Concerned about a rise in COVID-19 infections among younger people in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford warned that attending large events like parties puts family members at risk.
Concerned about a rise in COVID-19 infections among younger people in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford warned that attending large events like parties puts family members at risk.
A historic meeting between Israel's prime minister and Saudi Arabia's crown prince has sent a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that the two countries remain deeply committed to containing their common foe Iran. Last Sunday's covert meeting in the Saudi city of Neom, confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh, conveyed a coordinated message to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that Washington's main allies in the region are closing ranks. It was the first publicly confirmed visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli leader and a meeting that was unthinkable until recently as the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Caregivers at Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte Saint-Luc will have to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing every two weeks, the centre announced Thursday as families called for government intervention to stop the virus's spread at the long-term care home. There are 39 active COVID-19 cases among residents.. Eight of whom are being treated in hospital, while the rest are being treated in a cohort on the home's seventh floor. Since the start of the second wave, fifteen residents have recovered while, eight have died.An email signed by Jennifer Clarke, the centre's coordinator, as well as its co-chiefs Dr. Jack Gaiptman and Dr. Kris MacMahon, relayed the information to the families of residents Thursday evening. Clarke said Tuesday the outbreak was traced to a resident who was infected their caregiver.Earlier in the day, a number of family members rallied in front of the centre calling for government action. The centre was one of the hardest hit long-term care facilities during the first wave of the pandemic. Families say they worry the centre's management didn't learn from what happened in the spring. Côte-Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who said his 62-year-old cousin died at the home during the first wave, has also called for more prevention measures at Maimonides. Families at the rally asked for mandatory weekly testing of staff and caregivers, and for staff to be given N95 masks to use at work. They thanked the staff for their hard work. Clarke, the centre's coordinator, and Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the president of its local health board, the West-Central Montreal CIUSSS, have defended the home's handling of the outbreak, saying it has implemented several more precautions since the first wave. They also refuted a nurse's assertion that a colleague had been forced to work in the home's red zone one day and in a green zone the next. Gabriel Sigler, whose mother is a Maimonides resident, was at the rally."I'm very worried. I mean yesterday someone next door to her contracted COVID and was sent to the cohort," Sigler said."Luckily she is negative, but when I talk to her she says she feels like a duck in a shooting gallery, just coming closer and closer."In the email to families Thursday, the centre's leaders said the mandatory testing for caregivers would beging Dec. 14. "We value the important role that caregivers play at Donald Berman Maimonides. At the same time, we must ensure that their visits are conducted as safely as possible. Therefore, we have decided to introduce an additional precautionary measure," the email said. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé was asked about the outbreak at the facility Thursday. He said what he had heard about how Maimonides was handling it was positive. "I asked for a clear exam on this one since this is a CHSLD that had some issues in the first wave," Dubé said.Rosenberg, of the local health board, said Maimonides has enough protective equipment and patient attendants, but admitted the nurses were short-staffed. He said the CIUSSS had also applied for a rapid testing pilot project with the Quebec Health Ministry.
Places for People (P4P) will build Haliburton’s newest not-for-profit housing development on Wallings Road with the blessing of the municipality. Dysart et al council passed a resolution of support in principle to dispose of the property to begin the process of providing it for P4P. The not-for-profit is planning to develop 10-12 affordable housing units for $2-$2.5 million by fall 2022, raising money with community bonds. Since P4P first proposed this in August, deputy mayor Patrick Kennedy said the municipality has worked with them to find a municipal property that would work for the development. The road is off County Road 21 just past the high school, next to the First Student Canada site. “It’s a suitable piece of property, we believe. It’s close to the town for walking, very close on the sewage line,” Kennedy said. “I’m excited about moving this project forward.” Mayor Andrea Roberts said the municipality will work on a memorandum of understanding and a subcommittee with P4P to get all the needed elements in place to advance the project. P4P chair, Jody Curry, said the group has assembled a design team including an architect and a planning consultant ready to go to work. She said they know how to develop this land and plan to incorporate green space. “We’re excited to hear it may absolutely be possible you may grant us this property,” Curry said. “For us, this is just a perfect fit, so we can’t say enough about this piece of property. “Thanks, Dysart, for providing a great, big, exciting light in our future. And we’re hoping you’re going to make it a green light.” Coun. Larry Clarke said the project is vital to address the housing shortage in the area. “You talk to any business in town and there’s no place for them to house staff, even if they want to hire,” Clarke said. “This is a critical element for this community.” “We’ll keep the ball rolling on this one,” Roberts said. “You guys are shining lights of volunteerism in our community.”Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A Toronto police officer says she was subjected to years of intimidation and reprisals by fellow constables and supervisors after she intervened to stop what she alleges was the unjustified use of force during the arrest of a Black suspect.
