For years, Danica Schiller has been living comfortably with her family in their house in Johnson Heights, a rural neighbourhood in eastern Revelstoke, B.C. — until recently.Last week, she was among 52 residents in the area who wrote to the city council opposing Revelstoke Mountain Resort's construction of temporary housing at their doorsteps, which will house the workforce for a new development.The resort company plans to build a hotel, conference centre and permanent employee housing units over the next three years.Following the city's requirements, it applied for a three-year temporary use permit to establish a makeshift residential complex for 60 workers — made of trailer units — on 12 hectares of land it owns at 1121 Johnson Way off the Trans Canada Highway. The site will also include parking for 75 vehicles.Many Johnson Heights residents are angered and concerned by the proposal.The workers' accommodation will be located near the already busy intersection with Highway 1 that residents have to drive through in order to get to and from downtown Revelstoke. They fear the increase in traffic will lengthen wait times at the intersection and raise the risk of traffic accidents in their neighbourhood. "To be able to turn up here and to leave the neighbourhood up here [by driving] is extremely difficult," said Schiller. "Obviously, they [construction workers] are going to have their personal vehicles."In their submissions to the council, some residents say they believe the white trailers as well as the noise and extra garbage created by temporary workers will harm the the neighbourhood's idyllic character and may depreciate the value of property there.On Tuesday, city council approved the resort's permit application, but, in the face of mounting public resistance, limited the permit's validity to two years.Mayor Gary Sulz favoured either a two- or three-year permit. He says his city's bylaw allows work camps to be built on rural residential lands like 1121 Johnson Way. Sulz says he cannot understand Johnson Heights residents' concern about increased traffic."They [Revelstoke Mountain Resort] are going to be using buses to shuttle people [construction workers]," he told Brady Strachan, guest host of CBC's Daybreak South. "I don't believe that there's going to be a problem."The mayor admits vehicle speeding has always been an issue at the junction of Johnson Way and the Trans Canada Highway. The city is working on a neighbourhood plan that includes building a road that connects Johnson Heights directly to downtown Revelstoke, but this plan has yet to be approved by the city council.Sulz says work camp trailers will be painted with earth colours in order to blend into the environment. Fences around the housing site and forests nearby could reduce noise, he said — not that he thinks there will be a lot of that."They [construction workers] will probably be working 10, 12 hours a day, and then they're going to want to get to sleep [at the camp]."Revelstoke Mountain Resort could potentially apply to the city council to extend the permit for three more years.Tap the link below to listen to Danica Schiller and Gary Sulz on Daybreak South:
The presidential dreams Joe Biden harboured since childhood seemed on the verge of extinction for a third, and final, time.On an unusually cold late-winter morning in South Carolina, a few dozen people had gathered to hear him speak at a school gym.He was getting clobbered by Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. A virus, meanwhile, was on the verge of clobbering the United States.Biden won South Carolina's primary on Feb. 29, then forced most rivals out of the race and romped to one of the most head-spinning comebacks in American political history.And if he winds up winning the presidency on Tuesday, as current polls suggest is likely, let the record show that Biden was saved by Black voters in South Carolina.Saved by people like Al Davis. As he stood in line in the municipality of Sumter that February morning waiting for Biden to speak, the retired air force veteran laid out his political calculus for backing the former vice-president."He's the man that can beat Trump," Davis said, expressing doubts about Sanders's viability in a general election against U.S. President Donald Trump.Biden did what came naturally to him that morning, as a self-described people-person politician who prized interaction over ideology. The scene, in retrospect, is like a remnant from a bygone pre-pandemic era. He shook hands, lingering for an hour after his speech, posed for pictures and stood shoulder to shoulder with strangers as they posed for pictures.Trump, meanwhile, was doing what came naturally to him. The Republican president flew into the state for a rally, to steal the show from Democrats. Trump held huge rallies before primaries in South Carolina and elsewhere; before caucuses in Iowa and Nevada; during the Democratic convention in Wisconsin, even though few Democrats were actually in the state because they were practising physical distancing.Trump underscored a point again, and again, all year: that he was the biggest draw.Biden strategy: A Trump, Trump, Trump electionThe president might have played right into the game plan of his rivals: Democrats were perfectly happy to have him hog the spotlight.They wanted this election to be about Trump.In a presentation to party volunteers in May, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon put up polling data showing Trump with an approval rating of 41 per cent.Her point? If Trump remained front and centre on voters' minds when they cast their ballots, he would likely lose the race in November. "This election is a referendum on Donald Trump," said O'Malley Dillon, who was an adviser on the Trudeau Liberals' 2015 Canadian federal campaign."A significant number of voters [believe] he's not doing a good job as president. And that's what we're going to focus on."So Biden did something that ran against every fibre of the political reputation he had built over a nearly five-decade career: He let the other guy talk more.When a radio interviewer who goes by the stage name Charlamagne Tha God accused Biden in May of running a low-energy, low-visibility campaign, the candidate fired back."The more he talks, the better off I am," Biden said. "I'm ahead in all the national polls."That interview underscored the notion that, for Biden, speaking less might be the safer play.WATCH | Joe Biden celebrates primary victory in South Carolina:The only news headline generated by that exchange was an ill-conceived remark — Biden told Charlamagne that if he, an African-American voter, wasn't certain to favour Biden over Trump, then, "You ain't Black."The lower-key campaign approach was enabled by the pandemic.As live events became riskier and as physical distancing became politically popular, Biden mostly did virtual events from home, venturing out intermittently; the Trump campaign repeatedly mocked him for it.It's an improbable late-career plot twist for Biden.In past campaigns, Biden was the bigger talkerFor the first few decades of his political life, he had a reputation as a limelight-loving motormouth.In 1986, before his first presidential run, the Washington Post published a profile of the then-senator headlined: "Biden May Try To Talk His Way Into The White House."In that profile, a Republican senator praised Biden as the strongest potential candidate Democrats could field in 1988 — bright, tough, articulate, with just one major defect: "He goes on and on and on," said Sen. Orrin Hatch.A Democratic staffer agreed with that scouting report on Biden's strengths — and that one weakness: "He talks too much…. Sometimes you roll your eyes to the back of your head."Two decades later, there was a similar headline the next time he ran for president. A New York Times headline from 2007 said: "In Iowa Yard, Biden Talks (And Talks) About Experience."Biden dropped out after a poor 2008 showing in Iowa. Meanwhile, he was building a relationship with a rookie senator on the committee he led, the Senate foreign relations committee: Barack Obama.Not exactly known for being stingy with language himself, Obama reportedly once sent a note to an aide during a meandering Biden soliloquy that said: "Shoot. Me. Now."A campaign staffer from Biden's first presidential run decades ago recognizes the irony in this moment — Biden possibly achieving his lifelong dream, by talking less.And that is precisely the right approach to take against Trump, said Eric Andrus, now a communications executive in New York."When your opponent is shooting himself, get out of the way. Don't take one of those bullets," said Andrus, who was Biden's 1988 campaign press spokesperson in New Hampshire.WATCH | What a Biden presidency could mean for Canada:"That's exactly the strategy Biden has adopted. And exactly the one I would urge him to adopt."Andrus said he recalls the dejection he felt when Biden's 1988 bid came to a far earlier, far more ignominious, halt.Biden was forced from that race by a plagiarism scandal — he'd been repeating some lines, without attribution, from a speech by a British Labour leader. Biden also got caught lying about his academic performance.It was so unnecessary to recycle someone else's lines, because Biden was a gifted orator, Andrus said: "He would amaze his audiences."Yet Biden credited that early withdrawal with saving his life.He soon had a near-fatal aneurysm and said he might not have received treatment in time if he'd been on the campaign trail.He remained in the Senate, where he played a key role in what conservatives view as a seminal moment in the escalating partisanship over the U.S. Supreme Court. As head of the judiciary committee, Biden helped block the unpopular 1987 nomination of judge Robert Bork.Andrus hasn't kept in touch with Biden but says he's rooting for him.In a life filled with heartbreak, Biden has remained decent and kind to others, he said. "He's still the same old Joe in a lot of ways. That's very refreshing to see — and comforting," he said."He is [now] on the precipice of reaping a reward he's long sought. I'm being hopeful here."His tragic political entryBiden's first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972, weeks after he was first elected to the Senate at the near-record young age of 29.At the time, Biden had thoughts of ending his own life, says a new biography written by The New Yorker's Evan Osnos. Biden moved out of the house he'd shared with his wife, Neilia, to escape the constant reminders of his loss.He said he stopped making long-term plans. Of his political career, Biden told the Washington Post in 1973, "It may last another six weeks" or "It may last another six years."A profile the following year in The Washingtonian magazine professed to reveal Biden's attitude toward politics: personality matters more than policy in an election.It's reflected in his view of how to get legislation passed.Biden still believes personal relationships can lead to deals in Congress, a view deemed naive by many who consider the era of bipartisanship dead.He insists that younger politicians in Washington are too quick to lecture their political opponents — and too slow to listen to their concerns.Biden's attitude to politics — domestic and foreignThe collegial approach may be deemed anachronistic by many in this era of hyper-partisanship, but it allowed Biden to build a roster of friends in Congress, ranging from the socialist Sanders to the segregationist Strom Thurmond.It's paid off this year in Sanders's full-throated support of Biden. The Vermont senator has backed him with more energy than he did Hillary Clinton in 2016: "I have a better relationship with Joe Biden than I had with [Clinton]," Sanders says.That faith in personal charm extends to foreign policy.Leon Panetta, an official in the last Democratic administrations, describes listening to Biden get chummy in diplomatic phone chats with any of the numerous contacts he's made abroad since his Senate days leading the foreign relations committee."You didn't know whether he was talking to a world leader or the head of the political party in Delaware," Panetta told Osnos.Julianne Smith, a former White House aide to Biden, told Osnos: "You can drop him into Kazakhstan or Bahrain, it doesn't matter — he's gonna find some Joe Blow that he met 30 years ago who's now running the place."That biography, however, describes Biden as carrying some long-standing resentments.He's written about the anger he feels, to this day, about being teased as a child about his stutter. He's occasionally spoken about what he sees as the snobbery of people who have fancy degrees from Ivy League universities.In his recent autobiography, there's even a faint whiff of displeasure toward Obama.Biden wrote that he was close to announcing a presidential run in 2016 — he had endorsements lined up and a headquarters picked out.Yet, Biden writes in Promise Me, Dad, that Obama was "not encouraging," and senior members of Obama's staff were even blunter.Some warned it would be too emotionally difficult — Biden had just lost a second child, his son Beau, to cancer.And they warned he'd be crushed by Hillary Clinton."They were not subtle," Biden wrote of Obama's entourage discouraging him from running four years ago."If [Hillary] almost beat us [in 2008], they implied, she will definitely beat you…. The increasing pushback made everybody [on my team] a little bit angry and a lot determined."Now Obama and Sanders are out campaigning for him, and he's favoured to become, next Tuesday, the oldest person ever elected U.S. president.Problems Biden would faceSanders is reportedly keen on a cabinet post in a Biden administration.According to Osnos's biography, Biden has told Sanders, his old colleague and primary rival, that he intends to usher in the most activist progressive agenda since the first 100 days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was first elected president in 1932.He first has some obstacles to overcome.The most immediate involves the election. While the polls have him favoured, there are tight margins in several swing states and concerns about low turnout in the early voting in some minority communities.There's no guarantee, either, that the Democrats will win the Senate.And if Republicans retain control of that chamber, it is far from certain — to put it mildly — that they'd help Biden legislate anything substantive.It's more likely that they'd investigate him. Republicans, who currently control the Senate, have already been probing his family's business ties.Those controversial business ties are not new.A number of articles over the past two years by newspaper and online mainstream-media outlets, and a book by a conservative author, have chronicled how several members of Biden's family have earned revenue from companies in the U.S. and abroad seeking political connections.Now a former business contact of Biden's son, Hunter, Tony Bobulinski, has alleged that the former vice-president himself might have had some involvement — in 2017, when he was out of office, in a deal that was under discussion involving a Chinese energy company.The Trump campaign has fumed at media outlets for not making this a bigger story in the election's final days.Biden has said he never earned a penny of foreign revenue.His campaign has said little else about this issue — other than to note that Trump's own family has a multitude of foreign business relationships and, unlike Biden, Trump still hasn't released his taxes.With just a few days left before Tuesday's election, Biden is stepping up his public appearances and is visiting a handful of states.His rallies tend to be smaller than Trump's — they involve pandemic precautions, with spectators practising physical distancing, watching from their cars.Trump is still making many more stops. His crowds are larger and packed together, with most people not wearing masks.Yet it's not clear those stops are helping Trump, given what surveys say about the election race and about Americans' view of his handling of COVID. A USA Today investigation even linked some of these Trump stops to spikes in COVID cases.So this campaign ends as it began — Trump is No. 1 on the public stage and No. 2 in the polls, and he espouses an unflappable faith in the notion that more attention means more votes."We've got the biggest crowds in the history of politics," the president told reporters Friday."I think you will all be witness to that. Because there's never been anybody that has ever had bigger crowds or more enthusiasm."Biden has already defeated one rival this year who got bigger, more enthusiastic crowds: that was Sanders, in the primaries.On Tuesday, Biden aims for a repeat.Ask CBCWhat do you want to know about the U.S. election? Your questions help inform our coverage. Email us at Ask@cbc.ca
The B.C. Lottery Corporation's one-time director of anti-money laundering and investigations faced a grilling from a government lawyer Friday over the lack of action on suspicious cash transactions at the River Rock Casino.A week of buy-ins by a single customer in December 2014 was a major focus of questions directed at John Karlovcec by Kaitlyn Chewka, a lawyer for B.C.'s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), during proceedings of a public inquiry on money laundering in this province.Chewka read from a Dec. 30, 2014 email written by Karlovcec, in which he noted that a patron who'd recently made several large cash buy-ins at the River Rock had appeared once again with $360,000 in cash."This patron brought in $1.8 million into the River Rock casino, largely in small bills, over the course of seven days … You'd agree with me that these types of transactions are suspicious?" Chewka asked Karlovcec.He agreed that was true, and said those transactions would have been reported to GPEB and police, along with Fintrac, Canada's financial transactions reporting centre.But Chewka pointed out that BCLC's role in addressing suspected money laundering involves more than just reporting unusual transactions. The corporation oversees gambling in B.C. and has the power to direct casinos to take action in situations like this."Despite being aware of this issue as early as Dec. 26, 2014 … BCLC did not direct the service provider to refuse the cash?" Chewka asked."BCLC did not direct the service provider to require the patron to source the funds?"Karlovcec said the patron in question would have been placed under investigation, but compelling the casino to take further action wasn't within his authority.Chewka pointed out that in Karlovcec's emails addressing the transactions, he'd written, "I recognize that we do not want to jeopardize revenue."But Karlovcec testified that he was under no pressure to prioritize casino revenue at the time.Friction between agenciesThe Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. was launched by the government after reports that illegal cash was helping to fuel the real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors in the province.Karlovcec's testimony on Friday also hinted at some friction between investigators at BCLC and their counterparts at GPEB, in the police and among casino staff when it came to taking action on money laundering.Karlovcec testified about how, in 2014, his team created profiles of the top 10 suspected "cash facilitators" — or loan sharks — operating out of the River Rock at the time. Those profiles, which included identifying details, photos and a list of known associates, were all provided to the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and Karlovcec said he believed they would be used to open criminal investigations."But I don't think they actually did," he told the inquiry. "I think there were other tactical priorities for their group."Karlovcec also suggested that investigators at BCLC were often left in the dark when it came to the work going on at GPEB."It was like pulling teeth at times. Certainly we didn't get a lot of information from them," he told the inquiry.Meanwhile, Karlovcec has said he had a good working relationship with compliance officers at the River Rock, but emails read for the commission suggest there were situations where higher-ups at the casino bristled about BCLC investigators approaching high-rollers.In one of those emails, Great Canadian Gaming Corp.'s then-vice-president of corporate security and compliance, Patrick Ennis, suggested that investigators "could be a bit more polished" about speaking with VIPs in a high stakes room about large cash buy-ins at the River Rock.The commission is set to resume hearings on Monday morning.
Health Canada has asked pharmaceutical companies to put stronger safety labels on benzodiazepines and other sedative drugs prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorder to better reflect their serious risks.Doctors have long prescribed benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (brand name Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin) in the short term to treat anxiety, insomnia and certain seizure disorders. But people can become dependent and an overdose can result in a coma or even death.Pharmacist Mina Tadrous is also a scientist at Women's College Hospital and an investigator with the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN)."They work really well, but they've also become part of popular culture," Tadrous said. "People talk about 'popping a Xanax' and using different types of drugs, so that's becoming more and more common."On Friday, Health Canada said its requested updated language around the risks of: * Problematic use and substance use disorder. * Severe withdrawal symptoms, * Harm when taken with opioids, which may cause deep drowsiness, respiratory depression, coma and death. * Falls and fractures in specified populations.Cheyenne Johnson of the BC Centre on Substance Use said benzodiazepines are frequently misused with opioids, which can be fatal.WATCH | Common pill kills in shadow of opioid crisis:Johnson said the new warnings shouldn't prompt doctors to suddenly take long-term users off benzodiazepines but taper off use to avoid adverse health effects that could increase risk if used with illicit drugs."The vast majority of overdoses are from multiple substances, including other CNS depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines," said Johnson, a registered nurse.In British Columbia, more than a quarter of prescription overdose deaths included benzodiazepines, she said.Pharmacists say when the drugs are mixed, the risks don't just add, they multiply.Johnson said as with opioids, more careful prescribing could prevent problems from starting.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration added similar warnings to benzodiazepines in September.Warnings also apply to insomnia medications In Canada, the stronger warnings will also apply to newer drugs such as eszopiclone (sold as Lunestra) and zopiclone (Imovane) prescribed for insomnia. These medications technically aren't benzodiazepines but carry the same potential for misuse, Tadrous said."In the pharmacy, I saw patients chronically on these medications for long periods of time that were completely off label and sort of had telltale signs of potential misuse and abuse of these drugs, and yet we treated them like they were not like benzodiazepines," Tadrous said.He said it's a "thoughtful step" for Health Canada to add the warnings to sleep medications, which are also useful."But they do have some concerns and I think that the public should know about that."
A new Statistics Canada study on police-reported crime data from 2019 shows Kelowna with the fastest growing crime rate in Canada.Crime increased by 24 per cent, compared to 2018, according to StatsCan. The violent crime rate increased 65 per cent. And the crime severity Index — a measurement of the volume and severity of crime — rose 20 per cent, which is also more than any other city in Canada.The Kelowna census metropolitan area's crime rate is now 10,747 incidents per 100,000 residents, the second highest overall in Canada, just behind Lethbridge, Alta. The national average is 5,874 per 100,000 residents. The central Okanagan city's metropolitan area for census purposes includes the cities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and their surrounding rural areas.Statistics Canada notes one reason for the crime rate increase, especially in violent crimes, was the new Kelowna RCMP reporting method.In 2018, the detachment faced public criticism over its handling of sexual assault cases. Statistics Canada revealed 40 per cent of sexual assault cases reported to Kelowna RCMP were dismissed as "unfounded" — three times the national average. A national RCMP sexual assault review team investigated and recently determined that there was an underlying clerical error in how the cases were being classified that skewed the statistics.Even so, the national team wound up recommending Kelowna RCMP reinvestigate 12 of the cases it had closed.The 2019 StatsCan report also shows increases in robbery, car theft, mischief, uttering threats and shoplifting.According to the report, Kelowna also has the highest rate of opioid-related offences in Canada, at 124 per 100,000 people, compared to 35 in Vancouver.'Communities remain extremely safe,' say RCMPRCMP Supt. Kara Triance, the new commander of the Kelowna detachment, responded to the new statistics in a written statement, blaming much of the increase in the overall crime rate on non-violent property crimes and a transient population."We recognize that this ranking appears concerning, but I would like to stress that Kelowna and the surrounding communities remain extremely safe," Triance stated."Kelowna is also a resort destination during the summer with a significant increase in visitor population. While that number is not reflected in our population statistics, it does affect reported crime."Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran also noted the increase in non-violent crime and called for more co-ordination and provincial support to tackle the problem. "We work with RCMP every day to address criminal behaviour, but we need senior levels of government to address the underlying problems of health, housing and poverty that contribute to these downstream issues," Basran stated. "RCMP need support from other agencies to deal with repeat offenders." Since 2015, the city has approved funding for 34 new full-time RCMP officers and 23 police safety support staff. The detachment has increased patrols on Friday and Saturday nights and bolstered investigative support teams involved in complex crimes.
The Sipekne'katik band will not fish its commercial lobster licences this season in southwest Nova Scotia, citing intimidation and violence that followed the launch of its moderate livelihood fishery in St Marys Bay.The decision followed an emergency meeting Friday with fishermen working in the band's commercial fishery."The consensus is that they don't want to fish in the upcoming season due to concerns of safety. There is also the concern of not being able to sell our lobster," said Chief Mike Sack."As of right now, our people aren't comfortable taking that big risk and especially risking their life for that."Sipekne'katik's decision means band members won't fish the nine lobster licences Sipekne'katik holds in Lobster Fishing Area 34 when the season opens next month.The First Nation still has the option to lease those licences to non-Indigenous fishermen, which could be worth as much as $450,000.The band's moderate livelihood fishery, which launched last month outside of the commercial season, will continue to operate out of the Saulnierville wharf.Sack said the fishery is concentrated in St Marys Bay and protected by a court injunction to end blockades, interference and threats against community members involved in the fishery.He said commercial vessels that fish farther out to sea are more spread out and vulnerable.'Co-ordinated and systemic'In a news release Friday, Sipekne'katik said it's been the victim of a "co-ordinated and systematic effort of the commercial fishery to undermine and destabilize" its fishery.Non-Indigenous commercial fishermen and their supporters have reacted with anger — and sometimes violence — to the fishery in St. Marys Bay, including swarming two lobster facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches. Commercial fishermen argue the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is ignoring its own regulations, which prohibit commercial fishing in areas where the season is closed.The Sipekne'katik First Nation has said hundreds of traps belonging to its members have been stolen, damaged or destroyed by commercial fishermen. The band has also said it's struggling to find buyers for lobster harvested under commercial licences it holds in an area of the Bay of Fundy where the season is open.Rumoured trap seizuresOn Friday evening, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs issued a news release saying it has learned the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is poised to seize moderate livelihood traps across Nova Scotia."The assembly condemns this action and demands all planned action related to seizure is aborted," the assembly said in the release, which went on to accuse federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan of "acting in bad faith during ongoing consultations.""The assembly is gravely concerned for the well-being and safety of Mi'kmaw harvesters and they are demanding that the harassment ends immediately." Sack said he's also been told the department will be removing traps. In a statement, DFO did not confirm nor deny plans to seize traps."There are more than 600 DFO fishery officers working in communities across the country, and the compliance measures they take are based on numerous factors," the department said."The minister remains fully committed to working with First Nations in Nova Scotia to implement their treaty rights. These are complex, longstanding issues and the best way to resolve them is through dialogue."Other bands following suitSipekne'katik was the first Mi'kmaw band to proceed with a moderate livelihood fishery in Nova Scotia. Since then, at least seven others have said they plan to launch, or have already launched, their own moderate livelihood fisheries.Sipekne'katik said it would no longer wait for the federal government to set the rules for a treaty right recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada 21 years ago.On Thursday, four inshore commercial fishermen's associations from southwest Nova Scotia issued a news release again calling on federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to shut down the moderate livelihood fishery in St. Marys Bay.They said the area is a lobster nursery, and fishing should not be allowed while lobster are breeding and molting there.Minister responds to commercial groupsDFO said Friday it would "never move forward" with any plans that pose a threat to lobster stocks.Jordan's office also responded bluntly to commercial fishery groups that have demanded to be part of the consultations with First Nations on the moderate livelihood fishery."The repeated insistence from industry leadership to join the nation-to-nation negotiations on treaty rights is unconstructive," the office said in a statement, adding that industry leaders have had continued access to the minister."The negotiations on moderate livelihood are between the government of Canada and First Nations. The nation-to-nation relationship is a cornerstone of reconciliation, and that will not be compromised."MORE TOP STORIES
Vice President Mike Pence, a Christian conservative and one of the few constants in Donald Trump's tumultuous White House, has kept his boss's confidence by being careful never to step out of the president's shadow. Whether Trump wins or loses the election on Tuesday, that strategy and status are likely to change. Pence, 61, will be catapulted into a group of front-runners for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination as soon as the 2020 results are known.
HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia RCMP released images Friday showing two men walking away from a fish plant on the night it burned to the ground amid an escalating dispute over an Indigenous lobster fishery. Yarmouth County RCMP described the men as persons of interest. The grainy images were captured Oct. 16 outside the plant in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., before a suspicious fire broke out near midnight, police say. "What I want to stress here is getting the identity of those persons," RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce said in an interview. "That information will help us move the investigation forward . . . . We are hoping to get the full co-operation from anyone who has any knowledge of these events and who these two persons are." The plant was storing lobster caught by the Sipekne'katik First Nation, which attracted national attention last month when it started setting lobster traps in St. Marys Bay before the start of the federally regulated fishing season. The Mi'kmaq band has said it has the treaty right to pursue a "moderate livelihood" by fishing, hunting and gathering where and when it want, as spelled out in a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that cites treaties signed by the British Crown in the early 1760s. Non-Indigenous protesters have said they are opposed to the band's self-regulated commercial lobster fishing business because it is operating outside the regulated season and could have a negative impact on lobster stocks in the bay. As well, they note the Supreme Court of Canada clarified its landmark 1999 ruling — known as the Marshall decision — stating Indigenous fisheries could be subject to federal regulation to ensure fish conservation, so long as the measures were justified. A day after the fire at the unoccupied plant, police confirmed they were aware of a person of interest with life-threatening injuries believed to be related to the fire. Police also said they believe the blaze was deliberately set. In the security video footage released Friday, two men can be seen walking through the darkness along a gravel path beside what appears to be a large building flanked by refrigeration gear, crates and other equipment. A light on the side of the building illuminates the scene, which appears to show one man in a hooded jacket supporting the second man, who is wearing shorts and is limping as he appears to be wearing only one shoe. At the top of the frame, an intense orange light varies in intensity, but it's unclear what the source is. Joyce confirmed investigators believe the fire was set before the video was recorded. He said he could not draw a link between the individual who was injured by the fire and the two people in the video. As well, he said he had no additional information to release about the people involved, and no one is currently in custody. Later in the day, the chief of the Sipekne'katik First Nation, Mike Sack, issued a statement saying he was calling an emergency meeting to respond to the "co-ordinated and systemic efforts of the commercial fishery to undermine and destabilize Sipekne'katik's fishery." Sack said there now appears to be a "high degree of reluctance" to go fishing among the band's moderate livelihood fishers. "Ultimately, we believe this was the end goal of the commercial fishery's efforts all along," he said. "We recognize it as a drastic setback, not only for my community but for the Mi'kmaq people and Indigenous peoples across Canada overall." Meanwhile, the bands losses continue to mount, Sack said. The cost of lost or damaged fishing gear, coupled with the loss of potential sales of lobster, has reached more than $3 million, the chief said. The Oct. 16 fire followed a series of violent clashes and vandalism in southwestern Nova Scotia. At one point, Sack was allegedly assaulted by another man. On Oct. 21, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia granted the band a temporary injunction aimed at preventing people from interfering with their new fishery. The injunction, which recognizes the band's constitutionally protected right to harvest lobster, says some of those opposed to the new enterprise are using "criminal intimidation, threats, and property destruction." "No matter where an individual may stand on the myriad of issues in play right now in southwest Nova Scotia, I would hope everyone could agree that violence is not way to sort things out," Justice James Chipman said in a decision, the written portion of which was released Friday. "What has been going on over the past month or so has shocked all Canadians . . . . Canadians are better than this. The Acadian and Indigenous communities have a broader history of harmony, allegiances and alliances." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020 Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
One day before Halloween, Alberta is reporting a dramatic increase in the number of new and active cases of COVID-19. The province reported 622 new cases on Friday, a new daily record and significantly above the average of 450 new cases the province has been seeing for the last 10 days. The new cases also pushed the number of active cases in the province to a record 5,172, which is 251 more cases than the day before. Currently, 140 Albertans are in hospital with the disease, 25 of them in ICU, also both record numbers. The province also reported five more deaths Friday: A man in his 70s from Edmonton zone, not linked to continuing care. Two men, one in his 80s and another in his 90s, linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton. A man in his 80s linked to the South Terrace Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton Zone. A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary. The deaths bring the total number in Alberta to 323. The regional breakdown of active cases on Friday is: Edmonton zone: 2,312, an increase from 2,277 the day before. Calgary zone: 2,034, an increase from 1,879 the day before. North zone: 353, an increase from 325 the day before. South zone: 276, an increase from 256 the day before. Central zone: 178 an increase from 162 the day before. Unknown: 19, a decrease from 22 the day before. These numbers will be the last until Tuesday when Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, holds her next news conference.
An English teacher with 23 years of experience, who usually sees more than 300 Montreal-area students each week, has had no choice but to take an unpaid year off work to protect her young son from the novel coronavirus.Rebecca Belmonte's seven-year-old son, Samih Angelo Alame, has already undergone three open-heart surgeries and is immunocompromised. A case of COVID-19 could be disastrous for the boy, so he has been granted a medical exemption from physically going to school every day.However, Belmonte is still expected to lead classes in person — she's not allowed to teach remotely as she did in the spring and neither her school board nor the health ministry is willing to budge on the matter.Realizing she was out of options, Belmonte quickly crunched the family budget, minimized expenses and got ready to stay with her son every day, ensuring he's safely completing school from home."We went from two salaries to one in two weeks," she said, but stepping away from the classroom for a year wasn't something she wanted to do."I miss my students. I miss my colleagues," she said. "It's a passion to do what you do as a teacher."Education ministry says exemptions not an optionRegardless of her love for the job and willingness to teach online — something, she said, that went smoothly during the first wave — Quebec's education ministry has ruled that the compromised health of a loved one is not an exemption criteria.The employee must use leave benefits such as vacation time first, but sick leave is not permitted in this case, according to Geneviève Côté, a spokesperson for the minister of education.Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Premier François Legault said his government wants teachers and students in classrooms rather than online."We don't have extra teachers," he said. "In fact, it's the opposite. We have a shortage right now."Because communicating with students and their parents by video conference is common, many teachers are being trained in how to use the technology, Legault said. "But we cannot, and we don't want teachers to choose first to do video teaching," he said. School board follows the rulesMarguerite-Bourgeoys school service centre is following the government's instructions, according to spokesperson Chrystine Loriaux."Teachers whose physical condition prevents them from attending class can submit a request to our human resources department," Loriaux wrote in a statement.That request is reviewed as quickly as possible under the current rules set by the education ministry, she said.At Marguerite-Bourgeoys, nearly 150 employees are currently exempt from being in the workplace or they were reassigned, she said. Union says making exception won't hurtThe local teachers' union advisor, Yves Parenteau, believes many more teachers were denied the chance to work from home."This is more a lack of personnel management than public health management because we don't have enough employees or enough teachers," Parenteau said.He said public schools are being treated like a second-rate public service with a lack of staff, cleaning and building maintenance. "Give us the equipment," he said. "The schools were closed for six months and they didn't even change one window or clean one duct in one school."He said it is disrespectful to force teachers to go to work despite having a vulnerable family member at home. Because there are only about 100 to 200 teachers in all of Montreal who need this exemption, Parenteau said, it is possible to be flexible."You can make exceptions to protect those families," Parenteau said. "This is the baseline that they should look at."
The clock is running out on Ontario’s current four-week public health intervention at restaurants, gyms and other settings targeted by the Province to address worrying trends in COVID-19 hotspots. Restless business owners and others financially affected by the modified Stage 2 restrictions will not get good news if the government can’t drive down infection indicators by November 6. Premier Doug Ford, facing increasing pressure from those advocating economic relief in the form of relaxed safety measures, offered hope Friday. “Based on what I’m seeing in the modeling, I have asked our public health experts to come back next week with a plan to begin to ease restrictions in a way that safely allows businesses to begin opening back up after the 28-day period is over,” Ford said during a press conference. Brampton’s situation is not helping the cause. The city’s weekly test positivity rate rose to 9.6 percent, for the week ending October 24, according to a Peel Health Surveillance report published on October 30. This represents a 1.5 percent increase from the previous week, when Brampton sat at 8.1 percent positivity. This is well above the 5 percent benchmark used by infectious disease experts to signal the virus is under control. Brampton’s positivity rate is two-and-a-half-times higher than the national figure: based on an October 30 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the country’s seven-day test positivity rate for the week ending October 24, was 4 percent, up from 3.1 percent the previous week. Mississauga’s test positivity rate for the same period stood at 4.4 percent, while Toronto was at 4.6 percent, according to the most recent data. On the cusp of double-digit positivity rates, cases in Brampton should have public health officials on high alert. “The positivity rate helps you understand how hard it is to find an infection,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease and pandemic preparedness expert at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “If your testing is either going up or stable, and your positivity is increasing, that tells you it’s becoming relatively easier to find cases.” When it’s in the double-digits, a higher positivity rate also indicates those tested will tend to be the symptomatic and sick patients, Dr. Adalja said, “Versus an approach where testing is really widespread and easily accessible…where [it’s] usually characterized by lower percent positivity in the single digits.” In the seven days ending October 29, there were 948 new COVID-19 cases reported in the city, according to data from the Region of Peel, which has lagged behind the figures released by the Province (these do not breakdown Peel’s data by individual municipality). Over the same seven-day period, Ontario reported 6,292 new COVID-19 cases, so Brampton accounted for 15 percent of those. Its share of the provincial population is about 4.5 percent. Despite high daily case numbers and the concerning test positivity rate in the city, the Province has not committed to adding a second full COVID-19 assessment centre in Brampton. In proportion to their population sizes, Peel Region and Toronto are conducting a comparable number of tests as of last week, but neither jurisdiction came close to its per capita target under the Province’s goal of 50,000 tests a day in Ontario. An average of about 2,745 COVID-19 tests were completed daily in Peel between October 19 and 25, per data provided by Ontario Health. Toronto, with about double Peel’s population, completed just over twice as many tests, with an average of 5,889 a day in the same period. To reach its share of the provincial target, based on per capita figures and a population of 1.5 million, Peel needs to conduct 5,172 tests daily, and Toronto, based on a population of 3 million, needs to do 10,344 (these figures use an Ontario population of 14.5 million). October 8 saw the highest number of tests reported in Ontario, yet, with 48,488 completed. On October 30, 41,008 tests were done, and prior to that levels had fluctuated for the past two weeks with a recent low of 23,945 tests on October 27. Currently, Brampton residents with symptoms of COVID-19 are directed to South Fletcher’s Sportsplex, operated by the William Osler Health System. Patients with moderate flu symptoms can attend the COVID-19, Cold and Flu Clinic at the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, and can get a test for the novel coronavirus. Those who are asymptomatic can go to one of nine private pharmacies in Brampton currently offering tests under an agreement with the Province; Mississauga has eight pharmacies. According to an analysis by The Pointer, if all pharmacies offering screening services in Peel operated at full capacity, they would be able to process about 515 tests per day. When pressed by The Pointer on Brampton’s low testing capacity, with only one assessment centre compared to three in Mississauga and 17 in Toronto, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a press conference Tuesday she would commit to “look at the centres in Brampton and if more are needed, we will certainly set them up.” Ottawa, the other main hotspot in the province, has seven assessment centres. Since the spring, The Pointer has asked Elliott why Brampton has been provided with only one screening site since the start of the pandemic, but no explanation has been provided. Her repeated claims that more will be set up if the city needs additional screening, came as Brampton consistently had the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 of any city in the province. On September 2 and 6 it accounted for 37 percent of all new cases in Ontario. On September 4, Ford called the city’s COVID situation “broken”. Last week marked another surge in positive cases. In Mississauga, assessment centres operated by Trillium Health Partners have increased COVID-19 testing capacity to about 1,000 tests per day through added appointment times, said spokesperson Keeley Rogers. Unlike in Toronto and Halton regions, where those seeking a COVID-19 test can directly book an appointment online after completing a self-screening questionnaire, Trillium has an added virtual assessment. After entering an online queue, a Trillium physician will call the patient to pre-register and triage them, “so those with symptoms are able to get assessed and tested quicker,” Rogers said in an email. Mississauga, which has three full testing facilities, saw its positivity rate rise 0.6 percent to 4.4 percent for the week that ended October 24, while Caledon’s dropped by 0.3 percent to 4.6 percent positivity. In her weekly briefing, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she and the other regional mayors have asked Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s chief public health officer, to create a plan for three future scenarios past November 6 – remaining at status quo, a return to Stage 3 if case numbers improve and data-backed, locally-targeted closures if indicators go further in the red. Next week will be critical. If the upward trend in positivity rates across Brampton and Mississauga continues for the third week in a row it could be a key factor when officials decide on maintaining or lifting the current restrictions. “If percent positivity is rising, that gives you a signal that something is driving that increase in cases, something is changing in the dynamics,” said Dr. Adalja. This signal tells public health officials that it’s time to go back to contact tracing data and conduct targeted interventions, he added. According to an October 29 COVID-19 modelling brief issued by the Science Table, an advisory group of experts and health leaders, Peel grocery stores account for 19 percent of traced infections, three times more than gyms and restaurants in the region combined. Restaurant owners have been calling for greater transparency regarding the rationale behind closing indoor dining. Industry group Restaurants Canada and its vice president issued another open letter to the premier this week. “Without transparent transmission data and further government support, half of all independent restaurants are at risk of closing within a year,” said James Rilett, in a press release. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
To vote in Pennsylvania in Tuesday's presidential election means navigating a minefield of bureaucratic, legal and political hurdles.South Philadelphia resident Montana Tyler is a case in point. While she got to vote by mail, her mother, daughter and the 82-year-old woman she works for as a caregiver didn't even receive the mail-in ballots they requested.So like thousands of others across this crucial battleground state, she found herself lining up for hours outside Philadelphia City Hall, one of dozens of special election sites, to make sure their request to vote by mail didn't fall through the cracks."This has been the most horrific experience that I have ever received and I'm quite sure most people that live in the United States have ever gone through for voting," Tyler said.This is the first presidential election in Pennsylvania to be conducted largely by mail-in ballots. The state changed its election laws in 2019 to make voting by mail more accessible, but the process has been fraught with a surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, a series of lawsuits and uncertainty around the United States Postal Service.All of these voting issues, observers worry, have the potential to shift the balance of power in the state and possibly upend the presidential race itself.A key race for both partiesThe focus on which votes get accepted and which votes get counted is especially important in a vital battleground state such as Pennsylvania, which once backed the Democrats but narrowly swung to the Republicans in 2016.Its 20 electoral college votes are seen as key for the White House ambitions of both U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden — and given that Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 44,292 votes in 2016, any attempt to invalidate or suppress the vote is seen as potentially tipping the balance of power in the state.RealClearPolitics, a U.S. political news site and polling data aggregator, shows a tight race in Pennsylvania between Biden and Trump — with the former Democratic vice-president ahead by just 3.6 points as of Friday evening, 49.5 per cent to 45.9 per cent for Trump.With so much riding on the outcome in Pennsylvania, it's become a battleground in the courts with numerous election-related lawsuits — as Republicans, primarily, challenge everything from registration and voting deadlines to signatures, as well as a bid to allow poll watchers at satellite early voting sites.The cumulative effect of the court battles and controversy has meant a lot of sleepless nights for election officials, including Philadelphia election commissioner Lisa Deeley.In an interview with CBC News outside the early voting site at Philadelphia City Hall, she said she's never experienced an election like this one."I have never, ever — and I don't know that we ever will [again] — because it's just everything at once, it's all these new changes. It's the pandemic," Deeley said. "These are unique times."Fear of 'naked ballots'Deeley's biggest fear is the issue of "naked ballots." She has warned that it could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of votes being rejected.Pennsylvania law requires voters to put their ballot in a secrecy envelope and then place it in the return envelope before mailing it back or dropping it off at a designated box. Failure to use the secrecy envelope that comes with the ballot is considered a naked ballot, and it's discarded.In September, the state Supreme Court ruled against Democrats that ballots mailed back without the secrecy envelope would not be counted."That's just a vestige from the past when we would count absentee ballots at the precinct level. We haven't done that in years," Deeley said. "We're going to be counting at an industrial level, so there's no chance that voters' identities are in any way going to be compromised."When Philadelphia held a primary election in June, she said, six per cent of mail-in ballots were rejected because of this rule. Projecting that number state-wide could result in 300,000 to 400,000 ballots getting tossed, Deeley said.That's a significant number in a state decided by a slim margin in the 2016 election and where the overwhelming majority of mail-in ballots are from voters registered as Democrats."For one vote that has been applied for properly ... to see that voter not have their voice heard or their vote counted simply because of a technicality is really, really unfair," she said.Post office controversyEven for those voters who received their mail-in ballots, there are still potential pitfalls. The simple act of mailing a ballot has become politicized and a source of controversy. Accusations against the Trump administration of interfering with the post office over the summer, combined with the president's ongoing attacks against the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, make many voters nervous."I don't trust the mail to get there in time. I wanted to make sure it counted," Theresa Van Praet said after placing her ballot in a drop box set up outside the country office in Levittown, just northeast of Philadelphia.On a sunny afternoon, there's a steady stream of cars as people pop out to place their mail-in ballots inside the box — which is itself a source of litigation. It's guarded by an officer with the sheriff's department, ensuring the one-person, one-ballot rule is followed, with security cameras in place.In continually suggesting that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud, Trump has pointed to examples in Pennsylvania — in one case elevating a minor clerical error to the national spotlight."There's a lot of controversy," said Sherry Walters, who came to the Levittown drop box with her daughter, Jessica, who was voting for the first time."I never had a problem with the mail, but there's just a lot of stuff going on, so we just wanted to give the best shot for our vote to go where we want it to go."When will votes be counted?But just when the votes piling up in those drop boxes and received by mail will be counted is yet another fault line in Pennsylvania.Along with Michigan and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania is one of the key battleground states where mail-in ballots can't be counted ahead of time. Instead, counting can begin on election day or possibly later in some counties that prioritize counting in-person voting first. WATCH | Philadelphia voters case ballots in person amid mail-in vote uncertainty:With more than 62 per cent of mail-in ballot requests coming from Democrats, according to Pennsylvania's secretary of state, some election law experts suggest that early results — which will be weighted toward in-person voting — will likely skew toward the Republicans, since they are more likely to show up to vote in person on election day.After numerous court battles, Pennsylvania will accept mail-in ballots up to three days after the election, as long as they're postmarked by election day on Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected petitions from Republicans to change this, although it could revisit the issue after the election — forcing counties to hold any ballots that arrive after 8 p.m. on Tuesday separately in case they get tossed out by the courts.Trump wants results on election nightIn Philadelphia County, the state's largest, Lisa Deeley said one thing is certain when it comes to the vote count: "There will not be full election results on Nov. 3, that is one thing that's for sure."We'll have what we have on Nov. 3, and we will continue to count in a 24-hour cycle."Election observers worry that could lead to a nightmare scenario where, in a close election, early results are dominated by Republican in-person voting — showing an advantage for the president, who this week said he wants a result on election night.WATCH | Why thousands of votes could be thrown out in Pennsylvania:"I think on [Nov. 3], we're going to over-perform, and we'll see what happens at the end of the day, hopefully it won't go longer than that," Trump said on Wednesday during a campaign stop in Las Vegas."Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3 to count ballots — that won't be allowed by the various courts."The fear is that Trump will double up on his claims of fraud as those ballots are counted after election day, especially if they add to the Democratic vote totals, and that he could turn to the courts to try to invalidate the results.Deeley said officials in Philadelphia are working to maintain the integrity of the process, "so voters and all the world, as they wait, can be assured that we are going to count as quickly and as accurately as possible."Montana Tyler and others in the line in Philadelphia believe in the process but know that election night is going to have them on the edge of their seats."Everyone's on pins and needles," Tyler said. "Election night, I don't think anybody's going to be sleeping, they're going to be up biting their fingernails and praying."Ask CBCWhat do you want to know about the U.S. election? Your questions help inform our coverage. Email us at Ask@cbc.ca
HALIFAX — Public health officials in Nova Scotia say they've identified five new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday. They say four of the cases are related to travel outside the Atlantic bubble, while the fifth is connected to a previous case. Chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang says the uptick in cases shows the increasing risk of travelling outside the bubble as other provinces in Canada deal with a second wave of the disease. Strang says residents of Nova Scotia should reduce their non-essential travel outside the bubble and follow public health measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The Western and Northern zones each have two new cases, while the fifth was found in the Central zone. The province now has a total of 11 active cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2020. - - - This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 12:12 p.m. EDT on Oct. 31, 2020: There are 234,077 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Quebec: 106,016 confirmed (including 6,246 deaths, 90,576 resolved) _ Ontario: 75,730 confirmed (including 3,136 deaths, 64,717 resolved) _ Alberta: 27,664 confirmed (including 323 deaths, 22,169 resolved) _ British Columbia: 14,381 confirmed (including 263 deaths, 11,670 resolved) _ Manitoba: 5,374 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 2,572 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 3,066 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 2,299 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,104 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,033 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 342 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 297 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 291 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 282 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 64 confirmed (including 63 resolved) _ Yukon: 23 confirmed (including 1 death, 17 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 9 confirmed (including 8 resolved) _ Nunavut: No confirmed cases _ Total: 234,077 (0 presumptive, 234,077 confirmed including 10,134 deaths, 195,716 resolved) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2020. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Publishing weak, careless and sometimes fake research on the novel coronavirus is eroding trust in science, leading people to ignore public health advice, a new report from the Royal Society of Canada warns. The society's COVID-19 task force report says scientists, public health officials, governments and journalists all must do better, and not allow the sense of urgency created by the pandemic to undermine long-held standards and ethics in their respected professions. The Royal Society is an elite body of about 2,000 scholars and public intellectuals, meant to recognize and promote leading-edge research and the best thinking on important problems. "One of the fastest ways to create confusion and lose public trust is to publish and publicize weak, careless or, worse, fraudulent research," the report says. The report warns that the "panicky pandemic publishing" of research on COVID-19 is harmful when it takes shortcuts around the tried-and-true safeguards to ensure published science is both peer-reviewed and accurately portrayed. And it is happening more frequently in the pandemic, with one review finding circulation of COVID-19-related research before peer-review is complete — known as pre-prints — is happening 15 times more often than with non-pandemic related research. Before the pandemic, the average time between a researcher's submitting work and its being published was more than 100 days, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began, that period has shrunk to just six days. These published reports are often being used by public health agencies and politicians to guide their advice to the public, and overhyped news releases are enticing media to cover them heavily. It leads to confusing messaging when the reports contradict each other or are later debunked. The well-known case of hydroxychloroquine is one of the most egregious examples, the report found. The drug, used often to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, was tested by French researchers on COVID-19 patients, and a pre-print was produced declaring it to show some positive impacts. The study was immediately widely criticized as flawed. Still it has been cited over 1,700 times, spurred millions of dollars in further research into the drug, and was picked up by celebrities like U.S. President Donald Trump and Tesla founder Elon Musk, driving further media and public interest. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late March issued an emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine to be used for COVID-19. A subsequent study published in The Lancet, one of the most respected medical journals in the world, that found hydroxychloroquine could be harmful instead of helpful, was also later debunked and retracted. But the harm from the reckless use of the science was profound, causing everything from shortages of the drug for patients who actually needed it to doctors overprescribing it. A New York Times investigation found prescriptions for the drug went up 2,000 per cent in March compared to the same month in 2019. It also appears the confluence of events had tragic consequences. Hydroxychloroquine is known to cause heart arrhythmias, and as adverse events piled up and evidence against its benefits for COVID-19 mounted, the FDA first clarified its approval and then revoked it. An analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration database shows more than 100 Americans died in the first half of 2020 after taking hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 reasons. The Royal Society report also says science is always evolving but in the pandemic, the public is paying more attention and seeing that evolution happen in real-time. That too, is causing confusion, as public health advice is based on the best available evidence. When that advice changes — as it did in Canada for the use of non-medical face masks — it can make the public skeptical and reluctant to follow the advice. They said public health officials need to be as honest as possible about the weakness of evidence that is guiding their current decisions. Researchers also must be careful not to overhype their findings, and to follow the conversations about their research in the media and the public and correct misinterpretations they see. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
A recent donation is making the small Labrador community of Black Tickle a little bit safer. The Churchill Falls division of Nalcor Energy in conjunction with Churchill Falls Fire and Safety donated a fire pump to the town, which previously had no fire suppression equipment. In January a home in the island community off the coast of Labrador was destroyed by fire as residents stood by watching with no way to help. The town about 80 people has no fire department and no nearby communities with one, something people take for granted in most areas. Ron Bowles, director of Indigenous Relations and Community Affairs with Nalcor Energy-Power Supply, said when they heard about the home that had burned down it inspired them to help. “We heard they didn’t have any emergency equipment to put fires out and safety is a big thing for us, so we put on our thinking caps and said, ‘How can we help this community out?’ We were proud to be able to get this done and think it’ll have a positive impact for Black Tickle. We hope they never have to use it but it’s there now.” Bowles said they felt it was important to be good community partners and this was one way to do that. It isn’t the first time the crown corporation has donated fire suppression equipment to a Labrador community in recent years, with a fire truck going to Port Hope Simpson in 2019 and a jaws of life donated to Mary’s Harbour. Bowles said it’s been surplus equipment the company had and they’re glad to be able to pass it along to the towns to help prevent fires like the one that happened in January. Joe Keefe, chair of the Local Service District of Black Tickle-Domino, said the portable fire pump is a huge asset to the town and there was a lot of excitement when they found out about it. He said fires aren’t common in Black Tickle but the times it has happened it results in a total loss, since they had no way to combat it. “At least now we have a chance to fight a fire if we had one. Even if we can’t save a home, we could save the ones next it and sure there’s less damage,” he told SaltWire. “That happened once before and with something like this we could’ve stopped that.” Keefe said one of the other reasons a fire is so devastating in the town is that there aren’t many empty houses, and no one has fire insurance on their homes. If a house burns down sometimes people move away, which is already a problem for the isolated town. “You can’t rent from someone else because there is nothing, people have what they have,” he said. “You won’t have any trouble finding someone to put you up, you don’t have to worry about that, but there’s no empty houses.”Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Florida's state motto is "In God We Trust," which also happens to be the motto of the United States. But for Deborah Tamargo of the Florida Federation of Republican Women, the trust is not only in el dios but in something just as big.Tamargo is one of a record number of Hispanics registered to vote in the state. She said she's working flat-out for Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday's vote because she believes Republicans stand up for liberty."It's a very important vote, particularly for those of us whose families were forced to leave their countries of origin because of socialism, communism, tyranny, dictatorships, poverty," she said in an interview with CBC's The House from Tampa (the current home of the Stanley Cup, as she made a point of reminding a Canadian audience).Earlier this week, Tamargo spent part of her day door-knocking and part of it waving a Trump sign at passing motorists. She said the response she's getting now is different from what she saw four years ago, when Trump narrowly won Florida on his way to the White House."I did all of those things back in 2016, but the amount of horns beeping and people taking our pictures with their cellular phones ... it was just amazing. And the thumbs-up, it was incredible. I mean, the honking just never stopped."The biggest prize among swing statesFlorida is not the only battleground state in this election — but it is the biggest prize, with its history of backing the winner in all but two presidential elections since 1924 and its record of producing very, very close contests.It's why Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, made a final swing through the state on Thursday, looking to win over undecided voters and get their committed supporters out."The polls have been statistically tied for months," said Susan MacManus, professor emerita of political science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She spoke to CBC News as part of special report on Florida on this week's edition of The House."And the fact that they're spending a little bit of their time this close to an election tells you that both campaigns see it as critical. And that's not unusual because Florida, once again, is the biggest swing state, with 29 Electoral College votes up for grabs."While many older Cuban-Americans are solidly Republican, the Hispanic community, like the state itself, is deeply divided. That's especially true in Tampa and surrounding Hillsborough County, which voted narrowly for the Democrats four years ago."One thing you have to be crystal clear on ... is Hispanics are not monolithic," said Victor DiMaio, who heads the county's Democratic Hispanic Caucus."Every different group has different ideas and different things of what they want. Cubans are different from Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans are different from Mexicans and Mexicans are different from Venezuelans, and so forth and so on."The 'Highway to Heaven'That's particularly true along Interstate 4, known to political pundits and organizers as the I-4 corridor. It runs across the state from Daytona Beach in the east through Orlando to Tampa on the west coast of the state.Most of Florida's 67 counties are solidly Republican. The Democrats won only nine of them in 2016, racking up huge numbers in Miami, Tampa and Orlando.It's the voters in the counties along the I-4 corridor who put the swing into this swing state. MacManus said support for the two parties is evenly divided in Florida."And that's why the I-4 corridor again, as in the past, is described as the politico's Highway to Heaven if you win, and hell if you don't," she said. "So it still has a very important place in Florida's politics."It's the one constant in a state that continues to change rapidly. MacManus said younger voters, aged 18 to 39, make up nearly a third of all registered voters in Florida.Many have declared no party affiliation, but they could still be a significant factor on Tuesday if they turn out in force over issues like climate change, racial injustice and gun control."Those have been issues that [have] seen a lot of involvement of young people ... whether it's marches or, you know, networks of activists raising money or protesting," she said. "And it may be that the issue activism might actually, for once in a long time, translate into electoral activism. We're watching it very closely."Ted Deutch is a six-term Democratic congressman running for reelection in Florida's 22nd district, which includes Fort Lauderdale. His district is home to Stoneman-Douglas High School, where a former student shot and killed 17 people in February, 2018."I've seen these families take their grief and turn it into action, honouring the memory of their loved ones by working hard to make schools safe and to address the gun violence epidemic in our country," he said.Deutch said it's one of the reasons he's confident Biden can win Florida this year — which would be a good omen for Democrats in a state with a tradtion of backing the winning presidential candidate.But in this most unusual year — with record turnout for advance polls and mail-in balloting, the pandemic notwithstanding — Florida could play another pivotal role.The state has a longer history than most with mail-in balloting, and counts the ballots as they arrive rather than waiting until all the votes are in on election day. That means it could be one of the few states able to report a final outcome next week.Ask CBCWhat do you want to know about the U.S. election? Your questions help inform our coverage. Email us at Ask@cbc.ca
A plane drops red fire retardant on the Blue Ridge Fire over Chino Hills State Spark in California. Credit to 'wantmoe/Twitter'.
Tuesday October 20th was the monthly zoom meeting for the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee. Gilbert Kewistep, the committee’s cultural advisor said a prayer before the meeting began asking for the continued safety of our children, for all that were in need in any way, and that our meeting would be a good one from which members could continue forward in their journey in good ways. Newly elected to the tri-chair position, Chief Tricia Sutherland, chaired her first PRRC meeting. The traditional round table introductions welcomed some new faces to the committee as representatives of organizations that are a consistent part of the committee, and welcomed back some members who have had scheduling conflicts which have limited their participation in the past months. The new Social Media Sub-Committee met on Tuesday October 13th and discussed ways to keep the Facebook page current and relevant. Kristen offered to post Office of the Treaty Commissioner happenings, while Garrett volunteered to answer questions that may appear on the page, and Angela agreed to help monitor the page for relevance. The group came up with the idea to contact the signees of the Declaration and to ask in follow up, why they wished to be part of the signing, what steps have they taken since that signing to move forward in the reconciliation process, and where are they now in their journey? Tracey summed up the meeting saying that it was a productive and engaging meeting, and they were excited to get at it. Tracey reported that with Amanda’s help they submitted an application for a SaskCulture Grant which if approved would pay for the cost of our meetings and educational sessions until the end of 2021. This was originally submitted in January for the Dakota Dunes CDC Grant and included a proposal for six community events and funding to cover honorariums and travel etc. That application was not successful and with the current pandemic in-person events are not possible, so the details and proposal specifics were adapted to reflect the current reality and submitted for this grant. A question arose from this about the PRRC’s budget. The committee typically looks to spend roughly $8-9000 each year on educational events for rentals, honorariums, tobacco for offerings, and travel expenses. As for an annual budget there really isn’t one presently. From there the meeting moved to a discussion about the still empty position of Treasurer. Discussion with Affinity Credit Union are continuing but there is no promise a treasurer would be forthcoming from that avenue. A call for a volunteer from the floor at first didn’t garner any response, but later Lori O’Leary, who is new to the committee but represents Sask Polytech, and does have experience with this, volunteered to fill the position if no one else was interested or felt comfortable in the role. Lorie’s offer was quickly accepted and a unanimous vote by the committee members present secured Lorie in the position of treasurer. One of the objectives of the Committee is to foster reconciliation activity within the home communities of its members. My activity is to present information on our meetings and the educational activities and presenters that we have at the meetings. Tracey shared that she and her granddaughter had been busy with a beading activity related to Remembrance Day and some members of the RM council had expressed interest in the kits she had purchased. Others invited their group to view the initial episode of the documentary Elder in the Making, others created orange shirts for Orange Shirt Day/Every Child Matters, and Annie shared that Reconciliation Saskatoon have Action Committees a book club and that the Office of the Treaty Commissioner is involved in a pilot project with the City of Saskatoon relating to actionable things to do in the office. The next item on the agenda related to ‘swag’ items for educator guests and then moved on to include the possibility of members of PRRC having the logo put onto jackets. Bob Daniels offered to put together a list of Indigenous businesses who we could have do the work and thereby support an upcoming business. With that the meeting moved to the educational portion. Chief Sutherland had talked to a Residential School survivor about talking to the group about her experience at Residential School. The speaker did not feel that she would be able to go through with the painful exercise and of course as a group all were understanding. To relive trauma of that magnitude is something that not everyone is able to do. Sometimes it is just how life is going on a particular day, and sometimes it is just too painful to share. In her stead, Chief Sutherland shared what it was like for her grow up. Chief Sutherland attended school in Wakaw, she did not go to a residential school, but her mother and grandparents and great-grandparents did, the effects of their experience trickling down to those who did not. She shared that her parents were fluent in Cree, but other than an understanding of it none of their children speak the language. Perhaps it was a lingering fear of punishment, but whatever the cause, the language and the culture that went with it disappeared from the family and her life and it wasn’t until she was a teenager that her uncle brought back the traditions, spirituality and cultural ways to the family. As a child in school, her mother always tried to make the children look less indigenous so they would sort of blend in. Chief Sutherland shared that one time she had to do a report and she wanted to do it about her identity, but when she went to the library all the literature about First Nations people painted a picture of savages and heathens, even devil-worshippers and she didn’t want to be seen that way. That wasn’t who she was. Ultimately, the report was written about whooping cranes. She is proud now of the generations that have gone before and is glad that her grandkids don’t have to be ashamed of who they are, the history they share and the stories of their ancestors. It is important to recognize in any discussion of residential schools and the survivors, that even though laws changed over time, First Nations people were not told things had changed. For example, many First Nations parents continued sending their children to residential schools because they believed they still had to. They still believed that if they didn’t the police were going to come and forcefully remove their children and children who were taken by force were not allowed to return during holidays, to refuse to send a child was to lose them forever. Many First Nations elders passed away still believing they had no choice. As we remember the Holocaust and say Never Again, we need to remember the Residential Schools and say Never Again.Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
A P.E.I. provincial court judge says he's noticed an increase in missed court appearances recently, with many accused people saying — through their lawyers — that they have symptoms of COVID-19, or are awaiting coronavirus test results. Judge Jeff Lantz says it got to the point where he decided to hold a special sitting to try and address it. "There were a certain number of them that were alleging COVID symptoms and saying they were waiting for tests," said Lantz. "It was a little bit of a concern, so I held a special sitting in the court … I asked them all to come in, provide evidence of testing, if they were being tested, or telling them to go get tested. And that seemed to help a bit."Lantz said there are numerous reasons why someone might want to delay a court appearance. It could be a desire to delay a conviction or guilty plea that would see them headed to jail, or a fear of experiencing serious withdrawal while imprisoned for those battling addiction to drugs. Lantz said whatever the reason for the delays, missed appearances slow down the process, and can be frustrating for everyone involved — especially any victims, who are anxious to see matters resolved. And he hopes that from now on, there will be fewer missed appearances by those claiming to have symptoms of COVID-19. "In any event, I think we got their attention," said Lantz, who said everyone who comes to provincial court is screened for symptoms of COVID-19. He said the courts will likely follow up with individuals in cases where multiple appearances are missed."A suggestion might be made that they get tested, especially if they're coming back week after week saying they're still sick, then we want some sort of medical evidence."'A new way of doing things'Lantz said delays in court have come in many forms since the onset of the pandemic, whether it's waiting to connect with a prisoner via video-link, or trying to arrange matters with offenders or lawyers in other provinces. But he said those processes have become a lot smoother in recent months. "We've got actually two video rooms at the jail now, which helps out because we were kind of fighting over video times with other courts and judges and that made it hard to get things done," said Lantz.> Especially if they're coming back week after week saying they're still sick, then we want some sort of medical evidence. \- Judge Jeff LantzRight now, due to public health restrictions and wanting to minimize risk, the courts are limiting the number of people who appear in person, and handling more matters via video conference — something Lantz believes will only increase in frequency, even once the pandemic is over. "We've been looking at doing video appearances for some time now and had been hoping to have it in before COVID, so this kind of accelerated the need for that," said Lantz, who recently completed a preliminary inquiry via video with a person in custody and their lawyer in Moncton.He said the courts are looking into doing trials over video as well."It's a new way of doing things. We're learning as we go, but it seems to be working," said Lantz.More from CBC P.E.I.
According to witnesses, after saving the homes, the ground team even washed off the retardant from driveways while waiting on standby. Beyond fire duty service! Credit to '@briankjlee'.