This dog is one helpful babysitter. Watch as Shira lands a helping paw for nap time.
This dog is one helpful babysitter. Watch as Shira lands a helping paw for nap time.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) says delivering the COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations communities must be a priority once it becomes available. FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said access to the vaccine is a matter of treaty rights."First and foremost … we come from that inherent and treaty right aspect, that Treaty Right to Health," he said. "In there, there's what we call the Medicine Chest Clause. When our ancestors signed treaties in the eighteen and nineteen-hundreds, that guaranteed us health and medicine chest supplies and services."The FSIN has spent the last seven months lobbying the federal government on this topic. Cameron said this is an important way of keeping Indigenous people at the forefront of policy decisions. "Obviously, the priority is that First Nations people are going to be safe and taken care of and live a long, happy, healthy life," he said. FSIN Vice Chief David Pratt has argued that ensuring First Nations communities' priority access to the vaccine will be good public health policy."Our First Nations communities have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other health conditions that put them at an even higher risk of serious complications or even life-threatening problems if they contract COVID-19," he wrote in a news release. "These elders and vulnerable community members must be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccination."Every day they go without this vaccine, their lives and the lives of their [community's] most vulnerable are at exceptional risk."Cameron said has found that federal ministers are receptive to these arguments so far. "I had a conversation with the federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and the Indigenous Services of Canada Minister Mark Miller last week," he said. "And the comment we got is that they are going to make sure First Nations are a priority when vaccines are available."Cameron said that when the government begins distributing vaccines, the doses intended for Indigenous communities must go directly to the First Nations, not be handled by an intermediary."We need the vaccine directly to us," he said. "We don't need anybody else to deliver it for us - we can do it. We have the capacity, we have the knowledge, we have the manpower, and we're ready. We're ready to deliver once the vaccines become available."As of earlier this week, almost 1,160 cases of COVID-19 and 17 active outbreaks had been reported across First Nations communities in Saskatchewan.
MADRID — Spain’s armed forces chief has dismissed as ‘’not representative” leaked chats by retired military officers allegedly talking about shooting political adversaries and praising late dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.In a statement Friday, Air Force Gen. Miguel Villarroya Vilalta also said the remarks by the retired military members “damage the image of the Spanish Armed Forces and only confuse public opinion.’’The messages from a private Whatsapp group were published recently by Spain’s Infolibre news website. They reportedly were posted by members of the General Air Force Academy class that started training in 1963, when Franco still ruled the country.Some of them were among dozens of retired officers who wrote King Felipe VI last month to criticize Spain’s left-wing coalition government. The letters to the monarch included some of the language used by far-right politicians and expressed discontent with the “social-communist” government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and its deals with separatist parties in parliament.The royal palace has not commented on the letter.It is not clear how many people were involved in the chats.Spain’s defence minister Thursday asked prosecutors to investigate, saying both the letters and the chats were “reprehensible.”The country’s leading conservative opposition Popular party has refrained from condemning the comments while its ally, the far-right VOX party, has said it identifies with the ex-military members.Villarroya said the Spanish armed forces did not look to the past and were “always in (the) service of the Spanish people and the constitution.”According to Infolibre, one of the WhatsApp chat participants, while discussing activists advocating for the northeastern Catalonia region’s independence from Spain, wrote: “There is no other choice but to start shooting 26 million (expletive).”Another group chat member referred to Franco, who helped lead a military rebellion that led to Spain’s 1936-39 Civil War and then became the country’s dictator, as “the Irreplaceable.”The armed forces were a backbone of Franco’s regime until the dictator died in 1975. Spain’s peaceful transition to democracy didn’t lead to a widespread purge in the military ranks as happened in other countries emerging from authoritarian regimes.In 1981, a coup d’état bid by a few members of a paramilitary police force ended when then-King Juan Carlos I, Felipe’s father, condemned the plot on national television.____Associated Press writer Aritz Parra contributed to this report.CiaráN Giles, The Associated Press
There will be no pay raise for members of the P.E.I. legislature this coming year.The Indemnities and Allowances Commission, an independent body that reviews the salaries of MLAs, has recommended no pay increase to the base salary or any additional salaries for members.The commission's report was released in the legislature Friday morning. The base salary for MLAs on the Island is $74,394.The premier receives an additional $80,797, bringing his total salary to $155,191.The Opposition leader receives an additional $51,986, for a total salary of $126,381.The report of the three-member commission, which includes Ron Profit, Dennis Carver, and Sharon O'Halloran, is binding.Previous increasesP.E.I. legislators had been getting small increases each year lately, with the most recent 1.5% bump-up taking effect in April 2020. Previous raises were 1% taking effect in 2019, 1.5% taking effect in 2018, and 2% taking effect in 2017.Still, Prince Edward Island MLAs remain the lowest paid in the country, making about 85 per cent of the regional average. The base salary for New Brunswick MLAs is $85,000, while the base salary in Nova Scotia is $89,235.More from CBC P.E.I.