Alberta's chief medical officer of health Thursday said she feels personally betrayed after CBC News reported the contents of secret recordings that revealed disagreements and, at times, political interference in the province's pandemic response."I am profoundly disappointed that confidential internal conversations have been shared, actions that are a violation of the public service, oath and code of conduct," Dr. Deena Hinshaw told a news conference. "This is a personal betrayal and a betrayal of the trust that our hardworking team has placed in each other," she said. There will be an internal investigation to try to determine who leaked the recordings, Hinshaw said.CBC News also quoted several confidential sources, one of whom said Hinshaw had confided that her dealings with the politicians were an "uphill battle." "My dad used to say that if you and your partner always agree, then one of you is unnecessary," she said, acknowledging that "at times I have felt frustrated as I am a human being. The reality is that it is critical to have multiple perspectives and that those perspectives are heard." But Hinshaw insisted, as she had previously, that she has always been treated respectfully by politicians and her advice has been considered in final decisions by the government. She again stressed her job is simply to provide advice."I was not elected by Albertans," she said. "The final decisions are up to elected officials who were chosen by Alberta. This is how democracy works. "I know that there are many views about how we should proceed. However, we are becoming divided when we most need to engage in respectful dialogue."A previous statement emailed to CBC News from a spokesperson for Premier Jason Kenney said it is the job of elected officials to make decisions and there was no political interference.WATCH | Dr. Deena Hinshaw addresses the secret recordings:The Opposition NDP have called for Kenney's government to make Hinshaw's pandemic recommendations public, to engender trust in its response to the pandemic. Hinshaw said disclosing that information would be a breach of her oath as a public servant.Health Minister Tyler Shandro also told the news conference he couldn't disclose the advice provided by Hinshaw because it would breach cabinet confidence.Secret recordings reveal expert advice overruledHinshaw delivered her public rebuke after CBC News earlier on Thursday reported it had obtained 20 secret recordings from daily meetings of the province's COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre, as well as meeting minutes and interviews with staff directly involved in pandemic planning.They reveal how Kenney, Shandro and other cabinet ministers often overruled the expert advice of already overwhelmed civil servants. On two occasions health officials acceded to political requests to provide testing to the public that officials believed had little value in limiting the spread of the virus. The recordings also reveal the Kenney government pushed an early relaunch strategy that seemed more focused on the economy and avoiding the appearance of curtailing Albertans' freedoms than enforcing compliance to safeguard public health.The recordings did confirm what Hinshaw has repeatedly stated publicly: she believes her role is to advise, provide recommendations and implement decisions made by the politicians.WATCH | Tension between politics, science in Alberta's pandemic response revealed in recordings:For weeks, the government has faced intense criticism for its handling of the pandemic as Alberta registered among the highest infection rate per capita in Canada. Kenney and Shandro have repeatedly said the pandemic response has been directed by Hinshaw.At Hinshaw's news conference Thursday, Shandro said the reporting of the leaked recordings was an "irresponsible attack" on Hinshaw's credibility and the independence of her office, which in turn undermines her work as chief medical officer of health."Since the pandemic began, as minister of health, I have worked closely with Dr. Hinshaw. She has provided detailed, evidence-based recommendations to me and to Alberta's government as legislated in the Public Health Act," Shandro said. "She has also participated in on-going cabinet discussions about what is right for Alberta in the response to this pandemic."We listen closely. We debate the range of policy options that she offers and their different impacts. And then, as elected officials, we do what we were elected to do: we make decisions that are in the best interests of Albertans. I want to express my own and Alberta's government's support for Dr. Hinshaw."Hinshaw used as political shield: NDPEarlier in the day, Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the Kenney government has used Hinshaw as a shield."Every time there is a decision that gets to be a little unpopular, or there is any pressure, he hides behind her," she said. "But what we clearly see here is that he is not following her advice on a number of occasions and Albertans are suffering as a result."In the legislature, Notley pressed the Kenney government to establish an independent panel of experts to make recommendations on the pandemic response that would be made public. Kenney however, ignored the demand, saying Hinshaw is capable and stressing as he has previously that it is for elected officials to make the final decisions because there are considerations, other than public health, that must be weighed."Alberta is a democracy," Kenney said, "and under this government it is going to stay that way."If you have any information about this story, or information about another story, please contact us in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org
CARACAS, Venezuela — Six American oil executives held for three years in Venezuela were found guilty of corruption charges by a judge Thursday and immediately sentenced to prison, dashing hopes of a quick release that would send them home to their families in the United States.Some relatives had been bracing for the disheartening outcome, which came on the evening of Thanksgiving Day.Alirio Rafael Zambrano, brother to two of the men, said they were “undeniably innocent” and victims of “judicial terrorism.” No evidence in the case supports a guilty conviction, he said.“We, the family, are heartbroken to be separated even further from our loved ones,” Zambrano said in a phone message from New Jersey. “We pray that the leaders of our nation step forward and continue to fight unceasingly for their freedom and human rights.”Attorney María Alejandra Poleo, who helped represent three of the men, said the case was “void of evidence.” “Of course, the defence will appeal the decision,” she said.The so-called Citgo 6 are employees of Houston-based Citgo refining company, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. They had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting and were arrested on corruption charges.Their arrest launched a purge by President Nicolás Maduro's government of PDVSA and at a time when relations between Caracas and Washington were crumbling as Venezuela plummeted into economic and social crisis.Five of the men were sentenced to prison terms of 8 years and 10 months, while one of them received a 13-year sentence. Defence attorney Jesus Loreto said the five with lesser terms could be released on parole in a couple of years.Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice announced the verdicts and prison sentences but offered no other comment on the trial's outcome.One of the men, Tomeu Vadell, has said in a letter written in a Caracas jail and provided exclusively to The Associated Press before the verdict that he had hopes for a fair trial so he could walk free with his name cleared and go home to his family in the United States.Despite his circumstances, Vadell held out hope.“During the trial, the truth has proven undeniable,” Vadell said in the four-page hand-written letter. “It proves that I am innocent.”“I’m now reaching an intersection where if justice is done, I will be able to rebuild my life and try to compensate my family for all the lost moments,” he added. “The light is intense -- the hope is great -- give me freedom.”Vadell said it was especially painful to be separated during the Thanksgiving season from his wife, three adult children and a newborn grandson he has never held.