SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Canada welcomes the choice of John Kerry as new U.S. climate envoy but will press Washington not to cancel permits for an oil pipeline he opposes, Ottawa's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday. President-elect Joe Biden this week announced Kerry would be his climate czar, a cabinet-level position. Kerry played an important role in crafting the Paris Agreement on climate but President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the treaty.
Children under the age of five are amazing sponges for information. Ask any childhood researcher, or any parent who has told a story to another adult, only to have a child bring it up at an inopportune moment. But that sponge-like nature, if encouraged and nurtured, means a child has the opportunity to grow into their best self, and have the tools and capabilities that will allow them to succeed in whichever way they see fit. “We know that the child’s first experiences with language and culture come from within his own family, and within early childhood settings.” says Josée Latulippe, manager of Collège Boréal’s Centre d’innovation sociale pour l’enfant et la famille (CISEF – Child and family social innovation centre). It is for this reason that the FrancoFUN program was created by the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario (AFÉSEO – Francophone association for early childhood education) as a way to ensure that early childhood educators are not just offered the chance to enhance early French-language learning for children, but to ensure that they can view their classroom through the Francophone lens, and build identity as well as skill set. “Identity building is vital, “Latulippe said. “Because studies show that it is a key mechanism to ensure the vitality of minority-language communities and prepare young children to be educated in French when they enter elementary school.” And it is this “continuum of language,” as Latulippe calls it, that ensures language and cultural identity survives. As children here in Sudbury, both Anglophone and Francophone, have the ability to enjoy their education in French from childhood to post-secondary, it ensures that a culture and language that could be considered already marginalized is one that will last the test of time, regardless of the surrounding majority. The FrancoFUN program focused not just on providing language to students, but also the cultural identity behind the Franco-Ontarien legacy. It is a specific culture, with a specific dialect — headed to ‘camp’ anyone — and stories and history all its own. And it is one that, if shared, can enrich a child’s ability to learn a language, and bring together a community that is consistently working to preserve its cultural identity. And now that the FrancoFUN program has been in place for some time, helping Early Childhood Educators find ways to continually incorporate cultural, historical, language-based, and just plain fun aspects of the Franco-Ontarien peoples, they are now ready to measure the success, and share their methods with others. “We are always reflecting,” said Latulippe, and notes the questions they continually ask: “How can I better my program? How can I make it more accessible? Do we have a welcoming structure in place to welcome families that are French and English?” For it is not just fully Francophone families that can benefit from this type of study, and action. If you would like your child to speak French, but your home is mixed-language, or perhaps somewhat disconnected to the culture, then this type of programming will not only offer you the opportunity to increase your child’s chances of success, as Latulippe notes that research shows language learning is greatly helped by immersion into the culture of the language, not just the words. And this is especially true for parents who would like their children to speak French, but do not do so themselves. Simply by building a bridge between your home and the school, said Latulippe, you can enrich your child’s language learning without knowing a word yourself. With a program like FrancoFUN, you can learn about the culture as well. “It doesn’t mean you need to take French classes,” Latulippe said. “You just need to support the culture in your home. It’s because we are all the first educators.” And now, as the program has raised awareness among early childhood educators about their role in encouraging Francophone identity in their classrooms, it’s time to find out how the tools are working. From now until March of 2021, a survey of the educators and their thoughts and feeling about the program will be gathered, and shared amongst interested parties. “We are hoping we will have a tool to promote culture and language identity within Early Childhood settings,” said Latulippe, “which can then be shared within the community, with teachers at the college, and with the Franco-Ontarien culture really.” And it is this tool that Latulippe hopes will encourage not just French-language learning across Ontario, but also an understanding of the unique and beautiful qualities that make a culture, and a portrait of those who have come before, and those who will come after. Because the loss of any culture is a horrific idea; but the loss of folklore, of La Nuit sur l'étang, of ‘Notre Place’, of CANO, and of tourtière and tarte au sucre, is much too tragic to imagine. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Contact her through her website, JennyLamothe.com.Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
The year was 1974. North Americans were huddled around their television sets on a warm summer night bidding farewell to a disgraced Richard Nixon while crooks of another kind were on the move in downtown Sudbury. Two rival schools, Sheridan Tech and Sudbury High, had just been amalgamated to become what is now known as Sudbury Secondary School. Perchance, two original A.Y. Jackson paintings called Spring on the Onaping River (1955) and A Windy Day, Lake Superior (1959) were united in the school’s main office. In the dead of night, the paintings mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again – and more than four decades later, a local playwright is bringing the story to light. The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson, written and directed by Judi Straughan, is a radio play staged for broadcast that explores a true local crime that occurred on Aug. 9, 1974. The crime is considered an open case to this day and is still under investigation by the Greater Sudbury Police. Viewers will be able to stream a performance of the play online from Dec. 4 to 7, where they will get the chance to immerse themselves in Sudbury’s history and become amateur detectives as they try to piece together what happened. For more, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. “With the hundredth anniversary of the first exhibit of the Group of Seven, this is the year to get inquiring minds across the nation to come and search for the missing Jacksons,” said playwright and director Judi Straughan. “Because this play is streaming online, anybody anywhere will have the chance to watch it. Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after 47 years, someone came forward? Someone out there must know something. Maybe they are ready to talk after all these years.” Straughan’s retelling of the events that occurred in 1974 is not fictional. Both of the stolen paintings had been purchased from A.Y. Jackson, a member of the famous Group of Seven, in the 1950s. Spring on the Onaping River (1955) belonged to Sheridan Technical School. In fact, it had been created after Sheridan art teacher Jack Smith invited Jackson to paint with his students, resulting in several Jackson sketches of Onaping Falls. A Windy Day, Lake Superior (1959) was purchased by the students at Sudbury High School to commemorate a beloved teacher who had been murdered during a school lunch hour. The reason the paintings were united was because the schools had been amalgamated. They were in the main office to be cleaned and it was intended that they would be hung at Sudbury Secondary School together. Before that could happen – and before the school even opened its doors – the paintings were stolen. Police have not yet been able to uncover who did it. In The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson, Straughan brought together 15 Sudbury actors to play real Sudburians from 1974 and dramatize the events leading up to and following the theft. “It’s a mystery that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of a True Detective magazine. Surprisingly, there’s even a murder on the periphery of the story,” she said. “The two-act play presents the facts in Act 1 and the whodunit theories in Act 2. It even provides a fictional solution to the crime. As a bonus, former Sudbury High and Tech students will get to hear their school songs performed once more.” Full of what Straughan calls “Sudbury chuckles” and real-life intrigue, The Case of the Missing A.Y. Jackson will entertain, raise money for a local radio station, and maybe inspire someone to come forward with a piece of information that could help solve the case. Crime Stoppers, a not-for-profit charitable organization that helps law enforcement agencies solve crime, has actually come on board to encourage viewers to come forward with tips. The play was supposed to be performed on stage in the spring, but was delayed due to COVID-19. On Nov. 8, the Sudbury Theatre Centre allowed ticketholders into the theatre to watch the play while it was filmed in advance of the virtual show. “Len Yauk, who was the principal of the school at the time and who is actually a character in the play, drove to Sudbury from Parry Sound to see the performance on Nov. 8,” said Straughan. “He told me that he had received a phone call about three years ago from the RCMP asking questions about the case. He said that every once in a while, something comes up, and he’s glad that people are still paying attention.” Tickets for the online performance are now on sale on CKLU radio’s website at www.cklu.ca. All proceeds will go towards CKLU 96.7, a local not-for-profit radio station that operates on campus of the McEwan School of Architecture. If you have information about the theft of these paintings or any other crime, you can provide an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 705-222-8477 (TIPS) or 1-800-222-8477 or by going online at www.sudburycrimestoppers.com. Tips that result in the successful resolution of a criminal offence may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000. All tips are completely anonymous, and you will not be asked to testify in court. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Si les producteurs de fromage en grains peinent à écouler leurs stocks de fromage frais dans les restaurants fermés des zones rouges, ceux de la Fromagerie l’Ancêtre disparaissent rapidement aux comptoirs de Bécancour et de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade. «On fait du fromage en grains chaque jour, mais pas encore avec un réseau de distribution», précise son PDG, Pascal Désilets. Mais la Fromagerie l’Ancêtre y réfléchit. «Présentement, le prix est encore le critère d’achat numéro un dans ce marché et le fromage bio est un produit de spécialité. Sa plus-value n’est pas propice au modèle d’affaires de la restauration», souligne M. Désilets. La fromagerie l’Ancêtre de Bécancour produit des fromages certifiés biologiques, de lait non pasteurisé, sans gluten ou sans lactose, demi-sel et des beurres. L’Ancêtre distribue 75% de sa production à travers le pays, en majorité au Québec, en Ontario et dans l’Ouest canadien. Surtout dans les épiceries et les marchés d’alimentation biologiques. «Le biologique a toujours été très populaire dans l’Ouest canadien». La fromagerie transforme près de 6 millions de litres de lait sur une base annuelle. M. Désilets ne veut pas nous dire combien de fromages en résultent. L’acquisition récente de la Fromagerie Le Baluchon semble démontrer que les affaires tournent assez rondement. «Nos fromages Baluchon sont arrivés dans les épiceries Métro et IGA cette semaine, à nos comptoirs aussi. On a une belle réponse de la clientèle. Malheureusement, on n’aura pas assez de fromages pour répondre à la demande pour le temps des Fêtes. L’an prochain, on vise à accroître la production de cette gamme de fromages qu’on fait affiner dans les installations de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade». La pandémie n’aura pas trop affecté les ventes de la fromagerie l’Ancêtre. En revanche, les opérations tournent un peu au ralenti. «C’est vraiment un défi d’opérer une croissance durant une pandémie», ajoute M. Désilets. Le sempiternel problème de main-d’œuvre. «On est constamment à la recherche d’aide-fromager, de fromagers, de personnes à l’emballage. Et ce n’est pas qu’une question de salaire». En revanche, «le phénomène pour l’achat local a été positif pour les fromageries», ajoute-t-il.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Police have laid charges against a man after more than $145,000 worth of cocaine was seized at a rural residence in Rocky View County.ALERT Calgary's organized crime and gang team carried out a search warrant on Nov. 18 with help from Calgary police and Airdrie RCMP officers.Police seized the following from the residence: * 1,459 grams of cocaine. * 292 grams of an unknown pink powder. * 134 grams of an unknown white powder. * 6 grams of psilocybin. * 0.3 grams of methamphetamine. * Various rounds of ammunition. * $120 cash.Jeff Bussey, 40, was arrested at a traffic stop in Crossfield, Alta., and charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and possession of ammunition contrary to a prohibition order.The unknown powders are being sent to a Health Canada laboratory for identification and analysis."Drug trafficking offences are magnified in rural communities and, more often than not, produce a number of ancillary offences related to addiction, such as property crimes and theft," said ALERT Calgary Staff Sgt. Jeff Ringelberg in a release.
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
TORONTO — Anxiety-ridden and overworked health-care workers say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19, a new small-scale study suggests. Interviews with nurses, personal support workers and others in hospitals and long-term care homes suggest chronic stress and burnout are common, but fear of reprisals is stopping them from speaking out. "The knowledge that they are at increased risk of infection due to lack of protection has resulted in anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications," the paper states. The study, in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, was done by James Brophy and Margaret Keith, academic researchers affiliated with the University of Windsor and noted occupational hygienists. Health-care workers in Canada have contracted the novel coronavirus in far higher numbers relative to the general public, comprising almost one-in-five confirmed cases, according to a previous study. To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16. Only 10 workers — nurses, personal support workers and other staff — agreed to be interviewed for the qualitative study. Others refused to take part for fear of being disciplined or fired, they said. Despite the handful of interview subjects, the authors said their peer-reviewed findings reflect other larger-scale research and surveys, and its findings are valid. Those interviewed said they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks of contracting COVID or spreading it — risks apparent from the early days of the pandemic. Some said they were warned by supervisors not to wear N95 protection, even if they had their own, Keith said. Others spoke of the constant grief and trauma they endure when patients or residents die, a situation only getting worse as new cases soar. "Words on the page cannot convey the level of emotion we heard in the voices of the health-care workers we interviewed," Brophy said. "We did not expect to hear the degree of anger and desperation that came out." The vast majority of the front-line health-care workers are women, many racialized, Keith said. Many are part-time and vulnerable to job loss. "Health-care workers are desperately in need of protection from COVID and from their often back-breaking and soul-crushing working conditions," Keith said. "But the authoritarian and hierarchical nature of health-care work contributes to (their) risks and adverse mental-health impacts." Despite the issues, the workers said the provincial government had let them down by failing to take action to deal with their health or labour concerns. Chronic understaffing and failing to keep them safe, the authors said, means the workers can't do their jobs effectively, putting everyone at risk. "Health-care workers health and well-being are being sacrificed," Keith said. "We all need to pay attention to their pleas." There was no immediate response to the qualitative study from the provincial government, but Health Minister Christine Elliott praised the "tireless efforts" of front-line health-care workers during an announcement on Tuesday about the roll-out of rapid tests. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said front-line staff in close contact with COVID-infected people still have no ready access to proper respirators. The Ministry of Labour has also rejected all 253 work refusals as valid. "This explains why people feel sacrificed and why they feel exploited and violated," Hurley said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020 Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
The former CEO and executive director of Saskatoon's Remai Modern Art Museum says he wouldn't have settled a human rights complaint filed against the gallery if he had remained involved in the process.On Monday, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission announced that the gallery and one of its former employees had reached a financial settlement overseen by the chief commissioner. The sum was not disclosed, but the complainant — who CBC News has agreed not to name — said she was "very happy" with the amount.Before the settlement, the chief commissioner had said the complaint had enough merit to get a public court hearing. In 2016, the employee — who worked for the museum's previous incarnation, Mendel Art Gallery — formally accused then-CEO and executive director Gregory Burke of discrimination on the basis of gender. The gallery was co-named in the complaint. Burke has vigorously denied the claim and did so again in a statement shared by his lawyer on Tuesday."Any suggestion that I would undertake discrimination on the basis of gender is preposterous," Burke wrote. "I have a strong record for championing human rights and equality in the arts."Burke pointed to a Globe and Mail article from earlier this year in which former female colleagues spoke of his support for equality in the workplace.'It has now been over five years'Burke left the museum in early 2019. He was no longer part of the complaint by the time it was settled this week. Late last year, Burke successfully petitioned a Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench judge to stay the proceeding against him — in other words, to have himself removed from the complaint process. Justice Brenda Hildebrandt castigated the human rights commission for its "astonishingly slow" 31-month investigation and said Burke had "languished under the cloud of uncertainty for too long."Burke said in his statement this week that he took no part in the settlement "and would not have if I had been party to the proceedings." CBC News has reached out to the gallery's lawyer for comment. "I also note that membership of the current Board of Remai Modern does not include anyone from the 2015 board against whom the complaint was lodged," Burke added.Burke pointed to other parts of Hildebrandt's ruling, including her conclusion that the complaint contained no statements involving "overt acts of gender or sex-based discrimination.""It has now been over five years since the complaint was laid and the impact on me personally and professionally since then has been very significant," Burke wrote.
Unlimited internet packages will be available to residents in seven northern communities starting Dec. 1, after the CRTC gave the North's telecommunications giant the green light on Tuesday.Northwestel applied for unlimited internet packages for a handful of communities across the North in October with hopes of offering them to residents by early November. However, the CRTC delayed approval, saying it needed more time to consider the company's application.On Tuesday, a post on the CRTC's website showed the commission had approved Northwestel's proposal on an interim basis."The Commission considers it appropriate to approve the application on an interim basis prior to reviewing the whole record, in order to address customers' increased Internet data needs and alleviate their increased Internet usage costs in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic," the website says."The Commission will address its final determination regarding the unlimited Internet data packages and rates that are under consideration in the application, and any related issues if necessary, in a subsequent order that will be based on the complete record."The seven northern communities are: * Whitehorse. * Carcross, Yukon. * Yellowknife. * Hay River, N.W.T. * Fort Smith, N.W.T. * Norman Wells, N.W.T. * Fort Nelson, B.C.Northwestel said in a news release it will start taking orders from customers wanting to upgrade their internet packages on Dec. 1, when they become available."It's great to be able to bring new unlimited options to many customers in time for a holiday season, especially with so many of us sticking close to home," said Tammy April, Northwestel's vice-president of consumer markets, in a statement.
Des restaurateurs et commerçants du centre-ville de Trois-Rivières unissent leurs forces pour sauver Noël. Trois parcours ludiques et gastronomiques seront proposés au centre-ville. Les trois premières fins de semaine de décembre feront place à la magie du temps des fêtes. Trois parcours sont proposés aux Trifluviens. Le premier consiste en un Parcours ludique réservé à environ 215 familles, les samedis et dimanche entre 10h et 16 h. Jeunes et plus jeunes encore pourront partir à la recherche de la boîte aux lettres du père Noël qu’un taquin gnome du Pôle Sud a bien cachée dans le centre-ville. La mission : sauver Noël à tout prix en suivant un parcours d’une heure truffé d’énigmes destinées à déjouer les intentions de ce gnome de Noël, raconte Gena Déziel, directrice de Trois-Rivières Centre. Tout le monde sera à pied d’oeuvre pour dévoiler la cachette de la boîte aux lettres du père Noël et y déposer sa liste de cadeaux. Tous les parcours de l’événement se tiennent à l’extérieur, y compris les parcours divertissants et gastronomiques. Ces derniers permettent à la population de se sustenter les vendredis et samedi soir, entre 17h30 et 20h30. Plusieurs restaurateurs du centre-ville y participent. Les restaurants Angéline, Le Brasier 1908, Café Frida, Le temps d’une pinte, Madame Woo, et le Manoir du Spaghetti dans la catégorie proposent une carte gourmande et divertissante. Yves Beaudoin, propriétaire du Brasier 1908, se dit « très fier de s’associer au projet ». Une carte gastronomique est par ailleurs offerte par Le Buck pub gastronomique, Les Contrebandiers, Le Lupin, Le Pot papilles et cocktail, Poivre Noir, et le Rouge vin. Culture Trois-Rivières y met aussi son grain de sel avec des surprises culturelles. Chaque soir 32 bulles familiales pourront s’inscrire à l’un de ces parcours, pour un total de 192 familles. «Ça permet de voir, de faire plaisir à des gens. Faire à manger c’est notre métier. Ça va faire du bien, plus moralement», souligne Martin Bilodeau, propriétaire du Bock et vice-président au c.a. de Trois-Rivières Centre. « On va être en mesure de proposer un parcours intéressant pour les clients. Toutes les raisons sont bonnes pour être en bulle familiale ailleurs que chez nous! » Joanie Turcotte, présidente de Trois-Rivières Centre, espère que cette offre aidera à faire rayonner nos commerces et nos restaurateurs et à créer une ambiance unique qui s’adresse à l’ensemble de la population. «Le but est de mettre un baume dans le coeur des gens en cette année difficile», ajoute-t-elle. « On s’attend à ce que ça réponde bien et à recevoir plus de 1200 personnes au centre-ville. J’ai l’impression que ce projet va bien fonctionner et qu’on va pouvoir le reproduire», poursuit Mme Turcotte qui a bien l’intention de compléter le Parcours ludique avec son fils, afin qu’il puisse à son tour déposer sa liste de cadeaux dans la boîte aux lettres du père Noël. Les départs pour tous les Parcours ludiques, gourmands et gastronomiques se font toutes les dix minutes. Les Trifluviens devront courir réserver leurs places. Ça se fait en ligne, dès 9 h, le mercredi 25 novembre : trcentre.ca/noel Les organisateurs nous assurent que l’événement respecte toutes les règles de distanciation et les consignes dictées par la direction de la Santé publique qui a donné son feu vert au projet.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
France will start easing its COVID-19 lockdown this weekend so that by Christmas, shops, theatres and cinemas will reopen and people will be able to spend the holiday with their families, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the worst of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in France was over, but that restaurants, cafes and bars would have to stay shut until Jan. 20 to avoid triggering a third wave. "We must do everything to avoid a third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown," Macron said.
With millions dining at home for safety and a swing to the spicier side in the U.S. in recent years, Cholula, the hot sauce with the distinctive wooden cap and a cult following, has become a very valuable brand. McCormick & Co., the spice maker that dominates U.S. grocery shelves, said Tuesday that it was buying Cholula for $800 million from L Catteron, a private equity firm. McCormick made a notable tilt toward the hot sauce shelf three years ago when it acquired Frank’s RedHot, the preferred fuel in Buffalo wing recipes, as part of its $4.2 billion acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food business. “The sauce with the little wooden cap is, like Frank’s RedHot, well-known to ‘chilli-heads’ around the globe but its appeal is much wider,” said Dean Best, food editor of Global Data. The acquisition arrives with the pandemic warping how America and the rest of the world eats, meaning largely at home. There was evidence of that trend in recent regulatory filings from McCormick, a company in Hunt Valley, Maryland with a valuation of close to $25 billion. McCormick said in September that revenue surged 8% during the third quarter as people replaced the contents of outdated spice racks, or started one for the first time. And hot sauce is increasingly part of the pantry mix. The volume of hot sauce produced for North America has risen in each of the past five years by an average of 4.7%, to more than 127,000 tons in 2020, according to the data service Euromonitor. That production is expected to rise by 16% within the next five years, according to the group. “Hot sauce is an attractive, high-growth category and, as an iconic premium brand, Cholula is outpacing category growth," said McCormick Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius in prepared remarks Tuesday. Cholula has made its own adaptations during the pandemic to get the sauce to its cult followers. Earlier this month the company teamed up with simplehuman to create a touch-free Cholula dispenser for restaurants or other places that serve the hot sauce, allowing those eating out to bring the heat in relative safety. Shares of McCormick, which have hit an all time high this year, rose more than 2% Tuesday. Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
The University of British Columbia has launched an investigation after more than 100 entry-level math students were accused of cheating on their midterm exam several days ago.The investigation became public after an ominous note from the students' professor was posted online late Monday. It was also circulated to students directly."I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating," said the note, a screenshot of which was posted to the UBC Reddit thread."If confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC."The note is signed "Mike." The CBC has not been able to verify the UBC professor's identity. However, the university has said it's investigating allegations of widespread cheating in one section of the math department involving entry-level math students.There are more than 1,500 students currently enrolled in Math 100 at UBC, split up into classes of about 250. The class is being held entirely online this semester, due to the pandemic. Midterms are run online as well.Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, confirmed the university is investigating allegations of widespread cheating. He said it is too early to be able to provide details on how the students might have been cheating or how they were caught."Those details, I'm sure, will come clear in the investigative process," he said by phone on Tuesday.Ramsay said the professor's note was first sent to students, then posted online.Test monitoring toolsMany schools across the country, including UBC, have been using online software extensions to help detect and discourage cheating since classes went virtual. One test-proctoring tool, called Proctorio, monitors students for suspicious behaviour while they're writing a virtual exam.UBC faculty can offer an alternative, like a final project, to replace exams if they are overly concerned about cheating, but exams can't always be replaced."In some instances, it is necessary to use ... software like Proctorio to ensure academic integrity," Ramsey said. "Incidents of academic misconduct themselves are very uncommon, very rare at the university," added Ramsey, who has been with the school since 2014. "I have not seen allegations of this nature in my time at UBC but, again, they are, at this point, allegations."Investigations into academic misconduct begin with a professor reporting their concerns to the dean's office. That office can either dismiss complaints, give students a warning or pass the case along to the President's Advisory Committee on Student Discipline for potential punishment. Penalties can range from a formal warning to being expelled from the university.Since investigations are complex and take time, Ramsey said, it's too soon to gauge whether there has been an overall increase in cheating since classes and exams began moving fully online in the spring."If the students are disciplined, we will get a sense as to those numbers in the coming months. At this point, it's just too early to say," he said.
Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald With the winter months closing in, a pair of groups were at Galt Gardens to raise awareness for the homeless situation in Lethbridge on Saturday afternoon. Members of Kindness To Others and Community Giving Back To Community were at Galt Gardens handing out sandwiches to the homeless and raising awareness for a drop-in centre for those in need. “Today we are with some members of the community,” said Alvin Mills, a peer support worker with Bringing Home The Spirit in Standoff. “We want to feed the at-risk and vulnerable who struggle here in the city. We also want to bring to light what they go through and what they are going to be going through when the weather gets cold. I do see a real need for a drop-in facility here in the city. During the day they have nowhere to go and a lot of them are getting sick being out in the elements. “Then with the opioid crisis it enhances things. With the outreach service we started with Bringing Home The Spirit, we have been able to work in partnership with Alpha House, Alberta Health Services, Streets Alive and the Watch Program.” Mills said Saturday’s initiative was a street-level approach to reaching those who need help. “This is just the first step and sometimes they’ll follow through. Sometimes you just have to show that you care and you have to have that feeling of empathy regardless of the choices that they make. They should still be afforded that same dignity.” Mills said a shelter has been opened in Standoff. “They’ve stepped up in a big way opening up that shelter. So that’s another way of how we can get the ones struggling here in Lethbridge back out there.” In July, the Province of Alberta announced a capital investment to support the construction of two recovery communities in southern Alberta, one of them a 75-bed recovery community on the Blood Reserve in Standoff. “We have to fill those beds, especially with the weather getting colder,” said Mills. “This is the first step in recovery and we have to start filling up those beds.” On the Blood Reserve, Kainai Wellness manager Roger Prairie Chicken noted some concerning numbers. “What is happening within the reserve is basically the opiate process is still creating a lot of problems and deaths within the families on the reserve,” he said. “We are averaging about 12 DOAs a month and I would say 70 or 80 per cent of that is drug-related deaths and the age process is roughly 30 years and up. If you go back in time when this started, I would say, in 2018 and 2019, I believe we’ve had 46 or 47 each year, average DOAs. In 2019 and 2020 we went up to 118 deaths. That was when opioids really peaked out. “Now we are at a stage where we have had 99 deaths in the last fiscal year, but again the numbers are still really high. I would say almost 85 per cent of that is alcohol- and prescription-related DOAs.” Prairie Chicken said the numbers need to be shared by the public. “It has to start from the grassroots in the family situations, educating them and moving them forward,” he said. “You can’t resolve it with Band-Aid solutions and Band-Ad processes. These people are humans and they need help with their addictions. It’s an illness and it must be understood that way.” Over the weekend, Blood Tribe Police Service issued a warning about of a highly concentrated batch of drugs. BTPS and Blood Tribe EMS responded to an alarming amount of overdoses over 24 hours. Since noon Friday there were 15 overdoses that police and EMS have attended. There was been one death that is not considered suspicious, an autopsy will determine cause of death. On Saturday afternoon Prairie Chicken commended Mills for his work with the street people. “These are our people from the Blood Tribe and different areas and our hearts and our prayers go out to the families.” Follow @DWoodardHerald on TwitterDale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald
ÉCONOMIE. Pour donner une voix aux PME, la Fédération canadienne de l'entreprise indépendante (FCEI) lance une pétition auprès de ses membres et les invite à s'exprimer sur les mesures qui peuvent les aider et qui doivent être rapidement adoptées par le gouvernement du Québec. «Dès septembre, la FCEI a demandé à que toute nouvelle restriction économique soit accompagnée d'un programme d'aide costaud. C'est ce que le gouvernement avait annoncé avec l'AERAM pour faire face au défi des 28 jours. Mais là, nous en sommes au 55e jour d'arrêt pour certaines PME, et malheureusement, plusieurs attendent encore de recevoir cette aide. Il y en a qui n'y ont tout simplement pas accès, même si elles souffrent aussi des contrecoups de la crise seulement parce qu'elles tombent entre les mailles du filet. C'est le cas des entreprises de certains secteurs, comme l'événementiel, ou encore celui des entreprises en démarrage. Il faut vite agir pour corriger le tir», explique François Vincent, vice-président Québec à la FCEI. La pétition met aussi l'accent sur une préoccupation concernant l'augmentation de l'impôt. Pour la FCEI, celle-ci risque d'assommer certaines petites entreprises, car le Québec est la seule province qui bloque toujours l'accès au taux réduit d'impôt pour celles qui œuvrent dans les secteurs des services et de la construction. Ainsi, une petite entreprise qui a diminué son nombre d'employés en raison de la crise (moins de 3 employés) pourrait voir son taux d'imposition exploser de 130 %. «La dernière chose qu'un gouvernement devrait faire en des temps si incertains, c'est d'augmenter l'impôt des plus petites entreprises. C'est pourtant ce que font les règles injustes qui empêchent les plus petites entreprises d'avoir accès au taux réduit d'impôt. J'invite tous les parlementaires à s'investir pour régler cette injustice et à travailler de concert pour s'assurer de ne pas augmenter le fardeau fiscal des entreprises», ajoute François Vincent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Twenty-three B.C. mayors are calling on Premier John Horgan to establish policies that give resource-based communities a key role in the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. In an open letter to Horgan Nov. 19, the mayors of both rural and urban municipalities praised previous foundation investments in natural resource development, as well as associated construction and transportation needs, and asked for inclusion in future policy discussions. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, BC’s resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.” In September the province announced a $1.5 billion pandemic economic recovery plan, in addition to previous commitments, targeting primarily tourism, food security, climate action, technology and innovation. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the group of mayors found no disagreements with the strategy, and issued the letter primarily as a show of support. “This was just to let the premier know that we are ready and willing to engage,” Ackerman said. “Our resource industries need to be front of mind when we’re looking at creating the future of British Columbia. We’ve got businesses that need to get working. With a new cabinet coming into place we needed to send the premier our congratulations and hope that we can work on this together.” The mayors asked Horgan to enshrine five core pillars for economic recovery into the Mandate Letters of incoming cabinet ministers. Those pillars are: quickly enable shovel-ready projects to proceed; ensure international investors know B.C.’s industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions; recognize the unique advantage of globally carbon-competitive exports; put workers and communities first when delivering on campaign commitments; and ensure any new regulations affecting delivery on the first four pillars are considered carefully. Going forward, the mayors also offered their support on all aspects of pandemic recovery and ongoing efforts with climate change and First Nations reconciliation. The letter was written by Ackerman and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, and supported by: Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River Mayor Linda McGuire, Granisle Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat Mayor Dennis Dugas, Port Hardy Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
Edmonton police have apprehended 17 people for defying quarantine or isolation orders since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. The first apprehension was made on Sept. 28, police spokesperson Scott Pattison said Tuesday in an email to CBC News. "That was just the first day we can recall being asked to facilitate a Section 39," Pattision said. "The individuals involved are typically already in the ambulance by the time EPS arrives." Police are using certificates issued by Alberta Health Services to detain people, relying on enforcement powers provided under Alberta's Public Health Act. Under Section 39 of the act, the province can direct police to detain potentially infectious people who refuse to co-operate with health orders and transport them to a specified quarantine facility, such as a hospital. The law can also be used to compel infectious people to submit to medical testing and treatment, and to ensure they comply with any conditions "prescribed by a physician as being necessary to mitigate the disease or limit its spread to others." About 70 apprehension certificates have been issued across the province since the pandemic began, said Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Wiliamson. The orders, considered a last resort, are used "very infrequently," Wiliamson said in an email Tuesday. "Similar to how patients with infectious tuberculosis are managed when they are not following isolation requirements, these patients are kept in hospital until they are no longer a risk to others. This includes COVID-19 positive cases as well as close contacts." Williamson said all apprehension orders to date have been for people who are homeless or have addictions or mental health problems. In each case, the person refused to isolate, even when a hotel room was offered, he said. Police are not always involved, Williams said. "An example would be when a patient is already at the hospital waiting for results and threatening to leave and refusing to isolate or quarantine. In this case, a Section 39 certificate is issued to keep the patient in hospital pending test results without the involvement of police services." Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has asked police across the province to help enforce COVID-19 restrictions. Last week, as new measures were put in place for gatherings and businesses, Hinshaw wrote a letter to police agencies across the province, asking them to enforce the new rules. While Alberta police have the authority to fine those who break the rules, policing have continued to focus on education over enforcement during the pandemic. For instance, Edmonton police only issued 19 tickets during the first four months under pandemic restrictions.