Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is considering implementing a curfew to reverse the trend of increased COVID-19 cases in the province as harsh new restrictions came into effect in Winnipeg.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is considering implementing a curfew to reverse the trend of increased COVID-19 cases in the province as harsh new restrictions came into effect in Winnipeg.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 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.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Celebrity birthdays for the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5: Nov. 29: Blues musician John Mayall is 87. Actor Diane Ladd is 85. Musician Chuck Mangione is 80. Country singer Jody Miller is 79. Singer-keyboardist Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals is 78. Actor Jeff Fahey (“Lost,” “The Marshal”) is 68. Director Joel Coen is 66. Actor-comedian Howie Mandel is 65. Actor Cathy Moriarty is 60. Actor Kim Delaney (“NYPD Blue”) is 59. Actor Tom Sizemore is 59. Actor Andrew McCarthy is 58. Actor Don Cheadle is 56. Actor-producer Neill Barry (“Friends and Lovers”) is 55. Singer Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block is 52. Actor Larry Joe Campbell (“According to Jim”) is 50. Keyboardist Frank Delgado of Deftones is 50. Actor Paola Turbay (“True Blood”) is 50. Contemporary Christian singer Crowder is 49. Actor Gena Lee Nolin (“Sheena,” ?Baywatch”) is 49. Actor Brian Baumgartner (“The Office”) is 48. Actor Julian Ovenden (“Downton Abbey”) is 45. Actor Anna Faris (“Mom,” ?Scary Movie”) is 44. Gospel singer James Fortune is 43. Actor Lauren German (“Lucifer,” ?Chicago Fire”) is 42. Rapper The Game is 41. Drummer Ringo Garza of Los Lonely Boys is 39. Actor-comedian John Milhiser (“Saturday Night Live”) is 39. Actor Lucas Black (“NCIS: New Orleans,” ?Sling Blade”) is 38. Actor Diego Boneta (“Scream Queens”) is 30. Actor Lovie Simone (“Greenleaf”) is 22. Nov. 30: Country singer-record company executive Jimmy Bowen is 83. Director Ridley Scott is 83. Writer-director Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”) is 77. Bassist Roger Glover of Deep Purple is 75. Singer-actor Mandy Patinkin is 68. Guitarist Shuggie Otis is 67. Country singer Jeannie Kendall of The Kendalls is 66. Singer Billy Idol is 65. Guitarist John Ashton of Psychedelic Furs is 63. Comedian Colin Mochrie (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) is 63. Rapper Jalil of Whodini is 57. Actor-director Ben Stiller is 55. DJ Steve Aoki is 43. Singer Clay Aiken (“American Idol”) is 42. Actor Elisha Cuthbert (“24”) is 38. Actor Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”) is 35. Model Chrissy Teigen is 35. Actor Christel Khalil (“The Young and the Restless”) is 33. Actor Rebecca Rittenhouse (“The Mindy Project”) is 32. Actor Adelaide Clemens (“Rectify”) is 31. Actor Tyla Harris (“For Life”) is 20. Dec. 1: Actor-director Woody Allen is 85. Singer Dianne Lennon of the Lennon Sisters is 81. Bassist Casey Van Beek of The Tractors is 78. Singer-guitarist Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult is 76. Drummer John Densmore of The Doors is 76. Actor-singer Bette Midler is 75. Singer Gilbert O’Sullivan is 74. Actor Treat Williams is 69. Country singer Kim Richey is 64. Actor Charlene Tilton is 62. Model-actor Carol Alt is 60. Actor Jeremy Northam (“The Tudors,” ?Happy, Texas”) is 59. Actor Katherine LaNasa (“Longmire,” “Deception”) is 54. Actor Nestor Carbonell (“Lost,” ?Suddenly Susan”) is 53. Actor Golden Brooks (“Girlfriends”) is 50. Comedian Sarah Silverman is 50. Singer Bart Millard of MercyMe is 48. Actor David Hornsby (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) is 45. Guitarist Brad Delson of Linkin Park is 43. Actor Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) is 43. Singer Mat Kearney is 42. Drummer Mika Fineo of Filter is 39. Actor Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) is 38. Actor Ilfenesh Hadera (“Godfather of Harlem,” “She’s Gotta Have It”) is 35. Singer-actor Janelle Monae is 35. Actor Ashley Monique Clark (“The Hughleys”) is 32. Singer Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is 32. Actor Zoe Kravitz (“Insurgent,” ?Divergent”) is 32. Singer Nico Sereba of Nico and Vinz is 30. Dec. 2: Actor Cathy Lee Crosby (“That’s Incredible”) is 76. Director Penelope Spheeris (“Wayne’s World,” “The Decline of Western Civilization”) is 75. Actor Ron Raines (“Guiding Light”) is 71. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 70. Actor Keith Szarabajka (”Angel,” “The Equalizer”) is 68. Actor Dan Butler (“Frasier”) is 66. News anchor Stone Phillips is 66. Actor Dennis Christopher (“Breaking Away,” ?Chariots of Fire”) is 65. Actor Steven Bauer (“Scarface”) is 64. Bassist Rick Savage of Def Leppard is 60. Actor Brendan Coyle (“Downton Abbey”) is 57. Bassist Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters is 52. Actor Lucy Liu is 52. Actor Suzy Nakamura (“Dr. Ken”) is 52. Actor Rena Sofer (“24,” ?Just Shoot Me”) is 52. Rapper Treach of Naughty by Nature is 50. Actor Joe Lo Truglio (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) is 50. Singer Nelly Furtado is 42. Singer Britney Spears is 39. Singer-actror Jana Kramer is 37. Actor Daniela Ruah (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) is 37. Actor Alfred Enoch (“How to Get Away with Murder”) is 32. Singer Charlie Puth is 29. Dec. 3: Director Jean-Luc Godard is 90. Singer Jaye P. Morgan (“The Gong Show”) is 89. Actor Nicolas Coster (“The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo”) is 87. Actor Mary Alice is 79. Singer Ozzy Osbourne is 72. Singer Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship is 71. Bassist Paul Gregg of Restless Heart is 66. Actor Steven Culp (“Desperate Housewives”) is 65. Actor Daryl Hannah is 60. Actor Julianne Moore is 60. Actor Brendan Fraser is 52. Singer Montell Jordan is 52. Actor-comedian Royale Watkins is 51. Actor Bruno Campos (“Nip/Tuck,” ?Jesse”) is 47. Actor Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed”) is 47. Actor Lauren Roman (“Bold and the Beautiful”) is 45. Musician Daniel Bedingfield is 41. Actor Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”) is 41. Actor Anna Chlumsky is 40. Actor Jenna Dewan (“The Resident,” ?Supergirl”) is 40. Actor Brian Bonsall (“Family Ties”) is 39. Actor Dascha Polanco (“Orange is the New Black”) is 38. Singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is 37. Drummer Michael Calabrese of Lake Street Dive is 36. Actor Amanda Seyfried (“Mamma Mia”) is 35. Actor Jake T. Austin (“The Fosters,” ?Wizards of Waverly Place”) is 26. Dec. 4: Game show host Wink Martindale is 87. Singer Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon is 84. Actor-producer-director Max Baer Junior (“The Beverly Hillbillies”) is 83. Bassist Bob Mosley of Moby Grape is 78. Singer-bassist Chris Hillman (The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers) is 76. Singer Southside Johnny Lyon of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes is 72. Actor Jeff Bridges is 71. Guitarist Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington Collins Band) is 69. Actor Patricia Wettig is 69. Actor Tony Todd (“Final Destination” films) is 66. Drummer Brian Prout of Diamond Rio is 65. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 65. Bassist Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 61. Singer Vinnie Dombroski of Sponge is 58. Actor Chelsea Noble (“Growing Pains,” "Kirk”) is 56. Actor Marisa Tomei is 56. Comedian Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” ?Saturday Night Live”) is 54. Rapper Jay-Z is 51. Actor Kevin Sussman (“Ugly Betty”) is 50. Model Tyra Banks is 47. Country singer Lila McCann is 39. Actor Lindsay Felton (“Caitlin’s Way”) is 36. Actor Orlando Brown (“That’s So Raven”) is 33. Actor Scarlett Estevez (“Lucifer”) is 13. Dec. 5: Actor Jeroen Krabbe (“The Fugitive”) is 76. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 74. Singer Jim Messina (Loggins and Messina, Poco) is 73. Actor Morgan Brittany (“Dallas”) is 69. Actor Brian Backer (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) is 64. Country singer Ty England is 57. Singer-guitarist John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls is 55. Country singer Gary Allan is 53. Comedian Margaret Cho is 52. Actor Alex Kapp Horner (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 51. Actor Kali Rocha (TV’s “Man with a Plan”) is 49. Bassist Regina Zernay of Cowboy Mouth is 48. Actor Paula Patton (“Precious”) is 45. Actor Amy Acker (“Person of Interest,” ?Angel”) is 44. Actor Nick Stahl (TV’s “Carnivale,” film’s “Terminator 3”) is 41. Actor Adan Canto (“Designated Survivor”) is 39. Singer Keri Hilson is 38. Actor Gabriel Luna (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 38. Actor Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 35. Actor Ross Bagley (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) is 32. The Associated Press
Island Nature Trust staff knew there was garbage in the Culloden forested natural area, but when they started to clean it up about a week ago, they were surprised with what they found.The site in eastern P.E.I. has a large pit in it that was once used as an illegal dump. Island Nature Trust took ownership of the land in 2003. Normally, the pit is covered in water, but this year it wasn't, providing staff the perfect opportunity to start cleaning it up."We knew that there would be quite a bit of garbage based on what we could see at the surface," said Amy Frost-Wicks, land stewardship program co-ordinator with Island Nature Trust. But once staff and volunteers started to clean it up, they realized there was a lot more garbage than expected."We were pulling out bags that were kind of buried under a foot or a foot and a half of soil," said Frost-Wicks."None of us realized how extensive it actually was."By the time the team's first effort at cleaning up the site was done, about 635 kilograms of garbage was removed, said Frost-Wicks. If staff continue to find garbage on the site, professional remediation might be needed."That would involve a lot more work. That could even involve having heavy machinery come in and just completely dig out the whole site," said Frost-Wicks. Island Nature Trust staff estimate the dump site is at least a couple of decades old."We were also finding some really old gas cans and old chewing tobacco containers and old gum containers, like the metal tins. So it could have been as old as the 60s," she said. Frost-Wicks said the garbage poses numerous problems."The plastics, as it ages in the sun, it can become brittle and it breaks apart. And then you get all these smaller pieces of plastic, which are even harder to clean up. Also, wildlife can mistake that plastic for food," she said. Finding sites of this scale on P.E.I. is uncommon, said Frost-Wicks. "At least on natural areas that Island Nature Trust owns, thankfully, we don't find them too often. I mean, there are inevitably some sites that you find that have kind of older piles of garbage, like at the back of fields and stuff like that, or you'll find an old car in the woods every once in a while," she said.More from CBC P.E.I.
Health researchers say British Columbians need to find new ways to get active as the pandemic stretches into its tenth month and the province has implemented new limits on some activities.Last week, provincial health officials suspended some indoor group fitness classes until Dec. 7 to try to reduce COVID-19 infections.The continuing uncertainty around how to keep fit safely has thrown some people off exercising entirely, but health researchers in B.C. say it's important to fight against apathy."It's not something to sort of push off," said University of Victoria professor Ryan Rhodes, who studies health psychology and how people approach and do exercise."We have to accept that this is a new reality and find new routines to get our physical activity going," he said.National guidelines recommend Canadian adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or what Rhodes describes as "huffing and puffing," to help prevent a range of diseases as well as bolster mental health.In the spring, both Rhodes and Guy Faulkner from the University of British Columbia worked on different studies looking at how Canadians were exercising during the initial response to the pandemic, which included the shutdown of gyms and recreation centres.Both found an expected reduction in activity, whether going to the gym or just getting outside. Moderate to vigorous physical activity declined on average by 46 minutes per week for adults, according the study Rhodes worked on.Of those who were active before COVID-19, around 20 per cent of them were not during the early days of the pandemic.Those who have stopped exercising and may still be trying to wait the pandemic out before returning are the people researchers like Rhodes and Faulkner are most concerned about."The consequences of inactivity are quite extreme," Rhodes said. Exercise for physical and mental well-beingFor 20 years, Faulkner has studied the effect of exercise on well-being and happiness.Now, in a pandemic with no known endpoint, he says exercise should be a tool to not only stay physically fit, but to bolster mental well-being."Mainly as a positive coping strategy for dealing with the stress of the situation that we find ourselves in," he said.Through their work, both Faulkner and Rhodes have uncovered some interesting trends that have helped people keep moving.Early in the pandemic, Rhodes found that people with dogs more easily kept up with exercise by walking their pets.He also found that people who had exercise equipment at home, bought new equipment, or even turned to YouTube for exercise videos fared better.Faulkner says routines do not need to be complicated. It could be as simple as trying to build in movement throughout the day to reduce sedentary activity.He takes a brisk walk in the morning and at the end of his working day as a sort of faux commute that many people like him have lost by working from home."I think we do need to make a conscious effort," he said.Pick something you likeTurning new routines into habits could be the toughest part, according to Rhodes.His research has shown that an activity needs to be repeated four times a week for six weeks before it becomes a part of someone's lifestyle. It's also important to choose an activity that you actually like doing to help make it stick.Rhodes has studied how cues, such as exercising at the same time each day, can be effective in turning exercise into a habit."Eventually the cue itself promotes the behaviour," he said.
The Petit Noel art exhibit and sale features a variety of work by local and area painters, photographers, potters and artisans at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum & Alex Dufresne Gallery. “We have over 30 people participating and the show is a great snapshot of the various artistic talents we have here in Northeastern Ontario,” states a museum notice. There will not be an opening reception and numbers are restricted as per COVID-19 safety restrictions but visitors welcome Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Please wear your mask, respect social distancing, and do not visit if you are not feeling well.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Regina is welcoming a new mayor and ten council members at tonight's swearing in ceremony.Sandra Masters, the first woman to be voted to mayor's office in Regina, will be sworn in at Regina City Hall tonight at 7 p.m. CST.Five of the ten council members are new: Shanon Zachidniak for Ward 8, Landon Mohl for Ward 10, Cheryl Stadinchuk for Ward 1, Terina Shaw for Ward 7 and Daniel LeBlanc for Ward 6.COVID-19 protocols will be in place during the ceremony. All members will be wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and physically distancing.The ceremony will be live streamed on the City of Regina website.
The New Brunswick government isn't committing to end the secrecy around who funds municipal election campaigns. There are no limits on how much municipal election candidates can spend on their campaigns nor any requirement they disclose who donates funds.In 2017, the Liberal government pledged to end a free-for-all in campaigns and passed legislation to do so, though regulations to implement the rules weren't put in place before the Progressive Conservatives took power in 2018. The work "died with the change in government," according to a February 2019 email obtained by CBC News through a right to information request. CBC asked the province Oct. 28 whether it would implement rules, though only received a response Nov. 19."Working to address municipal campaign financing is something that the government will consider," Anne Mooers, a spokesperson for the Department of Local Government and Local Governance Reform, said in an emailed statement. "Any possible new rules or changes to financial disclosure for municipal campaigns would only apply after the May 2021 municipal elections."Daniel Allain, the minister of the department, did not provide an interview. Candidates in federal and provincial elections are required to obey detailed rules around reporting and disclosing contributions and spending.Margot Cragg, executive director of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, said the rules can't be copied from those in place for provincial and federal campaigns. Can't be a barrier for candidatesCragg said, unlike provincial or federal campaigns where candidates have party support to comply with financing rules, each of the more than 1,000 municipal candidates is running independently. "Having rules around campaign financing are great," Cragg said. "We also need to get it right so that it doesn't become a barrier."Adam Lordon, Miramichi's mayor, said he personally wants the rules put in place as a way to add fairness but recognizes there's likely not enough time to make it happen for the 2021 vote. Pierre Boudreau, a Moncton city councillor, says he's been lobbying for disclosure rules for years and said he's heard for years that rules will be considered."The provincial government's reluctance to implement this much needed legislation is irresponsible and constitutes a flagrant disregard for accountability and transparency in municipal governments in the province," Boudreau said.Boudreau said he has returned contributions when he's run and has tried to keep his own spending as low as possible.> I find it deplorable that they're just considering it. \- Green Party MLA Kevin ArseneauOpposition parties say they also don't understand the hesitation. "I find it deplorable that they're just considering it," Green Party MLA Kevin Arseneau said."It has to be done."Arseneau said if the province is concerned about the effect on races in smaller communities, rules could start as a pilot in the province's eight cities.When Kris Austin, leader of the People's Alliance previously ran for municipal office, nothing was required around campaign spending. "It just seems to be a free-for-all," Austin said. He called rules on campaign spending long overdue.Liberal MLA Keith Chiasson, the party's local government critic, said with local governance reforms planned by the PCs that could expand areas that have municipal government, rules around campaigns could become more important."Now is the time to get it done," Chiasson said.
During Nova Scotia's fall municipal elections, two mayoral candidates said Cape Breton Regional Municipality was either bankrupt or nearly so.That's not the case, say others."We're a bankrupt municipality. People know. This whole island knows that," mayoral candidate Archie MacKinnon said during one of the election debates.Chris Abbass said during a debate that CBRM is "on the verge of financial collapse." In another, he said the municipality is not sustainable."We're slowly going bankrupt and if we don't do something about our cost-effectiveness and our efficiency in government, we're going to become ... a ward of the province or something, but we won't be anymore."But Mark Gilbert, a retired finance expert who was with the Department of Municipal Affairs and is a retired local government professor at Dalhousie University, said CBRM's financial statements show otherwise.The municipality does have net debt of roughly $145 million, but Gilbert said if you add in non-financial assets, it is more than $300 million in the black."This doesn't look like a municipality that doesn't have the wherewithal to continue operating," he said.With that much debt, a big question is future infrastructure needs and the municipality's ability to pay for the cost of borrowing through taxes or user fees, Gilbert said.However, CBRM's debt-service ratio is just over 10 per cent and the province doesn't red flag that until it hits 15 per cent or more.Gilbert said that means the municipality could borrow if it needed to finance large projects."If they were interested in borrowing, the capacity would certainly be there," he said."The thing that most municipalities are concerned about, and I did some research in this area for Infrastructure Canada, is not so much being able to borrow, but it's being able to service the debt."Jennifer Campbell, CBRM's chief financial officer, said the municipality would only be in trouble under extraordinary circumstances."For example, all of our long-term debt would have to be called at once, resulting in an immediate financial obligation of over $80 million and … that is not going to happen," she said.CBRM has long-term debt financing through the province's Municipal Finance Corporation that spread payments out over 10 years, Campbell said."If you're going to look at our net debt through the lens of immediate pressure, that's going to overinflate that and make it look like we aren't solvent, when, in reality, that obligation is due over a long period of time and we're well positioned to meet those obligations over that term."We have not defaulted on those terms, nor are we even close to defaulting on those terms."Municipality a going concernIt would be a struggle if all the debt came due in one year, because non-financial assets can't be easily liquidated, she said.Vehicles and buildings could be sold, but some non-financial assets would be more difficult to convert into cash."How do you sell a used municipal road or used municipal sewer pipes? There's simply no market for that," Campbell said.Last year's audited financial statement shows the municipality is a going concern. CBRM ended the year with a slight surplus of $12,000.It's not yet clear what the pandemic's impact will be on this year's finances, but a current statement is due to be unveiled at Tuesday's council meeting.MORE TOP STORIES
High stress, exhaustion, heartbreak: that is how some high school teachers describe working through the second wave of COVID-19. High school teacher Courtney Scratch worries that the current system isn't working for students or parents, and might be doing them a great disservice."To try to keep up with the expectations that were put both on students and on teachers has just been, honestly impossible," Scratch said. The new quadmester system used by the Greater Essex County District School Board splits the school year into four periods, to allow students to be split into two groups — or cohorts. It makes for longer classes and condensed curriculum. Courses that used to be taught over the course of five months are now being taught in eight weeks."It's virtually impossible in certain cases for the students to keep up," Scratch said. "And the feedback that we're getting from them is that they're just getting through it. They're just scraping by. They're not really retaining anything. It just feels like one hurdle after another."Scratch was assigned to teach mathematics completely online for her first quadmester. She was responsible for two classes and a total of 60 students.'Equity issues'A key challenge for teachers, Scratch explained, is lack of preparation time. She explained that the way the school year is split up, teachers get prep time for only two of the four quadmesters. She said, for her first quadmester, she got none. To make up for that, Scratch said she would wake up every morning at about 4 a.m. to prepare her lessons in time for the start of the school day. She would teach throughout the day, taking her lunch hour to meet with students and speak with parents. Once she got home, she would continue marking assignments and preparing lessons into the evening. "Eventually I would just work until I had to fall asleep and then I'd set an early alarm to get up and do it all again," she said. She said students were asking for more review, more assessments, one-on-one time, and so on, which she often wasn't able to accommodate because there simply wasn't enough time. "One of the things I think is not being discussed enough is the equity issues that arise because of this," Scratch said. "Imagine if these students had a teacher who was only working with 30 students and had prep time during the day. The experience of those students would be getting would be absolutely night and day. So it's really not fair to them that this is what they're getting because of the expectations that were piled up on their teachers."'Breaks my heart'Feeling like she's been unable to give her students everything they need has been "heartbreaking," Scratch said. "I just think about what could I have done differently had I had more time during the day to work with them in small groups, to work with them individually, how much more dynamic my lessons could have been had I been able to plan them," she said. "To think that in any way I have failed to equip them for the next steps of their mathematical journey — it breaks my heart in more ways than I can say."New challengesThat heartbreak and sadness is not unique. Erin Roy, the district president for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, says she's heard hearing similar stories from many teachers. "We put our a survey to our members and some of the comments were heartbreaking and brought tears to my eyes," said Roy. In addition to the difficulties around the curriculum, Roy added that teachers are missing the connections and interactions that come during a typical school year, even though they understand the restrictions are to keep everyone safe. "Even our most seasoned teachers, they're somewhat broken because they're not able to do those things."Further to that, Roy explained that teachers are dealing with challenges like never before, "stress on top of stress," from struggles with technology, to dealing with parents who are angered by the challenges the school year has presented for their kids."It's typically the front line worker that's getting that frustration taken out on them. And I feel like that's happening with our teachers a lot," Roy said. Union asking for changesRoy said the union is working to make improvements moving forward. She's calling for better technology for teachers, more technical support for students and parents, more training for virtual delivery of curriculum, and additional attendance counsellors to assist with disengaged virtual learners. She said she's also advocating for the board to reconsider the quadmester teaching model, and to look at other models being used in other parts of the province that might be more successful.For Scratch's next quadmester, she's shifted to in-person teaching, and her schedule now includes preparation time. Having more time to plan "feels almost surreal to feel such euphoria over something that should be an expectation," she said. She's grateful for the time, but also worried for her colleagues who are now in her shoes, experiencing the burden of not having any prep time for the first time.Scratch said she feels the Ministry of Education put the school boards and staff in an impossible situation but said she's hopeful for a solution that can still keep schools safe, while creating a better learning environment. Neither the Greater Essex County District School Board or the Ministry of Education responded CBC's request for comment by deadline.
The pandemic has been challenging for local businesses, but the Grand Falls-Windsor Farmers' Market is discovering there are some unexpected benefits as well."We're still seeing growth. If you look at our numbers from last year to this year, we're still growing, the pandemic hasn't put us back any," says Codylynn Smith, a member of the market's board of directors.She said while there are obviously challenges in the age of COVID-19, they have been doing great."For us, it's almost been beneficial in a way, because there hasn't really been anything else happening," Smith said."Our vendors are doing a lot better because people are coming to the market, and they're ending up with new customers that they didn't have before, because it's one of the only outlets right now for local shopping."Looking to expandThe market started less than a decade ago with just a few produce vendors, but business has been so good of late, the market is looking at expanding into its own space."Last season we operated out of a large event tent and that worked really great for us because the outdoor setting really gave you the farmers' market experience," Smith said."We actually met with the town council a couple of months ago and [made] a proposal to them. What we were looking for is for them to be an applicant to ACOA for some funding because we were looking at moving into a permanent structure and getting a building of our own. She said because the farmers' market has only been an independent incorporated enterprise for just over a year, the town wasn't 100 percent ready to move forward on applying for such a large amount of funding, however.But the town is working closely with the market. Smith said they've been temporarily operating from the Legion in Grand Falls-Windsor."It's been easier to navigate the distancing and keeping the traffic in one direction. And there was access to bathroom facilities, things like that."More distancing, concentrated customersStill, the public health regulations haven't been without some challenges, according to Smith."Trying to navigate all the guidelines and regulations has definitely been tricky for us and for our vendors because people get accustomed to a certain way of things. It has been a transition for us and out vendors," she said.But after everyone got used to the now-standard precautions like masks and physical distancing, Smith said some definite benefits came to light."We can't have as many vendors as we would normally have in the space that we're currently in, but that's kind of benefited our vendors, too, because people come to the market and they only have a certain amount of disposable income that they're going to spend," she said."If there was a little bit less vendors, then more of the vendors get to reap the benefits of that."She gives credit for their success to the community for supporting them through both good times and bad."The community has been really supportive to us, and they are really accepting of us as well," Smith said."The more people that find out about us, they're like 'oh, this is so great.' It's such a great thing for our community, a great place for our local entrepreneurs to showcase their products and showcase them to a large audience at one time." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
A former refugee and a Saskatoon teenager are working together to help African families escape persecution."It's important to work with people who know the issues and know what's needed," Eric James, 17, said.Several years ago, Fulgence Ndagijimana was imprisoned for his religious beliefs in his native Burundi. A group of people in Saskatoon worked hard to secure his release through fundraising, a letter-writing campaign and other advocacy.One of those people was Eric James, who was just 12 years old at the time. He created and maintained a website, which attracted more than 1,200 signatures calling for Ndagijimana's release."I felt like it was appalling. It was not right. It shouldn't happen," James said. "As a 12-year-old, I didn't have a great understanding of why it was happening. I just felt that it shouldn't."Ndagijimana was eventually released and resettled in Saskatoon. He recently moved to Ottawa and is continuing his studies at the University of Saskatchewan.But he hasn't forgotten what it felt like in prison, and to have that surge of support from hundreds of strangers halfway around the world. That's why he and James are now fighting to bring other refugee families to Canada.James and Ndagijimana have raised more than $30,000 so far. Once they raise another $5,000, an anonymous donor has agreed to match it.They will apply to the Canadian government to bring a family of six refugees to Canada."I'm thankful I'm alive," Ndagijimana said. "I want to do something positive and helpful with my life for others. I felt the same thing from many thousands of other people."The charity he founded, Flaming Chalice International, helps refugees to resettle, but also helps those stuck in refugee camps or other precarious situations."When I was released [from prison], I felt a renewed sense of purpose," Ndagijimana said."To have someone like Eric helping me, someone so young — that gives me hope."
For more than 40 years, an important piece of Acadian art languished in the basement of Louis-J-Robichaud High School in Shediac.The theatre curtain, measuring three metres by 5½ metres, depicts a scene from the deportation of the Acadians in the mid-18th century.Commissioned in 1931, the canvas was painted by Acadian artist Edouard Gautreau.The curtain hung in the Shemogue parish theatre hall until the 1960s, when the hall fell into disrepair, but the work of art was spared.Over the years, the canvas became increasingly damaged until it was rescued by the late Father Maurice Léger in 1979 and put in the care of the Société Historique de la Mer Rouge.It sat in the high school basement for decades, before ownership was transferred to the Nation Prospère Acadie charity in May 2020, with the promise of restoration."When we first unveiled it here when it was brought here a lot of us thought "Oh my goodness, this is so damaged, what can we do with this?" said Daniel LeBlanc, the organization's executive director."But the work began and suddenly we started to see colours appear, very beautiful colours, and I think we got the sense that this could be restored to a very high-quality painting."A grant of $7,500 from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation helped get the restoration work started.Over the summer, the canvas got its first treatment, which removed dirt and consolidated some of the missing sections. It had been ripped in half in the 1970s.It was also put on display, at the Musée de Kent in Bouctouche, for the first time in a half a century."Throughout the painting we see sections which were lost unfortunately with deterioration over time," LeBlanc said. "There was a lot of filth and mould over it and so the work of the restoration expert was to prepare it so that it could be saved for future restoration work and also to expose it so that the public could see." It will soon be taken down and rested on a flat surface for the winter, stabilizing it so it doesn't have any stress on the threads of the painting. Then it will be ready for the next stage of restoration."Painstakingly all the sections of the painting which have more filth on it, even mould, need to be cleaned thoroughly and the sections finally need to be patched in with paint," LeBlanc said.A specialist will match colours and repaint some of the damaged sections so it can finally be completed. A canvas will be needed underneath to keep everything supported.The final stage will be to frame the piece and have it permanently displayed.LeBlanc said this was one of artist Edouard Gautreau's largest works of art.Born in Saint-Paul-de-Kent in 1906, Gautreau started painting at a young age, and he painted many large pieces in New Brunswick churches. LeBlanc said that unfortunately, many of those pieces were lost in fires.LeBlanc said this canvas is special."Gautreau was very skilled in copying paintings but also bringing his own intuition and colours on paintings, so this is quite a much improved version of the small picture that you find in the Evangeline book," he said.LeBlanc said the first phase of restoration cost about $15,000, but the next phase will be more costly, at more than $75,000.LeBlanc is still working on raising the funds, but hopes the restoration work can begin again next summer. He'd like to see it completed by late 2021 or in 2022.LeBlanc said the canvas has had a long journey, one he'll be happy to see completed."We went from discouragement to hope that we can actually complete this project and it can be a beautiful project for Acadia."
Three more houses on May Street in north-end Halifax may soon be torn down.In 2016, 17 properties were demolished on Fern Lane, May, McCully and Robie streets to make way for an expansion of the Colonial Honda car dealership. That sparked a "Homes not Hondas" protest group.Dynamic Properties owns 5792, 5796 and 5800 May Street, which are three attached buildings. The director for the company is Rob Steele, who is also the CEO of the Steele Auto Group, which includes Colonial Honda.Initially Halifax Regional Municipality officials said there was an application for a demolition permit of one of the properties. They have since confirmed that the application is to tear down all three addresses, although the permit has not yet been issued. 'We could use that housing'The move dismayed Jim Graham, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia."Could we use that housing? Yeah, we could use that housing," said Graham. "It is discouraging."Graham said landlords are telling him that they are getting 12 calls for even bed-sitting units."The vacancy rate [for affordable housing] is not one per cent, it's zero," said Graham.Lisa Roberts, the MLA who represents the May Street area, agreed that affordable housing units are not being replaced at the same rate they are disappearing."We don't need another lot in Halifax-Needham," said Roberts, "We have a whole lot of them."A spokesperson for Colonial Honda said the company has purchased a two-storey, three-unit residential condominium building on May Street."The condo units involved were housed in a single building on the south side of May Street, adjacent to the Colonial Honda parking lot," the spokesperson said."Colonial plans to take down the building and expand the parking lot, which fronts on the Robie Street commercial corridor. This part of Robie is home to several auto dealership, service and repair centres."City can't stop demolitionsAn HRM planner wrote a report in 2016 that said council "does not have the ability to prohibit demolition."HRM councillors are meeting Tuesday to discuss which affordable housing projects are eligible for the $8.7 million from Ottawa under the Rapid Housing Initiative.Lindell Smith, the councillor for the area, said the zoning is also a factor."A lot of the residential properties and areas in the north end are actually zoned commercial," said Smith. "So I wish there were ways to protect it, but they own it and unfortunately they're deciding to take houses and put them into parking lots." MORE TOP STORIES
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a longtime ally of the president, blasted Trump's legal team, calling their work a "legal embarrassment" in an interview with ABC. View on euronews
MANILA, Philippines — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration provided precision-guided missiles and other weapons to help the Philippines battle Islamic State group-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea.National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien represented Trump in Monday’s ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, where he announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs to the Philippine military. Trump pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.O’Brien expressed condolences to the Philippines after back-to-back typhoons left a trail of death and devastation in the country and outlined U.S. help to the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic.The U.S. assistance projects normalcy in Washington’s foreign relations as Trump works to challenge the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, claiming he was a victim of fraud. Duterte had asked Filipino Americans to vote for Trump but congratulated Joe Biden, through his spokesperson, for winning the election.Asked in an online news briefing if any of the officials he met in Vietnam and the Philippines voiced concern about the post-election situation in the U.S., O’Brien said nobody did. “There will be a transition if the courts don’t rule in President Trump’s favour,” he said.O’Brien represented Trump in a recent online summit between the U.S. and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an expanded East Asia summit of heads of state attended by China and Russia that was also held by video and hosted by Vietnam.In his remarks at the turnover of the U.S. missiles in Manila, O’Brien cited the Trump administration’s role in the defeat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and last year’s killing of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in Syria, and renewed its commitment to help defeat IS-linked militants in the southern Philippines.“President Trump is standing with President Duterte as we combat ISIS here in Southeast Asia,” O’Brien said. “This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to our critical alliance.”He expressed hope for the continuance of a key security agreement that allows American forces to train in large-scale combat exercises in the Philippines. Duterte moved to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. early this year but later delayed the effectivity of his decision to next year, a move welcomed by O’Brien.He said the U.S. stands with the Philippines in its effort to protect its sovereign rights in the South China Sea. The Philippines announced last month that it would resume oil and gas explorations in or near Reed Bank, which lies off the country’s western coast and is also claimed by China.“They belong to the Philippine people. They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” O’Brien said.He repeated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement early this year that “any armed attack on Philippine forces aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger our mutual defence obligations.” The allies have a 69-year-old mutual defence treaty.In July, Pompeo escalated the Trump administration’s attacks against China by declaring that Washington regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims in the disputed waterway as illegitimate. China reacted angrily by accusing the U.S. of sowing discord between Beijing and neighbouring Asian states.Jim Gomez, The Associated Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Authorities in the South Korean capital on Monday announced a tightening of social distancing regulations, including shutting nightclubs, limiting service hours at restaurants and reducing public transportation.The measures going into effect on Tuesday also include a ban on public rallies or demonstrations of more than 10 people. Restaurants can provide only take out and delivery after 9 p.m., and public transportation will be limited after 10 p.m.Acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jung-hyup told reporters one-third of city employees will work from home. He recommend churches convert to online worship services only.Earlier on Monday, the country reported 271 new cases of the coronavirus.South Korea has saw the virus spread faster after authorities eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest level in October amid concerns about a weak economy.Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said tightening guidelines was inevitable as a failure to slow transmissions now could “break the dam” in anti-virus efforts and result in a surge in infections nationwide that may overwhelm hospital systems.“We need to reduce people-to-people contact,” she said during a briefing Monday, pleading with people to cancel year-end meetings and other gatherings.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli. Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.— Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic. The Health Ministry reported 4,442 new cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 502,110, the highest toll in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s more than 9.1 million confirmed cases. The ministry said that the death toll from the virus is 16,002, and that it has been adding 3,000-5,000 daily cases since mid-September. President Joko Widodo said his administration is working on a mass vaccination program for the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people.— Sri Lanka has reopened some of the thousands of schools that have been closed for more than a month due to a surge of the coronavirus. Schools will remain closed in Colombo and it’s suburbs as the number of cases is still climbing in those parts. According to the government’s decision, schools were re-opened only for students in grades 6 to 13. The Education Ministry said there are 10,165 state-run schools in the country and arrangements were made to open 5,100 schools on Monday. Sri Lanka closed schools last month when two new clusters emerged in Colombo and it’s suburbs. The confirmed cases from the two clusters had grown to 16,639 by Monday.— India has registered 44,059 another new cases of the coronavirus and 511 deaths in the past 24 hours. New Delhi on Monday added 5,879 new cases 111 deaths and its rate of positive testing is more than three times the national average, authorities said. India has reported more than 9 million cases since the pandemic began, second behind the United States.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
It's been said the COVID-19 pandemic has lifted the veil to reveal some of the horrors that have existed at many of Canada's long-term care facilities.Advocates for improved care and standards — and a shift away from institutional care for seniors — believe now is the time to demand change."This generation deserves way more than they're getting," said Leslie Peers, who says her mother, Marilyn Hindmarch, received substandard care during a five-week stay at a long-term care facility in Edmonton. The stay was brief but fraught with fear, anger and regret for the family.Peers has joined a new group calling itself FACE, which stands for Families Advocating for Compassionate Eldercare. The group is urging the provincial government to make a series of changes at privately run seniors homes that receive public funding, including improved staffing models with a set ratio of one health-care aide for every five residents.Peers believes the ratio at her mother's former care home was one health-care aide for every 15 residents.FACE is also calling for more accountability and enforcement for care-home operators who violate provincial standards and regulations that govern long-term care and supportive living facilities.Two days after her arrival at the publicly funded, privately run facility in March 2019, Hindmarch fell and broke three ribs. Less than two weeks later, another fall left her with a fractured pelvis. Hindmarch, who was 84, was dealing with several medical conditions including dementia when she moved into the facility and was separated from her husband of 67 years.Peers brought her mother's situation to the attention of Health Minister Tyler Shandro, who met with the family in September 2019.The matter was also raised in the legislature by the Official Opposition.The family filed a complaint with the Protection of Persons in Care, which found in a preliminary report that staff failed to properly document the injuries and notify senior staff about Hindmarch's injuries and symptoms.An X-ray was ordered for Hindmarch 26 hours after her first fall, when she suffered broken ribs, even though she said she had pain on the left side of her torso, that it hurt when she breathed. The report stated health-care aides did not report those symptoms to Hindmarch's physician and no one offered to call 911. The incident was not reported to Alberta Health as required.The preliminary investigation recommended the facility update its fall prevention strategies and post-fall policies.Twelve days later, Hindmarch fell again and fractured her pelvis. A preliminary investigation revealed staff didn't document the incident properly or relay Hindmarch's report of pain and evidence of bruising to a physician. A third investigation revealed several pressure sores on Hindmarch that were not documented, assessed or monitored.Peers says the family made the decision to move her mother out of the facility and she stayed with her mom for five days before the move to another centre was finalized because she felt her mother was not safe. They transferred her to a private facility where she was reunited with her husband. Their final stay together was brief as Hindmarch died three months later. 'I want it out there for everybody to see'Crystal McAteer says 2019 was also a year filled with anxiety, fear, anger and personal loss.As mayor of the Town of High Level, Alta., she led her community through a state of emergency when it was threatened by the Chuckegg Creek wildfire.The fire forced the evacuation of a number of areas, including a long-term care home in Manning, where her father, Henry Lawrence, was a resident. He was airlifted to an acute care facility in Fairview. McAteer says her father's condition rapidly deteriorated after he developed a bed sore that became infected. He was eventually returned to his care home in Manning, where a doctor told McAteer the infection may have been the result of lengthy exposure to soiled adult diapers, she says.Lawrence stayed in Fairview for about four weeks before he was transferred back to the long-term care home in Manning. He died five days later at the age of 88.She believes her father's death is the result of the poor care that he received. McAteer says the staff at the acute care hospital may have been overwhelmed following the arrival of seven high need patients who were transferred to the facility. An investigation by Protection of Persons in Care found in a preliminary report that Lawrence did not receive adequate nutrition or medical attention during his stay at the acute care facility, which resulted in "serious bodily injury."McAteer, as one of the founders of FACE, is imploring the government to improve seniors' care in Alberta."We want compassionate care and we want accountability," McAteer said from her home in High Level. McAteer says she has several questions, including how often her father was changed, how his bedsore was treated, how often he was bathed and how long did he have to sit in dirty adult diapers. "My dad must have laid in his Depends for over 12 hours at a time. That's just not humane," she said.Improved seniors' careIn addition to improved staffing at continuing care facilities, FACE wants to see "strengthened legislated penalties" for service providers who fail to meet care and accommodation standards. It would also like to see unannounced inspections of facilities and steep fines for operators who are found to be non-compliant, and it wants those inspection reports made public.It's also pushing for a shift away from institutional care and wants the government to fund personal care homes at the same per-resident level as long-term care facilities. It wants the government to "immediately implement innovative pilot projects through the province to move beyond the one-model system of institutional care for seniors."Personal care homesEdmonton-based ExquisiCare is an example of a privately run facility where residents receive no government funding. The company offers assisted living, long-term and palliative care in "purpose built" homes for up to 10 people in a residential setting.The company's president and CEO says the government should put the needs of seniors first by allowing continuing care subsidies to follow the person, not the facility. "Right now, unfortunately, we don't fit into the government-funded system," said Dawn Harsch."For people who want to live in a smaller, more home-like environment, they should still be supported by their government to live where they want to live," said Harsch.But at $8,000 per month, it's an expensive option.Lorie Grundy knows firsthand what it's like for her family to lose government funding for her mother, but it was a decision they took on their own after her 100-year-old mother suffered physical abuse at a publicly funded long-term care home in Edmonton. Dorothy Forbes's arms were bruised and cut from her wrists to her shoulders during an incident with a health-care aide in February. Grundy believes it happened at bed time when Forbes was being asked to get changed into her pyjamas."I wheeled mum up to the desk on the unit and asked the nurse, 'what happened?' "And she looked at them [her mother's arms] and she was quite taken aback and she said, 'I don't know,'" said Grundy.The family moved Forbes to a private facility operated by ExquisiCare nine days later. The $5,700 monthly government subsidy was discontinued and the family is now paying $7,900 per month. Grundy would like the government to make the subsidy available for everyone regardless of whether they choose publicly funded, privately run facilities or fully private personal care homes."The government subsidy should be provided to every Alberta citizen who needs long-term care," she said.FACE launched its website this month and is hoping people sign the petition that demands the government make changes to improve patient care. In an email to the CBC, a spokesperson for Alberta Health says the government is reviewing continuing care legislation "to ensure we have the framework in place to protect those in care."The spokesperson said other work includes a separate review "of the facility-based continuing care system" in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has "disproportionally impacted continuing care facilities."Leslie Peers knows her group faces a monumental challenge trying to convince the government to make changes. "I think we just said, 'we have to do this,'" she said."A lot of us are doing it in honour of our parents who have passed away.""They cared about their communities. They cared about others. And so, in my particular case, my father advocated all the time for people who needed support, needed a voice, for they didn't have it. So, in some ways, it's his legacy that I am following through on," said Peers.Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.
Ownership changes in New Brunswick apartment complexes that in some cases have been generating eviction notices for tenants in entire buildings is causing anxiety among those displaced.It has led to calls for the province to delay the practice, at least while COVID-19 is surging."We're in the orange zone now," said Tara Cripps, who was told last week by National Bank she, her partner and their five children were being put out of their Saint John home of seven years."We can't even say, 'Hey, can we stay at your house?' We're supposed to be all in one family bubble thing again."She said she's going to need friends to help her pack up."And I'm going to need their trucks and their cars and stuff to move. Is somebody going to call the police and be, like, 'There's multiple people going in and out of this house?'"National Bank recently foreclosed on the Saint John apartment building owned by Cripps's landlord and, on Nov. 12, sent a lawyer's letter to her and her partner ordering them and their children to get out two weeks after Christmas."National Bank requires immediate vacant possession of the above noted property," read the notice from its Fredericton lawyer, Paul White. "On behalf of our client we hereby demand vacant possession on or before Wednesday January 6, 2021."Should you not vacate … it will be necessary for us to make court application to have you evicted and we will be asking for costs on behalf of [National Bank].""I've been here seven years and I've never been late on my rent," said Cripps."I've come to the understanding I need to find a new home. OK. But wait until it's a safer time. Wait until we're not in the orange zone. Wait until it's a little bit warmer. I'm hoping someone at the bank has a heart."The eviction of tenants unable to pay rent was halted by the Higgs government in the early days of the pandemic in March but those restrictions were lifted June 1. Since then, a new type of eviction has emerged as large numbers of New Brunswick apartment buildings have changed hands with some of the new owners wanting current tenants out.Ron Blache-Fraser, a local property manager, said out-of-province investors have taken an interest in New Brunswick income properties as attractive real estate investment opportunities."There's a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers for all sorts of buildings in Saint John because the prices are lower, the returns are better," he said. "It's pretty straightforward."In October, two five-unit buildings on Sherbrooke Street in Saint John were purchased by a group of Vancouver-area investors who paid $470,000 for the properties — 35 per cent above their assessed value. The group then issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings so renovations can be done and rents increased.Blache-Fraser is managing those buildings and said they were in poor condition and needed significant work. He expects rents, which were between $475 and $650 per month prior to the purchase, will climb to $975 for a two-bedroom unit once renovations are complete."We issued notice that we would be doing major renovations and gave tenants three-months notice, which we did not have to do," said Blache-Fraser."They need to be out at the end of January. Some are already leaving and we're in the process of renovating because the buildings are in deteriorated condition." Across the city on Jack Street, an Ontario company bought a pair of 24-unit buildings. In September, it issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings to be out by Nov. 30.That deadline is next week. Although most tenants have gone elsewhere, at least one woman remains. Dave Cormier is her son.He said she has been in the building for 10 years. He said finding a two-bedroom unit for her for the $750 per month she currently pays has been difficult with vacancy rates falling and rents increasing all over Saint John."It's almost impossible unless you've got $1,400, or $1,600 or $2,000 [for rent]," he said."Even $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment is a lot of money for low-income [people]."Cormier has been speaking with the province about public housing and is hopeful something is happening, but with the eviction deadline just a week away and COVID-19 suddenly spiking in the community, it has been a stressful experience."It's scary. You know, COVID-19 is not making this any easier at all. It might be a little bit easier if that wasn't going on, but it is. And because of that, things are difficult."Last week, a surge in COVID-19 infections across southern New Brunswick caused the province to downgrade communities from Sackville to St. Stephen, including Moncton and Saint John, from the yellow phase to the orange phase of pandemic recovery. That requires the public to limit contacts with people outside of their household bubble.Premier Blaine Higgs was asked Friday if there are any additional protections for tenants in orange-phase areas who are being put out of their buildings. His answer was no."No, not at all," said Higgs. "Not at this time."That causes worry for tenants like Cripps. Her landlord owns multiple buildings and she said the letter carrier who delivered her eviction notice told her he had several others to hand out.A spokesperson for National Bank said it was not involved in other evictions and has already contacted Cripps about allowing her family to stay where it is."Other cases were with other lenders," said Jean-Francois Cadieux. "Our legal external counsel has contacted the tenants. He presented them solutions and informed them that we will not be asking that they vacate their apartment."'Kids can't sleep in a car'But Cripps said the bank's solution involves her making an offer to buy the building. She said she doesn't have a down payment and doubts she could afford the building.She does not want to uproot her children before Christmas but is worried about what comes after, especially if large numbers of other evicted renters are suddenly in the market at the same time looking for a place to live."There are good tenants that are being penalized and now they're being put out," she said."All these families now need to find a home. We're all going to be fighting for an apartment. There are going to be people who are probably going to end up homeless. What are parents going to do? Kids can't sleep in a car."