“Before living this tragedy, these celebrations were very special times for our family,” Vadell wrote, saying he embraced the traditional American holiday after moving in 1999 from Caracas to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for a job with Citgo. “Now, they bring me a lot of sadness.”It’s the first time Vadell, or any of the so-called Citgo 6, had spoken publicly since being arrested and charged with in a purported big corruption scheme. He has been held at a feared Caracas jail called El Helicoide.The others convicted are Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, brothers Jose Luis Zambrano and Alirio Zambrano, all now U.S. citizens. Jose Pereira, a permanent resident, received the longest sentence.They were also charged with embezzlement stemming from a never-executed proposal to refinance some $4 billion in Citgo bonds by offering a 50% stake in the company as collateral. Maduro at the time accused them of “treason.”They all pleaded innocence.The men were summoned to the headquarters of PDVSA for what they were told was a budget meeting on Nov. 21, 2017. A corporate jet shuttled them to Caracas and they were told they would be home for Thanksgiving. Instead, military intelligence officers swarmed into the boardroom and hauled them off to jail.Their trial started four months ago and closing arguments took place Thursday. The judge immediately announced her verdict.The proceeding played out one day a week in a downtown Caracas court. Due to the pandemic, sessions were held in front of a bank of dormant elevators in a hallway, apparently to take advantage of air flowing through open windows.News media and rights groups were denied access to the hearings. There was no response to a letter addressed to Judge Lorena Cornielles seeking permission for The Associated Press to observe.The office of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said prior to the verdict in a statement to AP that investigators found “serious evidence” that corroborated financial crimes potentially damaging to the state-run company.“The Citgo case has developed normally during all the stages established by the Venezuelan criminal process,” the statement said.Loreto said his client appeared to have been caught up in a “geopolitical conflict” of which he was not a part. He said Vadell's name never appeared on any of the documents prosecutors read into evidence.“There’s nothing that refers to Tomeu in any way -- directly or indirectly,” the lawyer said. “This is the story of a good guy being held against his will for all the wrong reasons.”Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has negotiated the release of other Americans held by hostile governments, travelled to Caracas in July and met with Maduro.He didn’t win their freedom, but days later two of them — Cárdenas and Toledo — were freed from jail and put in house detention. Two weeks later, the long-delayed trial began.Richardson told AP that conversations with the Venezuelan government continue despite his meeting with Maduro being “a little stormy.” He said he he believes there is an opening tied to President-elect Joe Biden and a desire by Maduro to improve relations with Washington.“I think the Venezuelans have been straight with me, but more progress needs to be made,” Richardson said before the verdict. “My hope is to have something positive by Christmas.”It is not clear what approach Biden will take toward Maduro. Trump aggressively pressed to remove Maduro through sweeping financial sanctions and the U.S. Justice Department has indicted Maduro as a “narcoterrorist,” offering a $15 million reward for his arrest.Vadell's letter steered clear of politics. He didn't mention Maduro or speak about his jailers, though he did express concern about the “consequences of repercussions” of speaking out.With encouragement from his family, Vadell broke his silence, taking a risk relatives said was necessary.“I believe it’s more important that the light of hope illuminates us,” Vadell wrote. “May the light of hope put an end to the sadness of my family.”The five other men did not respond to invitations AP made through their lawyers to comment.Vadell’s daughter, Cristina Vadell, said in a phone interview from Lake Charles that her father isn’t the kind of person who seeks attention. Rather, he prefers to focus on work and his family.During his 35-year career with PDVSA and Citgo, Vadell ended up running a refinery in Lake Charles and then became vice-president of refining. The letter attempts to expose this side of his life, she said.“I think he was willing to take some risks and open some hearts to allow him to come home,” she said. “I think he’s still wondering ‘What happened?’ He went to a work meeting and never came home.”___Scott Smith on Twitter: @ScottSmithAP___Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Miami contributed to this report.Scott Smith, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — B.C. Premier John Horgan's new cabinet relies on some familiar faces in key positions with Adrian Dix remaining in health and David Eby at attorney general, but he appointed new finance and education ministers Thursday in an expanded inner circle that will focus on keeping people safe through the pandemic.Selina Robinson, the former minister of municipal affairs and housing, was named finance minister, replacing Carole James, who did not seek re-election last month due to health reasons.Horgan said his government will rely on a variety of ministers in the fight against COVID-19 and to steer the province's economic recovery efforts. But Dix, Robinson and Ravi Kahlon, who was appointed jobs, economic recovery and innovation minister, will carry many of the pandemic duties.Khalon is taking on "an enormous responsibility" and will be responsible for the province's recovery plan announced in September, Horgan told a news conference."Ravi will be the point person and I'm confident that he is going to make sure everything we can do will be done," Horgan said.Khalon, a former Olympic field hockey player, served as Horgan's parliamentary secretary in the forests ministry in the last NDP government.Horgan had similar praise for Robinson, saying her work ethic is unprecedented and she's well known across B.C. from her work as the municipal affairs and housing minister. She is also a former city council member in Coquitlam."I have tremendous trust in her capacity," he said. "I gave her an awful lot to do on the housing file, on the municipal affairs file. Her understanding of the people of B.C. is unmatched."James will continue to work with Horgan as a special adviser, taking a post that pays $1 a year, Horgan said.Newcomer Jennifer Whiteside, a former official with the Hospital Employees' Union who ran for the New Democrats in New Westminster, was named education minister, replacing Rob Fleming, who was moved to the transportation portfolio.Horgan says his 57-member caucus will be engaged in the government's decision making either as parliamentary secretaries or through new government caucus committees that have been put in place. He described the cabinet as "a diverse and dynamic team."The NDP won a majority government in last month's election, capturing 57 of the 87 seats in the legislature.The new cabinet includes 20 ministers and four ministers of state. Horgan named 12 men and 12 women to cabinet posts, who are supported by 13 parliamentary secretaries.The premier kept some of his most senior ministers in their previous cabinet posts, including Mike Farnworth as solicitor general and Harry Bains as labour minister. Eby was given the added responsibility of housing.Three former MPs were handed cabinet posts, with Murray Rankin being named Indigenous relations and reconciliation minister; Nathan Cullen as minister of state for lands, natural resource operations; and Sheila Malcolmson, who served in the last legislature after leaving federal politics, becoming the minister of mental health and addictions.Fin Donnelly, also a former MP, was named parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture.Among the newcomers to cabinet are Mitzi Dean at children and family development; former Tofino mayor Josie Osbourne at municipal affairs; and Nicholas Simons at social development and poverty reduction.The swearing-in ceremony was different because of the pandemic. Horgan was with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin at the University of Victoria for the ceremony, while all the cabinet ministers, except Eby who was at the university, were sworn in through video links.People across B.C. are struggling with the burdens of the pandemic, now in its ninth month, Horgan said."But we are buoyed by the good news of vaccines on the way, but until then, we have to continue to do our level best to keep the second wave of COVID-19 under control and prepare for the new year." Horgan has recalled the legislature for a brief session with a throne speech on Dec. 7.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. Previous version spelled the last name as Khalon. It is Ravi Kahlon.
