Lightning lights up the Toronto skyline during a late-night spring storm.
Lightning lights up the Toronto skyline during a late-night spring storm.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced new public health measures on Friday that tighten the stay-at-home order already in place and include new restrictions on travel between provinces. The stay-at-home order, first imposed on April 8 for four weeks, will now be extended until May 20. According to the provincial government, the new measures are intended to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases as the third wave of the pandemic continues. All of that means there are new limits on what residents can and cannot do. Here are some answers to questions you might have. Can I go for a walk? Yes. In its regulations, the government says: "An outdoor recreational amenity that is a park or recreational area may be open for the purposes of permitting persons to walk through the park or recreational area." Can I go for a walk with a friend? This question is trickier. The government says in its regulations that any person who uses outdoor parks and recreational areas, off-leash dog areas, or benches in parks and recreational areas "shall maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person who is also using the amenity, other than a person who is a member of the same household, a member of one other household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of either household." Can I gather with people outside of my household? No, unless you live alone, and then you can gather with only one other household. The province said in a news release on Friday that it has prohibited "all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household." Can I take my dog to an off-leash park? Yes. But you have to maintain a two-metre distance from anyone who is not a member of your household and who is not a caregiver of a member of your household. Can my children play at a playground? Initially, the province said all outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment were not to be used, but in a tweet on Saturday afternoon, Ford said the government will roll back restrictions on playgrounds to allow their use. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist based at Toronto General Hospital, said Saturday that the province should be encouraging people to go outside. Bogoch is also a member of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force. "It's good for physical health. It's good for mental health, especially with all the other horrible things that are going on in the middle of the third wave. Being outdoors is probably one of the best things you can do," Bogoch said. "It's pretty clear that the outdoors is probably the safest place you could be during the course of the pandemic. We know that the risk of transmission outdoors is not zero per cent, but it's getting close. It's really, really low risk." Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Saturday that the government will roll back restrictions on playgrounds to allow their use.(CBC) The now-amended rules around playground use resulted in a tense situation for one Ottawa woman, who told CBC News she was threatened with a call to the police on Saturday morning by a stranger. Simmi Dixit said she was walking through a park with her partner and young daughter when a man said he'd call the police on them because they were not allowed to be there. Dixit said they were not touching any outdoor amenities when they were confronted. "People are at a point where they're starting to emotionally break," Dixit told CBC News. "I think the narrative of fear that we're hearing around COVID is affecting the way people judge themselves in these situations. We're perceiving each other as threats instead of looking to each other for strength and support." Can I play golf on a golf course? No. Can I play tennis and basketball at a court? No. And you cannot use any amenities such as those for platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts. Can I play baseball at a diamond? No. Can I enjoy a skate park or a BMX park? No. And you can't play Frisbee golf at such a location either. Can I have a picnic at a picnic table? No, you can't. A picnic table is considered an outdoor amenity. Can I go shopping freely? In all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted, capacity limits are now 25 per cent. These retail settings include supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies. All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincial emergency brake will continue to apply. How many can gather at religious services, weddings and funerals? Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, only 10 people will be allowed to gather at religious services, weddings and funerals, whether indoors or outdoors. What about people trying to enter Ontario? Beginning on Monday, Ford has said there will be checkpoints at provincial borders with Quebec and Manitoba, with exceptions for essential travel. The Ontario Provincial Police has provided some clarity: "Those not travelling for essential reasons will be refused entry. There are exceptions for work, medical care, transportation of goods and the exercising of Treaty rights for Indigenous persons," the OPP said in a statement on Friday. However, on Saturday, an OPP spokesperson said it continues to work out "logistics and details." Under a regulation dated Friday, April 16, the Ontario government provided a list of reasons outlining when a person can enter Ontario from Manitoba or Quebec. The government has not yet responded to a CBC News request for information about whether people can leave Ontario and if they will face restrictions when trying to do so.
On the road to mass-vaccination, the U.S. is so far ahead that it's detecting new obstacles that remain, for much of the world, an afterthought on a distant horizon. The proportion of the U.S. population who've received at least one dose is almost two times higher than in Canada, and the rate of Americans fully vaccinated is 10 times higher than Canada's. The vaccine supply in most states has ballooned to more than one dose per adult — that's allowed half of adults and nearly 40 per cent of the total U.S. population to have gotten a shot. Nowadays when you text friends to tell them a local clinic has doses available, it's increasingly common to hear the reply: No thanks, I've already got mine. "It's pretty damn good," Paul Goepfert, a University of Alabama researcher who studies vaccines, said of the rollout so far. So he's optimistic, right? Not quite. In fact, Goepfert is worried that the U.S. might never cross that coveted threshold of herd immunity. "I'm skeptical," he said of whether the country will reach herd immunity. "At least not anytime soon." Vaccine hesitancy ranks atop his causes for concern. The increasing abundance of U.S. supply is now shifting attention to that other half of economics' most fundamental model: demand. Whether enough Americans take the vaccine matters not only here but elsewhere, as the world pursues that ill-defined immunity threshold, which most estimates peg at about three-quarters of the population. Blue states, red states The rate of vaccinations is still increasing across the U.S. but there's an emerging gap in how quickly different states are unloading supplies. And the gap is growing. The states seeing the biggest daily increases in vaccinations are churning through their supply — led by New Hampshire, which has now delivered at least one dose to 71 per cent of adults. Other states have used just two-thirds of their supply and the daily increases are smaller: Mississippi and Alabama, for instance, have delivered at least one dose to 38 per cent of adults. There's an eye-catching political trend developing. Of the states with the most doses administered per adult, 14 of the top 15 voted for Joe Biden. As for states administering the fewest doses, 14 of 15 voted for Donald Trump. Wilbert Marshall, 71, looks away while receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Melissa Banks, right, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., April 7. Nearly half of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are some signs that rates are lower in Republican red states such as Mississippi than in Democrat-supporting blue states.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) Goepfert's own experiences attest to the trendline in his state of Alabama. Just weeks ago, he was being bombarded with requests from people who hoped that, through his work, he might help them score still-rare vaccines. "I don't get those calls anymore," he said. Meanwhile, he works at an HIV clinic and struggles to convince some patients to take the vaccine, including people with serious pre-existing conditions. He describes a spectrum of vaccine hesitancy. Some skeptics can be convinced to get vaccinated, he says; others flat-out refuse. Some say no out of fear; others have no fear of COVID-19. One patient casually brushed off getting vaccinated, Goepfert said, telling him: "I don't wear a mask. I haven't gotten sick. Why should I get a vaccine?" Blue states are ahead in vaccinations. Atop the list is New Hampshire, seen here with a mass vaccination event last month. A whopping 71 per cent of adults in the state, and 58 per cent of the total population, have received at least one dose.(Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters) Pharmacy slots unfilled Vaccination appointments are going unfilled in certain places. There were vacant vaccination slots in dozens of CVS pharmacy locations on Thursday in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Wyoming. Yet the slots were all booked at its locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota. One North Carolina county plans to shut its mass-vaccination site after this month because of dropping demand. After an initial rush, the site located in an old K-Mart is getting a fraction of its former use; a lengthy waiting list for vaccines has evaporated, and patients now have more places to get vaccines in Carteret County. Herd immunity? Don't count on it anytime soon, says Paul Goepfert, a vaccine expert and doctor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.(University of Alabama at Birmingham) "I'm worried," said Ralph Merrill, an engineer who sits on the county board. His county has fully vaccinated one-quarter of its population, around the state average but far from the eventual goal. "I'd be surprised if we get much above 50 per cent." He pauses and chuckles in mid-sentence when asked why he's worried: "There's a lot of people around here who … I don't think they want to take the vaccine." Like others, he describes vaccine hesitancy as coming in different varieties. At the Marine Corps base where he works, he said, some friends are cautiously skeptical; others offer wild conspiracy theories. The Trump card Trump won Carteret County, N.C., by 42 points. Merrill is convinced politics is driving anti-vaccination sentiment, especially among people who generally distrust government. The U.S. Congress anticipated that vaccine hesitancy might become a problem and set aside more than $1 billion in its new COVID relief law for a public awareness campaign. Trump's administration funded the vaccine operation. But he hasn't talked much about getting vaccinated. (Tom Brenner/Reuters) But Merrill sees a quicker, easier way to influence public opinion: get Trump to go on TV, talk about how his administration funded the development of vaccines, describe how he got vaccinated, and urge supporters to do the same. "He's like the idol to a group of people," Merrill said. "That would be a good thing for him to do." A wealth of polling data backs up the idea that vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans. Three polls released this month put the number of Republicans who don't want a vaccine in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent — that's roughly double the national average and multiple times higher than the ratio of anti-vaccine Biden supporters. Surveys also find higher-than average vaccine hesitancy among African Americans. The tricky math on herd immunity This is the kind of math that has Goepfert worried that herd immunity might prove elusive. Adults comprise 78 per cent of the U.S. population, and because vaccinations are mainly going to adults, he figures that nearly all adults will need antibodies from a vaccine or recent illness to get there. He doesn't see how that could happens with so many people hesitant to get vaccinated. Some U.S. states are now expanding the eligibility pool to include 16-year-olds. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, seen at a press conference in Jackson, Miss., in January, says he's working to fight vaccine hesitancy and falling demand in his state.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) The governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, recently tried to convince some of the vaccine holdouts in his state by speaking forcefully about how he and his family have gotten vaccinated and announcing new mobile vaccination clinics in priority areas. "The next million shots are going to be harder to get than the last million. They're going be hard to get because of vaccine hesitancy," Reeves said at COVID-19 briefing in late March in which he announced that one million vaccine doses had been administered in the state. "We've got to get creative to get shots in arms. It was easy early on, in January, because we had a lot more demand than we had supply. We've always said that at some point, we're going to get to where there is as much, if not more, supply than there is demand. We're not there yet, but we're seeing the shift very, very quickly." U.S. President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va., April 6. Virginia has vaccinated more than half of its adult population.(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press) Politics: Correlation isn't causation One infectious-disease expert and medical practitioner in the U.S. said it's simplistic to attribute vaccine hesitancy entirely to politics. Krutika Kuppalli, a doctor and researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, said several factors shape your risk assessment, and it so happens these factors might correlate to political preference: the population density of your area, your education level, and whether you have regular access to health care. She agreed vaccination slots are filling more slowly in her area than before, and echoing other experts said hesitancy comes in different forms. Some issues are purely clerical: people struggling to navigate an appointment website, she said. More surprising are the stories that stem from misinformation — like one patient this week who expressed fear vaccines might worsen his unrelated condition. WATCH | U.S. pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clot reports: What's the long-term outlook "The amount of the misinformation is unbelievable," she said. "It astounds me how much is out there." So what's next? Kuppalli suspects vaccines for adolescents are part of any solution for getting to herd immunity, and even then it won't be easy. She worries about new variants popping up in the many countries where vaccines remain rare, and said it's unclear whether they will be easier or harder to manage. We might need occasional vaccine booster shots to protect ourselves, she said. Goepfert also suspects we'll be getting booster shots, perhaps every couple of years. If things work out, he said, future variants will keep responding to vaccines, and COVID-19 might weaken into yet another form of the common cold. That's his optimistic scenario. WATCH | Being outdoors reduces, doesn't eliminate COVID-19 risk, experts say:
Yukon emergency officials are taking stock of their supplies of sandbags, water dams and other things they might need to deal with possible flooding and high water in the territory. Southern Yukon saw an unusually high amount of snowfall through the winter and early spring. And with warmer weather in recent days, the massive melt is underway. Kevin Lyslo, with the Yukon Emergency Measures Organization, admits to "a little bit of concern this year." "As we're connecting with our stakeholders, we're gathering our information and as it gets closer and more melt is beginning, we're starting to get more and more accurate data," he said. Officials are looking at areas that are most at risk right now. Lyslo says they're gathering and preparing things they might need to send to troublesome spots, such as sandbags. "We're lining up technical experts before we're actually having events, to come and assist with, 'OK, we need to do sandbagging this high, this long, and this area,'" he said. "This weather that's hit us this week, you know, it's about normal — but it's come kind of fast. So it's got us paying quite close attention to what things are taking place out there." Southern Lakes area is focus of concern The biggest concern right now, Lyslo says, is the Southern Lakes area. Every spring, Yukon's water resources branch issues a monthly bulletin about the snow pack around the territory. The most recent one, based on measurements taken in early April, show just how snowy the winter was in southern Yukon. Southern Yukon had higher-than-normal snow pack in early April, while the central territory was closer to normal and the northern part of the territory was below normal.(Yukon government) Around Whitehorse, the snow-water equivalent on April 1 was about 196 per cent the historical median for the area. "This is the highest estimated basin-wide snow pack since records began in the early 1980s," said Holly Goulding, a senior hydrologist with the Yukon government. Other areas of the southern territory had snow pack that ranged from 131 to 154 per cent the historical average. Further north, around the Klondike region, the snow pack is closer to normal this spring. Still further north, around Old Crow, it's actually below normal. Goulding says the April snow bulletin typically represents the peak snow pack for the year, before the spring melt. And she says the risk of flooding each year doesn't just depend on how much snow is on the ground. "The timing and severity of temperature and rainfall patterns are really important drivers of flooding, regardless of snow pack levels," she said. "And so really, the weather conditions in the coming weeks will determine the most probable spring scenarios for both freshet and break up." Emergency officials hope the melt continues 'not too fast, not too slow,' with no rain thrown into the mix.(Paul Tukker/CBC) Lyslo says the hope is a melt the happens "not too fast, not too slow." "Rain is probably our biggest threat right now. I think if it got too wet too fast, that's not a good thing. We also don't want the snow to stay around and linger too far into the spring and into the summer," he said. "So it's kind of a happy medium is what we're hoping for right now." He's advising residents to take their own precautions against flood risk to their homes — for example, by shovelling snow away from the base of a house. And Lyslo says people should always be prepared for any kind of emergency, with a 72-hour supply kit ready at hand.
