Wild fox approaches camera operator in Saskatchewan.
Wild fox approaches camera operator in Saskatchewan.
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.
Instead of offering one or more options, some companies are turning health insurance shopping over to employees.A federal rule change last year stoked this new approach. It allows employers to reimburse workers for coverage they bought without paying a tax penalty.The concept sends employees to individual insurance markets where they can find more choices for coverage. It also protects employers from huge annual cost spikes. But it’s a big change for workers who are used to having their employer give them benefit choices every year.This new approach — known as an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement or ICHRA — started with coverage plans for this year. More workers will likely see them offered this fall during their company’s annual sign-up window for 2021 coverage.Benefits experts say the idea is drawing interest from employers, but they expect the option to grow slowly over the next few years.“We are seeing much more cautious adoption of it," said Alan Silver, senior director of health and benefits for the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.Here's how it works: Employees pick a plan that works best for them, sometimes with help from an outside company hired by their employer. Then the employer reimburses them, at least partially, for the cost.Benefits consultants say the accounts can be attractive to companies that have been hammered by insurance costs or want to offer benefits to attract new employees but haven’t been able to afford them.Element Designs, with about 65 employees, switched earlier this year. The Charlotte, North Carolina, custom door maker was facing a 60% price hike for its old coverage plan. That would have followed a 50% increase from the year before.The company couldn’t absorb those hikes. But human resources manager Kymberlee Hernandez said they also couldn’t tell employees in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Hey guys, by the way, we’re not going to have health care this year.”“This was definitely a good alternative for us,” she said.The company is reimbursing employees $500 per month for their coverage and another $300 if they have dependents.Employee Olivia Banks found the new approach daunting at first. But a company hired by her employer, Take Command Health, helped Banks figure out which plans would include her doctors and what sort of expenses she could handle.“The benefit on the other side is a plan that’s tailored more towards you,” said the account manager.The federal government estimates that once employers get used to the new rule, more than 11 million workers and family members will get insurance this way.That’s a relatively small slice of the market for employer-sponsored health insurance, which covered about 157 million people last year, according to the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.HealthSherpa, a company that helps people find coverage in the insurance marketplaces, said it is working with more than 50 employers to start the coverage switch between this month and January. Separately, it also is helping individuals with ICHRAs find coverage through an app it debuted in July.The coronavirus pandemic has strained some employer budgets and made them start thinking about insurance alternatives, HealthSherpa co-founder Cat Perez said.“It’s definitely picked up as the pandemic has played on,” she said.Like with most insurance plans, shoppers will have to read the fine print when they search individual coverage markets. A plan that seems like a bargain could require customers to pay several thousand dollars in deductibles before most coverage starts or deal with much bigger prescription bills than they are used to.“You’re definitely going to reach into your pocket more,” said Katherine Hempstead, a health care researcher with the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.The new option is expected to grow first with small businesses and in places where employers think the insurance market offers enough coverage choices.Beth Carter’s marketing agency, Clariant Creative, adopted the approach earlier this year because more typical employer-sponsored health insurance was both unaffordable and an administrative headache.“Finding the right coverage was just ridiculously painful,” said Carter, whose Naperville, Illinois, business has only six full-time employees.New employee Sara Schleicher was drawn to the idea. Previous employers had high-deductible plans that would have exposed her to big medical bills. The 29-year-old marketing specialist wanted something with more protection partially because she likes to ride motorcycles. She wound up with a low-deductible plan.“I feel better knowing that I have insurance even if I don’t need to use it that often,” the St. Augustine, Florida, resident said. “This really has given me access to options that I might not necessarily have had otherwise.”___Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
The Kamistiatusset (Kami) project in Labrador west has entered another phase of its long saga. The iron ore project was put back into limbo earlier this year when the owners, Alderon Iron Ore, defaulted on a $14-million loan and went into receivership. Now, Australia-based Champion Iron Ltd., the operators of the nearby Bloom Lake project just across the border in Quebec, has picked up the gauntlet on the sizable iron deposit in the Labrador Trough. Champion was the successful bidder on the project to the tune of $34 million, which also covers the cost of Alderon’s secured debt. The deal was approved by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador this week. Labrador West MHA Jordan Brown said he wants to sit down and have some talks about where the project is going and assurances from government the resources will benefit Labradorians. Alderon had always touted a potential $1-billion project in Kami, with 300-400 local jobs projected. Brown said he wants to make sure that work stays on the Labrador side of the border and that the benefits of the resource goes to this province. “A lot of people hope and want the project to go ahead, and be a mine that uses a local workforce, minimizes fly-in fly-out operation, things like that. I just want to make sure this resource benefits Labradorians as the resource is in Labrador.” Brown said he wants to have that conversation with Champion, and make sure those concerns are front of mind as they proceed. Michael Marcotte, vice-president of investor relations with Champion, told SaltWire they’re very excited about the possibility of the project but don’t know where it will go until they complete a feasibility study. “We’ll have to look into a standalone project to some extent, see how we can benefit the infrastructure we currently have, but the way it will be structured and the scale, it’s too early to say,” he said. Marcotte said the company has hired people to start a study, work on that for several months, and then come back to the local communities and see what the potential plan would look like. But at this point it’s to early say how or if the project will proceed. He said Bloom Lake is a great anchor for Champion, with an expansion announced to that project last week, and they think Kami is positioning the company for another phase of growth. As part of the purchase, Champion will get an additional eight million tonnes annually of port capacity in Sept-Isles, Que., where they currently send the iron ore concentrate from Bloom Lake. Marcotte said they won’t have the extra capacity at Bloom Lake to integrate the iron ore from the Kami project so that will be something they will be studying. The Kami project has had a couple of near starts over the years, one as recently as 2019. Alderon had announced it hoped to start construction in 2020 but was unable to secure funding, citing the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lost the project and assets to Sprott Lending Corp. The project then went up for sale. Champion also picked up Bloom Lake at a time when the project seemed unlikely to be profitable, buying it from Cliffs Québec Iron Mining ULC for $10.5 million in 2016. Marcotte said it shows that they have a track record of exceeding expectations. “We think we have a secret sauce and the recipe is working at Bloom,” he said. “We’re excited to bring our know how to the region and hopefully have a benefit to the region.” Altius Minerals has had its hand in the Kami project pretty much since it began. The Newfoundland based company did the initial drilling program that identified the Kami site in 2008 and later sold it to Alderon, holding a 37.3 per cent equity holding in the company at the time of its demise. Altius is receiving 600,000 shares in Champion as part of the current deal and expects to receive a portion of the cash Champion paid for the project once the details are worked out. “In some ways it’s bittersweet,” Altius CEO Brian Dalton said when asked about the deal. “It’s tough to attract that kind of capital with a junior mining company so I was disappointed Alderon wasn’t able to get across the line.” He said timing was against Alderon, but he has a lot of faith in Champion and people shouldn’t underestimate their ambition or their ability to execute. Dalton said he wouldn’t expect to see any major changes to the scope of the project, since Alderon already had a lot of the permitting and approvals in place and a major change of the scope would mean starting a lot of processes over.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
PEERS Alliance in Charlottetown has received $2,100 from the Tegan and Sara Foundation for its work in the LGBTQ community. "That was a big moment for me, to get that notification that we've been awarded the funds," said Brittany Jakubiec, the executive director at PEERS Alliance. "I'm a little bit, like, excited that we get to put kinda their stamp on our project. That's just huge."PEERS Alliance is a charitable non-profit organization. It began as AIDS PEI and slowly evolved to offer programming and outreach for harm reduction for the LGBTQ community.This year, it is one of 13 organization across Canada to receive a Community Grant from the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Jakubiec said the plan is to use the money to keep the adult drop-in program running until June. "The adult drop-in is a low-barrier social group dedicated to fostering and growing 2SLGBTQ+ community in P.E.I.," said Jakubiec. (When using that term, Jakubiec means two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or questioning, with the plus representing other terms people may prefer to use for themselves.)"The drop-in program does help with the reduction of social isolation and an increase of feeling like you're connected to the community."'It's super important'Jakubiec said additional costs have come up this year due to the pandemic and the extra financial support is not only crucial to running the program but also ensuring it doesn't need to be cut early. "It's super important that the program is offered."For Islanders looking for supports, Jakubiec said PEERS Alliance can be reached by phone, email or on social media — contact information is posted on its website. And for those who do call, Jakubiec said extra precautions are taken — for example, asking if a message can be left on the caller's phone — to make sure people feel safe and supported. "We really try and just make sure that we're being inclusive and respectful of where people are in their journeys."More from CBC P.E.I.
Nunavut is entering the first full week of its "circuit-breaker lockdown" following a spike in COVID-19 cases over the weekend. There are 132 active cases across the territory as of Monday. Four new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Monday, three in Rankin Inlet, bringing that community's total to 18 and one in Whale Cove, bringing its total to 16 cases. The announcement came as Premier Joe Savikataaq and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson gave the territory's first update of the week Monday morning, along with Minister of Health Lorne Kusugak .Missed the government update? Watch it here:There are no new cases in Arviat, though Patterson warned last week that daily case announcement can be more reflective of testing turnaround than the actual spread of the virus in the community. "Because of the timing of testing, the variability of plane flights, the numbers will go up and down from day to day regardless of what's happening in the community," Patterson said. "Say they're weather-delayed and we may not be able to get a number of samples until the next day. So it could literally go from zero one day to a large number the next day." On Monday, Patterson said health teams are still finding evidence of community transmission in Arviat, but they not sure if it's residual or ongoing transmission.There are 98 cases in Arviat. Two previous cases in Sanikiluaq have since recovered.All active cases are currently in isolation and doing well with mild to moderate symptoms, according to a news release from the territory Monday.Patterson said health teams are "working around the clock" to trace, test, isolate and contain the spread and that it would take some time to see if the current public health measures are working. How exactly COVID-19 entered Nunavut is still unknown, Patterson said, as the government's focus continues to be community support. An environmental health officer from Nunavut was flown to Winnipeg to inspect its isolation hubs, while another team is reviewing the policies associated with Nunavut's southern isolation hubs. A public health physician is looking at links that could have led to infection with Manitoba Public Health also involved in the the review, Patterson said. He expects new cases to continue to be announced, but says if new case numbers continue be fewer, he said to take that as evidence, health measures are succeeding in breaking transmission. Sanikiluaq outbreak status While Sanikiluaq's two cases have recovered, the outbreak in the community is not yet over, Patterson said. That will happen 28 days after the last infected person's 10 days of infection."There's a worldwide accepted standard that from the time somebody starts symptoms — or the date that a swab was collected — 10 days later they're no longer infectious," Patterson said.Sanikiluaq's second case was identified on Nov. 8. Once contact tracers are no longer finding new cases and all contacts with cases are in isolation with their test results known, Patterson says contact tracing will be paused. He reassured Nunavummiut that experienced contract tracers are good at getting the information they need about a person's contacts while maintaining confidentiality. Isolation remindersPatterson took the opportunity of Monday's press conference to speak about the importance of following isolation measures, especially for those who have been identified as contacts of positive COVID-19 cases. "People can still spread the virus when they don't have symptoms, this is what we mean when we say asymptomatic transmission, some people can spread the virus up to two days before developing symptoms, and some can spread the virus for 10 days without ever developing symptoms," Patterson said. He explained that by the time people know they are sick, they will have infected many more, who will also spread the virus.The government has received general complaints that some people are not following isolation rules, but since there have been no specific complaints with names and dates, there have been no fines issued for violating public health orders, Patterson said. Someone who is asked to isolate should keep to their own space in a house as much as possible and high traffic areas in the house should be disinfected regularly. They are not supposed to go to the grocery store, instead they should ask friends and family to pick up supplies and drop them off, he said. When asked about fears related to dropping off groceries to those in isolation and how those without credit cards can order food, Savikataaq said the hamlet of Arviat is dropping off food hampers to affected families. The territorial government is working with the Department of Family Services, to makes sure food is delivered and those on income support can have their cases evaluated over the phone, Savikataaq said. In a Saturday news release, Savikataaq said he knows the number of COVID-19 cases in Nunavut seem scary, "but it is not a reason to panic.""We will continue to see dips and rises in our case numbers for some time," he said. On Friday, the premier repeated his call for Nunavummiut to stay focused on containment efforts, including wearing masks and not socializing with people outside one's household. "This virus does not care how hard we're working or how bored or tired we are," he said in a Friday afternoon update."We do not get to relax for a single moment with what we're doing. Please do not give it a chance to take more of a hold in any of our communities."
