Even though this dog just wanted to play, the Amazon driver isn't taking any chances. Now he knows why UPS drivers just toss the packages over the fence!
Even though this dog just wanted to play, the Amazon driver isn't taking any chances. Now he knows why UPS drivers just toss the packages over the fence!
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The community for SilverStar Mountain Resort is moving forward with its plan to become a resort association. The designation—not to be confused with a resort municipality designation—will provide the community of about 1,000 homeowners more of a say in how money is spent in the community, according SilverStar realtor Don Kassa. Kassa co-chairs the SilverStar Task Force, which initiated the process. He said things are moving forward, and that the next step will be to elect a board of directors. There is already an 11-member board in place. Five of the positions will be elected in the near term, with the remaining positions to be elected in two years. “The biggest benefit I would suggest is we have a cohesive body which now is mandated to negotiate with all levels of government for the betterment of the community,” he said, explaining the importance of the association. Kassa added the association will have the ability to fund and apply for funding for projects that will support the development of the resort community. It will also be used to market the resort as a year-round destination. Resort associations, such as Tourism Sun Peaks, collect a fee from property owners who use their property for rental, business or commercial purposes. The association will have access to the hotel tax as well as a fee, known as a resort management fee, paid by some homeowners in the area. Gaining association status has been a long process for the task force, which is currently made up of individual property owners, businesses, hotels and the resort operator. The Regional District of North Okanagan, which oversees the resort, had to agree to set it up, and then at least 50 per cent of the landowners within the resort association boundaries (representing 50 per cent of the property value) had to sign a petition in favour of it. Kassa said that the group is happy with the level of services provided by the regional district. “Many of the needs for services are being met very well currently,” said Kassa. There has, however, been some opposition to the plan. In an interview with CBC in March 2020, a homeowner said he worried that bookings would be centralized and homeowners would be forced to pay fees. According to Kassa, there is no plan to centralize the reservation system, but under the new framework, all homeoneers will have to pay the resort management fee, which he said would be between $400 and $800 a year per home. “The feeling of the current board was that if you are renting a property and making a substantial return on your property….then you should, in fact, be part and parcel of the cost to make that resort go forward.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Two non-profit groups in Charlottetown dealt with separate incidents of vandalism this week. At Beaconsfield Historic House, staff arrived Monday morning to find four of the property's five antique lamp posts smashed. One of the posts was knocked completely down. And at the Stars for Life Foundation on Maypoint Road, a home for adults who have autism, someone spray-painted graffiti on the front sign. Ron Casey, executive director of Stars for Life, cleaned the spray paint off the sign himself — a job he said took about 45 minutes. > We've been really good that nobody's been around bothering us. — Ron Casey, Stars for Life "I had to go and get some graffiti remover and just sprayed it on and took it off. [You've] got to do a little elbow grease," said Casey. Casey added that it's the first time Stars for Life has been the target of vandalism. "I've seen some down around the downtown a little bit, but it's the first time I've seen any around here," Casey said."We've been really good that nobody's been around bothering us and stuff like that."Beaconsfield preparing for Christmas tours Staff at Beaconsfield wrote about the "unfortunate vandalism" of the damaged lamp posts on Facebook, adding that "A few broken lights won't dampen our festive spirit!"Beaconsfield site manager Nicholas Longaphy said it could take staff some time to repair the lamp posts, as it's a busy few weeks at the house. Staff began decorating Beaconsfield for Christmas on Monday, in preparation for their special Victorian Christmas tours, starting next week. Both property owners said they will notify police about the vandalism.More from CBC P.E.I.
Norfolk County’s answer to Cruella de Vil is believed to have stolen two puppies from a Delhi home on Friday. Norfolk OPP say the alleged dognappers came to the Tisdale Road property — just south of Delhi — between 6:40 and 8 p.m. on Nov. 27 and made off with two tan-coloured female pups, along with a trail camera. The five-month-old dogs are described as a mix of ridgeback, mastiff, Newfoundlander and shepherd. Police welcome tips from the public to solve this case and get the pups back home. Information about the theft can be left with the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers via 1-800-222-8477 or helpsolvecrime.com.J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
British Columbia has seen more COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks than the preceding two months because the virus has found its way back into nursing homes. And with long-term care workers exhausted and families frustrated, it's not clear what can be done.
HALIFAX — Modest upticks in COVID-19 case numbers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick prompted guarded optimism from one health official Tuesday, while another gave an example of how quickly the situation can change.Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases, which brought its total active case count to 142, while New Brunswick identified seven, bringing its total of ongoing cases to 116.Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the relatively low numbers seen over the last week in his province were a "positive sign" considering the announcement of 37 cases and sweeping new restrictions for the Halifax area that was made one week earlier."That's certainly much better than I expected," Strang said of the numbers. "That is a good sign that we are relatively stable, but it's much too early to relax yet."He cautioned that more concerning is the number of close contacts for each new case, which has now grown on average to eight, as compared to three close contacts per case during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring."So you can see why I keep saying we need to reduce our social contacts," Strang said.In New Brunswick meanwhile, the chief medical officer of health confirmed a super-spreader event in the Saint John area was responsible for more than 80 per cent of that region's current active cases. "We have determined that 34 people that attended this super-spreader event have since contracted COVID-19 and a further 26 cases were contracted indirectly when attendees infected others that they came into contact with," Dr. Jennifer Russell told a news conference in Fredericton. Russell provided no other details, except that the event occurred at two venues in the course of one evening. She said a super-spreader event occurs when a large number of cases are traced to a single gathering or event, with COVID-19 being transmitted from one individual, or a relatively small number of individuals who were in attendance while infectious.Like her counterpart in Nova Scotia, Russell stressed the importance of people maintaining physical distancing and wearing masks.New Brunswick's new cases include four in the Saint John area and three in the Fredericton area.Back in Nova Scotia, all of the new cases were identified in the Halifax area, which has accounted for the majority of the province's cases in the current outbreak.As a result, Atlantic Canada's largest city has been under increased restrictions since Thursday that have seen the closure of in-person dining at restaurants and of public libraries, museums, gyms, yoga studios and casinos. The outbreak led to the withdrawal from the Atlantic regional bubble of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick last week.Strang was asked why there hadn't been an explosion of cases like those seen elsewhere in the country, and he said it was partly due to messaging weeks before about the growing trends in other provinces."I think a lot of people thankfully, listened to that and started to adjust behaviours," he said. "So I think there was some adjustment . . . even prior to us putting the restrictions in place."Elsewhere in the Atlantic region, Prince Edward Island announced no new cases and has just four active cases. However, the province's chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said her office still didn't know how a student from Charlottetown Rural High School who was diagnosed on the weekend was infected with the novel coronavirus.Morrison said extensive testing on about 70 close contacts has not turned up a source, although it's likely the student had contact with someone who had travelled off the Island. She said 102 people were in self-isolation as a result of being a positive case or a close contact of a case. Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Health officials said the travel-related case involved a man in his 50s in the eastern health region who had returned to the province from work in British Columbia. The province has 33 active cases with no one in hospital due to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.— With files from Kevin Bissett in FrederictonKeith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Tout au long de l’année 2020, les organismes communautaires lavallois ont dû s’adapter en raison du contexte de pandémie de la COVID-19. La situation ne sera pas différente à l’approche des Fêtes. «La demande d’aide et les besoins des citoyens et familles auprès des organismes sont à la hausse, précise Marc Longchamps, directeur général de la Corporation de développement communautaire (CDC) de Laval. Alors que la capacité de recevoir des groupes est à la baisse à cause des différentes mesures d’adaptation sanitaire qu’ils doivent mettre en place. Les organismes ont beaucoup de pression pour répondre à ces demandes.» M. Longchamps ajoute que plusieurs organismes ne pourront tenir leurs activités de financement, ce qui réduira leurs fonds pour 2020. «Cela change la donne pour nombre d’entre eux qui comptaient sur ces revenus pour financer leurs activités, parfois même pour rémunérer leur personnel.» À titre d’exemple, l’Association lavalloise des parents et amis pour le bien-être mental (ALPABEM) ne pourra tenir sa collecte annuelle de biens pour les personnes hospitalisées en psychiatrie qui existe depuis près de 20 ans. L’organisme tentera plutôt d’amasser des fonds qui seront remis aux groupes habituels. De son côté, le Centre de bénévolat et moisson Laval a modifié sa traditionnelle campagne de paniers de Noël. La livraison des denrées se déroulera sur cinq jours, soit du 18 au 22 décembre. Il s’agira d’une méthode de cueillette sans contact pour respecter les règles sanitaires. «Depuis le début de la campagne, on note un taux de participation plus faible que les années précédentes, note Wazna Azem, directrice aux communications et marketing de l’organisme. Plusieurs organisations et compagnies qui nous appuient optent pour le télétravail et, du coup, cela réduit le nombre de participants à la collecte de denrées.» Mme Azem confirme aussi que la demande d’aide alimentaire est à la hausse et que Moisson Laval mise sur les dons en ligne pour combler le manque actuel. Malgré la crise sanitaire, les organismes communautaires ont continué d’offrir leurs services habituels. Les pratiques ont été adaptées et ils ont travaillé en coopération pour poursuivre leur mission. «Nous nous sommes rapidement mobilisés pour assurer un suivi psychosocial auprès des familles qui fréquentent notre organisation, explique Nancy Champagne, directrice générale de la Maison de quartier de Vimont. Nous avons été créatifs avec des plateformes comme Facebook et Zoom pour développer une offre virtuelle.» «Dès la deuxième semaine, nous sommes revenus pratiquement à un état normal, mais cette fois en virtuel, confirme aussi Patrick Machabée, directeur général de l’ALPABEM. On était technologiquement prêt à le faire en vidéo. À partir de juin, on a recommencé à accueillir des familles en personne.» M. Machabée précise toutefois que cette façon de faire n’était pas possible pour tous. «Certains organismes ne sont plus en mesure d’offrir leurs groupes d’entraide, car l’espace ne leur permet pas de respecter la distanciation sociale. Les gens qui utilisaient ces services se retrouvent encore plus isolés.» Cette situation exceptionnelle a d’ailleurs permis de reconnaître l’importance du milieu communautaire. «S’il y avait des préjugés sur la pertinence des organismes, maintenant, la crise a démontré qu’ils étaient essentiels, assure M. Machabée. Nous avions maintenant les leviers nécessaires pour répondre à des besoins que nous avions depuis plusieurs années.» Il précise que la crise a permis à son organisation d’être approchée pour mettre en place un programme de soutien psychologique pour leurs collègues du monde communautaire de partout au Québec. Marc Longchamps croit quant à lui que beaucoup peut être encore fait pour soutenir les organismes bien que les fonds d’urgence offerts ont servi pendant la crise. «On parle davantage des organismes et de leur apport, mais le gouvernement a été très peu aidant par les longs processus demandant des redditions de comptes complexes pour obtenir des fonds. Les directions étaient déjà débordées pour répondre aux besoins de la population. Une réelle reconnaissance des organismes passe par un financement décent et récurrent.»Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president Rakesh Naidu and members of Windsor's aviation community on Tuesday morning called on the federal government to intervene and have Navigation Canada (NAV Canada) remove Windsor International Airport from a list of six airports being studied for possible removal of air traffic controllers."The Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau, must provide a clear and definitive answer that the future of Windsor's Airport is secure and that air traffic control services will be maintained," said Masse.Masse said he will have a petition to the federal government online that reads, "Remove NAV Canada's decision to consider closure, or reduction of services of the air traffic control tower at the Windsor Airport or explicitly express opposition to any decision or recommendation of this nature.""The minister can simply intervene and he should do that," said Masse in a news conference in front of the airport terminal and control tower.Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmiercyzk recently told CBC News that Garneau did not have the power to tell NAV Canada what to do, and that he and anyone else opposed to losing air traffic controllers here will have their say when NAV Canada consults with stakeholders.But Masse said there should have been clear signals from the government to NAV Canada before this study, adding that he doesn't believe any of the other airports, including in Whitehorse and Regina, should lose air traffic control either."So even if he says [Garneau] technically can't take them off the list at this point in time, he can still go out and publicly say that he's actually against closing the towers and he's not going to approve them," said Masse. "In fact, if NAV Canada actually does eventually recommend closure or reduction of services, the minister then has to do another study and the study then actually comes back again. So we're into the cycle of study after study after study when it is completely unnecessary," he said.Dilkens also said Garneau can certainly have a conversation with NAV Canada officials.The airport has seen a 300 per cent increase in traffic since 2009 and was serving 383,000 passengers in 2019. Dilkens said losing the air traffic controllers jeopardizes future growth and threatens the continuation of commercial air traffic the airport has now."Moving bodies out of a control tower causes issues for the future prosperity of Windsor airport. It will cut this success story off at the knees," said Dilkens, adding he has not heard back from Garneau, to whom he sent a letter asking that the air traffic controllers remain.Commercial pilots also added their voices of concern for safety, considering the high volume of air traffic in and around Detroit.Corporate pilot Dante Albano likened air traffic control to traffic lights, and when they go out the intersection turns into a four-way stop."In a busy air space like this with Detroit so close it gets kinda of crazy up there sometimes," said Albano.Richard Bradwell, manager of the Windsor Flying Club, said loss of air traffic control is the "first step toward" to closing the airport entirely."Our business has been growing. We've been surviving through COVID. This is absolutely the last thing that we need is to see NAV Canada considering closing the tower and doing this sort of damage to our airport," said Bradwell.Essex MP Chris Lewis has also issued a statement calling on Garneau to remove Windsor airport from the study.Masse's petition is expected to go up on his Facebook page and website Wednesday afternoon.
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is extending ferry service to Campobello Island until the end of the month to help address residents' pandemic concerns.Residents of the Canadian island — which is connected by a bridge to the state of Maine — want a year-round ferry service so they don't have to enter the United States in order to get to the New Brunswick mainland.The seasonal ferry service ended Sunday after it had already been extended from September to help address concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic."We have negotiated with the private company to continue that service to the end of December," Transportation Minister Jill Green said in an interview Tuesday.She confirmed the province will subsidize the private ferry service — run by East Coast Ferries — until the end of the month but would not say how much is being spent because negotiations were ongoing. The extended service will operate four days a week, weather permitting.The extension falls short of the year-round service that residents have been seeking. "The premier promised he would set up a committee or a study to take to the federal government to help us, so the federal government could get involved," Campobello resident Ulysse Robichaud said. "The plan that he said he was going to work on for us hasn't done a thing."Premier Blaine Higgs made the commitment during a video meeting with members of the ferry committee in May."It's getting more and more frustrating, because we feel totally abandoned. Are we real Canadians? Are we fake Canadians?" Robichaud asked.Campobello Island — with a population of 900 — is a popular summer tourism destination and was the summer home of former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.The island's residents have been given an exemption to travel into Maine for gas and medical needs without having to self-isolate upon return.Robichaud said while they are exempt to travel into Maine, they are not exempt from contracting the COVID-19 virus. There have been almost 12,000 COVID-19 cases in Maine and 214 related deaths since the pandemic began."I encourage residents of Campobello Island to limit trips off the island to minimize risk,” Higgs said last week. Green said the province is open to talking with the federal government about a permanent ferry connection, but no talks are planned at this time. "The department has reached out to our federal counterparts more than once, and they have not jumped on the bandwagon to do that," she said.When asked for comment on year-round service for Campobello, a spokesperson for federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau referred questions to the ferry operator."Transport Canada does not determine when East Coast Ferries provides its services between Campobello Island and Deer Island, N.B.," press secretary Allison St-Jean. "East Coast Ferries is a privately-owned operator."Kathy Bockus, the Progressive Conservative member for the provincial riding that includes Campobello Island, said she was pleased with the extension and will continue to push for a permanent ferry for the island.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Le bilan lavallois est désormais de 756 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela signifie que le territoire connait une hausse de 54 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. Le total de décès augmente à 726 depuis le début de la pandémie. 120 tests positifs ont été effectués dans les 24 dernières heures. Ainsi, depuis le mois de mars, 11 584 citoyens lavallois ont été affectés par le virus. Parmi les personnes touchées par la COVID-19, 23 sont présentement hospitalisées, dont 5 aux soins intensifs. 29 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Chomedey a été durement touché par la nouvelle mise à jour des données. On y compte 45 cas de plus que la veille. Il demeure le quartier le plus touché de Laval avec 337 cas confirmés et un taux d'infection de 358 cas par 100 000 habitants sur les 14 derniers jours. Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul a aussi été particulièrement affecté lors des dernières 24 heures. Ce secteur ajoute 22 cas à son total. Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose suit avec 15 nouvelles personnes touchées. De leur côté, Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides et Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac comptent 13 nouveaux cas confirmés sur leur territoire respectif. Vimont/Auteuil constate la plus petite augmentation de l'île Jésus avec huit nouvelles personnes infectées. Il est d'ailleurs le secteur lavallois qui s'en tire le mieux au cours des deux dernières semaines. 109 personnes touchées et un taux d'infection de 173 cas par 100 000 habitants y ont été dénombrés sur cette même période. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 71 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
NEW YORK — Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page, the star of “Juno," “Inception” and “The Umbrella Academy,” came out as transgender Tuesday in an announcement greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood.“I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer," Page said in a statement on social media.Page, the 33-year-old actor from Nova Scotia, said his decision to come out as trans, which also involved changing his first name, came after a long journey and with much support from the LGBTQ community.“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self,” Page wrote. “I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place.”“The more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive,” added Page, who said his pronouns are “he" and "they.”Page signed his statement with the words, “All my love, Elliot.”The announcement was celebrated widely on social media by LGBTQ rights advocates and many in the film industry. Netflix, maker of the comic book series “The Umbrella Academy," said, “So proud of our superhero! We love you Elliot!”"Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Media. “He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page today.”Page broke out in Jason Reitman's 2007 film “Juno” in a performance as a pregnant teenager that earned him an Academy Award nomination.Page has frequently worked to bring the lives of LGBTQ characters to screen, including the 2015 film “Freeheld,” which he produced and starred in as the partner of a dying New Jersey police detective who had been denied pension benefits.Last year, he made his directorial debut with the documentary “There's Something in the Water,” about environmental damage on Black and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia.Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of their Sandringham estate for the first time in decades.Buckingham Palace officials said Tuesday that the monarch and her husband may see some members of their family briefly in accordance with guidelines, but Christmas celebrations will likely involve just the couple.“Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a spokeswoman said.The queen is not expected to attend church on Christmas Day to avoid large crowds of well-wishers gathering.The royal family spent many Christmases at Windsor Castle when the queen’s children were small, but since the 1980s the royal family has celebrated Christmas and New Year at the queen’s country estate, Sandringham, in Norfolk, eastern England.Hundreds of people typically gather near the historic church at Sandringham on Christmas Day to greet the royal family as they arrive for their morning service.Officials in the U.K. say coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed for five days over the festive season to allow people to travel to see friends and family. Three households can form a “Christmas bubble” and socialize from Dec. 23 to 27.___Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
Students in Niagara are facing two ways of completing their courses. District School Board of Niagara’s secondary school schedule, which lists Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 as exam days, will now be replaced with “culminating activities.” Helen McGregor, superintendent of secondart shool curriculum and student achievement, said, “Students are learning differently this year, with many learning in-person for part of the week, and others learning exclusively online. “To ensure all our students are supported to find success this year, whether they are learning in-person or online, in October we made the decision to cancel exams,” said McGregor. “Schools have already let students know that they will not have exams and, instead, they will have culminating activities.” In contrast, Niagara Catholic District School Board has already administered two sets of exams, Oct. 9 and Nov. 13, with a third one to be completed on Dec. 18. Niagara Catholic’s back-to-school plan split students into two cohorts. Those cohorts will be focused on one course for 22 days. Upon completion of the course, exams are administered. Board communications officer Jennifer Pellegrini said, “… we are octomestered, students do their exam right at the end of their course — so there aren’t set exam days as other boards have. It’s 22 days of class, then an exam/assessment, then off to the next course.” In October, the Ministry of Education told school boards they have the option to remove designated exam days from their school year calendar and use them for in-class instructional time. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the use of essays or report-based assessments in the place of final exams should be allowed “given the circumstance.” “I don’t want to increase the anxiety of our students. An essay, an extended report, these are all ways in which an educator can credibly assess the performance of a student.” The holiday break for students is to begin Dec. 21 and will last until students return to the classroom on Jan. 4. 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
BUCKHORN — Banners have been placed on each of the eight lampposts on the Buckhorn lock bridge to help enhance tourism in the region as small businesses continue to struggle through the pandemic. As an initiative through the Regional Tourism Organization 8 (RTO8), Trail Town has made the Trent-Severn Waterway Canada’s first waterway trail, says Leslie Clarkson, vice-chair of the RTO8 board and co-chair of the Buckhorn Trail Town committee. The trail currently connects a total of nine communities on the system, including Buckhorn, Coboconk, Rosedale, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Lakefield, Hastings and Campbellford, Clarkson said. The concept was taken from the Great Allegheny Passage in the United States; a biking and hiking trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Tourism is one of the main economic drivers in Buckhorn, Clarkson said. “Buckhorn is one of the busiest locks on the entire Trent Severn system, and our welcome centre is generally the busiest in the region,” she said. Buckhorn is one of the only towns of the nine communities that has municipal funding, so some of the funding was used for the banners, Clarkson said. “The main thing really is to get visitors to come to the area and to stay in the area and to stay in the region, and then to get them to want to come back and spend more time in the region,” said Clarkson. Trail Town is a great opportunity to help attract visitors to the area and to let them know that there’s a variety of different things that they can do in the region, said Selwyn Township Mayor Andy Mitchell. “It’s a great opportunity and it’s coming at a time when the tourism industry is facing some challenges,” he said. “Hopefully we can position ourselves as we move forward, particularly in the spring and summer when, from a public health perspective, things will be much better to welcome visitors from across the province and across the world." With boaters travelling down the Trent Severn Waterway as well as cars crossing the bridge, the banners will be seen by many, Clarkson said. However, the banners are just the first step in the Trail Town initiative, Clarkson said. “As we move forward to year two and year three, we will continue to capitalize on the relationship with Parks Canada and look at those other gyms that a visitor would stumble across and develop those as well,” she said. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Canada's decision to block American imports of certain prescription drugs from north of the border is getting stony silence from the Trump administration — a sign, one expert says, that the U.S. proposal is "dead in the water."The measure, first floated by Donald Trump a year ago as a strategy to help reduce America's staggering drug costs, took effect Monday after the president signed a pre-election executive order in September. On Saturday, however, Health Minister Patty Hajdu parried the effort with just days to spare, prohibiting bulk drug exports if they pose a risk of creating or worsening drug shortages in the Canadian market. The White House referred questions about the new limits to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has yet to respond to repeated media queries about where Canada's move leaves Trump's plan.That plan was "a desperate act by desperate people at a desperate time," said Dr. Allen Zagoren, a policy administration professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Canada represents only two per cent of global drug sales, and gets 68 per cent of its drugs from outside the country, Health Canada said in a news release announcing the export prohibitions. The U.S. market, on the other hand, comprises 44 per cent of pharmaceutical sales around the world. Buying drugs in Canada "was never realistic, ever," Zagoren said. "Even if Canada said, 'Sure,' there's no way — Canada doesn't have enough drugs. But it allowed them to make a promise. And then they could argue, 'Well, Canada won't let us. So it's them, not us.'"Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said the two countries have been discussing the issue of drug imports for more than a year. In those meetings, Canada has made it clear that given the relatively tiny size of the Canadian market, bulk imports from north of the border simply wouldn’t have the desired effect."We've been saying to them all along: one, we sympathize with your policy concern; two, buying bulk drugs from Canada isn't the solution to your policy concern; and three, above all else, we will always protect the supply of drugs to Canadians," Hillman said.Canada's response is not a blanket export ban, but a "narrow and tailored" measure that applies only to those drugs meant for domestic consumption that are already in short supply or at risk at becoming scarce, she added. Zagoren, who called Trump's proposal "dead in the water," said its failure could prove useful for president-elect Joe Biden's own efforts to address drug costs once he takes over the White House in January. Biden has promised to reduce drug costs, including through imports, and to give the U.S. government insurance program known as Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices — a plan that has the blessing of congressional Democrats. The fact that Trump's proposed solution has failed could provide Biden with helpful leverage in discussions with the all-powerful pharmaceutical industry, which has spent aggressively in its lobbying efforts to head off pricing reforms. "I think it helps the Biden administration, because it sets the stage. The Canadian argument signals to the Biden administration, 'Don't come here for this.' But Biden being the internationalist he is, and a very good friend of Canada, that's not going to happen in the Biden administration anyway." Biden has also promised to expand health insurance coverage to include more Americans, a move that has the potential to broaden the existing U.S. drug market. Much will depend on the outcome of a pair of Senate run-off elections next month in Georgia, where Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are seeking to unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Should they both succeed, the 100-seat Senate will find itself in an even 50-50 split, giving the tiebreaking vote to Biden's vice-president, Kamala Harris. "It really hinges on the Georgia election as to how far the U.S. government will go with regard to drug prices, and especially on Medicare," Zagoren said. "There'll be a lot of negotiation in the backrooms with regard to pharmaceutical prices going forward. I do think there's going to be an attempt to bring them down, but I don't think it will be on the backs of the Canadians."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
The daughter of Jennifer Hillier-Penney, the St. Anthony woman who disappeared without a trace four years ago, isn't giving up her fight for justice even as time passes with little closure or a breakthrough in the RCMP investigation. Hillier-Penney was last seen Nov. 30, 2016, at her estranged husband's home, where she spent the night to look after the younger of the couple's two daughters. That teenager woke the next morning to find her mother gone, but personal items like her coat, keys and passport all left behind.On Monday, the fourth anniversary of her mother's disappearance, the couple's eldest daughter, Marina Penney, posted a scathing message on Facebook, writing openly of her and her family's hurt and lashing out at police as well as a person Penney doesn't name but who she believes killed her mother."I'm angry and I'm tired. I'm tired, and we are just full of rage," Penney told CBC News in an interview Monday"Nobody thought this would go on this long."RCMP labelled Hillier-Penney's disappearance as suspicious early on in the case. Documents show police believe she was kidnapped and killed, but no suspects have ever been named.Frustration with policePenney won't put a name to her suspicions of who may have killed her mother, fearing legal repercussions, and says she and her family have kept quiet in efforts to co-operate with the police. "There's a lot of stuff that we do know, that we have been silent about, because ultimately we know that we gotta put a lot of pressure on police to ensure they're doing everything that they can," she said.> I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. \- Marina PenneyBut co-operation has turned to frustration, and Penney said she has in the past dropped out of contact with police. She and her family did meet with officers in August, she said, and was told there would be more legwork done in St. Anthony that she says never happened.Penney says her family is approaching a breaking point."How long do they expect us to be silent when we don't see progress?" she said."There's going to come a time when we are going to tell the world everything we know, without fear of being sued. Because this is what's happening, we're being pushed to our breaking points, and I'm not prepared to go longer without these answers."One family member is not included in these sentiments. Penney said it has been 2½ years since she last spoke to her father, Dean Penney. Hillier-Penney took her estranged husband off her life insurance policy two weeks before she vanished, and friends of hers told CBC's The Fifth Estate in 2018 she feared him.Reluctance to come forwardIn a statement, RCMP said the Hillier-Penney case remains "an active investigation and a priority," although it wouldn't elaborate further in order to protect "the integrity of the investigation."Police also reiterated to CBC News what it has said in the past — that the RCMP "continues to feel there are people who may have information relevant to the investigate who have not come forward."That doesn't come as a surprise to Hillier-Penney's daughter."The people in the town who might know things, aside from the guilty, are living in fear because they know now how easy it is for someone to get away with murder," Penney said.From the beginning, Penney said, police didn't take the case seriously or link it to a possible homicide soon enough."It was neglect. There were mistakes made," she said.In her Facebook post, Penney wrote blisteringly about the person she thinks killed her mom: "I hope one day you're capable of feeling an ounce of guilt and remorse, and I hope that ounce grows. I hope it grows so big it eats you alive."Penney said she realizes that as strong as her feelings may be, they may be futile — but continues to hope the police investigation, entering its fifth year, may finally yield some answers."I can beg and plead all I want, but I don't think her killer is gonna come clean. But I need the cops to do something. They need to do something," she said.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — Alek Minassian was "saturated in horrific material" online where he conceived the idea to use a van as a weapon to get a high "kill count" score, his murder trial heard Tuesday. Dr. Alexander Westphal, a psychiatrist who is testifying for the defence, said Minassian was obsessed with various abhorrent online sites, including one that glorified mass murderers listed in order by how many people they killed. "I don't doubt that in the absence of this sort of thing that this would not have happened," Westphal said. Westphal is expected to say Minassian is not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder. "Autism alters perception and understanding of the world enough to be something that is really, really important when you’re discussing culpability," Westphal said. Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder. He has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, leaving his state of mind at the time the sole issue at the judge-alone trial. Westphal, who specializes in autism, met with the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., on several occasions for a total of 15 hours. The psychiatrist said Minassian feels no emotion over what he did. "It's as abstract as killing people in a video game, which is such a horrific concept, but that really is how I feel he was thinking about this," Westphal said. "He still doesn't have any emotional connection with what he did." Westphal said Minassian told him multiple reasons why he committed the attack, but nothing really explains the motivation. Minassian has said he was motivated by his hatred towards women for years of rejection as part of the convoluted world of so-called "incels", or involuntary celibates, of like-minded men who believe they are on the bottom rung of society. "I don't really see incels as an explanation," Westphal said. Westphal said Minassian's social isolation was a factor, as was his anxiety toward starting a new job. But Minassian was drawn to the notoriety of mass murderers and their "kill counts," Westphal said. The concept of death is abstract to Minassian, Westphal said, and he talked about the lives lost as "converting life status to death status." When the psychiatrist asked what Minassian knew about death, the 28-year-old said "death is irreversible." "The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that he didn't understand or didn’t have the slightest insight into the horror or devastation that he was inflicting," Westphal said. He said Minassian has a complete lack of empathy and cannot understand how other people feel. Minassian told Westphal, and several other assessors, he was bullied in school. At one point, Westphal asked Minassian if he understood that others would think of him as a bully because of the attack. "He appeared both shocked and dismayed by the statement and in a way almost like it was an outrageous suggestion," Westphal said. "I'm not a bully," Minassian responded, according to Westphal. "I hate bullies, how could anyone think that?" Westphal has said Minassian lacks empathy due to his autism spectrum disorder. He said Minasisan does not feel remorse or regret, but is also not experiencing sadism or taking any joy from retelling the attack. "When he describes this stuff, he's describing it completely flat in the same way you or I would describe going shopping and the order of things we purchased when we went shopping," he said. "It's completely devoid of any emotional context whatsoever and any sense of the impact this had on other lives." Court has heard that more than 90 per cent of people found not criminally responsible in Canada experienced psychosis. "Overall, it was our impression that despite the fact he was not psychotic, his autistic way of thinking was severely distorted in a way similar to psychosis," Westphal said. "There is support in the literature that autistic ways of thinking may distort reality as substantially as psychotic ways of thinking." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Crown and defence lawyers summed up their cases on Tuesday at the second-degree murder trial of Justin David Breau, who is charged in fatal shooting of Mark Shatford, 42, last year in Saint John.On some things, the lawyers agreed. Both sides say Breau was a regular drug user who set up a drug deal via Facebook in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019, with Shatford and his fiancée Melissa Daley.But defence lawyer Brian Munro, in his closing arguments to the jury, said the couple had no intention of selling Breau anything that night. Their goal was to lure him — and his drug money — to their place on Saint John's west side and take the money as part of a $700 drug debt he owed them. When Breau offered the money for the deal, Shatford hit him in the head with a three-foot socket wrench, said Munro. Breau responded by running out of the apartment, afraid for his life. Munro said Breau found a shotgun in the backseat of a car he had borrowed, and shot Shatford with it. Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur told the court that the shooting was the result of "a drug ripoff gone badly wrong." He said Breau went to 321 Duke St. West with two other men to rob a drug dealer. Wilbur told the jury that Shatford fought back and chased Breau from the apartment and was then shot in the street. "Mark Shatford died a slow, painful, miserable death, almost a month later," he told the jury. During eight days of testimony, the jury heard from 22 witnesses, including the accused, who was the only witness called by the defence. Wilbur said Breau appeared very differently in a police interview than he did on the stand. The prosecutor said the "true measure of the man" was the one in the video, not the one who testified last week.He said the accused "would have you believe" that he was a family man who cooked for his mother and young daughter, and made popcorn for family movie night earlier in the evening of the shooting. Wilbur reminded jurors of Breau's own testimony — he was out in the middle of the night trying to score drugs at a crack shack right before he went to Shatford's place. He also pointed out several inconsistencies in Breau's story to police two days after the shooting. Breau made no mention of Shatford hitting him, when Const. Chris McCutcheon asked him about a lump on his head. Instead, he said he got the injury while running through the woods and playing with his kids. He said he couldn't remember the last time he was at 321 Duke St. West. "A lie," said Wilbur. He also said he couldn't remember the last time he had handled a gun. "Another lie," Wilbur told the jury. He also said that he hadn't been in a fight with Shatford, and said he didn't know what happened to him. "Another lie." Wilbur said Breau spoke authoritatively on the stand about pure and "cut" cocaine, and drug prices, yet claimed to have never heard of a "drug ripoff."Wilbur said Breau has had a year to come up with a story. During the trial, jurors heard there were five people inside the apartment when the incident occurred — Shatford, Daley, three of Daley's four children, and the boyfriend of Daley's then-17-year-old daughter. Daley and the three teenagers testified that they were all in bed when three masked men entered the apartment. Daley noticed them first when she saw shadows under the bedroom door. She went to investigate, and in the kitchen she encountered two masked men, who said they had "the wrong house" before heading to the door. She told the jury that she called out to Shatford, and that's when a third man appeared from the bathroom. As Shatford wrestled with that person, Daley said, she pulled down his mask and recognized him as Breau, someone who owed her $700.Daley, 38, told the court that Shatford grabbed a large wrench on the way out. The two men continued to wrestle as they went down the stairs.She said as she and Daley stopped short of the vehicle, Breau went to the driver's side and grabbed a shotgun from the vehicle and fired it at Shatford, who stumbled back and fell to the ground. Under cross-examination, the jury heard about a drug deal that was being set up between Breau and someone using Daley's Facebook account. Daley said the messages must have been sent by Shatford. She insisted they weren't from her. When Breau took the stand, he said he and Daley had been corresponding through Messenger for more than a year and he never believed any of the messages had been from Shatford. The exchange began at 3:07 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2019, when a hand-wave emoji was sent to Breau from Daley's account. Breau said he was at a "crack shack" on Peters Street when the message arrived. Testifying last Friday, Breau said the drug house had run out of product, and he and several others had been waiting for replenishments to arrive. Breau said he texted back asking if they had any "raw" — slang for pure cocaine. According to a printout of the exchange that was entered as evidence, Daley responded by saying she only had "cut," which Breau described as a weaker form of cocaine.The two texted back and forth and eventually settled on two grams of "cut" in exchange for 15 zopiclone pills and $70 cash. Breau said he was on his way and Daley said the door was open. He told the jury he was a regular customer at 321 Duke St. West and had been there 30 or 40 times since the summer of 2018.Breau said he arrived at 4:20 a.m., made his way through the apartment as usual and knocked on the door of the master bedroom. Breau said he heard the chain lock being slid across and when the door opened, Shatford was standing there with Daley a few feet behind him. He said Shatford grabbed his $100 bill, reminded him of the money owed and said Breau wasn't going to get anything that night. Breau testified that when he tried to grab the money back, Shatford hit him in the head with a long, shiny metal object. He said he fled the apartment with Shatford in pursuit. When he got to the vehicle he had borrowed from a friend, he reached into the backseat and grabbed a shotgun that he said he hadn't known was there until he opened the door. Emergency personnel responded to a 911 call made at 4:25 a.m., and found Shatford lying in the street, bleeding from numerous pellet holes in his abdomen. Despite several surgeries, Shatford died on Dec. 18. Under cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Joanne Park portrayed the incident as a "drug rip-off." She suggested that Breau and his two buddies made a fake deal, then tried to rob Shatford, and he was just trying to get him out of his house. Breau denied knowing what a "drug rip-off" is and said Park was trying to put words in his mouth.Mr. Justice Thomas Christie is expected to finish giving the jurors final instructions on the law on Wednesday morning before they begin their deliberations.
Some Nova Scotians are waiting longer for their COVID-19 results after the health authority's email system was overwhelmed by a jump in tests.Nova Scotia Health said this week its digital system that sends out COVID-19 results via email has been experiencing some issues, causing a delay for some people.Spokesperson Carla Adams said Tuesday the problem was initially attributed to an IT system issue. "However, upon further investigation, it's been determined it was instead related to a significant increase in the volume of tests," she said in an email.Nova Scotia Health has performed 20,103 COVID-19 tests in the past week. Of those, 4,138 were performed Monday — "the busiest day yet," said Adams.Adams said the health authority continues to work on providing results as quickly as possible."We recognize that long waits for test results can have a negative impact, including on a person's ability to work or go to school," Adams said."For those who have had to wait longer than expected for test results, Nova Scotia Health is sorry and thanks you for your patience and understanding."In certain cases, people who've had a COVID-19 test are asked to self-isolate until they get their results. Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the province's total active cases to 142.Anyone who has waited more than 72 hours for their test results, not including rapid tests, are asked to call Public Health at 1-844-996-0694 and leave a voicemail.People are asked to leave their full name, health card number and phone number. Public Health staff will try calling twice.Public Health has urged anyone who's been at any of the dozens of recent exposure sites to book a COVID-19 test. Those who've been in a bar or restaurant past 10 p.m. AT in recent weeks, or worked in one, are also asked to get a rapid test.MORE TOP STORIES
RALEIGH, N.C. — Outgoing North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker on Tuesday announced his bid to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr in 2022, a path the Republican indicated a year ago he'd pursue after his House district shifted to the left during an unscheduled redistricting.The quick entry of Walker, mere days after almost all North Carolina 2020 election results were finalized, may signal an attempt to make other big-name conservatives think hard before entering the race. Those include Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law and a North Carolina native.Burr announced years ago that his third six-year term would be his last.“I’m running for the United States Senate because serving others is my life, and I have the experience to fight and to win in Washington," Walker, 51, said in a campaign kickoff video on his website.A favourite of the Republican base, Walker is a Baptist minister who was first elected to Congress in 2014. He rose through the ranks and chaired the conservative Republican Study Committee. He made inroads working with African American lawmakers by working on efforts to promote historically Black colleges and universities. Black residents are featured prominently in his fast-paced four-minute video, recorded in downtown Greensboro.Walker had considered challenging Sen. Thom Tillis in the 2020 Republican primary, particularly after GOP activists aligned with Donald Trump questioned Tillis' allegiance to the president. But Walker declined, and two weeks later Trump endorsed Tillis for reelection.Walker said he had spoken to Trump about challenging Tillis, and that he would focus on winning another term in central North Carolina's 6th Congressional District.That calculus changed in late 2019 when the state legislature redrew all 13 U.S. House districts after judges ruled it was likely the previous map was tainted with extreme partisan bias favouring the GOP.The reworked 6th District made it likely that a Democrat would win the seat and Walker announced last December he wouldn't run for anything in 2020. Walker said in a phone interview Tuesday that Trump had told him previously he would back him in a 2022 Senate run, affirming what a Walker spokesperson said last year.Such an endorsement, if Trump gives it, could winnow the Republican field in North Carolina, where Trump twice earned the state’s electoral votes. His 2020 victory over Joe Biden by 1.3 percentage points, however, was less than half of his victory margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016.But any such commitment to Walker could be threatened if a family member of the president enters the race.A person close to Lara Trump, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss her thinking publicly, told The Associated Press that the president’s daughter-in-law has expressed interest in Burr’s seat in 2022 and is exploring a run.Lara Trump, 38, grew up in Wilmington and went to N.C. State University. She currently lives in New York with husband Eric Trump and their two children. She made frequent North Carolina campaign appearances for her father-in-law in both 2016 and 2020, connecting her to the state's GOP culture.Asked about the possibility of Lara Trump's candidacy, Walker told the AP “it’s not illegal for somebody to move to a state and establish a residence and run.” As for the president's endorsement, Walker said, “ultimately, that’s his call. But we would certainly appreciate the fact that if he was able to stay with that support, it certainly would mean a lot to us."His campaign website shows a photo of Walker with President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence in the Oval Office. Walker's video didn't mention Donald Trump by name but mentioned that his time in Congress included “taking on the swamp.” Walker's goal, he said, was “to be a conservative warrior and a bridge builder for all of our communities. And that’s exactly what we did.”Other Republicans who've said they'd consider Senate bids include former Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. George Holding of Raleigh, who also didn't seek reelection this year due to redistricting.On the Democratic side, state Sen. Erica Smith, who lost to Cal Cunningham in the 2020 primary for the seat held by Tillis, is already running in 2022. Other names in the mix include state Attorney General Josh Stein and Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor and U.S. transportation secretary.Official candidate filing for the March 2022 primaries begins in December 2021, but clearly candidates will have to gas up their campaign fundraising machines well before.Burr’s retirement will make the first open Senate seat in North Carolina since Democrat John Edwards didn’t run for reelection in 2004, when he instead was the vice-presidential nominee.Gary D. Robertson, The Associated Press