An industry group is sounding the alarm over the financial state of the country's airports as ongoing travel restrictions take a crippling toll on passenger traffic levels and revenues. The Canadian Airports Council, which represents more than 100 airports nationwide, is asking the government to implement a COVID-19 testing program at airports to reduce or eliminate quarantine restrictions and provide interest-free loans or direct operational support for airports, among other measures.“Frankly, the numbers are appalling,” said Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the CAC, in a statement. “Our best month — and I use that term very loosely — was September, when traffic was down by ‘only’ 85.2 per cent.”The federal government has indicated its willingness to provide a sector-specific aid package for the airline industry, but has not shared any details about its plans. In March, Canada waived ground rents through the end of 2020 for airports that pay rent to the federal government, but the industry is awaiting more support.James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, said his airport is on track to run out of cash by the end of the year, even after laying off 30 per cent of the airport’s staff earlier this year. The pandemic has crushed revenue streams like parking and landing fees, which the airport uses to meet its operating expenses.“I’m faced with the reality: Do I have to dramatically increase fees? Because I can’t keep cutting my costs any further,” Bogusz said. “We see Ottawa being our option to hopefully have them provide some subsidy to get us by during these really tough times.”Sam Samaddar, the airport director at Kelowna International Airport, said he was forced to lay off 40 per cent of the airport’s staff, and that he was looking at every opportunity to cut costs. Fees from freight that is still arriving at the airport haven’t been a big help, since the airport relies significantly on passenger expenditures to generate revenue, Samaddar said. “Unfortunately, for smaller airports, you just can’t borrow your way out of this,” Samaddar said. “They just don’t generate enough activity to be able to do that. It’s getting more dire as the weeks go by that the government hasn’t responded.”Amy Butcher, a spokeswoman for Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, said she had no information to share about the government’s progress on the aid package, saying that the work was confidential. But she pointed to a statement from Nov. 8, in which Garneau expressed support for the aerospace sector. “The air sector cannot respond to these challenges on its own, given the unprecedented impacts on its operations,” the statement said. “To protect Canadians, the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector.”The majority of Canada’s airports are not subsidized by the government, relying instead on revenue generated from passenger air travel, the CAC said. Since April, traffic in airports has been down 90 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, while October passenger volumes were 85.5 per cent lower than the previous October, according to the CAC.Air Canada, the country’s largest carrier, has seen its stock drop by more than half since the start of this year, illustrating the pandemic’s toll on the airline industry.Other countries have announced measures to help the airline industry. Under the CARES Act, passed by the U.S. government in March, passenger airlines and cargo carriers were eligible for over $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans.The CAC said in its statement that Canada’s delay in taking action risks increasing the amount of time it will take for the industry to recover once the pandemic subsides. The head of an airline lobbying group in the U.S. said in September that air travel is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024.Canada’s airports supported nearly 200,000 jobs prior to the pandemic, the CAC said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
As expected, the 2020 ski year will be different (by a long shot) than previous years. Get used to seeing more sanitizing stations, increased cleaning by staff and plenty of signage reminding you to be physically distanced. Each B.C. Interior resort is taking its own approach to navigating COVID-19. We took a look at the approaches of a few and compiled some of the important bits below. While there are some differences, there are plenty of commonalities. Namely, if you’re showing symptoms, stay home. For a full run-down of the rules, click on the links below, questions can be directed to a friendly guest services agent. SUN PEAKS RESORT TICKETS There will be a limited amount of day tickets available for sale each day to manage guest numbers.Tickets should be purchased online in advance to guarantee access, as window ticket sales may not be available for the majority of the season. Seasons pass sales were limited this year to facilitate on-mountain social distancing. Use tap payment when possible. WHAT TO WEAR A face covering will be required in lift lines, while riding chairlifts, and any time you’re not seated while visiting outdoor dining facilities. When indoors, guests are asked to wear a double-layered face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Outdoors, a face covering, like a scarf, is acceptable. BAGS There is no indoor storage for belongings available this winter. Guests are asked to leave all personal belongings in their vehicle, and ensure your vehicle is locked and items are secure. Parking lots are being monitored by additional security. LESSONS Private and group lessons are available with limited numbers, children six to nine years and 13 and up can have up to three participants ages 10 to 12 can have a maximum of five students plus the instructor. WHAT YOU WON’T SEE OPEN (AT LEAST FOR NOW) Tube time and bungee trampoline. Childminding is also unavailable until further notice. RIDING THE CHAIR Guests who are travelling or skiing together can be seated together on chairlifts. Groups of guests will not be seated with people outside of their bubble. Two unrelated single skiers may ride lifts together, sitting on opposite sides of the quad chairlift. But singles will not be required to ride with another guest if they are not comfortable and would prefer to ride alone. BIG WHITE PASS SALES Season passes are no longer available. Day tickets will be available for purchase online only. The tickets will be collected at one of 15 pick-up locations around the resort. Big White will be a “cashless resort,” bring your debit or credit card if you’re looking to make a purchase. TRAVEL/PARKING Express bus service from the Central Okanagan and Kelowna will be unavailable this year. On weekends and during peak periods, skiers and boarders will be greeted by a parking attendant, who will guide you to an appropriate place to park. FACE MASKS Wear a mask or face covering in all lift lines, loading and unloading the lifts, and in all indoor spaces. Plexiglass partitions have been installed at all counters where customers and staff interact. SILVERSTAR (Tentatively opening Dec. 4) FACE COVERINGS Coverings required for both staff and guests in all indoor spaces, except when seated to eat or drink. They will also be required outdoors when two metres of physical distance cannot be maintained. When riding a shuttle, waiting in a lift line, loading and riding a chairlift, or entering a facility, you will be required to wear a face covering. OPENING DATE Weather permitting, SilverStar will open for the season on Friday, Dec. 4. The resort stated on its webpage that it’s confident that this this date, which is later than its traditional opening day, will allow more acreage and lifts to be open, helping to spread guests out over the mountain. The resort will also be open to only season passholders at first as it assesses its operations and capacity limits. Information about when day ticket holders can access the mountain will be announced at a later date. PARKING SilverStar is implementing an online parking reservation system, meaning you have to let it know you will be coming in advance. The resort stated the system will help reduce crowds on peak days and enable appropriate physical distancing. LIFTS Guests will notice additional spacing measures, including extended maze designs, more lateral spacing and increased signage, to encourage physical distancing. Guests will self-group and load chairlifts with their party. Lift attendants will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people they do not know. The mountain also stated high-capacity chairlifts and closed cabin carriers “may be the exception, and may be loaded in a way that allows for physical distancing.” SNOW SPORTS To begin the season, SilverStar will offer private lessons for related parties of up to five. The resort said it may revisit offerings