Ralentie par la pandémie de COVID-19, qui a causé une baisse de 3 % des heures travaillées en 2020, l’industrie de la construction au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean devrait rebondir de 9 % en 2021, soutenue par les investissements publics. Comme le veut la pratique, la Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) vient de publier son bilan 2020 et les perspectives de la prochaine année pour cette industrie qui compte 170 000 travailleurs à travers la province, dont 6000 au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Selon les prévisions publiées, les travailleurs oeuvrant dans le secteur des chantiers électriques devraient profiter de l’année 2021 avec l’accélération de la construction de la nouvelle ligne Micoua-Saguenay d’Hydro-Québec, un projet d’une valeur de 793 M$ qui doit être complété en 2022. L’ensemble du projet sera partagé avec la Côte-Nord, qui a subi une baisse de 28 % des heures travaillées en 2020. La CCQ ajoute à la liste la réfection de la centrale d’Isle-Maligne par Rio Tinto, au coût de 160 M$, d’ici 2026, ainsi que la réfection du centre de cuisson d’anodes avec un investissement de 209 M$. La construction du parc éolien Val-Éo figure également parmi les chantiers liés à la production d’électricité. Il y a lieu de croire que certains travailleurs de la région profiteront de la réouverture du chantier Romaine 4, sur la Basse-Côte-Nord, ralenti dans la dernière année par des problèmes de sécurité. La CCQ prédit une hausse de 28 % des heures travaillées. La réfection de la Centrale Rapide-Blanc, en Mauricie, sera également une source d’activités pour les travailleurs de la région, alors qu’un entrepreneur du Lac-Saint-Jean vient d’y décrocher un contrat de 12 M$. Dans le secteur résidentiel, l’année 2021 pourrait être marquée par l’ouverture de trois chantiers de maisons des aînés ainsi que par le début de la construction du stade de soccer intérieur de Jonquière. Le démarrage des grands projets se fait attendre alors que Métaux BlackRock est toujours à la recherche de financement pour pouvoir lancer la construction d’une mine de ferrovanadium et d’une usine à Grande-Anse, bien que l’entreprise ait tous les permis en main pour lancer la construction. Il en va de même pour le projet d’exploitation d’apatite d’Arianne Phosphate. Résidentiel Les données publiées pour la construction résidentielle n’incluent pas de prévisions régionales, mais la CCQ indique que ce secteur terminera 2020 avec 51 550 mises en chantier, une hausse de 7 % comparativement à 2019. Un total de 32 millions d’heures travaillées figure au tableau, en baisse de 3 %. La CCQ prédit une baisse de 3 % en 2021 avec 47 000 habitations construites et 31 millions d’heures travaillées. La baisse du nombre d’entrées de résidants non permanents, qui était en forte croissance ces dernières années, et la crise sanitaire expliquent la baisse anticipée. Industriel Selon les chiffres publiés, l’année 2020 aura été plutôt éprouvante pour le secteur industriel. L’activité allait déjà en ralentissant depuis le milieu de 2019, et le secteur peine à reprendre sa vitesse de croisière depuis la réouverture des chantiers. Le volume de travail s’établira à 9,5 millions d’heures travaillées, en baisse de 17 % par rapport à 2019. Ce sera le plus faible niveau d’activité généré par le secteur depuis le milieu des années 1990. La fermeture des chantiers de la fin mars au début mai explique en grande partie ces faibles résultats. De plus, l’incertitude entourant la pandémie a entraîné l’annulation ou le report de divers projets, comme c’est le cas des travaux prévus par Valero à Lévis, qui sont repoussés à une date indéterminée. Institutionnel Le secteur institutionnel et commercial a été ralenti dans sa forte impulsion amorcée en 2018, et perdra 10 % en 2021, avec un volume de 88,0 millions d’heures travaillées, toujours selon ce qui est avancé par la CCQ. Loin d’être une catastrophe dans les circonstances, ce niveau se révèle être celui qui a été atteint il y a deux ans seulement. En 2021, le secteur reprendra graduellement du poil de la bête, même si l’incertitude risque d’être encore présente. Du côté du commercial, la confiance est ébranlée et différents acteurs privés pourraient repousser leurs projets.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Three public schools in Windsor-Essex have reported new cases of COVID-19.The Greater Essex County District School Board website says a coronavirus case has been identified at East Mersea Public School, Leamington District Secondary School and Walkerville Collegiate Institute.Memos have been posted to each school's website informing of a "high-risk exposure" case of COVID-19 in the school community.The schools say they are working with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) to provide lists of close contacts."If you have not been contacted, you or your child(ren) have not been identified as close contacts. The WECHU is contacting any individuals (students and staff) who have an identified high-risk exposure with the confirmed case, and will give directions to follow," the memos state.Parents are being told to monitor their children daily for symptoms of the virus.To date, there have been 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the GECDSB, 74 of which are still active. Frank W. Begley Public school, where 49 cases have been diagnosed among students and staff, has been closed for two weeks.Within the Catholic school board, there are 18 active cases and outbreaks have been declared at two schools. One of the schools, W.J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School, has been closed for two weeks.
