Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said increases in reports of new COVID-19 cases in Europe must serve as a “wake-up call” for Canadians, and said the window to turn the surge of cases in Canada “is closing fast.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said increases in reports of new COVID-19 cases in Europe must serve as a “wake-up call” for Canadians, and said the window to turn the surge of cases in Canada “is closing fast.”
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
Members of the Mount Royal University Cougars hockey team are in isolation as 18 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university's communications department.The number of cases includes coaching staff and the players.In an emailed release Monday, MRU said the entire team stopped training when one teammate began feeling symptomatic. The university said it did its own contact tracing and let people know if they may have come in contact with members of the team. MRU said this is the first known instance of community spread at the university. The team had been training while following safety measures, according to MRU.The Cougars' exhibition games against World Juniors prospects, set for next weekend, had already been cancelled last week by Hockey Canada due to the pandemic. With new provincial restrictions announced last week, no varsity programs at MRU will be training until next year.
MONTREAL — As experts mull recommendations regarding ventilation and COVID-19 transmission ahead of the winter, Quebec health officials said Monday that air quality tests carried out in long-term care homes and hospitals earlier this month revealed satisfactory readings.Health Minister Christian Dube said an analysis of carbon dioxide levels was done at his request between Nov. 19 and 23 in about 70 establishments, mostly in the Quebec City area and in central Quebec.The Health Department said CO2 levels are considered a good indicator of ventilation efficiency, and authorities carried out tests in different settings including bathrooms, waiting areas and patients rooms.The results come as a group of experts examining the link between air quality and COVID-19 spread is set to issue recommendations in early December, with particular attention to schools and health-care facilities.The World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada have both said aerosol transmission and spread of COVID-19 is a concern."The expert group will therefore have to look in particular at the additional preventive and, if necessary, mitigation measures that could be put in place, if necessary," the Health Department said in a statement.Concern about indoor air quality has been heightened in the province, which on Monday reported 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 additional deaths linked to the virus, along with an increase in hospitalizations and patients in intensive care.The results announced Monday were from tests done mostly in so-called cold zones without COVID-19 patients, but some were in hot zones, and the testing covered different kinds of ventilation systems, including just open windows.The results for Quebec City came back at 651 parts per million and at 707 parts per million in central Quebec — both below the maximum target of 1,110.But one Montreal health official questioned whether the ventilation systems in place in long-term care centres are adequate to deal with a disease as contagious as COVID-19.Francine Dupuis is associate CEO of the Montreal regional health authority that on Sunday had to transfer 20 COVID-19 patients from a long-term care home, the Maimonides Geriatric Centre, to local hospitals.“We are waiting for the recommendations of public health, but probably too many people at the same place is not a good idea for the ventilation system,” Dupuis said in an interview Sunday.“These ventilation systems have been created for long-term care facilities, not acute care facilities like hospitals."In some cases, authorities are emptying wards to air them out before bringing patients back, but Dupuis says the cost of upgrading ventilation systems in long-term care would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.On Tuesday, Quebec's schools will also have their air quality tested. Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge, in announcing tests last week, said any necessary improvements would be made over the Christmas break.Last week, a group of doctors and experts concerned about air quality in schools and the transmission of COVID-19 unveiled the results of a clandestine project where teachers measured air quality in 25 classrooms, finding that 75 per cent had CO2 levels that exceeded acceptable levels.Authorities did not hold a briefing on Monday as Montreal led the way in new infections, reporting 400 new confirmed cases, followed by the Monteregie, the greater Quebec City region, Saguenay Lac-St-Jean and Lanaudiere."The situation of the last days is worrying," Dube said via his Twitter account on Monday. "I would remind you that we must continue to respect all measures and limit our contacts for (a reduction in) the number of cases."Eight deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours while 14 others were from the last week.The province has now reported 142,371 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,056 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, adding another 1,108 recoveries for a total of 122,014.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.— With files from Jillian Kestler-D'Amours in Montreal.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