based on changes to the government health and safety procedures, with further information provided at a later date. ON MOUNTAIN DINING The mountain will be offering an expanded grab-and-go and take out menu. All purchases will be cashless. The resort is encouraging guests to bring their own lunch and have allocated new additional designated areas for people to eat while remaining physically distanced. REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT (Tentatively opening Nov. 27) MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS Masks or face coverings will be mandatory for everyone throughout the resort. This includes in the village base area, all indoor facilities, lift lines and while riding in the gondola and on chairlifts. Revelstoke defined appropriate masks and face coverings are defined as any double-layer material that adequately covers a person’s mouth and nose. On-site ticket sales are being eliminated, with all ticket sales to be done online. Reservations will not be required for season passholders and any pre-purchased lift products. Daily capacity restrictions will be in place. RIDING THE LIFTS Guests will have the option to ride the lifts either in mixed or private cohorts. Mixed cohorts will be loaded onto the gondola with six passengers per gondola cabin, or four people per chair. Private cohorts can load up to eight people per gondola cabin or four people per chair. Gondola cabins have been protected with the Integral Surface Protection Program, which is used to limit the ability of viruses to stay on surfaces. Lift attendants that may need to physically assist with loading/unloading will wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. SNOW SCHOOL Group lessons will not be offered with the exception of Kids Weekend Programs. Weekend programs are being limited to residents within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Snow School participants will be required to undergo a self-health screening prior to starting their lesson. All Snow School staff and guests will be required to wear a face covering, except when they are moving on skis or snowboards. Private Lessons will be available for ages four and up. FOOD AND BEVERAGE Seating will be reduced in all venues with tables spread out to allow for adequate social distancing. Tables will be sanitized after every use. Face coverings will be required for guests and staff when inside any food and beverage outlet, except when seated at a table and eating or drinking. Expanded outdoor seating will be available at Revelation Lodge. Expanded room service from the Rockford Bar | Grill and Mackenzie Tavern. Online ordering will be available for all food and beverage outlets. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Joe Biden's new climate envoy may be the same person who nixed the Keystone XL pipeline expansion in 2015, but the project itself has evolved significantly since then, Canada's U.S. ambassador said Tuesday. Biden's choice of John Kerry as a special presidential adviser on climate might seem to be the stake through the heart of the undead $8-billion pipeline, considering the former secretary of state was the one swinging the hammer five years ago.Kirsten Hillman, however, doesn't see it that way. "Times have changed," the ambassador said in a conference call after a panel discussion hosted by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations. "The project itself is not the same project; the company itself, (TC Energy), has made enormous innovations; and the sector is enormously innovative — they're cutting their emissions in important ways."Canada, too, has evolved since then, she said, having established a long-awaited carbon-pricing system and committed to virtually eliminating emissions in 30 years — a target enshrined in legislation introduced just last week in the House of Commons. "Of all the countries from which the United States … can get their fossil fuels, we're the one with a price on carbon, we're the one with a commitment to zero emissions by 2050," Hillman said. "So regardless of who we will be talking to, we will bring our facts to that conversation."Moments after Hillman finished speaking, Kerry took the podium in Delaware, where Biden was introducing his newly named senior cabinet appointees, and promptly framed his job as an aggressive foreign-policy endeavour. "To end this crisis, the whole world must come together," Kerry said, predicting that next year's UN climate conference in Scotland would be the moment of truth. "At the global meeting in Glasgow one year from now, all nations must raise ambition together, or we will all fail together. And failure is not an option."Biden was vice-president throughout the eight years that Keystone XL became a political football for former president Barack Obama. It was a persistent irritant to Canada-U. S. relations and a flagship cause for progressives and environmentalists around the world.During that time, it came to define the widening fissure between an energy industry that's straining to redefine its mission in the 21st century and a public increasingly opposed to North America's dependency on fossil fuels — a tension that has created deep-seated political challenges in Canada, where the oilpatch is central to the country's economic fortunes.Biden's campaign left little doubt about his plans back in May, when it finally declared he was "strongly opposed" to the project and would "stop it for good" next year by rescinding approvals issued by President Donald Trump. That hasn't prevented TC Energy from doing its best to frame Keystone XL as a proposal the Biden administration can get behind, particularly as the U.S. looks for ways to kick-start its pandemic-bruised economy. The company has awarded more than US$1.6 billion in contracts to American construction firms, work it says will support more than 7,000 union jobs next year, and plans a clean energy training fund worth US$10 million. It has inked an investment agreement with a group representing First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The project is designed to ferry up to 830,000 additional barrels a day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands into Nebraska and eventually to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed, including over the Canada-U. S. border, and construction has begun on pump stations in Alberta and several U.S. states. TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha described Keystone XL as setting "the standard for responsible and sustainable energy infrastructure development," citing efforts to enlist Indigenous equity partners and employ 11,000 U.S. workers. "We are constantly evaluating new and innovative ways to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies," Cunha said in a statement. "We have long been committed to leadership in protecting the environment, while delivering the energy North America needs every day in the safest and most responsible means possible."Notwithstanding aggressive efforts to slash emissions, fossil fuels will remain an integral part of life in both Canada and the U.S. going forward, said Hillman, which is why Keystone XL discussions need to be part of a broader strategy linking energy and the environment. "It's also a project that we will discuss in the context of our entire energy relationship, and in the context of our entire relationship around climate change and carbon emission reductions," she said."These things exist in an entire context, and that context is one where there is enormous potential for collaboration with the Americans."A new report from Canada's federal energy regulator noted Tuesday that regardless of those efforts, oil and gas is likely to remain a factor for decades to come."Achieving net-zero (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050 will require an accelerated pace of transition away from fossil fuels," the report says.But the report projects that even with many more policies to curb emissions than are currently in place, oil and gas would still make up nearly two-thirds of energy sources three decades from now.— With files from Mia Rabson in OttawaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Indigenous hockey pioneer Fred Sasakamoose died Tuesday afternoon. Sasakamoose was long considered the first Indigenous player to suit up for a National Hockey League squad. Sasakamoose, from Ahtakakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, played 11 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season. In recent years, information surfaced that several other players, whose Indigenous ancestry was previously not reported, had played in the NHL before Sasakamoose. Since then Sasakamoose had been listed as the NHL’s first First Nations player from Canada that had treaty status. Sasakamoose was admitted to a Prince Albert hospital late last week. His son Neil confirmed via a Facebook post that his father, who was 86, was wheezing and feeling shortness of breath. He was presumed to have COVID-19, which was later confirmed by a positive test. Neil Sasakamoose also announced his father’s death via a live Facebook stream on Tuesday. “Fred passed away at 3 o’clock Saskatchewan time,” Neil Sasakamoose said. “I just want to thank everyone for everything you’ve done.” The elder Sasakamoose was sent hundreds and hundreds of messages and videos of support from members of the public while he was in hospital. Sasakamoose spent the past five days in hospital. “The COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs,” his son said. “He just couldn’t keep responding. His body just couldn’t keep up.” The younger Sasakamoose said his father was talkative and told him two hours before his death that he thought he was feeling great but that he was also tired. At that point Neil Sasakamoose sensed his father’s death was near and offered his own advice. “If you’re getting tired and you’re getting beat up and your body is fighting you, go ahead and you go,” he said. Neil Sasakamoose again thanked those who sent inspirational messages to his father. “He wanted to thank everyone for what they did,” he said. “He was able to see most of the videos that people sent in.” Neil Sasakamoose said his mother is currently in isolation and his sisters are in lockdown. He offered his thoughts on what others should be doing. “We’re two months away from a vaccine,” he said. “Everyone just bear down. Listen to your chiefs. Let them do what they have to do. Listen to your mayors. Listen to your premiers. Listen to the prime minister. Listen to the other party. Just listen and comply for awhile. We’re going to get a vaccine soon and we’re going to get back to normal.” Neil Sasakamoose was visibly upset with the news he was sharing. “I don’t get that chance anymore,” he said. “My father is going to miss it by two months.” Sasakamoose also voiced his displeasure with those who are not taking the virus seriously. “If you have any sincerity about other people, just keep quiet about the way you talk about anti-masking and all that,” he said. “I lost a father now. We lose a grandparent and a parent just because of stubbornness and silliness and selfishness.” Sasakamoose said another Indigenous hockey legend from Saskatchewan, Bryan Trottier, a seven-time Stanley Cup champion, called him about an hour before his father’s death looking for him to connect him to the elder Sasakamoose. Besides being an Indigenous hockey role model, Fred Sasakamoose was also perhaps more importantly an even better person. “He never believed in racism,” he said. “He never believed in hate. He believed in listening to what professionals have to say. He had some good, good strengths that old guy. He believed in his culture, his language, his people. He believed in us getting along with non-Native people, races around the world. He believed in a lot of good qualities in what we should be striving for.” Windspeaker.comBy Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
A University of Northern B.C. professor is being recognized for her innovative work to conserve critical northern lands and tackle issues normally ignored by other researchers. Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, was presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia. One of Wright’s interns, Dr. Karine Pigeon, is currently conducting research to help communities, the outdoor recreation industry and provincial government understand the impacts of recreation and tourism on the forests. “As a society, we tend to focus on the environmental impact of industries like mining, forestry, and oil and gas,” Wright stated in a press release. “Recreational use can be equally problematic, and we’ve been ignoring it. Now, the pandemic has brought this to the forefront.” The team is partnering provincial and federal park agencies and other land managers to develop new tools and techniques to reduce the cumulative impacts of outdoor recreation. In a related project, Wright is working with Indigenous organizations, conservation groups and other partners to identify important lands for conservation. This is billed as groundbreaking work that incorporates the impacts of climate change to identify areas that area at greater risk. “In the large, remote wild northern landscapes we’re studying, there’s very little Western science to turn to because we just don’t spend the time and money to collect data,” said Wright. Wright blends traditional Indigenous knowledge of the land with western science, translating oral history from years of experience living on the land into a mapped format. “We can look at a model of how a conservation system should work and where important habitat should be, compare it to Indigenous knowledge and see how the two fit together,” she said. The Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership – Professor is presented to an academic supervisor with an exemplary record of developing collaborations with industry and partners, providing valuable research and training experiences to their interns, and initiating research projects with significant outcomes through their Mitacs funding. Wright is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
A Vancouver Island skating club is pulling out the big guns to raise funds for their ice rink this year: popcorn. Gold River skating club has over five to six fundraisers in a year to raise around $8,000 for their ice rink and coaching fees, however, this year with the pandemic on the scene, they opted for a COVID-19 friendly kernel-fundraiser. Ambyr Kohlman, president of the skate club and the organizer of the fundraiser, said that they ordered nine flavours of pre-packaged kernels. Within 24-hours community members had already placed orders with her over the phone and social media, said Kohlman, and added, that she dropped off the packaged items outside their doors. Community members then e-transferred funds to the skate club. “The community”s response was amazing and we’ve had so many people who donated extra money for the cause,” said Kohlman. The skating club is open from Oct. to March and this year, with the pandemic, a lot of extra health and safety protocols have been put into place. “We decided not to enrol really young, new skaters this year as they sometimes required physical help while training,” said Kohlman. The club will also be organizing a couple of other fundraisers before Christmas. ALSO IN NEWS: SRD receives provincial safe restart funding Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
Following an 18-month review, the country’s largest Crown corporation has announced a new strategy for its relationship with Indigenous people and northern communities. Details of Canada Post’s Indigenous and Northern Reconciliation Strategy were revealed this past week. Canada Post hired Dale LeClair as its first director of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the spring of 2019 to examine the corporation’s relationship with Indigenous people and communities in the north. “It’s an internal look at where we are and where we want to be,” LeClair said of Canada strategy. “It’s been 18 months in the making.” The strategy indicates that there is plenty of room for improving the Canada Post/Indigenous relationship. But it also demonstrates Canada Post’s commitment to ensure these improvements become reality. Canada Post officials have identified about 1,200 First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities across the country. “We’re really only in less than 200 of those communities. I’m very pleased that our (Canada Post) board and executive realize that we have to address that,” said LeClair, who grew up on the Peavine Métis Settlement in Alberta. Getting a post office building, however, into every single Indigenous and northern community is not something that will be accomplished overnight. Or over the course of many years. For starters, LeClair said Canada Post officials have had discussions with about 30 First Nations across the country about the possibility of either building a new post office or improving current services in their communities. Improvements to existing locations can include installing postal lockers and having better access to financial, remittance and government services. “Over the next five years we’ll be looking at those first 30 (communities),” said LeClair, adding the locations being considered are scattered across the country. Improving postal services, on a case-by-case basis with communities, is one of four key pillars in the strategy. Another pillar is developing and implementing an Indigenous procurement policy. The goal is to begin developing this policy and have it start in the second quarter of next year. LeClair said 25 Indigenous individuals will be hired as part of this policy. “Hopefully