ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
More than 50 people who live in the western P.E.I. community of Forestview have signed a petition calling on the provincial government to move high-voltage power lines away from their homes.The lines run along Howlan Road and carry electricity generated at the West Cape wind farm.The province did remove three-quarters of the lines in 2008, says local resident Clyde Penney, and promised at that time to move the rest once future wind turbines were established in that area."We're asking now for government to live up to that responsibility and to remove the lines," said Penney.After more than a decade of lobbying, the residents of the area say the time to move the lines is now, as the province plans a $44 million project to establish a 106-kilometre transmission line to transport energy from a future 40-megawatt wind farm in Skinners Pond to a substation in Sherbrooke, near Summerside. It's planned for 2025.Penney said 52 impacted residents have signed the petition.He said they're not against the turbines, just against the lines running by their homes."In some cases they're only 25 feet from the houses," said Penney, adding that the lines devalue their properties and pose a potential health risk."The birds won't even land on them."'Just devastated'The residents want to see the lines relocated away from homes on the road.Juanita Gallant told CBC News when they rerouted the other lines back in 2008, she and her neighbours thought all the lines would be moved."But they stopped about a quarter of a kilometre from our house. That was it. We were just devastated," she said."They rerouted everything from here right through to Summerside, but they didn't reroute this bunch of homes right here," said her husband, Ricky."They should've done that from the start."Their MLA, Robert Henderson, has asked the government to follow through on its commitment, suggesting it use the poles, wire and insulators along the new route of its wind energy corridor."They're right in their front yards," he said. "The community has been very patient."Penney wrote to Energy Minister Steven Myers in August, but said he has not heard back yet.In the legislature Tuesday, Myers said he doesn't know where the new power corridor will be located, but he's willing to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.A spokesperson with Maritime Electric said the company was not aware of any recent issues or concerns in that area, and it would be up to the province to decide whether to move the lines.More from CBC P.E.I.
The number of families seeking holiday help has increased in Cape Breton, including people who are finding themselves in need for the first time.With fundraising impacted by the pandemic, resources are spread particularly thin this year, said Maj. Corey Vincent of the Salvation Army.The Christian organization will support 900 families in Cape Breton this Christmas — an increase of about 25 per cent. "These are families that have never sought help before or assistance," said Vincent. "They're unfamiliar with Christmas assistance because they've been able to provide for their families in the past, but because of COVID and unemployment, they've just been stressed to the max." Kettle campaign down $14KThe pandemic has brought a wide range of challenges for the Salvation Army on the island. Partnering organizations have been unable to sponsor as many families this year. Another blow has been dealt to the well-known kettle campaign, which Vincent said is down by $14,000 compared to last year. "That worries me," said Vincent. "But in previous years, we've always noticed that in December a lot of people who give, they're giving more. "I'm very, very confident that the people of Cape Breton will step up to the plate." Each year, volunteers with the Every Woman's Centre in Sydney help by purchasing gifts and other items for families sponsored by the organization's adopt-a-family program.Louise Smith-MacDonald, executive director of the centre, said the extra help contributes to about half of the Christmas items purchased. "Our unknown was whether people were going to feel comfortable in going out and shopping for the family that they adopted," she said. "It worked out absolutely wonderful. People took their families, they shopped, they shopped early."Providing meals a necessityMembers of the Sydney Sunrise Rotary Club decided early that fundraising from last year would be spent on COVID relief.The club recently donated $2,500 each to the Glace Bay food bank and Loaves and Fishes in Sydney. "We did a little bit of research and for us, we felt the money was best put to help with food insecurity," said Michele McKinnon, the club's public relations chair. "That's where we saw our money could perhaps benefit most people."McKinnon expects next year giving will be impacted by the pandemic's cancellation of two major fundraisers for the club. Cape Breton poverty visibleVincent, who has been ministering with the Salvation Army for almost 20 years across Canada, said poverty is more visible in Cape Breton compared to other areas where he's lived."Every day we're seeing clients coming through our facility that are basically living on the edge," he said."We see a lot of working-class poor where they're getting hours, they're working — but it's just not enough to meet the demands."MORE TOP STORIES
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) says it is looking into several instances of uninvited strangers joining online classes and disrupting lessons.Nathalie Seskus, a Grade 7 St. Alphonsus School student — and the daughter of a CBC employee — said that since moving online this week, her class has been crashed by uninvited strangers more than once."It happened in two calls — one on [a] Google meeting, one on Zoom, where people who aren't part of our school or class have just been joining in calls," Seskus said.Seskus, 12, said the students and teacher can tell when someone uninvited had joined their chat rooms because of their usernames."We noticed because we're always supposed to use our real names when we're on calls. When we don't, we're asked to change them," she said. "In one case, when we were on a Zoom meeting, a man who was posing as a student had a random username."Seskus said the teacher told him to leave because he wasn't part of her class."She had kicked him out of the meeting and he joined again," Seskus said.She said in the other case, the intruder claimed to be a new student. "But he sounded like a man, not a child," Seskus said. "Everyone in the class was telling our teacher to kick them out. So she did, and we didn't see him pop up again."Disruptions were more common in the springBryan Szumlas, chief superintendent of the CCSD, said these disruptions are definitely happening — but were more common in the spring."For example, zoom back from March to June, there were some security issues with them, but they have since improved their technology significantly," Szumlas said. "It has been assessed by our Calgary Catholic technology team and it is a platform that we are comfortable with."Szumlas said the process of moving all Grade 7 to 12 students online this week was bound to include hiccups along the way. "What I did hear wasn't a huge problem," Szumlas said. "But I did hear about it in one or two classrooms where a teacher never clicked on a security feature and consequently [people outside the class joined]."We suspect it was just another student playing a prank and jumping into a class and making an inappropriate comment and then taking off."Szumlas said these types of incidents are taken very seriously and investigated fully."When something like this happens, obviously the teacher would communicate that to the principal and the principal would then start an investigation," Szumlas said. Szumlas said that should an incident be criminal, then the principal would also contact Calgary police, adding that police have not yet been required.Moving students onlineThe superintendent said the direction from the province to move older students online came relatively quickly."There was only four or five days for teachers to prepare," he said. "So the direction that we've given our teachers is that, use whatever platform you're comfortable with, so that we can continue the continuity of education."We've tried to give our teachers choice here. And I think we live in a world today that is so full of different technologies that are improving continuously, that having that rich variety is only good for our staff and good for our students."Szumlas said the district is constantly working with staff to help them understand some of the new security features on Zoom and other online platforms."One of the measures is that all students need to wait in the waiting room and then be admitted by the teacher and the teacher by clicking a few buttons within Zoom can lock in the student names and also prevent other people from accessing the room," he said.Calgary Board of Education experienceThe Calgary Board of Education said this is not an issue it has been seeing."We have not heard of incidences of strangers being a part of online lessons with our students," said the CBE in an emailed statement.The majority of the CBE's online learning takes place through Google Classrooms or D2L, according to the district."Classroom spaces, physical or digital, are learning environments specific for guiding interactions between teachers and students," the statement read.The CBE said there have been instances where a parent or guardian pops in on a lesson. "Caregivers entering a classroom space without invite and without following all of our guidelines are asked to leave and reminded of the importance of privacy for all students," the statement read."In most cases, our school-based administrators share the expectations of the classroom and parallel these expectations with face-to-face learning environments, and parents or caregivers are very understanding and receptive."
Since marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2018, Windsor-Essex has seen an influx of cannabis growers in the area, most raising crops in a highly controlled environment, such as under greenhouse glass and wild bright lights, designed for year-round farming.But 7 Farms Down, a company in Merlin, Ont. in the Chatham-Kent region is going the old fashioned route — it will grow their crops outside in the field.Jason Guttridge, one of the owners of the company, said after four years of bouncing around the idea with his brother and trying to make it a reality, they finally received their cultivation license on Friday. "I can't say it was easy because it definitely wasn't, but I think it would be worth it in the long run to bring a different product onto the shelf," he said.Guttridge said he and his team come from an agricultural family and are already familiar with traditional agricultural practices, and will apply those harvesting techniques to grow "small-batch, handcrafted outdoor cannabis.""There's a lot of proven agricultural techniques that are already kind of readily available to us. I don't really have to go reinventing the wheel," he said.He said growing outdoors has many benefits compared to growing in a greenhouse, including reduced costs, and "free sun and rain."Pests also becomes less of an issue when growing outside because he says "there's going to be beneficial insects around.""For every insect that's out there, there's an equal and opposite insect that wants to take care of itself," he said. "We grow well and we're adaptable. So, you know, whatever Mother Nature wants to throw at us, we're pretty confident that we can, you know, contend with it."'New, growing industry,' says company ownerWhen asked about how his neighbours feel about him growing cannabis, Guttridge told CBC News that he's just trying to give "a little bit of success to a small community.""There's a lot of opinions, but what I'm trying to do here, you know, is 100 per cent by the books. We jump through every hoop to get through Health Canada. I'm trying to build something positive for my local community where I was born and raised. And we can bring some economic activity here," he said."At the end of the day, this is a new, growing industry."Small-batch, handcrafted outdoor cannabisGuttridge said the company expects to grow less than five acres of marijuana this spring."It isn't so much about how much can we plant and how much can I put out like from a production level, but how high of a quality can I put out? So, you know, we might be able to fit a thousand plants in an acre, might even be able to fit 1,500 plants in an acre at the end of the day. That isn't my main concern," he said."My main concern is, you know, how much high quality product came out of that acre. So that number will change."He hopes his company's products will be hitting shelves by late summer or fall of next year.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A mysterious object temporarily orbiting Earth is a 54-year-old rocket, not an asteroid after all, astronomers confirmed Wednesday. Observations by a telescope in Hawaii clinched its identity, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The object was classified as an asteroid after its discovery in September. But NASA’s top asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, quickly suspected it was the Centaur upper rocket stage from Surveyor 2, a failed 1966 moon-landing mission. Size estimates had put it in the range of the old Centaur, which was about 32 feet (10 metres) long and 10 feet (3 metres) in diameter. Chodas was proven right after a team led by the University of Arizona's Vishnu Reddy used an infrared telescope in Hawaii to observe not only the mystery object, but — just on Tuesday — a Centaur from 1971 still orbiting Earth. The data from the images matched. “Today’s news was super gratifying!,” Chodas said via email. “It was teamwork that wrapped up this puzzle.” The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles (50,476 kilometres). It will depart the neighbourhood in March, shooting back into its own orbit around the sun. Its next return: 2036. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Whitefish River First Nation says the community voted not to ratify the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement (ANGA). The ANGA is a self-government agreement between the Anishinabek Nation on behalf of its member First Nations and the Government of Canada. Those who choose to ratify the agreement will have the power to enact laws on how they wish to elect their chief and council, how their First Nation government will operate and be managed, who their citizens will be and how they want to protect and promote the Anishinaabe language and culture. “First drafted in 1995, this governance agreement reflects the vision those past chiefs had for a better future,” said Whitefish River First Nation Chief Shining Turtle (Franklin Paibomsai) in a letter written on Dec. 1. “Today, the agreement includes provisions for self-government and funding for language, citizenship, elections and band support. It’s a good agreement – but it did not resonate with you.” Members of the Whitefish River First Nation community voted online from Nov. 1 to 30, by mail-in ballot, or in-person at the Administration Office on Nov. 28. The results were tallied on the evening of Nov. 30 – out of 314 total votes cast, 167 individuals voted “no” to ratifying the agreement and 145 individuals voted “yes.” This was the First Nation’s 2nd ratification vote on the ANGA. “Voting on agreements such as this one can be tough, and there may be strong feelings all around,” said Shining Turtle. “Know that those feelings are there because we as a community are passionate and committed to building a better future for the next seven generations. On that, we can agree.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Nova Scotia first responders have had a hand in creating a new website intended to help their colleagues recognize when they need mental health support.Debbie Fortune and her husband, Jason, have both been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder while working as paramedics in Cape Breton.Fortune said her husband left his job in 2012, and it took years for him to get a diagnosis and proper treatment.There weren't many PTSD resources available to civilians, she said, so the couple went to a military support group and were surprised to find people with different jobs had the same experiences."That was one of the turning points for us, to just feel like we're not alone," said Fortune."People understand this, and we're not failures. We're injured and that's OK. We can deal with an injury. When you don't know you have an injury, where do you begin to try to get better?"PTSD not always easy to recognizeIt's easy enough to identify an injury when someone has broken a bone or is bleeding, she said, but PTSD is not immediately obvious to the person with the disorder.It is also complicated and can't always be tied to a particularly bad incident, Fortune said."It's often not those very traumatic experiences," she said. "It's more of those sad moments, the day-to-day things that you witness being in people's homes."The couple had ups and downs even after Jason's diagnosis. Fortune said she and her husband separated for a while, but eventually got back together after his care improved.It was a shock when her own diagnosis came just this summer.While getting help was easier, Fortune said she struggled to even acknowledge she had the disorder.'I should have known'"It was very unexpected," she said. "I should have known. I was well versed in the symptoms. How could I possibly have this?"Fortune is currently off work, but said she is getting help and plans to return to her job in January.She was among a group of police officers, firefighters, nurses and experts in workers compensation that helped create a new mental health website allowing first responders and their loved ones to identify when help is needed."I am hoping that my experience with my own diagnosis and my own journey to try to heal, is something that I can say to people, 'There is a way back,'" said Fortune.Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, was also on the committee and said there is still stigma around mental health and it may be more prevalent among first responders.She said the number of workplace claims for mental health from first responders has increased, demonstrating the need for the new website."It doesn't hurt just to check in through the website and you can talk to counsellors or you can do it virtually," Hazelton said. "First responders need to understand that it's OK. It's OK to acknowledge that a traumatic event has affected your mental health, and you need to be not ashamed to seek help."Fortune said Nova Scotians have had a particularly hard time this year with COVID-19 and the mass shooting. While the website is geared toward first responders, it has information and tools that anyone can use."There are going to be people that are affected by that, and not necessarily because they're a first responder," she said.MORE TOP STORIES
A fishing tournament organizer and TV personality has brought his business to New Brunswick after being fined $9,000 and losing his Ontario fishing licence for not reporting the nearly 200 dead bass he threw into a dumpster.Ben Woo was convicted of failing to abide by the terms and conditions of the licence allowing tournament organizers to transport fish to be weighed and measured before they were returned live to the water. After the incident, Woo relocated to southern New Brunswick, where he's continued to organize fishing tournaments under the name B1 Fishing, including two in partnership with the City of Fredericton. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 195 dead bass were found after Woo's tournament on the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque on July 15, 2019. Of that number, 188 were in plastic bags at the bottom of a dumpster. It's one of the largest fines handed out, and one of the most serious violations the department has recorded. "This was by far the most heinous one I've ever seen," said Greg Bourne, a staff sergeant who has been with the Ontario ministry for 21 years.Bourne said anglers called in the tip about the fish-dumping on the opening day of the two-day weekend tournament. "People who were at the tournament called our communication centre and complained that there seemed to be a lot fish dying at this bass tournament," said Bourne. Bourne said someone was dispatched on the second day of the tournament to check it out but was reassigned to another call. An officer didn't make it to the marina where the fish were being kept until the day after the tournament ended. But anglers also contacted Bruce Tufts, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., head of the Freshwater Fisheries Conservation Lab, and the biologist who helped craft Ontario's guidelines for handling fish during tournaments. They sent him photos of the fish — some already dead — in the tank where they were kept after being measured and weighed. Tufts said the pictures bothered him so much he barely slept that night. "I called my lab manager at 6 o'clock in the morning and said 'This is really bugging me, there's got to be a ton of dead fish down there,'"Tufts, along with some of his students and another angler, got permission from the marina owner to search the area for what they suspected would be a large number of dead bass. They were later joined by a conservation officer from the Ministry of Natural Resources. "We started finding dead fish in the bushes," said Tufts. "We found a few dead fish in the water." Tufts said a marina employee pointed them to a dumpster. "In the bottom, there were 17 bags of smallmouth bass that were the biggest, best, broodstock in our fishery," said Tufts.According to both Tufts and Bourne, the fish died as a result of lack of oxygen and inadequate water temperatures in the holding tank where they'd been placed after being weighed.The Ontario ministry requires that if more than five per cent of the fish caught during the tournament die while in the possession of the event, the government must be immediately contacted. "We believe the organizer was negligent in the way he handled the fish, and that's what resulted in the deaths of so many," said Bourne.Tufts said the fish were double-bagged, and other garbage had been piled on top. Woo originally faced 11 charges, including giving a false statement to a conservation officer, but in the end pleadedguilty to one: failing to abide by the terms and conditions of a licence. Move to New Brunswick Woo and his family moved to Tracyville, about 28 kilometres south of Fredericton, last year.The former Montreal resident is prohibited from holding a fishing licence in Ontario, but that does not bar him from fishing in other provinces. He said his move to New Brunswick was for personal reasons and not an effort to circumvent the Ontario penalty. Inthe wake of his conviction, he said, he's no longer hosting fishing tournaments."Absolutely 100 per cent done with that," Woo said this week. "And to be very transparent that not only due to this, but it's also due to COVID."But Woo and B1 Fishing did host tournaments this past summer and he was scheduled to host an event in Fredericton as recently as October. That event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.Until his recent conviction, Woo had also been partnering with the City of Fredericton on tournaments.The City of Fredericton hosted two B1 Fishing tournaments in 2019. Both took place after the Gananoque tournament, but the city said it worked with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure proper fish handling. "However, we will not be working with Mr. Woo on future tournaments," wrote Bobby Despres, Fredericton sport tourism co-ordinator. "Protecting our natural environment is the city's top concern and we want to work with organizers who are fully committed to this principle." Woo also has a working relationship with the New Brunswick Department of Tourism. The fishing show he hosts, Fish East, is set to premiere this month on the Wild Television Network and the website states: "Woo sets out to explore the East Coast through a nine-episode series filmed exclusively in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia."The government of New Brunswick is listed as a partner with the production. Woo denies hiding fishWoo claimsthe only thing he did wrong was to not immediately contact the Ontario government after more than five per cent of the fish caught died on the first day of the tournament. He said he filed a report with the ministry on the Tuesday following the tournament, then resubmitted a more detailed report the following Friday. He said his only option was to throw the fish in the garbage. "What would be the other option, take them off-site? I'm not sure where we would have put them," said Woo. "Or do we go and announce to everybody 'Hey, we have 200 dead fish here, what do we do?' I'm not sure that would have been the politically correct thing to do. There's no precedent here." "We panicked," Woo wrote on the B1 Fishing Facebook page when explaining why fish were thrown in the garbage. He denies trying to hide them. Woo thinks whatever killed the fish is still uncertain. Water quality blamed "This was an anomaly," said Woo. "It never happened before; it's never happened since."Woo points the finger at the venue, the river water quality, as one of the factors in what happened to the fish."But certainly, there was no negligence on our side of things as far as the procedure or the fish handling is concerned," said Woo. Woo said he takes full responsibility and regrets what happened.
Christmas Cheer, a 50-year-old annual effort created to help people in Sackville at Christmas time, is low on money.For decades, the charity has been making sure about 250 families have food and presents at Christmas time.But while the charity has operated in much the same way for decades, the pandemic is making fundraising difficult.Elizabeth Wells, president of the Sackville Community Association, the charity that organizes Christmas Cheer, said the group has typically relied on word of mouth and an annual mail out to past donors to stir up the approximately $35,000 raised each year."We don't have any kind of administrative support, we don't have a website, so we're just relying on the community to know that this is what we do every year," said Wells.But this year, the charity finds itself thousands of dollars behind. The group is asking for help from people in Sackville who can afford to do so."We are finding that our donations are a little bit slower coming in because, as people have moved away or have become deceased, we don't have the means to get in touch with new people in town," said Wells.Word doesn't spread as easily when people stay home"We don't really have the means to have a much larger communication strategy than we have, we have a Facebook page," said Wells."I'm concerned because the word isn't out yet."The local paper, the Sackville Tribune Post always did a story each year about their efforts leading up to the holidays. But it laid off its staff at the start of the pandemic, something Wells said was valuable publicity."It just reminded people who aren't necessarily getting a letter that the campaign was still going," said Wells.The charity was formed sometime around 1970, when the churches in the town got together to pool resources in one charity.Formed to help 'wayfarers' with a hot meal, a shower, a bus ticket"We dealt with wayfarers who were looking for a bus ticket or an overnight or a meal as well as Christmas cheer," said Wells."So we would help those people but that is all dried up as well, as people don't have the money to even be a wayfarer anymore."Aside from Christmas Cheer, the charity also helps kids in need by providing school supplies and summer camps, and is there for people who are just having a hard time, no matter what time of year.> "We're the only game in town for this particular purpose. We have a food bank and that's it. "> > \- Elizabeth Wells"If they run into trouble with fuel oil or a bill, they can't pay medical expenses or a cab to get to Moncton for a medical appointment," said Wells.To find individuals who may need help at Christmas, the group puts up signs at the local food bank and calls anyone who has previously received help.People can also refer a family they think might need it.But unlike in bigger centres where services are often duplicated, Wells said, "we're the only game in town for this particular purpose.""We have a food bank and that's it. "Andrew Swanson, senior pastor at Main Street Baptist Church, said it's nice to have a place to send people in need. "We know of a lot of people who come through asking for neighbours or grandchildren or people that they know who may not be able to celebrate Christmas the way that other people might," said Swanson.He said the group does a good job maintaining people's privacy, which can be especially important in people feeling able to receive and ask for help in a small town."This is flesh and blood, helping people that are right near us and so that's a beautiful thing," said Swanson. Anyone wishing to give money can drop off a cheque or cash to the Sackville Branch of the Royal Bank. Toys and gift cards can be dropped off at the Sackville United Church between noon and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The new movie "Mank," which starts streaming on Netflix on Friday, takes audiences back to Hollywood's golden era of the 1930s with a look at the making of one of the film industry's most-celebrated gems. Shot in black and white, "Mank" focuses on writer Herman J. Mankiewicz as he works on 1941 cinema classic "Citizen Kane," considered by many the greatest movie of all time. Mankiewicz and director Orson Welles battled over who would be credited for the screenplay.
Iconic '80s rockers Duran Duran held a surprise concert at London's Lyceum Theatre. (Dec. 3)
BRUSSELS — A senior legal adviser said Thursday that the European Union’s top court should reject Hungary’s attempts to overturn a European Parliament action aimed at holding the country to account for what lawmakers consider to be a breach of the bloc’s values.Advocate General Michal Bobek recommended that the European Court of Justice “dismiss Hungary’s action as unfounded.” Advocates General routinely provide legal guidance to the ECJ. Their opinions aren't binding on the Luxembourg-based court, but are followed in most cases.The EU parliament launched a procedure in 2018 to force Hungary’s EU partners to sanction the government in Budapest over concerns about the country’s constitutional and electoral systems, the independence of its judiciary, corruption and conflicts of interest, as well as fundamental rights concerns.The “Article 7” procedure was contained in a resolution that was adopted in a 448-197 vote, while 48 lawmakers abstained. Hungary argued that had the abstentions been taken into account, the vote wouldn't have achieved the required two-thirds majority.In Bobek’s opinion, a person who abstains from a vote asks to be counted as neither in favour nor against a proposition, and to be treated as if they weren't voting at all. He also said that EU lawmakers had been informed more than a day before the poll that abstentions wouldn't be counted as votes cast.It’s the first time the parliament has launched such a procedure. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has also taken similar action against Hungary. If four-fifths of Hungary’s 26 EU partners agree “there is a clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s values, Budapest could lose its voting rights.The EU’s treaty says the bloc “is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”The Associated Press
It's been two days since a Sussex-area woman became trapped inside her home after rising water surrounded her property earlier this week.And she's still waiting for help."I have no way out of here," said Mary Ann Coleman from inside her house.The 63-year-old lives on Creek Road in Waterford, about 90 kilometres east of Saint John. Her driveway, which links her property with the main road, was "washed out" by the heavy rains overnight Tuesday. At around midnight Tuesday, the culvert a few metres from her house was dammed by fallen trees and debris, causing the area to flood and her bridge to float away, she said."The water levels were higher than I've seen. I moved here 40 years ago," Coleman said. "I'm in complete, complete, desperate situation here … I'm stranded."Part of her driveway was made from the metal frame of a pulp truck and anchored with concrete abutments. It created a 20-foot bridge over Trout Creek.Coleman said she only had two hours of sleep overnight Tuesday. She said the creek between her house and the road is about a metre deep, it's rushing quickly and is 20 feet wide."I had some rest last night but I'm still pretty anxious," she said Thursday afternoon.Premier notes 'severe' damage in Sussex areaAt a COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday, Premier Blaine Higgs used his opening remarks to address the situation in the Sussex region and offer his condolences to residents."My thoughts are with everyone who is affected by the heavy rainfall," Higgs said. "Thank you to the emergency services who have helped the people in need. I'm thankful for the unbelievable community spirit that the people of New Brunswick and emergency services have shown."Higgs noted that the damage is still being assessed, but is "severe" in the Sussex and Sussex Corner areas.He said 30 households have received accommodation and support from the Canadian Red Cross, which has also offered flood cleanup kits for residents.Province isn't stepping inColeman said she called the Department of Transportation, which told her to call the Emergency Measures Organization, but EMO told her to call 911. She called 911 and was directed her back to EMO. She said she doesn't know what to do next."That's just stunning to me," she said. "I think everybody should be worried about that."Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization, said he couldn't comment on individual cases like this one.Meanwhile, Department of Transportation spokesperson Mélanie Sivret said the department "recently became aware of this incident," and is looking into it.Coleman, who describes herself as an active person and cycles every morning, has been trying to stay busy. She's been working from home, talking to people on the phone and she's been trying to keep her wood fire going so she doesn't lose heat.Luckily, Coleman grows some crops in her garden so she's been relying on vegetables for the past two days. "There's not too much anybody can do."Coleman said she believes the flooding was caused by a new culvert built by the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, which was previously too big to be blocked by debris. It was rebuilt in 2019, she said. Coleman said she wants the department to "take responsibility." 'It's my mom'Coleman's daughter, Jessica Coleman, has been calling and texting her mom several times a day. On Wednesday, she went down by the river with her two kids to see her mom. The sound of the water rushing was so loud, all they could do was wave. After this year, it's one of those things that tops the cake," she said. "I have no idea when she will be able to leave."She said what's making it more difficult is trying to get answers and figuring out what can be done for her mother. She said she'd like to see a temporary walking structure put in place and a permanent fix after."It's my mom, and she's in her 60s, and she's there on her own."Advice from EMOThe province's health and safety inspection teams are in the Sussex area and cleanup is underway. New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization spokesperson Geoffrey Downey urged residents to clean up "as soon as possible.""The longer it sits the worse the damage gets."Although water levels have gone down, some roads in the area are still closed, and residents should only return to their homes when it's safe to do so.Residents whose homes have been damaged should register with the province at 1-888-298-8555 to receive a free inspection. The damage report line program allows residents, tenants, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to receive information and register their flood-related damage.Damage assessments will be reviewed, and health and safety inspection teams may be dispatched if required.Residents are also reminded to: * Contact their insurance companies immediately to report damage. * Take photos of damage to their homes or properties. * Keep receipts of any repairs and replacement purchases. * Log the number of hours of work undertaken for residents who are cleaning their own properties, or family members or those who have assisted in the cleanup of their property.
Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister John Haggie is backtracking — somewhat — from a political fundraising event he held Wednesday night, hours after he urged the public to be cautious about holiday gatherings. However, Haggie stopped short of saying the event should never have happened in the first place. "Look, there is only one thing you can say in a situation like this, I'm sorry," Haggie said Thursday afternoon. Haggie was then asked if he regretted organizing the event, held Wednesday evening at Bally Haly, a golf and country club in the east end of St. John's. "I think hindsight is always 20/20 … for the fuss it caused, it probably wasn't worth it," he replied. The two-hour, $250 per person reception at Bally Haly came just hours after Haggie spoke at a live COVID-19 briefing, warning that people considering attending some New Year's Eve gatherings "are actually putting yourselves in harm's way."Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has also stressed repeatedly people should not be holding or attending their usual holiday events, such as workplace Christmas parties, amid the pandemic.The Gander Liberal District Association organized the event in an effort to increase its campaign war chest. Haggie represents Gander district in the House of Assembly, and is running again in the next election, expected to be held next year.Public health guidelines were followed: HaggieHaggie first took to Facebook Wednesday night to explain his actions, saying it was in line with current gathering guidelines, and that 23 people attended the event in a venue with a capacity for 220. About 40 people had initially been expected. He echoed the sentiment when speaking to reporters about it on Thursday. "The optics of this are really the crux of the whole issue. We followed public health guidelines in a venue built for 10 times the number [of attendees]," he said. He repeated that it was the perception, presumably of the public, that caused the flap. "This is around perception and optics. We held ourselves to the same standards we ask everyone else too," he insisted. He later added, "But because of the perception, there was an issue."Fierce backlash on social mediaHaggie's attendance Wednesday night provoked a swift outpouring of condemnation on social media.Numerous people called out Haggie on Twitter and Facebook, including prominent Ottawa-based physician Yoni Freedhoff, who speaks out on public health, obesity and other issues. "How it started vs how it's going," tweeted Freedhoff, a professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. "How can anyone expect public to just do right thing (putting aside fact for large swath of same, that's often made impossible by social determinants of health) when even gov. officials regularly don't? This is Newfoundland's Minister of Health."Furey fine with it The event was advertised to also include an appearance from Premier Andrew Furey, but the premier's office told CBC News Furey did not attend the fundraiser — due to a scheduling conflict — and the event's poster had been made prior to "recent developments," referencing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the province in the last few weeks.However, when reporters pressed him on the issue Thursday, Furey said the event followed the rules. "My understanding is that it was 20 people in a space that could accommodate 200. It was well within the public health COVID parameters," he said.Both Furey and Haggie said that restaurants are still open, and that events are still being hosted at such places.However, Fitzgerald has repeatedly said in recent briefings that she continues to hear of employers planning staff Christmas parties and that she is advising them to cancel events this year. Minister's event showed 'huge disconnect': NDPPC Leader Ches Crosbie said that while public health guidelines may have been followed, the Liberal fundraiser should not have gone ahead. "Although he may have complied with the letter of the law … he did not comply with the spirit of it," Crosbie told reporters Thursday afternoon. Crosbie said charities and organizations have put off their own fundraising events, community groups are struggling financially, and Haggie was out of touch for going ahead with his own. "That shows there's one set of rules for the Liberal Party and another set of the rules for the rest of us," he said. NDP Leader Alison Coffin called it a "huge disconnect.""You lead by example, not bad," she said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Before the Alberta government released its 2020 budget, Environment Minister Jason Nixon sent a confidential briefing to his fellow United Conservative MLAs, informing them that significant changes were in store for provincial parks. "The Government will also be announcing additional proposed long-term changes to the Alberta Park[s] system, including a list of 119 proposed deregulations and 45 proposed divestitures," reads the briefing note, dated Feb. 27. The note described these as "164 underutilized sites" and said the province would look for "alternate management approaches, including sale and/or transfer." It stressed how little these areas were used: "Sites identified for proposed removal are mainly very small and underutilized provincial recreation areas." Premier Jason Kenney said something similar when asked, during a Facebook live question-and-answer session on March 3, about the parks cuts: "We're only talking about small campsites and such that very few people visit on an annual basis." Since then, various groups have been trying to ascertain just how underused the government believes these sites to be, but little to no information has been made public. For two months, CBC News was in communication with the provincial government, seeking data on the camping registrations and revenue among the 164 sites on the list that have campgrounds. The province initially said it was gathering the information and that it would take some time to compile, but then ultimately refused to release it. Data for campsite registrations at 11 sites on the list, however, was recently obtained by another organization, The Council of Canadians, which shared the information with CBC News. The numbers suggest registrations at these sites is almost exactly on par with average registrations across all reservable campsites in the provincial system. Financial records from the remaining sites — those with first-come, first-served campgrounds — still has not been released. Where the data we have came from The Council of Canadians filed a freedom-of-information (FOIP) request in September, asking specifically for campground usage data at the sites on the list. It received a response in November with registration data for the sites with campgrounds that offer pre-registration, but not those with self-registration (also known as first-come, first-served campgrounds). When it heard CBC News had been seeking this info, it shared the data it received. The FOIP response included registration totals for 11 provincial parks and provincial recreation areas that offer individual campsites. (It also included data on group camping reservations, but that has been excluded for the purpose of this analysis.) Some of the sites didn't have data for the full five years because they didn't offer pre-registration in the past. The total number of registrations across these sites increased each year, growing from 13,201 in 2016 to 15,892 last year. Then, in 2020, the camping numbers shot way up. Even though the data didn't yet include a full camping season, there were 25,331 registrations in the year-to-date tally. This sharp increase was seen across the provincial parks system amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been attributed to more Albertans exploring local recreation while travel options are limited. Alberta Parks said in September there had been a total of 265,624 reservations so far this year across all sites, compared with 175,128 the year before and 162,238 in 2018. Based on those figures, the 11 sites included in the FOIP data accounted for between nine and 10 per cent of total campsite registrations each year, which is on par for their relative size. There are 809 individual campsites at these 11 locations, which accounts for 9.2 per cent of the 8,774 total, reservable campsites listed by Alberta Parks. Numerous requests The Council of Canadians was not the only group trying to get information like this. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association (CPAWS) filed a freedom-of-information request of its own in the spring, asking for the criteria the province used to decide which parks and recreation areas to include on the list. The documents it received in July contained no information on visitation. Not all of the 164 parks and provincial recreation areas on the list include campgrounds, but many do. In mid-September, CBC News asked for five years' worth of data on the usage of these campgrounds. Departmental staff with Alberta Parks said it would take some time to gather all the data but they were working on it. They said smaller campgrounds with self-registration (drop boxes where campers leave payments on the honour system) didn't have hard camping numbers, but financial records of the revenue did exist. After seven weeks, Alberta Parks staff sent an email to CBC News that included four years' worth of camping registration data for one provincial park — Gooseberry Lake in central Alberta, near the Saskatchewan border — and one year of financial data for another provincial recreation area — Smoky River South, near Grande Cache. Asked where the rest of the data was, the staff said that's all they were now able to provide. They referred further questions to the press secretary for Alberta Parks, Jess Sinclair. Sinclair did not return phone calls from CBC News seeking an explanation. Financial records for other campgrounds still not public When it comes to the sites on the list that have self-registration campgrounds, usage data has still not been made public, even though the environment minister seemed to recently confirm this data exists. During a "town hall" discussion hosted by the UCP caucus on Facebook Live, Nixon was asked how the government determined which parks are "underutilized" and he said it's something that Alberta Parks staff can track, even at self-registration sites, through revenue. "Not all of the parks in our park system have electronic booking systems, so they don't have the exact records on all the bookings in every campground yet. We're working towards that. But they do know how much income is coming in from sites," Nixon said. Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips, who served as NDP environment minister in the previous government, also says this data exists. "When people go there and they self-register and they pay, that money doesn't go into the clouds," she said. "It goes to the Government of Alberta and that money is properly accounted for." Phillips said this revenue data was used, when she was minister, to make decisions about parks and public-recreation areas based on their usage. She said there's no reason she can think of to withhold this data from the public, other than a political motivation to avoid contradicting the government's initial claim that these sites are "underutilized." "The whole story seems to be crumbling," Phillips said. Changes in messaging The government's public communications about the parks has evolved over time, as it has engaged in a protracted political battle with the Opposition NDP and conservation organizations like CPAWS and the Alberta Environmental Network, which oppose the changes. A big part of that battle has centred around some of the language initially used in official communications and on the Alberta Parks website. Critics seized on the word "sale," for instance, but Nixon has repeatedly insisted the province has no intention to sell any parks land. Use of the word "sale" was "referring to the assets that may be in those areas," he explained in March. Recently, Nixon has also moved away from earlier language used when it comes to the sites being "underutilized." "The conversation we're having is less about whether a site is being fully used," he said during the Facebook Live town hall in November. "The conversation is about the best way to manage sites across our province." The provincial government has noted it already works with partner organizations to operate campgrounds at some sites and it continues to seek more partnerships with municipalities, First Nations and the private sector to take over campgrounds at other sites that are currently operated by Alberta Parks. Nixon has also said sites that lose their status in the parks system will continue to be protected as public land. Katie Morrison with CPAWS says the changes in the government's public-facing language don't amount to a change in policy. "It seems the government keeps changing their messaging to react to Albertans' concerns but without actually changing the plan to address Albertans' concerns," she said. She notes public land protections are not the same as those that come with a provincial park or provincial recreation area designation. She also wonders if the initial decision was actually informed by good data. "I think the fact that we and others have had such trouble getting this information indicates that it probably doesn't — or didn't — exist in a summarized form, which makes me think that they probably didn't use it or didn't have the information available to them at the time of making this decision," she said. Whether it was readily available to the government in February, Phillips said the financial records of the sites Nixon described as "underutilized" do exist and should eventually be made public, through subsequent FOIP requests or other means. She said it's "bizarre" that the province hasn't simply provided this information, to date. "I honestly cannot understand why this government withholds information that they know the public is going to eventually access," Phillips said. Government response CBC News asked the provincial government again on Wednesday about all this, with four specific questions: Why did Alberta Parks staff tell CBC News the department was working, for weeks, to gather up the five years' worth of data that had been requested in mid-September, only to then refuse to release it in November, and refer all questions as to why to the press secretary? The sites in the FOIP documents appear to show registrations that are virtually on par with the system-wide average, relative to the number of sites they have. So why were they included on the list of "164 underutilized sites," as the government initially described? Why was the campsite registration data provided under FOIP to a third party but not to CBC News, when both requests had been made around the same time (mid-September)? Why is the additional information on financial revenue at self-registration sites still not being provided? Sinclair, the press secretary to Nixon, replied with a short statement that didn't answer the questions. "When the decision was made to seek partnerships for some Alberta parks sites under a model that has existed since 1932, a number of considerations, including location, usage, and overall age of facilities were considered," she wrote. "As I've indicated before, these areas will continue to be accessible to Albertans for recreational enjoyment and they will continue to be protected."
Early next year, a Chinese businessman named Gan Xianbing will be sentenced in a Chicago courtroom for laundering just over $530,000 in Mexican cartel drug money. Gan, 50, was convicted in February of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transfer business that whisked cartel cash from U.S. drug sales offshore. Gan has maintained his innocence; his lawyers say he was entrapped by U.S. authorities.
After not being able to access help herself, a 19-year-old Ontario woman is pushing for a three-digit suicide help line and politicians are starting to listen. Madi Muggridge, from London, Ont., struggled with anxiety and depression at a young age, but the situation got particularly bad when she was 13 years old and scary thoughts started to trickle in, she told CBC News. That year was the first time she reached out to an online suicide prevention chat service, but the young teen said no one replied to her cry for help."I sat there for about two to three hours and no one ever came on. They just kept saying that I was next in line," Muggridge recalled. "I just felt really, really alone because if the people that are supposed to help you can't even help you, what do you do then? It was definitely a very devastating experience and the biggest thing I remember is feeling alone in that."The next day Muggridge wrote a suicide note and left home. Luckily, a friend had flagged some warning signs to her family and they were able to immediately step in and get her professional help.But Muggridge recognizes that not everyone has people in their lives who can intervene. That's why the teen started an online petition, which has garnered more than 30,000 signatures, calling on the federal government to adopt a three-digit suicide and crisis hotline: 988, which she hopes eventually turns into a dispatch service to match people in crisis with medical and mental health professionals. Currently, Canada Suicide Prevention Service operates a national 10-digit, 24-hour hotline for suicide prevention services, but Muggridge said that when a person is in crisis a long number like that can be difficult to recall. "I bet they do great work ... but I just feel like it's not actually something that everyone knows about. When you're in an emergency that doesn't involve mental health you know to call 911. You don't have to Google it ... So I just think it'd be a lot more helpful if we had a number that was much shorter and much more widely-known." Muggridge is pushing for the country to adopt a 988 hotline, like the United States. That country is set to have its crisis line in place by 2022 at a cost of a half a billion dollars in the first year of operation.Recently, Todd Doherty, MP for Cariboo-Prince George and special advisor to Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole on mental health and wellness, tabled a motion in Parliament to bring together the country's existing suicide prevention services under the 988 number.He commends people like Muggridge, who he's been in contact with, and mental health advocate Kathleen Finlay for pushing for an easy-to-remember crisis line."This initiative is definitely one that will remove a critical barrier to those that are seeking help," Doherty told CBC News. "People shouldn't have to try to remember a 10-digit number. They shouldn't have to call a number only to get a complicated directory or to be asked to be put on hold when minutes count and when time is of the essence.""Those that are seeking help should be able to get it and a simple three-digit number is the way to go."Like many Canadians, the issue is close to Doherty's heart. He described how when he was a teenager his best friend died by suicide at age 14. He said he'd like to prevent more Canadians from living with the pain, grief and endless questions left behind when someone close to them dies by suicide. Muggridge is hopeful the hotline could turn into a dispatch centre, just like 911, however, Doherty said that while he'd like to see something like that, the initial focus is establishing the hotline. "Our first step is to build the political will across the way with our colleagues from all sides of the House," he said, adding that what the final iteration will look like isn't for him to decide. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for suicide prevention services by 200 per cent, Dr. Allison Crawford, the chief medical officer of the Canada Suicide Prevention Service, said.Health Minister Patty Hajdu has signaled that she's open to exploring how a three-digit national prevention number can be implemented.Doherty asked Hajdu in the House of Commons whether she would try to ensure his motion for the hotline received unanimous support, and while she didn't give a clear answer, she said she would work with Doherty to ensure people in crisis get immediate care. As for Muggridge, while she thinks establishing the line is a great first step, she said she'll keep pushing until the crisis line becomes a dispatch service as well."I've received so may comments from people telling me how much this means to them, how much they think it could help people ... I don't plan on giving up after they just implement the crisis line," she said. If you need help:Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) | 45645 (Text) | crisisservicescanada.ca (Chat).Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre .Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca.Young people can also text the word CONNECT to 686868 to chat confidentially with a trained, volunteer Crisis Responder for support. 24/7/365.
The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) said he was "disappointed" to hear the federal government acknowledge it would not meet the deadline it set for itself to end all long-term boil water advisories in First Nations.The announcement was made on Wednesday by federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, who instead announced more than $1.5 billion in long-term funding to help build "a sustainable system that ensures that First Nation communities have access to safe drinking water now and for generations to come."Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler welcomed the announcement of more money for long-term solutions, but said the announcement still doesn't address the needs of people today."It's disheartening for our communities, including Neskantaga [First Nation]. You know, their members are still here in Thunder Bay at a hotel. We don't know when the repatriation process will begin. And it's not just Neskantaga in NAN territory. We have a total of  boil water advisories impacting communities, including my own community of Muskrat Dam since 2004," said Fiddler."So it's something that we've been living with for a long time now."It was during the 2015 federal election that Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau promised to end all boil water advisories on First Nations within five years — which later translated to March 2021. The government even created a website page to track their progress.But during a briefing on Wednesday, senior officials with Indigenous Services Canada said they expect 22 First Nations will still be under a boil water advisory beyond the spring of 2021.The federal minister added the goal of March 2021 "was made to drive forward actions to address drinking water issues and … this approach has worked.""Over 600 water and wastewater projects have been initiated in First Nations communities; 97 long-term drinking water advisories were lifted and importantly, 171 long-term advisories were prevented [by resolving the issues before a short-term advisory turned into a long-term one]," Miller said.He added that the long-term funding will help end all boil water advisories, cover ongoing maintenance costs and improve the training and retention of water plant operators in communities.Fiddler said moving forward, the federal government must commit to doing this work in close collaboration with First Nations."We will feel a bit more comfortable about all this when we see all these commitments in writing and a commitment to work with us in a way that reflects true partnership."
UK officials have claimed that Brexit allowed them to fast-track approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.View on euronews