Three Windsor-Essex hospitals have issued a strong warning over the current surge in COVID-19 cases — and what could happen if the trend continues.In a joint statement, they pleaded with the public to continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus."The scenario that our Windsor-Essex region residents have seen on TV taking place in other jurisdictions around the world, where hospital resources are stretched beyond capacity, is showing signs of occurring in our area of the province," chief executives from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores Healthcare said Friday.Recent COVID-19 outbreaks at Hôtel-Dieu Grace and Windsor Regional risk "significant reductions" in bed capacity, while use of beds is already above 100 per cent, they said."As hospital bed capacity deteriorates, clinical teams will have no option other than to cancel scheduled surgeries and other procedures to ensure we have bed space available for emergency and other urgent cases," they stated.There are currently 27 people in hospital with COVID-19 and seven in ICU, according to the Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit (WECHU). "There is definitely a lot of pressure on the health-care system in the region and also across Southwestern Ontario, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said Friday.The health unit announced 65 new cases on Friday, bringing the active case total to 424.21 outbreaks in Windsor-EssexDr. Ahmed said there's also record number of outbreaks in the region — 21 across workplaces, long-term care homes and other institutions."We have never had that many outbreaks, clearly indicating that we need to do more," Dr. Ahmed said.As of the most recent data, which Dr. Ahmed presented on Friday, Windsor's seven-day average test positivity rate is 4.3 per cent -- the fourth highest in the province behind Toronto, Peel and York regions.Analysis of the presence of the virus wastewater suggests rates of infection exceed the number of known cases, Ahmed said.Not moving to lockdown Despite the rising cases, the province did not announce a lockdown for Windsor-Essex on Friday, meaning the region remains in the red "control" zone of COVID-19 restrictions in place since Monday.Dr. Ahmed said earlier on Friday that he didn't anticipate a lockdown would be announced, though earlier in the week he said the region is at risk of heightened restrictions."We would like to see the results of us in the red zone first before we move on to any criteria at this time," he said.Snapshot of the pandemic in Windsor-EssexSince the pandemic started, 3,864 cases have been diagnosed in Windsor-Essex, 3,358 of which have been resolved.Eighty-two people have lost their lives to COVID-19, including 56 death in longterm care and retirement homes.Of the 65 cases announced across the region Friday , five are close contacts of a confirmed case, two were community acquired, 58 are still under investigation. Twenty-seven people are in hospital, with seven in the intensive care unit.There are 21 outbreaks in the community, including eight at workplaces. * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. * One in Kingsville's manufacturing sectorTwo community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. There are three school outbreaks: Corpus Christi Catholic Middle School - Central Park Athletics Campus, Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School. The latter two schools have been closed for two weeks. Officials are working on a reopening plan for both schools.There are outbreaks at six long-term care and retirement homes: * Chartwell St. Clair Beach in Tecumseh with one resident case. * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with two staff cases. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with two staff cases. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the inaugural meeting of a global council on artificial intelligence by warning of the danger of unbridled digital technology, despite its potential to change the world for the better.The virtual summit marks the latest step in the slow march toward international co-operation on digital governance amid growing concerns over data privacy, built-in bias and deployment in war.Canada first set out on that path two years ago, unveiling plans with France for a standing AI forum during a meeting of G7 countries in Quebec.Since then, 13 other states have signed on to the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to guide policy development with an eye to human rights, establishing expert panels and involving government, industry and academia.Speaking ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, Trudeau said AI has the potential to combat diseases and climate change, but also to "create new challenges if left unchecked."Last month, the Liberal government tabled legislation to give Canadians more control over their information in the digital age, with potentially stiff fines for companies that flout the rules.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
When neighbours first saw the smashed windows of a little library in the Sherwood neighbourhood of Charlottetown, they couldn't understand why someone would have done it.The little nest for books is plunked up like a mailbox and in its roughly six-week lifespan has seen many people come and go, exchanging books with crackly spines and even dropping off new ones. "I was sad, frankly," said Keith Burgoyne, who put it up just outside his house."Not angry or anything, just disappointed. It has been a constant source of joy for myself and, I think, for a lot of other people."In its relatively short time there, the door has been opened nearly 300 times by visitors, according to a counter Burgoyne installed inside.Then, last weekend the Plexiglas on its door was smashed in. Burgoyne posted a picture of it on Twitter, people were upset to hear what had happened and some even offered to help.And that help was quickly on the way.'Why not?'Burgoyne got a text from Ryan Roach, the owner of Glass Doctor of P.E.I., who offered to fix the library for free."Which was utterly unexpected," Burgoyne said, "but it totally turned things around. It was fantastic."Roach stopped by on Sunday to take a look, cut the piece of Lexan (similar to Plexiglas) on Monday and then screwed it into place Thursday morning."I just wanted to help out," Roach said. After seeing the post online he was discouraged to see that the library had been vandalized. Sometimes, he said, seeing that can make someone "lose a little bit of faith in humanity — so I figured I'd try my best to restore a little bit of that faith."When asked why he'd done it for free he said simply: "why not?" The little library is back up and ready for visitors to drop by to exchange their favourite titles and discover new ones. "Come on by, take whatever you'd like, leave whatever you'd like," Burgoyne said."Every time you leave a book you're probably going to make somebody happy, so it's kind of like putting forward a little bit of joy at a time when I think we could all really use it."More from CBC P.E.I.
WELLINGTON COUNTY – A newly-announced mobile addictions services van in Wellington County aims to bridge healthcare gaps in rural areas of the county. Stonehenge Therapeutic Community recently got $900,000 in funding from Ontario Health to enhance their addiction services. Kristen Kerr, executive director of Stonehenge Therapeutic Community, said about a third of this is going toward a project to serve the needs of rural Wellington County residents who face substance use issues. They are expanding their Rapid Access Addiction Clinics (RAAC), where there is only one in Wellington County, with a mobile van that can address issues with transportation, a common gap in health services in the county. “These clinics offer specialized medical addiction services and that can be hard to access when you live in a rural community,” Kerr said. “Sometimes it can be quite a long geographic distance to get to a clinic that is stationary. We have four existing clinics but most of them are far from Harriston for example.” Kerr said another issue in rural areas when accessing addiction services relates to anonymity. The thought is In a smaller community, people who are using such services can be more easily identified by other residents. The van itself will act as a mobile medical clinic that is staffed with a nurse practitioner. “It will be able to go to more central or accessible locations so that folks from the rural areas can more easily access the clinic,” Kerr said. The nurse practitioner can provide medicine services, addictions counselling and referrals. Kerr said they are working out the fine details with their rural healthcare partners such as precisely where the van will go in the county and therefore couldn’t say exactly where it will be making stops. Some of the funding is also going toward enhancing supportive housing they have in Guelph for those who face substance-use issues and have some level of involvement in the justice system. Kerr said the van concept was created from feedback about barriers clients face in rural areas and they will continue to listen and learn how they can improve. “I think listening to those who need to access service and listening to the voice of people with lived experience is key to knowing what more we need to do,” Kerr said. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
Northumberland County hopes residents dig a program that provides them with free tree saplings to plant on their properties. Applications for Northumberland County's Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) replacement tree program have reopened following two years of successful EAB replacement tree programs that resulted in the local planting of 24,000 trees. County residents are invited to apply to receive free tree saplings as part of a five-year program subsidized by the county. Residents can apply to receive between 25 to 150 trees to plant on their property in Northumberland. There will be 12,000 trees subsidized through this year's application process on a first-come, first-served basis. Tree species available through the program include various types of oak, maple and pine as well as spruce, birch and tamarack. All successful orders will be available for pickup from Lower Trent Conservation in the spring. This program was developed to replace trees that are being removed as part of Northumberland County's 10-year plan to remove hazardous trees as a precaution to prevent injury or damage. This plan was developed in response to the EAB, an invasive insect that attacks and kills ash trees. For every tree removed as part of the plan, Northumberland County will subsidize about 10 native trees for residents to plant on their property. For more information about the program and to apply to receive free saplings, visit Northumberland.ca/EABprogram. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
Northumberland Paramedics recently recognized fellow Canadian first responders who were killed in the line of duty. Fallen civilian and military paramedics were honoured at a service hosted Dec. 2 by Northumberland Paramedics. The service kicked off a three-day tour through the county of the Paramedic Memorial Bell, which is a monument recognizing those who have died. “We have gathered on this solemn occasion to recognize the men and women who, while serving as military or civilian paramedics, lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Northumberland Paramedics Chief Susan Brown. “Northumberland Paramedics (is) privileged to host the Paramedic Memorial Bell this week – a tribute to these individuals. By reading each name inscribed on the bell, we bear witness to the ultimate sacrifice made by these first responders while serving their community -- honouring individuals who are gone but never forgotten.” Co-ordinated by the Paramedic Memorial Foundation, the bell travels through communities each year as part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness and funds for the construction of a stationary national monument to memorialize fallen paramedics. The bell sits atop a three-tiered wooden base, where the 51 names of those being honoured are engraved onto small plates, dating as recent as this year and going back to 1980. The Paramedic Memorial Bell is typically part of the Paramedic Memorial Ride tour, which is an inter-provincial cycling journey. With this year’s rides cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have arranged for the bell to travel between paramedic services across Ontario for local ceremonies. The tour started in Windsor in June and will continue moving through eastern Ontario and onwards to Ottawa for a closing ceremony on Parliament Hill. “As this monument makes stops across Ontario on its journey to Ottawa this year, let it be a reminder of the individuals who responded to the call of duty despite significant personal risk,” said county warden Bob Sanderson. “And let us express our gratitude for the paramedics who continue to carry the torch and deliver the vital pre-hospital health care that keeps our community safe, strong and healthy.” The Paramedic Memorial Bell will be received Dec. 4 in several Northumberland communities by local officials. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
A special committee struck after almost two years' worth of emails from a government account went missing is recommending the province make individual public servants responsible by law for preserving their own records.The province's Special Committee on Government Records Retention is calling on the province to implement a "duty to document" clause in the Archives & Records Act, the legislation that sets out government's responsibilities when it comes to the preservation of documents."A duty to document establishes a positive duty for public servants and officials to create a full, accurate and complete record of important business activities," the committee wrote in its final report to the legislature.Information and privacy commissioners across Canada have been pushing for duty to document legislation in the country for years, as a way to strengthen public access to government documents.In 2017, B.C. became the first province in Canada to implement such a measure.Committee chair Michele Beaton said implementing a similar measure in P.E.I. would "catapult us to being a leader in being transparent regarding government decisions."The committee is also recommending government make more records public via routine disclosure — without requiring they be requested through freedom of information legislation.Committee struck to probe missing emailsIt was as a result of freedom of information requests that the committee came into being.P.E.I.'s former privacy commissioner Karen Rose issued a scathing report in June, after learning that almost two years worth of emails belonging to Brad Mix, a senior bureaucrat with Innovation PEI, had gone missing.The emails had been subject to multiple freedom of information requests. The province didn't tell those requesting the emails — and initially did not tell the privacy commissioner — that the records no longer existed.Failing to disclose that, the commissioner concluded, put government in breach of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. She said failure to properly archive the emails was a breach of the Archives and Records Act.More 'gaps' in government email archivesAs part of its review, the committee was advised by the province's Treasury Board of five more email archives belonging to former bureaucrats and elected officials that contain one or more "gaps."Among those are two former cabinet ministers: Wes Sheridan, former minister of finance; and Allan Campbell, a cabinet minister who became Robert Ghiz's chief of staff in 2011.Both archives were among a list of email accounts P.E.I.'s auditor general asked for in 2015 as part of her investigation of e-gaming, the province's failed attempt to become a regulator for online gambling.The five archives with gaps are in addition to three email accounts the auditor general said in her 2016 report had been improperly deleted. She cited that as a contravention of the Archives and Records Act.A spokesperson for the province's Treasury Board told CBC News that a "preliminary search" of 26 email accounts was conducted in 2015, at the request of the auditor general, and the five in question "appeared to have a gap or gaps in time."However, the spokesperson said that, according to the province's IT department, "a gap does not mean a missing email or emails. A gap may be a variety of things such as a day of inactivity or a time period of inactivity."According to the information provided to the committee, the dates of those gaps were not recorded when they were first discovered in 2015. Commissioner asking for detailsMembers of the committee, when they were advised of the email gaps, decided to take no further action on the matter.But P.E.I.'s new privacy commissioner Denise Doiron has written to the province's deputy minister of finance asking about one of the gap accounts — that belonging to Sheridan.Doiron has asked for the dates of Sheridan's gaps, and noted that when her predecessor asked the department about the possibility of any further missing records while investigating Mix's emails, there was no mention of Sheridan's account."You did not mention the possibility of any gaps in Wes Sheridan's records in your response," Doiron noted in her letter.Didn't delete emails, said MixWhen called to appear before the committee in October, Mix said he "did not do anything to destroy any of my email archives. I did not do anything knowingly to cause the gap that exists in my email archive." P.E.I. is the last province in the country to use the Groupwise email system, which debuted in 1994. The province is in the process of upgrading to Microsoft 365, which is expected to make records management and retention easier.CBC News reached out to Sheridan and Campbell for reaction to the report.Campbell did not respond and Sheridan declined to comment.More from CBC P.E.I.