Drivers in British Columbia are keener than ever to buy electric vehicles, but the lack of charging stations in condo buildings is a major impediment. That's one of the findings of a report that was discussed at the Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee on Friday. The report found that, although adoption of electric vehicles is key for the region to reduce its carbon emissions, there currently isn't enough infrastructure in multi-residential buildings to support drivers wanting to charge them at home. In Vancouver alone, 62 per cent of homes surveyed in the 2016 census were apartments. University of British Columbia business professor Werner Antweiler is familiar with the struggles of installing charging stations from scratch. Antweiler, who researches environmental economics, including electric vehicle adoption, helped to retrofit his 61-unit building to include charging stations for about a third of the units. He says the process took three years from start to finish. "I was officially professionally interested and nerdy enough to actually have enjoyed the process," he said. "But it took a lot of effort from a couple of really dedicated people to make it happen." UBC professor Werner Antweiler says public charging stations for electric vehicles are still sparse, driving a need for more drivers to charge their cars at home. (Ben Nelms/CBC) First, the changes had to be approved by a 75 per cent majority of the building's owners at a special meeting of the strata — the committee of volunteer owners that govern most privately-owned apartments in B.C. The strata's bylaws had to be changed to allow those who needed the extra power to pay for it themselves directly. Then, they had to hire a contractor to figure out if their 15-year-old building could even handle the extra power needs. Along the way were myriad other technical challenges and decisions that had to be figured out. While the strata paid a nominal amount for a feasibility study, the 25 condo owners who got a charging station in their parking spot each paid between $3,000 and $6,000. Antweiler says they're hoping to recoup 50 per cent of those costs through the province's EV charger rebate program, which closed Feb. 28 but is likely to be renewed. "We need to have charging essentially close to home to make it an interesting proposition for car owners," Antweiler said. "And we're still far away from getting us to that point, because the infrastructure we currently have for public charging ... is still pretty sparse." B.C. Hydro says there are 2,500 public charging stations throughout the province and more on their way this year. As for the rebate program, it says, by the end of 2020, 377 EV charging stations had been installed in condo and apartments buildings since 2018. All EVs in B.C. by 2040 British Columbia is aiming to have all personal vehicles on the road be electric by 2040. Electric vehicles are selling in record numbers in the province, and a recent survey from KPMG suggests that 68 per cent of Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle in the next five years are likely to buy electric. And car manufacturers are increasingly onboard with building more electric models. In 2019, Volkswagen pledged to make all of its vehicles electric by 2026. Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C., says most stratas are willing to install charging stations but face multiple challenges. Gioventu says even some newer buildings on the market aren't equipped to accommodate charging stations — either because of the way their power is distributed or because their bylaws assign specific parking stalls to units. "It isn't just that there's a reluctance or resistance," he said. "It's just really daunting." A survey from KPMG suggests that nearly 70 per cent of Canadians interested in buying a new car in the next five years would like an electric vehicle. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Government support and regulations Some municipalities have mandated that all new buildings have the capacity to accommodate charging stations, and Gioventu says he would like to see more of those types of regulations. But that still leaves a lot of buildings that don't have the right infrastructure in place, and a volunteer committee to figure out how to navigate the regulations in place to upgrade it. Luckily, Gioventu says, there are companies that can help move the process along. But it still takes six months to two years for charging stations to be installed. What Gioventu would like to see is a rebate program that helps entire buildings restructure their electrical systems rather than a piecemeal approach that funds individual drivers. "In the long term it would be substantially less expensive rather than individual stations being modified," he said. BC Hydro says if the rebate program is approved again in this year's budget, it would include a separate program for condo and apartment buildings to fund assessment, infrastructure development and installation of electric vehicle charges.
Two 13-year-olds were arrested and charged with arson Saturday, in connection to a grass fire in a Spruce Grove, Alta. field next to a residential neighbourhood. Parkland RCMP and the Parkland Fire Department responded to reports of an arson north of Highway 16A near Jennifer Heil Way, about 30 kilometres west of Edmonton on Saturday at 1:45 p.m., police said. Bales had been lit on fire and were found smouldering, Const. Patrick Lambert said. Parkland Fire remained on scene after the fire was put under control. Damages are estimated at $10,000 and 150 bales were lost in the fire, police said. The two youths were arrested and charged with arson. They are scheduled to appear in Stony Plain Provincial Court on June 4. Parkland County remains under a fire ban which went into effect Thursday, prohibiting all outdoor fires including recreation fire pits and charcoal briquette barbeques. Westlock County north of Edmonton and Lac Ste. Anne County, northwest of Edmonton have also implemented fire restrictions, as a dry central Alberta faces wildfire season. Alberta Wildfire also had fire advisories in effect for the Edson and Rocky Mountain House Forest Areas on Saturday. "Any spark, hot exhaust or friction will catch easily and burn quickly which could start a wildfire," Alberta Wildfire said in wildfire danger alert.
Victor Thunderchild stared down and overcame racism and stereotypes as he pursued his dream to become an educator. Working at the Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert, Sask., the 55-year-old was passionate about teaching future generations and allowing them to thrive. On Saturday morning, that work was cut short, when Victor died as a result of COVID-19. Now, his family is calling on the provincial government to ensure teachers are vaccinated to ensure no other family, or community, experiences the loss of someone who cared so much about so many. "Everywhere I turn, he taught somebody," said his wife, Violet Thunderchild. Students of Victor's went on to be doctors, lawyers and dentists, she said, noting some of the nurses who cared for him in the hospital in his final hours were past students of his. "He did make a really big difference in this community," she said. She says Victor, a champion of the Cree language and a proud Plains Cree man, was set to retire in 2022, but she said his work was far from over, as he wanted to continue teaching after his retirement. An intergenerational survivor of Canada's residential school system, Victor was a man who came from humble beginnings and the youngest of 12 children, Violet said. But through his work and dedication, he became the first person in his family to get a university degree, going on to earn a master's and use his education to help others. "He walked what he talked," she said of her husband of 33 years, stressing he was healthy before contracting COVID-19 and had no underlying health conditions. His family believes that he contracted COVID-19 while working at the high school. Family members say Victor Thunderchild, a well-known and well-loved teacher, touched many lives during his 29-year career, always using education as a tool of empowerment for others.(Victor Thunderchild/Facebook) Violet says while she and Victor had three children of their own, the couple helped support numerous adopted children during their life. His daughter, Renee, says her dad was one of a kind, and wherever he went, he carried himself with pride, even in the face of adversity. "He was the most perfect human being of a father," she said. "Even when it was a tough decision, he always made the right decision." Ryanda, another one of Victor's daughters, says he was always there for his students, helping to support them outside of the classroom as well. "He was very proud of who he was and he was very proud of being a Plains Cree First Nation man … and he always wanted other people to be proud of who they were, and to not let things get you down and to keep going," she said. "He wanted other young Aboriginal people to feel proud of being Native." Thunderchild's passion was evident online. His Twitter biography stated education is "the most powerful weapon of all." While in hospital with the virus, he continued to fight for his fellow teachers, tweeting directly at Premier Scott Moe and calling for educators to be vaccinated. "Thank you @PremierScottMoe for not thinking we're essential workers, as I sit in the @PAHealthDept Vic hospital recovering from COVID-19," he said in the April 5 tweet, which has since been shared hundreds of times. "Get my fellow teachers vaccinated, before this happens to anyone else." On Saturday, CBC News requested an interview with Education Minister Dustin Duncan for a response to the calls for teachers to be vaccinated, but he was not available. The Ministry of Education sent a statement offering its condolences to Thunderchild's family and loved ones. "Our thoughts are also with the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division community, and especially with the students who Mr. Thunderchild taught and with the Carlton Comprehensive High School staff that he worked with." It was evident that Thunderchild's "dedication to helping students was exceptional," the statement said. While the ministry acknowledged teachers have "put extraordinary effort into the safety and well-being of students" as the province moves through what is "hopefully the last leg of this pandemic," its statement did not say teachers will be prioritized for vaccination anytime soon, and instead encouraged teachers to get vaccinations as their age group becomes eligible. "Saskatchewan school divisions continue to have regular communication with their local medical health officers in making appropriate local decisions to enable education to continue as safely as possible," the statement said. 'A bright light of friendship' Jen Bear worked with Victor at Carlton Comprehensive, starting at the school roughly 20 years ago. She says for her, Victor was an adopted big brother who welcomed her with open arms. "He was so inviting and friendly and he was always one to make you feel welcome and make you a part of the community," she said. "He'd bring you alongside and he'd be introducing you as a new member — but also a new family member.… We were instantly family," said Bear. "He was a real role model who always brought a light, a bright light of friendship and happiness." Victor Thunderchild, who died as a result of COVID-19 on Saturday, is seen here with his wife, Violet. He is being remembered as a loving father, husband and educator who would do anything for his students and his family.(Violet Thunderchild/Facebook) Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said the loss of Victor Thunderchild is being felt right across the province, as he was a leader and a friend to many. "He's going to leave a huge hole," he said. Maze recalled Thunderchild as an advocate for essential workers across the province, noting he was an active figure in the federation, fighting for his fellow teachers and for First Nations and treaty education. This is the first death of an educator in the province due to COVID-19 that Maze has been notified of, he said. Thunderchild's death brings with it "so many levels" of disappointment, as the teachers' federation has been advocating for educators to get priority for vaccination and for schools to move to Level 4 under the province's Safe Schools Plan, which would see schools move to more remote learning. "Right now, we need to focus on making sure his family is supported and making sure all his colleagues at Carlton and all of his contacts in Prince Albert are supported, but definitely, his death could have been prevented," Maze said. "We've been calling on protections for front-line workers right across the province, so this is incredibly frustrating," he said. "Unfortunately, our province lost a really great man."
A body recovered Friday is that of the man who fell through the ice on the North Saskatchewan River on April 6, Edmonton police confirm. The man, who attempted to rescue a woman's dog before falling through the ice, was identified by friends as Rob White, 55. After falling through the ice near Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park in Edmonton's river valley, White was carried down the river toward an ice shelf near Groat Bridge. Emergency crews lost sight of him and called off the search for White almost three hours later. The dog was rescued about a half-hour after Edmonton Fire Rescue Services were dispatched on the same day. White, who is survived by his wife and two sons, was remembered for his kindness and unique personality.
The Ontario government and the Greater Toronto Area's largest public health units say they don't yet know how many teachers and education workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — as some special education workers and students head back to class this week. Many of those workers were made eligible for vaccinations last week when the province announced a plan to inoculate education staff in hot-spot neighbourhoods during April break. While the return of in-person classes for elementary and secondary schools has since been put on hold indefinitely across Ontario, some classes for students with special education needs are set to resume on Monday. It appears that few of those teachers will have been vaccinated by the time their classrooms reopen. "Not many have been vaccinated already, and certainly none have been vaccinated with the two-week incubation period that's needed," said Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local and a longtime Brampton elementary teacher. The possibility of delayed vaccinations for teachers, coupled with the pandemic's surging third wave in Ontario, is said to be threatening the return of in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. "There will be virtually no time left in the school year before those vaccines have had a chance to take effect," said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). In Peel Region alone, Bannister-Clarke said, Monday will mark the return of 116 teachers and dozens of special education workers for in-person classes. Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local, said teachers will not feel comfortable returning to class before being vaccinated.(Zoom) She said some teachers and education workers who tried to book appointments last week will not actually receive their shots until mid-May. "We're quite confused as to why we're opening classrooms at this time," Bannister-Clarke said. Ontario promised vaccine access, 'full stop' Ontario said its plan to make teachers and special education workers a priority for immunization in hot-spot postal codes would help protect workers facing the greatest risk of infection. "I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: you are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop," Education Minister Stephen Lecce said after announcing the plan, which came days before Ontario decided to close schools to in-person learning following April break. But local public health units, who are tasked with administering vaccinations, say they did not receive any additional vaccine supply or guidance when teachers and education staff were made eligible. Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa estimated during a Board of Health meeting last week that "roughly 40,000" people qualified for vaccination under the expanded plan, but said Toronto did not receive any additional vaccines to serve those workers. "It wasn't really a plan, it was sort of a half-baked wish," said Bischof, who said teachers have reported difficulty getting vaccine appointments across Ontario. The province's Ministry of Health did not respond to a CBC News request for information on the status of vaccinations among teachers and education workers. Vaccines may not even be enough Brenda Coleman, a clinical scientist at Sinai Health System and an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said vaccination rates are one of several key factors that will determine if and when schools are safe to reopen. Coleman is studying the threat of COVID-19 to teachers in schools, which she considers to be a "very high-risk situation." While Coleman said vaccines represent an important safeguard for teachers, she said the current trajectory of the pandemic could preclude schools from reopening even if teachers are vaccinated. "The case rate is so high right now that putting children and education workers back into school just doesn't make any sense at this point," Coleman said.
New Brunswick's opposition parties are criticizing the government for being open to sending some vaccine supply to hard-hit provinces. The Canadian Medical Association is asking for a diversion of some doses from low-case provinces to hotspots, such as Quebec and Ontario. Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday he wouldn't want to see fewer shipments, but is willing to discuss the idea. He said some doses could be used in areas of Quebec that border New Brunswick. But Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, who leads the Official Opposition, said the province needs to consider the outbreak in the Edmundston area and the sacrifices of residents over the past year. "Let's make sure that everybody in New Brunswick is immunized through vaccination and then we can consider helping others," he said. Melanson said the province should stick to the current national, population-based formula. Green Party Leader David Coon is also opposed to the idea. "Given that such a large proportion of our population is elderly or has chronic diseases, putting them in a high risk category for serious health problems if they become infected by COVID-19, I would not support reducing our share of the vaccines distributed to New Brunswick," he said in a statement. The New Brunswick Medical Society has also rejected the idea. 11 new cases New Brunswick is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. There are 150 active cases in the province. There are 20 people in hospital related to the virus, 12 in intensive care. The new cases break down as follows: In the Edmundston region (Zone 4), there are seven new cases: A person in their 20s. Two people in their 30s. A person in their 40s. A person in their 50s. A person in their 60s. A person in their 70s. Public Heath said five of those cases are contacts of a previous one, one case is travel-related and the other is under investigation. In the Saint John region (Zone 2), there are three new cases: Two people in their 60s. A person in their 70s. Two are contacts of a previous case and the other is related to travel. (CBC News) New Brunswick has confirmed 1,778 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 1,594 recoveries. There have been 33 deaths. Public Health conducted 1,355 tests on Friday, for a total of 274,548. Edmundston hospitalizations Northwest New Brunswick continues to face a high active case of COVID-19 into the weekend. There are 113 active cases in Zone 4. The Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska areas were placed under lockdown restrictions last week. Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls are in the orange level, while Saint-Quentin, Kedgwick and the rest of the province are under the yellow phase. Most of New Brunswick's hospitalized patients continue to receive treatment at the Edmundston Regional Hospital. New possible exposures Public Health has identified possible public exposure to COVID-19 in Moncton and Edmundston: Best Western Plus Edmundston, 280 Hébert Blvd., Edmundston, between 3:30-11:30 p.m., on Sunday, April 11, and Monday, April 12. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université, Moncton, between 5:45 a.m. and 1 p.m., on Monday, April 12. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre X-ray department, 330 Université, Moncton, between 9-11 a.m., on Monday, April 12. People who were at these areas are eligible to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
A metal unicorn that goes by the name of "Morgan the Mystical Unicorn" has been found after it disappeared from its station overnight in a small southern Alberta community. The statue isn't in the best shape, however. "We're ecstatically happy, but he needs to go to the hospital after he hits forensics," joked Dave Smeyers, who owns the unicorn that stood in the village of Delia, about 170 kilometres northeast of Calgary. "I haven't seen him personally, but it looks like somebody cut his horn off and put it in upside down." Standing 12 feet high (about 4.6 metres), measured to the tip of the horn, the unicorn is made of stainless steel, with gold hair, hooves and a white body. It weights 600 pounds (about 272 kilograms) and was originally fabricated by welders in Texas 15 years ago. Smeyers and his partner acquired the unicorn and put it outside their store, Hand Hills Crafts Village Market, in order to draw people in and help with business and tourism in Delia. "It's kind of the village mascot," he said. And while he doesn't know who the culprit is, Smeyers guesses that it was a school prank of some sort. "It's going to be expensive to fix as well," he said, adding that it will cost around $1,000 to get it transported alone. "So we'll get the RCMP to go out and we're hoping we can get it all fingerprinted," Morgan the unicorn went missing from its home on Friday.(Jaydee Bixby) The owners of the unicorn were alerted Morgan was missing around 8:30 a.m. Friday. They rushed to the site, only to find the unicorn gone with nothing but tire tracks and footprints left behind. By Saturday morning, the statue was found in a field just north of the small community. "This is a very sad prank and … it's the town's spirit that these people are playing with," said Smeyers. Jaydee Bixby lives two doors down from where Morgan proudly stood. "It's a pretty magical thing in our small town, we've got a small population, about 215 people," he said. He says it's been there over a year and definitely draws people to the town who might not have visited before.
Science experts say the new rules announced by Premier Doug Ford on Friday will not dramatically decrease the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario. Many say these directives continue to miss the mark when it comes to addressing the root causes of transmission. Katherine Ward reports.
Tofino, BC - Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn has been closed since November 2020. The decision was made in the interest of the “safety of our staff, our community of Tofino and the surrounding First Nations populations,” said Charles McDiarmid, managing director of the Wickaninnish Inn. “We thought it was prudent and best supportive of the message of our public health officer,” he said. “[Dr. Bonnie Henry] is the expert and if she’s recommending against non-essential travel, we felt we should be in support of that.” While McDiarmid stands behind his decision, “it has come at cost,” he said. To support staff who have been waiting on stand-by for the resort to reopen, the inn is currently covering rent for all employees living in staff accommodation. Of all the resorts in Tofino, the Wickaninnish Inn is the only one to remain closed. “It feels like I'm kind of walking a lonely road,” said McDiarmid. “We’re not trying to be a martyr or anything, we’re just doing what we think is best for the community.” The Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort re-opened in June 2020 and is currently operating at 65 per cent capacity. It will remain at a lower occupancy rate until vaccinations have been “completely rolled-out” within the province, said General Manager Jared Beaton. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation-owned resort has kept its doors open because, “like every other business, we have bills to pay,” said Beaton. It’s a difficult predicament to be in, said Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation tribal administrator. “There isn't enough government support for the amount of loans and debt servicing required for the resort,” he said. “Our nation has long been asking for a Vancouver Island bubble only, which wasn't supported by B.C. and would have added to our comfort level.” Many businesses are feeling the stress of a long year, said Laura McDonald, Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce president. “All businesses in Tofino are abiding by the provincial health orders and have implemented COVID-19 safety plans according to the requirements set out by WorkSafe BC, including regular inspections,” she said. “The well being of our employees and community members remains the top priority.” Because Tin Wis is a First Nations owned-and-operated business, eligible resort staff have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, said Beaton. And with strict protocols in place, he said he feels “confident that we are doing the right thing.” Tin Wis has not marketed or advertised its resort, they have established a touchless check-in and check-out system, rooms are not cleaned during a guest’s stay, breakfast is served as grab-and-go and the resort maintains a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who is non-compliant to their protocols, he said. “We're on 25 acres of beachfront property where there's lots of room to social distance,” said Beaton. The reality is, income needs to be generated to pay for the fixed expenses that are associated with the resort, he said. “This is [an] extremely difficult time for owner operators who remain dedicated to supporting our local community,” said McDonald. "They continue to follow current regulations that the provincial government has set out. We could not be prouder of how our business community has faced the challenges of this pandemic." Tofino’s community-wide vaccine roll-out began this week, where people 18 years of age and older are eligible to receive their first dose. Residents can call 1-833-348-4787 to book a vaccination appointment with Island Health. McDiarmid said the Wickaninnish Inn will not re-open until at least two weeks have passed after the town has been vaccinated. “I believe it's in the best interest of the community until we can ensure everyone is [at least] safely vaccinated with the first shot,” he said. “I can't deny that it's somewhat disappointing that there are so many visitors coming for non-essential travel and yet I understand why people want to be here.” Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
Saskatchewan RCMP are asking for the public's help in locating a man charged in connection with what they say appears to be a gang-related shootout in Meadow Lake earlier this week. Just before midnight on Tuesday, officers were called to a business in the 600 block of First Avenue following a report of gunshots. They were told two groups of people were involved in an altercation outside the business, during which a weapon was fired several times, RCMP said in a Thursday news release. At one point, shots were fired through a bystander's windshield, Mounties said. Police believe up to five people were involved, who then fled on foot. No arrests have been made, and no injuries have been reported to police. RCMP said they continue to investigate the incident as "related to street gang involvement." 19-year-old likely en route to Alberta On Friday, Meadow Lake RCMP issued a second news release in connection with the incident, saying an arrest warrant had been issued for Raheem Hagan. The 19-year-old is charged with intentionally and recklessly firing a gun. Hagan is described by RCMP as six foot two and roughly 190 pounds ,with a slim build, black hair and brown eyes. Police believe Hagan could be en route to Edmonton. RCMP urge anyone who sees Hagan not to approach him, as he's considered armed and dangerous. Instead, anyone with any information regarding Hagan's whereabouts is asked to contact Meadow Lake RCMP at 306-236-2570 or anonymously through Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Gordie Howe, Saskatchewan's most famous hockey icon, always said records were meant to be broken, according to his son, Murray Howe. And if Gordie were alive today, Murray said, he'd be excited to see another Saskatchewan native, Patrick Marleau, break his longtime record for most NHL games played — expected to happen Monday night in Las Vegas, barring anything unforeseen. "I think he'd be very thrilled and the first out on the ice to applaud Patrick on this really incredible milestone," Murray said. Gordie Howe, who had the nickname Mr. Hockey, set the record of 1,767 NHL games played before he retired in 1980 at age 52. Howe died in 2016 when he was 88. Marleau tied the record Saturday night in Minnesota. Murray said he's also happy to see his dad's record will be broken by Marleau, someone lauded for the same dedication, passion and humility as Gordie Howe, who "never put himself up on a pedestal." "[Marleau] is a class act," he said. "Just in the same way that Gretzky broke Dad's scoring records, it was great to see it accomplished by someone who was humble and dedicated to the game and grateful for the things that he had." As Monday approaches, Marleau's family is also cheering him on, from the Saskatchewan farm where he first fell in love with the game. WATCH | Brush up on the career of Patrick Marleau in 90 seconds: Shooting pucks by the barn Marleau grew up on his parent's farm near Aneroid, Sask., 250 kilometres southwest of Regina. His mother, Jeanette, a retired teacher, remembers how her two sons, Richard and Patrick, would play mini-stick hockey in the kitchen on her linoleum floor. "If I would wax [the floor], they would use their socks and they would polish it at the same time. They'd be playing hockey and [polishing]," she said. Richard took masking tape and spelled out "NHL" on the back of their jerseys. Denis Marleau and his two sons, Richard and Patrick, right, at their home near Aneroid, Sask. Now in his 23rd NHL season, Patrick Marleau said he still loves the game.(Submitted by Teresa Marleau) "There were a lot of battles on the kitchen floor. It seemed like we'd just get wound up on a Saturday night when Hockey Night in Canada would start playing … and then Mom would say 'Oh no, it's time for bed' just when things got really good," he said, with a chuckle. But Marleau's singular focus on honing his skills began to set him apart from other young players. His father, Denis, who still farms at age 74, remembers how Patrick would haul an ice cream container full of pucks out to the barn and practice his shot off a sheet of plywood. "You'd always knew where he was on the farm. You could hear this bang, bang — the pucks hitting the boards," said Denis. "We didn't have to tell him to do anything about hockey. He just loved it." At Christmas one year, Marleau's parents gave him an instructional video by Mario Lemieux, his favourite player, on VHS and he played it over and over. "I'm sure he wore that tape out. He watched it for hours," said Denis. Marleau grew up playing hockey in small rinks around Aneroid, Saskatchewan, 250 kilometres southwest of Regina.(Submitted by Teresa Marleau) Hard work and a bit of luck Marleau was selected by San Jose in the 1997 NHL Draft. The team's veteran goaltender Kelly Hrudey said he saw something special in the young rookie and so he, along with his wife Donna and three daughters, invited Marleau to live in their guesthouse. Hrudey said he could tell that Marleau was raised by his parents to be kind, and he hasn't changed today. "Very, very humble. For all that he's accomplished, and things he's done in his career and all the money he's made, to me he hasn't changed," said Hrudey. WATCH | Why Kelly Hrudey invited Patrick Marleau to come stay: The NHL analyst for Sportsnet credits Marleau's long career to his unique combination of skill, smarts, and passion, as well as Marleau's intense off-ice training and a bit of luck that have helped him escape injury. "He's had a body that just refuses to break down and that's what's very, very rare," said Hrudey. On Thursday, Marleau spoke to reporters in a virtual press conference. "I just love being out there and playing. Obviously every kid's dream is to hoist that Stanley Cup, so I've been chasing it all this time," said Marleau. He has yet to win a NHL championship. Marleau poses with his parents, Jeanette and Denis, after winning a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. (Submitted by Teresa Marleau) Marleau, who didn't mention retirement, said he hopes he'll be remembered as a player who loved the game, his team, and winning. "Ya know, I gave it my all," he said. Murray Howe, a physician who now lives in Toledo, Ohio, said his dad Gordie had the same attitude and was never driven or distracted by his statistics or records. "It is more about doing what he loves and feeling fortunate that he could do it as long as he could and do it at the level that he did," he said. "When Dad finally hung up the blades, he knew he left everything out on the ice and I think he's equally proud of anyone who does the same thing out on the ice, including Gretzky and Patrick [Marleau]." San Jose Sharks centre Marleau, left, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period of an NHL hockey game on April 6 in San Jose, Calif.(Tony Avelar/The Associated Press)
The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada's health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta. Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said. Canada health authorities "will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns," the statement said.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a Southern California business, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime. Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying guns or ammo at stores that conduct background checks. While it's unclear how Gaxiola, 44, acquired the weapons used in the March 31 shooting, the tragedy raises concerns over California's ability to enforce strict gun control laws, the Sacramento Bee reported on Friday, Police say Gaxiola had targeted Unified Homes, the mobile home brokerage company in Orange, and had personal and business relationships with the victims. His estranged wife had worked in the business for more than 10 years as a broker assistant. The shooting occurred nearly six years after Gaxiola pleaded guilty to misdemeanour battery, which should have put him on the list prohibiting him from owning firearms for the next 10 years. The list is used during the state's gun and ammunition background check process. Two weeks after the mass shooting, police learned Gaxiola was not on the “Prohibited Persons List,” though he might still have been blocked from buying a gun during a standard background check, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. Detectives were still working on tracing the Glock semi-automatic handgun and ammunition, she said. It's rare that a background check misses a prohibited person, or that a dealer would decide to still sell to a banned customer, said Steve Lindley, a former California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms chief who now works as a program manager at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Even with all the stopgaps in a “very, very good system,” Lindley said, people still acquire guns illegally. “Unfortunately, where you have strict gun laws, there will always be a market for illegal firearms,” Lindley said. “Because people want to get them one way or another.” California in 2016 became the first and only state in the nation to establish the Armed and Prohibited Persons System for tracking firearm owners who fall into a prohibited category based on their criminal histories or their risk to themselves or others. The system is intended to prevent gun violence by blocking those deemed too risky to own a firearm from possessing a gun or buying one. Pulling records from several databases, the system is supposed to alert authorities when someone who once legally purchased a firearm is placed on the prohibited persons list. Agents with the Department of Justice, which manages the state’s background check system, will then track a prohibited person to confiscate their weapons and ammunition. The agency says it lacks the staff to clear a backlog in cases — a problem officials noted became more pronounced because of staffing shortages caused by the pandemic. Without knowing more about how Gaxiola got his handgun and ammunition, there are “missing pieces to the story that are critical,” to understanding whether he obtained it because of an institutional failure, said Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center, where he is the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program. Gaxiola, 44, was charged with four murder counts and three attempted murder counts for firing at two officers who shot and wounded him when he fired at them with his handgun, and for critically wounding a woman. She was the mother of a 9-year-old boy who died in her arms. Gaxiola's arraignment has been repeatedly postponed because he remains hospitalized and unable to communicate with his court-appointed attorneys. Associated Press, The Associated Press
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Kelly Loeffler had a warning. The former U.S. senator from Georgia, defeated in a January runoff amid Republican infighting, told her hometown GOP committee Saturday that only a unified party can avoid a repeat in the 2022 midterms. “What I saw in my campaign is that we need to do better. We just need to get to work doing it,” Loeffler told Fulton County Republicans at their annual convention. Yet Republicans can’t seem to get past 2020. In the hours after Loeffler’s plea, at least a half-dozen local party committees voted to condemn their fellow Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, for not helping overturn President Donald Trump’s November defeat. Two counties already had done so. Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer, himself seeking another term, eagerly noted in his rounds to local conventions that he’s sued “a Republican secretary of state.” And in Fulton County, the state’s most populous, a flood of new delegates ousted several incumbent officers despite their pledged fealty to Trump. The tension reflects the former president’s ever-tightening grip on the Republican Party and suggests that even unabashed conservatives like Kemp are at the mercy of continued finger-pointing and competition to be the loudest echoes for Trump’s false assertion of a rigged 2020 election. Kemp and Raffensperger were both the targets of Trump’s ire after they certified Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow win in Georgia. Some counties added demands that Raffensperger resign. A Kemp aide focused on how few counties out of 159 have formally condemned the governor, saying he's “grateful” for grassroots support and looks forward to a primary campaign where he can tout his “successful record.” A Raffensperger aide did not respond to a request for comment. Indeed, the pair staved off some condemnations. Gwinnett County, part of the metro Atlanta core, voted down the measures. A handful of other counties, including Fulton, censured Raffensperger but had no floor vote at all on Kemp. Other counties avoided votes altogether when they adjourned because too few delegates remained to conduct business after long days. The trend nonetheless shows Kemp has work to do to shore up his right flank ahead of 2022. “I’m disappointed in Kemp, and I’d absolutely consider someone else,” said Ruth Anne Tatum, a retired Alpharetta schoolteacher who was among the scores of first-time delegates to attend the Fulton County convention. Tatum said she travelled to Washington for the Jan. 6 rally in which Trump addressed supporters before some of them stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress tallied Biden’s Electoral College victory. She said she was not among the insurrectionists but argued that the event has been unfairly pinned on Trump. “I’m so tired of all the lies and the corruption and the cheating,” Tatum said, pointing at Democrats and Republicans alike. “All of them,” she said. That’s what makes Republican establishment players nervous. It’s not about whether Kemp can win nomination for a second term. He remains a solid favourite. His only opponent thus far, Vernon Jones, is a former Democrat best known as an outspoken Black supporter of Trump. And Kemp boosted his standing by signing the recent Georgia election law overhaul and defending it against criticism from liberals and corporate leaders. Yet Trump’s loss — followed by Loeffler’s and Sen. David Perdue’s losses in January — show how perilous a Trump-branded party is in Georgia. Distancing yourself from Trump costs votes within the GOP core, while hugging Trump too tightly juices the left and costs votes in the middle, especially among moderates in metro Atlanta. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to get past it,” said Trey Kelly after he lost his bid for another term as Fulton GOP chair. Earlier, he'd stood behind a sign dubbing Georgia “Trump country” and declared loudly to 330 delegates — a local record for an open convention, according to party officials — that “the 2020 election was stolen.” He even called Fulton, long a Democratic bastion, “the U.S. capital of voter fraud.” His opponent, Susan Opraseuth, likewise panned “an unconstitutional election,” but she threw in her outsider, anti-establishment status that Kelly couldn’t counter. “Our current trajectory demands change,” she said, following the roadmap Trump used in 2016 and that Kemp followed in 2018. The chair's election required two rounds of voting after Opraseuth delegates disputed results that showed Kelly prevailing. She then won a second tally. Along the way came shouts of “cheating” by Opraseuth delegates, while Kelly’s establishment supporters huddled in frustration. Shafer, the state chairman, said local wrangles shouldn’t obscure what he says is a strong position for Kemp. The chairman differentiated the governor from Raffensperger, whose mention was booed repeatedly Saturday. “The governor fulfilled a ministerial role only,” Shafer said, referring to state law requiring that Kemp ratify Biden’s Electoral College slate once Raffensperger certified the Democrat’s victory. Raffensperger, alternately, used his post before the election to expand absentee ballot access in ways Trump, Shafer and others insist opened the outcome to fraud. If there’s anything that could stitch the internal GOP fissures, it could be Democrats nominating voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams for a rematch of 2018. At the Fulton convention, Abrams name flowed from the stage perhaps more than any Republican. “We have to take on the Abrams machine,” Loeffler declared in her opening remarks. “If we let up, they’re gonna win.” But the former senator wasn’t around for the tense work of choosing her local GOP officers or deciding whether to condemn her fellow Republicans. Soon after speaking, she left the building. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
A large-scale search is underway for any evidence of the Tyhawk fishing vessel or its missing captain. The New Brunswick based boat, owned by the Elsipogtog First Nation, sank off the coast of Cape Breton, N.S. earlier this month. Now friends and family from Mi'kmaq communities in both provinces are pooling their resources and raising money to try and find the boat's captain, Craig Sock. Volunteer Starr Paul of the Eskasoni First Nation in N.S., said a search team is in Chéticamp, N.S. scouring the shoreline and the water for any evidence of Sock, who was known as Jumbo. "We have to help each other, we have to help find and bring Jumbo home," she said. "Because Mi'kmaq people are spiritual people, they have this hope." Four of the six crew members on the vessel were rescued after it took on water and capsized on April 3. Seth Monahan died and Jumbo was later declared missing and presumed dead. Jumbo's brother said he drowned saving a crew mate who was trapped in the wheelhouse, by throwing him out the window. The Coast Guard searched overnight for Jumbo before suspending its efforts, which were hindered by freezing rain. The RCMP then took over as a missing person case. Craig "Jumbo" Sock is missing at sea and presumed dead after his fishing boat sank on April 3.(Submitted by Derek Sock) Jumbo's brother Derek Sock has expressed disappointment with the efforts by RCMP to locate him. The volunteer search team is working with local ATV groups in Cape Breton, Pictou County and eastern P.E.I. to scan the coast. People are also looking on foot. The community of Chéticamp is letting searchers use the arena as a base to hold meetings and make plans. Port Hawkesbury based Celtic Air, has offered to do aerial searches, and drones are also being flown along the coast. The searchers hope to use geo surveying to scan the ocean floor for the wreckage of the Tyhawk as well. Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation donated $2,500 toward the effort to help cover the cost of gas and other expenses. Paul said the effort has brought together dozens of people who knew Jumbo from his involvement as a band councilor, fisherman, and for his love of hockey and golf. "Everybody relied on him and now his family is depending on our people to help," she said. "A lot of people were so devastated by this happening, people are in shock so that's why everybody is full-fledged, let's do this. Let's bring Jumbo home."
Venezuela's supreme court has awarded $13 million to top socialist party official Diosdado Cabello in a defamation case against a newspaper, but the paper's lawyer said on Saturday the outlet could not afford to pay. Cabello, the second-highest ranking official in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) after President Nicolas Maduro, sued the El Nacional newspaper in 2015 after it reprinted a Spanish newspaper article asserting U.S. officials were investigating Cabello for alleged ties to drug trafficking.
A Smithers woman is pushing for the northern B.C. town to allow cremation after she drove for two hours to the nearest crematorium with the body of her infant son in the car, days after his stillbirth in 2015. "It's an absolute nightmare for any parent to have to deal with," said Jill McDonald. Smithers has an 86 per cent cremation rate for deceased residents, according to a 2019 B.C. Vital Statistics report, but it does not allow cremation within its boundaries. This leaves only two options for individuals who choose that method: work with the local funeral home to transport their deceased to another town, or transport their deceased themselves. An application was submitted to the town in November 2020 to adjust its zoning bylaws and allow crematory services within its boundaries. A public hearing on the topic will be held April 27. This is frustrating for McDonald who said the option for alternative transport was not even discussed with her or her husband after her stillbirth. "We were handed a death certificate and told we could stay the night or we could go home," McDonald told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk. "So we went through the process of laying his body to rest." McDonald said that process included phoning the funeral home in Smithers, filling out the appropriate paperwork, picking up his body from the local morgue and driving 250 kilometres to the nearest crematorium in Terrace with a small coffin on their back seat. Laurel Menzel is the crematorium operator who made the zoning bylaw amendment application to the town. Menzel said that McDonald's story is not unique and that families often have to take responsibility for transporting their deceased outside of Smithers to be cremated. If the rezoning takes place, Menzel hopes to offer the service. "Death care, by and large, is an extension of health care and death care done well brings people peace and closure," Menzel said. "And death care done poorly brings people grief and trauma." In a written statement, Smithers general manager of infrastructure Mark Allen acknowledged that while funeral parlours and undertaking establishments are permitted uses, crematory services are currently not permitted in the town's bylaws. "The business demand may justify the need for the crematorium use, and may play a part in town council's decision," he said. "But the purpose of the public hearing is for council to receive feedback from the public and for council to weigh all the information received to make an informed decision on permitting the crematorium use in Smithers' industrial areas."