WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who've lost domestic market share due to two recent free trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada's agriculture minister announced Saturday.Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference. "Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow," she said. The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.But on Saturday Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year. David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future. "I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on," he said. The payments are based on formulas devised by working groups formed after the trade deals were signed, Bibeau said.What that means is the money doesn't reflect precisely how much the various industries have lost due to the deals, she said. "It's really our best understanding of the future impact and to give them the possibility to adapt." The dairy, poultry and egg industries in Canada are regulated to ensure a steady income for farmers in that sector, but Canada's foreign trade partners argue the system is protectionist.That made the trio of industries a sticking point in three separate trade deals Canada has concluded in recent years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe (CETA), the Comprehensive and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the Canada — United States — Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA). Trading partners wanted more Canadian access for their products, which Canadian suppliers said would result in massive hits to their bottom line. The Liberals' March 2019 budget had in turn allocated up to $3.9 billion in compensation for the trade concessions made on supply management.The funds announced by Bibeau Saturday are linked only to CETA and the CPTPP, but she said the latest arrangement does use up the balance of the previously announced funds. "I think it's a great day because there's something on the table," said Benoit Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, who said he had yet to see the details of the funding arrangement for his sector.The money announced Saturday comes ahead of Monday's reveal of the fiscal fortunes of the Liberal government, in the form of an economic update that is expected to lay out how much has been spent on emergency COVID-19 related programming but also outline some new spending in other areas. Bibeau said the funds announced Saturday will be reflected there, but said the amount to be set aside as compensation for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal is still being decided. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19.One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team 2.Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived.Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26\. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms.A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
The province's offer to help struggling restaurant owners during what's been a disastrous year for their bottom lines contains quite a bit of red tape — enough to leave them feeling let down and even abandoned by the Quebec government."People actually travel to eat in Montreal, that's a known fact," said Dyan Solomon, owner of three restaurants in the city, including Un po di Più. "And yet, at this moment, we are being completely forgotten."Since Oct. 1, restaurant dining rooms in red zones have been shut down, and they'll stay that way until at least Jan. 11, depriving them of vital revenue that often comes from a busy holiday season.It's the second time restaurant dining rooms in Quebec have been forced to close during the pandemic.Assistance from the province comes in the form of a loan of up to 50,000$, 80 per cent of which may not need to be repaid.Here's the problem: restaurant owners say accessing the federal government's programs was quick and painless.The provincial one? Not so much.To access Quebec's loan program, owners need to share information such as cost forecasts and budget statements, something small businesses living month-to-month may not have handy."They don't have people working in their offices, they don't have bookkeepers, they don't have time to sit at a computer for three days in a row and fill out forms that are very complicated," said Solomon.Solomon has been denied once by the province already, and she has two more requests pending."I'm a positive person. I try not to look at this from a very sinister point of view, but I'm starting to feel like there is something going on that's deep and bizarre," she said. "Because the process was made very, very complicated. It does leave you wondering if it wasn't supposed to discourage small businesses from applying."When comparing the federal programs to the provincial one, another restaurant owner referred to Quebec's process as one big, bureaucratic run-around."We are drowning right now in paperwork because we're trying to shift our money around, figure out how we're going to pay rent," said Nicole Turcotte, owner of Dinette Triple Crown. "So it just seems kind of like a cruel joke."A spokesperson for the province's Economy Ministry acknowledged CBC's request for comment Friday, but has yet to respond.Lockdown measures taking a tollThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business claims to have received many complaints from small and medium-sized business owners."It is important that the government improves its program, reduces red tape," said François Vincent, vice-president of the CFIB's Quebec branch, adding that a complex loan process hurts small businesses in particular. As for restaurants, he says many owners don't believe shutting down is justified."It was [initially] the 28-day challenge," said Vincent, in reference to the first period of red-zone restrictions this fall. "Now, it's more than 50 days. Some businesses are asking themselves why are they supposed to shut down if they didn't see any [virus] propagation in my sector."That sentiment was echoed Saturday, by a group of protesters in downtown Montreal.Many of them work in the restaurant industry and were calling on the province to allow restaurants to reopen during the holidays, considering the exception for small indoor gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.According to Nick Pichereau, co-owner of McKibbin's Irish Pub in Vaudreuil-Dorion, holiday gatherings in restaurants would be much safer than get-togethers in private homes. "At home, once they lock the door, they will be touching, they will be hugging, they won't be wearing masks," Pichereau said.
For Gen Lalonde, part of the allure of cross-country running is the unexpected, which can't be said about the 3,000-metre steeplechase, her signature event."I know there is going to be 35 barriers and some of them aren't going to have water," she said. "I generally know what the pace is going to be, but in cross-country I have no idea. It can be anyone's day."Lalonde, the two-time defending senior women's champion, was hoping Saturday would be her day for a third consecutive year at the Canadian championships but the event — scheduled for Clearbrook Park in Abbotsford, B.C. — was cancelled in August because of the coronavirus pandemic.However, she is planning her own version of cross-country this weekend — running a solo 10-kilometre time trial.It will be the Moncton, N.B., native's latest attempt to mimic a "normal" year since the Canadian record holder didn't enter a steeplechase race through the summer."I did an 8K time trial a few weeks ago that would have coincided with the [B.C.] provincial championships," said Lalonde, who moved to Victoria from Guelph, Ont., in January and married elite Canadian triathlete John Rasmussen in September."It gives me goals to [strive for] since I haven't raced since February and simulates the pre-race jitters [for] when I step on the line for real."Lining up for a tough race in Abbotsford on Saturday and watching the distance running community come together to celebrate the sport is something the French on-air host at Radio Victoria says she will miss."The national cross-country championships is about running, having fun and trying your best," said the women's 10K champion at the 2020 Pan American Cross-Country Cup in Victoria. "You never know how the race is going to go, so part of the fun is being ready for anything."WATCH | Gen Lalonde runs to steeplechase Pan Am gold:Looking back, the path to victory each of the past two years couldn't have been more different.'Rewarding to come out with victory'"In Kingston [Ont.], my goal was to run with Natasha Wodak, as long as I could," Lalonde said of her 2018 race plan on the famed Fort Henry course. "I knew she had been dominant on the cross-country scene and is a gritty runner. She's really strong, consistent and knows her pacing, so I knew if I ran with her, I would have a good chance to medal."I started to break from the [lead] group and knew I had gained the momentum and was having so much fun. Joel [Bourgeois], my coach [behind the scenes], was coaching [at] the University of Laval at the time and running around the course."I remember him saying, 'Way to go' and I remember smiling and waving," continued the 2016 Olympian. "I knew I still had work to do — I think I had two kilometres to go — but I knew in that moment I had put in a lot of work and it was so rewarding to come out with a victory."Last year in Abbotsford was very, very different. After only a month of training after I took time off after a long track season, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't know how hard a 10K could feel. It was consistent pounding and [eventual second-place finisher] Sarah Inglis was relentless. Maria [Bernard-Galea] was right behind us and it was back and forth."All three of us were surging and with one kilometre to go, [my primary coach] Hilary [Stellingwerff, from the University of Victoria] looked at me and she was like, 'Just make it to the finish.' I didn't know if I would. I was able to [pull out] the win but it was definitely the hardest run I've ever done."Uncertain when and where her next race will happen, the 2019 Pan Am steeplechase gold medallist has tried to mix things up in her training recently — running trails and hurdle drills on the track and long, muddy hills — to keep things fun and prepare her for all race conditions."My focus right now is on consistent base mileage," said Lalonde, adding if she was to compete indoors in January and February it wouldn't extend beyond one or two races. "In the coming months, I'll gradually transition from running more on the road and trails to the track."The focus will be on there being an Olympics [next] summer and being ready, happy and healthy come then. Crossing the finish line in Tokyo is where we want to be."
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
In the fall of 2019, Bernie McClean had to dry every single bushel of canola on his farm in northwest Saskatchewan — something he never had to do before.Weather was just one of various challenges farmers in the province had to deal with last year.According to Statistics Canada, realized net farm income was up in six provinces, but not in Saskatchewan, where farmers saw a $307 million decline — the largest in Canada. Lower oilseed receipts contributed to the drop, said a Statistics Canada report released this week."The real difficulties actually began in the fall of 2019," said McClean."Excessive amounts of rain during harvest that turned into cold weather and actually eventually it turned into a fair bit of snow. And that stopped harvest completely. There were a lot of areas that the snow melted and we were able to get going again."But those types of conditions, they increase the costs substantially."McClean and his family grow grains and oilseeds on their Glaslyn-area farm, including wheat, oats, barley, canola and forage crops. Part of their land recently also became home to bison.In 2019, he and his family were able to harvest all their crops in the fall, but "it was right to the very final minute to get it done," he said."There have been a number of years that have been difficult in the northwest part of Saskatchewan."Farm income rose in Canada, not in Sask.Overall, Canada's farmers saw an increase in realized net income of 14.9 per cent from 2018, to $5.5 billion in 2019. According to Statistics Canada, the increase is the result of higher cannabis and livestock receipts in the country, along with increased program payments.The drop in realized net income in Saskatchewan, though was 14.4 per cent.A drop in realized net farm income in Saskatchewan means that there was a reduction in income relative to expenses during that year, explains Richard Gray, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan's department of agricultural and resource economics.The total net income, which takes inventory change into account, also dropped in Saskatchewan in 2019. Trade disputeGray says two main factors affected oilseed income."The harvest was very long and delayed," he said. "There was significant acreage of canola that was not harvested in 2019 but was left to the spring to harvest in 2020."So that grain, which would have been income, was left in the field because of weather conditions."The other factor, according to Gray, was a large outbreak of African swine fever in China. The disease reduced the size of hog herds in the country, and consequently the demand for oilseeds.A trade dispute with China also created headaches for the province's canola farmers, after China effectively stopped buying the crop from Canadian producers."Saskatchewan farmers produce the most canola in the country and they were the most affected by the drop in price," said Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. He is a fourth-generation farmer in the Gray district, south of Regina.The trade dispute with China "seems like a long way from Saskatchewan, but it really does come straight to the farm gate here in the province."There is a possible upside to the Canada-China dispute, said McClean."The trade disruption that we've experienced with China has actually taken the blinders off a little bit and allowed us to investigate and further explore other or emerging markets … whether that's export markets or whether it's opportunities right here in Canada," he said.2020 a better year for Saskatchewan's oilseed farmersAfter the lows in 2019, this year has been much better for Saskatchewan oilseed farmers. "There was an early harvest," said Gray."Grain shipments have been at a record level. Because of the recovery in the hog herd in China, soybeans and oilseed prices are actually higher this year. So prices have gone up, volumes [have] gone up."According to the provincial government's final crop report, Saskatchewan saw above-average crop quality this year. While rail disruptions in 2019 caused problems for producers, the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 has allowed for improved movement of grain in 2020, said McClean.The livestock industry, on the other hand, has been negatively affected by COVID-19, with some slaughter plants closing down, said Lewis.Farmers and ranchers now have to feed more cattle, but the price for feed grain has gone up, he said."So it's been positive for the grain producers."
There will be fewer places to pick out the perfect real Christmas tree on the North Shore this festive season, with new COVID-19 rules making it increasingly difficult for groups to get approval to set up their annual fundraising events. But, in true Christmas spirit, residents will still have the opportunity, thanks to a lot of effort put in by some of the local Lions Clubs and Scout troops to gain approval by meeting Covid-19 guidelines put in place by the provincial health authority. Eric Miura, Lynn Valley Lions Club president, said having to jump through more hoops than usual to get the event set up was an “understatement,” but the club was pleased it could make a contactless drive-thru Christmas tree lot a reality for the community. “We have some experience hosting events over this COVID period, so I think that’s why we haven’t been rejected,” he said, explaining the club had been working on an intensive proposal for the past six months. “It’s a tradition, and the Lynn Valley Lions Club is more than happy to do all the paperwork and make sure it’s safe. We know that we can handle the safety, it’s just a lot of protocols and a lot of procedures. “We’re proud of our ability to adapt.” Miura said the club moved its event from the parking lot at the Royal Canadian Legion's Lynn Valley branch to a much larger site in the Moodyville area, partnering with Wall Financial, and even built roads to make the drive-thru possible. He said people could either choose their tree online – variety, size, price – or drive through and view the trees and pick one from their car at the site at East Second Street and Ridgeway Avenue. “Everyone has to stay within their cars and all of our team members must be family units working in their particular zone on the site,” Miura said. Community members will need to book a time slot in advance online to visit the site, so numbers can be controlled and managed appropriately. While the drive-thru tree lot adds festive cheer to the lives of North Vancouverites, Miura said the event was also important because the club’s future applications for community gaming grants were associated with how much an organization fundraises. “We do raise a fair bit, but this is our largest fundraiser – so it’s almost a double whammy if we don’t make a good effort,” he said, also noting that proceeds from the tree lot go back into the community to help schools and other organizations. The Christmas Tree Market drive-thru opened Friday, Nov. 27. Sadly, not all clubs will be opening their tree lots. After 75 years of helping make the holidays brighter, Dave Weightman, president of the Ambleside Tiddlycove Lions Club, said the club would not be running its annual tree lot fundraiser in Ambleside this year due to confusion surrounding the provincial restrictions. He said the club had made the hard decision not to open, believing they did not have provincial permission based on the tree lot being classified as a fundraising event but later discovered on Nov. 24 that changes had been made that they were not informed about. “I found out five minutes ago that on the Nov. 19, unbeknownst to us, the ministry of health changed our designation from an event to a vending market and that would have allowed us to open," he said, speaking on Nov. 24. Having cancelled much of their plans, he said the club could no longer go ahead with their market as their tree grower had now sold off most of his trees. Weightman said the club had worked closely with the District of West Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health to put forward a plan that they felt met the COVID-19 guidelines of B.C. Health, and he wished he had known sooner of the designation changes. “We asked for reclassification as our plan outlined numbers restrictions which would see very limited numbers, masked, and distanced in a 12,000-sqare-foot outdoor setting," he said, explaining his original plan. The funds raised from the annual event usually allow the club to support many North Shore charities and foundations, which Weightman said would be greatly missed. “It’s just disappointing, like everything else we’re facing,” he said, with the hope the club’s tree lot would reopen in 2021. Similarly, West Vancouver Scouts posted to their website the tree lot at Taylor Way and Clyde Avenue at Park Royal will not be opening “due to restrictions and the uncertainty around COVID-19.” However, the 11th Seymour Scouts were able to set up their annual tree fundraising sale, and said they have “no shortage of Christmas trees” at their event in Deep Cove. The tree sale, which runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 23. has been relocated to Dollarton Village, at 489 Dollarton Hwy., and the scouts have advised people to “please follow all COVID protocols” when picking up a tree, including wearing a mask and physical distancing. Their website states that additional safety instructions are posted at the tree lot.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Baby spinach sold under the brand Fresh Attitude is being recalled in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario due to possible salmonella contamination.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a notice on Friday and says the product may have been distributed in other Atlantic provinces.The recall includes the 312-gram package with a best before date of Dec. 4, and the 142-gram package with best before dates of Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.The recall was triggered by VegPro International and is being investigated.The food inspection agency says people should check to see if they have the recalled product and throw it out or return it to the store.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can lead to infections. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest level of risk.Short-term symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, while long-term complications may include severe arthritis.There have been no reported illnesses linked to the recall.
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
A temporary COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic will be open Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall.The clinic, located at 234 Shakespeare Drive, was set up to support the high demand for testing at the Charlottetown testing clinic on Park Street.Islanders can also go to the COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic at Slemon Park in Summerside, which is open until 8 p.m.P.E.I. announced two new unrelated cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.The province said anyone who has been contacted by Public Health nursing to get tested in relation to the positive cases should get tested as soon as possible and isolate until they receive the results, or as directed by Public Health nursing.More from CBC P.E.I.
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
Fifty Evraz steelworkers in Regina received layoff notices on Friday and hundreds more could be laid off by mid-January."It's been a trying year for us and our members here in Regina," said Mike Day, president of United Steelworkers Local 5890, which is the union associated with the Regina steel plant."COVID started in March. I think it was around that same time we had a cyberattack on the company. And then we had this," Day said. "It's just seems like it's one thing after another in 2020, like many other places."The New Year will not fare much better for many more workers. By mid-January, Evraz says the jobs of up to 500 employees will also be deemed redundant. Day said USW Local 5890 is used to seeing 30 or 40 people being laid off."But when you're starting to get the guys that have worked here now for 20 years, it's been a long time since the layoff notices have come out and their names have been on it. It's tough."Evraz said the restructuring is necessary to help deal with the struggling state of the steel industry.Day said the pandemic is largely to blame, along with the prolonged slump in the energy sector and what he calls government inaction in promoting Canadian steel for projects across the country, including pipelines."We're directly related to the oil and gas sector. Our No. 1 product is this pipe. So when there's no contracts because there's no product or there's no projects going on, it's hard for us right now."Day said the union was confident the company was going to get a contract for a northern Alberta project, but he said a foreign company is going to get the work."When we've got projects that are being built in Canada and they're not using Canadian project, Canadian labour and Canadian material … it's very concerning to the steel industry," Day said.The layoffs will mostly affect the tubular division of the plant, which makes pipelines for the oil and gas industry."To put it in perspective, at this time last year we were almost at 700 members in tubular, and by the middle of January, I expect this to be just shy of 100 [workers] unless something comes up," Day said.He doesn't see a turnaround in the near future and doubts all the jobs will come back."I don't see our numbers ever climbing to that where it was a year ago."And with a struggling economy, it will be hard for laid-off workers to find jobs."Not a lot of places are hiring and especially hiring that are … comparable wages and benefits to what the guys get here. So it's going to be a real financial struggle for a lot of places in the city."Day said the union is hoping to reach out to Don Morgan, the province's minister of labour relations.He also hopes having U.S. president-elect Joe Biden coming to the White House will mean better trade relations and more opportunities for the Canadian steel industry.
A Winnipeg boy under the age of 10 has died from COVID-19, becoming the youngest person in Manitoba to lose their life to the illness.The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus continued its steady climb on Saturday, reaching a record high of 327 — up from 322 on Friday, the province said in a news release. Of those, 44 people are in intensive care.The grim updates come as Manitoba announces 487 new cases of the illness, its third-highest single-day increase to date.Of the nine other deaths announced Saturday, five are connected to known outbreaks in Manitoba.They include a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s linked to the Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home; a man in his 80s with ties to Fairview Home in Brandon; a woman in her 80s connected to Heritage Lodge Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg; and a man in his 90s linked to Park Manor Care in Winnipeg.The remaining deaths announced Saturday are two women (in their 60s and 80s) from the Winnipeg health region; a man in his 60s from the Interlake-Eastern Health region; and a woman in her 80s from the Southern Health region, the province's news release says.The latest deaths bring Manitoba's number of coronavirus-linked fatalities to 290.The province has declared COVID-19 outbreaks in the GD4 unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and at the Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie — a long-term care facility for residents with intellectual disabilities. Both sites have been moved to the critical red level on the province's pandemic response system, the release says.Meanwhile, outbreaks previously declared at Arborgate School in La Broquerie and Reston School are now over.The chief provincial public health officer warned again on Friday that Manitoba's health-care capacity is being stretched to its limits, with record numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospital and dozens in intensive care."We're not going to be able to have enough capacity to maintain these numbers for much longer," Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down slightly again to 14.2 per cent. In Winnipeg, that rate is now 13.9 per cent, the province says.There have now been 16,118 cases of COVID-19 identified in Manitoba, 6,804 of which are considered recovered.Another 9,024 cases are still considered active, though Roussin has previously said that number is inflated because of a data entry backlog.Nearly two-thirds of the new cases announced on Saturday (307) are in the Winnipeg health region, while another one-fifth (104) are in the Southern Health region.The remaining cases are spread out across the Northern Health region (38), the Interlake-Eastern health region (23) and the Prairie Mountain Health region (15).On Friday, 2,640 more COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba, the news release says, bringing the total completed in the province since early February to 348,768.WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin speaks about recent COVID-19-related deaths:
Matt Patricia opened his final postgame news conference with the Detroit Lions by thanking his wife and children for their support.Patricia probably knew what was coming.His boss, general manager Bob Quinn, might not have expected the same fate.The Lions fired Patricia and Quinn, who hired the coach to replace Jim Caldwell, and effectively ended the franchise’s attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.The moves were made Saturday, surprising no one.Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team resident Rod Wood were expected to explain the decisions and to look ahead at the franchise’s decades-long attempt to win when it matters in the NFL.Since Detroit won the 1957 NFL title, it has won only one playoff game — and that was way back on Jan. 5, 1992.This season, the Lions (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time. They collapsed in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in 11 years in the previous game at Carolina.“I’m just really appreciative of my family, my wife, my kids,” Patricia said Thursday before taking questions from reporters on a Zoom call. “My wife does a lot behind the scenes and from that standpoint I appreciate her a lot.”The setbacks dropped Patricia to 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons and Quinn’s mark fell 12 games under .500 over five seasons.Quinn, who was part of the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years, was given his first shot to run an NFL front office in January 2016. He retained Caldwell and Detroit reached the playoffs but then fired him the next season after another 9-7 record wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the post-season.When Quinn let Caldwell go with a 36-28 record over four seasons and an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, he said the move was made to find a coach to take the team to the next level.Patricia did that, but it wasn’t the level he or Quinn needed to keep their jobs.Detroit was 6-10 under Patricia in 2018, won just three games last season and was barely better this year.Patricia was on Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, including six years as defensive co-ordinator, before Quinn gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level. Patricia was incessantly peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, dating to the 2019 season, and refused to engage in the conversation with reporters.“We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Patricia said after falling to 0-3 on Thanksgiving with the Lions. “So, that’s my focus right now.”___Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLLarry Lage, The Associated Press
Friends and relatives of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week remembered him Saturday as a "man of kindness, gentleness and love," who doted on animals and would drop everything to help someone in need.Const. Marc Hovingh also had a unique sense of humour that could spark joy and laughter even in the hardest times, his brother Hans Hovingh said during a small service held in a high school in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island."He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself," Hans Hovingh said.The officer could charm his way out of a dispute with a flash of his "trademark gap-toothed grin," a shrug of his shoulders and a laugh, said another brother, Albert Hovingh."When he did this there's no way you could stay angry with him," Albert Hovingh said. "I suspect that's why he got away with a lot of stuff, not only as a child but also later in life."Marc Hovingh's wife, Lianne Hovingh, described her late husband as her best friend, and recalled hearing how he would sometimes hold off on handing out tickets to drivers who he knew were going through difficult times.She thanked the public for the "ocean of love and prayers" she and their four children - Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sara - have received since her husband's death.Masked mourners, many of them in police uniform, gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen officer, who died on Nov. 19 in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the island community of Gore Bay, Ont.Hovingh, a 28-year veteran of the force, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man'' on a property.According to the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario's police watchdog — Hovingh and civilian Gary Brohman died in hospital after an exchange of gunfire.Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among a handful of politicians and dignitaries who attended the service. The Ontario Provincial Police Association said the funeral was otherwise private, with attendance available via livestream. At one point, more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to the ceremony. An online fundraiser for Hovingh's family had also raised more than $100,000 by mid-afternoon Saturday, with some donations coming in during the funeral.Provincial police Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the officer's death has left him and others across the force with a "broken heart," and praised Hovingh's "courageous response" to the incident that ultimately claimed his life."How is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time?" he said during the service.One of Hovingh's colleagues and friends, Const. Marie Ford, described him as someone who cared deeply for his community and always rooted for the underdog, yet shunned the attention he received for his good deeds."He didn't need to be promoted and he refused accolades," she said in a tearful tribute.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28., 2020 Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press