by January we’ll have the substantive part of the team in place,” he said. Team members will assist with redefining Canada Post’s relationship with Indigenous-owned companies. The plan is to have Canada Post communicate with their suppliers to ensure they engage more with Indigenous communities. These partnership engagements can be in various forms, including Indigenous workforce apprenticeships, training or development, as well as subcontracting. Another pillar is to improve Indigenous employment and retention. Though he didn’t provide specific numbers, LeClair said Canada Post’s current Indigenous workforce is underrepresented in the corporation and employment numbers have fallen short of targets. LeClair said various barriers, including rules for unionized labour and the fact some Indigenous people are not keen to move away from their communities to cities in order to work for Canada Post, have kept employment numbers at less than ideal levels. “We have not had much success in the last 10-, 15- years in this area,” LeClair said of the number of Indigenous people Canada Post employs. “We now know we have to be better. It’s our hope we can substantially increase our numbers. So, over the next five years we are going to hire 3,500 Indigenous employees.” The final pillar is to support the viability, wellness and safety of Indigenous communities. To this end Canada Post officials have agreed to step up their efforts to work with various community leaders and law enforcement agencies. “We are the primary mover of parcels and mail,” LeClair said. This means that Canada Post employees are the ones who often deliver packages, including alcohol and drugs, that can wreak havoc in communities. “We are now on a full-fledged program where we want to focus on protecting these communities from illicit drugs and alcohol,” LeClair said. Doug Ettinger, Canada Post’s president and CEO, is pleased to see his corporation has developed its new strategy. “It commits us to taking concrete action to renew our longstanding relationship with Indigenous and northern communities,” he said. “While other organizations are also making efforts to move forward on reconciliation, we’re starting to implement our strategy now, and as Canada’s largest Crown corporation we have a unique opportunity to play a meaningful role in reconciliation.” Windspeaker.comBy Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Despite the federal government’s commitment to exceed its 2030 climate targets, British Columbians say it’s not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. A new survey found that 41 per cent of British Columbians think the federal government is not paying enough attention to the environment. And when asked about 10 specific environmental issues, at least three in five British Columbians said they are personally concerned about five of them: the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs; air pollution; the pollution of drinking water; climate change and the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste. “The federal government absolutely needs to do more,” Nikki Skuce, director of Smithers-based Northern Confluence, told The Narwhal. “British Columbians really care about water, particularly those of us who live close to some of these freshwater systems in places where salmon are an integral part of the culture and communities.” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., the company that conducted the survey, said a key takeaway from the poll is how climate change is becoming a more front-of-mind issue, with 63 per cent of British Columbians saying it’s a personal concern. “We usually see the problems that can have an immediate impact in our lives getting a higher rating,” he said, adding that issues that are perceived as not affecting us yet, such as deforestation and overfishing, typically get a lower rating. “But now we have global warming at a level that is similar to what we see for pollution.” Around 65 per cent of respondents said they were personally concerned about the pollution of rivers, lakes, reservoirs and drinking water, and 60 per cent said they were concerned about the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste. In northern B.C., where many of the province’s industrial projects take place, those numbers were even higher, with at least 80 per cent of people saying they’re concerned about water pollution and toxic waste. “When you live near it, you want to protect it,” Skuce said. “We need to do a better job of taking care of our rivers and lakes and creeks because they really are the veins that travel through this region.” It’s no surprise that British Columbians — and particularly northern British Columbians — care about water and the effects of industrial contamination. In 2014, B.C. made international headlines when the tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine in the central interior broke and spilled 24 million cubic metres of contaminated waste into the surrounding water systems. Since the disaster, the provincial government has done little to improve the laws and regulations to prevent similar disasters. Skuce said the federal government’s role in protecting water lies in legislation and policies that guide provincial decisions on resource extraction and development. Last year, the federal government modernized its Fisheries Act to strengthen protection of fish habitat and support restoration work, including rebuilding depleted fish populations. This follows a previous commitment to protect Pacific salmon through the wild salmon policy, which was developed in 2005 to address declining salmon populations. But according to Skuce, the federal government has yet to fully implement the policy and subpopulations of species like sockeye are on the brink of extinction throughout the province. “As somebody who works on salmon conservation, I think it’s really important that the federal government actually steps up and implements the Fisheries Act that it updated last year and follows through on a bunch of its commitments to restore and protect habitat,” she said. “And within that, there’s the outstanding commitment to implement the wild salmon policy.” Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said the Fisheries Act can help address the concerns of British Columbians reflected in the survey, but it has to actually be followed. “We need both levels of government to step up and, at the very minimum, fully implement the laws and policies that they already have on the books.” He also said the BC NDP’s commitment to develop a water security strategy, which would protect watersheds throughout the province, will require collaboration and buy-in from the federal government. “It’s really important that the prime minister and Premier Horgan support that work.” Skuce agreed and added that protecting water from pollution also requires legal reforms at both the provincial and federal levels. Despite federal mandates to protect salmon habitat, for example, provincial laws permit mining activity in salmon watersheds. “There’s a need to enforce our existing laws and close some loopholes on some of them,” said Skuce. The poll was conducted just after last month’s provincial election and respondents were asked how they voted. Nearly three-quarters of voters who supported the BC Greens or the BC NDP said climate change was a personal concern, but for BC Liberal voters, it was about half. “If you take a couple of Liberal party voters, one of them is going to say, ‘Oh, I don’t care about global warming.’ That’s pretty shocking,” Canseco said. He found that divide particularly interesting because it was the Liberal government that created the provincial carbon tax in 2008. “It’s been 12 years that we’ve had the tax and now you have the BC Liberal voter becoming decidedly less environmentally friendly,” he said. “It’s definitely something that is troublesome. I think they’ve been moving too far to the side of industry in many ways and forgetting that this is about the future of the planet as a whole.” More than a third of British Columbians surveyed believe the introduction of the carbon tax has made people more mindful of their carbon consumption and led them to change their behaviour, a proportion that rose to more than half of respondents from northern B.C. Almost two-thirds of British Columbians said the tax has not negatively impacted their finances. For Skuce, government action on climate change means more than implementing carbon taxes and protecting watersheds. “We need to stop subsidizing pipelines and fossil fuels at both the federal and provincial level,” she said. When asked how they felt about the provincial government, 35 per cent of British Columbians said they thought the province was not focusing as much it should on environmental issues and 38 per cent said their municipal governments also weren’t doing enough. “British Columbians perceive their municipal and provincial governments in a more positive light than Ottawa, especially with all of the commitments that have been announced,” Canseco said, referring to the NDP election promises to strengthen environmental protections in B.C. “We’ll have to wait and see if they get a better rating in the future, and also if the B.C. government keeps this seemingly high rating now that the Greens are no longer as influential in their policies.” Hill and Skuce said given British Columbians’ concerns about water pollution, the NDP’s promise to create a water security strategy likely contributed to the public perception that the province is doing more than the federal government to protect the environment. But both conservationists said this perception may be somewhat skewed in part due to a lack of education. Skuce called it “jurisdictional illiteracy.” “For instance, the federal government has committed to increasing protected areas of land and water to 30 per cent by 2030, and the Government of British Columbia has been reluctant to support that,” she said, pointing out that the province failed to meet its 2020 targets of protecting 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of marine areas. Similarly, the federal government has clearly defined legislation on species at risk, but as The Narwhal reported last year, B.C. still hasn’t enacted provincial legislation to protect threatened and endangered species like caribou. Hill said governments at all levels need to step up and start working harder, collaboratively, to address the concerns of the public. “Even though water licensing and specific on-the-ground management of water falls to provincial and local governments, the federal government approves things that affect water like pipelines and hydropower projects and they have a lot of regulatory authority as well,” he said. Skuce said one of the ways the federal government could strengthen its commitment to protect the environment is by updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which regulates the use of toxic substances and is meant to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health. The act was legislated in 1999 and has had minor amendments over the years. Early this year, the environmental watchdog Ecojustice called on the Trudeau government to overhaul the act to reflect current science and “reduce our exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals.” Skuce said the act could provide the federal government with the “tools to help protect our watersheds through environmental and climate action.” Hill said the federal government made significant commitments to environmental protection last year in its mandate letter to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, which promised to create a new Canada Water Agency, strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and introduce new greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs. Earlier this month, the Trudeau government introduced a bill to support its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The legislation would require the minister of environment to set five-year emissions reduction targets starting in 2030, along with a plan for meeting those targets. Hill said that in addition to these recent commitments, governments already have the means to strengthen environmental protection. “The premier and the prime minister [need] to give their cabinet ministers and their staff a clear mandate and adequate resources to actually do their jobs and implement the laws that are already on the books,” he said. “Whether it’s mining or fracking or clear-cut logging or extraction of water for various purposes, there’s a whole lot of room for improvement. And people are right to expect that the government will do better.”Matt Simmons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Independent businesses in Sun Peaks are bracing for the prospect of a potentially devastating Christmas season, as rapidly changing orders around inter- and intra-provincial travel hold the potential of cutting off visitation from the Lower Mainland, as well as Alberta. Earlier this week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced recommendations against non-essential and recreational travel throughout the province, in addition to an already standing order against travel to or from the Fraser Valley Health (FVH) or Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) regions. Matthias Schmid, owner of McSporties rental and retail, said the prospect of the Lower Mainland and other regions being cut off for the long-term would have a significant impact on local businesses, many of which reported a strong summer season fuelled by domestic travellers after having had to shutter their businesses in March. “During the summer months Sun Peaks saw a ton of traffic front the Lower Mainland. They were coming to do the VRBOs, they were renting bikes and hiking,” said Schmid. “The Lower Mainland really fed Sun Peaks this summer, so I would say that’s a major artery for us that’s cut off.” During a Wednesday press conference, B.C. Premier John Horgan indicated that British Columians can expect more orders from Henry today. Horgan also called for the federal government to implement restrictions on non-essential travel between the provinces. The conference came on a day that B.C. saw a record high of new COVID-19 cases, with 762 cases announced. Horgan also said the two week order against travel outside of the VCH and FVH regions will be extended for an additional two weeks or more. The original two week order, which covered from Nov. 7 to Nov. 23, stated that travel outside of the region should be limited to essential travel only. British Columbia’s tourism agency, Destination BC, has also invested significant amounts of money promoting domestic tourism within the province. Schmid said the rapidly changing situation has caused significant challenges from a planning perspective, as clients from around B.C. and other provinces face uncertainty about whether or not they will be able to come to the resort. “It’s really hard,” he said. “That’s probably the most challenging thing I’d say, it’s the lack of sort of being able to plan.”Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Highlights of this day in history: President John F. Kennedy laid to rest at Arlington; New details emerge about Iran-Contra affair; British forces leave New York; Elian Gonzalez rescued off Florida coast; Baseball's Joe DiMaggio born. (Nov. 25)
The Township of Carlow Mayo had a public meeting on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. so residents could comment on the passing of the township’s draft cannabis bylaw, and the council could answer their questions about the bylaw. Many municipalities have faced illegal cannabis operations doing business within their borders, including Carlow Mayo, one of them being the illegal cannabis operation that was taken down by the OPP on Hartsmere Road in McArthurs Mills on Sept. 15. Mayor Bonnie Adams stressed that with this amended bylaw, it will impose restrictions on where cannabis operations can be permitted within their township, and hopefully curb these illegal cannabis production facilities from starting up in the first place. After taking and answering residents’ questions on the issue, council voted unanimously to adopt this amended bylaw. Adams thanked everyone for coming and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for individuals to comment on the draft bylaw and pose any questions they may have before it was passed by council. The bylaw in question is bylaw 26-2020, which is a bylaw to amend the comprehensive zoning bylaw 33-2004, in accordance with Section 34 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990. “Without the amendments we are proposing, we would have no authority on where and how cannabis operations could be established that are licenced or registered by Health Canada. Please be assured that council does not take this lightly. It’s a major problem for us and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that our municipality is protected from any illegal operations that could occur within our municipality,” she says. Adams mentioned that back on Aug. 14, she had attended a Hastings County Zoom meeting with Councillor Dan Hughey and deputy clerk and treasurer Jenny Snider to discuss this problem. She said their concerns were addressed to MP Derek Sloan, MPP Daryl Kramp, inspector detachment cmdr. Scott Semple from the OPP, insp. Jim Walker from the OPP Organized Crime and Enforcement Bureau, Warden Rick Phillips with Hastings County and Warden Marg Isbester from Lennox Addington. As a result of the meeting, letters were sent to Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark and Federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu to ensure that all three levels of government are working in cooperation toward the issue of addressing illegal cannabis operations. Adams explains that in the letters the municipalities suggested some recommendations including; that Health Canada should share information about cannabis certifications with municipalities so they can ensure that certificate holders are compliant with the township’s zoning bylaw, that police forces have the necessary resources to monitor and take action against cannabis operations that conduct their business illegally, that the province provide means to amend legislation to establish a new provincial offence that creates an offence when unlicensed cannabis operations breaking planning and environmental regulations and when they ignore building codes, and that a suggested $100,000 fine be in place to act as a deterrent. If all else fails, the township would like to be able to collect any outstanding fines through municipal property taxes. While there has been no word from Minister Hajdu yet, Adams had heard that Minister Clark had shared these recommendations with Attorney General Doug Downey, solicitor General Sylvia Jones, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and the Association of Municipalities of Eastern Ontario Monica Turner. “As you can see, we are not sitting doing nothing with regards to this awful thing that has come into our community,” she says. This amended bylaw only applies to illegal cannabis operations, not those more limited operations for personal and medical use. Industrial hemp production, which is a larger scale growing endeavor, is also not the target of this bylaw. Industrial hemp is a food and fibre non-drug variety of cannabis with a low THC content of less than 0.3 per cent. In 2014, over 100,000 acres of industrial hemp were grown in Canada. If anyone has any concerns that a larger scale operation is not growing industrial hemp, and is instead growing illegal drug cannabis, they should contact the OPP to investigate. Questions from residents had been submitted in advance of the meeting, so that the council could look into them and provide the most detailed answers possible during the meeting. Residents posed questions to council wondering whether the township knows whether Health Canada issues a licence to a particular property for a cannabis operation, and also whether the township can put a limit on the number of cannabis operations within the township. On behalf of council, Adams answered that Health Canada does not forward this information to the township, and that the township is uninformed about licence approval so they have no idea how many cannabis operations there are so cannot put a limit on them so far. Residents also asked council what regulations are being put in place to prevent cannabis operations from being too close to residential properties, and how the safety of the community is being ensured. Adams replied that with the new bylaw, cannabis operations must be in a permitted zone and must meet the required setbacks from sensitive land use, and adhere to other requirements set out in the bylaw. With regard to safety, Adams urged residents that if they have concerns about illegal and criminal activity, to contact the OPP and they will investigate. Questions also arose about how the township would regulate the smell from cannabis operations and the environmental impacts of cannabis operations with respect to water and waste. Adams replied that operations licenced and registered with Health Canada are permitted indoors only and that they must have an air treatment control system for the building or structure. With regard to water supply, cannabis operation owners are required to provide confirmation that there is adequate water supply for daily usage and for fire suppression. Private septic systems or other onsite disposal systems will be necessary to confirm that discharge from the facility can be handled appropriately. If an offsite handling is needed, the owner will provide documentation of agreements with approved waste handlers to the township’s satisfaction. Residents also asked if pre-existing cannabis operations would be taken care of by this new bylaw, and what these cannabis operations might do to local property values. Adams said that the new bylaw would not apply to pre-existing cannabis operations but that the township was working on a new bylaw that would pertain to the nuisance that may come with a cannabis operation, like the odour for example. With regard to property values, Adams said that they can’t forecast real estate values or MPAC assessments and that there are many factors that determine these values. Also asked by residents was how the township would enforce the amendments if licencing information is not given to the township. Adams answered that the amendment to the bylaw would allow the township’s chief building official and bylaw enforcement officer to have more ability to help them enforce the Ontario building code and the township’s zoning bylaw, and that all illegal operations will need to be reported and handled by the OPP. Having no more submitted questions and none from the gallery, Adams thanked everyone present for coming out, for posing their questions and for their comments. “We’re trying to bring this situation to light and to let you know what we’re trying to do to prohibit it and address the concerns,” she says. Adams then brought forth a motion by Hughey and seconded by Councillor Mike Cannon to adopt bylaw 26-2020. Council passed it unanimously and the public meeting was adjourned.Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
For the last three years, the Steveston Historical Society has presented Songs in the Snow, a series of evenings celebrating the holidays with live music and entertainment. This year, the event will be presented virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Cancelling was not something we ever considered,” says executive director Rachel Meloche. “We figured that if we could find a way to make it virtual and do something, somehow, that at least we could still have the event and it would give people some of the magic.” Thanks to help from loyal sponsors, the historical society team was able to pivot this year. The Richmond Arts Coalition sourced all the musicians and performers, and local cartoonist Cartoon Katie will do live caricature drawings of participants watching on Zoom. “I know that the music industry has really suffered this year, and we had the funding so we wanted to get it into the hands of the artists who need it the most right now,” says Meloche. Registration is free or by donation, and people can also pre-order and pick up free craft kits as well as hot drink and cookie packages. Meloche says the driving force behind Songs in the Snow is that the holidays are expensive, and so many events have a fee associated with them. The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on three Saturdays (Dec. 5, 12 and 19). Each night will have different crafts and performances so people can register for all three. Performers will be live through their own individual broadcasts. And Meloche is heartened by the ability to bring some holiday cheer to people’s homes. “That’s what we wanted to do, just bring a little bit of the magic of Songs in the Snow to people,” she says. “I’ve heard from a family that they’re all participating from their own houses—so we’re bringing people together, just differently. “It’s going to be a really different and difficult holiday season for a lot of people. If we can bring some brightness, then I’ve done my job.” To register for tickets, visit www.historicsteveston.ca.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Many who fought to keep Grey Gables as a county long-term-care home were rejoicing last week over news it will be expanding instead. MPP Bill Walker announced that 62 new beds have been assigned to the facility, making a 128-bed home in Markdale. Grey Warden Paul McQueen said that the matter will be coming before county council this Thursday. He sees two possible options, either to add on to the existing building or to build a new building between the current Grey Gables and the new hospital and re-purpose the existing building, perhaps for assisted living. “This is fantastic news for the east side of Grey County,” he said in an e-mail reply “especially with all the growth that is happening.” Among those celebrating are the Knott family, who all feel like Grey Gables is an extension of their home. Rod Knott, a former warden, was part of the fight to save Grey Gables, where his wife Marjorie lives. “We are very thrilled with expanding capacity at Grey Gables,” their daughter Michelle Knott of Dundalk responded when asked for her reaction to the news. “We know how important Grey Gables is to the community and are very pleased that Grey Gables will continue to be able to provide quality care in our area to more residents!” Grey County is planning a completely new build for Rockwood Terrace in Durham, and the county is also looking at putting affordable housing at the site. The county is also looking as a “campus of care” model in Markdale. Mr. Walker made the announcement that the beds would be added as part of the 2020 Budget, described as an action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19. “I’m grateful to Minister Fullerton and Premier Doug Ford who personally toured over a year ago and promised to make our seniors a priority.” he said in a press release. Among the 29 new long-term care projects across Ontario, 19 will include campuses of care, where multiple services are provided for residents on the same site. The projects include almost 2,000 new spaces and 1,000 upgraded spaces.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday that he is not giving up his fight to overturn the election results, but across the federal government, preparations were beginning in earnest to support President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.Within hours of the General Services Administration’s acknowledgement Monday evening of Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election, career federal officials opened the doors of agencies to hundreds of transition aides ready to prepare for his Jan. 20 inauguration. And on Tuesday, Trump signed off on allowing Biden to receive the presidential daily brief, the highly classified briefing prepared by the nation’s intelligence community for the government’s most senior leaders.An administration official said logistics on when and where Biden will first receive the briefing were still being worked out.Biden, in an interview with “NBC Nightly News,” said he was also working out a meeting with the White House's coronavirus task force and vaccine distribution effort.“So I think we’re going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past,” he said. "And there’s a lot of immediate discussion, and I must say, the outreach has been sincere. There has not been begrudging so far. And I don’t expect it to be. So yes it’s already begun.”By Tuesday afternoon, the Biden transition had been in contact with all federal agencies about transition planning, according to a transition official.But Trump, who has not formally conceded to Biden — and may never — continued to sow doubt about the vote, despite his own administration’s assessment that it was conducted without widespread fraud, misconduct or interference.The president has maintained a low profile since his defeat. He made a quick appearance in the briefing room on Tuesday to deliver just over one minute of remarks on the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading at record levels and later delivered the traditional pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon in the White House Rose Garden. He has not taken questions from journalists in weeks.He did not hold back on Twitter regarding the election results.“Remember, the GSA has been terrific, and (Administrator) Emily Murphy has done a great job, but the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. His legal team continued to mount seemingly futile challenges to the votes in battleground states.Murphy acted after Michigan certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state on Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state. Pennsylvania certified its results, and its 20 electors for Biden, on Tuesday morning, followed hours later by Nevada.It also came as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The Republican president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged Trump to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.Late Monday, Meadows sent a memo to White House staffers saying that their work was not yet finished and that the administration would “comply with all actions needed to ensure the smooth transfer of power,” according to a person who received it. At the same time, he warned staffers who are not specifically authorized to interact with the Biden team against contact with the incoming administration.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Tuesday that within hours of GSA’s ascertainment of Biden’s victory, his agency’s top career official was in contact with the Biden team on co-ordinating briefings, including on the Trump administration’s planning to distribute vaccines for COVID-19.“We are immediately getting them all of the pre-prepared transition briefing materials,” Azar said. “We will ensure co-ordinated briefings with them to ensure they’re getting whatever information that they feel they need.”The official managing the Pentagon’s transition work with the Biden landing team said that the first meeting was held virtually on Tuesday morning and that he expected daily meetings to come -- some virtually and some in person. The official, Tom Muir, told reporters that normal accommodations for the Biden team have been made, including provision of briefing materials, video-teleconferencing capabilities and office space inside the Pentagon.“HUD career officials have begun the process of scheduling briefings with the Biden transition team in response to their requests," said a spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.GSA’s move frees up millions of dollars in federal support for the Biden transition and gives his team access to additional federal office space and support services, including computers, phones and secure briefing rooms.A day after Trump said his administration should begin working with Biden’s team, Republican allies filed two more lawsuits attempting to stop the certification in two battleground states. One in Minnesota was swiftly rejected by a state court Tuesday before the state certified its results for Biden. Shortly after, another was filed in Wisconsin, which doesn’t certify until Dec. 1.___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Colleen Long and Robert Burns in Washington and Alexandra Jaffe in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:21 p.m. EST on Nov. 24, 2020:There are 341,503 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 134,330 confirmed (including 6,887 deaths, 116,624 resolved) _ Ontario: 106,510 confirmed (including 3,519 deaths, 90,074 resolved) _ Alberta: 49,536 confirmed (including 492 deaths, 35,695 resolved) _ British Columbia: 27,407 confirmed (including 348 deaths, 19,069 resolved) _ Manitoba: 14,558 confirmed (including 248 deaths, 5,633 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 6,883 confirmed (including 37 deaths, 3,919 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,227 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,075 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 450 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 350 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 323 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 295 resolved) _ Nunavut: 144 confirmed (including 2 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 69 confirmed (including 64 resolved) _ Yukon: 38 confirmed (including 1 death, 24 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Total: 341,503 (0 presumptive, 341,503 confirmed including 11,608 deaths, 272,850 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said New Brunswick has had 451 cases.
OTTAWA, Ill. — Families of Canadians killed in the Boeing 737 Max crash say the plane remains unsafe and should stay grounded, despite being cleared for takeoff by regulators in the United States. Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and mother-in-law died in the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, told the House of Commons transport committee Tuesday the aircraft is still "unstable." He and Chris Moore, whose daughter was among the 18 Canadian citizens who lost their lives, are calling for an independent inquiry into Transport Canada's validation of Boeing's best-selling airplane. Moore says Canadians deserve to know why Transport Canada did not take action even after issuing a letter of concern before the crash about the Max plane's anti-stall system, which safety regulators have said U.S. authorities failed to properly review. Transport Canada said last week its recertification standards for the Max 8 diverge from those of U.S. regulators, including added procedures on the flight deck and differences in pilot training. The Max planes have been grounded since March 2019 after the deadly crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines flight less than five months later. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. The Canadian Press
Certaines villes prospèrent, d’autres disparaissent. Une étude récente montre que l’évolution urbaine tient davantage à des chocs extérieurs, peut-être maîtrisables, qu’au hasard des évènements.
HELENA, Mont. — Two women who were detained in northern Montana by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents for speaking Spanish while shopping at a convenience store have reached an undisclosed monetary settlement in their lawsuit against the agency, the ACLU of Montana announced Tuesday.Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez, both U.S. citizens, said their constitutional rights were violated when they were detained in the parking lot outside a the store in the city of Havre for 40 minutes after an agent demanded their identifications.In settling the case, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it did not admit liability and added in a statement that “the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honour and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe.”The case emerged after Suda took a video of the May 2018 interaction in which she asked Agent Paul O'Neill why he was questioning them.“Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here,” O’Neill said in the video. Suda and Hernandez had valid Montana drivers licenses.O’Neill, and a supervisor who arrived later made it clear through words and actions that the women were not free to leave the convenience store parking lot, ACLU attorney Alex Rate wrote in the lawsuit.“We stood up to the government because speaking Spanish is not a reason to be racially profile and harassed,” Suda said in a statement provided by the ACLU. “I am proud to be bilingual, and I hope that as a result of this case CBP takes a hard look at its policies and practices. No one else should ever have to go through this again.”U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in its statement that its workers "are trained to enforce U.S. laws uniformly and fairly and they do not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation."It added that the settlement “is in no way intended to be, and should not be construed as, an admission of liability or fault on the part of the United States, its agents, servants, or employees, and it is specifically denied that they are liable to the plaintiffs."The agency did not respond to emailed questions asking if O'Neill still works for the agency or faced any discipline related to the case. The agency and the women’s lawyers did not disclose how much money would be paid in the settlement.In gathering information for the lawsuit, the ACLU said Customs and Border Protection agents in northern Montana acknowledged they routinely profiled non-white people.“It is a small place and we have a lot of agents here and nobody really has much to do,” an unnamed border protection supervisor told attorneys with the ACLU in a videotaped deposition.He said he saw two people who appeared to be of Mexican descent at the mall while he was off duty, started reaching for his phone to call in what he saw but then spotted another border patrol agent behind them already talking on his phone.“If there's somebody speaking Spanish down there it's like all of a sudden you've got five agents swarming in, ‘What’s going on?' the supervisor said.Suda and Hernandez faced backlash in Havre for bringing their complaint, the ACLU said.“They both ultimately left Havre for fear of their families' safety,” said Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the ACLU of Montana.Suda was born in Texas and moved to Montana with her husband in 2014. Hernandez was born in California and moved to Montana in 2010. Both are certified nursing assistants and worked at an assisted-living centre.Havre is a city of nearly 10,000 people in north-central Montana about 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the U.S.-Canada border and near two Native American reservations.The city’s population is mostly white, about 15% Native American and about 4% Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.Amy Beth Hanson, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — An RCMP officer tasked with overseeing the electronics seized from Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou says he doesn't recall a senior officer telling him that he shared information about the devices with American investigators.Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal was the "exhibits officer" in charge of documenting and securing anything seized from Meng in 2018 during her arrest, which put a chill on Canada's relations with China. Dhaliwal was questioned in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday about a note from his supervisor that said Staff Sgt. Ben Chang had provided serial numbers to Meng's devices to a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and attributed the information to Dhaliwal. "I recall no conversation with Staff Sgt. Ben Chang," Dhaliwal said under cross-examination, adding he only recalls forwarding emails from Chang on to his supervisor. Dhaliwal is testifying as part of an evidence-gathering hearing where Meng's lawyers hope to collect information that will support their allegations that Canadian authorities improperly gathered evidence to aid American officials under the guise of a routine immigration exam. Meng is wanted in the United States on charges of fraud over allegations related to U.S. sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny.She is the company's chief financial officer and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei.Dhaliwal has told the court that after her arrest, Meng's file was transferred to the financial integrity branch of the RCMP's Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit because it was a “complex” case.He said Chang, a senior officer in the branch, told him in an email that the FBI asked for descriptions of Meng's devices, including serial numbers, makes and models, and also asked Dhaliwal to take photos.Dhaliwal told the court that he collected that information with help from an RCMP tech specialist.Under cross-examination, he said he did not consider doing so would constitute a "search" and did not seek prior judicial authority to do so. "Would you not agree with me that this is private information you were obtaining from Ms. Meng's phones?" asked Scott Fenton, one of Meng's lawyers. "It did not occur to me at that time," Dhaliwal said. Fenton also read a line from an email Chang sent that suggested Chang's team would forward some information about the devices to the FBI so they could enter a legal request for further sharing.Dhaliwal said he forwarded the emails to his supervisor but did not recall saying to her that Chang was going to be sharing anything with the FBI. The court has heard that Chang, a key witness, has obtained counsel and will not testify.Meng's legal team has also alleged that a plan was formed the night before Meng's flight arrived for RCMP to board her plane and arrest her there, but that was later changed. Ultimately, Meng's border exam took three hours before it was adjourned so she could be arrested and informed of her rights. Dhaliwal's supervisor Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf testified Tuesday that her own superior, acting Insp. Peter Lea, raised the idea of boarding the plane when they spoke on the phone.She described it as a "strong suggestion" and she communicated it to Dhaliwal that night. However, Vander Graaf said when she arrived at the airport the next morning, a meeting between border services and RCMP officers was already underway and they had determined Meng should go through customs first. Vander Graaf, who previously worked in surveillance at Vancouver's airport, testified that she didn't challenge the plan."It seemed reasonable to me knowing that customs officers have their customs and immigration process," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
This translation is part of a new initiative to provide content to our Chinese readers. You can find the English version, written by reporter Laura Boradley here. 約克區將實施新的衛生命令，對未採取措施阻止COVID-19病毒傳播的企業進行罰款。 首席醫療官Karim Kurji表示，本地區根據安省《健康保護和重啟法案》發布了新的衛生命令，並已於11月23日生效。 新規要求，在會議和活動場地及其他商務場所，包括租用特殊活動場地、宴會廳、酒店會議室和會議中心等場地需要： • 確保所有在室內外舉行的宗教儀式或婚禮、葬禮的人數不超過規定人數； • 在任何情況下，聚會不超過50人； • 遵守2020年《安省重啟法案》的衛生限制； • 遵循約克區公共衛生部門對企業、場所、設施或機構的所有關於COVID-19進一步指示。 大型購物商場: • 立即為購物中心設置最大顧客數量，監控並限制人數， 確保顧客和購物中心的工作人員在公共區域、商店、洗手間、走廊和入口處始終保持兩米的距離； • 積極管理所有排隊或聚集的顧客，確保所有在商場內外排隊等候的顧客保持兩米的距離； • 遵循約克區公共衛生部門對適用於購物中心的所有關於COVID-19進一步指示。 零售店: • 設置最大顧客容量，積極監控並限制人數，確保顧客和零售店工作人員在公共區域、商店、洗手間、走廊和入口始終保持兩米的距離。 • 遵循約克區公共衛生部門對適用於零售店的所有與COVID-19有關的進一步指示。 Kurji 說，新規是約克區為限制COVID-19病毒傳播而采取的一系列強化措施的最新一步。 對拒不遵守禁令的違規者，一經定罪，在違例或繼續違例的每一天內，每人每天最高可罰$5,000；對未遵守衛生規定的公司或企業，每天最高可罰$25,000。Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun