Milo is slowly learning how to sing 'twinkle twinkle little star' in this adorable clip. He truly is a star, and his cuteness is over the top!
Milo is slowly learning how to sing 'twinkle twinkle little star' in this adorable clip. He truly is a star, and his cuteness is over the top!
A Whitehorse man is dead after losing control of his skateboard and suffering a fatal head injury, according to the territory's chief coroner. 28-year-old Robert Thompson died early Sunday morning. According to a Wednesday news release from the coroner, Thompson was found injured on Hamilton Boulevard at around 6 a.m. on Sunday. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead shortly after. The coroner says it appears that Thompson had been riding his skateboard eastbound on a downhill stretch toward the Alaska Highway when he lost control. The coroner says Thompson was not wearing any protective gear when he fell. An autopsy determined that he suffered a fatal head injury. In her news release, Chief Coroner Heather Jones advises that helmets, wrist guards, gloves, knee and elbow pads and protective clothing should always be worn while skateboarding.
CALGARY — Leslie Echino had planned on serving more than two dozen patrons at a time on an expanded patio at her Annabelle's Kitchen restaurant in Calgary's Marda Loop neighbourhood. She hauled extra furniture from the patio at her shuttered downtown location and invested thousands in a cover to keep the outdoor space open for longer. But, instead, Echino is looking to lay off staff for the fourth time during the COVID-19 pandemic after the province on Tuesday ordered an end to outdoor dining. It was one of several measures Premier Jason Kenney announced in an attempt to stop a sharp spike in infections. Indoor dining had been permitted for a brief while earlier this year, but was shut down against in April. The off-and-on closures have taken a toll, especially on employees with families who rely on a steady paycheque, Echino said Wednesday. "It's getting expensive. It's expensive on cost. It's expensive on mental well-being and health," she said. "How long can my staff go through this?" Echino said she doesn't want the restaurant to be open with COVID-19 spread so rampant. Alberta has by far the highest rate of active infections in Canada at 534 per 100,000 --- nearly 2 1/2 times the national average. "We all have to buckle down. We all have to take a hit for the greater good," she said. "But I think what is important is the support to the people who need it: my staff. "When you're forced to close and you cannot operate, you need that support." The Alberta Hospitality Association, for which Echino is a board member, is urging the government to help with utility bills, wage top-ups, patio costs and property taxes. It also wants clearer communication about what a path to recovery looks like. "As an organization, we have maintained a commitment to work with government using open dialogue and communication to ensure the needs of the hospitality industry are met," the association said in a release. "The latest lockdown shows a complete disregard to those efforts." Kenney said Wednesday that his United Conservative government is rolling out the third instalment of a program that provides grants of up to $10,000 for small- and medium-sized businesses that have experienced at least a 30 per cent drop in revenues. That tranche of funds would be worth a total of $350 million. He said his government has also been providing relief on Workers' Compensation Board premiums and, with Ottawa, commercial rent assistance. "We'll look at whether we need to do anything additional," Kenney said. "My hope is that if people really get the message here and act responsibly, that ... those businesses can hopefully get back to a decent summer." Ben Leon, an owner at The Dandy Brewing Co. in Calgary, said tougher measures are necessary, but they should have been brought in months ago. The brewery invested $10,000 to spruce up its patio in anticipation of the summer season. It's not as simple a job as setting up some tables outside, Leon said. "There is a good amount of infrastructure that needs to be put in and built to make it safe and make it comfortable," he said. "I'd rather have lost four weeks in February-March to get everything back and be able to have a good, solid, even patio season all summer." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
The proposed road to a liquefied natural gas project on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore is paved with conflicting opinions about whether the highway change — and the $10-billion development it is a part of — should even go ahead. Pieridae Energy received environmental approval in 2014 to build a natural gas liquefaction plant at Goldboro, a tanker terminal, marine facilities and power plant. For the project to proceed, the company needs to move a 3.5-kilometre section of Highway 316, a secondary highway that hugs the coastline. The proposed realignment would divert vehicles inland and around the proposed LNG facility. Public submissions to the provincial government about moving the highway, also known as Marine Drive, are sharply divided. Everyday people, a tourism group, an energy industry association, environmentalists and Indigenous groups have all made submissions to the Environment Department. There were comments in support of the road project, saying the existing road is in need of improvement. Pieridae Energy needs to move a 3.5-kilometre section of Highway 316, a secondary highway that hugs the coastline.(Pieridae Energy) A local tourism group said the project must ensure that a massive industrial site does not obstruct view planes, and that signage is provided to notify travellers that they're still on Marine Drive. Others said a road would be a path to new jobs. The Maritimes Energy Association, a trade group, said it supports the project because it will create approximately 3,500 jobs during construction and up to 200 permanent positions. "This project will bring significant investment to Nova Scotia and aid the province in its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," the association said, adding that the highway realignment would increase public safety. One commenter from Antigonish said the work "needs to happen" in Nova Scotia, especially one with "so many positive spinoffs." Another person from Quebec said they know the area well and do not see an issue with moving the highway. "Please do not let this project die. Nova Scotia needs good paying jobs," they said. Some Indigenous groups, however, slammed Pieridae for a lack of consultation. The Native Council of Nova Scotia said its offer to meet virtually with Pieridae was "brusquely denied, and we are cavalierly told to seek out information regarding the project from a third party." The council raised several questions in its written submission, including plans for the water course, the blue felt lichen and Atlantic salmon in the area, and whether the wetland alteration plan had been approved. Pieridae is proposing to liquefy natural gas from the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline at a plant to be built in Goldboro, Guysborough County, and ship it by sea.(Pieridae Energy) The Maritime Aboriginal People's Council, an intergovernmental leaders group, pointed out the highway realignment project would be on traditional ancestral homeland. It also criticized Pieridae's failure to meet with the Native Council of Nova Scotia. In a joint submission, the Ecology Action Centre, the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance and the Sierra Club Foundation recommended scrapping the project. They said approving the project would increase Nova Scotia's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, instead of cutting them. The submission also raised concerns about the presence of old gold mine shafts, and the safety and contamination risks they pose. Pierdae's proposal is to build the new six-kilometre road, and upon completion, ownership and maintenance would be the responsibility of the province. The company has said it does not anticipate any major adverse environmental effects from the road project, and expects to start construction this fall. MORE TOP STORIES
A Vancouver Island mother is pleading for more long-term drug treatment programs at facilities for children after her 12-year-old died last month from what she suspects was a drug overdose. The BC Coroner's Office says Allayah Thomas' case is under investigation but the cause of death has not yet been confirmed. Adriana Londono spoke to CHEK news and said her daughter Allayah,who went by Ally, died on April 14 in hospital in Victoria after overdosing on drugs at a friend's home in Langford. She got the news of her daughter's death in a phone call. "I just broke down and I was in shock, like, I'm still in shock. And I didn't know how to process it. I just ran to the bathroom and cried and screamed," said Londono. Adriana Londono, the mother of pre-teen who died last month of a suspected drug overdose, says her daughter needed care in a drug treatment facility but was too young to qualify.(Chek News) She described Ally as sweet and loving and said she wanted to be makeup-artist but her life took a turn last year when her daughter started experimenting with drugs including methamphetamine and heroin at 11-years-old. Londono said her family tried to get her help but was told her daughter was too young to qualify for rehab services at a facility which she believes Allayah desperately needed. She explained that she had her daughter when she was 19-years-old and has been struggling with her own mental health issues and substance abuse issues and felt helpless. "I haven't been helped for my problems so I felt how can i help her? I can't even help myself," said Londono. Londono said her daughter was living with her grandparents who also tried to get help. "That was what we really wanted and there was no rehab. They just sent us counsellor numbers, outreach workers and all these things that really weren't enough. Like she needed to go to rehab. There needs to be a rehab facility for kids under 14." Her grandparents told CHEK news, the Grade 6 student refused to go to counselling. Gaps in treatment services B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth acknowledged there are significant gaps in treatment services especially for families living outside of urban areas. She said overdose deaths among children are rare and most treatment services in facilities are geared toward helping older teens. "So it's a wake up call for us to think developmentally how would we work with these young people and 12 year olds shouldn't be with 16 year olds either." Charlesworth said sometimes young people in crisis who are using drugs feel they don't need help so it is important to first reduce the shame and stigma for families seeking help and use harm reduction as a way to prevent overdose deaths. "Harm reduction, again, is really important. Because the child, we need to join with them and then say okay if you are going to use, let's use safely. Then once we've that handled what are some of the options for you to care of yourself without using substances." She said there is a need for residential treatment for serious addictions which can't be addressed with out-patient or outreach services. The Ministry of Children and Family Development said in a statement that it cannot comment due to privacy restrictions but it's practice is to conduct a review of these types of cases. Londono said she wants people to be aware of the toxicity of the drugs that are available and said every family should have a naloxone kit at home to reverse opioid overdoses. She says kids should not be afraid to tell their parents what drugs they have done. "They shouldn't be in fear of being punished. They should be in fear of dying."
Vivian Hermanson heard story after story from First Nations people around Campbell River, B.C., experiencing years-long delays in registering children for Indian status and delays in receiving their secure status cards from Indigenous Services Canada. "I was hearing the biggest need of all was coming out of the young parents generation, waiting two to three years sometimes to have their child registered," she said. Hermanson, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, launched a petition to the House of Commons last month that calls on the government to take no longer than the time needed to process a Canadian passport — 20 business days — to process status cards and to find solutions to do this such as hiring more staff. Indigenous Services Canada's website says the processing time for a secure status card is 16 weeks. It says registering for Indian status takes six to eight months, or in "complex cases," up to two years. The petition says current wait times are an example of systemic racism being perpetuated by the Canadian government. "Our systems don't recognize the systemic racism that is built into them, or if they recognize it, they're unable to interact with it in a meaningful way," Hermanson said. She said she doesn't have a lot of knowledge about petitions but felt she had to do something. "When we're in community and things are happening, we participate in supporting. If there was something that I could do based on the stories I was hearing, then that's what my teachings tell me." 'It's almost like doing a passport, but worse' Kelly Shopland shared her story with Hermanson and also signed the petition. The mother from K'òmoks First Nation didn't expect she'd have to apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status card for her infant when he was born or that it would be four years before he finally received one. "It's a very frustrating process," said Shopland. "It's almost like doing a passport, but worse because you're not getting the feedback quick." The old Certificate of Indian Status cards are still being produced at some First Nations offices. They are laminated paper templates manually typed out by an Indian registration administrator who verifies an individual's information in the Indian registry. Secure Certificate of Indian Status cards, which have security features included in them, were introduced in 2009. They are administered through Indigenous Services Canada and printed by a third party. In April 2017, with the assistance of an Indian registration administrator at her community's band office, Shopland sent her baby's application for status to Indigenous Services Canada and received a response that was hard to understand in terms of what was missing or what the next steps were. She said they returned his long form birth certificate and indicated that he would be entitled to status under Bill C-3. She put the application for her baby's SCIS card on the back burner while on maternity leave, picked up the process in early 2019 and finally received her son's secure status card in January 2021. She's not looking forward to having to renew it when it expires. "That's leaving everyone with a period where they may not have a valid status card for whatever reason they may need it, whether that's in businesses or for tax exemptions or for health benefits." 'This is systemic racism' NDP MP Rachel Blaney, who represents a riding in B.C. with over 20 First Nations, introduced Hermanson's petition to the House of Commons on Apr. 30. "This is systemic racism, whenever there are systems that target a particular group of people because of who they are," she told CBC News. "We need to make sure that the government is responsible for the actions that they're taking and the implication it has on families and communities." Rachel Blaney, NDP MP for North Island-Powell River, presents petition e-3281 to the House of Commons on April 30.(Rachel Blaney/YouTube) During the 30 days the petition was open, 1,164 people signed it from across Canada. "We continue to have a government that steps in that place between the community and their own people," said Blaney. "We're asking them to create a meaningful solution that makes sure that people get acknowledged." A Canadian passport on the left, a Secure Certificate of Indian Status on the right; the petition calls for both of these secure federal government documents to be processed in the same time frame, 20 business days.(Francine Compton/CBC) Denis Poirier, director of the Individual Affairs Branch at ISC, said the department is working to help with the application process through partnerships and with the introduction of a new app. "When we launched the photo app, basically what we were trying to do is make the service more accessible," he said. "I think for us, what's important is to give the most timely feedback to applicants, to make sure that they get the services that they applied for and it's also important for us to be able to issue the cards to those who who want them as quickly as possible, so that the process has to be streamlined and as simple as possible." Danielle Shaw, elected chief councillor for the Wuikinuxv Nation in B.C., has been their Indian registration administrator for over eight years and started when the secure cards began rolling out. She said she thinks there were good intentions behind the department providing a legitimate looking piece of ID but she signed the petition because she feels providing the service hasn't been made a priority. "We're not looking for anything more than what any other demographic gets access to when issuing any sort of identification," she said. Once a petition is tabled in the house, the government is mandated to respond within 45 days.
Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou claim the United States is basing its bid to extradite the Huawei executive to New York on a theory of fraud that's "unprecedented in Canadian law." In documents released Wednesday, Meng's defence team previewed the arguments it is expected to make this summer during the final phase of her extradition proceedings. Her lawyers claim American prosecutors are trying to render the 49-year-old to New York to face charges of defrauding HSBC on evidence that's unreliable, and in some cases, just plain wrong. They also claim the main problem with the Crown's theory of the case is that there is no evidence the bank Meng allegedly tried to trick into doing illegal business with Huawai actually suffered — or even risked suffering — any loss. "This case is different. On every element of the alleged offence, the [United States'] case displays legal and factual defects rarely seen in fraud cases," the defence submission reads. "No deception. No loss. Not even a plausible theory of risk. And no causal connection between the impugned representations and the deprivation said to have befallen the putative victim." Accused of fraud and conspiracy Meng is Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of the Chinese telecommunications company's billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei. She was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong, en route to Mexico City and a conference in Argentina. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou attends extradition proceedings in downtown Vancouver in March. Her lawyers claim the U.S. has not met the bar for extradition.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Meng is charged with fraud and conspiracy in New York in connection with allegations she lied to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary named Skycom, which was accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. Prosecutors claim HSBC continued a business relationship with Huawei and agreed to keep moving the company's money through the U.S. financial system because of Meng's alleged misrepresentations. According to U.S. authorities, HSBC risked breaching the same set of sanctions as a result — placing the bank in danger of prosecution and economic and reputational loss. The extradition proceedings were originally scheduled to wrap up by mid-May, but, last month, the judge overseeing the case delayed the final three weeks of arguments until August at the request of Meng's lawyers, who said they needed the extra time to pore through reams of newly-released HSBC documents. 'No meaningful risk' In the submissions released Wednesday, the defence argues Meng did not deny that Skycom was controlled by Huawei. In fact, they claim she said the opposite. Meng's lawyers also claim HSBC could not have been held criminally liable for sanctions violations committed because of Meng, and that it would be very unlikely for the bank to have faced civil consequences either. A logo of HSBC is displayed outside a branch in the Central Financial District of Hong Kong in 2015. Meng Wanzhou is accused of lying to one of the bank's executives about Huawei's business activities.(Bobby Yip/Reuters) They claim senior bank employees were well aware of the truth about Huawei's relationship with its subsidiary prior to — and separate from — anything Meng told them. The defence concludes by saying that sending Meng to face trial on the kind of record before the court would set a dangerous example. "In no prior case has an individual been found guilty of fraud for exposing another individual — much less a sophisticated multinational corporate entity — to the hypothetical risk of a separate and future enforcement proceeding," Meng's lawyers write. "HSBC simply faced no meaningful risk of sanctions violations that were causally linked in any manner to Ms. Meng's representations. Ms. Meng's representations were not inaccurate; but, in any event, HSBC knew what it needed to know in order to protect its own interests." 'Deceitful' representations put bank at risk Lawyers for Canada's attorney general have also filed the submissions they plan to make in favour of Meng's extradition. The Crown argues that the record of the case filed by the United States meets the standard that would be needed to send someone to trial in Canada — the establishment of a prima facie case. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou displays her GPS ankle monitoring bracelet as she arrives at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. She is living under a form of house arrest.(Ben Nelms/CBC) They point out that the extradition judge is not supposed to hold a trial. They also say the evidence submitted by a state in order to request a person's extradition is held to be "presumptively reliable." The Crown claims the elements of fraud — as laid out in Canadian law — include Meng allegedly lying to deceive HSBC and the bank, risking liability under U.S. sanctions law as a result. "As the CFO of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, her representations regarding Huawei's business activities undoubtedly carried considerable weight," the Crown's submission reads. "Ms. Meng's deceitful representations to HSBC about Huawei and Skycom thwarted HSBC's efforts to eliminate its risk exposure, putting HSBC's economic interests at risk." In addition to arguments on the extradition request, Meng's lawyers will also try to have the case tossed because of alleged abuse of process when the proceedings recommence. The defence team will argue that the United States misled Canada about the strength of its case and omitted key facts from the record. They have previously argued that Meng's rights were violated at the time of her arrest, that she's being used as a political pawn and that the entire prosecution is in violation of international law. Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 7, at which point lawyers are expected to discuss the management of the case in the months ahead. Meng has denied the allegations against her.
SURREY, B.C. — Homicide investigators say the fatal shooting of a woman at a Surrey, B.C., home on Tuesday does not appear to be related to gangs. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has taken over the case after the 20-year-old woman died in hospital from her injuries. The team says in a statement that Mounties responded to reports of a shooting in a residential neighbourhood of Surrey on Tuesday evening. It says officers found the victim with gunshot wounds and a man in his 20s remains in police custody after being arrested near the scene. The team posted on Twitter the man they arrested is well known to police, while the victim was not and a motive hasn't been determined. It's the latest in a string of shootings in Metro Vancouver in recent days, including separate daytime attacks outside busy shopping malls in Delta and Langley, but police have not linked any of the violent incidents. "We understand the public may be feeling anxious given the recent spate of shootings and homicides in communities across the Lower Mainland," Sgt. Frank Jang with the homicide team says in the statement. "With respect to this most recent fatal shooting, it does not appear to be gang-motivated." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
The first Albertan to die from a rare blood clot condition linked to a COVID-19 vaccine was turned away from an Edmonton hospital two days before her death, a family friend says. Lisa Stonehouse, 52, died Saturday at the University of Alberta Hospital. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday that a woman in her 50s died of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Hinshaw did not identify the woman, but family members confirm that Stonehouse was Alberta's first fatal case. Wilfred Lowenberg, a friend, said Stonehouse was turned away from the emergency department at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Two days later, she was admitted to the Strathcona Community Hospital. She was later transferred to the U of A Hospital with a blood clot in her brain. "The vaccine was supposed to save lives and it ended up taking hers," Lowenberg told CBC News on Wednesday. "Even if there is only a one-in-a-million chance for someone to develop a blood clot from AstraZeneca, I personally think that's too many." The family is asking Covenant Health, the Catholic health-care provider that manages the Grey Nuns, to investigate why she was turned away, Lowenberg said. Investigation ongoing An internal investigation is ongoing, Covenant Health said in a statement Wednesday. "We offer our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones at this difficult time," the statement said. "Covenant Health, in collaboration with Alberta Health Services, is actively investigating all circumstances surrounding [Stonehouse's] visit to the emergency department, and have assured the family we are looking into their concerns." It's estimated that VITT occurs in one in every 100,000 to 250,000 vaccinations, according to Hinshaw. Stonehouse is the second person in Alberta with a confirmed case. More than 253,000 doses of AstraZeneca or CoviSHIELD/AstraZeneca have been administered in the province. Last month, Quebec reported Canada's first death of a patient after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. On Wednesday, a second VIIT death was confirmed, in New Brunswick. In a statement, Hinshaw said the risk of COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of VITT. She said Albertans ages 50 to 59 diagnosed with COVID-19 are 350 times more likely to die from that infection than to experience VITT after an AstraZeneca vaccine. Felt sick right after shot Stonehouse got her shot on April 21. Almost immediately, she felt stiff and sick, Lowenberg said. She felt increasingly unwell and developed an unbearable headache. On April 29, with her symptoms worsening, she called Health Link but was told she was likely dealing with a normal vaccine reaction, Lowenberg said. Later that night, her daughter drove her to the ER at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in southeast Edmonton, Lowenberg said. Her head was throbbing, and she was weak and vomiting. Stonehouse was sent home to rest, Lowenberg said. On April 30, her daughter again drove her to the ER, this time at the Strathcona Community Hospital in Sherwood Park. She was admitted. A CT scan showed a blood clot had formed, triggering a fatal bleed in her brain. Stonehouse was transferred to the U of A Hospital, but in the ambulance she suffered a seizure and was intubated, Lowenberg said. The following day, she was taken off life support. Daughter, 19, has lost both parents Lowenberg said the family wants to know why Stonehouse was "summarily dismissed" during her initial visit to the ER at the Grey Nuns. He wonders if the 12-hour delay in care contributed to her death. The only reason she took the vaccine is because she wanted to travel the world with Jordan. - Wilfred Lowenberg Stonehouse's daughter, Jordan, 19, has now lost both her parents. Stonehouse's husband of 17 years, Morrie, died in January 2019 after a brain aneurysm. Lowenberg said Stonehouse, a bookkeeper, had an infectious laugh. He said she was selfless, intelligent, witty and "amazing." Stonehouse had big plans for life after the pandemic. "The only reason she took the vaccine is because she wanted to travel the world with Jordan," he said. "She wanted to take Jordan to all the places that her and Morrie had gone to. She wanted to spend her life with her daughter, just enjoying life."
Construction in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to boom despite the price of lumber. (Colleen De Neve for CBC News) Sticker shock over lumber prices that have soared over the last year does not seem to have beaten down a desire to build or do repairs in Newfoundland and Labrador homes, a trade group says. The Canadian Home Builders' Associations says supply and demand are driving the skyrocketing prices of lumber, although it also says the industry is still booming. A key factor: the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected supply last year and which also inspired consumer demand, particularly among many people who have been working from home. CHBA executive officer Alexis Foster told CBC News the pandemic shut down lumber mills across Canada and the United States, and they have yet to fully return to pre-pandemic levels state side Rising transportation costs, Foster added, are also fuelling high prices. Then, there is the demand. "We have people looking to do renovations to their homes, new home builds, you're in your home a lot more, you're finding out what's bothering you more, so you want to fix that," Foster said Tuesday. Home renovations are up 26 per cent over the last year across Canada, Foster said. In Newfoundland and Labrador, she said, work has been driven by the provincial government's residential construction rebate program. CHBA-NL president Grant Cooper said the rebate program has done wonders for the construction industry over the pandemic. The program offered a 25 per cent rebate for renovation projects up to $10,000, and the same for new home construction. Canadian Home Builders' Association Newfoundland and Labrador executive officer Alexis Foster lumber prices aren't expected to fall this year, and possibly into 2022. (Mike Simms/CBC) "We've been hurting for a number of years leading up to this. It was quite slow — the demand was down," Cooper said. "In May to June last year, things started to pick up, which it typically does in the summer. But this year was like no other and we're getting more and more calls from homeowners, that despite the increase in prices, [they] are still inquiring about getting work done on their house." Not predicting a drop this year Art Hicks, owner of Home Hardware Building Centre in Witless Bay, told CBC News lumber prices today are three to four times what they were before they started climbing in 2020. Pre-cut two-by-four was $3.39 before the pandemic, but now it's about $13, Hicks said. Oriented strand boards, or OSB, were once $13 and now cost around $62. Plywood has tripled, from $21 to $65. Hicks said retailers have had no choice but to pass on wholesale hikes at the cash register. Cooper said he feels for anyone looking to complete renovations and home projects right now, but said there are silver linings for those looking to build a new home. Canadian Home Builders' Association Newfoundland and Labrador president Grant Cooper says despite the increase in lumber prices, people are still inquiring about getting work done on their homes. (Mike Simms/CBC) "Interest rates are at an all-time low. They may be saving more than they ever have because travel is restricted. They're not spending money that they used to spend," he said. "So, this may be a great time to save up that deposit and put that toward the new build." For those who are willing to wait, Foster said the CHBA is predicting lumber prices will not drop this year, and maybe not even next year, either. Cooper said prices may never return to pre-pandemic levels. "This is something that we're seeing in our national office, [this] lasting until at least 2022," said Cooper. "At the end of the day, it very much is supply- and demand-driven, and until demand comes off, we're still going to see shortages and price increases. This may be the new norm going forward for quite some time." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hopes that India's rampaging second wave of COVID-19 is peaking were set back on Thursday as record daily infections and deaths were reported and as the virus spread from cities to villages that were poorly equipped to cope. Government modelling had forecast a peak by Wednesday in infections that have overwhelmed the healthcare system, with hospitals running out of beds and medical oxygen. A record 412,262 new cases and 3,980 deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, taking total infections past 21 million and the overall death toll to 230,168, Health Ministry data showed.
The municipality of North Cowichan is stepping up patrols of the region's forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. "I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher," he said in an interview with CBC News. "Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It's a valuable tree." Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. At least four Western red cedars and dozens of Douglas fir trees have been cut down and removed in a number of areas within the forest reserve in North Cowichan. (Submitted by Larry Pynn) Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks. Local officials say it's not clear who took the tree or how they managed to get it out of the woods, but it is one of several large trees that have been poached since the beginning of the year in the North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve. Community forest The 5,000-hectare forest is owned by the municipality and is part of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is considered endangered because of logging and development. While the area has been logged in the past, the activity is on hold while the community and nearby First Nations discuss how to manage the forest going forward. Municipal officials say they have learned of several timber thefts in recent months, including one incident where 50 Douglas fir trees were taken. "It was definitely a concentrated effort," said Shaun Mason, the municipal forester for North Cowichan. "That is something we haven't seen in the past before and what is more concerning is that other areas are popping up despite our efforts to try and curb it." The municipality says it has stepped up patrols and increased signage as a result of the increasing number of trees being poached.(Briar Stewart/CBC) Mason said patrols are now taking place in the forest seven days a week, up from about once a week. However, he said it is a challenge to try to cover a vast and densely wooded area. The municipality is also considering installing cameras at certain locations in the forest. Under North Cowichan's bylaws, a person can be fined $200 if they "remove forest products without a permit." Penalties questioned When it comes to trees taken from provincial Crown land, the penalty could be as much as $1 million, but legal experts say those who are caught are usually fined just $173. "It's really important that people feel that if they are caught, that there will be real consequences and a $200 penalty doesn't cut it," said Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who reviewed a provincial database that detailed the fines levied by the province. The B.C. ministry responsible for forests said that in the past 10 years, it has issued 728 penalties to people who removed or destroyed Crown timber without authorization. Together, the fines totalled more than $500,000. WATCH: Resident Larry Pynn describes why he thinks trees are being stolen: Soaring lumber prices In North Cowichan, officials are considering increasing the financial penalties to try to deter theft at a time when lumber prices are soaring and even selling firewood can be lucrative. According to the provincial government, the current price for two-by-fours of B.C. spruce, pine or fir is $1,420 per thousand board feet. In 2020, the average price was $570. Cedar, which is more valuable, is currently going for $1,700 per thousand board feet. Dozens of Douglas fir trees have been found cut down in numerous sites in the forest reserve.(Submitted by Larry Pynn) Terry Sutherland, a professor in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, said he believes rising prices are the main driver for timber theft, and it is crime of opportunity with low technical requirements: the only equipment a poacher would need is a chainsaw and a way to haul the wood out, such as a pickup truck. He said in order to move and sell timber legally, wood has to be imprinted with a stamp issued by the province. However a growing demand for bespoke products like rustic tables could be fuelling a black market. Damage left behind For Icel Dobell, a North Cowichan resident who roams the forest reserve daily and is co-founder of a local group trying to preserve it, the issue is much bigger than just the missing trees. Those who are hauling away the wood are driving trucks and quads into sensitive ecological areas. Icel Dobell has been organizing a movement to permanently protect the community forest and is disappointed someone has been logging it on their own. (Briar Stewart/CBC) "The biggest issue is this damage, this destruction," she said referring to the muddy ruts in the ground. She also wants to see an increase in penalties, but said the community is mobilizing and keeping an eye on the woods. "More and more people are watching and so hopefully that will be another deterrent." WATCH: Tree thefts spark calls for more enforcement:
Soldiers participating in large-scale exercises at CFB Wainwright say Canadian Armed Forces members who have tested positive for COVID-19 are isolating in small, unheated tents with limited ability to wash themselves. Up to 2,500 soldiers, mostly from Edmonton, are participating in Maple Resolve and Agile Ram in a training area at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in eastern Alberta. The exercises are expected to wrap up in June. Two soldiers who spoke to CBC in late April said members of their unit have tested positive for COVID-19 and are spending isolation in small tents. They said some tents are unheated, and sick soldiers haven't been able to properly wash themselves. They said they were concerned that the isolating soldiers were being checked on infrequently. CBC has agreed to grant to the soldiers confidentiality. A spokesperson for the armed forces confirmed that a "small number" of exercise participants have tested positive for COVID-19. Capt. Derek Reid said exact case numbers can't be disclosed because of a policy to not reveal specifics about particular groups. The armed forces does report the number of active cases across its entire population. As of Wednesday there were 41 active cases — down from 61 the previous week. There have been 1,647 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 'Austere conditions' Reid said isolating soldiers are checked on daily by medical staff, and could be moved to a medical isolation facility if necessary. Soldiers who test positive isolate for 10 days or until their symptoms are gone — whichever is longer, Reid said. Reid said learning to survive and thrive in "austere conditions" is a fundamental part of military field training. He said he has confirmed isolating personnel have regular access to shower facilities, but that heating is only available for tents large enough to fit a stove. "However, our soldiers are well equipped and accustomed to dealing with cold conditions (and temperatures lower than those seen recently in Wainwright)," he said in an email. He said close contacts of positive cases are placed in quarantine for 14 days, but in some cases are retested at 10 days to allow for a "restricted return" to training. Cohorts and testing In an interview last month, Col. Wade Rutland, commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, outlined plans for testing on arrival and cohorting until results came back. But the soldiers who spoke to CBC said cohorting didn't really happen in practice. "The safety concerns this brigade has regarding [covid] are purely optics for the outside world, because every single opportunity where they want to accomplish something that negates a rule they just change the rule," one of them said. In his emailed statement, Reid said the medical policy is to maintain cohorts until test results are received, "except for extremely limited situations which required cohorts to interact for operational reasons." He said the maximum size of a cohort is about 30 people, but the goal is to keep them as small as possible. Rutland told CBC last month that four soldiers would sleep in each 10-person tent. The soldiers CBC spoke with said they are sleeping with at least 7 people in 10-person tents. Reid confirmed the number Rutland gave. He said it's up to the chain of command to enforce the policy and they have had no internal reports of problems. Soldiers offered vaccine Reid said the armed forces ran a vaccine clinic for Maple Resolve participants from April 26-29 and more than 1,700 doses were administered, which is about 90 per cent uptake. He said 150 members chose not to get the vaccine. He said getting a vaccine is strongly encouraged but voluntary for CAF members, but failure to be immunized can affect a member's ability to do their job or participate in operations.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian officials reinstated social distancing measures in Sydney as New Zealand partially suspended the pair's "travel bubble" on Thursday, amid fears an Indian variant case of COVID-19 could spur a significant outbreak. The swift action was taken a day after a 50-year-old man became the first reported local transmission case in New South Wales state in more than a month, with the source of his infection baffling health officials. Further testing determined the man was infected with a variant first detected in India and genomic sequencing had linked the case to a returned traveller from the United States, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said on Thursday, but there was no clear transmission path between the two people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of more than 250,000 surgeries in Ontario, including cancer operations, forcing patients to wait for procedures that could save their lives.
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday forecast annual Switch console sales to fall 11.5%, in what would be the first decline for the five-year-old device after riding a pandemic-induced boom in home gaming. In announcing the figures, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa also said a shortage of chips, which has affected electronics makers worldwide, was affecting production and adding to uncertainty. Last week, the share price of rival Sony Group Corp fell after the firm said the chip shortage would likely prevent it from drastically boosting console production.
GUATEMALA CITY — Canada lost 5-1 to two-time defending champion Costa Rica on Wednesday but still advanced for the first time to the knockout round at the CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Canada (1-1-0) placed second in Group C and will play Group B winner Panama (1-1-0) in Friday's quarterfinal with a berth in the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania in September on the line. The Canadian men have not qualified for the Futsal World Cup since the inaugural event in 1989 in the Netherlands, where they failed to make it out of the first round after beating Japan and losing to Argentina and Belgium. The 13-team CONCACAF Championship, which runs through Sunday, will determine the four representatives from North and Central America and the Caribbean at this FIFA Futsal World Cup. The top two in each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinals with the final four booking their ticket to Lithuania. Gilberth Garro, scored twice while Jose Guevara, Pablo Rodriguez and goalkeeper Cesar Vargas had singles for Costa Rica (2-0-0). Veteran Ian Bennett scored for Canada. Trailing 4-0 after the first half, the Canadians hung tough against the talented Ticos in the final 20 minutes. The three-time CONCACAF champions lived up to their billing, controlling the game and showing a depth in attack. Still the Canadians, after yielding three early first-half goals, managed to put a check on the Ticos thanks in large part to some fine work by Canada goalkeeper Louis-Philippe Simard. That was until late in the half when, after a Toronto corner, Vargas scored from distance to increase the lead to 4-0 with Simard pulled for an attacker. Vargas was rock-solid at the other end, stopping a pair of penalty kicks. Garro and Bennett traded goals in the final 20 minutes. Canada, under head coach Kyt Selaidopoulos, rallied from 2-0 down to defeat Haiti 4-2 in its opening match Tuesday. It marked just Canada's second win in seven games — and three trips — at the tournament. Panama hammered Surname 11-1 before losing 3-2 to Mexico. Costa Rica blanked Haiti 7-0 on Monday. The Ticos, CONCACAF champions in 2000, 2012 and 2016, have appeared at four Futsal World Cups (2000, 2004, 2012 and 2016). Canada, meanwhile, had taken part in two previous CONCACAF championships finishing sixth in 2016 and seventh in 2012. The 2021 CONCACAF tournament was originally scheduled for last May but was delayed due to the pandemic. French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe withdrew in the interim, reducing the field to 13. The indoor futsal game is five-a-side with two 20-minute halves. The clock stops whenever the ball goes out of play or there is a break in play. Each team starts with one goalkeeper and four outfield players on the pitch, with unlimited substitutions. Canada came close to making the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup, denied by a 7-4 loss to Cuba in its final group game at the CONCACAF qualifier. The Canadians lost to Costa Rica 3-2 and beat Curacao 7-4 before falling to Cuba. Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama and Guatemala represented CONCACAF at the 2016 World Cup. Brazil has dominated the world futsal scene, winning five of the eight FIFA World Cups. Spain has won twice and finished runner-up to Brazil three times. Argentina is the defending champion. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021 The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. There are 1,257,328 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 1,257,328 confirmed cases (81,671 active, 1,151,207 resolved, 24,450 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 7,379 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 214.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 54,593 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,799. There were 57 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 338 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 32,127,668 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,114 confirmed cases (62 active, 1,046 resolved, six deaths). There were six new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 11.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 48 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 245,764 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 183 confirmed cases (seven active, 176 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 145,944 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 3,182 confirmed cases (1,203 active, 1,910 resolved, 69 deaths). There were 175 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 122.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 892 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 127. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 634,189 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,969 confirmed cases (146 active, 1,784 resolved, 39 deaths). There were 11 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 18.68 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 79 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 11. There was one new reported death Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.99 per 100,000 people. There have been 307,677 tests completed. _ Quebec: 354,390 confirmed cases (8,895 active, 334,531 resolved, 10,964 deaths). There were 915 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 103.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,700 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 957. There were five new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 61 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 127.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,422,822 tests completed. _ Ontario: 479,633 confirmed cases (34,976 active, 436,470 resolved, 8,187 deaths). There were 2,941 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 237.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,432. There were 44 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 199 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,113,727 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 40,085 confirmed cases (2,780 active, 36,323 resolved, 982 deaths). There were 272 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 201.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,876 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 268. There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 71.2 per 100,000 people. There have been 695,895 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 42,203 confirmed cases (2,250 active, 39,452 resolved, 501 deaths). There were 197 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 190.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,589 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 227. There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.51 per 100,000 people. There have been 781,228 tests completed. _ Alberta: 200,924 confirmed cases (24,156 active, 174,666 resolved, 2,102 deaths). There were 2,271 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 546.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,245 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,035. There were three new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,212,709 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 132,925 confirmed cases (7,079 active, 124,252 resolved, 1,594 deaths). There were 572 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 137.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,036 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 719. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 18 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 30.97 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,526,871 tests completed. _ Yukon: 82 confirmed cases (one active, 79 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,065 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 85 confirmed cases (34 active, 51 resolved, zero deaths). There were 14 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 75.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 34 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 19,056 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 540 confirmed cases (82 active, 454 resolved, four deaths). There were five new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 208.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 12,645 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Interior Health authority has taken the unusual step of forcibly closing a Kelowna, B.C., martial arts studio for flouting public health orders. On Tuesday, Interior Health officers — accompanied by the City of Kelowna staff and RCMP — changed the locks of Flow Academy at 1151 Sutherland Avenue. The health authority says it took aggressive measures to close the premises because owner Tonya Aguiar ignored provincial health orders against indoor group exercises. Flow Academy provides classes such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, yoga and meditation. In February, Aguiar was ticketed for interfering with health officers' inspection of the premises and was ordered by the health authority to stop hosting indoor group activities. Interior Health's chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said the authority issued a closure order on April 20, but the studio ignored it and kept operating. "We still saw people coming and going and they were contravening the gathering order and … the closure order," de Villiers told CBC's Brady Strachan. "Unfortunately, [we] had to change their locks because there was nothing else we could do at that point." "This is the first time I actually had to go this far in changing locks and spending a lot of time to actually do this," de Villiers said. "It's the first time we've done that, and hopefully [it's] the last time." CBC News has reached out to Aguiar by email but hasn't heard back. Last month, Flow Academy announced on its website that it wouldn't take new membership applications from anyone who had taken a COVID-19 vaccine, inaccurately characterizing the vaccines as dangerous and a liability concern. Interior Health's closure notice posted on Flow Academy's door says the business failed to follow the authority's closure order issued on April 20.(Brady Strachan/CBC) Although the announcement was removed, de Villiers said he's troubled by the misinformation about coronavirus vaccines being spread in the local community. "It's always concerning to us because unfortunately … the public will actually believe and act on that [misinformation] as well, and then they might put other people at risk," he said. Flow Academy, which has been operating without a business licence since February, submitted an application for one but was turned down by the city due to non-compliance with provincial health orders. The City of Kelowna's risk manager Lance Kayfish said the city issued four violation tickets totalling $4,000 to Flow Academy for an unlicensed operation and failing to permit city inspections. "It [the amount of tickets issued] is quite unusual," Kayfish said. Group indoor fitness activities in gyms, yoga studios and other spaces are currently prohibited. The order is valid until May 25.
Neighbourhood groups are calling for a public inquiry into how the social housing component of a $400-million development at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital disappeared from the building plan. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, was surprised to learn that nearly three years after it was announced, the social housing project was dead. "We're trying to figure out, maybe not who's to blame, but how could this happen?" said Chapdelaine. "Without the social housing units, the project makes no sense." The proposed social housing units made the highrise development acceptable to some community members. Now they're not only off the table, but the subject of an ongoing legal dispute. The situation has become so acrimonious that the developer says he would build a tower of social housing for free — if Mayor Valérie Plante resigned. Community groups want to know what went wrong — and whether this saga might serve as a cautionary tale as the city tries to confront a housing crisis. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, said her group is calling for a public inquiry into what happened to the social housing project at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital site.(Charles Contant/CBC) The old hospital site is located on the square bordered by René-Lévesque Boulevard, Atwater Avenue, Sussex Street and Tupper Street. In addition to more than 1,000 rental and condo units, the new development is set to include an enlarged park, community centre, library and auditorium. The original plans also called for 174 social housing units, something for which there is an urgent need, say neighbourhood advocates. The average rent in the Peter McGill neighbourhood is about $1,200 per unit, said Éric Michaud, project manager for the neighbourhood housing group, the Comité logement Ville-Marie. He calls the lack of social housing at the old hospital site "a terrible failure." "It's scandalous, what happened," he said. Michaud said he hoped from the start that the public land on which the hospital sat would be returned for public use. He said he was dismayed when a private buyer bought the land for about half its appraised value in 2015. Residents 'excited' for original plan The land was purchased by businessman Luc Poirier for $25 million. He then sold it to Philip Kerub's company, High-Rise Montréal (HRM) and the developer Devimco Immobilier. The two developers proposed the six tower project. Devimco is responsible for four of those housing towers, plus the park and community space. HRM was responsible for two towers, whose contrasts were striking. The first is 1111 Atwater, a posh skyscraper being marketed as the most luxurious condos outside of Dubai. There was also Tower 6, where the social housing was supposed to be built. "We were very happy to hear when it was announced that there was going to be social housing units for families," said Chapdelaine of the original plan. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who moved to the neighbourhood several years ago, said the prospect of a mixed development attracted him to the area. "We were really excited to be living in this part of Peter McGill, where we were expecting this development to come out in the way that it had been proposed," he said. Rev. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who lives in the neighbourhood of Peter McGill, said he was attracted to the neighbourhood because of the development at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital, but he is disappointed by how the city has handled it. (Credit: Esteban Cuevas) Developer met with city 'countless times' The president of HRM, Philip Kerub, says he went in with good intentions. "I was trying because I wanted to do it," he said in an interview with CBC News. "It was important for me to actually make a deal and get this social housing." According to documents filed to the Quebec Superior Court, HRM signed a contract with the City of Montreal in June 2017, during the tail end of the Coderre administration. It includes a clause allowing the developer to pay a penalty of $6,235,000 if a deal could not be reached to build social housing after nine months of negotiation. CBC News has reviewed the relevant part of the contract. Kerub said his team met with the city "countless times" to work out a deal. He said the requirements for social housing are strict, and court documents claim HRM paid more than $750,000 to engineers, architects and other staff to draft plans for the housing. Per legal documents, HRM was looking at building a turnkey social housing project which would then be sold to the City and the City's housing office, the OMHM. According to the court filing, the developer says a tower that adhered to the standards of social housing would cost at least $40 million, but the city was able to offer a maximum of only $34.5 million. Kerub says he elected to pay the $6,235,000 penalty included in his contract rather than lose millions of dollars and build the housing. "I said, that's just not reasonable. Now, [the city] delayed me long enough… now we have to go our separate ways," he said. Publicly, Mayor Valérie Plante started calling out HRM as early as July 2019. By September 2019, negotiations had stalled. Kerub decided to pay the penalty and propose his Plan B for Tower 6. Plante retaliated by proposing changing the zoning of the sixth tower, so the building would have a maximum of four storeys instead of the approved 20. "There was a social contract that was made by the developer," Plante said during the council meeting on Sept. 16, 2019. "It's sad. It's a shame." In September 2019, Mayor Valérie Plante announced to the municipal council that HRM did not intend to fulfil its "social contract" and build social housing at the development at the old Montreal Children's Hospital.(City of Montreal) This was news to Kerub, who says he says he signed a legal contract — not a social contract — and that the city is both smearing his name and breaking the contract. "I'm tired of being attacked and being called the villain when it's the exact opposite," he said. Last month, HRM filed an injunction to prevent the rezoning of Tower 6, saying the city broke its contract and the developer ought to be allowed to build a 20-storey tower. "It's absurd. It's really outrageous. And now they've drawn themselves into a lawsuit, which they're going to lose miserably," he said. Kerub said he offered them other locations for social housing, and proposed creating student housing or a condo hotel in the sixth tower, where the social housing was supposed to go. "You know what I said to my friends? I said, the city still wants me to build social housing? No problem. You tell Valérie Plante to resign, and I'll build it for free," he said. He also questions the logic of blocking a 20-storey tower of potential housing amid a housing crisis. "How does that benefit the population?" he said. "You lost everything now and you cut it down to four storeys to try and penalize me. But how are you going to penalize me? I tripled my money here." The City responded with a statement, saying it could not comment on the matter because it is before the court. The statement said that the contract with HRM was signed by the previous administration, and that social and affordable housing is a priority of the Plante administration. The ordeal has left people who live in the neighbourhood scratching their heads, wondering how a municipal government that promotes social housing could have let this happen. "I would support a public inquiry not to see something change on this site because it is too little, it is too late," said Singh, "But I would support a public inquiry to try to do much better with figuring out how we're actually going to see downtown Montreal developed in the future." For now, because of the legal proceedings, any project for the sixth tower is in limbo. Kerub said so far, no court date has been set. WATCH | See what the work looks like at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital:
A human rights board of inquiry has found that a Black man was discriminated against by Halifax police when he was ticketed for jaywalking. Board chair Benjamin Perryman released a decision Wednesday that finds Gyasi Symonds faced discrimination based on his race when he was stopped by two officers and later received a $410 ticket in the lobby of the downtown building where he works. In his ruling, the board chair describes two encounters between Symonds and constables Paul Cadieux and Steve Logan that started when the provincial civil servant was observed crossing Gottingen Street on Jan. 24, 2017, to get a coffee. The decision says the officers first stopped Symonds as he headed for the Nook Espresso Bar across from his office without using a crosswalk at the corner. They warned him about jaywalking and told him he was free to go. Perryman said that first encounter was "brief and cordial." The decision says the facts of what happened next were disputed, with Symonds telling the board he crossed at the intersection when he returned to his office and the two police officers saying they observed him again crossing in the middle of the block and that he didn't yield to a bus. The officers followed him into his office building and gave him a ticket. Under the province's Motor Vehicle Act, it's an offence if someone crosses a road at a place where there's not a regular crossing for pedestrians and doesn't "yield the right of way to vehicles on the roadway." However, Perryman found in his ruling that it was "more likely than not" that Symonds didn't jaywalk on his return trip and concluded the officers' decision to wait and observe the man was based in part on race. Perryman has ordered the Halifax Regional Police to pay Symonds $15,232 and give him a written apology. He also suggests all new hires complete training in policing without bias. The board of inquiry chair noted inconsistencies in the constables' recollection of what they saw when they testified that Symonds crossed in front of a bus on his return to the office, while finding the complainant's recollections to be more credible. "I do not go so far as to find that the Halifax Regional Police officers constructed their evidence .... However, on the evidence before me, I am not satisfied that there was a good basis for issuing such a ticket and there was certainly no basis whatsoever to be targeting the complainant in the first place," he wrote. Both Halifax Regional Police officers named in the complaint spoke during the board of inquiry hearing in November 2020. They say that they acted appropriately after witnessing Symonds jaywalk immediately after they warned him. Symonds says he was following the rules. (Carolyn Ray/CBC) Perryman noted that he was concerned about the decision of the officers to remain and observe Symonds after the first encounter, as the man exited the coffee shop to return to work. His decision says the officers told the board of inquiry they kept watching Symonds because they had some time available and that it was a so-called "de-escalating tactic," where they believed police presence would deter law-breaking. Perryman said he found those explanations inadequate. "It subjected the complainant to policing that was different from other Nova Scotians going about their day. It was disproportionate to the circumstances of an individual crossing in the middle of the road to get a coffee and receiving informal education about jaywalking," he concluded. "I find that race was a factor in the police officers' decision to target the complainant for surveillance and investigation." Perryman said the encounter between the officers and Symonds in the lobby of the office building was "not a cordial interaction." However, he concluded the treatment of Symonds at that point may have been rude, but it wasn't racial discrimination. He noted the two officers were relatively new on the job, and Cadieux had only been on patrol for a few weeks. The ruling also finds the training provided to Cadieux and Logan was inadequate and contributed to their discriminatory behaviour. The ruling notes a Halifax police course on "legitimate and bias-free policing" was offered in 2009 but was not offered again until 2018, some time after the incident. Perryman suggests that all new police hires "successfully complete training in legitimate and bias-free policing before they commence active duty, and all current police officers should be required to retake and successfully complete such training periodically." The decision dated April 29 also says this training should be well-documented and access to statistics should be publicly available. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC) MORE TOP STORIES