With COVID-19 growing out of control in much of Europe, France announced a renewed lockdown after cases spiked to over 40,000 per day, while Germany moved to shut down restaurants, bars and theatres to regain control over the pandemic.
With COVID-19 growing out of control in much of Europe, France announced a renewed lockdown after cases spiked to over 40,000 per day, while Germany moved to shut down restaurants, bars and theatres to regain control over the pandemic.
WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant during the FBI's Russia investigation says in a federal lawsuit that he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”The suit from Carter Page alleges a series of omissions and errors made by FBI and Justice Department officials in applications they submitted in 2016 and 2017 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on Page on suspicion that he was an agent of Russia.“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis,” the lawsuit says, using the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Page has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Washington.The lawsuit to some extent echoes the conclusions of a Justice Department inspector general report that found significant problems with the four applications. Former FBI and Justice Department leaders who were involved in signing off on the surveillance have since testified they wouldn't have done so had they known of the extent of the issues, and the FBI has initiated more than 40 corrective steps aimed at improving the accuracy and thoroughness of applications.In the complaint, Page accuses the FBI of relying excessively for information on Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose research during the 2016 campaign into Donald Trump's ties to Russia was funded by Democrats. It says the FBI failed to tell the surveillance court that Steele's primary source had contradicted information that Steele had attributed to him, or that Page had denied to an informant for the FBI having “any involvement with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.”The complaint also accuses the FBI of having misled the surveillance court about his relationship with the CIA, for whom Page had been an operational contact between 2008 and 2013. A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email to say that Page had not been a source for the CIA.The suit names as defendants the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and additional officials who were involved in the Russia investigation.Despite the problems with the warrant applications, the scrutiny of Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, accounted for only a narrow portion of the overall investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.The same inspector general report that detailed problems in the applications also concluded that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation, and did not find evidence that any of its actions were influenced by political bias.____Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPEric Tucker, The Associated Press
LONDON — The British government appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus, potentially starting within days.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades.The U.K. medicines regulator is currently assessing two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — to see if they are safe and effective. The Guardian newspaper reported that hospitals have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot the week of Dec. 7, if it receives approval.The U.K. says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over age 80.Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for 20 million people, and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.In all, the U.K. government has agreed to purchase up to 355 million doses of vaccine from seven different producers, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible.Decisions about which, if any, vaccines to authorize will be made by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, and is also cheaper than its main rivals. But some scientists have questioned gaps in its reported results.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half dose was administered because of a manufacturing error, and they plan a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosing regimen.The British government hopes a combination of vaccines and mass testing will end the need for restrictions on business and everyday life it imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Britain has had Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 57,000 confirmed virus-related deaths.The prime minister said this week that officials hope to inoculate “the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.” But he warned that “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions.A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday, and will be replaced by three-tiered system of regional measures that restrict business activity, travel and socializing. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers.The restrictions have sparked protests, with police arresting scores of people at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London on Saturday.Several bottles and smoke bombs were thrown as anti-mask and anti-vaccine demonstrators scuffled with officers in the city's West End shopping district. The Metropolitan Police force said 155 people were arrested.Johnson also faces opposition to the measures from dozens of his own Conservative Party’s lawmakers, who say the economic damage outweighs the public health benefits.Bur Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the restrictions were “grimly” necessary to avoid the health system being overwhelmed this winter.Writing in The Times of London, Gove said there are currently 16,000 coronavirus patients in British hospitals, not far below the April peak of 20,000. A rise in infections would mean coronavirus patients would “displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.," he said.“If, however, we can keep the level of infection stable or, even better, falling, and hold out through January and February, then we can be confident that vaccination will pull the plug on the problem,” Gove wrote.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
A series of devastating typhoons in the Philippines has prompted a Calgary couple to bring more light to those affected by making and selling lantern kits and donating the funds to disaster relief.This year, the annual typhoon season in the Philippines has left thousands homeless and has created what may be a long-term humanitarian crisis.Eric Dizon and his wife, Love, had the idea of making and selling "parol kits," which is a traditional Filipino lantern shaped like the Star of Bethlehem. "We had an idea of making a parol kit, the Filipino Christmas lantern as a kit wherein people can buy it and families can make it, especially for this Christmas," he told CBC's Mike Symington."This year it's been kinda tough, we had two super typhoons, we heard it on the news, and we also have friends and family, friends here in Calgary, whose families were affected," he said.Dizon says they all need to find happiness and peace right now, so if that means using their heritage to find strength, they should do it."What better way to have family gathered together and make this star, which symbolizes hope and peace," he said.His wife, Love, says each kit has everything you'll need to make an authentic bamboo lantern and that it should take you around an hour to complete."So from wires to cardboard, we provide glue sticks to elastics … so, yeah, everything in a bag is complete with Christmas lights too," she said.So far the kits have been flying out the door.Girlie Salaido, who purchased 10 of the lanterns, says that building them takes her back to when she was a child in the Philippines."My son who basically grew up here [in Calgary] while doing it I'm sharing the stories of when I was young and so it just brings back all the fond memories from back home," she said.The couple have sold more than 200 kits at $20 each, which are available to purchase through their Facebook page.With files from Mike Symington and The Homestretch.
A 46-year-old man is dead following a collision between a grain truck and a semi-trailer in central Alberta on Friday. Blackfalds RCMP responded to report of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42 east of Range Road 275 at about 2:30 p.m. Friday. An early investigation revealed that a westbound grain truck collided with a southbound semi-trailer unit, according to a news release from RCMP. The grain truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was not injured. The investigation is ongoing, and local officers are working with a RCMP collision analyst. Blackfalds, Alta. is about 13 kilometres north of Red Deer.
People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
York Regional Police has launched its annual holiday RIDE program in the hopes of convincing people not to drink and drive."We consider a suspected impaired driver a crime in progress and you should never hesitate to call 911," Cecile Hammond, deputy chief of the force, said on Friday night at a news conference in Markham.The program, which began on Friday, runs until New Year's Eve. Police have laid more than 1,600 impaired driving-related charges in York Region this year. More than 4,400 calls have been made to police from citizens reporting impaired drivers in 2020. Police have investigated two fatal crashes this year in which alcohol or drug impaired driving is believed to be a factor.The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the police service to change its RIDE program somewhat and the community should expect to see RIDE spot checks in places this year where they may not have been previously. Those places include back roads and residential neighbourhoods, which police said impaired drivers are using to avoid police."We know that the locations where people often consume alcohol have changed as bars, clubs and restaurants have been either closed or have reduced capacity," Hammond said."If you still feel that drinking, or using drugs, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is worth the risk, despite the high probability of being caught, the criminal charges, the criminal record, the legal fees, insurance costs and the embarrassment that will follow, what about the possibility of killing innocent people?" Hammond asked.Hammond said drivers need to make the right choice.'Just don't get behind the wheel,' says woman who lost dadNirusha Mahendram, a woman who lost her father to impaired driving, also spoke at the news conference. Her father, Mahendram Sellathurai, 68, was killed on Dec. 31, 2019 at about 7:20 p.m. His death came the day before her 30th birthday.Stanley Choy, 40, was travelling nearly 200 km/h with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he struck Sellathurai's car. Choy was sentenced to seven years in prison, Hammond said. "The trauma doesn't end. The suffering does not end," Mahendram told reporters in front of a check spot in Markham. Four months earlier, she had lost her mother."That night had just practically changed my entire life for me. My goals, my future, any life plans that I had had been shattered in a moment," Mahendram said."The only word I can hang onto is the word hope, hope for change, the hope that the police officers here, and those of you who are watching, help to make sure that everyone gets home safe," she added.For anyone who is considering driving even the slightest bit impaired, she said: "Don't. Just don't get behind the wheel."She said her father was a "kind, loving" man who was hard working and a "go-getter who would not let an opportunity slide by." He was always smiling and would never argue, she said.Her father had been out getting groceries and had stopped to grab dinner for the family before he was killed.Mahendram shared her story just metres away from where her father was killed and where police set up its first stop check of the RIDE campaign.Jennifer Neville-Lake, who lost her three children and father to a impaired driving crash in 2015, was also at the news conference to lend her support for the campaign.
The province's offer to help struggling restaurant owners during what's been a disastrous year for their bottom lines contains quite a bit of red tape — enough to leave them feeling let down and even abandoned by the Quebec government."People actually travel to eat in Montreal, that's a known fact," said Dyan Solomon, owner of three restaurants in the city, including Un po di Più. "And yet, at this moment, we are being completely forgotten."Since Oct. 1, restaurant dining rooms in red zones have been shut down, and they'll stay that way until at least Jan. 11, depriving them of vital revenue that often comes from a busy holiday season.It's the second time restaurant dining rooms in Quebec have been forced to close during the pandemic.Assistance from the province comes in the form of a loan of up to 50,000$, 80 per cent of which may not need to be repaid.Here's the problem: restaurant owners say accessing the federal government's programs was quick and painless.The provincial one? Not so much.To access Quebec's loan program, owners need to share information such as cost forecasts and budget statements, something small businesses living month-to-month may not have handy."They don't have people working in their offices, they don't have bookkeepers, they don't have time to sit at a computer for three days in a row and fill out forms that are very complicated," said Solomon.Solomon has been denied once by the province already, and she has two more requests pending."I'm a positive person. I try not to look at this from a very sinister point of view, but I'm starting to feel like there is something going on that's deep and bizarre," she said. "Because the process was made very, very complicated. It does leave you wondering if it wasn't supposed to discourage small businesses from applying."When comparing the federal programs to the provincial one, another restaurant owner referred to Quebec's process as one big, bureaucratic run-around."We are drowning right now in paperwork because we're trying to shift our money around, figure out how we're going to pay rent," said Nicole Turcotte, owner of Dinette Triple Crown. "So it just seems kind of like a cruel joke."A spokesperson for the province's Economy Ministry acknowledged CBC's request for comment Friday, but has yet to respond.Lockdown measures taking a tollThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business claims to have received many complaints from small and medium-sized business owners."It is important that the government improves its program, reduces red tape," said François Vincent, vice-president of the CFIB's Quebec branch, adding that a complex loan process hurts small businesses in particular. As for restaurants, he says many owners don't believe shutting down is justified."It was [initially] the 28-day challenge," said Vincent, in reference to the first period of red-zone restrictions this fall. "Now, it's more than 50 days. Some businesses are asking themselves why are they supposed to shut down if they didn't see any [virus] propagation in my sector."That sentiment was echoed Saturday, by a group of protesters in downtown Montreal.Many of them work in the restaurant industry and were calling on the province to allow restaurants to reopen during the holidays, considering the exception for small indoor gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.According to Nick Pichereau, co-owner of McKibbin's Irish Pub in Vaudreuil-Dorion, holiday gatherings in restaurants would be much safer than get-togethers in private homes. "At home, once they lock the door, they will be touching, they will be hugging, they won't be wearing masks," Pichereau said.
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Friends and relatives of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week remembered him Saturday as a "man of kindness, gentleness and love," who doted on animals and would drop everything to help someone in need.Const. Marc Hovingh also had a unique sense of humour that could spark joy and laughter even in the hardest times, his brother Hans Hovingh said during a small service held in a high school in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island."He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself," Hans Hovingh said.The officer could charm his way out of a dispute with a flash of his "trademark gap-toothed grin," a shrug of his shoulders and a laugh, said another brother, Albert Hovingh."When he did this there's no way you could stay angry with him," Albert Hovingh said. "I suspect that's why he got away with a lot of stuff, not only as a child but also later in life."Marc Hovingh's wife, Lianne Hovingh, described her late husband as her best friend, and recalled hearing how he would sometimes hold off on handing out tickets to drivers who he knew were going through difficult times.She thanked the public for the "ocean of love and prayers" she and their four children - Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sara - have received since her husband's death.Masked mourners, many of them in police uniform, gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen officer, who died on Nov. 19 in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the island community of Gore Bay, Ont.Hovingh, a 28-year veteran of the force, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man'' on a property.According to the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario's police watchdog — Hovingh and civilian Gary Brohman died in hospital after an exchange of gunfire.Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among a handful of politicians and dignitaries who attended the service. The Ontario Provincial Police Association said the funeral was otherwise private, with attendance available via livestream. At one point, more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to the ceremony. An online fundraiser for Hovingh's family had also raised more than $100,000 by mid-afternoon Saturday, with some donations coming in during the funeral.Provincial police Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the officer's death has left him and others across the force with a "broken heart," and praised Hovingh's "courageous response" to the incident that ultimately claimed his life."How is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time?" he said during the service.One of Hovingh's colleagues and friends, Const. Marie Ford, described him as someone who cared deeply for his community and always rooted for the underdog, yet shunned the attention he received for his good deeds."He didn't need to be promoted and he refused accolades," she said in a tearful tribute.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28., 2020 Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
For the first time, people can vote in this year’s Festival of Trees online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, festive trees are decorated by local merchants and organizations and displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. In addition to the new online voting option, the cannery will also be open for in-person viewing and voting, starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) with additional protocols in place. There will be 15 trees decorated this year, says marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She adds that, as expected, some groups have cancelled due to different circumstances during this unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita says of the changes to this year’s planning. While advance tickets are not required, capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. In keeping with new public health restrictions, all visitors must wear a face mask while visiting the display. Staff and volunteers at the cannery also wear masks at all times. The Festival of Trees will be open daily from Dec. 1 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular admission is $11.90 for adults and $10.20 for seniors, with youth under age 17 and society members able to enter for free. Admission will be by donation on Sundays: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. For more information, call 604-664-9009.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A nine-storey, mix-used residential and retail development in Lower Lonsdale, set to offer 75 market rental units, has been given the green light. City of North Vancouver council voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning application by Cressey Development and First Capital Realty for the redevelopment of 200 West Esplanade at Monday’s general meeting. The development will replace the old Cineplex Esplanade theatre building, which closed in April last year in light of the new Park Royal location opening. The site was desirable for a rental project as it’s close to public transit, being less than five-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, Lonsdale Quay bus exchange and R2 Marine Drive RapidBus. The new building will have commercial retail units at ground level, above-grade parking on the second level, and 75 market rental units, eight of which will be offered at mid-market rates. Designed by Rafii Architects, the plan also boasts both indoor and outdoor amenities, including a gym and a separate lounge area indoors and planter beds, a play area, and a gazebo outdoors. The redevelopment of the site was mostly supported by surrounding residents, with the building’s height – which will reach eight storeys at the lane but due to a slope will be nine storeys facing West Esplanade – and increased traffic to the area the main concerns raised by the community at a developer’s information session on Sept. 19, 2019. At the time, about six residents opposed the development going ahead. Only two residents came forward to speak at a virtual public hearing on the development at Monday’s general meeting. One resident, who lives in the Time building at 175 West First St., raised the same concerns about the building’s height, increased cars in the area and obstructed views. While another resident spoke on behalf of the owners of 224 West Esplanade, the building immediately west of the new development, stating they had worries about the impact construction of the new development could have on their existing building, including the building’s foundation being undermined, the building settlements that might occur and historic water incursion problems in the area. The developers responded that the height of the building was in line with the city's Official Community Plan for the site, and that a traffic impact study had already found that the future building would have a very minimal effect on traffic in the area. The report to council also highlights that the building will be "harmonious with the transition from taller developments directly across Chesterfield to the east, and lower developments to the west," also adding the design will create an "engaging frontage along West Esplanade that includes a pedestrian plaza area." The development plan only has 32 parking spaces, with two for car share, which raised a red flag for Coun. Don Bell. He decided to vote against the rezoning application, as he believed the development did not have adequate parking or storage facilities. Meanwhile, Mayor Linda Buchanan and fellow councillors were supportive of the development, with most mentioning its proximity to transit and the positive increase in rental options it will bring to the Lower Lonsdale area. “I do think this project actually fulfills many of the policy and guideline directions that the city has,” Buchanan said. “It is part of the housing action plan for us to be able to deliver rental housing and certainly mid-market housing and this project does that.” Coun. Angela Girard said it was a good location for the city to be supporting density, being on an active transportation corridor. “The Lower Lonsdale area has been developed more recently with predominantly stratified apartment units, and by fusing both market and mid-market rentals into this area, I think will greatly benefit the neighborhood by providing an alternative housing type for working professionals, for families, that may not be able to afford market condos,” she said. “In my opinion, the complex offers great indoor and outdoor amenities.” The development will also see the design and construction of a new a bike lane and sidewalk, including street lighting and landscaping, from the development site to Semisch Avenue. On top of this, a public art installation, with a value of $25,000, will be installed to jazz up the area.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Squamish Public Library is set to permanently acknowledge its location on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation through a commissioned artwork. The library is inviting artists from the nation to submit designs for a vinyl window covering for the front of the library building and the children’s area. "The intention is for the artwork of a Squamish Nation artist to publicly and permanently acknowledge the library's location on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation,” Rachel Bergquist, public services librarian, said. "This art commission aims to celebrate the art, traditions, culture, and land of the Squamish Nation through the unique vision of the artist.” She said windows of the library offered the opportunity for a large-scale showcase of art, visible to library patrons, passersby, and the hundreds of people who use Squamish Transit. "We have so many visitors to our town and the library really is a hot spot for people looking for directions, bathrooms, and other resources," Bergquist said. "So, it’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have that public acknowledgement facing outward to both the people who are living in our community, but also those people who are passing through who might not have as much of an understanding of where they are.” The library is searching for a design that will feel like an integrated part of the building and still allow for some visibility through the windows, with the final image to be printed on cut-out frosted vinyl in monochrome white and grey. “We wanted something that still allows for us to see outside and allows the natural light in,” Bergquist said, on the choice of frosted vinyl. “We want people inside the library to be able to see the world around them. Sitting inside the library, looking out that window, you can see the Stawamus Chief.” The chosen artist will receive $5,400 for the digital file of their commissioned work and the library will arrange for the production and installation of the final product. Acknowledgement and information about the art and artist will also be installed along with the window covering. Bergquist said artworks received will be reviewed by a selection committee of library staff, the director of library services and be shown to Squamish Nation Elders for their blessing. She said the library team was excited to see the designs artists submit and were available for any questions artists may have about the project. The public art project was made possible by a Community Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant from the Squamish Arts Council and capital funding from the District of Squamish. The submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2020, at 5 p.m. The successful artist will be announced early next year, and it’s hoped the installation will occur in spring. All proposals must be submitted to Rachel Bergquist or dropped off at the library at 37907 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C. Find the full call for artists here. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Wymbolwood Beach residents are standing up for the rights of the animal that makes up Canada's official emblem. A deputation of neighbourhood residents makes its way to council this Monday. They're upset about the removal of a beaver dam at Skylark Road and Tiny Beaches Road South. The group, being led and represented at council by Julia Aronov, has also signed a petition to stop municipal staff from removing the beaver dam that has existed in the local creek since May. "The beaver dam created a beautiful wetland area that mallard and duck families called home," says the petition, "there were many fish, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and numerous other wildlife and important pollinating insects. "Over the last six months, not once was the beaver's dam destroyed," continues the petition. "He was able to live free without fear of human interference in his daily life. With it being close to winter, destroying the beaver's dam now puts his life at risk as he does not have enough time to create a proper home that can sustain him over the long cold winter season." Another critter-related request is being brought forward Marjorie Dubeau. She wants council to allow the re-installation of 'Tiny Animals', which are wooden boards painted with animals on, on the trail between Balm Beach Road East and Concession Road 9. The 8"x8" boards can serve as an interactive game for people and children using the trail. Among other presentations will be one made by Skelton Brumwell and Associates on a short-term accommodations (STA) management strategy. The consultants are bringing forward recommendations around zoning, noise and disturbance, licensing, complaints process and municipal and private services. A second bylaw review is being brought forward by Barriston Law representatives around business licensing regulations bylaw (BLB) related to trailer parks/campgrounds. The report submitted as part of the committee of the whole agenda states that the BLB is not permitted to restrict or regulate land use, so a zoning bylaw amendment must be made. Some of the changes to that will clarify the number of mobile homes on trailer park/campground for caretaker use, specify prohibition of other mobile homes to prevent year-round living, and allow for removal of a mobile home within six months of the lapse of a licence. Council will also consider a staff recommendation of how the municipality should handle incidents related to racism and displaying of the Confederate flag. As well, councillors will also take a look at the recommended update to the definition of construction noise and prohibited time of use of domestic tools and lawn maintenance equipment. The report being brought forward suggests that the definition of domestic tools include, but not be limited to, air compressors, electric power tools and manual hammers. Lawn maintenance equipment and snow removal machines are to be included in a separate category. The report further notes that using items in these two categories should be limited to 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. over the weekend. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be streamed live via the township's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who've lost domestic market share due to two recent free trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada's agriculture minister announced Saturday.Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference. "Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow," she said. The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.But on Saturday Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year. David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future. "I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on," he said. The payments are based on formulas devised by working groups formed after the trade deals were signed, Bibeau said.What that means is the money doesn't reflect precisely how much the various industries have lost due to the deals, she said. "It's really our best understanding of the future impact and to give them the possibility to adapt." The dairy, poultry and egg industries in Canada are regulated to ensure a steady income for farmers in that sector, but Canada's foreign trade partners argue the system is protectionist.That made the trio of industries a sticking point in three separate trade deals Canada has concluded in recent years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe (CETA), the Comprehensive and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the Canada — United States — Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA). Trading partners wanted more Canadian access for their products, which Canadian suppliers said would result in massive hits to their bottom line. The Liberals' March 2019 budget had in turn allocated up to $3.9 billion in compensation for the trade concessions made on supply management.The funds announced by Bibeau Saturday are linked only to CETA and the CPTPP, but she said the latest arrangement does use up the balance of the previously announced funds. "I think it's a great day because there's something on the table," said Benoit Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, who said he had yet to see the details of the funding arrangement for his sector.The money announced Saturday comes ahead of Monday's reveal of the fiscal fortunes of the Liberal government, in the form of an economic update that is expected to lay out how much has been spent on emergency COVID-19 related programming but also outline some new spending in other areas. Bibeau said the funds announced Saturday will be reflected there, but said the amount to be set aside as compensation for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal is still being decided. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
Fifty Evraz steelworkers in Regina received layoff notices on Friday and hundreds more could be laid off by mid-January."It's been a trying year for us and our members here in Regina," said Mike Day, president of United Steelworkers Local 5890, which is the union associated with the Regina steel plant."COVID started in March. I think it was around that same time we had a cyberattack on the company. And then we had this," Day said. "It's just seems like it's one thing after another in 2020, like many other places."The New Year will not fare much better for many more workers. By mid-January, Evraz says the jobs of up to 500 employees will also be deemed redundant. Day said USW Local 5890 is used to seeing 30 or 40 people being laid off."But when you're starting to get the guys that have worked here now for 20 years, it's been a long time since the layoff notices have come out and their names have been on it. It's tough."Evraz said the restructuring is necessary to help deal with the struggling state of the steel industry.Day said the pandemic is largely to blame, along with the prolonged slump in the energy sector and what he calls government inaction in promoting Canadian steel for projects across the country, including pipelines."We're directly related to the oil and gas sector. Our No. 1 product is this pipe. So when there's no contracts because there's no product or there's no projects going on, it's hard for us right now."Day said the union was confident the company was going to get a contract for a northern Alberta project, but he said a foreign company is going to get the work."When we've got projects that are being built in Canada and they're not using Canadian project, Canadian labour and Canadian material … it's very concerning to the steel industry," Day said.The layoffs will mostly affect the tubular division of the plant, which makes pipelines for the oil and gas industry."To put it in perspective, at this time last year we were almost at 700 members in tubular, and by the middle of January, I expect this to be just shy of 100 [workers] unless something comes up," Day said.He doesn't see a turnaround in the near future and doubts all the jobs will come back."I don't see our numbers ever climbing to that where it was a year ago."And with a struggling economy, it will be hard for laid-off workers to find jobs."Not a lot of places are hiring and especially hiring that are … comparable wages and benefits to what the guys get here. So it's going to be a real financial struggle for a lot of places in the city."Day said the union is hoping to reach out to Don Morgan, the province's minister of labour relations.He also hopes having U.S. president-elect Joe Biden coming to the White House will mean better trade relations and more opportunities for the Canadian steel industry.
Matt Patricia opened his final postgame news conference with the Detroit Lions by thanking his wife and children for their support.Patricia probably knew what was coming.His boss, general manager Bob Quinn, might not have expected the same fate.The Lions fired Patricia and Quinn, who hired the coach to replace Jim Caldwell, and effectively ended the franchise’s attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.The moves were made Saturday, surprising no one.Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team resident Rod Wood were expected to explain the decisions and to look ahead at the franchise’s decades-long attempt to win when it matters in the NFL.Since Detroit won the 1957 NFL title, it has won only one playoff game — and that was way back on Jan. 5, 1992.This season, the Lions (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time. They collapsed in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in 11 years in the previous game at Carolina.“I’m just really appreciative of my family, my wife, my kids,” Patricia said Thursday before taking questions from reporters on a Zoom call. “My wife does a lot behind the scenes and from that standpoint I appreciate her a lot.”The setbacks dropped Patricia to 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons and Quinn’s mark fell 12 games under .500 over five seasons.Quinn, who was part of the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years, was given his first shot to run an NFL front office in January 2016. He retained Caldwell and Detroit reached the playoffs but then fired him the next season after another 9-7 record wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the post-season.When Quinn let Caldwell go with a 36-28 record over four seasons and an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, he said the move was made to find a coach to take the team to the next level.Patricia did that, but it wasn’t the level he or Quinn needed to keep their jobs.Detroit was 6-10 under Patricia in 2018, won just three games last season and was barely better this year.Patricia was on Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, including six years as defensive co-ordinator, before Quinn gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level. Patricia was incessantly peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, dating to the 2019 season, and refused to engage in the conversation with reporters.“We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Patricia said after falling to 0-3 on Thanksgiving with the Lions. “So, that’s my focus right now.”___Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLLarry Lage, The Associated Press
There are two new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 32.The first reported case is a woman between the ages of 60 and 69 living in the same household as a previous case. She is a resident of the province and the case is connected to the Grand Bank cluster, but the woman is not a tenant of Blue Crest Cottages.The second case is travel-related, a man aged 50-59 who recently returned home to the province from the United States.The two cases are not connected, with both individuals in isolation and contact tracing underway.As a result of the travel-related case, the Department of Health is advising passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John's on Wednesday to get tested out of an abundance of caution.The two new cases bring the province's total number of cases to 333. Since the pandemic began, 297 people have recovered from the virus, with four reported COVID-19 related deaths.In total, 61,832 people have been tested for the virus — up by 512 since Friday. The province saw it's largest single-day increase in testing on Friday, when 742 people were tested in 24 hours.Earlier in the week, the province's department of health asked anyone who had visited a bar in the Halifax area in the past two weeks to get a COVID-19 test.3 cases with unknown source now travel-relatedPublic health provided an update on the three cases announced Friday with unknown sources. All three cases are travel-related.The first case reported in the Eastern Health region is related to travel from Europe, while the second case in the region is related to travel from Asia. Although both cases are located in the Eastern Health region, the cases are not connected.The third of four announced cases on Friday is a close contact of a worker who returned to the province from work in British Columbia. The individual is located in the Western Health region, and is not connected to the recent cluster in Deer Lake.Outbreaks at 3 Alberta work sitesThe Department of Health was also notified of outbreaks at three Alberta work sites by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as there are workers from the province who work at the sites.There are outbreaks at the Cenovus Energy Foster Creek oil sands project, the Cenovus Energy Christina Lake oil sands project and the Syncrude Canada Aurora mine site.Rotational workers returning from these sites must undergo a full 14-day isolation period and contact 811 for testing.As part of Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald repeated her warnings against mass gatherings over the upcoming holiday season."This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide," she said Friday, adding the next four to six weeks will be a true test for the province.Fitzgerald has stated in previous interviews that health officials will be closely watching the early weeks of the new year as people return to the province from holiday travel.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a man who recently returned to the province from the United States. Health officials say the man in his 50s in the Eastern Health region travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s on Nov. 25.The province is asking anyone who travelled on the same flight to call 811 to arrange a COVID-19 test.Meanwhile, officials say the second confirmed case is a female in the Eastern Health region in her 60s.She is a member of the same household of a previously known case, which was connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank. Newfoundland and Labrador has 32 active cases of COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press