Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said Wednesday that there are no new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, and there are four active cases in the province.
On July 13, 2018, two separate groups of friends made plans to meet up that night on Saint John's boardwalk to listen to live music. Hours later, the groups would cross paths briefly, leaving one man unconscious on the pavement with a fatal head injury and another man in police custody. William Ronald Jordan, 21, is charged with manslaughter in the death of 54-year-old navy veteran Anthony Dwyer. On the second day of the trial, Marilyn Steeves, 64, testified that she met up with Dwyer and his partner, Catherine Geldart, at a pub in Petitcodiac. The couple was heading to Saint John to watch a friend perform on the boardwalk. Steeves agreed to go along and five of them piled into Dwyer's van. She said they had a pleasant evening on the boardwalk and were preparing to leave when she heard that Dwyer had been injured. Under cross-examination from defence lawyer James McConnell, Steeves said Dwyer was the kind of person to approach complete strangers and strike up a conversation. She agreed with McConnell that Dwyer also had a "strong personality" and "wouldn't hesitate to argue his point." Steeves said Dwyer had been drinking that night and that another member of their group was going to drive Dwyer's van back to Petitcodiac. Another witness, Sam Mallett, said he's best friends with Jordan. He told the jury that he joined Jordan that night and shared a joint with him and a few other people at the amphitheatre near the boardwalk. The two, along with Jack Rabb, then made their way along the boardwalk, heading to a bar for a drink. Along the way, said Mallett, they were approached by an acquaintance of Jordan's who was wearing a neck brace. The man gave them a small cigar and then moved a short distance away. Mallett said Dwyer approached soon after and asked Jordan where he got the cigar. He said Dwyer demanded it back. Jordan refused and Dwyer got more agitated, said Mallett. He said Dwyer kept getting closer to Jordan and became "more assertive." He said the exchange escalated very quickly. Jordan asked Dwyer what he was going to do about it. Mallett recalled Dwyer responded by saying that he would take his two fingers and push them into Jordan's throat — as he did just that. "It was quick, but not a jab," testified Mallett. It was at that point, he said, that Jordan swung a closed fist and punched Dwyer in the face. "I really don't think, at that point, there was anything else he could do," said Mallett. Witnesses differed on the nature of the physical contact Dwyer made. Mallet says it was pressure to the throat with two fingers, while Rabb says it was more of a jab to the throat with four straight fingers. Another man, Jeff Kyle, who watched the exchange from a nearby patio, said it was a two-handed push to the chest. But all agree that Jordan responded by punching Dwyer in the face and that he fell back and struck his head on the pavement with a sickening sound. Again, there was a difference of opinion about Jordan's punch. Some said it was a left hook to right side of Dwyer's face, others say a right hook to the left side. One said it was a left-handed punch that landed on the left side of Dwyer's face. Jordan was arrested on the boardwalk by police a short time later.His girlfriend, Sarah Taylor, testified Wednesday that she had been with Jordan on the boardwalk that night, but had parted company shortly before the incident. The two met up immediately after and Jordan told her, "I think I just knocked somebody out."She said he looked shocked and confused and that he told her the man he punched "had his hands all over me." Taylor said she was with Jordan a short time later when he was taken into police custody. Rabb, testifying by video link from his home in Ottawa, said the exchange between Dwyer and Jordan happened right in front of him. He called Dwyer a "provocateur" and said Jordan wasn't aggressive or threatening as Dwyer continued to invade his personal space. Before Dwyer made contact with Jordan, Rabb said he believed the entire exchange to be an absurd joke over "what amounted to a third-hand cigarillo" that was half-smoked by that time. Then came the "judo-chop motion" from Dwyer, said Rabb, that sent Jordan back a couple of steps and caused him to cough. He said Jordan responded with the punch to the face that appeared to knock Dwyer out immediately because he made no effort to break his fall. "He fell down like a sack of bricks," said Rabb of Dwyer. "He fell back absolutely still, like a plank, straight backward." On Tuesday, jurors heard that two emergency room nurses who happened to be on the boardwalk tended to Dwyer immediately and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. Dwyer died in hospital three days later. The trial continues Thursday morning.
Mexico's Sinaloa, Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Zetas and Beltran Leyva drug cartels are the top buyers and traffickers of cocaine produced by criminal groups in Colombia, including current and former leftist rebels, according to a high-ranking Colombian security official. The country at the northern tip of South America is one of the world's top producers of cocaine, largely consumed by customers in the United States and Europe.
WestJet says it will begin providing refunds to passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic. The Calgary-based airline said it will begin contacting all eligible flyers with WestJet and Swoop on Nov. 2. It will begin with those whose flights were cancelled in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, to offer refunds in the original form of payment.The process is expected to take six to nine months, the company said. It asked customers to wait to be contacted, in order to avoid overloading its call centre. "We are an airline that has built its reputation on putting people first," said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, in an emailed release."We have heard loud and clear from the travelling public that in this COVID world they are looking for reassurance on two fronts: the safest possible travel environment, and refunds."Sims said in a letter posted to the company's website that since March, it has done everything it can to reduce costs in the face of a 95 per cent drop in demand. WATCH | Airlines struggle and plead for aid amid stall in travel:"Up until this point, quite plainly, the financial position of airlines around the world has been precarious," Sims said."We went 72 days in a row where cancellations outstripped bookings, something that has not happened — ever — in our almost 25-year history. Thankfully, we are seeing bookings higher than cancellations now but still at a level that sees more than 140 of the 181 aircraft in our fleet parked and more than 4,000 WestJetters permanently laid off."The company said it's the first national airline in the country to proactively begin refunding customers during the pandemic — a comment that Air Canada contested."Misleading statement! WestJet is just now catching up to our policy to refund refundable fares. We have already refunded over $1.2 billion in refundable fares to date," Air Canada wrote on Twitter on Wednesday evening.Within 10 minutes of that tweet, more than a dozen replies from customers said they still had not received their refund. Air Canada said in an emailed statement that it has reimbursed refundable tickets since the start of the pandemic, and that vouchers are offered to those who have purchased non-refundable tickets. In June, both Air Canada and WestJet began offering refunds to some passengers whose flights originated outside of Canada. WestJet offered refunds on flights originating from or landing in the U.S. or U.K., and Air Canada offered refunds to those whose flights originated in the EU — but not in Canada. Air Canada made the most recent U.S. Air Travel Consumer Report, released in August, for having the most refund complaints of any foreign airline the previous month. It had 1,705 complaints, while WestJet had 346. The airline industry in Canada has lost billions due to border closures and grounded flights during COVID-19.Up until now, most Canadian airlines have offered travel vouchers to passengers with cancelled flights. The vouchers were redeemable for two years. The lack of cash refunds have led to petitions and even possible class action lawsuits against the industry. Canada's Air Passenger Protection Regulations state that if an airline is unable to provide a reasonable alternative itinerary, refunds "must be paid by the method used for the original payment and to the person who purchased the ticket or additional service."But the Canadian Transportation Agency said in April that, given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, vouchers were a reasonable alternative to refunds.WestJet's move comes days after opposition parties demanded the federal government ensure passengers receive refunds as a condition of any airline bailouts.Carriers' requests for financial assistance from Ottawa have failed to materialize in funding while the United States and some European countries have offered billions in financial aid, with strings attached including partial government ownership and emissions reduction commitments.Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said WestJet's move was a step in the right direction."Canadians deserve refunds for cancelled trips as a result of [COVID-19]," he wrote on Twitter. Delays 'ridiculous'WestJet's website states those who cancelled their own flights or purchased basic fares will not be refunded. Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said the six to nine months WestJet estimates it will take to process refund requests is excessive, calling it "ridiculous" and a "non-starter."He also said the refund exclusions violate consumer rights."It doesn't matter whether it was a business class elite fare or a basic fare, they have to refund it equally," Lukacs said, citing provincial legislation and regulation.WestJet had started to bleed money from advance ticket purchases even before Wednesday's announcement.Of the nearly 16,300 guests who requested chargebacks from their credit card issuers between March and Aug. 19, only 11 per cent were denied, according to an affidavit WestJet regulatory affairs director Lorne Mackenzie filed to the Federal Court in August.Certification hearings on a class action against WestJet, Air Canada and Transat AT are to begin in Federal Court on Nov. 2, the same day WestJet's policy goes into effect.
HALIFAX — The chief of the First Nation behind a disputed moderate livelihood lobster fishery in Nova Scotia says recent vandalism and the loss of potential sales have cost the band more than $1.5 million — and he wants those responsible to be held accountable.Mike Sack, chief of the Sipekne'katik First Nation, also alleged the band had been blacklisted by lobster buyers."The (non-Indigenous) commercial fishery has systematically boxed us out of the market," Sack said in a statement. "It will take time to rebuild our relationships in the supply chain of people and companies we did business with who are now rightly afraid of retaliation."Sack told reporters the band filed an application for a court injunction aimed at preventing people from harassing Indigenous fishers at the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., where the livelihood fleet is based."We want the injunction to make sure people are safe in and around the wharf," Sack told a news conference in Digby, N.S.Later Wednesday, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James Chipman granted the interim injunction, which among other things prohibits anyone from "threatening, coercing, harassing or intimidating" band members or people doing business with them.It prohibits any interference with Sipekne'katik fishing activities, including interfering with their gear at sea or on land. The order, which is in force until Dec. 15, also says the Saulnierville wharf, another in Weymouth and a lobster pound in New Edinburgh used by the band cannot be blockaded.The First Nation attracted national attention on Sept. 17 when it launched a "moderate livelihood" fishing fleet in St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia, almost two months before the federally regulated fishing season was set to open.Sack has said the Mi'kmaq band's members are exercising their constitutionally protected treaty right to fish where and when they want, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1999 decision.Citing treaties signed in the 1760s, the court said the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy bands in Eastern Canada can hunt, fish and gather to earn a "moderate livelihood."However, non-Indigenous protesters have asked federal authorities to stop the Indigenous harvest because the Supreme Court ruling also said Ottawa could continue to regulate the fishery — so long as it can justify such a move. The dispute has escalated into confrontations marked by violence, arrests and allegations of assault and arson. Two buildings storing lobsters caught by Indigenous harvesters were vandalized last week, and one of them was burned to the ground on Saturday.Amid rising tensions, the First Nation says it can't sell lobster caught by those taking part in its moderate livelihood fishery or the band's commercial communal operation to the east in the Bay of Fundy."It's like we've been blacklisted, and we're just hopeful that we can quickly come to some resolution and expedite getting our lobster to market," Sack said, adding that the band is also having a hard time buying new lobster traps."Pulling our commercial fishery this week and for the upcoming seasons will financially devastate our community," he said.A spokeswoman for the First Nation said the 11 boats taking part in the moderate livelihood fishery will continue to haul in their catches from Lobster Fishing Area 34 and put them in storage.However, Sack said the band's three boats used for the communal commercial fishery, which were operating in an adjacent area that opened for fishing last week, have been pulled from the water due to "intimidation and market embargoes."The chief said the three boats will be dispatched to St. Marys Bay to provide protection for the livelihood fleet. As well, he said the band is looking for a way to sell the 6,800 kilograms of lobster the band has harvested from the bay since Sept. 17.The provincial government regulates the sale of lobster by granting licences to approved lobster buyers. Sack said the band is looking for a provincial exemption, but he indicated the province wasn't in a co-operative mood."(Premier Stephen) McNeil just seems to be hiding behind the federal government," he said.Meanwhile, the RCMP continues to draw fire for their response to the violence, which included an alleged assault on Sack last week.Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki defended the police force, disputing Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller comment Monday that the Mounties had "let down" Indigenous people."We are fully committed to keeping the peace, keeping people safe and enforcing the law," she said. "Our actions to date are indicative of our strong commitment to this mandate." Lucki confirmed additional officers from the other Maritime provinces had been dispatched to Nova Scotia: "When we saw that this situation was evolving, we felt that there was a need to bring in additional resources."Senator Murray Sinclair, who was chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said Wednesday he was dismayed by the RCMP's lack of enforcement in Nova Scotia.During an online conversation with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the senator criticized the RCMP for "literally standing by and doing nothing" while criminal acts were being committed."To me, (it) was an act of negligence," Sinclair said, adding that he had submitted a complaint to the RCMP's complaints commission. "They were in fact facilitating the actions of the (non-Indigenous) fishers."On another front, Mi'kmaq leaders in Cape Breton are accusing the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans of illegally removing lobster traps set recently in St. Peters Bay. The 200 traps were placed in the bay as part of a similar moderate livelihood fishery, which is also operating outside the federally regulated season."The seizure of these traps by local officers are without the authorization or authority of their department or the minister," the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs said in a statement. "This is unacceptable and unlawful."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2020. Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
Provincial police say they have found the body of a GTA man missing in Chemong Lake since the weekend after a boat with four people in it capsized while fishing off the shores of Curve Lake First Nation. The initial incident occurred in the early morning hours on Oct. 18, according to the OPP's Peterborough County detachment.Three people, one man and two females, were rescued that same day by police with the help of residents from the area.The man pulled from the water later died in hospital. He was identified as 48-year-old Wei Liu of Scarborough. One of the females sustained life-threatening injuries while the other was treated for minor injuries, police said. No further details, like their ages, were provided.Then, in the afternoon on Oct. 21, OPP said they had found the second man, who was still missing from the incident. He was recovered by the Underwater Search and Recovery Unit and was pronounced dead at the scene.He was identified as 52-year-old Lie Cao of Markham."The Peterborough County OPP thanks the community members of Curve Lake First Nation for their support and assistance during this tragic accident," a news release issued Wednesday night said.
OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Navy is investigating an unexplained breakdown on its brand-new, $400-million Arctic patrol ship. The problem first emerged last week as HMCS Harry DeWolf's crew were training off the coast of Halifax, 2 1/2 months after Irving Shipbuilding delivered the vessel to the Navy. Commodore Richard Feltham, commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic, says the ship was forced to return to port after its freshwater generator and communications systems didn't work. It was while the ship was docked that the crew found the cooling pumps on two of the ship's four diesel generators had broken. The problems with the freshwater generator and communications system have been resolved, according to Feltham, who said the navy is confident about the causes and solutions. Though the cooling pumps were also fixed and the Harry DeWolf is back at sea for training, Feltham said the navy is investigating why to ensure there isn't a systemic problem. "This pump issue that we're facing now, we will figure out if it's just an anomaly of a certain pump or something else," he said in an interview from Halifax on Thursday. "Right now I don't know if I need to replace all the pumps or not. Perhaps it was just organic material on the pump. I don't know yet. It'd be premature to say. So we'll do an investigation." Despite the uncertainty, Feltham expressed confidence in the Harry DeWolf, which was finally delivered to the navy at the end of July, five years after Irving started work on it and two years later than scheduled. It is the first of six new Arctic offshore patrol ships being built for the Navy by Irving. The Halifax shipyard is building two more for the Canadian Coast Guard, for a total cost of around $5 billion. That amount includes jetty and fuelling infrastructure, initial spare parts, technical data, crew training and a contingency fund in addition to the cost of the actual ships. "This is the first of that class coming out of the shipyard and I think the shipyard has built us a really fantastic ship," said Feltham, noting the Harry DeWolf headed back to sea on Saturday. "And unlike cars or planes, there are no prototypes, right. So when we make the shift for the first time, it's inevitable that we will find things that are different, or we want to work on or fix or work through." University of Calgary shipbuilding expert Timothy Choi expressed surprise at the problems and wondered why Irving didn't uncover them during its own sea trials before delivering the ship to the navy. Irving did not immediately respond to a request for comment. While the navy's assertion that the problem was with the seals on the pumps narrows the search for a cause, Choi said such seals have little tolerance for error. That raises concerns about a broader issue. "The seal ensures a gap of no more than tiny fraction of a human hair between the rotating and non-rotating parts, which means incredibly minute factors can affect the seal's effectiveness," he said. "Identifying the cause of this will be of direct application and relevance to the rest of the Harry DeWolf class." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said his party doesn't have confidence in the Liberal government, but that doesn't mean every issue needs to turn into a confidence vote. Yet his party is using its second chance this week to set Parliament's agenda to propose a motion calling for a sweeping probe by the House of Commons health committee into a host of issues relating to the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion is so broad and the demand for documents so massive the Liberals are expected to argue its passage would paralyze the government — the same argument used to declare an earlier Conservative motion on the WE Charity affair a confidence matter. The government survived the subsequent confidence vote on that motion — which would have created a special committee to investigate the WE Charity affair and other alleged examples of corruption — with NDP, Green and Independent MPs grudgingly joining with the Liberals on Wednesday to defeat the motion. But all opposition parties blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for turning the issue into a confidence matter that threatened to plunge the country into an election. The point of the health committee motion is to get the answers that will improve upon Canada's response to the pandemic, not force an election, O'Toole said Thursday. "How would an election in the second wave of a pandemic improve our response?" O'Toole said. "How would that help the well-being of Canadians? Mr. Trudeau is willing to put his own political fortunes, a continued coverup, ahead of the well-being of Canadians." The new motion was actually introduced by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner at the health committee several weeks ago, where it appeared to have the support of Bloc Québécois and NDP members. But Liberal members argued strenuously at that time that they needed more time to digest such a massive motion. On Thursday, Liberals argued the motion brings an overly broad scope that would bog down public servants and swamp caucus members with papers and information requests. The move is "intentionally meant to overwhelm the department," Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in the House of Commons. That is similar to an argument Liberal MP Darren Fisher had made at the health committee. "The motion asks public health officials basically to stop what they're doing to protect Canadians and sift through emails and documents instead," he said earlier this month. While the motion will be debated in the House of Commons Thursday, it will not be put to a vote until Monday. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Thursday he would back the Conservative motion, insisting that a broad probe into "bad spending" is warranted. “We don’t know what the WE Charity scandal hides," he said in French. Among other things, the motion would direct the health committee to scrutinize the government's slow progress in approving rapid COVID-19 testing, the impact of the government's reliance on World Health Organization recommendations that delayed travel restrictions and wearing of face masks, the Public Health Agency of Canada's communications strategy, the partial shutdown of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network early warning system and the adequacy of federal health transfer payments to the provinces. And it would order the government to turn over a raft of documents from the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, various ministers' offices and departments, and the Public Health Agency of Canada related to the government's preparation for the pandemic, the purchase of personal protective equipment and testing products. It would also order the government to release all records related to the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and its subcommittees and its plans for distributing an eventual vaccine. The demand for documents concerning the purchase of personal protective equipment could be particularly sensitive for the government. It has used a national security exemption to keep some procurement contracts secret, arguing that the intense global competition for PPE makes it prudent to protect the names of suppliers of items that are particularly hard to come by, such as N95 respirators, gloves and swabs. A national security exemption also allows the government to purchase supplies more quickly. The Conservative motion makes some allowance for national security concerns, stipulating that any redactions to the demanded documents be made only by the parliamentary law clerk and only for national security or personal privacy reasons. O'Toole said all the questions on the table are reasonable. It's the government's response that isn't. "We're going to let them play politics," he said. "We're going to ask about rapid testing. We're going to ask about a better response. We're going to improve. That is the job of an Opposition." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated Liberal MP Darren Fisher said something in the House of Commons on Thursday, Oct. 22, when he said it at health committee earlier this month.
PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron promised Wednesday that France will not renounce freedoms taught by a schoolteacher beheaded by a radical Islamist last week after showing caricatures of the prophet of Islam to his class. At a national memorial at the Sorbonne University in central Paris, Macron praised history teacher Samuel Paty as the “face of the Republic” who “believed in knowledge.” Paty, 47, was murdered on Friday by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had become radicalized. He was in turn shot dead by police. “Samuel Paty ... became the face of the Republic, of our will to shatter terrorists, to (do away with) Islamists, to live like a community of free citizens in our country," Macron said. “We will continue." A ceremonial military guard carried the teacher's coffin into the cobblestone courtyard of the Sorbonne where the memorial took place before his family, government members and select guests. A giant screen was installed outside. The stirring ceremony, with readings that included a poem by Albert Camus to his own teacher, came hours after the prosecutor sketched out how the teenager came to kill Paty, with the suspected help of two young students at the school in a northwest Paris suburb. Jean-Francois Ricard said a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old are among seven people taken before an investigating magistrate on accusations of “complicity in murder in relation with a terrorist undertaking” and “criminal conspiracy.” The killer offered students at the school where Paty taught 300-350 euros ($355-$415) to help him pick out the educator, Ricard said during a news conference. “The investigation has established that the perpetrator knew the name of the teacher, the name of the school and its address, yet he did not have the means to identify him," the prosecutor said. "That identification has only been possible with the help of students from the same school.” He said the implication of the two young adolescents “appeared to be conclusive.” Authorities have identified the killer as Abdoullakh Anzorov., a Moscow-born Chechen refugee. Anzorov claimed responsibility in a text accompanied by a photograph of the victim found on his phone. The other suspects include a student's father who posted videos on social media that called for mobilization against the teacher and an Islamist activist who helped the man disseminate the virulent messages, which named Paty and gave the school's address, Ricard said. Two more men, aged 18 and 19, are accused of accompanying the attacker when he bought the weapons, including a knife and an airsoft gun, the prosecutor said. One of them allegedly drove Anzorov, who lived in the Normandy town of Evreux about 90 kilometres (56 miles) away, to near the school about three hours before the killing. Another 18-year-old suspect had close contacts with the attacker and endorsed radical Islamism, Ricard said. All three of them, who were friends of Anzorov, allegedly said that "he was ‘radicalizing’ for several months, marked by a change of behaviour, physical appearance, isolation, an assiduous frequentation of the mosque and ambiguous remarks about Jihad and the Islamic State group.” “Samuel Paty was the victim of a conspiracy of stupidity, hate, lies ... hate of the other ... hate of what we profoundly are," Macron said during his speech, which blended honours to the victim and the teaching profession with his government's efforts to root out Islamist radicals. On Wednesday morning, the French government issued an order to dissolve a domestic militant Islamic group, the Collective Cheikh Yassine. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said it was “implicated, linked to Friday’s attack” and it was used to promote anti-republican hate speech. Other groups will be dissolved “in the coming weeks” for similar reasons, Attal said. Named after a slain leader of the Palestinian Hamas, Collective Cheikh Yassine was founded in the early 2000s by the Islamist activist who is among the seven people accused of being accomplices to the attacker. Attal also confirmed that the government ordered a mosque in the northeast Paris suburb of Pantin to close for six months. The Pantin mosque is being punished for relaying the angry father’s message on social media. Authorities say it has long had an imam following the Salafist path, a rigorous interpretation of the Muslim holy book. A national memorial event is scheduled to be held Wednesday evening in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university. ___ Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Workers at an Olymel meat-packing plant in the Beauce region are being tested for COVID-19, after a weekend outbreak infected dozens of employees.The union representing the facility's 1,200 employees said 80 people have tested positive so far."People are still working, but they're worried. There are some who are still waiting for test results," said Martin Maurice, president of the Syndicat des travailleurs d'Olymel Vallée-Jonction.A 65-year-old worker, who tested positive for COVID-19, died on Tuesday. The company issued a statement mourning the employee's passing and confirmed the test result. It also said "an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of his death and whether it was related to COVID-19."The statement also said Olymel called in the regional public health authority over the weekend to undertake a mass testing campaign given "the factory is situated in a red zone and several employees have presented symptoms despite the rigorous application of significant sanitary measures."The union doesn't dispute the adequacy of the safety procedures inside the plant, but Maurice told Radio-Canada some employees have let their guard down over recent months in common areas like the cafeteria and change rooms.He also said "the company also has its share of faults," noting that during the first COVID-19 wave it staggered shifts in order to allow enough time for work stations to be properly cleaned. It also limited overtime.Maurice said neither of those measures have been in place since summer, although he added the company said this week it plans to re-institute the pause between shifts.He also told Radio-Canada the provincial workplace safety board has been on the premises this week "to correct certain situations."The union is asking for a temporary closure.Olymel employs 15,000 people and operates processing facilities in five provinces. It is the largest hog producer in Canada.The company closed its facility in Yamachiche, near Trois-Rivières, for two weeks this past March, after nine employees tested positive for coronavirus.Another positive test in August at Olymel's plant in Red Deer, Alta., resulted in the preventive isolation of 13 workers. None tested postitive for COVID-19.
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Health care, housing and internet access for Inuit in Nunavut all lag far behind what a majority of Canadians expect for themselves, says a new report. The 300-page document was commissioned by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the land-claim organization that represents Inuit in the territory, to measure the difference in infrastructure between Nunavut and the rest of Canada. "The infrastructure gap directly contributes to poverty and lowers the quality of life for Nunavut Inuit. It is felt in food insecurity, overcrowded housing and limited economic opportunity," the report says.It says 14 per cent of Nunavut residents have a regular health-care provide compared with 85 per cent of Canadians. It also points out that 67 per cent of Canada's electricity is produced by renewable resources, while all of Nunavut's electricity comes from diesel. Just over 40 per cent of Nunavut's homes require major repairs compared with a seven per cent Canadian average, the report notes.And Nunavut is the only province or territory without residential access to broadband delivered by fibre cable. That also means it has the slowest download speeds in the country. The gap will continue to get worse unless major investments are made, the report says.Aluki Kotierk, Nunavut Tunngavik's president, says Nunavut's infrastructure deficit has frequently been discussed at local and federal levels, but what that gap looks like has not always been clear."Infrastructure is something that is consistently raised when we have meetings with federal ministers ... But how do we move this forward rather than continue to always talk about how there’s an infrastructure gap in Nunavut?" Kotierk told The Canadian Press in an interview. The report, which was completed done between July 2019 and last June, analyzes existing data and includes 21 interviews with policy-makers and stakeholders. It identifies 18 priority areas and uses 55 indicators to compare Nunavut's infrastructure to the rest of Canada's.Kotierk says the report not only shows the gaps between what Inuit "grow up with" and "what other Canadians expect and take for granted," but also provides information to public policy officials "to see where the gap is rather than having it as a theoretical reference."She hopes it will support Nunavummiut to advocate for what they need at all levels of government."Growing up in our communities, if you’ve never lived anywhere else ... what you grow up with you think is normal. It’s only when you start understanding that others have it better that you realize we are we not afforded the same kind of standards and expectations that other Canadians can enjoy.” Kotierk says the report will help Nunavut's federal and territorial partners develop a new collective understanding of the infrastructure Nunavut needs to meet the expectations of Inuit."It’s easy to characterize Indigenous peoples or stereotype Indigenous peoples as people who are always complaining, and always whining for things, and always wanting money for other things."We wanted it to be clear that we are not asking for anything above or beyond what other Canadians enjoy. All we are merely expecting is to get to the same level playing field as other Canadians.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2020.--- This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
The Alberta government is allowing the harvesting of an additional 51,000 cubic metres of deciduous northwest of Grande Prairie. The new Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) was included in the Forest Jobs Action Plan unveiled by the province recently, in a bid to create jobs in the forest industry. It adds to the previously approved AAC of 763,900 cubic m of deciduous in the 10-year Forest Management Plan. Dale Dunand, Weyerhaeuser operations manager, said his company manages the forest but other companies have government licences to work there. “This is an open competition for deciduous timber from that Forest Management Unit that has not yet been allocated to any holder or operator,” said Justin Laurence, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry junior press secretary. Laurence said the stock is within Forest Management Unit G16, approximately 70 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie. This area falls between the Saddle Hills and Birch Hills counties, he said. In March, the Alberta government published the Forest Management Plan approval decision for Forest Management Unit G16, including an agreement with Weyerhaeuser. The agreement granted an AAC to Weyerhaeuser for 1.1 million cubic m of coniferous timber from 2019 to 2029, Laurence said. Despite Weyerhaeuser being the agreement holder for managing the area, Laurence said that doesn’t necessarily mean the company can harvest the additional 51,000 cubic m of deciduous. Dunand said Weyerhaeuser is currently harvesting coniferous timber and is unlikely to apply for the new deciduous AAC. The Norbord company has been very active in the area and Tolko Industries somewhat active there, he said. Dunand said those companies may apply. Dunand said Weyerhaeuser’s role as the manager is to consult with the other companies as to their plans on where to cut and how much they wish to cut. Weyerhaeuser then puts together an overall plan, but won’t have a role in giving out the request for proposal (RFP) for the new deciduous AAC, he said. The government has sent out an RFP for this harvest, Laurence said. Agriculture minister Devin Dreeshen said in a statement the additional harvesting under the Forest Jobs Action Plan will reduce wildfire risks and pest infestations. As part of the plan, additional harvesting of 21,000 cubic m of coniferous is also available 300 km north of Edmonton, where Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries holds the forest management agreement. Currently, the forest industry directly employs 19,500 people with 25,000 additional jobs supported, according to the Alberta government. In 2019, this amounted to $1.7 billion in salaries.Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
A Saskatchewan Party candidate who served as deputy premier before Monday's election was called says he was wrong to suggest the party would be open to exploring the idea of highway tolls. Gord Wyant participated in a debate Tuesday, put on by the Regina Chamber of Commerce, where candidates were asked whether the province should look into having some roads requiring payment for use. “I don’t support tolls for private vehicles, but certainly there is room for a conversation with the trucking industry as to whether or not that’s an efficient way of paying for our infrastructure," Wyant said in a video of the debate posted on Youtube.
The Montérégie-Est area holds the prize for the worst healthcare professional-to-patient ratios, according to the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec . As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, health-care workers say they are overburdened and short staffed.
In an interview with ABC News and the Courier Journal newspaper, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly expressed sympathy for the relatives of Taylor, whose death has been one focus of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism this year. Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was shot and killed during a botched police raid of her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky in the early hours of March 13. Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, who was with her when the police burst into the home, fired once at what he said he believed were criminal intruders, wounding Mattingly.
Two Ontario colleges have partnered with a home-care services company to offer free courses that certify personal support workers in a bid to address a shortage of the employees during the pandemic. Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont., is working with ParaMed Home Health Care to launch a 20-week condensed course next month. Trios College has teamed up with the same company to offer similar training in three eastern Ontario communities.
Source Energy Arena remains closed following a fire in late June. Eric Sundstrom, Wembley & District Agricultural Society president, said the society is waiting for a report from its insurance company. Until a report arrives, the society can’t say how long repairs will take or how much they will cost, he said. “It’s pretty devastating to all of us on the board and to the community to have this facility not operational,” Sundstrom said. “We’re trying our best to get it back as soon as we can.” The fire caused smoke damage throughout the building and fried the facility’s electrical system. Moreover, the back end of the multi-purpose room, the bathroom, kitchen and offices were “devastated” by the flames, Sundstrom said. The ag society doesn’t have information yet about what work is needed to re-open the building, he said. After the fire Sundstrom said the ag society underwent a process of inventorying everything in the building and sending its report to the insurance company. Among the items that had to be documented in the inventory were hockey equipment and kitchen equipment, he said. The ag society also went to work last week winterizing the building, he added. Due to the fire, Wembley Minor Hockey couldn’t run a season this year and many of its players dispersed to oth- er arenas in the region. Sundstrom said his own child is playing in Clairmont, where Crosslink County Sportsplex is open but Clairmont Arena is closed. The closure of the Clairmont and Wembley arenas created a shortage of indoor ice in the South Peace, Christine Rawlins, County of Grande Prairie parks and recreation manager, told the News recently. However, she said this year’s demand for ice was reduced by the pandemic. “If this were a normal winter season, we would definitely be feeling the pinch a lot more,” Rawlins told the News. The arena fire also left Wembley without a gathering place. Wembley Community Hall closed in- definitely last year for floor repairs and is now expected to be demolished. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Saskatchewan reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was the third highest daily bump in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. One of the new cases is located in the far north east, one is in the north west, 17 are in the north central, four are in the north east, 14 are in the Saskatoon area, two are in the central west, 11 are in the Regina are and seven are in the central east zone. The province said public health investigations into the source of transmission are underway for all new cases. Saskatoon's new cases continue to be primarily linked with outbreaks at local nightclubs. The province declared outbreaks at The Longbranch on Oct. 16 and Divas Nightclub on Oct. 18. There were 15 new recoveries reported on Wednesday. The news cases from Saskatchewan bring total reported cases of COVID-19 to 2,496 — 469 of which are considered active. To date a total of 2,002 people have recovered.Seventeen people are in hospital, 15 of whom are receiving inpatient care. Seven are in the Saskatoon zone, two in the Regina zone, five in the north central zone and one in the central east zone. There are two people in intensive care — one in Saskatoon and one in Regina.Testing On Tuesday, 2,483 COVID-19 tests were performed throughout the province. As of Wednesday, 238,013 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan. The province's per capita rate was 162,549 people tested per million population as of Monday. The national rate was 234,139 people tested per million population.
Less than four years into his 10-year term, FBI Director Christopher Wray’s future in the job is decidedly uncertain heading into the presidential election. President Donald Trump has been escalating his rhetoric against Wray, angry over his public statements on issues like antifa, voting fraud and Russian election interference. With Washington abuzz about his possible dismissal, Wray and the FBI have engaged in a delicate balancing act as they address hot-button issues.
The fight over the location of a new school in Moncton's west end is showing no signs of letting up. Some parents who want the new school built on the current Bessborough school site have launched a lawn-sign campaign and a petition. They are asking the province to reconsider the decision to build a new kindergarten to Grade 8 school next to Bernice MacNaughton High School."We're not going to give up," said Bettina Moores, who is spearheading the campaign and hoping for "a better resolution."About 600 people had signed her online petition as of Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday, the auditor general released a report that found Education Department decisions about school capital projects were not always based on evidence."We're certainly concerned by the site selection process," said Moores.Reasons for location revealedAnd Tuesday night, a department official explained the reasons for the west end Moncton school decision at a meeting of the Anglophone East District Education Council.Tony Weber, the department's director of facilities and pupil transportation, said the new school would be able to share amenities with Bernice MacNaughton, it was a neutral site at which to bring two school communities together and revenue could be generated by selling the land where the old schools are located.He also said neither of the existing school sites was large enough for a new one and if the province was to build on one of those sites there were no immediate solutions to provide space for 600 students.Moores said the presentation was "enlightening." But she questioned why a new school should require 24 acres."Engineers need to start thinking outside the box," she said. "We are caught in a square-peg-round-hole scenario. Instead of us creating a design around a site, we're taking a design and trying to fit it onto a site. Of course, that's not going to work. It seems bizarre to me. … It seems backwards."Education futureMoore said other schools and neighbourhoods should be concerned.Unless the policy changes, she said, aging Moncton schools such as Edith Cavell and Saint-Henri will be "in the same predicament in the very near future."Moores agreed the chosen site has some good features.But they are outweighed, she said, by safety issues, such as the need for students to cross four lanes of traffic on St. George Boulevard and by the fact that fewer students will be within walking distance and more will need to take buses."There was very little around either of those things in the presentation," she said.Moores noted that there was no accounting for the cost of infrastructure that will be required to make the new school location safe for students, such as sidewalks and crosswalks.The Education Department's position is that there were more safety issues with the alternate sites, and social or cultural considerations should not overshadow them."What questions are going to be asked 10 or 15 years later if there is no sports field, if there isn't a safe bus drop-off, if some parent child is permanently disabled and in a wheelchair because they didn't have a safe bus drop-off, and the reason for not having it was a cultural issue in a community?" Weber asked.School sizeEducation Department guidelines call for at least 18 acres for a school plus one acre for every 100 students.However, smaller sites are used in urban areas, said department spokesperson Tara Chislett."The minimum preferred lot size is one that can accommodate the components of a new school," Chislett said in an email. "If there are no sites within the general location that can accommodate the school requirements, then other options are explored."Moores contended that some of the "cons" listed for the Bessborough site "don't hold up."For example, one factor counted against either existing school property was that the new school would be three storeys high, but the neighbourhoods they're in are low-rise residential areas.Predicts developers will build higher"We feel a three-storey school would be completely acceptable," she said."I'm sure developers won't have that same consideration," she added, speculating that the Hillcrest and Bessborough properties would likely be built up once the department sells them off.Moores said she would like to see Moncton city councillors take a stronger position on the issue."We want a say in how the city grows."And she plans to contact the new minister of local governance reform, local MLA Daniel Allain, who has promised to start the process of municipal reform."Before we make another decision that affects two longstanding communities, this is the time to consider those reforms."
A presumptive positive case of COVID-19 at a Nunavut mine has been confirmed, according to Nunavut's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson.The case, announced in a government news release Wednesday, is at the Mary River Mine, 176 km southwest of Pond Inlet.The person is asymptomatic and in isolation, the release says.The territory says mine staff have begun contact tracing, as per mine protocols. The identified contacts have also been placed in isolation.According to the release, there is no evidence of transmission at the mine owned by Baffinland Iron Mines.The territory's public health team says it's "ready to provide support and respond if, and when, it becomes necessary."According to the news release, there are no Nunavut residents working at the Mary River Mine and the risk of COVID-19 spreading to communities is "very low."The territory says public health measures along with its common travel areas with Churchill, Man., and the Northwest Territories remain unaffected.Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, the release states.The territory says the "best protection from spreading or catching the disease" is to remain physically distant from others, handwash for at least 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into an elbow and stay home as much as possible.Nunavut still has zero confirmed cases so far. Other mines in Nunavut have previously confirmed cases, but those have been counted in the affected individuals' home jurisdictions.This is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Mary River Mine. The earlier case was confirmed last month.
U.S. health officials Wednesday redefined what counts as close contact with someone with COVID-19 to include briefer but repeated encounters. For months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said close contact meant spending a solid 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for coronavirus. On Wednesday, the CDC changed it to a total of 15 minutes or more — so shorter but repeated contacts that add up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period now count.
A new bill which formally recognizes First Nations police forces under policing legislation in Alberta proposes several changes to the province's justice system.Bill 38, the Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2020, also enables the province to hold referendums and Senate elections in concert with municipal elections, allows courts to summon juries electronically, changes the way police grants are calculated for communities over 5,000 and enables the use of telephone and video conferencing for trials and hearings. The act also allows matters like entering an plea and setting a court date to be done by email, phone and other electronic means instead of requiring the accused, lawyers, judges and court staff to appear in court. Justice Minster Kaycee Madu said formal legislative recognition of First Nations police services means changes resulting from the current review of the Police Act will apply to them. On a practical level, the change will give these police services the ability to enforce the First Nation's bylaws, Madu said. "With this amendment they will now be able to issue that ticket and go to the court to enforce them rather than having to bring charges with respect to traffic violations," Madu said. "It is one problem that we have heard time and time again from our First Nations people."Insp. Farica Prince of the Blood Tribe Police Service in southern Alberta said Bill 38 is "first step towards equity for Indigenous police services.""Since our creation, we have faced many inequities that have made it difficult to provide the community with the service they deserve and our employees with the support they require," Prince said in an emailed statement. "We have not had access to the same resources or opportunities as our policing partners and we are significantly underfunded in comparison."Recognition under the Alberta Police Act empowers us to govern ourselves and it will provide a sense of stability and security, to the hard working people of our organization and to the community."The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the justice system to work in ways to keep people appropriately distanced and safe. Madu says the amendments in the bill build on that. "We have made a lot of changes to make sure that the citizens can still deal with the justice system [from] the comfort of their homes and offices and whatever they may be in our province," he said.Bill 38 also enables Alberta to hold senate elections and referendums in tandem with municipal elections.The bill aims to bring the Police Act in line with the rest of the Government of Alberta, by using population figures determined by Treasury Board and Finance for communities over 5,000. Population is one factor used in determining how much municipalities pay for policing. The government says the change in statistics is a housekeeping matter.
The global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine for kids is only just beginning, a lagging start that has some U.S. pediatricians worried they may not know if any shots work for young children in time for the next school year. (Oct. 21)