A safe Thanksgiving during a pandemic is possible, but health experts know their advice is as tough to swallow as dry turkey: Stay home. Don't travel. If you must gather, do it outdoors. (Nov. 10)
A safe Thanksgiving during a pandemic is possible, but health experts know their advice is as tough to swallow as dry turkey: Stay home. Don't travel. If you must gather, do it outdoors. (Nov. 10)
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
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.
MONTREAL — Quebec set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections Saturday while surpassing the threshold of 7,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.The province reported 1,480 new confirmed cases Saturday, exceeding the previous record set on Thursday of 1,464 new diagnoses.Meanwhile, the 37 most recent deaths pushed the provincial total to 7,021."We must continue to respect health measures throughout Quebec and in all settings if we want to limit the transmission of the virus," Health Minister Christian Dube said through his Twitter account.Of the deaths, 10 were recorded in the past 24 hours while another 23 were recorded during a five-day period between last Saturday and Thursday.The number of hospitalizations increased slightly, with nine more patients seeking care for a total of 678. The number of patients in intensive care increased by three to 93.The Quebec government has said it will need to see a reduction in cases to trigger a plan to allow for a maximum of two gatherings of 10 people from three households between Dec. 24 and 27.Health authorities want people to quarantine for one week before and one week after the proposed four-day gathering period.The province is expected to introduce new measures and some restrictions for patients in long-term care homes and seniors residences ahead of the holidays to keep COVID-19 out of those facilities. "Those new rules are going to be published early in the next week," Dr. Horacio Arruda said on Friday during a news conference in the Saguenay.On Saturday, four long-term care homes and 14 seniors' residences were listed as critical in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases.Much of the province has been at the highest COVID alert since October, with restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues now shuttered until at least Jan. 11.The province has 11,716 active cases of COVID-19.Montreal reported the most new infections with 429, followed by Monteregie, south of Montreal, with 215 cases and Lanaudiere, northeast of the city, with 120.The province has now reported 139,643 COVID-19 cases and 7,021 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 1,179 new recoveries for a total of 120,906.The province conducted 29,652 tests on Thursday, the last day for which numbers were available.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
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
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
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
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
The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A;) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week. “You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home case services. All the result of one transmission.” The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved. “He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.” One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A; Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared. “At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.” Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19. “One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.” Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise. “Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added. Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca. “The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
* Ottawa Public Health is reporting 46 more COVID-19 cases, but has actuallyreduced its overall death toll by one. * Active cases have increased since Friday, up to 309. * The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region will move to yellow on Monday.Today's Ottawa updateOttawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 46 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while 31 more people's cases have been declared resolved.OPH is also logging one new death due to the virus, but the city's overall death toll has actually dropped.That's because an OPH investigation determined two deaths couldn't be confirmed to be related to COVID-19.They have been removed from the city's total, which has dropped by one to 372.Numbers to watch21: Ottawa's rate of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, which has increased slightly since yesterday.309: The known active cases in Ottawa, also more than in Friday's report.29: The number of active outbreaks in Ottawa. The number of long-term care home outbreaks is down to nine. >1: The number of people infected by each confirmed case, or R(t).1.3: Ottawa's test positivity percentage, the same as the previous update. A percentage at or below 1.2 per cent is one factor that could move a region into the yellow zone. Ottawa is currently in orange.Across the regionWestern Quebec reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and one new death.Hastings Prince Edward Public Health in the Belleville, Ont., area is moving from green to yellow on Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale as of Monday.No other local health units are slated to move.
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
In the fall of 2019, Bernie McClean had to dry every single bushel of canola on his farm in northwest Saskatchewan — something he never had to do before.Weather was just one of various challenges farmers in the province had to deal with last year.According to Statistics Canada, realized net farm income was up in six provinces, but not in Saskatchewan, where farmers saw a $307 million decline — the largest in Canada. Lower oilseed receipts contributed to the drop, said a Statistics Canada report released this week."The real difficulties actually began in the fall of 2019," said McClean."Excessive amounts of rain during harvest that turned into cold weather and actually eventually it turned into a fair bit of snow. And that stopped harvest completely. There were a lot of areas that the snow melted and we were able to get going again."But those types of conditions, they increase the costs substantially."McClean and his family grow grains and oilseeds on their Glaslyn-area farm, including wheat, oats, barley, canola and forage crops. Part of their land recently also became home to bison.In 2019, he and his family were able to harvest all their crops in the fall, but "it was right to the very final minute to get it done," he said."There have been a number of years that have been difficult in the northwest part of Saskatchewan."Farm income rose in Canada, not in Sask.Overall, Canada's farmers saw an increase in realized net income of 14.9 per cent from 2018, to $5.5 billion in 2019. According to Statistics Canada, the increase is the result of higher cannabis and livestock receipts in the country, along with increased program payments.The drop in realized net income in Saskatchewan, though was 14.4 per cent.A drop in realized net farm income in Saskatchewan means that there was a reduction in income relative to expenses during that year, explains Richard Gray, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan's department of agricultural and resource economics.The total net income, which takes inventory change into account, also dropped in Saskatchewan in 2019. Trade disputeGray says two main factors affected oilseed income."The harvest was very long and delayed," he said. "There was significant acreage of canola that was not harvested in 2019 but was left to the spring to harvest in 2020."So that grain, which would have been income, was left in the field because of weather conditions."The other factor, according to Gray, was a large outbreak of African swine fever in China. The disease reduced the size of hog herds in the country, and consequently the demand for oilseeds.A trade dispute with China also created headaches for the province's canola farmers, after China effectively stopped buying the crop from Canadian producers."Saskatchewan farmers produce the most canola in the country and they were the most affected by the drop in price," said Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. He is a fourth-generation farmer in the Gray district, south of Regina.The trade dispute with China "seems like a long way from Saskatchewan, but it really does come straight to the farm gate here in the province."There is a possible upside to the Canada-China dispute, said McClean."The trade disruption that we've experienced with China has actually taken the blinders off a little bit and allowed us to investigate and further explore other or emerging markets … whether that's export markets or whether it's opportunities right here in Canada," he said.2020 a better year for Saskatchewan's oilseed farmersAfter the lows in 2019, this year has been much better for Saskatchewan oilseed farmers. "There was an early harvest," said Gray."Grain shipments have been at a record level. Because of the recovery in the hog herd in China, soybeans and oilseed prices are actually higher this year. So prices have gone up, volumes [have] gone up."According to the provincial government's final crop report, Saskatchewan saw above-average crop quality this year. While rail disruptions in 2019 caused problems for producers, the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 has allowed for improved movement of grain in 2020, said McClean.The livestock industry, on the other hand, has been negatively affected by COVID-19, with some slaughter plants closing down, said Lewis.Farmers and ranchers now have to feed more cattle, but the price for feed grain has gone up, he said."So it's been positive for the grain producers."
Toronto police say they are looking for a 39-year-old man who is wanted for the attempted murder of a police officer in the city's west end a week ago.According to police, an officer was patrolling in the area of Eglinton Avenue West and Weston Road on Nov. 21 at about 11:22 p.m. when he heard the sound of gunfire nearby.The officer saw a car leaving the area at high speed and he caught up to it at Scarlett Road and East Drive, police said in a news release on Saturday. The officer then signaled for the driver to stop, police said. "The driver struck the officer, dragging him over 50 metres," police said in the release.Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said on Saturday that the officer was outside of his cruiser when he was dragged by the man's vehicle.The officer suffered serious injuries in the crash and was taken to hospital. He has been released from hospital and continues to recover.The man, identified as Terry Baksh, of Toronto, is wanted for attempted murder; dangerous driving; flight from police; failure to comply with recognizance; and driving while disqualified.Police said the man is considered to be violent and dangerous. If anyone sees him, they are urged not to approach him but to call 911 immediately. Police said the man is urged to call a lawyer and surrender himself at any division.Anyone with information is urged to call police at (416) 808-1200, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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.