The Molenaar family recently came home to an unpleasant surprise – something had smashed their glass patio doors. At first, they thought it might have been a bird, but the force required to break the glass made that unlikely. But after canvassing their neighbours, the source was discovered: two loud gunshots, heard earlier in the day. Dan Molenaar said police would later investigate and find the bullet, likely shot by a hunter, embedded in an exterior wood wall on the deck of their Eagle Lake-area house. “My concern is that this is a fairly populated neighbourhood in the community,” Molenaar said. “The fact that somebody would recklessly discharge a firearm without knowing the backdrop of where that projectile could potentially hit was just extremely reckless behaviour.” Haliburton Highlands OPP confirmed the account. However, after police spoke with neighbours, Molenaar said they determined nobody from the area was hunting that day. The culprits are unknown, and the investigation reached a dead end, leaving the family to clean up and pay for $6,000 in damage to the impacted doors. Molenaar said he is an experienced hunter. He said he has never encountered something such as this. “Ethically hunting is a fantastic sport, but obviously there are individuals out there that may think differently and unfortunately give all hunters a bad name,” he said. “Police were shocked – I thought it might be something that’s fairly common. Apparently not.” He said he and his wife were away at the time, but the bullet passed by areas of the house they frequent. “I don’t think the hunter realized he could have endangered somebody’s life,” he said. The couple is not sure if the culprit is aware of what happened. They hope that by sharing their story, the persons responsible might come forward. “That’s what I’m struggling with,” Diane Molenaar said. “Just disappointed that nobody’s come forward.” Anyone with information can contact the Haliburton Highlands OPP at 705-286- 1431, 1-888-310-122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
The County of Haliburton is ready for a public meeting on its shoreline preservation bylaw with a possible requirement for renaturalization up for discussion. County council reviewed the draft bylaw and new public information documents at a special meeting Nov. 23. The meeting delved into questions on the bylaw and how to present it to the public, with a variety of minor adjustments put forward for staff implementation. One key point of discussion was over the renaturalization of shorelines. The bylaw as it stands does not require people to change already developed shorelines, only restricting future development. But councillors raised the possible need to codify shoreline renaturalization and agreed to include it as a question in upcoming consultation. “There are passionate positions on both sides,” Coun. Carol Moffatt said. “When we look at the objectives of this bylaw (get County shorelines to 75 per cent naturalized), I don’t know if we’re going to achieve these if we don’t implement something that required renaturalization. But I think that’s a massive can of worms.” The municipality has spent months reviewing the bylaw in response to public pushback. The Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners’ Associations (CHA) has pointed to research about shorelines requiring 75 per cent naturalization to maintain water quality and help prevent algae blooms. A CHA assessment of 60 local lakes found only 47-48 per cent of their shorelines were natural. Deputy warden Andrea Roberts said the bylaw should remain as is, with something addressing renaturalization possibly coming later. “How we move is a process,” Roberts said. “This is a step and I think we would be biting off more than we can chew.” Warden Liz Danielsen said it makes sense to include it in public consultation. She added renaturalization could help alleviate the concerns landscapers have about the bylaw taking from their work. “If we include a renaturalization component … we’re offering another opportunity. It’s just a different kind of work,” she said. Public information addressed Councillors spent approximately four hours reviewing the bylaw, addressing issues such as wording, fish habitat and pressuring the province to allow higher fines to stand. They also reviewed three documents aimed at making the bylaw more digestible than the “legalese”: an illustrated summary document, a fact sheet and an online selfassessment tool to help property owners determine whether they need a permit. The municipality has set a target date of April 15 to begin enforcement of the bylaw. Both staff and councillors called the date “ambitious” but said it could be adjusted as needed. Council voted to receive the discussion as information and direct staff to initiate public consultation and organize a virtual public meeting. That meeting is expected to be some time in January. Moffatt asked how much time would be allowed to review input. “Whatever time it takes,” Danielsen responded. “There’s going to be things that we hear and agree with. There will be things we hear and disagree with or can’t do anything about for legislative reasons. We’ll have to wade through it all.”Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
Some Alberta faith communities are opting to suspend gatherings, despite rules allowing in-person worship to continue across the province. On Tuesday, the government announced new restrictions on places of worship, in areas like Calgary and Edmonton — anywhere with an enhanced status. The rules stipulate that faith leaders must calculate their pre-COVID attendance and cut it down to one-third of the regular total.The province encouraged online services, along with the distinction that in-person meetings and religious gatherings cannot be conducted in a private home while the measures are in effect. But some religious leaders say this doesn't go far enough and have ceased offering mass and in-person religious gatherings for the time being. Others have tightened their restrictions above and beyond the province's mandate.The Very Rev. Leighton Lee is the director of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, which is the Anglican cathedral in downtown Calgary. He's also the dean of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary. When cases began to climb, Lee was asked to reconvene a task force to come up with recommendations and measures to respond to the second wave of the pandemic. The decision was to suspend services beginning Nov. 15 until at least Dec. 6 — subject to change based on the pandemic situation. "We were making this decision to say, 'look, we can do our part and we can, in fact, be leaders in the community,'" Lee said. "We are faith leaders and we can demonstrate that by saying we believe the responsible thing to do as citizens of this province is to stay home as much as possible."The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee of St. Laurence Anglican Church said that while the diocese has decided to suspend mass for the time being, a message from the government would be more impactful and less confusing. "I commend churches that are sort of taking matters into their own hands," Greenwood-Lee said. "Frankly, it's confusing when we sort of put an extra layer of responsibility on churches to have to go above and beyond the guidance provided by the province."During the pandemic, Greenwood-Lee said there are other things more important than mass for her community, such as acts of service to the vulnerable populations who need a hand."We're called to donate to the food bank. Some of my parishioners are driving for the food bank right now to drop off food hampers at people's homes," Greenwood-Lee said."There's all sorts of good work that we can do as people of faith, even though we can't worship together on Sundays in person."Government 'sending the wrong message'Greenwood-Lee said the government's lack of limitations when it comes to in-person faith gatherings sends the wrong message, especially when faith-based gatherings have accounted for several of the province's outbreaks."[Premier] Jason Kenney seems hesitant to curtail people's rights or freedoms, but there's a basic ethical concept that none of us have any rights without responsibilities," Greenwood-Lee said."We have responsibilities to our neighbours. We have responsibilities to pay taxes. We have responsibilities not to drive while intoxicated. And right now we have a responsibility to limit public worship, to limit social gatherings, to wear a mask in order to protect the most vulnerable in our society."'If it's not safe we won't do it'First Alliance Church Calgary has two campuses in the city. In pre-pandemic times, one of the auditoriums was able to seat more than 2,000, lead pastor James Paton said.But after the pandemic's first wave, attendance was not encouraged, just available. To his knowledge, when people attended worship services after reopening, at most they were sitting 200 to 300 people, with distancing in place.With the rise in COVID-19 cases across Alberta, Paton said it was decided to stop weekend services until the weekend of Jan. 9."Whether that becomes the date with the open or not, I think would be very dependent on whether the multi-wave pandemic has got back under control," Paton said. "If that's not safe, we won't do it."Imam says mosque going above and beyond rulesShaikh Fayaz Tilly, a senior imam with the Muslim Council of Calgary and chaplain with the University of Calgary, said mosques in-person programming has moved online. The only in-person worship is permitted for Friday prayer."All of our programming, with the exception of Friday prayer, has switched to online programming," Tilly said. "The Qur'an speaks about, you know, Friday, the day of congregating, as long as it is safe for people to congregate. And we truly believe that, you know, families who pray together, stay together as a community to pray together, stay together as well."Tilly added the mosque is going above and beyond government recommendations in terms of attendance and health measures. For Friday prayer, he is encouraging only those who are healthy and without comorbidities to attend in person. Prayer lasts for approximately 12 minutes, Tilly said, and congregating isn't allowed. 'How can we preserve human life?'Rabbi Mark Glickman is the spiritual leader of Temple B'nai Tikvah. He said in-person gatherings have been suspended. He cannot speak for other temples but noted some of the more conservative groups have practices and rules that don't allow an easy shift to online worship."The Jewish perspective on the question of to shut down or not shut down comes down to how can we most effectively preserve human life? And that trumps everything in Judaism," Glickman said."That's really what we're looking for … however possible."Alberta Health did not have a percentage breakdown to reflect how many COVID-19 cases have been traced to faith communities. But the agency did note there have been "various large outbreaks" throughout the pandemic.
Two grocery carts full of Amazon packages and envelopes were found abandoned near the Real Canadian Superstore in Westboro on Thursday night, residents say.Denise Wong was out to get some groceries around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday when she noticed the two carts, left parked behind a thicket of trees near the Richmond Road store."I was just kind of shocked to see that many packages right there and no one really around," she said. "I looked closely to see if it was perhaps empty boxes but they all looked to be full."Her first thought was to post a note to her neighbourhood's Facebook page to alert others in the area who might be missing a package from their porch.Her husband later returned, and with another passerby, found a key fob near the packages that unlocked an Intelcom delivery van nearby. The passerby called police, said Wong. Ottawa police told CBC Friday they got a call about a delivery van that was stolen in Centretown as its driver was delivering packages at about 4:50 p.m. Thursday. They confirmed they were called to the area behind the store at about 6 p.m., where they found the van.Police said their investigation continues.CBC was unable to reach anyone with information at Intelcom and has yet to hear back from Amazon.
With COVID-19 cases projected to spike dramatically across the province, health officials say Haliburton County can still mitigate the impact within the area. Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table provided an update Nov. 12 that the province could reach more than 6,000 new cases per day by mid-December. That has yet to be felt in Haliburton, which has reported five new cases since Nov. 4. Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) medical officer of health, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, said the district is seeing more cases. But she added the local trajectory of the virus is still in our hands. The projection “is a worrisome finding, but also a call to action,” Noseworthy said. “People have the power to bend the curve – just as we did last spring – by following important public health measures that control the spread of COVID-19.” Minden’s Dr. Nell Thomas echoed the sentiment. She said higher case numbers are avoidable if people are responsible, such as by limiting close contact to only people within their social bubble. “It is not inevitable,” Thomas said, adding countries such as New Zealand have successfully contained the virus. “It is simply a reflection of human behaviour.” However, the medical world has criticized the public policy measures in place for virus control as insufficient. Thomas said frontline healthcare workers and emergency responders are hurting and being treated as fodder. “How long is that going to happen? Because pretty soon, we won’t have enough of them.” Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team Dr. Norm Bottum said an increase amount of cottagers staying in the area over the winter months will also add more pressure to acute care and ER. “We want to remind everyone if they have an issue of a minor nature or need medication renewal they should contact their primary care provider, regardless of where their practitioner is in the province,” Bottum said. “Our ER continues to be busy and given COVID protocols will be significantly pushed to keep up with the usual winter demand if it is significantly busier than usual.” Some cases excluded As more cottagers opt for extended stays in Haliburton, the exact number of COVID cases within the community is uncertain. Cases are tracked via primary address, meaning a case assessed here for someone from elsewhere but staying in Haliburton, would not be included in the local count. Thomas said that is a significant problem for accuracy. “When people say the numbers are low, we say, ‘no, not really’,” she said. “Those numbers aren’t shared with our community and it’s falsely reassuring.” Noseworthy said there is an effective contact-tracing system in place and health units are in daily contact with individuals who test positive and their close contacts. “The bottom line is that regardless of where a person lives or is tested for COVID-19 in Ontario, the provincial case and contact management system is very methodical, comprehensive and thorough.” Holiday caution needed The holiday season is approaching, but doctors advised health precautions need to be maintained. Noseworthy said it would likely be prudent to celebrate with immediate household only. For those farther away, she said people could connect virtually or over the phone. “I would strongly recommend local residents avoid any non-essential travel outside of our region – especially to areas with high COVID-19 case counts,” she said. “All of us need to redouble our efforts to follow important public health guidelines.” Thomas said it is a manageable thing to do. She further said people can take solace that COVID-19 is something they can help control. “Do not be complacent, do not be overwhelmed, do not feel hopeless,” Thomas said. “Be empowered.”Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
WATERLOO REGION — Three local Indigenous leaders are getting recognition for their advocacy and activism. Atlohsa Family Healing Services, a not-for-profit organization that provides Indigenous-focused programming and services, has chosen O:se Kenhionhata:tie — also known as Land Back Camp — as one of eight recipients of the 2020 Atlohsa Peace Awards. Launched in 2018, the Atlohsa Peace Awards recognize leaders who make significant contributions toward addressing Truth and Reconciliation in their communities. Land Back Camp organizers Shawn Johnston and Amy Smoke are being honoured for their success in engaging the City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo, and the Region of Waterloo to address their calls to action. They are also being lauded for creating a space where urban Indigenous youth have been drawn in efforts to reclaim land, language, and traditions. This year’s ceremony on Dec. 10 will feature live performances and a keynote from Sen. Murray Sinclair, the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba. Proceeds from ticket sales for the awards ceremony go toward Zhaawanong in London, Ontario, a 24-hour emergency women’s shelter that provides Indigenous-led crisis support for women and their children at risk of violence, abuse and homelessness. Smoke, manager of Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (WISC) at the University of Waterloo, is also being recognized locally. Smoke has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Ken Murray Award from the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, which will be awarded at KWCF’s upcoming Chair’s reception on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Local Indigenous leaders are also receiving national awards. Lori Campbell, WISC director, was recently recognized as one of the 2020 Women of Inspiration by the Universal Women’s Network two weeks ago. Campbell wrote in an email that this national award for her work as an Indigenous leader was an honour, and that nominations in several other categories floored her. “It tells me that I’m having an impact not only in the Indigenous community but as a leader in the broader community.”Fitsum Areguy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
