The Saskatchewan Party is aiming for a fourth consecutive mandate. Party leader Scott Moe is promising a balanced budget and a stable recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Saskatchewan Party is aiming for a fourth consecutive mandate. Party leader Scott Moe is promising a balanced budget and a stable recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Fresh off another rejection in Pennsylvania's courts, Republicans on Thursday again asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, while the state's lawyers say fatal flaws in the original case mean justices are highly unlikely to grant it. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the high court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory, while its lawsuit is considered. They maintain that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. However, in a sign that the case is likely too late to affect the election, Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state's lawyers to respond by Dec. 9, a day after what is known as the safe harbour deadline. That means that Congress cannot challenge any electors named by this date in accordance with state law. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court threw out the case Saturday. Kelly's lawyers sought an injunction Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, then withdrew it while they asked the state's high court to halt any certifications until the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The state's justices refused Thursday, and Kelly's lawyers promptly refiled the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the state’s courts, justices cited the law’s 180-day time limit on filing legal challenges to its provisions, as well as the staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively. In addition to challenging the state's mail-in voting law, Kelly’s lawyers question whether the state's justices violated their clients' constitutional rights by throwing out the case on the basis of time limits and barring them from refiling it on the same grounds. Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in court filings that Kelly's lawyers never before argued that the U.S. Constitution provides a basis for their claims, making it “highly unlikely” the U.S. Supreme Court will grant what they are seeking. In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs had sought to either throw out the 2.5 million mail-in ballots submitted under the law or to wipe out the election results and direct the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to pick Pennsylvania’s presidential electors. ___ Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter Marc Levy, The Associated Press
President Donald Trump's frantic effort in the courts to delegitimize an election he lost has come no closer in a month to reversing any results.Lawyers for Trump and his allies have asked judges in several states to take the drastic and unprecedented step of setting aside President-elect Joe Biden’s wins. They have filed new cases and vowed to press on with appeals.But the quantity of affidavits, lawsuits and claims made by Trump belies that they are spurious or often repetitive of arguments already rejected by judges and elections officials, some of them Republicans.Here is a look at where the legal action stands in several key states:ARIZONAA judge was holding a trial beginning Thursday brought by state Republican Party chair Kelli Ward alleging irregularities in signature verification on mail-in ballots. The judge let Ward’s lawyers and experts compare the signatures on 100 mail-in ballot envelopes with signatures on file to determine whether there were any irregularities. Ward’s lawyers found two problems: One person's vote for Trump was ultimately recorded as a vote for Biden, and another person's Trump vote was cancelled because the ballot had votes for both Trump and a write-in candidate.Courts there have already dismissed four other cases. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, certified Arizona's results on Monday. In a touch of symbolism, he declined a phone call from Trump while signing the certification papers. Lawyer Sidney Powell, who was recently kicked off Trump's legal team and has been pushing wild conspiracy theories about the election, has also filed a lawsuit there.PENNSYLVANIATrump has lost repeatedly in Pennsylvania, collecting a series of stinging rebukes from Republican-appointed judges. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a district judge's dismissal of a key lawsuit argued in an error-filled performance by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” wrote Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, nominated by Trump.The district judge, Matthew Brann, wrote of the complaint, “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption." Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, noted that the campaign did not provide that evidence.Trump's lawyers have vowed to ask for review from the U.S. Supreme Court anyway.MICHIGANSix cases brought by Trump and Republican allies in Michigan have either been rejected or dropped. On Wednesday, Giuliani appeared at a public meeting with lawmakers and urged activists to pressure, even threaten, the GOP-controlled Legislature to “step up” and award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory.WISCONSINThe state’s Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear Trump's lawsuit seeking to overturn his loss in the battleground state. In a divided decision, the court didn’t rule on the merits of the claims but said the case must first wind its way through lower courts. Trump wants to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. In urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, Trump’s lawyers said they didn’t have enough time to start in a lower court.Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”Trump's campaign filed a similar lawsuit in federal court Wednesday. Two other lawsuits filed by conservatives are still pending with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Powell has also filed a lawsuit seeking an order to decertify the election results in the state.____Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.Nomaan Merchant And Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe isn't committing to a threshold suggested by his chief medical health officer for granting more people the right to gather at Christmas.Dr. Saqib Shahab said Wednesday that any decision to relax COVID-19 public-health orders would have to consider the risk of infections spiking in the new year. Shahab said his preference would be for the province to wait until there was an average of 120 new cases daily, or less, before loosening limits on gatherings."I wouldn't commit to that," Moe said Thursday."We also must understand that we have a holiday season that is upon us. We have put in place a number of measures that do impact our opportunity to see family, possibly in a long-term home, during that holiday season."Also Thursday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority announced it is planning to divert up to 600 staff to respond to the pandemic, meaning some procedures such as diagnostics will have to be rescheduled. Moving staff around is meant to brace the health system for a possible influx of hospital patients, including into intensive care. Officials forecast new daily cases hitting about 560 in the next two weeks and hospitalizations doubling. "It's not a crystal ball," said CEO Scott Livingstone of the data."Right now, we know that the 14-day forecasts over the last few weeks have been quite accurate relative to what we're seeing."Another 259 cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday, along with one death.Hospitals were treating 124 patients sick with COVID-19; 24 of them were in intensive care.Moe said he believes capacity limits on public venues, a ban on team sports and a provincewide mask mandate will start to slow the virus's spread enough so that some of the health orders can be loosened when they come up for renewal in three weeks.“If we have to make that decision today, it may not be the decision that I would want and that I think many other families across the province would want."Earlier in the week, the premier said he would like to see a way for more than five people to socialize in a home over Christmas — the current public-health rule — but Thursday mainly focused on relaxing rules for long-term care facilities.Visits are not allowed in long-term or personal care homes, except for compassionate reasons."As we get closer to Dec. 17, and ultimately likely even closer to Christmas, we’ll have the discussion about whether or not there are any opportunities for maybe a visit with full (personal protective) gear in a long-term care facility or not," Moe said.“I haven’t given up hope.”Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili said he's concerned the premier's office is putting pressure on the chief medical health officer to do what is politically popular, but not wise for public health.“People need to think about this. Relaxing long-term care restrictions during a COVID-19 spike, during a time when we’ve got outbreaks — that’s a way to lose a lot of lives," Meili said.On Thursday, the Saskatchewan Party government also announced the revival of an emergency grant program for small businesses that have been hit by health restrictionsBusinesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply to receive a grant of 15 per cent of their monthly sales revenue recorded before the pandemic arrived in March, to a maximum of $5,000.Eligible businesses are ones that have had to change how they operate to comply with public-health rules. The plan is to get the money to businesses within weeks.The government expects the program to cost $8 million.Meili said the the criteria are too narrow and will leave some businesses ineligible. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The Avalon Care Centre has been approved for 23 more spaces, in addition to the current 137 spaces, as part of the redevelopment of the facility. The announcement was made on Nov. 20 by the Ministry of Long-Term Care. The ministry noted that the project will involve a new building and campus of care being constructed on the same site as the current home, bringing the total number of beds to 160. “On behalf of everyone at the Home, we are absolutely thrilled with last week's announcement regarding the award of 23 new Long Term Care beds,” Stephanie Barber, community relations coordinator for the Avalon Care Centre, told the Banner. The Avalon has operated in Orangeville for more than 30 years, and Barber said they are excited for the next chapter of the facility’s future in the community. “We feel honoured that we will have the opportunity to further extend our tradition of excellence in care to a wider demographic of seniors in the Orangeville community for years to come,” said Barber. There is a growing need for long-term care facilities to meet the demands of the demographics. Barber noted that the current waitlist in Ontario exceeds 38,500 individuals, and the number of people aged 80 and up are expected to double in the next 16 years. “We are confident that the redevelopment of Long Term Care Homes such as the Avalon Care Centre will be an incredible benefit to our industry,” she said. The Avalon has not provided information regarding a timeline for the expansion project. The Town of Orangeville’s Planner, Brandon Ward, told the Banner nothing has been brought forward to the town yet. “No planning applications have been submitted, nor has there been any pre-submission consultation initiated with Planning Division staff regarding the proposed expansion,” said Ward. Whenever the expansion does move forward, Barber noted it will be thanks to ‘outstanding efforts’ from MPP Sylvia Jones, Minister of Long Term Care Merrilee Fullerton and Premier Doug Ford. “We are grateful for the leadership and dedication that our Provincial government has demonstrated in championing a sustainable future for our long term care sector at large,” said Barber.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Chris Halliday/The Orangeville Banner, Orangeville Banner
Negotiations between Meng's attorneys and the U.S. Justice Department picked up after the U.S. presidential election a month ago, the person said, but it is still unclear what kind of deal could be struck. Meng, 48, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant.
A resounding no from council will force Georgian Bay Snowriders to find an alternative for the strip near Port McNicoll. A couple months ago the club’s agreement was up for renewal. At that time, when the request came to council, the club asked for access to a part of the municipal trail along Highway 12 towards Triple Bay Road. The agreement was renewed before its Nov. 1 deadline, however, a new request from the club came forward at a later council meeting asking for access to approximately 400m of the TransCanada Trail, just east of Triple Bay Road. “Due to recent water level increases from Hog Bay, the ditch parallel to the highway is incredibly flood sensitive and has become very difficult to maintain,” reads the letter to council. “It also has a new utility line running through the centre that may become difficult to navigate around.” But their request wasn’t enough to melt the hearts of council members. “With me, it's a hard no,” said Coun. Mary Warnock. “I would not even entertain this. There's no recourse to get repairs done to the trail after it's been used and we all know what happened last time they were allowed a little stretch, it got torn up.” She had support from other council members, too. “It's not worth the risk for our bikers, our walkers and our roller-bladers,” said Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle. “I'm not in favour of this. We spend a lot of time and money on that trail and I'm not about to let it go at this point.” Coun. Paul Raymond said he could understand the club’s frustration at having to reimagine a trail on a temporary basis, but he was still against it. “We all know the damage (that) will happen,” he said. “What are we saying when we allow a motorized vehicle on the trail when we spend so much time trying to prevent motorized vehicles on trails? “Sorry to the Snowriders, but they have the ability to find alternate routes, I think,” added Raymond. Council voted to take no further action on the request. The Georgian Bay Snowriders did not respond to a request for comment.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
WASHINGTON — China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, outgoing National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Thursday as the Trump administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing.“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”“I call its approach of economic espionage ‘rob, replicate and replace,'" Ratcliffe said. “China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.”Trump administration officials have been stepping up their anti-China rhetoric for months, especially during the presidential campaign as President Donald Trump sought to deflect blame for the spread of the coronavirus . On the campaign trail, Trump warned that Biden would go easy on China, although the president-elect agrees that China is not abiding by international trade rules, is giving unfair subsidies to Chinese companies and stealing American innovation.The Trump administration, which once boasted of warm relations with China's President Xi Jinping, also has been ramping up sanctions against China over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. It has moved against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and sought restrictions on Chinese social media applications like TikTok and WeChat.China’s embassy in the U.S. did not respond to a request for comment on Ratcliffe’s op-ed, although China has routinely denied many of these allegations in the past.Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has been accused of politicizing the position, has been the nation's top intelligence official since May. In his op-ed, he did not directly address the transition to a Biden administration. Trump has not acknowledged losing the election.Ratcliffe said he has shifted money within the $85 billion annual intelligence budget to address the threat from China. Beijing is preparing for an open-ended confrontation with the U.S., which must be addressed, he said.“This is our once-in-a-generation challenge. Americans have always risen to the moment, from defeating the scourge of fascism to bringing down the Iron Curtain,” Ratcliffe wrote in what appeared to be call for action to future intelligence officials.Biden has announced that he wants the Senate to confirm Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, to succeed Ratcliffe as the next national intelligence director.“This generation will be judged by its response to China’s effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower," Ratcliffe wrote.He cited several examples of Chinese aggression against the United States:The Justice Department has charged a rising number of U.S. academics for transferring U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property to China.He noted the theft of intellectual property from American businesses, citing the case of Sinoval, a China-based wind turbine maker, which was convicted and heavily fined for stealing trade secrets from AMSC, a U.S.-based manufacturer formerly known as American Superconductor Inc. Rather than pay AMSC for more than $800 million in products and services it had agreed to purchase, Sinovel hatched a scheme to steal AMSC’s proprietary wind turbine technology, causing the loss of almost 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in shareholder equity, according to the Justice Department.Ratcliffe and other U.S. officials have said that China has stolen sensitive U.S. defence technology to fuel Xi's aggressive military modernization plan and they allege that Beijing uses its access to Chinese tech firms, such as Huawei, to collect intelligence, disrupt communications and threaten the privacy of users worldwide.Ratcliffe said he has personally briefed members of Congress about how China is using intermediaries to lawmakers in an attempt to influence legislation.Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The man who drove a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk and killed 10 people said his actions are "99 per cent irredeemable" after turning to the bible in jail, court heard Thursday.Alek Minassian made the comment on Dec. 12, 2019, to Dr. Alexander Westphal, a psychiatrist retained by the defence."I think it would be considered probably extremely irredeemable, like 99 per cent chance irredeemable," Minassian said in his orange jumpsuit while in a Toronto jail.Crown attorney Joe Callaghan argued the 10-minute video clip should be put into evidence as it shows a different side of Minassian than the one portrayed thus far by psychiatrists who say he lacks empathy, shows no emotion and has no insight into the minds and feelings of others.Callaghan said the clip shows Minassian engaged in conversation while answering questions at length and shows insight into the thoughts of others.Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder. He argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to autism spectrum disorder.After admitting to planning and carrying out the attack, his state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial.Justice Anne Molloy, presiding over the case without a jury, allowed the video into evidence.Molloy said this appears to show a different Minassian, not baffled and unresponsive and stuck in a concrete way of thinking as others have previously testified."This is not concrete, this is very esoteric, philosophical almost — not almost, it is," the judge said.Minassian, an atheist, told Westphal he began reading the bible while under suicide watch at the Toronto South Detention Centre.He said the bible gives him a "sense of hope." During breaks at the trial, which is being held by videoconference due to the pandemic, Minassian can be seen flipping through a red bible in the small room at the jail where he watches the proceedings.He told Westphal he reads it every day. He said he can see how the bible can be used to help change people's lifestyles as a path to redemption. "A preacher, let’s say he tells his nephew God is very disappointed about what you're doing and the nephew might realize he's saying, really, your family is disappointed," Minassian said to Westphal.The Crown said that passage shows Minassian's insight into the perspective of others. Westphal disagreed."I don't think him expressing an analogy the man is controlling his nephew by God is saying anything Mr. Minassian's overall understanding of morality," Westphal said.Minassian's lawyer had said Westphal would be the only expert to say the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., should be found not criminally responsible for his actions, but the psychiatrist has stopped short of making that conclusion. Westphal said Minassian does not truly understand the moral wrongfulness of killing 10 people, but said criminal responsibility is a legal opinion, not a psychiatric one.Earlier, court heard that Minassian said he had a strong desire to commit the attack. "I felt a strong desire to want to especially as the time ... approached, but I didn't feel compelled to do it, I didn't really feel I had to do it," Minassian said.While Minassian said he didn't feel he had to do it, the prosecution said those words seemed at odds with a report by Westphal that said Minassian felt he "had to go through with it" after making the decision to go forward with his plan. Under questioning from the Crown, Westphal said Minassian was not compelled to commit the attack. The Crown repeatedly asked why that was not in the report, a question Westphal seemed confused by."You only included facts that fit your narrative, you're not interested in an objective view," Callaghan said, his voice raised."I think I accurately captured that aspect I don't think he was compelled to do it," Westphal said.Court has heard that Minassian booked the rental van weeks earlier with the idea to use it as a weapon to strike people. He told Westphal that he knew it was wrong by "society’s moral standards, the most important one being that it is extremely wrong to kill people."He has told various people different reasons why he committed the attack including anxiety around a software development job that was to start a week after the attack.Westphal asked Minassian why he did it."An extreme desire to want to do it, the fact I already booked (the van) and was so close to going through with my plan, feeling social isolation and the nervousness about the job, socially and performance-wise," Minassian said.The Crown also pointed out all of Minassian's successes to the psychiatrist. He graduated from high school with a 76 per cent average and completed a software engineer degree at Seneca College. In his last year of college, Minassian achieved a 4.0 grade point average, the highest mark possible.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
The Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown is getting an MRI scanner. "It's a big day for AVC," said Dr. Greg Keefe, the college's dean. "We've been wanting to move our program forward in this direction for quite a while."An MRI scanner uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create high-resolution images of bones and soft tissues in a non-invasive way, and can help doctors diagnose a variety of problems, such as brain and spinal cord disease, cancer and heart disease."Almost every specialty that we do here, from internal medicine to surgery to cardiology, they will all benefit from this," he said.Keefe said the MRI will particularly help in neurology and radiology, which will help the college attract and retain more specialists in those areas."There's a lot of intricacies to imaging brains," Keefe noted.The MRI is the first for vet care in the Atlantic provinces. The college receives 4,000 referrals from across the region per year. Keefe thanked the Rathlyn Foundation — a private foundation that provides financial support to educational and medical institutions — for its support on the project, in a news release issued Thursday.Higher expectations for pet carePreviously, veterinarians brought animals needing an MRI to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown to use its machine, but Keefe said that access was "extremely limited," and was only available for small animals.With the new MRI the college will be able to scan horses.The AVC also has a CT scanner, but the MRI allows vets to give even better diagnoses for some things. "The caseload in the veterinary teaching hospital is growing, and the expectations of our clients is that they can receive the same diagnostics and care for their animals as they would for themselves," said Dr. Heather Gunn McQuillan, the assistant dean clinical and professional programming, in the release."The addition of an MRI is an important step in expanding our service delivery to meet their needs."A section of the veterinary teaching hospital will be renovated to house the MRI. Officials say they expect the project to cost about $4 million and take up to a year to complete.Keefe noted the MRI project is the first part of several phases of planned expansion of the hospital, including building additional capacity for an eventual diagnostic imaging centre that would serve all of Atlantic Canada.More from CBC P.E.I.
REGINA — A union representing workers at a steel plant in Regina says nearly 500 of its members are being laid off.The United Steelworkers says the workers will be off the job starting Dec. 17 and their layoff notices are indefinite.The president of union Local 5890 says it's tough because people will be out of work just over a week before Christmas and in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.Mike Day says the union knew layoffs were coming, but didn't expect them to hit all at once. The union says Canada's steel industry is struggling because projects are being built with cheaper steel obtained offshore rather than product manufactured locally.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe calls the layoffs devastating and says officials are reaching out to offer whatever help they can.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday most of the state will likely be under a new stay-at-home order within a day or two. Newsom said the new rules will trigger when a region’s intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%. (Dec. 3)
An investigation by the Ottawa Police Service into an incident in Kinngait, Nunavut, last spring involving an RCMP officer who struck an Inuk man with the door of a moving patrol truck during an arrest, raises more questions than it answers, the territory's legal aid agency says. Benson Cowan, CEO of the Nunavut Legal Services Board, said his first reaction to reading the short news release from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) this week was one of sadness. "We seem to be in this endless situation where there is a complete and willful and casual disregard for basic principles of accountability," Cowan said. And "it boggles the mind" that neither the Nunavut government, the RCMP, nor the OPS insist on more information from the investigation, he added. "It's a betrayal of Nunavummiut on a basic level," said Cowan. The Ottawa Police issued an eight-sentence release on Wednesday that cleared RCMP of any criminal wrongdoing in the June 1 incident in Kinngait on south Baffin Island. The incident made national news last spring after cell phone video footage circulated on social media, leading to an outcry from territorial and federal politicians. "The investigation has determined that the RCMP officer driving the vehicle did not intentionally strike the community member with the vehicle door," the Wednesday release from Ottawa Police said. The incident does not amount to an assault under the Criminal Code "as the applied force was unintentional," the OPS said, adding that the arrest of the young Inuk man was "lawful." Lawful arrest of Inuk man but no charges laidCowan said the OPS goes out of its way to say the arrest was lawful without providing other crucial information. "What we see in the video is an arrest that is serious and violent. Five officers take down someone who was, at worst, publicly intoxicated, but he was never charged with anything," Cowan said. "The question of why the officer was driving in that manner, that close to the man, in support of an arrest with what turned out to be four other officers — that requires some explanation," he added. Cowan pointed to the Special Investigation Unit's practices in Ontario — after investigations into police conduct it usually publishes witness statements and lengthy explanations for its conclusions, he said. Cowan said the Nunavut government could insist on more information from the OPS. Mark Witzaney, acting manager of policy and communications for the territory's justice department, told CBC News the OPS provides information on investigations according to a memorandum of understanding. RCMP clarify findings to Kinngait mayor"The OPS has discretion related to the appropriate release of further information pertaining to an investigation," Witzaney wrote in an email. Cowan disagrees. "By making this choice, they — the Nunavut government, the RCMP and the OPS — they are willfully disregarding any concern for the community's perspective," Cowan said. Kinngait mayor Timoon Toonoo told CBC that the OPS' news release didn't make much sense to him. But he said a conference call with Nunavut RCMP gave him the chance to ask questions about the process. When asked if he was given additional information not included in the OPS' news release, Toonoo said "not really." "It was mostly the same information, but we were able to ask questions about things we don't understand. So we understand more from the teleconference we had with the inspector from the RCMP in Iqaluit," Toonoo said. Two other reviews of the June incident are ongoing: an internal code of conduct review by Nunavut RCMP, and an investigation by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.
MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts.In another blow to Trump, two dissenting conservative justices questioned whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots as Trump wanted would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.The defeat on a 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of losses for Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Judges in multiple battleground states have rejected his claims of fraud or irregularities.Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. His lawsuit echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes.Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”“It was clear from their writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step,” he said in a statement. Trump's team made the filing late Thursday evening.In asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, Trump had argued that there wasn’t enough time to wage the legal battle by starting with a lower court, given the looming Dec. 14 date when presidential electors cast their votes.Swing Justice Brian Hagedorn joined three liberal justices in denying the petition without weighing in on Trump's allegations. Hagedorn said the law was clear that Trump must start his lawsuit in lower courts where factual disputes can be worked out.“We do well as a judicial body to abide by time-tested judicial norms, even — and maybe especially — in high profile cases,” Hagedorn wrote. “Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law.”Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissent where she was joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, said she would have taken the case and referred it to lower courts for factual findings, which could then be reported back to the Supreme Court for a ruling.But she also questioned whether disqualifying ballots was appropriate, saying that "may be out of reach for a number of reasons.”Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that the court “forsakes its duty” by not determining whether elections officials complied with the law and the inaction will undermine the public's confidence in elections. Allowing the elections commission to make the law governing elections would be a “death blow to democracy,” she wrote.“While some will either celebrate or decry the court's inaction based upon the impact on their preferred candidate, the importance of this case transcends the results of this particular election,” she wrote in a dissent joined by Roggensack and Ziegler. “The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election.”Democratic Gov. Tony Evers praised the decision.“I was frankly amazed that it was not unanimous," Evers said.Trump's lawsuit challenged procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal.He claimed there were thousands of absentee ballots without a written application on file. He argued that the electronic log created when a voter requests a ballot online — the way the vast majority are requested — doesn’t meet the letter of the law.He also challenged ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted — a practice that has long been accepted and that the state elections commission told clerks was OK.Trump also challenged absentee ballots where voters declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined,” a status that exempts them from having to show photo identification to cast a ballot, and one that was used much more heavily this year due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in March ruled that it was up to individual voters to determine their status.Roggensack, the chief justice, appointed Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek of Racine County to hear the case at the circuit court level. Simanek retired in 2010.The court late Thursday also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a Wisconsin resident, Dean Mueller, that argued that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted. The court's brief order included a single line noting Roggensack, Ziegler and Bradley all dissented with the denial.One other lawsuit filed by conservatives is still pending with the court seeking to invalidate ballots. In federal court, there is Trump’s lawsuit and another one with similar claims from Sidney Powell, a conservative attorney who was removed from Trump’s legal team.Wisconsin this week certified Biden’s victory, setting the stage for a Democratic slate of electors chosen earlier to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for him.Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
Three women’s groups in the Downtown Eastside are calling for the immediate creation of a task force to end violence against women in the neighbourhood. The call comes after Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham wrote about a video which appeared to show a man sexually assaulting a semi-conscious woman in daylight on the sidewalk at Main and Hastings streets, while cars and pedestrians pass by. The Vancouver Police Department says it is investigating the footage. It’s not the only shocking incident in the neighbourhood. In April, when COVID-19 restrictions had closed many drop-in spaces and public bathrooms, a woman spent hours in a porta-potty in labour. No one apparently noticed she was in distress, and the baby did not survive. In May, a woman was held for hours in a tent in an Oppenheimer Park camp and repeatedly assaulted. Janice Abbott, the CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society, said the woman had been “held captive in that tent for 15 hours screaming,” but no one did anything to help her. “That’s how normalized it is.” WISH, a non-profit that supports sex workers, said a street-based sex worker called the organization’s bad date line last week after she heard a woman screaming in a car while other people walked by. WISH, Atira and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre are calling for an immediate emergency response to the escalating violence against women in the Downtown Eastside. “We want to see it happen right away,” said Alice Kendall, the executive director of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. “We want to see a crisis response, the same way that COVID has created a national, provincial, municipal kind of co-ordinated response to ensure that all of the aspects of COVID are addressed, the economy as well as health.” COVID-19 restrictions have reduced the number of spaces people in the Downtown Eastside can go to get warm and sheltered. Especially when it comes to spaces that are safe for women. Back in April, Kendall asked the City of Vancouver for help in creating a safe outdoor space as COVID-19 measures reduced capacity in the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. But it took eight months before the centre got permits and help from the city to set up a patio space that’s still smaller than it sought. This fall WISH opened Canada’s first shelter for sex workers, and efforts have been made to set up bathroom trailers in the Downtown Eastside. City facilities like the Carnegie Community Centre and the Evelyne Saller Centre also recently opened more drop-in spaces. The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre also opened a new space at 398 Powell St. But all the drop-in centres and shelters are full, while street homelessness has increased. “We have the drop-in open, but it’s at capacity,” Kendall said. “We have 398 Powell St. open, it’s at capacity. The shelter spaces are open, but they’re at capacity. We know that hundreds of women every day that used to come to the centre are not coming.” WISH, Atira and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre are calling for an immediate improvement in conditions. But they also want governments to adopt recommendations from other reports like Red Women Rising and the federal Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “Gendered violence continues, even within our own programs, because there are so few choices available for women and gender-diverse women in terms of housing, employment, income security, safe, appropriate services and other opportunities that allow women to keep themselves safe,” Abbott said in a press release.Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Perched on top of a hill near the Wedzin Kwa river in Smithers, B.C., is the town’s first multi-unit passive house building. The Harding Heights affordable housing complex is an example of B.C.’s commitment to encouraging net-zero new buildings and other energy-efficiency initiatives. That commitment earned the province top spot on the Canadian Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard for the second year in a row. Passive house buildings, which are certified by the Passive House Institute, must meet a series of strict requirements to minimize energy consumption. They may have heat pumps, triple-glazed windows and insulation that nearly eliminates heat loss. “It’s definitely the most energy-efficient building in town,” said Judy Hofsink, building manager of Harding Heights, which opened in 2018. Hofsink said Harding Heights is so efficient at trapping solar heat, some tenants need to open their windows even though there’s snow on the ground. “It might be a little bit too warm because of the passive energy, but it is a really great building,” Hofsink said. The scorecard, compiled by Efficiency Canada, rates the provinces on their energy-efficiency policies, programs and plans. Quebec came in second followed by Nova Scotia, while Saskatchewan came in last. The territories weren’t rated due to a lack of publicly available data. Despite B.C.’s successes, it only earned 58 out of a possible 100 points. The evaluation was done on a provincial level because each jurisdiction has control over energy-efficiency policy areas such as public utility regulation and building energy codes. “With climate change, energy efficiency is a huge part of the solution that is often neglected by policy leaders,” said Brendan Haley, policy director at Efficiency Canada and co-author of the scorecard, which was released on Nov. 17. “It’s not as flashy as batteries and solar panels and that’s really why we do this — we’re trying to put energy efficiency on the map as a really important policy solution. It’s one that everyone can participate in, in every single province.” The building sector is responsible for more than a quarter of Canada’s energy demand, according to the International Energy Agency. By constructing energy-efficient buildings and retrofitting existing buildings, the country can eliminate up to 28 per cent of its total energy needs, the agency says. But to do so, experts say the provinces need to modernize building codes, which are standards builders must meet when constructing new buildings or renovating existing ones. In 2017, B.C. introduced the voluntary BC Energy Step Code to encourage builders and local governments to adopt energy-efficient construction techniques. The step code provides five tiers builders can choose to meet. At level one, the building is slightly more efficient than the mandatory building code and at level four it is 40 per cent more efficient. Level five, which will be mandatory in 2032, is net-zero energy ready. In other words, builders don’t have to install the solar panels, but they have to design for their future installation. “Traditionally, building code is just a minimum standard — the worst house you can legally build,” Haley said. “The step code created a series of steps, or performance tiers, signaling where the market needs to go.” Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénéclauze, director for buildings and urban solutions at the Pembina Institute, called the step code “an elegant solution to a log jam that all building codes have.” He explained that the step code is designed in a way that creates space for builders to reach energy-efficiency targets by whatever innovative methods they choose. Instead of a code that “tells you the inches of insulation and how long the screws need to be,” the step code says, “how you get there, we don’t really care, we just want to make sure that you reduce energy [consumption].” Haley said B.C.’s step code is an example to the rest of the country. “We’re really hoping that we see all the other provinces adopting a kind of a B.C.-style building code in future years.” Frappé-Sénéclauze cautioned that the code, while encouraging, still permits buildings to have a carbon footprint. “The step code allows you to build new buildings that are connected to [natural] gas,” he explained. He would like to see the code include a target for eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions. “Lesson number one, we’re in a climate emergency. We’re in a hole — stop digging.” B.C.’s leadership on new construction will pave the way for reducing future provincial energy consumption, but the province has room for improvement in renovations and retrofits, according to the scorecard. Haley said the province can join other provinces — such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia — in supporting retrofitting financing. Property assessed clean energy financing allows the cost of an energy-efficiency renovation to be paid back over time through an increase in property taxes. According to a recent Pembina Institute report, provincial legislation is required to give local governments the authority to incorporate the energy-efficiency financing. “The whole idea there is that you can enable municipalities to use the property tax system to pay off building upgrades,” Haley said. “The benefit of doing that is that it’s really the building that is getting the benefit of those upgrades, regardless of who lives in it.” He gave the example of a homeowner who might be reluctant to upgrade a house in case they move. “You can tie that payment to the building itself, and then whoever happens to be using that building will pay it off over time, which will allow those energy upgrades to be financed over a much longer time period, perhaps even 20 or 30 years.” Haley added that the system enables “radical energy-efficiency measures [that] achieve the types of savings that we really need for climate change.” Frappé-Sénéclauze said implementing property assessed clean energy financing would be a positive step forward, but it needs to be paired with strict regulations to ensure buildings — especially large commercial and industrial buildings — reduce their energy footprints. “There’s no way that we’re going to see the kind of retrofits that we need to reduce our carbon pollution and protect our assets spontaneously just because we’ve made lending available to people.” B.C.’s commitment to electric vehicles also earned it top points on the scorecard. The province leads the country in new electric vehicle registrations, thanks in part to its progressive electric vehicle rebate program, investments in charging infrastructure and recent legislation that requires all new vehicles sold by 2040 to be electric. On Thursday, the province announced it had doubled the rebate for home and workplace charging stations. “B.C. has the strongest uptake in electric vehicle adoption across Canada, and we’re positioning ourselves to become leaders in the EV industry,” Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Bruce Ralston said in a statement. “We’re making it easier and more affordable for people to make the switch to electric vehicles and supporting new jobs for electricians and trades workers across B.C.” The province has also partnered with its two main energy providers, BC Hydro and FortisBC, on programs aimed at ensuring those vehicles have the required charging infrastructure. According to the scorecard, provincial programs have supported the installation of more than 1,300 public and residential charging stations to date. Haley also pointed to Vancouver’s recent Climate Action Emergency Plan, which was approved the same day the scorecard came out, as an example of commitment to energy-efficient transportation in B.C. The plan says the city will make it easier for residents to walk, bike or take public transit by encouraging neighbourhoods to be more self-sufficient and designing travel pathways that focus on these methods of transport. The city will also charge people to drive into the downtown core. According to the city, the same model in London, England, reduced vehicle traffic by 40 per cent and increased the amount of people coming into the city centre by nearly 25 per cent. B.C.’s investment in the Site C dam — which has experienced delays and cost overruns — lost the province some points on the scorecard, which suggests B.C. should prioritize energy reduction over building new infrastructure. Haley would like to see all provinces take this energy-savings approach before considering new energy-supply infrastructure, whether that’s a new dam or a natural gas pipeline. He pointed out that some U.S. states have even legislated this requirement. “Unfortunately, that was not done in B.C. to build the Site C hydroelectric dam and it was also not done in Newfoundland and Labrador to build the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam.” But, he added, there is hope. The Utilities Commission Act now requires BC Hydro to submit a plan explaining why it is unable to meet energy demands through energy-efficiency programs before it can develop any new infrastructure. Haley noted that provincial spending on Indigenous energy-efficiency programs was surprisingly low given the province’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The report includes a clear statement on the divide between settler and Indigenous communities: “Indigenous populations could not be receiving adequate and equal energy-efficiency services due to systemic racism and program approaches that do not consider specific community needs or the importance of negotiation and partnership with independent Indigenous nations.” The scorecard does acknowledge provincial programs like BC Hydro’s Indigenous Communities Conservation Program, which provides communities with training on energy-efficiency technologies, rebates on upgrades and free products like weather stripping and energy-efficient lightbulbs. But Haley said energy-efficiency initiatives should be more inclusive and could play a role in what he said should be the national agenda: “reconciliation and fighting colonialism.” The BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative helps administer provincial and federal funds to Indigenous communities for energy-efficiency projects. But Cole Sayers, a member of the Hupacasath First Nation and director of the initiative, said communities face several barriers in accessing those funds. He said to receive funds, communities usually have to prepare a planning document, but many Indigenous communities face extreme poverty and are unable to finance the work required to prepare those documents. He also said there’s a lack of adequate funding to ensure communities receive the training necessary to maintain energy-efficiency technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels. “In our projects, we stress that there has to be that capacity training,” Sayers said. Another important factor is educating community members about energy usage and how not to be wasteful, he said. “A really important part of the conversation that often gets left out is altering behaviour. And that’s not just First Nations — it’s everyone.” Matt Simmons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Tofino, BC - Master carver Joe martin normally keeps an open-door policy. It’s been customary for people from different territories and nationalities to drop by Martin’s workshop in Tofino and soak in his teachings. Theatrically waving his hands through the air, Martin would tell stories of how his ancestors used to pierce a whale under its left front flipper by launching a harpoon from a canoe with the strength of one arm. “I’m well over my mid-life,” said the 67-year-old. “It’s the law of nature – one day I’m not going to be here. Having teachings and passing them on is a responsibility.” No longer able to host visitors due to the ongoing pandemic, Martin has turned to social media as a way of sharing his ancestor’s stories. By posting short videos of teachings to his personal Facebook page, the Tla-o-qui-aht elder is hoping to appeal to younger generations. “That’s where we have their attention,” he said of the youth within his nation. Martin thinks back on his childhood with fondness. Considering himself one of the fortunate ones, he didn’t go to residential school. Instead, his father and grandfather were his teachers. Spending their days out on the land, Martin’s father would recount teachings to him over-and-over. Through oral repetition, his family’s histories seeped into his psyche and became a part of his being. As the world changes, the way we interact has transformed. Oral stories are being disseminated online as a way to bring communities together because people are unable to gather. “We have to adjust,” said Martin. “And this is how we’re adjusting.” In trying to capturethe attention of Tla-o-qui-aht’s youth, Martin said that he has also connected with elders of his generation who were forced to attend residential school. Stripped of the teachings from their own grandparents, some have clung to Martin’s stories. During the first week of lockdown at the end of March, Cory Howard, Huu-ay-aht First Nations health and wellness coordinator, began posting live videos of himself singing his family’s songs. It is a practice he has continued every Tuesday evening, drawing in an average of 500 viewers. “People are loving it,” said Howard. “They say it’s medicine for them.” After his cousin was stricken with COVID-19 last week, Howard recorded a song and sent it to him. “It makes [people] feel better when they have culture in their life,” he said. “When they’re down, it lifts them up.” During lockdown in April, Joe’s daughter, Gisele, spent a lot of time connecting with nature and photographing the “beautiful biodiversity” near her home in Esowista. At the time, she struggled on whether to post the photos online, worrying how it might affect people who were confined to their city apartments. But after deciding to share them, she was met with gratitude. “Even though they couldn't be there, it helped them with their day,” she said. “Through social media, I’m connected to people in a lot of different territories and get to hear their stories – it helps me navigate how I do things here.” Gisele has been helping her father with his videos. The recordings extend beyond the technicalities of how to carve a traditional dugout canoe. Collaboratively, they try to weave in stories about how generations of salmon returning to a river system provide nourishment to the surrounding forests, making it possible for a canoe to come into existence. As a Nuu-chah-nulth language and culture educator, Gisele said she recognizes the benefits of social media as a way of increasing cultural awareness, but remains cautious. “I think part of the problem or challenge with sharing things online is that our teachings can get fragmented,” she said. Using plants as an example, Gisele said that she would never go to another nation’s territory to harvest. There are a lot of considerations to be made about the reciprocal relationship people have with plants, along with traditional protocols that might not come through in a video, she said. Being a gathering people, online platforms have provided a space for Nuu-chah-nulth members to come together. But, as important as it is to connect with people, Gisele said it’s equally vital to interact with the landscape around you. Pictures on Instagram may allow people to appreciate the wonders of nature, but Gisele argues it is impossible to interact with nature through a screen. And while the black mirrors are helping to fill the void during this time of social distancing, we need to connect to the places where we live and “support the health of those places,” she said.Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
Long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. are facing an increasingly deadly second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, while at the same time imposing restrictions that leave seniors increasingly isolated. And the province’s seniors’ advocate Isobel Mackenzie says the government needs to overhaul the measures put in place in the pandemic’s early weeks and ease restrictions on visitors that are depriving residents of essential care and time with loved ones, and which could be costing more lives than they are saving. Mackenzie said this will be the last holiday season for about a quarter of residents, and the province needs to do everything in its power to support meaningful connection between residents and their families. “I don’t think it was ever intended that these measures would be in place for as long as they have been. I think it was intended to give care operators the opportunity to figure out how to manage these visits,” she said. “And we just got stuck in how we started out the visits in July, with how we’re doing the visits now, in December. We just need to shift that.” COVID-19 case numbers and deaths, the majority of which have been long-term care residents, have risen to unprecedented levels. About 35 people in long-term care died of the disease last weekend alone. B.C. introduced policies to limit the number and frequency of visitors quickly in the spring, also requiring staff to work at a single site to prevent spread between facilities. Each resident could have one 30-minute essential care visit per week. About half the people who applied to be designated as essential were rejected. The restrictions worked, quelling outbreaks that resulted in lower care-home deaths than in Ontario and Quebec. In June, B.C. announced each resident could have a designated social visitor as well, an expansion that rolled out slowly and inconsistently across the province. But after 10 months, the restrictions have devastated the physical and mental health of residents and failed to prevent outbreaks as community cases increase. There are now 54 active outbreaks in B.C.’s long-term care and assisted living facilities. “The challenge that we are facing right now, is that this surge in our communities has dramatically increased the risk in long-term care,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Wednesday. But earlier in the week Henry noted visitors are not causing outbreaks, which are more often caused by staff unknowingly spreading the virus. Mackenzie said health officials should allow more frequent and longer visits with the current designated visitors rather than increase the number of visitors per resident. When asked by The Tyee, Henry said the province is working to maintain and extend the current visitation level allowing one designated visitor. “But expanding to allow more social visits is not going to happen during this risky period right now,” she said Henry did not say when current visitors might be allowed to see loved ones more frequently. “I understand the reluctance,” said Mackenzie, who used to run care homes before being appointed B.C. seniors advocate by the government. “But increasing the frequency of visits, allowing their visits to happen in the privacy of the residence room, that’s not going to significantly increase the risk at all, and arguably could be decreasing the risk, because the care home is going to be able to rely on those family members to provide some help.” Current protocols that require visits occur in common areas also put strain on already overworked care workers and nurses by requiring them to transport residents from their rooms for visits. Visitors also need to be screened and escorted to the space, rather than finding their way to the residents’ rooms. “Irrespective of how meaningful visitors’ increased presence will be for the resident, their increased presence is going to help us as well,” said Mackenzie. “There’s going to be an extra pair of hands there to help with the feeding, to help with the toilet, to help with things that some of them were helping with before the pandemic.” And experts say the increased workload around visits and decreased family support has shed further light on the overworked and fragmented sector, where many care workers don’t have paid time off, sick days or health benefits. “Everything has changed, but nothing has changed,” said Joanie Sims-Gould, an expert in seniors’ health at the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine. “But everything’s changed in the wrong direction.” Research co-conducted by Farinaz Havaei at UBC’s school of nursing found that during the pandemic’s first wave residents’ direct nursing care plummeted by about 10 hours per month as facilities scrambled to control the virus. Nurses are responsible for just under 30 patients in an average shift, while care aides look after around 10 patients each shift. Havaei, who researches human resources in the health-care sector, said the pandemic placed alarming pressure on staff. “I even get goosebumps, because I think... it’s a very stressful context for long-term care staff.” Registered nurses recorded the largest decline in hours compared to licensed practical nurses. Their hours had already been in slight but steady decline since 2018. Meanwhile, the relative hours of care performed by care aides is steadily increasing, leading Havaei to ponder how care aides may be replacing nurses in some care situations. Based on research from her coming report, Havaei says supporting staff with flexible sick leave, paid time off and proper personal protective equipment can improve their lives, which in turn will improve the care residents receive. “If you think about the mental health implications of all of that (stress), and how that influences staff’s work behaviours and decisions when giving care, you can see that the implications are really huge,” said Havaei. The federal government announced $1 billion in funding for the long-term care sector, and B.C. has committed $44.1 million to hire more than 5,000 new health-care support workers. “Adequate resources translates directly to safe staffing levels,” added Sims-Gould. “The situation is so grave, and these facilities are doing the best they can.” Henry would not commit to a timeline when families could see visits expanded, but Mackenzie hopes the right balance will be found and implemented as soon as possible. “Time is marching on,” she said, noting residents won’t have access to a vaccine until February or March at the earliest. “Arguably, not only can we [expand visits] now, I think now makes it more important to do it, because the system is under more stress,” said Mackenzie. “And these family members can actually help us, in addition to visiting their loved one, and all of those positive quality-of-life benefits.”Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Indigenous rights advocates say the Liberal government's draft legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) is better than expected.Justice Minister David Lametti tabled Bill C-15 in the House of Commons on Dec. 3. The bill would chart a path toward implementing the rights affirmed in the declaration."I don't think it's perfect by any means but from the draft that they were discussing with us across the country, it's come some ways," said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in B.C., who took part in the consultation on the bill."Changing the laws of Canada is going to take some time. I think the biggest issue is going to be how they will work with Indigenous people across the country to change those laws."UNDRIP was passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007 after 25 years of negotiations to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples to their language, culture, self-determination and traditional lands. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as well as Quebec's Viens Commission all called for the implementation of the declaration at all government levels.'Long-overdue'After the shooting of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Chantel Moore by police in New Brunswick during a wellness check in June, Sayers said she is happy to see that the draft legislation addresses injustices like systemic discrimination but she has concerns about the proposed timeline outlined.If passed, the bill would require the federal government to prepare an action plan within three years of the bill's passage to achieve the declaration's objectives. Sayers would like to see meaningful consultation and an interim action plan that addresses the top priorities in Canada, something she acknowledges is not an easy task."That's going to be difficult, talking to 633 First Nations and determining that, but I really think that waiting for three years on action that may or may not be complete at that time is too long, way too long," she said."We need a change yesterday to many laws."Amnesty International Canada welcomed the legislation, stating it is "much-needed" and "long-overdue.""Because the core purpose of the new bill provides a framework for implementation, Amnesty International strongly urges the Canadian government to pass this legislation quickly," said Ana Collins, Amnesty International's Indigenous rights campaign advisor in a statement.Limitations on self-determinationIf the bill is passed, the federal government must ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP. While Canada is not the first country to legislate UNDRIP, Kenneth Deer said if the draft is passed as is, it would put Canada in the forefront of applying the declaration inside its borders."I'm cautiously optimistic that this could be beneficial for Indigenous people in Canada," said Deer, who is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake, Que., and was involved with the development of UNDRIP. He said it's important that Canada make legislation to implement the declaration, to move it from being aspirational to binding. He added the legislation has its limits when it comes to Indigenous self-determination by being a Canadian law."You can't have true self-determination and be limited by the Canadian constitution but Indigenous people can go a long way until we hit that wall," he said."Anything that the UN passes or Canada passes does not take away our right to self-determination or does not take away our sovereignty. Our sovereignty is inherent, and will always be there."
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. There are 396,270 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 396,270 confirmed cases (69,255 active, 314,608 resolved, 12,407 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,495 new cases Thursday from 86,875 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.5 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 43,173 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,168. There were 82 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 608 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,739,689 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 340 confirmed cases (29 active, 307 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 420 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 63,583 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 73 confirmed cases (five active, 68 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 584 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.17 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 61,621 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,343 confirmed cases (119 active, 1,159 resolved, 65 deaths). There were 11 new cases Thursday from 1,300 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.85 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 86 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 12. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 150,559 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 520 confirmed cases (111 active, 402 resolved, seven deaths). There were six new cases Thursday from 1,179 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.51 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 55 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 103,791 tests completed. _ Quebec: 146,532 confirmed cases (13,198 active, 126,179 resolved, 7,155 deaths). There were 1,470 new cases Thursday from 11,594 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,638 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,377. There were 30 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 208 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 30. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 84.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,215,810 tests completed. _ Ontario: 121,746 confirmed cases (14,795 active, 103,239 resolved, 3,712 deaths). There were 1,824 new cases Thursday from 51,144 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,385 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,769. There were 14 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 20. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,197,157 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 17,751 confirmed cases (9,130 active, 8,268 resolved, 353 deaths). There were 367 new cases Thursday from 2,804 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,463 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 352. There were 11 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.91 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 354,449 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 9,244 confirmed cases (4,017 active, 5,173 resolved, 54 deaths). There were 262 new cases Thursday from 1,696 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,882 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 269. There was one new reported death Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.6 per 100,000 people. There have been 265,300 tests completed. _ Alberta: 63,023 confirmed cases (17,743 active, 44,705 resolved, 575 deaths). There were 1,854 new cases Thursday from 8,049 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,145 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,592. There were 14 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 13.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,495,622 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 35,422 confirmed cases (10,013 active, 24,928 resolved, 481 deaths). There were 694 new cases Thursday from 7,929 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 778. There were 12 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 97 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 14. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 9.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 815,367 tests completed. _ Yukon: 50 confirmed cases (20 active, 29 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 89 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.1 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,488 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 48 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,482 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 198 confirmed cases (75 active, 123 resolved, zero deaths). There were five new cases Thursday from 39 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 43 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,384 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press
From Sammy Davis Jr. to Snoop Dogg, the list of performers who have graced the stage of the Commodore Ballroom on the Granville Strip is as varied as the musical tastes of Vancouverites.Which could be why, on the 90th anniversary of the day the notorious nightclub first flung open its doors to late night revelers, it's hard to find a local who does not have a tale from a time spent twirling on the famous dance floor or watching a big star perform while they were still on the way up.Modelled after Art-Deco British ballrooms of the 1920s, with plush carpets and walls draped with floor-length curtains, the Commodore Ballroom opened on Dec. 3, 1930 and quickly became the place to party.It was not, however, a place where you could get a drink. Legally that is.According to Aaron Chapman, author of Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver's Historic Commodore Ballroom, nightclubs at that time were liquor-free and people would have to smuggle their hooch in.When the local police would make their rounds, the doorman would signal the band leader on stage who would immediately rally the band to play a tune called Roll Out the Barrel. This system let all the patrons know to hide their booze until the coast was clear."Police were there on off nights themselves and did the same thing, everyone knew," said Chapman Thursday on CBC's The Early Edition.Decades passed, liquor laws and musical preferences changed and still The Commodore remained a mainstay of the music scene.Originally a place where orchestras and big bands got the dance floor going, many, many well-known names have lit up the stage in the years since.Some mentioned by Chapman include: The New York Dolls in 1974, Kiss in 1975 and Tom Petty in 1978. The Clash also played their first-ever North American show there in the winter of '79."You can walk into that place and feel that energy in the room and that's a very special thing," said Chapman.There are also not many cross-generational venues remaining in the city where grandchildren can twerk where their grandparents once did the twist.For musician Alan Doyle, who has performed on the stage many times both solo and with the band Great Big Sea, it holds a very special memory.It is there, where in 2017, Doyle and about 50 other musicians came together to show support for John Mann, frontman of the local folk rock band Spirit of the West who had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.Doyle rallied talent that night, both vocal and instrumental, and recorded a song especially for Mann in the second floor men's washroom that Doyle converted into a makeshift studio.WATCH | Celebrated Canadian musicians perform at The Commodore to help a dear friendMann passed away in 2019 but had been in attendance at the event."The greatest night I ever had there, " Doyle told CBC Thursday.The venue has won numerous awards recognizing its importance as a local landmark and was named Most Influential Club in Canada by Billboard Magazine in 2011.To mark its 90th anniversary, the City of Vancouver declared Dec. 3 Commodore Ballroom Day.And while the pandemic may be preventing people from cutting loose on the dance floor this year, venue owners Live Nation threw a virtual birthday party featuring B.C. blues musician and Commodore regular Colin James.James, who hasn't seen his bandmates since March because of pandemic restrictions, says while playing to an empty house is weird, it's great to be playing at the venue."We just did a whole show and we couldn't take the smiles off our faces," James said. "You know, I'm not one to talk a whole lot between songs so we just had a great time playing and it felt oddly normal."James, who has played at The Commodore 33 times before says the venue is unique for allowing bigger shows but still retaining an intimate mood. "Some cities have gotten rid of their iconic venues," he said. "I've played it so many times over the years and it's still really great to be here."