WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sarah Fuller made history, but her barrier-breaking kickoff was the only highlight for Vanderbilt as Missouri dominated the Commodores 41-0 on Saturday.Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power 5 conference football game when she kicked off to start the second half. Fuller delivered a low kick that bounced to the 35-yard line, where Missouri pounced on it. She never got the chance to attempt a PAT or field goal, as the Tigers (4-3) rarely allowed the Commodores (0-8) to cross midfield in the Southeastern Conference game.Larry Rountree rushed 21 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Connor Bazelak completed 30 of 37 passes for 318 yards. Running back Tyler Badie had seven catches for 102 yards and scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. True freshman quarterback Brady Cook got his first snaps of the year in mop-up time and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Damon Hazelton.Vanderbilt gained just 196 total yards against a stingy Missouri defence that has held three of its last four opponents to 10 points or less. Ken Seals completed 11 of 19 passes for 79 yards. Keyon Henry-Brooks rushed 15 times for 64 yards but lost a fumble in Missouri territory to end a rare promising drive for the Commodores to open the third quarter.Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt soccer team, joined the football team this week after helping the Commodores win the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Vandy football coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. Mason reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help, and Fuller agreed to give the sport a try.THE TAKEAWAYMissouri: Senior linebacker Nick Bolton is making a bid for All-SEC and All-American honours. Bolton finished with nine tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup against Vanderbilt. He has 76 tackles on the season.Vanderbilt: An otherwise forgettable game will be remembered for Fuller’s participation. No woman had appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power 5 team. Women have played college football at other levels. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997. Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.UP NEXTMissouri: The Tigers are scheduled to play Arkansas at home on Saturday.Vanderbilt: The Commodores visit Georgia on Saturday.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Joe Walljasper, The Associated Press
Friends and relatives of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week remembered him Saturday as a "man of kindness, gentleness and love," who doted on animals and would drop everything to help someone in need.Const. Marc Hovingh also had a unique sense of humour that could spark joy and laughter even in the hardest times, his brother Hans Hovingh said during a small service held in a high school in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island."He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself," Hans Hovingh said.The officer could charm his way out of a dispute with a flash of his "trademark gap-toothed grin," a shrug of his shoulders and a laugh, said another brother, Albert Hovingh."When he did this there's no way you could stay angry with him," Albert Hovingh said. "I suspect that's why he got away with a lot of stuff, not only as a child but also later in life."Marc Hovingh's wife, Lianne Hovingh, described her late husband as her best friend, and recalled hearing how he would sometimes hold off on handing out tickets to drivers who he knew were going through difficult times.She thanked the public for the "ocean of love and prayers" she and their four children - Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sara - have received since her husband's death.Masked mourners, many of them in police uniform, gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen officer, who died on Nov. 19 in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the island community of Gore Bay, Ont.Hovingh, a 28-year veteran of the force, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man'' on a property.According to the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario's police watchdog — Hovingh and civilian Gary Brohman died in hospital after an exchange of gunfire.Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among a handful of politicians and dignitaries who attended the service. The Ontario Provincial Police Association said the funeral was otherwise private, with attendance available via livestream. At one point, more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to the ceremony. An online fundraiser for Hovingh's family had also raised more than $100,000 by mid-afternoon Saturday, with some donations coming in during the funeral.Provincial police Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the officer's death has left him and others across the force with a "broken heart," and praised Hovingh's "courageous response" to the incident that ultimately claimed his life."How is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time?" he said during the service.One of Hovingh's colleagues and friends, Const. Marie Ford, described him as someone who cared deeply for his community and always rooted for the underdog, yet shunned the attention he received for his good deeds."He didn't need to be promoted and he refused accolades," she said in a tearful tribute.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28., 2020 Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
Nunavut reported five more cases of COVID-19 in Arviat on Saturday, pushing the total number of active cases in the territory's hardest-hit community to 106.All individuals with active cases are in isolation and doing well, with mild to moderate symptoms, according to a news release. Contact tracing is ongoing and public health staff are monitoring everyone in isolation."We are on the right path to break transmission and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the territory," Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in a Saturday release announcing the new cases."Every day, individual decisions to follow public health measures are essential to our success and I urge Nunavummiut to remain committed in their efforts." In total, the territory has 131 active cases across three communities. Aside from Arviat, there are 13 cases in Whale Cove and 12 cases in Rankin Inlet.As of November 27, Arviat had 481 negative COVID-19 tests. There have been 196 negative test results in Rankin Inlet and 89 in Whale Cove. Monitoring continues in Sanikiluaq, where two people with COVID-19 have since recovered. In total, 33 people with COVID-19 have recovered in Nunavut. Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Baby spinach sold under the brand Fresh Attitude is being recalled in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario due to possible salmonella contamination.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a notice on Friday and says the product may have been distributed in other Atlantic provinces.The recall includes the 312-gram package with a best before date of Dec. 4, and the 142-gram package with best before dates of Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.The recall was triggered by VegPro International and is being investigated.The food inspection agency says people should check to see if they have the recalled product and throw it out or return it to the store.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can lead to infections. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest level of risk.Short-term symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, while long-term complications may include severe arthritis.There have been no reported illnesses linked to the recall.
* Ottawa Public Health is reporting 46 more COVID-19 cases, but has actuallyreduced its overall death toll by one. * Active cases have increased since Friday, up to 309. * The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region will move to yellow on Monday.Today's Ottawa updateOttawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 46 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while 31 more people's cases have been declared resolved.OPH is also logging one new death due to the virus, but the city's overall death toll has actually dropped.That's because an OPH investigation determined two deaths couldn't be confirmed to be related to COVID-19.They have been removed from the city's total, which has dropped by one to 372.Numbers to watch21: Ottawa's rate of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, which has increased slightly since yesterday.309: The known active cases in Ottawa, also more than in Friday's report.29: The number of active outbreaks in Ottawa. The number of long-term care home outbreaks is down to nine. >1: The number of people infected by each confirmed case, or R(t).1.3: Ottawa's test positivity percentage, the same as the previous update. A percentage at or below 1.2 per cent is one factor that could move a region into the yellow zone. Ottawa is currently in orange.Across the regionWestern Quebec reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and one new death.Hastings Prince Edward Public Health in the Belleville, Ont., area is moving from green to yellow on Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale as of Monday.No other local health units are slated to move.
A North Vancouver not-for-profit is hoping to make the lives of hundreds of residents impacted by COVID-19 a little brighter this festive season with a surprise gift but is calling for a little bit of help to get the job done. North Van Cares has just launched its Holiday Helpers initiative and is asking the community to nominate someone they know on the North Shore who is senior, immuno-suppressed, isolated, bereaved or just needs a little extra cheer this year, to receive a special gift pack. The initiative has a lofty goal of handing out up to 300 presents to residents who are nominated. "We’re specifically looking for those folks who would never ask for help but could use a little extra joy this season," Jacquie McCarnan, the founder of the not-for-profit organization, said. "We all know people who give so much of themselves and never ask for anything. Those are the people we want to help." She said seniors and immuno-suppressed folks who may not have family around to help out this holiday season are their main target. "It’s not a charitable thing for the needy, it’s more a pick me up for people who just need a bit of joy," McCarnan said. McCarnan launched North Van Cares in March when the pandemic first hit hard as a Shopping Buddies initiative to help seniors get groceries and prescriptions during quarantine. “The reason I started North Van Cares is because my own parents, who live in Ontario, are 88 and 90, and they’ve never accessed social services and they wouldn’t even have a clue how to do that or how to get their groceries delivered,” McCarnan said. She said as she thought about her own parents, she realised there must be people on the North Shore having similar issues and set out to help them. From there the not-for-profit blossomed, and McCarnan has since created two T-Shirt campaigns, with nine North Shore neighbourhood designs, which have raised more than $2,000 to help support a variety of groups, including Backpack Buddies, North Shore Rescue, North Shore Black Bear Society, Neighbhourhood House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Profits from more recent T-shirt sales will also go towards the Holiday Helpers initiative. All the Holiday Helpers gifts will be North Vancouver-inspired and include donations from the community. The gifts will also have a handmade card created by local students – with the surplus of cards set to be delivered to residents at seniors’ homes in the area for Christmas. McCarnan said the initiative had already received a bundle of donations, so the gifts would “have really lovely surprises for so many.” “There are so many people who are going to be so lonely these holidays because they’re not going to be able to have their families come and visit like in the past,” she said. “I just thought, so what can we do to cheer them up?” For anyone who’d like to contribute, the group is still accepting donations. A donation of just $20 means they can add another nominee to the list. To nominate someone to receive a Holiday Helper’s gift pack go to Nominate a Neighbour. Nominations close Dec. 15. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
Pour la première fois depuis le 25 septembre, la Gaspésie et les Iles-de-la-Madeleine passent sous la barre des 100 cas actifs de COVID-19. La péninsule rapporte 12 nouvelles infections, samedi, toutes dans la communauté. Il faut remonter au tout début de la deuxième vague, alors que la Baie-des-Chaleurs était touchée par une importante éclosion dans ses communautés et ses résidences pour ainés, pour retrouver un tel nombre de cas actifs en Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Avec 12 nouvelles infections et 20 guérisons, la péninsule gaspésienne passe sous le cap des 100 infections actives, 95 personnes étant toujours porteuses du virus. Parmi ces nouvelles infections, six se retrouvent dans la MRC de Bonaventure. La MRC du Rocher-Percé rapporte de son côté 5 nouveaux cas, tandis qu’une seule personne de plus a reçu un diagnostic positif dans la Côte-de-Gaspé, où la COVID-19 frappait fort il y a une dizaine de jours à peine. La santé publique se dit confiante d’avoir réussi à juguler les éclosions dans les milieux de vie pour ainés, comme le Manoir Saint-Augustin de Gaspé. «La région a connu plusieurs éclosions dans des milieux fermés, où le virus frappe très fort, particulièrement dans les centres pour personnes âgées. Plusieurs sont maintenant résolues, ou presque.», soutenait le directeur de la santé publique gaspésienne, Dr Yv Bonnier-Viger, au Soleil mercredi. —— INSCRIVEZ-VOUS à notre infolettre «L’Est aujourd’hui», qui vous livre chaque mercredi nos meilleurs reportages et des inédits sur les régions de l’Est-du-Québec. (https://www.lesoleil.com/infolettres/inscriptions)Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
A 46-year-old man is dead following a collision between a grain truck and a semi-trailer in central Alberta on Friday. Blackfalds RCMP responded to report of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42 east of Range Road 275 at about 2:30 p.m. Friday. An early investigation revealed that a westbound grain truck collided with a southbound semi-trailer unit, according to a news release from RCMP. The grain truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was not injured. The investigation is ongoing, and local officers are working with a RCMP collision analyst. Blackfalds, Alta. is about 13 kilometres north of Red Deer.
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
For Gen Lalonde, part of the allure of cross-country running is the unexpected, which can't be said about the 3,000-metre steeplechase, her signature event."I know there is going to be 35 barriers and some of them aren't going to have water," she said. "I generally know what the pace is going to be, but in cross-country I have no idea. It can be anyone's day."Lalonde, the two-time defending senior women's champion, was hoping Saturday would be her day for a third consecutive year at the Canadian championships but the event — scheduled for Clearbrook Park in Abbotsford, B.C. — was cancelled in August because of the coronavirus pandemic.However, she is planning her own version of cross-country this weekend — running a solo 10-kilometre time trial.It will be the Moncton, N.B., native's latest attempt to mimic a "normal" year since the Canadian record holder didn't enter a steeplechase race through the summer."I did an 8K time trial a few weeks ago that would have coincided with the [B.C.] provincial championships," said Lalonde, who moved to Victoria from Guelph, Ont., in January and married elite Canadian triathlete John Rasmussen in September."It gives me goals to [strive for] since I haven't raced since February and simulates the pre-race jitters [for] when I step on the line for real."Lining up for a tough race in Abbotsford on Saturday and watching the distance running community come together to celebrate the sport is something the French on-air host at Radio Victoria says she will miss."The national cross-country championships is about running, having fun and trying your best," said the women's 10K champion at the 2020 Pan American Cross-Country Cup in Victoria. "You never know how the race is going to go, so part of the fun is being ready for anything."WATCH | Gen Lalonde runs to steeplechase Pan Am gold:Looking back, the path to victory each of the past two years couldn't have been more different.'Rewarding to come out with victory'"In Kingston [Ont.], my goal was to run with Natasha Wodak, as long as I could," Lalonde said of her 2018 race plan on the famed Fort Henry course. "I knew she had been dominant on the cross-country scene and is a gritty runner. She's really strong, consistent and knows her pacing, so I knew if I ran with her, I would have a good chance to medal."I started to break from the [lead] group and knew I had gained the momentum and was having so much fun. Joel [Bourgeois], my coach [behind the scenes], was coaching [at] the University of Laval at the time and running around the course."I remember him saying, 'Way to go' and I remember smiling and waving," continued the 2016 Olympian. "I knew I still had work to do — I think I had two kilometres to go — but I knew in that moment I had put in a lot of work and it was so rewarding to come out with a victory."Last year in Abbotsford was very, very different. After only a month of training after I took time off after a long track season, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't know how hard a 10K could feel. It was consistent pounding and [eventual second-place finisher] Sarah Inglis was relentless. Maria [Bernard-Galea] was right behind us and it was back and forth."All three of us were surging and with one kilometre to go, [my primary coach] Hilary [Stellingwerff, from the University of Victoria] looked at me and she was like, 'Just make it to the finish.' I didn't know if I would. I was able to [pull out] the win but it was definitely the hardest run I've ever done."Uncertain when and where her next race will happen, the 2019 Pan Am steeplechase gold medallist has tried to mix things up in her training recently — running trails and hurdle drills on the track and long, muddy hills — to keep things fun and prepare her for all race conditions."My focus right now is on consistent base mileage," said Lalonde, adding if she was to compete indoors in January and February it wouldn't extend beyond one or two races. "In the coming months, I'll gradually transition from running more on the road and trails to the track."The focus will be on there being an Olympics [next] summer and being ready, happy and healthy come then. Crossing the finish line in Tokyo is where we want to be."
With COVID-19 once again spreading through parts of Nova Scotia, the province is taking a different approach to testing for the virus than it did during the first wave.Capacity at the province's microbiology labs has been building since the early days of the pandemic, different types of tests have become available in recent months, and the province's current outbreak is affecting a different demographic — all contributing to the strategic shift.When COVID-19 first arrived in Nova Scotia, testing was restricted mostly to those with multiple symptoms and close contacts of known cases. Now, public health has a much broader call for testing, including to Halifax bar staff and patrons.At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the new strategy is because of the prevalence of asymptomatic spread among the 18-35 age group in Halifax — the current epicentre of Nova Scotia's outbreak."With no symptoms, the only way to find people infected with COVID-19 is to test them," said Strang.This kind of widespread testing wouldn't have been possible during the first wave because of lab capacity.In March, the province's microbiology labs were able to complete only 200 and 250 COVID-19 tests per day.That capacity has been gradually building, and last month Strang said the province could handle 2,500 daily tests, although it was averaging far less than that. On Thursday, lab technicians completed a record-setting 3,109 tests in 24 hours.Even the opposition Progressive Conservatives offered some praise for the numbers, saying in a news release the uptick appeared to be "an indication that the need to extensively test is being taken seriously."PC leader Tim Houston said he remained disappointed that testing hadn't ramped up sooner, "but I am hopeful that the government has now turned the corner."Still, there are more people waiting for tests than the province can administer and process in a day. Strang said that as of Friday 8,000 people had identified themselves as bar staff and patrons in need of testing, creating a backlog.Everyone who has requested it will get an appointment and results, eventually, said Strang, but they may have to wait. Some of those people — like those who have been notified of a potential exposure that requires testing — are being asked to self-isolate while they wait.Strang asked for patience."We're very much building the plane and flying it at the same time when it comes to this asymptomatic testing as part of our outbreak response," he said.Nova Scotia's testing has also broadened with the introduction of rapid tests, also called point-of-care tests. While the rapid tests are more likely to yield false results than a standard lab test, experts say the data from widespread rapid testing can provide valuable insight into the spread of the virus, and inform decisions about public health restrictions and guidelines.Since last weekend, when the first rapid-testing site popped up for a few hours in an empty nightclub, rapid testing has attracted thousands of people to locations around Halifax. Strang said that as of Friday, 2,700 rapid tests had been administered. From those, at least 11 potential cases were identified, but positive results from a rapid test aren't counted in the official provincial tally of COVID-19 cases until they've been verified by a lab test. The province has not consistently reported results of followup lab tests.What's still to comeWith the recent detection of COVID-19 in wastewater in Wolfville, N.S., the province is setting up a rapid-testing site there on Monday. Strang said the research findings are not definitive, but Public Health will test that population as a precaution.Rapid tests were deployed in long-term care homes for the first time on Friday to volunteers, employees and designated caregivers.Strang described it as "serial testing" that will be repeated every two weeks. It launched at three Halifax-area homes and will eventually expand provincewide, he said."This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, and none of us need a reminder about how important that is," said Strang. Earlier this week, Premier Stephen McNeil said rotational workers might also be targeted for rapid testing in the near future. On Friday, he said travellers coming in from outside Atlantic Canada could eventually be targeted, too.McNeil pointed to a pilot program underway in Alberta that's screening incoming international travellers to reduce quarantine time, and a recent pilot program for rapid testing by Air Canada at Toronto's Pearson airport."We won't be opening up to the rest of Canada any time soon," said McNeil.But, he added, rapid testing "would have to definitely be part of that opening up."MORE TOP STORIES
The Sûreté du Québec have arrested three Montreal men in connection with a data breach that affected thousands of teachers across the province.Frédéric Lapointe, 41, Rath Pak, 41, and Jimmy Saintelien, 39, are each facing charges of fraud, identity theft, possession of counterfeit documents, unauthorized use of credit card data, and unauthorized use of a computer.The provincial Treasury Board announced on Feb. 19 of this year that hackers had accessed the personal records of as many as 360,000 active and retired teachers.The data was contained in a provincial government database, which appears to have been accessed using a stolen user ID and password.The trio's alleged crimes date to the spring of 2018, and occurred "in several regions of Quebec," provincial police said in a statement.The investigation was carried out jointly by the SQ's financial crimes unit and the Quebec Education Ministry.Julie Deslauriers, a kindergarten teacher in Montreal, was one of thousands who received a notice from the government last summer indicating her personal data may have been stolen."I'm more prudent now than I was, more careful about everything," she told CBC News. "I change my passwords more often."Deslaurier said it's a relief that arrests have been made, but said she hopes police have tracked down everyone involved.A union representing 7,500 English-language teachers in Quebec said the incident will leave a lasting impression."You end up having mistrust with the government," said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. "You would suspect that your data would be in good hands, and that's not the case."The hard feelings have been exacerbated by the fact that delivery of the notices warning teachers of potential identity theft were delayed by as long as five months.The government has attributed the delays to the COVID-19 pandemic.The province is paying for five years' worth of credit protection for the teachers whose data may have been accessed.
OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who've lost domestic market share due to two recent free trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada's agriculture minister announced Saturday.Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference. "Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow," she said. The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.But on Saturday Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year. David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future. "I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on," he said. The payments are based on formulas devised by working groups formed after the trade deals were signed, Bibeau said.What that means is the money doesn't reflect precisely how much the various industries have lost due to the deals, she said. "It's really our best understanding of the future impact and to give them the possibility to adapt." The dairy, poultry and egg industries in Canada are regulated to ensure a steady income for farmers in that sector, but Canada's foreign trade partners argue the system is protectionist.That made the trio of industries a sticking point in three separate trade deals Canada has concluded in recent years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe (CETA), the Comprehensive and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the Canada — United States — Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA). Trading partners wanted more Canadian access for their products, which Canadian suppliers said would result in massive hits to their bottom line. The Liberals' March 2019 budget had in turn allocated up to $3.9 billion in compensation for the trade concessions made on supply management.The funds announced by Bibeau Saturday are linked only to CETA and the CPTPP, but she said the latest arrangement does use up the balance of the previously announced funds. "I think it's a great day because there's something on the table," said Benoit Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, who said he had yet to see the details of the funding arrangement for his sector.The money announced Saturday comes ahead of Monday's reveal of the fiscal fortunes of the Liberal government, in the form of an economic update that is expected to lay out how much has been spent on emergency COVID-19 related programming but also outline some new spending in other areas. Bibeau said the funds announced Saturday will be reflected there, but said the amount to be set aside as compensation for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal is still being decided. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19. One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team #2. Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived. Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms. A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. The Canadian Press