This is totally priceless! Watch as this dog doesn't have a care in the world while the robot vacuum works around him.
This is totally priceless! Watch as this dog doesn't have a care in the world while the robot vacuum works around him.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Anishinabek Nation has launched a virtual documentary program to help reduce the stigma that surrounds the HIV/AIDS virus. “When we look at HIV as a whole it’s the stigma that is the killer. It leaves people voiceless and in gaps,” said Krista Shore, an advocate for people with HIV originally from the Peepeekeesis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Last week, the Anishinabek Nation, made up of 39 First Nations throughout Ontario, held the virtual premiere of Shore’s short film as part of the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Anti-Stigma Campaign. “Being a youth that was diagnosed (with HIV) at the age of 24 years old, I had to face the shame of the illness right off,” Shore said in her documentary titled Love Everyone. “Why did I feel so dirty? Why did I feel so low of myself?” Shore’s video talked about how she felt about the lack of understanding and education within her community when she was first diagnosed, which led to some strained relationships, including with an Elder (though they ultimately reconciled). “Along this journey it hasn’t all been strong, and sunshine and great teachings,” she said. Shore closed out her documentary with thoughts of hope. “We need to be surrounded by love, and healing hands, and helping hands.” Tuesday, Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, and two more short documentaries will premiere premiere over Zoom, with the session starting at 2 p.m. eastern time. The documentaries will then be published on the Anishinabek Nation’s YouTube channel, available here. All of the films were compiled by the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Coordinator Laura Liberty and director Ed Regan. Liberty spoke about some of the challenges facing people living with HIV. “It’s the fear and the gossip. It’s the loss of friendship, family, the lack of respect, being treated like an unwanted disease,” she said. “Feeling not wanted or loved or understood can prevent an individual from reaching out for help, getting tested and receiving medications that can manage the illness.” Regan spoke about some of the benefits of launching the campaign virtually, including less resources spent on travel and a wider reach across the Anishinabek Nation’s 65,000-person population. “I think a nice advantage of this type of media is to educate people with the click of a button,” Regan said. “This is a real efficient way of managing and teaching people.” As well, Regan touched on the traumatic nature of these stories, saying that repeated telling of personal experiences can be ‘exhausting’ people. “Hopefully, [this campaign] can create the change that’s much needed.” While Shore’s piece focused on her own journey living with HIV, other background subjects related to Indigenous history were explored by Elders as part of the campaign. Mary Elliott provided a short history of Indigenous populations within Canada in A Snapshot of our Story. Elliott described first contact with Europeans and the period of “lost spirituality, the introduction of residential schools and the impact of various pieces of legislation, such as the Indian Act. “(Indigenous populations) lost that right to understand who they are or live by their traditions and customs,” Elliot said. Canada “wanted to remove the Indian out of us.” June Commanda was featured in documentary called A Survivor’s Story. She spoke about her first day at Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont. “I remember with such clarity right to this day,” Commanda said. Tuesday’s premiere will see the launch of: When They Know with Carol Jones and Live. Love. Laugh. with Dawn Cameron. World AIDS Day was designated in 1988 and was the first globally recognized health day. An estimated 38 million people worldwide are currently living with the HIV virus. Outside of the documentary work, the Anishinabek Nation also offers other health resources and services for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI). Windspeaker.comBy Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Pride Toronto announced on Monday that it has chosen a new executive director with a background in community health, housing and development.Sherwin Modeste is slated to begin the full-time job on Tuesday, Pride Toronto said in a statement. His appointment follows the departure of previous executive director Olivia Nuamah in January."Sherwin comes to Pride Toronto during an extremely challenging time for the arts, culture, entertainment, and tourism industries, with these sectors among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement reads. "While these sectors face great uncertainty, Sherwin's vision, leadership, and dynamic energy will ensure Pride Toronto's continued commitment to showcasing the talent of local LGBT2Q+ artists and entertainers, and to working closely with community partners."According to Pride Toronto, Modeste is committed to engaging and empowering LGBT2Q+ communities to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion continues to be part of its community outreach and action.Modeste has worked as the director of community health services, at Vibrant Healthcare Alliance, where he was responsible for health promotion, supportive housing, building and property maintenance, Pride Toronto said."Sherwin moved 100 per cent of Vibrant's health promotion programs to virtual delivery and played a key role in implementing community support in the form of wellness packages and hot meal delivery for over 200 clients weekly across the city. He worked closely with other members of the senior leadership team to support community flu clinics and COVID-19 testing," Pride Toronto said.Before that, Modeste worked as the manager of grants, development and sponsorships at Toronto Community Housing, where he was responsible for soliciting funds from government and private sector companies, Pride Toronto said. Samantha Fraser, co-chair of Pride Toronto's board of directors, said in the statement that the board met many candidates for the position."In the end, Sherwin rose to the top because of the fantastic combination of his passion and empathy, work history, community knowledge, and lived experience," Fraser said.According to the statement, Modeste is passionate about advocacy and promoting human rights and equity issues in support of removing systematic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential.He has served as national diversity vice-president and been a member of national pink triangle committee for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and has been a member of the Canadian Labour Congress human rights committee."In those roles, Sherwin advocated tirelessly for workers' rights, including workers from racialized and marginalized communities, and LGBT2Q+ communities," the statement said.In June, Pride Toronto moved its parade online and held a virtual Pride festival weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The organization has had a few tumultuous years in which it has grappled with the LGBT community's strained relationship with police and the exclusion of uniformed police officers in its parade. The issue became a major source of controversy after a Black Lives Matter Toronto protest during the 2016 parade. Uniformed police officers have not marched in the parade since, a policy that Pride members narrowly upheld last year.Nuamah, however, supported lifting the ban, which generated some criticism and calls for her resignation. The organization has not said if she resigned or was otherwise forced out of the job.
There is no doubt in Georgina Lightning’s mind that had an organization like Creatives Empowered been there when she first started acting, “intimidation and fear” wouldn’t have been what controlled her life then. Creatives Empowered launched late November. It’s a collective of Alberta-based artists and creatives who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) who empower each other as an allied community. “Creatives Empowered would have been so valuable. It would have blown my mind,” said Lightning who has built a career as an actor, director, writer and producer in both the television and film industry. And all of that in spite of Hollywood. In 1990, Lightning, a member of the Samson Cree Nation, left Edmonton to attend a three-year prestigious acting academy in Los Angeles. She graduated top of her class, won awards and was ready to take on any acting role. “But once I got to Hollywood, I was completely heartbroken… I can play anything on the planet, but Hollywood didn’t see me as that. The second I walk in they see an Indian. They see a race before they see talent. They don’t even look at talent. They see a race. They see ‘She doesn’t fit.’ That’s how racist it is,” said Lightning. She soon learned that there were two seasons for Native Americans to audition. In spring, they auditioned for the western movies that were shot over the summer. Late in the year, they were called on for American thanksgiving productions. In response to these lack of opportunities, Lightning eventually co-founded Tribal Alliance Productions and Native Media Network. “I trained at a classical school so I could play any role, be considered an actor. I didn’t want to be an Indian actor. I wanted to be an actor. I really truly believed if I worked hard enough, excelled, was a cut above the rest, I could make it. That would be my ticket in…. I was qualified, but they still didn’t let me in. It did not matter what kind of credentials I had. So it was colour before talent,” said Lightning. That is a story far too often told by non-Whites in the entertainment and media industries, says Creatives Empowered creator Shivani Saini. “I think it’s safe to say for anyone who is Black, for anyone who is Indigenous, for anyone who is a Person of Colour, that we would all collectively agree that this equity is long overdue. Now is the perfect time for us to start,” said Saini, who is South Asian. Saini has worked in both professional media and the arts for 25 years. Among her work is marketing and communications director for the world premier of Making Treaty 7, and associate producer for the first seasons of the TV drama Blackstone. Inequity, she says, manifests in a variety of ways: negative stereotyping; lack of acknowledgement of the talent of BIPOC; always being considered “emerging talent” even after years of experience; and the belief that hitting a “diversity target” means a mediocre project or result. “Anyone who is Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour who, for example, has found themselves to be fulfilling a diversity target somewhere can probably relate to the experience of being tokenized. And tokenism is in and of itself really discriminatory and racist.” “I think it’s safe to say it’s just time for this to start to change. It’s so exhausting for us to be walking into rooms, walking into spaces and for us to be tokenized, for us to be stereotyped, for us to be viewed differently because of these mindsets that exist about BIPOC or IBPOC talent,” said Saini. It's an exhaustion that Lightning can relate to. She remembers always having to work harder, always being worried about being seen as a failure, always pushing herself to be a better actor. And she remembers keeping her silence when she was the target of abuse. “When you do speak up about assaults and abuses against you, they turn against you. It’s like I’m the one who’s punished. You learn (to stay silent),” she said. Saini had been thinking about Creatives Empowered since 2019 as she had a “mixture of professional experiences within that year that were both really empowering and some of which were really disempowering.” But it wasn’t until the coronavirus pandemic hit that she had the time to develop the concept further. And then there was the building awareness of inequalities, awareness sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, other Black people and Indigenous people. “We really are living in an unprecedented time right now. I think there’s just a tremendous opportunity we have to leverage what’s going on to really create true equity within Alberta’s arts and culture sector,” said Saini. “We all know it’s a necessity. The work has to be done,” said Lightning, who is back in Alberta working on a number of projects. Creatives Empowered is an opportunity for BIPOC to support and encourage each other emotionally and financially, she adds. “Now is the time for change. What are we going to do with a platform for moving forward? This initiative with Creatives Empowered it’s about bringing Indigenous or People of colour into the fold, and not just exploiting them. It’s empowering them, letting them be intellectual property owners and that’s where the value is,” said Lightning. Longer term goals, Saini said, is having Creatives Empowered serve as an organization that can find ways to work with key stakeholders in the Alberta cultural sector. It would become a resource or a point of access for the larger communities to tap talent. “I think there is a tremendous opportunity to do a lot of the advocacy work by building those relationships,” said Saini. Already Creatives Empowered has attracted a large number of members and that base keeps growing. “I really do believe that if we can develop a really strong membership base then it’s going to help to dismantle a lot of those negative stereotypes, because we’re going to be able to show the cultural sector that we do, in fact, exist and that our talent is beautifully potent. It’s really important, I think, for this space, this community to exist,” she said. Membership for BIPOC individuals and BIPOC organizations is free and open to Alberta-based artists and media professionals. There will be a fee for ally organizations based on their annual operating budgets. At this point, says Saini, Creatives Empowered remains a collective. That may have to change in order to access government funding or donations. Saini and Lightning understand there is much ground to be broken down before equity for BIPOC is achieved in Alberta’s cultural and media sectors and that it’s going to take time. “With the dialogue with racism and the global discussion on inclusivity and with all that’s happening … it’s time now. It’s being shaken up by force and now everyone is forced to look at reality,” said Lightning. “What I think is very exciting about the time we're living in is that I think we're actually going to be able to make some real significant progress even within my lifetime… I never thought I would see the kind of time we're living in right now where there's this level of awareness, this type of conversation happening around equity,” said Saini. CFWEBy Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CFWE, CFWE
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
There is a new women’s clothing store in Merrickville. Hazel’s Boutique is owned by Julia Provost, who is also the owner of Abel Mountain, next door. She took over the store at the beginning of October from Marilyn and Tim Boyce, who ran Portside Boutique for the last seven years. “I’ve been shop neighbours with Marilyn and Tim who owned Portside, and she had kind of hinted at wanting to retire,” Julia remembers. “And, one day, I jokingly said I should just take over for you, because I’ll miss your store.” Soon after, Marilyn and Tim came to her with a rough outline of some numbers. Julia talked it over with her husband, Carlos, and decided to go for it. “It just made sense.” Marilyn and Tim retired at the end of September and Julia opened up Hazel’s Boutique the second week of October. It was a seamless transition, as Marilyn was able to set her up with many of the brands she has worked with for years, and she even took over some of the stock Marilyn had already ordered. Julia says the first few weeks in business were good, especially since they didn’t have a sign in the door for most of October. Hazel’s Boutique is named after Julia’s ten-year old daughter, Hazel. “Abel is my son, and Hazel is my daughter, so it just made sense that they each have their own store,” she says. Hazel loves having a store named after her, “She’s always like: are we going to Hazel’s? With a little giggle in her voice.” Opening a new store during a pandemic has definitely been a challenge for Julia. The most difficult part has been getting enough stock, because supply is down due to COVID-19, even with local and Canadian brands. “You’ll spend hours sourcing something, and then people will get back to you and half the stuff you’ve spent time sourcing isn’t available.” Julia and her three employees also spend a lot of time cleaning the store to make sure it is safe for customers to shop. They sanitize everything every 20-30 minutes and limit the number of people in the store to four. They also steam all the clothes every time someone tries something on, to make sure the items are safe for the next shopper. Despite the challenges, Julia says the local support has been amazing. “People either liking or sharing your posts on Facebook, shopping in your store, trying to shop more local. COVID has really brought the community together,which is nice.” Portside Boutique always shut down over the winter, and Julia is planning on taking advantage of this to make the store her own. They will be closed in January, February, and the beginning of March to do renovations. “It will be a lot of work for my poor husband,” Julia laughs. “He’s a contractor, so at Abel Mountain he’s built 90% of the displays. Anything I dream up, he will build it for me.” Julia admits that running two stores, especially during a pandemic, is a lot of work. But she keeps going because she feels it is in her blood. “I always really liked Marilyn and Tim, and I’ve always sort of had a vision for how I would like this place to look. So I thought: why not try it?” Hazel’s Boutique will remain very similar to Portside, in that it will focus on women’s clothing and accessories; but it is clear that Julia is looking forward to putting her own personal touch on the shop. “I’m excited to see it come to life,” she says. Hazel’s Boutique is open at 312 St. Lawrence Street, from 10am-4pm, Sunday-Thursday, and 10am-5pm on Friday and Saturday. Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus.Scott's chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result in a statement on Monday and said the Republican is “following guidance from the House Attending Physician as well as his personal physician.”Scott represents Georgia's 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The statement from Lawrence did not say if Scott was experiencing symptoms.All three Georgia congressman who've tested positive for the virus have been Republicans.Rep. Rick Allen announced last week that he had tested positive for the virus.Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October after experiencing mild symptoms. He had appeared at an indoor rally with Gov. Brian Kemp days before the November election, sending the Republican governor into quarantine. Kemp never tested positive.U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler had isolated after she got a positive COVID-19 test earlier this month, but later received two negative tests and quickly returned to public campaigning ahead of her Jan. 5 runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock.The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore.Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center.The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage.Restoring the 22-year-old ship for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. Decommissioning the ship will take nine months to a year and cost $30 million, Ver Hage said.“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite said. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her."Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward “the art of the possible,” Ver Hage told reporters. They considered the impact that restoration would have on other spending priorities.“The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,” Ver Hage said.Arson is suspected in the July 12 fire, and a U.S. Navy sailor was questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said in late August.The sailor was questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an official with knowledge of the investigation said in August. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.Ver Hage declined to comment Monday on the status of several investigations and he didn't give a timeline for their completion, saying they "will conclude when the time is right.”Ver Hage said about 60% of the ship would likely need to be replaced to have it fully restored, including the flight deck, mast and many levels directly below the flight deck.The ship will likely be decommissioned in San Diego. Crew members will be notified of reassignment.The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started.About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (256-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade.Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops.More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.Lawrence B. Brennan, a retired Navy captain and adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, said the decision to decommission was “inevitable and correct.”Aside from the ship's extensive damage and advanced age, evidence would have to be preserved for any prosecution, delaying repair work, he said. Defence attorneys would be entitled to examine the wreck for expert witnesses to testify at trial.Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born. (Dec. 1)
Ottawa is rolling out a wave of new funding for pandemic-battered industries including tourism, the arts and regional aviation, with smaller companies top of mind — and large airlines notably absent.The Liberal government's fiscal update sketches out a program that will provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million for badly hurt entrepreneurs.The aid, dubbed the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), comes on top of a newly expanded emergency loan program already in place for small businesses, and technically is not limited to certain industries.Meanwhile the devastated tourism sector will have access to one-quarter of the more than $2 billion that Ottawa is doling out to regional development agencies through June 2021, including a $500-million top-up announced Monday.The move aims to bolster an industry made up largely of small and medium-sized businesses and that accounts for roughly 750,000 jobs and two per cent of GDP, according to the government.Another $181.5 million will flow to show business and performers via the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, the fall economic statement says.Rent relief and nearly $700 million in capital investments are en route to airports over six years. About $206 million in further support is bound for regional aviation, including smaller airlines, via a new "regional air transportation initiative" overseen by development agencies.But an aid package targeting big players such as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines remains in the works as talks with Ottawa drag on, with the lack of specifics in the fiscal update frustrating industry leaders.“We had hoped to get a better sense of where the government was going. Instead they repeated the line that they've repeated several times over the past several months — that they’re ‘establishing a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance,’ ” said Mike McNaney, head of the National Airlines Council of Canada.Countries around the world have given carriers US$173 billion in support, he said. Many have also required airlines to offer refunds for cancelled flights, something Ottawa says will be a condition of any bailout."We are very much a global outlier and are ostensibly stuck at Stage Zero on the government planning process," McNaney — whose industry group represents Air Canada, WestJet, Transat and Jazz Aviation — said in a phone interview.The regional aviation support comes with question marks, as well."A regional initiative, what’s that?" asked John McKenna, CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents some 30 regional airlines. "We have no idea. We have not been consulted," he said in a phone interview. "Never mind new initiatives, try to support the existing services so they survive."In a speech to the House of Commons, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stressed the benefits of the broader government-backed loan program for smaller companies."We know that businesses in tourism, hospitality, travel, arts and culture have been particularly hard-hit," Freeland said."So we’re creating a new stream of support for those businesses that need it most — a credit availability program with 100 per cent government-backed loan support and favourable terms for businesses that have lost revenue as people stay home to fight the spread of the virus."The HASCAP credit program will offer interest rates below the market average, according to the fiscal update, with more details coming "soon."It also said the government is "exploring options to enhance" a federal loan program for big companies, little-loved by industry since its inception in the spring.The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) offers loans of $60 million or more to large businesses facing cash problems, but comes with an interest rate that jumps to eight per cent from five per cent after the first year — far above typical private-sector lending rates.Only two firms have been approved for LEEFF loans since the Liberals announced the program on May 11, according to the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation: a casino company and a producer of metallurgical coal.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh criticized the government for failing to offer industry aid that includes explicit job protections."They have not rolled out any sector-specific supports, meaningfully, that are tied to jobs," he said.Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet slammed the lack of "precision" in the fiscal snapshot."They basically say that there is no limit to what they will spend, without saying or without admitting how badly you spend it," he said.The $686 million in airport aid includes $500 million over six years, starting this year, to back infrastructure spending at large airports that would include massive transit projects, such as the new light-rail station at the Montreal airport.The government is also proposing to extend $229 million in additional rent relief to the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to Ottawa, with "comparable treatment" for Ports Toronto, which operates Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto.The supports unveiled Monday come on top of Ottawa's pan-sectoral announcement to raise the wage subsidy to 75 per cent of company payroll costs — it was reduced to a maximum of 65 per cent in October — as well as an extension of the rent subsidy to mid-March from the end of 2020.David Chartrand, Quebec coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, applauded the wage subsidy, but lamented the radio silence on large airlines."After almost 10 months of crisis, still nothing," he said in a release in French.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Two Halifax Transit bus drivers refused to work last week after multiple passengers entered their buses without wearing masks, renewing union calls to enforce Nova Scotia's mandatory mask rule."Both operators refused," Ken Wilson, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508 which represents Halifax Transit workers, said in an interview with CBC's Mainstreet Monday. "One refused Thursday evening and another operator refused Friday evening."It was about passengers not wearing masks and so under the [Occupational Health Safety] Act, the operators have the right to refuse unsafe work." Masks became mandatory on all transit buses and ferries in July, but there are no penalties in place for not complying.Individuals don't have to wear a mask if they have a medical condition that keeps them from doing so."There are very few valid medical reasons to not wear a mask," Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in July when masks were made mandatory.Wilson said about 90 per cent of passengers wear masks, but it's the others who concern drivers."We're not allowed to enforce or to advise — we're to take everybody at face value that if they say they have a medical condition, they do," he said.He says the municipality should start enforcing mask use on public transit to protect drivers and passengers."The confusing part is that we can deny entry to someone not wearing a pair of shoes or not wearing a shirt but when you don't have a mask, you have to take a seat and that doesn't make sense and that's the problem," he said.Wilson said the transit drivers refused to operate their buses because they felt unsafe amid a resurgence of COVID-19, which has brought on community spread."My operators, my members are stressed. They've been on the front lines for over 10 months. I don't think anybody thought this is going to go this long. Now it could be almost another year before we get a vaccine in this part of the region," Wilson said."People are COVID-fatigued. They're stressed. They're worried about bringing this home to their families ... and it's really opened my eyes to the way we're being treated as workers for the transit agency."A spokesperson with Halifax Transit said "the obligation to wear a mask rests with the individual" and there are no plans to change the current protocol."Halifax Transit will continue to adhere to public health guidelines regarding education and enforcement of the use of masks," Erin DiCarlo, a spokesperson for Halifax Transit, said in an emailed statement Monday."Operators may remind passengers of the requirement to wear a mask, but passengers who are not wearing a mask will not be denied entry, as some passengers may have medical reasons that prevent them from wearing one."MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — Dr. Scott Atlas, a science adviser to President Donald Trump who was skeptical of measures to control the coronavirus outbreak, is leaving his White House post.A White House official confirmed that the Stanford University neuroradiologist, who had no formal experience in public health or infectious diseases, resigned at the end of his temporary government assignment. Atlas confirmed the news in a Monday evening tweet.Atlas joined the White House this summer, where he clashed with top government scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, as he resisted stronger efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 267,000 Americans.Atlas has broken with government experts and the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community to criticize efforts to encourage face covering to slow the spread of the virus. Just weeks ago on Twitter he responded to Michigan's latest virus restrictions by encouraging people to “rise up” against the state's policies.His views also prompted Stanford to issue a statement distancing itself from the faculty member, saying Atlas "has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic."“We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing,” the university said Nov. 16. “We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities.”Atlas defended his role in his resignation letter, saying, "I cannot think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more urgent."Atlas was hired as a “special government employee," which limited his service to government to 130 days in a calendar year — a deadline he reached this week.Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday Nov. 30, 2020. There are 378,139 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 378,139 confirmed cases (66,037 active, 299,972 resolved, 12,130 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,103 new cases Monday from 63,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,798. There were 66 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 609 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.27 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,475,642 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 338 confirmed cases (36 active, 298 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Monday from 247 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,520 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday from 846 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 59,923 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,305 confirmed cases (138 active, 1,102 resolved, 65 deaths). There were 15 new cases Monday from 2,564 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.59 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 115 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 143,754 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 501 confirmed cases (120 active, 374 resolved, seven deaths). There were six new cases Monday from 1,079 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 100,485 tests completed. _ Quebec: 142,371 confirmed cases (12,138 active, 123,177 resolved, 7,056 deaths). There were 1,333 new cases Monday from 8,655 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,165 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,309. There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 214 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,186,076 tests completed. _ Ontario: 116,492 confirmed cases (14,197 active, 98,639 resolved, 3,656 deaths). There were 1,746 new cases Monday from 38,117 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,991 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,570. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.1 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,069,726 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 16,825 confirmed cases (9,260 active, 7,253 resolved, 312 deaths). There were 342 new cases Monday from 9,003 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,738 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 391. There were 11 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.79 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 347,108 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 8,564 confirmed cases (3,879 active, 4,638 resolved, 47 deaths). There were 325 new cases Monday from 2,451 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is four per 100,000 people. There have been 260,818 tests completed. _ Alberta: 58,177 confirmed cases (16,454 active, 41,182 resolved, 541 deaths). There were 1,733 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,756 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,394. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,445,984 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 33,238 confirmed cases (9,686 active, 23,111 resolved, 441 deaths). There were 596 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 833. There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 783,409 tests completed. _ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths). There were two new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,166 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday from 53 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,355 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 181 confirmed cases (108 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths). There were four new cases Monday from 55 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,242 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
A new children's book called A Lemon Tree for Wilshire was inspired by a Calgarian's personal journey with infertility.Gina Thornton, the author of the book, says she wrote it as a tribute to her two children, William and Scarlett, as way to explain their "special" birth story."The concept was inspired by my family's personal journey with infertility and pregnancy loss, and highlights the experience of families growing through non-traditional paths," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.She says that in their family's case, they received help from an egg donor. At the fertility clinic, Thornton says, it was stressed by a psychologist that in the future, they should explain to their children how they were conceived. "I personally struggled with, 'How do you communicate this in a way that's both relatable to our children but also in a manner that was completely transparent?'""We initially set out to find children's books that we could use as a tool to help guide this discussion."That's when Thornton realized there was a gap in children's books that talked about infertility and egg donors."We found countless books that focused on adoption and other alternative family dynamics," she said."So once I recognized there was a bit of a space in the market, I set out to write a story that focused on these important topics."The story follows a child who plans on growing his family tree by venturing out and exploring lemon trees. Thornton's son, William, was the main character, and in order to bring both his and his sister's perspective into the book, the mom says she would press them with questions."I told them that I was working on a special project and I needed some feedback on trees and how they like to play in trees," she said.She says she kept the final reveal of the book a surprise and that her children's reaction was something she will keep close forever."The book has done exactly what I had hoped it would do in terms of prompting some additional dialogue and questions with our children about their amazing story," she said.A Lemon Tree for Wilshire is available for purchase on Thornton's website.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
CALGARY — Eighteen members of Mount Royal University's men's hockey program, including coaches, have tested positive for COVID-19."The team ceased training when the first individual experienced symptoms and members are self-isolating," the Calgary university said Monday in a statement. "MRU did contact tracing and notified impacted individuals."The Cougars were scheduled to play the Canadian junior men's team in exhibition games Saturday and Sunday in Red Deer, Alta., but those games were already called off because three members of the Canadian team had tested positive.The Canadian team is in quarantine until Dec. 6.MRU plays in the Canada West conference of U Sports. Canada West cancelled all conference games and championships in team sports for the 2020-21 season because of the pandemic, but some schools have been running practices and team training.University sport was initially exempt from Alberta's ban on team sport earlier this month, but got shut down Nov. 24 when Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency."Cougars teams were training under multiple safety protocols beyond those required by the provincial government," MRU said in the statement. "With new government restrictions, no varsity programs will be training until after the new year."The University of Calgary women's basketball team also had an outbreak earlier this month. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia recorded 46 more deaths over the last three days, its highest number of fatalities for that time period.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication.Henry says 80 per cent of the deaths were in long-term care homes, and 441 people have now died of COVID-19 in the province.She says 2,364 new infections were diagnosed between Friday and Monday, for a total of 33,238 cases since the pandemic began.Henry says the rise in deaths reflects the challenge of dealing with the virus in communities, and the impact on seniors when it gets into care homes.There are outbreaks in 57 long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as in five in acute-care units in British Columbia."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Henry says most faith leaders are supporting her order banning religious services and understand that faith can be practised outside of buildings.The RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to a church in Langley after it held a service on the weekend."We are putting in the measures that we believe are the best we can do to protect communities, to protect our health and to protect us from transmission of this virus," Henry says.She says there's always an ethical dilemma when it comes to balancing the unintended consequences of her orders and how they affect people."How do you do just the right amount to try and keep this virus from spreading rapidly and causing so much suffering? There's no right answer to this, there's no perfect way of doing it and I will always be accused of doing too much or not enough."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Monday is the last night to weigh in on the City of Edmonton's plan to revamp a core part of Edmonton's river valley. The City's Touch the Water Promenade project proposes redesigning a four-kilometre stretch of land just north of the North Saskatchewan River, between the Groat Road Bridge and the Rossdale neighbourhood. Two riverfront promenade concepts — developed after a round of public consultation last fall — are up for discussion. The Gateways concept proposes creating three large gathering places, as well as restoring the buried Groat Ravine creek. The Threads concept proposes more gathering spaces of a smaller size along the edge of the river. Portions of this plan include separated pathways, accommodating both active commuters and pedestrians who prefer exploring the area at a slower pace. Both plans feature more diverse plants and a widened pathway running along the entire stretch of land. An online poll suggests the Threads proposal is most popular, with 55 per cent of 303 votes cast for that concept, but the Gateways concept has its defenders. Claire MacDonald, who submitted her opinions about both concepts to the City earlier this month, said a daylit creek, educational opportunities and other amenities included in the Gateways plan could attract people who might not otherwise visit the river valley. "What I love about it is that they are creating spaces where people of all abilities are able to gather," she said. Elizabeth Cytko also prefers the Gateways concept. She said she supports the Groat Ravine creek daylighting and preserving natural areas over building more concrete paths. Though she likes the project in general, she said she worries both plans do not go far enough in recognizing the significance of the Rossdale area for First Nations and Métis peoples. "I know the city has done consultation, but when I look at the plan, I wonder if that consultation is reflected in the plan," she said. In a post on its website, Bike Edmonton, the non-profit society formerly known as the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, praised the Threads concept for prioritizing connectivity and movement but criticized both plans for lacking shelters from the elements. "Having places where you can shelter and warm up is really important," Bike Edmonton's executive director Christopher Chan said in an interview, pointing out that cyclists, runners and pedestrians use the river valley year-round. Shelters would also make the area more accessible to people who cannot be out for very long in the cold, he added. Some residents question the purpose of the entire project, from a cost and ecological conservation perspective. A Facebook post by the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition argued that the river valley should be protected and restored, not further degraded. Construction funding for the project has not been approved, nor have costs been determined for implementing each concept. "We'll be ready for funding when it becomes available," said Geoff Smith, general supervisor of open space planning and design at the City of Edmonton. "We can complete the planning phase of this project within this mandate of Council, and then it likely will be for future councils to decide which components of the projects they would like to advance," he said.
For a 76-year-old Nova Scotia man, Lear is king.The two-year-old German shepherd, the latest recruit for Kings District RCMP, helped find the man reported missing from his home in the Sunken Lake area late on Nov. 26.A search was started near the missing man's home. Lear and his handler eventually found the man safe in the woods several hours later after a four-kilometre search. Lear only started working in Nova Scotia this September after being trained in Alberta. RCMP Cpl. Jeff Wall, Lear's handler, said the dog has police work in his genes. "He comes from quite literally a long line of police dogs," he said. "His dad was a police dog as well. His mother was part of our breeding program, but not a police dog."Longest search so farWall said the rescue of the missing man was Lear's longest effort so far in his two months with the force. Before Lear arrived in the province, he and Wall worked together at the police dog training centre in Innisfail, Alta.The time together helped them bond."That's probably the most important part of our training," he said. "Our training centre really looks at the whole team, the handler and the dog as a package and how they work together."It's pairing the right dog with the right handler to get the just the absolute best result we can make for a team."General duty tandemLear and Wall were trained as a general duty police dog service team.It means they can track suspects, find lost people and help front-line investigators find clues. They can also take down a suspect, if necessary. It's all based on the dog's ability to track a fresh human scent, but Wall said environment factors can sometimes present challenges.Extreme, heat or cold and high winds can affect the dog's ability to pick up a scent, as can too many other scents in the area.This often happens when family members and other well-intentioned people are also looking for a missing person, as was the case with the Sunken Lake search.Just a little praise"The big challenge that night was kind of breaking away from that and locating a track, and kind of departing the general area," Wall said. "Once we established that, it was kind of obvious that no other person would be in this part of the forest at this time of night other than our missing male."Wall said, like people, Lear just wants a little praise after he does a good job. Unlike his human counterparts though, Lear got to play ball after finding the missing man, and he got a treat.Wall thanked Kings County and West Hants ground search teams for allowing the story to end happily."This doesn't happen this way all the time," he said. "Conditions were in our favour."I've got a really strong tracking dog and I'm just super happy that it worked out the way it did."MORE TOP STORIES
On Saturday the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division notified the public that a case of COVID-19 had been identified in an individual at three schools in Prince Albert. The schools were Vincent Massey Public School, Princess Margaret Public School and Ecole Vickers Public School. “The division is hoping the recovery is quick and thorough and we extend our get-well wishes to these members of our school community and offer our support to the surrounding families. We also extend our support to the staff and students in our schools who are affected by the isolation,” the release stated. As has been the case in the past, these cases were not school-acquired, but rather spread from the community and detected in individuals associated with the school. The division was informed on Saturday of the positive COVID-19 test results and communication is being shared with the classrooms/cohorts, the connected staff, as well as with the school community. The learning program will continue remotely for those students affected. All three schools will remain open for in-person classes for students who are not required to self-isolate. The division, in this case, did not announce the length of the isolation. As is the circumstance in all cases in the division due to privacy concerns, further details of the case will not be shared. The school’s COVID Response Plan contains many important measures, processes and protocols that add layers of protection for students and staff. School personnel will continue to be informed and guided by SHA as they manage this case. Staffs at schools in the division remain vigilant in ensuring proper safety measures are in place and personnel from the SHA continue to guide and inform school administration and staff. The division explained that although there has been no evidence that transmission has occurred within any Sask. Rivers schools and we all share responsibility to minimize the risk of COVID transmission. “The division deeply appreciates the support that students, parents and community members have demonstrated, especially as the number of cases in our region climbs.” The SHA’s local public health team continues to provide expert advice and strong support for our dedicated staff as we manage the pandemic in our communities. “The division is thankful to have such a cohesive team of administration and staff supported by our partners in Health.” Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says it will not hold any games until early January because of COVID-19 issues.The major junior league announced Monday it will suspend all activities from Tuesday through Jan. 3.The 18-team league league has been forced to postpone games regularly in Quebec and Atlantic Canada since starting the season in early October because of COVID-19 restrictions in the four provinces where it operates.Several teams in Quebec relocated to Quebec City for multiple games because of restrictions earlier in November.The temporarily dismantling of the so-called Atlantic bubble last week also prevented games from being played in the six-team Maritimes Division. The league has three teams in New Brunswick, two in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island.The QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to open play around its normal start date.The Western Hockey League has said it plans to start the season in January, while the Ontario Hockey League has targeted February.“The current situation with the pandemic in the regions in which we operate makes it extremely difficult to play games,” QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau said in a statement. “With the holidays just around the corner, the provinces in the Maritimes have restricted access and travel, while red zone restrictions in Quebec do not permit us to play.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press