A temporary COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic will be open Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall.The clinic, located at 234 Shakespeare Drive, was set up to support the high demand for testing at the Charlottetown testing clinic on Park Street.Islanders can also go to the COVID-19 drop-in testing clinic at Slemon Park in Summerside, which is open until 8 p.m.P.E.I. announced two new unrelated cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.The province said anyone who has been contacted by Public Health nursing to get tested in relation to the positive cases should get tested as soon as possible and isolate until they receive the results, or as directed by Public Health nursing.More from CBC P.E.I.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island has announced two new cases of COVID-19, doubling the number of active cases in the province. Health officials say the patients are both males between the ages of 10 and 19.One of the new patients is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School, who travelled on bus numbers 23 and 3 on two days last week. He also plays for the Sherwood Minor Hockey Midget A Central Team 2.Officials say there were also potential exposures at a Wendy’s Restaurant and a Needs Convenience Store in Charlottetown. Meanwhile, the second patient recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of Atlantic Canada and has been self-isolating since he arrived.Health officials say he traveled to the Island on Air Canada flight AC7462 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Nov. 26\. They are advising passengers on the same flight to get tested if they have any symptoms.A spokeswoman for the Health and Wellness Department says there are four active cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian 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
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for the province on November 24, 2020, at a joint press conference with the Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. After grimly detailing the province’s current COVID-19 situation, the Premier announced new public health measures and restrictions for the province aimed at slowing our current rate of infection. Jason Kenney disclosed that 1,115 new cases and 16 more deaths had been reported for the day alone. The additional 16 deaths bring the total number to 492 people who have died since March, with 103 of that number occurring in just the past two weeks. By all metrics, the spread of the virus appears to be picking up speed. Kenney explained the rationale behind the new public health measures saying, “Yes, our policy is based partly on protecting the vulnerable while minimizing damage to our broader social health. But to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part in limiting community spread.” The public health measures and restrictions announced will be in place for a minimum of three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed. If there has been a significant drop in our daily number of new cases, we may be able to ease some of them. If these measures have not been shown to have a meaningful impact, more drastic measures may be implemented. Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions: Social Gatherings (Effective Immediately Across Alberta) • Indoor social gatherings will no longer be permitted. Indoor social contact should be limited to those within a single household. People that live by themselves can have up to two non-household social contacts. Does not apply to home-based services (Healthcare, Homecare, and Childcare). • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and receptions will not be permitted. • People that do not follow these restrictions may be subject to fines. The province will be looking at ways to allow Peace Officers to deliver fines to anyone who violates these limits. The fines mentioned were $1000 for a ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. • The Emergency Alert System will be used later this week to notify Albertans of these limits. Businesses (Effective Friday, November 27 in Enhanced Status Regions) Closed For In-Person Businesses • banquet halls, conference centers, concert venues, community centers, trade shows, children’s play places, Indoor playgrounds, All levels of team and individual sport (Leagues can apply for exemptions if they have well-developed safety plans). Open with Restricted Capacity • Retail businesses and services can remain open but are restricted to 25% of their occupancy limits or a minimum of 5 customers, whichever is higher. • Entertainment and Event Services – movie theatres, libraries, museums, and galleries. • Indoor Entertainment – racing centers, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks. • Fitness and Recreation Centers – pools, physical activity centers, dance and yoga studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers. No group fitness classes, group training, team practices or games. Centers can be open for individual time, exercise, or training only. Instructors can use facilities to broadcast virtual fitness classes, but in-person group classes will be permitted. • Casinos – slot machines only, no table games. Liquor sales must cease by 10 PM. • Retail – grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and tech stores, hardware stores, automotive stores, farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and outdoor seasonal markets (providing that public health measures are in place). • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes – A maximum of 6 people per table, and they must be from the same household. No movement between tables is permitted. Only seated eating or drinking is allowed. No other services are permitted (bar service, entertainment, billiards, darts). Must stop serving liquor at 10 pm and close by 11 pm. If the restrictions are not followed, fines and orders will be issued. Inspections will be increased to make sure public health measures are being followed. Open by Appointment Only • Hair salons, barbershops, aesthetics, professional services, hotels and motels, hunting and fishing lodges, private 1 on 1 lessons (Music lessons, and personal training). Workplace • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary medical zones. This includes employees, delivery drivers, visitors, and contractors. Exceptions are when working alone, alone in an office or cubicle, or where an appropriate barrier is in place. • Workers who can work from home are asked to do so. School • Grades 7 – 12 – Starting November 30, all students in grades 7 – 12 will move to at-home schooling. Winter break will be from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of 2021. • Kindergarten – Grade 6 – Will remain in regular classes until Winter break, from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will school from home from January 4 – January 8. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Places of Worship (Enhanced Status Regions) • Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of the building’s maximum occupancy according to the fire code. Attendees will need to wear masks and must maintain physical distancing between households. • In-person faith group meetings can continue if attendees maintain physical distance and follow public health measures.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
A North Vancouver not-for-profit is hoping to make the lives of hundreds of residents impacted by COVID-19 a little brighter this festive season with a surprise gift but is calling for a little bit of help to get the job done. North Van Cares has just launched its Holiday Helpers initiative and is asking the community to nominate someone they know on the North Shore who is senior, immuno-suppressed, isolated, bereaved or just needs a little extra cheer this year, to receive a special gift pack. The initiative has a lofty goal of handing out up to 300 presents to residents who are nominated. "We’re specifically looking for those folks who would never ask for help but could use a little extra joy this season," Jacquie McCarnan, the founder of the not-for-profit organization, said. "We all know people who give so much of themselves and never ask for anything. Those are the people we want to help." She said seniors and immuno-suppressed folks who may not have family around to help out this holiday season are their main target. "It’s not a charitable thing for the needy, it’s more a pick me up for people who just need a bit of joy," McCarnan said. McCarnan launched North Van Cares in March when the pandemic first hit hard as a Shopping Buddies initiative to help seniors get groceries and prescriptions during quarantine. “The reason I started North Van Cares is because my own parents, who live in Ontario, are 88 and 90, and they’ve never accessed social services and they wouldn’t even have a clue how to do that or how to get their groceries delivered,” McCarnan said. She said as she thought about her own parents, she realised there must be people on the North Shore having similar issues and set out to help them. From there the not-for-profit blossomed, and McCarnan has since created two T-Shirt campaigns, with nine North Shore neighbourhood designs, which have raised more than $2,000 to help support a variety of groups, including Backpack Buddies, North Shore Rescue, North Shore Black Bear Society, Neighbhourhood House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Profits from more recent T-shirt sales will also go towards the Holiday Helpers initiative. All the Holiday Helpers gifts will be North Vancouver-inspired and include donations from the community. The gifts will also have a handmade card created by local students – with the surplus of cards set to be delivered to residents at seniors’ homes in the area for Christmas. McCarnan said the initiative had already received a bundle of donations, so the gifts would “have really lovely surprises for so many.” “There are so many people who are going to be so lonely these holidays because they’re not going to be able to have their families come and visit like in the past,” she said. “I just thought, so what can we do to cheer them up?” For anyone who’d like to contribute, the group is still accepting donations. A donation of just $20 means they can add another nominee to the list. To nominate someone to receive a Holiday Helper’s gift pack go to Nominate a Neighbour. Nominations close Dec. 15. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A lab in Alaska failed to report over 1,600 positive coronavirus tests to the state health department in the past month, according to a state official.Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, said Friday that Beechtree Labs did not report 1,636 positive test results out of 13,169 tests conducted, most of which were done in the last two weeks. Beechtree is a new commercial lab based out of Anchorage.The announcement is a sign that climbing daily case counts reported by the state reflect only a part of total cases, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Castrodale said that understaffing at clinics, labs and the state’s Department of Health and Social Services have also caused backlogs that have affected the entire coronavirus data system.“It’s fair to say that the system is stretched,” Castrodale said.Coleman Cutchins, a clinical pharmacist who leads the state health department's testing effort, said that patients and providers still received their test results from Beechtree within two days.The results not reported to the state include 357 positive cases in Anchorage and 880 positive cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.The state's health department reported its second-highest single day tally of virus cases on Friday with 735 new confirmed cases.The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press