A new children's book called A Lemon Tree for Wilshire was inspired by a Calgarian's personal journey with infertility.Gina Thornton, the author of the book, says she wrote it as a tribute to her two children, William and Scarlett, as way to explain their "special" birth story."The concept was inspired by my family's personal journey with infertility and pregnancy loss, and highlights the experience of families growing through non-traditional paths," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.She says that in their family's case, they received help from an egg donor. At the fertility clinic, Thornton says, it was stressed by a psychologist that in the future, they should explain to their children how they were conceived. "I personally struggled with, 'How do you communicate this in a way that's both relatable to our children but also in a manner that was completely transparent?'""We initially set out to find children's books that we could use as a tool to help guide this discussion."That's when Thornton realized there was a gap in children's books that talked about infertility and egg donors."We found countless books that focused on adoption and other alternative family dynamics," she said."So once I recognized there was a bit of a space in the market, I set out to write a story that focused on these important topics."The story follows a child who plans on growing his family tree by venturing out and exploring lemon trees. Thornton's son, William, was the main character, and in order to bring both his and his sister's perspective into the book, the mom says she would press them with questions."I told them that I was working on a special project and I needed some feedback on trees and how they like to play in trees," she said.She says she kept the final reveal of the book a surprise and that her children's reaction was something she will keep close forever."The book has done exactly what I had hoped it would do in terms of prompting some additional dialogue and questions with our children about their amazing story," she said.A Lemon Tree for Wilshire is available for purchase on Thornton's website.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Monday is the last night to weigh in on the City of Edmonton's plan to revamp a core part of Edmonton's river valley. The City's Touch the Water Promenade project proposes redesigning a four-kilometre stretch of land just north of the North Saskatchewan River, between the Groat Road Bridge and the Rossdale neighbourhood. Two riverfront promenade concepts — developed after a round of public consultation last fall — are up for discussion. The Gateways concept proposes creating three large gathering places, as well as restoring the buried Groat Ravine creek. The Threads concept proposes more gathering spaces of a smaller size along the edge of the river. Portions of this plan include separated pathways, accommodating both active commuters and pedestrians who prefer exploring the area at a slower pace. Both plans feature more diverse plants and a widened pathway running along the entire stretch of land. An online poll suggests the Threads proposal is most popular, with 55 per cent of 303 votes cast for that concept, but the Gateways concept has its defenders. Claire MacDonald, who submitted her opinions about both concepts to the City earlier this month, said a daylit creek, educational opportunities and other amenities included in the Gateways plan could attract people who might not otherwise visit the river valley. "What I love about it is that they are creating spaces where people of all abilities are able to gather," she said. Elizabeth Cytko also prefers the Gateways concept. She said she supports the Groat Ravine creek daylighting and preserving natural areas over building more concrete paths. Though she likes the project in general, she said she worries both plans do not go far enough in recognizing the significance of the Rossdale area for First Nations and Métis peoples. "I know the city has done consultation, but when I look at the plan, I wonder if that consultation is reflected in the plan," she said. In a post on its website, Bike Edmonton, the non-profit society formerly known as the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, praised the Threads concept for prioritizing connectivity and movement but criticized both plans for lacking shelters from the elements. "Having places where you can shelter and warm up is really important," Bike Edmonton's executive director Christopher Chan said in an interview, pointing out that cyclists, runners and pedestrians use the river valley year-round. Shelters would also make the area more accessible to people who cannot be out for very long in the cold, he added. Some residents question the purpose of the entire project, from a cost and ecological conservation perspective. A Facebook post by the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition argued that the river valley should be protected and restored, not further degraded. Construction funding for the project has not been approved, nor have costs been determined for implementing each concept. "We'll be ready for funding when it becomes available," said Geoff Smith, general supervisor of open space planning and design at the City of Edmonton. "We can complete the planning phase of this project within this mandate of Council, and then it likely will be for future councils to decide which components of the projects they would like to advance," he said.
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
CHICAGO — Toronto FC striker Ayo Akinola has been rewarded for his breakthrough MLS season with a call-up to the U.S. national team. The 20-year-old has been invited to the U.S. training camp for a Dec. 9 exhibition against El Salvador in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.Akinola was born in Detroit and moved to Canada at the age of one. He is eligible for play for the U.S., Canada and Nigeria with Canadian team officials hoping he will eventually choose their side. His younger brother Tom has spent time in the Canadian youth ranks.The U.S-El Salvador game is a friendly so Ayo's international options remain open.The powerful young forward already has ties to U.S. Soccer, however. He played for the U.S. at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and was on the roster for the 2019 U-20 World Cup before hurting an ankle, which caused him to be dropped.He made his pro debut for Toronto II on June 15, 2016, and his MLS debut on July 4, 2018.He turned heads this season with five goals in his first two games at the MLS is Back Tournament in July. Akinola finished the season with nine goals in 15 games.Efrain Alvarez, an L.A. Galaxy midfielder who started for Mexico in last year’s final of the Under-17 World Cup, was also called up.Alvarez can become eligible to play for the U.S. and would have to apply to FIFA for a one-time switch of association. Eleven of the other 21 players could make U.S. debuts.Alvarez was born in Los Angeles on June 19, 2002, and played for the U.S. Under-15 team before switching to Mexico’s U-15s. He scored four goals in seven matches at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, including a 79th-minute equalizer on a 26-yard free kick against the Netherlands in the semifinals, a game El Tri won on penalty kicks.Alvarez was 15 when he made his professional debut for the United Soccer League’s LA Galaxy II on Oct. 7, 2017, and 16 when he made his Major League Soccer debut for the Galaxy on March 2, 2019. He scored his first MLS goal against Portland this Sept. 2.Daryl Dike, an 18-year-old Orlando forward, is also on the roster. Born in Edmund, Oklahoma, he is eligible to play for the U.S. and Nigeria. Dike played for the University of Virginia in 2018 and 2019, then debuted for Orlando this July 25.Other possible debuts include: goalkeepers CJ Dos Santos and David Ochoa; defenders Julian Araujo, Kyle Duncan, Marco Farfan and Mauricio Pineda; midfielders Frankie Amaya and Cole Bassett; and forward Chris Mueller. The roster averaged 22 years, 201 days as of Tuesday and five international appearances.Midfielder Paul Arriola is the most experienced player with 33 appearances. He returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Nov. 8. Arriola, 25, became a U.S. regular before getting hurt during a pre-season game against Orlando on Feb. 15.Midfielders Sebastian Lletget and Kellyn Acosta, and defenders Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman are the only others with more than 10 appearances. Acosta has not played for the U.S. since January 2019.Because the match is not on a FIFA fixture date, clubs are not required to release players.Dos Santos is the lone Europe-based player. No players were included from the teams remaining in the MLS playoffs: Columbus, Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Seattle New England, though some could be added from the losers of this week’s Dallas-Seattle and Minnesota-Kansas City matches.The Americans returned to the field this month for the first time since March with a 0-0 draw at Wales and a 6-2 win over Panama in Austria, using mostly Europe-based players.The U.S. is preparing for the delayed start of World Cup qualifying next September. Next year’s schedule also includes the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal against Honduras in June, followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 10-Aug. 1, a tournament most top players are likely to skip.Four matches this year are the fewest for the U.S. since it played three in 1987.The roster:Goalkeepers: CJ Dos Santos (Benfica, Portugal), Bill Hamid (D.C.), David Ochoa (Salt Lake)Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Marco Farfan (Portland), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago), Sam Vines (Colorado), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado), Frankie Amaya (Cincinnati), Cole Bassett (Colorado), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)Forwards: Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Paul Arriola (D.C.), Daryl Dike (Orlando), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Chris Mueller (Orlando).\---With files from The Associated Press This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020The Canadian Press
“Divorce is hell,” begins Justice Cary Boswell’s decision in finding that a Barrie man intentionally ran down his neighbour and “erstwhile best friend” whom he believed was having an affair with his wife. “This is a case where Mr. Pacheco was clearly angry at his wife and (the neighbour) for their relationship,” Boswell wrote in his Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision released Nov. 6. The fact-finding hearing followed Isidoro Pacheco’s guilty plea to dangerous driving causing bodily harm to resolve contested facts Boswell said were relevant to sentencing. Pacheco maintained he didn’t mean to run the man over with his pickup truck during the late summer of 2018, but the Crown prosecutor said he did it on purpose. Boswell found Pacheco was agitated and distressed as he drove along Baker Crescent — near Bayfield Street and Ferris Lane in north-end Barrie — when he saw the neighbour in his driveway helping his wife move out. The neighbour testified that that morning, while helping Pacheco’s wife move, he spotted Pacheco’s truck coming around a bend on his street and as it neared, accelerating, coming right at him with Pacheco yelling out the open window “You son of a bitch!" He, as well as Pacheco’s wife, told the court they weren’t having an affair in September 2018 and claimed Pacheco’s suspicions were not grounded in reality at the time, the judge observed, pointing out the former wife and neighbour now live together. The judge found Pacheco to undoubtedly be remorseful, having difficulty speaking about it to the court, breaking into tears and hyperventilating. But he ultimately concluded Pacheco did aim his truck at his neighbour on purpose. He said there had been a heated dispute the night before after Pacheco saw his wife and neighbour at a laundromat. He was then up all night and in an agitated state, finally breaking down at work and was sent home. Then, as he headed home, he came upon the moving scene, making it more likely for him to react impulsively and angrily, the judge found. “There is no reason for his truck to have left the travelled roadway and made a direct line at (the neighbour), save for active steering in that direction. Mr. Pacheco’s account of how the truck came to leave the road is simply unbelievable,” the judge concluded. “Despite having two flat tires he nevertheless maintained a straight trajectory… “I am satisfied that the only reasonable conclusion on the evidence I accept and rely upon is that the collision was intentional.” Pacheco is scheduled to return to court Dec. 4 for sentencing.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
CANOE COVE – For three-year-old Jake Kislingbury, it sure is good to be home from the hospital. "He was just petrified for such a long time," his mother Verity said. The Canoe Cove boy started having bad headaches in May. He was soon airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax due to a rare, aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma, which had spread so rapidly from his sinuses it's left him permanently blind. Jake, the son of Verity and Dave Kislingbury, had to stay at the hospital from May to October, and he and his family still have a long road ahead. So, in support of the Kislingburys, the community is using its annual Christmas event to raise funds for their neighbours this December. "That's what the community is here for," neighbour Chrys Jenkins said. This marks Chrys and Doreen Jenkins' 10th year hosting the Drive-Thru Living Nativity at their farmhouse in Canoe Cove. Organizers welcome everyone to witness the Jenkins' Christmas light display and nativity scene – complete with farm animals and in-character volunteers – from the comfort of their vehicles Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each night. Plans for the drive-thru nativity started in September and there will be a few differences from past years, such as the addition of Santa and his sleigh. "Instead of the (usual) choir," Doreen said, "because of COVID." Jake and Verity got to check out the sleigh in advance of the event. Jake would often hold his mother's hand while walking around, and he had a fun time meeting the Jenkins' animals, playing with his toys and chatting it up as any three-year-old would. "He's gained his character back," Verity said. "We lost that for a while." During his time in the hospital, there were many nights where she would have to sleep in his bed to help comfort him. He clutched to his parents' promise that they would get him and his brother, William, a dog after treatment, which they'd train as a service dog, Verity said. "That's what got him through," she said. "It was tough." "But we got through," Jake said, unprompted, in response to his mother. The Kislingburys had volunteered with the drive-thru nativity for several years before and are grateful for the Jenkins' generosity in hosting it. All freewill donations will go toward general expenses incurred from Jake's treatment, and possibly toward a trust fund for his future. "It's a whole life change for all of us, really," Verity said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
REGINA — Premier Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party government says it will work to preserve people's "lives and livelihoods" as the province battles its worst spread of COVID-19 since the pandemic arrived. Lt.-Gov. Russell Mirasty delivered the throne speech Monday to start a new legislative session. Physically distanced politicians wore masks and sat behind desks with $12,000 worth of new Plexiglas shields. The speech said the top priority for the government is to contain spread of the novel coronavirus. "Saskatchewan is facing the most difficult moment of the pandemic to date," Mirasty read from the speech. "At the same time as we are working to protect lives, my government is also taking steps to protect livelihoods. We can, and will, do both." The government said more measures to fight COVID-19 "will be added if needed" on top of recently imposed public health orders that limit capacity in public venues to 30 people and ban most team sports for the next three weeks. The speech also detailed how the government plans to fulfil campaign promises Moe made before the Sask. Party was re-elected in October. The first piece of legislation to be introduced in the two-week sitting will be for a home renovation tax credit. Moe's government also intends to introduce legislation allowing victims of sexual assault in a rental home to break a long-term lease. And there is to be legislation that provides greater protection against human trafficking. Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili called the speech status quo and criticized it for failing to address the toll the pandemic is taking on health care and small businesses by not promising extra supports. “Businesses are being told to stay open while their customers are being urged to stay home: it’s a recipe for economic disaster,” Meili said in a news release. “We need clear, consistent messaging and a real plan that helps people – instead of mixed messages and half-measures that won’t get the job done." The speech opened with some familiar thank-you messages. "Thank you to the people of Saskatchewan for working together to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The last few months have been difficult for everyone in our province and there are still challenging days ahead." It went on to give a nod to those "in our health-care system — doctors, nurses, technologists, pharmacists, cooks, cleaners, maintenance workers, and the students, volunteers and retirees supporting the effort." Some of the phrases were exactly the same as ones used by Moe during a televised address in the spring, when he announced non-essential businesses could start reopening because the COVID-19 curve had been flattened. At that time, Saskatchewan had recorded 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19. On Monday, the province announced 325 new cases in one day, for a total of 8,239 infections. "The last few weeks have been difficult for everyone," Moe said in the April speech. "Thank you to everyone working in our health-care system. Doctors, nurses, technologists and pharmacists. Cooks, cleaners and maintenance workers. Students, volunteers and retirees who have returned to the workforce." Both the address and the speech also thanked "workers delivering food and parcels to our homes. The truckers keeping our supplies moving … the utility workers ensuring we have power, heat and clean water." Moe's press secretary said workers are being praised as they were in the spring because it is deserved. "As Saskatchewan is faced with increased case numbers placing greater strain on these same workers, saying thank you is even more relevant and important today, particularly in an event as significant as the throne speech," Julie Leggott told The Canadian Press. "The use of similar language is an acknowledgment that the same workers have consistently risen to the challenges brought by COVID-19, and continue to deserve our thanks for doing so." After the throne speech, Moe said discussions are still underway as to what supports could be provided to businesses and individuals hit hard by the pandemic. He said he couldn't provide a timeline on when a decision would be made but noted that in the spring his government helped people through programs like an emergency grant for small businesses and financial aid for people self-isolating. "We have been there throughout this pandemic to support not only the jobs in our communities but to support the individuals. And we're continuing to look at ways that we may be required to do that." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The big takeaways for agriculture in Ontario’s behemoth $187 billion 2020 budget are funding for rural broadband infrastructure and the Agri-Food Prevention and Control Innovation Program. The provincial government has made available an additional $680 million across four years to bring reliable internet connectivity to rural and underserved areas of the province. “We look forward to seeing that infrastructure actually put in the ground,” said Peggy Brekveld, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s newly elected president. Over three years, the budget allots $25.5 million to the Agri-Food Prevention and Control Innovation Program. The cost-sharing funds are available for projects to mitigate disruptions to farm business from COVID-19 through technology. Brekveld said she believes the funds “will help us continue to find ways to innovate and invest in new technologies” to push back against COVID-19's effects on the sector. The budget reads that innovation funding will lead to “increased efficiencies and productivity” while supporting “resilience and long-term sustainability and growth in the agri-food sector.” Bill George, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, also highlighted the innovation funding as the budget’s main appeal for the agri-food sector. “There’s not a lot really other than that,” he said. Only a small element of the budget, there’s also $5 million set out for Ontario’s struggling agricultural and horticultural societies. For the societies, who put on many of the province’s fall fairs (there are three in Niagara put on by agricultural societies) the funding is significant. Speaking to Niagara This Week for a November story on the funding, Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies manager, Vince Brennan, said he’s never seen anything like it before and called it the “single largest influx of dollars for our organizations.” For the 2020-21 fiscal year, a record provincial deficit of $38.5 billion is projected in the budget. Reflected as a percentage, the net debt of the deficit makes up 47 per cent of all of Ontario’s economic production or gross domestic production (GDP). Ontario’s GDP is also projected to fall 6.5 per cent during 2020. Two deficit outlook scenarios are presented, one for slow growth and another for faster. Under a fast growth projection, the provincial deficit by the 2022-23 fiscal year would decline to $21.3 billion. Under slow growth, the projection for the same period would be a decline to $33.4 billion. Currently, the 2020 budget projects the deficit to decline to $28.2 billion for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Of the total $187 billion in spending in the 2020 budget, $12.5 billion is forecasted to be spent on paying interest on government debt. There is also $2.5 billion being kept in reserve to weather any unforeseen circumstances. There was no plan presented to balance the multi-year budget, as is required by law, and the province will be seeking a pause on the requirement given the "volatile and uncertain economic situation” of the pandemic. The province plans to table a path to balance in the 2021 budget.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born. (Dec. 1)
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
The CBSA says health-care workers who could qualify for permanent residency under Quebec's deal with Ottawa to protect the province's so-called "guardian angels" will be able to stay for now.The federal agency received swift criticism from Quebec immigration lawyers Monday evening, after it sent an email warning them it had lifted a months-long moratorium on deportations.Several lawyers pointed out that the deal between Quebec and Ottawa had not yet been ratified and that, legally, the CBSA could remove asylum seekers working in hospitals and long-term care homes before the province determines if they are eligible for residency under its new program.But the CBSA says that is not the case. In a statement sent to CBC Monday night, CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said "the agency will not be removing those who may be eligible to qualify for permanent residency under the guardian angels public policy."The number of deportations will "continue to be significantly reduced for some time, and all individuals will continue to have access to all recourse they are entitled to under the law," Purdy said.The head of Quebec's association of immigration lawyers, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, says the CBSA's announcement won't do much to calm the anxiety that many asylum seekers are dealing with, since they worked essential jobs during the pandemic's first wave that do not qualify under the policy for "guardian angels." "At this time, the program that's been announced only targets orderlies and assistant nurses, and not more," Cliche-Rivard told CBC Montreal's Daybreak."In a second wave of COVID-19 where a lot of provinces are hitting new records, unfortunately, regarding cases per day, are we capable of affording losing janitors or people cleaning hospitals?"A spokesperson for Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault said Quebec is working to launch the program soon, but didn't say when that could be."We are counting on the full co-operation of the federal government to get the program up and running as quickly as possible," the spokesperson, Flore Bouchon, wrote in an emailed statement.CBSA's director general of enforcement, Chris Lorenz, informed immigration lawyers in an email Monday the agency would be resuming deportations Nov. 30, after consulting with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. "This decision was made taking into account the various global factors with respect to COVID-19, such as a gradual reopening of countries, the emergence of viable vaccination options, and coordinated strategies amongst countries and air transport companies to mitigate possible transmission," Lorenz wrote.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was somber today as she announced 46 more people lost their lives to COVID-19 last weekend. Eighty per cent of these people were living in longterm care, which Henry says speaks to the fact that the virus can cause such devastation when it gets into care homes. Health Minister Adrian Dix added that this is a “difficult and gutting time under these circumstances.” Henry listed five new healthcare outbreaks and declared two to be over. There are now 62 active outbreaks in the healthcare sector, including 57 in longterm care or assisted living facilities and five in acute care facilities. These outbreaks currently account for 1,338 active cases, including 847 residents and 487 staff members. Under current rules, staff at longterm care homes can only work at one location, but are permitted to have secondary employment such as being a private home aide. Dix said that the single-site order is “critically important,” but that all people are part of the order that aims to protect longterm care. “We can’t prevent people from having the means to live and the needs that they have in their family, but we do pay a lot of attention—all of us in healthcare—to making sure that we’re monitoring our health every day before we’re going to work and making sure that we’re not participating in risky activities,” said Henry. Between Friday and Sunday, there were 2,077 new cases of COVID-19 around the province—750 of those from Friday to Saturday, 731 Saturday to Sunday, and 596 in the last 24 hours. Three of the weekend’s new cases are epidemiologically linked. Henry also noted an additional 277 historical cases in the Fraser Health region based on the data correction from last week, bringing BC’s cumulative case total to 33,238. Of the new cases, 371 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 1,365 in the Fraser Health region, 58 in the Island Health region, 212 in the Interior Health region, 73 in the Northern Health region and one new case in a person who normally lives outside Canada. The number of active cases has risen to 8,855. There are 316 people in hospital across BC—a number that has doubled in less than three weeks—of whom 75 are in critical care. There are 10,139 people being actively monitored by public health. One new community outbreak was announced at Newton elementary school in Surrey, which has been closed for the next two weeks with students and staff self-isolating. For a list of community exposure events, click here. For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
The Yukon government has rescinded approval of a controversial resource road that would have opened ATAC Resources’ access to vast mineral claims in the Beaver River watershed. A spokesperson with Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources confirmed the decision Monday in an email to The Narwhal. The 65-kilometre ATAC road, which was given a conditional green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2017, would have created all-seasons access to a portion of the company’s three mineral claims that form the Rackla gold property. The new route would have connected Keno City to the Tiger gold deposit, the site of a proposed open-pit gold mine where ATAC Resources hoped to produce 268,000 ounces of gold. Those who worried the road would have opened an undisturbed watershed to scalable development welcomed the news. “I am ecstatic,” Randi Newton, conservation manager with the Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), told The Narwhal. “I’ve hoped for this outcome for many years, and it’s a relief that it’s finally here.” “What this decision does is remove a major looming threat to the environment of the Beaver River watershed and it creates the opportunity to set down a sustainable vision for that watershed,” Newton said. ATAC Resources, a Vancouver-based exploration company, is seeking legal counsel regarding the decision, according to Andrew Carne, the company’s vice-president of corporate and project development. “ATAC does not agree with many material aspects of the government’s decision,” Carne said in an email to The Narwhal. “The Tiger gold deposit remains a high-quality advanced-stage exploration asset with significant value to be unlocked.” A spokesperson with Energy, Mines and Resources said the department was unable to immediately provide comment. The proposed ATAC road would have provided an initial entrance to the company’s 185 kilometres of mineral claims and exploratory projects. During the road’s assessment and eventual approval by the Yukon government in 2018, many conservation groups and Yukoners expressed concern the road would act as an invitation to further industrial incursion in the watershed. ATAC Resources currently accesses its claims through a series of trails and by air, making exploration work costly. The prospect of a new road caused concern for the CPAWS, which noted easy access could lead to an avalanche of new development proposals, none of which were considered as part of the proposed route’s cumulative impact when it was approved. The road flamed frustrations that mineral development is allowed despite the absence of completed land use plans. In a recent public engagement process conducted by an independent review panel, participants pointed to the ATAC road as an example of Yukon’s failure to consider the cumulative impacts of mining and industrial development on the landscape. A report released by the panel found the road “was used as an example of a poor consultative process, where free entry staking was used for the purpose of creating road access to a property against the wishes of the First Nation and community.” The panel found the road’s approval led to the retroactive creation of “a sub-regional land use planning process outside of Chapter 11, with the assumption made by many that the future road would be part of the plan and the landscape.” One participant told the panel, “This is planning done entirely backwards and driven by private industry action without consideration of actual community- and Indigenous-driven processes.” The sub-regional land use plan for the Beaver River watershed was conducted by the Yukon government and the Na-cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, on whose territory the ATAC Resources’ gold claims are located. Without the ATAC road, some hope the sub-regional land use plan can be scrapped for a broader land use plan that will encompass the entire Beaver River region. “What this has done is create space to develop a land use plan that’s right for the region, that respects the long relationship that the First Nation of Na-cho Nyäk Dun has with the land, that respects the ties that Yukoners have to the Beaver River and respects the wild creatures that live there,” Newton said. Na-cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Roads can literally slice and dice the environment, affecting the habitat and ingrained migratory patterns of wildlife. The Beaver River watershed is home to moose, wolves and grizzly bears. The ATAC road would have crossed through wetlands and over rivers, potentially disrupting otherwise intact ecosystems, Newton said. She added the road would have introduced a cascade of impacts to the watershed, including opening up the region to new hunting pressure. “There’s beautiful salmon habitat in the Beaver River watershed that could have been impacted,” Newton said. “This 65-kilometre road was very likely the start of what would have been a very long road network.” CPAWS recently released a report that cautioned the assessment board against approving road projects before land use plans are completed. “Land use planning can take that broader view of how much development is allowable in an area, which areas should we keep remote and free of roads,” Malkolm Boothroyd, the report’s author and campaigns co-ordinator at the Yukon chapter of CPAWS, told The Narwhal in a previous interview. “I think we’re hoping that Yukoners will talk about it and figure out how many roads there should be in this territory and what areas we want to keep road-free,” he said. “I think what’s very special about the Yukon is that there are still areas that you can’t drive to. That’s incredible habitat for caribou and grizzly bears and that’s really rare in this day and age.”Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Yukon confirmed another new COVID-19 case on Monday afternoon, bringing the territory's active case count to 17.The government has not issued any additional public exposure notifications, and did not identify the location of the latest case on its website update.The new case comes after Yukon confirmed one new case Sunday, and three new cases Friday evening.There are currently several active public exposure notifications in the territory. You can find them all here.Yukon has confirmed a total of 47 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 29 people considered recovered. One person has died in the territory.
HALIFAX — For eight long hours, Nick Beaton was in agony as he waited to learn what had happened to his missing wife.By the early afternoon on April 19, he knew a lone gunman disguised as a Mountie had killed several people in rural Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer shot him dead at a gas station north of Halifax.And he knew a woman had been killed on a road in nearby Debert, N.S., but no one would tell him who it was."I just wanted to know," Beaton said in an interview. "Maybe it wasn't her out there. Maybe she's just wounded and down a side road bleeding out. Maybe I can go and help her. Maybe I can save her. Eight hours of that."At 5:50 p.m., two plainclothes officers arrived to deliver the awful news: his wife Kristen was dead, one of the gunman's 22 victims — though Beaton insists the number should be 23 because the official count does not include the couple's unborn child."I was in my backyard bawling my eyes out, and I was on my knees praying," Beaton said, his voice cracking with emotion. Seven months later, Beaton says he wants to know why it took so long for the RCMP to tell him what had happened that grim day.That question will be among the many complex and heartbreaking issues that will be examined by a federal-provincial inquiry that is now preparing for public hearings. The three commissioners leading the inquiry were handed broad terms of reference on Oct. 20. Here are four other questions they will face:1\. Were red flags ignored before the shooting started?The RCMP have confirmed the gunman killed 13 people near his summer residence in Portapique, N.S., on the night of April 18, and another nine people the following day in northern and central Nova Scotia.In all, Gabriel Wortman spent 13 hours killing people he knew and others he didn't.Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says there's evidence to suggest that key warning signs were ignored long before the shooting started."A lot of people knew that Mr. Wortman was a pretty troubled individual who was doing some odd things," MacKay said in an interview. "But nothing was done."As early as May 2011, police in Nova Scotia were told Wortman had said he wanted to "kill a cop" and was feeling mentally unstable. An officer safety bulletin, distributed by the Truro Police Service, said a police source had indicated Wortman was upset about a police investigation, had access to weapons and was having some "mental issues."An RCMP spokeswoman confirmed the police force received the bulletin, but Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said she couldn't comment on how the Mounties responded, because the records were purged long ago. The one-page bulletin, however, wasn't the first detailed warning that police received about the shooter.Former neighbour Brenda Forbes says that in the summer of 2013, she told the RCMP that Wortman owned a cache of weapons and was prone to domestic violence. She said neighbours described how he had beaten his common-law spouse behind one of the properties he owned in Portapique.But none of those neighbours would corroborate the story to police at the time. MacKay said the behaviour of those people deserves closer scrutiny. "The failure of others to substantiate and support her statements on either the firearms or domestic violence led (the police) to do nothing," MacKay said.2\. What role did misogyny and sexism play in the mass killing?After the killings, several of the gunman's neighbours came forward to describe the man as jealous, controlling and abusive. And police confirmed that on the night the killing started, he had bound and attacked his longtime partner.The inquiry has been tasked with examining the role of intimate-partner violence, which is something activists Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald say is key to explaining what happened."His neighbours were afraid of him, and he had a history of violence," said Sarson, who together with MacDonald founded the advocacy group Persons Against Non-State Torture. "The women he was connected to, he didn't respect their equality."MacDonald said exploring the role of gender-based violence will be important because there is evidence of a link between misogyny and mass killings. "If we understand the impact of misogyny and sexism, we'll start to prevent atrocities like this," she said.Researchers say the motives of men who commit mass shootings are often complex and difficult to discern, but one factor connects many of them: a history of hating women.In more than half of all mass shootings in the United States from 2009 to 2017, an intimate partner or family member of the perpetrator was among the victims, according to a study by the U.S. gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.3\. What could the RCMP have done to end the carnage sooner?For Nova Scotia lawyer Robert Pineo, this is the key question facing the inquiry. "It just seems to me like a complete failure in tactics and command," he said in an interview. Pineo says there is evidence the RCMP's efforts to track and contain the killer were inadequate."We know that not very many police were dispatched to Portapique in the beginning hours," said Pineo, whose law firm is behind two proposed class-lawsuits, one that names the gunman's estate and another that names the RCMP and the Nova Scotia government.He also raised questions about the number of roadblocks that were set up and the warnings issued to the public as the killer eluded police while driving a car that he had modified to look exactly like an RCMP cruiser.The RCMP have faced criticism for failing to use a national alert system, which would have allowed them to warn residents about an active shooter through messages on TV, radio and wireless devices. Instead, they used Twitter to provide updates on the killer's last known whereabouts.Beaton said the use of Twitter never made sense to him. "We got (Alert Ready) texts about COVID, but we didn't get alerts about a crazed gunman shooting, killing and burning things," he said.4\. Did the perpetrator have ties to the Mounties or organized crime?Published reports citing anonymous sources have suggested the shooter was an informant for the RCMP and may have had links to organized crime. The RCMP have denied having any relationship with the killer.MacKay, however, says the Mounties are constrained from saying anything publicly about their sources to ensure their safety."If there is some kind of link, and they are not telling the truth about that, my understanding is that there is nothing illegal in that if it is to protect the identity of an informant," MacKay said. "They can legally misinform people right up to the courts. But they are not allowed to lie to judges about that."Since the upcoming inquiry has quasi-judicial status and will require testimony under oath, this could put the RCMP in a difficult position."If there was a link, then it raises questions about how much they knew about his questionable character," MacKay said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
COVID-19. En date du 27 novembre, 3359 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2659 élèves et 700 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1013 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1018 classes sont fermées. Trois écoles sont fermées ou partiellement fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 2070. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Montreal police say they'll step up their presence in the northeast of the city after four shootings in a five-hour span Sunday that left at least three people injured."Police officers from different units will be more visible on the ground to reassure the population while others carry out priority investigations to identify those responsible," the force said in a statement Monday. "These events underscore the importance of continuing to work on the gun violence that troubles our communities and undermines our sense of security."Police said no arrests had been made in connection with the attacks, which spanned roughly five hours beginning with a report of gunshots in Montreal North on Sunday evening around 5:30 p.m.Police found no victim but there was evidence of gunfire and shell casings near a parked car, and shortly afterwards a man in his 20s showed up in a hospital in serious condition requiring emergency surgery.About 9:30 p.m., first responders found a man in his 50s who was shot while parking his car at his home in the Riviere-des-Prairies district and was rushed to hospital.Just 10 minutes later, shots rang out in the parking lot of an apartment in the same neighbourhood, with a bullet striking a car that had at least one person in it before a suspect fled the scene.And at about 10:20 p.m., a man on his balcony was struck by bullet fired from ground level, leading to a man in his 20s being transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.Police said they would meet with residents in the area soon to discuss measures to better secure neighbourhoods.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press