Vivian Zayas can’t keep herself from scrolling through photos of last Thanksgiving, when her mother stood at the stove to make a big pot of rice and beans and then took a seat at the edge of the table.That was before anyone had heard of COVID-19 and before it claimed the retired seamstress. Ana Martinez died at 78 on April 1 while recovering at a nursing home from a knee replacement.The family is having their traditional meal of turkey, yams, green beans and rice and beans — but Zayas is removing a seat from the table at her home in Deer Park, New York, and putting her mother’s walker in its place.“It’s a painful Thanksgiving. You don’t even know, should you celebrate?” asked Zayas. “It’s a lonely time.”The family is left with “an empty chair at the table forever," another daughter, Alexa Rivera, said Thursday.Americans are marking the Thanksgiving holiday amid an unrelenting pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million people in the United States.Turkey and pies will still come out of ovens, football will still be on TV, families will still give thanks and have lively conversations about politics. But this holiday has been utterly altered after months filled with sorrows and hardships: Many feasts are weighed down by the loss of loved ones; others have been cancelled or scaled back with the virus surging.Zoom and FaceTime calls have become a fixture at dinner tables to connect with family members who don't want to travel. Far fewer volunteers are helping at soup kitchens or community centres. A Utah health department has been delivering boxes of food to residents who are infected with the virus and can't go to the store. A New York nursing home is offering drive-up visits for families of residents struggling with celebrating the holiday alone.“The holidays make it a little harder,” said Harriet Krakowsky, an 85-year-old resident of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York who misses the big Thanksgiving celebrations of years past and has lost neighbours and friends to the virus. “I cry, but I get over it. We have to go on.”On any normal Thanksgiving Day, Kara McKlemurry and her husband would drive from their Clearwater, Florida, home to one of two places: his family’s home in another part of the state or her family’s house in Alabama. This year, McKlemurry informed her family there would be no visits. When her in-laws offered to stop by, the couple said no.She and her husband didn’t want to risk infecting anyone or getting the virus themselves.Not everyone followed McKlemurry’s example. Millions of Americans bought tickets to fly somewhere for the holiday, crowding airports despite pleas from officials to avoid travel and gatherings.Still, McKlemurry, 27, wanted to do something unique to mark this unusual holiday — something to let everyone know that she and her husband still feel blessed this year.So, a week before Thanksgiving, armed with colored pens and stickers of owls with scarves, she hand wrote notes of gratitude to every member of the family.“We’re so grateful to have you in our lives,” she wrote on a card with a cartoon fox, “even if we can’t actually be together this year for the holidays.”In the nation’s capital, the convention centre is empty unlike in previous years, when volunteers have worked together to serve a meal to about 5,000 people. In the era of social distancing, the sponsored event had to be reimagined.Ahead of the holiday, organizers delivered to 20 nonprofits 5,000 gift bags, each with winter clothing accessories, hand sanitizer and a mask, and 5,000 boxes that included a turkey sandwich with condiments, a side potato salad, a cookie and utensils.From start to finish, Thanksgiving is different this year for Jessica Franz, a nurse who works the graveyard shift at Olathe Medical Center, in a Kansas City suburb.For one, Franz, 39, is celebrating without her mother-in-law, Elaine Franz, who died of the coronavirus on Nov. 10, just one day before her 78th birthday. In previous years, her mother-in-law, who was Mennonite, would lay out a spread for her children and grandchildren. At Franz's work, in a typical year, co-workers would bring food for a potluck.None of that is happening this year.The family is shifting the festivities to Zoom and FaceTime. It’s been hard for her daughters — ages, 2, 8 and 11. Her middle daughter was exposed to the coronavirus at school and is quarantined until Dec. 3, and her oldest daughter is struggling with the concept of a scaled-back holiday.“We had a good conversation that was, ‘This year may be different, and that’s OK. It is one year. If things are different this year and that means we get to see all the rest of our family next year, it is OK,’” said Franz, who has personally cared for patients dying of coronavirus.The Thanksgiving gathering at David Forsyth's home in Southern California, meanwhile, comes with a uniquely 2020 feel: rapid virus tests at the door to decide who gets inside.The kit costs about $1,000 for 20 tests, each of which involve pricking a finger and putting a drop of blood on a tray. Ten minutes later the results either show someone is negative, has antibodies or is positive.Normally, about 15 to 20 people attend the family’s Thanksgiving dinner in Channel Islands Harbor. But this year, it will only be eight of them: Forsyth, his wife, her four adult sons and the partners of two of them.His wife started cooking Tuesday. She’s planning a cold cucumber soup for a starter and bunch of appetizers for the early afternoon meal. The sons are bringing side dishes. Turkey and the fixings are the main course. Champagne may be cracked.Forsyth hasn’t seen his family much during the pandemic but wanted to save the holiday.“People are trying to live a normal life," he said. "And, you know, with the second wave coming now, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared.”Kerry Osaki longs to see his now-grown children, without masks, and hug them. But instead he and his wife are celebrating just the two of them after their traditions were upended.Osaki's 93-year-old mother, Rose, who lived with the couple in Orange County in California, died from the virus after all three got sick.With his mother gone, Osaki, 67, and his cousin decided to pass on the family's annual Thanksgiving get-together. His wife, Lena Adame, typically spent the holiday cooking a spread of turkey and stuffing with her relatives — but some had seen virus cases at their workplaces, so the couple decided to skip that, too.“It’s just been a long, rough and sometimes sad year,” he said.In Ogden, Utah, Evelyn Maysonet stepped out of her home Tuesday morning to find boxes overflowing with canned goods, desserts and a turkey. She has been isolating with her husband and son since all three tested positive for COVID-19.None of them has been able to leave to buy groceries, so they were thrilled to receive the health department’s delivery — and the chance to cherish the things that matter most.“As long as you have a life and you’re still alive, just make the best of it with you and your family,” Maysonet said.___Associated Press journalists Tamara Lush, Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Sophia Eppolito, Amy Taxin and John Minchillo contributed to this report.Regina Garcia Cano, Matt Sedensky And Heather Hollingsworth, The Associated Press
Two people arrested by the RCMP Gang Task had more court appearances but the matters were adjourned. Matthew Greer, 34, of Biggar, and Rae Ahenakew, 40, of Mosquito First Nation, were scheduled to enter pleas in North Battleford Provincial Court on Nov. 23. They were arrested Sept. 2 after police say they saw two parked vehicles “interacting” with one another in a parking lot on Railway Avenue. Police also noticed weapons in one of the vehicles and one of the occupants was known to have an outstanding arrest warrant. Police searched the vehicle and found a firearm, weapons, a Taser, quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Desiree Hinse, 24, of Biggar, and Shynia Skeavington, 24, of Mosquito First Nation, were also arrested. They were charged with weapons and drug offences. Greer is scheduled to enter a plea in North Battleford Provincial Court on Jan. 25, 2021. Ahenakew is scheduled to enter a plea on Jan. 12, 2021. Both Skeavnington and Hinse failed to appear in North Battleford Provincial Court and bench warrants for their arrest were issuedLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
OTTAWA — Eric Duncan, the first openly gay Conservative MP, laced into the federal health minister Thursday over the Liberals failure to end a ban on gay men donating blood. In a heated and emotional exchange during a late-night committee hearing in the House of Commons, Duncan pressed Patty Hajdu repeatedly, including a direct question on whether she'd accept a blood donation from him.Hajdu didn't directly answer, pointing to ongoing work to end a ban on donations from men who have sex with men. Canada banned blood donations from gay men since 1992 before allowing it in 2013 if the donor abstained from sex with another man for at least five years.That was changed to one year in 2016, and then three months in 2019.But the Liberals promised to end the ban completely in both 2015 and 2019.Duncan said there is a desperate need for blood donations during the second wave of COVID-19."I want to donate and make a difference, but I can't because I'm gay," he said. "In the year 2020, why is that?Hajdu said both Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec are independent from government and they have to do the right amount of research to end the ban entirely. She said the organizations have been funded by the government to do that, but Duncan accused Hajdu of hiding behind bureaucrats."She had no problem during an election campaign telling gay men this would end," he said.Three times, he asked Hajdu directly if she'd accept a blood donation from him, and three times she did not directly answer."Does she not feel comfortable, from me as a gay man, taking my blood," he asked.Hajdu said as soon as the blood agencies submit their recommendations on how to end the ban, they will be reviewed and changes will be made. "I think the gay blood ban needs to end," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Collisions on Edmonton streets have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the city says nearly the same number of people died in traffic-related incidents so far this year as in 2019. Jessica Lemarre, the City of Edmonton's director of traffic safety, said the volume of traffic decreased at different points in the past eight months and likewise, so did collisions. However, 12 people have died in traffic collisions so far this year, while 14 people died in 2019. "Which tells us things like speed and impairment continue to be extremely risky behaviour — not only risky, but also illegal — that leads to tragedy," Lemarre said. At a news conference Thursday, Lemarre presented an outline of Safe Mobility Strategy 2021-2025, a new approach by the city to achieve Vision Zero. The city adopted Vision Zero in 2015, a campaign that started in Sweden in 1997 with the long-term goal of zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. In 2015, 32 people died from traffic collisions on Edmonton roads. By 2019, that death toll had been cut in half, Lemarre said, and there were 30 per cent fewer serious injuries than five years earlier. Lemarre noted that 69 per cent of serious collisions and deaths are on arterial roads. "We know when we look at the cause of those crashes that 80 per cent of those crashes are the results of driver error." Since Vision Zero began in Edmonton, 82 crosswalks have been upgraded, the report says. Pedestrian vs driver Safety measures, such as improving signals and signs at intersections, have proven effective for drivers but not so much for pedestrians and cyclists. The report shows from 2015 to 2019, motorcycle crashes were down about 60 per cent and vehicle crashes, 30 per cent. Crashes involving people walking were down 10 per cent, and those with cyclists didn't change. The city uses data from Edmonton police reports to dissect causes and elements related to collisions. In 2019, the top causes of serious and fatal collisions were tailgating, drivers losing control and running off the road, not yielding to a pedestrian, drivers running red lights, and turning left across the path of another vehicle or person. In the coming months, Lemarre said the city will continue exploring traffic-calming measures and safety improvements. She said there are many options, including community-focused projects like jersey barriers painted by local artists or vibrant crosswalks with creative paint. In recent years, the city has installed eight scramble crosswalks and synchronized signals, she noted. Council's urban planning committee will review the strategy at a meeting next Tuesday. Like previous traffic safety work, the new strategy will be funded by the automated enforcement reserve. Proposed budgets for new traffic safety work will be presented to city council early next year. Photo radar Part of the Safe Mobility Strategy includes photo radar, a controversial area of speed enforcement that Coun. Andrew Knack hopes can be partly resolved. "There's this never-ending debate on whether photo radar is a cash cow," Knack said. More than a year ago, Knack asked city administration for an update on an interactive map they were working on that would show people if photo radar improved safety at various locations it's used around Edmonton. "Instead of that immediate reaction of either it's good or it's bad, actually have some hard data to be able to show people and say: 'in each location, here's the specific impact we have seen when we use this tool'." Knack said in the west end, the stretch on 142nd Street between 107th Avenue and Stony Plain Road gets a lot of criticism. The speed limit goes down to 50 km/h from 60 km/h. "I'm not sure if that's making things better," Knack said. "Is there a better set of tools?" Lemarre said that data and the interactive map - to be posted on the City's Open Data site — is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.
EDMONTON — The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in Alberta remembers her encounter with the premier as less dramatic than he suggested.Carolina De La Torre says Kenney got her central feelings correct, but she said she did not break down into tears the way Kenney recalled."No crying," the 57-year-old woman said with a laugh during a phone interview Thursday.She also said it was Kenney who approached her Calgary food court booth called Arepas Ranch for lunch in October, not the other way around as the premier told it.After weeks of mounting COVID-19 cases, as more than 1,000 new cases and 16 deaths were reported on Tuesday, Kenney announced new rules that included making indoor private social events illegal.During the news conference, Kenney gave an example of how much a lockdown would hurt businesses by telling the story of a Venezuelan refugee he met. "A couple of weeks ago, I was in my constituency, at a little food court thing and a new Albertan, a refugee from Venezuela socialism, came up to me," Kenney said."She had just opened a little food kiosk, she recognized me, she came up to me, and she broke down in tears in front of me saying, 'sir, I put my entire life savings as a refugee into this business, we're struggling to pay the bills, if you shut me down, I'm going to lose it all, everything, and I'll be in abject poverty.'""For some, perhaps, it is a little bit too easy to say just flick a switch. Shut them down," Kenney said."I would ask people who have the certainty of a paycheque to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses."De La Torre and her husband run the booth, which is located a 10-minute drive from Kenney's constituency office. Born in Venezuela, De La Torre said she and her husband came to Canada with refugee status in 1989 when it became no longer safe to live there. They settled in Montreal for 25 years before they packed their bags and moved to Calgary to follow their daughter who was starting school at the University of Alberta.They have been living in Alberta for seven years and have been running Arepas Ranch for two years. They are known for making specialty arepas, which is a cornmeal patty, filled with a choice of shredded beef, chicken salad, black beans, ham, cheese, or other vegan and veggie options.At first, De La Torre said she didn't recognize Kenney when he stopped to order food and then someone from another booth told her it was the premier.De La Torre doesn't recall exactly what Kenney ordered, but she remembers the "very short" conversation they had when he came back to let them know the meal was "fantastico." She posted a picture of the premier on her Instagram. De La Torre said Kenney got her feelings right.She said it’s true that the couple put their money into the business and closing the economy would be bad for them. But she understands it’s about people’s health, which is what she told Kenney."What I said is, 'There has to be a balance between the economy and the health. There is not only me in this food court, we are more than 40 small businesses in the court that need to be open to make a way of life'."No one from Kenney's office immediately responded to a request for comment. De La Torre said when she heard Kenney mentioned her during a news conference, she was at first surprised.But now, "I didn't know what to think about it," she said."I don't know. What can I say? It's OK."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News FellowshipFakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
Les foyers d’éclosion de COVID dans des sites d’exploitation pétrolière albertains se multiplient. Cette croissance a des répercussions dans d’autres provinces. Ainsi, depuis le début de septembre, la majorité des nouvelles personnes infectées à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador sont des résidents de cette province, récemment revenus de leur travail en Alberta, et faisant régulièrement la navette entre les deux provinces pour gagner leur vie. Selon les plus récentes informations diffusées sur le site Internet du gouvernement de l’Alberta, des foyers d’éclosion sont actifs dans deux sites de la pétrolière CNRL, deux sites d’Imperial Oil, deux de Suncor et un site de Syncrude. La majorité de la main-d’œuvre de ces installations situées au nord de Fort McMurray est composée de travailleurs qui font la navette vers leur résidence située dans d’autres régions albertaines et d’autres provinces. La découverte de leur contamination survient souvent lors de leur retour à la maison. Ce phénomène est particulièrement important et visible à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Entre le 1er septembre et le 25 novembre, le nombre de nouveaux cas à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador est passé de 269 à 324. Parmi ces nouveaux cas, selon des données colligées par CBC Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador dans un reportage du 24 novembre, 18 de ces nouveaux cas venaient directement de l’Alberta et 16 d’entre eux étaient des travailleurs de retour de cette province. Tous les autres venaient également d’ailleurs au pays ou dans le monde. Pour le moment, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador est la seule province qui n’a pas de contamination communautaire, soit aucun cas dont la source n’a pas été déterminée. Ainsi, le 25 novembre, la médecin en chef de cette province, la Dre Janice Fitzgerald, a annoncé un nouveau cas d’infection venant tout droit de l’Alberta, une femme d’une quarantaine d’années. Elle a également indiqué qu’un nouveau foyer d’éclosion avait été déclaré sur le site de l’Imperial Oil à Cold Lake, en Alberta, où travaillent plusieurs personnes de la province la plus à l’est du Canada. Deux jours plus tôt, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador enregistrait son premier cas dans une école. La petite fille contaminée est une proche d’une personne revenant, elle aussi, de l’Alberta. En raison du grand nombre de Terre-Neuviens qui travaillent ailleurs au Canada, le gouvernement de cette province diffuse une liste des lieux où des foyers d’éclosion ont été déclarés. Dans cette liste, on retrouve majoritairement des pétrolières, les mêmes qui ont été recensées par la Santé publique albertaine. Selon les années, de 15 000 à 25 000 personnes de cette province travaillent ailleurs au pays et dans le monde. Quitter son chez-soi, pour subsister Pourquoi autant de Terre-Neuviens doivent-ils partir si loin pour travailler ? Depuis le moratoire sur la pêche à la morue annoncé le 2 juillet 1992 par le ministre fédéral des Pêches, John Crosbie, des dizaines de milliers de pêcheurs et de travailleurs d’usine de poisson de Terre-Neuve se sont retrouvés sans emploi. Depuis, ils s’expatrient loin et temporairement, à l’extérieur des frontières de leur province, pour gagner leur vie, notamment en Alberta. Selon une étude du regroupement de chercheurs universitaires Partenariat On the Move, réalisée à partir de données de Statistique Canada, l’Alberta est devenue depuis 2014 la première province de destination pour ces travailleurs, soit pour 57 % d’entre eux. Statistique Canada rapporte aussi qu’entre 2014 et 2019, plus de 11 000 personnes sont déménagées dans la province albertaine. Mesures sanitaires Aujourd’hui, toutes les personnes qui arrivent à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, doivent s’isoler pendant 14 jours, à l’exception des travailleurs essentiels et de ces travailleurs en rotation. Dans leur cas, ils peuvent mettre fin à leur isolement si un test, effectué 7 jours après leur arrivée, est négatif. Ceux qui arrivent depuis un site où il y a un foyer d’éclosion doivent s’isoler durant 14 jours.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
Among a series of new measures instituted by the province to attempt to quell the spread of COVID-19 was an expanded mask mandate for schools. The announcement, made Wednesday, non-medical masking will be extended to all students, employees and visitors in all schools and daycares in the province. Children aged three years old to 12 years old now should wear a mask if they are able to. As has been the practice before children ages up to two-years old are exempt from wearing masks. Both the Prince Albert Catholic School Division and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division have adapted to the new measures. The Catholic Division had already put out a notice to schools that mandatory masks would be required for Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3 students in the division, previously the only group excluded. “I realize that came out in the public health order this afternoon but we had initiated that out today to our schools. We had decided that we would do so regardless of what the province is doing,” Trumier said. They used prior experiences in the pandemic as part of the decision. “We know that there was good support for it earlier when children over two-years of age had to wear them in public places. At that point we deliberated and said we would do the same,” she explained. Trumier explained that they have tried to stay ahead of the curve on the evolving public health orders in the province. In Saskatchewan Rivers, similar changes were instituted, according to director of education Robert Bratvold. Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 students and staff will wear masks throughout the day. Bratvold explained that the division would be following the measures including exemptions for medical or other reasons. This makes a change from the previous Sask. Rivers measures where Pre-Kindergarten staff and Grade 4 to 12 students are already wearing masks. “The new measures will pose some challenges for some, but in SRPSD many early years students have been voluntarily wearing masks and this suggests we can overcome the challenges that young students may experience in adjusting to the wearing of masks,” Bratvold said. Some schools had already been encouraging increased mask use in younger grades. Bratvold credits staff in the division for doing excellent work thus far and explained that the staff will rely on support from families to adjust to the new measures. “Safety protocols in schools do support our communities by reducing the risk of transmission in schools but schools also depend on the people in our communities to be diligent in taking precautions to prevent COVID transmission,” he said. Both divisions emphasized that despite the challenges it is important that everyone continues to be diligent in performing the daily health screening and self-monitoring, stay home if not feeling well, call the HealthLine at 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practice proper hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing as much as possible, wear a mask when appropriate. Both divisions also emphasized that they each want people to do whatever they can to keep each other safe. So far, neither division has seen a case of COVID-19 transmitted through the school system.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald