Every day is National Cat Day for these stars, who can't live without their fur babies
Every day is National Cat Day for these stars, who can't live without their fur babies
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
One man was killed in an avalanche near Mackenzie, B.C., on Saturday, according to RCMP.Two people were snowmobiling in the Power King/Bijoux Falls area when the avalanche happened just before 2 p.m. PT. One of the snowmobilers was buried in the snow, according to a statement Monday.A search and rescue team, as well as avalanche-trained searchers from Prince George, B.C., later found the man dead.RCMP said he was 35 years old and originally from Dawson Creek, B.C. The second sledder was unhurt.The B.C. Coroner's Service is investigating the man's death. RCMP did not release any further details.A "significant" storm left up to 70 centimetres of fresh powder in the area on Saturday. Avalanche Canada said there were "very dangerous avalanche conditions" in the treeline and alpine at the time.
CANOE COVE – For three-year-old Jake Kislingbury, it sure is good to be home from the hospital. "He was just petrified for such a long time," his mother Verity said. The Canoe Cove boy started having bad headaches in May. He was soon airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax due to a rare, aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma, which had spread so rapidly from his sinuses it's left him permanently blind. Jake, the son of Verity and Dave Kislingbury, had to stay at the hospital from May to October, and he and his family still have a long road ahead. So, in support of the Kislingburys, the community is using its annual Christmas event to raise funds for their neighbours this December. "That's what the community is here for," neighbour Chrys Jenkins said. This marks Chrys and Doreen Jenkins' 10th year hosting the Drive-Thru Living Nativity at their farmhouse in Canoe Cove. Organizers welcome everyone to witness the Jenkins' Christmas light display and nativity scene – complete with farm animals and in-character volunteers – from the comfort of their vehicles Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each night. Plans for the drive-thru nativity started in September and there will be a few differences from past years, such as the addition of Santa and his sleigh. "Instead of the (usual) choir," Doreen said, "because of COVID." Jake and Verity got to check out the sleigh in advance of the event. Jake would often hold his mother's hand while walking around, and he had a fun time meeting the Jenkins' animals, playing with his toys and chatting it up as any three-year-old would. "He's gained his character back," Verity said. "We lost that for a while." During his time in the hospital, there were many nights where she would have to sleep in his bed to help comfort him. He clutched to his parents' promise that they would get him and his brother, William, a dog after treatment, which they'd train as a service dog, Verity said. "That's what got him through," she said. "It was tough." "But we got through," Jake said, unprompted, in response to his mother. The Kislingburys had volunteered with the drive-thru nativity for several years before and are grateful for the Jenkins' generosity in hosting it. All freewill donations will go toward general expenses incurred from Jake's treatment, and possibly toward a trust fund for his future. "It's a whole life change for all of us, really," Verity said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born. (Dec. 1)
VAL-D’OR, secteur DUBUISSON-Une collision entre trois véhicules a fait deux blessés graves vers 13h00 lundi sur la route 117, entre le secteur Dubuisson, de Val-d’Or, et Malartic. Selon les informations fournies par la Sûreté du Québec, l’accident implique un camion semi-remorque, un camion de déneigement et une minifourgonnette. «On ne connaît pas les circonstances exactes de l’accident, indique le Sergent Hugues Beaulieu, porte-parole de la Sûreté du Québec. Une manœuvre de dépassement serait à l’origine de l’accident. Sous la force de l’impact, le poids lourd s’est retrouvé en travers du chemin. Un reconstitutionniste est sur place pour tenter d’expliquer comment s’est produit l’accident.» Selon la SQ, le conducteur de la déneigeuse aurait été éjecté de son véhicule et aurait subi des blessures graves. Il a été transporté à l’hôpital, et on craint pour sa vie. On craint aussi pour la vie du conducteur de la minifourgonnette, qui lui aussi a été transporté à l’hôpital. La route 117 est complètement bloquée pour encore quelques heures entre Val-d’Or et Malartic. Les automobilistes doivent donc faire un détour d’une centaine de kilomètres et passer par Amos pour se rendre à Val-d’Or. Michel Ducas, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Beginning Dec. 14, if you are not wearing a face covering in the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM), you could receive a fine. Council has approved its proposed face-covering bylaw at a meeting held Monday. The bylaw will require mandatory face coverings in all indoor and enclosed spaces accessible to the public in TBM. The face-covering bylaw will mimic the provincial face-covering mandate and is expected to be enacted and come into effect on Dec. 14. “Particularly in things like the exemptions, we have mirrored the provincial language,” said Will Thomson, director of legal services for the town. The provincial legislation states businesses and organizations must ensure anyone located in an indoor area on their premises or in a work vehicle must wear a mask that covers their mouth, nose, and chin. The intent of TBM’s municipal bylaw is to shift the obligation from the business owner to enforce wearing a face covering, to every individual person to the greatest extent possible. Under the bylaw, municipal officers will be able to issue a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. TBM council held a special committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 25, which allowed for public and council discussion. Ultimately, the bylaw was carried unanimously at today's council meeting. Council members also unanimously approved the hiring of two, six-month contract bylaw officers with an upper limit of $75,000, which was not included in the current budget. “2020 has been a year unlike any other, in addition to the above responsibilities, our officers have taken on regulating and enforcing business closures during the first wave of the COVID-19; they have enforced crowds, social gatherings and large groups in our public spaces; they have been a constant presence on our beaches during the busy summer months; and have had an active role in ensuring responsible parking and use of our rural recreational resources,” state Thomson in a staff report. TBM currently has four full-time municipal bylaw officers. Through the summer months, the bylaw department had been supplemented with five additional contract staff. “Our officers have been an invaluable resource to our local and business community and have been a calming and reassuring presence as the face of the town since the start of the pandemic,” added Thomson. The two new bylaw officers will be tasked with educating and enforcing all of the town’s bylaws, including but not limited to the new face-covering bylaw. “It only takes one person to not follow the laws to create chaos,” said Deputy Mayor Rob Potter. “Sometimes we can't get an emergency vehicle or a snow plow through and so on. So, we need to be ahead of that game. We can't wait for the problems to happen.” The TBM face-covering bylaw, including exemption and penalties, can be found in staff report FAF.20.201.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
The Trudeau government is delaying the enactment of gun marking regulations for the third time since being elected — despite promising to bring them into force immediately following the 2015 election.Public Safety Canada announced today it will defer the regulations, which were meant to take effect on Dec. 1, until Dec. 1, 2023. The regulations — first drafted in 2004 but never fully implemented — are designed to help police investigators trace suspects connected to gun crimes.The department said it concluded after consulting with law enforcement agencies and industry groups that the regulations as drafted would be ineffective in the absence of record-keeping requirements for non-restricted firearms."The government will use the deferral period to continue consulting with partners and develop an effective markings regime that is appropriate for Canada, balancing the needs of law enforcement with the impact on firearms businesses and owners, while prioritizing public safety," said the release.History of delaysThe regulations would have required domestically manufactured firearms to bear the name of the manufacturer, the serial number and "Canada" or "CA," while imported guns would have to carry the "Canada" or "CA" designation along with the last two digits of the year of import.The measures would help Canada meet the requirements of the United Nations Firearms Protocol and a convention of the Organization of American States.The Trudeau Liberals promised to enact gun-marking regulations "immediately" after being elected in their 2015 platform. Instead, the government chose to defer them in May 2017 and again in Nov. 2018. The previous Conservative government also delayed the regulations several times since 2006.Governments often cited the need for more consultation when deferring the regulations, although the last time they were deferred in 2018 the Liberals argued the destruction of the gun records contained the long-gun registry reduced the utility of the regulations.Gun enthusiasts, hunters and sport shooters have, over the years, lobbied hard for each deferral and praised every delay.They argued markings would do little to stop gun crime, given that many criminals already file serial numbers off their weapons. It is also widely believed that requiring markings would add to the manufacturing costs and therefore make firearms more expensive.Gun control advocates call for stricter measuresAlso today, gun-control advocates held an online news conference to urge the Trudeau government to get on with promised reforms."We urge minister Blair to return to the gun file with force and to aim to meet his commitments without delay," said Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of the group PolySeSouvient.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has pledged new measures, including a buyback of recently outlawed firearms, tougher storage provisions and steps to control handguns — but Rathjen said that, several months later, there are no signs of progress on legislation.Rathjen's plea came days before the Dec. 6 anniversary of the shooting of 14 women at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique, which Rathjen witnessed as a student.The federal government outlawed a wide range of firearms by cabinet order in May, including the one used at Polytechnique, saying the guns were designed for the battlefield, not for hunting or sport shooting.The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported.The measure has met with stiff criticism from some firearms owners and the federal Conservatives, who question the value of the ban.PolySeSouvient says it wants to see the new prohibitions on assault-style guns, brought in through regulation, embedded into law to complete the ban and render it permanent — something the Liberal government has signalled it will do.It also wants the Liberals to legislate a system of pre-authorization for guns to ensure only new models inspected and authorized by the RCMP can enter the Canadian market.Blair has said the coming legislation will create a new evergreen framework for classification of firearms to ensure federal intentions can't be easily overridden.Besides seeking the legislation the government has previously promised, PolySeSouvient has also called on the government to: * Limit firearm magazines to five bullets to reduce the damage a mass shooter can do; * Give police officers easier access to commercial sales record data to help detect bulk gun purchases; * Invest significant efforts and resources in strengthening the screening and monitoring of gun-licence applicants and licensed owners; * End the importation and manufacture of handguns.The Trudeau government says it plans to empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns.PolySeSouvient has counselled the government to avoid off-loading handgun restrictions onto municipalities, saying local bans are generally ineffective, as the patchwork of local and state laws in the United States shows.
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Following a lengthy discussion at Chatham-Kent council last week, only one area rated tax charge will be eliminated in the municipality. Chatham-Kent staff recommended that all three charges be eliminated to allow for a more streamlined and simplified approach towards property tax calculations. This would have resulted in all property owners in Chatham-Kent paying equally for the three services through the base levy, regardless of how frequently the service is used in their community. According to Chatham-Kent police Chief Gary Conn, services are offered everywhere in the municipality, whether a community requires the major crime unit, critical incident response team or the drone unit. He clarified that the police service level is the same in rural areas as it is in urban areas. “It’s the same level of service,” said Conn. “It’s not dependent upon area rating. The level of service is dependent upon a totality of variables that are taken into consideration, primarily the nature of the call and the urgency. The level of service does not change whether you reside within a rural area or an urban area.” He added a police cruiser is basically an “office on wheels” that allows officers to do their work while being ready to deploy for a call in short order. However, some councillors noted they see cruisers more often in urban areas than Chatham-Kent’s rural communities. Councillors said the level of proactive policing service wasn’t the same for rural areas. Eliminating area rating for policing would have resulted in a $102.65 annual increase per $100,000 assessment for taxpayers in 16 rural areas. A flat rate would have provided $75.84 in annual savings per $100,000 assessment for taxpayers in the urban areas of Chatham, Wallaceburg, Dresden, Ridgetown, Blenheim and Tilbury. Councillor Amy Finn argued that in an urban setting, your chances of seeing a police car is 20 times greater than seeing one out in the rural areas … “Yes, if someone calls 9-1-1, you quickly send an officer as fast as you can there,” said Finn. “If there’s a suspicious vehicle (in Bothwell or Tilbury), the response time for that call is a lot different than if you see a suspicious vehicle in Chatham.” Council spent nearly an hour and a half debating the topic. In an effort to make it easier on taxpayers, Councillor Melissa Harrigan put forward an amendment that if the recommendations pass, they be phased in over three years. Councillor Harrigan said residents have told her they would like to see additional police visibility, as well as more proactive policing in these areas. “In talking to rural residents about this, a common comment that I receive back is, ‘If we’re going to pay more for police services, you have to promise that we’re going to get more’,” said Harrigan. She said council might be approaching the issue in the wrong way. “Why aren’t we looking at adding services and raising rural rates?” questions Harrigan. “Instead of just kind of finding that equilibrium between geographically rural and geographically urban.” Ultimately, council voted in favour of keeping the area rating charge in place for policing (11-7) and streetlights (10-8) and voted in favour of eliminating it for horticulture (10-8). This means the property tax burden for the municipality’s horticultural services will be evenly spread among taxpayers across Chatham-Kent. At the same time, the costs for policing and streetlights will still be determined by where a specific property is located. The votes for and against were as follows: \- Elimination of area rating for police services, resulting in the inclusion within the base levy. Voting yes were Bondy, Crew, Faas, Hall, Kirkwood-Whyte, B. McGregor and Sulman. Voting no were Authier, Ceccacci, Finn, Harrigan, Latimer, McGrail, C.McGregor, Pinsonneault, Thompson, Wright and Mayor Canniff. Motion defeated 11-7. \- Elimination of area rating for streetlights, resulting in the inclusion within the base levy. Voting yes were Bondy, Crew, Faas, Hall, Harrigan, Kirkwood-Whyte, B. McGregor and Sulman. Voting no were Authier, Ceccacci, Finn, Latimer, McGrail, C. McGregor, Pinsonneault, Thompson, Wright and Mayor Canniff. Motion defeated 10-8. \- Elimination of area rating for horticulture, resulting in the inclusion within the base levy. Voting yes were Bondy, Crew, Faas, Hall, Harrigan, Kirkwood-Whyte, McGrail, B. McGregor, Sulman and Mayor Canniff. Voting no were Authier, Ceccacci, Finn, Latimer, C. McGregor, Pinsonneault, Thompson and Wright. Motion carried 10-8.Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Montreal police say they'll step up their presence in the northeast of the city after four shootings in a five-hour span Sunday that left at least three people injured."Police officers from different units will be more visible on the ground to reassure the population while others carry out priority investigations to identify those responsible," the force said in a statement Monday. "These events underscore the importance of continuing to work on the gun violence that troubles our communities and undermines our sense of security."Police said no arrests had been made in connection with the attacks, which spanned roughly five hours beginning with a report of gunshots in Montreal North on Sunday evening around 5:30 p.m.Police found no victim but there was evidence of gunfire and shell casings near a parked car, and shortly afterwards a man in his 20s showed up in a hospital in serious condition requiring emergency surgery.About 9:30 p.m., first responders found a man in his 50s who was shot while parking his car at his home in the Riviere-des-Prairies district and was rushed to hospital.Just 10 minutes later, shots rang out in the parking lot of an apartment in the same neighbourhood, with a bullet striking a car that had at least one person in it before a suspect fled the scene.And at about 10:20 p.m., a man on his balcony was struck by bullet fired from ground level, leading to a man in his 20s being transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.Police said they would meet with residents in the area soon to discuss measures to better secure neighbourhoods.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
The big takeaways for agriculture in Ontario’s behemoth $187 billion 2020 budget are funding for rural broadband infrastructure and the Agri-Food Prevention and Control Innovation Program. The provincial government has made available an additional $680 million across four years to bring reliable internet connectivity to rural and underserved areas of the province. “We look forward to seeing that infrastructure actually put in the ground,” said Peggy Brekveld, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s newly elected president. Over three years, the budget allots $25.5 million to the Agri-Food Prevention and Control Innovation Program. The cost-sharing funds are available for projects to mitigate disruptions to farm business from COVID-19 through technology. Brekveld said she believes the funds “will help us continue to find ways to innovate and invest in new technologies” to push back against COVID-19's effects on the sector. The budget reads that innovation funding will lead to “increased efficiencies and productivity” while supporting “resilience and long-term sustainability and growth in the agri-food sector.” Bill George, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, also highlighted the innovation funding as the budget’s main appeal for the agri-food sector. “There’s not a lot really other than that,” he said. Only a small element of the budget, there’s also $5 million set out for Ontario’s struggling agricultural and horticultural societies. For the societies, who put on many of the province’s fall fairs (there are three in Niagara put on by agricultural societies) the funding is significant. Speaking to Niagara This Week for a November story on the funding, Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies manager, Vince Brennan, said he’s never seen anything like it before and called it the “single largest influx of dollars for our organizations.” For the 2020-21 fiscal year, a record provincial deficit of $38.5 billion is projected in the budget. Reflected as a percentage, the net debt of the deficit makes up 47 per cent of all of Ontario’s economic production or gross domestic production (GDP). Ontario’s GDP is also projected to fall 6.5 per cent during 2020. Two deficit outlook scenarios are presented, one for slow growth and another for faster. Under a fast growth projection, the provincial deficit by the 2022-23 fiscal year would decline to $21.3 billion. Under slow growth, the projection for the same period would be a decline to $33.4 billion. Currently, the 2020 budget projects the deficit to decline to $28.2 billion for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Of the total $187 billion in spending in the 2020 budget, $12.5 billion is forecasted to be spent on paying interest on government debt. There is also $2.5 billion being kept in reserve to weather any unforeseen circumstances. There was no plan presented to balance the multi-year budget, as is required by law, and the province will be seeking a pause on the requirement given the "volatile and uncertain economic situation” of the pandemic. The province plans to table a path to balance in the 2021 budget.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Monday he is relieved after an association of Quebec booksellers apologized for removing an online list of his reading recommendations.Legault shared some of his favourite books during a Facebook live video last week as part of a campaign by the Association des libraires du Quebec to promote Quebec literature during the COVID-19 pandemic.While Legault's video remained online, the association said it removed posts detailing the premier's book list on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on Friday after receiving "a flood of comments.""My intention was never to hurt anyone or censor anything because that goes against the fundamental values of the association and our commitment to freedom of expression,” the group’s director, Katherine Fafard, said in a statement Monday.Fafard, who apologized for what she said was an error, did not say which of Legault’s recommendations drew the comments.A spokesman for the premier, Ewan Sauves, said the association received complaints about one of the titles Legault selected but did not confirm which book it was.The premier's list of 11 books included "Kukum" by Michel Jean, Dany Laferriere's "L'enigme du retour," and "L'empire du politiquement correct" by Mathieu Bock-Cote, a conservative author and columnist. On Sunday, Bock-Cote, whose book title translates as "The Empire of Political Correctness," accused the association of censorship for removing the premier's selections.Legault addressed the controversy Monday afternoon, saying in a Facebook post that he was at first angered and saddened by the decision but was relieved to see his list was back online."We cannot accept a handful of radical activists trampling on our freedom of expression to defend their diktats. That goes way too far," Legault wrote."The beauty of books is that there is room for all voices. Reading transports us to points of view that are sometimes far from our own, but always enrich us. It makes me sad to know that people in Quebec would like to take that away from us," he added.Legault also encouraged people to support Quebec authors, saying that was "the best response we can offer those who want to silence them."Ruba Ghazal, a member of the Quebec legislature with the left-of-centre Quebec Solidaire party, welcomed the association's decision to republish Legault's book list."It's a positive thing that the (premier) shares his readings with us and that we can debate them honestly and openly," Ghazal tweeted. She also suggested that if Legault "enjoys reading intellectuals," he should next pick up Mark Fortier's Melancolies Identitaires, a book that critiques Bock-Cote's work.The Association des libraires du Quebec has 134 members, primarily independent book shops.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Canadian Press
RAINY RIVER — Ontario Provincial Police is asking for the public’s assistance with a break and enter investigation of two cabins over the weekend. Police in Rainy River District responded on Nov. 28 after receiving complaints of a break and enter on Big Sawbill Road, according to a police news release issued Monday, Nov. 30. Officers learned suspects had forced entry into two cabins and stolen multiple firearms, hunting equipment, knives and fishing rods. Police continue to investigate the incident with the assistance of the Rainy River District Crime Unit and Forensic Identification Unit. Police are also recommending anyone with seasonal properties in the Rainy River District to make efforts to have it checked on and report any suspicious activity. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Rainy River District OPP at 807-274-3322 or 1-888-310-1122.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
VICTORIA — A former judge says she found widespread systemic racism in British Columbia's health-care system where extensive negative profiling of Indigenous patients affects treatment and care.Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Monday she could not confirm allegations of an organized game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients in B.C. emergency departments, but found extensive harmful profiling of patients based on stereotypes about addictions and parenting. The former Saskatchewan provincial court judge and one-time children's advocate in B.C. was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June to investigate the guessing-game allegations and conduct a broader examination of Indigenous racism in provincial health care."Indigenous people consistently told us, and this was confirmed by the health-care workers who responded and the cases, that they are subjected to negative assumptions, negative assumptions based on prejudice, based on racism, based on beliefs that should not exist in our health-care system," Turpel-Lafond said at a news conference.She said 84 per cent of the review's Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in health care and 52 per cent of Indigenous health-care workers said they experienced racial prejudice at work, mostly in the form of comments."Among the top negative assumptions that are circulating in our health-care system today is that Indigenous patients and people are less worthy," Turpel-Lafond said. "That they are alcoholics. That they're drug seeking."These negative assumptions lead to the denial and delay of patient services, and cause some people to stay away from hospitals to avoid further incidents of discriminatory treatment, she said.Indigenous people told the review they feared hospitals and would rather face uncertain health than return to get care, said Turpel-Lafond.The review heard from nearly 9,000 Indigenous patients, family members, third-party witnesses and health-care workers. It also examined the health-care data of about 185,000 First Nations and Metis patients.Turpel-Lafond's report makes 24 recommendations. They include bringing in measures and legislation to change behaviour and the appointment of three new positions to focus on the problem, including an Indigenous health officer and an associate deputy minister of Indigenous health.The report also said the government should work with Indigenous organizations to improve the patient complaint processes to address individual and systemic racism specifically experienced by Indigenous people, as well as create a new school of Indigenous medicine at the University of British Columbia.Dix said B.C. will work to implement the recommendations and the review's findings will be felt across the country."Racism is toxic for people and it's toxic for care," he said. "I want to make an unequivocal apology as the minister of health to those who have experienced racism in accessing health-care services in B.C., now and in the past."The First Nations Leadership Council, comprising several B.C. Indigenous organizations and Metis Nation B.C., called on the government to act."These are the voices of our families and our relatives and they have to be heard," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement. "They can no longer be silenced by a narrative of indifference and negligence and a culture of low expectations."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Element AI's ownership is headed across the border and into U.S. hands after years of being touted as one of Canada's most promising technology companies.The Montreal-based firm that creates artificial intelligence solutions for large organizations announced Monday that it has signed a deal to be purchased by ServiceNow, a Santa Clara, Calif., company that offers a cloud‑based workflow technology.The companies did not disclose the financial terms of their agreement, and expect the acquisition to close next year."Element AI’s vision has always been to redefine how companies use AI to help people work smarter," said Element AI founder and chief executive Jean‑Francois Gagne in a statement. "ServiceNow is the clear partner for us to apply our talent and technology to the most significant challenges facing the enterprise today."Though ServiceNow said the acquisition will help it create a Canadian hub for consumer-focused innovation, the deal will see one of Montreal's most prized AI companies put into the control of Americans and jobs slip away.Marc LeCuyer, ServiceNow's director general, would not disclose the current size of Element AI's workforce or the number of job losses that will result from the transaction.Workers not being retained will be connected to recruiters to help them access jobs that are open at ServiceNow, he said in an email.Monday's acquisition should serve as "another cautionary tale" for Canadian politicians because it comes just after Waterloo, Ont., smart glasses company North was sold to Google in the summer, said Jim Balsillie, the former BlackBerry Ltd. co-chief executive and current chairman of the Council of Canadian Innovators."Canada actually has market-proven AI companies with entrepreneurs building successful businesses, and it’s high time they receive the attention they earned," he said in an email to The Canadian Press. Element AI was founded in Montreal in 2016 by Gagne, Anne Martel, Nicolas Chapados, Jean‑Sebastien Cournoyer, Philippe Beaudoin and one of the godfathers of AI, Yoshua Bengio.The company quickly became a pioneer in AI after it raised a Series A funding round of $135 million in its first seven months and opened five offices across North America, Europe and Asia.It got a $5-million loan from the federal government two years later, which it planned to use to expand the company further.Then more cash arrived last year from the Quebec government, pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, and McKinsey and Company.The investors handed over $200 million in a Series B round of funding. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec's minister of economy and innovation, said Monday's deal means that Element AI's business model ultimately did not work, but he was relieved the government still managed to break even with its investments in the company."The bad news is that the Quebec shareholder is no longer what it was, which is sad," he said. He was, however, pleased that at least ServiceNow has found value in Element AI.Before the acquisition, ServiceNow was on a spending spree, buying Israeli AI company Loom Systems, U.S. translation technology firm Passage AI and Belgian data management platform Sweagle in 2020. It also created technology development centres in India, Chicago, Washington, San Diego and Silicon Valley.Then it turned its attention to Element AI and Canada."With Element AI’s powerful capabilities and world class talent, ServiceNow will empower employees and customers to focus on areas where only humans excel — creative thinking, customer interactions, and unpredictable work," said ServiceNow chief AI officer Vijay Narayanan in a statement.The two companies will have to wait for approvals before their deal can close, but expect that to happen in early 2021.They say Bengio, who won the 2018 Turing Award with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun and runs a Quebec-based AI research institute, will serve as a technical adviser for ServiceNow.— with files from Julien Arsenault in MontrealThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
Strathmore has moved to make its fire department more diverse and inclusive by hiring a deputy fire chief to a new recruitment position. Laurie VandeSchoot, the town’s new assistant chief of diversity, inclusion and recruiting, was introduced during the regular Strathmore town council meeting on Nov. 18. VandeSchoot is a municipal government, change management and strategic planning specialist with a 28-year career with the City of Calgary who also consults internationally and locally and instructs at Bow Valley College in Calgary. “Laurie is known for building inclusive and high-performance cultures that strengthens communities,” said Judy Unsworth, Strathmore Fire Department deputy chief, during the meeting. VandeSchoot has experience in diversity services, equity solutions, mental health, public participation, strategic planning and sustainable development, said Unsworth. Furthermore, VandeSchoot leads the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) diversity leadership program, chairs the International Fire Chiefs human relations committee, and is the national co-chair of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) national subcommittee on diversity inclusion, among other leadership roles. “Under the direction of chief (Trent) West, I am super excited about what we can do here in Strathmore,” said VandeSchoot. “I’m passionate, as you can tell, about diversity and inclusion – it’s kind of my lifeblood. When we talk about diversity, inclusion and recruitment, diversity and inclusion is our purpose, recruitment is where we start from.” Diversity is about more than numbers, she added. “It’s not just about how many people you have that are different, it’s about that sense of belonging, it’s about that sense of inclusion and how we can create a culture of openness, belonging and wellness.” The hiring of VandeSchoot highlights the importance of welcoming all people to Strathmore’s community and environment, said Strathmore town Councillor Denise Peterson. “It shows that we’re not just saying these things, that we’re actually taking action to embrace inclusion and to break down those barriers that we’ve seen.” Peterson added the position will help develop partnerships with Siksika Nation.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Saskatchewan now has the third-highest rate of cases in Canada, behind the two other prairie provinces Manitoba and Alberta. Saskatchewan reported 325 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases of COVID-19 in the province was 307 per 100,000 population as of Sunday. The province reported two more deaths due to COVID-19.The two residents who died after testing positive for COVID-19 lived in the south central and south east zones. Both individuals were in the 80 and up age category. A total of 47 deaths have been reported in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.Of the 8,564 total reported cases in Saskatchewan, 3,879 are considered active. A total of 4,638 people have recovered to date, with 49 recovered on Monday. Saskatoon is the hot spot with 125 new cases announced Monday. Of the other new cases, nine are located in the far north west, 14 in the far north east, 23 in the north west, 27 in the north central, nine in the north east, one in the central west, 10 in the central east, 62 in Regina 22 in the south west eight in the south central and 13 in the south east zones.Two of the new cases have pending locations.There are currently 123 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 100 of whom are receiving general impatient care. One patient is in the far north west, eight are in the north west, eight are in the north central, three are in the north east, 33 are in Saskatoon, one is in the central east, 26 are in Regina, one is in the south west, one is in the south central and 18 are in the south east zones.Twenty-three people are in intensive care, with three in the north central, 14 in Saskatoon and six in Regina.Cut down on contactsThe province is asking Saskatchewan residents to keep their contacts low. Based on the current confirmed cases, public health estimates that there are more than 6,600 reported contacts requiring follow-up in the province. According to the province, a close contact is anyone that you have spent 15 minutes or more with, within the two metres of physical distancing. The province also notes: * You should be able to count your close contacts on one hand. * Your close contacts should be the members of your immediate household who you eat with, hug and see without requiring a mask. * Although not close contacts, the province asks residents to consider all their weekly contacts whether in the classroom or at the workplace.
B.C politicians and local farmers with roots in India's Punjab and Haryana states are asking for calm between farmers there and the Indian government over new rules that could change the amounts producers are paid for their crops."Everybody has the right for peaceful protest and scenes that I'm seeing ... that right to protest is being muffled," said Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh.Farmers in India have been protesting since September when new laws were enacted that may result in the government not buying grain at guaranteed prices.The Indian government is trying to reform agriculture in the country by giving farmers the freedom to market their produce and boost production through private investment.Some farmers are worried they may earn less and be exploited by corporations.Protests in the Punjab and Haryana states by farmers have turned at times into clashes between the farmers and police, who have used tear gas, water cannons and baton charges to push them back.'Strong emotions'The unrest is being closely watched by many people in B.C. who come from the area and still own property there."Their ancestry is from that region.My ancestry is from that region," said Singh. "And most of my constituents, they belong to that sector, the agricultural sector. They come from rural India, rural Punjab and they have strong ties and strong emotions."Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal called out the Indian government on social media this week to say that he was disturbed by the treatment of Punjabi farmers in India."Canada has a long record of speaking out in support of human rights across the globe," he said. "And that is why many caucus members are concerned ... and that's why we are calling for peaceful negotiations and based on ... dialogue."'We have to support them from here'People across B.C. are also adding their voices to those speaking out against the Indian government and its treament of farmers from their home states."We have to support them from here," said Parminder Wander, who farms vegetables and blueberries in Surrey, but has family in the Punjab and owns land there."Farms have general demands but the government of India, they don't want to give them their own benefits."In India, agriculture supports more than half of the country's 1.3 billion people.Rachna Singh says the farming community there needs more respect."They comprise [the] major population of India and Punjab. Being the hub of agriculture, they feed most of India. They bring food on a lot of peoples' tables," she said.