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite.Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest.Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again.It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C.The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me.I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons.I wasn’t the only one who chose music.NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME“I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota.Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.”She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day.Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams.“One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.”Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join.“It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said.NEVER A BETTER TIMEAs for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons.The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor.“Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said.Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students.Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s.“Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said.A SENSE OF CONTROLTurning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston.“It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said.Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar.During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.”They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube.“After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.”Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University.Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example.“People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.”I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart.But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories.Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared two Peel police officers of wrongdoing in the Sept. 10, 2019, death of a 34-year-old Mississauga man who died after he was Tasered at a Malton home. According to a Friday news release, Special Investigations Unit director Joseph Martino determined “there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s death.” The man, who has not been named by police or the SIU, died after he was Tasered during an interaction with police after two officers went to the home following multiple calls from family members inside. “Soon after arriving, officers became involved in an interaction with a 34-year-old and shortly after apprehended him,” the SIU report of the incident said. The man was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead soon after arrival. According to the SIU, two Peel officers were called to the home on Morning Star Drive near Cambrett Drive around 9 p.m after a man complained that his brother was acting erratically. After entering the home, the officers found the man agitated, and one of the officers deployed his Taser twice in succession, the SIU said in its report on the case. The Taser appeared to have no effect, and the man then removed its wires and ran toward the front door “yelling and flailing his arms,” the report said. Near the door, the same officer grabbed the man, and during an attempt to arrest him the other officer also deployed his Taser. According to the SIU, the officers were eventually able to overpower the man on the ground outside and handcuffed him with this hands behind his back. Another officer arrived while the man was restrained and, according to the SIU, he continued to yell, kick and struggle until the officers called for paramedics. They arrived around 9:30 p.m. to find the man prone, held down by one or two officers, the SIU said. According to the report, the man appeared to lose consciousness after he was placed on a stretcher, and he was pronounced dead in hospital. Following an autopsy, a pathologist determined the Tasering likely “did not play a major role, if any,” in the man’s death. The pathologist found his cause of death to be from “excited delirium (cocaine and ethanol toxicity) during restraint,” saying “the cumulative effects of agitation and struggles, position with impaired respiratory movements and cocaine likely all contributed to cause sudden cardiac arrest.” Neighbours told the Star the man lived at the home with his mother, and that his father had died recently. The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. This ruling comes at a time when the SIU is under increasing pressure from advocates and the relatives of several Peel residents shot or killed by police since 2019. Those cases include: The Nov. 20, 2019, death of Clive Mensah, a 30-year-old mentally ill who died after Peel police Tasered him near his home. The Jan. 7, death of Jamal Derek Jr. Francique, a 28-year-old Mississauga man who was shot and killed by a Peel officer. The April 6 death of D’Andre Campbell, 26, who was shot and killed in his home by a Peel officer. The Mother’s Day shooting of Chantelle Krupka, who continues to undergo physiotherapy after she was shot in the abdomen. The June 20 shooting of 62-year-old Ejaz Choudry, who killed inside his Malton apartment, sparking public uproar and a series of protests. The SIU has been criticized for the length of its investigations and perceptions of low transparency and poor communications with victims’ families. Of those outstanding cases, the SIU has completed its investigation into only Krupka’s case — for which a rookie Peel officer was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm. In a rare move, the accused officer, Valerie Briffa, resigned soon after she was charged. According to the SIU’s recent annual report, the watchdog took an average of 136 days to close a case in 2019 — or about four-and-a-half months per case. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpicJason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Bishop's University has decided to suspend the majority of on-campus activities after a spike in COVID-19 cases.Fifteen members of the university community in Sherbrooke, Que., have tested positive for the coronavirus. Before Nov. 11, no cases had been detected, according to the university.At the end of the day on Friday, all in-person university activities were suspended until Wednesday morning, said university spokesperson Olivier Bouffard.Until Wednesday, all classes will be given remotely. Only essential activities, including certain research projects, will continue.While other Quebec universities chose to conduct much of the fall semester online, Bouffard said Bishop's has been in "hybrid mode," with some classes online, some in person and some a mix of both.More than half the university's courses were already being held online prior to Friday's decision, Bouffard said. The university intends to assess the risks by Wednesday to determine its plan for the final weeks of the semester.University monitoring residencesThe university intends to closely monitor the situation in its residences, which can accommodate more than 400 students this semester. At least two cases of COVID-19 have been detected in residences, according to the university."The majority of people who tested positive have returned to their homes outside of Bishop's. We have also identified spaces for people who have tested positive and who need to isolate," Bouffard said. Prevention measures have been put in place in the seven university residences. According to the spokesperson for the establishment, however, it's too early to close them.The university is urging all at-risk students to be tested for COVID-19, and says taxi vouchers are available for students who need to go to screening centres.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a gorgeous sunset. It is actually light pollution from Leamington, Ontario, Canada on November 22nd, 2020. How crazy is that?!
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
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Le 10 novembre, les agents de Service correctionnel Canada au pénitencier de Port-Cartier ont intercepté un détenu qui tentait d’introduire des objets interdits et non autorisés dans l’établissement. Parmi les objets interdits saisis, il y a 180 timbres de nicotine de 21 milligrammes, 139,26 grammes de haschich et quatre clés USB. La valeur en établissement des objets saisis est évaluée à 41 256 $. Cette opération a été rendue possible grâce à la collaboration entre les agents correctionnels, l'équipe canine et des agents du renseignement de sécurité. La Sûreté du Québec mène une enquête sur cette saisie et des accusations criminelles pourraient être déposées.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
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
Cinq générations d’agriculture sur leur terre de Baie-des-Sables, et l’héritage agricole de la famille Chamberland tient toujours, 110 ans plus tard. En service depuis 2000, la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland est relancée après qu’Eric ait décidé de poursuivre la récolte de pommes de terre. Le premier Chamberland à lancer la ferme familiale fut Joseph, l’arrière-grand-père d’Eric, élevé à Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage près de Mont-Joli. Il était l’aîné d’une grande famille et il était assez vieux pour s’établir, mais comme il avait d’autres enfants après lui, son père ne voulait pas lui vendre sa propre terre. Sa sœur vivait à Baie-des-Sables, et par la poste elle lui fait savoir que la terre voisine était à vendre. Le père de Joseph, André, a donc fait acquisition de la terre pour Joseph qui avait 19 ans à l’époque, considéré mineur et devait attendre ses 21 ans avant. Joseph a été le premier à s’établir sur la terre en 1910 jusqu’en 1948, où il a élevé sa famille. Celui-ci vendait des pommes de terre, mais aussi des légumes de toutes sortes, même qu’il allait pêcher des palourdes à Métis pour les vendre par la suite. C’est en 1948 que le grand-père d’Eric, Antonio, a repris la terre et s’est mis à faire du commerce de légumes variés, dont des pommes de terre et des fraises estivales cueillies dans Bellechasse, des pommes et des porcs, se construisant une porcherie pour subvenir à ses besoins. Dans les années 1950, il couvrait de la vallée de La Matapédia jusqu’à Causapscal, et il a soudainement décidé de se tourner vers le nord de la Gaspésie, comme Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Mont-Louis ou Grande-Vallée. C’est donc officiellement depuis 1952 que des Chamberland vendent des pommes de terre de Baie-des-Sables jusqu’à Rivière-au-Renard, sans interruption. Ils n’ont jamais osé vendre au sud de Baie-des-Sables, comme il y avait déjà des commerçants avec leur propre marché. Antonio, le fameux grand-père d’Eric, a donc eu la terre jusqu’en 1974, où son père, Denis, a ensuite racheté la terre. Son père a bâti le tout premier entrepôt de pommes de terre. Il a alors commencé à mécaniser sa production et améliorer beaucoup les terres pendant les années 1980, afin que les patates soient de meilleure qualité, pour un meilleur rendement en y ajoutant du compost et des engrais verts. Denis n’avait pas de formation d’agriculture et n’était pas agronome, mais il s’intéressait aux nouvelles façons de faire et la nature du sol de ses champs. Pendant qu’Antonio complétait les livraisons, Denis était prêt au poste à la ferme. Antonio était d’ailleurs très peu à la maison, car il avait le camion et se promenait pour les ventes. Denis, lui, restait sur place, dirigeait les employés et gérait les activités. À 15 ans seulement, le père d’Eric était déjà à la tête du personnel, comptant environ 10 ou 12 personnes. En effet, tout se faisait à la main ou à genoux dans le champ – la production n’était pas automatisée. Antonio est décédé à 80 ans à cause d’un accident dans son camion, en 1995. Denis a donc dû revirer de bord et a décidé du destin de l’entreprise. Le père d’Eric a fait le choix de lâcher le reste de la production, comme le porc et tous les autres commerces en se concentrant sur la pomme de terre. Il voulait ainsi développer un marché plus ciblé. Son père, Denis, avait été plutôt innovateur, alors ils ont repris la production en agrandissant l’entreprise préexistante. En effet, Denis avait essayé de vendre à des grossistes, mais sans succès. Il a donc acheté un nouveau camion et a commencé à organiser ses propres livraisons. « Ce qui permet de garder la ferme fonctionnelle et rentable, c’est de livrer les patates directement. Oui, ça contient des frais additionnels, mais on passe toute notre production sans problème », a expliqué Eric. En effet, en 2000, Eric et sa femme, Diane, viennent s’installer sur la ferme à leur tour et reprennent les rênes de l’entreprise, baptisée depuis quelques années déjà « Ferme D. & E. Chamberland ». Eric était originellement infirmier à l’hôpital de Matane et travaillait aux soins intensifs. Ensuite, il y a eu les coupures financières du ministre Jean Rochon en 1997, ils n’avaient que deux enfants à ce moment-là. Ils ont ainsi changé la machinerie et grossi leurs installations en agrandissant l’entrepôt à quelques reprises, créant une salle d’emballage. Un bout original de l’entrepôt existe encore aujourd’hui, mais il disparaîtra l’année prochaine en agrandissant une fois de plus de manière significative leur bâtiment d’entreposage. Depuis 1974, cinq agrandissements ont eu lieu. « Dans les dernières années, le matériel s’est modernisé : les lifts électriques sont arrivés, les caisses de bois sont arrivées, et ça c’était l’innovation », a lancé Eric. Chaque génération a amené quelque chose de nouveau. Eric est enfant unique, et il savait que son père gérait la ferme seul, et Diane a été élevée sur une ferme laitière à Saint-Damase. Il a donc commencé un été, mais ça a été une adaptation parce qu’il n’avait jamais travaillé dans les champs, seulement la livraison. Après deux étés d’essai, ils se sont lancés dans l’entreprise pour un 23 ans, et depuis peu, avec l’aide de leur fils Mathieu. En 2019, le fils d’Eric, Mathieu, un de leurs quatre enfants, rachète la majorité des parts de la compagnie familiale, qui aidait à la ferme depuis cinq ans. Il a commencé très jeune la livraison avec son père, puis a suivi son grand-père Denis dans les champs. Plus tard, Mathieu a voulu aller à l’université en histoire pour finalement changer d’idée et retourner à l’agriculture. Il a complété un diplôme d’études professionnelles en mécanique agricole à Mont-Joli. Présentement, ils se séparent le travail : Eric s’occupe généralement des livraisons, et Mathieu est présent dans les champs et gère la production. Mathieu a donc pris la place de son grand-père Denis, en s’occupant des champs, l’entretien et les innovations. Diane et Eric se disent ravis de voir leur fils reprendre la ferme, même s’ils n’ont jamais demandé à leurs enfants de faire partie de la relève. Mathieu a fait quelques années comme mécanicien dans un garage à Matane pour prendre de l’expérience et connaître autre chose, avant d’arriver avec des nouvelles idées modernes. Depuis environ cinq ans, ils ont fait beaucoup de changements pour s’adapter. Mathieu est très à l’affût des nouveautés, en achetant par exemple une nouvelle machine d’emballage qui permet de sauver sur les coûts de main d’œuvre. Mathieu est d’ailleurs en contact avec une agroéconomiste de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) concernant l’emprunt d’argent pour acheter de la machinerie. « Emprunter, ça peut être payant en calculant ce que ça va apporter dans quelques années après avoir remboursé la machine », a expliqué Diane. Mathieu se dédie à la recherche de nouvelles technologies afin d’améliorer la rentabilité des installations. L’agroenvironnement est beaucoup plus poussé pour une génération actuelle. Ce qu’on vise, à l’avenir, est la réduction des pesticides, même si le biologique ne serait pas rentable pour l’instant. L’année prochaine, ils auront une tour météorologique avec un capteur de store pour faire des analyses dans l’air pour savoir exactement quand on a besoin d’arroser pour ne pas arroser inutilement. La récolte d’oignons a pu réduire ses arrosages de 50 %. Il a d’ailleurs fait faire des tests avec des drones il y a deux ans, mais c’était encore trop expérimental et n’a pas donné les résultats escomptés. Ils sont au bout de chaîne d’alimentation, et apprécient vraiment de venir à l’encontre de leurs consommateurs, dans l’esprit d’achat local. Pendant la pandémie, ils ont vu une augmentation de leurs ventes et de l’appréciation de leurs clients. Et heureusement, cette année, ils ont eu une excellente récolte. « Ça a été sec partout au Bas-Saint-Laurent pour le foin et les céréales, mais il a plut pour les pommes de terre. Au bon moment, et juste dans la région ici, de Mont-Joli à Matane. Le Bic et Trois-Pistoles ont eu bien des difficultés », ont expliqué Eric et Mathieu. En début août, ils commencent à récolter toutes les semaines, et c’est fin septembre ou début octobre qu’ils arrachent tout ce qu’il reste dans leur vingtaine d’hectares en production, avant qu’il fasse froid. Et au printemps, ils recommencent leurs semences en mars, et plantent leurs champs en mai. Au total, la superficie de la ferme est d’environ 70 hectares, avec environ une trentaine en production, sans compter la portion de champs en rotation. En 2013, ils sont devenus accrédités par Super C et Métro. Un inspecteur passe quotidiennement pour vérifier si leur procédure est conforme aux normes. Ils vendent d’ailleurs au Super C de Matane et au Métro de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, et le reste va aux cantines de la région, qui sont d’importants clients de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland pour les patates frites. Présentement, Mathieu a 28 ans et reste dans sa propre maison au centre du village de Baie-des-Sables. Il se concentre sur les défis actuels que présente la ferme, et avec l’aide de son père Eric, met la main à la pâte quotidiennement pour récolter les meilleures pommes de terre possible, en espérant un jour pouvoir réduire son niveau de pesticides. Et qui sait, peut-être qu’un jour, l’expertise familiale de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland perdurera avec une sixième génération.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
HURON COUNTY – Residential development proposals will soon have a comprehensive document to ensure that housing developers understand the community’s goals and expectations. Andrea Sinclair, urban designer for MHBC Planning Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, presented the final Residential Intensification Guidelines (RIGS) to Huron County council on Nov. 4. The motion was approved to accept the guidelines, and staff will distribute copies to local municipalities for information. These guidelines will help when evaluating development proposals and provide the community with more housing choices. The document mainly focuses on multi-unit development and will apply to all residential intensification projects in the county. The guidelines also address residential conversions and Additional Residential Units (ARUs). The RIGS are intended to be used by the builder and development community to guide residential developments. The guidelines address a full range of design considerations, including site layout, building design, parking, and landscaping. The guidelines, not meant to add more red tape to the process, are expected to streamline the process by setting out the design expectations early on and avoiding the development community and planning staff’s back-and-forth. By setting clear design objectives and priorities early in the process, the development community will understand what staff will be looking for when reviewing applications. The RIGS will ensure that neighbourhoods continue to be diverse while maintaining the need to accommodate a growing community. The County of Huron’s website states, “single detached dwellings meet many residents’ needs – but not all of them. When housing takes a wide range of forms, it can better meet the diverse needs of community members: those who rent, families requiring multiple bedrooms, seniors who are interested in downsizing, first time home buyers who can afford a house provided they can rent out the basement unit. “Neighbourhoods are dynamic places; the shifts anticipated in the next 20 years will bring about a renewal of our housing stock and the introduction of more dense forms of housing. This document is a tool to help manage that change and ensure that housing is available – and affordable – for all who call the county home.” For more information or to see the Residential Intensification Guidelines visit the Huron County website at www.huroncounty.ca.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
WALKERTON – PJ Mack, known outside music circles as Pat McNinch, has been entertaining his neighbours all fall (in good weather), putting on impromptu concerts in his Walkerton driveway. The popular local singer and songwriter had about 100 bookings at the beginning of the year, and played regularly until COVID-19 hit. Then everything stopped – except the music. Mack’s style is deeply personal, with a country-folk sound and words that mean something – songs like “The Message” that he wrote with Tom Traversy and performed to considerable acclaim at the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 102 hall last year. Apart from a few concerts such as Music by the Gazebo at Victoria Jubilee Hall, this year Mack’s stage has mostly been his driveway. It all started when he got together with his old bandmates from Yesterday’s Wine and did a driveway concert for about 50 people. But now Mack is moving to the recording studio. “It will be all original songs,” said Mack. He’s already made at least one sale – a neighbour asked if the CD would feature the songs the musician has been playing in the driveway – and if so, he wanted one. “The CD is something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years,” said Mack. He hopes it will be ready for Christmas. After that, a lot of what happens depends on COVID-19. Mack said, “Who knows how long it will last?” In all likelihood, he’ll be resuming his driveway concerts in the spring, for one simple reason. “People love it,” the musician said.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
This summer at Innisfil Beach Park was unlike any other because of the pandemic, and there might be some lessons there for the future. The Innisfil Beach Park ad hoc committee, which makes recommendations to council on park improvements, wants to see the town implement some of the methods used this summer to manage the park continue into 2021. The tow strategy, no visitor parking within one kilometre of the shoreline, and the boat launch app are among them. “This year, it was an opportunity to try out different things,” said Coun. Donna Orsatti, who chairs the committee. The pandemic required the town to do things differently to manage crowding in the interest of public safety. “It changes the way that you view everything,” she said. “Distancing and the way you use a park, the need for people to be able to walk, to get outdoors, to have space.” For James Roncone, citizen member and vice-chair of the committee, the pandemic was an opportunity to put into action ideas previously suggested, like the parking restrictions near the shoreline and the boat launch app. “We already had that in the works, so that's why they were able to launch very quickly,” he said. Looking back, Roncone said he thinks more technology and data will help the town manage the park even better. “Using technologies, you have control,” he said. “I've always said that you need to know how many people are in the park and how many parking spots you have available.” Roncone said he envisions an app where people can book their parking spot, boat launch time, and other amenities at the park. He said the committee has also asked council to look into parking technology to deal with congestion from people trying to enter the park. According to the Town of Innisfil, from the May long weekend to Sept. 20, a total of 32,514 resident vehicles were admitted to the park. Resident vehicles made up 73 per of all vehicles that attempted to enter the park during that time frame. Nicole Bowman, interim director of operations for the town, said better parking technology could help manage the park. “Is that the exact right solution for next summer? Well, that depends on what the COVID landscape looks like, but we still learned that there is a role for technology in there, in helping to provide balance at the park,” she said. One of the most effective strategies used this summer to manage the park was actually a low-tech one. “Our ‘beaches in motion’ concept was one of our biggest wins,” Bowman said. “We were able to have a safe place for people to visit.” Perhaps the biggest lesson from this summer is the importance of flexibility. “We were constantly adapting and we really learned this summer that sometimes we need to try something and then adjust and go forward again,” she said. If the pandemic continues next summer, Bowman said, the town is ready to use what it learned this year to ensure a safe place for residents. “We certainly have a playbook that's ready to open up again and pick up where we left off,” she said. Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance