserting our sovereignty from the far side of the world." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get worse, it turns out southern Saskatchewan's mouse population is exploding.The phones at Poulin's Pest Control in Regina have been ringing off the hook, said general manager Shawn Sherwood.He said this has been the busiest year for mice complaints that he has seen in two decades.That goes for residential calls and insurance claims."We clean trailers and cars that have had mice in them," Sherwood said. "Normally we will see them starting in March or April, and we'll be done by July. We're doing one tomorrow."And the problem isn't localized to just the Queen City.Sherwood said the company's Saskatoon office is seeing similar infestations.Jan Shadick, who runs Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation in Saskatoon, said one way youu can tell there's been a bounty of mice is that last spring, birds who feed on the rodents had a large brood."When they're struggling to feed themselves, they're not going to have a whole bunch of babies that they know that they can't feed," Shadick said.On the downside, she says her research shows while bird numbers went up this year, so did the number of birds injured in traps. "We went from sort of one sticky trap last year to seven this year, so it's a huge increase," Shadick said. "We had four snap-trapped birds last year and seven this year. "We had one that came in, and [the trap] had actually caught on the beak of the bird and just broken it."That being said, when it comes to getting rid of mice, Shadick prefers people use snap traps."When they work, they're incredibly effective and quick and humane."But why are there are so many mice this year? That's hard to explain, but both Shadick and Sherwood said the increase is abnormal. Spikes like this usually happen when there's been a lot of snow the winter before — but that isn't the case this year in Saskatchewan. Sherwood has a simpler explanation. "People ask me, 'Why are we seeing so many mice?' It's 2020, man. What do you expect?"
If all goes well, Prince Edward Islanders could start being vaccinated against the coronavirus early in 2021, Premier Dennis King said following a conference call with his fellow premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday evening.Face coverings will be mandatory for everyone at the Mark Arendz Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., this winter, officials say, even when on the ski hill. On the hill, those coverings can be a knit balaclava.Nearly two-thirds of students who replied to a voluntary survey at UPEI reported struggling more with mental health issues during the pandemic and 11 per cent said they have had thoughts related to suicide.Bluefield High School student Sophie Flower has organized a food drive for the South Shore Food Share to help out people in her own community of Crapaud, P.E.I., her second during the pandemic.Contact tracing is underway at three potential COVID-19 exposure sites in Charlottetown — the Atlantic Superstore, Gahan House pub and Terra Rossa restaurant and so far, all tests have come back negative. New Brunswick's premier announced Thursday that as of midnight, everyone returning to that province — including people from P.E.I. — must self-isolate for 14 days to help curb the spread of coronavirus.Starting this coming Monday, masks will be mandatory for staff and students in Grades 10-12 at all times inside a school building, including while sitting at their desks. Exemptions will be made for when students are eating or drinking, and certain other situations.There are two active COVID-19 cases in the province. P.E.I. has seen a total of 70 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Canada Post is promising changes at Iqaluit's post office, but Iqalummiut can forget about home mail delivery or a single, larger post office facility coming any time soon.The corporation, facing mounting pressure as wait times grow and winter sets in, says it isn't just delivering "lip service" this holiday season. And Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell — a longtime critic of Canada Post — is optimistic the community should start seeing a difference very soon.Along with the extended hours and additional staff customers expect around Christmas, the corporation's general manager of government and community affairs says, fundamentally, they're trying to find a solution to systematically change how mail is delivered in Iqaluit.In the short term, Chad Schella says Canada Post is looking at how it can make it easier for post office staff to find parcels, thereby reducing the wait times — in which customers are sometimes waiting up to an hour in line to pick up mail.> If all the things we're working on don't result in a better experience for our customers, don't result in better service, then we would have failed. - Chad Schella, Canada Post's general manager of government and community affairs"It's just doing it differently than the way we've done it and the way we do it in other communities. Because everything is flown in, we're looking at how we can pre-sort a lot of this stuff so that it then doesn't have to be resorted when it gets to Iqaluit," said Schella."He's been very good," Bell said of Schella, noting a stark difference in the level of communication between Canada Post and the city than in previous years. "He told us a bunch of things, and then things were changing. I do feel like they're trying."The situation at Iqaluit's post office — namely long lines, staff shortages and parcel backlogs — became so dire that Canada Post brought together a special team from different departments specifically dedicated to coming up with solutions for Iqaluit. The group was formed this summer and has been "meeting weekly to help solve problems in the short term," Schella said."It's like putting together a puzzle. Every change you want to make has implications on four or five other pieces of our operation," Schella said.'Nothing is off the table'In the long term, Schella says the organization is trying to redesign a system — and facility — to replace a network the city has long outgrown.Schella says Canada Post knows there aren't enough PO boxes (there are roughly 400 people on the wait list right now); it knows the demand on general delivery has "gone through the roof"; it knows going to two places to pick up mail is brutal; and it knows it doesn't have enough space and storage.The trouble is trying to find a facility, and a mail-delivery system, that not only fits today's needs, but also anticipates future growth."We don't want to move into a facility that we're going to outgrow in a year or two from now, and we're back in the exact same situation," Schella said."So we are looking at the projections for not only the growth of Iqaluit, but for our own e-commerce volume growth and what patterns and projections we have.""We understand how hard it is to find a location," Bell said, adding the city has "demanded" Canada Post operate in one location in order to improve service."We fought for and finally got our new city hall. It's not easy to have to get a new location."Home delivery 'not an easy or simple fix'While Schella says "nothing is off the table," home delivery is not an option under the current system.Although the idea has been an opportunity private businesses in the city have jumped on, Schella said Iqaluit's civic addressing system makes it impossible for Canada Post to pursue."We'd have to ensure that there was municipal addressing in place so that every building had a designated physical address as well as a mailing address. And then that would have to match up with all of our systems and address management systems and everything that goes with it," Schella said."I don't know if I'm giving it justice or not, but that would not be an easy or simple fix to this solution."Also at play is the fact Canada Post home delivery workers are represented by a different union than the workers at Iqaluit's post office. Although Schella said bringing in "parcel lockers" is also an idea being floated."I guess what I would ask for the community is for them to judge us by their experience, and that experience will hopefully improve," Schella said"Because at the end of the day, if all the things we're working on don't result in a better experience for our customers, don't result in better service, then we would have failed. There's no question about it."
Black Friday sales on now have traditionally been the domain of big, national chains with beefed-up advertising budgets. But this year, there's a growing push to make sure that the annual bonanza of consumer spending goes as much as possible to the stores that need it most: small, local retailers.While overall sales have been recovering from spring lows when the pandemic began, retailers continue to be hit hard by COVID-19. And the threat of low sales lingers, particularly as a new round of lockdowns across much of the country have forced the closure of stores that sell anything deemed non-essential.Small mom and pop shops have always faced an uphill battle competing with the big boys who have the benefit of huge supply chains to squeeze suppliers, but initiatives across the country this year suggest the little guys are not going down without a fight.A new approachIbrahim "Obby" Khan is the co-founder of Goodlocal.ca, a Winnipeg-based web platform that he describes as being like "Amazon and Etsy meet local."As the owner of a half dozen Winnipeg restaurants, Khan knows just how hard things have been for local vendors lately. That's why he spearheaded a plan to bring together a handful businesses that were doing fine before COVID-19, but found themselves losing sales afterwards because they weren't able to pivot to online selling — or handle delivery, if they could get enough sales to make it worthwhileWATCH | Ibrahim "Obby" Khan describes how his startup, Goodlocal.ca, has grown quickly:Goodlocal has become a sort of middle man for those businesses, connecting retailers with consumers who want to shop from them even amid current COVID restrictions. It's searchable by product and growing by the day."If you want it and it's local, you can order it. We will take care of the packaging, getting it from the vendor and we will drop it off at your house," Khan said.While the initiative started slowly with a few dozen vendors, it now has wares from more than 200 — and a backlog of almost as many, looking to sign up. It's been such a success he hopes to expand across the province and maybe the country, next year.Khan said the site has grown from just 18 orders on its launch day, a few weeks ago, to hundreds everyday. On Wednesday, the site processed a record 705 orders.Goodlocal has put $91,000 worth of sales into retailers' pockets in a matter of weeks. Those are real dollars that could be the difference between staying open or shutting down forever for some of them, he said. "You could see tears in some of our vendors eyes ... they were saying: 'I've sold more in two weeks than I have sold in the last nine months since COVID started'."Best of all, he said, 95 per cent of customers end up buying something from more than one vendor, not just the one they sought out in the first place. And vendors say they are booking sales from new customers, not just their existing ones."It's really turning into this ecosystem of everything and anything local," he said.Melissa Zuker's story is similar. In 2014, she co-founded the Toronto Market Co., which works with local restaurants, retailers and artisans to create pop-up shops and markets to sell their wares to the public.Business was booming and then like everything else, COVID-19 brought things to a standstill in March of this year. As the concept of one-stop-shopping in a physical location became next to impossible to do, Zuker made the same digital pivot to try to recreate that market experience, online.Growing businessIn June, Torontomarketco.com was launched. A few dozen businesses signed up at first, but the response from customers was so encouraging that the site now works with almost 100.The site offers either delivery, for a small fee, or contactless pickup. The holiday buying season, which starts roughly on Black Friday and goes through to Christmas, is a huge time on the retail calendar, with many businesses making up to half of their annual sales in this period.Zuker's been pleased with the response from vendors and customers."Anything that we can do for anyone … that's been forced to close. I think it's really important to try to support them [because] your favourite bakery on the corner might not be there in the spring," she said."I think the concept to support local has always been there, but certainly in the last few weeks, the push to support local has been enormous." Markus Giesler, a consumer researcher and associate professor of marketing at York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto, said COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way retailers sell and consumers buy.Under normal circumstances, most consumers are very price sensitive and want the best deal, he said."And if the best deal means going outside of their community, going to the shopping mall somewhere else, then that goes at the expense of shopping local," he said in an interview.But that rule of thumb isn't quite as iron clad this year, he said.Thinking local"We're a lot more willing to help local businesses and we're trying to do this in an effort to make a difference, you know, almost as a patriotic duty, if you will."Small retailers still face a major uphill battle in their constant fight against big box sellers who can push prices lower and online behemoths like Amazon, which will always have a leg up in terms of speed and convenience. But initiatives like the ones in Toronto and Winnipeg can be a major weapon in that battle, he said."If more and more businesses come together, share logistics, share distribution, make the process easier to manage, make it more scalable, then you have a win-win situation where consumers and businesses work on the same end."While seemingly overmatched against giants like Walmart, Amazon and others, Khan, a former CFL football player with Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary, has first-hand experience of how a focused team of underdogs can rally together to beat a heavy favourite."We have a fleet of drivers a lot of them volunteering their time to come in tomorrow and help us deliver," he said, pointing to a stack of more than 700 orders."It's rocking and rolling … we just really want to keep this thing going and support local businesses and keep people safe at home."
BRUSSELS — Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny urged the European Union to reject the results of Russia's parliamentary election next year if any candidates are blocked from taking part and he called Friday on the EU to impose sanctions on oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin.Navalny, a corruption investigator and longtime foe of Putin's, has been recovering in Germany from a poisoning attack with what experts have said was a Soviet-era nerve agent. He told EU lawmakers he thinks it’s “important that Europe not remain silent” on conditions in Russia.Navalny described next September’s election for Russia’s lower house of parliament as “an absolutely crucial event.” He said that while he and other opposition politicians expect some vote-rigging, what “is most important is the right to participate.”Navalny, who has been blocked several times from registering as a candidate, said the EU’s approach should simply be: “If everyone is allowed to participate, we can discuss it further. But if some are not allowed to participate, the results of such an election will never be recognized.”He urged the 27-nation bloc to change its approach to sanctions, saying there is little point in slapping travel bans or asset freezes over poisonings or election irregularities on military officers because they generally don’t move much outside of Russia, own real estate or hold bank accounts in Europe.Navalny said the EU should ask itself why these alleged crimes are happening.“The answer is very, very simple: money," he told EU lawmakers via video-link. "So, the European Union should target the money, and Russian oligarchs” notably the new circle of the ultra-rich business people around Putin.Navalny said most Russian citizens would support such an approach.Last month, EU foreign ministers imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute over Navalny’s poisoning. Russia announced retaliatory action, saying that it would target French and German officials close to the leaders of France and Germany.Vladimir Kara-Murza, head of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation in Russia, urged the EU to stay true to its values.“Stop enabling those corrupt, abusive officials and oligarchs who want to steal from our people in Russia and enjoy their loot in European Union countries by spending their holidays, sending their wives and their mistresses on shopping trips, buying up yachts and real estate properties and so on,” he said.Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
Usually it's dirty looks or insults, but sometimes, bus drivers working in Toronto's COVID-19 hot spots are subjected to much worse. One bus driver who spoke to CBC News got a death threat for asking a passenger to put on a mask while boarding a bus in the city's northwest end, home to some of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the novel coronavirus. The bus operator, who CBC Toronto has agreed not to identify for fear they could lose their job, says buses travelling through the West Humber and Rexdale areas are often packed and "there's nothing drivers can do to stop people from getting on" in defiance of the Toronto Transit Commission's physical distancing measures. "Both the platforms at Finch and Finch West stations are full … We do back-door boarding as well and there's no control over masks or anything," said the driver, who has worked many rush hour shifts during the pandemic. The driver is sounding the alarm as daily COVID-19 case counts and infection rates spike in the city's northwest and northeast. Studies show the disease is fuelled by poverty, precarious employment and densely packed apartment blocks where people find it hard to keep their distance and slow the spread of the virus.Few people in these neighbourhoods have the opportunity to work at home and many have no option but to crowd onto TTC buses to get to and from their jobs. One of the main concerns, the driver says, is going through COVID-19 hot spots transporting people in a cramped space for extended periods of time and possibly spreading the virus to others.'We are stressed and scared' Though the TTC has frequently asked passengers to wait for empty buses and wear masks, the driver says it's not working, because there's no one there to enforce the rules. "The lack of safety measures has been emotionally taxing. We are stressed and scared of getting COVID," the driver said. "People need to get where they're going and not everyone can afford to wait for an empty bus or take an Uber, so they're going to get on the packed bus," the driver went on. "There needs to be more buses on the roads, especially at peak times."Just this month, 12 employees at the Arrow Road TTC division, which serves northwestern Toronto, have tested positive for COVID-19. Eleven of them are bus operators.The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents Toronto's public transit workers, says that number is alarming but explains that some of those employees say they got the novel coronavirus from family members. CBC Toronto spoke to other bus drivers working in North York who were too afraid to give full interviews, but all said they wanted the same things — more buses on the roads and someone waiting at the busiest stops and stations to ensure passengers are wearing masks and not piling into transit vehicles. WATCH | Doctors explain why three-layer masks are now being recommended to protect against the virus:Bus drivers want TTC to enforce mandatory mask ruleSince January, the TTC says it's introduced numerous safety protocols, such as multiple daily vehicle and station cleanings and additional buses on the busiest routes.In an email, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green explained that "every day there are more than 100 extra buses," on some of the busiest routes such as "Keele, Jane, Finch West." "We route supervisors who can be deployed to monitor bus loads and we have traffic counters in the system doing passenger counts," Green said. He said there is "no consistency or predictability" when trying to determine whether specific stops will be busy at particular times of the day."What we're doing instead is monitoring bus loads in real time through automated passenger count technology and deploying extra service where it is most needed," he said."Right now, upwards of 93 per cent of all bus trips have fewer than 25 people on board, which is half capacity."But retired bus driver and former union representative Rocco Signorile says drivers are constantly telling him which routes are consistently busy and many are sending him photos of packed buses. "I sent out a picture a while ago on Twitter that showed the very first stop on [the Kipling bus] where there were 30 people waiting … That happens a lot," said Signorile. Carlos Santos, the president of ATU Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC workers, says he's frequently spoken to the TTC, Toronto Mayor John Tory and even the federal government about finding ways to keep numbers on buses low. "I don't know what else to do," said Santos. "We need more enforcement … If our drivers tell people the bus is full or tell someone to wear a mask, there have been altercations … It's not safe."The TTC says although masks are mandatory, it won't prohibit someone without one from using the service, and it does have an exemption policy in place for people who can't wear a mask for valid medical reasons.There are reminders all over stations and announcements made outside buses telling people to put on their masks. But the bus drivers CBC Toronto spoke to say that's not enough. They want everyone to wear some sort of face covering, even if it's a scarf. "No mask, no ride," said the North York bus operator."When one person gets on the bus and isn't wearing one, it sets a precedent and others follow."
Saskatchewan's mid-year report, a snapshot of the province's current financial situation, is set to be released Friday. Earlier this year Finance Minister Donna Harpauer announced a "pandemic deficit" and forecasted a $2.4 billion deficit for 2020 - 2021.The province released its full budget in June, nearly three full months after it was originally expected.In March, Harpauer announced the government's spending plan, but held off on revenue projections because of oil price collapses and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the province projected $14.15 billion in expenses, with an additional $1.3 billion in expenses from across other government entities, for a total of $15.5 billion. Harpauer said then that the province had projected a surplus for 2019-20 and 2020-21, but that was thrown into turmoil by the global economic situation.In March she said the budget included more than $1 billion in pandemic support measures for people, businesses and initiatives to help the economy recover.The province projected $13.6 billion in revenue in March, down 8.3 per cent from last year, while expenses were projected to be $16.1 billion, an increase of 7.2 per cent over last year's budget. The government is expected to release the mid-year report at 10:00 a.m. CST Friday.
More than 150 people staked out Cuba's culture ministry on Friday to show solidarity with dissident artists facing a state crackdown, in an unusually large display of public dissent on the Communist-run island. The demonstrators demanded a dialogue over limits on freedom of expression and what they call state repression after the authorities cracked down on the San Isidro Movement of dissident artists and activists. The Dutch and Czech governments and Amnesty International, as well as other rights groups, voiced concern on Friday about human rights in Cuba.