Lawyers fought the latest round of a 16-year legal battle by video conference in the province’s top court on Tuesday and Wednesday. The long-running dispute between Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) and the Saskatchewan government aims to find whether 600 flooded acres of land near Southend is a reserve. The debate centres on whether to uphold Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Dan Konkin’s 2019 decision finding the land was never properly designated as a reserve. That decision also tossed out PBCN’s claim that the flooding meant the province and SaskPower were trespassing on the land. This week, PBCN and the federal government argued it is a reserve — a finding that would throw out the lower court’s decision and help the First Nation’s legal counsel press for compensation based off the trespassing claim. “The important thing here is the ownership of (roughly) 10,000 acres of land is at stake,” said Thomas Berger, a prominent British Columbia lawyer who has long served as PBCN’s counsel on the case. The Saskatchewan government and SaskPower argued to uphold the 2019 decision, saying the reserve was never properly designated. The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on a matter before the courts. One part of the dispute centres on a surveyor’s actions almost a century ago. When the surveyor was tasked with finding Barren Lands band members at Southend in 1929, he found members of PBCN. PBCN argued he took steps to create a reserve there. A 1981 federal government cabinet order and the land’s inclusion in the 1992 Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement confirmed that designation, PBCN’s factum said. In an interview, Berger said the province’s position on its status was a reversal because “25 years later, they said, ‘we made a mistake.’ ” Saskatchewan legal counsel Mitch McAdam said that’s not necessarily the case. In a factum, he wrote that the surveyor’s “instructions were crystal clear — to survey a reserve at Southend for Barren Lands — and he carried those instructions out ‘to a T.’ ” However, McAdam said the survey was flawed and incomplete. He said the government also never confirmed it as a reserve, meaning the land passed to Saskatchewan under the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement in 1930. That brings into question who owns the land that Whitesand Dam floods as it controls Reindeer River’s flow into the nearby Island Falls hydroelectric power station. Berger says his clients are owed their “fair share” of compensation for the flooding, but that partly depends on how the court sides on the question of the land’s reserve status. “If Peter Ballantyne has no interest in the (land), in other words, the (land) is not Indian reserve land, (and) Peter Ballantyne has no claim in trespass,” the SaskPower factum noted. Berger expects to hear the top court’s decision sometime in 2021. NoneNick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Kalamesque is a group made up of Jordanian musicians, and they’re adapting Western pop music into classical Arabic songs.View on euronews
While Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, Premier Andrew Furey says a vaccine logistics team is now in place. All of the new cases announced Friday are in the Eastern Health region: a man between 40 and 49, a man between 30 and 39 and a woman between 30 and 39.The first case is travel-related — a worker returning home from Alberta — while exposure source for the latter two cases is under investigation. All of these cases are self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.For Friday's travel-related case, the health department is asking passengers, out of an abundance of caution, who travelled on WestJet Flight 3428 from Halifax to St. John's arriving Thursday, Nov. 26 to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing.There have been five recoveries since Thursday's update, lowering the province's active caseload to 27. The total number of recoveries since March is now 312.Newfoundland and Labrador's total number of cases rises to 343, with 63,839 people having been tested, including 312 in the last day.Furey said Newfoundland and Labrador's COVID-19 vaccine team will include Health Minister John Haggie, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Cmdr. David Botting of the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster and Municipalities Minister Derek Bennett.The premier said the vaccination will be "highly suggested" but not mandatory."It's a free and democratic society and people have choices and sometimes people don't make the right choices," he said. "Everyone should avail of it when it's available to them."Watch the full Dec. 4 update:Fitzgerald said the province has administered more than 200,000 influenza vaccinations as of Friday, about 40 per cent of the population. But, she said, the focus now on working with the federal government for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the new year. "There is a wide array of logistics for us to determine, as this is anticipated to be the most complex and ambitious vaccine distribution ever delivered to Canada," she said. "We will provide updates as we learn more." The country is now in preparation mode, with 14 distribution points ready to receive the Pfizer vaccine starting on Dec. 14.Fitzgerald said Newfoundland and Labrador is likely to receive a combination of vaccines, including the Pfizer product in the first run and the Moderna vaccine later. She said both are expected in the first quarter of 2021. Also on Thursday the Department of Health advised rotational workers about an identified COVID-19 outbreak at the Suncor MacKay River oil sands site in Alberta. The department said it was notified about the outbreak by the Public Health Agency of Canada as workers from this province work on the site.These workers, who have returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in the last 14 days, must self-isolate, physically distance away from household members and call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing. They must also complete the full 14-day self-isolation period, regardless of test result.Haggie repeats apologyIt's been an interesting week when it comes to COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador. There were zero new cases on Thursday, the first day the province didn't have at least one new positive since Nov. 16. This week also saw Haggie face intense scrutiny for his decision to host a fundraising event at at Bally Haly, a golf and country club in the east end of St. John's.The two-hour, $250-per-person reception at Bally Haly came just hours after Haggie spoke at Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, warning that people considering attending New Year's Eve gatherings were putting themselves "in harm's way."He initially defended the event, but later in the day, changed his tune. However, his apology seemingly centred around the stir it caused, and not for having the event in the first place. "I think hindsight is always 20/20.… For the fuss it caused, it probably wasn't worth it," he told reporters Thursday afternoon. On Friday, Haggie apologized again."I think it's very clear that that decision was unwise," Haggie said. "My concern now is that public confidence in the public health measures and guidelines advanced by the chief medical officer of health may have in some way been shaken or weakened, and that certainly is not, and can not, be justified."Haggie, who said public health guidelines were followed and that 23 people attended in a space that can hold 200 — had the support of Premier Andrew Furey, who said he was OK with it. Others didn't share that opinion. The story prompted hundreds of comments online, with the majority condemning the event. "There was no reason for this fundraiser at this time. I have always been Liberal but I will not condone behaviour such as this exhibited by ministers Haggie and Dempster or any other MHA who is fundraising at such a critical time," Ivy Anthony wrote on twitter. Some defended the health minister. "OMG, people, it was 23 people in a space that can accommodate 250. [Have] none of these complainers been to McDonald's, Costco, Walmart lately?" wrote Karen Saunders Greene on Facebook. Haggie said he read some of those messages and comments."These I've taken to heart. There are lessons that I've learned from this and I've taken those to heart, too," he said. "So one again I want to take this opportunity to repeat that apology."Throughout the pandemic Fitzgerald has preached kindness, compassion and support, specifically in the light of new COVID-19 cases and families of rotational workers. But, she said, the same applies to Haggie's situation. "We're in an enviable position really, when compared to other jurisdictions, and I would like to say that I think the minister is a big part of that," she said. "His willingness to listen to evidence and let the public health science lead the way is an important part of our situation, where we are, where we find ourselves right now."Back in or staying out? Atlantic bubble update next week This week also saw a reopening, of sorts, for the Town of Deer Lake. The town hall and the Hodder Memorial Recreation Centre were shut down as the cases related to a cluster in the town rose. Some businesses ceased operations, too. With an update on the Atlantic bubble expected Monday, Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball was asked whether he agreed with rejoining the bubble for travel among the four Atlantic provinces, on the heels of a cluster in the town. He said there isn't an easy answer to that. "As a mayor of a small town in western Newfoundland and an airport community, I certainly don't want to see the bubble go away. But we have taken some drastic measures ourselves to stop this dreadful virus. We need to do that," he told CBC News. "Whatever decision they make is not going to be easy for us to take, especially as an airport community. That's our lifeline. It's a hard decision" N.L. announced Nov. 23 it was pulling out of the bubble that allowed travel to and from the Atlantic provinces, with no self-isolation required. Furey noted things had changed, including fast-rising case counts in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Now, people coming from the Atlantic provinces are required to self-isolate for 14 days, but they do not need an exemption form. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The driver of a pickup truck that collided with a semi-truck on Highway 1 just after midnight on Friday is being sought by Cochrane RCMP.In a release, police say they received complaints that an intoxicated man stole items from a business off Highway 40 before leaving in a grey Dodge Ram.The grey Dodge Ram was then reported to be driving erratically, and travelling west in the eastbound lane.Police were then alerted to a crash on Highway 1 near Range Road 33.The Dodge Ram had hit a semi-truck, and while the driver of the semi-truck sustained no injuries, the driver of the Dodge Ram could not be located.RCMP said two passengers of the Dodge Ram were treated for minor injuries.If you have information about the criminal offences, contact the Cochrane RCMP at 403-851-8000.
Canada added more jobs than expected in November, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday, though the pace of growth slowed and the numbers reflect labor conditions before more lockdowns were imposed later in the month. Canada added 62,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, beating analyst predictions of a gain of 20,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to remain at 8.9%. "Canada's labor market continued to outrun COVID in November," said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets.
The Sipekne'katik First Nation called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday to intercede in its fight to secure a moderate livelihood fishery as part of Mi'kmaw self-government.The call came in a news release criticizing a draft agreement for a moderate livelihood fishery that it received one week ago from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans."Although we had tempered our response of this first draft as a potentially ground-breaking and historical undertaking, Sipekne'katik remains very disappointed in the draft document's intent and content," Chief Mike Sack said in the release.Details remain hiddenNeither the band nor DFO has released the draft memorandum of understanding.Sack was not specific about his objections. He said: "Sipekne'katik will never renegotiate or limit the rights that our ancestors protected through the Treaties centuries ago."The band launched its self-declared moderate livelihood fishery in September without DFO oversight or approval.It said it was exercising a Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish for a moderate living recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada 21 years ago.The moderate fishery was never defined.Successive federal governments instead focused on integrating Maritime First Nations into the commercial fishery, spending over half a billion dollars on training and buying up and distributing commercial fishing licences.The Supreme Court also ruled that the federal government, not the Mi'kmaq, had the right to regulate any moderate livelihood that fishery for conservation purposes.Blames bureaucrats for impasseOn Friday, Sack lashed out against DFO bureaucrats, accusing them of "continuing to use colonial approaches in colonial language," and blaming them for the impasse."The problem we are currently facing is the disconnect between the department's bureaucrats' understanding and the evolving nation-to-nation relationship," he said.Sack said his discussions with Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan are "for the most part on the same wavelength.""This is a testament to her respectfulness and character."Still, he went over Jordan's head in his appeal to Trudeau to "facilitate a constitutionally protected self-government agreement for the Sipekne'katik Treaty Implementation Fishery Management Plan that is acceptable and parallel to Canada's Fisheries Act."Jordan's office responded with a statement Friday saying that reaching a deal is "an essential part of our government's larger promise to support First Nations on their path to greater self-determination.""We are working closely with Sipekne'katik First Nation to ensure negotiations are respectful, constructive, and able to evolve. Where challenges have arisen, we have addressed them, nation-to-nation. We will continue to do so, and we will continue to work collaboratively toward an agreement," the statement said.MORE TOP STORIES
AL-QAYYARAH, IRAQ (Reuters) - Tuqqa Abdullah and her Iraqi family have wandered from one displaced people's camp to the next in the past three years, buying time and hoping they will one day be able to go home. Just 14 when her father took the family to the then Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Mosul, she has inherited a legacy that might take generations to overcome. When Iraqi forces captured Mosul in the dying days of the three-year-old IS caliphate in 2017, Abdullah's father and older sons were killed.
COVID-19 has made things difficult for municipalities, especially when it came to tax collection for the 2020 tax year. During a normal year, Tisdale has a reminiscing tax discount period from May to November, with a 15 per cent tax discount for those residents who pay in May and the discount diminishing over the following months by five per cent, said Brad Hvidston, Tisdale’s administrator With COVID causing financial challenges for residents, Hvidston said they changed the rates so the discount dropped by two per cent over the following months so that residents could still take advantage of the discount if they paid later. While Al Jellicoe, Tisdale’s mayor, said this was appreciated by residents, tax payments came into the town as usual with 95 per cent of property taxes paid by the end of May, Hvidston said. People save up during the year, he said, in order to take advantage of that discount. “By the time COVID hit in March and taxes were due in May, a large amount of people had their taxes mostly accumulated by them. I'm anticipating that next year will be the year that we see the impact on COVID.” With tax challenges being expected for the coming year, Hvidston said the council will have to decide how they can help residents deal with this in the future. The tax update was reported during the council meeting on Nov. 30.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist